Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

PaizoCon 2014!

Is a 2nd level character viable in a 5th level party?


Advice


Some background on the issue: Our DM has a rule that if you retire a character during a campaign you have to start back at level 1, regardless of the previous character's level. If your character dies then your next character starts 1 level below the deceased character and with nothing but basic equipment, if that.

I retired a character when the party was 3rd level because the group was fighter heavy and I wanted to experience a different class. I brought in my monk at level 1 and was mostly useless and should've died at level 2 if not for a ridiculously broken magic item that basically makes it impossible for someone to die.

I made it to level 3 while everyone else was 4 before our last session when I died in the boss fight and died in a way that prevented resurrection from the item. Everyone made it to level 5 while my character, for some reason, was granted XP enough to make it to 4. Except I still have to bring in a 2nd level because "you don't get rewarded for death".

So now I'm forced to bring a 2nd level Druid into a game with 5th level PCs and I'm not sure if it will be any fun. The role play and the story is great, but we have frequent combats and running away, hiding, and not doing anything doesn't sound like fun. Neither does being restricted to spells that don't allow saving throws because my DCs will suck.

So is this even worth sticking it out? It's a family game so leaving the table is extremely hard for me, but I'm so sick of crappy rules like this and having my opinions on the game ignored.

Cheliax

7 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm just throwing in the opinion that you should probably just find a new game with rules that don't suck.


To answer your fundamental question:

No, a second level character is not viable in a fifth level party for any reasonable definition of the word "viable".

That doesn't mean it can't be fun to play, but your abilities will be far outclassed by the rest of the party.

However, if the GM is following the standard XP rules, then you should level up fairly quickly.

Shadow Lodge

Hang back, stay out of melee, and focus on support. Use summon nature's ally spells to bring up surrogate fighters. Try to focus on tying enemies up for your allies. Entangle is a pretty solid choice for this.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Are you having fun?


Mergy wrote:
I'm just throwing in the opinion that you should probably just find a new game with rules that don't suck.

+1

Seriously.


Mergy wrote:
I'm just throwing in the opinion that you should probably just find a new game with rules that don't suck.

For the record, ^^^^^^^THIS^^^^^^^


lalallaalal wrote:
I'm so sick of crappy rules like this and having my opinions on the game ignored.

This, more than anything else you said, is what would bother me and get me to stop playing.


You will eventually level to be just one level behind them (can easily check the charts to see what that will happen.) In the meantime there a plenty of things you can do to help the party, aid another, ectr. I like the idea of being penalized for dying, though I don't like the idea of being penalized so harshly for retiring. In that respect, you took a hit personally to make the group better...that seems quite unfair.


A lot of simulationist games roll this way. Generally I'll let you animate a henchman or close ally if your character dies in an unrecoverable fashion when I'm GM'ing. If your party doesn't have any such closely affiliated NPCs, yes, you might well wind up starting much lower level. You'll probably also catch up fairly fast, but you'll probably get a smaller prorated share of the treasure. Simulationist games give you a lot more flexibility in picking who you go after, so a lot of the problems with mixed level parties are somewhat muted (e.g., you don't go after monsters with huge area attacks if you have absurdly squishy support in your party).


Cheapy wrote:
Are you having fun?

It's been a mixed bag. Story and role play wise it's been great for the most part, but lately I've noticed some things throughout the campaign that have really soured my view of the game. For example, every other character has received something specific to them, some characters 2, while my characters have received no items or abilities designed for them.

My characters can never seem to be on good terms with NPCs, regardless of charisma score, while other characters with less charisma always seem to have the right thing to say.

I feel like the only thing that's kept up my enjoyment was that my character was still close to the others in terms of power, though mostly because of a rule that had my monk attack touch AC for some reason.

I can honestly say it's 50% fun, 50% feeling like banging my head against the wall.


Your friends didn't want to splurge on a packmule?

In all seriousness, GET OUT NOW. Doesn't sound like your having fun now, and it doesn't look to get better. FLEE THE CRAZED GM.


Oh, just for the record, I played a 4e wizard whose main combat approach was to run and hide and sometimes freeze in terror.

She was fun. But to be fair, she contributed plenty to the group and was at the same level, but it was still fun to run and hide all the time.


If you're not having fun, and there's no way that you WILL be having fun, then just point-blank leave. As much as Pathfinder means to people, keep in mind that first and foremost it IS a game. And a game is all about having fun.

On another note, though, I feel like 'just leave' is an all too often spoken sentiment. It's best, in my opinion, to talk one on one with the GM first. Tell them your concerns. Voice it in a reasonable way. If you can't get through to them THEN leave. But you sound like you have a good case. I would really strongly urge you to try talking it out first.


When you say Viable as in comparable in power to the other characters? not likely.
Viable as in, could be fun to play and could give you a whole different perspective on combats. Yes.

BUT it sounds like your GM is a bit of a tool and you are not having much fun anyways so that bit is probably going to get lost.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I would make a 5th level character and show up to the game with it.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Play a Reincarnated Druid, in a higher age category. Once you catch up to 5th, you will not have to worry about your DM's odd rules. You get killed, you come back, no levels lost, new healthy young body. Be sure that if your race has a +2 to any score, choose wisdom.


Haha! You died! Loser! Now you have to suck at everything for as long as you play with us as punishment for your incompetence! And you'll never catch up because now you will most likely keep dying!

^ An exaggeration to be sure, but why anyone would want to endure anything even coming close to a semblance of this attitude in a game that is meant to be fun is beyond me.


DoctorYesNinja wrote:

If you're not having fun, and there's no way that you WILL be having fun, then just point-blank leave. As much as Pathfinder means to people, keep in mind that first and foremost it IS a game. And a game is all about having fun.

On another note, though, I feel like 'just leave' is an all too often spoken sentiment. It's best, in my opinion, to talk one on one with the GM first. Tell them your concerns. Voice it in a reasonable way. If you can't get through to them THEN leave. But you sound like you have a good case. I would really strongly urge you to try talking it out first.

I'm going to try to talk 1 on 1 after our session next weekend and I'm going to explain that I refuse to play any longer if we cannot compromise on rules like this.


There is a PFS game played on mostly the same saturdays that my current group does, so I can just go do that twice a month.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A front line fighter would not be least likely to be viable.

You might be able to make something work in a caster, scout or archer but you're going to have to be prepared to play as a bit of a sheltered side kick for a while, be very careful about getting exposed and be very risk averse to start.

In reality, your character is going to be somewhere similar in power level to a 5th level Ranger's animal companion. They do survive adventures but they are often quite sheltered.

If you're willing to look at this as a challenge and choose something that works as a sidekick, there are role playing opportunities that could prove enjoyable. You're only 13,000 xp behind so if you can survive the first couple of sessions, you'll end up close pretty quickly and be caught up in levels by the time everyone's at 8th or so.

In my campaign, our current arrangement is to award players who can't make it to the game 1/2 experience. Even with that penalty, the guys who miss a lot of games are only a single level behind the guys who are there every week. The geometric nature of the XP chart means that it is possible to catch up.

Cheliax

Greycloak of Bowness wrote:

A front line fighter would not be least likely to be viable.

You might be able to make something work in a caster, scout or archer but you're going to have to be prepared to play as a bit of a sheltered side kick for a while, be very careful about getting exposed and be very risk averse to start.

In reality, your character is going to be somewhere similar in power level to a 5th level Ranger's animal companion. They do survive adventures but they are often quite sheltered.

If you're willing to look at this as a challenge and choose something that works as a sidekick, there are role playing opportunities that could prove enjoyable. You're only 13,000 xp behind so if you can survive the first couple of sessions, you'll end up close pretty quickly and be caught up in levels by the time everyone's at 8th or so.

In my campaign, our current arrangement is to award players who can't make it to the game 1/2 experience. Even with that penalty, the guys who miss a lot of games are only a single level behind the guys who are there every week. The geometric nature of the XP chart means that it is possible to catch up.

It doesn't work like that in Pathfinder. A character behind in levels will never catch up. It was possible to catch up in 3.5, but not anymore.

GMs, don't do this to your players. I don't care about realism when the result of it is a less fun game.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mergy wrote:


It doesn't work like that in Pathfinder. A character behind in levels will never catch up.

Not true.

A 2nd level character in a 5th level party will be 13k XP behind on the Medium track.

The difference between 6th and 7th level is 12k XP. From 7th to 8th is 16K. The 2nd level character will catch up to the 5th level characters before 8th level is reached. They will remain a level behind at times, but the time behind will grow increasingly shorter.


Yes but I think the point here is its going to take 6 levels to catch up. In other words months. Assuming his gm doesn't just kill him off again which will be fairly easy considering the fact that he's incredibly squishy compared to the rest of the party.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Then he should say 'will take a long time to catch up'. :)

Cheliax

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Mergy wrote:


It doesn't work like that in Pathfinder. A character behind in levels will never catch up.

Not true.

A 2nd level character in a 5th level party will be 13k XP behind on the Medium track.

The difference between 6th and 7th level is 12k XP. From 7th to 8th is 16K. The 2nd level character will catch up to the 5th level characters before 8th level is reached. They will remain a level behind at times, but the time behind will grow increasingly shorter.

He'll still always be behind. In 3.5 lower level characters got extra experience to catch them up; not so in Pathfinder.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

3.5 characters were always behind too. They'd reach equal level but never equal XP, unless the DM did some serious math work or chance made it happen.


Eventually the award amounts should outpace the difference in leveling requirements; However, speaking as a fan of XP advancement, it sounds like the OP is dealing with a problem group.

Cheliax

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Can we at least agree that it sucks to be constantly playing catch-up with your godling party members?


Mergy wrote:
Can we at least agree that it sucks to be constantly playing catch-up with your godling party members?

+1

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mergy wrote:
Can we at least agree that it sucks to be constantly playing catch-up with your godling party members?

Yes.

But if you'll indulge me, take a 3rd and 4th level character. The first at 3k XP, the second at 6k XP according to 3.5.

After each faces a CR 3 encounter, they are at 3900 and 6800 each. (Giving them full total for the sake of simplicity.) After a CR 4 encounter, 5250 and 8000 each. And finally, after a CR 5 encounter, 7050 and 9600. The level 3 character has caught up to the level 4 character before they hit 5th level.

But now that he has, they get the same reward for encounters, and he will STILL always be behind. Even the odd encounters where he is behind a level won't close that gap.

Pathfinder's XP progression accomplishes the same goal with less math. The trade off is, it can take much longer for the lower level character to catch up, depending on the differences.

But all this is why I don't use XP in the first place, and would probably dump the OPs DM like a bad habit.


Man, I do use XP, and would still probably dump the OPs DM like a bad habit.

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah, I worded that poorly. I'd dump both like a bad habit separately. :)

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If the GM's a jerk and the game's not fun, then I'd drop it too but if that's not the case, this sounds like the kinds of challenge an old salt like me might like to take on.

In terms of the length of time, the second level guy would be 4th level when the others get 6th and would be at 6th level when his allies are 1000xp into 7th. It would happen fairly quickly if he lived and he would presumably be ahead of wealth by level after the first session or two.

I'm not saying it's easy or that he'd be likely to survive, just that it could work and could provide an interesting roleplaying opportunity to be Robin to the rest of the group's Batman (Short Round/Sallah to Indiana Jones, Percival to King Arthur, Anakin to Obiwan, generic Kung Fu student to generic wizened Master - the tropes are ripe and abundant).

Charaacter ideas where you could maybe survive a level or two:
- Maybe a stealthy illusionist who concentrates on Silent Image, min/lvl buffs and wands
- Maybe a luck/trickery cleric of Calistira who uses true strike and a whip to trip/disarm and uses touch of luck to boost the front liners/archers
- Maybe an uber-stealthy rogue (goblin? halfling? gnome?) that hides a lot and plays the perimeter, looking for ways to manipulate the battlefield (pull rugs, jam doors vs. reinforcements) or sneak around the main fight to steal spell component pouches from wizards.
- Maybe a to-hit-optimized archer (Human Fighter/archer ranger, point blank, rapid, precise, focus)

Really, none of this would be great for a power game(r) in the short run but it could be really rewarding in the long run as you came into your own and grew from being an apprentice to as good as the former masters.


To be fair if you wanted you could just be non combat based. I've been looking at a multiclass lore oracle/ archivist bard if you wanted to be a good face and great at knowledge checks as well as trap finding

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Try having an open conversation with your GM. Let him/her know that you're not having fun because your character is so far behind all the other characters. Ask if there is any way the GM could help catch your character up to the others (a solo game, or maybe a write-up for bonus xp, if the GM refuses to just give you XP "for free" to catch up).

Be open about the fact that it's making you not really want to play any more. If the GM is unwilling to make accommodations for you to have fun in the game, it's a sign you probably should stop playing with this particular GM.


Thomas Long 175 wrote:
To be fair if you wanted you could just be non combat based. I've been looking at a multiclass lore oracle/ archivist bard if you wanted to be a good face and great at knowledge checks as well as trap finding

Just about everything is already covered. We have 6 players and I'm going with an archer druid. I don't mind playing support. My main issue is that I'll be at such a large disadvantage from the start and will not be able to catch up until around 7th or 8th level. In real time that could be months if not a year. Not only that, but I will have so few hit points at the start that I could be one shotted in most encounters our DM runs. If I die as a 2nd level character I have to go back to 1 while everyone else just gains more XP and the difficulty just ramps up from there. I think this is completey ridiculous because it severely limits what I can do with a new character.


It sounds to me like you have a GM who likes to win. It also sounds like you have a GM who likes to Tbag people he kills while playing halo. The problem is he's letting it carry over into his other gaming habits. Death in games shouldn't always be punished. If everyone agreed to the stipulation before starting the campaign because they were in the mood for a hardcore challenge, then cool. If it's just the GM being a jerk, I'd advise talking to him and if he wont let up on the douchebaggery then look into alternatives.

At least in my games what kills the players is mostly luck. I play with a fairly well rounded and experienced group of guys, so somehting like a horribly timed save or a string of crits is one of the few things that will actually score a kill even at lower levels. The only way I would punish someone like this is if they are literally choosing to powergame in a way that gets them killed.

Asta
PSY

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In our group, new characters start with the lowest level character's XP total. Optimized gear usually makes up the difference in levels.

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder RPG / Advice / Is a 2nd level character viable in a 5th level party? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.