Author Topic: Why I don't run Pathfinder anymore, and some salt about a Defective GM  (Read 1914 times)

Don Coyote

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 As some of you may know, my first exposure to RPGs was in the 90s with a combination of the Holmes bluebook and the AD&D DMG. My brother and I didnít play a whole lot of it, but we played some. I played some with a friend in middle school.
We also didnít the same access to console games, unlike other children of the 90s.
The two of us, my brother and I, did play a possibly excessive amount of Risk, and when Magic: the Gathering came out, 1993, we werenít playing it yet. We started playing it around the time Ice Age came out, 1995, but for our household it wasnít until 1996 when Mirage came out, that we started playing in more heavily, when the Tempest block came out, 1997, we dove into it.
As brothers, we were extremely competitive towards each other, which is great when playing a competitive game. For a fair amount of time my brother was better than me, but over all we were evenly matched.
By this time, we had both had more exposure to console games, we even had a play station, and were playing the final fantasy series.
I started playing D&D more heavily when 3rd edition came out. I was in high school. I played it at school. Like a nerd. Back then I never ran into the weird problems I have run into running and playing Pathfinder. I still didnít run into these problems when 3.5 came out and I ran a brief campaign during college.
I had started playing MTG again with the Mirrodin block, 2001, with my friends, different friends from my school based D&D ones. I didnít play at school because the school MTG culture was one of ďoh noes Iím drawing the cards I want I must look through my deckĒ and other gross disregards for the rules of the game. Games have rules. I like to follow the rules of the game, that way when I change them I can explain why. In any case, I never found it satisfying to play MTG with people who donít know, understand, or flat-out ignore the rules.
While this makes me sound like an insufferable rules-lawyering prick, I actually wasnít. I simply chose not to play with people who didnít play the way I wanted to. This carried over into playing with my friends. I had over the course of that period of time, made several decks that used once or twice and then never again, because my friends didnít enjoy playing against them. I find fun to push the game, and figure out why certain design choices were made, which is one of the reasons I still to this day have a huge amount of scorn for the ďstop the game Iím mana hosed let me dig through my deck some land,Ē and the ďnuh uh, all lands gives you manaĒ type of players. The game did, and does, have cards that do that, on top of the fact that part of the game is luck and chance, and that those kinds of players strike me as poor losers, and probably winners.
So, how does this relate to Pathfinder?
I am not a charoper, one of those people who do theorycrafting and other such things to optimize their characters for Pathfinder, or other table-top games. I used to be fairly into the theorycrating of paladin tanking and hunter dps in World of Warcraft. Not because I really wanted to, but because in order to do the stuff that was fun, raiding for me, you sort of needed to do some minimal research and experimentation. Even then, I did it to the point that I gained enough of an understanding that allowed m e do things that werenít 100% optimal, in the eyes of the poorly informed or just plain stupid. Things like tanking heroic instances in DPS gear. Because ultimate, games are about fun. This is why I would lambaste assholes with illusions of eliteness, especially when they were wrong.
I donít play table-top rpgs to scratch that itch. I could play WoW, or MTG, or find some other game. When I sit down to play an rpg, I want to things other than exclusively or heavily combat.
But with that being said, when playing, or running, a game like Pathfinder, which has an emphasis on combat, it really pisses me off when tactical, strategic, or logistical thinking is not rewarded or outright shunned. This is something that seems to plague portions of the Pathfinder community. They expect a ďbalancedĒ and ďlevel appropriateĒ encounter, which means, they want to win, and even if they win if they didnít win with the kind of ease they wanted, they complain. Those are actual complaints I have had from players when I was running.
Naturally, this is a problem with the people, not the game; Iíve had this same problem running ACKS and B/X. However, Pathfinder requires a lot investment of everyone involved to get it to work. Retuning encounters, rebalancing loot, repopulating dungeons, all of that demands more time.
The point of this rambling is more of a reminder to myself why I donít run it. If I donít this, Iíll try to run it again. I enjoyed running PF when I first picked it, and I was enjoying running PF until have to scuttle my participation in that group, even with the one major problem player who was the root of all the complaints. I enjoy playing it, my wife is an excellent PF GM. I really enjoy making monsters and NPCs for it, just browse through the Pathfinder tag.
But, itís a game built on certain assumptions: you will have X plusses worth of bonuses to certain rolls at certain levels, a balanced encounter is one that wonít generally kill a player, and your character is a special hero. As such, without magical items, saving throw based attacks favor the caster, not the target, which is the opposite of everything prior to 3e. I did some math, and baring a huge disparity in caster stat to saving throw, at equal levels as levels go higher, casters will dominate because of save or suck.
While I could houserule, or use some of the other variants, either published by Paizo or on the internet, the amount of work it requires me to alter PF counter these inbuilt assumptions is not worth it because I can take other games and add to them the parts I like about PF.

Don Coyote

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Re: Why I don't run Pathfinder anymore, and some salt about a Defective GM
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2015, 04:37:21 am »
So here is part of the beginning of the end of my last PF campaign. An email I sent to Defective GM about the game he was running and I was playing in concurrent to the game I was running with him playing in.

Hey Defective GM,

At this moment, I am strongly considering retiring Maximillian and Yames. I could give very valid in-character reasons for either of them to cease adventuring, but I have out of character reasons for thinking about doing so.

In the case of Maximillian, it is because of your ruling that inflicted the shaken condition on it. While I know that it was for only one round and it was not in combat, and therefore of no real importance, shaken is a fear effect, which per the writeup of the warforged race that you personally created, is a class of effects that warforged are immune to. This is the second time you have allowed me to play a character with explicit immunities only to later on ignore those immunities or, in the case of Avel, strip them from it. I am not saying I don't want bad things to happen to my characters; point in fact I rather enjoy having horrible conditions inflicted upon them so I can overcome them or simply fight through them. However, part of the warforged immunity to fear effects is an immunity to all emotion and morale effects, drawbacks I was, and still am, completely ok with having. By subjecting a character to an effect they are supposed to be immune to, you are indicating several things. Chiefly, that you are willing to bend your own rules to promote your story to the detriment of a player character without asking that player if that is acceptable to them in spite of the already implied statement regarding the kind of things that player is agreeable to have inflicted on their character. You are also doubly penalizing that character; they can't incur the detrimental effects but also can't benefit from positive effects of those classes. At this time, I'm basically just waiting until the next time you feel that for story purposes you will blithely ignore facets of one of my characters.

As for Yames, I am just not feeling like playing him. Neither he, nor Max, feel at all mythic. When everything we deal with is mythic, or on par with mythic, mythic is the baseline.

However, there are some other things that are bothering me.

Your sudden apparent reversal of your original statement that it was ok to point out what the pathfinder rules actually say. I did not appreciate your tone either when pointing out the number of rounds that can be ran before con checks, or when pointing the particulars about the climb skill and creatures with a climb speed. If you don't preface things that you are making a houserule, that I was under the assumption that you still wanted my input. But I guess now that I am running my own game, you no longer desire my input. If you had never said you wanted my rules input, I wouldn't be mentioning these things. I don't much like rules laywers, or being the rules lawyer.

I also feel that a great many of your rulings are to some extend arbitrary or serving to force encounters to happen, or happen the way that you want.

Because of that, I don't feel comfortable questioning your statements as I don't know when you are misremembering a rule or making up a brand new houserule.

Finally, I don't really much care for the mythic relic item thing. I had reservations regarding them from the beginning, and I at this point tired of playing the "I use mythic power to ask the GM if I can have thing do a really cool thing that is totally dependent on what he thinks is appropriate."  I can either continue to play in that campaign, with relics that much below everyone else, and essentially be a drag on the party in combat, or I can continue to play the guessing game.

Regardless of all of this, I will not be attending any games that PTSD Veteran will be attending. I found his presence to irritating, distracting, and overbearing.

If you have any questions, concerns, or wish to discuss about any of these topics, please hold off until after this Sunday, as I am still dealing with drill.  I hope to have a meaningful discussion via email before I make my decision on whether or not I continue playing as Maximillian and/or Yames, or even as a new character.


Not even 10minutes after sending this, he calls my wife, who played in both games, to complain about this email. Unfortunately for him, I was next to her, and could hear him quite clearly being an unreasonable fuck-stick. So my, possibly unreasonable, reaction was to delete the further games I had scheduled on meetup, and then to leave the group he managed. I mean if someone is going to call my wife to complain about me instead of waiting some time to talk to me, or at the very least call me, and then claim that he wouldn't feel comfortable at his home, then well, fuck him and his issues. This was Mar 6.

He, and his wife, but not his brother-in-law or his bf, were my problem players. They complained about the lack of treasure, the difficulty of encounters, or the difficulty of buying magical gear, in the Emerald Spire, a module published by Paizo, and I was running it fairly closely to book rules, with all my rule changes shared out in writting.

Cainad (dec.)

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Re: Why I don't run Pathfinder anymore, and some salt about a Defective GM
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2015, 02:38:49 pm »
RPGs are really near the top of the list for "When it's good it's great, when it's bad it fucking sucks donkey balls" hobbies.

I've spent most of my RPG energy on LARPs in the past few years. Four or five weekends a year translates to much more actual game time than I ever managed with a tabletop group. Of course, if the community was bad it would be a nightmare too.

Games would be great if it wasn't for all these damn gamers.