[PFS] Ruling about Blanches / Balms and ammo


Rules Questions

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When applying blanches or balms they can treat up to 10 pieces of ammo (Normally) Can I get a ruling on weather each dose can be sectioned up into uses per piece of ammo, or if all affected ammo must be treated at the same time thus consuming the item?

Sovereign Court

It doesn't say it can be split into doses, so it all needs to be applied at the same time. One dose does 10 arrows/bolts, etc.

You won't get an actual ruling, as it doesn't need one.


It doesn't say it can't be split, and i don't see why it wouldn't be able to be split. Its like mustard. You can open the jar , slather some on your bread and close the jar. (If the jar doesn't preserve it... then how did you get it at the store?) The stuff needs to be baked on. It stays goupy until exposed to flame (like sculpty)

Sovereign Court

Recall the general PFS rule: If it doesn't specifically say you can, then you can't.

I'm not quite too sure what the OPs intent was, or is. Arrows and blanch are cheap. I see no particular reason why you wouldn't want to affect all your items at once.


ghost salt at 20gp per arrow maybe?


Blanches are one-use items, even if they affect multiple objects in that one use. It would also be a pain to record a one-use item in 10% increments. As David says, there's no reason to use it this way, and it just causes problems, so why would you?

You clearly can't *buy* 1/10 of a weapon blanch, though.

Sovereign Court

You can coat up to 10 pieces of ammo, so if you wanted to split it between some arrows, shuriken and x-bow bolts, you could.

IF that's the goal, you can indeed do that.


This was in response to a Ticket that I filed with HeroLabs about a bug in their system. They are arguing that they need to track every ammo application, regardless of how its actually used, and that each part of dose should be tracked, since there isnt an errata or FAQ for it.

Liberty's Edge

Remember blanches do not return with abbundant ammunition.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber
Andrew Christian wrote:
Remember blanches do not return with abundant ammunition.

I'm not sure I see that reading, Andy... can you walk me through how a nonmagical ammunition removed from the container with abundant ammunition on it would not be an exactly equivalent piece of nonmagical ammunition?

PRD wrote:
When cast on a container such as a quiver or a pouch that contains nonmagical ammunition or shuriken (including masterwork ammunition or shuriken), at the start of each round this spell replaces any ammunition taken from the container the round before. The ammunition taken from the container the round before vanishes. If, after casting this spell, you cast a spell that enhances projectiles, such as align weapon or greater magic weapon, on the same container, all projectiles this spell conjures are affected by that spell.

Liberty's Edge

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TetsujinOni wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
Remember blanches do not return with abundant ammunition.

I'm not sure I see that reading, Andy... can you walk me through how a nonmagical ammunition removed from the container with abundant ammunition on it would not be an exactly equivalent piece of nonmagical ammunition?

PRD wrote:
When cast on a container such as a quiver or a pouch that contains nonmagical ammunition or shuriken (including masterwork ammunition or shuriken), at the start of each round this spell replaces any ammunition taken from the container the round before. The ammunition taken from the container the round before vanishes. If, after casting this spell, you cast a spell that enhances projectiles, such as align weapon or greater magic weapon, on the same container, all projectiles this spell conjures are affected by that spell.
PRD: Weapon Blanch wrote:
Weapon Blanch: These alchemical powders have a gritty consistency. When poured on a weapon and placed over a hot flame for a full round, they melt and form a temporary coating on the weapon. The blanching gives the weapon the ability to bypass one kind of material-based damage reduction, such as adamantine, cold iron, or silver. The blanching remains effective until the weapon makes a successful attack. Each dose of blanching can coat one weapon or up to 10 pieces of ammunition. Only one kind of weapon blanch can be on a weapon at one time, though a weapon made of one special material (such as adamantine) can have a different material blanch (such as silver), and counts as both materials for the first successful hit.

Weapon Blanch is not the piece of ammunition. It is an alchemical powder applied to the ammunition. It is good for one shot.

PRD: Abundant Ammunition wrote:
When cast on a container such as a quiver or a pouch that contains nonmagical ammunition or shuriken (including masterwork ammunition or shuriken), at the start of each round this spell replaces any ammunition taken from the container the round before. The ammunition taken from the container the round before vanishes. If, after casting this spell, you cast a spell that enhances projectiles, such as align weapon or greater magic weapon, on the same container, all projectiles this spell conjures are affected by that spell.

Weapon Blanch is not a spell. And it is not "cast" on the container which houses the ammunition.

Therefore, the arrows you coat with weapon blanch will return, but the weapon blanch itself remains one-shot.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber
Andrew Christian wrote:
TetsujinOni wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
Remember blanches do not return with abundant ammunition.

I'm not sure I see that reading, Andy... can you walk me through how a nonmagical ammunition removed from the container with abundant ammunition on it would not be an exactly equivalent piece of nonmagical ammunition?

PRD wrote:
When cast on a container such as a quiver or a pouch that contains nonmagical ammunition or shuriken (including masterwork ammunition or shuriken), at the start of each round this spell replaces any ammunition taken from the container the round before. The ammunition taken from the container the round before vanishes. If, after casting this spell, you cast a spell that enhances projectiles, such as align weapon or greater magic weapon, on the same container, all projectiles this spell conjures are affected by that spell.
PRD: Weapon Blanch wrote:
Weapon Blanch: These alchemical powders have a gritty consistency. When poured on a weapon and placed over a hot flame for a full round, they melt and form a temporary coating on the weapon. The blanching gives the weapon the ability to bypass one kind of material-based damage reduction, such as adamantine, cold iron, or silver. The blanching remains effective until the weapon makes a successful attack. Each dose of blanching can coat one weapon or up to 10 pieces of ammunition. Only one kind of weapon blanch can be on a weapon at one time, though a weapon made of one special material (such as adamantine) can have a different material blanch (such as silver), and counts as both materials for the first successful hit.

Weapon Blanch is not the piece of ammunition. It is an alchemical powder applied to the ammunition. It is good for one shot.

Abundant ammunition is a conjuration (summoning) spell. It actually looks to me like the "in world descriptive" functionality of the spell is to create the ammunition you're pulling out as copies of what was in the container when the spell was cast, with new copies.

(I actually want your reading to be right, so that I feel less bad about not using more than 2 castings of abundant ammunition in my 14th level archer's career... but it seems pretty clear that the ammunition you're pulling out of the pouch are actually the conjured objects.)

I'll go hit faq in the rules forum if I find a post for abundant ammunition, because it deserves a good answer. (Also relevant for whether the conjuration (summoning) ammunition can be effectively fired into an antimagic field. While antimagic field calls out summoned creatures and instantaneous conjurations, abundant ammunition is neither, so the question of which effect of the spell is the summoned copies becomes relevant beyond the weapon blanch question). Maybe someone's already done that analysis and I can just hit faq...


Dave Baker wrote:

Recall the general PFS rule: If it doesn't specifically say you can, then you can't.

That would be a very interesting ruling for string....


The thing most people miss with abundant ammo +blanches is you still need to keep buying blanches: On round 1 you shoot all the real ones. On rounds 2 3 4.... you shoot the fake ones and it dies. On round 5... the fake ones disappear. You still need to replace 6.

Liberty's Edge

TetsujinOni wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
TetsujinOni wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
Remember blanches do not return with abundant ammunition.

I'm not sure I see that reading, Andy... can you walk me through how a nonmagical ammunition removed from the container with abundant ammunition on it would not be an exactly equivalent piece of nonmagical ammunition?

PRD wrote:
When cast on a container such as a quiver or a pouch that contains nonmagical ammunition or shuriken (including masterwork ammunition or shuriken), at the start of each round this spell replaces any ammunition taken from the container the round before. The ammunition taken from the container the round before vanishes. If, after casting this spell, you cast a spell that enhances projectiles, such as align weapon or greater magic weapon, on the same container, all projectiles this spell conjures are affected by that spell.
PRD: Weapon Blanch wrote:
Weapon Blanch: These alchemical powders have a gritty consistency. When poured on a weapon and placed over a hot flame for a full round, they melt and form a temporary coating on the weapon. The blanching gives the weapon the ability to bypass one kind of material-based damage reduction, such as adamantine, cold iron, or silver. The blanching remains effective until the weapon makes a successful attack. Each dose of blanching can coat one weapon or up to 10 pieces of ammunition. Only one kind of weapon blanch can be on a weapon at one time, though a weapon made of one special material (such as adamantine) can have a different material blanch (such as silver), and counts as both materials for the first successful hit.

Weapon Blanch is not the piece of ammunition. It is an alchemical powder applied to the ammunition. It is good for one shot.

Abundant ammunition is a conjuration (summoning) spell. It actually looks to me like the "in world descriptive" functionality of the spell is to create the ammunition you're pulling out...

Essentially the crux of my argument, is that the Blanch is not the ammunition. It is just something on the ammunition. The blanch interacts separately than the ammunition. Simultaneously, but separately.

Liberty's Edge

BigNorseWolf wrote:

The thing most people miss with abundant ammo +blanches is you still need to keep buying blanches: On round 1 you shoot all the real ones. On rounds 2 3 4.... you shoot the fake ones and it dies. On round 5... the fake ones disappear. You still need to replace 6.

huh?

Sczarni

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

If the problem is HeroLab, I have a solution...

Silver Crusade

Nefreet wrote:
If the problem is HeroLab, I have a solution...

Let's not jump that pit of snakes again. ;)

Scarab Sages

The Fox wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
If the problem is HeroLab, I have a solution...
Let's not jump that pit of snakes again. ;)

The poor things really are getting sore. And when they have to use their venom on you it disrupts their chances of earning their next much needed meal.


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The Fox wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
If the problem is HeroLab, I have a solution...
Let's not jump that pit of snakes again. ;)

How wide is the pit? :)

Shadow Lodge

A Dead Horse wrote:
The Fox wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
If the problem is HeroLab, I have a solution...
Let's not jump that pit of snakes again. ;)
How wide is the pit?

10x 10, just big enough for you old friend...


Nefreet wrote:
If the problem is HeroLab, I have a solution...

I don't much hang around the paizo forums, but I have been keeping an eye on this one, since the OP cited it in his report. Anyway, forgive me if I missed some thread somewhere, but you seem pretty hostile to our program. Have we done aught injurious to you, Nefreet?


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Aaron "Lawful G" Beal wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
If the problem is HeroLab, I have a solution...
I don't much hang around the paizo forums, but I have been keeping an eye on this one, since the OP cited it in his report. Anyway, forgive me if I missed some thread somewhere, but you seem pretty hostile to our program. Have we done aught injurious to you, Nefreet?

There is a need for railguns.

However they should not be in the hands of monkeys.

Whether that means you blame the rail gun manufacturer or the zookeeper is a matter of opinion.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Thomas Graham wrote:
A Dead Horse wrote:
The Fox wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
If the problem is HeroLab, I have a solution...
Let's not jump that pit of snakes again. ;)
How wide is the pit?
10x 10, just big enough for you old friend...

Finally, some good news! I could use some rest, I'm so beat...


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Aaron "Lawful G" Beal wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
If the problem is HeroLab, I have a solution...
I don't much hang around the paizo forums, but I have been keeping an eye on this one, since the OP cited it in his report. Anyway, forgive me if I missed some thread somewhere, but you seem pretty hostile to our program. Have we done aught injurious to you, Nefreet?

There is a need for railguns.

However they should not be in the hands of monkeys.

Whether that means you blame the rail gun manufacturer or the zookeeper is a matter of opinion.

Cleverly said. So the issue is some misuse of the program, then.


Aaron "Lawful G" Beal wrote:


Cleverly said. So the issue is some misuse of the program, then.

Its too much uncontrolled power for people that don't know how to use it.

I see people with really big errors, like having their iterative and first attacks at the same bonus or if someone's laptop goes down don't know how to level their character. It catches a lot of +1s and +2s that people miss but sometimes it throws some really weird errors up on the sheet and I have no idea how to track down where they came from. The player, looking at it, often has no idea where those numbers came from and is just listening to their computer overlord.

Silver Crusade

Aaron "Lawful G" Beal wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Aaron "Lawful G" Beal wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
If the problem is HeroLab, I have a solution...
I don't much hang around the paizo forums, but I have been keeping an eye on this one, since the OP cited it in his report. Anyway, forgive me if I missed some thread somewhere, but you seem pretty hostile to our program. Have we done aught injurious to you, Nefreet?

There is a need for railguns.

However they should not be in the hands of monkeys.

Whether that means you blame the rail gun manufacturer or the zookeeper is a matter of opinion.

I think the crux of the argument against HLab is that, to me at least, it doesn't encourage people to learn their characters. There have been numerous times someone that I know runs HLab gives me a number, I'll ask them how they got that number, and they'll give me a blank stare in response. The program doesn't really encourage people to learn their characters.

That being said, I use HeroLab, and I find it to be very useful. I do wish you guys would fix Demon Lords as being legal for worship in PFS, since they are legal for worship in PFS per Additional Resources.

Grand Lodge

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Aaron "Lawful G" Beal wrote:


Cleverly said. So the issue is some misuse of the program, then.

Its too much uncontrolled power for people that don't know how to use it.

I see people with really big errors, like having their iterative and first attacks at the same bonus or if someone's laptop goes down don't know how to level their character. It catches a lot of +1s and +2s that people miss but sometimes it throws some really weird errors up on the sheet and I have no idea how to track down where they came from. The player, looking at it, often has no idea where those numbers came from and is just listening to their computer overlord.

If you go to the tab the bonus is calculated on, like the Weapons tab, you can see where everything comes from, and see if that is correct or not.

I use HL, but I also try to make sure that I understand where the numbers are coming from, especially on my higher level PCs. Also, since HL doesn't include them where I can find them easily, I usually have to parse things out to get my PC's CMB and CMD for various maneuvers, if that is his focus.

Nefreet's experience, apparently, is that he feels the math-challenged shouldn't use something that can do the math for them, because they won't be able to verify the numbers on the rare occasions when HL comes up with an anomalous answer. And, if they don't have HL available, they don't know the rules for Pathfinder well enough to be able to manually level up their PC....

Given everything, I feel that many of his concerns are unjustified, or working with input where the person would still have issues and errors without HL, just different errors.

Myself, while I am considered a rules lawyer locally, I still mess up rules, and don't know everything involved in every class, even the Core classes, to be able to level someone's PC up without some sort of reference, whether it is HL or the rulebooks the PC is sourced from.

Core classes (11):
Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, and Wizard (11 classes)
Base classes (30):
Arcanist, Bloodrager, Brawler, Hunter, Investigator, Shaman, Skald, Slayer, Swashbuckler, and Warpriest (ACG: 10)
Alchemist, Cavalier, Inquisitor, Oracle, Summoner, and Witch (APG: 6)
Gunslinger, Ninja, and Samurai (UC: 3)
Magus (UM: 1)
Unchained Barbarian, Unchained Monk, Unchained Rogue, and Unchained Summoner (PU: 4)
Kineticist, Medium, Mesmerist, Occultist, Psychic, and Spiritualist (OA: 6)

That is a total of 41 classes, before you add in archetypes, bloodlines, schools, domains, and other things that change how many of them work. Makes me realize that having 37 registered PFS PCs means that, even if none of them were the same class as any other, I would still be 4 PCs shy of covering just the basic classes...


UndeadMitch wrote:
Aaron "Lawful G" Beal wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Aaron "Lawful G" Beal wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
If the problem is HeroLab, I have a solution...
I don't much hang around the paizo forums, but I have been keeping an eye on this one, since the OP cited it in his report. Anyway, forgive me if I missed some thread somewhere, but you seem pretty hostile to our program. Have we done aught injurious to you, Nefreet?

There is a need for railguns.

However they should not be in the hands of monkeys.

Whether that means you blame the rail gun manufacturer or the zookeeper is a matter of opinion.

I think the crux of the argument against HLab is that, to me at least, it doesn't encourage people to learn their characters. There have been numerous times someone that I know runs HLab gives me a number, I'll ask them how they got that number, and they'll give me a blank stare in response. The program doesn't really encourage people to learn their characters.

That being said, I use HeroLab, and I find it to be very useful. I do wish you guys would fix Demon Lords as being legal for worship in PFS, since they are legal for worship in PFS per Additional Resources.

Well, if you had your druthers, how would Hero Lab encourage people to learn their characters?

As for the demon lords thing, it's my week for bugs so if you head over and report the bug to our automated system I'll take a look for you. It would be helpful if you provided a link to the additional resources page to the book which says they are legal.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Aaron "Lawful G" Beal wrote:


Cleverly said. So the issue is some misuse of the program, then.

Its too much uncontrolled power for people that don't know how to use it.

I see people with really big errors, like having their iterative and first attacks at the same bonus or if someone's laptop goes down don't know how to level their character. It catches a lot of +1s and +2s that people miss but sometimes it throws some really weird errors up on the sheet and I have no idea how to track down where they came from. The player, looking at it, often has no idea where those numbers came from and is just listening to their computer overlord.

If you see someone with an iterative attack the same as their first and you're sure it's not from something like haste or a speed weapon, or flurry of blows being on, please have them report it (preferably with a copy of their portfolio). I cannot imagine how such a thing could occur, but I would love to see it.

As for not being able to track where a bonus comes from on a printed sheet, that's probably going to be an issue with anything that prints a paper copy. In the program itself we can use popup windows to break down the various bonuses, but real estate is precious for character sheets. There just isn't space to break everything down in detail.


kinevon wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Aaron "Lawful G" Beal wrote:


Cleverly said. So the issue is some misuse of the program, then.

Its too much uncontrolled power for people that don't know how to use it.

I see people with really big errors, like having their iterative and first attacks at the same bonus or if someone's laptop goes down don't know how to level their character. It catches a lot of +1s and +2s that people miss but sometimes it throws some really weird errors up on the sheet and I have no idea how to track down where they came from. The player, looking at it, often has no idea where those numbers came from and is just listening to their computer overlord.

If you go to the tab the bonus is calculated on, like the Weapons tab, you can see where everything comes from, and see if that is correct or not.

I use HL, but I also try to make sure that I understand where the numbers are coming from, especially on my higher level PCs. Also, since HL doesn't include them where I can find them easily, I usually have to parse things out to get my PC's CMB and CMD for various maneuvers, if that is his focus.

Nefreet's experience, apparently, is that he feels the math-challenged shouldn't use something that can do the math for them, because they won't be able to verify the numbers on the rare occasions when HL comes up with an anomalous answer. And, if they don't have HL available, they don't know the rules for Pathfinder well enough to be able to manually level up their PC....

Given everything, I feel that many of his concerns are unjustified, or working with input where the person would still have issues and errors without HL, just different errors.

Myself, while I am considered a rules lawyer locally, I still mess up rules, and don't know everything involved in every class, even the Core classes, to be able to level someone's PC up without some sort of reference, whether it is HL or the rulebooks the PC is sourced from.

Core classes (11):
Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid,...

Good points, thanks for raising them in our defense kinevon.


Vinous wrote:
When applying blanches or balms they can treat up to 10 pieces of ammo (Normally) Can I get a ruling on weather each dose can be sectioned up into uses per piece of ammo, or if all affected ammo must be treated at the same time thus consuming the item?

Even if you coat all of the ammunition at the same time, the blanch still lasts until you fire it. Just track the blanched pieces of ammunition on a separate line.


Might as well jump on the bandwagon here since HL is taking opinions.

I have long had an issue with people using HL and not because I find HL to be a flawed program, far from it.
I find it makes people lazy, they think HL is a rules source when it is not.

I have gotten tired of people telling me "but Herolab...." when trying to justify why they have an error in character (or rule understanding). I have also had people tell me that Herolab is a Paizo product (it isn't) and thus must be accurate.

In my experience there are some people (I wouldn't hazard a guess at a number) that use Herolab to the exclusion of rules sources and as a result do not even understand how the character (or the rules the character is based on) works.

If there isn't already, it would be nice if HL made a HUGE disclaimer that it is not an official rules source and that while you try to make it 100% accurate that there may be errors (primarily user errors but occasionally program errors).

Additionally, a statement that a character constructed using Herolab is not a substitute for actually knowing the rules would be nice.

I don't expect either statement to change most people's minds, but maybe it'll cut down on the idea that any character constructed using Herolab is automatically accurate.


Aaron "Lawful G" Beal wrote:


If you see someone with an iterative attack the same as their first and you're sure it's not from something like haste or a speed weapon, or flurry of blows being on, please have them report it (preferably with a copy of their portfolio). I cannot imagine how such a thing could occur, but I would love to see it.

Most likely haste was on from a previous fight. I didn't even know the program did that.

I have no idea how to tell though.

and like a lot of people using the program they didn't know why that was suspicious. I know the pathfinder system but i don't know the program.

A lot of people running games for pathfinder society report a lot of the same problems: really big, wonky errors that the users aren't aware of.

Quote:
As for not being able to track where a bonus comes from on a printed sheet, that's probably going to be an issue with anything that prints a paper copy. In the program itself we can use popup windows to break down the various bonuses, but real estate is precious for character sheets. There just isn't space to break everything down in detail.

Usually i'm just handed the laptop that the thing is running on. I understand there's a way to get a usable character sheet out of it but the default one has a portrait taking up 1/4 of the page and doesn't know how to prioritize information: for example it lists out the druids weapon proficiencies and runs out of space before it gets to feat selections.

There are times I'm tempted to make people run flint knives and bear skins ...


UndeadMitch wrote:


That being said, I use HeroLab, and I find it to be very useful. I do wish you guys would fix Demon Lords as being legal for worship in PFS, since they are legal for worship in PFS per Additional Resources.

How about you post which specific additional resource allows this instead of expecting people to look it up?

Sczarni

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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

If you search my history of posts for the word "HeroLab" you'll find my previous comments on the matter, but I'll try to sum up a bunch of them here.

1) Rules atrophy

HeroLab is a crutch. Why bother to learn how your character works when the program does it for you? I have watched over the last few years as once great rules gurus have devolved into "because HeroLab says so". This isn't anecdotal forum experience, these are real people I game with. The example I often use is the 12th level Bull Rush specialist who kept applying a miscellaneous -4 penalty to his CMB. When I looked it over I realized HeroLab was applying his Power Attack penalty. Not something that'd be happening if he just went off his character sheet.

2) Rules arguments

This tends to happen more at Conventions (but not in this last year, as I don't allow HeroLab at my PFS tables) but the rate of rules arguments during a session is greater when people are tabbing through HeroLab. This relates to Rules Atrophy. When people have a number in front of them, on their screen, and I'm telling them that's wrong, they're more likely to argue the point and eat up game time. They feel empowered by the "evidence" in front of them. It takes away the authority of being GM. By simply not allowing HeroLab at the table I eliminate that unneeded stress.

3) Time killer

The game that made me finally put my foot down involved a Mystic Theurge who spent more time tabbing through HeroLab than he actually spent doing his turns (and during a fast paced PFS Special). He had so many circumstantial modifiers that he'd have to edit or whatever during game that I just kept telling him he'd have to delay until he figured out what he was doing. In regular play I still see this happen. Players waste their turns tabbing this or that while others get frustrated at the slowdown. Being indecisive is already a prevalent problem. Adding clicking and scrolling to that is too much.

4) "I own HeroLab"

This literally happened today. A player stated she'd spent $150 on HeroLab packages and wanted to bring a new character to game next week. With the aid of my VC we diplomatically tried to tell her HeroLab wasn't Paizo, and that she'd have to own the sources she was planning on using. But it's not a discussion that usually goes well. You know that look people give you when they're clearly not believing what you're telling them? Yeah. That's the sort of look these players all share. It creates tension and usually means they're completely turned off to PFS. It creates an enemy rather than an ally.

The counterargument I usually encounter is that people are just as likely to make mistakes on paper as they are with HeroLab. But that masks the other issues. Sure, someone might pencil in a wrong number, or forget that competence bonuses don't stack. That's been happening since the dawn of RPGs, and will always happen. IMO, HeroLab makes it worse, in addition to the increase in Rules Atrophy, arguments, wasted time, and purchasing woes.

I feel like I'm missing something else, but those 4 are probably the crux of my issues and experiences.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

This sounds like a topic that deserves it's own thread!


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Very excellent summary Nefreet!


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Nefreet wrote:

1) Rules atrophy

HeroLab is a crutch. Why bother to learn how your character works when the program does it for you? I have watched over the last few years as once great rules gurus have devolved into "because HeroLab says so". This isn't anecdotal forum experience, these are real people I game with. The example I often use is the 12th level Bull Rush specialist who kept applying a miscellaneous -4 penalty to his CMB. When I looked it over I realized HeroLab was applying his Power Attack penalty. Not something that'd be happening if he just went off his character sheet.

Forgive me, but this seems sorta elitist and dismissive, it reminds me of people in Call of Duty who are like "Git gud n00b". You say it's a crutch, I say it is a convienance which makes the game more accessible to newcomers and veterans alike. With pathfinder a system with so many rules and their interactions, it can be quite intimidating, and anything we can do to make it less so is too the good. As for veteran gamers relying on it, I see that as a testament to the quality of our program and how often it is correct. Of course there will always be areas where we have a bug, but I'm proud to say more often than not, we're right.

Also, as an untyped penalty to attacks power attack it would apply to CMB rolls in any round where you used it. It sounds like the person you were talking too was leaving his power attack on all the time, instead of only when he needed it, which is an error on the user's part, not the program's.

Nefreet wrote:

2) Rules arguments

This tends to happen more at Conventions (but not in this last year, as I don't allow HeroLab at my PFS tables) but the rate of rules arguments during a session is greater when people are tabbing through HeroLab. This relates to Rules Atrophy. When people have a number in front of them, on their screen, and I'm telling them that's wrong, they're more likely to argue the point and eat up game time. They feel empowered by the "evidence" in front of them. It takes away the authority of being GM. By simply not allowing HeroLab at the table I eliminate that unneeded stress.

Again, this empowerment is a positive in my book. Perhaps you're always correct when you try to set your players straight, but every DM is not you. I get many many bug reports from players and DMs that think HL is doing something wrong, only for me to point them at a rule they had forgotten. Every DM is not always right and the program can help point that out to their players. In my opinion, GM authority is less of a concern than everyone understanding the rules by which they play. If the GM doesn't like the way the official rules go, they are free to negotiate with their players how things will work at their table (although not in PFS, obviously) but the player has to be made aware of the deviation first.

Nefreet wrote:

3) Time killer

The game that made me finally put my foot down involved a Mystic Theurge who spent more time tabbing through HeroLab than he actually spent doing his turns (and during a fast paced PFS Special). He had so many circumstantial modifiers that he'd have to edit or whatever during game that I just kept telling him he'd have to delay until he figured out what he was doing. In regular play I still see this happen. Players waste their turns tabbing this or that while others get frustrated at the slowdown. Being indecisive is already a prevalent problem. Adding clicking and scrolling to that is too much.

One, it sounds like he might have not been used to the character or used to using HL, if navigating around to click on things truly took him so long.

Two, it could have had something to do with the fact that Mystic Theurge is a class we can't support very well in HL. He may have been employing a variety of workarounds that could prove clunkier than usual.

Three, I think keeping his character accurate and taking advantage of whatever bonuses he should be getting is important enough to give him and others a break on the time pressure.

Nefreet wrote:

4) "I own HeroLab"

This literally happened today. A player stated she'd spent $150 on HeroLab packages and wanted to bring a new character to game next week. With the aid of my VC we diplomatically tried to tell her HeroLab wasn't Paizo, and that she'd have to own the sources she was planning on using. But it's not a discussion that usually goes well. You know that look people give you when they're clearly not believing what you're telling them? Yeah. That's the sort of look these players all share. It creates tension and usually means they're completely turned off to PFS. It creates an enemy rather than an ally.

I don't think we've ever implied that Hero Lab was owned or operated by paizo, or that it was a replacement for owning the required sources for PFS. In fact, our Character Creation Stations at the various Cons we attend all have signs saying "you still need the legal source handy". I do know that we can't control how people react to you explaining that to them. Sorry that you're in a difficult position here, but I feel laying the blame at the feet of our product is unfair.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

Most likely haste was on from a previous fight. I didn't even know the program did that.

I have no idea how to tell though.

and like a lot of people using the program they didn't know why that was suspicious. I know the pathfinder system but i don't know the program.

A lot of people running games for pathfinder society report a lot of the same problems: really big, wonky errors that the users aren't aware of.

Quote:
As for not being able to track where a bonus comes from on a printed sheet, that's probably going to be an issue with anything that prints a paper copy. In the program itself we can use popup windows to break down the various bonuses, but real estate is precious for character sheets. There just isn't space to break everything down in detail.

Usually i'm just handed the laptop that the thing is running on. I understand there's a way to get a usable character sheet out of it but the default one has a portrait taking up 1/4 of the page and doesn't know how to prioritize information: for example it lists out the druids weapon proficiencies and runs out of space before it gets to feat selections.

There are times I'm tempted to make people run flint knives and bear skins ...

It does do spell adjustments and a whole lot more. It's a big complex program for a big complex RPG system.

Perhaps it would be helpful if you tried using the program, so that you were more aware of it's capabilities and how to "read" it quickly (for lack of a better term) when someone hands you their laptop. Protip, hovering over a bonus will give you a list of currently applied bonuses of each type, and notes on abilities whose bonuses might apply.

We do offer a demo version (no saving or printing characters) for free, and if you did want to pay to try the full version and are not happy with it, we offer a 60 day refund.


I think it is pretty funny that nefreet got the rule he was talking about wrong for his "rules atrophy" complaint. Maybe he should know the rules before complaining?


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CWheezy wrote:
I think it is pretty funny that nefreet got the rule he was talking about wrong for his "rules atrophy" complaint. Maybe he should know the rules before complaining?

I dont think that he did. In all likelyhood the player left power attack on but you dont usually power attack and bull rush in the same round


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I don't think Nefreet was saying that Herolab was wrong in that case. He was merely saying that the player was taking the number as the absolute without understanding where it came from. Therefore he (the player) didn't realize he was taking an unnecessary -4 that wasn't earning him any benefit. If he had calculated it himself, he would have known.


Oh, maybe that is fair. My characters usually do because they get bull rush off shield slam and spiked destroyer.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I do love Herolab for my sheets.

I don't use a laptop at the table, as a player, and usually, not as a DM.

I actually dislike most electronic devices at the table.

It's still been a great boon to me, in preparations.


Aaron "Lawful G" Beal wrote:


Perhaps it would be helpful if you tried using the program, so that you were more aware of it's capabilities and how to "read" it quickly (for lack of a better term) when someone hands you their laptop. Protip, hovering over a bonus will give you a list of currently applied bonuses of each type, and notes on abilities whose bonuses might apply.

I have tried using it before. I found the myriad of tabs and options infuriating to navigate and tracking down numbers to require going through all of them. Even free its not something I want to spend time learning how to use.


Gauss wrote:


It is not that your program has accuracy issues.

It is that the people using it do not understand that the program can have user error, that they need to know the rules, and then waste LOTS of time arguing that their character is correct because "Herolab said so" when in fact it is not correct because of user error.

Hi, /what/

That is an issue with the person dude, not the program. Most of the issues I have seen posted are people complaining about some guy who uses hero lab, and not actually hero lab.

Also, hero lab is more accurate than people are.


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Aaron "Lawful G" Beal wrote:
Nefreet wrote:

1) Rules atrophy

HeroLab is a crutch. Why bother to learn how your character works when the program does it for you? I have watched over the last few years as once great rules gurus have devolved into "because HeroLab says so". This isn't anecdotal forum experience, these are real people I game with. The example I often use is the 12th level Bull Rush specialist who kept applying a miscellaneous -4 penalty to his CMB. When I looked it over I realized HeroLab was applying his Power Attack penalty. Not something that'd be happening if he just went off his character sheet.

Forgive me, but this seems sorta elitist and dismissive, it reminds me of people in Call of Duty who are like "Git gud n00b". You say it's a crutch, I say it is a convienance which makes the game more accessible to newcomers and veterans alike. With pathfinder a system with so many rules and their interactions, it can be quite intimidating, and anything we can do to make it less so is too the good. As for veteran gamers relying on it, I see that as a testament to the quality of our program and how often it is correct. Of course there will always be areas where we have a bug, but I'm proud to say more often than not, we're right.

Also, as an untyped penalty to attacks power attack it would apply to CMB rolls in any round where you used it. It sounds like the person you were talking too was leaving his power attack on all the time, instead of only when he needed it, which is an error on the user's part, not the program's.

You missed the point of his post. He is stating that users do not bother to check their numbers and learn the rules because they think Hero Lab is an infallible rules source and won't let them do anything against the rules. Hero Lab is not being used as an extra tool, it is being used as the ONLY rules source thinking that it won't let them do something against the rules.

Solution: Make huge disclaimer when they open (and/or purchase) the program that it is not a substitute for the rules, is not a Paizo product, and that user errors make cause errors in the character sheet.

Aaron "Lawful G" Beal wrote:
Nefreet wrote:

2) Rules arguments

This tends to happen more at Conventions (but not in this last year, as I don't allow HeroLab at my PFS tables) but the rate of rules arguments during a session is greater when people are tabbing through HeroLab. This relates to Rules Atrophy. When people have a number in front of them, on their screen, and I'm telling them that's wrong, they're more likely to argue the point and eat up game time. They feel empowered by the "evidence" in front of them. It takes away the authority of being GM. By simply not allowing HeroLab at the table I eliminate that unneeded stress.
Again, this empowerment is a positive in my book. Perhaps you're always correct when you try to set your players straight, but every DM is not you. I get many many bug reports from players and DMs that think HL is doing something wrong, only for me to point them at a rule they had forgotten. Every DM is not always right and the program can help point that out to their players. In my opinion, GM authority is less of a concern than everyone understanding the rules by which they play. If the GM doesn't like the way the official rules go, they are free to negotiate with their players how things will work at their table (although not in PFS, obviously) but the player has to be made aware of the deviation first.

Again, this is not about empowerment, and again you are missing the point.

The point here is that the players believe Hero Lab is the rules source and that Hero Lab is 100% without fail accurate. As a result they argue with the GM pointing to HERO LAB as the source and not the RULE BOOK as the source. Even when the GM points to the RULE BOOK the Hero Lab user argues that Hero Lab is a Paizo product and therefore must be right.

Again, the problem is the perception of your user base.

The reality is that Hero Lab is not a Paizo product and is only as accurate as the user using it. User errors can make anything inaccurate.

Solution: Make huge disclaimer when they open (and/or purchase) the program that it is not a substitute for the rules, is not a Paizo product, and that user errors make cause errors in the character sheet.

Aaron "Lawful G" Beal wrote:
Nefreet wrote:

3) Time killer

The game that made me finally put my foot down involved a Mystic Theurge who spent more time tabbing through HeroLab than he actually spent doing his turns (and during a fast paced PFS Special). He had so many circumstantial modifiers that he'd have to edit or whatever during game that I just kept telling him he'd have to delay until he figured out what he was doing. In regular play I still see this happen. Players waste their turns tabbing this or that while others get frustrated at the slowdown. Being indecisive is already a prevalent problem. Adding clicking and scrolling to that is too much.

One, it sounds like he might have not been used to the character or used to using HL, if navigating around to click on things truly took him so long.

Two, it could have had something to do with the fact that Mystic Theurge is a class we can't support very well in HL. He may have been employing a variety of workarounds that could prove clunkier than usual.

Three, I think keeping his character accurate and taking advantage of whatever bonuses he should be getting is important enough to give him and others a break on the time pressure.

I have little comment on this, this is more of a program issue that I can understand as a work in progress.

Aaron "Lawful G" Beal wrote:
Nefreet wrote:

4) "I own HeroLab"

This literally happened today. A player stated she'd spent $150 on HeroLab packages and wanted to bring a new character to game next week. With the aid of my VC we diplomatically tried to tell her HeroLab wasn't Paizo, and that she'd have to own the sources she was planning on using. But it's not a discussion that usually goes well. You know that look people give you when they're clearly not believing what you're telling them? Yeah. That's the sort of look these players all share. It creates tension and usually means they're completely turned off to PFS. It creates an enemy rather than an ally.
I don't think we've ever implied that Hero Lab was owned or operated by paizo, or that it was a replacement for owning the required sources for PFS. In fact, our Character Creation Stations at the various Cons we attend all have signs saying "you still need the legal source handy". I do know that we can't control how people react to you explaining that to them. Sorry that you're in a difficult position here, but I feel laying the blame at the feet of our product is unfair.

And this is the heart of the matter, you take no responsibility for how your user base is using your product.

Instead of saying, 'Yup, how our users are claiming that Hero Lab is 100% accurate or a rules source or even a Paizo product is an issue, and that is a problem we will address.', you instead deflect the blame onto the user base.

The problem with that is, this is not an isolated incident. I've heard it from many Hero Lab users, not just one. In most cases it takes hours of argument across multiple gaming sessions with each user to prove why Hero Lab is not 100% accurate (usually due to user error) before they get it.

Solution: Again, the simplest solution is a big banner disclaimer when they open the program. Then at least those of us that try to refute that Hero Lab is not a Paizo product would have something to point to.

PLEASE, educate your user base. It should not be the GMs job to educate your user base as to the limitations of your program (user error, not a substitute for a rules source, not a Paizo product).

Sczarni

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Gauss and I are on the same page here, but I'll add one thing to point #3.

My encounter with the Mystic Theurge was simply the last straw. It was not the only one. HeroLab is regularly a time killer for the simplest of calculations. People often use tablets with HeroLab when I'm sitting down to play a game, so I have regular experience with waiting for people to press buttons X and Y before (for example) rolling their attack (when the only modifiers that changed from the turn before was a casting of Bless).

Try this out yourself. Do a quick round of combat with equally competent players, but only have one person at the table using HeroLab. I'll bet you a bucket of fish that the person using HeroLab takes the longest on their turns.

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