Scenario as written


Organized Play General Discussion

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Sorry if this topic has already been raised, but I haven't been able to find it.

I really love the table variation guidelines of PFS2. I find that this document really empowers the GM. And I never thought it would go as far as considering you can avoid a fight through creative solutions.

From my 2 decades of organized play experience, I've often heard GMs considering that an adventure has to be followed to the letter. They were strong proponents of "scenario as written". And many times I have seen a GM shutting down a player attempt because it was not handled by the adventure (well, it can be a case of GM not wanting to improvise, but I think it has been more often a case of GM considering it was not allowed to go off rails).

I wanted to know how you, GMs, were handling your adventures. Are you close to "scenario as written" or do you like to improvise? What do you accept to modify in an adventure? How do you handle party variation especially when a character has specific ties to the adventure, like a Groethan in Doom of Cassomir? How do you handle table expectations when they aren't in line with the adventure, like a group of beginners ending up in a tough adventure?

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Occasionally someone thinks that they have to have a fight because the scenario says so. Thankfully I haven't seen all that much of that idea.

This isn't new. From guide 4.3 (the oldest one I have)

Creative Solutions
Sometimes during the course of a scenario, your players
might surprise you with a creative solution to an encounter
(or the entire scenario) that you didn’t see coming and that
isn’t expressly covered in the scenario. If, for example, your
players manage to roleplay their way through a combat and
successfully accomplish the goal of that encounter without
killing the antagonist
, give the PCs the same reward they
would have gained had they defeated their opponent in
combat. If that scene specifcally calls for the PCs to receive
gold piece rewards based on the gear collected from the
defeated combatants, instead allow the PCs to fnd a chest
of gold (or something similar) that gives them the same
rewards. Additionally, if the PCs roleplayed past an NPC
who carries a specifc potion or scroll that the PCs might be

So not only can you explicitly roleplay your way through a combat encounter, you even get the loot. I've had guards tell their "replacements" to get gear out of lockers 7 through 14, had a monster throw a backpack at a party and tell them to "learn to pick up after yourselves" , Or come across one big pile of monster dung half a mile from the cave with a skeletal hand with a ring sticking out of it.

As long as there's at least 1 or 2 fights per most scenarios I'd rather see something funny/ creative than another fireball or 11nty billion point crit. Its way more memorable and enjoyable than most fights, as long as Smashy McBeatstick gets to do THEIR schtick a few times.

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

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I am of the philosophy that there is no such thing as "rules as written". Reading is an interpretive activity that can require more information and/or understanding than what's printed on the page. And given the sometimes terrible hack-'n-slash editing that goes on in scenarios, it can sometimes be impossible to "run as written" as well.

I'm frustrated by GMs who preach that "PFS is RAW". It's a philosophy that was born over in the Rules Forum and persists despite the obvious open-ended leeway GMs are given (both in the Core Rulebook, and in the Guide). For some reason, hypocritically, printed rules allowing creative solutions take a backseat to printer errors, missing information, or insane interpretations.

One of my GMs had the final boss (a melee specialist with no ranged options) do nothing because its Speed entry was missing. "Missing" is not equivalent to "Speed 0ft", but seeing that as "RAW" is how some people operate. I would have given them the same Speed as their henchmen. Which solution is more realistic or creates a more engaging encounter?

Fortunately, unlike with rules authors, where their original idea is edited for balance and may not function as originally intended (looking at you, SF Solar Flare, or PF1 Titan Mauler), scenario authors can be a wealth of information. After editing for word count, sometimes a pretty significant detail may have been cut on accident. Asking authors questions can fill in those gaps.

Same goes for the GM Discussion thread. Authors aren't always available, but maybe a GM posted information pertaining to an obscure god that you can hand out to the players when their PC inquires what the religion is all about. Or maybe a Developer posted changes to an encounter because it was skewed for a different subtier, or is known to be particularly deadly.

When it comes to "player tricks", I'll generally allow something once, but not as a repetitive solution. Bringing oxen along and setting them loose to feed the wolves might get you past the first encounter, but that worg wants you to suffer emotionally.

I do dislike PCs who are one-trick-ponies, though. Building a specialist is fine, but have some backup options. Have some in-depth roleplay for when your combat specialist goes to a dinner party. It's not my responsibility to "let you shine" if all your character wants to do is grunt and fight. Save that character concept for a Hackmaster Campaign.

One thing I do generally run consistently, though, is "fight to the death". Death isn't as permanent in these games as it is in real life, and you have to imagine how much (or little) someone in that universe cares about their mortality. Even the lowliest of bandits may have grown up on tales of heroic acts rewarded in the afterlife. After all, in their world, faith can be tangibly rewarded!

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In the event of 'fight to the death' I make darn sure to highlight that the differences in opinion are irreconcilable and no amount of Diplomacy is going to change that.

Now, if *despite* that the party attempts to take them alive, I'm not going to punish the party for being moral *if* they don't make the mistake of securing their new prisoners.

And cannot agree enough with the 'have something beyond the character hook'. Ironically in two SFS scenarios I've played in recently, my custodian has *really* gone outside her normal 'box' with her off-skills and capabilities to great benefit to the party.

Things that still fit her concept, but aren't the sorts of things that one would normally think of.

5/5 5/55/5

In PF1 after being burned twice by GM's who decide they want to change scenarios to kill off characters. I prefer run as written in organized play.

Dark Archive 5/5 5/5

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roysier wrote:
In PF1 after being burned twice by GM's who decide they want to change scenarios to kill off characters. I prefer run as written in organized play.

Ah yes, let's just add more black dragons to this encounter because it just wasn't that hard as written. Ye gads what a cluster that was.

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roysier wrote:
In PF1 after being burned twice by GM's who decide they want to change scenarios to kill off characters. I prefer run as written in organized play.

This is a bit of a non sequitor. No one is saying to mechanically add or subtract something from an encounter. If the scenario tells you there are 14 kobolds , then there are 14 kobolds. Not 13, not 15, 14. Changing that is going off of the scenar as written (saw?)

But nothing says what happens when the party shows up on the back of a dragon with a banner in draconic that says "welcome kobold overlords" and "Down with the mammal oppressors" and says the Nagaji bard up to negotiate. The scenario is expecting a fight, but few if any say these guys will fight no matter what. That isn't raw. But some DMs will say that since there's a fight listed there , we're going to have a fight.

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I run things 'as written' with a focus on all of the background information. Because, when one or multiple players throw a wrench in the story, I am prepared and play the NPCs. That is the 'as written' to me.

Stifling creativity is probably one of the most heinous things a GM can do. This is because, without the creative aspect, every game might as well just be a video game. And, if I wanted to play a video game with a story, I would not choose to do so with random people.

Does my character die because the GM is being creative (within the bounds of SAW)? Okay. Raise Dead is cheap in both SFS ans PFS2. No big deal. Have a chat with the GM about how they did.

I refuse to stifle the creativity of the people at my tables be it as a GM or player.

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SuperBidi wrote:


I really love the table variation guidelines of PFS2. I find that this document really empowers the GM. And I never thought it would go as far as considering you can avoid a fight through creative solutions.

Amusing side note.

That entire document was lifted, almost word for word, from the original PF1 guide text. (With some updates for PF2.)

It was moved into an appendix document to shorten the guide and make both more readable. I am happy that it is getting this renewed attention.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Quote:
I wanted to know how you, GMs, were handling your adventures.

I am probably more cautious--I don't want to say reluctant, because that would be overstating it--than others in keeping with the scenario as written. Possibly due to exposure bias, I have usually found instruction on both morale and how to handle diplomatic overtures in the scenarios and modules that I've run.

When a player or table submits a reasonable creative solution to a problem, I try to keep the challenge roughly similar to what the scenario expected. If you're actually making it harder or more expensive on yourselves, then I'm even more likely to support the endeavor as long as it's not too far fetched.

I have trouble with players of uber-specialized characters, typically Diplomacy, trying to use Diplomacy to solve every problem. "Well, there are five bandits, and you can only modify the attitude of one at a time (or two at a time in PF2 with the appropriate feat), and it takes at least 1 minute of interaction, so... roll initiative."

Now, I feel particularly bad in PbP when a character attempts a diplomatic solution and the scenario specifically calls out that the opponent will not be dissuaded by words, the player types out a whole page of often well thought out arguments, and then I update the campaign and have to reveal to them their post didn't accomplish what they hoped it would. Even more painful when they've rolled without prompting (usually in an effort to keep PbP action moving) and gotten some relatively high result and the rest of the table is cheering.

The other thing I have trouble with is players expecting that "creative solutions" means using any skill you have so if you don't have the required skill, then you just use your best skill and say you're using it "creatively." In live games, it's often as bland as, "My character is going to use Stealth instead of Acrobatics to balance." Sometimes you get an explanation, but it's too much of a stretch, "I'm going to use Knowledge (nature) to get the frozen bird from the end of the tree branch instead of Acrobatics to balance out there because it means he knows about trees."

I'm sure I could easily be accused of having less imagination than those players, but I feel like some of the challenge written needs to be maintained.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

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There seems to be two different types of RAW arguments. One is the GM changes static aspects of the scenario like number of monsters appearing, the DC of an isolated check, contents of a treasure pile, etc. The other is when a GM adjudicates a rule that is unclear or that does not perfectly apply to a situation in the game. That’s when a player might argue with a GM about deviating from RAW because they disagree either with the GM’s decision or sometimes that there even is ambiguity in the rules.

Every GM deviates from “RAW.” It’s inevitable in a game that continues to manifest a not insignificant list of unclear/ambiguous rules. IMO that GM is not violating the RAW rules. It’s only the GM that deviates from static, clearly stated content that is breaking the rules. If you think that the RAW rules will ensure all tables result in the exact same experience for the players, you’re naive. If you think RAW is just a guideline to help us decide not IF, but WHEN we need to make rulings that would result in differences from table to table.

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Blake's Tiger wrote:
"I'm going to use Knowledge (nature) to get the frozen bird from the end of the tree branch instead of Acrobatics to balance out there because it means he knows about trees."

Assuming the bird isn't frozen solid, knowledge nature to know what it eats and then try to put that on the ground so the bird can meet you half way? Its a bluejay, break out the peanuts.

But yes, by and large if there is a list and the skill isn't on it another common skill shouldn't usually work. Professions are a bit of an exception, since scenarios can't anticipate which of 11nty billion professions characters might have.

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden

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I don't really experience much problems with this in practice, both as GM and player.

Most people seem to understand that the intent of run as written is that the GM doesn't go adding/removing monsters, handwaving checks, forbidding particular classes and all that. You know, the usual "this is a worldwide campaign, we want to keep things fair and maintain a level playing field" stuff.

Sometimes as a GM you just need to throw the scenario under the bus and say "yeah they really didn't anticipate you doing this entirely reasonable thing". And then you have to figure out what to do. Sometimes it means the players have an easier time. Sometimes what they want sadly doesn't work. It's a bit of a judgement call.

The one thing that I find can trip up GMs the most is if you interrogate enemies that the scenario assumes you'll all slaughter. Mooks that normally reside at the BBEG's lair should normally know at least something about what goes on there - who's the guy in charge in the next room, what can he do?

Figuring out how much advantage players should reasonably and sportingly be able to attain this way is something that a lot of GMs find tricky. I usually don't try to squeeze out the last drop, but on several occasions it's given us a useful tip, like what kind of energy resistance buff to cast before going in.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
roysier wrote:
In PF1 after being burned twice by GM's who decide they want to change scenarios to kill off characters. I prefer run as written in organized play.

This is a bit of a non sequitor. No one is saying to mechanically add or subtract something from an encounter. If the scenario tells you there are 14 kobolds , then there are 14 kobolds. Not 13, not 15, 14. Changing that is going off of the scenar as written (saw?)

But nothing says what happens when the party shows up on the back of a dragon with a banner in draconic that says "welcome kobold overlords" and "Down with the mammal oppressors" and says the Nagaji bard up to negotiate. The scenario is expecting a fight, but few if any say these guys will fight no matter what. That isn't raw. But some DMs will say that since there's a fight listed there , we're going to have a fight.

I agree actually, changing things because it's not covered in the scenario is fine.

Changing the tier to hard mode after the players said they didn't want to play in hard mode - bad

Changing monster tactics so every monster in the scenario to be excessively deadly - bad (in 1st edition coup-de-gras every character that falls causing accessibly high death toll -bad

Completely changing the scenario so it is almost unrecognizable when I later read it- bad.

All 3 of the above situations happened to me in first edition. That's why I say run as written unless the players do something that is not covered than be fair.

Liberty's Edge 3/5 5/5 **** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

You describe a GM I would avoid and contract the nearest VO to report.

Thankfully the behavior you describe is uncommon.

Grand Archive 4/5 ****

TwilightKnight wrote:
There seems to be two different types of RAW arguments. One is the GM changes static aspects of the scenario like number of monsters appearing, the DC of an isolated check, contents of a treasure pile, etc. The other is when a GM adjudicates a rule that is unclear or that does not perfectly apply to a situation in the game.

That is why the OP specified scenario as written and other people have been using Run as Written to distinguish the two.

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Lots of answers!

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Occasionally someone thinks that they have to have a fight because the scenario says so. Thankfully I haven't seen all that much of that idea.

It happened to me a lot when I started organized play (with Living Greyhawk, at that time). Maybe mentalities have evolved since and it took me a bit of time to realize it!

Nefreet wrote:
One of my GMs had the final boss (a melee specialist with no ranged options) do nothing because its Speed entry was missing. "Missing" is not equivalent to "Speed 0ft", but seeing that as "RAW" is how some people operate. I would have given them the same Speed as their henchmen. Which solution is more realistic or creates a more engaging encounter?

I know of a few GMs who ask you to roll what is in the adventure whatever the actions of your character. I for example sometimes tried to lie my way through social encounters and ended up having to roll Diplomacy... I was a bit pissed about that mostly because it encourages me in using always the same action in the same situation.

roysier wrote:
In PF1 after being burned twice by GM's who decide they want to change scenarios to kill off characters. I prefer run as written in organized play.

In this thread, I want to focus on situations where the GM adapts the adventure for the best playing experience, not for the worst.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
This is a bit of a non sequitor. No one is saying to mechanically add or subtract something from an encounter. If the scenario tells you there are 14 kobolds , then there are 14 kobolds. Not 13, not 15, 14. Changing that is going off of the scenar as written (saw?)

One question I've asked and noone answered is: What do you do when the group of players doesn't fit the adventure? The classical case being convention play where a bunch of complete beginners bring colorful characters and want to discover the game when you know that the adventure is a tough one even for experienced players. Do you play the 14 kobolds the way the encounter is designed, knowing that the fight will certainly end with character deaths and maybe even a TPK, or do you start to downplay the opposition or reduce the number of kobolds for the table to have more fun?

GM Sasha wrote:
I run things 'as written' with a focus on all of the background information.

Speaking of background information, I find that many PFS adventures have a lot of background information that is not provided to the players or gated behind checks (sometimes even critical successes). I really find that sad and I often give more information to my players than I should because even if most adventures are playable without understanding much it's way more satisfying to have all the historical/setting background.

I also look for information outside the adventure. For example, there's a PFS adventure with Firebrands and strictly no information on what they are (not even a page number on the lost omen guide). Giving context really helps the experience.

Online Guide Team Lead - JTT wrote:

Amusing side note.

That entire document was lifted, almost word for word, from the original PF1 guide text. (With some updates for PF2.)

It was moved into an appendix document to shorten the guide and make both more readable. I am happy that it is getting this renewed attention.

I must admit I've played a lot of Living Greyhawk, then Living Arcanis and even if I've technically played a lot of PFS1 it's just due to the longevity of the campaign. I was away from my home region during a decade and I'm only back recently. That's the reason why I start browsing GM material as I've already GMed more of PFS2 than I GMed of PFS1.

Blake's Tiger wrote:
When a player or table submits a reasonable creative solution to a problem, I try to keep the challenge roughly similar to what the scenario expected.

I agree. The goal is not to make everything easy to the players. But I must admit I tend to be more merciful towards creative solutions (when they are really creative and not a player using always the same skill). For me, it boils down to players writing their story. Sometimes, you feel that the players are really coming up with their idea to solve the situation and I tend to allow it because it's just a whole bunch of fun around the table.

TwilightKnight wrote:
There seems to be two different types of RAW arguments.

I'm not speaking of rules discussions as they are very different. I'm really speaking of the way the GM handles the adventure: Lawful, Neutral or Chaotic, if you see what I mean.

roysier wrote:
Completely changing the scenario so it is almost unrecognizable when I later read it- bad.

Can you be more specific? I wonder what alterations you consider too massive.

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Superbidi wrote:
One question I've asked and noone answered is: What do you do when the group of players doesn't fit the adventure? The classical case being convention play where a bunch of complete beginners bring colorful characters and want to discover the game when you know that the adventure is a tough one even for experienced players.

Most level 1 adventures shouldn't be that bad. You should have either some experience or you'll be running pregens for the higher tier stuff.

If it happens anyway a few solutions occur to me.

Warn the players. Offer them a couple of solutions

Switch scenarios. If they're inexperienced you should have something on your tablet/ in your geek bag that they haven't played.

Run it like a horror comedy a la the evil dead where it's clear the protagonists are in way over their head and are going to suffer horribly... and comedically. At least one of them is wearing a red shirt.

If the table isn't full, bring in a ringer. Have bob come over with Bulkwark the Bearded for the party to hide behind or Strobelight the channel cleric to keep everyone alive long enough to run away.

Run the kobolds the least lethally you can with the tactics as written. The tactics aren't usually so specific as to avoid all variation. I think I've seen ONE NPC that says they take out downed characters, and I don't recall "persue fleeing intruders" in a whole lot of scenarios either.

If the party is that colorful they might have an entirely different solution than fighting , I'd be more inclined to go with whatever they come up with if I know the alternative is a TPK.

Dark Archive 5/5

SuperBidi wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
This is a bit of a non sequitor. No one is saying to mechanically add or subtract something from an encounter. If the scenario tells you there are 14 kobolds , then there are 14 kobolds. Not 13, not 15, 14. Changing that is going off of the scenar as written (saw?)
One question I've asked and noone answered is: What do you do when the group of players doesn't fit the adventure? The classical case being convention play where a bunch of complete beginners bring colorful characters and want to discover the game when you know that the adventure is a tough one even for experienced players. Do you play the 14 kobolds the way the encounter is designed, knowing that the fight will certainly end with character deaths and maybe even a TPK, or do you start to downplay the opposition or reduce the number of kobolds for the table to have more fun?

I'm not sure I follow the question here. How would making the fight easier make it more fun? Sure, there's fun to be had in winning. But there's just as much fun to be had in losing. If the players have super colorful and really fleshed out thematic characters, then have fun with it. Let them go buck wild and encourage them to do the most dramatic and over the top death scenes. Have a scene where some memento in their loved one's home breaks in a grand fashion and devote a couple of minutes to playing out the loved one's reaction. As a GM you are allowed to award good role play with bonuses on rolls, so maybe the death could inspire the rest of the players, giving them +1 on all d20 rolls for the rest of the combat. Or, have some of the kobolds break off the attack and turn to their chief, making some declaration like "It is futile. We cannot defeat them, only kill them. Their bravery and honor in the face of such overwhelming odds is something to be respected and celebrated." There are too many options to have everything written into the scenario so you should really just have as much fun as possible.

Another example, a character I just built in my head is a blacksmith who is travelling around with a group of Pathfinders to expand his knowledge of weaponcraft. I'll use Craft(Weapons) to judge the quality of the kobolds' weapons and offer a trade: They give us the macguffin and I will improve their weapons for them.

Or one of my characters from another campaign was a cook at a temple who got chosen and became a cleric. She didn't want to be a cleric, she wanted to cook but the higher-ups were like "No, go out and heal and spread the word." So whenever possible she offered meals in hopes of being able to sit down and play some card games in order to settle things (She was a cleric of Tymora, Goddess of Good Luck).

I will also say, as a GM with around 200 PF1 scenarios and modules under my belt, I can count on one hand the number of times I've come across something written where there is no option other than fight to the death (not counting mindless things like skeletons and zombies).

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Quote:
Another example, a character I just built in my head is a blacksmith who is travelling around with a group of Pathfinders to expand his knowledge of weaponcraft. I'll use Craft(Weapons) to judge the quality of the kobolds' weapons and offer a trade: They give us the macguffin and I will improve their weapons for them.

This is a bit treacherous because this is literally a hypothetical character involved in a completely hypothetical situation, but this is a case where I, personally, would be disinclined to allow Craft (weapon) to replace Diplomacy.

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With someone trying to sell that deal, I could see allowing Craft to Aid Diplomacy for that hypothetical, more easily than Craft instead of Diplomacy to convince them to take the deal.

There's a middle ground

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HammerJack wrote:

With someone trying to sell that deal, I could see allowing Craft to Aid Diplomacy for that hypothetical, more easily than Craft instead of Diplomacy to convince them to take the deal.

There's a middle ground

Yeah, to take over another skill entirely I think it would have to be pretty niche. The guy is specifically mentioned as a weapons nut affectionatto , they're a weaponsmith and you can talk shop, or maybe if the kobolds were using stone spears and clubs. But "has weapons" is kind of a broad catagory in a medievreniasance fantasy game

Grand Archive 4/5 ****

Or pick up any of the Dozen skill feats that let you substitute one skill for another...

There is a very fine line between "permitting creative solutions." and "invalidating skill feats." At minimum, unless the skill was particularly appropriate and creative, I would *at least* increase the DC for alternate skill choices.

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I have "fond" memories of a Player in a WoD LARP I ran once, who was testing out his hypothesis that a sufficiently high intimidate skill could replace all other social skills...

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Jared Thaler - Personal Opinion wrote:
I have "fond" memories of a Player in a WoD LARP I ran once, who was testing out his hypothesis that a sufficiently high intimidate skill could replace all other social skills...

Someone trying to do that was the farthest off-book I've ended up going running a PFS scenario.

Spoilers for 1st edition PFS 4-11: The Disappeared.

Spoiler:
In spite of warnings given and emphasized during the mission briefing, and having proper paperwork in hand, the PCs decided "I optimized my intimidate skill, so I'll just try to bully my way past the Hellknight commander into the Chelation embassy instead of handing over the paperwork that will let me in" was a good idea. Somehow. After they were thrown bodily out of the building, they ended up trying to break in like cat burglars, instead, and I reverse engineered details (guard frequency, wall climbing DC and the like) that are presented to handle PCs breaking out of the compound. This also shot a major scenario mechanic in the foot.

I still don't know how someone got the idea that intimidation was going to help them, there, but things got interesting.

Liberty's Edge 3/5 5/5 **** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

Jared Thaler - Personal Opinion wrote:

Or pick up any of the Dozen skill feats that let you substitute one skill for another...

There is a very fine line between "permitting creative solutions." and "invalidating skill feats." At minimum, unless the skill was particularly appropriate and creative, I would *at least* increase the DC for alternate skill choices.

This is the approach I take when a player wants to use Fencing Lore for just about all checks.

1/5 5/55/5 *** Venture-Agent, Online—VTT

I think the important distinction is between "can I use acrobatics instead of athletics for this task that has no realtion to acrobatics, because I'm a DEX heavy character?" and "I want to try to do this alternate thing to resolve our situation, would Fencing Lore be appropriate for that?"

Basically, trying to substitute a skill (aside from the occasional appropriate lore) to use a different roll for the same action rarely makes sense, but using a different action for the same obstacle is much more likely to be valid.

5/55/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Ohio—Cleveland

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GM Wageslave wrote:


In the event of 'fight to the death' I make darn sure to highlight that the differences in opinion are irreconcilable and no amount of Diplomacy is going to change that.

Now, if *despite* that the party attempts to take them alive, I'm not going to punish the party for being moral *if* they don't make the mistake of securing their new prisoners.

Having recently GMd for you in one of those SFS scenarios, I think there’s a “not” missing in there — as in “...the mistake of NOT securing their new prisoners...”

Interestingly (and I believe as I said at the time), I don’t think the scenario specifies whether that particular baddie fights to the death (or morale at all). But it implies she’s very annoyed with you and plus I got to use a fun ability, so I figured your saying ‘now behave’ not actually stopping her (even after the courtesy heal) was fair.

I’m glad it didn’t end up killing any PCs, but that extra spice of worrying about that was :chef’s kiss:

Also can confirm the character flavor was a hilariously perfect fit for the scenario, and even made a bit where you can (RAW) avoid a combat seem more concretely logical. A delight!

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Superbidi wrote:
One question I've asked and noone answered is: What do you do when the group of players doesn't fit the adventure? The classical case being convention play where a bunch of complete beginners bring colorful characters and want to discover the game when you know that the adventure is a tough one even for experienced players.
Most level 1 adventures shouldn't be that bad. You should have either some experience or you'll be running pregens for the higher tier stuff.

I have a couple of adventure in mind that are really tough even at level 1. Or, sometimes, it's an adventure that is overtuned for a specific number of characters/CP.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Switch scenarios. If they're inexperienced you should have something on your tablet/ in your geek bag that they haven't played.

Sound advice. I will certainly have a backup plan if I ever have to play with players I absolutely don't know.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Run the kobolds the least lethally you can with the tactics as written.

Funny advice. What difference do you make between playing the tactic to be less lethal and just modifying the encounter so it will be less lethal? Is there something desirable in following a rule to the letter but not to the intent?

I know I'm more on the chaotic side, so for me both are the same.

Keirine, Human Rogue wrote:
I'm not sure I follow the question here. How would making the fight easier make it more fun?

Starting with a TPK can easily scare new players. Actually, it can even scare experienced ones.

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Super Bidi wrote:

Funny advice. What difference do you make between playing the tactic to be less lethal and just modifying the encounter so it will be less lethal? Is there something desirable in following a rule to the letter but not to the intent?

I know I'm more on the chaotic side, so for me both are the same.

I believe the intent is being followed. The DM can and is expected to adapt to their table. The "number of critters" dial is verbotten, but we're supposed to use the tactics dial from "murderate" to "marshmellow" depending on the group. The scenario rarely specifies whether they focus fire on the healer and then move on to the strikers and leave the tank for last, or just hit who ever is in front of them, or panick and hit the plate armored melee guy running up to them.

12 Kobolds isn't allowed, 16 kobolds isn't allowed, but both 14 kobolds out for blood on the healer and 14 kobolds shooting whatevers in front of them are both allowed.(usually)

2/5 5/5 **

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Sometimes there’s instruction that an NPC focus on X-type characters first, but usually there isn’t. So as had been said, there’s a considerable difference between 6 kobolds shooting at the same unarmored target at once and each kobold shooting at a different PC. Even if the scenario says a devil attacks anyone casting divine spells in preference to others, there’s a difference between focusing on one caster at a time and swapping attacks between two divine casters.

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