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Errors in Judgement

Updated: Apr 17, 2022

SPOILER WARNING: This post contains spoilers for Episodes 13 and 14 of the Roll Plus Pod podcast. Please continue after listening to those episodes.

A Game Master admitting his mistakes, in a public forum? Sound the alarms, the press must be informed!

Yes. Game Masters make mistakes, this is something the happens from time to time. As close to perfection as we are, we are unfortunately still human and our primitive monkey minds will sometimes provide us with the wrong information when making a call at the table. In these instances, the Game Master will make a call that might not be founded in the rules and, providing there are no disastrous consequences, acknowledge the mistake and proceed forward with the correct rules in future.

In rare occasions, when the ruling causes horrific outcomes, there may be the need for a retcon. In these instances, you rewind the action as far as is needed, make the necessary changes, then proceed as though the error had never occurred. With agreement from players, if they suit the story, some of these errors may not be rectified and the events left as permanent record. Wherever possible, they should be handled with grace and usually in the favour of the story.

Why do I bring this up? Well, because unfortunately I have succumbed to my human failings and I have made a few errors in recent episodes that warranted addressing. Running three separate campaigns and playing in two others, all of which are using different rulesets was bound to have an effect, they said. Did I listen to these warnings? Alas, I did not.

In an effort of transparency shamelessly stolen from the Glass Cannon Podcast's "We Are Stupid", I am writing a new series of blog posts called, you guessed it, "Errors In Judgement". In these self-chastising posts, I will detail the error I made, why it was an error and how it has been corrected, if it all it needs correcting. I will link directly to rule sources where possible to clarify the official stance of the ruling in question and hopefully clear the matter up.

Episode 13 - Who took damage?

This one wasn't so much a ruling gone wrong, as a GM who doesn't understand how to pay attention when his players tell him what to do. In the episode, Avina and Emlyn headed to the north section of the sentencing room, while Lunamote and Amaranth headed to the south. In my foolish and idiotic mind, I didn't not hear this correctly (despite having placed the tokens in the correct sections on the map) and started treating Avina and Amaranth as though they were together.

Unfortunately, this meant that Avina took damage she shouldn't have and the party were unable to fully understand how the haunt operated. Luckily, this was easily rectified and on the episode itself, I managed to correct the situation easily by restoring Avina's hit points and correctly targeting Lunamote.

Episode 14 - Dying?

This one I did not manage to resolve during the episode, but luckily there were no real consequences. During the showdown with the furnace from hell, Avina took damage and fell unconscious and dying. There was some heroic actions from Amaranth (which should have earned Alice an Edge, which I will rectify in a future episode), but the damage was already done and Avina was close to death.

When it came round to Avina, she made a recovery check. This part was actually done a little differently from the rules as written, but functionally no different. Rules as written (RAW, for short) the check should be:

On the character’s next turn, after being reduced to negative hit points (but not dead), and on all subsequent turns, the character must make a DC 10 Constitution check to become stable. The character takes a penalty on this roll equal to his negative hit point total.

Stable Characters and Recovery, PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 190 Available on the Archive of Nethys here.

In the podcast we use the rule reworded slightly as follows:

The character must make a Constitution check with a DEC equal to 10 plus the number of hit points they are below zero.

Functionally this change makes no difference, but might cause confusion for some listeners. That is not however where the error itself was made. The error came after Amaranth gave Avina a healing potion. I asked Avina to make a second recovery check after the healing potion had been given and hit points had been recovered. This was incorrect. The next part of the ruling quote above reads:

If any sort of healing cures the dying character of even 1 point of damage, he becomes stable and stops losing hit points.

Stable Characters and Recovery, PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 190 Available on the Archive of Nethys here.

I am lucky that Avina's second recovery check was a success and they were able to revive her without issue. In this instance an error was made, but nothing needed to change, but boy am I embarrassed about such a stupid call. This one was a doozy.

I am a fool.

Join us next time when I am sure I will make further terrible decisions.

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