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Why I power game


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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I recent was in a post debate over power gaming making PFS too easy.

I power game. I try to make the most powerfull character I can. I drip dry every rule and like the plate clean to do so.

Because I want to play something bigger and grandious than myself. I want to be heroic. A hero is something that is bigger than life. I want this to be exageratedily huge.

When you watch action movies you see the best soldier, the top pilot, the best scientist. The number 300th best police officer can be interesting, but but is not the type of anti-hero I like to play.

Then once I found every rules to give me every percent chance of being the best I delve into the character and develop a story for them. I develope a large back story and history with goals and desires.

I know I will draw more hate because of how I like to play and that is fine. You do not have to play with me. But keep this in mind. There are many many many of me playign the game. I am just waving the flag saying and admitting what I am. I have seen a 5 star GM critize me for it and then compliment someone else for it. Probably because I admit it and the other person did not. The sad part is that person they complimented brought this up to me and how they found it ironic.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Cool.

Personally, I find myself feeling heroic no matter what power level I'm going for, and I find that movies etc are generally about one single person being the best, when pathfinder is a team game.

Of course, I also don't like stealing the spotlight and marginalizing my teammates' contributions.

Andoran

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If the game has no boundaries and limits, who are you winning against?

If you are playing the system well, bravo.

If you are gaming the system, who cares?


I admit being the one non-power gamer at a table does take formt hat one person. But do you want to be that one person?

I power game by being the best at one thing. I have the best archer, the best control wizard, the best healer. You do not always hog the light, but you have moments of greatness.


Well i do not see any problem with powergaming if the DM powergame against the party too. It wuld be heroic Vs very dificult obstacles.

But i do not see the fun if the campaing is relativily easy and I just walk through it.


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Eh, however you like to play. As long as you aren't mucking things up for everyone else.


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Cheapy wrote:


Of course, I also don't like stealing the spotlight and marginalizing my teammates' contributions.

Probably the only real issue with "over-optimising". Someone (don't remember who) coined the phrase "responsible optimiser" yesterday. I thought that was a great term :)


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You do not win pathfinder by slaking your unnatural lusts for efficiency on the sodden and stained pages of its codex.

You win pathfinder by making the game more fun for everyone involved. Including the GM behind the screen.

Characters are not heroic because they are The Best At What They Do. They are heroic because they overcome attacks and challenges that strike them where they're weak.

I strongly recommend reading this.

Pixar's 22 Rules of Effective Storytelling - In Lego.

What interesting decisions have your characters agonized over?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

"How to hide the shadowdancer paladin's Shadow from the creative director."!


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Adastara lets look at Beowolf. The first form of english literature. When he fought grendel he did it without armor and a weapons and tore it's arm off. I am sorry but I disagree with you.


I can't feel heroic with 220 DPR. Beowulf obviously had 240 DPR.


Finlanderboy wrote:
Adastara lets look at Beowolf. The first form of english literature. When he fought grendel he did it without armor and a weapons and tore it's arm off. I am sorry but I disagree with you.

He was also roasted by a dragon at the end, so obviously he wasn't as good as he thought he was.


Yeah but Beowulf was playing a one-on-one solo sesh with his GM :) In PF we normally have a 4-6 person party. But hey, strong is good. I like well-made PCs myself. I'm not criticising you at all.

Just bored at work :)


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AdAstraGames wrote:

You do not win pathfinder by slaking your unnatural lusts for efficiency on the sodden and stained pages of its codex.

You win pathfinder by making the game more fun for everyone involved. Including the GM behind the screen.

Characters are not heroic because they are The Best At What They Do. They are heroic because they overcome attacks and challenges that strike them where they're weak.

This is one way to look at it.

Another way to look at it is that being dead does not win you pathfinder.

If the goal is to tell a compelling story then yes you are absolutely correct. However this is not a novel where the fate of the characters are entirely in the author's hands. This is a game where fate can be cruel and sudden and based part upon skill, part upon luck, and part upon the whims of a person who may not like the story you are telling.

So here's the part where I refer to Treantmonk in saying that optimization has about as much to do with good roleplaying and storytelling as it does with the style and length of your mustache.

You can be an optimizer and a good roleplayer or one or neither.


TarkXT, excellent point. I love Treantmonk.

*edit. Beowolf was an old man when he fought the dragon.


TarkXT wrote:
AdAstraGames wrote:

You do not win pathfinder by slaking your unnatural lusts for efficiency on the sodden and stained pages of its codex.

You win pathfinder by making the game more fun for everyone involved. Including the GM behind the screen.

Characters are not heroic because they are The Best At What They Do. They are heroic because they overcome attacks and challenges that strike them where they're weak.

This is one way to look at it.

Another way to look at it is that being dead does not win you pathfinder.

However if the goal is to tell a compelling story then yes you are absolutely correct. However this is not a novel where the fate of the characters are entirely in the author's hands. This is a game where fate can be cruel and sudden and based part upon skill, part upon luck, and part upon the whims of a person who may not like the story you are telling.

So here's the part where I refer to Treantmonk in saying that optimization has about as much to do with good roleplaying and storytelling as it does with the style and length of your mustache.

You an be an optimizer and a good
roleplayer or one or neither.

Absolutely.

You can also be a good optimiser and roleplayer, but also limelight-hogging jerk.

Not that I'm accusing anyone here of that. Just sayin' :)

Edit: Just to be clear, I'm absolutely not suggesting that most powergamers are poor teamplaying jerks. Just that it is possible to be one.


I have seen many people be a limelight hogging jerk.

The worst two I have seen:

A ten year old kid the dad ignores and leaves him at PFS events as a babysitter. The kid needs to be part of every thing and is horrible with table order.

The next an old man that fight other characters attempting to do something better then what his character has done by make up rules and adding rules that do not applying so everyone will quit attempting it just to keep the game playing and stop the rules lawyering.

Neither of these are power gamers.


Yep, understood. Check my edit though.


I know. I am just saying in my experience power gaming and hogging the limelight are rarely the same.

Although when I first played PFS I was tuck with Pregens because my area was nto running low level things. It was very dark being the only non-optimized character. But by no means was this their fault. The pregens are sometimes built weak(valeros)


littlehewy wrote:
TarkXT wrote:
AdAstraGames wrote:

You do not win pathfinder by slaking your unnatural lusts for efficiency on the sodden and stained pages of its codex.

You win pathfinder by making the game more fun for everyone involved. Including the GM behind the screen.

Characters are not heroic because they are The Best At What They Do. They are heroic because they overcome attacks and challenges that strike them where they're weak.

This is one way to look at it.

Another way to look at it is that being dead does not win you pathfinder.

However if the goal is to tell a compelling story then yes you are absolutely correct. However this is not a novel where the fate of the characters are entirely in the author's hands. This is a game where fate can be cruel and sudden and based part upon skill, part upon luck, and part upon the whims of a person who may not like the story you are telling.

So here's the part where I refer to Treantmonk in saying that optimization has about as much to do with good roleplaying and storytelling as it does with the style and length of your mustache.

You an be an optimizer and a good
roleplayer or one or neither.

Absolutely.

You can also be a good optimiser and roleplayer, but also limelight-hogging jerk.

Not that I'm accusing anyone here of that. Just sayin' :)

You can be that and be neither too. Bad builds and bad roleplaying can cause as much crap at the table if the player has suddenly turned all his flaws into a central theme of the game.

Like say, a badly built paladin who gets belligerent against the cleric because he chose to have a 7 con and feels he's not getting enough healing every combat.

Suddenly the rest of the group suffers, they're not getting the buffs the cleric might provide, they're having shorter adventuring days because the cleric has to keep the paladin alive, and every time the paladin falls he has to give a speech when he's let back up about "how good must never fall in the face of evil and you are failing blah blah blah.

Of course he can also be a well built paladin and slaughter all enemies claiming the group is slowing him down, hating on the cleric when he goes to heal the bard rather than buff him, etc. etc.

So yeah being a jerk is just that. You don't need numbers to be an A hole.


Finlanderboy wrote:

TarkXT, excellent point. I love Treantmonk.

*edit. Beowolf was an old man when he fought the dragon.

True, but he had a sword, shield, and armor to level the playing field. Though I suppose those penalties to physical stats have to hurt.


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is it something to say I powergame just so I have more time to roleplay? :P


Rynjin wrote:
Finlanderboy wrote:

TarkXT, excellent point. I love Treantmonk.

*edit. Beowolf was an old man when he fought the dragon.

True, but he had a sword, shield, and armor to level the playing field. Though I suppose those penalties to physical stats have to hurt.

He also had a cohort the bloody cheater.


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Finlanderboy wrote:

I know. I am just saying in my experience power gaming and hogging the limelight are rarely the same.

Although when I first played PFS I was tuck with Pregens because my area was nto running low level things. It was very dark being the only non-optimized character. But by no means was this their fault. The pregens are sometimes built weak(valeros)

Yes, being forced to play those pregens would drive anyone to optimise :)


You guys are much more positive then others I heard from today. I was told by one person. I am going to paraphrase because the post was deleted.

Is that he is going to say what developers can not say. We do not want people like you to play PFS that power game.

Then had some others that agreed by trashing my means.


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My experience? Powergamers tend to be selfish as players.

The ones I've seen want the accolade of making the 5th level character who can solo the big boss at the end in two rounds without anything higher than a 7 on their d20. Well, actually, they want a BBEG that's as awesome as they are so they get better bragging rights about bagging and tagging that Balor before they got iterative attacks. :)

Pathfinder - especially organized play - has to go with encounters that are largely "by the book".

Monster Typical Stats By CR.

Once you get to the point where APL+3 is typically over in two rounds, congratulations.


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.

Shadow Lodge

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I realize my personal vision of what makes a hero isn't all that widespread, but since there was so much talk about being "heroic" I thought I would share it:

To me, regardless of alignment, a powerful guy bulldozing over non-threats is not a hero. A hero is someone who does what is right, regardless of their own aptitude or that of their opposition. In fact, I'd say that I find them MORE heroic if they are outclassed. To me, perhaps the ultimate height of heroism is to do the right thing despite knowing that your efforts are doomed to failure, simply because it is still the right thing to do.


Kthulhu wrote:

I realize my personal vision of what makes a hero isn't all that widespread, but since there was so much talk about being "heroic" I thought I would share it:

To me, regardless of alignment, a powerful guy bulldozing over non-threats is not a hero. A hero is someone who does what is right, regardless of their own aptitude or that of their opposition. In fact, I'd say that I find them MORE heroic if they are outclassed. To me, perhaps the ultimate height of heroism is to do the right thing despite knowing that your efforts are doomed to failure, simply because it is still the right thing to do.

An you know what? That's awesome.

But who said this game was about being heroic?


I think Finlanderboy's definition of power-gaming isn't the same as some of the other posters in this thread. As far as I can tell from his posts, he doesn't create characters that destroy every encounter in one or two rounds; simply characters that are very good at what they do.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
AdAstraGames wrote:

My experience? Powergamers tend to be selfish as players.

The ones I've seen want the accolade of making the 5th level character who can solo the big boss at the end in two rounds without anything higher than a 7 on their d20. Well, actually, they want a BBEG that's as awesome as they are so they get better bragging rights about bagging and tagging that Balor before they got iterative attacks. :)

Pathfinder - especially organized play - has to go with encounters that are largely "by the book".

Monster Typical Stats By CR.

Once you get to the point where APL+3 is typically over in two rounds, congratulations.

Then again, remember that many monsters do not completely adhere to those averages. It evens says in the text that you can make creatures of a higher/lower value than listed, so long as you compensate for it in other departments. Some examples include Higher AC/Lower Health, or More Damage/Less To Hit.


Are wrote:

I think Finlanderboy's definition of power-gaming isn't the same as some of the other posters in this thread. As far as I can tell from his posts, he doesn't create characters that destroy every encounter in one or two rounds; simply characters that are very good at what they do.

Isn't that the definition of a powergamer?

Just that the problem comes in when they "power game" with nothing in mind but DPS at the cost of all else?


He mentioned one character who was great at healing. I doubt anyone would feel that character would be troublesome to have around, or destroy anyone's fun at the table.

And many seem to define a power-gamer as someone who tries to bend the rules as far as possible to eke out an advantage. That's not what happens here, as far as I can tell.


As others have posted rpgs are about not only the individual characers but the group. Some people have the time, inclination to pour through the rules and squeeze every last drop out of it others don't as simply they are more casual in their approach. I'd say as long as each of these players can work together in a group it should be fun. The problem starts when either the 'powergamer' feels the rest of the group isn't up to their 'standard' or the others feel the powergamer gets all the glory. Overall good DMing is a lot of being able to read the group and tailor the game so everyone enjoys the time they have. That and also being upfront about what type of game they are running (e.g. horror themed, over the top wuxia etc.).


TarkXT wrote:
But who said this game was about being heroic?

Well, the person who started the threat, for one thing:

The very first post wrote:
Because I want to play something bigger and grandious than myself. I want to be heroic. A hero is something that is bigger than life. I want this to be exageratedily huge.

I'd say discussing what is and is not heroic is entirely germane.

Silver Crusade

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A few weeks ago I played with pre-genned Ezren and I wanted to cry.

A Universalist wizard with spell focus EVOCATION and a bonded item who takes spider climb over invisibility.

I think I just puked in my mouth a little bit.


Glendwyr wrote:
TarkXT wrote:
But who said this game was about being heroic?

Well, the person who started the threat, for one thing:

The very first post wrote:
Because I want to play something bigger and grandious than myself. I want to be heroic. A hero is something that is bigger than life. I want this to be exageratedily huge.
I'd say discussing what is and is not heroic is entirely germane.

It's also pointless. The definition of a hero differs from person to person and is not the real issue here.

The heart of the issue has to do with one person's definition of fun over another. OP wants to be awesome at what he wants to do. Other's think that being awesome craps on their fun. Both can be heroes by whatever definition they choose. Or not.


TarkXT wrote:
Glendwyr wrote:
TarkXT wrote:
But who said this game was about being heroic?

Well, the person who started the threat, for one thing:

The very first post wrote:
Because I want to play something bigger and grandious than myself. I want to be heroic. A hero is something that is bigger than life. I want this to be exageratedily huge.
I'd say discussing what is and is not heroic is entirely germane.

It's also pointless. The definition of a hero differs from person to person and is not the real issue here.

The heart of the issue has to do with one person's definition of fun over another. OP wants to be awesome at what he wants to do. Other's think that being awesome craps on their fun. Both can be heroes by whatever definition they choose. Or not.

I think the funny thing here is that the OP's current field of awesome (battlefield control) is one that likely to get few complaints of "powergaming".

No one cares if the powergamer builds around party buffing or healing.


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Wyrd_Wik wrote:
As others have posted rpgs are about not only the individual characers but the group. Some people have the time, inclination to pour through the rules and squeeze every last drop out of it others don't as simply they are more casual in their approach. I'd say as long as each of these players can work together in a group it should be fun. The problem starts when either the 'powergamer' feels the rest of the group isn't up to their 'standard' or the others feel the powergamer gets all the glory. Overall good DMing is a lot of being able to read the group and tailor the game so everyone enjoys the time they have. That and also being upfront about what type of game they are running (e.g. horror themed, over the top wuxia etc.).

And this is why I hate PFS. Or really most organized play.

The GM has next to no narrative control. They can't tailor a game to the tastes of the group they can't even tailor it to their tastes. It's tailored, prepackaged, and worse the group can change from one week, or month, or whatever to another.

It's no wonder people over optimize at times and get accused of munchkining when their character overshadows another. They're trying to play to see how the story turns out (which they have little to no control over)while the other guy is trying to immerse into it.


A well played artificer is an insane party buffer.


Rynjin wrote:
Finlanderboy wrote:
Adastara lets look at Beowolf. The first form of english literature. When he fought grendel he did it without armor and a weapons and tore it's arm off. I am sorry but I disagree with you.
He was also roasted by a dragon at the end, so obviously he wasn't as good as he thought he was.

He was really old at the time, and he killed it before biting the dust.


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TarkXT wrote:
Wyrd_Wik wrote:
As others have posted rpgs are about not only the individual characers but the group. Some people have the time, inclination to pour through the rules and squeeze every last drop out of it others don't as simply they are more casual in their approach. I'd say as long as each of these players can work together in a group it should be fun. The problem starts when either the 'powergamer' feels the rest of the group isn't up to their 'standard' or the others feel the powergamer gets all the glory. Overall good DMing is a lot of being able to read the group and tailor the game so everyone enjoys the time they have. That and also being upfront about what type of game they are running (e.g. horror themed, over the top wuxia etc.).

And this is why I hate PFS. Or really most organized play.

The GM has next to no narrative control. They can't tailor a game to the tastes of the group they can't even tailor it to their tastes. It's tailored, prepackaged, and worse the group can change from one week, or month, or whatever to another.

It's no wonder people over optimize at times and get accused of munchkining when their character overshadows another. They're trying to play to see how the story turns out (which they have little to no control over)while the other guy is trying to immerse into it.

Off Topic: Organized play can be even worse than that. If the scenario happens to include elements that make the game agonizingly boring for the particular group, the GM really can't make any adjustments. You are stuck with the scenario and if the individual PCs at the table form a group that doesn't fit with the scenario, it will be 4 hours of fun, fun, fun for everybody.

Back On Topic: I personally hate the term "Power Game". It is a negative label that is attached to anyone who builds a character that is good at what they do. Frankly, if you don't "Power Game" (by that definition), I think you are playing the game "wrong" by building ineffective characters which is as bad for the group and play experience as the munchkins who try to marginalize everyone else.


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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."

  • Lantern Lodge

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    Mike J wrote:
    TarkXT wrote:
    Wyrd_Wik wrote:


    Back On Topic: I personally hate the term "Power Game". It is a negative label that is attached to anyone who builds a character that is good at what they do. Frankly, if you don't "Power Game" (by that definition), I think you are playing the game "wrong" by building ineffective...

    My experience with people who "power game" is often that they steam roll the encounter while everyone else just sits around and watches. As much as "power gamers" complain people stereotype them I think it goes both ways. Often people I meet with really optimized characters end believing that anyone who doesn't is "obsessed with roleplay to the point of playing a fighter with 7s in all physical stats because that's part of the story". There is no middle ground and so I wonder where I happen to be standing.

    There are people who make solid characters, eighteen in their man stat, with a good selection of abilities and magic items. They just want to have some fun and maybe get a little spotlight.

    I'll use this example again, because it happened to be personally. I was running an organized play event, of a different system, at Gen Con. There were a pair of guys that had this crazy combo together. Fight after fight they basically went first and killed everything while the rest of the group sat and watch. I tried to get them to cut down on dominating, but they were quick to point out everything was RAW. So as a GM of an organized play event I couldn't say anything.

    As you can guess by the end of the adventure the other four people just wanted to leave. It was no fun for them. I am sure they were wondering why they paid all this money just to be a quartet of useless sidekicks. It was probably the worst GM experience I ever had.

    Of course if they just simply had picked from the list of 10 approved classes, 10 approved archetypes, and something from the list of 30 feats and spells that don't suck then they would have been awesome.

    It has gotten to a point where I try my hardest to play only with a small circle of gamers I know personally. Which is sad because a big part of the fun of going to a convention is meeting new people.

    I really apologize for this being so long winded. I hope it made some sense. I am sure people who really like optimizing get tired of people stating complaints. I personally get tired of being told I didn't have fun because I make terrible characters. That I want everyone else to make terrible characters and come down to my level so I can have fun. I just want to have fun.

    I apologize once more for being long winded.


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    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."
  • Seriously, this deserves a +1 and then some.


    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.


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    Finlanderboy wrote:
    I recent was in a post debate over power gaming making PFS too easy.

    I haven't run or played in any PFS games, but I find the core game is pretty darn hard if you run it by the rules with NPCs who aren't suicidal. :P

    Quote:
    I power game.

    Be free wild spirit! :D

    Quote:
    Because I want to play something bigger and grandious than myself. I want to be heroic. A hero is something that is bigger than life. I want this to be exageratedily huge.

    It definitely is a fantasy fulfillment game. I can't remember the last time I could turn into a wolf or break down a stone wall with my hands.

    Quote:
    When you watch action movies you see the best soldier, the top pilot, the best scientist. The number 300th best police officer can be interesting, but but is not the type of anti-hero I like to play.

    It's true stories tend to be about the exceptional. We read of individuals like Beowulf or Perseus, not about random nobody of the day.

    Quote:
    Then once I found every rules to give me every percent chance of being the best I delve into the character and develop a story for them. I develope a large back story and history with goals and desires.

    Because truly powergaming is not at odds with creating a good character by any means. In fact, most powergamed characters I've seen are actually the opposite of a Mary Sue type. Powergamers can appreciate the roleplay as much as the game.

    Quote:
    I know I will draw more hate because of how I like to play and that is fine. You do not have to play with me. But keep this in mind. There are many many many of me playign the game. I am just waving the flag saying and admitting what I am.

    A noble deed sir. Good on you. Many people do not embrace their inner powergamer because our circles often chastise and hate what they are not capable of doing or because they learned from others it was bad. Hoorah I shout unto you, hoorah! 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!

    Quote:
    I have seen a 5 star GM critize me for it and then compliment someone else for it. Probably because I admit it and the other person did not. The sad part is that person they complimented brought this up to me and how they found it ironic.

    Bigotry comes in many forms, but irony always grins the grin of irony. I say to you, good show sir.

    PS: I'll try to get to commenting on your gunslinger build when I am able. I just haven't gotten around to it and need to double check some things on the gunslinger (I really hate the Pathfinder gunslinger due to some of the class mechanics and very much because of the firearms mechanics, so I would like to refresh myself on them in detail before I feel like I can properly comment on your build, and I have some stuff to do today so it might take a while. But I wanted you to know it was on my list of things to do).


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    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.


    Power game all you want. Noooo problems there. Just don't be a scene stealer.


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    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.

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