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!

A Dilemma


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

1 to 50 of 63 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

I know that this is my first post on these forums, and in many online communities, that does me a disservice. Hopefully that will not be the case here.

The long story short is that I am running a Pathfinder game (my first one, but I am a veteran of many systems) for some old friends, one of which (we'll call him Charlie) is someone I have known since Kindergarten. Charlie tends to have a rather large and forceful personality, and so he convinced me to incorporate some houserules. They were simple little things, but I have long since come to the conclusion I need a twenty-four hour window to make any decisions in regards to rules changes or additional content. I decided to send out a posse of text messages to my players telling them that we will be doing things by the book, no exceptions. Charlie did not approve, but he seemed to take it better than I expected.

Charlie decided, however, that his character was not where he wanted him to be mechanically, and decided to use the race builder to make his own race. I am entirely unfamiliar with this tool, but told him I would take a look at it. Due to scheduling conflicts, it was a day or so after he mentioned it that he finally stopped by. Being as exhausted as I was, I skimmed over the race and approved it because, well, I did not have the energy for the war of attrition arguments with Charlie tend to be.

I haven't yet had the opportunity to look at the race builder, but he mentioned that it was 14 points, I don't know in comparison how good that is, but from what I remember, his proposed "fix" to the race in question was fairly potent.

Now I'm simply annoyed by it, and even though it will likely cause him to get pissed off, I am still tempted to tell him to only use the races available in the core book.

In my situation, what would you do? Am I in the wrong here (ie, being too overbearing and/or controlling of what my players do.)

tl;dr- DM approved a player-made race and now regrets doing so. What to do?


If you've known him since kindergarten, he/she is obviously a friend. I would just be honest and let them know you made a "mistake", that you were tired that day and didn't feel like looking over it.

I've found in my life its better just to be brutally honest than to dance around issues like this.

The only house rule that we use, 4 main books when build a PC.

CRB, APG, UC, UM.

If you can't get a satisfactory build from books.....

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Welcome to the boards. Have a cookie.

OK. On to your question. You absolutely positively have the right to change your mind on this. It is your game that he is playing and he knew the rules when he started. The fact is that the race builder is for GM use, not for players and you have previously stated that you are doing things by the book. The race builder is good but it is also abusable.

My advice is to tell him firmly no.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Shedeo, this is one reason why it is hard to be a GM.

There are lots of things to consider here, both from an interpersonal relationship and a game play perspective.

I'm not sure there is much point in going into the interpersonal relationship part of this since that becomes a potential mine field of personal feelings. However, I will say that it appears from the above that you might want to invest in an assertiveness training class. Some of them are very good.

ON the game play side though, you need to think hard about the other players in the game. One of the most common complaints about GMs is that they 'favor' one player over others. The implication is that the GM is deliberately favoring one player, but my experience has been that usually the root cause of a GM "favoring" a player is that the player is a highly demanding and potentially intimidating person who pushes the GM into getting his/her way. It doesn't really matter though, what matters is if the other players feel they aren't getting a fair deal and that the GM "favorite" is overshadowing their own "by the rules" characters.

There's also a GM comfort level that needs to be understood. Many games start to go south when the GM finds themselves outside of their comfort zone, which tends to affect their confidence and assertiveness. This leads to potential poor in-game decisions since the GM is not fully aware of the impact of the situation. I've seen some GMs over-react and shut down player's characters and I've seen others that just let the player walk all over them. Keep the game in your comfort zone and you won't have to react either way.

And finally there's the game dynamic to consider. If you are deferring to this player outside of the game, there's a good chance he's going to push you to defer to him during game play. And that's just going to exacerbate accusations of favoritism or else lead to potential conflict at the table.

All of that is a long-winded way of saying "if you aren't comfortable with it, don't let him push you into it."


1 person marked this as a favorite.

First, welcome to the forums! We are friendly here, but beware of class balance threads. And "Is this okay for paladins" threads.

Second, the average player race is about 9-10 RPs, I think, so your player willfully made a character 150% as strong as he should have.

Tell him to stick to the core races if he doesn't want to deal with getting approval from you, and the even a 9-10 RP custom race is subject to veto.

I presume that his having the race is disruptive somehow, if you provide the details of what's happened in your game we can probably give you good advice on bringing it under control. IF you don't want to retract it from him.

Osirion

You're the one who has to manage the game world, so you're well within your rights to set the ground rules. You can tell Charlie that if he makes up some custom race, then you have to figure out how that race fits into the game world and come up with some kind of history or culture for them, and that frankly you don't have the creative energy for that.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Pathfinder has gotten to the point that a first time GM is highly advised to avoid incorporating every single book that's out.

For your own sanity, I would suggest limiting your players to Core and APG only... and...

Ban Summoners outright. Your player sounds like the potential for a lot of grief if he gets his hands on one.


If you dont have the energy to get a really solid feel for a set of rules, avoid using them. Make it clear that it isnt because you dont want HIM to use them, but that YOU dont want to use them because you just arent familiar enough.

Alternatively, have him show up to the session early and go over the race he created with him. Ask why he built it like he did, and what the race allows for his build that the core races dont, all without critisim / argument. After he explains his points you should have a good feel for what he does and doesnt expect from the race class combo, and can tweak or deny the race as you please. If it is just a combo of stats + skill bonuses to make his first lvl character a monster at whatever his particular schtick will be, i would deny it outright.


Well... In my group, everyone gets to be the DM once in a while, and to avoid the potential chaos of every DM bringing up his own new set of houserules, we usually put questionable things (like player-created races) to the vote.

Look up the race builder points for the other characters' races, explain the difference in power level and the potential problems it could create to the other players, and then let them vote wether they want to ban the race (or maybe even custom races in general) or not.

Apart from that, you as the DM (and especially if you're the only DM and the only one who understands the system) always have the right to say "no sorry, after I thoroughly checked your proposal, I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't fit into the balancing/group/world/lore/adventure we're playing right now, but maybe you can play that somewhere/when else".


Can you post the race he came up with?

Silver Crusade

Well, a 14 in the race builder is roughly equivalent to an Aasimar (15 RP), a Regular Drow (14 RP), Suli (16 RP), and Tiefling (13 RP).

Although I think more details would help. What exactly is he doing that is causing the problem?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Paizo has posted the race builder online here.

Note, per the opening paragraph, that the race builder is intended for use by GMs and for players with GM oversight. It is not meant to be a tool players use to power up their PCs with minimal GM input.

Osirion

What I going to do to reduce this kind of abuse (but then I gave up and just let them {sigh}).

"If you are making a race you have to actually make it all. Not just the mechanics you want. Full write up just like in the CRB; fluff, names, homeland on the Golarion map, attitudes, favored class bonuses, culture, relations with other races, languages, etc...
Then you will have to wait while I write them into my world. After all, you aren't going to be the only one of your race in existance. You can start some other PC until I get that done.
Oh, you used 14 racial points. That's fine, but since it is over 10 you get the starting level penalty."

Doesn't sound like the type that will go to that much work, accept the level penalty, or be willing to wait.


Sorry it took me so long to reply. I was on the phone with another player.

Firstly, let me thank all of you for your support in this matter and the excellent advice you have given me.

The race in question was a "fix" to the orcs. He doesn't like the -2 to mentals (which I will admit is an ass-kicker) and the half-orc does not represent what the orc, to him, "really is." (Which seems somewhere between a Klingon and an Ork from Warhammer 40,000, or sort of like those in the Warcraft franchise.)

I have had a chat with a few of them, one agreed to switch from drow to elf (because drow are also 14 RP it seems) to help in not having "advanced" races or somesuch.


Jorin wrote:

What I going to do to reduce this kind of abuse (but then I gave up and just let them {sigh}).

"If you are making a race you have to actually make it all. Not just the mechanics you want. Full write up just like in the CRB; fluff, names, homeland on the Golarion map, attitudes, favored class bonuses, culture, relations with other races, languages, etc...
Then you will have to wait while I write them into my world. After all, you aren't going to be the only one of your race in existance. You can start some other PC until I get that done.
Oh, you used 14 racial points. That's fine, but since it is over 10 you get the starting level penalty."

Doesn't sound like the type that will go to that much work, accept the level penalty, or be willing to wait.

....HEY......thats sounds an awful lot what my DM did to me...told me i could play any class I wanted as long as I promised to play a rogue if I died........I died shortly thereafter.

we needed a rogue anyways.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

In my current campaign that started just after the Advanced Race Guide came out, I am allowing all classes, and any race 10 RP and below. Even with that limit I have a Large Paladin and a half undead in the game.

My advice would be to tell him the RP is simply to enter your campaign, and establish a comfort zone of 10. From there I would also share with him a rule that I picked up from my friend John. "If you want to use it in my campaign, and I don't have the book, I need to see the book before you can use it." Completely valid request as GM. Also completely required in PFS.

Osirion

g0atsticks wrote:

...

....HEY......thats sounds an awful lot what my DM did to me...told me i could play any class I wanted as long as I promised to play a rogue if I died........I died shortly thereafter.

we needed a rogue anyways.

Uhmm... I don't see that it's anything like that.

Of the 6 players in our group 5 wanted to lego build the perfect race with the new guide preview (a GM tool). But they didn't want to do any work to make sense or fit in the campaign. Didn't want any penalties even though they were inherent in the rules.
An example: half dragon, half undead, half golem, 3 stats with a penalty of 2 or 4, 2 stats with a +4 bonus, claw attack, darkvision, lowlight vision, breath weapon, healed by negative energy, and natural armor bonus. But since it was only 16 racial points and didn't go up to the full 20 racial points it shouldn't have a level penalty.

All but 2 of them decided to use standard races. And those 2 dialed back to something reasonable that was easy to fit into the world and rest of the party.


Shedeo wrote:

Sorry it took me so long to reply. I was on the phone with another player.

Firstly, let me thank all of you for your support in this matter and the excellent advice you have given me.

The race in question was a "fix" to the orcs. He doesn't like the -2 to mentals (which I will admit is an ass-kicker) and the half-orc does not represent what the orc, to him, "really is." (Which seems somewhere between a Klingon and an Ork from Warhammer 40,000, or sort of like those in the Warcraft franchise.)

I have had a chat with a few of them, one agreed to switch from drow to elf (because drow are also 14 RP it seems) to help in not having "advanced" races or somesuch.

May I humbly suggest he play a half-orc, and call it an orc?

That's what I would do, if I were him. Golarion orcs actually do breed selectively to gain half-orcs as military leaders (or at least I read that somewhere and ran with it)... so even the orcs want to overcome their -2 mental stat, and do so though breeding programs!

But seriously, if you want to play Lt. Worf, half-orc is your best bet. As GM, cut him some slack and let him play it as a smart full-orc.


Shedeo wrote:

Sorry it took me so long to reply. I was on the phone with another player.

Firstly, let me thank all of you for your support in this matter and the excellent advice you have given me.

The race in question was a "fix" to the orcs. He doesn't like the -2 to mentals (which I will admit is an ass-kicker) and the half-orc does not represent what the orc, to him, "really is." (Which seems somewhere between a Klingon and an Ork from Warhammer 40,000, or sort of like those in the Warcraft franchise.)

I have had a chat with a few of them, one agreed to switch from drow to elf (because drow are also 14 RP it seems) to help in not having "advanced" races or somesuch.

Hey, Shedeo. I am also new to the boards here!

I have been running a pathfinder game for two years now. Your problem sounds very familiar indeed. It sounds to me like you've got an OP situation. Op situations are when you have a player that prefers bending the mechanics to make his character over powered ( op ) rather than enjoying a challenge. This is a common issue and i deal with it one way...keep it classic and to the book.

I've only ever allowed the more "unusual" races when it was specific to the campaign at hand. Otherwise you just have to be firm and let them make their character's personality unique...rather that than their traits. It is simply not fair to other players who do not share the advantages.
Now, that being said, i understand your dilemma in confronting your childhood friend and there is an alternative. Making him change his race may not fix your issue at all. Many players who try to OP their character will try it one way or another.
So here's my second suggestion...if you are noticing his character is having advantages in certain situations simply balance it out. You said he has made a special orc? Well, throw more corporeal creatures out there or more intelligence based challenges. Not to the degree where he is being left out but to the degree where the other players gain a sharp advantage where your friend charlie will not.
I hope this helped.


Evil Lincoln wrote:

May I humbly suggest he play a half-orc, and call it an orc?

That's what I would do, if I were him. Golarion orcs actually do breed selectively to gain half-orcs as military leaders (or at least I read that somewhere and ran with it)... so even the orcs want to overcome their -2 mental stat, and do so though breeding programs!

But seriously, if you want to play Lt. Worf, half-orc is your best bet. As GM, cut him some slack and let him play it as a smart full-orc.

That's actually what I asked him, but he mentioned that it does not match up to what, in his opinion, half-orc does not represent what he believes an orc should be.

Granted, we aren't playing in Golarion (we have a custom setting we have been using for years) but that is the route that I would pursue, were I in his situation.


Shedeo wrote:
Evil Lincoln wrote:

May I humbly suggest he play a half-orc, and call it an orc?

That's what I would do, if I were him. Golarion orcs actually do breed selectively to gain half-orcs as military leaders (or at least I read that somewhere and ran with it)... so even the orcs want to overcome their -2 mental stat, and do so though breeding programs!

But seriously, if you want to play Lt. Worf, half-orc is your best bet. As GM, cut him some slack and let him play it as a smart full-orc.

That's actually what I asked him, but he mentioned that it does not match up to what, in his opinion, half-orc does not represent what he believes an orc should be.

Granted, we aren't playing in Golarion (we have a custom setting we have been using for years) but that is the route that I would pursue, were I in his situation.

I've seen this before, in myself.

This is why I try not to design the things because I want to play them. I try to design new things that everyone would want to play. It is too tempting to make things "mary-sue" designs.

In this case, tell him to pick a few of the best things about his vision and attribute those to remarkable specimens of the race. Those are the people with whatever class levels. He gets to play one of those, but he has to work toward it, like everyone else.

Acknowledge that you see what he thinks is cool about it, but make it clear that it has to be a progression, not a donation.

Also, I really want to see this 14 point race he came up with.


Evil Lincoln wrote:

I've seen this before, in myself.

This is why I try not to design the things because I want to play them. I try to design new things that everyone would want to play. It is too tempting to make things "mary-sue" designs.

In this case, tell him to pick a few of the best things about his vision and attribute those to remarkable specimens of the race. Those are the people with whatever class levels. He gets to play one of those, but he has to work toward it, like everyone else.

Acknowledge that you see what he thinks is cool about it, but make it clear that it has to be a progression, not a donation.

Also, I really want to see this 14 point race he came up with.

I can't really remember the particulars; I was too tired to give it an in-depth read, let alone commit it to memory. Its ability mods were +4 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 Charisma. I believe that it had 40 foot speed, scent, stalker, and a smattering of other things as well.

In regards to the power level, its honestly the strength bonus that bothers me. Beyond that its more... I guess the concept. That I just wanted to run a standard by-the-book game, but now I am getting custom content (regardless of whether or not the framework was supplied by Paizo) put on my desk.

I should have just said no. I think I will invest in some assertiveness training classes. The whole thing has turned into far more of a mess than I intended.

Thanks again for all the help. I've said it before but can't say it enough.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Everybody is making some GREAT points here. Here is my 2 coppers on the situation. I *promise* you this very question has been asked and rehashed in a million different forms and threads on these forums. The advice is almost always the same and there are a million cautionary tales. If you read no further remember this: YOU ARE IN CHARGE, and your instinct is giving you a warning. Ignore that at your peril. You ALREADY know what is in store if you don't. Even if you can deal with it, the other people at the table shouldn't have to.

1) EMBRACE YOUR POWER AS A GM. You can say NO TO ANYTHING. You can CHANGE YOUR MIND. In EVERY campaign I've been in before it's gone off -- EVERYTHING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE OR TWEAKING... there is LITERALLY NO REAL COST in vetoing or changing something BEFORE AN ACTUAL GAME BEGINS... once the game gets started it hurts more to nerf things or change the world... but embrace this... take a deep breath and read this aloud two times:

"I am asking for nothing out of the ordinary, unreasonable, or unfair. I made a mistake approving this at an inopportune moment, and I apologize for that -- but that being said, to do my job as a GM and to have fun... I need to be sure things run a certain way."

... Games like Pathfinder, games with "Systems" can have profound consequences for any ripples you put in the pool relating to home-brew. Balance is something you will see endlessly debated in the forums and very often the final ruling or the sagest observations come from people who have predicted or experienced minor changes interacting with minor or seemingly inconsequential factors that lead to phenomenal effects or at their worst... exploits. Your friend wasn't born yesterday and likely if not obviously knows how to exploit an advantage (he certainly is trying with you on this matter) -- this to me is even more evidence that he doesn't need an advantage but could actually make do with less. You are being generous giving him as much as anybody else.

2) Inventing races right before a campaign, with or without the creative contribution of the player -- is a HUGE complexity. That races history, existence, culture, powers -- could potentially have a gigantic impact on your world and the story you have in mind. It being first your friend's creation and not yours also gives him an unfair "editorial influence" on the substance of your world to the extent that he feels (or wants you to feel he feels) you are not letting him be "one of X" by taking the reigns on the culture or race in question. "My face is utterly fearless in the face of swarms, for this, this, this, and this reason" -- or the suggestion of race-specific gear, locations, NPCs, racial and personality traits... it's a slippery slope. Even if the place of this race is not a huge factor or a big deal it could almost be as galling for you and the rest of the party to be totally integrated into an established world, and he looks like a peacock snowflake -- unique and better in every way. Forget that. Roll from the already generous and potential-filled options offered to you... tell him not to make your job any harder... no... tell him you can't let him make your job impossible. You can talk about the race in the months to come and perhaps it will be a fully fleshed idea in another campaign, opportunity willing.

3) This problem is as old as the hills. "Core and APG only" being respected by everyone at the table but one guy -- and that guy KNOWS how to get a few amendments put in that make him miles above everyone else. At worst nobody else will ever truly get the spotlight except by saving his ass... at best it will still likely look, or more likely outright BE unfair. You not only have a chance, but you have a RESPONSIBILITY to put a stop to this.

4) I'm not going to advocate an assertiveness training course, though if you know you're a pushover -- wear the real hat of a GM and stop being a summer-camp counselor. Old friendship dynamics are COMPLICATED and I know personally that I am the loudest and most dominating person in certain social dynamics and pretty much a quiet right-hand-man in others. It's not about Alphas and Omegas, it's about what's there in *this* situation. It's important you kill this noise QUICKLY. I have a story DIRECTLY anecdotal to your experience by the way:

I had a friend I knew my entire childhood, but never gamed with. Partly it was because he was not an original part of my main gaming group (and would therefore upset the delicate pecking order) but also particularly because he was a pushy kind of guy, and a couple of years older -- which doesn't always matter but does especially when you are young. He always wondered why we never gamed together (he had a different older group) and eventually I began to wonder too. I one day decided with him I'd have a one-off to see how our styles meshed and if I could fit him into another group I played with. I created a custom sci-fi setting based on a game system HE was comfortable with (Traveller) and I knew nothing about (though I learned) and after exhaustive creative effort fleshed out a world and some plot-seeds that I thought would appeal to him based on what he said he wanted out of a campaign. I created/ported a handful of converted races from other games or from scratch and invited him to make a character of any of these races so we could start the campaign. By the time we were done "approving" his character, he decided on making what I had named a "TriBrid" -- a Hybrid race of three of the coolest races I fleshed out for the campaign. The very existence of this race required the history of the starting world to be tweaked and had massive and far-reaching implications for the campaign. We hadn't even started and he had lawyered me into letting him create a character that at my best I would be mentally taxing to truly challenge, and he already had me dancing on the head of a pin to make this possible for him. I didn't want to scrap everything I was so happy to have designed for the occasion and was really psyched to play -- but I put the halt on it. The game didn't go anywhere. Now when I hear him kvetch about being phased out of another PbP... I know why.
Your situation is neither unique, nor even all that special. Tell this guy to be ready to create a character of equal (or GASP!) even lower than normal power... or to hit the road. Tell him you really want to play with him, but this time... after all this time, he's going to be pushed by YOU. If he can't hang, he can't hang... you've got other players, and you can likely fill his spot.

LASTLY... because some people WON'T do the right thing... (him or you)

5) if it turns out you are an irredeemable pushover and are going to capitulate in spite of the best advice from me or anyone else... make SURE you give every other player an extra 4 race points of bonuses... that way, as crappy and unbalanced as it may be -- everyone will feel like their getting something, and everyone will have powers commensurate to each other. The synergy of abilities may get messy balance wise, but it will be far easier hopefully to make encounters that challenge everyone equally (cranking up the difficulty accordingly) rather than having to make a choice for it to forever be a cakewalk for everyone, or threatening to likely kill or knock out everyone else just to have an outside chance of hurting that one "nut" that is %40-%50 harder to crack... and if he knows what he's doing, he'll do better than that. There is a guy on this board who sounds like a total sociopath who constantly looks for validation for his power-gaming here... he buffs himself first, helps indirectly or in only the most self-aggrandizing ways and thinks everyone should be grateful he's always the last person standing. His other players DO NOT like him... or else he wouldn't be constantly trying to second-guess their groaning on these forums to feel better about hogging the spotlight. DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN.

So to sum up -- you're not doing anything wrong at all here vetoing the race, and you'd still be within your power to gimp something if it's breaking the game even after you started... but at that point it's going to suck and chafe a hell of a lot more. Put your foot down now, and be ready to put it down early and often for as long as you play with this guy.

My personal "mini-tyrant" got so used to talking free and speaking his mind he actually made my wife cry once. That completely changed our power dynamic when I told him he'd better eat crow like he never has if he ever wants to see either one of us ever again. My partner was sweet enough to realize how important my friendship to him was and forgave him, but seeing my personal protector and group-alpha kneel and beg forgiveness changed perceptions forever, and I'd never let him run loose without checking him again. Don't let it come to that at your table, brother. Not likely to be THAT big a drama, but drama like this on ANY scale is to be squished.

The magic words now and every time to come: "After giving it some more thought, No."

Or if you'd rather...

"I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that."


Welcome aboard! I would go with what Evil Lincoln said, and what you asked Charlie. Play the half orc. The last thing you want is to be resentful towards your player for forcing you to allow something you do not think is balanced/doesn't fit in your game. The game is Pathfinder not Warhammer 40K.

Good luck.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Lol, yeah, that's obviously overpowered.

Things to take away

+4 STR +2 CON

Instead consider:

+4 STR, -2 DEX, -2 CHA That is in keeping with Greater Paragon

If I was being mean, +4 STR, -2 DEX, -2 WIS just to nail his will save.

Getting a Bonus to Con and Str is too good.

Take away the 40 ft. speed. He can live with 30, the rest of us do.

Stalker and Scent aren't ridiculous. They're good, but not objectively overpowered. Scent's probably a little unbalanced, but I don't think it's going to make you leaps and bounds ahead of other player.

Here is what I would let him play

Orc, Medium Humanoid, 30ft speed, Speaks Common and Orcish

+4 STR, -2 DEX, -2 CHA (Greater Paragon, 2 RP)

Darkvision 60ft (2 RP)
Ferocity (4 RP)
Light Sensitivity (-1 RP)
Stalker (1 RP)
Weapon Familiarity x 2 (2 RP)

That's a total budget of 10.


Vicon wrote:
*snip*

This is a lot of VERY good advice, for my situation and a million others.

In regards to this situation, its not really that I fail to be assertive. Honestly, I am usually pretty good about that. However, one of my other players even said that I am a pushover when it comes to him.

The point I have tried to stress is that I didn't make the decision to block anyone out of what they wanted to do. I made the decision because I struck out the houserules on the premise I just wanted to play the game stock, as it is.

In speaking with him, he claimed that he and another player would not be playing if this rule stood. I spoke with him a bit about my philosophy behind it and his opinions on it and told him I would think on allowing a custom-built race at 10 RP.

At that point, though, I would simply just say use the half-orc, but then we start going round on that circle again.


I say offer him Elamdri's orc instead, or a halforc, his choice.


Express your concerns and your feelings on how these changes impact YOUR fun at the table when you will be DMing. If you end up not having fun, then most likely everyone else will also be not having fun and then you have all lost at Pathfinder.

It is also ok to bring things to the group and lay out your concerns, get theirs and go from there. I mean with the Orc he built there is really no trade-offs. I think there will be players that will take issue with this build. I would also say that some of that stuff he can even get using feats and traits (Like Scent), which is very possible to do while using a race in line with the other characters.

Sometimes when my players want to do something like this, I ask the table if they would mind me using what was built against them. If they all say its good, then, in your case, great Super Orcs all around. Most of the time when I put it like that, people tend to rethink what they are advocating if they are angling for that mechanical advantage.


What point buy did you set for your campaign? He may have a character concept that is out of reach anyway, depending on the ability scores that he is shooting for. But remember that he does not necessarily need a racial bonus to every ability score that he is trying to make above average -- just the ones that he intends to raise higher than 18.

One option to consider is a human with the Dual-Talent racial trait, which gives him +2 to each of two ability scores with no ability score penalties instead of just one, in place of the extra feat and skill points. He can then take many of the desired additional racial abilities as feats. This approach would give him the best shot at superior ability scores, at the cost of other racial features.

For the half-orc route, he could always go with a background that does not make him the direct offspring of an orc and a human -- such pairings took place in the distant past, and his tribe are descended from them. The advantage of using the half-orc race is that many orc-like racial features are more readily available to a half-orc than to a human.

If you are using a generous point buy, even a plain old orc could work, assuming that he wants an initial strength of 21 or 22. He could then use any remaining poinst to boost ability scores to "acceptable" levels.


As others have said, welcome to the boards.

I think the key here is you have to divorce his strength of personality from your descision, and also your own personal situation (tired busy etc).

The steps I would take:

1. Figure out what your core assumption is. I mean what books/sources/information do you always want to allow. "By the book" is rather ambiguous and it is part of what got you into this mess. Pick specific sources, IE Core rules only, or Core Rules and APG, or All the RPG books, or Everything Produced by Paizo, or Core rules and these 2 3rd party publishers whatever works for you but BE SPECIFIC

There is a wealth of good source material out there and some not so good. Make sure you make clear whats automatically allowed, and make sure you are familiar with it.

2. Indicate that any requests for material outside this core assumption, be it house rule or some other source, MUST be delivered to you via email, and least X days before the game session (use your judgement of your time and speed at these sorts of things to figure out what X should be). And indicate that that email should contains, 1 The rule/option, its location with page number in a source book if applicable, what the player intends to do with it (impact on the character at hand) and any potenial interactions with other options/abilities the character may have.

Make the player do this work for you, they should its their idea, and its not their place to try and 'slip one by' you. In addition, by making it an email, if you are tired, look at it later, if you are busy same thing, and its really hard to impose force of personality via an email, you should be all set.


If he wants to play an orc a simple "fix" is give them +2 STR/WIS; -2CHA. Remove Light Sensitivity. That brings them to around 10 RP.

P.S.: Welcome to the forum!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Shedeo wrote:
In speaking with him, he claimed that he and another player would not be playing if this rule stood.

If it was me, I'd let him go after that ultimatum.


Funky Badger wrote:
Shedeo wrote:
In speaking with him, he claimed that he and another player would not be playing if this rule stood.
If it was me, I'd let him go after that ultimatum.

I missed that... I agree with Funky


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

As a longtime DM, I would not allow a player to cherry pick abilities out of the Race book. That is a recipe for problems. There are a ton of races already statted up in there, not to mention the core races. The race building rules in that book were intended for DMs not players use.

As for the ultimatum, I think you should take a stand. Being a DM is a lot of work, and the payoff, at least for me is having fun, and seeing my players have fun. If he is going to ruin your fun by giving out ultimatums, then make it clear whether you find that acceptable. Be clear on what kind of game you intend to run, and which rules you intend to use.

Be very careful in allowing him a custom built race. I suggest you post it here, and let everyone weigh in on it. Find out what it is that he wants exactly, maybe we can help you build something he would be happy with, that will also not overpower your game.

btw, what are you using for ability score generation?


I always think that when one GMs a game it is a good idea to communicate his or her expectations up front. This lets the players decide if they want to participate in this kind of game.

It sounds like you and your friend want to play different kinds of games. That is ok, there are other things to do with friends.


blope wrote:
btw, what are you using for ability score generation?

Pathfinder points buy, using the High Fantasy value (20.)

The game I want to run is something that is typical, adventurous, big-dumb-fun. I fear that using such descriptions might have sent the wrong idea.


One idea might be to let him pick another race from the Advanced Race Guide (seriously theres a ton!) and just reskin it as a orc. Or as stated the half-orc Idea is the most elegant, His particular character wouldn't even need to be 'half orc' hes just different from most orcs. Or maybe he some some human blood down the line somewhere but identifies as orc and looks orc?


Shedeo, I would like to reiterate what others have said before: You are in charge of the game, not your player. That isn't license to make the player's life difficult, but it must be remembered that this sort of game is a collaborative effort. If something rubs you the wrong way, it should probably go. Don't be afraid to trust your instincts in these situations, especially when you have a player so obviously cherry-picking for mechanical benefit. It is a difficult thing to do, even more so when you are playing with friends that you associate with outside of game, but it needs to be done or your game will suffer in the long run.


Bad solution: let him build the character. After a bit have him face enemies of his race.

Good solution: have him pick another Race. Stand firm. If you need inspiration read the blurb in the divider pages for the Skills section in the CRB. Where I describe Seelah standing strong.


Yeah, I don't see why he needed the race builder at all. The Bestiary gives the adjustments necessary for playing an orc as a PC. You just let him roll up stats until he gets a series of numbers averaged so high the penalties are mitigated. Problem solved, and no more powerful than anybody else who rolled lucky.


Bruunwald wrote:
Yeah, I don't see why he needed the race builder at all. The Bestiary gives the adjustments necessary for playing an orc as a PC. You just let him roll up stats until he gets a series of numbers averaged so high the penalties are mitigated. Problem solved, and no more powerful than anybody else who rolled lucky.

He felt the orcs weren't orc-y enough. Plus it is a Point Buy.


Jorin wrote:
"Oh, you used 14 racial points. That's fine, but since it is over 10 you get the starting level penalty."
Derfmancher wrote:

In my current campaign that started just after the Advanced Race Guide came out, I am allowing all classes, and any race 10 RP and below. Even with that limit I have a Large Paladin and a half undead in the game.

My advice would be to tell him the RP is simply to enter your campaign, and establish a comfort zone of 10. From there I would also share with him a rule that I picked up from my friend John. "If you want to use it in my campaign, and I don't have the book, I need to see the book before you can use it." Completely valid request as GM. Also completely required in PFS.

You both know Dwarf is 11 points, right?

(Because total RP is such a good measure of power /Sarcasm)

RP is a way to quantify a race's power but it's by no means perfect. It's far easier to gauge the power of a race by looking at its actual abilities, even if it's within the context of your gaming group/world (other races aren't balanced for this so you come out a little skewed but it is for your group so YMMV).

Shedeo wrote:
I haven't yet had the opportunity to look at the race builder, but he mentioned that it was 14 points, I don't know in comparison how good that is, but from what I remember, his proposed "fix" to the race in question was fairly potent.

It really depends what's in the race, the level of the PCs, the type of abilities and what kind of PC it is.

Racial abilities are strong at level 1 and then at higher levels are quickly superseded by class abilities and feats. It goes without saying that broadly applicable or always useful abilities like feats and build centric skill bonuses go a lot further than situationally useful abilities like Scent.

Tangent:
Stacking stats onto a race is cheesy and may seem good but it's frankly underwhelming if your GM follows the APL rules (it's also more likely to get the party killed). The Dwarf, as I said above, is 11 RP but he's by no means more powerful than an Elf at 10 RP (immunities, bow proficiency, elven magic, etc) or anywhere near a Human (bonus skill points, free feat, assignable +2).

Options like Spell Resistance cost RP but in my opinion only weaken a race. A Drow is 14 RP but without Spell Resistance is only 12, weaker if you believe that RP = power. However, they can now be buffed and healed, which means they're better PC races. Not to mention that 5+level SR was never going to stop anyone useful.

My suggestions are either:
1) Ban Advanced Traits
2) Allow Advanced Traits but give him a +1LA.


IMHO: this is a Lose-Lose catch 22 situation.

Simple suggestion: Don't allow the race until you get a chance to ask about it here. Say you have to review it and work it into the setting.

If you want I can give you my "Civilized" Orc race for him to play til then.

Qadira

Greetings Starfighter... er Welcome to the forums!

You are the GM.
You are running the game because he/they asked you to.
You set the rules.
You decide what orcs are (and what racial abilities/mods they have), not your players.
You are within your rights to limit it to things that exist in the established books.

It sounds like you have already made up your mind not to allow it, but you are worried about players dropping out if they don't get their way. This sounds like they are taking advantage of your generosity here, and the ultimatum does not speak well for their character. Do what you are comfortable with since you are running the show. If they drop out, then they don't get to play.

IF you decide to allow a 14 point racial for this guy, then everyone else should be allowed to make up their own races from scratch as well. To be fair. Maybe it will put things in perspective for them and the rest of the group, but right now it sounds like this guy is asking for special treatment because he knows you. Not fair.

What if the elf player says that the core elf doesn't fit his notion of elves. Or the dwarf guy does the same, etc, etc. At some point it has to stop or you have to lay down the law and just say, "NO".


Azaelas Fayth wrote:
Funky Badger wrote:
Shedeo wrote:
In speaking with him, he claimed that he and another player would not be playing if this rule stood.
If it was me, I'd let him go after that ultimatum.
I missed that... I agree with Funky

That's it -- you have to call his bluff. Not only am I 90%+ certain that he wants to play a game more than he wants to be a dick (I suppose we could be surprised though) but ALSO your playing the game, no matter how bad you are feinding to do so -- it's not worth your dignity.

I call Shenanigans. Tell him he can look for another gaming group and see about vetting people to replace them... perhaps look into a local PFS game and see if anybody you meet there would be a good addition to your regular group, or post a notice at your favorite game stores to meet with potential recruits. Especially if you are of the older set there are lots of folks that don't get to play as much as they'd like or their own gaming groups have fractured or given way to family/duties. You might think finding a new player or two is potentially a hassle -- but could it be any more hassle than a pushy bully that thinks he can browbeat you into anything he wants?

Perhaps this isn't your "wife crying" moment yet -- but one must wonder how far you're willing to let this guy push you. Nothing bad happens to you if you let him know you have boundaries. He should be appreciative of all the previous times you've been so accomodating, rather than using that as a platform to take a mile every time you give an inch.

Tell him you're sorry he feels that way, and that if he changes his mind during the time it takes you to make adjustments to the campaign and/or find a replacement, you'll seriously consider having him back on provided he's willing to honor your original parameters.

As a player -- what his character is, within the rules, is in most respects entirely up to him.

As a GM -- WHAT ORCS ARE, if they differ at all from the book, is most certainly entirely up to you.

More than anything though -- you're a smart guy and your heart is in the right place. You'd really do well, dare I say it would be good for your soul... if you asked your friend to kindly screw himself for once.


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

I can't comment on mechanical stuff. I would suggest not making decisions/approving things when you're tired. I think you have the right to run your game however you like - its probably better to not chop and change too much though.

More broadly, it might be fruitful for you to adopt a "take it away and think about it" approach in future -you mention it feels like a war of attrition when you and he argue these things. Maybe it will help if you have some time to Marshall your thoughts before debating rules issues with him.


PS -- remind yourself that this is like inviting a vampire into your house or making a contract with a demon. YOU BOTH KNOW he needs your consent to mess you over...

...the only real thing in question is if you are fool enough to let him.

As a GM, you should know how to handle this situation -- you decline to deal with the devil. He's powerless without your consent.


The core races are designed to serve in a wide variety of builds and situations, so a lot of their abilities won't be useful for a lot of builds - when I'm single-class, being Multitalented as a half-elf doesn't help me at all - or are really just there for flavor rather than mechanics (see 90% of the "+2 to a skill check in a specific situation" traits). If the core races were all 10 RP, but you gave me 10 RP to spend as I wished on a race, then I could easily build a race that would suit my needs far better than any of the prepackaged core races - because I'm not spending RP on flavorful perks and am making my race to optimize my class instead of having the versatility to serve a variety of roles.

In other words, even if the player weren't pulling cheese by asking for way more than standard RP, he'd still be pulling cheese by custom-optimizing his race just to suit the needs of his character. There's a reason the race-builder is for GMs.

Guy Kilmore wrote:

I always think that when one GMs a game it is a good idea to communicate his or her expectations up front. This lets the players decide if they want to participate in this kind of game.

It sounds like you and your friend want to play different kinds of games. That is ok, there are other things to do with friends.

Wait, what part of this story made you get the impression that the problem was the GM wasn't communicating well enough and didn't suit the player's goals?


Gotta love optimization focused players.

Maybe this will help:

I had a player who tried this sorta thing with the ARG playtest. He claimed the race was well within boundaries of the Race Builder for Core Races. Well I told him I would review the playtest PDF and check. Told him build your character with that race and a Core Race. Well it was suspicious how he kept saying it wasn't necessary and so on.

The race he build was 30-35 RP. When I refused to allow him to play it he threw a Tantrum called me a lot of names and accused me of favoritism and so on. We were down to 3 players. We decided to continue the campaign. Well next session one of this guys friends didn't show up. Apparently he didn't like "Favoritist Pigs". We were Now at 2 players. The decided to restart the campaigneach playing 2 characters. It is still continuing today. In Pathfinder terms they are around level 50.

Though we Now just RP chat every so often.

Moral: It doesn't take a large group to play the game. In fact smaller groups can lead to a funner game.


Azaelas Fayth wrote:

Gotta love optimization focused players.

Maybe this will help:

I had a player who tried this sorta thing with the ARG playtest. He claimed the race was well within boundaries of the Race Builder for Core Races. Well I told him I would review the playtest PDF and check. Told him build your character with that race and a Core Race. Well it was suspicious how he kept saying it wasn't necessary and so on.

The race he build was 30-35 RP. When I refused to allow him to play it he threw a Tantrum called me a lot of names and accused me of favoritism and so on. We were down to 3 players. We decided to continue the campaign. Well next session one of this guys friends didn't show up. Apparently he didn't like "Favoritist Pigs". We were Now at 2 players. The decided to restart the campaigneach playing 2 characters. It is still continuing today. In Pathfinder terms they are around level 50.

Though we Now just RP chat every so often.

Moral: It doesn't take a large group to play the game. In fact smaller groups can lead to a funner game.

For the last three years or so, I have been running a campaign that is very similar to what you experienced- started with four people and went down to two. Those two women are the best roleplayers I have seen (though maybe not on top of the mechanical side of things, they tend to weasel their way out of situations more often than not.) Two people can really make for a fantastic character-driven game, and I agree with you there. Now to continue down the thread, since I feel that I have been ignoring people/being rude in my previous posts.

@TheRonin
I had suggested this with the half-orc, and there's plenty others that would work, I'm sure, yeah.

@Montyatreus
I have become increasingly more careful over the years, but I used to not really care about this or that. The aforementioned three years playing with two people really changed my perspective on the relationship between "Fun" and "Mechanical Benefits." This is the situation where I am putting my foot down I suppose and that it seems alien to the players I have not gamed with in a while.

@Bruunwald
The race builder was, in his eyes, necessary for two reasons-
The orc was underpowered (though I initially agreed with him, I think that my opinion has changed) and the half-orc wasn't orcy enough for him (though that seems like it is more up to him- I've played a pretty orcy half-orc before in a 4e game where the DM wasn't allowing monster races, so I just built a half-orc and called him an orc.)

@Aioran
One of the other players I talked to was playing a drow (also at 14 RP, as you said) and after telling them of this situation agreed to play an elf and it seems she actually likes it better. The dwarf is 11 RP but it seems they are balanced because the bonuses they received adding up to 11 points are very situation/specific. Like you said; they're by no means grossly more powerful than an elf or a human.

@Wolflord
That really is the heart of the situation, yes. And I was worried about this becoming a downward spiral of custom races so I wanted to put an end-all stop to it before it began to get out of control.

@Vicon
Orcs are rather prevalent in this part of the setting, but honestly I would be perfectly happy simply building them all as half-orcs or normal orcs. As it turns out, he was bluffing (I always call bluffs, be it good or bad) but the situation hasn't exactly been resolved. I will hopefully be talking to him about this soon.

Also, in regards to the vampire/demon thing, part of the problem is the fact that I agreed to use it too hastily, then thought better of the decision and went back on it. So I broke said contract.

@Steve Geddes
That is exactly the approach I have taken. He and I talked about this and, as i said, I don't think he is going to quit. He offered to drop the race down to 10 RP (by making the +4 Strength a +2 instead) and I told him that I would think about it and get back to him. I don't want to make these decisions on the spot anymore.

@Roberta Yang
I will admit that perhaps I sent the wrong message with the group at the start. I said I wanted big-dumb-fun adventure, but I have had experiences since the last time I gamed with them that taught me that the system is not what makes big-dumb-fun (though it can help) it is the game and the adventures. I fear I may have sent the wrong message, since my style and perspectives have changed.

In closing, I will likely post soon-ish explaining if and how things got resolved. Thank you all for your excellent advice and support in this.

1 to 50 of 63 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder RPG / General Discussion / A Dilemma 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.