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Kobold

Jiggy's page

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32. RPG Superstar 2013 Marathon Voter, 2014 Dedicated Voter, 2015 Dedicated Voter. FullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 18,814 posts (21,165 including aliases). 17 reviews. 4 lists. 1 wishlist. 13 Pathfinder Society characters. 22 aliases.


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Bluenose wrote:
Euryale wrote:
I'd like to see weapons have a bit more variability, enough so there aren't any weapons that are clearly inferior to all of the others; I just see, or in least the games I play, that everyone chooses the same weapon and it comes to a point where you forget about the weapon (as well as its design) and just think about the number of dice you'll roll. It's only a small change, but I would enjoy more creative uses of certain weapons.
I'm exactly the opposite. "There are no dangerous weapons, only dangerous people." Minimise the differences between the weapons to something really simple. Increase the differences between the users, with fighting styles and stances and other reasonably unique tricks that attach to the character and not the weapon. So Trogdor is famous for being Trogdor, not for being That Guy Who Carries Excalibat.

Even better, add to that the ability to learn certain combat skills that apply to different types of weapons or fighting styles. Make there be a real difference between the Swordsman, the Pikeman, the Archer, the Axeman, the Spearman, the Dual-Wielder, the Duelist, the Hammerman.

Let the weapons themselves differ only in how many hands they need, whether they're melee or ranged, and what type of damage they deal. Then let the character learn what a master can do with a given type of weapon or style.

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Arbalester wrote:
The best summary I've heard of the problem comes from Jiggy. It was originally posted in this other thread.

Aw, you're gonna make me blush. :)

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sparkerama wrote:
It's odd... being a noob, I can sort of see how the pieces fit together individually, but cannot grasp the whole character I want to build. I am sure there are nuances eluding me.

I offer you this piece of advice for "big picture" thinking:

If you want one of your combat contributions to be hitting things with weapon attacks (but not be a full-on fighter/barbarian/etc), make sure your class-granted attack bonus is higher than 3/4 of your level. That is, if you strip away all the things that are independent of class (like stats, feats, etc) and just look at how your class itself contributes to your attack roll (BAB, built-in bonuses, self-buffing spells, etc), the resulting attack bonus needs to be higher than 3/4 of your level in order for you to make a solid contribution.

For example:
The bard has 3/4 BAB and Inspire Courage (and a few buff spells), getting him up past 3/4 level for his total class-granted attack bonus.

The cleric has 3/4 BAB and some good attack buff spells like divine favor, so his total is also above 3/4 his level.

The monk has 3/4 BAB but changes to full BAB when flurrying, so his total is (sometimes) above 3/4 his level.

The magus has 3/4 BAB and an arcane pool that throws extra enhancement bonuses on his weapon, so his total can go above 3/4 his level.

The rogue has 3/4 BAB and... that's it, so his class-granted attack bonus is NOT above 3/4 his level, so he will struggle badly to try and contribute. It will take extra work to be a meaningful part of the team.

Note that this rule of thumb is for when fighting in combat is NOT your primary role. If your main role is hitting things, you're instead aiming for a class-granted attack bonus that's higher than your level. (For example, the fighter gets full BAB plus Weapon Training, the barbarian gets full BAB plus rage, etc.) The "higher than 3/4 your level" advice is for second-string attackers, like skill monkeys and half-casters and such.

It's not a hard and fast rule, but it's a simple and easy thing to keep in mind when building a secondary combatant. If you're not as good at attacking as other secondary combatants (those who were specifically designed to fight not-as-well-as-fighters), then it might be time to revisit how you're implementing your concept.

Hope that helps!

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Soilent wrote:
Animal abuse of any sort is a guaranteed 1 way ticket through my window.

Really hoping the irony was intentional...

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Man, you can tell who's not used to juggling in-laws, amirite? :)

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When I was in high school, I helped out occasionally at my mom's daycare. A preschooler bit my behind, because he was a dinosaur. He was too little for it to hurt through my jeans, but I think I jumped about a foot.

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gamer-printer wrote:
Obviously, I don't play in Golarian.

Indeed! In Golarion, you can walk into any major metropolis and immediately sell a magic item for up to 100,000gp, then ask about any given item costing up to 16,000gp and have a 75% of it sitting on the shelf, ready to buy (and if it's not, come back in a week and they'll probably have one in stock then). Then you can head across the street and buy a casting of resurrection, mind blank, or greater planar binding.

:/

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According to Ultimate Equipment, a backpack holds 2 cubic feet of stuff. The masterwork backpack also includes hooks for hanging things like lanterns and canteens.

I'm also a fan of the bandolier (from the same book), which holds 8 items (flask or smaller), and you can wear two. That's where I like to keep my combat potions and such.

Oh, and the explorer's outfit (CRB) says it has plenty of pockets.

Hope that helps!

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...What is "focused trance"? Is that a spell? Revelation? Something else? I searched the phrase in the PRD and didn't come up with anything.

EDIT: Wait, found it. Something's funky in the search results, but I got there. So it's a thing where you have to meditate for 1d6 rounds, then when you come out of it you can immediately make an INT-based skill check with a +20 bonus.

Okay, so I see how you got the number. You've got some other complications to deal with, though:

First, there's the rule (from the Diplomacy skill description) that Diplomacy auto-fails against anyone who intends to do you harm. Do you have a special ability that overrides that rule?

Second, Focused Trance requires that you make the INT-based check immediately upon coming out of your 1d6-rounds-long trance. It takes 1+ rounds to use the "make a request" function of Diplomacy, it takes 1+ minutes for an attitude shift, and 1d4 hours to gather information. Do you have an ability that reduces one or more of these functions to something you could do in a single turn, or are you confident your GMs will agree that these spans of time can still count as happening when you come out of your trance as long as it's the first thing you do? Assuming an affirmative answer to that, you still have to initiate these actions as soon as your trance is done. That means you have to encounter somebody, decide Diplomacy would be useful, then say "Hang on a sec" and expect them to wait 1d6 rounds while you meditate before you start talking to them. That seems like an obstacle to your plans; do you have some way around that?

Your numbers may be legit, but I have doubts about your ability to use them in the manner you suggest.

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@OP: Kind of depends on if factors like you describe are a theme of the whole campaign, or just an element of that part. For instance, if the entire theme of the campaign is "War against the fire dudes", then I'd say a GM is being a dick if you talk about building a pyromancer and he says nothing. But if it's a campaign with varied settings and encounter types, where maybe there's like this one subplot where you attack the base camp of a cult of "fire dudes" but there's another area where you have to save a town from the Dried Grass Elemental, then I would see no problem.

In short, I think the GM should warn players of large, campaign-spanning themes that invalidate certain character types, but not necessarily of more short-lived themes where you're down for a while but then you get to shine some other time.

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Following anything blindly is stupid: printed rules, your GM's rulings, your own intuition of what the developers surely must have meant when they wrote X, the way it's been since [EDITION], sayings from Gygax, how your group has always played it, whatever.

And to bring this around back to the topic of the thread, following something blindly is usually the root of when person X cries "cheese" against person Y: sometimes on the part of person Y, and almost always on the part of person X.

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Yeah, it's really a personal call as to whether you want to get an extra chance of landing a sneak attack or use your bonus actions for other things.

I'm actually in a game that has two rogues: one arcane trickster and one assassin. The assassin uses TWF because she doesn't do much else than attack, but the arcane trickster has used lots of bonus actions in combat for other things.

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Haladir wrote:
I'm strongly considering running a Paizo adventure in 5E to see how it goes.

You wouldn't be the first; there's been lots of chatter on the PbP boards about converting both Paizo APs and even AD&D modules to 5E.

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Dude, numbers. We're trying to hit a milestone here! ;)

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LazarX wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
73. Demanding different levels of first-person acting for different kinds of d20 rolls, and penalizing the results of those who fail to sufficiently comply.
I take it you're one of those folks who prefer that social encounters be handled in the form of "I roll a 32 diplomacy..."

Not in the least, and we learn a lot about you from your assumption that I am.

84. When someone questions one of your double-standards, you assume they must be "one of them" and ascribe extreme behaviors/thoughts to them that do not in any way follow logically from what they said.

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Charon's Little Helper wrote:
SheepishEidolon wrote:
If you start serious powergaming, you make GM's life significantly more difficult (experienced that myself). If you want him to cut the metagaming, give him some alternative (see above) or cut your powergaming (so he feels less need).
So - if you pass some undefined power-gaming threshold, you deserve to have your GM cheat to beat you? Gotcha.

But remember, as we learned from deusvult upthread: if you're powergaming, then you're clearly part of the small demographic of players who wants mutual metagaming for a tactics-only combat experience. The metagaming-is-fun crowd are the only people who powergame, make strong characters, use good tactics, etc. It's all one single population.

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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
73. Demanding different levels of first-person acting for different kinds of d20 rolls, and penalizing the results of those who fail to sufficiently comply.
I Have literally never seen this happen; only the inverse (you actually try to play your character, and the DM/other players shut you up and/or pick on you for it). It's a roleplaying game; people need to learn to frigging roleplay and stop passive-aggressively edging out those who do.

I have literally never seen that happen; only the inverse (you describe your intents and methods in at least as much detail as your last dozen d20 rolls, but the GM says "no roll unless you act it out first, because ROLEPLAY").

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73. Demanding different levels of first-person acting for different kinds of d20 rolls, and penalizing the results of those who fail to sufficiently comply.

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deusvult wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
So what are you really trying to say here?

You actually got what I was saying. I can only assume your difficulty is in assuming I didn't mean what I said when I said:

Deusvult wrote:
I was saying that I agree that for the most part it's shoddy GMing to fail to separate OOC and IC knowledge.
Once you accept that I agree that most of the time GMs should seperate OOC and IC knowledge, it shouldn't be that hard to wrap your head around my saying that there are additionally (and less common) instances where the GM's using OOC knowledge ICly may be actually appropriate.

Yeah, I got that part. I got that you agree it's usually a bad idea, and I got that you're saying there are some cases where it's okay, such as to imitate superhuman intellect and whatnot. I got all that.

What I was asking about was specifically in one of the cases where you say it's okay for the GM to metagame; I was asking whether this one particular case was "when the players are already metagaming" or "when the players build strong characters".

That was all I was asking about. I got the rest.

Quote:

To restate and clarify:

One example is a game where roleplaying takes a back seat to tactical wargaming. If the players don't separate OOC and IC knowledge, then it may be acceptable if the GM doesn't either.

You say this like these are the same thing, like there's no such thing as preferring the combat aspect of the game while still not wanting to metagame. Like, "Oh, you're not much into roleplay but like combat? That must mean you're totally fine with metagaming, because that logically follows somehow."

Quote:
Another is the phenomenon that optimized/munchkin PCs are more capable than those that are not.. and resultingly have punching strength above their APL. Maybe the group doesn't like the GM fudging dice. Maybe the group wants to run a published adventure without changing the encounters. Having the GM make optimized/munchkin tactical decisions is one tool that still remains if the group wants all that but to still be challenged.

Make optimized tactical decisions? I thought we were talking about metagaming here. Making good tactical decisions and having psychic knowledge of your enemies' defenses are not the same thing. Why are you talking about them like they are?

That's why I'm scratching my head a little at (parts of) your post. What your words actually talk about is people building strong characters and preferring combat over roleplay and making good tactical decisions, but then you treat those three things as though they're all fundamentally linked to wanting the metagaming playstyle.

It sounds more like you're saying that if someone is making strong characters, prefers combat over RP, and is good with tactics then that means they clearly must also be riding the metagame bus. If that's what you meant, then I have to disagree (and also think you owe an apology to the untold thousands of players who like combat and are good at it but don't like to metagame). If that's not what you meant, then why did you say it?

EDIT for your edit:

Quote:

edit: I think this line might have given you trouble:

"When players game the system they are literally asking to be challenged to the utmost."

That doesn't mean players gaming the system deserve to be punished. It actually means what I said. I wasn't disparaging taking "roleplaying" out of the roleplaying game; it's well acknowledged that's how some people like to play. When they do, they're playing something akin to Warhammer: Not quite perfect knowledge of every capability of the opponent, but certainly a game where you don't deliberately make suboptimal tactical choices for roleplaying reasons. If one side is playing to win and the other side is "roleplaying", it's a fairly foregone conclusion what's going to happen. Yes, even in a tactical wargame version of a RPG the players are generally presumed to win, but if they have fun being challenged despite having made optimized/munchkin PCs then the GM should also dial up some "playing to win", even if he doesn't intend to actually defeat the PCs.

See, there again you're doing it: you treat "gaming the system", "taking roleplay out of the system", and "made strong characters" both as all being same thing and as assuming a high level of metagame acceptance. Neither of those is true. That would be like me saying something like, "I'm not disparaging turning Pathfinder into a sacred LotR reenactment; it's a well acknowledged way to play the game. But when the GM is older than 40, you have to remember not to expect them to know the rules very well; there's a reason they made such bad characters." It makes no sense and is a horrible stereotype.

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Leonhart Steelmane wrote:
Jiggy wrote:

Once you realize (and accept) that in Pathfinder wealth is a second XP track and that gear is as much a part of character progression as feats and levels, everything else falls into place.

In Pathfinder, saying that you'll need to find someone to commission the weapon you want to spend your gold on is like saying that you'll need to find someone to commission the spell you wanted to spend your XP on learn when you leveled up. In Pathfinder, saying that you can't shop for that magic item because you've never heard of it is like saying you can't take that feat because you've never heard of it.

That's why so many people (including Paizo) have come up with houserules and variants to eliminate this aspect of play so that treasure can be treasure again.

could you give me examples of some of these house rules?

There's a handful of different variant options in Pathfinder Unchained, though I don't know the details of them.

I heard of one guy (Kirth Girsen, I think?) who replaced the accumulation of wealth with "mojo points" that you spend to acquire new abilities, possibly as part of the narrative. Like, "Hey look, that fight puts me over 6,000 mojo, so I'll say that I've started feeling the familiar presence of my ancestors in my morningstar; their spirits imbue it with ghost touch from now on."

Others take all the boring numerical items that are part of the game's math (like cloaks of resistance, etc) and just say that everyone gets such-and-such a bonus at such-and-such a level, then loot is stuff with actual interesting abilities.

I'm sure there are others, but hopefully that helps. :)

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69. You invest character resources in X and not Y, then when the guy who invested in Y is better at Y than you are, you roll your eyes, toss your hands in the air, call him names, and so forth. Bonus points if just half an hour ago you gloated about being the best at X or chastised the group because you're the only one investing in X (even if X is something the party only needs one person doing, because teamwork).

70. You run a meatgrinder campaign, then complain when the players either make super-powerful characters or stop writing immersive backstories for characters they know will only last a couple of sessions at most before dying.

71. Someone learns of the babau's slime (whether via Knowledge or just running face-first into it) and when describing it, you begin to energetically argue your case about how you're ruling that it bypasses hardness or whatever when nobody else has said a word, let alone questioned anything you've said.

72. You grin from ear to ear as you have your NPC bandit with cavalier levels (who won initiative) open with a Spirited Charge that seriously injures a PC, then when a PC cavalier uses his turn to Spirited Charge right back, you fight tooth and nail to find a reason his charge won't work and, failing to shout down the entire table, throw your hands in the air and ask everybody if they want you to just wipe the map and move on since you guys obviously aren't interested in playing this out.

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Once you realize (and accept) that in Pathfinder wealth is a second XP track and that gear is as much a part of character progression as feats and levels, everything else falls into place.

In Pathfinder, saying that you'll need to find someone to commission the weapon you want to spend your gold on is like saying that you'll need to find someone to commission the spell you wanted to spend your XP on learn when you leveled up. In Pathfinder, saying that you can't shop for that magic item because you've never heard of it is like saying you can't take that feat because you've never heard of it.

That's why so many people (including Paizo) have come up with houserules and variants to eliminate this aspect of play so that treasure can be treasure again.

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deusvult wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
deusvult wrote:
...I generally agree with the sentiments above about "bad GMing" when the monsters/NPCs use the GM's OOC knowledge ICly....
If not for the first sentence of your second paragraph, I seriously would have thought you had gotten your browser tabs mixed up and replied to the wrong thread, because replying to "GM is dodging class features via metagaming" with a list of a bunch of unrelated things you don't like is just totally coming out of nowhere. What was the connection there?

I was saying that I agree that for the most part it's shoddy GMing to fail to seperate OOC and IC knowledge. However, there are certainly times it's appropriate to, as the OP put it, "ignore the immunities".

If the PCs are optimized/munchkins, it may not be inappropriate for the GM to use optimized/munchkin tactics. Some people like games where players try their hardest to see how badly they can "break" the game. If the group's idea of fun is to beat encounters as quickly as possible and with as little risk as possible, then they shouldn't mind the GM using that same mindset to challenge the players at their own game. When players game the system they are literally asking to be challenged to the utmost.

Having the monsters act on OOC knowledge is just another option for challenging over-the-top PCs if dice fudging or throwing encounters far beyond APL aren't the group's idea of fun.

I think it's actually a swell idea in another case: when the monster has superhuman or godlike smarts. As the GM I'm only a human. How do I do justice to determining the life or death decisions for something smarter than I will ever be? Sometimes a great way to approximate superhuman intuition/mentalism/deduction/smarts is using OOC knowledge ICly.

This whole post reads like you're saying that if players build characters whose power crosses some undefined threshold, then for the GM to cheat by metagaming the PCs' immunities is like some kind of well-earned retribution.

If I dig really deep and pick apart your post and do some mental gymnastics, I can reinterpret your post such that the subset of players of whom you're making this claim is only those who see what mini is on the map and flip open the Bestiary, such that the GM is just matching metagaming to metagaming. If that's the case, then I agree: some players want a game where there's no secret knowledge, it's just enemies facing each other in open contest with full (inexplicable) knowledge of each other's abilities.

But I had to really stretch to think your post was talking about them. What it really reads more like is that the more powerful the PCs are (by who-knows-what standard), the more deserving they are of the GM metagaming against them. You used terms that normally applies to massive populations of players who are not okay with metagaming at all and don't do it themselves, then said that they not only "should" be okay with the GM retaliating with metagaming, but that by building powerful PCs the players downright asked for some metagaming. The whole tone sounds punitive.

So what are you really trying to say here?

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deusvult wrote:

The problem the OP has may have something to do with playstyle. If you want the GM to fight with kid gloves on, have you considered whether or not you're wearing them yet? It's not cool for the players to use and abuse the game mechanics to their advantage while expecting the GM not to.

I generally agree with the sentiments above about "bad GMing" when the monsters/NPCs use the GM's OOC knowledge ICly. That does not extend, however, to groups where roleplaying is subservient to the rules/mechanics. You don't get it both ways... if you want to use and abuse the rules to your greatest advantage, you don't get to demand fluffball treatment from the GM.

If not for the first sentence of your second paragraph, I seriously would have thought you had gotten your browser tabs mixed up and replied to the wrong thread, because replying to "GM is dodging class features via metagaming" with a list of a bunch of unrelated things you don't like is just totally coming out of nowhere. What was the connection there?

------------------------------------

Anyway, back on topic: yes, this practice of metagaming GMs is unsettlingly common (especially considering how many of the same GMs will quickly pounce on a player who dodges a monster's immunity/DR/whatever without a Knowledge check). Never seems to get called "metagaming", though.

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Dragon78 wrote:

Maybe saves should go something like this.

Base saves
Str mod + Con mod= Fort
Dex mod + Int mod= Ref
Wis mod + Cha mod= Will

Then you get a point or points per level you can add to wich save(s) you want.

That's actually remarkably close to 4E.

Quote:
Also the Dex to hit and damage should only apply to weapons that have the "finesse" trait.

And that's how 5E works.

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Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
I think you should have a choice of ether Str or Dex to hit and damage, no feats required.
If you added that to the current system - everyone with any amount of optimization would ALWAYS pick dex. Essentially all Str gives you is melee accuracy/damage - dex gives you a dozen other useful things. (I could see an argument for giving WF for free - but it'd still probably require a slight re-balance.)
But you did say "if they were designing a similar but new system from the ground up". :)

Fair 'nuff.

Though I don't think it'd work unless you also split dex into dex & agility. You could choose to use Str for both - or choose to have dex for accuracy & agility for damage.

Actually, 5E does it just fine; it's just that there are a lot of subtle changes throughout the system that make it work.

For example: the scaling of damage is so much lower (such as by capping all stats at 20 and not really assuming magic items and so forth) that the weapon damage die for your weapon actually matters, and the DEX weapons only get around a 1d6 (or 1d8 for rapier), while the STR-only weapons can get as high as 1d12 or 2d6, therefore getting better damage than DEX-based characters will have.

There's more, but you get the idea. You're right that it requires systemic rebalancing, but it doesn't require splitting up DEX or anything like that.

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MTaylor wrote:
Is there a middle road between a pure combat, Diablo-type game like many people claim PF is (a wargame with role-playing, as the above poster puts it), and a no-rules make-it-up-as-you-go-along game? Where there's some structure and combat, but space for other things too?

Maybe 5E D&D? The entire ruleset is much more streamlined, combats are much simpler to resolve, and the non-combat rules are malleable enough to fit plenty of different narrative situations without much re-working (and also changes a lot of paradigms that, in Pathfinder, hinder noncombat endeavors, such as the role of skills and utility spells). It sounds like it might be what you're looking for.

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Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
I think you should have a choice of ether Str or Dex to hit and damage, no feats required.
If you added that to the current system - everyone with any amount of optimization would ALWAYS pick dex. Essentially all Str gives you is melee accuracy/damage - dex gives you a dozen other useful things. (I could see an argument for giving WF for free - but it'd still probably require a slight re-balance.)

But you did say "if they were designing a similar but new system from the ground up". :)

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8. At a public event, the GM announces that he's fairly new to Pathfinder and this is his first time GMing. When he makes his first mistake (drawing the map with the mostly-irrelevant door on the wrong wall), a local regular is immediately on his feet, rolling his eyes, making exaggerated hand gestures, and telling him how he remembers the room looking from when he ran it.

9. When #8's new GM makes his second mistake (accidentally skipping someone's turn in combat), a local regular is immediately on his feet, rolling his eyes, audibly scoffing, and reaching over in front of the GM and rearranging the GM's Combat Pad to remedy the error.

10. When a brand-new player displays a misunderstanding of sneak attack (thinking the 1d6 goes on the attack roll), a local regular not only corrects him, but begins babysitting everything else the newbie does, up to and including picking up the newbie's character sheet to show him things on it and look for errors—all without permission, let alone request.

Numbers 8, 9 and 10 were all the same game, and the same "local regular", who is also an experienced GM and a local organizer. Didn't get booted from the table, but should have been.

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Soilent wrote:
Vanykrye wrote:

6. Masturbate at the table and then defend it as "simply being in character".

Because that actually happened.

Edit: Put the number in front.

Wow...Is there a story here?

If there is, do you really want to hear it? :/

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In order to think detect magic is a meaningful countermeasure to invisibility (let alone to think it's so effective as to be a good, cheap workaround to the "normal" countermeasures like see invisibility) requires either a gross misunderstanding of the spell beyond any possibility of having actually read its text, or a staggering ineptitude at making comparisons between it and "real" anti-invisibility options.

Every time someone starts one of these discussions, I die a little inside. :(

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Andostre wrote:
Honestly, I never understood the point of an Interest Check thread. It makes far more sense to me to jump straight to the Recruitment Thread, post as much information as the GM deems relevant, and then anyone who replies affirmatively can be assumed to have an interest in the campaign.

Interest Check threads are most useful for ideas with a lot of homebrew to them.

That is, if you have a cool general idea for a campaign hook or theme, but that's all you have, it can be nice to see if there's interest before you do the additional work of coming up with the major NPCs and other setting/plot details. It'd be really disappointing to do all the work ahead of time and then not have enough people post characters, and it'd be kinda lame to do the recruitment first and then make everyone wait while you spend a couple weeks fleshing it out enough to play.

If it's just something basic like "I'll run module X in the system it was written for, with pretty standard PC creation parameters" then yeah, not much point in an Interest Check. But for less obvious campaigns, it can be nice.

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Huh. My horizons have been broadened!

Only TMNT game I've played is TMNT IV: Turtles in Time on the SNES (which I still play occasionally).

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I know what TMNT is, I just... is there actually a tabletop RPG of it?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Otherwhere wrote:

Ah! It's the munchkin experience that gives min-maxing such a bad name, and why many GM's shudder when they come across someone who approaches their character from a more "roll-play" imperative.

I tend to equate the two, but they are not synonymous.

A hypothetical person wrote:

Ah! It's the tyrannical experience that gives grognardism such a bad name, and why many players shudder when they come across someone who approaches their campaign from a more "old-school" imperative.

I tend to equate the two, but they are not synonymous.

I submit that the above two quote-boxes are comparable in most respects.

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Tormsskull wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
Pathfinder has such huge power disparities that if you just happen to pick the wrong fantasy trope to model your character off of, you're a sidekick.
Have you played other systems that you feel are really good at this? I'd be interested in reviewing them. My assumption is that you would have to sacrifice options in order to obtain a more level playing field.

A bit off-topic from the thread...:
5E is a step in the right direction. Classes are pretty similar in their stat dependency (usually needing one primary stat, one secondary stat, and CON) so you can't accidentally step into crippling MAD-ness. Bounded accuracy and the "proficiency" system means that there's no "max it or don't bother" effect with skills to make someone who wants to "dabble" in something thematic feel like it doesn't matter. There are fewer skill-obsoleting spells, so making a skilled character is less of a trap. The list goes on. If a group of people unfamiliar with the game all just make what sounds cool, there won't be huge gaps based purely on who picked what type of character to play. There are still holes, of course: if you want to play a clever combatant who uses his brain instead of his brawn in martial combat, too bad; there's no way to get your INT to contribute to your fighting. But still, the "floor" of character power is much higher, so the gaps are smaller.

As for having to "sacrifice options", that depends on whether you mean absolute options or relative options. In the "absolute" sense, 5E does have far fewer character options than Pathfinder. However, since so many of Pathfinder's character options (and especially the combinations thereof) are so utterly terrible as to be nothing but a disappointment waiting to ambush an innocent newbie; Pathfinder truly has far fewer "real" character options than exist on paper. In that sense, Pathfinder and 5E are much closer in numbers of available character options than I originally thought when I first looked at 5E. Pathfinder might still have more (especially after some of their more recent releases), but the gap's not as big as you might think.

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Brother Fen wrote:

I've had to talk to some of my players about trying to avoid min/maxing. They are my younger players that don't own a single resource book and like to dig through the pfsrd to find the most obscure feats and options. I've encouraged them to stop digging for bonuses and start building their characters as characters - not just a set of numbers that they are trying to push as far as possible.

They explained to me that this attitude is a holdover from playing games like Hero Clix where everything is reduced to pure numbers and if you don't have maxed out numbers, you lose the game.

Why is min-maxing a problem? Well, when they're digging through online SRD's and trying to bring in feats from 3.0 that don't exist in any other iteration of 3.5 or PF, then it is a problem. They're just hunting for bonuses instead of building a character organically.

I encourage roleplaying at my table, though everyone has the right to play the kind of game they like. In my experience, those that like to hardcore min-max do so to the detriment of the roleplaying aspects of the game. Their input in non-combat situations becomes non-existent. I have encouraged them to play beyond these limitations.

Some might not have a problem with any of the aforementioned points, but I find having a table of min-maxers leads to the type of game I don't want to run.

I'm curious about this post, especially where you (attempt to) explain why you dislike min-maxing.

First, what do you actually mean by the term "min-maxing"? I want to be clear, because I take that term to mean "minimizing undesired stats/abilities in order to maximize other priority stats/abilities". This definition seems to make the most sense to me, but your post seems to imply that "min-maxing" includes looking for obscure character options. Thus, I want to know whether you're using "min-maxing" as an umbrella term that includes "hunting bonuses" or if most of the behaviors you described are simply present alongside the actual min-maxing in the case of your players.

Second, you cite min-maxing as causing "detriment of the roleplaying aspects of the game". However, I wonder if perhaps this is again something that just occurs alongside the min-maxing with these particular players, rather than being the result of said min-maxing. Correllation is not causation, after all. Could there be a more accurate way to describe your situation?

I have some guesses as to the nature of your situation, but I wanted to get some clarification from you before really replying, lest I accidentally misrepresent you. :)

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Who the what now?

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Jaelithe wrote:
In most of my campaigns, one either says "out-of-character" before speaking, unless it's so obvious it doesn't require labeling (like, "I wonder where our pizza is?")

Wait, your characters aren't all hopeless pizza addicts?

*hides character sheet*
Um, yeah, neither are mine, because... that would be silly!
Ha...
ha...
ha?

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Orfamay Quest wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
The issue with Min/Maxing is when it's taken to an extreme. This is pretty much the same for most things.

Not if you're talking about the definition I put forth (which, given the context of your post, presumably you are).

If min-maxing simply means "lowering one thing to raise another thing," then "taking min-maxing to the extreme" simply means "lowering things as extremely as possible in order to raise things as extremely as possible".

What about that is inherently a problem?

Hmm. Seems to me that that answer was already given:

* It tends to produce overly specialized and therefore inflexible characters (one-trick ponies).
* It tends to produce overly effective and therefore overshadowing characters that make the game less fun for the rest of the people.
* It tends to produce nearly-identical characters because there are usually only a few Pareto-optimal ways to build for any role.
* It tends to produce implausible characters, with an extremely narrow range of abilities and backgrounds to justify the Pareto-optimal choices, that in many cases require a very contrived background to justify, if justified at all.

Hm, I had originally taken that list of yours as a list of things people try to cover with the term "min-max" when they're just trying to put people down, but that the term doesn't actually mean. Perhaps I misunderstood your earlier post.

In any case, I submit that any of those things that might be produced by min-maxing, would be produced regardless of whether the min-maxing was "extreme" or not, and therefore I still challenge the assertion that "min-maxing is only an issue when it's taken to an extreme".

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DrDeth wrote:
Aranna wrote:

And nothing in the game is FORCING you to try diplomacy with the king, if you avoid trying to bluff, intimidate, or diplomacize anyone then you need not worry about Cha... In fact you can role play him however you wish as long as you avoid saying things which require a skill toss.

DM: "The Seneschal brings you up and introduces you one by one to the King, who asks you to tell him a little bit about yourself- in turn, make a Diplomacy roll. "

Things like this, where some important person wants to meet and be introduced to the party is pretty common where I come from.

In Pathfinder, that doesn't call for a Diplomacy check. Pathfinder's Diplomacy is only for when you're actively trying to make a request or improve a creature's attitude toward you. Introducing yourself is neither of those things. As long as the 7 CHA guy is happy with the king's current opinion of him and he doesn't want to make a request during the introduction, there's no check to be made.

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DrDeth wrote:
The issue with Min/Maxing is when it's taken to an extreme. This is pretty much the same for most things.

Not if you're talking about the definition I put forth (which, given the context of your post, presumably you are).

If min-maxing simply means "lowering one thing to raise another thing," then "taking min-maxing to the extreme" simply means "lowering things as extremely as possible in order to raise things as extremely as possible".

What about that is inherently a problem?

Your earlier examples have tended to be about unskilled min-maxing, such as a 7-WIS fighter with nothing to prevent domination. However, a fighter who dumped both INT and CHA (but not WIS) would be more extreme than a fighter who dumped WIS (but not INT or CHA), yet would be less troublesome. If the more extreme min-maxing can be less of an issue, then "extreme" min-maxing is NOT the source of the issue. No, the issue in your fighter example seems to be unskilled min-maxing, not extreme min-maxing.

Or perhaps, for what you mean by "extreme", neither versions of that fighter count? Perhaps to really be "extreme" min-maxing, we'd be looking at a fighter whose mental stats were ALL dumped to 7? But whether that's an issue or not is still contextual, based on what system you're playing. For example, in 5E, every stat is a save stat, so any dump stat is a risk, whereas in Pathfinder some stats are very safe to dump. So a given number of dump stats on a character - equal levels of "extreme"ness - might be more or less problematic depending on the game in question. Thus, once again, taking min-maxing to the extreme seems to not be the root cause of problems, since taking the same extreme to a different system can change how much of an issue it is.

Unless perhaps you see extreme min-maxing as producing some other issue besides mechanical vulnerability, that you haven't talked about yet? Is there some other type of "issue" that min-maxing might produce as a direct result of being "taken to an extreme"?

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Orfamay Quest wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:


* It tends to produce overly specialized and therefore inflexible characters (one-trick ponies).
* It tends to produce overly effective and therefore overshadowing characters that make the game less fun for the rest of the people.
You are correct in your assessment that both of the above are ways that the term gets used as a perjorative. Notice how the two are essentially mutually-exclusive: how can a character be overspecialized to the point of self-crippling yet simultaneously overshadow the other characters?
Easily -- by eliminating the opportunity to do anything at all when in that character's wheelhouse, while at the same time being totally useless outside of it. You don't have an opportunity to contribute when the minmaxed character is useful, and you don't have an opportunity to succeed when it isn't (because you're essentially short-handed).

Not being able to succeed because you're short-handed is not the same as being overshadowed. They're two very different scenarios, they affect people differently, and they will produce/reduce fun for different people at different times.

As I alluded above, no, most people do not typically make an accurate assessment of why they're not having fun. More often, they simply reach for the nearest thing that's different from themselves.

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Orfamay Quest wrote:
I'm inclined to believe that most people are able to accurately assess why they're not having fun.

I would have agreed with you prior to getting my psychology degree, but now I cannot.

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Orfamay Quest wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
However, the way some people talk about min-maxing (such as seeming offended by it, or suggesting any type of connection to how well a character is roleplayed, etc) suggest that the term's use only marginally overlaps with any reasonable definition.
While your rather clinical definition is good as far as it goes, you really need to adjust it to reflect the fact that minmaxing is a strongly pejorative term.

That's what I was alluding to at the end of my post: what the term could reasonably be defined to mean is different from the weaponized version that actually gets used.

Call me an idealist, but I believe that if we can show what a term can be reasonably taken to mean, we can then contrast it with that term's weaponization to reveal the petty stupidity of those whose goal is only to hurt and blame rather than to communicate. For example:

Quote:

* It tends to produce overly specialized and therefore inflexible characters (one-trick ponies).

* It tends to produce overly effective and therefore overshadowing characters that make the game less fun for the rest of the people.

You are correct in your assessment that both of the above are ways that the term gets used as a perjorative. Notice how the two are essentially mutually-exclusive: how can a character be overspecialized to the point of self-crippling yet simultaneously overshadow the other characters? The nonsense of such a suggestion shows that the term is being used not to communicate an idea, but simply as a meaningless insult (in the same way that telling someone "you're a jackass" isn't actually intended to communicate anything, it's just supposed to hurt).

Looking at the term can help to reveal just how weaponized its use has become, and in turn, revealing when a word's only use is to hurt can help reveal the persons who use the term for that end.

You can't fix what you don't bring to light. Reveal the lack of meaning in the words, and it becomes harder for the attacker to pretend he's being reasonable. Make it harder for toxic people to pretend they're reasonable, and you make it easier for the community to become healthier.

Or at least, that's my perspective. :) There's plenty else involved in the health of a community, but I do think that examining the terms we use has value.

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Looking over the various definitions of "min-max", they seem a bit inconsistent. For instance, the one from TV Tropes includes simply wanting good gear for your character, as well as exploiting loopholes in the rules, both of which which seem unrelated to the source words of "minimize" and "maximize" and are also absent from other definitions of "min-max".

It seems, however, that there is a single underlying concept that is common to every definition I've seen, which perhaps means that this should be the "real" definition of min-maxing:

Min-maxing is the concept of selecting weaknesses (such as dump stats or character "flaws") in order to enable selection of more or higher strengths (high stats or extra feats/strengths). In short, it's the practice of pushing one thing down in order to push another thing up.

If we take this as the definition, we can perhaps make the following extrapolations:

1) If the above definition is true, then min-maxing involves an element of skill in terms of correctly assessing which things can be most safely lowered and which things will provide the greatest return when boosted. For example, the proverbial "dominated 7-WIS fighter" is an example of unskilled min-maxing, as the player made a poor assessment of the impact of that dump stat. Conversely, the 7-STR wizard whose spells prevent him from ever needing to wear armor, carry cargo, or climb things (or even walk, for that matter) is an example of skilled min-maxing because the practical cost of the "min" part of the build is truly quite low.

2) If the above definition is true, then the value of min-maxing in a given system can give us strong indications of the system's overall level of balance. For example, if the stat being dumped is always the same one or two stats, then there may be a lack of balance between stats. However, if nearly every stat has close to the same likelihood of being used as a dump stat, then the stats are far closer to each other in value. To look at it on another axis, if min-maxing is common among skilled players, then it can be concluded that the system rewards a high primary stat far more than it punishes a lower non-priority stat. However, if min-maxing in a given system is done mostly by unskilled players whose characters then become "one-trick ponies" who fall apart any time the stars don't align, then in that system there is not as much value to having a high primary stat as there is in having a "floor" to your non-primary stats.

3) If the above definition is true, then the value of min-maxing in a given system will be influenced by the level of teamwork among the group. For example, if the group is willing to rely on each other for certain specialized tasks (such as lockpicking or negotiating), then the value of a second person being competent at the same skill is drastically lowered, making min-maxing a much more practical choice than it would be if each character was trying to be self-sufficient.

4) If the above definition is true, then min-maxing is nothing more than one element of character-building skill. It is not the entire character creation/advancement process, it is morally-neutral, it is in no way indicative of how well the character will be roleplayed, and its presence or absence does not (on its own) indicate how the character will fare in play.

All in all, I think the above definition for min-maxing is a good one, as it's specific enough to have an actual meaning, and is logically consistent with the component roots of the term itself.

However, the way some people talk about min-maxing (such as seeming offended by it, or suggesting any type of connection to how well a character is roleplayed, etc) suggest that the term's use only marginally overlaps with any reasonable definition. In fact, I would go so far as to say that a good number of people who use the term (and especially those who treat it negatively) don't even have any clear meaning for it in mind when they use it, instead just using it as a meaningless label for when they want to be able to point at something "other" and blame it for bad experiences they've had.

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DrDeth wrote:
My answer has always been the same. Disparities are only a problem IF they cause one or more of the players to have less fun. Certainly they can be the cause of that- many things can.

Agreed.

So, to go back to my earlier question from before you started seeming to self-contradict:
Why is my acknowledgment of that same notion indicative of me not understanding that D&D is a team game? What were you trying to communicate there?

Quote:
Can we discuss the actual topic now, rather than how you interpret my posts? ;-)

Discussing a topic requires proper interpretation of each others' posts. Otherwise, it's not a discussion. So if you genuinely want a discussion, you should be showing an interest in being clear, and backtracking when you're not.

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DrDeth wrote:
Jiggy wrote:


This contradicts what you said in your previous post. It's up there in the quote chain, but let me pull it out for...

Not at all. The only issue is when the party has such widely disparate degrees of optimization that someone doesnt have fun.

IF widely disparate degrees of optimization CAUSE someone to not have fun, THEN it's an issue.

You asked me to clarify what i meant, i clarified it. I can see how you would misunderstand that line, but it's very clear in context and my position is clear now, I hope.

Okay, so you went from "PC disparities DON'T cause loss of fun, and to suggest otherwise is to miss that this is a team game," to "PC disparities DO cause loss of fun," to "PC disparities MIGHT cause loss of fun." So, that last one: is that your final answer?

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DrDeth wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
DrDeth wrote:

Jiggy- D&D is a team game. Everyone is a sidekick. No one is supposed to be the star.

You dont need to optimize to have fun or contribute. The only issue is when the party has such widely disparate degrees of optimization that someone doesnt have fun.

I'm trying to reconcile how the two statements above can come from a single person in a single reply to me. I am failing.

When I describe vast disparities in character power being the source of someone feeling like a sidekick, you admonish me as though I was showing a lack of team spirit. Yet, you then go on to describe the same disparity phenomenon that I talked about, cautioning against its un-fun-ness, just like I did.

I'm trying to figure out the difference between our two statements, such that my caution of the impact of disparities between characters indicates trying to "be the star" instead of part of a team, while your caution of the impact of disparities between characters carries no such implications about you.

Can you elaborate on what the difference is between when I say that gaps between PCs aren't fun and when you say that gaps between PCs aren't fun?

The difference is that the disparity could be huge, but still not decrease fun.

It's only when it does decrease fun that it is bad.

Your post indicates to me that if there is a disparity there is automatically less fun. Not so.

I just had a PFS game, where I played the only 1st level PC (optimized somewhat for skills) vs a 5th, a 4th, and two 3rds. The 5th was optimized- and a full spellcaster. The power level disparity could hardly have been higher- and in fact in most games there is little actual level difference.

I still had huge fun and contributed.

Power level discrepancies do not always cause a reduction in fun. Only IF & WHEN they do is there a problem.

This contradicts what you said in your previous post. It's up there in the quote chain, but let me pull it out for you again:

Earlier, DrDeth wrote:
The only issue is when the party has such widely disparate degrees of optimization that someone doesnt have fun.

You said that. That sentence you said means that a disparity between PCs, when big enough, will cause someone to not have fun. That is what you said.

Now you've said the opposite, that disparity between PCs might or might not reduce fun - that it doesn't necessarily cause it. Which is it? I want to know what your actual thoughts are before I try to reply.

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DrDeth wrote:

Jiggy- D&D is a team game. Everyone is a sidekick. No one is supposed to be the star.

You dont need to optimize to have fun or contribute. The only issue is when the party has such widely disparate degrees of optimization that someone doesnt have fun.

I'm trying to reconcile how the two statements above can come from a single person in a single reply to me. I am failing.

When I describe vast disparities in character power being the source of someone feeling like a sidekick, you admonish me as though I was showing a lack of team spirit. Yet, you then go on to describe the same disparity phenomenon that I talked about, cautioning against its un-fun-ness, just like I did.

I'm trying to figure out the difference between our two statements, such that my caution of the impact of disparities between characters indicates trying to "be the star" instead of part of a team, while your caution of the impact of disparities between characters carries no such implications about you.

Can you elaborate on what the difference is between when I say that gaps between PCs aren't fun and when you say that gaps between PCs aren't fun?

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