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Did anyone else's group use the Sihedron Medallion to preserve the giant hermit crab in the bottom level of Thistletop after they killed it so that they could transport and sell the crabmeat? Yes, I know the crab doesn't really have a head or a neck to hang the medallion around, but the idea is so fun that I had to let it go. So how much meat would a five foot wide hermit crab produce and how much do you think they could sell it for? My initial SWAG is about 150 lbs and they could sell it for maybe 50GP. I might hint broadly to them, however, that their popularity in town would go up tremendously if they donated it and had the Rusty Dragon chefs cook it up for the town for free.

Only my group's first response to this encounter would be: "How much melted butter are we going to need to go with that thing?"

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Just go with the flow and give it a try. Sounds like you had a generous rolling system that allows for generally higher, if non-optimized stats. In the end, it is n't stats that determine how memorable a character is, but rather how you play them. The stats are just a part of the structure on which you build a character.

In general point buy appeals to:
-- young whippersnappers whose youths were corrupted by WoW and anime :)
-- players for whom balance within the party is very important
-- players who come to the table with a specific concept in mind that they want to play
-- players who enjoy optimization
-- GMs who want to have a predicatble level of power for the PCs

In general rolling appeals to:
-- old farts like me who can't get over their "glory days" :)
-- players who welcome more randomness into their character creation and the resulting wider spread of stat arrays and could care less about absolute balance within the party
-- players who are happy to play whatever character the die roll produces rather than having a single concept in mind
-- players who dislike playing or feeling like they are being forced to play characters with dump stats
-- GMs who are comfortable with adjusting encounters to relfect the resultant PC power

As you may guess, I personally prefer rolling for characters, for a wide variety of reasons. That doesn't mean point buy is bad or wrong. It just appeals to a different type of person than I am.

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Ichigeki wrote:

As to spell slots, it doesn't really matter. Remember how I said,"begin preparing to eliminate the threat and build up their defenses"? well I meant it, and it seems like a lot of posters are having trouble with that concept. They can take as long as they want to set up the perfect scenario and spell list to deal with the issue. Heck, maybe they'll even torment their target with the nightmare spell for a week. Or two. Or a year. While they craft a golem to teleport in with them. And send planar bound outsider assassins at them. etc. etc. etc.

If, in a high level game, you are consistently able to be successful with these tactics and your opponents never develop effective counter-measures, your GM has the game on the Easy setting for you.

Remember, high level characters face high level, powerful foes with significant resources. Many of them have superhuman intelligence scores as well. Safe to assume that their opponents are also planning and preparing. The U.S. military has a saying, as true in PF as it is combat: the enemy gets a vote. That doesn't mean the PCs will never get the jump on their opponents, it just means they won't always get the jump on their opponents. In fact, some times their opponents will get the jump on them, and given the extreme lethality of high-level contact, that can mean a lot of dead PCs.

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Just a few simple guidelines that if someone follows, they will always be welcome in my game:

1) Don't disrupt the game - lots of ways to do that, ranging from loud off-topic conversations or cell phone calls while other people are taking their turns to long bouts of rules-lawyering to getting distracted on the Internet so you aren't ready when it is your turn to ... well, you get the picture.

2) Be a good teammate - avoid PvP behavior unless the entire table rocks that way. Work to make sure others can shine and succeed, not just to make your own character look awesome. Don't try to steal someone else's thunder by trying to be better at what they are trying to be good at. Remember that the game is designed to be a team activity and you win or lose as a team, not as individuals. Help folks out who are struggling, either with the rules or with in-game challenges. Make sure everyone gets their share of the RP spotlight (if they want it, some don't).

3) Come prepared and stay prepared - don't make others wait excessively for you to pick your spells or find the feat in the rulebook you want to use, or deide what you are going to do that round. Know your character and his capabilities so someone doesn't have to remind you that, a a paladin, it might be a good idea to use your smite power on that demon.

4) Give your character some personality. You don't have to be a mehtod actor or scenery-chewing ham, but make your character something more than a name and a set of numbers on a page. Give them a background and connections to the rest of the world like family or friends or enemies. Give them likes and dislikes. Give them some favorite phrases or sayings. Anything to make them memorable (not obnoxiously so).

5) Find a GM you trust and then, well, trust him. Give him the benefit of the doubt if you don't understand something. If it really bothers you, talk to him about it later rather than arguing about during game time.

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MaestroVolpe wrote:

Okay, so what I'm really hearing from all of you is that ALL of my fears are hugely confirmed.

Rogues/Ninjas are collectively seen as completely fungible, mostly useless in combat and therefore unwanted, and nobody likes a character with a well-rounded set of abilities because apparently min/maxing is the only way to go.

This does not sound like a tabletop RPG I would enjoy.

Which is a pity, this game sounded like it would be awesome.

Don't give up so soon.

These boards are heavily populated with people who are deeply into optimization and very judgmental about anything less than completely optimal, usually in a purely mechanical, heavily combat-focused sense.

Some of the optimizers are broad-minded enough to realize that the way they play is not the only way there is to play, while others are stubbornly resistant to the radical concept that different groups can and do play the game in diffewrent ways and love to throw around terms like "MAD", "gimped", "useless", etc. about anything that doesn't meet their own definition of a strong character.

They are useful to listen to only if you intend to play in/run an optimized game, or if your existing group begins to optimize. If you aren't, ignore them.

Be assured it is still more than possible to play PF in any style you and your group wants, and many, many people out there are playing rogues, fighters, monks and other less than optimal characters happily and could care less that their choice was "not optimal". Many times, those characters end up being the most effective and memorable in their games because in the end, it is a how a character is played that truly determines its success, not the numbers on the stat sheet.

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Most I've ever done is ten in a prty and that was AD&D, which was less complicated to run (less rules, less player/GM options to choose from in combat and other scenarios, more GM determines what happens). I run for 7 now, and it was 8 previously. I probably wouldn't choose to do 12, but I think it is doable.

It requires more GM preparation and I would suggest a stronger GM disciplinary hand.

-- Have prepared tactics ahead of time for all encounters, including some contingencies.
-- Have an initiative board for large combats so you don't have to keep looking to see whose turn it is, also immediately note end of spells and other effects immediately on it.
-- Have your miniatures and other props pre-selected and ready to hand.
-- If possible have major encounter areas drawn out ahead of time as well on multiple battlemats
-- Look up all spells NPCs are likely to cast ahead of time, as well as any rules you aren't intimately familiar with that may come into play.
-- Prepare encounters carefully. Can't do single BBEG because of action economy, unless you make him so formidable that he is capable of killing a character or two each round. Need lots and lots of minions.

-- Strongly enforce need for players to be prepared with what they want to do before their turn arrives. If they aren't ready, they are doing nothing until they are (e.g. still looking up a spell or feat, going to the bathroom, texting their BFF, reading OOTS online, whatever). Losing a few actions like that usually ensures it won't happen often.
-- No rules disputes or lengthy rules searches during play. GM ruling is quick and final and it can be discussed later out of game if someone has serious heartburn with it. Recognize GM will make some mistakes, but that is better than a buzz-killing 30 minute rules debate/rules research project every session.
-- Respect other players turns by avoiding loud side conversations while it is someone else's turn.
-- Don't let other players (unless there is a truly lost newbie who needs help) tell or advise someone what their character should do (unless it is in character and would fit timewise, like a fighter yelling that he could use some healing). Everybody play their own character.

-- Might want to discourage optimization. Creating challenging encounters for a 12 member party is hard enough, without it being a heavily optimized party.

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Well, I would have objected first to the DM rolling the stats. Seems control freakish to me, and not fun. Or an overreaction to people who amazingly always roll spectacular stats, usually when noone else is watching. Better call to just insist all stat rolls are witnessed (as I do for my daughters, the little cheaters).

However, if somehow he convinced me to go with it, I'd play them. I'd probably have a bit of an attitude, though, which would cause me to create and play that character with every ounce of optimization skill and tactical skill I could bring to the table or glean from the Internet, and roleplay my butt off to make him memorable, just to show that GM that I can overcome whatever adversity he throws at me, and still contribute. Probably would end up being pretty fun.

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Rynjin wrote:
EldonG wrote:
Oh? A low Int is *gosh, by golly, gee whilickers* not very intelligent. RAW says so. Yes, there is justification.

"Not very intelligent" is not equivalent to "an utter f#$$ing dingus".

This is not even getting into the sheer stupidity of the "If your Int 7 Fighter isn't a gibbering moron you're just trying to be a powergaming dick and should leave my glorious (inaccurate) method acting presence" argument I've seen tossed around by multiple people in multiple threads.

Really, Rynjin? I don't know, but I guess I assume that when someone uses quotes, they are, you know, actually quoting someone, rather than indicating what they wish he/she had said because it makes their own argument stronger if they actually had said that. I call foul.

No one has said anything remotely like what you are "quoting" (that is, of course, a different use of quotation marks, indicating that I do not believe you were actually quoting anyone). We are merely stating that roleplaying is important in what is, you know, a roleplaying game. Further, we believe that the stats have meaning beyond the purely mechanical RAW, and that players should make an effort to incorporate their stats (and their character background, and their relevant skills, feats and other abilities) into their roleplaying.

I am presenting the OPINION and ADVICE (which is what the OP asked for) that to roleplay a 7 Int/7 Wis/7 Cha character with no or few knowledge or social skills to compensate for the low raw scores should be played as someone who is less intelligent, wise and charismatic than average. Because they are less intelligent, wise and charismatic than average. To expand, they should not be the character solving every riddle, should not be showing extraordinary judgment consistently, and should not be smoothly negotiating disputes on a regular basis. They may occasionally have good ideas, make good judgments or sway someone with their arguments, but that should be the exception, rather than the rule, when roleplaying that character.

I'm also willing to give the benefit of the doubt to those who argue the opposite side of the coin that they may not be a "powergaming dick" (See, that is how quotes are used accurately. You actually wrote it and I put it in quotes to show that you actually wrote it and make it distinct from what I am writing). However, I hold to my opinion that they are not roleplaying the character as accurately as they could, for whatever reason. Doesn't mean they can't/shouldn't do it that way if their whole table either agrees that roleplaying is completely independent from stats or could care less, and they are having fun. It is merely my opinion that such would not be fun or accepted in my group, or apparently, in quite a few others.

To sum up. Build whatever character (within reason) that you want to play. Develop that charactr's persona based on whatever information is available to you, including, but not limited to: backstory (best if developed jointly with or at least cleared with, the GM), stats, skills, feats, other abilities and setting. Stats is just one of many factors used to form the personality of a character, but it is, in my opinion, one of the most important ones, and is certainly one of the most concrete ones. Once you have that character built, play that characer as accurately as you can.

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Sounds like your basic issue is that you don't like the feel of the game at higher levels, when it basically becomes a superhero game in which all characters, even those without magical powers, become capable of physics and reality-defying stunts. My suggestion, rather than go through the trouble of developing cumbersome house rules to deal with these "superpowers", just limit the games you play to certain levels. For example, cap them at 10. That way, you stay in your comfort zone.

For those who forcefully claim that such superhero skills are necessary to balance the reality-bending nature of casters, I would say that you need to respect the wishes of someone who doesn't want to play a superheroes game.

Certain ridiculous results possible through the skill system simply break all immersion for some people, myself included, and make the game not fun. So we will continue to say characters in full plate cannot swim, no matter what their Strength is and what the rules say, and that noone (human) can jump 20 feet vertically without artificial (magical or mechanical) assistance. Makes the game more fun for us, and we've never had a serious problem with caster/mundane imbalance due to our play style.

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Valcrim Flinthammer wrote:

If we are just talking fighters and barbarians... then none of this matters. Because the Int/Wis/Cha 7 dude is likely never going to be in a position where his word matters unless the GM sets him up to fail just on spite. He is there to tear stuff apart, and withstand the damage of other things that would crush his more eloquent and intelligent friends. That is his sole purpose.

How many characters have any of you played that do not into social stuff, and then step up and speak for the party? How many times have your progress been halted because your melee monster does not have knowledges? Or if we flip the coin, how many Str7-8 wizards have you played that insist on going melee?

If you feel there is some manner of need to punish someone for min-maxing, then don't allow it. And if someone is playing their character with knowledge beyond their scope, then request a relevant skill check. But if you open that can of worms, prepare to require that check from EVERYONE who comes up with an idea, regardless of point buy configuration. Some of the most intelligent people I know regularly gets stumped when confronted with a problem outside their field of interest/education.

I agree with you, the sole purpose of that build is to hit things hard in combat. My argument all along is that - you build it that way, play it that way. Don't build it that way, and then decide that is too "limiting" and you want to play that character as actually being smart. If you want to play a smart character, build a smart character.

I also agree that asking for skill checks all the time is tedious and not fun. Personally, I would have preferred if 3.X/PF had left social skills firmly in the roleplay area and left die-rolling out of it. I'm not proposing asking for skill checks all the time in social situations or planning sessions (although, it is sorely tempting when confronted with the "only the mechanics matter" argument). I'm just saying, play the role of the character you build. If you have low mental stats across the board and no skills to compensate, play it that way. Don't try to be the lord high strategist and the ambassador at large for the party, or invent far-fetched arguments as to why your character really should be able to do that, rather than just being able to hit things really hard.

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3.5 Loyalist wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
3.5 Loyalist wrote:
Yeah, and some cultures think you are a genius if you are a genius in a craft or art form. You've heard of artistic geniuses I am sure.

I've heard that expression before, sure. It means talented, not smart.

And talent can be a demonstration of...?

Dedication, intelligence, learning and skills.

Actually, I think of "talent" as innate or God-given. Someone talented at something is naturally gifted in that area. They can, of course, become even better at something through working hard at it, and someone with lower levels of talent can even become better at something than a naturally gifted person through hard work.

For example, there was kid on my HS track team (way back in the Stone Age) who worked his butt off, put in more miles and workout time than anyone else on the team. With hard work and dedication he became a contributor, but never a star. Why? Because he was simply not very talented. On the other hand, we had a kid who walked onto the team senior year, ran a few practices and became an instant star, because he was blessed with natural talent. Of course, a third kid, who became a state champion, had both talent and dedication.

I realize this is a physical example, and we are talking about mental stats. However, I believe it still applies. There is talent (represented by the Int score) and dedication/hard work/learning (represented by skill ranks and/or feats). A character can overcome lack of natural talent through hard work, and a character with natural talent can perhaps breeze by without putting in the work. The most effective characters, of course, will blend natural talent and hard work.

But let's be serious, here. Does anyone really think that the min-maxed 7 Int/7 Wis/7 Cha fighter is going to be putting lots of ranks into social and knowledge skills to compensate for his low scores? Of course not.

As for the hypothetical 7 Int bard, that's just what he is, hypothetical. Who would create such a character? Theoretically, he could exist, of course, but I don't think anyone would legitimately create a character for a class heavily dependent on skills for effectiveness and give them a 7 Int (assuming you are not rolling for stats with a pretty restrictive method and just got unlucky), as anything but a joke (or a strawman, as the case may be).

So what we are relly talking about is fighters and barbarians, who aren't likely to have many skills either to compensate for their low natural talent. So, we are talking unskilled and untalented. My argument all along is just to be honest and play them that way. Embrace your place at the lower end of the normal spectrum and go with it.

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Stynkk wrote:
Brian Bachman wrote:
There are other reasons as well, based on many bad experiences with evil characters and the players who like to play them over the years, but the reason above is the main one.
I am assuming the GM ok'd the play of an evil character.


3.5L and I were just having a brief side conversation about an earlier post of mine in which I commented that I didn't allow evil characters in my games. Nothing to do with the OP's game.

Although...I would note that if RD's GM had taken the same approach, the problem likely would not have arisen. Another probably would have, however. My take is that RD likes to test the edge of the envelope with his character creation and probably with his gameplay, based on previous threads he has started or participated in, which would keep any GM on his toes. I would probably enjoy the challenge, but end up slapping him down frequently, and he'd likely be complaining about me on the boards.

If I remember correctly from some of his previous posts, however,he has stated that not every situation he posts comes from actual gameplay. Some are just hypotheticals he throws out to get a conversation started and see how folks come out on the issue.

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Epic Meepo wrote:
Brian Bachman wrote:

Very simple. It is because under the RAW there are already HUGE penalties for people who dump physical stats (except arguably Strength for a caster who never intends to enter physical combat), whereas the RAW penalties for dumping mental stats are relatively minor.

It's not about penalizing the Fighter over the Wizard. It's about making the player who CHOSE to take crippling mental stats roleplay the character he CHOSE to make.

By your own admission, the RAW impose relatively minor penalties on low mental stats. Which means low mental stats are not "crippling" scores. Each is a relatively minor step down from a higher mental ability score.

Brian Bachman wrote:
Again, this is very simple. If you don't want to play a dumb character, don't create a dumb character.
Agreed. If you don't want to play a dumb character, don't describe your character as being dumb when you create the fluff for your character. None of which has anything to do with game mechanics.

We have a basic disagreement about how we understand the game and it's roleplaying aspects. I believe that taking a 7 in all three of your mental scores is indeed "crippling", not in the sense it will make that character ineffective in the game, but "crippling" in the sense that such a character is extremely specialized and limited in the roles he can take on in the party. They're not mentally handicapped or impaired, they're simply dull, and in my mind playing them as anything else is poor roleplaying at best and dishonest at worst. I can almost see it if someone was rolling for stats and didn't want to play a dumb character but the dice gods cursed him - I'd have more sympathy. But in a point buy system in which the choice is all in the player's hands? No sympathy whatsoever.

For me, what you call "fluff", the story, is the most vitally important part of the game, and to be credible, must be supported by the stats. If you want your character to be smart, or even average, don't dump the stat. You don't have to have a 20 Strength at first level to be a strong and effective character. You don't even need to have an 18, unless you are playing in a highly optimized group with little tolerance for less than optimal characters.

If someone handed me a character sheet for one of my games with 7s in all three mental stats, but still described himself as "smart" in his background story, I would laugh uncontrollably for a few minutes and then tell the player that may be how the character views himself, but that he is actually delusional and the rest of the world pretty much considers him a dullard.

To give all those making the argument the benefit of the doubt, at best this is a way to ensure people have fun no matter what their scores are, and if it's fun for any group to ignore their stats and play every character however they want, far be it from me to take that away from them. Rock on, just not at our table.

The dark side of that coin, however, is the possibility that some people advocating it want all the goodies without having to take the tradeoffs that are explicit in a point buy system. I can't make out the sign on that exit ramp, but the people who live there are short, dress funny and pick a strange yellow color for their cobbles.

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Thomas Long 175 wrote:

I'm not going ot be able to not fight in this.

So I'm going to leave it at this:

Many of the worlds most brilliant people contributed very little. Many people who contributed a great deal had average or just above. Ingenuity and intelligence are different things.

If you want an example think of rainman and study up on the theory of multiple intelligence. It submits that rather than intelligence being one sweeping thing, intelligence is found in many different forms. So someone could be supremely stupid in 9/10 areas and still be a genius in another.

IQ in and of itself only covers logical and language skills. It has no inherent ability to measure innovation which could be found in many other areas.

My 2 CP. I'm now going to hide this thread. Good luck all.

Rainman is, of course, a fictional character. The vast majority of people who actually succeeded at counting cards (and it is virtually impossible to do in modern casinos with multi-deck shoes unless you are using computers) have been highly intelligent and, in some cases, mathematical geniuses.

Yes, I am pretty conversant with the theory of multiple intelligences and find much (but not all) of it pretty convincing. I fully agree with you that IQ is an utterly inadequate measure of functional intelligence across a broad spectrum of reasoning, and that many people with dazzling IQ scores contribute little (check your local MENSA club for proof). I would argue that means they probably aren't as brilliant as they think they are. And I would argue that people with average IQs who contributed far more actually were brilliant, regardless of their score.

That is why I personally never equate Int in RPGs with IQ. Instead, I assume it is a measure that is actually much more adequate than IQ for measuring intelligence across a broad spectrum.

I understand why people use IQ to compare to Int, because it a common frame of reference that makes it easier to make illustrations, but I do not believe the two should be equated. I note that the official rules do not equate the two or provide a chart to note equivalents for various scores.

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Kamelguru wrote:

That is the whole point. Int 7 means you don't get to have skillpoints, and thus your stat will be crippled. An Int20 fighter has a lot more skill points to allocate to cover all monster knowledge skills even on lv1, and with just a single rank, he has +6 to that knowledge, which is enough to casually identify the type of monster (lycanthrope), if not individual characteristics. This will clue him in that it likely shares characteristics of other creatures of its type.

Even if the int7 dude WERE to start covering a single monster knowledge skill, he would get one per level, and be at -1, meaning even checks with a DC of 10 would on average fail, and DC20 would be impossible.

The mechanics aptly penalizes you for a low score, is my argument. If you are going to penalize int outside what the game already does, then you are making house rules. Would you do any of the following?:

- Make the Str7/Int18 character fail at Craft checks...

One, I don't think this is "houseruling" beyond the normal interpretation of the rules inherent in all RPGs.

Two, I certainly would make someone fail at Craft checks if what they were attempting were physically impossible or at least highly improbable for someone with a 7 Strength. If you can't lift the smith's hammer, you can't craft the sword. I could see doing it wiht a stronger assistant working under your direction, but that person would have to have at least one skill point in the Craft as well. Most Crafts aren't going to require significant Strength, though.

The Heal check is a poor example, because we aren't talking brain surgery here, we're talking emergency trauma first aid, and having taken the courses (but thank God never having had to use them), it doesn't require that much physical dexterity - pretty much any normal human being can do it, and 7 is at the bottom end of normal, but still normal. I would have a problem if someone with a 7 Dex said that they were going to conduct brain surgery, and would probably call for a Dex check. Again, they could have someone with higher Dex assist under direction, if they had the Heal skill.

As for fatigue, there are rules for it, and a 7 Con character is certainly going to become fatigued much faster than a character with average or better Con. Probably wouldn't be after a single flight of stairs, but after a few rounds of running trying to flee the BBEG (or chase him down), yeah, he's going to be hurting.

Of course, a character can overcome low mental scores by investing in Skills, kind of like a person who is not very bright naturally, but who works really hard in school, and thus there is a mechanical way to represent that. But let's be real. Do you really think the player who dumps all his mental stats to 7 so that he can have a 20 Str is going to invest in Knowledge skills? No, he's going to leave that to his more intelligent party members, who thus are going to be the ones who have to, if roleplaying matters to you, come up with most of the great ideas for the group.

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The black raven wrote:

My take on dumping mental stats is "fun first". In other words, if the player wants to roleplay a dumb character making stupid decisions, that is just fine by me, as long as he takes care not to endanger the party.

But I do not like that a GM would FORCE a player to have his character act in such or such way, especially when it makes the player unhappy.

Also I dislike putting non-RAW penalties on characters who dumped mental stats, especially by restricting their actions, because there is no equivalent additional restriction for the characters who dump physical stats.

In other words, why should the GM penalize the guy who chose to play a Fighter over the one who chose to play a Wizard ?

Very simple. It is because under the RAW there are already HUGE penalties for people who dump physical stats (except arguably Strength for a caster who never intends to enter physical combat), whereas the RAW penalties for dumping mental stats are relatively minor.

It's not about penalizing the Fighter over the Wizard. It's about making the player who CHOSE to take crippling mental stats roleplay the character he CHOSE to make.

Again, this is very simple. If you don't want to play a dumb character, don't create a dumb character.

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BiggDawg wrote:

I have a question for those that advocate a player play down to a low INT character. Do you as the GM or other players help a player play up to a high INT character?

As GM I never curtail a player's ideas due to low stats. You cannot peg something like creativity to someone's intelligence, there are plenty of dumb people that come up with great ideas all the time. At best you could say that a characters Intelligence may influence how that idea is expressed, but to try to pigeonhole a player due to a low INT stat on their character is bad form in my opinion. A low stat already has a place in the game, as it affects appropriate dice rolls. Seems silly to limit the player due to a stat unless it is something that the player finds enjoyable to play out.

In answer to your question: Absolutely, that is what Knowledge checks are for and if the character does not have the requisite Knowledge skill, but it is still something that a character with their intelligence likely would have thought of, you can just do a raw Intelligence check.

Frankly, this is rarely an issue with my current group or other groups I have played with. RPG players tend to be of higher intelligence than the average, in my experience, probably because the imagination necessary to play such games requires a significant level of intelligence. I would estimate the Int scores of my current group to all fall between 12 and 18 (and maybe a couple pushing 20). So it is more of a roleplaying challenge for them to play someone with a low Int than a high one, and I doubt that is true just across my groups.

I appreciate that you have the right as GM not to insist on such roleplaying from your group. It's a shame, in my opinion, because in doing so you are turning Pathfinder into more of a tactical wargame than an RPG, and I think it kind of sucks as a tactical wargame and rocks as an RPG.

I take your point on making the game enjoyable for your players, and if they all want to play that way, cool. Frankly, whether I am GM or another player, I get annoyed with players who refuse to roleplay the characters they created, particularly those who refuse to roleplay significant handicaps they created for themselves. I would not enjoy myself at such a table. But that's just me.

As for dumb people who come up with "great ideas all the time" I have to say I've never met one. It seems to me that if they came up with great ideas all the time, they'd be, pretty much by definition, smart people. That doesn't mean dumb people never have a great idea, but it is pretty rare, and usually falls in the category of common sense that sometimes escapes highly intelligent people, which you can argue would be represented by a decent Wisdom score. For example, the 7 Int Fighter with a 12 Wisdom might listen to a planning session dominated by his more intelligent companions regarding sneaking into a castle, in which they are coming up with all kinds of intricate, layered plans involving magic and Stealth and might say something like: "Guys, wouldn't it be simpler to just dress up like peasants and walk in the front gate on Market Day?" Of course the OP was also dumping his Wis to 7, so that's not really an option for him, either.

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Struggling through this entire thread made me so happy I never allow evil characters when I'm GMing so that I don't have to deal with this kind of crap. Presented with that character concept I would have laughed uproariously and said try again.

Seriously, sounds like the GM doesn't like the entire character concept. He clearly should have rejected it first before play started, if that is indeed the case. Trying to change it later is far from optimal.

As for the larger question of backstory, for me that has always been a creative process between the GM and the player, and may require some back and forth negotiating before play starts. I ask all my players to provide a backstory including key people from their past, and a basic answer to the question of why they are an adventurer. Some of them give me really detailed stuff pages long that gives me a ton to work with for future plot threads, roleplaying flavor and character motivation. Others give me the bare basics, and I have to go back to them for a bit more. I do tell them flat out that the more they give me the more central their character is likely to be to the plot and the more facetime they will likely get during roleplaying sections.

The goal, though, is to enhance the game experience for all of us by making it a more immersive world that the characters actually feel they are a part of rather than a hastily developed set of stats with no context. I try not use this to hurt the characters in any way, although I may use their backgrounds to create challenges (like one character's wife and children being taken hostage by a recurring baddie during a recent Kingmaker campaign - he became a seriously motivated paladin when he found out).

The only way I would make involuntary changes to a character that have a mechanical impact would be if someone is seriously not roleplaying their alignment correctly or if someone is blatantly trying to break the game by exploiting loopholes in the rules. Even then, it would only be after warnings had been issued and discussions about why what they were doing wasn't cool took place.

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Lower end of normal. This guy is perfectly functional and can be skilled at what he has specific training in. Just not going to be the guy with the bright ideas or a leader of anything other than a gang of thugs.

I assume that the OP himself is probably at least normal or quite probably above normal in intelligence. That makes it an RP challenge to "dumb down" the character to his own level, one not everyone can do. I've seen lots of folks who dump their INT down like that, but then still want to be leaders in the party, helping solve the riddles, advising on tactics, etc. I've also seen lots of folks on this board defend that, with various arguments that all boil down to being unwilling to pay the price in roleplaying for a mechanical choice, saying the mechanical penalties alone should suffice.

I respectfully but strongly disagree. You make a choice to play a 7 Int, 7 Wis, 7 Cha character, so play that character. He's not a mental cripple, but he's definitely not a leader and not going to be the one solving problems. He's the one someone else points in the right direction and gives very specific instructions to or he'll screw it up.

If playing under those restrictions doesn't appeal to you and you want to be a leader in the party, don't dump the stats.

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master_marshmallow wrote:
Brian Bachman wrote:
Aratrok wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:
Optimizing is different from min-maxing and power gaming. If that was the OP's question, power gaming is not important to a player who is actually sitting down at a table with other people who plan on actually having an adventure. Optimizing itself is only as important as your job to your party. If your party doesn't have a job for you to do, then why is your character with them?
Totally this. If you can't give a legitimate answer to the question "Why doesn't the rest of the party ditch my character and hire someone else?" there's a problem.

Sorry, couldn't resist responsing to this, even if it sounds provocative.

My answer would be: Umm, maybe because your character is a friend and colleague they have worked, struggled and bled with, rather than just a replaceable set of stats on a piece of paper. Or maybe because there are not an infinite number of potential partners out there for them to choose from.

Seriously, if all the character is is a set of stats on a piece of paper, then they are infinitely and easily replaceable, and why wouldn't you replace them with a better set of stats?

If, on the other hand, they actually have a personality and a history and contribute to the party and the story (even if they don't carry their weight in combat, which, let's face it, is pretty much what most people optimize for) it's not so easy to kick them to the curb. Do you kick your less than optimal friends to the curb every time someone "better" or "cooler" shows up? Assuming you answer no, why would your characters be any different?

The new bane of my DM existence is the notion that players can use their 'backstory' as a means to get away with things like this. 'Our characters know each other' is different from 'My character knows his character, and knows he is a good fighter and would be a valued adventuring partner.'

If the other players at the table are okay with having someone there who...

First off, I hate the term "wastes space". The only people who waste space at a gaming table are those who just aren't fun to play with, and even that is subjective. Any player who is involved and fun to be around and any character that gives it his all for the party is fine by me, no matter what his stats are.

Second, what is "their job"? Their job is to be an adventurer. They don't have to fit neatly into any predefined roles. It is the whole party's job to overcome obstacles, not any one character's. They succeed or fail as a group.

Finally, you don't "lose" just because the group fails at a certain task, or even if there is a TPK. The only way you lose is if you aren't having fun, because that what this is about. It's a game. We do it to have fun, and everybody "wins" if fun is had, regardless of whether the characters succeed or not. Granted most people have more fun if they are succeeding, but fun is the ultimate goal, not in-game success for the characters.

As a GM it may indeed drive you crazy to have non-optimal or even stupid or silly characters, but if the players are having fun I would just roll with it and adapt to their style. Of course, you have the right to have fun, too, so if it truly drives you crazy, then maybe it's time to have someone else sit behind the GM screen so you can drive them crazy.

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Aratrok wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:
Optimizing is different from min-maxing and power gaming. If that was the OP's question, power gaming is not important to a player who is actually sitting down at a table with other people who plan on actually having an adventure. Optimizing itself is only as important as your job to your party. If your party doesn't have a job for you to do, then why is your character with them?
Totally this. If you can't give a legitimate answer to the question "Why doesn't the rest of the party ditch my character and hire someone else?" there's a problem.

Sorry, couldn't resist responsing to this, even if it sounds provocative.

My answer would be: Umm, maybe because your character is a friend and colleague they have worked, struggled and bled with, rather than just a replaceable set of stats on a piece of paper. Or maybe because there are not an infinite number of potential partners out there for them to choose from.

Seriously, if all the character is is a set of stats on a piece of paper, then they are infinitely and easily replaceable, and why wouldn't you replace them with a better set of stats?

If, on the other hand, they actually have a personality and a history and contribute to the party and the story (even if they don't carry their weight in combat, which, let's face it, is pretty much what most people optimize for) it's not so easy to kick them to the curb. Do you kick your less than optimal friends to the curb every time someone "better" or "cooler" shows up? Assuming you answer no, why would your characters be any different?

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Piccolo wrote:

Here's a question: Do both Wizards and Clerics have to rest those 8 hours, which means they are exempt from watches unless the PC group rests a total of 10 hours and switch off every 2 hours?

Or is it just Wizards? What other classes have to do that?

Seems to me that it would be wise for a primary spellcaster to get a Ring of Sustenance and wear it at all times, so that they have time to rest, memorize spells, take watches, and even craft magic items while adventuring.

Actually, our group for many years has taken our rest periods to be 12 hours, meaning all the spellcasters can take first or last shift without interrupting the time needed to rest and prepare spells. Of course, sometimes the adventure does not permit that period of time, in which case, spellcasters are usually exempted from watch. On rare occasions, we are in such hostile territory that there is no way to get the required rest and spellcasters simply can't recover their spells. In the most extreme cases (very rare) noone gets any rest and everyone's effectiveness starts to drop from fatigue.

I actually kind of like this, as it takes on the feel of epic adventrues when everyone is battling to overcome adversity. Overcoming that adversity is what produces epic stories and heroes.

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Rynjin wrote:

Only problem I've had with him as the Sorcerer is the "Hold on before you run up there, I wanna Fireball this group" and he goes "I've got a bunch of HP, I can take it. LEEEEEEEEEEROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOY-"

Maybe that guy should be playing in the same group with my daughter. Sounds like they would work well together.

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Is it OK to take away an item vital to the effective functioning of a character?

Of course it is, when used sparingly and to advance a greater story that will be a lot of fun. GMs should not repeatedly target these items in illogical ways, but having intelligent enemies (particularly recurring villains who know the party and their abilities/weaknesses well) do so occasionally or using this as a way to spring a new adventure every once in a long while can be awesome.

It used to be far more common. Someone already mentioned the Slaver's series of adventures, which starts out that way. I recall the Horde seeries in 2nd edition D&D had a similar plot device in which a group of monks the PCs go to for information throws all their equipment down into a bottomless canyon because they are "meaningless material possessions that limit their personal growth" or something like that. Both were fun adventures despite the handicaps of the start.

Spellbooks, in particular, have always been a wizard's Achilles heel, and there is a long tradition of wizards losing them, having them stolen, etc. countered by a tradition just as long of paranoid wizards going to extraordinary lengths to protect them.

In 3.X/PF, it's a bit trickier, because characters, particularly when optimized specialists, tend to become pretty dependent on things like spellbooks, holy items, familiars, specialized weapons, bonded items, etc. and the drop in their power when they lose them is pretty steep.

The key is giving characters a realistic chance (and in my opinion several options) for recovering their items and/or their powers in a reasonably short period of time. Makes for a very challenging scenario, which can be even more satisfying when overcome. If you'd rather not be challenged in this way, probably not for your group.

One caveat: every group/player hates this when it happens to them, but many times, in retrospect, they appreciate the adventure that comes out of it. The slaver's modules in particular end up being a blast as you slowly become more powerful and take your revenge on the baddies.

So my advice would be to give it a try and, if you are having fun, just go with it. If not, maybe talk to the DM out of game and tell him you aren't having fun and why. Personally, I think going through an entire level without your spellbooks is a bit long, but perhaps there were ways to recover them and/or get new ones that your party just missed. In any event, he should, in fairness, continue to give you opportunities to recover your powers, even if doing so means adjusting the story a bit, hopefully in ways that don't threaten suspension of disbelief.

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The issues as I see them:
1. How much should a GM "help" his players? Matter of taste and experience. I've GMed for groups of newbies who badly needed me to explain everything to them carefully and give advice. I've also GMed for veterans who neither needed nor would have appreciated my interference in this way. From the totality of the arguments presented so far, I would say MM was a bit scanting in his help and perhaps overestimated the system mastery of his players, and perhaps should have given more advice. That said, 4 wizard players and none of them know to just rest a little more to get their spells back? Seriously?
2. How much should the GM reshape adventures to match the capabilities of his players? Most GMs do it all the time. I know I do, particularly with storebought adventures, because my groups of seven players, 4 of whom are experienced and skilled veterans, will absolutely trash published adventures as written and be snoozing within an hour from lack of challenge. That said, the players did ignore GM advice on party composition and apparently went in brimming with ill-deserved confidence, so I certainly understand the temptation not to nerf the adventure and let the chips fall where they may. However, in the end the game is about fun, and the GM's responsibility is to do his best to make it fun. If that means nerfing to make up for incompetent players, so be it. Helps if the players recognize their responsibiities to make it funs as well, includign for the GM.
3. Is an all-wizard party viable and/or "the bestest"? It's certainly viable, but definitely challenging at lower levels. I think as this group's experiences showed, those that want to go this route had better know their stuff and work cooperatively in their builds, their spell selections and their tactics to make it work. Another poster said that any "moderately competent players" could do it, and I strongly disagree with that - this is not for any beginner or for the average player who has not memorized the CRB and/or doesn't have the time to research and test optimized builds. As to being "the bestest", I'd still take a balanced party over it any day, when you consider all levels, but I think the argument can be made that a well-constructed all-wizard party might indeed reign supreme after a certain level, which I would place around 7th-9th. That is possible due to the extreme wizard-friendliness of the 3.X/PF rules system, and would not have been possible in AD&D or 2nd edition.
4. What to do about whiny players? My first impulse whenever a player gets whiny (and it occasionally happens even in our excellent group) is to offer to change places with them and see if they can do better. It strikes me as no coincidence at all that the most sympathetic player in MM's described scenario is the other one that GMs. He's been there, done that, and understands how much more diffuclt it is to GM than to play (by orders of magnitude), and is probably both more supportive and more willing to cut the GM some slack even when he makes a wrong call or interpretation (and all GMs do occasionally). Seriously folks, if players aren't willing to man up and walk the walk, well you know what they can do with their talk. We have three who GM in our group and we all support each other (even when mistakes are made)and make sure whining doesn't get out of hand.
5. Should players suffer the consequencs of their own decisions? Yup. However, I would caveat that by saying you can/should ease up a bit on newbies in this regard, and that I am more forgiving of mistakes made in character creation (like making a party of 4 wizards, not all of whom are well-built or coordinated with the others) than of tactical mistakes made during play (like purposely taking on a horde of baddies all at once rather than attempting to find a way to keep the numbers manageable). Not so hard for a GM to adjust an adventure beforehand to make it less challenging for a non-optimal party build. However, hard to nerf things during the game without endangering suspension of disbelief. If players are stupid (or just unlucky sometimes) their characters can and should suffer the consequences and possibly die. Take away that possibility and well, the game just isn't very exciting.

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Pretty much lost in the OP's overheated, Internet-style rhetoric (deliberately designed to attract as many flames as possible), are some fairly valid points, overstated though they may be. So I thought I'd give my thoughts on a few of them.

-- Somewhere along the way, game designers figured out that there were more players at the table than GMs, and that many (certainly not all) players wanted their characters to be more powerful, and 3.0, 3.5 and PF are the direct result. Very smart marketing strategy.
-- Characters of all sorts are infinitely more powerful than before (but so are opponents, so the game is no more or less balanced than it was before, it just plays at a relatively higher level of power)
-- Many rules that some players complained about that made it more likely for PCs to die or get hurt (deadly traps and poisons, SoD spells, energy-draining, more chance for magical fratricide, low HP for wizards and rogues, etc., etc.). First reaction from the grognards in my group when I introduced 3.0 was "this seems like D&D on training wheels".
-- If you think that WoW and other elecronic media RPGs have not impacted Pathfinder, you're living in a bigger fantasy land than you are playing in. You can certainly argue about whether the effects have been positive or negative but to deny the impact is simply ludicrous. I personally think the impact has been negative on balance, but that's just me.
-- Rule Zero has definitely been weakened in 3.X/PF, in relation to older versions. More and more rules are tightly codified rather than being left up to GM discretion (like social interactions). The sheer volume of rules is much higher. However, still lots and lots of room for GM interpretation, and always will be.
-- The game is definitely more magic-heavy. Players love their toys and the Magic Mart assumption of PF and trivially easy magic item crafting rules certainly deliver them.
-- I don't think players being more entitled is a generational thing at all. I hear the same arguments about "the younger generation" (which I'm not a member of if you haven't guessed) all the time at work, and don't give much credence there either. I think our society as a whole has become more "entitled". For example, we believe we deserve to have generous entitlement programs, the most powerful military the world has ever seen, and a fully-functioning government, while still maintaining the lowest taxation level in the developed world. Then we're shocked and appalled that we have a huge debt. Don't blame it on a generation. We all got here together, folks.

And a few comments on GM-player interaction:
-- A gaming group involves an implied social contract between the GMs and the players. The GM is obligated to put in far more work than the players in building a world and creating/running an adventure, with the goal of facilitating an awesome good time. He is obligated to be as fair and even-handed as possible, but not obligated to be a pushover or give players every little thing they want. The players in turn are obligated to respect the authority of the GM and play their characters to the best of their ability. Both sides are obligated not to be jerks.
-- While the GM builds the world and may have a larger share of "ownership" of it, it is a shared world, and the entire purpose of that world is to facilitate adventures. So, yes, players have every right to expect that gameplay centers on them rather than on the backstory, and that they get to be the heroes of the story. That doesn't mean they should expect the GM to warp reality to cater to their whims, or that everything should always go their way. As my military colleagues like to say, the enemy gets a vote, too.
-- While it is somewhat strange to talk about "reality" in a fantasy roleplaying game, it is important that there is a certain amount of logical consistency necessary to allow suspension of disbelief, immersion and full enjoyment. However, the level of desired "realism" and immersion desired widely varies flow player to player, and some things that bother some players deeply (fighters doing an elegant backstroke in full plate rather than sinking like stones, for example) are no problem for some others.

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Make them describe how they are going to do it. If they come up with a reasonable plan to do it quietly, it should have a good chance to succeed. If their plan is to use a warhammer to smash their heads in one at a time with power attack, not so much.

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The main "problems" I'm seeing here are the complaints of people who believe fighters are less powerful than optimized builds of other classes, or than full casters.

My response: Who cares? The optimization crowd obsessed with DPR, 1-round rocket tag combats, and being the most powerful character in the game is only one small segment of the gaming community, and I've heard their opinions (over and over again) and they are welcome to them. They have precious little connection to the reality of the way every group I've played with over the last 35 years plays the game.

Key and only important question for me: Is a fighter character fun to play?

Answer: YMMV. Fighters aren't for everyone. I rarely play one actually, but every now and then it's fun to just be big and bad and go medieval on your opponents.

Bottom line: This is a game we play for fun (at least most of us, I occasionally wonder about some posters). Each and every class and option within those classes is awesome in its own way if the person playing it is having fun doing so, and so are the other people at the table.

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Two thoughts:

1) A lot also depends on what else the rogue does with her life. Presumably, she also adventures (since I have a hard time seeing a campaign based entirely around her prostitution/theft habits) and her actions in that capacity also effect her alignment. If this theft binge is just a sidelight and she spends the rest of her time slaying dangerous monsters, rescuing innocent civilians and generally saving the world (like a lot of PCs) the entire picture is very different, than if during the rest of her time she clubs baby seals for their fur and runs confidence games on senior citizens.

2) I tend to think of the alignments as a full 2-dimensional map/chart, rather than just a label. I would characterize her actions as chaotic evil, since she robs people for her own benefit, but relatively close to neutral on the good-evil axis, since she seems to be trying to avoid hurting her victims (although what will happen when one wakes up and catches her in the act?) and generally only victimizes those she thinks can afford it.

Also a few thoughts to consider if you think they would be fun additions to the game, or if you want to discoursge the activity, based on the premise that prostitution is an inherently dangerous profession, only made more so by her decision to rob her johns.

-- What happens when she runs into a john who wants to rough her up a bit? Maybe one with a few levels of fighter.
-- What happens when she has a john who wants to take it to a whole different level of kink and bring out the whips and chains (hope she's been keeping her Escape Artist up to snuff)? What if that guy drugs her wine?
-- What if one of her wealthy victims hires thugs to find her and exact revenge?
-- What if the local pimp takes offense to her being an "independent" and decides she needs to join his stable, and sends the muscle?
-- What if one of her johns becomes obsessed with her and becomes a dangerous stalker?
-- What if a jealous spouse (say a sorceress) catches them in the act and wants revenge?
-- What if one of her johns is a respected public figure and they are spotted, causing a scandal?
-- What if one of her johns, unknown to her, is actually another rogue planning to rob her?
-- What if she gets busted by the cops?
-- What if she catches venereal diseases, lots of them - condoms don't exist (though thankfully cure disease does), no need to say more?

All of these ideas could provide either some interesting gameplay or a way to discourage the activity. Use it only if it is fun or useful. I would almost certainly do so, as I'm big on letting my players do whatever they want, but ensuring that there are consequences for their actions.

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Wind Chime wrote:
The reason I dislike paladins is because I prefer my heroes flawed and damaged, capable of making mistakes and doing bad things. I don't like characters who are holy shrine maiden of purity who would not even consider doing a bad things, characters who are nothing more than conceptual ideals rather than people.

No character should be one-dimensional, even a character with a strong code that defines them, like a paladin. That's just poor roleplaying, not a flaw of the class, just like the guy who plays every rogue as a kleptomaniac jerk.

Paladins should be flawed and human like every other character. They should struggle with their faith and their decisions on a regular basis. They should, like anyone else, consider doing bad things. The difference is that they almost always reject those "bad things" after considering it, and when they do fall to temptation they suffer real mechanical consequences more than just a guilty conscience.

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My Top Ten Reasons Some People Hate Paladins:
1. Difficult class to play well. Living by a code as an adventurer isn't easy.
2. Players who insist on playing a paladin when everyone else wants to be chaotic neutral, amoral mercenaries concerned only for themselves, and the inevitable intra-party conflict.
3. Players who want to play a chaotic neutral, amoral mercenary when everyone else wants to be good guy heroes, including a paladin, with the inevitable intra-party conflict.
4. Paladins cramp a lot of people's style.
5. Nobody likes folks who are "better" than they are, and paladins undoubtedly are.
6. DMs who love to make paladins fall, ruining everyone's good time.
7. Paladins get all the girls.
8. Paladins don't know what to do with the girls when they get them.
9. After getting the girls, they feel the need to atone.
10. Feeling the need to atone pisses off the girls.

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Since 373 posts is nowhere near enough, I'll throw in my two cents, from a slightly different perspective.

Perhaps it would be educational for people to consider how their characters feel, in-game, when Charm Person and other mind-bending spells are used against them.

I can tell you how I and others in my group feel about it. We hate it. With a passion. To the point, where the whole table objects to someone creating a big, dumb fighter with low wisdom. To the point that many of our characters have a violent and uncontrollable urge to do extreme physical violence to any creature they suspect of trying to charm them. That, of course doesn't mean we don't use it ourselves at times, but we generally do so only against obvious adversaries, and, hey, a little hypocrisy helps everyone sleep better at night.

Given how much our characters hate it, I think it's fair to extrapolate that many others would feel the same way, including bystanders watching it be done to someone else. At the very least, they would be apprehensive about the same thing being done to them and what they might be coerced/convinced into doing/revealing. Do, they hate it worse than wathing some be roguhed up or tortured for information? Eh, probably not, though a few might.

That said, CP is a little less objectionable than others in the mind-bending category for reasons many have noted above, although by RAW, with a high-Charisma sorcerer or bard, it can still be devastatingly effective at low levels and in the right situation.

As for me when I'm wearing the GM hat, I kind of like CP. It offers the chance for great role-playing. I tend to go with the roleplaying something logically in response to the line of questioning/requesting rather than keep rolling opposed Charisma checks, but I'm an old fogie who believes you shouldn't have to roll a die for everything. For those who are RP challenged (and there are a couple at my table) we'll roll the opposed checks, although I have no problem giving situational modifiers based on the extremity of what is being asked (Note: I give those same bonuses to PCs who are charmed if asked to do something against their nature, something the players very much appreciate.)

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I don't know about in Pathfinder.

Back in the good old days, it used to be hands-down the rust monster. Never did you see more armor-wearing titans of death piss their iron shorts, scream like little girls, break into a cold sweat, run for their lives and hide behind the (figurative) skirts of the party wizard and thief than when one of those innocuous little beasties approached.

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I realize the GM, being a reasonable guy, already conceded the point, but I think he did so prematurely. Personally, I think he did it exactly right by calling it a minor evil act that has no overall consequences for the alignment of the character unless it becomes part of a pattern.

The keys for me are: 1) knowing the cleric is good-aligned; 2) that there were arguably other options available that also stood a strong chance (if not a guarantee) of protecting his party from further attack; and 3) the cleric was essentially helpless (regardless of the fact that due to magical healing and the illogic of the game system, a single round later he would not only be conscious but just as capable of combat as when he was at full hit points).

All that said, I'm glad I wasn't playing that scenario. I dislike scenarios that push characters into doing morally questionable acts.

I also see how others could disagree, based on their differing personal views on good/evil, morality, situational ethics and the rules of war, for example, and if I were at their table I wouldn't challenge them if they called it differently.

I find CDG a bit distasteful against any but irredeemable monsters, and against someone you know to be good-aligned I find it to be over the line. Mitigating factors such as the fact he still represents a threat, and the altruistic desire to save one's companions bring it back closer to the line, but not across it for me.

I conclude with one simple question: If the cleric in question had been a member of your party and an enemy CDGed him, would you consider it evil or just a fair and logical tactic? That's really the basis of a lot of the rules of war regarding treatment of prisoners and wounded enemy combatants -- would you want it done to your guys if they were in the same situation?

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I understand why the perception is there that the game has grown expensive, although others have demonstrated that the basic costs have pretty much just kept up with inflation, and for those truly on a tight budget, much of the material is free online.

For those, like me, who buy most of the books and other materials and have an extensive miniatures collection and other playaids, it is indeed pretty expensive. But that's my choice. I'm blessed to have a pretty good and secure job, and I can afford to be a little extravagant on my hobbies if I want to.

Back before the Internet when I was a student and constantly broke, we still made do and had a lot of fun by sharing books, scrounging materials, using peanuts and soda bottle tops instead of miniatures, etc. I think it's still possible to do the same.

I like all my stuff, and think it enhances the game for me. but it's really not necessary.

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Freehold DM wrote:
Brian Bachman wrote:

I like scenarios where players/groups have to choose between expedience and "doing the right thing". A couple of examples.

-- Whether to torture a prisoner to gain information useful to the party (but not necessary to save lives or some other arguably "higher purpose" - not that I would argue that, but I know many who would, some of them pretty reasonable human beings)
-- Whether to rescue innocent civilians even if it means letting the BBEG get away
-- Whether to risk the lives of others to minimize party risks

What I dislike as a player and don't do as a GM is force parties into situations in which there is no morally right or even acceptable thing to do. Some GMs (and perhaps their players) seem to delight in that, and consider it a more "gritty" or "realistic" style of campaign.

More power to them if they are all happy doing it that way, although I suspect those GMs enjoy this style more than their players. Doesn't appeal to me in the least. I deal with gritty reality and choices between shades of gray in my life and work every day. When I'm gaming I want to escape from that and be able to be heroic. I want to slay the dragon and rescue the princess, and not be forced to make morally questionable choices to do so. Maybe that type of scenario has been done to death, and others are more jaded than I am, but after 30+ years of gaming it hasn't gotten old to me.

Like James T. Kirk, I don't believe in no-win situations.

However, you do realize you just described a bevy of "no win" situations for the person being tortured, the civilians being sacrificed(or the first people the BBEG encounter when he's in a bad mood), and the lives lost of either party members or non-party members. I think it would be wiser to say you don't like the cliches you don't like and you do like the cliches you do like.

Not really sure what you are getting at, here. Perhaps you could expand on it or clarify.

Obviously, when I was talking about "no-win" situations, i was talking from the perspective of the players, not NPCs. Frankly, I don't really worry about no-win situations for NPCs because, well, they are NPCs - created by the GM solely for the purpose of advancing the plot of the game and giving the players something to roleplay with.

I don't think what I'm talking about is favorite or non-favorite cliches. I have no problem with cliches, per se. What I dislike, and it is just a personal preference, but one I believe is shared by many, is games designed to place players in untenable situations in which all the choices are morally bad, and there is no way to "win" without your character betraying his own moral code. Just not fun for me. Nor do I enjoy games where the PCs have virtually no chance of success. Paranoia and Call of Cthulhu aren't my cup of tea, for example. If they are for you, by all means find a like-minded group and go for it.

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Icyshadow wrote:

I find it funny how you refuse to see that the DM has been a jerk to the group (maybe you didn't read the posts?), yet you also assume that I'm just a butt-hurt idiot. Also, that's a rather misplaced argument you put there. The race he originally banned was not the "special quarter cow lady", but an elf-like race with a strict caste system that worship a rather alien Lawful Good deity of Winter. Sorry, but it's hard to take people seriously when they display behaviour like that. You make assumptions of me, and can't even get your facts straight.

By now, I wonder why I even bothered replying to that.

Just a word of what I hope is wisdom, to help you understand why you are getting the reactions you are. Take it as you wish.

Many people are reluctant to label your GM as a jerk because they are only hearing your perspective on him, and he has had no chance to explain his reasoning or defend himself.

They have less problem judging you by the content of your own words and the tone with which you employ them.

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I like scenarios where players/groups have to choose between expedience and "doing the right thing". A couple of examples.

-- Whether to torture a prisoner to gain information useful to the party (but not necessary to save lives or some other arguably "higher purpose" - not that I would argue that, but I know many who would, some of them pretty reasonable human beings)
-- Whether to rescue innocent civilians even if it means letting the BBEG get away
-- Whether to risk the lives of others to minimize party risks

What I dislike as a player and don't do as a GM is force parties into situations in which there is no morally right or even acceptable thing to do. Some GMs (and perhaps their players) seem to delight in that, and consider it a more "gritty" or "realistic" style of campaign.

More power to them if they are all happy doing it that way, although I suspect those GMs enjoy this style more than their players. Doesn't appeal to me in the least. I deal with gritty reality and choices between shades of gray in my life and work every day. When I'm gaming I want to escape from that and be able to be heroic. I want to slay the dragon and rescue the princess, and not be forced to make morally questionable choices to do so. Maybe that type of scenario has been done to death, and others are more jaded than I am, but after 30+ years of gaming it hasn't gotten old to me.

Like James T. Kirk, I don't believe in no-win situations.

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OK, I went against my better judgment and read through this entire thread, despite the fact that it pretty much duplicates a much longer thread not that long ago. Here's my two cents:

I can't help feeling that the focus on making the rogue more effective in combat is misguided. I think doing so only steps on the fighter's toes, and I have the heretical belief that not every character in a party needs to be great at combat. I think they all need to be able to contribute, but that some will make larger contributions than others and I'm fine with that.

So my suggestions for making the rogue better revolve around demphasizing the importance of combat in adventures and campaigns. Don't get me wrong, I love me some combat. But a heavy emphasis on combat works to the disadvantage of rogue characters, while they tend to shine in non-combat challenges. So here are my simple recommendations for rogue love.

-- Design more social interactions, actually dangerous traps and useful stealth situations into your adventures and campaigns.
-- Design adventures and campaigns to encourage longer adventuring days, so substituting for a rogue's skills with spells becomes less practical.
-- Use larger party sizes. A six, seven or eight person party can more easily afford to have specialists who aren't combat gods.
-- I do like the idea of giving the rogue tools to counter scent, tremorsense, blindsense, etc. These make sense to me. A good rogue who makes the proper choices should be able to be stealthy, against all senses.

And for those of you who want to continue playing combat-dominated campaigns, I'm forced to agree that the rogue is not an optimal choice and you have to strain to make him competitive. My point is that that is the result of adventure/campaign design choice, however, not inherent weaknesses in the character class.

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Toughest call I've ever had to make is the first time I killed one of my younger daughter's characters. Her character, a druid, had bravely rushed in to deliver a crucial touch attack to the BBEG, a hill giant cleric, absorbing a powerful attack of opportunity on the way in. Her attack succeeded (I don't remember what spell) setting the BBEG up for defeat. However, she was now trapped inside the creature's full attack range, and no way she was going to survive that. So I had to either fudge the rolls or kill my daughter's character. She was looking right at me with her big 11-year old doe eyes, the ones all females of the species know instinctively how to employ to break our hearts. I sighed and rolled the dice. No fudging. Triple digit damage. Instant death.

To her credit, there were no tears, and no protests. In fact, she was kind of proud of how heroically her character had died and acted much more mature about it than many adults I know would have. I have cool kids. Must have gotten it from their mother.

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Ravingdork wrote:

I don't get those who keep saying they would increase the DC.

That's against the rules and is blatant GM fiat. The DC for intimidate is 10 + HD + Wis, regardless of whether the target is friendly or hostile or paranoid (those modifiers are for Diplomacy, not Intimidate--appropriate Intimidate modifiers are size difference, or possibly, having guards/backup around).

If you are going to jack up the DC why not just tell your players the truth: You don't want them using intimidate in your games.

Diplomacy has its own set of DCs. Intimidate has its DCs. There's no increasing or decreasing to be done, just altogether different DCs for each skill.

Situational modifiers are part of the rules. It is indeed GM discretion (I hate the term fiat) and damn well should be. That is the main advantage to playing a tabletop RPG rather than a computer-run MMORPG. A GM is capable of making decisions on the fly and deciding on the difficulty of tasks that fall outside the norm. Long live GM discretion! Without it, the game just doesn't work, and never has, throughout all the editions.

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Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
the problem with the non spellcasting martial classes is that they have no way to deal with the flying invisible wizard.

Really? That must be a bunch of stupid, useless martial types. A few points:

1) Invisibility disappears as soon as any attack is initiated, so sure invisibility will let the caster buff up and do other sneaky stuff, but as soon as he does anything directly offensive, it's done.
2) If you're talking greater invisibility, that is a 4th level spell (with a pretty short duration), so the caster must be at least 7th level, which cuts out its use for more than a third of a character's life, even making the fallacious assumption that all camopaigns reach 20th level. At higher levels it is not at all unlikely the martial type has some means of flying and/or detecting invisible creatures himself.
3) If all encounters take place on featureless plains in sunny weather, or in large, high-ceilinged rooms, flyers rule. If you introduce darkness, terrain, weather and low ceilings, not so much.
4) While Invisibility does give a +20 to Stealth (+40 if not moving), there are a lot of martial types, particularly rangers, that have perception through the roof. Unless that caster has also invested in Stealth (unlikely), he is still going to get detected sometimes.
5) There are a fair number of mundane ways to detect invisible folks (smoke, water and flour are amongst my favorites).
6) There are also mundane ways to counter flyers, such as moving to an area where the flyer's movement is constrained, using nets or grappling hooks, lacing an encounter area with wires or ropes, etc.)
7) Most important, the martial type is working in a party, not by himself. It really doesn't matter if the martial type, by himself can't counter a flying, invisible caster. The party can. The wizard casts glitterdust, the cleric casts dispel magic on the fly, the rogue and fighter go over and pummel/sneak attack the squishy wizard into a billion pieces. If the dispel fails, they turn him into a pincushion instead. Teamwork is what the game is about. Any individual does not need to be able to counter any other individual's actions, so long as the team can.

In short, a caster who is flying and invisible does not possess an "I Win" button.

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Earlier on I posted that my main objection to this feat has nothing to do with whether it is balanced or not.

It has to do with my opinion that such an "aggro" mechanic is completely unnecessary in a game that has a real live GM and a real live players fully capable of deciding for themselves how the NPCs and characters react to taunts and such. I further believe that undermining the discreton that GMs and players have over the actions of the various NPCs and PCs is not a good thing. Thus the feat is banned in my game (with the enthusiastic and unanimous consent of the players) and will remain so, regardless of any rewrite. To me, this type of thing is strictly roleplaying and GM discretion, and should not have a determinative mechanic.

However, I'm interested in hearing from others why they think such a mechanic is necessary and/or what they think it adds to the game?

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Gorbacz wrote:

But I'm against the philosophy of Casters Can Do Anything Because They Are Casters, Fighters Can't Have Nice Things which fuels many disputants here.

And I'm saying that not as a member of Player Advocacy Movement, I'm saying this as a member of Grumpy GM Association.

Setting aside the fact that I don't completely agree with the assumption that casters are overpowered (I think this is only measurably true at higher levels of play and/or in groups in which every caster starts with a prime stat of 20), if you do accept that to be true, I disagree with your basic prescription for fixing it.

Philosophically, I would attack that problem by placing more limits on casters (back to a d4 for HD, more ways to effectively interrupt/counter spells, better saving throws, etc.) rather than by pumping up fighters with more illogical and immersion-breaking powers.

Of course, that is because the game has already become uncomfortably close to a superheroes game for me already, rather than classic swords and sorcery fantasy. I'd prefer they address pretty much all balance problems through powerdowns rather than powerups.

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Gorbacz wrote:
Xum wrote:

I'm sorry buddy, but you are just plain wrong about casters being more powerful now. Just gonna name a few spells here to try and prove a point.

Sleep - No Save
Hold Metal - No Save
Otto's Irresistable Dance - No Save
Stone Skin - IMUNITY to a number of attacks (Lasts until used)

So, back to topic.
I do believe warriors need nice things (not the fighter alone, I think he is powerful enough) but a feat like this is not the way to go, as explained earlier.

You won't get anywhere by just comparing the spells, because you have to take all the rules into context.

Each of those spells could be easily interrupted before they are cast, that's why they had no saves - because if you actually managed to cast one, it would be rather anal if it didn't work.

Also, 1E/2E caster hp was so funny that you really had to watch out what you are doing. 3.5 and PF even more so are very liberal with hp, meaning that you can take more risks than you used to in previous editions.

In 3.5, no amount of damage you take during a round can stop you from casting the spell, unless someone readied against your casting, managed to hit you and you failed your Concentration check (which was laughable in 3.5 and only slightly difficult in PF).

That's one of reasons why 3.5 casters > previous editions.

Your argument about casters being all-powerful is debatable, and I actually believe it is true at higher levels, but it has been beaten to death on these boards many, many times before. Even if you accept it as true, that doesn't mean that you have to look for weird, illogical and ridiculous ways to balance it out.

As I've said before, the Antagonize feat is poorly designed and more importantly to me, completely unnecessary. In a game with a real live GM who can and should determine NPC actions and real live players who can and should determine PC actions, this feat has no place. Roleplay the taunting (or whatever it is) and then play the characters logically. Don't reduce all this discretion to a die roll. The hothead bandit lord who is in therapy for control issues and is sensitive about the fact his mother really was a whore, might go bonkers and charge somebody who insulted his mother. The coldly intellectual and amoral alchemist who killed his own mother because she objected to his dissecting the family dog to further his own study of anatomy? Not so much.

So to me, the best thing Paizo can do with this feat is get rid of it. I've booted it from my game with the enthusiastic and unanimous support of my players. Or leave it as an optional feat for that minority of groups out there who think it serves a useful purpose.

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Gorbacz wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Both of those threads are over 15 pages long and are therefore not a good way to "get the word out" as only a handful of invested people still follow them.
Sooooo every time a thread reaches 15 pages we have to make a new one? Well, that explains all the Paladin alignment threads! ;)

Actually, he has a good point. If I've been away from the boards for a while and see a thread with several hundred posts already, I generally steer clear of it because I don't want to make the time investment to read the entire thread, and personally try not to comment on a thread unless I've read through the entire thing, to avoid being duplicative.

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The alignment system is a cornerstone of the game system since 1st edition. It is indeed, hardwired into the game, now even more than then.

That said, lots of people dislike it and have houseruled it out of their own games, which takes some work, but is doable.

Personally, I like alignments, if used correctly as roleplaying aids, rather than straightjackets. I like having a black and white world where its relatively easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys, and the bad guys are Evil with a capital E, so you can feel particularly good about yourself when you kick their ass. Is it realistic? Not in the least. But neither are dragons and magic.

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Bluenose wrote:
Brian Bachman wrote:
Evil Lincoln wrote:
Brian Bachman wrote:
Which is simply that the PF ruleset was designed to and can easily support a wide variety of playstyles within the fantasy genre.

In the friendliest spirit possible, I would like to contest that, Brian.

It all depends on what you mean by playstyle. Certainly, Pathfinder supports a few — but low magic? Not really... unless you have a different definition of "support" than I do.

I understand your point, and "support" is probably not the best word for what I was getting at. If I understand you correctly, you mean that Paizo currently (despite appeals from quite a few) does not currently offer any direct support for a low magic campaign option. The rules assumption is a pretty high magic campaign.

That said, with a fair amount of tweaking th basic rules can be adapted to permit low magic, in my opinion. Although I have not done so myself, I've heard enough people on these boards say they have done it that I believe it.

The key is that the ruleset is deliberately designed to be amendable by each group/GM to fit their playstyle. In every incarnation of the game, the basic rule of thumb has always been: Don't like a rule - change it.

The point I think Professor Cirno is making is that there are rules sets which, out of the box, are designed to do low-magic games. Or to handle social interaction, group-level conflicts, relationships, Samurai, Aztecs, Mesopotamian magic, etc, etc. Modifying Pathfinder to do something it's not really designed for when there are games which are designed to do these things would seem rather pointless. Better to spend time designing the campaign than modifying the rules.

At least, that's what I understand him to be saying.

Better to spend more money to buy a game which may or may not be written by staff as talented as Paizo's, and which almost certainly does not have the same wealth of support material available? Better to learn an entirely different ruleset than make some modifications to one you already know well? Better for who?

I always read these recommendations that if people don't want to play the game a certain way then they should be playing a different game as desperate attempts to convince themselves that the way they are playing is the best and only way. They certanly aren't going to convinve anyone else.

Not that I haven't played ther systems and enjoyed them over the years. I just don't see the need to learn an entirely new system when adjusting PF/D&D to match what I want isn't terribly difficult.

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For this situation you need to do what you always need to do when you can't take something in a fair fight. Make sure that it is not a fair fight. To this point the dragon has held the strategic initiative and engaged when and where he chooses. The party desperately needs to reverse that or die. I won't go into individual tactics because there are many, many options. Just follow these general guidelines:
1. You pick when and where - do not engage on its terms
2. Do your homework - research the beastie for strengths and weaknesses so you can
3. Be prepared for its most common attack forms
4. Hit first and hard
5. Maintain the initiative - make him react to your actions
6. Fight dirty
7. Always have a quick way out so you can escape if things go wrong

As I always tell my group when I'm party leader: If we end up in a fair fight I haven't done my job right.

If you're a scrawny 95 lb freshman challenged to a fight by a 220 lb senior, do you stand tall and obey Marquis of Queensbury rules? No. You kick him in the balls, run like hell, grab a baseball bat and lay him out if he chases you.

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OK. None of us have access to any viable polling data, so we're all talking straight out of our nether regions when we claim to know what the "majority" of players wants in the game. We also have no way of knowing whether forum participants are representative of the gaming population at large or not. I would suspect they are more representative of the hardcore gamers, which is likely a minority, but a very lucrative one for Paizo, as they probably buy a disproportionate number of products.

As to one point above that people who want to play gearless monks are a small minority, I will readily concede that (although, as LT pointd out above, there are probably far more players interested in the general concept of less gear dependency). The same is true of any particular character concept. Looking through the APG and UM you'll see a lot of pretty specific concepts that would only appeal to a small minority getting some rules support. So the argument that any specific concept only appeals to a small minority and thus isn't worth supporting doesn't hold much water for me.

All we can truly say is that there is some portion of the community that wants less gear dependent games/less high-powered/less magic abundant/less caster-dominated games. Whether that portion is small or large none of us can say for certain, but at least a fair number of people on these forums have expressed opinions along those lines.

If I were Paizo, I would rate these requests at about the same priority as epic level rules and psionics rules, as something that appeals to only a part (albeit a passionate part for each of these) of the gaming community. After Ultimate Combat and the next Bestiary, I would think you could make a decent Campaign Options hardcover combining epic rules, psionic rules and lower magic item dependency/lower powered/lower magic abundance games. I'd buy it, even though epic rules and psionics rules hold zero interest for me. To me it would be a much better publication than another tome giving more spells/feats/classes to add to the bajillion options already out there, and far less likely to result in rules bloat.

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