Content of the article: "Unsure if my player is wilfully cheating or just misunderstanding the rules"
So, we are playing in a Pathfinder 2E game and this is a relatively new system to all of us but we are enjoying ourselves. One of my players swapped from their Sorcerer to a Fighter because they believed they would have more fun. We had a small combat scuffle with some not too threatening foes so this player could learn how their class works etc before needing to participate in any major battles.
Throughout which they got hit about 4 or 5 times for a total of around 40 damage. But then I noticed they were still on full HP after the fight.
Their reasoning was that their shield still had HP left so they hadn't taken any hit point damage. Oki doke, simple mistake to make the rules on how shield block works can be very confusing for new players I've found.
So I explain rather than being a seperate additional HP pool akin to temp HP the shield just has a function where as a reaction you can "block" a certain amount of points of damage with the shield determined by the shield's stats and then both you and the shield take the remaining number of points.
IE: If the shield has 50 HP and reduces incoming damage by 5, if the player got hit for 20 damage, they can use their reaction to reduce the damage to 15 instead of 20 but then both the PC and the Shield take 15 damage.
So then they go Into a boss fight, and I am absolutely terrified because the boss has just hit this fighter three times In a row. But their R20 HP bar is still like 7/10ths full.
So from then on I open up Excel and just record the exact number of points of damage this PC is taking from that point on
They get critically hit 5 seperate times after that and take a total of 16 normal hits (I wasn't trying to focus them down or anything they were just the last PC standing)
They level 8 fighters Maximum HP is around 110. Due to the boss rolling several critical hits and rolling very high damage they took over 900 points of damage, not including the multiple hits they took before I had started tracking and not only did they end the fight not much worse for wear their shield still had more than half of its health left.
I like to assume the best in people and would prefer to attribute it to a simple misunderstanding of some rules text over malice or intentional deception.
But no matter how I spin it I cannot see any way a small rules misunderstanding could account for taking nearly 10x your max HP in damage.
Even if they had forgotten about the rules clarification on shields a session earlier in the heat of the moment and thought that the shield was effectively temp HP, even if we multiply it's max HP by 10 it still leaves around 500 damage points unaccounted for and even then that doesn't explain how their shield is somehow on 40/70HP when I personally saw it take close to 200 on its own.
I tried talking to the player about it and they got quite defensive, rather than trusting my word as a GM who is very familiar with the rules or even trusting me as a friend who just wants to help they responded with things like.
"No I don't think so."
"Show me the exact text in the book where it says that"
Which they made me do.
All the other players noticed it as well, and a player who has who has close to 160HP (more than the fighter and their shield combined) went down after 6 attacks was very suspicious after the fighter survived nearly 25 attacks.
I feel like I need to confront them about it but I don't want to instantly step in the door with "Youre cheating and we caught you!" And it turns out that's not the case
How would you reccomend I deal with this tactfully?
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