Experience with caster / martial disparity?


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ryric wrote:

Or, you could have an effective rogue:

Rogue:"I have a +17 stealth, which if the wizard is willing to give me an invisibility jumps to +37, which is practically unseeable. If not, hey, I've got a wand for that. I also have skills in the teens for disguise and all the talking skills, so if I'm caught, I look like I belong there and can probably talk my way out of any trouble. Also I can actually pick locks and get into secure spaces if need be. Plus, if there's a real emergency, I've got a couple of 1-5 charge wands to use as a panic button. Also, I already did all the scouting last night while you all were sleeping to recover spells. Here's the adventure MacGuffin I stole from the BBEG without him noticing. Let's go get our reward."
The last three sentences have actually happened to me in mid level play. I game with a very good rogue player.

That's not an effective "rogue". Replace "Rogue" with "Expert" and your story plays the same way.

Also better hope that you don't roll poorly on these wands you're using. An unlucky roll and now you're in big trouble.
And since your DEX was high and here you're saying your CHA is ALSO high then that must mean that your going to be dealing with less of some stat that is useful, likely CON or WIS after dumping STR to be unable to carry anything. Plus you've spent A LOT of gold on these wands to try and catch up. That wand of invis was 4,500 gp to last for 3 minutes a pop and youre saying you have other wands to handle situations.

Sounds like you really actually should have played a seeker sorcerer. Rewarded for investment into CHA and DEX and can disable traps AND now provides his own spell support that works better without needing to spend money.


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Or be an Eldritch Scoundrel (except in PFS, because f!#! you). The takeaway here is that spells made the difference between the effective and ineffective Rogue in this example.

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Chess Pwn wrote:
ryric wrote:

Or, you could have an effective rogue:

Rogue:"I have a +17 stealth, which if the wizard is willing to give me an invisibility jumps to +37, which is practically unseeable. If not, hey, I've got a wand for that. I also have skills in the teens for disguise and all the talking skills, so if I'm caught, I look like I belong there and can probably talk my way out of any trouble. Also I can actually pick locks and get into secure spaces if need be. Plus, if there's a real emergency, I've got a couple of 1-5 charge wands to use as a panic button. Also, I already did all the scouting last night while you all were sleeping to recover spells. Here's the adventure MacGuffin I stole from the BBEG without him noticing. Let's go get our reward."
The last three sentences have actually happened to me in mid level play. I game with a very good rogue player.

That's not an effective "rogue". Replace "Rogue" with "Expert" and your story plays the same way.

Also better hope that you don't roll poorly on these wands you're using. An unlucky roll and now you're in big trouble.
And since your DEX was high and here you're saying your CHA is ALSO high then that must mean that your going to be dealing with less of some stat that is useful, likely CON or WIS after dumping STR to be unable to carry anything. Plus you've spent A LOT of gold on these wands to try and catch up. That wand of invis was 4,500 gp to last for 3 minutes a pop and youre saying you have other wands to handle situations.

Sounds like you really actually should have played a seeker sorcerer. Rewarded for investment into CHA and DEX and can disable traps AND now provides his own spell support that works better without needing to spend money.

Experts don't get enough skill points to satisfy my rogue friend. He complains about only getting 13 a level with a 16 Int human using FCB for skills. And nearly depleted wands aren't expensive. It is true that sometimes he gets in trouble when one doesn't work. I didn't realize you required me to provide an entire build to jokingly rebut your flippant remarks with my anecdote. In all honesty he probably wouldn't quite have a +6 Dex at level 8; I was just mimicking your numbers. You can have a +13 to any skill at level 8 with a 10 stat and the appropriate masterwork tool, so I don't see the need for big Cha.

He hates spellcasters so there's no way I'd get him to touch a sorcerer. He's fine with UMD but that is as far as he'll go.

Grand Lodge

Envall wrote:
Grandlounge wrote:


It not a matter of CR. Somethings for better or worse require less optimization. Dazing happens to be one of them. Somethings have power disproportionate to their cost. Leadership, sacred geometry are clear examples of this. On can make the case rather convincingly that dazing is a really strong single feat.

This means that some builds can get to the "trivializing a combat" level of power faster, leaving them with more resources to mess up other parts of the game, or fill in offensive and defensive weaknesses.

If there was a single archery feat that gave rapid shot, manyshot, and deadly aim. I could use that feat as an example of single feat that let you jump power levels.

Well no, I don't like thinking like that because even leadership can turn out great when the GM and player are honest to each other what they want the cohort to be and in what kind of constraints. Like this cleric wanted another cleric cohort, just to pull double healing duty. So he got it, because the GM looked it over and found that he can trust him with it.

If the two sides are willing to negotiate, you can avoid most of the problems.

This I agree with. I have played with hundreds of people in PFS and gm'd for many as well. I have not ever actually had this problem because most people are nice and reasonably considerate.


Sneaking that relies on invisibility invokes the need to track IC times which is not hard concept, just something that so rarely happens that it takes lot of talking to figure out and agree on.


I find that the player is way more important than the class. I've been in games where the full casters (wizards and druids) ran the show and others when a ranger and summoner were the MVPs (and the alchemist and cleric were the dead weight). Don't think I've ever had a campaign where any of the martials felt useless, unless they were built terribly.
An experienced player can make a fighter shine, in and out of combat, while a noob can make even the strongest classes suck.


Chess Pwn wrote:


I think saying that 1 archetype solves an issue doesn't solve the actual problem. What if He was wanting to be a weapon's master or lore warden or something? Like just because 1 archetype allows for a good source of in class fly doesn't suddenly make the class a class with in class fly.

I'm an Aasimar with wings that can be used all day.

I bought Lesser Wings of Flying.

I used two feats to get an animal companion that can fly and act as a mount.

I have the Companion Figurine feat and ride a Nightmare into battle.

I have Wicked Wings.

I have an Animal Totem Tatoo: Eagle.

There is an additional half dozen solutions. Pick the one that best fits your character.

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You know what makes the Caster/Martial Disparity go away entirely? Having magic and skills use the same rules. Have a look. It solves a lot of other hot topics from the forums as well. :D

Grand Lodge

Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:


I think saying that 1 archetype solves an issue doesn't solve the actual problem. What if He was wanting to be a weapon's master or lore warden or something? Like just because 1 archetype allows for a good source of in class fly doesn't suddenly make the class a class with in class fly.

I'm an Aasimar with wings that can be used all day.

I bought Lesser Wings of Flying.

I used two feats to get an animal companion that can fly and act as a mount.

I have the Companion Figurine feat and ride a Nightmare into battle.

I have Wicked Wings.

I have an Animal Totem Tatoo: Eagle.

There is an additional half dozen solutions. Pick the one that best fits your character.

Animal totem tattoo bat is even better as you can get blindsense.


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Whoa! Veteran C/MD expert Jiggy! Good to see you here, and also good to see that you have been busy. You are someone who seems to understand and express the intricacies of game balance and design more then almost anyone on the boards. I can't wait to see what you have come up with!

EDIT:
For those who might be unfamiliar, Jiggy is the author of Dispelling the Myths: Caster-Martial Disparity This is the foremost document on helping define and educate people on the C/MD.

While I'm promoting stuff, here is the section I wrote on understanding when and why the C/MD affects some games and not others.
Why the Caster Martial Disparity might not appear in your games.
As Pathfinder is a highly complex game, and varies widely from table to table, there are almost in infinite number of reasons it might appear or not. Here are some of the most common reasons it might not affect your games:

  • Most of your play happens under 10th level.
  • Players don't choose to play pure martial, or pure caster characters.
  • Caster players don't optimize, and/or martial players optimize heavily.
  • There is a spoken or unspoken agreement not to use some options and spells.
  • The GM is highly skilled in pacing, presenting a campaign setting, presenting challenges, and giving rewards that even out or minimize the disparity.
  • The GM alters dice rolls, and/or encounters so that everyone has fairly equal amounts of success.
  • The group views combat and/or other rules heavy parts of the game as something to get resolved as quickly as possible, in order to move on to more roleplay and storytelling elements.
  • House rules.

Click on my name for the whole document.


Volkard Abendroth wrote:

It was a straight fighter that recently killed the Rappan Athuk campaign I was in. She was consistently one-rounding 2-3 encounters per night.

The final straw came when she killed the dragon the GM had spent hours building with her first attack (not full attack, single attack). The GM decided he did not have enough time to custom build every to the point where it would last past her first turn.

Volkard Abendroth wrote:

It was a build that could cleave everything within reach with improved vital strike and a x4 crit mod.

Reach could easily be 15'- 20'

Alright, so now I'm curious. Improved Vital strike pegs it at level 11 at the lowest. Improved Cleaving Finish doesn't change that assessment. That reach seems to imply a reach weapon with Enlarge Person. So... a Naginata or Hooked Lance? It's a d8 either way, so 1d10 enlarged. Minimum 6, maximum 60. Power Attack is +9, +36 total. The weakest dragon at CR 11 has 126 HP. So we need 7.5 in extra damage, easily doable. Of course, if the GM is building it it's probably not an "easy" battle, so let's go CR 14 "boss". Lowest is 184 HP. So we're going to need 22 extra damage on every hit. +4 WT, +5 weapon, +2 WS, need a Strength of 26. So maybe possible, as long as the damage rolls were max. More realistically the weapon damage was 33 and we need 29 damage extra, so a Strength of 34. +4 mutagen, +2 Enlarge Person, +6 belt, both level ups into Strength it might just barely be possible.

Either way, I'm curious about the actual build and the actual dragon. Because that was the absolutely weakest dragon. The hardier ones add another 30-50 HP and need Blue Whale levels of Strength to kill in a single hit, even with a x4 crit. Oh, and the absolute best gear in all cases. Higher levels (even just one higher) will at least increase the damage but monster HP grows much faster than player damage. Three CR higher added 60 HP, for instance.


Would making potions cheaper and more available help? The casters would still be valuable for scaling spells, but wouldn't hold a monopoly on magic.


Mostly as a Gm. When I am playing I dont much care, and if I build something martial I know I'll be doing 2-3 things very well and bring mediocrity to the rest, but I have my party to plug holes.

As a GM? Oh. Ugh. Casters. Teleport, Fly, Scry, Mirror Image, Instant nope spells, Spells to solve all challenges when everyone else would need to sarifice significant permanent resources, Teleport further, ignoring terrain, ignoring story pacing.

yeah, not a fan of this.


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Melkiador wrote:
would making potions cheaper and more available help? The casters would still be valuable for scaling spells, but wouldn't hold a monopoly on magic.

The issue is that it's useful for casters and non-casters. But this would help a lot for a party of limited magic have the needed tools.


LeMoineNoir wrote:

As soon as Scry-and-Fry becomes an option, my group rarely, if ever, steps foot in any room of a dungeon other than the boss room. The only exception is if they have zero idea of who the end boss is.

The DM once tried having the fried boss get replaced by the next one up on the chain of command, to force us to clear the dungeon proper, but the group has been clear about not letting the tactic go.

The worst part is that we're a larger group than most, so until around level 15 or so, someone has to sit out of the encounter.

That's when your bosses scry and fry back.


LeMoineNoir wrote:

As soon as Scry-and-Fry becomes an option, my group rarely, if ever, steps foot in any room of a dungeon other than the boss room. The only exception is if they have zero idea of who the end boss is.

According to the Devs this doesnt work. Altho they have refused to do a FAQ or a rewrite of the Core RB, they have said that a paragraph in a later book means that in order to Scry and TP in, you need to recognize that place thru the scrying. "Aha, I see Evil McNasty is in the Temple of Badness!"

Back to the OP, yes, at very high levels, like when the spellcasters get 9th lvl spells. We had a 3.5 game and when one caster could do Shapechange, there was no need for a martial.

But in our three player 15th lvl campaign, my Fighter (what with all the new tricks from wpn masters and armor masters) is a essential cog of the party. I never feel useless.

So, it exists but it is very very rare.


Bob Bob Bob wrote:

Level 4, Cleric with Trickery domain. Party needs to scout out a fort. Slayer has the best Stealth. Cleric throws on Invisibility for almost double their bonus. Slayer says something to the effect of "what's the point of my ranks then?".

See Invis. Blindsense. Scent. A Ranger/foe with maxed out Perception and a good roll. And Stealth lats forever, Invis lasts for 4 minutes. Is 4 minutes enough to Scout a Fort? I dont think so.


I've been in games where the GM started having to rebuild encounters specifically to deal with the Witch's Slumber Hex. I've been in games where the Barbarian was the star of the show pretty much all the time. There have been times where my Oracle felt completely useless because everything I could do except be a heal-bot someone else was doing better. And then there have been times where everyone's looked to my Swashbuckler in out-of-combat situations because they were the only one who could reasonably talk to people... even over the Sorc, who did not invest in face skills at all and who had 0 spells to help. It really does depend on the individual players, builds, classes, and campaign.


Just saying, but Blindsense and Scent are going to punk out the stealth guy just as hard as the invis guy.

Plus stealth hits some pretty significant hurdles if there's something as simple as a patrolled atrium. (Stealth still needs cover to even get a roll at all).


Chess Pwn wrote:


I think saying that 1 archetype solves an issue doesn't solve the actual problem. What if He was wanting to be a weapon's master or lore warden or something? Like just because 1 archetype allows for a good source of in class fly doesn't suddenly make the class a class with in class fly.

Any fighter can, thru the Weapon/armor Masters handbooks. My fighter can. He can even Dim Door. Cost is one feat and a good Fort save. You do have to be a certain lvl.


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Melkiador wrote:
would making potions cheaper and more available help? The casters would still be valuable for scaling spells, but wouldn't hold a monopoly on magic.

The issue is deeper than this. It is a design effect.

Essentially you have these problems:
- Casters can eventually overshadow anyone
- Casters can become anyone at any time, be more flexible than anyone
- Casters powers increase exponentially, kill better skill better break story better
- Martials/everyone else needs to become a death machine to fullfill the niche in combat
- Game design makes you Kill Instantly or Suck Forever as a martial in combat, making Full Attack/Pounce or Ranged machine gun the ONLY viable combat strategies (bar a couple niche builds)

This means that if you are melee you need:
- Full attack
- Pounce
- a LOT of damage
- a way to bypass defenses (because caster defenses get laberynthic as they level)

So if you dont do this, you are already a drag.

Now, what I think is the sane way forward is not to give everyone Mayor Teleport and Divination: Other Galaxies with Wish Anything Foundation.
My solution would be:

- Make story breaking spells less sabotaging. Teleport/Scry/Knowplotline/HealCancerandCureWorldHunger spells. "hey you get this rare and deadly affliction you need to travel to-" "I teleport the party to a different continent, stopping by to get an organic coffee in Castrovel, to see the person who can cure us...oh no wait i just have a spell that cures anything you could possibly throw at us. That was fun! what's next?"

- Make environment spells less accessible. Teleport/Travel/Conditions/TerrainIgnoring. "You are in a jungle and the oppressive heat is" "-prot elementz lol" "...is excruciating, the insects carry deadly-" "healspellzkkthxb" "and provisions are three days away-" "EndWorldHungerSpell" "There is a wide wild river you must cross, perhaps ford a few miles down the-" "DimensionTaxi that thing" "you are ambushed by a pack of jungle gorillas that" "I sprout wings! I cast fly on everyone? Invisibility past everything, who needs to interact anyway" "Ok f*** it you get to the castle, jump on a turtleshell and rescue the princess. Anyone up for a movie?"

- Magical defenses. Put a Bloodrager vs a Barbarian and see who wins. Bloodrager, cause of mirror image. Spells that grant defenses that make whole kits obsolete too early too easily. Where is the choice? The drawbacks and the balance? Wizards explode at low levels and can ignore anything non 9th level castery at higher levels. Casters have too many safety nets and dont sacifice offense/defense fairly.

- Tone Combat down a notch so not all a martial needs is +24 static damage and all feats in that only or go home to compete with a vanilla caster. Blaster damage is usually very ok (unless gimicked), and a normal martial can compete with that without squeezing all into combat.

- Make other options in combat viable. If you make it so that pounce and ranged gatling guns are not mandatory, you will enrich this game. Suddenly, move and attack becomes viable. Preparing actions. Vital Strike/maneuvres. The field becomes dynamic. This is because you dont need to jump on that caster before he clicks his fingers and you cant touch him for 24 hours. If he casts for defense you know offensively you're ok for a bit, and you can still switch your offense to something that'd get through. Very tied to Magical Defenses. "Oh he has mirror image/greater invis..i guess i'll attack this square and roll miss chances yay"

- Tone down utility spells. Who needs a rogue when I can add whatever + to my skills with a low level spell/scroll. Whats the problem with a caster getting in grapple when I can Inmediate escape artist it, throw 7 images and get bored the rest of the combat? What is the point in investing into world building, base building, npc building or any other optional things when I have dimensional holes, instant creation structures and everything else at low resource cost?

To summarise, there are 2 problems with the pathfinder system and Martial/Caster disparity is a symptom of it.
1. Spells superceed and overtake anything else, including the GM's story telling tools, without bringing much in exchange.
2. Combat flexibility, utility and power overwhelms choices for everyone else, pigeon holing builds into cookie cutter builds and one-option-action combats.

The real solution is a revised design of the system either in some optional ruleset (something revised action economy half assed, it's a big hurdle..) or pathfinder 2. Not advocating for either, just the scope that we are looking at.
Until then, Martial/Caster, pointing and laughing at rogues, needing scientific equation calculators for combat, the story becoming an Objective Instant Ping Pong by levels 9-11 and game/story depth homicide by spells and such things will always be there.

Disclaimer. You can muscle or conive your way as a GM, but it is not elegant, gets old and feels cheap.
Also, when I say tone down I dont mean remove. Options are good. Options that make everything irrelevant are not good, they take depth away.

EDIT:
Character development becomes harder when you have a spell to solve ANY problem you could have. Think of any movie, series, comic, etc and I will give you a spell that can solve an arcs plotline/difficulty ON THE SPOT IN A STANDARD ACTION. Or a big longer, but neglible in story telling time.


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DrDeth wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:


I think saying that 1 archetype solves an issue doesn't solve the actual problem. What if He was wanting to be a weapon's master or lore warden or something? Like just because 1 archetype allows for a good source of in class fly doesn't suddenly make the class a class with in class fly.
Any fighter can, thru the Weapon/armor Masters handbooks. My fighter can. He can even Dim Door. Cost is one feat and a good Fort save. You do have to be a certain lvl.

Not a good fix. A feat chain printed in a splat book (which I do own) 10 years down the line from the core rulebook from which most main offenders come from.

It is also not giving you options to build a character, it is compensating to try to be on par with non built character options, and pigeon holing builds into this to not suck.

Just design (flaw or boon, depends who you ask), nothing else.


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I've seen casters relegate martials to clean-up duty since D&D 3.5...

And while Pathfinder is definitely better than 3.X in that regard, I still saw more than a few new players completely drop the game once they realized they couldn't even move and attack twice while his caster buddy is teleporting and casting two spells in a single turn... Both of which have massive effects on the encounter/scene/story.

I've seen players give up on non-caster classes (and eventually, the game as a whole) after repeatedly seeing their Fighter get things like "you get +1 to attack rolls!", "you don't provoke when you try this basic thing!" or "you're slightly better at this one skill!" while his magical friend gets things like "you can teleport!", "you can summon angels!" or "you can fly!"

My two first times witnessing these things in Pathfinder was in our first campaign... When both the Rogue and the Fighter dropped out because there was no point in having them around when we had a Bard and a Druid. We managed to convince one of them to give it another try as a caster (he built a Magus and had much, MUCH more fun with it), but the other showed no interest. He explicitly said he had no enthusiasm for the game anymore.

Neither Druid nor Bard were trying to overshadow their friend. They were just using their character's cool abilities. You know... The stuff that made them want to try those classes in the first place.

Not only C/MD exists... It's particularly harmful to inexperienced groups and players.


I don’t think most of us mind the caster/martial thing regarding combat. A cleanup role is still a role. Everyone is doing stuff. Everyone is engaged. It’s out of combat where the real problems are.


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Out of combat? That is supposed to be where skillmonkeys beat martials. The thing is that there are casters that ARE skillmonkeys which overshadow the rest. Why be a regular rogue when an Eldritch scoundrel archetype has several invisibility, teleportation,and flight spells.

Martials often has passive abilities. Casters have to activate theirs. If you have both its gets hectic. In previous D&D editions there were spells that basically raised your BAB to maximum temporarily.

Its much difficult to plan with casters while its easy to start a martial class with strength, Constitution and overshadow any caster.


DrDeth wrote:
LeMoineNoir wrote:

As soon as Scry-and-Fry becomes an option, my group rarely, if ever, steps foot in any room of a dungeon other than the boss room. The only exception is if they have zero idea of who the end boss is.

According to the Devs this doesnt work. Altho they have refused to do a FAQ or a rewrite of the Core RB, they have said that a paragraph in a later book means that in order to Scry and TP in, you need to recognize that place thru the scrying. "Aha, I see Evil McNasty is in the Temple of Badness!"

Ultimate Intrigue just clarified the always existing rule for the many who are confused and wrongly thought scrying an unknown location allowed you to teleport there.

Teleport spell wrote:
You must have some clear idea of the location and layout of the destination.
Scrying spell wrote:
If the save fails, you can see and hear the subject and its surroundings (approximately 10 feet in all directions of the subject).

If I see 10 feet around a guy in a room in a dungeon or castle or a grove in a forest, I don't know the layout or location of that spot unless I've already been there and see something that lets me identify it as a known place. (What castle/dungeon/forest is the subject in? Are you sure, and how? What floor, wing, or quadrant it is in?) If you can't say "oh, he's there" and you don't know how to walk there without teleporting, you can't use scrying to give yourself a scrying fix unless your GM wants to houserule it that way. It's a common misunderstanding, but that's what it has always been.


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Except for the part where the spell explicitly denotes Scrying (including a hyperlink) as being sufficient to teleport (with a ~25% chance of error).

Teleport wrote:


Familiarity: “Very familiar” is a place where you have been very often and where you feel at home. “Studied carefully” is a place you know well, either because you can currently physically see it or you’ve been there often. “Seen casually” is a place that you have seen more than once but with which you are not very familiar. “Viewed once” is a place that you have seen once, possibly using magic such as scrying.

It's not a misunderstanding. It's them trying to nerf the tactic without having to do a reprint.


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DrDeth wrote:
Bob Bob Bob wrote:

Level 4, Cleric with Trickery domain. Party needs to scout out a fort. Slayer has the best Stealth. Cleric throws on Invisibility for almost double their bonus. Slayer says something to the effect of "what's the point of my ranks then?".

See Invis. Blindsense. Scent. A Ranger/foe with maxed out Perception and a good roll. And Stealth lats forever, Invis lasts for 4 minutes. Is 4 minutes enough to Scout a Fort? I dont think so.

The player was specifically responding to someone else pointing out that the Cleric could have used the spell on herself and done it better than him without the spell (i.e. the spell is doing the work). In that case the only one of your solutions that would have changed anything is the first one. Except not really, since the party was fairly low level (so so were their opponents) and while See Invis is great for raiding a dungeon it's basically useless for guard duty without like four more people to take the other shifts. "Add five Wizards" may be the right advice sometimes but not always.

The fort was approximately 180' by 120'. Even at a single move a round most characters cover 600 feet in 4 minutes, enough to cross the fort three times. To get the layout and identify buildings? Probably enough.

Also this is not the thread for "how to fix these issues". Just issues that people have seen. This was an AP because I specifically did not want to have to build every encounter. Certainly not in the first book. And honestly, the encounter was 100% appropriate for the Slayer. The foot guards needed a 9+ difference to spot him, the archers needed a 7+, a couple bosses were about an even roll. The problem was that the Slayer had used a portion of their skill points and made their highest stat Dex and the Cleric could make anyone that good. Yes, not as often, not as long, but that doesn't change that the Slayer went from "I'm sneaky" to "Why bother?".


Another thing about invisibility sneaking.

You have no time to stop and look around or think because you are on a clock that leads to game over if it ends.
Of course, this is all case sensitive on what kind of sneaking mission you are making the party do. If it is a single tunnel from A to B, then whatever. But if it requires constantly stopping in your tracks, searching every room and backtracking, invisibility does have the tendency of running out of time.

I mean, what if the whole operation takes atleast an hour, give or take?


Firewarrior44 wrote:

Except for the part where the spell explicitly denotes Scrying (including a hyperlink) as being sufficient to teleport (with a ~25% chance of error).

Teleport wrote:
Familiarity: “Very familiar” is a place where you have been very often and where you feel at home. “Studied carefully” is a place you know well, either because you can currently physically see it or you’ve been there often. “Seen casually” is a place that you have seen more than once but with which you are not very familiar. “Viewed once” is a place that you have seen once, [b]possibly using magic such as scrying.

At no point does it say that's sufficient on its own. With a literal reading of spell, the "location and layout" clause still applies. If you have seen the layout by scrying, and you are also able to work out the location somehow, the 'viewed once' bit is there to provide the error chance.

It used to be a matter of debate whether the absolute phrasing of the "location and layout" clause was RAI or only RAW. Paizo has clarified that it is RAI.

In your own game you are free to rule it another way.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Chess Pwn wrote:
Congrats on insulting many GMs that have been playing for many years!

You're welcome.

Quote:

Now let's look at a situation. You have an infiltration mission set up and you're expecting the rogue to have his moment to shine. But when the party looks at who to send we see this happen for this lv8 party.

Druid:"I can turn into a diminutive animal for +15 stealth over normal so a total of +17 and if seen I'm just another rat in the castle or an earth elemental for earth glide and if I get caught I can turn to an air elemental to fly or something"
Wizard:"I can use my arcane eye to search for us, or send my familiar, He has +8 to stealth and can be invisible for another +20 and have trapfinding for 8 minutes long enough to get in and get out. If he gets caught I can use my spell to pull him back to me, and if he dies he's just 1600 to replace, far cheaper than a raise dead or the likes"
Rogue:"I have max ranks, class skill and dex of 6 so that's a +17 total. And if I'm caught I'm just a person with no special way of escaping besides running. I feel safer having the one of the others go."
And so your nice GM play of setting up the Rogue to shine turned into one of the casters accidently being better at it and thus the rogue didn't get to shine.

Exactly. Just like that. Poor GM'ing.

Tell me. How does the tiny animal Druid, Elemental, Familiar, or Arcane Eye unlock the chest that the secret plans are in? How do they bluff the manor servants to hand over information? Heck, without hands how do they open even UNlocked doors and windows? How well does a familiar, completely on its own, figure out what to do when unexpected obstacles come up? At that, how dysfunctional is this party that the Wizard can't cast the invisibility spell on the Rogue rather than his familiar? Last I checked, +37 stealth was better than +28.

If you think 'you need to use stealth' is creating a challenge then you're setting the bar very low indeed.


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Envall wrote:

Another thing about invisibility sneaking.

You have no time to stop and look around or think because you are on a clock that leads to game over if it ends.
Of course, this is all case sensitive on what kind of sneaking mission you are making the party do. If it is a single tunnel from A to B, then whatever. But if it requires constantly stopping in your tracks, searching every room and backtracking, invisibility does have the tendency of running out of time.

I mean, what if the whole operation takes atleast an hour, give or take?

Don't try to fix your car with a chainsaw? I mean, different tools for different jobs. For the same reason you don't try to use See Invisibility as your house's defense against Invisibility, you don't use Invisibility to rob a house. Too short. But "figure out where they're keeping the hostages", "see how many guards are inside", or "go steal some uniforms" work just fine with Invisibility.


I was running a game (Skull and Shackles) where everyone in the party had access to Mirror Image. Bloodrager, Bard, Monk/ninja.
It just made physical fights stale and predictable. I had to wrack my brain to come up with something that wouldnt make them yawn without completely shutting them down. We agreed on a less use of mirror image, luckily I have empathyc players that like to cooperate before I get an aneurysm.

Trying to run a location based AP/story is also tough with teleport and scry and long distance calls, we essentially banned full casters from the get go so as to not deal with these problems until later levels.

As a test on M/CS disparity run through books in any AP and write down how many of the fights and encounters become irrelevant by the use of one of these spells:
- Invisibility
- Dimension Door, other teleports
- Scry
- Sending, radio com spells
- Mirror Image (this guy will make martials want to quit the game if used vs players)

I would imagine most of them, certainly is the case with most APs I've run. (Books 3-5 of S&Shackles presented me this challenge).

EDIT: I lied, I forgot we had a Swashbuckler too. He died, often, or was the one to always receive most punishment if the others magic'd up.


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CBDunkerson wrote:

Tell me. How does the tiny animal Druid, Elemental, Familiar, or Arcane Eye unlock the chest that the secret plans are in? How do they bluff the manor servants to hand over information? Heck, without hands how do they open even UNlocked doors and windows? How well does a familiar, completely on its own, figure out what to do when unexpected obstacles come up? At that, how dysfunctional is this party that the Wizard can't cast the invisibility spell on the Rogue rather than his familiar? Last I checked, +37 stealth was better than +28.

If you think 'you need to use stealth' is creating a challenge then you're setting the bar very low indeed.

Smash it (the eye would have to squeeze through the keyhole), use the Bluff skill (same as everyone else), very carefully, familiars are actually pretty smart (and it only goes up), unknown (doesn't seem dysfunctional, I've definitely played with people who focus on self-buffs over party buffs and that's as valid a way as any to play).


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I have played as a martial fighting something with mirror image, it isn't too bad depending on how many attacks you get in a round;) If you have the blindfight feat then just close your eyes and attack;)

If players are using spells to bypass fights they are also loosing out on the treasures as well;)


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My cat opens doors and figures its way around unusual obstacles all the time... And it's not even trained, let alone as smart as a polymorphed human.

Now, sure... Wizard + Rogue is better than just Wizard (usually, anyways). But it loses hard to Wizard + Wizard... Or Wizard + Bard... Or Wizard + Alchemist, Wizard + Inquisitor, Wizard +...

You get the point.

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Errant Mercenary wrote:

I was running a game (Skull and Shackles) where everyone in the party had access to Mirror Image. Bloodrager, Bard, Monk/ninja.

It just made physical fights stale and predictable. I had to wrack my brain to come up with something that wouldnt make them yawn without completely shutting them down. We agreed on a less use of mirror image, luckily I have empathyc players that like to cooperate before I get an aneurysm.

Trying to run a location based AP/story is also tough with teleport and scry and long distance calls, we essentially banned full casters from the get go so as to not deal with these problems until later levels.

As a test on M/CS disparity run through books in any AP and write down how many of the fights and encounters become irrelevant by the use of one of these spells:
- Invisibility
- Dimension Door, other teleports
- Scry
- Sending, radio com spells
- Mirror Image (this guy will make martials want to quit the game if used vs players)

I would imagine most of them, certainly is the case with most APs I've run. (Books 3-5 of S&Shackles presented me this challenge).

EDIT: I lied, I forgot we had a Swashbuckler too. He died, often, or was the one to always receive most punishment if the others magic'd up.

The group I played Skull & Shackles with had a sorcerer, a witch, and a cleric and we didn't run into any problems skipping things. How would you even skip stuff in Book 4? Really minor S&S book 4 spoilers:

Spoiler:
The whole point is to make an area safe for settlement...you can't skip encounters or jump straight to a "boss." All you can really do is change the order in which you deal with them.

Plus, teleporting to and from the ship doesn't work if the ship is moving. And if the PCs leave it anchored somewhere, you still check to see if the ship is attacked in their absence - because if it is, it's likely something the NPC crew can't handle.


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ryric wrote:
...

I said irrelevant, not just skipping, but a lot in most games can be skipped. True that book 4 is more engaging, but the fights apart from one or two (vs high casters) are a bump on the road with those spells in the pocket.

S&Shackles doesnt work:
The whole backstory/finale of S&Shackles is hard to come to terms with in the light of greater teleport and divination spells. This has been much discussed in the S&S forums as to why would Chelliax even bother doing things the way the do. Why does Harrigan not cut these fools down using his extreme wealth and resources (basically explained by him being lazy). This however starts to be the "how does this world work with magic" than M/C disparity, where things take a backseat to the obscene power of magic and this is how it is, we handwave stuff to get on with the game and a good story. Note that Skull and Shackles is my favourite AP, it isnt the fault of the AP but the fact that casters can just cease relying on verisimilitude at some point.

Since we are on M/CS disparity and S&Shackles lets have an example that shines:
A martial in a ship battle and a caster like a druid.


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You know, I feel like sequences where one person has to sneak in and get the secret plans from the incredibly-difficult-to-open chest are probably "bad GMing" in most cases. Just because while there's something to do there for the rogue, or the wizard, or the druid appropriately wild-shaped; there's not a lot to do for anyone else except wait around for whomever to come back with the plans.

Generally speaking, I find "let's be stealthy" sequences are mostly about figuring a way to get everyone in position, attracting minimal attention. Sure, your Gorumite Warpriest in (religiously significant) spiky-fullplate might be the least subtle thing in all of Golarion, but maybe you can use her as a distraction.


Bob Bob Bob wrote:
Don't try to fix your car with a chainsaw? I mean, different tools for different jobs. For the same reason you don't try to use See Invisibility as your house's defense against Invisibility, you don't use Invisibility to rob a house. Too short. But "figure out where they're keeping the hostages", "see how many guards are inside", or "go steal some uniforms" work just fine with Invisibility.

You left open everything what actually happens between those objectives.

Anecdotal experience again:
1.) Players tend to "stop and smell the roses"
2.) Players rarely get the map of the place they are going to in advance and the places tend to be pretty huge
3.) Stealth rules are up there as the most improvised rules in the game anyway
All of these combine into a pace that is rarely so ... straight forward. As a baseline, like "RAW", stealthing the place ought to be just ... getting high stealth rank and moving at half the speed across the battlemap right? I have never seen anyone play it like that. People tend to emulate video games or homebrew rules for even invisible stealthiness. How close can you get to someone invisible until they get weirded out? How do you handle "alert states", the classic mechanic where enemies go into alert state if something suspicious happens.

Or people run places as zelda dungeons, which is very common for APs. Each room pretty much has some combat encounter in it, which makes you constantly reapply invisibility if it manages to break. Some people do it resident evil style, where you just have inane puzzles thrown into almost every room that makes the experience also pretty stop and go.

Some of these are also used for even normal stealth. You know what has huge table variance? How many times perception checks are thrown around. Once one player, as a devil's advocate because he did concede he did not actually want to play like that, but there ought to be a perception roll for every step a character makes because that is a stimulus.

This is lot of ramble, so let me refocus into how all of my anecdotal experiences make me feel. In theory, the disparity hurts the system. In practice, it is the least of problems. If you want to know what really makes lot of people sad? The fact that everyone tries a Two Weapon Fighting character and it dies on the first DR 10/adamantine golem. I can even feel happy for the wizard player next to me when he is being awesome and blasting goblins to bits. But DR just kneecaps lot of peoples power fantasies.

Grand Lodge

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CBDunkerson wrote:

Tell me. How does the tiny animal Druid, Elemental, Familiar, or Arcane Eye unlock the chest that the secret plans are in? How do they bluff the manor servants to hand over information? Heck, without hands how do they open even UNlocked doors and windows? How well does a familiar, completely on its own, figure out what to do when unexpected obstacles come up? At that, how dysfunctional is this party that the Wizard can't cast the invisibility spell on the Rogue rather than his familiar? Last I checked, +37 stealth was better than +28.

If you think 'you need to use stealth' is creating a challenge then you're setting the bar very low indeed.

Pick up chest and fly away with it. Open a window and light a candle the pre planded signal to allow access to the room. If it's under ground you say locate object on that candle you gave the familiar a burrow/ earth glide there.

Bluff, intimidate, one feat gets caster druid charm person. Invis on the rogue is a good idea but if it runs out you quickly find out that stealth is wierd in this system.

1) If there is an area with no cover stealth fails. There is no wait until they are not looking.

2) Every movement requires a unique check, every check gets an opposed perception check from every person. This basically creates a situation where you need +20 to the skill above everybody you will be near of you may roll a 1 and they roll a 20 and alert the guard.

No this all sucks. Stealth by the rules sucks. Rogues don't have much, so don't run things this way. Buy the books however, stealth is bad.


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Xenocrat wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
LeMoineNoir wrote:

As soon as Scry-and-Fry becomes an option, my group rarely, if ever, steps foot in any room of a dungeon other than the boss room. The only exception is if they have zero idea of who the end boss is.

According to the Devs this doesnt work. Altho they have refused to do a FAQ or a rewrite of the Core RB, they have said that a paragraph in a later book means that in order to Scry and TP in, you need to recognize that place thru the scrying. "Aha, I see Evil McNasty is in the Temple of Badness!"

Ultimate Intrigue just clarified the always existing rule for the many who are confused and wrongly thought scrying an unknown location allowed you to teleport there.

Teleport spell wrote:
You must have some clear idea of the location and layout of the destination.
Scrying spell wrote:
If the save fails, you can see and hear the subject and its surroundings (approximately 10 feet in all directions of the subject).
If I see 10 feet around a guy in a room in a dungeon or castle or a grove in a forest, I don't know the layout or location of that spot unless I've already been there and see something that lets me identify it as a known place. (What castle/dungeon/forest is the subject in? Are you sure, and how? What floor, wing, or quadrant it is in?) If you can't say "oh, he's there" and you don't know how to walk there without teleporting, you can't use scrying to give yourself a scrying fix unless your GM wants to houserule it that way. It's a common misunderstanding, but that's what it has always been.

The cleric in my group (Aasimar with feats for flight + travel and Liberation Domains) would use ethereal jaunt to quickly scout out a place as we hung out at an entrance / other safe location. Then, once we found where we were going, we would buff up and dimension door to the target. This was at high level sure. But before that there were times that we could obviously see a big room at the top of a tower / other obvious location and decided to start our adventure there at lower levels, no scouting necessary... Where the boss just happened to be... It helped that we also had a witch with dimension dooring capabilities.

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Grandlounge wrote:

1) If there is an area with no cover stealth fails. There is no wait until they are not looking.

2) Every movement requires a unique check, every check gets an opposed perception check from every person. This basically creates a situation where you need +20 to the skill above everybody you will be near of you may roll a 1 and they roll a 20 and alert the guard.

No this all sucks. Stealth by the rules sucks. Rogues don't have much, so don't run things this way. Buy the books however, stealth is bad.

It doesn't have to be quite as bad as you make out. Concealment is sufficient for Stealth checks, so our hider can stay in areas of dim light. Sure, if the place they're infiltrating has continuous flame torches every five feet that's no good, but a realistically lit indoor area at night will have big areas of dim light. Also, walls tend to have tapestries, or big statues, or other artsy bric-a-brac. If the GM wants there to be cover or concealment there will be. And, obviously this all changes if you're infiltrating a dwarf stronghold where everyone has darkvision. Know your target!

Until the alarm is raised, it's perfectly acceptable to me to say all guards are taking 10 on Perception. I'd also allow the rogue in question to do the same on Stealth(she might have Skill Mastery anyway). Add in dim light and distance penalties and you're probably fine.

The objection of the rest of the party sitting around while one person sneaks is really the more valid one, IMO.


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CBDunkerson wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
Congrats on insulting many GMs that have been playing for many years!

You're welcome.

Quote:

Now let's look at a situation. You have an infiltration mission set up and you're expecting the rogue to have his moment to shine. But when the party looks at who to send we see this happen for this lv8 party.

Druid:"I can turn into a diminutive animal for +15 stealth over normal so a total of +17 and if seen I'm just another rat in the castle or an earth elemental for earth glide and if I get caught I can turn to an air elemental to fly or something"
Wizard:"I can use my arcane eye to search for us, or send my familiar, He has +8 to stealth and can be invisible for another +20 and have trapfinding for 8 minutes long enough to get in and get out. If he gets caught I can use my spell to pull him back to me, and if he dies he's just 1600 to replace, far cheaper than a raise dead or the likes"
Rogue:"I have max ranks, class skill and dex of 6 so that's a +17 total. And if I'm caught I'm just a person with no special way of escaping besides running. I feel safer having the one of the others go."
And so your nice GM play of setting up the Rogue to shine turned into one of the casters accidently being better at it and thus the rogue didn't get to shine.

Exactly. Just like that. Poor GM'ing.

Okay, if my example isn't good then how about you give an example of "Good GMing" that allows a mundane person to shine while in a party of casters instead of just calling everyone bad?

Grand Lodge

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ryric wrote:
Grandlounge wrote:

1) If there is an area with no cover stealth fails. There is no wait until they are not looking.

2) Every movement requires a unique check, every check gets an opposed perception check from every person. This basically creates a situation where you need +20 to the skill above everybody you will be near of you may roll a 1 and they roll a 20 and alert the guard.

No this all sucks. Stealth by the rules sucks. Rogues don't have much, so don't run things this way. Buy the books however, stealth is bad.

It doesn't have to be quite as bad as you make out. Concealment is sufficient for Stealth checks, so our hider can stay in areas of dim light. Sure, if the place they're infiltrating has continuous flame torches every five feet that's no good, but a realistically lit indoor area at night will have big areas of dim light. Also, walls tend to have tapestries, or big statues, or other artsy bric-a-brac. If the GM wants there to be cover or concealment there will be. And, obviously this all changes if you're infiltrating a dwarf stronghold where everyone has darkvision. Know your target!

Until the alarm is raised, it's perfectly acceptable to me to say all guards are taking 10 on Perception. I'd also allow the rogue in question to do the same on Stealth(she might have Skill Mastery anyway). Add in dim light and distance penalties and you're probably fine.

The objection of the rest of the party sitting around while one person sneaks is really the more valid one, IMO.

Logic dictates if it's a human fortress and there are humans in low light there would be torches on the walls and torches in guards' hands. Torches every 40ft is not that crazy at least in busy areas. All walls having tapestries seems like a pretty subjective idea especially in a fort, dungeon, staff portion of the castle and not a royal area. It would also likely go window, tapestry, window which would cause problems because if you don't have concealment even once you can't make a stealth check thus no perceptions check no penalties. If they can see you they see you.

Opting to take 10 in fine if you want the rogue to succeed but then you could just ask for 2 stealth rolls and hand wave the situation and save a lot of time. Or, roll up a skill challenge and abstract it into an encounter. New PFS scenario have some of these and they work pretty well.


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Chess Pwn wrote:
CBDunkerson wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
Congrats on insulting many GMs that have been playing for many years!

You're welcome.

Quote:

Now let's look at a situation. You have an infiltration mission set up and you're expecting the rogue to have his moment to shine. But when the party looks at who to send we see this happen for this lv8 party.

Druid:"I can turn into a diminutive animal for +15 stealth over normal so a total of +17 and if seen I'm just another rat in the castle or an earth elemental for earth glide and if I get caught I can turn to an air elemental to fly or something"
Wizard:"I can use my arcane eye to search for us, or send my familiar, He has +8 to stealth and can be invisible for another +20 and have trapfinding for 8 minutes long enough to get in and get out. If he gets caught I can use my spell to pull him back to me, and if he dies he's just 1600 to replace, far cheaper than a raise dead or the likes"
Rogue:"I have max ranks, class skill and dex of 6 so that's a +17 total. And if I'm caught I'm just a person with no special way of escaping besides running. I feel safer having the one of the others go."
And so your nice GM play of setting up the Rogue to shine turned into one of the casters accidently being better at it and thus the rogue didn't get to shine.

Exactly. Just like that. Poor GM'ing.
Okay, if my example isn't good then how about you give an example of "Good GMing" that allows a mundane person to shine while in a party of casters instead of just calling everyone bad?

The ironic thing is that the Caster/Martial Disparity is grounds for calling characters bad, simply because the game is more magic-centric than mundane-centric, and as such a group that is more magic-centric is more capable of overcoming highly difficult challenges than non-magical groups.

Welcome to the fundamental design of 3.X/Pathfinder, where magic users rule and martials drool. If you want a game that doesn't follow that policy, I suggest you look elsewhere.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In my nearly 40 years of playing D&D and its descendants (including Pathfinder), I have never personally experienced the alleged "caster/matrial disparity", either as a player or as a GM.

I understand the theorycraft arguments. I mostly get the mathematical modeling argument. I sympathize with anecdotes from other players and GMs. ]

But I have never personally experienced any sense of disparity, or heard complaints of disparity from other players in any of the games that I have personally been involved with.

My opinion is that the presence of a perception of disparity mainly depends on play-style, effectiveness of the GM, and the interpersonal relationships of the people around the gaming table.

That's my experience. Your miles may vary.


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Well, I guess since that guy never experienced it, everyone else just doesn't know what they are doing...


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Orville Redenbacher wrote:
Well, I guess since that guy never experienced it, everyone else just doesn't know what they are doing...

Haladir never experienced it, and that -- actual experience -- was the OP's question.

Nowhere did Haladir say it doesn't happen or that others are ignorant. I don't know why you are taking offense at his/her experience.

As usual for this forum, the thread degenerated into theorycrafting, but that approach ignores a lot of the things that go into a game that are not strictly crunch text.
Player (not character) social skills and agreements.
The actual character levels that the game is most commonly played at.
The desire to have fun (which can include actually being challenged).
The desire to emulate specific kinds of fiction.
GM'ing advice in handbooks throughout the editions.

M/C disparity can happen. For some people, it often does happen. For others, it does not. In my experience, it does not happen as often as I would expect by just looking at the rules and assuming that everybody will build to "optimally" overcome all challenges as quickly and easily as possible.


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Haladir wrote:

...

My opinion is that the presence of a perception of disparity mainly depends on play-style, effectiveness of the GM, and the interpersonal relationships of the people around the gaming table.

That's my experience. Your miles may vary.

Sympathise with something that's factual, well thanks for the benefit of the doubt there :P I do agree that it depends on human factors too, but when these are equal there is no discussion if this is a perception or not. Perception alters whether you see it or not, but it's there.

An inexperienced player wizard wont do as well as a very rules and experienced martial. However, this is a team game, so it isnt a vs competition. But when the party gets an affliction, the caster pulls out Break Enchantment, when a superpowerful monster is summoned, the caster pulls out Dismissal, when you need divination protection the caster has Mages Private Sanctum, needs anything made...fabricate.This is from a glance at 5th level wizard spells.
The martial meanwhile can...uh..not do this, no way near this flexibility of agency and the PLAYER/PERSON may feel that their choices do not matter and they are being "lent" the space, even if the gm decides to "shine light" on them.

This is how this game is designed. I think your perception speaks that you have a group that doesnt pay much heed to these things, accepts them and doesnt let it stop a good session. Respect for that. I personally would prefer something a little more equal, but I'm happy to play what I have chosen and let it be a team effort.

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