My Crazy GM


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


I've run games myself, and I well know the desire to houserule things to fit your personal vision. But the GM of a game I'm currently in seems to have no real sense of how Pathfinder is intended to work, and he's constantly trying to get rid of things that he doesn't like, and replace them without any idea of what the impact will be.

For example, he hates items with +x bonuses with a passion. Especially weapons and armor. He also hates weapon and armor special abilities. So he created his own system of combining special materials (all of which are ridiculously rare and hard to work with) and specialized "designs" that only certain smiths know how to make. Now, looking at the possibilities it would be simple to make some truly gamebreaking stuff, but we rarely encounter a crafter who can create what we want, and even if we did, the pricetag is far greater than "boring normal magic items". If we deal with a smith who can't make what we want, we can sacrifice an existing item that has a special design so he can learn it. Now we're out an item with no compensation other than now this guy can make similar items for us.

As far as found items, we often come across strange weapons and armor with bizarre combinations of abilities, and rarely are we even proficient with them. For example, we once found an enchanted bone spell storing boomerang, and he couldn't comprehend why we weren't excited by it. I pointed out that 1) nobody in the party could use a boomerang, 2) neither of the spellcasters (a bard and an oracle) had anything particularly interesting to store in the boomerang, and 3) we didn't have a dedicated ranged character anyways (no point blank/precise shot).

"Well that shouldn't matter, the Fighter has a 15 Dexterity and a full base attack, so he'd be fine throwing the boomerang."

But why though?

"Well, you could put cure light wounds in it, and then it'd do damage to undead."

I should mention the boomerang didn't have returning or anything, so we'd have to constantly go fetch this overpriced monstrosity each and every time it was used. And then, when we tried to sell it, we kept getting told we'd have to go to the capitol, because no local merchant could afford it (reasonable, but kind of obnoxious- why let the party claim treasure they don't really have a use for, and then not let them trade it in, all the while claiming "I give you guys lots of treasure, you're above WBL").

Now he's decided he hates the magic system in general. This isn't particularly irksome, I agree with his general problem- that there's spells for darn near everything, and certain casters will almost always have a "magic bullet" available for any problem.

He wants casters to be specialists, with thematic spell lists. I pointed out to him that there's a big issue with this- the game is designed so that some problems have almost no solutions BUT magic, and if your caster doesn't have those solutions on hand, you're pretty much doomed.

We had a long argument about why an Oracle isn't as good a healer as a Cleric, because he's convinced Life Oracles are better than Clerics in every respect. Unfortunately, it's hard for an Oracle to have "cure status ailment X" on tap, as they have limited spell slots, while a Cleric can just pray for whatever he needs after a rest.

Anyways, he just handed me this long half-baked document that he wants to implement, that will force casters to choose a specialty (or 2 if your class has access to level 9 spells). But with a caveat that if you choose "opposed" specialties, you'll get a special advantage, but a disadvantage as well.

In addition, he's completely reworked spell resistance. Now your spell resistance is basically temporary hit points versus spell damage, so if you have SR 22, you ignore 22 points of spell damage, like it's some sort of ablative armor. You recover SR at a rate of 1 point per minute.

I think he was inspired by the system used by Divinity 2. Lord knows how this is going to interact with Spell Penetration or Elves. There's also some nonsense about how you can use your spell resistance to ignore status effects based on a "severity rating"- as I understand it, dazzled is equal to 3 points of "damage", while frightened is equal to 5 or something.

Also, he hates damage to ability scores (who doesn't?) but he's decided to replace them with a static penalty that persists until you get the damage healed. For example, if you have any Strength damage, you deal half damage with weapons until the Strength damage is recovered. If you have any Wisdom damage, your saving throw bonuses are HALVED until it's recovered.

Immediately I realized this is going to largely favor monsters over players, but he's like "oh you're just worrying too much".

Oh about the specializations- they're divided into "elements" of magic that he's come up with for his game world, such as Darkness, Light, Fire, Cold, Earth, and...Mystic (I have NO idea). He's assigned a school of magic to each one. You can also "double specialize" in one element for greater bonuses.

The first example is Fire/Evocation, which increases all damage dice of spells to d12's, AND to increase spell damage caps by TEN. Double specializing allows you to ignore all fire resistance, and treat fire immunity as if it were fire resist 15. Probably fine, because ok, sure, a 20d12 fireball sounds scary at level 20, but it's only damage.

Then there's the "Mystic" double spec, which increases save DC's of spells by SIX.

I can provide more information if desired, but these are just the highlights. At this point, I'm not sure if there's anything I can say that can convince him that he's warped the game in ways he cannot begin to comprehend. But I feel this is all going to end badly. Either way, I'm curious what other people would do- leave the game? Fight the insanity? Find some way to abuse the system and enjoy the (likely very short) ride?


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Ok, first up you're obviously frustrated and needed to vent. Totally understable, and a good vent here will help prevent a fight at the tabke, so great.

Second, these kinds of sweeping changes are something that should be discussed in a session zero before the campaign. Changing the mechanics like this in an existing game isn't a good idea, if he wants to change games, you should all start new characters and go from there. The characters you've created were made with certain rules in mind, and changing the rules is really changing the characters without giving you choices.

Third, befire you start a new game with these rules, you should all discuss it as a group. THEN VOTE. This is important, as everyone is there to play Pathfinder. If everyone wants to try a new gsme then great, but if they don't then forcing everyone to play your game is just going to end up with unhappy players (for example, see this thread).

AND FINALLY. If your GM wants to play his game - and you can't convince him otherwise - you have to be prepared to GM. The GM is only one player, so he can't tell everyone what to do ... BUT ...He is the most important player. You can't play a game where the GM is unhappy, it just won't work. If he won't run Pathfinder then the only way to play Pathfinder is for someone else to run it. You either step-up or shut-up.

In closing: I know it's frustrating, but the only waybto solve this is to communicate. My suggestion is to make your next session a session zero. Talk about what the group wants to do going forward and go from there. You don't have to do the whole "My way or the highway" thing, compromise is the better part of valor. If everyone wants to try this new system ask if you can start a new character and go with it - who knows it might he fun. Once again though, if you want a particular game you have to be willing to run it.


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No DnD is better than bad DnD.
It goes for PF too.


Everything MrCharisma said and this,

Your gm isn't running pathfinder. If you don't want to appoint a new gm or do a second game then consider his game an ongoing playtest. If you don't expect consistency it will be less jarring when a rule change comes in.

Any time the rules change its fair to request a respec or a new character.

Perhaps he would be open to alternating between two games every other session, one with his rules and one by the books. This would allow sharper contrast to see the impact of his rules.

Who knows, attendance may send him another message.


It sounds like your Gm would be better off going with another system. Pathfinder is a pretty ridged system where most things are already defined. There are a lot of other system out there that are less ridged and allow the Gm more leeway. The big problem with those systems is they are a lot of work for the GM, because he has to define a lot of stuff that other game systems take care of for him.

He may want to look into Hero system. It is a lot more flexible than the D&D based systems like pathfinder.


As others have said it sounds like you aren't playing pathfinder any more. Divinity is a cool rpg and it has a fun magic system and I've enjoyed playing both Divinity and Divinity 2. However, when I'm playing pathfinder I expect pathfinder's system of magic not divinity's.

If the DM isn't interested in running pathfinder that's fine. However, if players want to play pathfinder then they need to either find a new DM or one of them needs to step up and run their own pathfinder game. It's rather disingenuous for the DM to claim they're running one type of game when they are actually running something completely different and I don't think players are out of line not wanting to show up to play this weird not pathfinder game.

Telling a DM how to run their own game will not go well. Telling them that you don't want to play pathfinder the way they are running it, is quite different. When I don't like how another DM runs things I've found the simplest cure is to run my own game. If I'd rather play than DM I have to accept that things won't always be handled the way I would handle them.


Corvo Spiritwind wrote:

No DnD is better than bad DnD.

It goes for PF too.

^--- this.

Games are supposed to be fun, and if you keep playing a game that you're not having fun with, you're going to get burnt out and eventually not want to play anymore at all.

I've been in two bad groups before, and it's best to just leave and find/start a new group, trust me.


Thank you for the replies. I really wish I could get him to stop and consider the consequences of his ideas, but he's more "rule of cool" and "let's make a great story" kind of guy, where I prefer the rules to mostly be set in stone, so I know what to expect. Having him go "and then...magic happens" just breaks my immersion, especially if I'm playing a character with deep knowledge skills that imply I should know the hows and whys of the world.

I guess I'll just ride the storm out- who knows, maybe I'm wrong, and it will be just fine. And if not, well, yeah, I can always go back to GMing myself.


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If you're not having fun you should communicate this to the GM. Try to do it in a diplomatic way, stating that you don't enjoy working with a changing rule-set, and would like your characters to stay within one rule-set so that the epic tales already told don't become uust a part of a tale around them, rather than about them.

I really don't think the "No game is better than a bad game" mentality is helpful. Most of us play with friends, and just packing up and taking your marbles home when things don't go your way is what children do. Leaving the game is basically the worst-case scenario, and should be viewed as a last resort.

If you want to improve the situation, talk to the group. If you're a bit intimidated by talking to the GM, start with the rest of the group. To be clear this isn't an opportunity to b+!@+ about the GM, it's about being honest and up front with the group, eg: "Hi guys, look I'm not really having fun with the current game - with all the rule changes - how do the rest of you feel?"

Once you've heard them out, you either have a group who's enjoying playing a game you don't like, or you have a group that agrees with you.

Assuming your group agrees with you, cancel your next gsme session and replace it with a session zero - a chance for the group to talk about what you (all) want going forward. Give the GM a heads-up about what's happening (as politely, but directly as you can), so that ue's not feeling put apon. At the session talk about what you all want. The biggest problem seems to stem from unmet expectations, so you may even decide to go with the GM's new system - but this time with the ruoes more solidly understood before character creation. Or you may decide to go back to Pathfinder propper, or even tey a mew game entirely (hey, tryong new things os good right). Importantly, maks sure the GM knows it's not them that you don't like, you're friends who have been gaming for a while after all. Gice everyone a chance to speak and be heard (give a little more to the GM as he's probably feeling like he needs to be heard), and try to work with ideas rather than shutting them down ("yes and ..." or "yes but ..." are good questions to ask before saying "no")

Apternatively you might find yourself in a group who enjoys this game. You can still have a meeting, thouth it may be easier to just catch ip with the GM. First I'd try to adjust my expectations - if there is a way you can have fun with this system then ahybnot give it a try? You're perfectly within your rights to ask fkr a new character - one built with the new rules in mind. The other thing you should do (maybe this one is best as a group) is to get the rules set in stone. The "Ruoe of Cool" is fine, but if broad sweeping mechanics are changing from session to session that's not cool, it's disruptive. Ince you have the ruleset, and you have your new character, and you have your new mindset, gove the game a few sessions to grow on you. You may find some aspects still don't work for you, but that there's still fun to be had. If you're still not enjoying yourself then talk to the group about leaving. There's nothing wrong with admit5when something doesn't work. We had a player leave our group because his expectations didn't meet ours, it's not a failure, just an unfortunate difference of style. We're still friends, and still see him for other games, but he doesn't play PF with us anymore.

Finally, try to be as polite and understanding as you can. Your GM sounds like he put his heart and soul into this, so he might be understandably upset that people don't love it as much as he does. If you jeed to vent, come here and swear your head off (well maybe not swear, that'll just get you kicked off the boards) so that you're fresh and clear when talkijg to the other players.

TLDR: Talk to the group first. Nobody can solve a problem without first knowing it's a problem to be solved. (Sorry for the wall of text, I hope it's helpful)

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