The adversarial GM vs Player Relationship


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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wizzardman wrote:
I don't think N N 959 is saying that as a GM he has no input on the setting and style of the game. I think he's saying he has little to no impact on the game *rules*.

This is exactly what I am saying. My mistake for not making that clearer.

Quote:
Mercer is kind of a strange example on that, as he definitely fudges rules in order to get the kind of story that he *wants*. Personally, I see that as kind of a negative; while there are situations where the story of a game can benefit from GM shepherding, that can also take some of the power to influence the game away from the players, and remove some of the amazing potential that the randomness of the dice can provide.

Exactly how I feel. When I sign up for a PFS game, I want to play Pathfinder. I want to play the game that is built on decades of blood, sweat, and tears of professional game designers. I don't need the GM to try and "fix" that for me.

I realize that there are GMs who create a unique experience with their own twist on the rules. More power to them. I don't begrudge anyone from wanting that in a GM and/or seeking it out. But I don't play Pathfinder with an expectation that the GM has to modify the rules to make it fun. When I GM, I approach it with the mentality that the game is fun, as written. My job is to not screw that up.

Quote:
But aside from that, what GMs (including Mercer) can flavor the game with, without affecting the rules themselves, is story, setting, and non-player characters (specifically their behavior and personality, not their stats). And that's more typically what you'll see Mercer expressing himself with.

I absolutely think a GM needs to breath life into the NPCs and the story telling. I absolutely think a GM's ability to roleplay can tremendously improve the player experience.


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Going to the first part of Hastur’s post, I think some people might be decrying the GM-Power in 2e because the GM always has the power to override something or make a ruling against what the books says but when the book directly says “determined by the GM” it’s making that ruling a certainty as opposed to a possibility. So I imagine there are some people out there who dislike things being nebulous. They might prefer a hard and fast rule and then may or may not still be ok if it is overridden, depending on how reasonable they are.

Also, one thing I enjoy saying is that Rule 0 might give a GM unlimited power but Rule -1 is that a GM without players, because they all left when he annoyed them with his overuse of Rule 0, isn’t a GM at all :)

I think the bottom line is that what makes this genre of games so amazing is the variety of styles. Hopefully you can find the GM and players with similar and reasonable outlooks!


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In the end of the day, rarity is mostly an attention call.

In PF1 one wouldnt present a build to the GM with every single lvl planed out most likely.

In 2E you literally have to do that. You want X, Y, Z things at lvl T, R and O...? Then you need to from the start send this to the GM to make sure all this will be available or that the GM shortly after you reach the lvl make it part of the story.

This means the GM now knows exactly what you will get and have all the way to the lvl the game ends.

This does make more annoying to make a PC and it does also means the GM can, or not if he just gives a pass and says everything will be available, take more time prepping since he needs to check each entry he doesnt know which you just requested, but it can lead to a more stable game.

The player answer, just like in PF1 remains the same. If the GM deny something, the player can try to:

1. Argueu in favor of it.
2. Just change characters and present yet another list to the GM with other stuff they want instead. Simply restarting the process.
3. If the player and GM cant come to terms, the player will simply leave the table and that is that.

Time will tell how well rarity works in the end.


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I think there is a natural, healthy tension in play where players want to get every advantage they can get because they want their characters to survive and succeed, and a GM not wanting to let players run roughshod over the adventure without feeling challenged because they have seized every possible advantage.

It's less adversarial and more just a point of tension based on everybody in the relationship performing their expected role. Providing more structure on how this should work actually makes things less adversarial, I feel.

The one thing I am glad to see gone is the expectation that a character should have access to any spell, feat, item, etc. that the player knows about.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
MaxAstro wrote:

I strongly agree with the King in Yellow, in general.

As far as GMs having a style vs being transparent... That's an interesting subject for me because I've shifted over time. I used to be a pretty simulationist GM where I would run everything exactly RAW and saw my job as being the arbiter of the rules and nothing else.

Ironically, my players broke me of this habit. The few times I would run something more custom, they greatly enjoyed it and encouraged me to do more. By now, I'm firmly on the narrativist side of things. I'm here to help my players create a story and for everyone to have fun, and I won't hesitate to axe any rule that impedes that for even a second. Or fudge dice, if it comes down to it. Although I usually only fudge in my player's favor; typically when they've come up with some insane plan and it would anticlimactic if it didn't work.

I think it's silly, though, to suggest that there is a One True Way of GMing. For example, DM_aka_Dudemeister would hate my games; he doesn't like secret rolls or fudging dice, and I'd be a horrible GM for him. But that doesn't mean I'm a bad GM or he's a bad player; it just means we have different styles and don't fit each other.

yeah, i've tended to find even though I used to try to just be an unthinking arbiter like a computer, people actually like it better if you force story events to happen.

like it's one thing if the players know they have 30 days to do X, but just having a behind the scenes timer, it's so much better, i've found, to give them the situation they "deserve" from a narrative standpoint. like if they made sacrifices to get there quick and did "unsafe" options like trekking through the wilderness to try and find a ruin instead of going to town first to look for clues and then find the ruin, then you put them there earlier in the evil plans. even if they would've taken the same amount of time, narratively it makes it look like luck is on their side.

if instead they went to town and got arrested for starting a bar fight, they'll always end up getting there as the bbeg is doing the ritual or is setting out with his army, etc.

stuff like that happens all the times in books, and they make for great stories, even if you knew the whole time the good guys were going to win.

I've basically stopped GMing as a simulationist and started as a "tropist" narrative tropes make for good stories, especially when you're playing them.


Nox Aeterna wrote:

In the end of the day, rarity is mostly an attention call.

In PF1 one wouldnt present a build to the GM with every single lvl planed out most likely.

In 2E you literally have to do that. You want X, Y, Z things at lvl T, R and O...? Then you need to from the start send this to the GM to make sure all this will be available or that the GM shortly after you reach the lvl make it part of the story.

This means the GM now knows exactly what you will get and have all the way to the lvl the game ends.

This does make more annoying to make a PC and it does also means the GM can, or not if he just gives a pass and says everything will be available, take more time prepping since he needs to check each entry he doesnt know which you just requested, but it can lead to a more stable game.

The player answer, just like in PF1 remains the same. If the GM deny something, the player can try to:

1. Argueu in favor of it.
2. Just change characters and present yet another list to the GM with other stuff they want instead. Simply restarting the process.
3. If the player and GM cant come to terms, the player will simply leave the table and that is that.

Time will tell how well rarity works in the end.

I think you are missing an option. You plan your character however you want, ignoring uncommon/rare options that aren't specifically granted, and then play it. I'm not seeing how someone can run out of character concepts using the common options. I don't intend to make any character with an uncommon option anytime soon, unless it's granted in game.

Liberty's Edge

If you are playing in organized leagues than by all means the game should be as GM/DM influence as possible.

That being said, all Pathfinder 1E was was a homebrew of 3.5 and all 3.5 was was a collection of homebrew rules from people who had played TSR released stuff. 5E actively encourages homebrewing with its wide open settings and options.

That is the same with campaign settings for existing systems. They tended to start as a homebrew first. I don't think the problem tends to come in fudging the rules or the rolls to help the story and the players along. I think the problem is when you are fudging them to punish players for pissing you off or because you are seeing the die the rolled horrible with last week do mostly above average this week.

When dealing with a campaign setting that you and your players are creating, I feel it is important to create and alter rules so that they fit your setting more. When dealing with new players that have never played before, I find it important to play a little looser with the rules. The faster a new player's character dies out of the gate, the less likely a the player is to return to not only your campaign but the game as a whole. Heck I don't even like it when established players die right out of the gate. I'm not running that one campaign from years ago where the whole point was to see how quick the party would be TPK.

But that is just my opinion and experience.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
lordcirth wrote:
Nox Aeterna wrote:

In the end of the day, rarity is mostly an attention call.

In PF1 one wouldnt present a build to the GM with every single lvl planed out most likely.

In 2E you literally have to do that. You want X, Y, Z things at lvl T, R and O...? Then you need to from the start send this to the GM to make sure all this will be available or that the GM shortly after you reach the lvl make it part of the story.

This means the GM now knows exactly what you will get and have all the way to the lvl the game ends.

This does make more annoying to make a PC and it does also means the GM can, or not if he just gives a pass and says everything will be available, take more time prepping since he needs to check each entry he doesnt know which you just requested, but it can lead to a more stable game.

The player answer, just like in PF1 remains the same. If the GM deny something, the player can try to:

1. Argueu in favor of it.
2. Just change characters and present yet another list to the GM with other stuff they want instead. Simply restarting the process.
3. If the player and GM cant come to terms, the player will simply leave the table and that is that.

Time will tell how well rarity works in the end.

I think you are missing an option. You plan your character however you want, ignoring uncommon/rare options that aren't specifically granted, and then play it. I'm not seeing how someone can run out of character concepts using the common options. I don't intend to make any character with an uncommon option anytime soon, unless it's granted in game.

There are legitimately some reasonable concepts that run up against uncommon-ness more than others - playing a Diviner wizard, for example, you are going to be working a lot harder than an Evoker to fill out your spellbook.

I don't think that is a bad thing, though, because when it comes to narrative power, a Diviner wizard with access to every divination spell is a fair bit above an Evoker wizard with access to every evocation spell.


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Kade Gryffinhart wrote:


That is the same with campaign settings for existing systems. They tended to start as a homebrew first. I don't think the problem tends to come in fudging the rules or the rolls to help the story and the players along. I think the problem is when you are fudging them to punish players for pissing you off or because you are seeing the die the rolled horrible with last week do mostly above average this week.

When dealing with a campaign setting that you and your players are creating, I feel it is important to create and alter rules so that they fit your setting more. When dealing with new players that have never played before, I find it important to play a little looser with the rules. The faster a new player's character dies out of the gate, the less likely a the player is to return to not only your campaign but the game as a whole. Heck I don't even like it when established players die right out of the gate. I'm not running that one campaign from years ago where the whole point was to see how quick the party would be TPK.

But that is just my opinion and experience.

I never fudge rolls. In fact, other than secret rolls, I roll everything in front of the players. I don't tell the players what the enemies need but everyone is going to know that a 1 or 2 is probably bad. They might suspect I am fudging it if the Lich rolls say a 7 to save and I say that is a success but overall I think this helps a lot with player trust. Keep in mind it also means that I don't fudge to save players either. I like there to be a sense of danger. If players don't die they aren't being heroic they are just not being lazy when the save someone. However that last sentence is a whole nother topic.

This is how a typical situation might go in one of my games. The characters are about to charge into a throne room of undead with the BIG BAD LICH sitting on the throne.

Here is what I think

Should happen: Fight of several rounds with both sides getting in a few good blows and the fun of unleashing there saved up big gun attacks.

Spoiler:

Barbarian leads the charge and gauges the strength of the undead minions.
Wizard AOEs and kills or damages many of them.
Fighter: Charges the skeletal champion on the dias.
Rogue: Moves in and helps the fighter
Lich: Monologues and throws out spells causes damage but not killing anybody.
Group: Descends on the Lich and beat him down

Could Happen: The lich fails an early save to the Wizards disintegrate or dies to a lucky critical hit from the warrior.

Spoiler:

Wizard: If I have line of sight I want to use my disintegration spell on him.
Me: Roll to hit (Wizard rolls and succeeds)
Me: With crash of steel on steel the fighter hits the Skeletal Champion knocking the undead warrior aside. For just a moment the Lich is standing clear in front of its throne. The wizard’s chanting echoes across the room and for just a moment the lights flicker as all the green in the spectrum appears to gather at the wizard’s fingertip and then lancing out to strike the Lich on the chest…..(Roll in front of the group gets a natural 1 takes 200 damage) The Lich form is touched by the green light and colors seem to turn negative as with an echoing cry he is destroyed.

My mental response to a 2 round fight that was a semi climax to a story arc. “That kind of sucked to end off 12 levels of build up. “Hmm, let me…..”
Me: "As you search the throne room a loud rough voice and a shimmering demonic figure appears standing in front of the Throne. “Acererak, have you dealt with those pesky mercenaries yet?” The form is obviously a projection. Your arcane lore tells you it is most likely being sent from somewhere nearby.

I am now mentally creating an additional adventure to let the group hunt down a demon who is the power behind the lich.

Could Happen: We lose a character or two in the first round to a blown save and the group needs to retreat double quick

Spoiler:

Me: With crash of steel on steel the fighter hits the Skeletal Champion knocking the undead warrior aside. For just a moment the Lich is standing clear in front of its throne. The wizard’s chanting echoes across the room and for just a moment the lights flicker as all the green in the spectrum appears to gather at the wizard’s fingertip and then lancing out to strike where the lich had just been standing. The throne disappears in a burst of arcane energy. The Lich points his own skeletal hand and fires a very similar green bolt at the wizard. (One critical fail roll later)
The wizard didn't even have time to react. Mentally still tied up in the arcane destruction you just unleashed your form is torn from the world.

The groups fighter is hit with a spell and goes down, Things get bad. Cleric calls the retreat. Barbarian makes a move through grab to snatch up the fight in a fireman’s carry. Rogue grabs up the fighters sword as he runs for the door. The megalomaniacal Lich realizes these worms are beneath him and instead of finishing them off he laughs and taunts the foolish mortals. His minions harry the group until the have fled the castle. I don't just do resurrections all willy nilly in my games. They always require something special. It makes death matter more than it does in a video game.

Afterward the game I pull the wizard aside to find out a couple of things: 1) Do you wish to continue playing the same character? Most often this answer is yes but sometimes the player wants a change anyway. If not we plan on rerolling a character. If so then….
2) I am going to have you play an NPC for the next session or two as the group travels to save your soul. I give her the background and what the true motives of said character are and swear her to secrecy.
3) I have never had this happen but….They have no wish to play and NPC they can either come and watch or take the next session off.

After they patch themselves up the cleric finds out as the wizard died her soul was taken captive by a demon who is in league with the lich. They will have to hunt down the demon to free the wizard's soul. This allows the group to get a little more XP or items to face against the lich when they return. The dead wizard comes back with as much XP as the experience of death/transference to a different state has shown her new things so she stays at the level of the group.

Could Happen: TPK (Total Party Kill) On a TPK this is either extreme bad luck on the partys part and lots of “1” came up. Or I planned a “Dangerous” encounter that was really an “Impossible” encounter. In these cases I usually take it easy. Depending on how the deaths happened I use a couple of options:

Spoiler:

“Conan you are the last to fall. You realize this foe was too great for you and his taunting laughter chases you into darkness.”

Option 1: It was basically damage that killed them and not death effects or disintegrations.
“You awaken the sound of water dripping. You are naked and laying on a cold stone slab. Looking around to get you bearings you seem to be in some sort of cell. You hear the sound of your friends waking up nearby. Beyond the bars is a chamber. Some mad alchemist lab or torture’s den. Either way you are sure you don't want to stay long…….”

Option 2: Death from death effects or disintegration. The lightly glowing globe appears to be suspending the group in the void. You can see nothing in every direction. As the party looks around A. voice rings out. “Hello my friends, I apologize for interfering but I have been following your progress closely and could not let that fiend win.” An Ancient silver dragon appears out of the void. “Acererak is more dangerous than you know. Demonic forces have been helping him from the shadows. I will return you to the village but you must track down this demon before attempting to face the Lich again.”

Could Happen: The thief is snuck through the door and attempts to sneak past the lich and through the secret door behind the throne and regains the “Holy Relic of Great High Lord Macguffin” and is lucky enough not to get seen. The group gets some XP for pulling off the heist.

Spoiler:

“As triumphantly hand over the Holy Macguffin you looted from the Lich there is an explosion of noise. Rising into the air on a horse with flaming hooves is Venger Acererak and he looks perturbed. His undead minions are descending on the village.”

Could Happen: The characters try something I didn't think of

Spoiler:

No idea I didnt think of it. Justa adjust the best I can. :)

So I know what your thinking:

Damn, did he really just type all that

Tl;dr I dont fudge rolls I just adapt.

*edits to do some cleanup of this stupidly long post :)


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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

man that TPK one feels like a narrative fudge roll, but you do you. sounds like you're a good DM.

meanwhile, I roll everything secret. well, technically I take a picture of anything crazy, but I GM mostly through the net but use real dice.


Bandw2 wrote:

man that TPK one feels like a narrative fudge roll, but you do you. sounds like you're a good DM.

meanwhile, I roll everything secret. well, technically I take a picture of anything crazy, but I GM mostly through the net but use real dice.

Oh narratively it is. However I dont have a problem with it as either I misjudged the power level of the foe or the group got super unlucky. In either of those cases I am willing to use a get out of jailfree card.

On the other hand

If they players attacked the Lich despite many warnings they were not ready to face this foe and then failed to run away when given the chance. I will keep that TPK that is one them.


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This is an old classic, now.

I like the balance:

No control-freak DMs, and no entitled players, the latter is a newer phenomenon, relatively. Seemed to really gain popularity in the mid-2000s.

"What do you mean I can't play a pixie paladin in your Dark Sun campaign?! You are an unimaginative, mean, controlling DM. My character is all I have, you have no say in the matter!"

Or something to that effect.

There are even some DMs I read about that gloat about how permissive they are with everything (never say no, always "Yes, and") and don't know or care about the PCs, as if it's cool to not have any knowledge of any PCs abilities, because you are so detached and professional, I guess what they're going for.

These are often the everything is emergent through the fiction types (you can play your 5 Int Sherlock, however you want, no regard for the abilities), nothing is pre-established, the whole multiverse would seem to be in stasis until the PCs interact. If you do not follow the make-it-up-as-you-go-along, play whatever you want method, you are a railroading DM, telling your story.

That's the gist I have got, so far.


Nox Aeterna wrote:

In PF1 one wouldnt present a build to the GM with every single lvl planed out most likely.

In 2E you literally have to do that. You want X, Y, Z things at lvl T, R and O...? Then you need to from the start send this to the GM to make sure all this will be available or that the GM shortly after you reach the lvl make it part of the story.

What sort of builds are gated behind rarity? Currently we have a number of spells, but nothing that is "my build is based on this" that I can see. I mean, if you're making a diviner (as was mentioned), then that's something you mention to your GM, but you're not going through and planning out every single level.

The only thing we've seen so far (that I know of) are the...

Spoiler:
two uncommon reward feats from Fall of Plaguestone
...which seem more narratively focused than build dependent.

I said it earlier and someone echoed it later in the thread: Rarity sets a baseline. There's no need to plan out your every single level when you're playing on the baseline.


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Something went wrong when characters started being referred to as "Builds".


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Colonel Kurtz wrote:
Something went wrong when characters started being referred to as "Builds".

Characters are not builds. Builds are the mechanical skeleton that makes a character able to function in the game world.


Ruzza wrote:
Nox Aeterna wrote:

In PF1 one wouldnt present a build to the GM with every single lvl planed out most likely.

In 2E you literally have to do that. You want X, Y, Z things at lvl T, R and O...? Then you need to from the start send this to the GM to make sure all this will be available or that the GM shortly after you reach the lvl make it part of the story.

What sort of builds are gated behind rarity? Currently we have a number of spells, but nothing that is "my build is based on this" that I can see. I mean, if you're making a diviner (as was mentioned), then that's something you mention to your GM, but you're not going through and planning out every single level.

The only thing we've seen so far (that I know of) are the... ** spoiler omitted ** ...which seem more narratively focused than build dependent.

I said it earlier and someone echoed it later in the thread: Rarity sets a baseline. There's no need to plan out your every single level when you're playing on the baseline.

All eastern stuff in uncommon, if someone wanted that and the GM said nope, well, there can go a character. In the future entire races could well be uncommon, even PF1 already references that.

These are examples, ultimately rarity is just a gate for GM approval, paizo can toss all sorts of things behind it in the name of saying for you to use it you need a GM.

There is plenty of it in the very core book of the game, hell knows how much of it there will be in the tons of splat books and other such books that paizo will toss out, but based on your post, even feats can be uncommon so things might spiral in quite a crazy way.

Either way, giving a list spells right now to the GM and having it denied is a perfectly valid reason to give up playing a caster as far as im concerned and that is just right now.

Some players do like to build as they go, but the ones I know, with 1 exception, present day 1 their build and have a pretty decent idea of what they will get each and every single level from the very start. In 2E, without a blank get whatever you want card, i can only imagine them having to present such a huge sheet with every single thing they want till whatever level the game ends.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Nox Aeterna wrote:
All eastern stuff in uncommon, if someone wanted that and the GM said nope, well, there can go a character.

I'm confused - as someone who has played in PF1 games where the GM didn't allow Eastern gear... what exactly is different?


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Nox Aeterna wrote:
Ruzza wrote:
Nox Aeterna wrote:

In PF1 one wouldnt present a build to the GM with every single lvl planed out most likely.

In 2E you literally have to do that. You want X, Y, Z things at lvl T, R and O...? Then you need to from the start send this to the GM to make sure all this will be available or that the GM shortly after you reach the lvl make it part of the story.

What sort of builds are gated behind rarity? Currently we have a number of spells, but nothing that is "my build is based on this" that I can see. I mean, if you're making a diviner (as was mentioned), then that's something you mention to your GM, but you're not going through and planning out every single level.

The only thing we've seen so far (that I know of) are the... ** spoiler omitted ** ...which seem more narratively focused than build dependent.

I said it earlier and someone echoed it later in the thread: Rarity sets a baseline. There's no need to plan out your every single level when you're playing on the baseline.

All eastern stuff in uncommon, if someone wanted that and the GM said nope, well, there can go a character. In the future entire races could well be uncommon, even PF1 already references that.

These are examples, ultimately rarity is just a gate for GM approval, paizo can toss all sorts of things behind it in the name of saying for you to use it you need a GM.

There is plenty of it in the very core book of the game, hell knows how much of it there will be in the tons of splat books and other such books that paizo will toss out, but based on your post, even feats can be uncommon so things might spiral in quite a crazy way.

Either way, giving a list spells right now to the GM and having it denied is a perfectly valid reason to give up playing a caster as far as im concerned and that is just right now.

Some players do like to build as they go, but the ones I know, with 1 exception, present day 1 their build and have a pretty decent idea of what they will get each and every single...

This seems pretty hyperbolic. Like, I'm all for having a discussion about the rarity system, but this is a bit outlandish. You even state that currently there isn't much bound up in rarity ("I'd like my character to use katanas," is not "Well, at level 2, I need to get access this feat, and at level 5 I'll need..."). This is just fearmongering of the most extreme situation. That situation being, "My DM isn't going to let me use the build I want because it's going to be all higher rarity."

Uncommmon races existed in PF1, they just weren't codified. If a player brought a character into my game in PF1 and didn't mention his race or class until dice were rolling, I'd be doing a pretty bad job as a DM. "Oh, classic sword and sorcery game? But my wayang gunslinger should fit in just fine!" This has always been a thing.

Rarity provides a baseline of play.

Scarab Sages

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MaxAstro wrote:
Nox Aeterna wrote:
All eastern stuff in uncommon, if someone wanted that and the GM said nope, well, there can go a character.
I'm confused - as someone who has played in PF1 games where the GM didn't allow Eastern gear... what exactly is different?

Makes being a Samurai, Ninja, or weapon using Monk more difficult or impossible.


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If by 'impossible' you mean 'not even slightly impeded', since the Monastic Weaponry feat gives access to those items.

Scarab Sages

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FowlJ wrote:
If by 'impossible' you mean 'not even slightly impeded', since the Monastic Weaponry feat gives access to those items.

But if "eastern" gear isn't allowed that doesn't matter.


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Yep.

Are you planning on explaining how this is different from doing so in PF1, which was the question that was asked?

A feature that 'gives access' to something uncommon circumvents the normal rarity, period. Your character has that thing now. If the GM decides to restrict it anyway, that is a choice they are making independent of the normal rarity rules.


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Angel Hunter D wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
Nox Aeterna wrote:
All eastern stuff in uncommon, if someone wanted that and the GM said nope, well, there can go a character.
I'm confused - as someone who has played in PF1 games where the GM didn't allow Eastern gear... what exactly is different?
Makes being a Samurai, Ninja, or weapon using Monk more difficult or impossible.

A few years back I was running Emerald Spire and a player approached me and asked to be a samurai. I told him that it didn't quite fit the area, but if he could come up with an interesting reason why his character came from Tian Xia or why he was a samurai, then we were good to go.

That is what what rarity does. None of that changes in PF2.

Scarab Sages

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FowlJ wrote:

Yep.

Are you planning on explaining how this is different from doing so in PF1, which was the question that was asked?

A feature that 'gives access' to something uncommon circumvents the normal rarity, period. Your character has that thing now. If the GM decides to restrict it anyway, that is a choice they are making independent of the normal rarity rules.

It's different because now there are 2 ways for a GM to say no, when they only need one.


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Angel Hunter D wrote:
It's different because now there are 2 ways for a GM to say no, when they only need one.

I'm sorry, what?


Ruzza wrote:

This seems pretty hyperbolic. Like, I'm all for having a discussion about the rarity system, but this is a bit outlandish. You even state that currently there isn't much bound up in rarity ("I'd like my character to use katanas," is not "Well, at level 2, I need to get access this feat, and at level 5 I'll need..."). This is just fearmongering of the most extreme situation. That situation being, "My DM isn't going to let me use the build I want because it's going to be all higher rarity."

Uncommmon races existed in PF1, they just weren't codified. If a player brought a character into my game in PF1 and didn't mention his race or class until dice were rolling, I'd be doing a pretty bad job as a DM. "Oh, classic sword and sorcery game? But my wayang gunslinger should fit in just fine!" This has always been a thing.

Rarity provides a baseline of play.

? whatever good or bad things rarity will do, it will certainly do it, cause it is part of 2E. I dont see what it has to do with fear mongering, since fearing what you cant change doesnt make sense.

And the same can be said about PF1 and GM power, to begin with, it was already set that rule 0 can change whatever you want in PF1 as well as 2E, which means a GM could literally allow everything that rarity sets instantly as well as change any other thing in the book. No written word in that book beats rule 0 at any time given time.

Those are indeed simple examples of that already is common in PF1, that was the purpose. Gunslinger is another valid example of something likely uncommon in 2E due to how it was seen in PF1.

The simple gap is:

- PF1 everything was tossed in by default, each GM could go and remove the things they wanted.

- 2E more and more things will be left out over the course of time, the GM has to go and then add them in.

Rarity isnt a suggestion list of what a GM could ban, rarity is a straight ban of the things the GM might later decide to allow.

This simply means by default you now literally need to go on a check list to make sure the GM will add everything single thing you want to that list. While in PF1 unless it was removed, you could assume it was there to begin with.


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Nox, you said that...

Nox Aeterna wrote:

In PF1 one wouldnt present a build to the GM with every single lvl planed out most likely.

In 2E you literally have to do that. You want X, Y, Z things at lvl T, R and O...? Then you need to from the start send this to the GM to make sure all this will be available or that the GM shortly after you reach the lvl make it part of the story.

This is what I'm truly calling hyperbolic and fearmongering. We have seen zero indication that entire builds are getting locked behind rarity. Rarity isn't some "Wow, this is just too good for normal players," list. It's so far been used as...

> Flavor decisions: Eastern weapons, (we assume) uncommon races

> Game altering spells: Spells that throw design off kilter or can derail games (like scrying or teleportation)

> Rewards: As we've seen from Fall of Plaguestone and (to a lesser extent) Hellknight Hill, uncommon items are rewards that are specific items from that module

None of this is "I need to go through methodically and plot out my character from 1 to 20." This is as things have always been, but it's reigning in the unchecked excess of PF1. Yeah, a DM can always ignore all rules and just ban everything, but that's hardly new and not at all what the discussion is. I have no idea why people are pointing any Rule 0 abuse blame at the rarity system.

If a player wants an uncommon race or weapon (katanas/guns/etc), that should go through the GM. If a player wants a spell that could upset table balance, the GM should know (and have time to plan) accordingly. If a player wants an item that they wouldn't normally be getting access to, they should be going through the GM ("Oh, you have the weapon of the boss from the module we never ran? When did you get that?" "Saw it on AoN and the price was cheap, so it's mine.").

You're looking at it like it's a ban, but it's not. I'll use your words: It's the default setting, and rarity is the excess that we're used to from PF1. You still went to the GM when you had excess in PF1, but now it's codified.

What I THINK you're upset about - and feel free to correct me - is that in the future there will be feats and builds gated behind rarity and you won't be able to access them without GM permission. Am I wrong there?


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Angel Hunter D wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
Nox Aeterna wrote:
All eastern stuff in uncommon, if someone wanted that and the GM said nope, well, there can go a character.
I'm confused - as someone who has played in PF1 games where the GM didn't allow Eastern gear... what exactly is different?
Makes being a Samurai, Ninja, or weapon using Monk more difficult or impossible.

if you're ethnically Tian, I believe it swapps this, as uncommon is relative when dealing with equipment if i remember correctly.

though i suppose the GM can just say you can't be Tian.


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The claim that "the GM has too much power" is very different to the talk of an "adversarial GM vs Player Relationship".

In every RPG I've played, Rule Zero exists. The GM can make rulings and change things if they need to. You can't have much more power than that.

And overuse of Rule Zero can create an "adversarial GM vs Player Relationship".

However, there is a difference between "The Fly DC to hover in place is DC15" (but the GM can invoke Rule Zero) and "The DC is usually a standard-difficulty DC of a level equal to the highest-level target of your composition, but the GM can assign a different DC based on the circumstances".

In the first case, the player is expected to know the odds; in the second case, the player has several unknowns to deal with. This introduces uncertainty and makes the character's effectiveness completely beholden to the GM, causing their achievements to feel artificial, their failures to be blameable on their GM, and overall a lack of real agency in the game.

If a player wants an uncommon or rare item or spell, the GM effectively has two choices: to allow it (perhaps with a sidequest), or to prohibit it.

By requiring the GM to make rulings in this situation, the GM is no longer able to remain impartial to the player. This is the source of the adversary.


Ruzza wrote:
I have no idea why people are pointing any Rule 0 abuse blame at the rarity system.

It isnt about abuse of rule 0 really, I dont consider abuse a GM wanting remove guns or eastern stuff, it is that the rarity system is literally a rule 0 attached to the RAW by default.

Now "uncommon stuff" is an uncertainty till you ask the GM, while before it was a certainty till the GM removed it.

Ruzza wrote:
What I THINK you're upset about - and feel free to correct me - is that in the future there will be feats and builds gated behind rarity and you won't be able to access them without GM permission. Am I wrong there?

In a way you could say that. GM permission is always a given in any group that understand session 0 and the need to set the expectations and possible changes.

Ultimately the issue being more of an annoyance of what the inversion of this order means.

Annoyance being the world because rarity really isnt such a big deal, it is just a direct way to bring forward a big discussion during said sessions 0.

Still I dont agree on it being something you can "leave for later" really. If you want said spells, weapons, feats... And your game doesnt start with them, then you should make the request during session 0 so you dont feel like trashing the character down the line when the GM denies anything which you didnt ask.


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Nox Aeterna wrote:
Still I dont agree on it being something you can "leave for later" really. If you want said spells, weapons, feats... And your game doesnt start with them, then you should make the request during session 0 so you dont feel like trashing the character down the line when the GM denies anything which you didnt ask.

This is session 0, which is 100% different from "You need to have your entire build plotted out from the word 'Go.'" Session 0 is not a standard "thing" in most players' games, even though it should be. Rarity is that opener to the conversation, especially with newer GMs. Is the "plan out a character from 1 to 20" thing something that you're still saying is true? It feels like you're aware that it was a bit hyperbolic.

If this were a game made for me, a GM of more than 20 years, I wouldn't need rarity. Plenty of GMs wouldn't. But the game is built to get as many people as possible and this includes new GMs as well; new GMs that wouldn't be aware that their adventure is about to fly off the rails from a scrying spell or know how to handle an ifrit PC.

I mean, I get it. You're worried about the "extra step" when you have a really cool theorycrafted idea you want to show to the GM. But even if what we've seen is a ton of feats all gated behind rarity (which we haven't) or ancestries that are rare (still haven't, though we're likely to see them), it would still make sense to clear this with your GM. You did it in PF1. Even theorycraft builds would say things like, "If your GM allows it, you can take [X]," or "This is a powerful feat, depending on your GM's interpretation." None of this is new. It's codified and creates a baseline to make sure the game functions as it's intended.

And don't forget that GMs aren't doing this to punish you (one would hope). Rather that they are playing the game, too.


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I mean, a nice thing in PF2 is that it doesn't really seem like characters really need to specialize in a specific thing anymore. In PF1 martial characters would have upwards of like 4-5 feats that literally only worked with a single weapon, which stopped working if you picked up literally anything else. In PF2, I can build a polearm fighter who might prefer a Glaive, but if they happen to find a nifty Ranseur or Guisarme they are equally adept with it. The only exception is if you're planning on using a specific advanced weapon, but all of the things that make advanced weapons usable (except the one fighter feat) guarantee access to the weapon in question, and that's probably going to keep on going with stuff like "the Red Mantis Assassin archetype gives you access to Sawtooth Sabres."

It seems like there really aren't uncommon items or spells that a character absolutely cannot function if you don't have access to them- you would just progress your character differently if you don't have access to them yet. Like if you don't have access to Teleport right when you gain 6th level spells, you just learn something else instead.


Corrik wrote:
Not really, a player being unhappy and leaving the game is almost as likely to end it as a DM being unhappy. Sure this is less of a concern for society games and the like, but people generally don't want their friends to be unhappy or have them leave/be kicked out of the group.

Not in my 20 years of gaming, it requires people to handle things correctly but an unhappy GM will create a bad game. An unhappy player may result in a bad game or sour circumstances but it isn't nearly as certain as an unahppy GM.

The GM has to put in orders of magnitude more effort than any single player if they are at all competent. And an unhappy GM is likely to simply stop putting that effort in, creating a death spiral or worse... a limbo like death march for the game.

This is not my saying that a player's happiness is not worth anything, just that one player's happiness is generally less contingent to the group's happiness than the happiness of the GM.

A game can run without one player, but cannot run without the GM.

(A few months ago I kicked a player after 11 months and the entire group is happier now for it, despite most of them being friends with each other. It is how a situation is handled, not so much the general vector chosen)

Dark Archive

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I definitely had some problem with "So wait, we can't craft Wayfinders because Pathfinder's have copyright trademark on them? The book even says the crafting methods have spread" in 1e :p Until release of book with system that allowed characters to have connections to pathfinders without actually being pathfinders

Like, from player perspective, its same thing if GM says "No teleporting in this campaign, I want to focus more on traveling" and "Teleporting spells are uncommon" meanwhile from GM perspective its useful to have system for setting basic expectations of how common estocs are in inner sea while being exotic weapons and having additional way of stating a rule other than "I decided so". Like GM could decide "Longswords are uncommon in this campaign" which while also a gm ruling, wouldn't really require lot of debating from players on what that means regarding how hard longswords are to obtain while in 1e they could be like "Well nothing in rules say I couldn't craft katana myself"


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I mean one of the nice things about rarity is that it provides a basic structure to organize the "what things are okay" talk right off the bat.

Like if we were got give Ancestries rarity tags, at the start of an a game (or in a player's guide) we can mention "the following uncommon ancestries are a good fit for this campaign and are available without specific GM permission" (for like Changelings and Dhampir in Ustalav). We don't need to necessarily exclude all other ancestries, since someone might have a really strong idea for like an Ustalavic Nagaji, but that's something you should bounce off the GM first.


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I've been GMing and playing in tabletop RPGs for about 25 years now (since AD&D 2nd Ed.)

I agree that this "players vs GM" confuses the hell out of me. If a GM wants to kill his players, it's super easy. Nothing in the rules says the GM cannot force the players into 3 back-to-back extreme challenge encounters. 4th edition D&D "guaranteed" the players a 5 minute rest between encounters (to recover encounter powers), but that's about the safest the rules have ever made players from a cruel GM.

GMs have ALWAYS had far far too much power. That's their job. If a player can show up to a table and boss the GM around, they're likely going to make the game less fun for the other players.

And if not - if the GM is making the game less fun for all the players, and RulesExpertJohn is challenging him and trying to fix it, the better solution is usually just to find a different GM, not get into gritty rules lawyering.

-----

The Rulebooks are tools and guidelines to help a GM make a meaningful and structured experience for the players. And they are there so that the players are on equal footing with each other (not with the GM).

In fact, page 8 of Core Rulebook (2.0):
"The GM is in charge of the story and world."
"...being a GM is a challenge, requiring you to adjudicate the rules..."
"the only thing that matters is that everyone has a good time, and that includes you"

And on page 483 (ch10: Game Mastering):
"As Game Master, you have the final say on how the world AND RULES function, and how nonplayer characters act. This rule's purpose is to make the game run smoothly, with one guiding hand ensuring consistency. It's not intended to make one player dictator over the rest of the group."

-----

These quotes point out quite clearly that a GM saying "no, you can't" is perfectly ok. The GM is in charge of the rules.

Pathfinder Society play bends this in favor of the players some, but in the end, it is still the GM in charge - and fully capable of killing an entire party off if he/she decides to.

Hell, the DM makes tons of dice rolls behind the screen - which is yet another method they can 'cheat' (for good or for ill). If the GM has a free license to cheat, what would you (as a player) hope to accomplish by backing the GM into a rules corner, and/or making him hate you as a player?

-----

The GM has all the power. But he also is the one most responsible for making the game fun. And if players don't like a GM, the power *they* have is to not play.

-----

With regards to rarity, I love the simplicity of the system.

Common = in the game for everyone
Uncommon = in the game for players whose background/character is appropriate, or for the GM to allow for other characters
Rare = GM's choice when/where to allow it

If you're a player, and want uncommon gear(s), it should fit into your characters ancestry/background. If your build/idea won't work without rare gear, I think you should be asking yourself why play such a high maintenance idea in a game with a GM you aren't familiar with.


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Nox Aeterna wrote:

The simple gap is:

- PF1 everything was tossed in by default, each GM could go and remove the things they wanted.

- 2E more and more things will be left out over the course of time, the GM has to go and then add them in.

Rarity isnt a suggestion list of what a GM could ban, rarity is a straight ban of the things the GM might later decide to allow.

This simply means by default you now literally need to go on a check list to make sure the GM will add everything single thing you want to that list. While in PF1 unless it was removed, you could assume it was there to begin with.

It really bugs me when people have this little respect for their GM's time. The GM is a person with their own life too, they absolutely should not be expected to have to take the time to sift through everything that could be available to a player and find everything they don't want to allow. ESPECIALLY as more and more content is added. The notion that they should is frankly disgusting.

Rarity is basically Paizo giving GMs a callsign on any likely candidates for -potentially- needing restricted, as well as a signal for players that this isn't a guaranteed (barring GM personally restricting access to it) option and if they want it they need to ping their GM. It's a good thing, and saves everyone involved trouble. Especially the GM, who frankly can pretty much always use a bit of load-lightening.


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Mekkis wrote:


By requiring the GM to make rulings in this situation, the GM is no longer able to remain impartial to the player. This is the source of the adversary.

That notion doesn't hold up. A GM stating something Uncommon is indeed staying Uncommon is no more "adversarial" than a GM directly banning something. What rarity does is let the GM cite a baseline rule for disallowing it instead of going out of their way to directly ban it, which is less personal, not more.


Edge93 wrote:
Mekkis wrote:


By requiring the GM to make rulings in this situation, the GM is no longer able to remain impartial to the player. This is the source of the adversary.

That notion doesn't hold up. A GM stating something Uncommon is indeed staying Uncommon is no more "adversarial" than a GM directly banning something. What rarity does is let the GM cite a baseline rule for disallowing it instead of going out of their way to directly ban it, which is less personal, not more.

But the GM isn't stating that something is Uncommon. The rulebook is stating that it's Uncommon.

Once a player approaches a GM to ask whether or not they can have it, the GM now loses their impartiality.


Ruzza wrote:

This is session 0, which is 100% different from "You need to have your entire build plotted out from the word 'Go.'" Session 0 is not a standard "thing" in most players' games, even though it should be. Rarity is that opener to the conversation, especially with newer GMs. Is the "plan out a character from 1 to 20" thing something that you're still saying is true? It feels like you're aware that it was a bit hyperbolic.

If this were a game made for me, a GM of more than 20 years, I wouldn't need rarity. Plenty of GMs wouldn't. But the game is built to get as many people as possible and this includes new GMs as well; new GMs that wouldn't be aware that their adventure is about to fly off the rails from a scrying spell or know how to handle an ifrit PC.

I mean, I get it. You're worried about the "extra step" when you have a really cool theorycrafted idea you want to show to the GM. But even if what we've seen is a ton of feats all gated behind rarity (which we haven't) or ancestries that are rare (still haven't, though we're likely to see them), it would still make sense to clear this with your GM. You did it in PF1. Even theorycraft builds would say things like, "If your GM allows it, you can take [X]," or "This is a powerful feat, depending on your GM's interpretation." None of this is new. It's codified and creates a baseline to make sure the game functions as it's intended.

And don't forget that GMs aren't doing this to punish you (one would hope). Rather that they are playing the game, too.

Ofc, mostly it is exactly because rarity is just some extra layer that PF1 "already had", to some extent, that i said it is an annoyance.

Still, the change from: "Asking for permission" instead of "Waiting for denial" to me will likely result in tables rules varying even more wildly than PF1.

The step was always there, really home games in PF1 often already have individual quirks that come with the GMs. It is just a change in the paradigm.

And really, yeah there is only the core right now and all that, but... do people actually think given time they wont start to restrict things even outside the rarity list anyway PF1 style?

That wont make whatever is restricted any less "rare/uncommon" in that GMs game.


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Player: "Hey, I'm playing a gunslinger."

GM: "It doesn't fit the game."

----------------------------------------------------

Player: "Hey, could I play a gunslinger? It says they're uncommon."

GM: "It doesn't fit the game."

What is the difference here for you? You should be communicating with your GM. Impartiality? Is the GM not playing the game as well? Impartial to what?


Edge93 wrote:

It really bugs me when people have this little respect for their GM's time. The GM is a person with their own life too, they absolutely should not be expected to have to take the time to sift through everything that could be available to a player and find everything they don't want to allow. ESPECIALLY as more and more content is added. The notion that they should is frankly disgusting.

Rarity is basically Paizo giving GMs a callsign on any likely candidates for -potentially- needing restricted, as well as a signal for players that this isn't a guaranteed (barring GM personally restricting access to it) option and if they want it they need to ping their GM. It's a good thing, and saves everyone involved trouble. Especially the GM, who frankly can pretty much always use a bit of load-lightening.

I dont expect of others more than i dont do myself. Im well aware the GM spends more time prepping, or most do anyway, than the players. Im assuming most here do, it comes with the field, I did,do presently and will likely continue to do it, im sure you are in the same position.

Having a list of houserules, sources... to present session 0 is part of the role. Yes, it takes time, still needs to be done.

2E doesnt change that either.

One way to run it is saying it is pure RAW, all sources, which is the simplest way, but you could also do it PF1 and it would actually be easier, cause in 2E even if you say that, then the questions of each players list of rarity requirements come to you anyway.

Assuming you dont want to run pure RAW, all sources, then it falls on the GM lap to prep the same list he would need in PF1 with the extra part to take into account rarity in 2E, which will be discussed anyway during session 0.

The reason i said rarity is at best an annoyance is exactly because it isnt something that i see changing much. It just changes the RAW which in turn can cause impact on the discussion while given time honestly probably just turning a second list to yet a primary list that GM decide to restrict from the stuff rarity didnt cover anyway.

Want an example?

Goblins.

Isnt uncommon, but based on what i have seen, sure belongs in the list to some folk.

The Gm can remove the option exactly like PF1, rarity doesnt make any player have the sure result that this will be added caused they asked. Exactly like PF1.


What Nox Aeterna said. Rarity doesn't ease the load on me as the GM because coming from 18 years of similar game, I don't have to ban teleportation, nor alignment spells nor divinations nor enchantments. I still have to check PC's options for some abusable combo, or underpowered characters. It was supposed to be the tool for new/inexperienced GMs, but unfortunately it got written half-assed, and it was somehow more important to get the "rewards" sidebar than explaining what consequences do some spell/PC options have on the game.

Silver Crusade

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

The consequences of Teleport are fairly obvious.

Dark Archive

Back in 2011 I kicked off a discussion along these lines:

https://paizo.com/threads/rzs2ls27&page=1?Is-GMing-fun-any-more

because I felt that if a GM is just supposed to mindlessly deliver a core experience then why on earth would anyone want to do it?

In all the years I've been playing and GMing, the appeal of being a GM has been that it was "your" game, that you weren't totally constrained in what you could do and that you could, therefore, be creative.

So, sure, Pathfinder is a co-operative experience, but part of that co-operation has to include enough in it for the GM to agree to put in all the time and effort to want to do it in the first place.

Or you can decided that GMing is a no-fun part of the game and have everyone takes turns.

Richard

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

For many reasons, GMs need to have more power than players.

It is sad though that so many GMs see players' power as something inherently disruptive and that needs heavy restricting.

And then we get the adversarial relationship based on an image of zero-sum game aka if you win, then I lose and vice versa.


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necromental wrote:

What Nox Aeterna said. Rarity doesn't ease the load on me as the GM because coming from 18 years of similar game, I don't have to ban teleportation, nor alignment spells nor divinations nor enchantments. I still have to check PC's options for some abusable combo, or underpowered characters. It was supposed to be the tool for new/inexperienced GMs, but unfortunately it got written half-assed, and it was somehow more important to get the "rewards" sidebar than explaining what consequences do some spell/PC options have on the game.

You haven't explained why the rarity system doesn't help GMs. You're saying that you are talking to your players (checking for abuse and underpowered characters; difficult since the game just launched), which is a thing that GMs should be doing. I've said this numerous times through this thread, but rarity gives you that baseline of what should be. If you want to alter that, you can and should.

"But I don't need this," is ignoring other tables that do, not to mention writers that need to know the standard power range before they start writing.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Ruzza wrote:
necromental wrote:

What Nox Aeterna said. Rarity doesn't ease the load on me as the GM because coming from 18 years of similar game, I don't have to ban teleportation, nor alignment spells nor divinations nor enchantments. I still have to check PC's options for some abusable combo, or underpowered characters. It was supposed to be the tool for new/inexperienced GMs, but unfortunately it got written half-assed, and it was somehow more important to get the "rewards" sidebar than explaining what consequences do some spell/PC options have on the game.

You haven't explained why the rarity system doesn't help GMs. You're saying that you are talking to your players (checking for abuse and underpowered characters; difficult since the game just launched), which is a thing that GMs should be doing. I've said this numerous times through this thread, but rarity gives you that baseline of what should be. If you want to alter that, you can and should.

"But I don't need this," is ignoring other tables that do, not to mention writers that need to know the standard power range before they start writing.

There IMO lies a problem with the rarity system. Once you allow an Uncommon element, you are functioning outside the standard array of abilities that adventure writers will take into account.


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The Raven Black wrote:
There IMO lies a problem with the rarity system. Once you allow an Uncommon element, you are functioning outside the standard array of abilities that adventure writers will take into account.

So if that's not something you want, then I wouldn't allow higher rarity at your table. That's what rarity does. It allows you to say, "I'm functioning outside of the understood baseline." Again, how is this not helpful to GMs?

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
The Raven Black wrote:
Ruzza wrote:
necromental wrote:

What Nox Aeterna said. Rarity doesn't ease the load on me as the GM because coming from 18 years of similar game, I don't have to ban teleportation, nor alignment spells nor divinations nor enchantments. I still have to check PC's options for some abusable combo, or underpowered characters. It was supposed to be the tool for new/inexperienced GMs, but unfortunately it got written half-assed, and it was somehow more important to get the "rewards" sidebar than explaining what consequences do some spell/PC options have on the game.

You haven't explained why the rarity system doesn't help GMs. You're saying that you are talking to your players (checking for abuse and underpowered characters; difficult since the game just launched), which is a thing that GMs should be doing. I've said this numerous times through this thread, but rarity gives you that baseline of what should be. If you want to alter that, you can and should.

"But I don't need this," is ignoring other tables that do, not to mention writers that need to know the standard power range before they start writing.

There IMO lies a problem with the rarity system. Once you allow an Uncommon element, you are functioning outside the standard array of abilities that adventure writers will take into account.

That entirely depends on the element in question, you get access to plenty of Uncommon elements in The Fall of Plaguestone and Hellknight Hill.

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