Welcome to ‘Damnit PFS’, the blog series where I look at things that amuse, intrigue, or upset me about the Pathfinder Society Organized Play.
[Caveat: I’m pretty active in terms of writing and attending major events for PFS. This is by no means me saying PFS is a terrible thing. I love it and many of its player base. Instead, this is me picking out some of the select bits that I think could use some discussion, or I just want to rant about.]
Still here? Ok, let’s start the discussion with this thread: http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2sw2m?Theres-no-way-I-can-actually-buy-a-slave
TLDR—Seriously, it’s basically summed up in the first post with this lovely gem: “In other words, there’s nothing that says I can’t buy a slave for my PFS character.”
Why? WHY!? Yes, this is a fantasy game and there do exist nations where slaves are a thing. I’ve run games where players have owned slaves as part of their background, but only after total buy-in from the party. In that case, the character honestly forgot about it after a handful of sessions and it was never really spoken of again. The differences here, is that you’re playing in an environment where your groups can change from week to week. While one group of players may not have a problem with your character owning a slave, other players (not characters) could easily be offended at the idea of someone owning a living being.
One of the biggest perks for PFS is that it’s an open organized play, meaning you get the opportunity to play with people from across the world. You can bring your character from one table to another and everyone plays with the same rules. You can move from a game in the U.S. to a game in Europe with no hassle (assuming your paperwork is all proper). One thing PFS is not, is an excuse to be a dick across the world. Owning a slave is a pretty dicey move at the best of times, and just flat out ‘not cool’ when done in the company of people you don’t know. I don’t care about your precious ‘character background’, this is an environment where you’re playing with people you don’t always have the luxury of getting approval from, so the safest solution is to avoid hot topic items altogether.
But this whole discussion goes into another vein of thinking that grinds my gears: just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. As evidenced in that quoted line above, when someone brings out the “…there’s nothing that says I can’t…” I want to throttle that person. Rules lawyering to get away with acts like this is just tasteless. Again, I don’t care if you have some amazing 32 page background that describes why your precious slave is so very important to your background.
Read that again: I. Don’t. Care.
Maybe next time, you can pick up a porter to carry your equipment and help you out. Oh wait… you’ll probably just try to re-skin that poor porter into a slave that obeys your every command anyways. Maybe you’ll just have their name written as ‘Boy’ too. *sigh*