The Future of the Core Campaign


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Liberty's Edge

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This question is for John Compton, Tonya Woldridge, and the other PFS staff.

Are there plans to make Core more integrated with the standard system?

Core is wonderful to introduce new players to Pathfinder and PFS without overwhelming them with an entire library of character build options. However, it can be challenging to locate a Core table (at least in my area) that is playing within four levels of the new player-character's tier. For example, in my area there is only one regularly scheduled Core PFS table within a 30-mile radius. The Average Player Level for that game is now 6th level. This means that new players are excluded from any Core game within the same region.

What I would like to propose is to make things so that what constitutes Core is the player's character sheet. So long as the PC has been created with Core-rules only (and allowed supplements) for their build, they may participate in any game (Core or Standard) they like.

Some may feel that this puts the Core PC at a disadvantage since they lack the bells & whistles of their standard PC companions. Leave that decision up to the player. Yes, they might not be as powerful as some of the non-Core classes, but that should be the player's call. Doing it this way allows new players to quickly join any game in their tier. If said player later wants to take non-Core feats and equipment, then the PC becomes a standard character and can no longer participate in Core-only tables. Again, make that about the player's choice.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

1/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

For what it's worth I find the core campaign more challangening than the standard campaign and I like how it goes back to the roots of PF. I play both but I think the core campaign is a bit better when it comes to giving players something difficult to deal with AND something CLASSIC.

If finding core games is a problem for you your proposition could certainly help finding new games BUT that would also erase the unique and almost "primal" feel many core games have.

Liberty's Edge

Rogar Valertis wrote:


If finding core games is a problem for you your proposition could certainly help finding new games BUT that would also erase the unique and almost "primal" feel many core games have.

I don't think it would erase the feel as players with Core characters can still join Core-only tables if available. That's where the primal/classic feel can still be found. But for those players without access, they can play in standard scenarios and modules to more quickly raise their character level so that they could join the Core-only table in their area if they are presently out of the table's APL tier of play.

1/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
casiel wrote:
Rogar Valertis wrote:


If finding core games is a problem for you your proposition could certainly help finding new games BUT that would also erase the unique and almost "primal" feel many core games have.
I don't think it would erase the feel as players with Core characters can still join Core-only tables if available. That's where the primal/classic feel can still be found. But for those players without access, they can play in standard scenarios and modules to more quickly raise their character level so that they could join the Core-only table in their area if they are presently out of the table's APL tier of play.

If they do as you say the risk is there will be even LESS core tables around, which could very easily spiral down and kill the core campaign alltogheter.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I'm with Rogar. If you don't need a Core table for a Core character, those few tables you and many others see now will basically disappear. The thing about Core is it isn't just a bunch of Core characters. It's a Core campaign. You are part of that Campaign, or you aren't. If you're playing Standard games, you aren't in that Core campaign.

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Captain, Canada—Manitoba aka Kess, Humble Servant of Abadar

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casiel wrote:
The Average Player Level for that game is now 6th level. This means that new players are excluded from any Core game within the same region.

Why not ask the more experienced players to start a new character to include the new player?

Players should always have characters in multiple ranges to accommodate new players regardless of campaign.

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

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Another idea, if there aren't enough beginner Core tables, is to offer to GM one....

Liberty's Edge

kinevon wrote:
Another idea, if there aren't enough beginner Core tables, is to offer to GM one....

I am the GM for the Core game I mentioned. Sorry, I wasn't clear about that. :-)

Liberty's Edge

Dave Baker wrote:
casiel wrote:
The Average Player Level for that game is now 6th level. This means that new players are excluded from any Core game within the same region.

Why not ask the more experienced players to start a new character to include the new player?

Players should always have characters in multiple ranges to accommodate new players regardless of campaign.

That's a good suggestion, but I think the veteran core players are more interested in playing their most vested character.

I guess the main problem is that Core just isn't as popular in my region and I wish that wasn't the case. Two of my players drive over an hour one-way just to play in my Core game as it's the closest one that fits their schedule.

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

casiel wrote:
kinevon wrote:
Another idea, if there aren't enough beginner Core tables, is to offer to GM one....
I am the GM for the Core game I mentioned. Sorry, I wasn't clear about that. :-)

Nah, just sounded more like you were one of the players, not the GM. I could tell you were an experienced PFS GM (see all those stars ;) ), so I suggested it. Not trying to be snide or anything.

Then again, I can sympathize. Then again, I have too many PFS & PFC PCS. I think my highest number is -37.... Our Core play out here is ... irregular, even though at least a couple of our local GMs prefer it. Playing Standard I can handle, but running Standard tends to leave me going, all too often, and how did you get that number?

Recent case: PC with a touch AC that was high enough that only a crit could hit. Then again, I almost killed one of the other PCs with a confirmed critical with Enervation. Even with only "average" damage on the Enervation crit, the PC was pretty much neutered for the rest of that day, 5 negative levels, on an 8th level Wizard, is incredibly ugly.

Liberty's Edge

kinevon wrote:


Then again, I can sympathize. Then again, I have too many PFS & PFC PCS. I think my highest number is -37.... Our Core play out here is ... irregular, even though at least a couple of our local GMs prefer it. Playing Standard I can handle, but running Standard tends to leave me going, all too often, and how did you get that number?

True. At least Hero Lab now has a listing for all sourcebooks used in building the character. That makes audits go much faster.

I have 17 PFS characters and I thought that was a lot! :-)

Liberty's Edge

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We (myself and at least 1 other GM) are running a whole series of CORE games from Season 3 currently on the Fantasy Grounds Virtual Tabletop. If you have trouble locating games in your area.. you might try looking us up. The FG PFS group does it's organizing through the FG Forums... there are plenty of non-CORE games.. but we are in the midst of a CORE oriented string of sessions... so it's a good time to jump in.

You can find more info here: https://www.fantasygrounds.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?71-Pathfinder-Societ y-Games

Shadow Lodge 5/5

Your players should really try and treat Core like Norm, in that it's suggested whenever you get a character to a level of a pregen (4,7) start a new character.

In my immediate area the younger players seem to really enjoy Core and I try to offer it at least once a month, depending on my GM's schedules. Another store in my region offers at least one Core table every week, and I've seen them offer two. That's with running 2-3 tables a week, so 1/2 to 2/3 of their tables are Core. They usually start new players off at the Core table to get their feet wet before they introduce them to Norm.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Don't forget that Core wasn't just aimed at players; it was also aimed at GMs. Allowing Core characters to mix with Classic characters defeats the purpose of not having to memorize 20+ sourcebooks of material.

Plus, IIRC, Mike Brock said something about reporting mixed tables being an issue. I'm unaware if the webstaff has even been trying to find a fix for misreported games.

Liberty's Edge

OK, so probably not going to happen then.

Thanks everyone for your input. I appreciate it.

Blackfoot, I will remember the online option for new players wanting a Core game yet unable to find one locally. Thank you!

For new players, I think I will show them how to play the game using just the Core rules to build their characters. That will keep things simple and make character creation go more smoothly (and quickly). Then, before they register their PFS character online, I'll explain to them the differences between Core and Standard and let them know they will need to choose between the two campaigns by the time their character gains his/her third XP. ...Unless I'm mistaken about being able to completely rebuild before the character reaches 2nd level...

5/5 Venture-Captain, Ohio—Northern aka GinoA

casiel wrote:
For new players, I think I will show them how to play the game using just the Core rules to build their characters. That will keep things simple and make character creation go more smoothly (and quickly). Then, before they register their PFS character online, I'll explain to them the differences between Core and Standard and let them know they will need to choose between the two campaigns by the time their character gains his/her third XP. ...Unless I'm mistaken about being able to completely rebuild before the character reaches 2nd level...

The complete rebuild does not include a free change of campaign. If they build their PCs as core-legal, they can convert to non-core anytime by playing at a non-core table. However, there is no way to go the other way. Once corrupted by the touch of non-core, forever non-core.

As far as I remember, it's ambiguous whether they could rebuild non-core between XP 3 and 4. I know it was ruled that GM-babies created from core-chronicles must sit down to play the first time as core-legal PCs. I don't know if anything was said about free-rebuilds before playing at second and switching campaigns.

Liberty's Edge

Nefreet wrote:
Don't forget that Core wasn't just aimed at players; it was also aimed at GMs. Allowing Core characters to mix with Classic characters defeats the purpose of not having to memorize 20+ sourcebooks of material.

Can we please stop with the fear-mongering? You don't need to do anything of the sort to GM Standard.

Liberty's Edge

Dave Setty wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
Don't forget that Core wasn't just aimed at players; it was also aimed at GMs. Allowing Core characters to mix with Classic characters defeats the purpose of not having to memorize 20+ sourcebooks of material.
Can we please stop with the fear-mongering? You don't need to do anything of the sort to GM Standard.

You are absolutely correct, but CORE is certainly more straight forward.

Liberty's Edge

Blackfoot wrote:
Dave Setty wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
Don't forget that Core wasn't just aimed at players; it was also aimed at GMs. Allowing Core characters to mix with Classic characters defeats the purpose of not having to memorize 20+ sourcebooks of material.
Can we please stop with the fear-mongering? You don't need to do anything of the sort to GM Standard.
You are absolutely correct, but CORE is certainly more straight forward.

Protip: In Core mode,

Spoiler:
Chalfon Dalsine is still a g@#$%^n magus,
so if you're GMing focus on understanding how the NPCs work and let the players understand how the PCs work. It's their job, not yours.
Shadow Lodge 4/5

Hah, I wish.

Freaking players...

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Dave Setty wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
Don't forget that Core wasn't just aimed at players; it was also aimed at GMs. Allowing Core characters to mix with Classic characters defeats the purpose of not having to memorize 20+ sourcebooks of material.
Can we please stop with the fear-mongering? You don't need to do anything of the sort to GM Standard.

"Fear mongering"? Seriously? That's where you go? And you use a faulty analogy as evidence?

My statement was 100% true. Core is not just for players. It is just as much for GMs.

Running an NPC villain Magus is nowhere near the level of complexity of auditing a PC Magus with 2 different archetypes and spells from 10 different sourcebooks and items from another 10.

Just because you and I are comfortable doing it doesn't mean all GMs are.

Liberty's Edge

Nefreet wrote:
Dave Setty wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
Don't forget that Core wasn't just aimed at players; it was also aimed at GMs. Allowing Core characters to mix with Classic characters defeats the purpose of not having to memorize 20+ sourcebooks of material.
Can we please stop with the fear-mongering? You don't need to do anything of the sort to GM Standard.

"Fear mongering"? Seriously? That's where you go? And you use a faulty analogy as evidence?

My statement was 100% true. Core is not just for players. It is just as much for GMs.

Running an NPC villain Magus is nowhere near the level of complexity of auditing a PC Magus with 2 different archetypes and spells from 10 different sourcebooks and items from another 10.

Just because you and I are comfortable doing it doesn't mean all GMs are.

Auditing characters has nothing to do with GMing. Trying to do both at the same time is completely inappropriate.


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So how does core make this easier on GMs? Every player should have all the info and rules related to their character. A GM should examine the sheets of the players. If the players have something the GM doesn't know, then either the player has the rules on the character sheet, on a sheet or in a book they brought with them, or they get the character denied.

The GM doesn't need to know all the rules, only the rules relating to their players' PCs.

The GM, knowing the players and character can then set and run the game with that in mind.

If something questionable happens, the GM makes a call and play continues. During break, if anyone thinks the call was a mistake, such as if it was addressed in errata or FAQ, it can be discussed during break or between sessions.

If a GM decides not to follow such simple and standard procedures (or a similar set of their own), then they have no right to complain.

It is far more important for the GM to have an enjoyable game than a rules perfect one.

This is not an MMO, this is not a combat tactics and strategy game. This is a Roleplaying Game.

True, different people will approach the game differently, but if the GM cannot, or will not, run the game like a minis combat game, then that just needs to be accounted for in how everyone plays, rather than trying to glaze over it with silly mechanical restrictions that don't solve the primary problem.

Claiming core only due to inability or inexperience is a gimmick that helps no one with anything save their pride or "face." Not even the GM really benefits, especially in the long run.

Liberty's Edge

Muser wrote:

Hah, I wish.

Freaking players...

What's the problem you've had with players in this context? Please be specific.

(I'm trying to avoid putting words in your mouth here.)

Shadow Lodge 4/5

I tried to make light of the situation by drawing attention to the inherent peskiness of all those on the other side of the screen. I think that might've been an error afterall!

Please continue.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Given how short of supply most regions are of GMs I find it mind boggling that anyone would want to belittle or ridicule potential GMs by saying that they just need to "suck it up".

These are volunteers. Every chance should be given and opportunity created to get them behind the screen more often.

I have little tolerance or patience for people that think otherwise.


That is not exactly what I'm saying.
I'm saying two things,
First, quit treating them like newborns. When I learned how to install baseboard, I learned how to do MDF, which is more sensative and requires more care to do properly. I also did pine just as often. Therefore, I quickly was able to handle both. However, my couson learned only pine first, and he avoided doing MDF becaise it was "more difficult," thus he was never really able to do MDF well on those occasions he had to use it.

The same principal applies here, if they learn on pine and are never encouraged to go for MDF, they will only ever work in pine. If they learn with MDF then pine, they will never have a problem with either.

What you start with kinda sets the bar for what is considered difficult and complicated. Start with full options and it may take longer to get used to, but it will never seem as complicated or difficult as someone who never saw the full options until they were comfortable.

The Second thing, is expectations. It seems like more and more players are treating this game more and more like mmos and miniture combat games and less like roleplaying games. The entire advantage of playing in person is the flexibility of the rules. Around the table the rules are guidelines that can be broken whenever suitable, or added to, or bent to allow something the designers never considered. That is the only reason I bother playing around the table, because you will never get that from a computer. Yet despite this, more and more players treat the game like the rules should be as hard and absolute as a computer, and expect the GM to enforce them like a computer, and leaving only a small confined "space" n which to be creative.

A GM needs to be able to be flexible, not only because the players may not do as expected, but also because every player is slightly different and the GM needs to be able to take these different players and get them to play together in a way that everyone enjoys. This requires flexibility.

Therefore, instead of trying to teach GMs to play hardcore by the rules, they should be taught to play with whatever comes their way.

It takes a different mindset, a different way of learning and thinking about the role of GM, but it is crucial to the difference between an "okay" GM and a "great" GM, the difference between me playing in their game for lack of better options vs playing in their game because they make it an experience better than the Xbox/playstation/[console of choice] could ever be.

Teach the GMs to be GMs. Don't teach them to be computers with marginally better stories.


Did you know that the 3.x books actually encourage players and GMs to customize classes to fit characters? There is even an example Witch class in there. Yet most GMs I come across never allow such a thing because it isn't the rules. I have yet to be able to play that example Witch class despite trying for several years.

Also, even if a particular group wants to play the minitures combat/mmo style, a flexible GM could handle that along with all kinds of other styles. A GM that learns only the hard and fast rules of such styles rather than flexibility lack the ability to play in other style.

Furthermore, GMs I know that learned the mmo/minis combat style are usually resistant to even trying anything else and their reasoning is almost always because they don't want to spend the time learning the new rules (as thougb they would need to know them all before playing or something), they would rather stick with rules they know. Not one person I know that learned from a more flexible GM ever avoided a game because of new rules. Probably because for them (like me), every game is different and has some strange rule or three to deal with, something out of the ordinary, making new rules nothing difficult or different for them (and me.).

Liberty's Edge

Nefreet wrote:
Given how short of supply most regions are of GMs I find it mind boggling that anyone would want to belittle or ridicule potential GMs by saying that they just need to "suck it up"

I want to respond to this but don't quite understand. Whose statement are you characterizing here? The only use of the phrase "suck it up" in this thread is yours.


Dave Setty wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
Given how short of supply most regions are of GMs I find it mind boggling that anyone would want to belittle or ridicule potential GMs by saying that they just need to "suck it up"
I want to respond to this but don't quite understand. Whose statement are you characterizing here? The only use of the phrase "suck it up" in this thread is yours.

Probably me. It is not uncommon that my comments are taken more negatively than intended, or just plain not taken as what I was trying to convey.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I was responding to Dave Setty.

Silver Crusade

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Nefreet is basically correct. The design philosophy behind the CORE campaign was aimed at GMs as much as it was aimed at players.

Even if you don't need to know all of the rules in all of the books to GM for the Standard campaign, it is still more intimidating to newer GMs than running a CORE game is.

I know this because I have heard actual new GMs tell me that they want to start with CORE tables because they feel more comfortable doing so.

That's kind of the point.

It's true that at those tables they still need to look up any non-core rules that crop up in the scenario. But if they get the confidence doing so in a CORE game, then they will feel comfortable doing so at a Standard table later on.

All that said, I will add that with the exception of one disagreement regarding a summoner's eidolon, every rules disagreement that I've ever had at a PFS table as either GM or player has been resolved by opening up the Core Rulebook.


Two things,
Rules, even as guidelines, are quite useful in solving disagreements, though that is part of the GM's job, the book makes a nice backup plan.

Second, I think most GMs are not getting good rolemodels and mentors for running things, thus never really grasp the idea of everything being fluid. They see minis and mats and draw from their experience in other games, like boardgames, card games, and computer games, all of which rely on absolutly static and inflexible rules. Further, as a player, you can't really see what the GM is doing, you can't tell what the GM is crafting on the fly vs having prepared, nor tell whether they are using a rule you don't know, or just making a ruling (unless you're an experienced rules lawyer with all the books memorized). Thus I don't think new GMs ever really see much less understand the potential of being a GM.

This is further complicated by most of them (as far as those I've met anyway), become GMs either out of necessity, or because they want to tell a story. The latter tends to be problematic, because that becomes their focus, which usually turns into railroading, which in turn usually becomes an exercise in maintaining control, which only strengthens any tendancy to stick with anything remotely stable.

And as I've said, a great GM thinks beyond the rules. A great GM doesn't rely on the rules and therefore doesn't need them memorized.

Most GMs I know, experienced or new, are afraid to abandon the rules, as they don't know how to be a GM, they just follow instructions and tell a story. Analogy, they GM by reading it from a scroll rather than taking spell mastery and thus knowing it inside and out. For a great GM, the rules are nothing but a tool, they do not make the game. For GMs who do not understand that, they think the rules are the game and thus they try to just be a go between for players and the rules, which is backwards and the biggest reason why they never become any better than an "okay" GM.

5/5 Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka Pirate Rob

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I think I've said this before but,

There are a variety of abilities that are worded vaguely enough that they require GM adjudication. There are multiple reasonable and defend-able positions.

Examples:

Escape Route while Mounted
Is Bewildering Koan language dependent?
The Taiaha + Swashbuckler's Finesse
Stingchucks
Weapon Cord "may interfere with finer actions."
What fits in a wrist sheath
Shield Slam + bull rush bonuses

Also there are some legacy issues floating around.
ex. I have a character with an exotic heirloom weapon.

A GM running a CORE game doesn't have to worry about issues like that.

Chris Mortika on Players knowing the rules.

My experience largely mirrors his in this case.

Liberty's Edge

Nefreet wrote:
I was responding to Dave Setty.

Then you're strawmanning me to such an extreme I can't even figure out how you got from what I said to your statement. I'd like an explanation.

Silver Crusade

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Robert Hetherington wrote:
There are a variety of abilities that are worded vaguely enough that they require GM adjudication. There are multiple reasonable and defend-able positions.

Something that has helped me when one of those situations comes up: if I'm a GM, I generally try to take the most permissive stance I can justify; if I'm a player, I take the least permissive.


Reply to Robert

That is ridiculous.

I have yet to have a creative player not require adjucation because their actions weren't specifically and explicitly detailed in the rules. If I don't have to adjucate, then there is something wrong. I don't run mmo games. I'm pretty sure I make that clear when I run a game, and yet everytime I get a character made perfectly legally, optimized or not, I find the player wholly unsatisfying. I don't run a board game nor an mmo, and yet, players that don't need adjucation always (and by always, I mean every single experience I've had on either side of the table) treat it like a boardgame wow clone. You don't need a gm for that, just a computer, and the GMs who run games like that are irratatingly incapable of dealing with anything outside that style. I join the game and it becomes a constant battle because things don't make sense (such as during an arena game where we are all facing each other and in a defensive postion, prepared and waiting for the bell to start combat, yet still are flat footed during the first round.) or constantly blocked when I try to use my head and be creative or try something outside the expected, or example, in a game with a great GM, I was a cleric and we were in a prison, with a lich as second in command. My character tried to kill him by putting everything she was into a single surge of energy with no thought of surviving it. She put all of herself and let flow every drop of power into a single strike fully expecting to die doing so. It was an epic moment still remembered years later. It didn't matter what the rules said. It made sense that she could make such a do or die attempt. These GMs that think they must know and follow the rules, never let such a thing happen, therfore, rarely have such epic moments. Oh, and guess what, I wasn't trying to use the rules, thus, sticking with core would not have had any bearing on that anyway. I tried to do something, and we used rules as guidelines to make it work.

So new GMs should be learning to use the rules as guidelines to make things work (if they make sense), and not treat rules as shackles of what can be done.

I originally went off on much more of a rant. Don't think it came out well, but rather than erase it, you can look at for additional insight, though I think I made my point well enough above. Beware, I didn't edit it.

Spoiler:

The only players I ever get that from are the players that I spend the entire game trying to get them to break out of "mmo mode" because they treat everything like an mmo. Any detail I provide, they treat as a vitally important to the story "cause why would I mention it otherwise?" Those players are the most boring players I ever deal with. They rarely think outside the box (except for mechanical loopholes and such), and they never treat an encounter as anything but a chance to gain one of three things, xp, clues, or gear.

That is not roleplaying. That is playing an mmo. Granted, they do usually have roleplay during scene transitions, but they never let it touch "the game itself," as though the two are suppossed to be separate.

Maybe I'm just unlucky, but new players are my favorite to deal with because they haven't learned to treat everything like an mmo (unless they play mmos already), thus they actually make choices and act according to their character even during encounters, and they come up with the most crazy and interesting things.

Every once in a while, I'll get to play with, or GM for, a veteran player who doesn't treat it like an mmo, but they always require adjucation. Always. Especially when I make it clear that I want role and not roll in my games.

I'd to draw attention to the examples in the books for adjusting character classes to fit characters and such. Obviously, the designers, particularly of 3.x, were not intending the game to be an MMO on paper.

I also have never had a GM that I loved playing umder who treated the game like an mmo, like the rules were solid and needed to be known specifically and followed religiously.

It isn't really GMing to just follow the rules. Such GMs may provide specific mmo style players with what they desire, but they lack anything to make them remembered as anything other than "who was it that ran somegame at that sometime?"

No such GM I know has ever inspired me, or anyone else I know to say "I don't care what the story/ap is, I'll play her games anytime I can, even if I have to pay for it."

That kind of awesomeness doesn't come from following the rules. It comes from being able to take whatever is there, and making it work (among other things).

Too many GMs treat this like they are a computer running an mmo, and such a thing should neither be encouraged nor applauded. I've met folks that have never known anything different, then they get in a "good" game and leave suddenly dissappointed with their usual GM that they used to think was good. (only once was I the GM for such a case, and it was quite awkward for me feeling like I need much improvement only to have a player tell me that in five years, they never realized a game could be so good. I suck at GMing actually, but clearly I'm doing something right.)

Liberty's Edge

Robert Hetherington wrote:

I think I've said this before but,

There are a variety of abilities that are worded vaguely enough that they require GM adjudication. There are multiple reasonable and defend-able positions.

If a player's position about their character's ability is "reasonable and defend-able", why contest it?

5/5 Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka Pirate Rob

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Dave Setty wrote:
Robert Hetherington wrote:

I think I've said this before but,

There are a variety of abilities that are worded vaguely enough that they require GM adjudication. There are multiple reasonable and defend-able positions.

If a player's position about their character's ability is "reasonable and defend-able", why contest it?

No need to.

The challenge is determining what's reasonable and what's not, and to know when the rules are vague and when they are not.

5/5 Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka Pirate Rob

TheAlicornSage wrote:

Reply to Robert

That is ridiculous.

I read your reply, but I don't understand what it has to do with my statement that:

There are rules with no clear right answers.

Adding more rules with no clear right answers, even when they are player driven makes a game harder to GM.


Robert Hetherington wrote:
Dave Setty wrote:
Robert Hetherington wrote:

I think I've said this before but,

There are a variety of abilities that are worded vaguely enough that they require GM adjudication. There are multiple reasonable and defend-able positions.

If a player's position about their character's ability is "reasonable and defend-able", why contest it?

No need to.

The challenge is determining what's reasonable and what's not.

Exactly, but this isn't an issue for rules.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Starfinder Superscriber
Quote:
, or example, in a game with a great GM, I was a cleric and we were in a prison, with a lich as second in command. My character tried to kill him by putting everything she was into a single surge of energy with no thought of surviving it. She put all of herself and let flow every drop of power into a single strike fully expecting to die doing so. It was an epic moment still remembered years later. It didn't matter what the rules said. It made sense that she could make such a do or die attempt. These GMs that think they must know and follow the rules, never let such a thing happen, therfore, rarely have such epic moments. Oh, and guess what, I wasn't trying to use the rules, thus, sticking with core would not have had any bearing on that anyway. I tried to do something, and we used rules as guidelines to make it work.

While this is a cool story, and a great GM adjudication in a home game, this sort of thing is not legal for PFS organized play. Here, the idea is that as much as possible, all tables play by the same rules. Yes, be reasonable, but GMs don't have the freedom to make big rulings like allowing a player to multiple channel all at once.

The only way to have tables with diverse GMs to more or less run by the same rules is if all of the GMs have as much as possible the same judgement about what's a reasonable thing for a character to do. There's no way every GM is going to agree on that if GMs are free to break the rules when they think it's appropriate to do so; different GMs will have very different ideas about what's right. For PFS, in order to keep GMs as consistent as possible in what they allow, we have to stick to the rules we're given.

In a home game, you have more freedom to play with the rules.

I don't think this makes PFS into an MMO, though. It's not all combat and pre-scripted dialog. I've seen lots of interesting roleplaying and story telling in PFS sessions without the GM needing to break the rules.


That is beside the point.

It is like bugs and insects, all bugs are insects, but not all insects are bugs.

A GM that learns bugs can only do bugs, but a GM that learns insects can do bugs plus any other kind of insect.

So why teach bugs when you can teach insects.

PFS is like the bugs, while I am trying to support insects.

Besides, not every table needs to be exact. It isn't like everything carries over, and only an idiot expects different GM's to make the same ruling.

So really, you need consistancy in what they complete each session with, and if the player wants to build their character around something, then it better be a rules something, but let us say a module has us fight a lich, and I want to do something crazy like in my story. What would be wrong with that? It might get saved that we defeated the lich, but the details of how we achieved it doesn't leave the table.

So yeah, a measure of consistancy is needed, but it really does not need to be strict.

Further, there is no such thing as balancing a group via mechanics. Part of the GM's job is too adjust things to keep the players balanced. Someone like me could take a penalty of a few levels and keep up with other players even while following the rules and without bothering to optimize, simply from making better use of the environment, or having better ideas on when and where to look for things, or better tactics, etc.

Players are not balanced and no amount of character balance can fix that.

A GM that only does strict will not be as good at balancing the players as a GM that is used to handling "make sense" rulings, since balancing players can't be done via strict adherence to rules.

Scarab Sages

Just saying that, as cool as the Lich story is, that's not happening in PFS. Being creative? Allowed. Doing something completely out of any rules jurisdiction? Not allowed.

As neat as it is, we need more consistency than that. If a player came to my table saying something like this:

"My last GM said a cleric could sacrifice themselves to kill undead! No save!"

I'd say it was cool, but no means PFS legal unless a rule said you could do so.

As for the Core being easier for GMS debate:

I see it easier as you don't have to spend time either learning new rules from a player or questioning them.

For example, I have no idea how a Magus works. At all. I've trusted the players tthat I've GMed for that had them, but I'm not clear what can be spell combated, or if that's the right phrase, or anything really. And there are corner cases up to table GMs that I don't feel knowledgeable enough to call.

While I don't need to know that for every session, if I don't know that, it can be a real slow down trying to learn that one or two times. Or I'll make a rash call that changes the power level of a PC.

Core means I need to know the Core book, mostly. That's all that will be thrown at me. I know I'll need to know darkness and daylight, heightened continual flame, etc., but I don't need to know the range increment of firearms or the weapon cord cheese of it, the occult stuff, and the corner cases that are up to table variation.

Tl;dr : I find Core easier to GM for.


You can't have rules enumerating every possible action.

As for the cleric story, that was just an example. The same concept applies to smaller, less deviant things, such as using an illusory fire to hide a small strike force (did that once. Made everyone in the city think it was just fire while we disabled their tower defenses.).

Or knocking a tree over to land on top of a target. How would you handle that? Are you really going to say "you can't knock over the tree even though you did that earlier for firewood?" A strict rules only GM will find this a problem that either takes some figuring out, or elicits a rather unfair "no," while a GM for whom rules are just a tool can smoothly handle this almost as though it was expected.

There is no reason to require every pfs gm to handle that tree the same way.

But please remember, it isn't just the specific cases and rulings. It is a way of thinking and resolving.

Scarab Sages

That is true, you can't have rules for every action, but things that are plausible generally have some tangentially related rule to go off of.

For example, knocking that tree over would be some strength check, or breaking hardness 10 on probably, I don't know, 20 HP, and if it hit, it would probably be a great-sword plus momentum.

While I agree the rules are a tool, we need that firm base for PFS. I'm not saying we need the tree or illusion to be handled the exact same (although I can see where that misconception could occur). I'm not saying you can't be creative, as I love players being creative. I am saying that creating things outside the realm of rule plausibility is not good.

Knocking down a tree, faking a fire (or just lighting a town on fire), cool uses of environment, etc. all have some rule base for me to go off of and use. Illusions generally have saves for those that directly interact, typical break DC for wood, etc. We aren't suddenly shoving something Mythic level into the campaign, or creating an entire new rule, just taking bits and pieces to make something function pretty well.

Also, a GM who says you can't try to knock down a Tree is a poor one. Let them waste turns! ;)

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

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I think there's another layer involved for the GMs in Core vs. Non-Core: confidence in their rules knowledge. There's a big difference between "knowing the rules" and "knowing that you know the rules". And there are a lot of minutiae and nuances and messageboard arguments and FAQs out there, so it's very easy for a new GM to get overwhelmed with arguments from more knowledgeable players--or from players who confidently present as knowledgeable whether they are or not.

Part of learning to GM is learning when to say, "No, I'm sorry--that's not how this works." In home games, the GM can just say "Because I said so, end of argument." In PFS, the GM has a much greater responsibility to make sure that the rules say so before declaring "end of argument". Finding the confidence to declare "end of argument" is no easy task, and it is very easy to let the game drag on from endless rules discussions. It is a hell of a lot easier for new GMs to get confident in one rule book rather than 20, and since most of the nuances of the Core Rulebook have already been hashed out, it cuts down on the number of potential arguments.

In our area, we have a ton of 4-star and 5-star GMs. For new GMs, having multiple 4-star or 5-star GMs at your table is really, really intimidating even if you do know the rules. If the GM is still learning the rules, you can end up with the players running the table and the GMs just being along for the ride. That's a bad precedent to set, because the GM won't always be able to count on having highly-experienced players to rely on, and there are some players who take advantage of those GMs.

It's a lot easier to learn how to handle a table when you are not simultaneously learning all the rules. There's a reason you learn things in pieces: because that's how people learn best.

Lantern Lodge 5/5

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Regardless of whether or not CORE is any easier, if the perception of new GMs is that "CORE is easier" and they want to start GMing, that's one more GM in the pool.

+1 CORE-only GM > +0 GMs.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Indiana—Northern

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CORE was designed for a number of purposes:
1. Allow a bit of an easier entry into PFS for players.
2. Relieve a bit of the burden on those looking to GM (because even if a GM still has to deal with a Magus NPC, for example, they have to worry about less from the player's perspective. Now, while one might say that a GM doesn't need to worry about a PC's abilities and that it is the player's job to do so, a GM should at least be aware of what could be coming to their table. 11 classes is a lot less then what we get if you add all of the other classes, archetypes, etc.)
3. Allow a limit type of replay, thus allowing veteran players (and GMs!) who may not have been able to play or GM anything else for credit to play/GM for credit.

It serves all of those purposes. I know that in some areas getting a CORE game is hard - around here, it's not too difficult, but I grant that other areas have challenges.

(BTW, I completely agree with Dorothy's post above.)

Liberty's Edge

Mark Stratton wrote:

CORE was designed for a number of purposes:

1. Allow a bit of an easier entry into PFS for players.

Core does not provide an easier entry into PFS for players.

Players have always had the choice of what books to use when creating characters, and the requirement to own sourcebooks already channeled new players into CRB-only mechanics.

Mark Stratton wrote:
2. Relieve a bit of the burden on those looking to GM (because even if a GM still has to deal with a Magus NPC, for example, they have to worry about less from the player's perspective. Now, while one might say that a GM doesn't need to worry about a PC's abilities and that it is the player's job to do so, a GM should at least be aware of what could be coming to their table. 11 classes is a lot less then what we get if you add all of the other classes, archetypes, etc.)

Whatever tiny marginal benefit may be gained here - I'm still not convinced and nobody has ever provided an example how any game has actually benefited - is not even close to worth the massive disruption to organization and splitting of the playerbase over this.

Mark Stratton wrote:
3. Allow a limit type of replay, thus allowing veteran players (and GMs!) who may not have been able to play or GM anything else for credit to play/GM for credit.

Replay was not a primary intent of Core, just a side effect. And as one of those players who's played almost everything, I wish it wasn't used as an excuse to not consider any replay options in Standard.

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