Limitations in Pathfinder Scenerios


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

response to spoiler:
TheAlicornSage wrote:
For exampld, first fight we need to collect rubies. the players are told that each ruby has a 50% chance of activating. But behind the scenes mechanics doesn't follow the statistics for that.

The mechanics are not exact. But they are a close aproximation that does not require the GM to roll for each and every ruby the players get.

TheAlicornSage wrote:
Then at the end, we have to touch the guru's robes, any real world warrior will tell you to focus on the goal first, and in this case, killjng enemies is not the goal. Touching the robes is. Seems appropriate to me for a martial tourny, but when I actually make it past the guards and touch the robes, my gm calls for help from the people running the scenerio. Turns out, that mechanically, kills count as the victory condition, therefore, even with my touching the guru, a different table wins because they got the kills.

The entire area is an endless sea of enemies. There is not a "past the guards." If you get past a set of guards, then what you get to is not his robes, it is another set of guards. The other table made it first because they got past *enough* sets of guards. That said the guards are polite enough to come at you a few at a time. But if you break free from the ones you are fighting, and try to make it closer to the center, another group would probably attack you.

This is also pretty much the first interactive special they ever wrote. It has some very significant flaws. (When I ran it for tier 10-11, the PCs they flat out broke several of the encounters.)

Shadow Lodge 4/5

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TheAlicornSage wrote:
I never argued that pfs doesn't allow them, only that it seems that pfs is focused on a video game style of play, which includes a relience on rule 0 clauses rather than providing direct support for odd solutions.

You're contradicting yourself, or at least muddling your own analogy. A video game only has X set solutions, and any deviation from that is simply disallowed. A module provides text for X solutions, while giving the GM the freedom to allow for other solutions as they come up. The module can't provide direct support for all solutions any more than the video game can, it's simply not feasible.

TheAlicornSage wrote:
For less experienced gms relying on modules, this makes sense when those modules are not giving any kind of examples, options, nor support for such situations that might need rule 0 handling

Once again, you're making up things that aren't supported by fact... many scenarios with the possibility for creative solutions *do* include text on how to handle the most common ones, and the scenarios that don't, still have an end condition for the encounter. Contrary to your assertion, every GM I've taught has had a far easier time improvising or accounting for player variance when the start and the goal are both fixed points.

TheAlicornSage wrote:
If I can't trust to be told the objective, what can I trust? Without that trust, what point is there to the game?

Admittedly the scenario does a poor job of conveying it, but the fight is meant to simulate a battle between the combined forces of all competitors and a near-infinite army of the monk's spiritual bodyguards. You can't simply rush the platform, because there is a wall of bodies in the way, thus your party must whittle down the enemy forces to force their way through the throng.

I've played this scenario and run it; perhaps all the people at the cons I attended were outliers, but none of them had your interpretation of the objective. I think you're making a mountain out of a molehill, because it fits the narrative you're attempting to construct.


Spoils of continuation:
Quote:
The entire area is an endless sea of enemies. There is not a "past the guards." If you get past a set of guards, then what you get to is not his robes, it is another set of guards. The other table made it first because they got past *enough* sets of guards. That said the guards are polite enough to come at you a few at a time. But if you break free from the ones you are fighting, and try to make it closer to the center, another group would probably attack you.

Except that isn't what happens. We get map with a token marking the guru, and I did make it to the guru's space. The gm ended up describing him as being enveloped by a field (a decent rule 0 application), for which I wrapped my tail (I was a tiefling) around his arm and fought those that came to me. Thus, the moment the field drops, the touch should have been mine.

Yet, the guy that wins gets to just walk up the podium and calmly touch the guy. My being there and holding position counted for nothing, yet narratively, it should've been success.

I don't mind failing, when it makes sense.

But failing because the narrative gets ignored is something I do mind very much.


Quote:
The module can't provide direct support for all solutions any more than the video game can.

It can't predict and give write-ups for every variance, but the possibilities narrow down to a small enough generic concepts that you coukd give enough info to handle a very large variety.

For example, stating that the certificate is kept in an overloaded system of files and papers thay requires dc X to find, but the clerk knows where it is but is ohe of those people that actually care about their job and will require a dc Y check to convince them to reveal the certificate, but the clerk isn't responsive to threats or intimidation, and such attempts raise the dc of the check by +z. If tue clerk learns of the plan to destroy the certificate, the clerk will chase the pcs away, with force if needed. The office is a sturdy building with good locks of dc A on the windows and doors, though it always has someone inside.

Thus while my writing is poor, not very difficult to set the stage for a broad variety of angles the pcs might attempt, and even includes flavor.

4/5 5/5

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Not saying your proposal is a bad one, but it would considerably increase word count. This would inevitably lead to a higher cost off scenarios and might also lead to a lower number of scenarios per month.

With that much information given GMs might also be less willing to stray from the possibilities given in the scenario.

1/5 5/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

BuA Edition:
...wow, your table GM was very nice to let you get that far. Usually there's an invisible wall there to prevent people from getting that close, and the suggested solution is to trigger *all* of the encounters on anyone that is trying to 'break the challenge'.

Every other portion of this scenario involves 'doing this thing' that the Emissary wants one to do. One shudders to think of what one did for the theatre portion...

To tie it back to the beginning and the thread topic: Pathfinder Scenarios do have limitations.

1. Players that fight tooth and claw to 'go off script'.
2. Characters that overpower the scenario.
3. Players that are unable to focus on the mission.
4. Characters that are horribly under-equipped for the scenario.
5. Time Slots that are far too short for what needs to be done during the scenario.
6. Scenarios that are far too short to fill their proper time slot.
7. GMs that are far too lenient and liberal with their RAW interpretation of the scenario.
8. GMs that are far too harsh and conservative with their RAW interpretation of the scenario.
9. They require players to have an active imagination.
10. They restrict characters who attempt to use their active imagination.

...wait, those seem to be pretty contradictory, so very sorry for the logic bomb.

tl;dr: [u]Expect. Table. Variation.[/u]

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5 ***

@OP - Have you ever submitted a scenario to Paizo?

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/55/55/5 **** Venture-Captain, Minnesota

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^ That does not seem a fair question, since Paizo does not accept open scenario submissions. To get in, one generally needs to submit a quest to the Open Call, and then if they like your writing style, they assign you a simple 1-5 to see if you can write to deadline, and create a good story with balanced challenges.

I have not submitted to Paizo yet, though like the O.P. I also have spent some time thinking about scenario structure.

★ --- ★ --- ★ --- ★

Back to the main question. Paizo scenarios are all over the map... Some have railroads and we all go, “Choo, Choo!!” Others have tons of opportunity for player and GM choice. I am a creative and crazy player that often finds odd solutions, and sometimes they work! Sometimes they don’t.

Sometimes this is not a matter of the scenario writing, but just of a clash between GM and player style. If that is the case, try another GM or a different season of PFS. Scenarios written in Seasons 7-9 have been excellent about offering players many options for success.

Hope that this helps,

Hmm

Shadow Lodge 4/5

TheAlicornSage wrote:
It can't predict and give write-ups for every variance, but the possibilities narrow down to a small enough generic concepts that you coukd give enough info to handle a very large variety.

So I'm confused, are you asking for more railroads, or less?

Scarab Sages 5/5

The final combat of Blood Under Absalom is not a fair representation of PFS play. Its really a crap encounter and very tough for a GM, especially a new one, to handle such a thing. Because you are right about tge way its perceived by the players.

Frankly there really isn't a single special that truly represents PFS play.

That being said, as a player, when you are told you can't do something, stop trying to do it. Really.


Spoiler:

Quote:
Every other portion of this scenario involves 'doing this thing' that the Emissary wants one to do. One shudders to think of what one did for the theatre portion...

I made it entertaining of course. But really, the narrative of the scenario was awesome. It included lots of situations that could have judged warriors for their wisdom in applying martial skill. But mechanically, many of them fell apart and devolved into a swinging swords fest.

For example, the theatre portion is a good judge of being able to remain aware of the situation instead of losing control and just killing because you are in a fight, as well as being a good measure of control, able to harm without killing, which is quite a bit more difficult against a trained warrior than simply killing. (in fact, once you get training, killing actually becomes easier than capturing. Fights in schools and such end up not killing simply from the lack of training leading to fights of endurance and battering, hence the lack of lethality)

The portion where all the contestants have to fight outside forces is a good test of the concept "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." Of course, the actual encounter doesn't follow through mechanically with that concept though.

The final encounter brought it all together, narratively, but not mechanically.

Also, if the GM had simply just swamped me with all the guys, I'd have been fine with that, so long as my slim chance of success would have been actually a success, instead of getting past the horde only to be told "no" anyway. Would have been more satisfying that way actually. Though mechanics may have gotten in the way a little bit, as there are no rules for standing on a densely packed group of enemies nor for dropping in the middle of them without empty spaces. But hey, those would limits of the system not the scenario.

Quote:
Have you ever submitted a scenario to Paizo?

Like Hmm said, it isn't so simple. I have however been gming for decades and have read lots of material, several game systems, and plenty of gm advice stuff, so I'm not inexperienced nor under-read in the matter.

Quote:
So I'm confused, are you asking for more railroads, or less?

That comment wasn't asking for either, it was saying that it wasn't so difficult to support multiple solutions as an earlier post said.

That said, railroading is for video games. The things that pnp has that computers just can't beat is the ability to eliminate railroading without it devolving into a sandbox mess that lacks any kind of cohesive storyline, not to mention being able to do anything that makes sense within the fictional milieu without needing some designer thinking of it first and specifically designing how it works.

Quote:
Frankly there really isn't a single special that truly represents PFS play.

No, but there can be common themes and trends.

------
The way that I see it, every GM is like a director, the scenario is like the script. Each director will have a style that may or may not be to one's liking, but if that director is only ever handed horror scripts, then no matter their style, the result will always be horror.

Quote:
Back to the main question. Paizo scenarios are all over the map...

Thanks, I'll keep an eye out for those later seasons.

4/5 5/5

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Disk Elemental wrote:
So I'm confused, are you asking for more railroads, or less?

We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!

5/5 5/55/55/5

Vroomfondel wrote:
Disk Elemental wrote:
So I'm confused, are you asking for more railroads, or less?
We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!

no we dont!

1/5 5/5

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

We Must Dissent

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


We Must Dissent

I disagree.

Liberty's Edge 3/5 *

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jared Thaler wrote:
The mechanics are not exact. But they are a close approximation that does not require the GM to roll for each and every ruby the players get.

Except they're not. They are a bad approximation. If you find 4 rubies, the chance that at least one of them glows should be about 93.8%, not the 65% chance the scenario gives you.

As for rolling for every one of them? Have the GM pick up an appropriately-sized handful of d6s. If any of the dice roll even, the PCs found a glowing one.

Sczarni 4/5

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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


BuA Edition ** spoiler omitted **

My group actually broke this encounter at Gencon

Blood under Absalom spoiler:
Our wizard grabbed the barbarian and cast Dimension Door, appearing in the space directly above the head of the guy. Our GM had to go to the head table, which had the scenario's author sitting there and talk over how to handle it.

Blood Under Absalom was also the 2nd multi table special released. Since that time, they have released 6 more, and they tend to get better each year with more options for the PCs. It also means the scenarios are notoriously hard to prepare for, I think one of the last 2-3 years was over 70 pages of scenario. If you printed out stat blocks, that added another 150 pages to prepare. That's what happens when you ask for more options to be included.

For a PFS scenario I read the scenario an average of 4 times when preparing. (I read through straight through it, then reread it, noting what maps/minis/stat blocks I need to collect, then reread it with multiple highlighters, highlighting skill DCs one color, details I need to ensure I mention another, and Special changes to stat blocks of defensive abilities a third color. These read-throughs are normally done over a month prior to running the scenario. 3 nights before running the scenario, I do another read-through to make sure I have it fresh in my mind when running it.) This is possible because of the fact that PFS scenarios are on average 19-26 pages. This makes running a slot for one of these multi-table specials, on the other hand, about a 20-25 hour endeavor, as it takes multiple times reading through to memorize the hand gestures and other table control used to ensure all GMs are on the same page.

Most scenarios presume one path is taken, and then give a few alternate DCs for skill checks and say "If the PCs try something else, use the above DCs as guidelines to assure you are appropriately challenge the PCs"

All published adventures have to have some railroading. Otherwise you are giving setting books and not adventures. Organized play strives to provide the same basic story hundreds of times around the world.


Why so prep? If I prep something, it is scanning through for the general structure of the scenes and any details from a scene that is affected by, is foreshadowed by, or is hinted at in earlier scene (no need to worry about details affecting later scenes since those details will be fresh in mind anyway) and the overall goals and motivations of the antagonists and any other significant parties.

The only other prep I can see doing is making stat blocks easy to find when they are required.

And the only prep at all for a non-module is encounter tables.

So what are doing with all this prep anyway? What is the purpose? Why are you reading it so many times in such great detail?

Note: DCs are tied to the milieu, at least for 3.x anyway. That means that memorizing the exact number is not so important, as it is much easier to tie the DC as what difficulty it represents in the milieu, and when that is understood, you'll come back pretty close to, if not right on, the DC just from thinking about what DC would represent it.

I.E. DC 40? That would be Einstein creating the theory of general relativity. DC 20? That would be someone freshly graduated from apprenticeship. Thus, did this trap get made by a master trap-maker, or an apprentice? Much easier to remember that, and it can be played into the description when the trap is encountered as well.

Of course video game style seems to trend towards every encounter being level appropriate (how did that nonsense start anyway?), so those guys can probably get away just memorizing the so called "page 42 of Pathfinder." Which is just a chart of easy, medium, and hard DCs for particular CRs. That way, just remember whether a trap or something is hard, normal, or easy. (Is this starting to sound like a "difficulty setting" to anyone else? [Let's try playing it on Insanity mode! :) ])

Quote:
All published adventures have to have some railroading. Otherwise you are giving setting books and not adventures.

This is not actually true. See the article I linked to previously, Don't Prep Plots by Alexandrian. See also his article series on Node based design and the three clue rule.

These articles clearly lack railroading, yet they are not simply setting books either.

Grand Lodge 4/5

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Another player who wants to make a viva la revolution...

More seriously, forcing the issue with any GM is unlikely to get bonus points. I don't disagree when some of the users there deem it a Guideline violation, on publicly dissing a GM when this one didn't do something really wrong.

Everybody has a different playing/GMing style, and each should respect that. The OP's basis isn't completely wrong, but it's badly said. When the out of box move makes a time wasting, it is to be reminded that the GM is within rights to set up a hard time limit and if time's up, the party's losses. Some creative solutions are plausible, others are not and can even get negative results.

As for the players mindset, when it may cause problems, the rule of thumb is to forewarn rather than confront it at the table. Railroads are necessary to the game pace and for a standardized Organized Play even it they don't make everything.


Why does everyone think this had anything to do with any particular gm?

It was just an incident used as an example, and the gm's ruling wasn't even related to the point. It was the basis upon which he made the ruling.

Quote:
Railroads are necessary to the game pace.

I'm not so certain of this, as in I don't think rails or not has any impact on game pace. Rather, like the director controls the pace in a film, so does the gm control the pace of the game. Yea, players can take too long, but they can do that without going off rails, so no matter what, the gm has to subtly guide things to keep pace.

The Exchange 4/5

City of strangers, one of my first attempts at describing the city. Bought the books and added detail. Party went off following the wrong things. Had to pick them up and place them back to gather to get it finished. Today I know more and think I can adapt better, but there's are goals for the players to complete and for most that is in 4 hours real time. I GM a home game that allows players to sit there and rollplay for hours, but not in PF5.

Silver Crusade 3/5 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Online—PbP

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Alicorn Sage, the reason that people prepare so much is that they are not just trying to run a fun game, they are trying to run the specific adventure/story that players signed up for. We are also talking about PFS games here, so GMs are required to run 'as written.' To use your example of a DC, the GM has to use the DC that is written in the adventure, not what they think is reasonable. They can give a +2 or -2 circumstance bonus based on what players do or say, but that's the limit to flexibility. If you have to run a game as written, you need to thoroughly understand what is written.

Scarab Sages 5/5

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Redelia wrote:
Alicorn Sage, the reason that people prepare so much is that they are not just trying to run a fun game, they are trying to run the specific adventure/story that players signed up for. We are also talking about PFS games here, so GMs are required to run 'as written.' To use your example of a DC, the GM has to use the DC that is written in the adventure, not what they think is reasonable. They can give a +2 or -2 circumstance bonus based on what players do or say, but that's the limit to flexibility. If you have to run a game as written, you need to thoroughly understand what is written.

To add to this: The more you prep, the better able you are to legally improvise within the "run as written" box. If you know an adventure inside and out, like the back of your hand. Then you will automatically know all the places you can add your own GM flair without changing the adventure. And you will be able to do this on the fly to accommodate the times that players will do something unexpected.

Also note that not everyone needs to prep quite the same way as everyone else. Some folks it may take 20 hours and 8 read-throughs with high-lighters and such. Other folks it may take just a couple read-throughs and a really good memory. The trick is, actually figuring out which one you are. I've known plenty of GMs who thought they were the later but actually were the former.

Grand Lodge 4/5

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber
TheAlicornSage wrote:

This is not actually true. See the article I linked to previously, Don't Prep Plots by Alexandrian. See also his article series on Node based design and the three clue rule.

These articles clearly lack railroading, yet they are not simply setting books either.

Those articles are also not published adventures. You can't run a game from them.

If you try to follow their advice in a PFS scenario, you'll fail. While there is some flexibility in how the players can approach some missions, there is still a baseline expected for each scenario. They are not written in the style recommended in those articles, and while that is suboptimal for a home game, organized play is supposed to be consistent across many different games around the world. For better or worse, it is expected that when you tell the story of your adventure to others, it is similar to their experience with the story despite the hundreds of miles that may separate your groups. Sure, sometimes you can planar bind an angel who blasts one of the competitors in your negotiations to atoms, but those are the exceptions, not the rule.

1/5 5/5

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It typically takes me two to three weeks (because I work in retail and I have other things I do with my life *gasp* besides Pathfinder) to 'prep' a Scenario to a level I feel 'comfortable' with.

I have had zero complaints on my technique thus far, and some of my players have even gone so far as to provide [i]compliments[i] because 'You made it look seamless and you weren't flipping back and forth through a lot of pages looking everything up'.

I used to do the skim and run technique.

It's not fun for the players to have 'dead time'.

It's not fun as a GM feeling the eyes looking at you expectantly.

If a scenario is prepped correctly, when the players throw you a curve ball, you don't look it up, you *know* how the NPCS and the scenario is going to react to their curve ball.

Grand Lodge 4/5

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The GM isn't the only one to have to adapt to the players, they also have to adapt to the GM. That works both ways, he/she must have fun otherwise the game won't be run. What you're trying to force is sapping the fun and even if it was not the intent, it's the end result.

Butterfly effect in its apex.

Silver Crusade 5/5

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It just sounds like you are plying in an area without very creative GMs. There are people who have a very hard time going off script or allowing things not considered in the scenario to be a viable solution unless the mechanics/math are directly spelled out in way that would have to work in the given situation RAW (which is rarely gonna happen).

At my local PFS Chapter, I would say that the majority of GMs are comfortable going with the flow for creative solutions and that at least 50% of our players actually kind of go for creative solutions on a regular basis.

We have a few GMs that are less flexible with this stuff which has generally annoyed me when I'm at a table of creative players and we are constantly smashing against the stone wall of GM stubbornness but to be honest your statements on your experience don't surprise me nor does your gross overgeneralization of P&P RPGs or organized play in general.

I have encountered far more ridged GM thinking at Cons when at a table of an unfamiliar GM. A lot of places seem to foster the idea of sticking to the scenario to the letter or at least as close to the letter as humanly possible.

I think the real thing is, why even bother posting about this and then continuing to basically argue or refute anything and everything that is said to you. I haven't seen you agree with one things stated by anyone else which is a strong indicator that you are actually here for an argument and not an intelligent discussion.

If organized play isn't your style, my suggestion is to find another way to spend your time. I think that if I lived in your area and the GMs basically shot down totally legitimate solutions on a semi-regular basis I would be finding other activities to occupy my time.

If its a social thing, there are other ways to get in your socializing.

If its a wanting to play P&P RPGs there are plenty of others to choose from.

If it is a matter of only being able to find a gaming group through organized play, I would attempt to recruit some regulars you get along with for a home game or find an online game to join. There are a number of P&P discord groups that run things in a number of ways using online features when and where applicable.

I've never really understood the people who spend all their time doing something they never stop complaining about and basically go on and on about how their time would be better spent doing something else but then spend all of their time playing the thing they hate or complaining about it online....

TL;DR: sounds like you have uncreative and unskilled GMs, you should find another way to spend your time.

5/5 5/55/55/5

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It sounds like the poster had an idea that shouldn't work, the DM told them it won't work. I don't think taking it further than that has any evidence.

Silver Crusade 5/5

Redelia wrote:
Alicorn Sage, the reason that people prepare so much is that they are not just trying to run a fun game, they are trying to run the specific adventure/story that players signed up for. We are also talking about PFS games here, so GMs are required to run 'as written.' To use your example of a DC, the GM has to use the DC that is written in the adventure, not what they think is reasonable. They can give a +2 or -2 circumstance bonus based on what players do or say, but that's the limit to flexibility. If you have to run a game as written, you need to thoroughly understand what is written.

This isn't really true and is not stated in the current guide to organized play or to my knowledge the guide to organized play of season 5, 6, 7, or 8 (I started in season 5 so don't have ease of access to earlier editions of the guide to organized play).

"Run as written" is more about the story and the encounters (or how the encounters are run should there be a combat). Coming up with a creative out-side-the-box solution is totally acceptable. The CRB indicates that circumstance bonuses for good role play are totally a thing. As does the guide to organized play, it states nowhere that this circumstance bonus is limited to +2 or -2.

Certain encounters are going to result in combat 99.9% of the time but if there is a creative way to by pass it and the party is all about it, then I think it is the responsibility of the GM to roll with it and still consider it a victory and successful resolution.

Example: There is a ship chase with an anticipated "getting caught" and facing a "boss fight" during the Quest for Perfection 3-part story in season 3. My druid did not allow this to happen. The GM tried to basically plan B through E a way for this to happen and my Druid was more then able to shut this down each and every time. Instead of accepting defeat and calling the adventure, the GM literally came up with a "just because it is written" situation and we somehow ended up in this "boss fight" anyways. My resources and spells were still expended mind you but all of a sudden we still had to fight a "boss". This was unfair to the party (which had encouraged me to go all out in stopping the pursuing ship) and me (for listening, thinking creatively, and using a lot of resources which worked by RAW). The need for the GM to "run as written" went too far and destroyed what had been up until that point a marvelous adventure full of fun, cheers, and laughter. The GM did run as written up until the point that I used RAW to shut down the chase completely. Over all great GM, especially since they have grown as a GM, and still remember the over all adventure line favorable but it was/is a sore point for me towards organized play.

That's just the most notable example but there are others I have been witnessed or been a part of.

"Running as Written" only goes so far. It should be "run as written unless character action literally does not allow you to and then attempt to recover back to the written material when and if able to at the next logical section of text"

Silver Crusade 3/5 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Online—PbP

mswbear wrote:
Redelia wrote:
Alicorn Sage, the reason that people prepare so much is that they are not just trying to run a fun game, they are trying to run the specific adventure/story that players signed up for. We are also talking about PFS games here, so GMs are required to run 'as written.' To use your example of a DC, the GM has to use the DC that is written in the adventure, not what they think is reasonable. They can give a +2 or -2 circumstance bonus based on what players do or say, but that's the limit to flexibility. If you have to run a game as written, you need to thoroughly understand what is written.

This isn't really true and is not stated in the current guide to organized play or to my knowledge the guide to organized play of season 5, 6, 7, or 8 (I started in season 5 so don't have ease of access to earlier editions of the guide to organized play).

"Run as written" is more about the story and the encounters (or how the encounters are run should there be a combat). Coming up with a creative out-side-the-box solution is totally acceptable. The CRB indicates that circumstance bonuses for good role play are totally a thing. As does the guide to organized play, it states nowhere that this circumstance bonus is limited to +2 or -2.

Certain encounters are going to result in combat 99.9% of the time but if there is a creative way to by pass it and the party is all about it, then I think it is the responsibility of the GM to roll with it and still consider it a victory and successful resolution.

I don't see any contradiction between what you have written and what I wrote, actually. Yes, players may take an unusual approach to a situation, and as long as that does not contradict anything in the adventure, that is fine. They are still experiencing the same big story, just in a different order or changing the details of the narrative of one part of it. I did even mention circumstance bonuses. What I was objecting to was the attitude of 'the exact DC in the adventure doesn't matter.'

Lantern Lodge Customer Service Manager

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Removed some posts. It is not okay to make derisive remarks about other community members.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
It sounds like the poster had an idea that shouldn't work, the DM told them it won't work. I don't think taking it further than that has any evidence.

Why do you think the thread is about that? The situation described was an example, and my idea failing was not the point, it was the gm disallowing any idea that wasn't explicitly clarified in the scenario, and the scenario assuming only one possible solution. Whether my idea worked or not is beside the point.

Quote:
I think the real thing is, why even bother posting about this and then continuing to basically argue or refute anything and everything that is said to you. I haven't seen you agree with one things stated by anyone else which is a strong indicator that you are actually here for an argument and not an intelligent discussion.

Because I'm not arguing about the intended point of the thread. People, such as BNW, have focused on an example, or some other tangenital aspect, and then I responded to it. Debating things is something I enjoy and I've responded that way despite it going outside the intended scope. Something I'd probably do well to limit I guess, but I hadn't really thought about it.

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...find an online game to join.

This is currently my one and only option. Sadly, text is not an optimal medium for me, but it is the only one I have available.

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I've never really understood the people who spend all their time doing something they never stop complaining about and basically go on and on about how their time would be better spent doing something else but then spend all of their time playing the thing they hate or complaining about it online....

I think this is because people experience something really fun, then later it is still fun but not as fun, and thus complain about the things that they think prevent it from being as fun as they had previously experienced. Or in some cases, they might think something is inhibiting things from being more fun than it currently is.

The earlier campaigns I was in years ago were lots more fun than I've in the years since. I long for playing in a game like I had back then, but just can't find one like it. I still have fun, but nothing I've played in recent years can hold a candle to the enjoyment of the gaming style I had back then. So I still play, yet also seek to find those who also understand the differences that made those long ago games so much more fun than the popular modern styles of play.

Of course, that is just theory.

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I used to do the skim and run technique.

It's not fun for the players to have 'dead time'.

It's not fun as a GM feeling the eyes looking at you expectantly.

So when you did the skimming, you had to reference the book during play?

I can understand having a notecard if you're worried about things like specific dcs, but even that should be one card per scene, plus one card per monster stat block.

I never needed to go referencing the book. So kinda hard to imagine needing to I guess.

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What you're trying to force is sapping the fun...

Be careful with this. My example was hardly in depth enough to make such a judgement. Being that I also gm a lot, I do pay attention to avoid making things unfun for the rest of the group.

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Those articles are also not published adventures. You can't run a game from them.

Perhaps not, but that isn't the point. Some made thd assertion that a published adventure must be a railroad. As those techniques can be used to make an adventure that can be published, linking to them was to provide evidence that a railroad is not required to have a publishable adventure.

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The CRB indicates that circumstance bonuses for good role play are totally a thing. As does the guide to organized play, it states nowhere that this circumstance bonus is limited to +2 or -2.

I believe this is found in the introduction chapter. I'd need to double check my hardcopy of the Pathfinder crb, but I know for a fact it is part of the introductory chapter in 3.5, which is the base upon which Pf is built.

Dark Archive 4/5 5/5 ****

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fails Will save
On "why do people prep?"

So, as has been stated many times already, as a GM in Pathfinder Society, it is a requirement that you run the scenario as written. That means running the encounters, using the tactics, and using the DCs listed.

What this means is that in order to run, you must know what the story being told is (which is summarized in the beginning of the module), what all of the encounters are (combat or otherwise).

That is the minimum requirement to run a scenario. On top of that, you might want to figure out the "voice" of some or all of the NPCs in the scenario, learn a little bit about the setting the scenario is in (a scenario run in Kaer Maga should feel different that one in Absalom or Goka!)

If you have a good feeling about all of this , as Tallow states, you will be better able to make a decision about whether a creative solution will work, and whether it fits into the story that the scenario telling.

You cannot just prep the first encounter, and then decide where to go after that (unless, of course, you are running the scenario in a home game and not part of PFS). If the plotted story (saying it this way, since TheAlicornSage seems to have a specific term in mind when he hears the word "plot"), says that you first need to go to the manor home, discover macguffin #1, then go to the market to find macguffin #2, and finally go to the arena to win macguffin #3 before approaching the Big Bad, then perhaps there is wiggle room to change the order of #1, #2, and #3 (though often the clue to go to the next thing is found in the previous).

Is this railroady? Sure it is.

However, one my favorite scenarios to run or play has you do basically this. You need to go talk to three different people (in any order) to find some clues. Then you need to go check out two different locations (in any order) to learn more clues. Once you have all of that, then the setup encounter happens, which leads you to the finale of the mission.

Sounds railsy, doesn't it? But, done right, with a good storytelling GM, who has prepped well enough to know all of the encounters and how they fit together, this can feel like the players have made all of the choices. And there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, some of the stuff is enforced by where the scenario takes place (being very vague on purpose in order to reduce spoilerage). At the same time, many of those encounters are detailed with only a few sentances to a couple of paragraphs. If you know the setting (by prepping), and you know what the encounter is supposed to give the players, you can play them up. Perhaps you give a certain NPC some flair and extra roleplaying... perhaps you've got some pictures or some acting you can do to show how a different NPC acts.

By the way, this is also why rerunning scenarios is a Good Thing. Almost always, the second (or subsequent) time that I run a scenario, I can relax more as a GM, because I better know the flow of the adventure. Again, that gives me more freedom to play-act out the NPCs, fill in the blanks that the scenario doesn't have, and the like.

Published scenarios do tend to be written on rails... however, they do not have to feel like they are. That's the GM's job, to make if feel like there is more player agency in the game. A player's job is to enjoy the story, adding their personal flair to it, and to accept when sometimes their "creative solution" doesn't make sense when the GM suggests/states that it won't work. You can assume what you'd like, but I would like to assume that a GM that states that is helping you rather than hindering, by steering you away from an auto-fail.

Scarab Sages 5/5

Agreed Jack.

That being said, if you have a player who really, really wants to do some creative thing in an encounter, and as a GM you know that it won't work based on the circumstances, I find that saying, "Sorry, that won't work," is the best way to irritate the player.

But if I start asking leading questions like:

GM: Ok, that's a cool idea, where is the file you want to pilfer?
Player: I don't know, but when the guy brings it out, I'm going to cast my silent image and then slight of hand the file.
GM: Ok, sure, how are you going to convince him to bring out the file?
Player: I cast charm person
GM: So you are going to go into this public venue and start casting your spell?

Usually the player thinks again about whether that's a good idea or not and tries something else. I haven't told him no though.

3/5

Earl Gendron wrote:
My group actually broke this encounter at Gencon ** spoiler omitted **

An excellent example about how sometimes "creative solutions" are less viable than they first appear and even excellent GMs may miss things that would prohibit them from working.

Spoiler:

Many people forget you can't teleport into the air: from the description of Conjuration magic in the PRD:

"A creature or object brought into being or transported to your location by a conjuration spell cannot appear inside another creature or object, nor can it appear floating in an empty space. It must arrive in an open location on a surface capable of supporting it."
Probably intended to stop the "teleport to a great height and drop the badguy" craziness, but affects your encounter too.

.. and since I've now joined in on the discussion, it seems that the OP is looking more for a home game and less structure than PFS has built in to it in order to sanity check the thousands / tens of thousands of gamers who are conditioned to game every system they see from decades of practice &/ or advise.

Silver Crusade 3/5 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Online—PbP

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mswbear wrote:


"Run as written" is more about the story and the encounters (or how the encounters are run should there be a combat). Coming up with a creative out-side-the-box solution is totally acceptable. The CRB indicates that circumstance bonuses for good role play are totally a thing. As does the guide to organized play, it states nowhere that this circumstance bonus is limited to +2 or -2.

The +/- 2 comes from page 403 of the Core Rulebook.


I've had several instances where something creative has been tried and the response was LITERALLY "It doesn't matter because the scenario says you have to do this." Far too many to be happy with. I've had some Gms realize that maybe the encounter does go differently if you charm the enemy leader, and I've had others declare captured minions bite off their tongues and bled to death because it says "Fights to the death." I've had arguments because the rules presented in the scenario didn't match the rules as presented in the books, and I've had people change the encounter tactics to try to spite kill characters.

It can be infuriating when a GM mindlessly forces adherence to a scenario, and picking apart individual examples doesn't change the fact that some people really do need to be more flexible in their interpretations

1/5

MrBear wrote:

I've had several instances where something creative has been tried and the response was LITERALLY "It doesn't matter because the scenario says you have to do this." Far too many to be happy with. I've had some Gms realize that maybe the encounter does go differently if you charm the enemy leader, and I've had others declare captured minions bite off their tongues and bled to death because it says "Fights to the death." I've had arguments because the rules presented in the scenario didn't match the rules as presented in the books, and I've had people change the encounter tactics to try to spite kill characters.

It can be infuriating when a GM mindlessly forces adherence to a scenario, and picking apart individual examples doesn't change the fact that some people really do need to be more flexible in their interpretations

Can be, they don't need to be, but they could be.

Scarab Sages 5/5

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MrBear wrote:

I've had several instances where something creative has been tried and the response was LITERALLY "It doesn't matter because the scenario says you have to do this." Far too many to be happy with. I've had some Gms realize that maybe the encounter does go differently if you charm the enemy leader, and I've had others declare captured minions bite off their tongues and bled to death because it says "Fights to the death." I've had arguments because the rules presented in the scenario didn't match the rules as presented in the books, and I've had people change the encounter tactics to try to spite kill characters.

It can be infuriating when a GM mindlessly forces adherence to a scenario, and picking apart individual examples doesn't change the fact that some people really do need to be more flexible in their interpretations

This is more an issue with the GM not being confident with improvising (or not knowing they can or how much they can legally). This is not an issue with the scenarios themselves.

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5 ***

MrBear wrote:
I've had others declare captured minions bite off their tongues and bled to death because it says "Fights to the death."

Keep in mind though that "death" in the Campaign World of Golarion is not as final as it is in our Campaign World of Earth.

Gods exist, afterlife is a thing, necromancy and reincarnations happen, and sometimes if you died in particularly horrific ways you might become an immortal ghost.

Sure, in real life most people don't fight to the death, but that doesn't mean the same percentage of NPCs are as conservative with their lifespans.

Grand Lodge 2/5

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TheAlicornSage wrote:
Why do you think the thread is about that? The situation described was an example, and my idea failing was not the point, it was the gm disallowing any idea that wasn't explicitly clarified in the scenario, and the scenario assuming only one possible solution. Whether my idea worked or not is beside the point.

Why do you think the case was the GM not allowing any other way? Maybe the situation truly couldn't be accomplished the way you tried such as with the multi table special you mentioned because there is a literal wall of enemies in your path that you can't just bypass and the tournament has rules (which by the way, sounds like the GM just described it poorly). The other example you gave of your silent image credentials just wouldn't work for a number of reasons that have been pointed out.

Scenarios have to have a certain goal and have to have certain ways printed for you to achieve that goal. You can certainly come up with other ideas on how to accomplish that goal but they may or may not work because you don't know everything going on in the background or may not understand the mechanics of the game perfectly (as with your silent image example earlier).

Basically nothing you've said has proven or even began to prove that PFS doesn't allow creative solutions or that GMs in general don't allow them.

5/5 5/55/55/5

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Nefreet wrote:


Sure, in real life most people don't fight to the death, but that doesn't mean the same percentage of NPCs are as conservative with their lifespans.

The clerics of Urgotha shouting "I"M COMING HOME DARK MISTRESS!" and running into the pole arms make sense.

The street toughs paid 5 gp for the job.. not so much.

1/5 5/5

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

...has lost track of scenarios where "Mooks R Us" sends a team to assault the party and the first words out of the diplomancer are "How much were you being paid for this? We'll triple it if you lay low for a few days."

4/5

Nefreet wrote:
MrBear wrote:
I've had others declare captured minions bite off their tongues and bled to death because it says "Fights to the death."

Keep in mind though that "death" in the Campaign World of Golarion is not as final as it is in our Campaign World of Earth.

Gods exist, afterlife is a thing, necromancy and reincarnations happen, and sometimes if you died in particularly horrific ways you might become an immortal ghost.

Sure, in real life most people don't fight to the death, but that doesn't mean the same percentage of NPCs are as conservative with their lifespans.

OTOH, someone who intends to fight to the death may be out of luck after getting hit by a slumber hex, hold person, dominate, etc. Or even just being grappled and tied up by a tetori.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/5

Speaking of creative solutions. In

Scenario name here:
Tyranny of the Winds, Part 1
the climax comes from having to choose between two factions. One that has just appeared the other which has accompanied you all along.

My players didn't see it as a choice, but more of a "Hey, let's try and make nice with both of them". So at that point, I thought it over. What mattered for

Scenario name here:
Tyranny of the Winds, Part 2
was each individual's choice, as that would be reflected on their sheet. As for the reporting condition, it was built so that you could have neither faction come out a winner. So, after instead substituting a few difficult diplomacy checks, we left the script, but ended within the parameters of Society play.

My point is that creative solutions and off the beaten track solutions can be used, but we still need to make sure that they work within the frame of the campaign. For instance, had they decided to take over the leadership of one group to continue on their primary objective, that would not have been a solution I could implement within that framework, and would have probably resulted in me pointing out that there were a lot of people in either of these groups. Enough to tilt the action economy scale in my favor so much that I would dispense with combat.

With that said, I think we might be rehashing things here. I believe you can understand our point. Now, while it certainly bothers me that you do not care so much for the constraint of Organized Play so much so that you'd rather not play, that is certainly your prerogative. However, I would like you to take another look and perhaps try again.


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What this means is that in order to run, you must know what the story being told is (which is summarized in the beginning of the module), what all of the encounters are (combat or otherwise).

That is the minimum requirement to run a scenario. On top of that, you might want to figure out the "voice" of some or all of the NPCs in the scenario, learn a little bit about the setting the scenario is in (a scenario run in Kaer Maga should feel different that one in Absalom or Goka!)

If you have a good feeling about all of this , as Tallow states, you will be better able to make a decision about whether a creative solution will work, and whether it fits into the story that the scenario telling.

Doesn't seem like any of this takes much prep work. I guess that is just me then.

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You can assume what you'd like, but I would like to assume that a GM that states that is helping you rather than hindering, by steering you away from an auto-fail.

First, this assumes the gm is doing something to guide you away from a certain action rather than simply ignoring it.

Second, this assumes the creative action will be an autofail. For the example given, not enough detail was given for a proper assertion of that (it wasn't the point after all), but I find it interesting how much people assume I was being an idiot about the details.

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Why do you think the case was the GM not allowing any other way?

Cause he said,

[qoute]Searching is the mechanic of finding the other document.
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My inclination is to run the scenario as written. ... I am running them as close to as written as I can manage.

Seems pretty clear to me.

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This is not an issue with the scenarios themselves.

On the contrary, while if might be an issue that the gm is unwilling to be flexible, it is still an issue that the scenerio makes if difficult to be flexible. A scenerio could be written to support and make adjustments easy.

The Exchange 5/5

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MrBear wrote:

I've had several instances where something creative has been tried and the response was LITERALLY "It doesn't matter because the scenario says you have to do this." Far too many to be happy with. I've had some Gms realize that maybe the encounter does go differently if you charm the enemy leader, and I've had others declare captured minions bite off their tongues and bled to death because it says "Fights to the death." I've had arguments because the rules presented in the scenario didn't match the rules as presented in the books, and I've had people change the encounter tactics to try to spite kill characters.

It can be infuriating when a GM mindlessly forces adherence to a scenario, and picking apart individual examples doesn't change the fact that some people really do need to be more flexible in their interpretations

the following is just some rambling from an old gamer - feel free to ignore any part of it (or all of it) that does not please you... it is ment in the spirit of "friendly advice", just one gamer to another

And I have encountered all of the "GM mindlessly forces adherence to a scenario" in a home game where the GM is the Author and "Knows How It Is Going To Work" and nothing the PCs/Players can do is going to change the story line they have envisioned... even if it doesn't work in the game rules your group were using just a few minutes ago... (which are after all, "just guidelines, and tend to be to restrictive anyway").

The major difference between Home Games and PFS is that if I don't like the way the judge is running the table - I can take my PC that I have spent hours crafting, that I know the background of, know their background/history/likes/fears/loves/favorite color, that I have come to love like a child (or hate with a real passion) - I can take that PC and walk to another table sit down and still play them. And expect them to remain the same "Character".

When I am in a home game - the local beggars guild can suddenly be populated with monks 5 levels higher than my PC, when they were commoners the round before... and they none have Plot Armor and DR10 from PC attacks - if that is what the GM feels it will take to "push the players back into Path The GM Envisions"...

Yeah - if you don't like the way the local (or online) judge is running the PFS game? Go find someone who runs it more in your style of play.

This will more than likely require you to Talk to the Judge (after the game - when they have more time to spend on talking that doesn't cut into 5 other players very limited game time). Heck, buy them an Adult Beverage, or a Diet Coke, or whatever they like, and say "Can we talk about how the game went? I'd like to better understand why my ideas wouldn't work... and how I can change to do better (have more fun) next time?".

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