*Spoilers Ahead* just checking if my gm is getting creative with the "dead suns" AP


Dead Suns


So we just did the part that had the stinger monkeys. We Diplo-ized our way into the monkey's good graces. I went to check out the black monolith that was there. Got snatched by a chameleon starfish tentacular Grappler creature and hauled up 200 feet up the monolith. When the party started to rescue me from the tentacular Grappler the Scorpion monkeys took up arms *them having 8 int and weapons off of last people to encounter the tentacular Grappler* and helped the party blow up the monolith after 4 or five rounds. I was barely able to survive by waiting til the last moment to activate my jump jets <or the other thing that gives tou a 30ft jump ability> to slow and direct the fall just barely out of the way of the crashing monolith and killing the creature by using it to soften my landing. We then procceded to trade with the monkeys a large amount of "boomy balls" aka grenades for the items they stole from the party along with some quite nice weapons or a nice weapon. We may have just made a bigger issue for the next group the does not put up with thier antics.

So did my gm add anything or did he play the encounter straight?


I am pretty sure if we had attacked the monkeys we would have been overwhelmed by a pack of 20-30 of them instead of the four that would have attacked. That is the only part i have knowledge about due to reading about another person's encounter with them in another forum thread. I am under the impression that my gm does not know how to balance a encounter correctly. But fighting one huge monster instead of a bucket load of small ones is always better in my book.


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Definitely getting creative. The kaukariki were in the book as intelligent animals -- clever and cunning animals, sure, but not capable of understanding or speaking a language, unlike some of the creatures you face in the jungles of Ukulam. They're also at a -2 INT mod, so would be INT 6 at best, not 8. Diplomacy and trade isn't possible with them playing it straight, although if there was a Xenodruid in your group, I could certainly see them being able to work a diplomatic solution since they get the ability to speak with animals. Trade wouldn't really be very feasible, since the kaukariki would have no idea what grenades (or the healing potions they took playing things straight) actually were.


ghostunderasheet wrote:
So we just did the part that had the stinger monkeys. We Diplo-ized our way into the monkey's good graces. I went to check out the black monolith that was there. Got snatched by a chameleon starfish tentacular Grappler creature and hauled up 200 feet up the monolith.

He's GMing it kinda loose. He switched the monster that should've been there with something that would show up later on.

The kaukarikis don't have a language, what did you use to befriend them? Survival and the Wildwise augment only work on Int scores of -4 and -5.

And those first 4 are it, the rest of the troop is too scared to come down for a fight.

Not sure why your GMs is changing everything so much, but doesn't seem to be creating a bad experience - but the original encounters are good enough, with the nasty monkey poison and the thing you didn't find.


Diplomacy and not straight attacking them and since he upped thier int and were able to to communicate with each other. I cast share language on one of them and that's how we were able to communicate since they had an int 8. Just made it so one of them could understand us and act like a go between between us and the hoard of little thieves. Even with a 6 int and trial and error stuff can be figured out. Kids figure out how to play video games and shoot themselves all the time. He (the gm) treated them like young children or mentally challenged adults. I was really wondering if he added the nearly invisible tentacle monster thing on the fly since we diplomised our way into a positive neutral thing wigh the stinger monkeys. The four that helped us kill the monolith used the weapons and grenades the stole from the dead/alive reavers but not very well. Like the monkeys from the movies spray and pray mostly.


The Ragi wrote:
the thing you didn't find.

was the thing some sorta tentacle beast? The fight was entertaining but i did not get to do much. Since i was grappled by some sorta tentacled starfish beast. I was the only one to take damage which is good i am ment to hog the damage.


ghostunderasheet wrote:
The Ragi wrote:
the thing you didn't find.
was the thing some sorta tentacle beast? The fight was entertaining but i did not get to do much. Since i was grappled by some sorta tentacled starfish beast. I was the only one to take damage which is good i am ment to hog the damage.

Not quite, but I better not spoil it - maybe he kicked it ahead to where the flying starfish was supposed to be. I'll just say it has a lot of mouths and was hiding at the base of the obelisk.

Your GM made the kaukariki way smarter than they were supposed to be - he went full planet of the apes.


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Full marks to your DM, in my view. One of the things I can't stand in published adventures is when the PCs try something not contemplated by the writer and the DM tries to shoehorn it into what was pre-written. "fights to the death" and "refuses to negotiate" are two phrases I've seen heavily relied on to stymie creative PC approaches - I'm of the view that restrictive word-count is just as often the motivation for both of those cropping up as the "story reasons" usually cited.


The Ragi wrote:
ghostunderasheet wrote:
The Ragi wrote:
the thing you didn't find.
was the thing some sorta tentacle beast? The fight was entertaining but i did not get to do much. Since i was grappled by some sorta tentacled starfish beast. I was the only one to take damage which is good i am ment to hog the damage.

Not quite, but I better not spoil it - maybe he kicked it ahead to where the flying starfish was supposed to be. I'll just say it has a lot of mouths and was hiding at the base of the obelisk.

Your GM made the kaukariki way smarter than they were supposed to be - he went full planet of the apes.

was it some sort of fire eating flower because we ran into those. Made fighting the tentacular Grappler a bit of a pain in the butt fight since we were packing a lot of fire dealing damage. And yea they when full Commando Planet of the Apes.


Steve Geddes wrote:
Full marks to your DM, in my view. One of the things I can't stand in published adventures is when the PCs try something not contemplated by the writer and the DM tries to shoehorn it into what was pre-written. "fights to the death" and "refuses to negotiate" are two phrases I've seen heavily relied on to stymie creative PC approaches - I'm of the view that restrictive word-count is just as often the motivation for both of those cropping up as the "story reasons" usually cited.

It was a fun night. And it did not go fubar which is a huge plus. Pretty sure if we had attacked the stinger monkeys we would have had to fight the whole clan while they all weilded high powered weapons and stinger of poison. Any time you can make peace with a horde is a good thing.


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I hate it when GMs change things up too much. It's like, why did we even bother buying a module?


For inspiration, pre-made maps and locations, any number of pre-built encounters, new potential races/gear (in the case of SF APs), and an already configured overall campaign story arc. The list goes on in terms of time-saving and work-saving reasons for buying APs.

Any of the changes after that, extreme or otherwise, are still just making it your group's own version fill-in-the-blank (AP name) campaign.


I've had GMs change things up because they thought that the players were reading ahead in the module and wanted to surprise them.


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Ravingdork wrote:
I hate it when GMs change things up too much. It's like, why did we even bother buying a module?

Unless you read the module yourself beforehand, how would you even know?


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Metaphysician wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
I hate it when GMs change things up too much. It's like, why did we even bother buying a module?
Unless you read the module yourself beforehand, how would you even know?

I ALWAYS know. Every GM who has ever done this, in my experience, has either gone so far outside the bounds of the module that it quickly becomes pretty obvious, or they start making mistakes that would be far less likely to happen if you just read the page in front of you, or their lack of confidence begins to show in their mannerisms. Other times, the numbers they're throwing out simply don't add up.


Yeah, I hate it when I psionically figure out the bounds of an AP without ever reading it.

The APs outright encourage changes and modifications to be made for home game needs and desires. Many of them even go out of their way to offer up information on ways to extend the campaign at various points. Running an AP exactly how it appears on the page sounds...really limiting at best.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding intent here. It just sounds like anything outside the design of an AP is somehow inferior and easily noticed. I guess I just can't square that with my own gaming experiences.

Scarab Sages

I love creative GMs. Sounds like yours is doing a great job crafting the story with you players.


Ravingdork wrote:
I hate it when GMs change things up too much. It's like, why did we even bother buying a module?

I'll add stuff, specially between books or parts, related to the characters' background, expand the universe and such - but messing up encounters like in this case, it's a recipe for disaster.


The Ragi wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
I hate it when GMs change things up too much. It's like, why did we even bother buying a module?
I'll add stuff, specially between books or parts, related to the characters' background, expand the universe and such - but messing up encounters like in this case, it's a recipe for disaster.

Eh. I'd say it's an opportunity for the players to have an adventure different than what other people who play the same adventure path had. It's not like the AP is holy scripture.

Players are VERY good at blowing through challenges when properly motivated.


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As a GM, homebrewing brings me more creative satisfaction, but there are many published adventures I love. All my games are set in one persistent continuity, therefore I often make changes to published material so that it fits. Additionally, I have a pretty good understanding of what my players will and will not enjoy, so I'll make changes as needed for their benefit. Other times I will make changes because I feel like I can make improvements. I think it's well within the spirit of the game to adapt material for your table.


Belabras wrote:
I love creative GMs. Sounds like yours is doing a great job crafting the story with you players.

most time no. It is not a good thing. I am pretty sure he added at least 20 extra cultists to an encounter because he thought that it would be fun. We were stuck in a 8 by 10 squire room trying to fight our way to the door so we could make them only come at us two at a time but could not lock that down. The healer went down. And the gm started fudging rolls and actions just to save the party instead of just killing us all. I am all for party wipes means you get to create something new. Anyways i am pretty sure he has no idea on how to balance an encounter properly or just thinks you should balance it like you should in pathfinder. Which was about on par for what we had to face...... massive hordes that would almost kill us all each week. I would rather face one super op monster then a bunch of enemies where thier number make them op.

Last game was great. There is a safe warm fuzzy feeling when your in the AP. But when my gm goes into left field and crafts us an encounter theres the horror of knowing stuff is about to get real....... until the very last moment and the gm swoops in and thanos the bad guys. Taking the coolness out of dieing like a boss and making you into a female dog that can not handle something simple as 40 peasants with class lvls at lvl 2.


ghostunderasheet wrote:
Belabras wrote:
I love creative GMs. Sounds like yours is doing a great job crafting the story with you players.

most time no. It is not a good thing. I am pretty sure he added at least 20 extra cultists to an encounter because he thought that it would be fun. We were stuck in a 8 by 10 squire room trying to fight our way to the door so we could make them only come at us two at a time but could not lock that down. The healer went down. And the gm started fudging rolls and actions just to save the party instead of just killing us all. I am all for party wipes means you get to create something new. Anyways i am pretty sure he has no idea on how to balance an encounter properly or just thinks you should balance it like you should in pathfinder. Which was about on par for what we had to face...... massive hordes that would almost kill us all each week. I would rather face one super op monster then a bunch of enemies where thier number make them op.

Last game was great. There is a safe warm fuzzy feeling when your in the AP. But when my gm goes into left field and crafts us an encounter theres the horror of knowing stuff is about to get real....... until the very last moment and the gm swoops in and thanos the bad guys. Taking the coolness out of dieing like a boss and making you into a female dog that can not handle something simple as 40 peasants with class lvls at lvl 2.

That isn't a problem with GM creativity, that's a problem with the GM having no sense of game balance. Seriously, switching around an encounter on an AP is different than spamming you with 40 enemies.

You should have a discussion with the GM about what is fun and what is not fun. If he or she doesn't agree, you can find another GM.


Yea thinking about it..... which means either i just quit gaming or i gm for a group for the first time.


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There's definitely different degrees of "acceptable."

Adding a couple extra bodies to team evil to challenge a larger than normal party, or ad hocing a bit to get the players back on course, or continuing the adventure long after the original story has ended...these are all great things, and I encourage them.

Making the module nearly unrecognizable, or changing key components of the story so that it feels like a different story entirely, or just having it no longer make any sense at all, is REALLY annoying!

One example of the latter was a GM who threw a green dragon at us during Kingmaker 2. We had just established a little kingdom, and this dragon-turned-woman literally waltzes into our castle, murders everyone, makes us rulers look like helpless babies, and demands constant tribute for years to come. The entire game stopped being Kingmaker, and all became about the GM's pet NPC, the Dragon Queen, and what we were going to do about her. Every plan we came up with auto-failed, while the GM just steepled his hands and laughed maniacally from behind his screen--right up until we all realized it wasn't part of the module and abandoned his ego-maniacal power game.

What's worse, no other GM will touch us as a result. "Oh, you've played Kingmaker before, well, I prefer to have someone in my group who doesn't know what's going to happen."

Well, WE HAVE NO F%&&ING CLUE WHAT'S SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN CAUSE AN IDIOT GM NEVER REALLY RAN IT FOR US!

*hyperventilates*

*passes out*

*Gets dragged away and eaten by the Dragon Queen*


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The Ragi wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
I hate it when GMs change things up too much. It's like, why did we even bother buying a module?
I'll add stuff, specially between books or parts, related to the characters' background, expand the universe and such - but messing up encounters like in this case, it's a recipe for disaster.

Do you feel compelled to follow the tactics of the monsters as written?

That's my pet beef - the adventure writers are understandably pressed for space and "attacks immediately and fights to the death" is much less word count than detailing what the monster wants/will accept and how committed it is to stick around. When our group decides to be more diplomatic/devious than usual it really bugs me when no matter how appealing our offer, the NPC pays no attention because "that's what's in the book".


Ravingdork wrote:
CAUSE AN IDIOT GM

Honestly, this sounds far more likely to be the cause of the problems than changing the module, regardless of amount of change.

Sovereign Court

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Wow. I'm not surprised but disappointed in some of the responses here. What a sense of false entitlement.

1) The GM's job is to give the players a fun time. Not "follow the rules" laid out in a module. The module should always be used as a guideline. There is NO WAY to write one with every player shenanigan in mind. Good GMs always adapt things to character choices/behavior.

2) If you were in my game, and I found you posting this kind of nonsense on a forum, I would boot you. Immediately. Frankly, it's none of your business. You're playing. Let the GM run their game and you react/interact with it. I never tell my players a) what's "going on" and b) what rules I used. My job is to give you a good time. NOT to "step in line" with how you want it done.

If you don't like your GM, go run your own game!

3) If you read the book, there are at least 3 references I spotted regarding the authority of the GM. Just because you can buy all the books and learn everything does not mean, at my table you will KNOW everything. I get to change things as I see fit. It sounds like your GM will too. Stop worrying about what your GM is doing. Just get into it and have fun playing.

4) Most GMs are fans of both the players AND the characters. Just because I'm challenging you doesn't mean I want you to fail. Or die. A lot of the hostility towards GMs stems from this idea that they are out to get you. You should get over that. Based on your post, it's obvious your GM is not out to get you.

Finally, you have a great GM. You should be grateful for the time they put in and their willingness to be creative for you.


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Trentin, when people play games together there is generally an understanding that everyone will be playing under the same set of rules and expectations. Any GM who goes way off the rails without informing his play group in advance (thereby modifying the social contract as it were) is cheating and is not likely to last long.

If a group invests in a published module, than the common understanding is that, that is what will be run. Not some alien bastardization that barely resembles the intended adventure. If a GM invests in a new module, volunteers to run it, but makes it clear to his group that he will be changing things a bit to better suit the party's composition/playstyle/whatever, then that's totally fine.

In any case, as long as everyone is communicating and generally has the same expectations of one another--and everyone is having fun--then not much else matters.


Ravingdork wrote:
If a group invests in a published module, than the common understanding is that, that is what will be run. Not some alien bastardization that barely resembles the intended adventure. If a GM invests in a new module, volunteers to run it, but makes it clear to his group that he will be changing things a bit to better suit the party's composition/playstyle/whatever, then that's totally fine.

That's pretty interesting. I don't think I've ever had a group actually buy a module and say: "We want this one next." (I'm not sure if I ever had a group buy a module, to be honest.)

Sovereign Court

RD, I agree on communication, that is key.

In my experience, the GM is buying the bulk of the stuff, including adventures, and running for the love of the game.

In the context of shared resources and groups making an agreement to run an AP "as close to RAW as possible" or something, then I would agree.

I did not get the impression this was the case based on the OP.


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I think disclosure is important for the social contract. As such, I always inform my groups that I will be making changes to modules/APs before we begin the adventure. It's satisfying when the players can't tell the difference between what's in the module and what I added to it.


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Steve Geddes wrote:

Do you feel compelled to follow the tactics of the monsters as written?

That's my pet beef - the adventure writers are understandably pressed for space and "attacks immediately and fights to the death" is much less word count than detailing what the monster wants/will accept and how committed it is to stick around. When our group decides to be more diplomatic/devious than usual it really bugs me when no matter how appealing our offer, the NPC pays no attention because "that's what's in the book".

When it's a monster, I usually won't allow any regular shenanigans to just turn them around - they better be packing charm monsters, or some other magical/technological means that will enable them to diffuse a pack of angry poisonous monkeys that have no language.

If it's a rational NPC, sure, there's always a way out - if it's a suicidal cultist, it'll probably involve non-lethal damage, titanium cable and some amazing intimidate rolls.

But killing enemies is usually a less messy way of handling them, for the GM's sake. If the party goes out of their way to buy/convince/recruit every mook they find, they'll end up with an army of sidekicks or hostages following them around.

That might sound funny, but in the long run it'll take time away from the plot. And advancing the main plot always feels more satisfying than clowning around - to me at least.


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Personally, I think it goes both ways - I think the DM owes the players the ability to attack the adventure in a variety of ways, depending on their PCs’ style.

I think the players owe the DM the respect of not sabotaging the plot too* horrendously.

(I think sweet-talking an ooze should fail, but even crazed cultists want something - offering them something they desire more than killing you should carry some weight).

*:
I’m lucky enough to DM/play with a group who don’t need to rigorously define “too” there.


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Going outside the printed way of running enemies/NPCs during encounters has led to some fabulous, rewarding role play and immeasurable volumes of fun in our games, moments and stories that would have been otherwise lost by adherence to the text. I would bet that almost all the folks involved in producing the adventures we play would be perfectly fine with us taking their creations in different directions than what is suggested on the page. Deviations from the baseline are encouraged and welcome.


The only question you should be asking is to yourself: Did you have fun?

If the answer is yes - who cares whether the GM is following the adventure as written? If the answer is no, it's not because he's going off the reservation, it's because he needs a little more work in being a GM.

Ravingdork wrote:
I hate it when GMs change things up too much. It's like, why did we even bother buying a module?
Ravingdork wrote:

...

Any GM who goes way off the rails without informing his play group in advance (thereby modifying the social contract as it were) is cheating and is not likely to last long.

There's one important point to RPGs in general that you are missing: The GM cannot cheat. All rules, every single line, in every single book and module is merely a guideline. A GM can, and should, change anything or everything if he or she feels like it would make the group's experience more fun. The only rule a GM needs to follow is: Make it fun. A GM shouldn't act as if they're in competition with the players not because that's cheating but because it's generally not fun. But if they want to change up the modules, and the result is a fun gaming experience for everyone... then they absolutely can and should do that.


Trentin C Bergeron wrote:

Wow. I'm not surprised but disappointed in some of the responses here. What a sense of false entitlement.

1) The GM's job is to give the players a fun time. Not "follow the rules" laid out in a module. The module should always be used as a guideline. There is NO WAY to write one with every player shenanigan in mind. Good GMs always adapt things to character choices/behavior.

2) If you were in my game, and I found you posting this kind of nonsense on a forum, I would boot you. Immediately. Frankly, it's none of your business. You're playing. Let the GM run their game and you react/interact with it. I never tell my players a) what's "going on" and b) what rules I used. My job is to give you a good time. NOT to "step in line" with how you want it done.

If you don't like your GM, go run your own game!

3) If you read the book, there are at least 3 references I spotted regarding the authority of the GM. Just because you can buy all the books and learn everything does not mean, at my table you will KNOW everything. I get to change things as I see fit. It sounds like your GM will too. Stop worrying about what your GM is doing. Just get into it and have fun playing. Also pathfinder mechanic do not work well for starfinder from all the forums i have read. So no you can not apply just any rules you want. That leads to bad game play.

4) Most GMs are fans of both the players AND the characters. Just because I'm challenging you doesn't mean I want you to fail. Or die. A lot of the hostility towards GMs stems from this idea that they are out to get you. You should get over that. Based on your post, it's obvious your GM is not out to get you.

Finally, you have a great GM. You should be grateful for the time they put in and their willingness to be creative for you.

I have an okay gm that i do not yet trust. I think he is shaky on the mechanic and relys to heavily on the pathfinder mechanic. Which does not translate well to starfinder. Rose tinted glasses not all gms are that nice. An quite frankly if he is not out to get us then he does not know how to create encounters properly. And should relearn the parts he skimmed over. Following blindly with out verifacation will lead to a sad ending. It is all of my business i am part of a social contract with my gm. I am get senses of when he is adding stuff because his "add-ons" tend to be over power. Like 40 to 4 over powered. Yes its the gm's job to make the game fun but.... know what blue in the face next part. I may run a game someday for starfinder i got to spit shine some of my rule knowledge first. And if you made it this far then know that your response has disapointed me and quite frankly burned my bacon. I wana know if i am playingthe AP or something that was once the ap but is now something differant. So if i ever join another group and they ask me if i played this i dont lie by saying yes.


Kvetchus wrote:

The only question you should be asking is to yourself: Did you have fun?

yea i did, we dont get to win often. Most the time its hoards of enemies (20+) and hovering on the edge of death with just one more hit when the gm hand waves the rest away. Quire frankly it makes me a player feel inadequate and that I haven't earned the ussualy massive reward afterwards.


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I think mismatches like that are best handled explicitly (and out of session). It’s happened to me reasonably often that the DM is running the game they’d like to play in rather than the game their players want.

He’s not going to know you want something else if you never tell him. My advice would be a conversation between sessions with just the two of you involved - mention what you like, then what you don’t like and then try to finish with another positive.

He’s put lots of work into it, so it’s important to respect that even if it’s not to your taste. I’d steer away from interpretations like “shaky” or “no sense of game balance”. He could well be doing everything right and just be aiming for a playstyle you don’t enjoy.

Dark Archive

Ravingdork wrote:
What's worse, no other GM will touch us as a result. "Oh, you've played Kingmaker before, well, I prefer to have someone in my group who doesn't know what's going to happen."

That sounds like those other gms are jerks, I had played parts of first book before group went on a perma hiatus and joined another group for no problem. I don't have problem with running game for someone who has runned or played it before if I trust they don't meta either in order to derail stuff


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CorvusMask wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
What's worse, no other GM will touch us as a result. "Oh, you've played Kingmaker before, well, I prefer to have someone in my group who doesn't know what's going to happen."
That sounds like those other gms are jerks, I had played parts of first book before group went on a perma hiatus and joined another group for no problem. I don't have problem with running game for someone who has runned or played it before if I trust they don't meta either in order to derail stuff

It doesn’t bother me at all as a DM - even if they DO metagame.

In my view, not reading ahead (or replaying) is more a courtesy to the other players, rather than to the DM.

Dark Archive

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Steve Geddes wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
What's worse, no other GM will touch us as a result. "Oh, you've played Kingmaker before, well, I prefer to have someone in my group who doesn't know what's going to happen."
That sounds like those other gms are jerks, I had played parts of first book before group went on a perma hiatus and joined another group for no problem. I don't have problem with running game for someone who has runned or played it before if I trust they don't meta either in order to derail stuff

It doesn’t bother me at all as a DM - even if they DO metagame.

In my view, not reading ahead (or replaying) is more a courtesy to the other players, rather than to the DM.

Yep, that is what I think too. Its kind of like, if one player already knows solution to situation and works on that right away, other players don't have experience and chance to think solution for themselves and pleasure from figuring it out.

And do note, I specified "Metagame to derail the game". Like, you know, going to Thistletop in RotR long before you know you are supposed to go there :P

But yeah, as long they don't do things like "I'm clearly preparing in advance for this one encounter I shouldn't even know about", or "I'm solving this situation in clearly out of character fashion" or "I instantly solve the problem when party starts thinking due to me already knowing answer" I don't really mind metaing.


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You guys went off topic without me!

I'm so proud!!

As far as written tactics and morale and such, I view them as more a suggestion then something set in stone.

That said, this particular GM needs to take a tutorial on encounter balance. :-)

The trick is, finding a way to tell them that without making it seem like you're jumping on them, because people usually double down in those situations.


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As far as players having previously read or played an AP that doesn't bother me, unless they're sitting there reading while I'm running it. :-)

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