Failed Aid Another on Diplomacy Checks


Rules Questions

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Bigdaddyjug wrote:
Somebody finally rolled the natural 20 necessary to succeed at their DC 50 rules lawyer check.

Too bad you don't automatically succeed all checks on a Natural 20.

Unfortunately, it looks like you failed your Rules Lawyer Check there. Whoops...


Vista wrote:

I am the GM in a campaign and I recently made a controversial ruling in my campaign and I wanted to run it by the board. While I realize the GM can make any rules that he wants, my campaign is strictly RAW, including errata, FAQs with postings by Paizo game designers before going into interpretations and house rules for things not covered in the rules.

The ruling was for an Aid Another Diplomacy check and uses the following rules.

1) Aid Another. "You can help someone achieve success on a skill check by making the same kind of skill check in a cooperative effort. If you roll a 10 or higher on your check, the character you’re helping gets a +2 bonus on his or her check. (You can’t take 10 on a skill check to aid another.)" The Aiding character had to make a Diplomacy check vs DC 10. This part was non-controversial.

2) Diplomacy Check Influence Attitude. "If you fail the check by 4 or less, the character’s attitude toward you is unchanged. If you fail by 5 or more, the character’s attitude toward you is decreased by one step." The Aiding Character rolled a Diplomacy check of 3, which failed the DC 10 check by 5 or more, therefore the Indifferent NPC became Unfriendly (towards both characters since they were making the skill check cooperatively). The principal character was still allowed to Influence Attitude towards the NPC based upon the new Unfriendly attitude.

I believe my ruling accurately represents the rules as written however my players threw a tantrum and one even quit the game over this ruling. Just wondering what the forum thought.

Vista, don't know if you're still reading....but if you are,

First off, let me commend you for making the effort to post on the forums and get feedback. Even if you were expecting to find ammunition to use against your players, seeking answers is the first step to being a better GM. Accepting those answers and changing your GMing accordingly is the second step.

Before addressing the rules question, which has been touched on by many, let me make a suggestion that should resonate with you:

RPGs are cooperative efforts. The GM does not own the game, the GM is a participant along with the other players.

My point here is that too many GMs run games like it's their personal fiefdom (and by too many, I mean any number greater than 0). The game works because everyone voluntarily agrees to play by a given set of rules. As a GM in a non-PFS game, I encourage you to work out the rules with the players, do not pull rank on players. The GM gets the final say, but the only time you need to pull rank is to move the game along if no on can agree on how it should work during the game.

That having been said, it is the GM's responsibility to make sure the rules are enforced. However all parties should endeavor to view the rules problems as being used impartially i.e. how would you like it if the NPC/PCs did that?

Vista wrote:
accurately represents the rules as written

As many others have posted, I believe they do not. If you are playing the game RAW, then Aid Another does exactly what is says, no more, no less. There is absolutely no penalty for failing an Aid Another check...no matter what type of Aid Another you are performing or which skill/ability/feat you are using unless something specifically says failing at Aid Another results in a penalty. Nothing says that.

Several posters have intimated that they think there should be a penalty for failure. That's a matter of debate. I say absolutely not, because the game was not designed with that in mind. The fact that the benefit is asymmetrical (only good, not bad) is not unique within Pathfinder. Failing a Knowledge check to identify a monster does not give you false information. Failing a Sense Motive check to determine if someone is lying, does not make you think they are telling the truth, you can't tell if they are lying. That's how the game is designed and the dependent rules do not contemplate penalties for failing.

As far as walking away/quitting the game, I would certainly quit a game if the GM told me that he or she was going to go by RAW and then refused to listen to any logic but his or her own. The GM is not, by default, any better at understanding the rules than anyone else at the table.

Now, if you tell the players up front that you are using house rules, then they can decide if they want to go that route. But once again, if a GM is throwing out rules that undermine a player's enjoyment, why would you expect that player to play a game that they don't enjoy?

In my opinion, Pathfinder is fun as written. It's certainly not perfect, and it requires a lot of GM adjudication. But if the GM is fair about these rulings and does not impose rules that don't exist, players will enjoy the game without the extensive need for house rules.

Hope this helps get your game back on track...


Rysky wrote:
*nods*

I really wasn't trying to pile on or sound like I was trying to insult you with the house rules bit and apologize if it came off that way.


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I think the bigger issue wasn't the GM's call so much as the fact that the players didn't think the rules worked that way and wanted to walk their action back once they found out about the house rule, with the GM not allowing it.

I know as a GM I've made bad rules calls in the past. Nobody's perfect. However, if the player picked their actions based on how they understood the rules, they shouldn't be held to those actions if they find out the rules don't work the way they thought. Pathfinder as a game tends to have lots of problems when people can't agree on how the rules work, which is why it's so important to make sure everyone's on the same page.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
RDM42 wrote:
Rysky wrote:
*nods*
I really wasn't trying to pile on or sound like I was trying to insult you with the house rules bit and apologize if it came off that way.

S'all good :3

Silver Crusade

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Bigdaddyjug wrote:
Somebody finally rolled the natural 20 necessary to succeed at their DC 50 rules lawyer check.

Too bad you don't automatically succeed all checks on a Natural 20.

Unfortunately, it looks like you failed your Rules Lawyer Check there. Whoops...

What I meant was that the check was so high, with their skill bonuses, only a natural 20 would succeed. A natural 20 on skill checks not being an auto success does not mean that certain skill checks won't only succeed on a natural 20. Capsize?

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Rysky wrote:

XD

I don't think it was anyone in particular, just taking a step back from the thread and thinking over everything, my experiences and why I thought this was the way it is.

Having been in a similar situation, I applaud your strength. It ain't easy admitting being mistaken.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Rysky wrote:

XD

I don't think it was anyone in particular, just taking a step back from the thread and thinking over everything, my experiences and why I thought this was the way it is.

Having been in a similar situation, I applaud your strength. It ain't easy admitting being mistaken.

Thankies, it wasn't.

But yes, I was indeed mistaken.

*offers hugs*


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hugs for everyone!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yay!

*keeps hugging*

Silver Crusade

I mean, I like hugs.

The Exchange

wow...

checks to be sure we are on the boards

what's this? a thread where people aren't mad at each other?

Next thing you know, BNW is going to come on and say something I agree with!.... nah, that would be FANTASY.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

*offers more hugs*

Grand Lodge

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Best rules thread ever. Good job Rysky!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Um, thanks, but it would have probably been better if I hadn't wasted everyone's time arguing with them :3

Silver Crusade

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Rysky wrote:
Um, thanks, but it would have probably been better if I hadn't wasted everyone's time arguing with them :3

Alls I gots is time. Got no meaning, just a rhyme.

Edit: Also, I love how this wasn't even Rysky's thread, but (s)he became the focus of it and we all lived happily ever after.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
Um, thanks, but it would have probably been better if I hadn't wasted everyone's time arguing with them :3

Don't sweat it. It's natural to initially dig in when confronted with an opposing argument. It's mature to be swayed by an opposition argument and acknowledge it when it is convincing.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Extra hugs for Rysky! And applause.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Lol okay, Thankies everyone ^w^

*offers more hugs*


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Hi there - first off, I am the player that quit Vista's game after that one Aid Another ruling.

Let me make it very clear, I didn't not walk off for that ruling only... it was the straw that broke the camel's back.

None of us knew of this rule before one of the player's decided to role for Aid Another with another player's Diplomacy skill check and failed with a three and then Vista informed us that there is a penalty for failing that Aid Another. It went into a long, intense and a bit aggressive conversation after that. None of the players threw a tantrum, except one who indeed admitted to getting, I quote "A little pissy"
I do believe one person did ask that since we didn't know about his "House Rule" could we cancel or take back that roll, in which we got Vista's standard phrase of "No Retcons".
I even saw a later post in Discord by Vista basically telling the players he doesn't have to tell them every rules change, it is his world.

I have been playing D&D since 84, through every edition, except for 4th; both as a player and a GM. And through my time with Pathfinder... I never ever heard of Aid Another inflicting a penalty for failing the 10 or better roll. Either they granted the +2 to the primary skill roller's total or didn't. The only time I would even consider a penalty for failing a Aid Another is possibly for Detecting/Removing Traps and even then I would have told the player who was Aiding Another "Hey, just to let you know, if you fail the check, you may cause something to happen." 'MAY' is the key word there.

As for quitting, as I said, it was the straw that broke the camel's back. There were many other things that Vista did that built up to this... but being the easy going guy I am, I kept giving chances, I kept saying, "Yeah, it might get better."
And I didn't quit that very moment. I thought it over through the night and made my decision in the morning.

Vista has the potential of being a great GM, he does give a good story and give life to the environment and setting he runs, he does add a challenge but he has a very 'GM vs Players' mindset.

So, there is my 2 cents.


Arkidda Darcsuin wrote:
Hi there...

I can empathize. I've been playing D&D about as long as you. When I got back into it with 3.5 with a buddy where we would be co-GMing, we had to have a LOT of discussion about how we were going to run the joint campaign. Each of us had deal-breakers for changing certain things and we worked it out.

Eventually, RL prevented us from playing and I turned to Play-by-Post. While that sort of scratched my itch, the problem I kept running into is that GMs would advertise a RAW game and then invariably start house-ruling left and right. Once I found PFS, I was never interested in playing a non-PFS game again.

Quote:
he does add a challenge but he has a very 'GM vs Players' mindset.

It's funny, I have a very pro-player mentality. But when I get behind the screen, I am always surprised to find how readily I can adopt a perspective that limits the players. There's something about being a GM that reinforces a need to push back against the players.

However, since I only GM PFS, I tell the players that they are free to correct me if I get something wrong. I tell them I have no ego when it comes to getting the rules correct and I think this keeps the players from feeling my mistakes are malicious or shenanigans. This also keeps me from backing myself into a corner. I don't feel the need defend my interpretations.

That having been said, there are infinite situations where the rules don't provide a clear cut answer, even in PFS. At that point, you have to defer to the GM and hope they have consistent and sound reasoning. Not saying that your situation is like that, certainly this last incident is not ambiguous. But I can empathize with not enjoying a game because the GM was always ruling in a way that did not seem fair or just.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Arkidda Darcsuin wrote:
I do believe one person did ask that since we didn't know about his "House Rule" could we cancel or take back that roll, in which we got Vista's standard phrase of "No Retcons".

Yeah, not cool.

I try to state all my houserules up front since that may affect builds and other decisions (Metamagic not screwing over spontaneous casters is a big one) but also on rules that later turn out to go against what the players think the rules are, for example if my previous mindset on how Aid Another on Diplomacy worked came into play and the players didn't know about it beforehand I would allow them to pick a different course of action if they wished.

Arkidda Darcsuin wrote:
I even saw a later post in Discord by Vista basically telling the players he doesn't have to tell them every rules change, it is his world.

REALLY not cool.

If it's your world and you are knowingly deviating from the rules then you are obligated to inform your players of said changes. To intentionally not and then spring stuff on them is just... what?

Scarab Sages

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Rysky wrote:
Arkidda Darcsuin wrote:
I do believe one person did ask that since we didn't know about his "House Rule" could we cancel or take back that roll, in which we got Vista's standard phrase of "No Retcons".

Yeah, not cool.

I try to state all my houserules up front since that may affect builds and other decisions (Metamagic not screwing over spontaneous casters is a big one) but also on rules that later turn out to go against what the players think the rules are, for example if my previous mindset on how Aid Another on Diplomacy worked came into play and the players didn't know about it beforehand I would allow them to pick a different course of action if they wished.

Arkidda Darcsuin wrote:
I even saw a later post in Discord by Vista basically telling the players he doesn't have to tell them every rules change, it is his world.

REALLY not cool.

If it's your world and you are knowingly deviating from the rules then you are obligated to inform your players of said changes. To intentionally not and then spring stuff on them is just... what?

Agreed on the not coolness. One of my favorite parts of the core rulebook is all the way at the beginning and I feel more GMs and players need to re-read it before they sit at a table.

The Most Important Rule wrote:

"The rules in this book are here to help you breathe life into your characters and the world they explore. While they are designed to make your game easy and exciting, you might find that some of them do not suit the style of play that your gaming group enjoys. Remember that these rules are yours.

You can change them to fit your needs. Most Game Masters have a number of “house rules” that they use in their games. The Game Master and players should always discuss any rules changes to make sure that everyone understands how the game will be played. Although the Game Master is the final arbiter of the rules, the Pathfinder RPG is a shared experience, and all of the players should contribute their thoughts when the rules are in doubt."

The Exchange

Rysky wrote:
(snipping to save space)...To intentionally not and then spring stuff on them is just... what?

Often we call those "Gotcha!" moments, and there are (I hate to say) some people who seem to play/run games just for those moments.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
nosig wrote:
Rysky wrote:
(snipping to save space)...To intentionally not and then spring stuff on them is just... what?
Often we call those "Gotcha!" moments, and there are (I hate to say) some people who seem to play/run games just for those moments.

Yeah, I hate those >_<

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