Handling of changing rules: Why has it been getting harsher?


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The Exchange 5/5

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
That still doesn't answer the question.

oh, sorry.

"Would it bother you if people just filled out the chronicles for the characters then, rather than spend time running the module? " I assume you mean "playing" rather than running - but whatever...

No. Sorry if that bothers you. But I most likely would not notice it. At least I don't think so. If I wasn't involved, how would I know? I don't track many other peoples PCs (a few - mostly people I play real regular with). But for people I only play with every once in a while? Nope. No idea. Wouldn't effect me as much as knowing if the PC has a ranged weapon or not... or if the Player knows how to play in a group.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Phoenix

The question presumed you would be aware of it.

1/5

To connect the original topic to the direction that the thread is going, I do not think that saying, "stuff changes, deal with it," is very helpful. On the other hand, it may be that the reason for the changes is because of people openly flaunting that they are breaking the spirit of the rules. Maybe if we can find a good way to deal with those people, the Brass will be more lenient with rules changes and what is allowed? I may have started to go overboard, but I feel there is a problem that we can hopefully talk about how to reasonably handle.

1/5

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Frankly, I've been in some games where the GM might as well have just handed out the chronicles. Unfun and unchallenging slogs, or season0 scenarios trivialized by a pouncing druid, stuff like that.

Realistically, what's the difference between "let's just trivialize the scenario" and "let's call this encounter, because you've already won" x5?

The Exchange 5/5

Nohwear wrote:
nosig wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Paul Jackson wrote:
And I saw no problem with the Speedruns. Who cares if people want to start at level 2 and not level 1? Doesn't bother me in the least.
Would it bother you if people just filled out the chronicles for the characters then, rather than spend time running the module?

When someone shows up at a table with me - I really don't check to see if her CRs are filled out. I don't quiz her on how she played her last few games, or anything like that. What's she bringing to the table to play with me? What's she going to play like? Is she there to have fun? How is she going to fit in... not did she "play right" in her former games.

If - during the game with me - something is really "off" with the way she's playing? or something's weird with her PC? I might ask something then... but mostly to see if she's messed something up (made a mistake) or if she knows something I might learn (some "cute gimmick"), I tend to assume she's honest and fun to have at the table - at least until proven otherwise.

Let's look at it this way. What if a bunch of people from different lodges not only skipped straight to the sheets, but started to brag about it. Would it be their fault or the leadership's if there was a new layer of paper work and scrutiny added?

like the ITS? or the procedure for filling in the CR (hand it to the player blank, retrieve it, fill in the fields, return it to the correct player who updates the figures, retrieve it again to check everything such as in game purchases, Insure everything is filled in in Ink, now return it to the correct player again... and do this for all players at the table). Yeah. Great stuff, paperwork... just what we need...

" a new layer of paper work and scrutiny added?"? I think we have had people pushing for Mandatory Character Audits sense Season 1. I don't hear it so much any more... but maybe we're due for another round of those posts any month now...

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Phoenix

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I'm actually starting to audit my tables, now that you mention it.

1/5

nosig wrote:
Nohwear wrote:
nosig wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Paul Jackson wrote:
And I saw no problem with the Speedruns. Who cares if people want to start at level 2 and not level 1? Doesn't bother me in the least.
Would it bother you if people just filled out the chronicles for the characters then, rather than spend time running the module?

When someone shows up at a table with me - I really don't check to see if her CRs are filled out. I don't quiz her on how she played her last few games, or anything like that. What's she bringing to the table to play with me? What's she going to play like? Is she there to have fun? How is she going to fit in... not did she "play right" in her former games.

If - during the game with me - something is really "off" with the way she's playing? or something's weird with her PC? I might ask something then... but mostly to see if she's messed something up (made a mistake) or if she knows something I might learn (some "cute gimmick"), I tend to assume she's honest and fun to have at the table - at least until proven otherwise.

Let's look at it this way. What if a bunch of people from different lodges not only skipped straight to the sheets, but started to brag about it. Would it be their fault or the leadership's if there was a new layer of paper work and scrutiny added?

like the ITS? or the procedure for filling in the CR (hand it to the player blank, retrieve it, fill in the fields, return it to the correct player who updates the figures, retrieve it again to check everything such as in game purchases, Insure everything is filled in in Ink, now return it to the correct player again... and do this for all players at the table). Yeah. Great stuff, paperwork... just what we need...

" a new layer of paper work and scrutiny added?"? I think we have had people pushing for Mandatory Character Audits sense Season 1. I don't hear it so much any more... but maybe we're due for another round of those posts any month now...

What I had in mind, was something like an official witness or some such silliness. However, I was starting to go down an unhelpful path when I wrote this, so please fill free to ignore.

Dark Archive

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Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I'm actually starting to audit my tables, now that you mention it.

It must be nice having that much time before and after a slot.

The Exchange 5/5

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Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
The question presumed you would be aware of it.

how?

"Hay, nosig! Can you run a Speedrun of Fallen Fortress for us - we want to finish this in under two hours..." ... wow... I think after I recovered from the fit of giggles, I'd just wonder to a different game table. Adding me to any table increases the time needed to play to the Max time available in slot. Having me as the Judge? yeah, "Speedrun" for me would be any game under 4 hours.

No. I realize other people play different from me. If I'm not at the table, I am not likely to be offended by the way other people play - or if it bothers me ("murder-hobos" for example) I will likely not play with them again. But I think the board often magnifies tiny issues into major problems... Perhaps that is what we are seeing here.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Phoenix

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nosig wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
The question presumed you would be aware of it.
how?

The same way we know about the planetouched speedruns.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Phoenix

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BlackOuroboros wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I'm actually starting to audit my tables, now that you mention it.
It must be nice having that much time before and after a slot.

I tell ya, it really goes fast with prepared players.

Shadow Lodge

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
BlackOuroboros wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I'm actually starting to audit my tables, now that you mention it.
It must be nice having that much time before and after a slot.

It is. We've started doing the same thing in our area, and it is nice, and very educational.

You should try it.

The Exchange 5/5

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I'm actually starting to audit my tables, now that you mention it.

I... am sorry to hear that.

I think I would enjoy playing at your table much more than doing paperwork and checking math... but then I realize I don't get the same thing out of games as some other players.

want to do audits? sounds great... lets just not have them reduce the game time - the play time. Let's meet after/before the game, and really do a review.

Dark Archive

nosig wrote:
Nohwear wrote:
nosig wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Paul Jackson wrote:
And I saw no problem with the Speedruns. Who cares if people want to start at level 2 and not level 1? Doesn't bother me in the least.
Would it bother you if people just filled out the chronicles for the characters then, rather than spend time running the module?

When someone shows up at a table with me - I really don't check to see if her CRs are filled out. I don't quiz her on how she played her last few games, or anything like that. What's she bringing to the table to play with me? What's she going to play like? Is she there to have fun? How is she going to fit in... not did she "play right" in her former games.

If - during the game with me - something is really "off" with the way she's playing? or something's weird with her PC? I might ask something then... but mostly to see if she's messed something up (made a mistake) or if she knows something I might learn (some "cute gimmick"), I tend to assume she's honest and fun to have at the table - at least until proven otherwise.

Let's look at it this way. What if a bunch of people from different lodges not only skipped straight to the sheets, but started to brag about it. Would it be their fault or the leadership's if there was a new layer of paper work and scrutiny added?

like the ITS? or the procedure for filling in the CR (hand it to the player blank, retrieve it, fill in the fields, return it to the correct player who updates the figures, retrieve it again to check everything such as in game purchases, Insure everything is filled in in Ink, now return it to the correct player again... and do this for all players at the table). Yeah. Great stuff, paperwork... just what we need...

" a new layer of paper work and scrutiny added?"? I think we have had people pushing for Mandatory Character Audits sense Season 1. I don't hear it so much any more... but maybe we're due for another round of those posts any month now...

Yeah, as a GM I don't have the time or the patience to do that. I would rather spend the limited time I have with my players playing a fun game and telling an interesting story rather then dealing with even more paperwork for no reason. Unless a player is pulling out some really bizarre numbers, I will believe them.

The Exchange 5/5

pH unbalanced wrote:
BlackOuroboros wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I'm actually starting to audit my tables, now that you mention it.
It must be nice having that much time before and after a slot.

It is. We've started doing the same thing in our area, and it is nice, and very educational.

You should try it.

LOL! sure. How much time do you put into character audits? do you do this in what kind of time slots? And for how many PCs at a time? What procedure do you use?

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Phoenix

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I promise you, no game time was sacrificed last week.

The Exchange 5/5

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I promise you, no game time was sacrificed last week.

sounds good... but how do you review PCs, and still run the table? do you do PC audits away from the game table?

Dark Archive

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pH unbalanced wrote:
BlackOuroboros wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I'm actually starting to audit my tables, now that you mention it.
It must be nice having that much time before and after a slot.

It is. We've started doing the same thing in our area, and it is nice, and very educational.

You should try it.

I'll pass. Taking the least interesting part of the hobby and turning it into a primary feature of every session is simply so uninteresting to me that it defies words to describe it.

So, I have to ask the obvious question: how long before you want to roll your players dice for them as well in order to prevent cheating?

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Phoenix

nosig wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I promise you, no game time was sacrificed last week.
sounds good... but how do you review PCs, and still run the table? do you do PC audits away from the game table?

I sat down, asked each player to show me their sheets, inquired about their resources, then rolled for RSP boons before starting the game. It helped that it was a 1-5, we even finished early.

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/5 **

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Paul Jackson wrote:
And I saw no problem with the Speedruns. Who cares if people want to start at level 2 and not level 1? Doesn't bother me in the least.
Would it bother you if people just filled out the chronicles for the characters then, rather than spend time running the module?

I understand why it isn't legal (and am not advocating that it be made so) but no it wouldn't bother me as long as the players are experienced enough to handle 2nd level characters.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Phoenix

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Thanks, that's a consistent viewpoint with what else I understand of your stance.

Sovereign Court 4/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Kent

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I promise you, no game time was sacrificed last week.

I'm so jealous you guys get to start so early. We have to start at 6 PM so people who work can make it there. We usually don't finish until 10 or 11 PM, and by then everyone is too burned out or running out because they have work in the morning...

If we do audits, we set aside an entire session just to audit everyone, and we haven't done that in about two years. Fortunately, PFS Online Collective is there to help me.

But we are a very, very small group.

The Exchange 4/5 5/5

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nosig wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I promise you, no game time was sacrificed last week.
sounds good... but how do you review PCs, and still run the table? do you do PC audits away from the game table?

1. Get a couple of hundred games under your belt.

2. Ask to see character sheet, ITS, and most recent chronicle.
3. See if anything jumps out at you.

I did it on Saturday. It only took about 10 minutes. It would have taken less time but I thought one of the players had shorted himself on point-buy. Turned out he had just put his level bump in an unusual place (lowest stat). I also use the opportunity to look for race/religion things I can work into role-playing and any scenario-specific items that might matter (an NPC starts talking in Thassilonian and only one PC understands it).

Edit: yes, number 1 is flippant. But really: experience.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Phoenix

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KitsuneWarlock wrote:
I'm so jealous you guys get to start so early. .

The only reason I haven't dropped our two slot day to one slot is tradition and the strong support that Imperial Outpost offers us.

Edit: I also want to thank you for pointing out a blind spot in my view of the community. I haven't considered the players that might be available in the late evenings versus those of us who have Saturdays off. I will take that under advisement.

Shadow Lodge

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
nosig wrote:
pH unbalanced wrote:
BlackOuroboros wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I'm actually starting to audit my tables, now that you mention it.
It must be nice having that much time before and after a slot.

It is. We've started doing the same thing in our area, and it is nice, and very educational.

You should try it.

LOL! sure. How much time do you put into character audits? do you do this in what kind of time slots? And for how many PCs at a time? What procedure do you use?

All characters at the table as they arrive. Basically do a quick check of BAB, hp, AC and saves, and attack/damage on main weapon. Glance at skills. Glance through chronicles, and at the ITS.

Then I ask the person what the coolest thing their character can do is, and ask questions about how they got there. I also ask them what weird rules their character uses that they are going to need to explain to me during the game.

This takes a little time up front (2-3 minutes per) but saves time on the back end because we've headed off most of the rules arguments. And a lot of it happens before the slot actually starts while people are still setting up.

We started doing this because we have one player who cheats when they build characters and several whose characters sheets were basically illegible scratch paper with haphazard chronicle backup. This instills good habits in the player base, and leverages the time that the experienced players used to spend bragging about their awesome characters, and turning it into teaching time for the new players, so that *everyone* learns how to do it.

The Exchange 5/5

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Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
BlackOuroboros wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I'm actually starting to audit my tables, now that you mention it.
It must be nice having that much time before and after a slot.
I tell ya, it really goes fast with prepared players.

what? 5 minutes a player?

4 minutes? 3?

I'm not sure if I could READ a PC sheet in less then 5 minutes - not and understand it.

and 5 minutes a PC is half an hour of game time ... that's about one encounter in a 4 hour slot.

I get together with several players several times before going off to a CON and we review the PCs ("Audit" them) we are planning to play at the CON. It takes on the order of an hour per PC level to update and double check everything... and we still find small math errors.

Crud... this is a massive derail again.

Back on track again!

"Handling of changing rules: Why has it been getting harsher? "

IMHO: it might be because there are more players now, and (with the interconnectedness of the Board) TPTB notice the "problem" children more. In 100 gamers, if you have 1 bad apple, it means you have 10 in a thousand. 100 in 10,000 etc. And if that Jerk plays only once a month, used to we would hear about problems say once a month. Increase the player base by a factor of 4 and you have problems being reported once a week. Increase by a factor of 10 and you get a problem report once every few days... by a factor of 100? and you get drowned in problem reports. So harsher rulings begin to pile up. Or the occasional Harsh ruling - given out one a month suddenly becomes a daily thing...

Yeah, maybe that is what we are noticing

Dark Archive

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
nosig wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I promise you, no game time was sacrificed last week.
sounds good... but how do you review PCs, and still run the table? do you do PC audits away from the game table?
I sat down, asked each player to show me their sheets, inquired about their resources, then rolled for RSP boons before starting the game. It helped that it was a 1-5, we even finished early.

Well, I guess that the power of difference in subjective terms. I wouldn't really consider that an "audit", per ce. I thought you were talking the full rubber glove treatment.

Shadow Lodge 4/5 5/5 RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8

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I don't think the handling of rules changes has gotten harsher over the years. I think maybe more people are vocal about it, maybe certain changes effect more people, or perhaps the people effected are reacting differently.

Just after my first year with PFS Synthesists were banned and people were upset. I remember specifically because I met with Mike Brock at PAX East and told him "this archetype is really powerful, it should probably be banned," to which he agreed. I remember it being powerful from running a series of modules the winter prior where one player, a synthesist, soloed the final third of City of Golden Flame.

Second major change I recall was when they allowed early entry SLA into prestige classes, like Mystic Theruge. Everywhere it seemed, players started playing MTs. And wherever they cropped up, folks were quick to remind "this is really powerful, I bet they ban this crap." And sure enough, they did. The local player that has one grandfathered in now admits how strong the PC is, and is glad that they don't allow early entry SLA any more.

Over my years we've also had the change from chained summoners to unchained, various items being nerfed, feats being banned, and so on. These changes happen, and as I say like a broken record, it's just part of the game.

So again, I don't think anything's harsher. Maybe there's just more changes back to back? Maybe more people are online than were previously? Maybe PFS has gotten larger and inevitably the adage of "you can't please everyone" is ringing true and the unhappy are numbering enough to make a lot of noise online. Whatever the case may be, I still don't really mind any of the changes, despite being effected by them myself. It's just something that happens.

Short list of PFS characters retired or altered due to rules changes:

  • crane wing monk
  • crane wing lore warden duelist
  • shadow caller fetchling
  • allosaurus animal companion centered mounted PC
  • lore warden dipped disarming pirate
  • master of many styles kirin striker
  • vermin hunter (fast healing 1 shenanigans) / life oracle PC
  • invulnerable barbarian with tribal scars, boots of the earth, and 3x extra rage power (increased DR)

  • The Exchange 5/5

    Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
    nosig wrote:
    Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
    I promise you, no game time was sacrificed last week.
    sounds good... but how do you review PCs, and still run the table? do you do PC audits away from the game table?
    I sat down, asked each player to show me their sheets, inquired about their resources, then rolled for RSP boons before starting the game. It helped that it was a 1-5, we even finished early.

    how long did it take? Half an hour? It would take that long just to go thru the resources for one of my 2nd level PCs (maybe longer). Reviewing my sheets? I have at least 4 for each PC, some have (not counting CRs) more that 8 at that point.

    Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Phoenix

    Edit: I believe we started the game at quarter past the hour, nosig.

    BlackOuroboros wrote:
    Well, I guess that the power of difference in subjective terms. I wouldn't really consider that an "audit", per ce. I thought you were talking the full rubber glove treatment.

    It wasn't really necessary. Most of the characters were 1st level. I checked the character sheets (a lot of herolab printouts, which made IDing resources a breeze) and asked to look at their chronicles and ITS. They produced the books almost before I asked.

    We'll see if 8-25 this Saturday is a different story. Thankfully, I've rented the store's private room for a full 6 hours.

    Grand Lodge 3/5

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    Paul Jackson wrote:
    captain yesterday wrote:

    Other people care.

    Especially when it is as obnoxious as it was.

    If you weren't there, you probably shouldn't judge.

    I was there. I saw no problem at all with people grandfathering Assimars and Tieflings (very few of them have actually come out to play, at least locally or in the on-line areas I frequent).

    And I saw no problem with the Speedruns. Who cares if people want to start at level 2 and not level 1? Doesn't bother me in the least.

    People seem to have decided that Speedruns are EEEEEVVVVVVVIIIILLLLL. And I have no idea why

    Of course, your area also has had problems with campaign organizer burn-out.

    (Former VC)

    Silver Crusade 5/5 5/5 **

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    Kevin Willis wrote:


    1. Get a couple of hundred games under your belt.

    Got well over that

    Kevin Wilis wrote:
    It only took about 10 minutes. .

    10 minutes I do NOT have. Would rather roleplay and game.

    About 1/2 the time at the local store we end up filling out the chronicle sheets at McD because the store has closed

    The Exchange 5/5

    Kevin Willis wrote:
    nosig wrote:
    Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
    I promise you, no game time was sacrificed last week.
    sounds good... but how do you review PCs, and still run the table? do you do PC audits away from the game table?

    1. Get a couple of hundred games under your belt.

    2. Ask to see character sheet, ITS, and most recent chronicle.
    3. See if anything jumps out at you.

    I did it on Saturday. It only took about 10 minutes. It would have taken less time but I thought one of the players had shorted himself on point-buy. Turned out he had just put his level bump in an unusual place (lowest stat). I also use the opportunity to look for race/religion things I can work into role-playing and any scenario-specific items that might matter (an NPC starts talking in Thassilonian and only one PC understands it).

    Edit: yes, number 1 is flippant. But really: experience.

    (side note: this advice "Get a couple of hundred games under your belt." is not helpful. I have run something like 200 PFS games, and been a GM/DM/Judge/etc. sense before there were Thieves (1976) - so I sort of don't think a couple hundred games more will help).

    10 minutes? wow... how? I could not possible do that.

    Ask 6 people for 3 different sheets of paper (though "Character Sheet" is normally two sheets, if not four or more) is at least 18 sheets of paper - say 20 because someone will toss in an extra sheet because they track ammo/wands on a different ITS) this means that I have less than 30 seconds per sheet - not counting handling time ("Who gets the Karg the Distroyer PC? Barbie - you named your PC Barbie?")... wow... god help me if everyone has handwriting like mine....

    Silver Crusade 5/5 5/5 **

    Scribbling Rambler wrote:

    [

    Of course, your area also has had problems with campaign organizer burn-out.

    (Former VC)

    I honestly do not understand why you think there is a correlation.

    And I'm the organizer with by far the most longevity in my region, for whatever its worth.

    Grand Lodge 3/5

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    Paul Jackson wrote:
    Scribbling Rambler wrote:

    [

    Of course, your area also has had problems with campaign organizer burn-out.

    (Former VC)

    I honestly do not understand why you think there is a correlation.

    And I'm the organizer with by far the most longevity in my region, for whatever its worth.

    I know, I GM'ed for you when you were starting.

    There are many people who did not enjoy the arms race that PFS has become (which speedruns are a symptom of), who ended up leaving the campaign.

    This is not to say your fun is wrong, but I want to counter your implication that nobody has had issues with speedruns or the planetouched kerfuffle in your area.

    Silver Crusade 5/5 5/5 **

    Scribbling Rambler wrote:


    There are many people who did not enjoy the arms race that PFS has become (which speedruns are a symptom of), who ended up leaving the campaign.

    I completely agree about the arms race. I just don't see speedruns as a symptom of that. Wanting Aasimaars is a symptom, admittedly.

    Sovereign Court

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    Disclaimer: Wandered into here out of boredom, and with reading up on some recent rules clarifications...

    I haven't played PFS in about 2 years now. However, I was around when Aasimars/Tieflings were being grandfathered in. I saw the speed runs being played (and was in one myself; but I was playing my Tiefling Barbarian/Martial Artist Monk if I remember correctly, and was playing her just because I liked the character. She would have been grandfathered in regardless). I shook my head at it, didn't enjoy the Master of the Fallen Fortress scenario because I hadn't played it before then. But whatever floats peoples' boats.

    There are a few reasons why I haven't participated in PFS (real life obligations mainly). However, the string of errata being issues by the design team is one of the reasons. In a home game, you can pretty much throw those kinds of clarifications out the window. Sadly, you can't really do that in PFS.

    I don't envy the campaign leadership's job here. It's tough, and PFS is certainly still more inclusive than past living campaigns I was a part of (*cough*Living Greyhawk*cough*).

    The biggest threat to PFS is the coin flip rules FAQs that has been coming out over the years (Monk Flurry of Blows is TWF debacle, and now I'm reading on costs regarding special materials for different size creatures) upsetting the rules as is commonly accepted because it goes against how the rules team intended them to function (Greatsword/Armor Spikes TWF anyone?).

    So, yeah, with that kind of errata coming in to the game, the stance of campaign leadership (and probably rightly so) being harsh on rules rebuilds due to some abuse by players, has pretty much made me glad I haven't participated in PFS in these past 2 years. For me now, it's either a home game or find something else to do with my time. Which is a shame, since the local PFS community here was pretty awesome (and could very well still be, just haven't been around that much lately).

    Take this post for what you will. (And if it gets removed because it's too harsh, I'm not going to get upset over it).

    EDIT: And my apologies to Sean K. Reynolds to the abuse he received over the years when he was the spokesperson for the rules team. Clearly, he wasn't the problem.

    The Exchange 4/5 5/5

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    nosig wrote:
    10 minutes? wow... how? I could not possible do that.

    It really depends on what you mean by "audit." I've written about it before, but my pre-game audit procedure for returning players is very cursory. I'm not looking to rebuild their characters, just for things that are majorly confusing or glaringly out of scale. Barring a major issue I only glance at the chronicle and ITS to make sure they are filled out. The character sheet is what I'm looking at. I've got a quick mental checklist. Do the stats look about right? No more ranks in a skill than they have levels? Is the enhancement bonus on the primary weapon about right for the level? Feats...do I know how they are going to affect the game? Then look at the overall character for some RP fodder.

    It's only if something tweaks as wrong that I focus on it. If it's something simple I just ask the player. "Your HP looks low. Did you add your Con modifier at every level?" "Wow. That's a huge Disable Device bonus. Can you tell me where it all came from?" If it's really complex and technical I usually say "we're going to play as you have this but after the game I want you to walk me through this. I think you may be misinterpreting something."

    It's worth noting that at least 60% of the time, there is an easy explanation. And of the remaining items, over 50% are errors where the player has shorted themselves somehow.

    That particular table was 4 single-classed characters. But with two issues to work through: a paladin with unusually low stats and a hunter who didn't appear to have taken a feat at 5th level. Some tables take a bit longer to work through, especially if it's new players.

    Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Phoenix

    Hell, the biggest thing I was looking for in From Under Ice was 'is anyone Ulfen?'

    (Someone totally was!)

    The Exchange 4/5 5/5

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    Steven Schopmeyer wrote:

    Hell, the biggest thing I was looking for in From Under Ice was 'is anyone Ulfen?'

    (Someone totally was!)

    Yeah, Saturday's scenario was a beast of "if X, then modifier Y." I was looking for races, languages, factions, and deities.

    One of the sneaky/nice things about doing audits is that if the players assume you're just looking at their skill points you don't have to break immersion to say "Does anyone speak Hallit?", you just point at the one character that does and say "the runes are in a language strange to most of you but Kirthan has been reading them all her life."

    3/5 ** Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro

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    Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
    I'm actually starting to audit my tables, now that you mention it.

    Never run into a build that can use 100 pages of resources before have you?

    Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Phoenix

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    MadScientistWorking wrote:
    Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
    I'm actually starting to audit my tables, now that you mention it.
    Never run into a build that can use 100 pages of resources before have you?

    Let me check my portfolios...

    Second Seekers (Roheas) 4/5 5/55/55/55/5 **** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Appalachia

    Kevin Willis wrote:
    nosig wrote:
    Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
    I promise you, no game time was sacrificed last week.
    sounds good... but how do you review PCs, and still run the table? do you do PC audits away from the game table?

    1. Get a couple of hundred games under your belt.

    2. Ask to see character sheet, ITS, and most recent chronicle.
    3. See if anything jumps out at you.

    I did it on Saturday. It only took about 10 minutes. It would have taken less time but I thought one of the players had shorted himself on point-buy. Turned out he had just put his level bump in an unusual place (lowest stat). I also use the opportunity to look for race/religion things I can work into role-playing and any scenario-specific items that might matter (an NPC starts talking in Thassilonian and only one PC understands it).

    Edit: yes, number 1 is flippant. But really: experience.

    I should start doing this, it would actually be pretty helpful

    Shadow Lodge

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    Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
    Kevin Willis wrote:
    nosig wrote:
    10 minutes? wow... how? I could not possible do that.

    It really depends on what you mean by "audit." I've written about it before, but my pre-game audit procedure for returning players is very cursory. I'm not looking to rebuild their characters, just for things that are majorly confusing or glaringly out of scale. Barring a major issue I only glance at the chronicle and ITS to make sure they are filled out. The character sheet is what I'm looking at. I've got a quick mental checklist. Do the stats look about right? No more ranks in a skill than they have levels? Is the enhancement bonus on the primary weapon about right for the level? Feats...do I know how they are going to affect the game? Then look at the overall character for some RP fodder.

    It's only if something tweaks as wrong that I focus on it. If it's something simple I just ask the player. "Your HP looks low. Did you add your Con modifier at every level?" "Wow. That's a huge Disable Device bonus. Can you tell me where it all came from?" If it's really complex and technical I usually say "we're going to play as you have this but after the game I want you to walk me through this. I think you may be misinterpreting something."

    It's worth noting that at least 60% of the time, there is an easy explanation. And of the remaining items, over 50% are errors where the player has shorted themselves somehow.

    That particular table was 4 single-classed characters. But with two issues to work through: a paladin with unusually low stats and a hunter who didn't appear to have taken a feat at 5th level. Some tables take a bit longer to work through, especially if it's new players.

    Exactly.

    So I'm a CPA...dealing with auditors is what I do. And an "audit" doesn't mean you check absolutely everything in complete detail. It means you use statistical methods to design sampling routines whereby you can gain reasonable assurances that nothing is materially misstated.

    Which is to say...you glance at the important stuff to see if it makes sense. If they got the big stuff correct, odds are they got the small stuff correct, too. And even if they didn't, mistakes on the small stuff probably won't make any difference to the scenario outcome. (Who decides what's big and what's small? Why you, the GM do...you've prepped the scenario after all.)

    At the end of the day, ninety percent of an audit is figuring out what you can ignore, so that you only spend time looking at things that matter.

    Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

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    nosig wrote:
    ...audits...

    Actually if GMs simply reviewed the most recent chronicle sheet at the start of every session, the issue of intensive, lengthy audits would be largely moot

    4/5 *

    This.

    Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

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    nosig wrote:
    Is there a procedure for when the judge gives you back the wrong CR and you need to track someone down to return theirs?

    Come on now. simply do one person at a time. No one is telling you to review all the sheets for all the characters of all the players at the same time.

    Look, the process is simple and if every GM did it every time, we would not have near the audit issues we have. Generally speaking you will be reviewing three pieces of paper, character sheet, ITS, and most recent chronicle. If the chronicle is completed, the ITS shows recent purchases, and a quick skim of the character sheet does not show any unusually large or out of the ordinary modifiers, pieces of equipment, or abilities, then its probable fine, even if there are some minor errors in math pro or con. This level of review can be done in less than 2 minutes per person, even fast at lower levels. And if someone has an illegible character sheet or an incomplete document then it is simple, their character is not prepared to play and they can grab a pregen. That is not meant to be mean, it is called personal responsibility. We all assumed it when we chose to play this campaign.

    Unless something questionable comes up during play, assume they are fine. We are not necessarily trying to catch cheaters cause if they are any good at it, only a complete very detailed review is likely to catch any of it anyway. And if they are shorting themselves, which seems to be the case more often than not, you are actually a "hero" for helping their character be better.

    Too many people think of audits as an arduous and punitive experience. It is only that way if we allow it to be that way. Simply make it part of the campaign expectations. You'll find that the most accurately maintained characters by players who take the time to complete their paperwork are the most accurate. Its the people who haven't completed a chronicle in many levels or bothered to update their ITS that tend to be rife with errors and become the most vocal when called on it.

    1/5

    8 people marked this as a favorite.

    I'm the primary auditing GM in pH unbalanced's local group. I find it easy enough, and hardly time-consuming at all... although I'm almost certainly an outlier.

    I know the system well enough to instantly spot when someone got a trait off of d20pfsrd without checking the religion requirement (aasimar tetori with Ydersius religion trait) or to identify an anomalous number in need of investigation.

    The biggest obstacle to auditing, in my experience, is bad character sheet management. I've seen sheets with vital magic items scattered across three pages, hidden among scratched-out margin notes. We've helped those folks get things sorted, though.

    And, to be honest? If I saw someone as desperate to avoid auditing as some of the folks in this thread, I'd be really uncomfortable running a game for their characters until I'd given things a once-over. I didn't get this title by looking the other way.

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