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Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

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As a VC and GM that sees a lot of characters, play styles, etc. I want to ask all the players in our community to, please, be careful when building characters. Many of the game mechanics lend themselves to being used to "break" a character such that it makes it equivalent to a CR much higher than their level would indicate. Within the guidelines of PFS, GM's are not empowered to make significant changes to the scenarios. If you are much more powerful than the challenge, it is not fun for the other players at the table, nor the GM, and might even rob you of an otherwise fun game experience.

Yes, there are players out there that like to read the walk through books with spoilers or to play games with the "god" code turned on, and they are entitled to have fun as well. But understand that is not the truth for the majority of players. Please have some compassion for the entirety of the community and build characters that are equivalent in skill/power/ability as your companions. That works both ways, as well. Don't build a character that is essentially useless because you think it's "cool."

We are playing in a cooperative environment with players you don't know. If you want to run game-breaking characters, please keep those for your home games where the GM has the ability to tailor the campaign to fit your strengths and weaknesses. If your character can do things that make you say things like, "cr@p look at that damage" or "wow, with that AC, it'll take a nat 20 to hit me all day," or "no one can save against that DC," then perhaps you need to reconsider the build.

I have said this numerous times, and it's message is as important as its ever been, "Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should."

I would say YMMV, but its not about the "you." Everyone's mileage may vary depending on your choices.


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I'd like to add something here. Your new PF players may be completely unaware of the stuff available outside of the core book. I've been playing Pathfinder for a while now, but I've only laid eyes on the core, APG, and a bestiary. Yah, lots of the other stuff is 'available' online, and is own damn fault for not looking...

But not everybody is focused on squeezing the last bit of bonus out of the entire PF system; some of us are just looking for a replacement D&D (yes, I know, loads of supplements there, too) and don't want to learn yet ANOTHER killer combo Monk/Magus/Inquisitor (or whatever).

I'm thrilled with the core classes and the prestige classes available in the core book; if that makes my character 'suboptimal,' so be it. I'd rather play a rogue than a ninja, I'd rather build towards Eldritch Knight than play a Magus with a Fighter dip... etc, ad infin.

I've already gotten some 'O.o' looks for the fact that I didn't dump any of my stats and don't have a first-level character with a stat modifier higher than +2.

I guess I'd like to be adventuring, not touring as a devastator of the monster ecology.

Cheliax *

I have mixed feelings on this topic.

I played Living Arcanis & Living Greyhawk (Bandit Kingdoms/Iuz MetaRegion). Both of these environments were extremely deadly because developers/writers held no punches and responded to player cheese with NPC/encounter cheese. It alternated between thrilling and frustrating; LG Bandit Kingdoms eventually made peace with their player base and struck a balance. Living Arcanis just added a Kids Glove rule for hit points and kept on truckin'. In short, I cut my teeth in gaming environments where everything was going to kill you if it got the chance and it was your job to build a character to make that hard to do.

While these days I generally self-handicap for theme (My Summoner will not summon a Good or Chaotic Outsider and only uses the Fiendish template), I only do this because I know my character won't be ground to a paste for doing so.

That said...

I have also been a GM, both in home games & OP, where I found myself frustrated at being unable to appropriately challenge a party because 1-2 PCs were monsters. And it isn't fun to be a GM for this and less fun for those players who don't come up to snuff. There were a lot of cries for "more challenging fights" in the PFS survey by Painlord. But the difficulty here is that you will kill new players who don't know the score ahead of time if you make things too hard, and potentially scare them off.

In some cases, there do need to be talks with players about their PCs and what they do to the game. One the largest impacts a player who essentially surpasses their level in terms of actual capability is that other players are left with very little to do; they become bit players to the PC for whom these encounters aren't dangerous for. I don't think this should be a "please don't make this PC/play them" talk, but instead "Can we talk about ways for you to still have fun playing with this PC that doesn't make everyone else at the table have an unfulfilling experience?" Some of that may be finding thematic ways the character self-handicaps/doesn't utilize their capabilities to their fullest, like I mentioned above. It may be letting another character take point while they guard the healer with their monstrous AC. It may be not unloading a barrage of spells off the bat, but instead being strategic about them while other PCs get a chance to enter the fray.

Qadira ***

Good post, TwilightKnight.

You rock.

Sadly, half the people who actually need to "Get Found" will never see this post, and the other half will ignore it, thinking you're talking about someone else. Such is life.

-Pain

Andoran *****

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I would like to repeat a Statement *with slight changes* I made a while back, that points to the fact that combat is not the end all and be all of a scenario, in other words who cares if player optimizes.

An Optimizer that makes a character that eats through a combat allows me to get to the actual fun part of the scenario faster... The roleplaying..

Taldor ***

So, if you're considering a Summoner or an Alchemist or a 20-Str melee PC or the Witch's Slumber Hex or, heck, just about anything from Ultimate Magic that's not a player-trap, please, think of your fellow gamers.

-Matt

Grand Lodge ****

Dragnmoon wrote:


An Optimizer that makes a character that eats through a combat allows me to get to the actual fun part of the scenario faster... The roleplaying..

This can cause other problems however. Some scenarios expect a certain NPC to surrender and negotiate if brought below a certain HP amount. That's not going to happen if the party barbarian kills everything in one full attack.

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Kelly Youngblood wrote:
This can cause other problems however. Some scenarios expect a certain NPC to surrender and negotiate if brought below a certain HP amount. That's not going to happen if the party barbarian kills everything in one full attack.

That can be avoided by a good GM...say a 3 star or better... Sorry Kelly I guess you are not good enough... ;)

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

Except for my Nasty Alchemist, my characters suck in combat *Ask my players about my Gunslingers*.

I have never been bothered by players that make characters that do well in combat, and I have never understood why people care to tell the truth.

The best part of the scenario is getting with friends and roleplaying, if another payer also like playing with numbers for some extra enjoyment for himself, it does not change that I am getting with friends and have a great time roleplaying.

Silver Crusade ****

@Dragnmoon
What do you do when you have someone that is combat wise unhittable and also has a insanely high diplomacy? Seems like that character has roleplay and combat covered. :P

@no one in particular
Personally, as far as concepts I usually have something in mind and then see what I can do with it. I don't intentionally super optimize. What other's consider optimizing, or min maxing or cheesing in a lot of ways to me makes sense because why would I leave myself a glaring hole on purpose if it doesn't fit my character concept?

For example: My paladin, I envisioned him the classic full plate, sword and board, knight in shining armor with a silver tongue. I've looked at my options and made him to what I thought that concept should fit as. He's lvl 5, AC 26, +9 attack with a bastard sword, and +13 diplomacy. That was the concept I thought a paladin was cool with. Some think I'm cheesing, but I don't see that I'm cheesing since I thought up a character and then built it within the rules just by looking at my options and seeing what fit my vision.

What I consider cheesing is someone going I want to make a character that can kill something as fast as possible and I don't care what amalgamation of classes and traits and random crap I have to do to make that. That to me is cheese.

*** Venture-Lieutenant, Canada—Ontario aka Feegle

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Dragnmoon wrote:
An Optimizer that makes a character that eats through a combat allows me to get to the actual fun part of the scenario faster... The roleplaying..

This is true, but I've had some experiences in a home game where the optimizer ruins the diplomacy for the other players, because he wants to get back to smashing stuff. Not ruins in-game - but literally whines loudly about, "Just get on with it."

That particular optimizer is no longer welcome at my home game, incidentally.

Silver Crusade **

Deadly and good in roleplay? Cool, I'll take Synthesist Summoner for 5,000. I try to keep my character good at their specific roles, while letting others have their own spotlight moments. Alexander Damocles, for example. Give him a round or two to get ready, and he will be a rending machine of death and destruction, but still has low HP and needs a hand or two to keep folks from flanking and ganking. Knowledge checks and diplomacy, sure. Spotting things, stealth, acrobatics, spotting lies....he can't do it at all.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Dragnmoon wrote:
I have never been bothered by players that make characters that do well in combat, and I have never understood why people care to tell the truth.

Careful, for some people, the combat is at least part of, if not the primary part of their fun. I was not suggesting that you cannot be "good" at something. Every character should be good at some tasks, but that does not mean you should be significantly better than your companions at many things. If you end nearly every combat because your average damage is more than the hit points most enemies of appropriate challenge have, then "you might be a redneck." ;-) Look at the average damage done by monsters of your CR. If you are consistently doing more than double/triple that, "you might be a redneck."

The same can be said of non-combat as well. If you're Diplomacy/Intimidate is so high that just by entering the room, everyone falls at your feet to worship, "you might be a redneck."

Or if your perception is so high that you can spot a fly on a bovines arse from three miles away, in a sandstorm, at night, "you might be a redneck."

I guess the moral of the story is, don't be a redneck. :-)

Silver Crusade *****

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Cards, Maps Subscriber

Bob, I want to second your request. It isn't that hard to exploit the available Pathfinder gaming materiel to make a "broken" character.

The games are much more fun for both the Players at the table and the GM when everyone is running a balanced character. Everyone then has a chance to shine, and just as importantly be challenged by the materiel in the scenario.

By balanced, I mean a character that will be challenged by the materiel generally found in a PFS scenario. By challenged, i mean a character whom by the end of the scenario, has expended most of his spells if a caster, perhaps lost most of his hit points if a fighter, If a rogue, has survived a situation by the "skin of his teeth".

I find a game where one of my characters is in an encounter and i don't know if the character will survive, but he gets by barely to be much more fun and exciting.

Frankly it isn't much fun at all when either your character "wades" through a scenario without any difficulty or when you watch your neighbor with his character do the wading, while you are watching.

Well hopefully this thread may start some discussion.

Andoran ****

I've been fighting this battle for years now. I wish you luck sir.

I can summarize my experience on this front in one saying, "Gamers gunna game (the system)."

I've seen it all:

The dex abusing unhittable rogue/alchemist/ninja.
The save-or-die wizard/witch.
The instantly kill everything in the encounter archer.

Sometimes the effort in getting a chance to play a scenario is harder than the scenario itself.

Andoran *****

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I will capitulate this, there is a differnce between a person who optimizes for combat, and one who is a dick about it *killing NPCs that he knows the group wants to survive, whining when not in combat*. But those are 2 different problems.

Optimizing for Combat I can care less, being a Dick is never liked.

Shadow Lodge ***

Maybe the people in my area just aren't powergamers...

The biggest problem I've run into is when higher levels play down (e.g. my first con game had a level three Ranger running with all level one characters through a Tier 1-2 adventure. Combat became "Who gets to go before the Ranger"). I'd rather be teamed with the uber-optimized Ginsu that's the same level as me than feel like a charity case for some more experienced heroes.

* RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

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I have only played a few games of PFS so i don't have the experience of most of you.
But it seems like the developers of this system put a lot of thought into what is/isn't allowed. They took out the crafting feats, they have put strict limits onto what you can buy, and how much you can spend on any one item. And I am sure other things have been restricted too.

If they didn't want a character to start out with a 20 ability score, they would have taken out the option to buy a score of "18" , or they could have taken out the options to buy scores of less than 10 to prevent stat dumping.
If they didn't want characters to have super high skill check bonuses, they would have put a max bonus per level restriction.

Let's give the developers credit for thinking things through, and let the players make their PCs however they want within the rules.

I am sure I'll get flamed for this opinion, oh well.

Qadira ***

Grumpus wrote:

I have only played a few games of PFS so i don't have the experience of most of you.

But it seems like the developers of this system put a lot of thought into what is/isn't allowed. They took out the crafting feats, they have put strict limits onto what you can buy, and how much you can spend on any one item. And I am sure other things have been restricted too.

If they didn't want a character to start out with a 20 ability score, they would have taken out the option to buy a score of "18" , or they could have taken out the options to buy scores of less than 10 to prevent stat dumping.
If they didn't want characters to have super high skill check bonuses, they would have put a max bonus per level restriction.

Let's give the developers credit for thinking things through, and let the players make their PCs however they want within the rules.

I am sure I'll get flamed for this opinion, oh well.

Flame you for this? Nah. These are all good points, Grumpus.

The initial campaign was set up in a more balanced way.

However, in the 3+ years that PFS has been out, Paizo has released a *TON* of their content freely into the PFS game: very little has been omitted. Understandably, this has lead to 'power creep' (well, that and these things here). That is, that more options from more sources will lead to more powerful characters and more solutions to more problems.

That isn't bad or anything by itself, Grumpus: it's just time for Mike & Mark to begin to tweak and adjust the campaign to accommodate the severe creep that has occurred.

Mike said he is working on it and wants patience while he works on addressing it.

-Pain

Silver Crusade ****

I'll chime in that Mike tends to work very fast, and his responses do not seem rushed.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Painlord wrote:

The initial campaign was set up in a more balanced way.

However, in the 3+ years that PFS has been out, Paizo has released a *TON* of their content freely into the PFS game: very little has been omitted. Understandably, this has lead to 'power creep'. That is, that more options from more sources will lead to more powerful characters and more solutions to more problems.

That isn't bad or anything by itself, Grumpus: it's just time for Mike & Mark to begin to tweak and adjust the campaign to accommodate the severe creep that has occurred.

Mike said he is working on it and wants patience while he works on addressing it.

-Pain

This post strikes me as somewhat odd. Perhaps your experience differs from mine (you have been playing PFS longer than me), but the closest things I've seen to "broken" characters have been extremely straightforward:

• The 18+ STR Power Attack greatsword guy
• The 18+ INT Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus wizard (or sorcerer of the same sort, but with epic Diplomacy/Bluff/Intimidate to boot)
• The... wait, actually, those are consistently the most powerful types of characters I see.

In my experience, the "power creep" has been enabling the "second string" characters to be stronger but still without surpassing the Core options. I see the straightforward, done-to-death builds dominating; and then the more creative and/or complex builds tend to start at a much lower power level and then "catch up" as more sourcebooks get referenced.

I have personally not witnessed power creep affecting the top of the line characters - instead, I've only seen it start to close the gap between them and the rest.

Qadira ***

Jiggy wrote:

This post strikes me as somewhat odd. Perhaps your experience differs from mine (you have been playing PFS longer than me), but the closest things I've seen to "broken" characters have been extremely straightforward:

• The 18+ STR Power Attack greatsword guy
• The 18+ INT Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus wizard (or sorcerer of the same sort, but with epic Diplomacy/Bluff/Intimidate to boot)
• The... wait, actually, those are consistently the most powerful types of characters I see.

In my experience, the "power creep" has been enabling the "second string" characters to be stronger but still without surpassing the Core options. I see the straightforward, done-to-death builds dominating; and then the more creative and/or complex builds tend to start at a much lower power level and then "catch up" as more sourcebooks get referenced.

Let's talk about this in another thread, mayhaps? I feel bad about derailing this one.

Let's keep this focus on TwilightKnight's excellent thoughts, eh?

-Pain

Cheliax *

Alexander_Damocles wrote:
Deadly and good in roleplay? Cool, I'll take Synthesist Summoner for 5,000. I try to keep my character good at their specific roles, while letting others have their own spotlight moments. Alexander Damocles, for example. Give him a round or two to get ready, and he will be a rending machine of death and destruction, but still has low HP and needs a hand or two to keep folks from flanking and ganking. Knowledge checks and diplomacy, sure. Spotting things, stealth, acrobatics, spotting lies....he can't do it at all.

What I find really strange is how these two things are always somehow mutually exclusive. I have a Summoner. He isn't total cheese like the Synthesist, but damn he can be nasty. But he's also got traits to make him a social skill character; and an incredibly good one at that. And even then, you don't need skills. There is a role-play component to ANY PC if you take the time to think of a background, personality, etc.

People can certainly prefer one of these things over the other; but you can absolutely do both in the same PC without being a Bard or somesuch.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM

Painlord wrote:


Let's talk about this in another thread, mayhaps? I feel bad about derailing this one.

Let's keep this focus on TwilightKnight's excellent thoughts, eh?

-Pain

+1 to this, and +1 to Bob's OP.

Andoran ****

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I don't think the problem is inherently optimization. If people can only have fun playing the godmode character then who am I to tell them they are doing it wrong. The problem comes from the godmode character not letting other people play.

This occurs when:

*The dual-wielding rogue full attacks everything into oblivion before other characters get a chance to act.
*The enchanter wizard's sleep instantly ends the final encounter.
*The half-elf bard insists on doing ALL the interacting with the NPCs.

I don't necessarily care if people's characters are better than mine (they usually are). I just want a chance to play.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

@Painlord: If you start a new thread, I'd be happy to discuss. The topic intrigues me.

Re: the OP:
I guess I have a different experience than others. I don't recall ever sidelining or being sidelined by other PCs. The problem addressed by this thread is one I've never encountered.

Qadira ***

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How do I comment on this post?

are you appealing to me to run a more generic character? Or what?

I have 7 character now active (levels 7 and down) - each one of them having thier own personallity and abilities. One has a +28 perception (at 6th lvl), another has a +2 (at 6th, good thing it's a class skill).

I think rather than fixing on optomised vs. un-optomised characters, perhaps you are noticing the players who are "playing by themselves". The guy who strives to be self-reliant and a loner - doesn't need to be part of the team.

To him I'd say, "hay guy, join us! Try not to hog the kills in combat, let the rest of us play some too, let us have time talking to the monster, or finding the loot or chatting up the barmaid, or even killing the NPCs."

Stealing a quote from someone else who said it much better than me:
"What does your character bring to the table to make the game more fun for the other people there?"... if we all do that, this game of ours will be even MORE fun!

Qadira ***

Feral wrote:

I don't think the problem is inherently optimization. If people can only have fun playing the godmode character then who am I to tell them they are doing it wrong. The problem comes from the godmode character not letting other people play.

This occurs when:

*The dual-wielding rogue full attacks everything into oblivion before other characters get a chance to act.
*The enchanter wizard's sleep instantly ends the final encounter.
*The half-elf bard insists on doing ALL the interacting with the NPCs.

I don't necessarily care if people's characters are better than mine (they usually are). I just want a chance to play.

agreed -

come play with me. I've got characters that will make you SHINE!

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM

1 person marked this as a favorite.
nosig wrote:

How do I comment on this post?

are you appealing to me to run a more generic character? Or what?

I have 7 character now active (levels 7 and down) - each one of them having thier own personallity and abilities. One has a +28 perception (at 6th lvl), another has a +2 (at 6th, good thing it's a class skill).

I think rather than fixing on optomised vs. un-optomised characters, perhaps you are noticing the players who are "playing by themselves". The guy who strives to be self-reliant and a loner - doesn't need to be part of the team.

To him I'd say, "hay guy, join us! Try not to hog the kills in combat, let the rest of us play some too, let us have time talking to the monster, or finding the loot or chatting up the barmaid, or even killing the NPCs."

Stealing a quote from someone else who said it much better than me:
"What does your character bring to the table to make the game more fun for the other people there?"... if we all do that, this game of ours will be even MORE fun!

There's a world of difference between munchkining and specializing. Some of my characters have a high stat, but I try to offset it by having a low useful stat (see my melee fighter with a con of 8). I'm not saying you have to gimp your characters but... well, we know what munchkining is.

You can't fault a fighter for taking combat feats -- it's what fighters do. You can't fault a fighter for being good at fighting -- it's what fighters do. But if that fighter has a 7 in CHA, WIS, and INT and a 20 in STR and CON then there's some munchkining occuring. Really, though, I think it boils back down to the most important rule of all: Don't be a jerk.

If you make a character that makes every combat a joke, then you're being a jerk to the person who's sacrificing most to be there: the GM. They loose every night they play. They've lost hundreds of NPCs to players. And you're preventing them from even having a chance at getting a PK. Think of the goblins... won't you help them?

Shadow Lodge *****

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Bob Jonquet wrote:
"Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should."

Why is it that it's the players who create said characters who are the first to cry when an NPC or Monster gets the better of them?

Perhaps that's question better asked in another thread or left off the internet all together.

*

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Bob Jonquet wrote:
If you end nearly every combat because your average damage is more than the hit points most enemies of appropriate challenge have, then "you might be a redneck." ;-) Look at the average damage done by monsters of your CR. If you are consistently doing more than double/triple that, "you might be a redneck."

It's actually really hard to build a fighter where that's not the case, especially if they're a 2H fighter. Doing 20+ damage at level 4 is about average (6 from power attack, 5 from weapon, at least 6 from strength, 2 from weapon specialization, 1 from magic weapon=20), and lots of mook creatures have that health or less. So your statement is singling out people who play the fighter class, which isn't really fair(especially since they suck at everything else).

The problem is more with the PCs who do as much damage as fighters, have great AC, tonnes of skills, mobility, spells, and utility. Basically, they do-it-all (except traps). They're the ones that make everyone go "Why am I playing (my class), why am I here?". I'm sure you can guess the classes/builds.

Quote:
The same can be said of non-combat as well. If you're Diplomacy/Intimidate is so high that just by entering the room, everyone falls at your feet to worship, "you might be a redneck."

Not every creature is open to negotiate or talk. Even players with insane skills in these areas, I still make the PLAYER talk about approximately what they're going to say. That's the entertaining part, whether they're successful or not.

*

Personally, I'd much rather hear about real experiences and real examples of a session not going well. For example, a particular instance where a scenario encounter was derailed because of X class/build.

Why? Because often the problem is with the scenario, not the PCs.

I'm pretty vocal about PFS being too easy at times, and this is often the case even with my home group, who uses the core rulebook exclusively, using weak classes such as rogues and sorcerors. If they can smush something into the ground, anyone can. And therein lies the problem.

I just played Ghenett Manor and it was definitely NOT too easy (3 PCs and 1 pregen). Yikes. Season 3 has been fairly deadly so far, maybe even overtuned. Mostly I just wanted to find some middle ground and have more interesting fights. The definition of interesting meaning the fight lasts longer than 1 round and there's more to the fight than just running towards target X and smashing each other into the ground.

Qadira ***

Care Baird wrote:
Bob Jonquet wrote:
"Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should."

Why is it that it's the players who create said characters who are the first to cry when an NPC or Monster gets the better of them?

Perhaps that's question better asked in another thread or left off the internet all together.

All jokeing aside -

Actually, I do not find this to be true...

In fact, I find no relationship here at all.

Silver Crusade ****

nosig wrote:
Care Baird wrote:
Bob Jonquet wrote:
"Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should."

Why is it that it's the players who create said characters who are the first to cry when an NPC or Monster gets the better of them?

Perhaps that's question better asked in another thread or left off the internet all together.

All jokeing aside -

Actually, I do not find this to be true...

In fact, I find no relationship here at all.

I think you missed the playful banter of Kyle taking a jab at Bob, and is mostly an inside joke. That I barely get.

Qadira ***

I can remember one adventure where the PCs are instructed to loose. In order to complete the mission they have to insure the bad guys "steal the artifact" and get away. I've played this once and run it twice - a great season 1 adventure. This was very hard for some players. "Now mister Max Damage - remember, you need to MISS them, they have to get away." "But-but- I just got my uber-killing bow! What Kind of adventure IS this?!!"

Puts an entirely different picture on things...

Silver Crusade ****

nosig wrote:

I can remember one adventure where the PCs are instructed to loose. In order to complete the mission they have to insure the bad guys "steal the artifact" and get away. I've played this once and run it twice - a great season 1 adventure. This was very hard for some players. "Now mister Max Damage - remember, you need to MISS them, they have to get away." "But-but- I just got my uber-killing bow! What Kind of adventure IS this?!!"

Puts an entirely different picture on things...

What adventure is this?! I must know!!!

Taldor ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber
Dan Luckett wrote:
nosig wrote:

I can remember one adventure where the PCs are instructed to loose. In order to complete the mission they have to insure the bad guys "steal the artifact" and get away. I've played this once and run it twice - a great season 1 adventure. This was very hard for some players. "Now mister Max Damage - remember, you need to MISS them, they have to get away." "But-but- I just got my uber-killing bow! What Kind of adventure IS this?!!"

Puts an entirely different picture on things...

What adventure is this?! I must know!!!

Spoiler:
#1-33 Assault on the Kingdom of the Impossible
Silver Crusade ****

Aw...my backup GM just claimed that adventure as his...this makes me only want to run it more. :(

Taldor *****

@ Jason S
I remember playing through Decline of Glory (a known TPKer, written by Tim Hitchcock) with a min maxed lvl 6 or 7 conjurer wizard. He had a crazy intelligance, a 20 at level 1, and augment summoning. In between the web with around a DC20 to break free and around 8 to 10 small earth elementals it made to end fight a cake walk.

The other players literally just stood there because there was nothing else to do. That was just the end fight. This is how the character was played through the whole encounter and how the character is typically played.

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I had player a Magus in The Ruby Phoenix Tournament that was totally built around the ability to cast a Maximized/Empower/Intensified Shocking Grasp once a day through his sword that had a crit range of 15-20.

He kept killing the big bads with 1 shot.

What did I do? After casting an annoying Black Tentacles on 4 Bards, I killed his PC with those 4 Bards... Yes I killed him with Bards!

Of course the damn Cleric had to ruin it by casting breath of life on him.

Same game, had a Rogue built behind Improved invisibility two weapon fighting, he was doing tons of damage... Killed his ass twice!

;)

Andoran ****

Jason S wrote:
The problem is more with the PCs who do as much damage as fighters, have great AC, tonnes of skills, mobility, spells, and utility. Basically, they do-it-all (except traps). They're the ones that make everyone go "Why am I playing (my class), why am I here?". I'm sure you can guess the classes/builds.

This.

The super glass cannon is fine. They still need backup. The problem is often the guy doing as much as (if not more) than the barbarian while having double his AC.


A missing point here is how to know where you are on the power scale? Or, more importantly, where are you today?

In the last month, I have been both the highest and lowest level person at the table, and been able to both play the role I wanted (mobile skirmisher) and ones that were a challenge (front line).

So, it can be a challenge to correctly assess where you are. But try. And if you have some spare capacity, you CAN leave it in reserve. Stop power attacking. Don't rapid shot. Shout your battle cry and intimidate your enemies. Use spells that are cool,and don't worry so much about brute power.

In short, it's ok to have fun. And if you do find yourself in trouble, well then you can turn it unto eleven.

Andoran ***

Bob,

Ledford, by your definition, is a redneck.

Heck, by your definition, I suspect the pregens are all rednecks.

Remember that, at low levels, it is extremely easy to run damage levels well past monster hit points, because, just like PCs, low level monsters have almost no hit points.

Goblin: AC 16, 6 hit points
Barbarian, 16 Str, 20 Str Raging, 2-handed weapon, Power Attack feat:
+4 to hit, 2d6+4 damage without Rage or PA.
45% chance to hit, instant kill.
+6 to hit, 2d6+7 damage, Raging
55% chance to hit, instant kill.
+3 to hit, 2d6+7 damage, PA
40% chance to hit, instant kill.
+5 to hit, 2d6+10 damage, Raging PA
50% chance to hit, instant death.

And, by your definition, using commonly-used items, not very well optimized, a redneck.

Then again, my Lore Warden is probably a red neck by your definition, despite using a 1d3 weapon, because of other parts of his build.

Taldor ***

Callarek wrote:

Goblin: AC 16, 6 hit points

Barbarian, 16 Str, 20 Str Raging, 2-handed weapon, Power Attack feat:

And when AC 16, 6HP goblins are the primary threats of the encounter, that's a problem in and of itself.

But that's more a problem with how PFS modules are written.

-Matt


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Bob Jonquet wrote:
Careful, for some people, the combat is at least part of, if not the primary part of their fun.

I've said it before and I'll say it again:

Some people like "hard mode". Some people like "easy mode". You can't please everyone.

*

Kristen Gipson wrote:

@ Jason S

I remember playing through Decline of Glory (a known TPKer, written by Tim Hitchcock) with a min maxed lvl 6 or 7 conjurer wizard. He had a crazy intelligance, a 20 at level 1, and augment summoning. In between the web with around a DC20 to break free and around 8 to 10 small earth elementals it made to end fight a cake walk.

Decline of Glory wasn't scaled well for subtier 6-7, it's a joke at that subtier. They took the same mobs at subtier 3-4 and just made more of them, and it doesn't work (at all). When people refer to it being a PC killer, they're talking about subtier 1-2. I think I wrote that in my review.

This is actually a perfect example of the scenario being the problem.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

4 people marked this as a favorite.

*sigh*
To those of you who are focusing on my examples, you are missing the point. I should have followed my gut when I thought it would be better to leave them out. Every time someone tries to use an example as a generality people focus on the specifics of what was written and ignore that it's intended to be a part, and in support of, the discussion and they start to pick it apart. I do not have a vendetta against fighters or any other class, race, feat, etc.

I have not encountered a single specific rule or game mechanic that is broken. The problems arise when a player puts sooo much effort into a single game mechanic that the efforts of the scenario to provide a challenge are eliminated. That goes for roll or role playing encounters. Most people do not want to play from a pre-determined script. Without a chance of failure, there is not challenge. Without a challenge, we are just acting out the parts of the pre-written fantasy novel.

Being creative is also an essential part of the game. Creative solutions to the challenges you face. If you can just do the same thing over and over again and always "win," what's the point?

No one is saying you cannot play the stereotype or archetype fantasy character you want to play, or that you have to gimp your characters, but that does not mean you have to build the mechanics of the character beyond the scope of the scenarios they will play. As I said, I welcome extreme builds in my home game. I can adapt the challenges. In PFS, we (read:GM) don't have that power.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

Jason S wrote:
This is a good example of the scenario being the problem.

That is definitely true. If the scenario was written with 1-4 in mind, the 6-7 tier is too easy. If written for 3-7, the tier 1-2 is usually too hard. Having three sub-tiers for one scenario was problematic. Thankfully, that is no longer the issue.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Is the problem that Character A does too much, or that the build doesn't leave much for Characters B, C, and D?

I've played in situations where my character was dominant in the party. Sometimes that's because the PC was a couple levels above the rest of the party. Sometimes it's because the PC happens to shine in that sort of adventure. (Osirionologist Pathfinder Delver in a recently-discovered Osirion tomb? Yes, please.) Some times it was because the other players had built very weak characters.

In all cases, it was my job to make sure that the other PCs got to contribute their share, and that the other players had fun. (I admit, there are some days I do my job better than others.)

*

Bob, I agree with you in principle, I just haven't seen it being a problem in practice. In practice I've seen more "bad" builds than uber optimized PCs. Bad builds that contribute no damage, tiny buffs, and quite honestly if the party were all like that, we'd TPK.

I know of only a few super powered builds, but honestly I've never seen them in PFS. Sure, I've seen lots of melee fighters/barbarians, archers (which are better than 2H melee imo), Inquisitors with +20 Intimidate, TWF rogues (I hope that was a joke btw), but they've never ruined a game. I think you should expect them, and quite honestly it would be hard to finish many scenarios without some DPS. If you don't want those classes/roles in your game, what classes do you want?

So unless you can get really specific, I don't know what you're talking about in practice. Sorry. Isolated player problems are isolated player problems.

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