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Why I power game


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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In a mixed group of optimizers and role players it is best to learn to use each other, not resent each other. In my play group we have two people who love the lime-light. The rest either don't care about the lime-light or actively avoid it. The two lime-light lovers are myself and our lovable munchkin. When we are both playing and not running the game for each other, we share the lime-light. I focus more on social role play and leadership, he capitalizes on combat and strategic situations. It works out quite well. We each get our time of glory when we like it and let the other have the glory during events we are less skilled at. Perfect harmony is achieved.

I can imagine there could be groups with more than one person aiming for a particular game style... two or even three combat lime-light lovers in the same group could resolve their issues by setting it up as a friendly rivalry. And in that way share the lime-light.

A: "Ha! I just got my seventh kill! I am winning!"
B: "Don't count me out just yet ye nave! I have five kills and just boxed these two into a corner for the easy kill!"

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

@BNW: Apparently you're the better orator. I make the same point (among others, but still) and people jump down my throat. :/

Shadow Lodge

Ryan. Costello wrote:
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.

In a situation like this, if you and he were in the same group, I personally would advocate a parting of the ways. You clearly have different expectations of the game that are unlikely to be rectifiable to both of your satisfaction.


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Most tables of D&D games I've seen over the years, the majority of fights are only won by total victory. You stab each other in the face until one side stops moving (over simplification, but general concept). When total victory is the only kind of victory, players will start to focus on building characters to achieve it.

But I do agree with Jiggy, the root problem of most complaints is that a player is being a jerk.

A player is optimizing too hardcore for the rest of the group. So you talk to them about the groups style and goals for the game.

Non-jerks will respond by trying to adjust their character or play style to fit the group.

Jerks will continue doing what they want with no regard to group dynamics.

Optimizing doesn't ruin games. People ruin games.

Silver Crusade

@ Jiggy: No-one likes to be psychoanalysed unless they've paid for the full hour! : )

The more accurate the analysis, the less they like it!


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Irontruth wrote:
But I do agree with Jiggy, the root problem of most complaints is that a player is being a jerk.

There's the other side of the coin that no one has mentioned so far: Some GMs are only happy if they get to pummel the PCs into near-death. That could either be out of jerkiness or out of the idea that the players won't be happy unless they've really "earned" a victory.


This is a weird discussion for me since I don't mingle much with the unwashed RPG masses.
Sure, I do PFS but my regular RPG group is pretty tightly knit.

What's the definition of a power gamer? Is it to do with sacrificing character for power? What's the opposite of a power gamer?

Optimization has been mentioned, but that's too vague. I can be the most optimized non-participant in a RPG ...that's hardly power gaming.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

@ Jiggy: No-one likes to be psychoanalysed unless they've paid for the full hour! : )

The more accurate the analysis, the less they like it!

Blanket statements are usually wrong. I for one would love to be psychoanalyzed by Jiggy.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ashiel wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

@ Jiggy: No-one likes to be psychoanalysed unless they've paid for the full hour! : )

The more accurate the analysis, the less they like it!

Blanket statements are usually wrong. I for one would love to be psychoanalyzed by Jiggy.

He he he.

Silver Crusade

Ashiel wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

@ Jiggy: No-one likes to be psychoanalysed unless they've paid for the full hour! : )

The more accurate the analysis, the less they like it!

Blanket statements are usually wrong. I for one would love to be psychoanalyzed by Jiggy.

Would you pay for the full hour?

Would you pay for the full hour?

Silver Crusade

Blanket statements are always wrong.

Shadow Lodge

Dreihaddar wrote:

This is a weird discussion for me since I don't mingle much with the unwashed RPG masses.

Sure, I do PFS but my regular RPG group is pretty tightly knit.

What's the definition of a power gamer? Is it to do with sacrificing character for power? What's the opposite of a power gamer?

Optimization has been mentioned, but that's too vague. I can be the most optimized non-participant in a RPG ...that's hardly power gaming.

This is really the crux of the matter - people have different definitions. And getting people to actually define their definitions is difficult at best. Hence the questions by Jiggy and BNW about "by optimized do you mean optimized more than your character? what do you mean by Power Gamer?" etc. etc. etc.


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Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Blanket statements are always wrong.

My blanket smells like my dog.


Irontruth wrote:

Most tables of D&D games I've seen over the years, the majority of fights are only won by total victory. You stab each other in the face until one side stops moving (over simplification, but general concept). When total victory is the only kind of victory, players will start to focus on building characters to achieve it.

But I do agree with Jiggy, the root problem of most complaints is that a player is being a jerk.

A player is optimizing too hardcore for the rest of the group. So you talk to them about the groups style and goals for the game.

Non-jerks will respond by trying to adjust their character or play style to fit the group.

Jerks will continue doing what they want with no regard to group dynamics.

Optimizing doesn't ruin games. People ruin games.

It's true that people ruin games, but it may be useful to look at the different ways people ruin games. One of which is over-optimization.

You may be right about Jiggy's meaning in saying the real problem is the player being a jerk. I read it as more than just being too optimized for the group and not being willing to stop. As he said in a later post "If Fred is hogging the limelight" or cheating.
I read his posts as arguing that whoever talked to the hardcore optimizer in your example "about the groups style and goals for the game", would fall into this category:

Jiggy wrote:

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).

I read Jiggy as saying Optimizing is always good. If the other players (or GM) don't like it then they have problems. Any real problems blamed on optimization are actually due to something else.

That's what I object to. If that's not what you meant, then I'm not sure what you did mean.

Shadow Lodge

Jiggy wrote:
@BNW: Apparently you're the better orator. I make the same point (among others, but still) and people jump down my throat. :/

Work the blue and keep it short :)


Dreihaddar wrote:

This is a weird discussion for me since I don't mingle much with the unwashed RPG masses. Sure, I do PFS but my regular RPG group is pretty tightly knit.

What's the definition of a power gamer? Is it to do with sacrificing character for power? What's the opposite of a power gamer?

Optimization has been mentioned, but that's too vague. I can be the most optimized non-participant in a RPG ...that's hardly power gaming.

Definitions vary. Wikipedia's coverage of powergaming mostly focuses on the darker side with a very tiny bit on the term as it collectively expands to things like videogames.

For some of us, power gamer is as much about knowledge and efficiency as it is about being actually powerful. For example, I know that having a +2 Intelligence means my character is pretty good at Craft (Cooking) by virtue of her baseline attributes, so I don't need to "waste" skill points into Craft (Cooking) to represent the fact my character cooks better than your average person. And yes, this is a real example, because I do think about my characters in such mundane ways (I wrote a little commentary about enjoying cooking and camping and the little fun parts of being an adventurer that aren't all ambushes and trollslaying in my adventuring guidebook).

Power gaming also, to me, implies that you try to do things well. If my job is to support my team, then I want to do it well. If my job is to crowd control enemies, then I want to do it well. If my job is to improvise a solution based on current conditions (as with a generalist bag o' tricks wizard) I will do what I can to know the tools at my disposal, what I can use them for, and how I can use them to best achieve the goals that my friends and I have. That is all, in itself, a form of power gaming. In fact, even the desire to reach 20th level is in itself an aspect of power gaming (just as taking the extra effort to raise your party to the highest level in a computer RPG because you can).

The biggest problems I've seen that are blamed on power gaming are not actually connected to power gaming. Jerk players who want to make characters who are stronger than everyone else so as to boss them around for example. The problem is a jerk player. Another great example is the Stormwind Fallacy (coined by a hero of mine, Tempest Stormwind whose posts I adored back on the WotC boards) where people see folks who aren't very deep into the roleplay aspect of the roleplaying game but are pretty good at the game portion and so they often end up with mechanically awesome characters who are roleplayed like bricks with 22 Strength named Bob (directly contrasted by the Drama Queen who can't figure out that -2 is worse than +0 and thinks that his peg-legged goblin Paladin with an 8 Charisma is an inspired and truly interesting individual to which you show be thankful for his very presence making making your RPing experience worthwhile).

Most of us tend to fall in between such extremes of course. I mean, I will happily admit to being a power gamer. I'm proud of it. I'd wear it on a button or badge if I had one. I'm happy to discuss the good and the bad aspects of power gaming, attempt to dispel some myths, and more than happily talk about my character's slightly unusual past while my character adds a dash of spices to the cooking pot and tells campfire stories.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

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.

To some extent that's true, but to extend the analogy: If you're driving much faster than everyone else on the road, you're "a freaking lunatic that's going to get people killed."

If you're driving much slower than the others then "you need to learn how to BLEEPING drive."

So it's not so much "You're optimizing more than me", but you're out of line with the rest of the group. That causes problems.

It causes problems the other way too. If the group is mostly hardcore optimizers and someone brings in a much weaker character, they're going to have problems.


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thejeff wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

Most tables of D&D games I've seen over the years, the majority of fights are only won by total victory. You stab each other in the face until one side stops moving (over simplification, but general concept). When total victory is the only kind of victory, players will start to focus on building characters to achieve it.

But I do agree with Jiggy, the root problem of most complaints is that a player is being a jerk.

A player is optimizing too hardcore for the rest of the group. So you talk to them about the groups style and goals for the game.

Non-jerks will respond by trying to adjust their character or play style to fit the group.

Jerks will continue doing what they want with no regard to group dynamics.

Optimizing doesn't ruin games. People ruin games.

It's true that people ruin games, but it may be useful to look at the different ways people ruin games. One of which is over-optimization.

You may be right about Jiggy's meaning in saying the real problem is the player being a jerk. I read it as more than just being too optimized for the group and not being willing to stop. As he said in a later post "If Fred is hogging the limelight" or cheating.
I read his posts as arguing that whoever talked to the hardcore optimizer in your example "about the groups style and goals for the game", would fall into this category:

Jiggy wrote:

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

...

I don't see what you're seeing in there at all. That's an extremely succinct explanation of a pretty complex situation. Maybe Bob's the disruptive player. Maybe Fred is. There is a lot left out, but in the end, I don't think optimization is to blame, either Fred or Bob are.

Optimization does not exist in a vacuum.


Ashiel wrote:
For example, I know that having a +2 Intelligence means my character is pretty good at Craft (Cooking) by virtue of her baseline attributes, so I don't need to "waste" skill points into Craft (Cooking) to represent the fact my character cooks better than your average person. And yes, this is a real example, because I do think about my characters in such mundane ways (I wrote a little commentary about enjoying cooking and camping and the little fun parts of being an adventurer that aren't all ambushes and trollslaying in my adventuring guidebook).

As a sort of side note to this discussion, in that situation I'd put at least 1 point into Craft(Cooking), not to represent that the character is better at cooking than your average person, but to represent that the character is better at cooking than all the other craft skills. The +2 Int means I'm better than average at all crafts. Investing 1 point in cooking means I've specifically practiced that.

Grand Lodge

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DM's who run Pathfinder Society who can not deal with or highly dislike Power Gamers are weak DM's. Just because you have 5 stars does not make you a good DM. The regional director of PFS in my area is a horrible DM and shes been around forever. There are others who can barely speak straight and who GM like they wish they were somewhere else. They all have a lot more stars than me. My point is that if you get frustrated over a character thats ok. If you say that it should not be allowed, you should not be a DM. I have been DMing since the late 80's and for some thats not a long time, but I have conditioned and learned along the way that Power Gamers have fun at the table. Min Maxers have fun. Mediocre builders have fun. The whole point is to have fun. Have fun doing what you do and let others please have fun doing what they do. As long as you are not ruining the module by being a pompous uncaring ass about it. Thats the only thing I have dealt with that I did not like. I played PFS with a character who was a synthesist summoner who could not be hit cause his AC was so high, could not miss cause his attack was so high, and all kinds of rediculousness. But you know what, he had fun and so did the rest of the party because I didnt complain too much besides pointing out the rediculousness and the party used him as a meat shield. Now this character did not do any damage and his spells sucked. It all works out in the end.


It's a nonsense term really.
I can make the most optimized farmer at the exclusion of all else and technically be a 'power gamer'.

When I hear 'power gamer' I generally associate it with the obnoxious jerk who knowingly brings a gestalted munchkin frankenstein to a RP heavy table and then, due to boredom or sheer jerk factor, starts screwing with the game.

That's my first go to mental image, which has nothing to do with power gaming apparently. I thought being a jerk was a requirement =p


Irontruth wrote:

I don't see what you're seeing in there at all. That's an extremely succinct explanation of a pretty complex situation. Maybe Bob's the disruptive player. Maybe Fred is. There is a lot left out, but in the end, I don't think optimization is to blame, either Fred or Bob are.

Optimization does not exist in a vacuum.

Then I'll leave it to Jiggy to clarify.

Shadow Lodge

Dreihaddar wrote:
That's my first go to mental image, which has nothing to do with power gaming apparently. I thought being a jerk was a requirement =p

That's how I'd ID it as well, but apparently it's not universal.


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Ashiel wrote:
I will happily admit to being a power gamer. I'm proud of it. I'd wear it on a button or badge if I had one.

Mad Badger offers fine quality button badges that speak for you...

As for the main topic, no matter what your play style, there will be people who will tell you that you're doing it wrong. I've been guilty of that myself. The main point to remember is that if you and your group are all having fun, you're doing fine.


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As has been said in every optimization thread that has ever appeared on these boards, the issue isn't how powerful or weak your character is, the issue is how powerful or weak you are compaired to every other PC at the table.

If you are under the power curve for your table, your DM either has to create hard encounters where you cannot contribute, or encounters so easy that your optimized team members trivilize it.

If you are over the power curve for your table (and act like it), your DM either has to create hard encounters where your team members can not contribute, or encounters so easy that you trivilize it.

If you are about the same level of optimization as everyone else, your DM can create fun and challenging encounters for everyone. At a table of optimizers, these might be multiple CR+3 or highers. At a table of non-optimizers, these might be CR+0s or CR-1s.

So, the secrets are:
1) Know your table. Play and build to the level of the table. Don't try to out-build everyone else, because noone will have fun.

2) If you don't know your table, or are playing something like Pathfinder Society where the optimization of the table varies day to day, then optimize your build, but play to the level of the table.

Point #2 is something most GMs have run across. The difficulty of monsters doesn't just reflect their physical attributes and special abilities, but also their tactics. Tucker's Kobolds, for example, are much more deadly than their stat-block, while unintelligent beasts or trolls or goblins could be much less challenging than their stat-block, because they do not make optimal combat descisions.

For a player, it is alot easier to "play down" to the level of the table if you are optimized. Maybe you are a strong martial character in a group of under-optimized casters. Instead of charge-full-attack killing the BBEG in two rounds, and not letting your allies have a chance, play sub-optimally. Hang back, play bodyguard or roleplay like you are trying to reason with the BBEG or try to think of clever enviromental details to use. This gives your teammates a chance to have fun and succeed, and if the fight goes sideways, you still have your optmized build to fall back on.

Of course, if you get to a table and everyone there is just as optmized as you, you can go nuts and everyone will enjoy it.

Shadow Lodge

Aaron Bitman wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
I will happily admit to being a power gamer. I'm proud of it. I'd wear it on a button or badge if I had one.
Mad Badger offers fine quality button badges that speak for you...

I found mine.


Ryan. Costello wrote:
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.

I guess I always look at it as while a certain strategy is super effective and a player keeps on using (why wouldn't they?), then over time people will develop counters and defenses. This means there ends up being a certain amount of a combat strategy and technique adaptation and innovation, but I find it adds some more verisimilitude to the game rather than trying to pretend that certain obvious combinations don't exist.

Now if a player is going out of their way to use corner cases and iffy rules interpretations, they are going to be rightfully shut down, but when they are using the rules and tactics as written and in the intent they are written it seems kind of unfair for the GM to just ask them to stop because it is making it too hard for the GM to adapt. Or at least, be upfront with the players ahead of time about what your limitations and the gentleman agreement type rules you want to run the game under.

So, I guess I'm not disagreeing with you overall that if you want to play the game a certain way that is fine. I just want to highlight that there's another approach to the game that is equally defensible.


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Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

@ Jiggy: No-one likes to be psychoanalysed unless they've paid for the full hour! : )

The more accurate the analysis, the less they like it!

Blanket statements are usually wrong. I for one would love to be psychoanalyzed by Jiggy.

Would you pay for the full hour?

Would you pay for the full hour?

Dunno. Probably not, 'cause I'm kinda cheap and also lack money to pay for a psychiatrist. All the more reason I'd love to get a psychoanalysis without paying for an hour, and the more accurate the more I'd like it! :P

TheJeff wrote:
As a sort of side note to this discussion, in that situation I'd put at least 1 point into Craft(Cooking), not to represent that the character is better at cooking than your average person, but to represent that the character is better at cooking than all the other craft skills. The +2 Int means I'm better than average at all crafts. Investing 1 point in cooking means I've specifically practiced that.

Ah but I didn't say I wanted her to be better at cooking than anything else that she did. Just that I wanted her to be a pretty good cook. If I put a full rank into it, I'd have a +6 cooking. Not really what I want. I'm doing exactly what I want with the game. In this case my character has a lot of little mild talents which are slightly above average but below professional level (if she put the extra effort, as in skill points, she could turn pro) but she's content to just cooking slightly above average meals, drawing nice pictures, and just generally being a creative spirit.

I got what was appropriate for my character concept out of the mechanics. No more, no less. Putting a rank into that skill would entail more than I wanted.

Contrast to a psion I once build whose very high Intelligent made her something of a pretender. With a +5 to all Craft skills, she was a professional everything. That was part of her character actually. She carried around random tools, wore a tool belt, had weird goggles with various magnifying glasses on them, and was pretty funny when people asked her professions and she honestly gave them different answers, or asked
"Which one?"

NPC: "The trade by which you make your living?"
PC: "I'm an alchemist, an armorsmith, a blacksmith, a jeweler, a carpenter, a painter, a sculptor, an engineer, a tramsmith, and locksmith".
NPC: "Err...now you're just pulling my leg."
PC: "I get bored easily and need something to occupy my time." *says this while drawing a picture of the person asking her questions.*

Ultimately, my powergaming is reflected in learning and understanding the system and utilizing the system to my needs. Part of that is understanding my scales. +0 Cooking is average. +2 Cooking is good cooking. +4 Cooking would be professional. +6 would be high professional. +10 is masterful. I'm a fan of dipping skills as well for this reason. Pathfinder is very friendly for making well wounded characters through dipping skills.

For example, I can drop a few points into Linguistics to learn a few extra languages to show my character's familiarity with X nation or culture because extended time was spent there, even if it's not an automatic or bonus language for me. I could drop a few points into Heal to be competent enough to give first-aid for mundane things. A dash of Sense Motive isn't going to guard me from a heroic-level liar but I might smell a rat of a more mundane variety. A single rank in a knowledge skill means I can at least attempt DC 11+ checks when I normally couldn't, which means I have at least studied the subject beyond the norm a little (even if I might not have a degree :P).

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Superman is not more "heroic" than Batman or Captain America.

Power doesn't make heroes, It's heroics that make heroes.


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Irontruth wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Blanket statements are always wrong.
My blanket smells like my dog.

That is SOOO wrong.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Eugene Nelson wrote:
DM's who run Pathfinder Society who can not deal with or highly dislike Power Gamers are weak DM's. Just because you have 5 stars does not make you a good DM. The regional director of PFS in my area is a horrible DM and shes been around forever. There are others who can barely speak straight and who GM like they wish they were somewhere else. They all have a lot more stars than me.

Aside: PFS:
You do have a recourse if you feel there are problems with your local PFS GMs. First, politely talk to the GM in question. If they are unreceptive for some reason, politely bring up your concern with your local Venture Captain. If they are unreceptive for some reason, contact Mike Brock (the campaign coordinator). Feel free to PM me if you have questions. :)

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LazarX wrote:

Superman is not more "heroic" than Batman or Captain America.

Power doesn't make heroes, It's heroics that make heroes.

Well...yeah he is more heroic than Batman, but not Captain America. But that's just semantics.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Blanket statements are always wrong.
My blanket smells like my dog.
That is SOOO wrong.

Well, if it was right I wouldn't have said it.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

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.

The conversation is over. I declare BigNorseWolf the winner. Everyone else, go home.


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

I don't see what you're seeing in there at all. That's an extremely succinct explanation of a pretty complex situation. Maybe Bob's the disruptive player. Maybe Fred is. There is a lot left out, but in the end, I don't think optimization is to blame, either Fred or Bob are.

Optimization does not exist in a vacuum.

Then I'll leave it to Jiggy to clarify.

As far as I can tell, that is what Jiggy is saying. He's saying it's absolutely never "optimization" that's the problem. It's either the optimizer or the people calling him an optimizer, not the tool that facilitated the issue.

Lantern Lodge

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Eugene Nelson wrote:
DM's who run Pathfinder Society who can not deal with or highly dislike Power Gamers are weak DM's. Just because you have 5 stars does not make you a good DM. The regional director of PFS in my area is a horrible DM and shes been around forever. There are others who can barely speak straight and who GM like they wish they were somewhere else. They all have a lot more stars than me. My point is that if you get frustrated over a character thats ok. If you say that it should not be allowed, you should not be a DM. I have been DMing since the late 80's and for some thats not a long time, but I have conditioned and learned along the way that Power Gamers have fun at the table. Min Maxers have fun. Mediocre builders have fun. The whole point is to have fun. Have fun doing what you do and let others please have fun doing what they do. As long as you are not ruining the module by being a pompous uncaring ass about it. Thats the only thing I have dealt with that I did not like. I played PFS with a character who was a synthesist summoner who could not be hit cause his AC was so high, could not miss cause his attack was so high, and all kinds of rediculousness. But you know what, he had fun and so did the rest of the party because I didnt complain too much besides pointing out the rediculousness and the party used him as a meat shield. Now this character did not do any damage and his spells sucked. It all works out in the end.

IN PFS you are very limited in what you can do as a DM. If someone is using his build to bulldoze over the mod and other players, and everything is perfectly legal by RAW, then what are they allowed to do? Bring the game to a grinding halt by trying to explain to them why they shouldn't do it? You can see how people can lose their minds if it's suggested that maybe they should take a penalty to diplomacy because they walked into the throne room and kicked him between the legs so hard he won't be able to produce a heir. But they will point out that nowhere does it say the DM is allowed to do so.

Shadow Lodge

I have to admit I'm somewhat biased, as that very inflexibility and inability to alter the scenario is what keeps me out of PFS, on both sides of the GM screen.

Shadow Lodge

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Dragonkitten wrote:
You can see how people can lose their minds if it's suggested that maybe they should take a penalty to diplomacy because they walked into the throne room and kicked him between the legs so hard he won't be able to produce a heir. But they will point out that nowhere does it say the DM is allowed to do so.

Diplomacy is generally ineffective in combat and against creatures that intend to harm you or your allies in the immediate future.

I think that when you kick someone there they are QUITE intent on harming you in the immediate future. In fact from personal experience thats been the second most thought in my mind.

The foremost being.. owwwwwwwwww

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber

It is impossible to build a perfect character. Every character has weaknesses. One "problem" with super optimization is that it often results in characters with one glaring weakness rather than several "minor" weaknesses. This is not a problem in and of itself, but what it often leads to is boreing games. The reason for this is that there is only one way to challenge the character, and the GM must do the same thing over and over. A charcter that is not over optimized can be challenged in many ways meaning there can me many interesting adventure opportunities, not so with the super optimized character. Further, often when a GM plays on the weakness of a super optimized character, that character has no way to deal with it. Thus the only real options become allow character to win easily all the time or kill the character easily all the them. That does not make for fun play.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Orthos wrote:
I have to admit I'm somewhat biased, as that very inflexibility and inability to alter the scenario is what keeps me out of PFS, on both sides of the GM screen.

Come by my table sometime and see how you like it. :)


Jiggy wrote:
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. :/

Personally, I try (often unsuccessfully!) to avoid drawing conclusions from a single data point which must be interpreted through the filter of my own preconceptions.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

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Damn, I was going to write IBT Stormwind Fallacy reference, but Ashiel already invoked it.

Seriously, invoking Stormwind Fallacy is like the Godwin's Law of optimization threads.


dragonkitten wrote:
You can see how people can lose their minds if it's suggested that maybe they should take a penalty to diplomacy because they walked into the throne room and kicked him between the legs so hard he won't be able to produce a heir. But they will point out that nowhere does it say the DM is allowed to do so.

Situational modifiers are acceptable in PFS.


Charlie Bell wrote:

Damn, I was going to write IBT Stormwind Fallacy reference, but Ashiel already invoked it.

Seriously, invoking Stormwind Fallacy is like the Godwin's Law of optimization threads.

Except that most people haven't been making the actual fallacy argument.

Most of the discussion here has been about the good or bad of power gaming without reference to how the gamers roleplay.


Jiggy wrote:
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. :/

Do you see me going around and ripping a new one to every half-baked game mechanic I see just because I have a Game Design degree?

No?

That's because I don't, and it should be possible for you to hold off on analyzing people in a casual setting. At least be honest and say it's because you enjoy it rather than "the analysis cannot be stopped".

Now, that's not to say I wholly disagree with you, but saying those things are the ONLY reasons is kind of silly. I can like a person just fine and still be peeved when we're in a casual game and he's built this hulking, 7 Int/Cha monster that gets old in a roleplay really fast ("ME UG LUG, ME SMASH PUNY MONSTER RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWR!" making up most of his vocabulary) and makes combat with most things boring/tedious either because he kills it too fast or the DM has to bump up the challenge level so he's challenged and we're barely scraping by.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

dragonkitten wrote:
IN PFS you are very limited in what you can do as a DM. If someone is using his build to bulldoze over ... other players, and everything is perfectly legal by RAW, then what are they allowed to do?

Boot him from the table.

Not kidding. It's right there in the Guide to Organized Play - the GM can boot a disruptive player.

I don't know where people get this idea that GMs have to roll over for anything some doofus might want to do, but it's simply not true. Can we ban classes/builds/feats/spells we don't like? No. Do we have to just say "okay" when someone says their idiotic actions shouldn't have consequences or when they're destroying their tablemates' experience? Absolutely not.


Rynjin wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
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. :/

Do you see me going around and ripping a new one to every half-baked game mechanic I see just because I have a Game Design degree?

No?

That's because I don't, and it should be possible for you to hold off on analyzing people in a casual setting. At least be honest and say it's because you enjoy it rather than "the analysis cannot be stopped".

Now, that's not to say I wholly disagree with you, but saying those things are the ONLY reasons is kind of silly. I can like a person just fine and still be peeved when we're in a casual game and he's built this hulking, 7 Int/Cha monster that gets old in a roleplay really fast ("ME UG LUG, ME SMASH PUNY MONSTER RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWR!" making up most of his vocabulary) and makes combat with most things boring/tedious either because he kills it too fast or the DM has to bump up the challenge level so he's challenged and we're barely scraping by.

Have you and the group talked to this person?

Have you tried compromising with them in any way?

Because if you have, optimization is a symptom, not the problem.

Shadow Lodge

Iron, I think Rynjin's was just an example, not an actual event.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Rynjin wrote:
I can like a person just fine and still be peeved when we're in a casual game and he's built this hulking, 7 Int/Cha monster that gets old in a roleplay really fast ("ME UG LUG, ME SMASH PUNY MONSTER RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWR!" making up most of his vocabulary) and makes combat with most things boring/tedious either because he kills it too fast or the DM has to bump up the challenge level so he's challenged and we're barely scraping by.

Yet another example: The real issue is that the roleplay gets old really fast, but it's being attributed to optimization.


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Oh, and I power game. Because I have a lot of time on my hands and I like analyzing a games rules and options. I make characters who push the boundaries of what is possible, because that is what interests me.

To me, part of D&D and similar games, is power gaming. There are other games where character options don't really matter, where everything is a +2 and the only difference is color. I enjoy those games too, or even games without stats.

A good example in my mind, you're playing 2nd Ed and don't want power gaming, don't play with Skills and Powers. If you do include that, I'm going to power game it. I'm happy with or without it.

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