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Most frustratingly weak characters you've ever experienced.


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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So I'm bored and the idea came to me to make a thread about characters you've seen played or have played yourself (who doesn't love a vent?)? Just to make something clear before somebody screams BADWRONGFUN, I'm not complaining that everyone should make min maxed OP gods, honestly I fully support weak novelty builds so long as the player is aware they're making a weak novelty character and are okay with that. Oh and the DM adjusts accordingly.

I've realized whilst thinking about my particular examples that they all revolve around badly planned ranged characters.

So in one game where I was the GM one player (level 3 human) played a druid with a wolf companion. He took Spell focus conjuration, point blank shot and possible power attack? He swapped between power attacking and missing with a quarterstaff, using produce flame to do 1D6 for three rounds from range or using a bow and again missing horribly. I tried to convince him to focus on something but he kept saying he wanted versatility. Anyway his wolf's singular bite attack was his main contribution most fights and even that wasn't consistent. This was annoying for me as it meant I had to adjust encounters to basically a 2 man party because he may as well not have been there. And it was visibly annoying him how little impact he was having on the game, which brought everyone at the game down.

The second instance I was playing and a new player joined. She made an air kineticist and it was immediately obvious she had no idea what she was doing thinking she got every blast available to her element and every infusion and so fourth. Fortunately she got their early and I was familiar with kineticists so I smoothed that out.

I couldn't help the fact that again the feat investment was all over the place, she chose the physical blast in the end and had PBS, Toughness and I believe skill focus flight for when she got wings of air next level (we were level 5). She also neglected Dex in favor of con the result of which was she had a +6 to hit at level 5 and shooting into melee that was a +2. So as you can imagine with a +2 to hit at level 5 she mostly missed. This wouldn't be such a problem were it not for the fact she complained literally every round of combat that her character was useless yet refused to change anything. She eventually started taking naps at the table and we ended up asking her to leave since it didn't seem like the game was for her.

Sooooo anyone else been frustrated by a borked character? someone else's or their own?


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I'm currently playing a human druid in a skull and shackles campaign, and although I have been a great help outside of combat, I feel very weak in combat.

Small backstory: Group of friends, three/five players have never played. One chose Monk, another Rogue, and the last a Fighter. The fighter dropped out after the second session when he realized he'd rather do something else.

I chose to be a Storm Druid and the other experience player chose Sorcerer to help balance the party.

I wanted to be a "Generalist" so that I don't outshine the new players (I typically make some pretty brutal builds). So I started out with (20 pt buy):

13 STR
13 DEX
14 CON
10 INT
18 WIS
09 CHA

Those stats scream "Caster", but as I am the only "healer" in the party, I'm typically prepping spells that don't need good saves. My domain gives me "fog" spells so far, and those aren't good for the current group... So in fights I'm just trying to provide flanking where I can and cast spells when needed.

Also, never played a Druid before, I just don't know what feats I want. The GM is allowing retraining if I desire, so I at least don't have to fear choosing poorly. Currently I have Dodge, Improved Initiative, and Blind-Fight for now.

The group appreciates me, and I am having fun. But I sort of hate combat in that game at the moment (Just hit level 4, so maybe wild shaping will be fun) as I spend a lot of my turns missing melee/range attacks, or casting the very occasional support spell (for being new players, they rarely need anything, which surprised me).


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Also came across a pretty terrible Alchemist. Good kid, has fun, but his stats are all over the place for what he wants to play.

He has high INT, but poor DEX and STR and he is running around with a bastard sword. He wants to melee all the time. Other players typically have to request him to use his bombs.

It might just be that he's still young, so luckily nobody holds it against him yet, but I can see some frustration on their faces every game he plays in.


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Ooo I forgot about this occultist a guy I know played. He'd never played Pathfinder before and was joining a level 10 campaign (warning bells ringing anyone?. He had played 5e however and insisted he was a fast learner so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. He was not a fast learner.

I had to sit with him for hours whilst he made this mess of a character (I was not the DM) who was half archery half enchanting, he took rapid shot but not many shot and then decided he wanted a crossbow not a bow.

With no strength bonus to damage and basically taking no measures to buff his own damage he pretty much did nothing to anything with DR unless he used legacy weapon to get bane, which he never understood took a standard action so typically would do it about 1 round before combat was over as he kept thinking he could shoot then do it.

He didn't get the hand of it in three game sessions then I had to leave for schedule reasons and I believe the group died shortly thereafter.

EDIT: the alchemist guy you mentioned reminded me of him xD


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Played with a bard 1/rogue 1/wizard x once. The game got to 15th level or so, and even at the end a go-to strategy for him was giving his 1st level bard song (and haste, to be fair) to the party, then sniping with acid splash. For 1d4 acid + 1d6 sneak attack. The player's one of my favorite people, but the character was...not as effective as it could have been. Fortunately, the rest of the party was pretty potent.


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An average of ... 6 damage a round at level 15 as a go to...

.-.


Any character I ever had to craft with a less than 25 pt PB... I once rolled an exceptional character for D&D5, and it all went poof when the DM 'requested' we go back to a standard, and inadequate, point buy because one whiner had had less good of a roll series. I was so frustrated I nearly walked out of that game.


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I don't mind playing unoptimized characters or playing with others who have unoptimized characters, but it's super frustrating when a player plays a weak PC like he's supposed to be a superhero and then throws a tantrum when things inevitably go south.

Know your PC's limitations and, if you choose to ignore them, accept the risk.


I've never been able to build a mystic theurge to my liking. It seems like it should be really powerful and I think I build it up too much in my head so that when I put it on paper it's always disappointing. To this day I've never played one in an actual game.

Scarab Sages

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Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

I played with a dex 12 heavy crossbow rogue in three sessions. This player has a history of playing horrible builds. This one did a total of three point of damage in all three sessions. And wasn't useful outside of combat either.


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Way back when I played a rogue. Rolled stats included 10 Str, 8 Con, 4 Cha. Not a lot of magic items & those found were random - I wound up using a +2 heavy mace despite having weapon finesse. He was fun to play sometimes but ... ineffective. Towards the end that included out of combat as the wizard started using magic to take over his remaining roles.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I almost always feel like my characters are frustratingly weak, even when it feels like I'm taking the 'right' options for them, because they don't compare next to folks who 'throw all their eggs in one basket'.

And no, I'm not begging for advice here, because it typically turns into 'Do this cookie cutter build for MAXDEEPS' with no consideration for other factors, like roleplaying, social interaction, skill use outside of combat, etc, etc, etc.


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Klorox wrote:
Any character I ever had to craft with a less than 25 [points]...

This surprises me because I've never built a character with more than 20 and I seem to do just fine. I suppose it depends upon the campaign.

A few years ago, one of my players built a mid-level rogue that I should have reviewed more carefully before gametime. About an hour into her debut, the party came to a locked door and we realized that she'd failed to put any skill points in Disable Device. And failed to buy thieves' tools.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

This had me a little peeved at the time. The Remoraz did 102 damage to me before I could act. I was still alive due to being a barbarian. My party member did 2 damage to the remoraz as I was getting torn to pieces.
Here is the link to the PbP

In fairness, I think the rogue in question was the lowest level in the group at the time but I was still a little upset.

Now it just make a good story. (No hard feelings)


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

We have a player in our local PFS group who shows up with her SO and both play hot messes of characters: her primary character is a druid, but she doesn't understand how spells work and somehow made it to 10th level in a primary spellcasting class without anyone bothering to explain them to her.

Her SO has an archer who at 10-11th level does an average of 15 points of damage a round.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Menarses Esenay wrote:
Klorox wrote:
Any character I ever had to craft with a less than 25 [points]...

This surprises me because I've never built a character with more than 20 and I seem to do just fine. I suppose it depends upon the campaign.

A few years ago, one of my players built a mid-level rogue that I should have reviewed more carefully before gametime. About an hour into her debut, the party came to a locked door and we realized that she'd failed to put any skill points in Disable Device. And failed to buy thieves' tools.

My husband's investigator in Hell's Rebels, designed as a skill and knowledge monkey, who came from a family that had dedicated themselves to fighting against Thrune control of Cheliax and their diabolical allies...forgot to put skill ranks into Knowledge (planes). We weren't mad, as there were one or two others who did have ranks and he contributed in plenty of ways besides, but I'm not sure we'll ever let him live it down. ;)


avr wrote:
Way back when I played a rogue. Rolled stats included 10 Str, 8 Con, 4 Cha. Not a lot of magic items & those found were random - I wound up using a +2 heavy mace despite having weapon finesse. He was fun to play sometimes but ... ineffective. Towards the end that included out of combat as the wizard started using magic to take over his remaining roles.

This reminds me of a 1st Edition AD&D game in college in which I rolled up a Thief (that's what they called Rogues back then) with mediocre ability scores (remember, roll 3d6 in order, and of course I got no Constitution bonus), and the 1st Hit Dice had to be rolled too, and Thieves had d6 Hit Dice back then, and I rolled *1* Hit Point. And then just to make it REALLY WEIRD, the DM was using the optional Social Class roll table in the back of the Dungeon Master's Guide, and I rolled 00 for Social Class -- Royalty. And then we had a humongous party -- around 14 player characters. Unfortunately, that campaign died before I had a chance to be ineffective (although amazingly, my character didn't take any damage at all during any of the few encounters before the campaign died, and thus survived).


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I once played a 1st level monk in 1st edition. (no that is the whole story if you don't understand you never read the 1st edition monk.)


I had a player who had a wizard who casted most exclusively fire spells... even against enemies with fire immunity. After having being warned of such immunity.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
I once played a 1st level monk in 1st edition. (no that is the whole story if you don't understand you never read the 1st edition monk.)

You had one attack that did d3 damage, 2d4 hit points, and the worst possible armor class. What's the problem?


^2d4 hit points at 1st level, and 1d4 hit points per level thereafter. Also, starting at a ridiculously low level (8th), only a limited number of Monks of each level were allowed to exist -- unless a level was vacant, you had to get it by fighting the current holder, and the loser (if still alive) dropped to whatever your level was before this. Actually, same for the 1st Edition Druid, but at least the level at which this started was higher. (An echo of this exists in the Pathfinder prestige class Green Faith Acolyte, although the way I read that one, a surviving loser just loses a title and not a level, but still needs to regain the title before progressing further.)


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Also you did not get to add str bonus to damage or dex to ac. (and ofcourse no armor was allowed so enjoy ac 10 at level one)


The absolute weakest character I ever DMed for was a FR specific base class in AD&D 2nd edition. It was called the Shadow Walker. Think Shadow Dancer, but with d4 hp, to hit like a wizard, some piddling weapons, no armour, spells that contained nothing of substance to a max of lvl 4 spells and even that delayed to half wizard progression, really weak thief abilities, and some mainly flavour special abilities. It was truly a ground zero of useless. The player gave up on it after two sessions.


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I have noticed that the most innefective characters are due to players out of their elements, at least in this system. Yes, the old really bad rolls, flash paper low level weaklings of early D&D were bad, but even they could be worked with, or worked around. A lot of people didn't want to then.
Now we have rogues who deal damage, but have to purchase an adamantine axe and have a healer on hand to deal with locks and traps.
Druids who can't even participate unless it involves turning into a tyrranisaur.
Wizards that hate working with anyone else because it would interfere with their invisible airborne assaults.

Really, any character so caught up in their own schtick that they can't play with others.
That is what I think a weak character is.


^Like this -- much of this thread is for you, and Kileanna's most recent post above is just a teaser for it -- read, and weep. Or something.


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Lol rogues seem to be a theme xD

MichaelCullen's story in particular made me laugh xD although I think the 1e monk and the Shadow Dancer sound the worst xD

@Kileanna - what was his reaction when his fire spells did nothing?


Kileanna wrote:
I had a player who had a wizard who casted most exclusively fire spells... even against enemies with fire immunity. After having being warned of such immunity.

That's one I might fall to with a character built too close to the theme and not versatile enough, striking the foe with what it has, even when it's useless...

Especially since PF doesn't have the 3.5 feats to change a spell's energy type... or maybe it does but I never managed to stumble on it.


Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:

Lol rogues seem to be a theme xD

MichaelCullen's story in particular made me laugh xD although I think the 1e monk and the Shadow Dancer sound the worst xD

@Kileanna - what was his reaction when his fire spells did nothing?

He said that I was a bad GM for putting enemies against which he could do nothing.

He also blamed me for not telling him that all the enemies on a dungeon would have fire immunity. The dungeon was inside an active volcano.

BTW, this was 3.5. He picked a prestige class that forced him to substitute all energy attacks for fire attacks after I strongly discouraged him to do so. I also gave him advice to choose spells like haste, summon monster, etc. so he didn't rely just on fire spells, but he didn't listen.

I think summon spells would have been thematic as he could always summon fire related creatures.


Oh thats more bitter than I was hoping xD he doesn't sound too fun


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I once played in a game with an obnoxiously-pacifist healer that refused to fight, complained whenever we were fighting (regardless who started it and even if we were fighting mindless things) and would not heal us until after the fight (insisting that healing during a fight was a kind of violence).


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That sounds nails scraping down a chalk board annoying.


You could maybe pull off non-violent healer if you focus on hold person and sleep etc, but I feel it begs the question if you feel that strongly about being a pacifist why are you an adventurer accepting missions that involve fighting monsters.


the classic heavens oracle color spray user can easily be a pacifist but refusing to take any action at all in combat is a bit much.


also a bit non-nonsensical. you won't do anything in combat but then you heal after. Your still involved in violent actions party couldn't continue attacking monsters if you didn't heal them up. wouldn't you have to heal up enemy side too? If your party member is dieing right in front of you can you not throw a stabilize or something on them? That mind set is so alien to me.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
I once played a 1st level monk in 1st edition. (no that is the whole story if you don't understand you never read the 1st edition monk.)
You had one attack that did d3 damage, 2d4 hit points, and the worst possible armor class. What's the problem?

Not allowed to use flaming oil or poison...

But on the plus side proficient with a bo/jo stick.


UnArcaneElection wrote:


This reminds me of a 1st Edition AD&D game in college in which I rolled up a Thief (that's what they called Rogues back then) with mediocre ability scores (remember, roll 3d6 in order, and of course I got no Constitution bonus), and the 1st Hit Dice had to be rolled too, and Thieves had d6 Hit Dice back then, and I rolled *1* Hit Point. And then just to make it REALLY WEIRD, the DM was using the optional Social Class roll table in the back of the Dungeon Master's Guide, and I rolled 00 for Social Class -- Royalty. And then we had a humongous party -- around 14 player characters. Unfortunately, that campaign died before I had a chance to be ineffective (although amazingly, my character didn't take any damage at all during any of the few encounters before the campaign died, and thus survived).

That reminds me of the time a couple of friends and I joined a 1st edition AD&D game with 4 other people(3 players, 1 dm). The original 3 pcs were all POWERFUL 7th(or so) level characters with lots of special magic items. The DM made us start at 1st level and roll for background. Talk about frustratingly weak characters. My friend rolled a background as the son of the Duke who ruled the land and got a bodyguard npc.

We only played a couple of times in a dungeon based on a Deck of Many Things, the cards were scattered around and had to be taken to open doors. We managed to make 2nd level. At the end of the 2nd session we opened a door and saw a huge ancient red dragon (1st ed) sitting on a pile of treasure. She did not immediately attack. The thief turned invisible (yes, he was powerful enough to be able to sneak up to a dragon) and was going to steal some treasure. To distract the dragon my son-of-the-duke friend says "Dragon, my father owns these lands, what are you doing here." The dragon breathed on the party who were all in a line in a hallway. Most of the 7th level characters(except the thief who was out stealing) failed and died. The funny thing was, all the 2nd level characters saved...and died anyway. Only the bodyguard survived because he had 89hps and the damage was 88.


Daw wrote:
I have noticed that the most innefective characters are due to players out of their elements, at least in this system.

Oh yes. Just a few months after starting Pathfinder I joined a new group and the GM wanted a second healer. Since there was already a cleric, he had a druid in mind. Naive as I was, I accepted, despite knowing that druid never appealed to me in 2E or 3E.

So I got this class which felt like a messy collection of half-***ed features: A bit of healing, a bit of blasting, and, umm, strange nature stuff. The fact that I joined the campaign at level 7 didn't help. Further I traded away the animal companion for some blasting (Fire domain), resulting in a single fireball per day. Wohow.

I suffered through this for a few sessions, contributing little, then the GM's favourite player* got a new magical earthbreaker, I got some wand or staff. This put the final nail into the coffin for me, I quitted.

* To be fair, he actually was a nice guy.

And of course druids can be powerhouses. In the first campaign I GMed, a player demonstrated it to me.

Liberty's Edge

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We were playing a 20th level Mythic game, assaulting the infernal realms. One player wanted to build the "tank" he invested everything into AC, I think he was somewhere in the mid 60s and could boost it to about 80. The downside was his Max damage was 1D6-1. All the Devils had DR 10. While his AC and saves were so incredibly high that nothing could hurt him,'he was useless in combat to the point where every enemy just pretended he did not exist. We allowed him to remake so that he was actually effective, the difference between a 50 AC and a 60 is not a whole lot because nothing can hit you anyway and an 80 AC is just unneeded.


I also had a dwarf fighter in the same campaign of the fire wizard who wasn't badly built at all, but he combined a lack of utility gear with pure cowardice to the effect that he always ended trying to shoot enemies with a bow (with no archery feats) instead of getting into melee. When enemies started having DR by default he was useless. He was mainly useful because he had Leadership and his cohort did great as a support character.


I've actually made a Mythic Unchained monk who goes heavy into AC xD I think it ended up with 59 or 63 if it got to full attack but the idea was to abuse Snake fang for an attack of opportunity whenever someones missed him and took mythic weapon finesse for Dex to damage. Finally abusing Ever ready to get his tier to hit and damage with AoO if thing full attacked him they normally died xD. So yeah High AC can be fun xD

EDIT: Kileanna was the cowardice a character thing or a player thing xD


I played with a guy who was playing a greatsword-wielding ranger. But his character art was of a woman wearing the fantasy equivalent of a bikini. Therefore he wouldn't wear any armor. Being chaotic, she couldn't dip monk. Luckily the picture was wearing bracelets that we could reflavor as bracers of armor. We still had to spend a lot of time healing that character up


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XD I've never heard someone being such a stickler with their art xD


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The character was supposedly based on a Slayer Dwarf from Warhammer. He wore no armor and had a ridiculous AC. So the player was scared of his character being targeted and dying.

I tried to convince him to wear armor but he didn't want to. So he just stayed away from melee.

Recently I had a swashbucker in my S&S game who was actually kinda decent, but he combined poor saves because of his class with awful luck on the dice to keep all the bard's actions compromised on allowing him to reroll failed saves. He didn't made them even with Charmed Life! He also failed attacks with a 1 on the die, and failed at least 1 attack each turn. It was kinda frustrating too.


I feel like slayers should be barbs not fighters, would help with the squishy no armor problem.

Bad dice roles are like a whole other thread xD

I once got a triple 20 (my DM ran the triple 20 = dead rule) on a mook who had 9 health left, if I rolled all ones for damage I did 9...

Which I feel is probably my most annoying sequence of dice roles xD

Scarab Sages

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Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Besides, I thought the whole schtick of the dwarf slayer was that they want to die in combat, taking as many as possible with them. A coward slayer is just wrong.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Kileanna wrote:

The character was supposedly based on a Slayer Dwarf from Warhammer. He wore no armor and had a ridiculous AC. So the player was scared of his character being targeted and dying.

I tried to convince him to wear armor but he didn't want to. So he just stayed away from melee.

Did anyone explain to him that slayer dwarves in warhammer SEEK DEATH.

Oaths have taken!


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It is yeah they like go into exile and brake all ties or something like that? Just all about the killing.


I've seen a guy that advertises his character as a healer. He's a druid that rides his mount and uses a cure light wand... at lv 9. Who also cast windwall in front of the flying spellcaster enemy cause it was his last prepped spell, which made it impossible for our archer to damage the enemy for a long time, and we had no remaining ways to fly.

Same guy also has a sorcerer that had a 5 con I think, maybe 7. But that's 3/4 HP at lv1. He went unconscious I think 5 times, which means pretty close to dead cause no con, in 1 PFS evergreen scenario.

Not all his characters are this bad. But there are definitely some bad eggs in the bunch.


Ran across a Skald with a negative strength modifier who used a Light Crossbow.


Two players come to mind. The first almost always played a 1st ed Cavalier. Think Paladin with the headaches involved plus more but none of the real benefits. Their biggest thing was their mount a normal warhorse. Mount didn't scale with the class. This guy spent more time trying to save his horse then himself or the party. Wouldn't have been so bad except we had to spend time and effort trying to save him along with ourselves.
A second player loved to go with a theme or an idea. Not a bad thing but he'd take it to the extreme. I'm talking about a book read fighter with an Int of 16 but a Str and Con of around 10-12. Not just that but he'd take feats that a fighter doesn't need. Combat Cast, why? He believes he can cast spells. Won't wear armor, again why? He believes he's a Wizard and wizards can't wear armor. Now what frustrated the group is he'd always complain when his character was useless or died repeatedly. To make matters worse was he'd never have a new character ready when we got together a week later.

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