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Most frustratingly weak characters you've ever experienced.


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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I understand there is (or should be) a social contract between GM and PCs, but there should be some options! Hahahaha!


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100% right, SmiloDan. I am of the same opinion.
When we played Reign of Winter my GM removed the geas, and we ended not freeing Baba Yaga, looking for an alternative way to close the portals and a lot of major changes to the AP, but still we stayed mostly on track. Having options even if you don't always choose them, makes you feel like you have some freedom of choice, that there is a whole world and not just the one on the railroads.

About Dragonlance, I never wanted to GM or play stories that had already been told and that had a known ending, as it felt like the players would be pushed to make the same choices that had already been done. I didn't want to feel constrained. I wanted them to be relevant and that their decissions could shape the world. They reconquered Silvanesti from the Minotaurs and Palanthas from the Dark Knights, and it was all because they decided to do it. And some more relevant changes, specially politic. Then I GMed the Key of Destiny trilogy and it was a blast. It's actually very good and not as railroady as the basic modules.
And now we are GMing some APs from Paizo aside from other homebrew stuff and 3pp (until now, RoW, S&S and WotW).
I don't care for Raistlin, Caramon and co. My players have to be the main characters, these overly popular characters would probably take too much spotlight even if it wasn't my intention.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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I recently ran a homebrew adventure, and the PCs (6 finesse & spell-chucker types, highest strength is 12) somehow got a giant smart spell-killing ape to join their team. It threw a HUGE (monkey) wrench into my plans, but I coped by pretty much doubling up everything's hit points. :-P The monster was even LN, so it didn't betray them at a crucial time. They ended up giving the Crown of the Monkey King to the giant ape, and left on good terms.

And I hate running DMPCs, or even allied NPCs, during fights. So I just gave the monster sheet to a random player and that was that. :-)


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I have a long story about using NPCs during fights because I often do solo GMing, but I tend to handle NPCs to my players or have them fighting minions, doing secondary things, etc. Mostly to avoid them having too much spotlight. And to have to run too many character sheets, specially if there are too many enemies. I'd end messing everything up.


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We had a DMPC who might actually be worthy of mention in this thread, the DM made him a cleric heal bot with loads of AC so he didn't die and didn't steal the spotlight. But the guy just became annoying due to bad rolls and being a lump of Armour.

Any skill check that had penalties for Armour he failed (tower shield full plate) which became surprisingly annoying because it limited party mobility a lot. So many rivers he couldn't cross .-.

Then on top of that things consistently rolled 18 or 19 to hit him so his Armour didn't make much difference and he couldn't roll to hit for toffee.

The party sorc kept trying to 'accidentally' kill him in AoE's but he had like 18 con xD So couldn't move, couldn't die and couldn't kill anything.

Eventually we abandoned him after he convinced us not to kill a hostage, went to knock out said hostage, rolled and crit and killed him after about 10 minutes of in character arguing about not killing the hostage xD


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LoL.
That's why when I add a GMNPC I always make sure that he is useful and can get well with the strategies of the party. And if he doesn't, allowing the party to get rid of them is always fun xD

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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For Kingmaker, I had a DMPC cleric with Weapon Finesse for his light mace. At least he had Selective Channel too. :-P

He began to remain near the trading post once the PCs got a wand of cure light wounds...

The party was using a rogue/witch/wannabe arcane trickster and a ranger as their healers. They also had a cavalier/fighter, eventually my barbarian/magus when someone took over GMing for Chapter 2, an occasional alchemist, and maybe a druid?


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In RoW my Witch was the healer and it went OK, aside from some wealth wasted in Restoration scrolls.

In S&S the NPC cleric channels negative energy and even though she has some useful buffs and all the status removal in combat I made her a melee. The reason? Make her a healer or a buffer cleric would have stolen the spotlight from one of the PCs who was playing a buffer bard and having her just hitting things was the best way to keep her useful while not stealing spotlight.

I usually announced when the players were hitting or the extra damage they were dealing thanks to the buffs the batd was granting and that mad everybody realize how useful she was being.


To be fair the Dwarf having a heart attack was actually good story telling building up to it and had a purpose. The effect on the party how it caused one character to go crazy for a bit because they were best friends.
One thing my group started doing was making an NPC healer tag along. A Seeker Life Oracle in case we didn't have a character able to Disarm Magical traps. It worked out well for my group.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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The witch actually got in a situation where he and another PC were trapped in a room filled with undead deer. He was able to use his Healing Hex to one-shot a bunch of undead deer.

(It was in a corrupted temple to that LG farm and hunting archery deity I added for zest. The skeletal deer had Improved Disarm and Improved Bull Rush as bonus feats instead of Improved Initiative.)


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>One character has a heart attack, another sees it and goes crazy from the stress...

This sounds like Darkest Dungeon.


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Trinam wrote:

>One character has a heart attack, another sees it and goes crazy from the stress...

This sounds like Darkest Dungeon.

To me, it brings up fond memories of Dark Heresy. Low ranks + a single lesser daemon were comedy goldmines as you watched the group utterly dissolve into friendly fire, vomiting, and terrified prayers to the God-Emperor before anything even acted.


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Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Fighter 2, Diviner 1, Magus 2, Sorcerer 1, Rogue 2. Prefers a noncomposite shortbow. Do I win?


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What were they going for o.O


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Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
What were they going for o.O

HOT MESS.


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A 'decide which one to get each level' maybe? Or under the mistaken impression that a widely scattered char will produce something like a jack-of-all-trades?


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Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Trinam wrote:

>One character has a heart attack, another sees it and goes crazy from the stress...

This sounds like Darkest Dungeon.

To me, it brings up fond memories of Dark Heresy. Low ranks + a single lesser daemon were comedy goldmines as you watched the group utterly dissolve into friendly fire, vomiting, and terrified prayers to the God-Emperor before anything even acted.

I played a psychic in Dark Heresy. The times where my life was more endangered was because of my own teammates. They wouldn't allow to use my psychic powers without pointing a gun at my head, just in case I ended possessed or something equally bad.


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Can you blame us? Remember that time you had a demon head!

Your psychic powers were more dangerous than our enemies!


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Who is blaming you? My character was a bit of an assh*le anyway, she deserved it xD


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AM BARBARIAN wrote:
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
What were they going for o.O
HOT MESS.

Wait what are you doing on this thread? Came to gloat? AM: ME SAY ANY CHARACTER NOT ME AM FRUSTRATINGLY WEAK!


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He told us about this level 20 caster guy he met once.


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AH so yes basically lol.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Dalindra wrote:

Can you blame us? Remember that time you had a demon head!

Your psychic powers were more dangerous than our enemies!

Reminds me of The Clash at Demonhead. Now I want to watch Scott Pilgrim v. the World again.


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Three very weak characters I had at the table:

The first was someone trying to play a God Wizard. Player new to PF, hit the boards, was directed to the usual guides and builds and showed up at the table with a cookie cutter build.
But with only slight knowledge of the rules and no actual grasp on why BFC can be powerful, it was just.... sad.

Second was a girl pestering me to allow the half-fiend template, green-light assassin for her, on and on she went. Ended up with a Rogue/Assassin STR 8/Dex 24 flying over the battlefield and trying to shoot stuff with a longbow, dealing d8-1 dmg, no SA, never.
Later found out that she was so inspired by a picture she found somewhere, that she was hell-bent on creating that. A bit understandable, still pathetic.

Last was a guy who tried some near-TO build. Really long build, many components, a lot of dipping and all that. But we started at level one and his build was packed so tight to get where he wanted it, stuff never really fit, like starting with Wiz1 and power attack, and so on. It was a sad sight and killing that character had more the feeling of putting an end to the suffering.


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I have questions

1) what did he actually do in game with his like 2 Spell slots per day xD

2) I can totally imagine this sort of thing happening and inducing eye rolling and sighing in me xD

3) that makes me sad also wizards can't take PA at level 1 so he fudged that up too.


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Yesterday I had an unexpected player joining an ongoing game. I could only give him a couple of NPCs I had created for the story as it was completely impossible to get a new character into the story (everybody is trapped inside a haunted house). So I let him choose between two characters and he chose the witch. She is level 1 as everybody else, with only Sleep and Evil Eye/ Cackle as offensive hexes... and 90% of the enemies are undead!
I never cared a lot about this character being pretty useless in combat as it was going to be a support NPC who could provide some skills that the party missed. But now that she's being RPed by a player I realize that I have handed to him a useless character! I might allow the player to retailor the character before next session because this is all my fault.

The player is OK with his character as he is a heavy roleplayer and he is having fun making her look creepy as hell. But I don't want to feel guilty if she cannot do anything in combat.


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I once played with someone who made a mancatcher-specialized fighter.


Kileanna wrote:
The player is OK with his character as he is a heavy roleplayer and he is having fun making her look creepy as hell. But I don't want to feel guilty if she cannot do anything in combat.

I think the deciding factor here may be how long they're due to be in the HH for, and how heavy an undead presence you're intending to have in the following few levels.

If the character is going to be less than useful after the HH for five levels, say, then absolutely go with the rebuild - if it is only going to be for the HH, just have a word with the player, explain the situation, and make him aware the character will be more useful once they escape.


Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:

I have questions

1) what did he actually do in game with his like 2 Spell slots per day xD

2) I can totally imagine this sort of thing happening and inducing eye rolling and sighing in me xD

3) that makes me sad also wizards can't take PA at level 1 so he fudged that up too.

1) The thing was more that he read about what he ought to do and copied that well, but he didn´ t understand why he should do it and how the actual in-game effect is. So he went for a maxed-out INT elf diviner, scribed scrolls and started with a good spell load-out (Color Spray, Sleep, Obscuring Mist), spammed Ray of Frost every round when not casting spells for effect. So, sounds textbook example of a successful Wizard, right? He knew that the spells were supposed to be good, but not why, so firing CS in a pitched melee, using sleep on a bbeg that was already flanked by a samurai and ninja, firing up OM when a goblin go into melee range (and was dropped by the AoO he provoked).

2) Yeah, could be avoided by talking about the concept as a whole first (and maybe showing the picture). It´s not that a gm can´t offer suggestions for builds and such.

3) That´s what happens if you sit down using Excel to figure out your build, start shifting around elements and forget that they have to be legit choices at the level you place them. I always give the advice that character build should be made from the ground up, on a level-by-level basis.

Sovereign Court

Over here in game design land, we have system designers, and system mastery is absolutely a thing. System mastery encompasses the ability to make choices that create the most desired result out of the game resources available to you.

Stuff like "interacting with other players" and "managing spotlighting time" is cultural. In video games it's the kind of stuff that is half guided by in-game expectations modeling (e.g. You make a "tip" jar that lets you give bennies to someone on your team who was super-great, to reinforce positive behavior) and half by community management (e.g. Your community team says "It is inappropriate to call people racist/sexist slurs and you will be banned.")

RPGs treat these separately because you can be great at making optimized characters AND also be a colossal dirtbag with whom nobody wants to play. Also culture guidance rarely shows up in RPG book advice in a substantive way in pre-2000 games (with a few pithy quotables here and there).


dysartes wrote:
Kileanna wrote:
The player is OK with his character as he is a heavy roleplayer and he is having fun making her look creepy as hell. But I don't want to feel guilty if she cannot do anything in combat.

I think the deciding factor here may be how long they're due to be in the HH for, and how heavy an undead presence you're intending to have in the following few levels.

If the character is going to be less than useful after the HH for five levels, say, then absolutely go with the rebuild - if it is only going to be for the HH, just have a word with the player, explain the situation, and make him aware the character will be more useful once they escape.

I haven't still decided what I am going to GM after that, but I don't want it to be so heavy on undead.

The story is a module called Hangman's Noose that isn't meant to solve everything by combat (the BBEG cannot be defeated as he keeps rejuvenating and you have to device a way to get rid of him) so as she has some useful skills she might be useful out of combat.
The story only takes the PCs to level 2 so it shouldn't be a big deal. I might be worrying too much but I wouldn't like that my player felt useless along the full story arc. Because everything they have fought until now has been undead.

Spoiler:
The last and more powerful enemy is human, but that's just 1 enemy. She might be able to OHKO him, though


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Is Jesse Heinig in the wrong thread xD

Kileanna couldn't you swap evil eye for misfortune? And swap sleep for ear peircimg scream xD

Sovereign Court

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Odd, since I was replying in the thread asking whether system mastery actually existed. Funny that it was somehow copied over here.


Ever seen any frustratingly weak characters?


Purple Overkill wrote:

Three very weak characters I had at the table:

The first was someone trying to play a God Wizard. Player new to PF, hit the boards, was directed to the usual guides and builds and showed up at the table with a cookie cutter build.
But with only slight knowledge of the rules and no actual grasp on why BFC can be powerful, it was just.... sad.

Kinda of links to the 'Does System Mastery exist' thread... It is important to understand WHY you're doing something, that is system mastery. It is all very well following a guide on a build but if as a player you don't understand why that is a good choice then you know nothing. And learn nothing.


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Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:

Is Jesse Heinig in the wrong thread xD

Kileanna couldn't you swap evil eye for misfortune? And swap sleep for ear peircimg scream xD

That's more or less what I was thinking.

The last session we were a bit in a hurry because one of the players had to leave soon so I handed him the character as it was.
I don't know if giving him ear piercing scream is a good idea anyway. As I said he is a heavy roleplayer who loves to roleplay all his abilities. And also a loud person. I don't know if you know where I am going. Giving him ear piercing scream scares me.


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I was mostly looking for the opposite of sleep with that xD

Maybe a heavy rper shouldn't get it though xD


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Yeh, enemies won't sleep. Neither would neighbors.

Grand Lodge

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I think it was a PFS game at tier 8-9. A druid was "built" for pet combat and spellcasting, and had put all of their spells into buffs to make their pet stronger. However, the poor thing was built so ineffectively that it would routinely go down from AoO on a charge attack, first round, and not even get a hit off. The druid would then run up and CLW wand it until it was back up. He had a whopping 2 offensive spells (2x flame strike), and a Wisdom of 16 (with a +4 headband). He didn't use wildshape. After he got his pet back up, he would sit there and buff it for the rest of the fight.

So for a recap:
-He didn't do damage except 2 flame strikes with shamefully low DCs
-His pet didn't absorb any attacks because he'd always have it charge things where enemies would get AoOs
-He'd buff in-combat and use a wand of CLW, even when he knew we were going into combat (he didn't want to waste duration)
-He often sent his pet in the way of other players, hindering party members who could contribute
-His spell selection was awful, and he never had enough buffs for the party, and would prep a really wide range of spells JUST for his companion
-He was stingy on using his CLW wand on allies
-His character did absolutely nothing aside from buff/revive his animal companion

We had 2 power builds in the party, and 2 other players who had decent characters but weren't very effective in the unique situation the scenario presented (they did their best). We all survived, but it was agonizing with 2 characters barely carrying the party, mostly due to luck.


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16 wis with a + 4 belt on a character built for spell casting.

That is pretty impressive.

reading that made me cringe xD

Grand Lodge

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Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:

16 wis with a + 4 belt on a character built for spell casting.

That is pretty impressive.

reading that made me cringe xD

The Animal Companion had a less than 20 for AC if I recall. Player hadn't bought it armor, or cast any spells like Barkskin on it. Most of his buffs were on the rounds or minutes/level range, and he had utterly neglected common spells like barkskin (and other longer duration spells). No buffs to increase pet damage like lock-jaw, just a regular old magic fang. Half his spells were healing spells, which he would almost never use in-combat, even to heal his pet (he was saving them, rationing them out).

Pretty sure he was also pretty high, but I can't know for certain. That whole experience was cringe-worthy. Luckily, he has been my worst PFS experience and we lived to tell the tale. There was one player who swore like Henry Rollins on a bad day at a public convention who came close, but that wasn't too bad.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Divvox2 wrote:
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:

16 wis with a + 4 belt on a character built for spell casting.

That is pretty impressive.

reading that made me cringe xD

The Animal Companion had a less than 20 for AC if I recall. Player hadn't bought it armor, or cast any spells like Barkskin on it. Most of his buffs were on the rounds or minutes/level range, and he had utterly neglected common spells like barkskin (and other longer duration spells). No buffs to increase pet damage like lock-jaw, just a regular old magic fang. Half his spells were healing spells, which he would almost never use in-combat, even to heal his pet (he was saving them, rationing them out).

Pretty sure he was also pretty high, but I can't know for certain. That whole experience was cringe-worthy. Luckily, he has been my worst PFS experience and we lived to tell the tale. There was one player who swore like Henry Rollins on a bad day at a public convention who came close, but that wasn't too bad.

I've only seen Henry Rollins do spoken word once, but I don't remember him swearing a lot. I remember him being surprisingly neurotic, though. :-D

To be honest, I didn't expect him to NOT swear, so maybe it just wasn't noteworthy. Good show, though.

Grand Lodge

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SmiloDan wrote:
Divvox2 wrote:
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:

16 wis with a + 4 belt on a character built for spell casting.

That is pretty impressive.

reading that made me cringe xD

The Animal Companion had a less than 20 for AC if I recall. Player hadn't bought it armor, or cast any spells like Barkskin on it. Most of his buffs were on the rounds or minutes/level range, and he had utterly neglected common spells like barkskin (and other longer duration spells). No buffs to increase pet damage like lock-jaw, just a regular old magic fang. Half his spells were healing spells, which he would almost never use in-combat, even to heal his pet (he was saving them, rationing them out).

Pretty sure he was also pretty high, but I can't know for certain. That whole experience was cringe-worthy. Luckily, he has been my worst PFS experience and we lived to tell the tale. There was one player who swore like Henry Rollins on a bad day at a public convention who came close, but that wasn't too bad.

I've only seen Henry Rollins do spoken word once, but I don't remember him swearing a lot. I remember him being surprisingly neurotic, though. :-D

To be honest, I didn't expect him to NOT swear, so maybe it just wasn't noteworthy. Good show, though.

I love what I've seen of his stand-up (and I'll admit, his bit in Johnny Mneumonic, shuddup, it's a great movie XD ) though the 2 shows I've seen of his where pretty heavy with swearing. One was an early show of his years ago and the other was a more recent one that was on Netflix, so I assumed all of his shows were like that.


Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:

16 wis with a + 4 belt on a character built for spell casting.

That is pretty impressive.

reading that made me cringe xD

That´s not so terribly impressive. When you know a game won´t progress beyond a certain point, sometimes "low" is enough and you can try out other possibilities with classes that you´d never do with a character that you think will progress further. Sometimes, that can even open new insights in general builds.

I actually had fun fooling around with a spiritualist and turning it into a twin kukri / twin tentacle wielding ersatz-rogue with a Wis of 10 (plus +2 item). Wouldn't´t do it for a longer campaign, but for a one-shot, it was great.


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This person was explicitly building the character to be a spell caster though, with a starting wis of 12.

Thats a weak spell caster because your DCs are going to be 12.


Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
This person was explicitly building the character to be a spell caster though

Ok, that _is_ bad.


Purple Overkill wrote:
3) That´s what happens if you sit down using Excel to figure out your build, start shifting around elements and forget that they have to be legit choices at the level you place them. I always give the advice that character build should be made from the ground up, on a level-by-level basis.

Incidentally, this is also why I despise the stat block system for displaying a character. Great for seeing basic combat info, utterly terrible for demonstrating how a character is built up from first level.


Yeah that is a problem
You so,etimes find creatures of NPCs (particularly a thing when looking at a wizards stat block like old Mage jatembe) and you're like.... but what do they do o.0


Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:

Yeah that is a problem

You so,etimes find creatures of NPCs (particularly a thing when looking at a wizards stat block like old Mage jatembe) and you're like.... but what do they do o.0

That´s not what was meant.

Say, if I were to post a mid to high level character in combat stat block format, would you see at a glance if my feat selection is a legit one? The issue becomes more pronounced when you take attribute raises due to leveling and magic items into account.

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