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Why I power game


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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Lantern Lodge

hogarth wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Yeah, that sucks. OTOH, waltzing through all the encounters with no challenge because your party is so optimized isn't much fun either.

If the story in the adventure is so uninteresting that it requires difficult fights in order to make it worth sitting through, that's a problem with the adventure, in my opinion.

At any rate, I'd much rather have an easy fight err on the side of being trivially easy than have a difficult fight err on the side of being impossibly difficult. YMMV.

You can have an interesting story and then find too easy fights dull as dirt. Battles are part of the reason someone would choose to play Pathfinder. Otherwise you wouldn't hear complaints about "a blind, deaf, one-legged pacifist who gives all their gold away and is half-insane". It could just roll along with the rest of the story. It's not a game like Fiasco. So if you make a fighter to fight, but then the dual pistol wielding gunslingers kills everything before anyone else gets a chance to go, then that gets old really fast.


dragonkitten wrote:
So if you make a fighter to fight, but then the dual pistol wielding gunslingers kills everything before anyone else gets a chance to go, then that gets old really fast.

I've never had that problem on a consistent basis, so I really couldn't say.

I've seen cases where one PC was solely responsible for killing the bad guy, but usually that was a case of the bad guy being too tough (and only one PC was able to target his Achilles heel) rather than too weak!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
thejeff wrote:
hogarth wrote:

I don't know if I'd use the term "power game", but I like to have powerful characters.

Why? Because my two least favourite things to hear from my GM are:

  • "Oops, I made that encounter too hard. You're all dead."
  • "Oops, I made that encounter too hard. But you're all alive because of a deus ex machina."
  • Yeah, that sucks. OTOH, waltzing through all the encounters with no challenge because your party is so optimized isn't much fun either.

    In a home game your GM can alleviate that by bumping up the encounters to match your real power level, but that risks him making them too hard again.

    I'm not really seeing the advantage.

    If you're playing strictly by the book, possibly in PFS, then being too optimized makes the game less fun by removing the challenge. (Of course, being too weak removes the fun as well, more directly. There's a sweet spot in the middle.)
    If the GM adjusts encounter strength, then more optimization just leads to an arms race.

    The simple answer is to not meet strength with strength. 'Tis foolishness and GMs can do better. Honestly, I can't remember the last time I thought "oh gee, these guys are too tough, I better throw a bigger dragon at them instead". It's hard enough not TPKing people with kobolds.

    Generic Kobolds:
    Let me tell you a little story. Not too long ago, I ran a game with kobolds. It was a small simple game. A pickup game that became something of a week long campaign. The premise was simple. Miners had dug into an area that was territory claimed by kobolds and bad things were happening. So the party was hired to solve the problem.

    Now this was a community game online. Since it was a pickup game I joked and told the players to pick. Kobolds, goblins, or orcs, and I'd run 'em a game. "Kobolds! Yeah, kobolds would be easy!" they said. I smiled, shook my head, and a friend of mine laughed aloud and said "You guys have no idea what you just did". "They'd have been better off choosing giants" he lauded.

    And so the story and our little dungeon crawl was set. The party who began as a pair of PCs (a fighter and a monk if I recall) slipped down into the tight spaces and into an old dungeon that was clearly not natural. The moment they stepped foot into an open space (as in not the cave wall) *thwack* greataxe trap to the face. Well the monk was now in critical condition. That didn't last long. Out of the cave they went to get some medical attention. So they return a bit later sure they're ready for whatever the situation throws at them. This time they trip the trap ahead of time (the trap had been reset since they left, so the kobolds knew someone was here and are now patrolling occasionally).

    Now at this point they are faced with two hallways. One to the northeast, and one to the southeast. The room connecting them has lots of little criss-crossing cords that are uncomfortable to move across for medium sized creatures (it's really just an annoyance in hopes people wouldn't bother walking further into their domain). So they took the time to step through it without getting tangled up and headed down the northeast corridor. It was not long before one of them fell in a pit full of spiders and got bitten up pretty good before climbing out and deciding they didn't want to go down that path just yet. So they went back to the first room and got ambushed by some kobolds. The kobolds (who were just your garden variety 1st level warrior kobolds with point blank shot) tossed a few alchemist fires on the fighter during the surprise round and then skittered off on the main round whilist the monk was trying to douse him. Man down again.

    Kobolds 2, PCs 0...

    So then the characters retreat from the dungeon a second time. Now at this point the game is continuing over the next few days, and when I got online I found that they had been talking about this game. So now instead of 2 PCs, we now had 4. The monk wanted to change to something else, a barbarian joined in, and someone anted to play a wizard. So now armed with more people they ventured back down into the dungeon.

    This time they took the southeast hallway. Seems that those clever little reptiles had prepared for stubborn adventurers, for there was a small group of four of them waiting behind a blockade of barrels at the end of the hallway with some crossbows. The kobolds were a little tiny bit less than 60 ft. away from the barbarian, so naturally she charged them going "Raaaage!". Unfortunately that was when the floor dropped out from under here during her charge. I was thinking it.

    So down the barbarian falls, crashing about 20 ft. down into this pit. Oh well, she was a tough barbarian, no little pit was going to stop her! Wait, what is that sound? Suddenly one of the barrels the kobolds were hiding behind rolls into the pit over here. Woosh, smash! The barrel narrow misses her. "Now they're they're trying to squish me!?" she questions indignantly. But wait...suddenly the floor seems wet. What is that smell? Uh-oh...

    Down goes an alchemist fire into the now pit of lamp oil. Her adventurer-mama told her there would be days like this. So now smoke is filling the hallways and the barbarian is scrambling to get out of the flaming pit. No longer raging because of battle but raging for survival! Welcome to the kobold barbeque they snicker amongst themselves, and shoot a few tiny crossbow bolts across the pit before disappearing into the dark under cover of smoke. The barbarian promptly collapses when she gets out and gets doused. "I wanna go home..." the raging barbarian murmurs. Well it seems time to carry them back out and talk to the owner of the mines to renegotiate (clearly they are not getting paid enough to suffer these abusive indignities by these four kobolds).

    So next session they com back, only this time loaded for bear. Now there are nine adventurers, complete with a dwarf cleric! Surely those kobolds are dead meat now. Oh how wrong they were. It took the PCs a good long time (in-game time) to go back into the depths, so those pesky kobolds decided to re-trap the first room, got their kobold buddies to come dig a pit with them, and well do things that kobolds do. Not long after the party arrived, they were squeezing into the dungeon as they had before in single file like all those times before. They broke the axe trap last time so it wasn't there (didn't stop them from checking though, 'cause they're smart adventurers). Unfortunately the dwarf cleric was in the lead. "I'll go first! I can see in the dark and I'm heavily armored and got me shield. They'll never know what hit 'em!"

    Deja vu.

    Not long after the dwarf is trying his absolute best to climb out of the pit while on fire. Of course, it's kind of difficult to climb out of a pit while you're on fire and wearing heavy armor and trying to climb a stone wall. Plus it doesn't help your speed is only 20 ft. (climbing is based on your movement speed to a point). So the dwarf is cookin' in the oven and shouting "Get me out of here!" whilist channeling positive energy every round while trying to climb so as to not cook proper! So the party, now stuck because they are cramped in a tight corridor coming into the dungeon and the exit to the corridor leads to a burning pit, decides they're going to lower their ropes down into the pit to let the dwarf climb up (DC 5 is way easier than DC 20)!

    But those pesky kobolds were on the other side of the flaming pit. With all the smoke, each team (team PCs vs team kobold) had concealment from the other, but the kobolds decided it would be fun to chuck some acid flasks across the way at the fighter trying to lower the rope down to the dwarf. Well the dwarf is about half-way up the rope, and then the splash damage from the acid snaps it and back down to hell he goes. Get used to this sound.

    Actually it was more like this really.

    So the fighter insists that he needs cover fire to keep those kobolds busy long enough to rescue their dwarf pal. So picture this. The wizard gets on the ground and crawls under the fighter's legs because they can't both squeeze into the same space otherwise and starts taking pot-shots at the kobolds across the way with his crossbow. He doesn't hit a single one of them (what with beeing squeezed and shooting through smoke) but it's enough to get the kobolds to decide they had their fun and not risk getting shot by an errant bolt or something. So the kobold sneak off (the PCs aren't even sure they're gone yet).

    So they try the ropes again, and the dwarf manages to get out of the pit and the flames eventually die down. Now pretty much out of healing spells and/or channel energies keeping himself from being dwarf fritters, the party navigates across the edges of the pit (and some of them just climb down and up the pit with ropes 'cause they're too nervous about slipping off the edges in their armor). "I swear, we must be fighting an army of these little bastards!" one of them commented. The fighter, who had been around since session 1 responded "Well we can confirm there is at least four of them. The same four each time, from the looks of it". (0~0)

    They're just CR 1/4 kobolds (plus about 4 CR 1 traps scattered about here and there over multiple sessions). They totally made it through the dungeon though. Poor guys found out there was a lot more than 4 kobolds in the dungeon though. Good times.

    Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    I sometimes contemplate The Gaang from A:tLA. (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm sorry, this post isn't going to mean much to you.) Someone mentioned how fiction is usually about one exceptional person while Pathfinder is group; so, let's have a look at an adventuring party from fiction!

    Aang was exceptional. He was record-setting in his mastery of airbending. Once he'd mastered water, he was almost as good as with air. Earth was extremely difficult for him, and he had serious issues with fire as well. Overall (and excluding the Avatar State, as that's not really valid for this comparison), he was above-average, but far from godlike.

    Katara was, quite frankly, normal. She did become a master, but mostly because she was so fiercely determined and put in the work to achieve her goals. Her innate ability was nothing too out of the ordinary. She was no slouch, but she wouldn't have gone down in history for her abilities - only for her actions.

    Sokka... Well, caster versus martials. Enough said. ;) Fortunately, his GMs gave him chances to use tactical skills.

    Toph was the most legendary person in the series. She did things no one else could do. She defied the boundaries of impossibility. Even without her role in the war and the return of the Avatar, she still would have been a legend. The rest of the Gaang isn't even really in the same tier with her.

    Zuko was never exceptional with firebending. He had royal tutors and such, so he was at least as good as any ordinary master, but for his standing he was actually sub-par (he never did learn to do lightning, which seemed an expected competency of the royal family). He felt the need to cultivate other skill sets, such as stealth and swordplay, just to make up the gap. The final result was exceptional, but only just.

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

    From a Pathfinder perspective, this party looks like what people would complain about. You've got PCs ranging from "pretty 'meh'" (Sokka) to completely twinked-out munchkin (Toph), and everything in between. Yet the story was told very well, with all of the PCs being well-roleplayed and interesting to watch. Everyone had their chances to shine, even though some of them did most of their shining in combat while others did most of their shining outside of combat.

    I guess all of this rambling is to say that if those characters could have a great campaign in a party together, then so can any group of mixed optimizers/non-optimizers, as long as they're willing to stop looking down their noses at each other.


    Jiggy wrote:

    I sometimes contemplate The Gaang from A:tLA. (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm sorry, this post isn't going to mean much to you.) Someone mentioned how fiction is usually about one exceptional person while Pathfinder is group; so, let's have a look at an adventuring party from fiction!

    Aang was exceptional. He was record-setting in his mastery of airbending. Once he'd mastered water, he was almost as good as with air. Earth was extremely difficult for him, and he had serious issues with fire as well. Overall (and excluding the Avatar State, as that's not really valid for this comparison), he was above-average, but far from godlike.

    Katara was, quite frankly, normal. She did become a master, but mostly because she was so fiercely determined and put in the work to achieve her goals. Her innate ability was nothing too out of the ordinary. She was no slouch, but she wouldn't have gone down in history for her abilities - only for her actions.

    Sokka... Well, caster versus martials. Enough said. ;) Fortunately, his GMs gave him chances to use tactical skills.

    Toph was the most legendary person in the series. She did things no one else could do. She defied the boundaries of impossibility. Even without her role in the war and the return of the Avatar, she still would have been a legend. The rest of the Gaang isn't even really in the same tier with her.

    Zuko was never exceptional with firebending. He had royal tutors and such, so he was at least as good as any ordinary master, but for his standing he was actually sub-par (he never did learn to do lightning, which seemed an expected competency of the royal family). He felt the need to cultivate other skill sets, such as stealth and swordplay, just to make up the gap. The final result was exceptional, but only just.

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

    From a Pathfinder perspective, this party looks like what people would complain about. You've got PCs ranging from "pretty 'meh'" (Sokka) to completely twinked-out munchkin (Toph), and everything in between. Yet the story was told very well, with all of the PCs being well-roleplayed and interesting to watch. Everyone had their chances to shine, even though some of them did most of their shining in combat while others did most of their shining outside of combat.

    I guess all of this rambling is to say that if those characters could have a great campaign in a party together, then so can any group of mixed optimizers/non-optimizers, as long as they're willing to stop looking down their noses at each other.

    Agreed on all counts, and I too have often noted the similarities between A:TLA and a D&D group (hell Sokka even gets an adamantine sword, and then loses it, 'cause Fighters can't have nice things! :P).

    Though I would like to say...

    Quote:


    Zuko was never exceptional with firebending. He had royal tutors and such, so he was at least as good as any ordinary master, but for his standing he was actually sub-par (he never did learn to do lightning, which seemed an expected competency of the royal family). He felt the need to cultivate other skill sets, such as stealth and swordplay, just to make up the gap. The final result was exceptional, but only just.

    I think Zuko is the guy who has the most character building of the entire story. He grows as a person, and mechanically, more than any other character. He begins firmly rooted as a Lawful Evil kid with daddy issues (good story daddy issues mind you) who is skilled but eternally outclassed by his sister, and by the end of the series he is firmly rooted in the Good-guy territory, far more mature, far more free from his constraints, and by the end is more than a match for his sister and was actually winning during their Agni Kai duel and she had to resort to cheating (playing on his love for his companions to open a weakness in his defense).

    I'd say by the end he was definitely an exceptional firebender. Easily on par with his sister, or perhaps even surpassing his sister. Of course to do so, he did indeed end up learning the true roots of the firebending spirit.

    Perhaps I'm just anal about it. Zuko and Iroh are my favorite characters in the series (mostly because indeed they are the ones who I feel go through the most growth and have the most interesting stories). Season II explores a lot of their life as vagabonds and you get into a real human side of both of them. Each have their flaws, and Iroh is just a boss in a subtle sort of way. Such a pair.

    Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

    Re: Zuko

    Remember that the only reason Zuko thought he stood a chance one-on-one with Azula was because he could tell she was cracking. Without that, he still wouldn't have stood a chance - that's why he brought Katara with him in the first place. And all that (that is, knowing he couldn't take Azula unless he either had help or she was cracking) is even after he got the advantage of straight-from-the-dragons firebending.

    Much like Katara, he was an "average master".


    Without knowing that story, I'd have to say that's much easier to do in fiction than in game. You can give characters at vastly different power levels interesting story arcs and fun things to do much easy when you have full script control. It's much harder when the PCs are all making their own decisions and are all run by players who all want a part in combat, since combat takes up a good part of game time.


    Jiggy wrote:

    Re: Zuko

    Remember that the only reason Zuko thought he stood a chance one-on-one with Azula was because he could tell she was cracking. Without that, he still wouldn't have stood a chance - that's why he brought Katara with him in the first place. And all that (that is, knowing he couldn't take Azula unless he either had help or she was cracking) is even after he got the advantage of straight-from-the-dragons firebending.

    Much like Katara, he was an "average master".

    I disagree. She was cracking but she wasn't weaker. He even gained combat advantage over here during the battle atop the gondola (people always seem to forget this) which was the first example of his improvement. He was matching her, and on his path to exceeding her even then (before he learned firebending from dragons, which I should probably note seemed more in learning how to firebend with positive emotions instead of rage).

    See Book 3, Chapter 15, boiling rock. Zuko has the advantage and puts her on edge during the battle atop the gondola. This video has some clips. Despite Sokka stepping in to do a lot of nothing (pretty much as you described Sokka before :P), Zuko is clearly calm, collected, and un-phased by her attacks. He is confident, and he attains advantage in this battle as well.

    Even during Sozens comet, when their powers were multiplied, he gained combat advantage against her. They explained before that firebending was typically instructed to be used with rage. The fact she was freaking out should have only made her stronger the angrier she became (this was the premise of Zuko loosing his rage and being unable to firebend, only to find a new emotion to firebend with through draconic inspiration).

    Again I think that this is part of the glory of Zuko's evolution. He was not the best. He wasn't special. But he grew as a person and in ability, until even those that haunted him could no longer do so. He became confident and in his confidence and practice he gained strength where natural talent may have not existed or at least laid hidden from him.

    But he was definitely more than capable of defeating her on his own.


    hogarth wrote:
    thejeff wrote:
    Yeah, that sucks. OTOH, waltzing through all the encounters with no challenge because your party is so optimized isn't much fun either.

    If the story in the adventure is so uninteresting that it requires difficult fights in order to make it worth sitting through, that's a problem with the adventure, in my opinion.

    At any rate, I'd much rather have an easy fight err on the side of being trivially easy than have a difficult fight err on the side of being impossibly difficult. YMMV.

    Fights are part of the game. They take up a good deal of the time, especially in APs, modules & PFS adventures. Making them interesting is important.

    More importantly, if you're looking for easy fights, it's simpler to do that by adjusting the encounters than by tweaking out your character.

    I suppose, if your GM/game is determined to give you by the book CRs, then optimizing your character is the only way you can make the fights easy.
    Either way, as long as the whole group is on the same page it doesn't really matter. It's when you've got a mix of highly optimized and basic characters that things tend to get sticky.


    In conclusion, if we all make characters that are blind deaf mute wizards with 9 Intelligence prime, then our GM will adjust encounters to make us heroic. Fun for everyone!


    I differ two kinds of players. One group who plays the game and second who try to win the game. What all players often forget is that only the GM has a possibility to win the game. Be sure .. both kinds of players dont like a TPK.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    thejeff wrote:

    Yeah, that sucks. OTOH, waltzing through all the encounters with no challenge because your party is so optimized isn't much fun either.

    Depends on the person. One of the worst power gamers I ever played with was a guy I gamed with in college and he hated being challenged. He wanted to breeze through everything with no effort and then bask in the glory of everyone telling him how awesome he was. When he'd play video games, he would play on the easiest setting and use all the cheat codes he could get. Then he would show off how great he was doing and expect the rest of us to be really impressed by how badly he was smashing the computer opponent.

    Ashiel wrote:
    someone who seems to think that a good character is a blind, deaf, one-legged pacifist who gives all their gold away and is half-insane

    Of course, I've also gamed with this guy. He once wanted to play a lame, hunchbacked kobold.


    I think it's also important to note that while a power gamer can pull his/her punches in fights so as to make it possible for others to shine a really suboptimal PC is generally going to be a drain on party resources every encounter.

    So you can definitely build an optimized GodWizard if you want to and actually use that PC in a more cooperative mode where everyone has a chance to shine or you can run the PC in a very selfish mode hogging all the spotlight. I think a mature gamer can know when to step up in hard encounters so that the risk of TPK goes way down without just powering through every encounter like they are made of wet paper.

    Sometimes that means doing something that makes the other PCs better at stuff (group buffing is almost always popular) rather than using an insta-win SoL spell with your maximized Spell DC, etc.

    But I also don't think that system mastery should be discouraged if people can restrain themselves on the practical application of system mastery in order to maximize the fun for everyone at the table.

    In the cases where people can't stop from optimizing and stealing the spotlight then reasonable limits might be put in place but I also don't think that people should be forced to run unoptimized characters.

    Lantern Lodge

    Ashiel wrote:
    In conclusion, if we all make characters that are blind deaf mute wizards with 9 Intelligence prime, then our GM will adjust encounters to make us heroic. Fun for everyone!

    So there are only people who power game as hard as they can and people who go out of their way to make terrible characters? No one else exists?

    Cheliax

    People like to be good at things and have other people think well of them while they are in the process of showing how good they are at doing those things.

    Sczarni

    I like to make characters that interest me in some way. I typically get the idea of what I want them to do and then create a backstory... Then I'll go ahead and build them up to level 12 if its a PFS game, level 15 otherwise. I like to plan ahead because it helps me avoid traps etc. Basically I try to make the best character I can within the boundaries set by the designers and my own creativity/lack of creativity.

    So yes I try to optimize my characters. I've never been accused of power gaming - in fact I'd like to believe I'm a great team player. I do my job well (whatever job that is) and the very nature of the game means I can't do everything well.


    I don't need to be THE BEST, but I definitely want to be the best in whatever field I specialize. That leads me to often choose my class based on what the rest of the party is playing, so that I don't step on toes, and also contribute something new.

    I make that character as badass as I can without making it into a cheesecake.


    Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
    vuron wrote:

    I think it's also important to note that while a power gamer can pull his/her punches in fights so as to make it possible for others to shine a really suboptimal PC is generally going to be a drain on party resources every encounter.

    I was in a home game where there was a large quantity of noob players. While I generally don't care to play spell casters, in this case I did and optimized to the hilt because I felt they would need a backstop. I felt my job was to pull their fat out of the fire if a TPK was imminent. Otherwise I simply acted as a buff bot and let the rest of them have their glory. Only when they couldn't get it done would I step in with my very brutal DC save or suck spells to put things back in our control.

    I'm almost always a powergamer in a way. However I like to take a quirky build and then optimize it. I never go for the obviously optimal builds that you see in the guides (two handed barb, archer, zen archer, etc). I do slightly weird stuff, but then eke out every last iota of effectiveness on the build.

    Honestly I find 'pure role players' (self anointed in particular) to be far more disruptive. They will build some ill considered character and then when they find they cannot do all they imagine they should be able to, try to twist the rules, feign ignorance when doing things they can't, or complain to no end.

    But of course a jerk is a jerk, and trying to pigeonhole one type of player as more likely to be a jerk is nonsene.


    thejeff wrote:
    Fights are part of the game. They take up a good deal of the time, especially in APs, modules & PFS adventures. Making them interesting is important.

    Of course I agree that, all things being equal, fights should be interesting! I don't think there's much correlation between interesting fights and difficult fights, though; I can remember lots of boring, difficult fights and lots of fun, easy fights.

    To be honest, if you had asked me 20 years ago I probably would have agreed that a fight where you just barely survive is more interesting than a fight where you survive with a reasonable margin of safety. But then I played in a 2E D&D campaign where every single encounter involved just scraping by. I liked the campaign well enough, but it quickly became clear to me that it was NOT the "barely scraping by" aspect that I liked. If we had performed the exact same set of actions in a given fight and we ended up with 21 hp each instead of 1 hp each, it would have been just as interesting, and in fact it would have been even more interesting in the sense that we could avoid having contrived DM deus ex machinas trotted out whenever the DM slightly misjudged the encounter.


    dragonkitten wrote:
    Ashiel wrote:
    In conclusion, if we all make characters that are blind deaf mute wizards with 9 Intelligence prime, then our GM will adjust encounters to make us heroic. Fun for everyone!
    So there are only people who power game as hard as they can and people who go out of their way to make terrible characters? No one else exists?

    I was just joking really, but it holds a kernel of truth and a point. If we expect GMs to rev up the encounters because PCs are overly powerful (or even just competent as some people get these mixed up), then we can expect the reverse as well. If your GM will "only make it harder" because your stats go one way, why not expect them to "only make it easier" the other?

    Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

    6 people marked this as a favorite.

    One very general comment on optimization, not directed at anyone in particular:

    If your spellcasters have higher than a 10 in their spellcasting stat when it was an option for it to be 10 or less, you're optimizing. If your martials use weapons with which they're proficient when other options were available, you're optimizing.

    So if you complain about optimization, you're not being honest with yourself - after all, if you and the other guy are both optimizing, why are you only complaining about him?

    If the answer to that question is "because he's being a jerk about it", then the next question is why you even mentioned optimization in your complaint in the first place.

    Either someone is just being a jerk and you chose to fabricate a connection to optimization (and the reasons for doing that would be very telling of your character), or else your real complaint is that they're more optimized than you are (and the reasons for complaining about that are also very telling of your character).

    Andoran

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Finlanderboy wrote:

    Well everyone has thier time to shine. I have a control sorc. At best I deal 2d6 from create pit. I grease and color spray a lot. I make encounteres easy by color spraying bosses, putting them in a pit and having other people rain death, or knock them prone so they are worthless in melee.

    I take every advantage I can to make my character better at it. But there are fights where I do nothing.

    This is where you lost me. I don't mind characters that can take a pounding or have a contingency for every eventuality, but a player finds tactics that reduce the majority of encounters to the same pattern of events, I get bored as a GM running for that character. And if the only solution is finding the creatures who are not susceptible to your strategy, then, like you said, you do nothing. If I have to counter my own boredom with your boredom, something is wrong. That's the downside to power gaming.

    What if I, as a GM, approached you as a player and said "I have some issues with how you play"? I don't ban pit spells, I don't ask you to stop doing something specific, I ask broadly that you find tactics that keep combat interesting and varied even if they share some common, exploitable element. How would you react in that situation, or how would you GM yourself?


    Jiggy wrote:

    One very general comment on optimization, not directed at anyone in particular:

    If your spellcasters have higher than a 10 in their spellcasting stat when it was an option for it to be 10 or less, you're optimizing. If your martials use weapons with which they're proficient when other options were available, you're optimizing.

    So if you complain about optimization, you're not being honest with yourself - after all, if you and the other guy are both optimizing, why are you only complaining about him?

    If the answer to that question is "because he's being a jerk about it", then the next question is why you even mentioned optimization in your complaint in the first place.

    Either someone is just being a jerk and you chose to fabricate a connection to optimization (and the reasons for doing that would be very telling of your character), or else your real complaint is that they're more optimized than you are (and the reasons for complaining about that are also very telling of your character).

    I want to hug you so much right now Jiggy.


    Jiggy wrote:

    One very general comment on optimization, not directed at anyone in particular:

    If your spellcasters have higher than a 10 in their spellcasting stat when it was an option for it to be 10 or less, you're optimizing. If your martials use weapons with which they're proficient when other options were available, you're optimizing.

    So if you complain about optimization, you're not being honest with yourself - after all, if you and the other guy are both optimizing, why are you only complaining about him?

    If the answer to that question is "because he's being a jerk about it", then the next question is why you even mentioned optimization in your complaint in the first place.

    Either someone is just being a jerk and you chose to fabricate a connection to optimization (and the reasons for doing that would be very telling of your character), or else your real complaint is that they're more optimized than you are (and the reasons for complaining about that are also very telling of your character).

    This is true but an only in the most pedantic sense. No one has a problem with optimization, as you defined it. Many people have a problem with power gaming, with optimizing too much. Using your system mastery to squeeze every last bit of performance out of a character, making it far more powerful than a more casually optimized character.

    Most people in these discussions use "optimized" as admittedly sloppy shorthand for extreme optimization.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Jiggy wrote:

    One very general comment on optimization, not directed at anyone in particular:

    If your spellcasters have higher than a 10 in their spellcasting stat when it was an option for it to be 10 or less, you're optimizing. If your martials use weapons with which they're proficient when other options were available, you're optimizing.

    So if you complain about optimization, you're not being honest with yourself - after all, if you and the other guy are both optimizing, why are you only complaining about him?

    If the answer to that question is "because he's being a jerk about it", then the next question is why you even mentioned optimization in your complaint in the first place.

    Either someone is just being a jerk and you chose to fabricate a connection to optimization (and the reasons for doing that would be very telling of your character), or else your real complaint is that they're more optimized than you are (and the reasons for complaining about that are also very telling of your character).

    Pretending that there aren't different levels of optimization is a bit disingenuous, isn't it? You are well aware of the type of optimization that people complain about.

    Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

    Cheapy wrote:
    Pretending that there aren't different levels of optimization is a bit disingenuous, isn't it?

    This is, in fact, the entire point of that post.

    Andoran

    thejeff wrote:
    Ashiel wrote:
    For every disdainful comment you will get from someone who seems to think that a good character is a blind, deaf, one-legged pacifist who gives all their gold away and is half-insane, I clap for thee thrice!
    And there's the strawman from the power gamer side.

    I'm shocked!

    Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

    thejeff wrote:

    No one has a problem with optimization, as you defined it. Many people have a problem with power gaming, with optimizing too much. Using your system mastery to squeeze every last bit of performance out of a character, making it far more powerful than a more casually optimized character.

    Most people in these discussions use "optimized" as admittedly sloppy shorthand for extreme optimization.

    A fact which I not only took into account, but indeed wrote that entire post around it.

    Andoran

    There is making the best character you can and there is loophole and exploit hunting.

    It is the difference between Barry Bonds in the early 90's and Barry Bonds in the late 90's.


    This is why I wish there were more accurate and consistent terms in place.

    Everyone should "optimize". I optimize for a concept, but that generally means I do a good bit of optimizing for a function since the concept generally includes specific functions. So if the concept is about using a bow, then that character is going to be optimized for bow use.

    The line that most people object to when they see it crossed is when a player focuses on certain optimizations so much that the character is impacted negatively in other areas. This is when you start moving down the path of "min-maxing" which most people recognize to be a controversial activity, even if they engage in it.

    "Power gaming" is just another term that is so vaguely defined and used so inconsistently that to even begin a discussion is guaranteed to start arguments.

    In my experience the only real time that any of this is an issue is when it leads to actual game play dynamics problems. If my character is so difficult to hit that the GM has to boost his monsters, then that might put the other characters in the group at risk of being too easy to kill. If my character is so focused on social skills and role playing that he can't hit the broad side of a barn in a fight, that puts the entire team at risk.

    A character that works perfectly in one group may be completely unplayable in another.

    I think most of us would reject the notion that picking up a weapon one is proficient with qualifies as "optimizing" but the fact that such a notion has been promoted here demonstrates what I mean about the impossibility of agreement when the terms are interpreted in such drastically divergent ways by different players.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Adamantine Dragon wrote:

    This is why I wish there were more accurate and consistent terms in place.

    We already do. The term is "optimize" and it's well understood by the majority of people. ;)


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Ryan. Costello wrote:
    Finlanderboy wrote:

    Well everyone has thier time to shine. I have a control sorc. At best I deal 2d6 from create pit. I grease and color spray a lot. I make encounteres easy by color spraying bosses, putting them in a pit and having other people rain death, or knock them prone so they are worthless in melee.

    I take every advantage I can to make my character better at it. But there are fights where I do nothing.

    This is where you lost me. I don't mind characters that can take a pounding or have a contingency for every eventuality, but a player finds tactics that reduce the majority of encounters to the same pattern of events, I get bored as a GM running for that character. And if the only solution is finding the creatures who are not susceptible to your strategy, then, like you said, you do nothing. If I have to counter my own boredom with your boredom, something is wrong. That's the downside to power gaming.

    What if I, as a GM, approached you as a player and said "I have some issues with how you play"? I don't ban pit spells, I don't ask you to stop doing something specific, I ask broadly that you find tactics that keep combat interesting and varied even if they share some common, exploitable element. How would you react in that situation, or how would you GM yourself?

    The thing is, why wouldn't you expect characters to try to make things as easy as possible for themselves. Getting hurt sucks and dying is even worse. Wouldn't people who make it their living to go out and do dangerous things want to try to minimize their chances of having things go wrong for them?

    This seems to be running up against the Combat is a Sport vs Combat is War approaches to playing the game.

    Andoran

    It is like pornography. Hard to define, but you know it when you see it.

    If you don't think your GM would agree to it, you probably shouldn't even ask.

    Even better, if you would balk if your GM put it on an NPC, don't even think about it.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Cheapy wrote:
    Adamantine Dragon wrote:

    This is why I wish there were more accurate and consistent terms in place.

    We already do. The term is "optimize" and it's well understood by the majority of people. ;)

    Based on the argument/debate going on in this thread, and a couple hundred others, on this very subject, it appears enough people disagree with you to make my point understood by "the majority of people".

    Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Adamantine Dragon wrote:
    I think most of us would reject the notion that picking up a weapon one is proficient with qualifies as "optimizing" but the fact that such a notion has been promoted here demonstrates what I mean about the impossibility of agreement when the terms are interpreted in such drastically divergent ways by different players.

    Since people are apparently interpreting my words in every way except how I meant them (some even "correcting" me by making claims that I made myself already), perhaps I should clarify.

    I started by demonstrating that really, anyone who complains about optimization is using shorthand for "too much" optimization (which two posters have since tried to point out to me; yes guys, I know, that's why I said so myself).

    So then, Bob complains about Fred optimizing (that is, optimizing too much). What's his real complaint?

    • If Fred is hogging the limelight or otherwise being a jerk, the complaint is really about that. In this case, Bob fabricated (perhaps unknowingly) the connection between jerkiness and overoptimization. Bob's real complaint is disruptive behavior, but he chose to cite overoptimization in his complaint. Why?

    • If Fred is using dubious interpretations of rules to exploit loopholes which may or may not even actually exist, then he's not optimizing, he's cheating. So the real complaint is that Fred is cheating, but Bob chose to call it overoptimizing. Why?

    • If Fred is not cheating, and not being a jerk, and Bob's complaint is truly just that Fred is (according to Bob) overoptimizing and nothing else, then Bob has decided two things: first that there's a level of optimization which in and of itself without any disruptive behavior involved at all is somehow a bad thing, and second that Bob is more of an authority on where that line is than Fred is (and typically, the line is "however optimized Bob is", i.e., "overoptimization" = "more optimized than Bob"). How did Bob make those decisions?

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

    If someone complains that someone else is overoptimizing, then either they're actually upset about something else entirely yet are choosing to say that the problem is overoptimization (which, as I said before, is rather telling), or else they're upset that someone is more optimized than they are (which, as I said before, is also very telling).

    So yes, there are different levels of optimization. But if someone says that someone else has done "too much" optimization, then they're either mislabeling the problem or declaring anything beyond themselves as being too much. Either case says a lot about the person making the claim.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    I powergame as well, although I don't really do PFS. I don't really do organized play well (I'm thinking of joining PFS) because I get through powergaming and making interesting stories by building a rapport with the GM and other players. When I join a new campaign (existing or from scratch), I let the GM know of my tendencies, I remain open to altering the character if necessary, and most of all I make sure the GM is fully informed of everything I want to be able to do well with my character.

    I've never had a problem with my powergaming, and only very rarely have others taken offense. The key, I feel, is communication. As logn as the GM knows what you can do and what you want to do (flashes of insight/genius aside), stories can be built around that. Problems can be notified in advance. Soemtimes, there are surprises (I had one when I played a Binder for the first time), but at those moments you have to suck it up and change your character.

    Unfortunately, organized play strips away this communication. The GM becomes a glorified, reactive computer. That, I feel, is the problem.


    ciretose wrote:
    Even better, if you would balk if your GM put it on an NPC, don't even think about it.

    I guess that rules out armor. Hur hur. :P


    Jiggy wrote:

    One very general comment on optimization, not directed at anyone in particular:

    If your spellcasters have higher than a 10 in their spellcasting stat when it was an option for it to be 10 or less, you're optimizing. If your martials use weapons with which they're proficient when other options were available, you're optimizing.

    <snip>

    Either someone is just being a jerk and you chose to fabricate a connection to optimization (and the reasons for doing that would be very telling of your character), or else your real complaint is that they're more optimized than you are (and the reasons for complaining about that are also very telling of your character).

    Optimization: the attempt to make something as fully perfect or effective as possible.

    Conflating "I am trying to achieve a maximum" with "I am trying to avoid a minimum" is disingenuous at best and dishonest at worst. Inferring something about another person's character based on this little bit of chicanery is truly asinine.

    Shadow Lodge

    Ashiel wrote:
    ciretose wrote:
    Even better, if you would balk if your GM put it on an NPC, don't even think about it.
    I guess that rules out armor. Hur hur. :P

    I probably shouldn't be surprised at this but why would people be bothered by NPCs in armor?

    Shadow Lodge

    Glendwyr wrote:

    Optimization: the attempt to make something as fully perfect or effective as possible.

    Conflating "I am trying to achieve a maximum" with "I am trying to avoid a minimum" is disingenuous at best and dishonest at worst. Inferring something about another person's character based on this little bit of chicanery is truly asinine.

    Except that's not how a great deal of people in this thread define that term.

    Andoran

    Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
    Orthos wrote:
    Ashiel wrote:
    ciretose wrote:
    Even better, if you would balk if your GM put it on an NPC, don't even think about it.
    I guess that rules out armor. Hur hur. :P
    I probably shouldn't be surprised at this but why would people be bothered by NPCs in armor?

    I think it was dragons in armor that was the problem.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Orthos wrote:
    Glendwyr wrote:

    Optimization: the attempt to make something as fully perfect or effective as possible.

    Conflating "I am trying to achieve a maximum" with "I am trying to avoid a minimum" is disingenuous at best and dishonest at worst. Inferring something about another person's character based on this little bit of chicanery is truly asinine.

    Except that's not how a great deal of people in this thread define that term.

    Maybe they're just in denial :D

    Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

    Glendwyr wrote:

    Conflating "I am trying to achieve a maximum" with "I am trying to avoid a minimum" is disingenuous at best and dishonest at worst. Inferring something about another person's character based on this little bit of chicanery is truly asinine.

    Make that three posters trying to correct me by agreeing with me. See my clarification, above.


    Jiggy wrote:
    Make that three posters trying to correct me by agreeing with me. See my clarification, above.

    It's not so much the "I will define optimization to mean X" that bothers me - knock yourself out! It's the "and this tells me something about your character" that I find objectionable.

    Re-edit: nope, checking your clarification, right the first time. With a tasty side dish of false dichotomy to make it extra awesome.

    Shadow Lodge

    TriOmegaZero wrote:
    Orthos wrote:
    Ashiel wrote:
    ciretose wrote:
    Even better, if you would balk if your GM put it on an NPC, don't even think about it.
    I guess that rules out armor. Hur hur. :P
    I probably shouldn't be surprised at this but why would people be bothered by NPCs in armor?
    I think it was dragons in armor that was the problem.

    Oh THAT thread.


    Orthos wrote:
    TriOmegaZero wrote:
    Orthos wrote:
    Ashiel wrote:
    ciretose wrote:
    Even better, if you would balk if your GM put it on an NPC, don't even think about it.
    I guess that rules out armor. Hur hur. :P
    I probably shouldn't be surprised at this but why would people be bothered by NPCs in armor?
    I think it was dragons in armor that was the problem.
    Oh THAT thread.

    Yeah THAT thread. XD

    Shadow Lodge

    19 people marked this as a favorite.

    Optimizing is sort of like driving.

    Anyone driving faster than you is a freaking lunatic that's going to get people killed.

    Anyone driving slower than you needs to learn how to BLEEPING drive.

    You of course, optimize just enough/drive just right.


    Awesome analogy BNW...

    Andoran

    Caedwyr wrote:

    The thing is, why wouldn't you expect characters to try to make things as easy as possible for themselves. Getting hurt sucks and dying is even worse. Wouldn't people who make it their living to go out and do dangerous things want to try to minimize their chances of having things go wrong for them?

    This seems to be running up against the Combat is a Sport vs Combat is War approaches to playing the game.

    I suppose I follow the Combat is a Sport line of thinking then. Sports are not just to prove the superiority of one side but to entertain the audience at the same time. If a single tactic or rules exploitation negatively impacts the fun of the game, the rules gets changed. Everyone around the table is both a Pathfinder player and a spectator, and repetitive game play, even if a successful tactic, is not in everyone's best interest.

    Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Glendwyr wrote:
    It's the "and this tells me something about your character" that I find objectionable.

    Sorry to hear that, but the possibility of not learning of someone's character by understanding their actions disappeared when I got my psychology degree. The analysis cannot be stopped. :/

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