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Pathfinder Online - General Gabble #9
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Pathfinder Online

PFS Gripes - The Difficulty on Receiving an [O]fficial Ruling by Mekkis

So, you're in a position where either Something has happened (accidentally tossed onto another plane, perhaps) - or you've got a concept that Might Work but requires GM approval or a GM ruling. What do you do?

In a regular campaign, you approach your GM (preferably out of the session), a ruling is made, and you abide by it. Simple.

In Organised Play, however, the GM at the table isn't really the GM of the campaign. Indeed, Paizo tends to call them "judges" - they are generally not able to make any form of [O]fficial ruling. As the documents and the forums say, the Campaign Coordinator (formally Josh Frost, now Mike Brock). You might be able to get an [O]fficial answer out of a Venture Captain, but s far as I can tell, they're more on the organisation and policy side of the fence rather than the rules side.

So, you simply ask a Member of the Paizo staff, they give you a Ruling, and All Is Good, right?

Well.. How do you just "ask" them? The "Ask James Jacobs ALL your Questions Here" thread has been ruled to be un[O]fficial. Try getting a ruling in any Pathfinder Society forum or subforum, and it will be moved to the Rules Questions forum. Try asking it in the Rules Questions forum and you'll get a lot of answers - People saying "yes", people saying "no", people saying "it's up to the GM, but in My Game..." In short, you won't get an [O]fficial answer. You've stepped out of the enclosure that is PFS and out into the broader games.

I suppose we're lucky that the Pathfinder ruleset is generally quite exhaustive. (If it wasn't, organised play like PFS would be nigh impossible).

I judge Magic: The Gathering (please put away the pitchforks). It has an almost completely exhaustive rule set - almost any situation can be solved by reading the rules (all 80mb or so of them) and applying them. Generally, the judge's job is to apply Policy (and judge whether a given error was an honest mistake or deliberate cheating). Still, an [O]fficial mailing list (archive available here) exists, and one of the rules on that list is that only Appointed Staff should answer questions. Something like this for Pathfinder would be ideal, but even a PFS Rulings forum would be a good start.

The other issue is that Whether A Forum Post Is Binding has changed several times in the last few years, and at the moment it's something like "As Long As The GM And The Player Have Read It". Good luck dealing with that at a convention.

Pathfinder Society is a great game, and a lovely community. I just wish that we didn't need to continue playing Schrödinger's Character.