We Are Stupid – Episode 90

Some people know all of the rules to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, but many, many more do not. Here’s a list of the things we screwed up in our never-ending search for Pathfinder perfection…

This week, I’m reminded of saying which is often (apparently incorrectly) attributed to Mark Twain: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” It isn’t the literal meaning of the phrase that applies to this week’s We Are Stupid, it’s the rhythm and spirit of the thing. In my head this week I’m hearing this version: “There are three kinds of cheaters: cheats, damned cheats, and Grant.”

Grant wins cheater of the week and it’s the elegance and confidence with which he does it that earns him this special distinction. Not to mention that this is his second week in a row with Inquisitor-related cheats. I thought he was supposed to be lawful!

We’ve got an honorable mention in the works for Troy too, of course, who spat in the face of the Climb rules of Pathfinder, but he wasn’t exactly caught after the fact. He told you he was breaking the rules, so there’s no need for an article on this. I’ll ask him about it in Cannon Fodder, actually, and get him to discuss why he did it. I’d like a longer explanation on that one.

Now, as far as Grant is concerned, he’s falling victim this week to context and my desire to write about a larger issue than just Grant’s mistakes. (Cheats! I mean his cheats!) His cheats are way less offensive than some of the things we’ve gotten away with on this podcast. We’ve all broken a million rules and Grant himself even put up a much worse hat trick of cheats in Episode 66, but this time the context is going to trap him in the spotlight for bit. The context is going to take me some time to explain, so bear with me, but we’ll start here: in Pathfinder, PCs generally (not always), balance each other out as their strengths and weaknesses offset each other. Part of this balance is for mechanical purposes, yes, but the spirit of this generally understood method of building an adventuring party is that it gives individual players relevance in the narrative. It is more fun to be the one player that everyone relies on to pick the locks. You have your job and if you do it well, you help the team. Then, when it’s time to translate the arcane glyphs circling the stone passageway, you step aside and let wizarding Johnny Magicfeet do his thing. Something about the team dynamic is lost when your Knowledge (Engineering) skill is carried by two other players. At that point, why not just put ranks in to something obscure and useful in one out of every 25 sessions like Knowledge (Nobility)? Covering each other’s weaknesses has never been something we’re very good at here on the GCP, but we started to improve when Sir Will and Nestor came into the mix. At that point we started to build things we knew the party needed.

Barron has always been an enigma of a character mechanically. This is expected to a certain extent because he’s a gunslinger—a class which none of us had played or played with before Grant wanted to experiment with it on the show. Early on it became clear that the combination of shooting a gun and hitting nearly every attack against touch AC, as well as having the most hit points on the team, high stealth, survival, craft, AND heal (among other skills), made Barron a one man band. Perhaps this is why he’s the one member of the Trunau Four to survive the fight this long and the one most capable of leading a new team into the Minderhall’s Valley. But now, with the Inquisitor level, Grant has addressed the problem of the one thing he couldn’t do before: cast spells.

So, now that brings us to Sir Will. Sir Will’s build was based around the team we already had. I knew we didn’t need a ranged character (and at the time I didn’t even know about Nestor), and we certainly didn’t need a major damage dealer—Barron and Della could take care of that. We needed a tank, a healer, and a divine spell caster. I wanted to somehow bring all three of those to the team, but also wanted to experiment with mounted combat mechanics for my own selfish reasons, and poof: Sir Willimet Keswick was born.

So when Will reached 5th level Paladin and gained two spells per day, I was excited, especially as we set off to go deeper into this arm of the valley that was apparently infected with undead. Now, this is where a Paladin shines. I could help the party out by casting a scroll of restoration (which we couldn’t do before) or detect evil at will, or detect undead.

We’re getting to it now. In this week’s episode, I prepared detect undead (a level 1 Paladin spell) and thought that it would be really helpful to the team to be able to identify if a body was going to suddenly come to life. This is a spell I could do one time that day. When I was about to cast the spell on the fallen drakes, Grant said, “Well, it’s just an orison for me.”

WHAT?! Now, in addition to having two guns in a medieval setting, the best heavy crossbow a giant hunter could ever want, hitting everything at touch AC (and doing massive damage), tracking as well as a ranger, carrying 1000 pounds on his back, and having higher hit points than Will the Tank, Barron can also cast detect undead as many times per day as he’d like?? This has got to be too much. Grant then followed it up with, “Detect evil?” As if he could just use detect evil at will. (Not at Will, just at will). What is happening?? This game is derailing. Troy, of course, doesn’t really care because the spells are both ineffective anyway, so he gives Grant his answers and I sit there dumbfounded. How is it that I have to prepare and cast this spell once per day at 5th level and a 1st level Inquisitor can do it at will? And detect evil, too? I thought that was a Paladin thing!

Well, it turns out Grant was just flat out cheating. Inquisitors do have an orison called disrupt undead which I assume he knew and decided maliciously to turn into detect undead because it’s a more powerful spell. There’s no way he made the innocent mistake of confusing the two since they are both two-syllable words that begin with ‘d.’ No, he must have been trying to game the system! Then, he follows it up with “Detect evil?” This one I don’t understand. How can he cast detect evil? I mean, he can, it’s a 1st level spell and he gets one per day, but it seems strange to prepare it when Sir Will can do it at will. That’s because I’m sure he didn’t prepare it—he just casually, and deceptively got Troy to let his guard down and snuck one past the goalie! (And who can fault him for that?)

That’s it for this week, guys! I hope my long story gave you some understanding of why this mistake was way more offensive to me than any impact it had on the actual game. Rest assured, Grant will be on cheater probation for a few weeks until he learns the intricacies of his new class. Have a great week and look out for the Climb check question on Cannon Fodder. I’m getting that on air.

Until next time!


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