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IMO, it has nothing to do with the how wide the gap is: You're ALWAYS going to have one big enough to cause an issue if you try and it'll just get worse as more options come out.
No you won't. You will always have a gap, because if people can make choices some people will make better ones than others. It is in no way set in stone that said gap will be big enough to cause issues. It was just that wain PF1 and it's ancestors because those systems had wild power disparity between options, or even classes.
Hell, we had a guy in the PF1 game I'm in remake a character because his first one was just ineffective in our group. His new, far more effective one? A ranged Slayer with the "standard archery feats everybody has to take to make archery work". Not exactly some broken or OP build. That's how ineffective his first character was. Same guy, no particular attempt to break the game. Wild disparity.
There's all kinds of room to close that up without them being equal. It's not that big a deal if one character is better than another so long as both feel useful and contribute to the group. It is a problem when one character so totally eclipses another that there's a question as to why the second one is even there.
(The d20 system is riddled with those kinds of issues, which is why we need all these social conventions about trying to match power levels to each other in a party.)
quote]If people ignore the social contract and knowingly make characters that don't fit in with the rest of the group, it isn't a game issue...
If the game requires a social contract or it fundamentally breaks because people use the same rules and come up with characters that can't form a functional group due to one being a sword waving guy and the other being a demigod... then that is absolutely a game issue. It's a failure of the game to make such a situation even happen as a standard outcome of following the rules normally.
Maybe you should try 'twinking' out a normally bad/sub-optimal character to make it workable so you can work on na wierd build AND not put out other people as the total power level isn't blown.
That still requires knowing what everyone else is doing, because if he does that and the rest of the table shows up with the most OP things they can make, he's now the one on the wrong end of it. Which isn't better.
You know what I never needed to ask in the playtest? "Hey, are you guys using totally broken builds or low power ones, so I can make something to try and line up?"
That I never had to do that is a huge positive.