Terribad GM in Society Play What do?


Advice

Dark Archive

Let me set the scene here. I run and dm for a small starfinder society group with some friends at the public library. I occasionally play at the local game store which has rotating GMs. One of them is aggressively bad at rules and imposes houserules for society play. One of which that is particularity irksome is a natural 1 is an autofailure for skill checks.

The core rulebook has you automiss on a natural 1. I can't find anything to support autofailing skill checks on a nat 1. He makes players roll for everything since, "you could roll a 1"

That isn't in the rules so I can't for the life of me figure out why he keeps doing this. This is the main issue but here is a variety of smaller problems in decreasing importance.

He is doing readied actions wrong. As an example he has an enemy ready an action to shoot me if i cast a spell. Per page 249 that should occur immediately after the spell is cast. He has it shoot me before I finish casting and breaks concentration losing the spell.

Not understanding anything about environmental protections in armor. He makes players roll for inhaled poisons even when they have their armor on and the environmental protections activated. Once when we went to activate out suits before entering a radiation filled area he wanted us to make life science checks to activate them.

He keeps "forgetting" how withdraw works for enemies. They not only ignore the square they start out in for opportunity attacks but for there whole movement. Withdraw past 3 melee vesk, "they don't get opportunity attacks he withdrew."

He doesn't apply flat footed to enemies when they run away. They still get 4 times movement but they can turn and duck into areas out of line of sight. Which they couldn't see when they started to run.

He fills out chronicle sheets wrong. Like he just tells us the fame we get and signs it. Nothing else. This is just a nitpick though.

I have tried broaching this with him but it seems like I am the only one in the group who cares about rules. He isn't a new GM. He ran pathfinder games and made similar mistakes. The skill check issue was the same then so he knows it isn't in the rules. I don't know how to broach this with the group at large. He is breaking the rules for society play willfully and repeatedly. The only reason I don't bail is that he is the only one who does this. I don't always know the GM since sometimes it changes from the person on warhorn the day of.

Does anyone on the forums have advice on how to deal with this? Or what repercussions campaign leadership can use to discourage such behavior? I am at the end of my rope regarding this.


He is doing readied actions wrong. As an example he has an enemy ready an action to shoot me if i cast a spell. Per page 249 that should occur immediately after the spell is cast. He has it shoot me before I finish casting and breaks concentration losing the spell.

Other sections of the rules suggest this is possible. you need a board clarification to disprove this one.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

If talking to the GM in question doesn't work, talk to the local Venture Agent/Lieutenant/Captain to see if it can be resolved.

As for readied actions: here is the post you want to redirect people to.

Dark Archive

BigNorseWolf wrote:

He is doing readied actions wrong. As an example he has an enemy ready an action to shoot me if i cast a spell. Per page 249 that should occur immediately after the spell is cast. He has it shoot me before I finish casting and breaks concentration losing the spell.

Other sections of the rules suggest this is possible. you need a board clarification to disprove this one.

Ok let go through this with my basic premises.

Shooting someone is not a purely defensive action.
Page 249 exists.

Also conveniently the designers clarified this. Here is Owen K. C. Stephens Developer, Starfinder Team saying as such. He edited the post to clarify that aoos are not subject to this rule.

LordInsane wrote:
Yes, I'd heard if you take damage you lose the spell, no roll... which is the main reason I worried about some form of casting defensively, if obviously looking radically different (while reluctantly admitting that making it so spellcasters *cannot* cast a spell while threatened without being more likely than not to lose the spell does help in some ways).
[Edit]Three things make this not an issue.

First, reactions resolve directly after the triggering action. So if you cast a spell and someone readied to shoot you if you cast, if the spell has a casting time of 1 standard action you get the spell off before the AoO gets made.
Secondly, most touch-range healing spells specify they do no provoke attacks of opportunity (as do a few other touch spells including some offensive ones).

Third, you lose the spell only if an attack successfully hits your AC or you fail a save against it. For example, if someone lobs a grenade and you are caught in the area while casting, but you make your save against it, that doesn't cause you to loose the spell.

[An earlier version of this post noted that all AoO were resolved after the triggering event, but while that is true for readied actions and most other reactions, it is not for attack of opportunity -- this is one reason we have to write down rules, especially after going through 6 versions of ho things work in development, rather than just trusting out memories].


Halek wrote:

Also conveniently the designers clarified this. Here is Owen K. C. Stephens Developer, Starfinder Team saying as such. He edited the post
to clarify that aoos are not subject to this rule.

Sorry for not directing you to the post. I was more tired than i thought and slumped over mid post before finding it. Thank you helpful tracking badger.

Quote:
Page 249 exists.

Yes, but so does page 331

You are most at risk of taking damage while casting when a spell’s casting time is 1 round or longer, you have provoked an attack of opportunity, or a foe readied an action to attack you when you began to cast

Which is an error. It should have been taken out, but as is it either reads like an exception to the rule or that "Starting" the cast is a separate trigger from the spellcasting.

Your other errors are... pretty bad. But for this one please keep in mind that the requirements to DM SFS are a number and a pulse. Many never visit the boards or dig through for resolutions to contradictory rules in the book.

Dark Archive

Thanks for the advice il try raising my concerns to the venture captain that runs games once a month in my area.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

You might also want to post in the Starfinder Society forum to better get the attention of the Organized Play organizers on the boards.


Page 331 is what I go by. I think page 249 might be the error. Reason is that prepared actions make no sense unless they happen *before* the trigger. The whole point of them is to act like when you get the drop on someone and you're saying "hold it right there" with a gun pointed at them. If you can't shoot before they do something, then you haven't got them at gunpoint. That option is the reward for winning initiative.

Otherwise *anyone* can prepare an action - it's called losing initiative and going after lol. :)

"You are most at risk of taking damage while casting when a spell’s casting time is 1 round or longer, you have provoked an attack of opportunity, **or a foe readied an action to attack you when you began to cast**."


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Page 249 is correct.

You can find developer confirmation here:

https://paizo.com/community/blog/v5748dyo5ljv8?Five-Differences-Between-Sta rfinder-Rules-and

If you'd like hundreds of posts of people arguing about it even after the correct answer to this question was established, you could also look here:

https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42ffi?Clarification-on-interrupting-spells-wit h-a


Where on that page does it say this. I did a Find for "spell" and looked through them but couldn't find. Also looked for those page numbers and nothing.

Owen's posts said this:
"reactions resolve directly after the triggering action."

But it is not clear that a Readied Action is the same as a Reaction, or as an Attack of Opportunity. In fact, there are many reasons to think it specifically is not the same.

On pages 248-249, look at the structure of the headings. REACTIONS is a top level typeface. Under that, Attack of Opportunity is a smaller heading, meaning it should be a kind of Reaction.

Then, it moves on to another section, with the heading OTHER ACTIONS and this typeface is on the same level as the previous section (REACTIONS). That should mean we are moving on now to another kind of thing than Reactions. "Ready an Action" is a smaller heading, under OTHER ACTIONS.

And that's not the only reason...

If you look at the two paragraphs under "Ready an Action" they never refer to it as a reaction. They called it a "readied action". At a glance you will see the phrase "reaction" in the first paragraph, but that is specifically to call out what you do when you use a reaction while ALSO having a readied action...

"If you used a reaction on your previous turn and then chose to ready an action (something else than a reaction), you still regain your reaction at the beginning of your original turn, not when you take your readied action (again - another thing than the reaction).
p/249 (parentheticals mine)

Therefore:

It is true that p.249 says readied actions like shooting take place immediately after their trigger. But it also says otherwise on another page. The question is whether Owen's post addressed this discrepancy.

He made a comment about reactions, but he did not seem to comment about readied actions.

His response to LordInsane was not about this discrepancy at all. It was about reactions and attacks of opportunity. He, like page 249, does mention 'readied to shoot you' but I think he's conflating readied actions with reactions and it seems like that was not the intent. He might have been mistaken in what he meant to say. He even conflates a readied action with an attack of opportunity, which is definitely mistaken. That makes me think he must have not been thinking about it before typing that. Owen's sentence:

"if you cast a spell and someone **readied** to shoot you if you cast, if the spell has a casting time of 1 standard action you get the spell off before the **AoO** gets made" (emphasis mine)

Makes no sense because he switches from talking about readied actions to AoO. I think maybe he just forgot the particulars of his own rules here and was not specifically meaning to establish a new ERRATA.

Unfortunately, Owen himself doesn't post in the long argument you had on that other link. It's just you saying the same thing as you've said here. I don't know if that other fellow pointed out the structural arrangement of topics in the book though.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

The intent is to not be able to interrupt spells with a casting time of 1 standard action or less with a readied action.

There are no more concentration checks or other ways for a spellcaster to keep on going after they take damage from an attack that targetted their (E/K)AC or when they fail a save against an effect that causes them to take damage.

As for the text of Owen you're picking apart, replace the AoO with readied action and you get text inline with the intent of the system.


Yeah I can believe that Damanta. It could be all about whether the spell takes an action or a round. Seems like maybe they wanted some spells to go off no matter what.

But when it comes to anything else, like a person shooting, pulling a lever, etc. I would still have the readied action go off before the attempted event. That is the *entire* point of readied actions - to try to *prevent* x.


Except, in Starfinder, that is the exact opposite of readied actions that are not purely defensive do. So, you can decide at your table to have the readied action to shoot a guy pulling a lever go off before the lever is pulled, but that's your house rule, not the actual rule.


I'm not sure I understand what you mean about what they do.

Agreed I'm talking about veering from what's in the book, but I'm wondering now...

What is the point of a readied action?

Why should I bother restricting myself to a particular trigger when I can just act now. OR, if I want it to happen after the trigger (what you're saying the rules say), then why not just wait and go on my next turn? That would still be after their action and before their next.


Offensive readied actions are broken in the sense that there's no reason to do them.


Agreed. About the only time I can think of would be if you don't have anything to shoot right now, but have a standard action left and you feel like maybe a target will walk into view before your turn comes up again.


Someone popping in and out of visibility/total cover is the only thing i can think of.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

That, or an actually defensive readied action like "if they start shooting I'm going to slam this nice, sturdy door."

My theory has actually been that readied attacks were collateral damage of a rules change specifically made so that casters could function in a world where guns are common.


Even considering spell casters in a world of guns, I still don't get it. Reason: (1) Before, you still had plenty of archers and other ranged and thrown weapons. (2) They could still miss, and (3) Readying players would have to give up their chance to act on their initiative and wait for a narrow trigger - that's a cost. And, they would have to win initiative over the spellcaster. How is that any more limiting to the spell caster than it is to another person with a gun? Are guns less useful because someone who beats you in initiative can shoot you first?

It seems to me the entire point of the readied action was to simulate those moments when you get the jump on someone and can say 'hold it right there' with a gun on them, and if they move you fire. Otherwise, how would that be done, and why ever hold someone at gunpoint if they can just then shoot you first?

Having a readied action have to go after the trigger is complete is so incredibly broken that I think it must be a mistake - or even if the designer doesn't say it's a mistake - it's a mistake in judgment; that they will probably end up changing someday.

That's why I choose to say that holding your gun on someone and shooting them because they are about to do something *is* a defensive act.


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Tiberius1701 wrote:
Even considering spell casters in a world of guns, I still don't get it.

Automatic spell failure on getting hit is the thing I think you're missing.

Readied actions to attack upon spellcasting would automatically shut down basically all casters; they can't function if the attack goes off before the spell, because readied actions become an extremely easy near-perfect counter.

If you make a change to this, you need an explicit exemption for spellcasting, or you've completely broken spellcasting.


HammerJack wrote:

That, or an actually defensive readied action like "if they start shooting I'm going to slam this nice, sturdy door."

Which kicks off the timey whimey ball of you've shut the door because they shot now do they have to shoot the door or go back in time and shoot someone else...


BigNorseWolf wrote:
HammerJack wrote:

That, or an actually defensive readied action like "if they start shooting I'm going to slam this nice, sturdy door."

Which kicks off the timey whimey ball of you've shut the door because they shot now do they have to shoot the door or go back in time and shoot someone else...

They're now making the shot either against the door, or the same target but with total cover. Nothing in the rules permits for rewinding cause and effect like that - once the door is closed, your action has had a consequence and simply is happening.


What he's saying is that if you say you can't shoot a spellcaster before their spell with a readied action, then you should say also that you can't shut the door before the person shoots with a readied action.

Consistent:
A1) I set trigger as spell being cast. He casts, then I shoot.
B1) I set trigger as being shot at. He shoots me, then I close door.

OR
A2) I set trigger as spell being cast. He declares, I shoot first.
B2) I set trigger to being shot at. He declares, I close door first.

But having A1 with B2 is weird.

I'm seeing what Nerdy Canuck is saying about the spell failure though. Even though it doesn't make sense (and it definitely doesn't), perhaps they sacrificed that to keep spellcasters in the game more, without cumbersome concentration rolls when they were shot.

After all, even if I get my shot off before a guy shooting at me because I had a prepared action - he still gets to shoot after that assuming he's alive. The spellcaster doesn't. But unfortunately, they've now taken away the ability to shoot a guy you have a gun on before he can shoot you, even though you won initiative and prepped an action (*sigh*).

But the thing is, I really don't see people preparing actions that often in combat. Usually time is too precious and they'd rather just shoot someone now. So I'm not convinced it would ruin spellcasting. Don't forget they now give cover bonuses if he's got buddies between you and him.

WHAT THEY SHOULD REALLY DO IS SAY THIS:
1) All prepped actions go off just before their trigger (as traditional).
2) If the trigger was a spell being cast and it has a cast time of 1 action, then it still goes off, but AFTER the prepped action (assuming the spellcaster hasn't been dropped). If the casting time is longer than 1 action, it is interrupted and fails.

Now THAT would put 1-action spells in the same boat with guns without ruining prepped actions. Like a guy I'm holding a prepped action on, telling him to 'put his hands up', he can still shoot/cast but only if he survives my prepped action.


Nerdy Canuck wrote:
Nothing in the rules permits for rewinding cause and effect like that - once the door is closed, your action has had a consequence and simply is happening.

Nothing in the rules says anything at all about what happens when your action is negated before you can take it, hence the timey whimey ball.

You cannot simply declare one side unevidenced and therefore wrong without producing some evdience for the other side.


Nothing is being negated, whatever was shooting that triggered a character shutting the door still gets to shoot. No time is being rolled back, no actions need (or can, or should) be reconsidered.

I’d say it would be the DM’s call if they give total cover to the character being shot at or have the shooter roll vs the door’s AC. Either seems fair.

And, Tiberius, sorry you’re not happy with how it works. Thems the breaks.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Nerdy Canuck wrote:
Nothing in the rules permits for rewinding cause and effect like that - once the door is closed, your action has had a consequence and simply is happening.

Nothing in the rules says anything at all about what happens when your action is negated before you can take it, hence the timey whimey ball.

You cannot simply declare one side unevidenced and therefore wrong without producing some evdience for the other side.

Cause and effect has already happened at that point, can't rewind it. If your action becomes impossible, your action doesn't happen.


Tiberius1701 wrote:

WHAT THEY SHOULD REALLY DO IS SAY THIS:

1) All prepped actions go off just before their trigger (as traditional).
2) If the trigger was a spell being cast and it has a cast time of 1 action, then it still goes off, but AFTER the prepped action (assuming the spellcaster hasn't been dropped). If the casting time is longer than 1 action, it is interrupted and fails.

At which point you have to add even further exceptions for Attacks of Opportunity (which explicitly do happen before the triggering action), which is not good.

It may not make sense to you, but might be because you're over-focused on an edge case that (a) doesn't really come up in practice, and (b) is actually pretty easily handled by creative use of the surprise round rules.

Also, the door counts as a purely defensive action, so it gets to happen first. One way to think about it is like this: The rules allow for blocking, but not for you to land your punch before your opponent's punch as a reaction to it. Effectively, it's an assumption that a purely defensive action is just a tiny bit faster than an attack.

The problem here isn't the rules, so much as the way you're framing them for yourself.


Nerdy Canuck wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Nerdy Canuck wrote:
Nothing in the rules permits for rewinding cause and effect like that - once the door is closed, your action has had a consequence and simply is happening.

Nothing in the rules says anything at all about what happens when your action is negated before you can take it, hence the timey whimey ball.

You cannot simply declare one side unevidenced and therefore wrong without producing some evdience for the other side.

Cause and effect has already happened at that point, can't rewind it. If your action becomes impossible, your action doesn't happen.

1) This is not a rule

2) this isn't even consistent. The cause of you shutting the door was the NPC shooting you. But then you shutting the door (which happened for your player after another action) then goes before.

As a turn based game starfinder gets borked when one turn interrupts another.


Nerdy Canuck wrote:
Tiberius1701 wrote:

WHAT THEY SHOULD REALLY DO IS SAY THIS:

1) All prepped actions go off just before their trigger (as traditional).
2) If the trigger was a spell being cast and it has a cast time of 1 action, then it still goes off, but AFTER the prepped action (assuming the spellcaster hasn't been dropped). If the casting time is longer than 1 action, it is interrupted and fails.
At which point you have to add even further exceptions for Attacks of Opportunity (which explicitly do happen before the triggering action)...

I think you may have misread. #1 says ALL prepared actions go off just before their trigger. If AoO also happens before the trigger, then no exceptions are needed.

Besides that, an AoO is not a prepared action. It is a kind of Reaction. And Prepared actions are not Reaction...

REACTIONS
-Attacks of Opportunity
-various special abilities

OTHER ACTIONS
-Delay
-Ready an Action
...etc.

This is not about a 'fringe' case. It is about the everyday, very common and central function of prepared actions (to stop someone if they try to do something you're watching for). What I've proposed is the simplest and most elegant way to keep prepped actions relevant and functional, while also allowing 1-action spells not to have a disadvantage in getting canceled.


@BNW:
Because shutting the door is defensive, it happens before the trigger, so you aren't shutting the door because you got shot, you're shutting the door because you think something is going to shoot you. There's no timey-whimey interaction here, aside from the prepared action happening first.

@ Tiberius: #2 is what already happens. Caster casts, offensive prepared action happens, in that order. One might almost think it happens that way on purpose, so that casters can actually do things in the game without being shut down, constantly, by something with a gun.

#1 is how it would work, if we were playing Pathfinder, but we're not, so it doesn't. I appreciate that its a change that takes some getting used to, but positing that it SHOULD be that way is the same as saying "Weapons should have an increased damage range for critical hits, and the possibility of critting on an increased numerical range on a d20." Yes, that was a cool thing in Pathfinder. This isn't Pathfinder.

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