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Getting really tired of min / maxing


Gamer Talk

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I need to vent. Reply if you want, or just let this thread vanish into the ether.

So our group (I'm not the DM btw) sometimes sends out copies of our characters to the listserve in case one of us misses a session, etc. I just got a look at a fellow member's character. He's playing a druid, and through smart and tactical character choices, he has "out-rangered" my ranger.

He attacks better, he has a higher combat stat (what kind of Druid has a 19 STR, but only a 14 WIS?), he has higher saves all around, he has as many hit points, he has a better weapon, his CMB/CMD are the same as mine, he is better at survival, better at knowledge nature, has the same AC, and still manages to cast spells all over the place. The only thing I can do that he can't is stealth. That's it.

This guy's play style is totally opposite of mine. He chose his animal companion for its maximum power, rather than what makes sense. He has no idea where his character comes from -- and, in fact, when I asked what his character even looked like he said he had no idea. There's no character concept here at all, outside of best possible numbers on the page.

Before 3rd edition D&D, I never encountered munchkinism (I played a lot of Call of Cthulhu in the 80s, then Torg in the 90s). Maybe I was just lucky, but now it seems like every group is rife with players who approach the game as an accounting challenge, poring over feat lists and class abilities and magic item properties for the perfect combinations, and digging through the rules for little loopholes or exceptions or contradictions or numerical advantages. For someone like me, who is more interested in character concepts, story arcs, dramatic and descriptive adventures, action set-pieces that break the rules (we don't use attacks of opportunity, to keep things more fluid and lively, for example), how do I deal with min/maxing and move on? Do I ignore it? Work with it? Embrace it? How do I accept the fact that my character will always be made irrelevant by a power gamer sitting next to me? If the point of D&D's rigid and pre-determined class system is the preservation of party roles, what does one do when one's role is being outdone by someone playing a different class?

How do I let this go?!?

Anyway, if you made it this far, thanks for reading my rant.

p.s. He has a pretty high spell failure chance. It's right there on his character sheet, though I've never seen him roll for it. Is it in bad form to take the DM aside and mention this?


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I wouldn't worry about it. I have a player that is the opposite of your powergamer. He has concepts, and I think that is cook, but he burns feats to power those concepts when they could be done through RP. Then I have to make stronger than normal characters to cover any holes. It used to annoy me, but I just don't worry about it anymore.

He could write a background story to explain his stats and animal companion, and it still would not change the fact that he likes to optimize.

What I would suggest if I were the GM would be for the other guy to come down a little in power level, and for you to move up a little.

Does the GM run really difficult games? I ask because many players learn to optimize in order to survive. That is how I had to learn anyway. My first GM never held back.

Dark Archive

Make an argument, politely, at your next game session to go back to rolling for stats instead of a point buy.

We rolled our stats for PCs for the first 20+ years of gaming. Just because we've used point buys for the last dozen years doesn't mean we can't go back.


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You could stop judging him and you could even ask him why he makes certain mechanical choices over others. You might even learn something during the process.


A druid has not a spell failure chance, it's for arcane casters (not all arcane casters, btw).
I think that this guy play a paper videogame. Since i began to play i had the same group of friend (more or less). I never sit a second time with a player you described. I got better things to do :) At least, if i want to play videogames i turn on my PC.
I say this basing on what you wrote. Not the single choice (weapon, feats, stats, etc) but because he never make a choice for roleplay, and ignore it.
So the real question is: do you really want to play with this player?
I have nothing against a character that is strong, if this add something to game.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

he's not using metal armor is he? Druids can't use metal armor or they are unable to cast druid spells or use any of their supernatural or spell-like class abilities while wearing it and even for 24 hours after they take it off.


I will also add that some people take longer to get into the RP aspect. He might change over time.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You know, the ONLY thing remotely wrong about the other guy's playstyle is his lack of RP. Mentioning to him "hey, do you even know who you are?" is totally viable. But there is nothing whatsoever wrong with building the best possible character, every time.

It's a fallacy to suggest that 'roll playing' and 'role playing' are at the opposite ends of a continuum, and that optimizing your character somehow makes your personality deficient.

Honestly, as you look at his optimized but boring character with scorn, he could look back at your evidently compelling but comparatively weaker character with the same. I think this is a good opportunity for you two to sit down and help each other, especially since having a party full of characters with good interactions who also are all at about the same power level makes DMs very happy.

Also, last time I checked, Druids were Divine Casters, and thus had no Spell Failure Chance.


Everybody plays to have fun, man. Chill out, relax, lay back, it´s just a game.
That being said : I understand your frustration.
I don´t see where he gets a spell failure from, given that he´s a divine caster and i don´t understand how he gets a better weapon, given the tight weapon restictions of the druid, maybe ask him nicely ?
Generally, i´d talk openly to the GM, that your feeling overshadowed by the other player´s character. If he´s doing the " wading into melee"-part, maybe you should adjust your tactics accordingly. Question is if you´d have to adjust your feats to do that.


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Quote:
I just got a look at a fellow member's character. He's playing a druid, and through smart and tactical character choices, he has "out-rangered" my ranger.
Quote:
For someone like me, who is more interested in character concepts, story arcs, dramatic and descriptive adventures, action set-pieces that break the rules (we don't use attacks of opportunity, to keep things more fluid and lively, for example), how do I deal with min/maxing and move on?

Why are you angry that his character can do things you don't care about better than you can?

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Some gamers play to roll dice. Some play to role play. I GM some players that don't want to come up with backstory and so when they're ex-lover shows up for revenge they have no say because they forgoe the right to their own backstory and that is now in my hands. I would say find a new gaming group if its a big issue but if thats not option then try to work it out and remember its the GM's job to give every player a chance to shine. So if you feel like your not getting your fair amount of play because this guy is upstaging speak to your GM about it.


It just sounds like he made a combat-beast druid. What's the big deal? He's probably not doing a bunch of Save or Suck casting with a 14 wisdom. It just so happens that he overlaps your role. See if you can discuss with him how he could play a new character that fills a different role so that you can do your thing, OR change your character to fill a role better. Be an archer ranger instead of a melee one, for instance.

As for roleplay, there is NOTHING that keeps people from roleplaying well with tactically well built characters. The two have nothing to do with each other (Stormwind Fallacy, I believe). If you want to see more roleplay from him, try to bring it out in game by engaging him. if that's not his thing, then that's not his thing. You're probably shining during roleplay moments while he is doing nothing....in which case you're both getting to have your fun during your different times.


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HW, here's the bitter truth: you're upset that his character appears on paper to be more powerful than yours.

That means that you too have succumbed to the competitive mindset that creates this very thing that you hate.

You ask in your own post "how can I let this go?", which makes me think you can still rise above this. How do you counter this "min-maxing" that irks you so? By role-play.

Your ranger should be proud to have such a powerful ally. Look to your own character and find ways to improve him if you are having a hard time with the challenges in the game — if not, leave spotlight management to the GM. That's his/her job.

I presume there's an adventure, and that the druid is your ranger's ally in some important cause. Focus on that. Role-play your character, and leave the character-sheet envy in the real-world, where it belongs.

EDIT: Another way to look at it: if he was actually playing a second ranger in the party, would that upset you too? In some ways, this is like having a second ranger — no enemy can escape the two of you in the wilderness. You have overlapping strengths, and that simply means the party has specific strengths. Depending on the scenario, that can be really cool. You just need to learn to like his character as a part of your own character's story. This is a game that favors stories about teamwork, after all. No PC is an island, etc.


I think that for the animal companion this could not be true... making a strong character is legitimate, but takin some monstrous dino just because it is stronger than a tiger is another thing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

You've actually got two only indirectly related issues and you shouldn't confuse them.

One: the guy isn't a role-player. My opinion... so be it. Not every person at every table is going to be an aspiring actor. I DM a couple games and of my eight player I've got two or three who really never ever speak in character, and a couple who don't do back-stories. Shrug. As long as folks have fun at the table, there are many paths to success.

Two: the guy optimizes more than you do, or at least optimizes differently than you do. It sounds like he built a combat druid, not a primary caster druid. What's wrong with that? Druids get wildshape and if they don't amp up their physical stats they won't be very good at it.

If I sit down and decide to build a melee combatant, I get to decide if I want to make a barbarian, a ranger, a fighter, or figure out a build using cleric or druid or rogue that still works. That's my decision and nobody else at the table should be telling me "your Wisdom score is too low... you're a druid". No, I'm a melee combatant and the path to that destination I chose is druid.

Understand it's not his fault you decided not to max our Survival. Or put very many ranks in Knowledge(nature). It's not his fault your build is (probably) more versatile but only mediocre at most tasks. I don't see what you're describing as Max/Min. Without seeing character sheets it sounds like Max/Ignore. There's a difference between a character with incredible physical scores and all negative mental scores "'cuz I iz duh fightur!" and someone who puts all their skill points into three or four things they want to be really good at.


When I make a character - and I come up with a lot of them - I start with a concept. The inspiration for that concept might be an interesting game mechanic, might be a character I've read about or something that just comes straight out of left field... but once I have that concept, I make every effort to optimize the character within the framework of that concept. Those characters end up pretty close to being optimized and are generally a lot of fun to play, but if a feat selection comes down to 'it'll make my character more powerful but doesn't fit my concept', then it doesn't get chosen.

I get frustrated with fellow players who have not made an effort to optimize their concept, but by the same token I have no desire to play with those for whom optimization is all that matters. Optimization as an intellectual exercise to learn the ins and outs of the rules is great, but I'd rather sit down next to a roleplayer than a roll-player any day of the week.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Another couple of things worth considering:

1.) Druids always (barring Feats and other shenanigans) have better Animal Companions than Rangers. If you made the world's most optimized doom-Ranger killtacular, and he made a pacifist Druid with 11s in every STAT, his Animal Companion would still be better than yours. And a dinosaur.

2.) It is really hard for any Druid to beat an Archery Ranger at ranged combat. They just don't have the Feats, Proficiencies, or Class Features to make it work. Therefore, since the Druid is outdoing you in combat, you must both be Melee. In that case, yeah, he can outdo you, because a Druid with 19STR and 14WIS optimized for melee kinda IS a Two-Weapon Fighting Ranger. I suggest asking your DM to switch to Archery Combat Style. That way you aren't stepping on each others toes and your party gains versatility.


You guys are right, I should relax about it. It just irks me because it makes me feel unnecessary. "I can fight, cast spells, summon animals, save against most spells, and vanish into the woods without a trace. What can you do?" "Um.... I can hide?"

@Wraithstrike: The DM runs pretty tough encounters, but I think for this guy it's just an enjoyment thing.

@ W E Ray: I like point buy. I get hosed on rolls, and even if I didn't, it causes really wacky and unbalanced parties.

@ loaba: It's true, I'm judging him. I should stop, that's not cool.

@ Alecstorm: I never really play casters, so I didn't know spell failure chance was an arcane-only thing. Thanks for letting me know.

@ Mr. Smiles: He's using hide armor.

@ Ninten: That's a good idea, working together.

@ Evil Lincoln: Hmm, you're right, I've gotten caught up in some kind of weird competitiveness. I'm not by nature a competitive person, but some folks can bring it out of me.


The problem is with the DM, I am a min/max powergaming player and DM, I always insist on atleast a paragraph of background and somekind of visual inspiration or likeness for characters in my games.

So yeah he should be encouraged to roleplay not discouraged to min/max. They are not two sides of the same coin they are independent of each other.

Teach him how to roleplay maybe he can help you or others build more combat effective characters everone wins.

PS. on the armor thing rich parents trait Heavy armor use feat and dragonhide go along way to making a good druid tank and that is at level one.

Edit- how about you post your ranger on the boards and we can min/max powergame it so you are better at more than just stealth. That way you have a character that roleplays well and rollplays well.


First: Druids don't have spell failure. It is arcane only.

Now, on the actual concerns, you can't really blame the player for having a strong character. In all likelihood, you could also make a stronger character who still fit your concept if you wanted. You can blame him for being a crumby roleplayer, but that is an issue likely to persist whether he has an optimized death machine or a Commoner with random feats. If you swapped character sheets with this other player, you wouldn't suddenly become a poor roleplayer, nor would he become a good one. The same goes for the optimization.

I think the important thing to ask is "Is this a problem for everyone?" If one player is wildly more powerful than the rest of the party and it is causing issues, it might be okay to ask him to tone it down. If another makes a character so weak they can't meaningfully contribute, it would also make sense to ask them to bring it up a bit.

If it isn't causing problems for anyone but you, I'd recommend either ignoring or embracing. Ignore his strength, enjoy what your character can do, and live with it. If you can't, learn to make stronger characters that don't sacrifice your concept. People on this board will gladly help you. But whatever you do, don't let it get to you. No sense letting your game be ruined by someone who needs to check his character sheet to remember his name.


I also strongly suspect that you have some kind of out-of-game issue with this person. It could be a mild, legitimately held issue, but still. These kinds of problems rarely crop up between bosom buddies, right?

Figure out what your beef is with this guy. It could be as simple as "he kind of annoys me" or maybe he owes you an apology or something like that. I'd bet my stove-pipe hat that there's a real-world social dynamic between you that's bringing up this resentment.

Define it, acknowledge it, resolve it if possible. But make a conscious effort to leave it out of the game.

Dark Archive

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I hate rolling for stats, too. It ALWAYS creates PC unbalance.

I'll accept min/maxing and cookie-cutter PCs to avoid unbalanced PCs. But that's me; there's nothing wrong with rolling 'em.

My advice of rolling stats is for those who hate min/maxing and cookie-cutter PCs.

(I don't even roll HP, everyone just gets max in my games.)

Liberty's Edge

Gamers gunna game.

People play the game for different reasons. Some people only have fun by 'beating' the game. It sounds like your druid is one of those guys.

From my experience this isn't going to be something you can 'get over with'. I've been in your shoes myself. My suggestions are A) Step up your game and optimize with him, B) Talk to your DM about evening things out, or C) Walk away.

There's no sense in playing in a game that frustrates you.


I share a dislike for regarding the rules as a puzzle to solve and the point of playing being accumulating the XP needed to execute the next step in the build plan.

But that was the path the game started down with 3e, IMO. Once you attempt to create a unified architecture with class features/feats/etc as a cafeteria, it is inevitable that the nature of the cafeteria selections will be biased toward increasing character power.


Issue #1 - Trying to roleplay when other players lack even a basic concept of their character can be very frustrating. Constructive talking between yourself and the other player is the best way to solve this. Constructive talking with the GM if it's affecting your enjoyment of the game may be another way. Most GMs I've had are pretty good at encouraging and expecting a certain level of roleplay from their players.

Issue #2 - There is no analog between roleplay and mechanics. Stormwind Fallacy at its worst here. There is nothing preventing you from having a more mechanically-effective character that fits within your concept.

Issue #3 - You may not like the way it feels when someone else's character outshines yours mechanically because you think their character is min/maxed. There are two sides to that coin. Want to know what I dislike? I profoundly dislike when someone has not even tried to make a character mechanically effective out of a misguided belief that would violate the Laws of Good Roleplay and/or avoids any sort of tactical proficiency in a turn-based strategic combat for similar reasons. On more than one occasion this has led to the death of my character - my really cool character, that I slaved over for its concept, its background, its smooth and elegant use of mechanics to be as effective as possible within the bounds of my idea.

If you are lucky to have gamers in your group who have a knack with system mechanics, appreciate and embrace that. They are a valuable source of knowledge. If you have more experience with immersive roleplay, that's a resource you similarly bring to the group that can be shared with others. I've known many gamers who didn't know what was expected from them roleplay-wise, and many who were nervous or easily embarrassed trying to act as some fictional personality. Communication and encouragement were almost always the solution.


Melee druids with 19 str and 14 wis are going to be pretty badass if built right. And it sounds like this guy either knows howbto build one, or at least knows how to use the internet to find one.

That 14 wisdom will eventually be an issue though.

Each of you might be able to learn a bit from the other...


If you feel like your ranger is under powered, I'd suspect you did something odd writing him. In the last game I ran to high level, the ranger pooped on all of my npcs with huge arrow damage. The last ranger I played did the majority of the work and out damaged the paladin by switching between a bow and a long spear with combat reflexes.

The only weak ranger I've ever seen was an npc halfling I wrote up to have a +17 perception or so at 4th level.

The power of the ranger is in having fun utility and dropping max damage from surprise.


HawaiianWarrior wrote:

You guys are right, I should relax about it. It just irks me because it makes me feel unnecessary. "I can fight, cast spells, summon animals, save against most spells, and vanish into the woods without a trace. What can you do?" "Um.... I can hide?"

@Wraithstrike: The DM runs pretty tough encounters, but I think for this guy it's just an enjoyment thing.

@ W E Ray: I like point buy. I get hosed on rolls, and even if I didn't, it causes really wacky and unbalanced parties.

@ loaba: It's true, I'm judging him. I should stop, that's not cool.

@ Alecstorm: I never really play casters, so I didn't know spell failure chance was an arcane-only thing. Thanks for letting me know.

@ Mr. Smiles: He's using hide armor.

@ Ninten: That's a good idea, working together.

@ Evil Lincoln: Hmm, you're right, I've gotten caught up in some kind of weird competitiveness. I'm not by nature a competitive person, but some folks can bring it out of me.

Sounds like you've addressed the out-of-character issues pretty well here and can get back to focussing on having fun, which is awesome.

If you want some help finding a niche for your character to excel at when it is dice-rolling time, if you posted your character (and your RP concept), as well as the classes of your party members, I'm sure there would be some good ideas on how you could have some unique abilities at which your character would get to shine at.

Grand Lodge

Would be mad at a Sorcerer for out Wizarding your Wizard?

If no, then why would you be mad at a Druid for our Rangering your Ranger?

Just a thought.


@ Ninten: I actually went with the two-handed weapon option, because I'm trying to make spear into my main weapon (because it fits the character concept). With Power Attack, Furious Focus, and using both hands I can bring my spear damage up to 1d8+8, which is nice. LOL about the dinosaur thing...

@ Paraxis: I have posted the ranger, and got good responses. I'm considering them.

@ Evil Lincoln: You're on to something. Though he and I get along fine, he can be pretty intense and, by his own admission, a bit whiny when things don't work out well. I'm paranoid that he's on these boards and might recognize himself, because it isn't my intention to make this about his personality. He's a smart, professional, otherwise solid guy. It's just hard to be at the table with him (even harder when I was the DM, but that's another thread).

@ Feral: "Gamers gunna game." That's hilarious, I love it! Actually, I'm passively looking for another game, but not finding much luck in my area. If I can ever convince my wife, I'd love to host. Our house if perfect for it. In that case, I'd happily get back in the DM chair and start a new group.

@ WRoy: That's true, one can be a good roleplayer and power gamer at the same time. It doesn't seem very common, though.

@ Cranewings: We already have an archer in the party. Actually, it's not really an archer but a cleric who has been maximized as an archer, oddly enough. So I'd be redundant there, too. :( Although I'm not sure what you mean by dropping damage from surprise. Is there something I'm missing? I always thought that was a rogue thing.

@ sveden: No, but I might be mad if someone's bard out-wizarded my wizard... To me that's about the distance between druid and ranger, though maybe I should adjust my perceptions?

@ Beebs: I had a couple of different threads where I asked questions about smart build choices (not crazy about that term "build" but whatever). The first one was about playing a non-materialistic character and the other was about avoiding armor. But since I've come this far, I might as well post my whole character. I welcome comments and suggestions.

http://www.dndsheets.net/view.php?id=31758

I probably won't do any weird, out-of-concept class dips or changes. The concept is "Jungle Girl" from Mwangi, skirmisher ranger (I don't like bothering with spells; too much to handle for me), primary weapon a spear (though I also use a net, dagger, and buckler), little to no armor, archery secondary, possibly Nature Warden PrC in the future, and a panther or leopard as an animal companion next level (though a velociraptor is a tempting choice). I could possibly do a barbarian or rogue or fighter as class dips.


quick personal opinion(although it was originally treatmonk's) go archery combat style and then use your feats for your 2 hander. Hell you can even use those archery feats to throw spears if you want.


HawaiianWarrior wrote:

But since I've come this far, I might as well post my whole character. I welcome comments and suggestions.

http://www.dndsheets.net/view.php?id=31758

Thats really nice, just a bit suicidal. Leather Armor? CHA 14 ? You´re Grace Jones, or what?;) And if your a skirmisher you don´t need WIS 13 either. The darkwood buckler unfortunately is actually a light shield, so when your using the spear, your AC should be even more crappy. I´d recommend a trident and/or a reach weapon for more damage, as you have furious focus. And a masterwork chainshirt or hide shirt. Flank with the druid, after throwing the net, you should be fine.


HawaiianWarrior wrote:
@ Evil Lincoln: You're on to something. Though he and I get along fine, he can be pretty intense and, by his own admission, a bit whiny when things don't work out well. I'm paranoid that he's on these boards and might recognize himself, because it isn't my intention to make this about his personality. He's a smart, professional, otherwise solid guy. It's just hard to be at the table with him (even harder when I was the DM, but that's another thread).

Your recognizing this is the best solution you could hope for. Don't worry, even close friends can start to grate on each other after a while.

I have seen hundreds of threads on these forums asking for help with other players, and 95% of the time it is really an inter-personal issue rather than a game issue.

Call it like it is, then make a point to either resolve the issue or keep it out of the game (for the sake of the other players if nothing else).

Problem = Solved. You're welcome! :)

Liberty's Edge

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I admit that I am a bit jealous of those who dream up wonderful back stories for their characters. Usually I struggle to come up with something more than, "Um, he's a dwarf. He has black hair. He is a devoted follower of Torag. Um..."
I sometimes find that I begin to ascribe a personality to a character after a while.
But I don't seem to be very good at min/maxing either. Others seem to inflict a whole lot more damage than I.
But I certainly have fun playing.

Sovereign Court

To the OP:
>3e/3.5/Pathfinder quantified our game, and added to our game many systems and subsystems that can be min/maxed by players who wish to do so.
>Truly, its a more refined edition of our game, perhaps the very best. Pathfinder for example carries forward all the very best of Gygax's milieu, while still making the game more than just whim and fancy.
>Now, the choice isn't really about ruleset anymore, its about "who do you want to game with. If your GM wishes to set the norm that this is a roleplaying group, then find players who wish to roleplay and understand that personna and roleplay are far more important than numbers.
>I played for about 20 years with just close friends, and now-a-days the best thing a GM can do is teach the game to others and instill in them an appreciation for roleplay and the classic feel of the game, where numbers and stats weren't the focus, but rather story development and roleplay were paramount.
>The trouble is... many have been affected just as you when playing with folks they don't know so well. Many gamers today, and even yesterday, have taken a mathematic gamist approah to the game. It was more normal back in the 80s and 90s to see narrativists, dramatists, roleplayers, and folks who just loved the fantasy milieu. What's increased is the prevalence of a new kind of gamer. Amongst these are min/maxers, munchkins, rules-lawyers, and other caddy names which can also stereotype. The key is to keep communication open.
>When I began GMing regularly (weekly) again in 2005 I came across all types. In fact, even those whom I thought cared most about roleplay, are now influenced heavily by video games, mmorpgs, and highly simulationist games like MERCS, and Warhammer. When they come to my gaming table, there is a strong residual point of view they take, and its hard to enjoy the game as we once did.
>I conclude that a good GM has a couple choices: a) she can set expectations that the group is focused primarily on roleplay and metagaming and min/maxing will not be tollerated b) she can carefully select whom she plays with based on that criterion, setting provisions up for any new members that if it doesn't work out, an un-invite will soon arrive to them c) she can try to balance the game to give the gamists and simulationists and powergamers what they want while also giving the roleplayers what they want (trust me, this takes a lot of effort, and it seems there's always some small voice complaining in a mix like that), or she can just play the game with close friends that share a love for the game that doesn't include min/maxing, etc.
>You may have other options. One I think about is teaching others about the type of game you want to play. Taking the time to keep delivering highly roleplay centric content forces this, but its best to explain what its all about. I've found that some folks think they understand, but until they see more examples, and get a little coaching its kind of hard for them.
>Additionally, many analysts, engineers, computer scientists are also attracted to the game. Probably half of these also have a creative streak, but I seem to meet those who really love the game but appreciate and enjoy it differently. The bottom line is, if you take a deep breath, set aside any guilt for feeling the way you do, you might see that they're just folks who like the game, and probably will enjoy the game just fine without too much roleplay. For old timers, this is sad but true, but yet its reality. The choice really, isn't about EXPECTING folks not to min-max, but rather it now requires that everyone be clear about the type of group they're looking to form, and trust me I've formed several. In every case, and over time, I'm continually impressed that the real world has such a powerful influence to tug folks in the direction of min maxing, and power gaming. There's nothing wrong with any of that, but its not my cup of tea.
>I person cannot overcome this influence in a group that wishes to focus on roleplay, but if everyone in the group vocalizes their concern or their feeling about it openly, I bet that player will come to understand better. In fact, we sometimes forget that new players haven't had the same gaming experiences that we share, so it's important to teach, coach, help, be patient... else find another group, or form your own. Determine what balance you want at the table, or the GM can be directive and simply say "no" to such power-based requests.

Again, its all about communication, and understanding, and choices. And the adventure continues...


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
HawaiianWarrior wrote:

I need to vent. Reply if you want, or just let this thread vanish into the ether.

So our group (I'm not the DM btw) sometimes sends out copies of our characters to the listserve in case one of us misses a session, etc. I just got a look at a fellow member's character. He's playing a druid, and through smart and tactical character choices, he has "out-rangered" my ranger.

I am curious about something. Did you feel this way before you got a look at his character sheet?

These feeling are why in general I don't let players see each other character sheets.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
W E Ray wrote:

I hate rolling for stats, too. It ALWAYS creates PC unbalance.

I'll accept min/maxing and cookie-cutter PCs to avoid unbalanced PCs. But that's me; there's nothing wrong with rolling 'em.

My advice of rolling stats is for those who hate min/maxing and cookie-cutter PCs.

(I don't even roll HP, everyone just gets max in my games.)

Rolling for stats could work to create balanced parties, if, and only if, there is an agreement to put all the sets of ability scores into a communal pot, then let the less experienced players, or those who have less time to trawl the optimisation forums, pick first.

Those less proficient at optimisation probably can benefit from an extra 16 here and there, those who are good at it would probably still make a strong PC using an array of flat 12s.

Of course, this depends on having a group of mature players who can handle self-reflection and objectively accept where they stand in a hierarchy of 'game-fu'.

It will only lead to hurt feelings, if it's presented as "We're throwing you a bone, because you're hopeless at the game, and your characters suck".

Scarab Sages

Honestly, from my point of view, it looks like the main issue you have with this player is that his character is more effective than yours in the same areas.

With a min/maxer in the party, the best thing you can do to avoid this in the future is just to mention it to him. I often min/max my characters... though I usually have three or four pages of character background as well. When I roll up a character for a new campaign, I discuss my role and the role of the other party members as I decide what kind of character to play. This is so I can avoid problems with making someone else's character feel unnecessary.

People hate it if you do something better than they can. If you do something well that they can't do at all... well they tend to be a lot happier.

If you're playing an upfront meleer, then just ask the min/maxer not to make a character that fills that particular role.

It's certainly understandable that you would be feeling frustrated over this.

Alternatively, you could choose to create a new character that fills a different role, so you're not in direct competition with this player.

Unfortunately, the only other thing you could really do would be to put in the effort to min/max better than he does. I don't think that's what you're really looking to do here.


HawaiianWarrior wrote:

I might as well post my whole character. I welcome comments and suggestions.

http://www.dndsheets.net/view.php?id=31758

Okay, first thing I looked at was stats.

1. - high CHA - Ranger doesn't need it. If your character concept does, then there is no way around it. Please keep in mind that the Queen of The Jungle can be absolutely stunning, while sporting low CHA. You seem like you're going for a wild and untamed lass, so you could get away with her not having "people" skills.

2. - odd CON and even STR/DEX - does this mean that you're planning on pumping CON every 4th level? If I were you, I would make DEX the odd number and plan on pumping that.

These are just suggestions and I will not be offended if you disregard them for any reason. Please keep in mind however, that if you want to keep up with Druid-boy, then you will have to make compromises. It is impossible for any character to be good at everything, so something has to give within the build.


@ loaba: Thanks for the suggestions. I was thinking of boosting my CON at 4th level, yeah. We do point buy so in order to get an odd-numbered Dex I'd need to do some serious shuffling of stats. I might be able to do that though. I'll talk to my DM about it. I chose a high CHA partly because I see the character as being physically attractive, though she doesn't have "people skills" -- but also because literally EVERYBODY else in the party has a CHA of 8 or lower, using it as the dump stat. So I guess I kept mine high just so we wouldn't be the party of ugly rejects. The smart DM would make life very difficult for us by exploiting that dump stat! ;)

@ Magicdealer: Well things are worse than I thought. He has decided to use a spear, like my character, and because of his high strength and the fact that he has also taken Power Attack, his character actually does more damage with it. When I mentioned that I am thinking of going with a panther for my animal companion next level, he said he's going to swap out his current animal for a panther, too, but because he's a Druid his will be several levels more advanced than mine.

Spear fighter and panther -- that's like my whole concept right there, stolen out from under me. He didn't start using a spear and didn't start with a panther. Funny how that works!

I'm starting to think this guy's agenda is to squeeze me out somehow by making me irrelevant. Like Evil Lincoln guessed, I think there might be something else going on here.

I'm still looking for a new group, but can't find anything in the area. This sucks.


I just wrote a group email about creating a new character. Our party already has a cleric, wizard, rogue, and druid, so I guess I'll have to go fighter or barbarian. I'm not interested in playing one of those characters, but I'm also not interested in competing for a niche. Whatever.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
HawaiianWarrior wrote:

@ Magicdealer: Well things are worse than I thought. He has decided to use a spear, like my character, and because of his high strength and the fact that he has also taken Power Attack, his character actually does more damage with it. When I mentioned that I am thinking of going with a panther for my animal companion next level, he said he's going to swap out his current animal for a panther, too, but because he's a Druid his will be several levels more advanced than mine.

Spear fighter and panther -- that's like my whole concept right there, stolen out from under me. He didn't start using a spear and didn't start with a panther. Funny how that works!

I'm starting to think this guy's agenda is to squeeze me out somehow by making me irrelevant. Like Evil Lincoln guessed, I think there might be something else going on here.

I'm still looking for a new group, but can't find anything in the area. This sucks.

With him completely copyig your character...you need to talk to him. Also my guess if these moves were all of the sudden he has probably seen this thread and is doing it because you have offended him. So he won't stop making your life hell till you talk to him.


HawaiianWarrior wrote:
I chose a high CHA partly because I see the character as being physically attractive, though she doesn't have "people skills" -- but also because literally EVERYBODY else in the party has a CHA of 8 or lower, using it as the dump stat. So I guess I kept mine high just so we wouldn't be the party of ugly rejects. The smart DM would make life very difficult for us by exploiting that dump stat! ;)

You can always spend the resources (Trait and skill ranks) on Diplomacy. It would mean that while don't really have the people skills, some people still respond to you positively. I figure it's all in the amount of cleavage you're willing to present. What can I say? Guys are pigs in this world, why wouldn't they be in Golarian?

One thing you could do is explore the whole Diplomancer route, but then you would cease to be the Queen of The Jungle.


HawaiianWarrior wrote:
I just wrote a group email about creating a new character. Our party already has a cleric, wizard, rogue, and druid, so I guess I'll have to go fighter or barbarian. I'm not interested in playing one of those characters, but I'm also not interested in competing for a niche. Whatever.

Obviously, your choice. But two warnings.

1) You are only level 3. Your characters will differentiate with time. You have more skill points, more feats, and variety of unique Ranger abilities. Your higher BaB will really start substantially increasing your damage output with the spear from level 4 on (especially if you use the spear two-handed, which you actually should be doing anyway given that it is a two-handed weapon). Grab Deadly Aim and you can devastate him at range, too (with bow, spear, or whatever). It seems like the only reason he is beating you at your own game right now is slightly higher stats, which will matter less and less as time goes on.

2) From what you have said about his build, I have a sneaking suspicion he is going for a Spirit of the Beast, possibly with some slight mods to purposefully harass you. If this is the case, switching to a Barbarian or Fighter isn't going to fix your troubles. Spirit of the Beast is a monster from level 4-8. It tapers off after that, but switching to a character even more focused on combat, especially one you don't want to play, is going to exacerbate the issues you already have (if this is the case).

Long story short: don't let yourself get upset and toss out a character you like for one you couldn't care about. Give it a few sessions, see how things shake out. Everything may well work out on its own.


Rise above it, man. And good luck. You're self-aware, that counts for a lot.


Op...ask yourself this, before you read his character sheet were you having a good time? If that the case then do your best to ignore him. Clearly if he is changing his build to ape yours he is doing more than just standard power gaming, he has something against you, and he wants to ruin your good time. Dont allow it. Make the best Spear Ranger/Kitty combo you can, dive into the roleplaying and have fun despite his best efforts.. bonus points if you can make him sit there and seeth that he failed to ruin your fun.

Liberty's Edge

HawaiianWarrior wrote:
He attacks better, he has a higher combat stat (what kind of Druid has a 19 STR, but only a 14 WIS?), he has higher saves all around, he has as many hit points, he has a better weapon, his CMB/CMD are the same as mine, he is better at survival, better at knowledge nature, has the same AC, and still manages to cast spells all over the place. The only thing I can do that he can't is stealth. That's it.

The strong kind? Seriously, not every freaking druid should be the wisest person in the world. It sounds like you're just jealous. Its especially amusing since you intentionally gimped yourself on points by buying a 14 charisma. Bad decisions are bad. Who'd a thunk it?

As to his character rendering yours obsolete. This is a roleplaying game, maybe his character is more powerful, but if you play smart, your character will never be obsolete.


HawaiianWarrior wrote:
I just wrote a group email about creating a new character. Our party already has a cleric, wizard, rogue, and druid, so I guess I'll have to go fighter or barbarian. I'm not interested in playing one of those characters, but I'm also not interested in competing for a niche. Whatever.

I'll second the 'find a new group' suggestion, with an addendum: find a group that plays a different game. Because if you keep going back to the same game, chances are good that you'll keep running into the system mastery problem.

With the number of rpgs out there, there's sure to be one that suits your tastes without the system mastery bit. If you want a similar amount of rules detail with about 90% less system mastery, there's 4e D&D. If you're willing to step away from D&D completely, there's free-form rpgs that avoid system mastery completely. And there are games in between.

Some people say "It's the people you play with." I say it's the people and the game.


John Kretzer wrote:
Also my guess if these moves were all of the sudden he has probably seen this thread and is doing it because you have offended him. So he won't stop making your life hell till you talk to him.

Well, if that's the case then I REALLY need to find a new group.

Anyway, to those who have suggested I stick with this character and just try to enjoy myself, you're probably right. I was having fun, though even before seeing his character there were many times when he jumped in to take over when I was performing some "ranger-y" task or another, or when I was having some success he tried to rally all the other characters and NPCs to abandon my plan and follow him some other direction.

I guess I've been blind to this behavior for a while, and it all just caught up with me at once.

At this point I'm stepping up my efforts to find a new group. Until then, I think I might just stick with it and just ignore him.

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. I guess this has turned from a "min/max" thread into a "bizarre rivalry" thread!

I thought I left all this stuff behind with high school...

Silver Crusade

One of the secrets in life parents don't tell you:
"High school never ends, not really."

Oh, wait, that's a different thread... >:)

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