8-07 From the Tome of Killer GMs


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Dark Archive 2/5

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So, What would be the proper response when in the course of playing this scenario the GM tells you he intentionally customized all the selection with the intent of killing of the characters he thought two players where going to bring. As in two characters built around say, combat maneuvers or unarmed fighting, and picking the challenges that they would be useless or worse. Am I alone in thinking this is not only poor GMing, but against the whole spirit of PFS?

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

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Walk off the table. Report the GM to your local VO. If he is the local VO, report higher.

You are absolutely right in your assessment.

Dark Archive

i would say it sounds like you've worn out your welcome at his table....

is this a home game ? or at a local store ?


The proper response is to get up and walk away. Maybe put this GM's name on your No Fly list.

Grand Lodge

I'm with everyone else, walk away and report up the chain of command.

2/5

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I like the title of this thread.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

What happened in actual play?

Some people refer to killing you all as a joke.

If someone didn't know me they might think that taking pizza slices to ensure survival was a joke.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Organized Play Coordinator

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Please contact your local VO to discuss the issue. If you don't have one or do not get a response, send me a message via PM or email at tonya.woldridge@paizo.com and I'll look into the issue.

This is not the intent of a customizable evergreen. PFS is not GM versus players. It should be fun for all!

Shadow Lodge 4/5

BigNorseWolf wrote:

What happened in actual play?

Some people refer to killing you all as a joke.

T H I S !

I stopped doing it when I realised it's always the opposite of what happens. "This'll be so deadly, trust me!" just means a cakewalk. Conversely, "it's gonna be easy this time" just gets me worried looks from my victims.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I totally thought this was going to be a spoiler-full thread of dangerous random encounters that GMs had created.


Do you know the GM or his targets? It is possible that the targets had challenged the GM. This is still something that is probably a bad idea, but it would mean that the GM is not being malicious. Just throwing out some thoughts, really.

5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Finland—Tampere aka Rei

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Nefreet wrote:
I totally thought this was going to be a spoiler-full thread of dangerous random encounters that GMs had created.

I was hoping for that and dreaded it would be what it actually was.

Dark Archive

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I wouldn't take it as a joke, dont play w those gunning for pc's. I got burned once .

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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We've had a couple of scenarios where as a GM you have a little more leeway to fit the encounters to your table (Cosmic Captive, this one). They've been very nice when used to pick the enemies that will be Just The Right Amount Of Challenge. We don't want this privilege revoked because people abuse it...

(Some of the encounters in this one don't need any amping. After our last run I checked to see if our GM hadn't accidentally mashed the Major and Linked threat into a single encounter. He hadn't, it really was that brutal by design.)

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

Minna Hiltula wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
I totally thought this was going to be a spoiler-full thread of dangerous random encounters that GMs had created.
I was hoping for that and dreaded it would be what it actually was.

Nah. If it were that, it would be in the GM forum.

Grand Lodge 3/5 Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Diego aka Michael_Hopkins

With this scenario, I have notes and six games (three low and three high) pretty much prepped. All of them had been rolled, so all I would say that either the dice liked or hated the players. I'll let the players decide their fate with a dice roll as to which of the three in tier they will play.

3/5 Venture-Agent, Canada—Alberta—Grand Prairie aka DM Livgin

The lodge next door just had a TPK on this scenario, it was a double-take moment.

Liberty's Edge 3/5

Unfortunately, this happens more often than I like to see. (Which is never. I never want to see this.)

Definitely walk from the table and report to your local VO. If they don't resolve the issue, go higher. This isn't what customizable evergreens are made for. Never, and I mean never should a PFS GM actively try to kill pc's. That's not what it's about.

Sovereign Court 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Missouri—St. Louis aka bluesman95

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People joke about me being a killer gm I can't help it my dice hate players but I never go out of my way to kill anyone it just happens at times. I actually feel bad if I kill someone

4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

DM Livgin wrote:
The lodge next door just had a TPK on this scenario, it was a double-take moment.

I've played this twice, and both times we managed to avoid player deaths. The first was because I think the GM softballed us, the second through sheer luck and a little bit of cheese. This scenario does not kid around, and I wouldn't like to see unoptimised characters go in here. We were a team of six pretty much optimised veteran players and we were sweating our asses off. Anyone who is underprepared, underpowered, or doesn't know what to do will have a bad time.

I mean, sometimes I like scenarios like that, but as an evergreen... Ouch.

Liberty's Edge Venture-Agent, Online

I'm playing this next week with my 2 daughters. Hopefully they will be able to handle it.

Liberty's Edge 3/5

I haven't played or run this one yet, but I plan to soon at my local store. Hopefully no one gets killed. I always feel terrible when a character dies, especially at low level. In an evergreen? That has to be brutal.


I find pathfinder to be very cliquey. This creates an us vs them mentality. So people feel justified in targeting people. It was a problem when I first started playign PFS.

Liberty's Edge 3/5

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Everywhere is different I suppose. I haven't had that experience in local or online play. In fact, quite the opposite. Almost everytime a new player joins us, everyone is more than welcoming and accommodating, and willing to teach.

Dark Archive 4/5

For whatever its worth while I haven't gotten a chance to play it yet the variable part of this scenario locally has lead from everything to really tough to complete cakewalk done in less then 2 hours.

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

Intentionally preparing to kill specific players is not really acceptable, of course, some tactics like combat maneuvers can be all or nothing in some cases.

If this has really happened report it to your VO.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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Quentin Coldwater wrote:
DM Livgin wrote:
The lodge next door just had a TPK on this scenario, it was a double-take moment.

I've played this twice, and both times we managed to avoid player deaths. The first was because I think the GM softballed us, the second through sheer luck and a little bit of cheese. This scenario does not kid around, and I wouldn't like to see unoptimised characters go in here. We were a team of six pretty much optimised veteran players and we were sweating our asses off. Anyone who is underprepared, underpowered, or doesn't know what to do will have a bad time.

I mean, sometimes I like scenarios like that, but as an evergreen... Ouch.

I was there the second time. I really liked it actually - it was a case of a dungeon that was up to challenging us. I particularly enjoyed seeing Sander contribute so heavily with his arcanist, because so far I've only seen him play in relatively mild low-level scenarios. But his Create Pit spells totally saved our behinds in that fight. (Everyone helped out majorly really. Except for that slacker druid that took a nap in round one...)

I thought it was a nice fight because it showcased action economy. While we had a numerical majority, we really had to make sure enemies couldn't focus-fire because none of us could have survived that. This is what you should see when a traditionally 4-player game scales up to 6 players by increasing the number of enemy bodies on the field.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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I think customizing the scenario to your players can be done for good or evil.

Good: picking enemies who thematically fit the PCs. If the players are bringing dwarves, choosing the Orc theme could be great. Also good: picking encounters so that not all encounters are nullified by the same trick of one of the PCs. For example if one of the PCs was an optimized slumber witch, I'd make sure a few of the encounters were monsters immune to that.

Evil: setting out to entirely negate PCs (as opposed to negating their One Trick, Once), or to kill PCs (for example by picking one weakness and hammering it with all the monsters).

4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Quentin Coldwater wrote:
DM Livgin wrote:
The lodge next door just had a TPK on this scenario, it was a double-take moment.

I've played this twice, and both times we managed to avoid player deaths. The first was because I think the GM softballed us, the second through sheer luck and a little bit of cheese. This scenario does not kid around, and I wouldn't like to see unoptimised characters go in here. We were a team of six pretty much optimised veteran players and we were sweating our asses off. Anyone who is underprepared, underpowered, or doesn't know what to do will have a bad time.

I mean, sometimes I like scenarios like that, but as an evergreen... Ouch.

I was there the second time. I really liked it actually - it was a case of a dungeon that was up to challenging us. I particularly enjoyed seeing Sander contribute so heavily with his arcanist, because so far I've only seen him play in relatively mild low-level scenarios. But his Create Pit spells totally saved our behinds in that fight. (Everyone helped out majorly really. Except for that slacker druid that took a nap in round one...)

I thought it was a nice fight because it showcased action economy. While we had a numerical majority, we really had to make sure enemies couldn't focus-fire because none of us could have survived that. This is what you should see when a traditionally 4-player game scales up to 6 players by increasing the number of enemy bodies on the field.

Yeah, I was surprised with Sander's capabilities as well. But apparently he has a lot of home game/3.5 experience, so he has the system mastery.

Dark Archive 2/5

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To be absolutely clear on the issue; He thought that two of us were running certain characters and chose each encounter to counter our fighting style/abilities. Luckily for us we were actually playing different characters as we had already applied the scenario to the targets. He openly told us after the game that he chose the encounters so we would be helpless and die, and with what we fought, I have zero doubt it is true. I called him out and told him that that is a [poor] move as a GM, especially in PFS. I will bring it up with our VO, I just wanted to be sure I was not being unreasonable. It seemed some of the other GMs didn't think what he did was as [poor] as I did. I have been a DM/GM/Storyteller in many games in the past 15+ years and I could not imagine doing such a thing, not for an entire dungeon anyway. I GM'd this the week before, and did chose some tough encounters, but wanted it to be something anyone can run without being left out. Further, I will say this is by far my favorite evergreen and one of my favorite scenarios. Thanks for everyone's input, especially Tonya.

Dark Archive 5/5

Wow. That is so bush league.
That is poor gming. Hope it has not happened other times and he just happened to mention just this time. Makes you wonder about the other scenarios that have been run.

1/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
joe kirner wrote:

Wow. That is so bush league.

That is poor gming. Hope it has not happened other times and he just happened to mention just this time. Makes you wonder about the other scenarios that have been run.

We do not have the full information on this, but it sounds from OP that it was due to the 'flexibility' allowed on this particular scenario.

It does serve a cautionary tone, and when I'm judging this, I'll try to be very careful to *not* have everything be a huge middle finger to my players.

Dark Archive 5/5

Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
joe kirner wrote:

Wow. That is so bush league.

That is poor gming. Hope it has not happened other times and he just happened to mention just this time. Makes you wonder about the other scenarios that have been run.

We do not have the full information on this, but it sounds from OP that it was due to the 'flexibility' allowed on this particular scenario.

It does serve a cautionary tone, and when I'm judging this, I'll try to be very careful to *not* have everything be a huge middle finger to my players.

Op states what gm told him. What more info is there?

This is set up as design your dungeon.
Designining it to purposely screww your players is b.s.
I have gmed this 2x. I picked variety of encounters to encompass different traits, dr, resis., etc....
Also not to place everything adjaacent
so you dont trigger multiple encounters.

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Missouri—Cape Girardeau

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Sebastian Hirsch wrote:

Intentionally preparing to kill specific [bold]players[/bold] is not really acceptable, of course, some tactics like combat maneuvers can be all or nothing in some cases.

If this has really happened report it to your VO.

In most states this is considered Premeditated Murder.

Silver Crusade 5/5

It sounds like the GM went WAY overboard but trying to make scenarios challenging IS part of the job description. I certainly have no issue with a GM deliberately choosing harder encounters if they have a very high tier or very optimized party.

But "making things challenging" is VERY different from "trying to kill".

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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Choosing encounters so the same trick doesn't defeat every encounter is probably good. Choosing encounters so a character's main and second-main tactics are useless every time is almost certainly bad.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

joe kirner wrote:


Op states what gm told him. What more info is there?
This is set up as design your dungeon.
Designining it to purposely screww your players is b.s.

1) Tone : If I had an XP for every time i joked about killing players or characters I'd have 5 characters ascended to godhood by now. Under the core XP system.

2) Group dynamics: Some people like being challenged: COME ON! BRING IT! There isn't a dungeon that Overly Manly Man can't suplex into submission! BRING IT PUNK!! 000

4/5

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
joe kirner wrote:


Op states what gm told him. What more info is there?
This is set up as design your dungeon.
Designining it to purposely screww your players is b.s.

1) Tone : If I had an XP for every time i joked about killing players or characters I'd have 5 characters ascended to godhood by now. Under the core XP system.

2) Group dynamics: Some people like being challenged: COME ON! BRING IT! There isn't a dungeon that Overly Manly Man can't suplex into submission! BRING IT PUNK!! 000

Relevant viewing

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

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Serisan wrote:

Relevant viewing

... I think my gnome just found a new deity.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Quentin Coldwater wrote:

We were a team of six pretty much optimised veteran players and we were sweating our asses off. Anyone who is underprepared, underpowered, or doesn't know what to do will have a bad time.

I mean, sometimes I like scenarios like that, but as an evergreen... Ouch.

Emphasized why when I get the chance I'll be giving this one probably a 2-star. The randomization on this sucker isn't swingy at all, it's outright deadly. The last thing I want to see is a war of escalation like we had back in Season 4 where it's the new/play for lite fun players that get penalized.

2/5 Venture-Agent, Indiana—Lafayette aka Poison Dusk

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Looking back, if it would have just been my own character, and just one or two encounters, I would not be so angry about it. But me and another player had these characters built based on teamwork feats. Also we only had one other player and a pregen so if we would have been playing those characters we would have been TPKed in the first fight. Luckily we played different characters and didn't have much of a hard time.

BNW: I have no problem with a challenging dungeon. If fact, I prefer it to an easy one. However, intentionally setting it up so that we would fail is bad GMing. I understand joking about killing characters, I do it all the time. He was not joking, and with what we ran into it was obvious.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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It's only randomization if you want it to be. The scenario makes it clear the GM can pick, and the tables are organized in ascending difficulty. So "random" is not an excuse for it being too deadly.

For the record, the encounter Quentin references was in fact the most difficult one on that chart.

I think it's good that a 3-7 evergreen also has the ability to challenge experienced players. If it was scaled only towards beginners it would be a yawnfest by the third time you play it.

Scarab Sages 5/5

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I recall in a blog from back in either late August or early September, that John promised an experimental evergreen. We see now that the experiment was not just a 3-7, but a modular dungeon with more than 16 completely different adventures encapsulated within. In my mind, the big win, was it is like a tutorial for a GM on how to craft an adventure with a bunch of building blocks and guidelines.

The reason PFS doesn't allow for more GM discretion in making changes to scenarios to either make them easier or harder, is because of this exact reason.

If GMs can't prove to be responsible in crafting a fun adventure with this set of well designed and balanced Lincoln Logs, then I wouldn't expect to ever see something like this again.

I love this scenario. But it's GMS that take the Mike when given an inch that keep us from having nice things.

3/5

Tallow wrote:

I recall in a blog from back in either late August or early September, that John promised an experimental evergreen. We see now that the experiment was not just a 3-7, but a modular dungeon with more than 16 completely different adventures encapsulated within. In my mind, the big win, was it is like a tutorial for a GM on how to craft an adventure with a bunch of building blocks and guidelines.

The reason PFS doesn't allow for more GM discretion in making changes to scenarios to either make them easier or harder, is because of this exact reason.

If GMs can't prove to be responsible in crafting a fun adventure with this set of well designed and balanced Lincoln Logs, then I wouldn't expect to ever see something like this again.

I love this scenario. But it's GMS that take the Mike when given an inch that keep us from having nice things.

Couldn't have said it better.

John, please don't take away scenarios that help train PFS GMs to build their own dungeons (for home games). 1 training scenario per season is great!

Shadow Lodge

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Serisan wrote:

Relevant viewing

... I think my gnome just found a new deity.

As long as you only venerate them, I'm sure it'll be fine.

Sovereign Court

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Amon Cull wrote:
So, What would be the proper response when in the course of playing this scenario the GM tells you he intentionally customized all the selection with the intent of killing of the characters he thought two players where going to bring. As in two characters built around say, combat maneuvers or unarmed fighting, and picking the challenges that they would be useless or worse. Am I alone in thinking this is not only poor GMing, but against the whole spirit of PFS?

I won't quibble with the opinions expressed upthread, other than to point out there's a world of difference between a GM seeking to invalidate character design choices solely for his own reasons and a GM doing so after those players asked him to build the deadliest grind he could in order to give them the rare opportunity in PFS to challenge their PC with abilities far beyond the "common lowest denominator" assumption to which PFS is normally written. Besides, playing alongside a uber-pc that can solo a conventional scenario is, imo, very unfun. I'd personally have a good deal of fun if such a spotlight hog was struggling to be relevant for once while my pc got to be the one getting important things done rather than just spending 4 hours of being a sidekick.

What I'm saying is it's the job of a PFS gm to ensure everyone has fun... simply not letting the spotlight hog declare a new action until everyone else has had a chance to do so is one method of ensuring noone ends up sidelined. This configurable scenario offers an entirely new tool in being able to exploit the inherent weaknesses of one/two dimensional PCs, which of course should be used responsibly.

The "why" behind a GM creating a bonekeep/hardmode dungeon is very relevant to how you should consider your participation.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Contributor

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The intention of this scenario is to allow GMs flexibility to customize a dungeon to fit their players, not to try and make a challenge they cannot overcome. I believe the correct response to a GM who tells you they're out to kill your character, whether it's 8-07 or any other scenario, is to just walk away and report them to the local Venture-Officer.

8-07 is fairly tough, I'll agree, but that's only when using mostly difficult options or tactics. Each encounter table is sorted from the easier encounters to the higher encounters. If your GM is rolling or choosing several high numbered encounters, it's going to be very difficult. I always roll random and I've only ever had 1 PC death due to poor tactics and a critical hit.

Also, 8-07 is designed to help players and GMs learn some of the special rules and abilities they'll encounter starting in the 3-7 range. This means that every encounter has something more going on than just a melee slug-fest. Because of these special rules, the scenario plays out a bit more challenging than many other scenarios. However, you're not on a timer with this one, feel free to have your characters retreat, rest, and try again. If the PCs are hurt and out of resources after an encounter, they can leave the dungeon and rest up before coming back. That's generally ok.

Please, build your dungeons and play responsibly.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Andrew Hoskins wrote:

The intention of this scenario is to allow GMs flexibility to customize a dungeon to fit their players, not to try and make a challenge they cannot overcome. I believe the correct response to a GM who tells you they're out to kill your character, whether it's 8-07 or any other scenario, is to just walk away and report them to the local Venture-Officer.

Thats going to be a LOT of reporting, because thats a fairly ubiquitous claim to the point that "whos trying to kill us tonight" is another way of asking who's the DM

Grand Lodge 5/5 Contributor

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Andrew Hoskins wrote:

The intention of this scenario is to allow GMs flexibility to customize a dungeon to fit their players, not to try and make a challenge they cannot overcome. I believe the correct response to a GM who tells you they're out to kill your character, whether it's 8-07 or any other scenario, is to just walk away and report them to the local Venture-Officer.

Thats going to be a LOT of reporting, because thats a fairly ubiquitous claim to the point that "whos trying to kill us tonight" is another way of asking who's the DM

If a GM is being a jerk and is actively trying to kill your character off and you don't agree with that sort of play, it should be reported.

Note: this is different than than your friend saying it in jest, or a hard combat where the dice don't go your way.

I'd imagine the rate of this happening is fairly small. If it's larger in your area, you may have a larger social issue to deal with.

1/5

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Andrew Hoskins wrote:


I'd imagine the rate of this happening is fairly small. If it's larger in your area, you may have a larger social issue to deal with.

Grognardian experience chiming in here... it's a lot larger and it's a culture thing versus a personality thing.

It does get a bit blurry, especially after eight plus hours of gaming (or more at say, a convention), as to whether a jest is really a jest or a serious comment -- that's longer than some work days.

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