OK, so a lot of things are getting my goat this week. Anyway, the mentality among some D&D players about “the rules are God” is starting to drive me crazy. This thread and this thread on the Paizo forums are great examples as they fret and fret about the RAW (rules as written). Both are lightning rods for people obsessed with rule minutiae above making any kind of common sense rulings or modifications. I’ve griped about this recently but here we go again.
In the second thread, it’s even funnier – the person doesn’t want to change a published adventure. Not one bit. They’ve read it all, they know there will be problems with it – but the written word is so holy they can’t conceive of even modifying an adventure to fit their PCs.
In the first, it’s a stealth/hide in plain sight/etc thread. without getting into those specific details, it’s a whole hive of stuff that the rules just don’t define with lawyerlike precision. Any real DM just makes calls that seem right to them. That’s right, I said it. If I think true seeing should cut through a shadowdancer’s supernatural shadow hidey ability – then it’s going to, in my game, no complex rule lawyering required – hell, I don’t even care if you find something in the books, or some thought from an “official game person” on a messageboard that semi-clearly implies that it doesn’t. Now it does, suck it. There’s a nearly infinite number of pedants that just can’t stand that the interaction of those things with tremorsense and magic and incorporeality and 200 other things aren’t 100% spelled out and by God a game designer needs to get their ass in that thread right now and spell it out for them.
Is it a lack of “imaginative play” as kids that is making these people require their rules-pablum spoon-fed to them? A demented worship of the far away game gods and a familiar contempt for their own game master (or in the case of the guy in those two forum threads, he IS the DM, which makes it just so pathetically sad).
This is why D&D is no longer streamlined and brilliant and more like Microlite20 but instead requires 400 pages of law school shit to play, scaring away new players.
If James Jacobs or Mike Mearls or whoever is going to come run your games for you, then you can care what the fucking game designer thinks. But I’m the one spending 10 hours a week prepping and then 6 running the game so you can have fun, so what I say goes. Don’t like it, find another game. I run some pretty good games and have never had a problem getting players, so I’m not concerned that you fucking off will make me die old and lonely.
You know what? It’s time to bring back some of the pejorative terms of gaming 20 years ago.
Rules lawyers. Munchkins. Power gamers. Monty Haulers. You’re on notice. Somehow your filthy habits have become mainstreamed, over Gary Gygax’s dead body apparently. But you’re not welcome, around here at least.
I couldn’t agree more, man. I think it is the lack of imaginative lay in most kids lives these days which makes that mindset more prevalent among younger gamers. How many kids today just go out in the yard and make up a game with their friends based on the shit they find laying around?
Also, with the 2 main RPG’s out there (PF and 4e) being so heavily rules-based, why would anyone new to RPG’s buy them, when they can just login to an MMORPG?
The hobby badly needs an older style RPG on shelves of bookstores and toystores to draw people into RPG’s.
And no, I doubt that the new 4e red box thing will do that. It’s mainly focused on older lapsed games who will recognize the red box set format. I think that once they see what’s inside the box, they’ll reject it as being unrecognizable as compared to what they used to play
Well, they can always go out and buy 2nd Edition AD&D from a used book store.
Or any of the other games. Problem is, will they even care after being scarred by the current crop of rules-heavy and storyteller-light RPGs?
I am much more concerned with the RAUBU (rules as used by us) which is the rules as work for/ are fun to / are understand by us. It is the game we want to play, who cares if it is not written in the books, if playing it this way make it awesome, make it awesome!
I agree for my home games.
Yet for published work (ala Rite Publishing making Pathfinder RPG compatible products) I must work with the RAW so that we all have a common baseline to work from, and so that your house rules can also immediately adapt it, as you recognize the RAW.
Yet this also why I am now working with Erick Wujcik’s Diceless System where we expect a hell of a lot more out of GMs and a hell of a lot less out of the rules.
Well sure, if you’re writing a game product it should use the rules it’s written for. You can use the rules without being obsessed about them (and heck, when you’re writing game content, something new isn’t a rules exception, it’s just something new!)
Yeah, I agree that the “total light” games aren’t the answer necessarily – the indie games that are “here’s a cool mechanic and a good setting idea – now it’s all you!” are missing the boat on providing the needed kinds of support (like what kind of adventure do I run?). There’s a reason that D&D has never been more popular than when it had short rules and a mess of adventures.
Of course, the problem is the shortsighted profit motive. Having people think for themselves is never considered to be good for business, even when in the long term it is. “Sure, but if we just shit out some more rules, they’ll buy it!” “Deal!”
One of my problems with most of the old school games is that they remove the bad stuff (rules complexity) along with the good stuff (more actual content/choice). I don’t mind having more than three classes or more than three races or more than ten spells. And I don’t miss the super low power level – “Hey first level cleric, how many spells do you have today? Zero? Ha ha ha ha!” I mean, not every step in D&D’s evolution since OD&D has been bad. It’s had a lot of good, but with a lot of bad bolted on. You could have just as many races/classes/spells/feats and just not put in the conceit that it can be a “no thought required” game where the rules somehow run it for you automatically.
Every time I’ve seen a player be RAW its because their last (or current) GM is a dick, knowingly or unknowingly.
Players grasp to the rules when its a GM vs PC mentality, either with a combative GM or a patronizing story GM (where “wrong” PC choices are behind the scenes switched out, if they choose door #2 instead of #3, you just put the stuff from door#3 behind it).
This is insanely common as most people are just terrible GM’s (almost certainly due to not practicing in a vicious catch-22 where they suck so no one plays their games…so they can’t practice and improve etc).
RAW is used as a shield when someone in the game is being a dick, often the GM but sometimes a PC, especially if the GM is the one latching onto RAW. That usually means some player is a dbag and the GM (not wanting a confrontation about the pc’s personalityh) hides behind “the rules”.
This isn’t a new thing, its just the people who were like this with 0ed and 1ed have stopped playing by now..but I remember them.
Religious crusades have started over less.
Sadly, there will always be RAW & their countless permutations when being interpreted when they aren’t clear. Heck, even when they are you get someone saying “but that’s not what it really says…”
We gamers just have to “Roll Steady!”
Game the games we do and show ’em how to think out of the box.
I agree that if the RAW conflicts with a certain play style or has problems, then the GM should take steps to correct it; however, it’s best not to do it mid-game, particularly when the rules state so. Let it ride for the session and then deal with it afterwards.
I provide my players with a primer at the beginning of every campaign that has any rule variants that I deviate from the game. During play we discovered that some of the paladin abilities in Pathfinder made him quite powerful. I didn’t ban or change it mid-game and instead let the player run it for that session. I then amended the primer after consulting with the player on a more scaled down powers for the paladin which all the players received.
For gaming, players and GM’s should play the RAW as much as possible or else it ceases to be the game that’s published. There is nothing wrong with that so long as it’s what the GM and players want, but if a new player comes to the table expecting to play AD&D 1st edition and has to deal with all variants borrowed from Pathfinder, 3.5, and 4e that he wasn’t expecting, it leads to a frustrating experience.
The opposite spectrum is GM’s who claim they like to play “fast and loose” or “focus on the roleplaying”. This often means that the GM didn’t bother to read the rulebook and whatever experience he has with the rules is what he’s going to run. Again, there is nothing wrong with this approach except with players who have taken the time to read the rules of the game, created characters, picked spells, magic items, etc. within the rules of that game, and see one action after another banned, reinterpreted, or ignored during a game session.
I think we’ve all been to enough home games or con games to have experienced this frustration.
I agree with that bringing an introductory or core book to a game that is 400 pages is turn off unless that’s the nature of the game itself (Hero System is perfect for this). I’m a big advocate that any kind of complicated game should be covered in a single core book about 96 pages in length and then add supplements to the experience.
If it’s not feasible, then every heavy megacore book should have a quick start set of rules that runs for about 32 pages, enough to generate a quick-play character, do actions and combat, and get going.
Eh, sure, if you’re doing specific house ruling, then write it down. But a lot of it is just the DM simulating the game world for you.
Recently in my Pathfinder game, a player tried to have his snake companion attack a guy who was on a horse. In my role as arbiter of the game world, I said “Nope, can’t reach him.” The player said “but there’s nothing in the rules that says that.” I said, “I know.”
The player instead had his snake climb a tree and drop down on the guy the next round. Problem solved, in frankly a much more satisfying way (it was more clever, more realistic, and more entertaining).
Frankly, I was a little taken aback at the player’s contesting it at all, I feel like back “in the day” that would be considered quite rude. But, I make allowances for the corrupting nature of the current RPG community working on everyone.
Yeah, this puzzles me a little, too. I’m a pretty new player and DM, and D&D Fourth Edition is the first RPG I’ve really played. Still, from reading the Dungeon Master’s Guide, I’ve walked away with the impression that the DM’s word is law, and that the most important thing is for the DM to make sure the game is fun for everyone.
To me, this means that if there’s a question about the rules or something that technically works a certain way but that is clearly stupid (agreed by all), then you rule it the way that makes sense, right there on the fly. No one should have to reach for a rule book unless there’s something that the table is just clueless about (maybe seldom-used rules like swimming or something). If there’s uncertainty, the DM says, “Here’s what makes the most sense, and how we’re going to play it,” and life goes on like that.
Fortunately, my players have absolutely no problem with this at all. The first DM I played with in a regular in-person game seemed pretty wedded to RAW at all times, but we’re starting with a new DM tomorrow, and I’m betting that she’s going to roll with things much more easily. I’m looking forward to it!
This entry made me laugh out loud~
To my mind, none of these problems should occur if the players are working together as a unit to create the story of their characters, in concert with the GM. If any particular person in that circle is a dick, the whole thing falls apart.
While I agree with a previous poster that playing with an adversarial GM leads to rules lawyering as defense, the reverse should not be overlooked.
These games are primarily about cooperative social interaction and that is not a skill that everyone possesses to great degree. An increase in the amount of rules and insistance upon the inviolate nature of those rules, actually impedes rather than facilitates the development of the very social skills needed to develop and run satisfying games~ for players and adjudicators alike.
Heh. Runeslinger, the only part of your post I took exception to was the bit where you said:
“if there’s a question about the rules or something that technically works a certain way but that is clearly stupid (agreed by all)…”
That is where most of the problem lies – consulting everyone and getting a consensus *during the game*. After the game, sure. Then it is just you and the guys. Non Omnia Possumus Omnes… just not when you are playing and they are the Players and you are the Game Master. The relationship and immersion are spoiled.
Trying to reach consensus on the spot takes the player out of the game – and the GM, too. Forces are brought to bear on a minor problem which should never properly see the light of day. Just make a quick ruling the best you can, then amend it later if need be.
“if there’s a question about the rules or something that technically works a certain way but that is clearly stupid (agreed by all)…” was not entered by me~ that was ‘OnlineDM’
I am totally with you on your reaction to the quote you have singled out. I feel that if a player or players, or the GM is unclear on what is happening or what is being attempted in a scene, then time needs to be spent clarifying the descriptions, but otherwise… save it for after the session.
Even in cases of rules disputes, often things become clear or resolve themselves once the group has a chance to see how things are being applied/interpreted.
Sorry if I caused confusion with my earlier comment. All I meant was that sometimes the group comes across something that the rules technically handle a certain way, but that just seems silly, so the DM says, “Well, we’re going to do it THIS way.” I didn’t mean that the game should pause to create consensus if consensus wasn’t already in place. The DM should just make the decision that seems right to them, and move on – keep the fun flowing rather than letting it grind to a halt in a rules discussion.
I also heartily agree with this post. As roleplaying is a team effort, including the GM/DM/you-name-it I don’t see why it is so hard to deviate from the book to suit the game, other than the possible effects of social engineering, which may be. We old guys have escaped that as schools and society were much more open-ended and life was much more DIY than it is now.
As far as the Paizo messageboard: I love Pathfinder, but I really, really hate that forum. They may tout PaizoCon on their website, but really, I wouldn’t operate nicely if some of those posters attended.
“We don’t do that at our game! You’re a monster!”
“New player at this table!”
I just finished a long post where I counseled a friend to heave his older electronics (which were cluttering the house) into the nearest landfill. No one repairs such things anymore and what is more, no one uses them for spare parts either, because very few people come up with their own shit anymore.
Then I read your note here and realized this attitude applied to games as well as hobby electronics. Most players won’t attempt to build their own FM or AM radio out of easily-acquired parts when a complete unit comes from a gum-ball machine. *Why should they be any different when it comes to gaming?*
I am teaching my son to read a schematic, swing a soldering iron and assemble his own radio receiver. He may never build another one as long as he lives, but he will always have that radio in a cigar box (with solar panel and rechargeables) to remind him that once, he could do it on his own.
Even if ‘doing it on his own’ involved nothing more strenuous than taking prepackaged parts from Radio Shack and soldering them together (seriously, have you even tried to wind your own ferrite variable coil?). He may never know what a tank circuit is. I didn’t learn until I was in my 30s. But it is that willingness to go beyond what is in the book or on the shelf that is important.
I think that may be part of what is lacking in some of the players we see who are died-in-the-wool RAW.
Okay, that was ‘Dyed-in-the-wool’
The first rule of GMing is, ‘I am the GM’. The rules bend to my will, not the other way around. I want internal consistency of course, which is why I use rules. But no gaming rule is my master.
I find that GMs who gripe about players insisting on RaW are the sorts who are under some delusion that it’s their game, and that a GM cannot, by definition, be wrong.
This us utter bollocks.
The game belongs to the group and everyone in it equally, and the GM can be very, very wrong. To make rulings when things are unclear is one thing, but to refuse to acknowledge that there might be conclusive rules regarding that ruling, for a GM to place their own whim above the game everyone has agreed to play, to decree, “My whim is law, and if you don’t like it, shut up and leave!” are not good GMing, and they are not something good and strong and active players will tolerate.
That’s basically what your statement boils down to when you say, “But I’m the one spending 10 hours a week prepping and then 6 running the game so you can have fun, so what I say goes. Don’t like it, find another game.” I’m sorry, but that is one of the truest signs there are of an absolutely godawful GM, and any player you have who brings up rules to the level you’re talking about are likely trying to garner some base defense against the tyranny, the refusal to cooperate that you espouse. Your very words, the very fact that such issues have become such a recurring issue for you are proof of the wretchedness of the GMing you so arrogantly hold up as sterling.
You are not the group. You are not the game. You are a part of the group, just like everyone else at the table. You are not their superior. You are not their parent. You are their equal.
It could also be possible that there is a certain measure of hyperbole in the post.
I find it interesting that you regard the sort of GM judgement calls described in mxyzplk’s entry as being “whims.” I’m guessing that you’ve been hurt before…
I agree (sorry, was on vacation) – “Tyranny, waahh.” Sure, people should have a say, but orchestras suck without a conductor and plays suck without a director, and there is a certain amount of necessary authority there. If you just want to play with the rules, go play a MMO. If you want a fun gaming experience, where the game is not bound exclusively by the written rules, then you’re welcome to join polite society.
A director or a conductor are very poor examples to bring up on your side, as both have a strong responsibility to respect the original composition, as well as all involved in the production. What modifications they make are exceedingly minor. Sometimes the changes are epic, like Indie just shooting the bad guy and skipping the sword fight, but the integrity of the original work must remain, and the wise director realizes that he is not omniscient, and listens to those around him; “Why don’t I just shoot him?” was originally Harrison Ford’s idea, after all.
The good director, composer, or dungeon master does not berate another member of the team for saying, “Wait, this doesn’t make sense, the climax of this story is built on the premise of not being able to beam through the ship’s shields, but three episodes ago, we established that you CAN beam through shields if you know the shield frequency, and it makes no sense that the crew wouldn’t know the frequency of their own shields.” Rather, that sort of thing would have avoided a great many Star Trek wallbangers. Hell, we all should know how many shows and series get utterly ruined by executive meddling, which comes down to this:
Yes, someone has to have authority. That does not mean that they are always right in using it.
When a DM starts throwing rules out the window to the point where the players are no longer capable of playing the game, when the DM is halving fireballs’ damage for the room being muggy and declaring the player’s light spell sheds almost no light because she cast it on an little coin, the players cannot play and the DM is in the wrong; it is the DM who needs to straighten his act up in order to join polite society. The rules are not a sacred tome from which you must never deviate, but they are the agreed-upon structure by which EVERYONE at the table- DM included- agrees to abide, and as such they much be given the proper respect (which is not the same as slavish devotion).
Sounds like a big “waah” to me.
Here’s probably what happens. Your DM has your fireballs be better in some cases, and worse in others. You obsess about the times he makes them worse, so you decide the decision should be taken out of his hands and enshrined in the rules. You then reap the mediocrity you sew.
A sense of entitlement has never yielded an excellent result.
A sense of entitlement has never yielded an excellent result, you say? Do you seriously not see the blatant hypocrisy at work here, when you come from a position so mired in DM entitlement, a problem every bit as dire as player entitlement and more? You have no right to complain.
When I DM (which I do as often as not), I am not the infallible God-empress. I do not lord over my players, I work with them and respect their contributions. And I do not hold some absurd, entitled double-standard where just because I’m the DM, the same standards of social obligation and honesty do not apply to me. If you do not allow your players to cheat, what right have you to cheat, after all?
A GM can have a couple different goals.
1. Create a realistic world.
2. Create a good story.
3. Adhere to the rules.
You are welcome to put those in whatever order you want. But putting #3 first is a lot of what’s gone wrong with the hobby over the last ten years.
Personally, I think the biggest thing a GM should follow is the standard of house rules. If I am playing in a game (which is rare, I almost always GM) then I would like the GM to let me know ahead of time of any house rules they have in place. Otherwise, I expect the rules to work as they are presented in the book. It’s how I build the PC, it’s how I think when I do things in game, etc.
House rules are perfectly fine, just so long as they are told up front. Generally, if an issue comes up in game that I think needs a house rule, then I’ll let the player’s go without said house rule for that session and then apply it to future ones. The only time I’ll spring something on them without prior warning is if it seems *extremely* broken, or something is very unclear. But that’s a rarity.
I can see both of your arguments, and I kind of agree with Valium in that the GM is not the ultimate arbiter, and making up rules that contradict the book on the spot can be a bit douchey. The players come to your game with a certain predisposition, it’s nice to respect that.
Similarly, if you make a house rule clear ahead of time or a good case for a broken rule in game, I think it’s the players job to respect that as well.
Ultimately, whatever it takes to get along. Some players are ok with the GM house ruling anything during the game, others prefer a better stability. To each their own.
The above said, that’s just my policy on rules. I still think story is great, but if the GM has to break the rules often enough to keep the story going that the players get angry about it, then something is wrong with the GM. A show where the characters keep falling for the same thing, forget about their own capabilities, don’t use something that could get through the story quickly for the sake of plot… those shows bore me. The story should keep surprising the players and keep things going without having to bust the rules in half all the time.
It’s the difference, in my opinion, between playing Pathfinder or something like Storyteller (is that what it’s called?). People who are playing Pathfinder should come to the table knowing that the rules and the story share pretty equal parts, and not expect the story to trump the rules 90% of the time.
Although again, individual groups can definitely vary. Your group might not care about spontaneous house rules. I know mine does, but like I said above. To each their own.
Yeah, but it’s not about “house rules.” Sure, if you’re going to have a major change, house rule it. But a GM’s job is to make situational calls as well – my “your constrictor snake can’t attack the guy up on the horse” is an example.
It’s ridiculous to insist on “the rules” for safety. It’s “cheating” if the GM ups the monster’s hit points because things are going too easy, but he can just throw in another monster instead and it’s “fair?” Smoke and mirrors. If a GM wants to screw you, he can screw you within the rules – insisting on blind rules adherence, especially “the rules don’t say that,” is dumbing down that doesn’t get you safety, just less fun.
You realize plenty of people played and enjoyed earlier versions of D&D that had 1/10 the amount of rules, right? And they just made a call on what a knock spell affects exactly, instead of needing a one page document of legalese to list out every single possible thing (but not really)? Great, if that’s the way you want to play… But it’s depriving YOU of opportunities for creativity – “Oh, I won’t use knock, the rules don’t say for sure it will work on that. And I’m a bitch to the rules, and have forced my GM to be too.”
See, I think you’re misunderstanding my perspective a bit. Upping a monster’s HP is not what I would call a cheat. In fact, anything on the GM’s side of things that the player doesn’t know, I’m all for. Sure, personally I prefer fudging or changing things after they’ve begun too much, but I have definitely given a boss a few extra hit points or an extra round to prep a spell if I think he’s getting thrown around too much.
What I’m talking about is when a GM makes a call that changes the rule for what a player does. If you add a few hit points to a monster to make it a bit more epic of a battle, the player may never know. But if you tell the player that he can’t do something that he thought he could (and the rules supported) then I think that’s a bit unfair. I’d at least try to talk to him before hand, or let him get away with it once and talk to him about it after the game, possibly house ruling it then.
Also, on the whole snake thing? I don’t think that’s really a big rules change, that’s a judgment call. I could see some GMs allowing it, others not. As a GM, I’d probably at least give the snake an acrobatics check to ‘jump’ and bite a foot or something. Yeah, I know snakes really can’t leap, but it’s Pathfinder, whatever. 🙂
The big thing is that the GM should do whatever it takes to make sure there are no hurt feelings. Sure, the players should be respectful of the GM call in the end, but it’s my feelings that the GM shouldn’t have to pull Rule 0 out too often if they’re doing a good job. Any broken rules should be kept under the table, and only to improve the game play. If you add HP to a boss to make the fight a bit more epic, awesome. But if you give HP to a boss to make the fight more epic and it results in a TPK? That’s going a bit too far.
“Sure, personally I prefer *avoiding fudging or changing things after they’ve begun too much,”
Well, I’m not grumping at you personally; most of that is in general response and not to your post.
It’s ok, I still ❤ your site, even if you are a grumpy old man. 😉
Also, I encourage the guys to try their spells for effects beyond the rules all the time, mostly because I run a lot of planned games (Pathfinder APs, along with the big Dragonlance campaign earlier) that do allow for certain spells or abilities to have effects not listed. Creativity should still be encouraged, and allowing more options for spells is not breaking the rules, taking away options is.
Two more interesting links.
RetroRoleplaying’s take on how “old school” non rule-slaved roleplaying works
A Paizo forums thread whining about tripping and obsessing over whether attacks of opportunity happen as interrupts and that the binary nature of the prone state means you can’t be tripped when standing up.
Which kind of gaming sounds more fun?
(P.S. I don’t blame Paizo – much – for having such a rules lawyer contingent. It’s just where I’m personally seeing all the ridiculousness lately.)
For what it’s worth (and I know it’s not the point of this thread), a typical snake in the real world can strike up to 1/3 of its total length. The Golden Flying Snake of Cambodia can leap from a tree and glide to gain additional distance, much like a flying squirrel does.
I’ll write Paizo and let them know so they can update their rulebooks, just in case that one guy has a Shadowdancer that encounters a snake. Wouldn’t want the game to come to a screeching halt.
I love these rants. They’re very appropriate. In any gaming system, you’re going to have asshats who care more about the rules than what makes sense. Your snake example? Perfectly handled by you (an experienced DM). Some newer DMs might let it slide, but they might feel a little… “cheated”, isn’t really the right word, but disgruntled that something that was so lame as a snake striking the rider of a horse they let get by them. The next time that it happens, they might allow the snake to make an attack to scare the horse, allowing the rider to be inconvenienced by being thrown or moving in a direction he didn’t want his horse to go. Whatever. The point is that regardless of system (Pathfinder, D&D 4E or earlier, etc.), it’s the call of the DM. Players who can’t cope with DMs who make up rules on the fly are players who will soon find that they’re looking for a new DM. Or ironically enough, forced to DM and subsequently forced to make up rules on the fly 🙂
On the other hand, when I DM, I like to look up the rule if a player asks about it. If I don’t like what the book has for me, I’ll change it, but too often people will just allow something to fly because it’s cool or because it keeps the players from whining. Meanwhile, the ruling you make isn’t necessarily balanced and thus the second and third times that the players try the same tactic because it worked so well the first time and you subsequently have changed how you’re handling it so that it doesn’t break your game. Anyway, I consult the rules and if they don’t make sense or don’t exist, I ad lib from there. Like any experienced DM does.
Oh, definitely. I use the rules, and don’t just say “You can’t cast magic missile any more because I say so…” I just reserve the right to add whatever situational stuff I want to help the simulation and also to not spend time worrying about the huge cruft of rules we didn’t need back in earlier versions. The “Well you can’t trip someone standing up from being tripped because attacks of opportunity are interrupts and the prone condition and Tuesday and blah blah blah…” And yeah, just like everyone does. I really suspect some of these Web forum rules lawyers talk a lot of smack but don’t actually play the game.
I agree 100% with this. A lot of people collect books and don’t play the game. They used to play the game, but can’t find a group since everyone’s playing World of Warcraft or some other on-line game. To be honest, I only really give creedence to people who complain about 4E if they gave it a good chance. By that I mean play the game for longer than a one-shot game. I mean, level up once or twice, get a feel for your character and the system. The same goes for any system. I’m a little iffy about Pathfinder, but it’s just a gut reaction, not something I can really be specific about since I haven’t played the system yet.
Oh, I also wanted to give a shout out – I recently got and read the Pathfinder Gamemastery Guide, and they “get it.” On the second page of the intro, they make bold statements that will cause all these rules lawyers to crap themselves, like “Just as GMs arbitrate the rules within their games, so can they manipulate, repurpose, and wholly invent new rules to improve their game.” Throughout the book they make it clear that the GM is not slave to the rules, setting, or adventures – they are all suggestions to aid him, not shackles to bind him (or her).