We need a Character Optimization forum...


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I would not favor a character optimization forum mainly because I don't believe there is such a function. The sole purpose of having a role playing character is to have fun so what is optimized in that context?

However I think having a forum relating specifically to PC issues maybe a good idea if the general forum cannot handle a full load. within in this forum then there could be all sorts of character issues discussed including mathematical or analytical optimizations. By having it open to all class/race/etc etc issues I think you will maintain a diverse and welcoming contributor base

Dark Archive

The Outlaw Josie Whales wrote:
I would not favor a character optimization forum mainly because I don't believe there is such a function. The sole purpose of having a role playing character is to have fun so what is optimized in that context?

The term 'role playing game' doesn't end at 'role playing.'

There's that pesky word at the end, 'game.'

Some people stop reading at the end of 'role playing' and cast all sorts of aspersions on those who read the entire phrase.

Other people see only 'game' and ignore the 'role playing,' and decide that the entire point of the exercise is to 'win' (and, more importantly, make sure that everybody else *loses*).

Both sides are like blind men grabbing opposite ends of an elephant, and coming up with radically different ideas of what it is. It has it's roots in wargaming. It also has roots in fireside storytelling of mythic tales. But it's not 100% either.

It's both chocolate *and* peanut butter. Mixed together. You can try to separate them out again, and turn your nose up at the peanut butter fans, as they similarly deride your love of chocolate, but as long as you both are having fun, neither of you is 'doing it wrong.'

The only time someone is 'doing it wrong' is when they crap all over another person who loves the game, telling them that *they* are 'missing the point' or 'not doing it right.'


I support a character optimization forum. The char-op boards were more than just thought exercises on breaking stuff. It also included stuff like viable Gish builds, especially ones that try to be useful characters at all levels. Not everybody is really gifted at choosing effective choices for their character concept.

Obviously there are broken things like the over the top uberchargers or people throwing small moons at each other. But a lot of it in the early stages was "My character wants to end up the country's greatest user of a Bastard sword, what choices can I make to help that?" Then the board would look at what he has and give a few options. They wouldn't tell him to make a kobold with infinite stats or a caster that can cast wish an infinite number of times a day, they would give him some crunch help to help match his character concept, because few people like playing Joxer when they wanted to play Conan(the munchkin, combining rogue and fighter levels like that). He may still end up playing Joxer, because his dice are out to get him, but he may also get a chance to shine once in awhile.


Abraham spalding wrote:

For the record I think that Paizo has done a good job giving people plenty of reasons to finish a class instead of dipping all over the board.

Instead of a "Character Optimization" board, maybe a Design Focus board. My reason for the name difference to show what we want focused on. We want people to post the following:

"Hi, I'm new, and I was looking to play a Ulfen fighter from Taldor. I would like to take the falacata and be able to be more flexible with my skills. I was thinking of multiclassing rogue, but I really see my character as more of a straight fighter just with more skill points. The DM is allowing any pathfinder book and we are using the 20 point buy. What do you think?"

As opposed to:

"Hi, I want an Uber el77t wizard that will break my DM's world, cause I don't like him, and I'm a jerk that way. Kthxbai."

The first could be response could be answered with ideas on the background story, a reccomendation of the campaign settings fighter variant, maybe some feat and stat help. The player could get help on all sides at once. The second... well isn't what we want.

Design Focus could also help look over the rules and see where there are gaps or glitches in the math and mechanics. As opposed to looking for loopholes to exploit, we would be looking for problem areas to fix or watch out for at least.

Hmm. I wonder if something like this could be run for a short trial period, to see if it worked, or caused too much trouble?... :-k

Liberty's Edge

Patrick Curtin wrote:
We are all gamers, some love the story elements, others love the math. Many love both, it's not exclusive. We need to focus on what we have in common, rather than continually subdividing ourselves into armed camps.

Are you really a Narrativist as the word is commonly understood? Optimizers may approach the game from a different angle from the rest of us, but a Narrativist isn't even part of the same hobby.

Patrick Curtin wrote:
I am a Narrativist. I could really care less about unbalancing wishes, summoning creatures to kill and loot, etc. etc. as I live and die by Rule Zero: My game, my say, my way. That being said, I welcome the folks that work the corner cases, that run the probabilities, that build the shiny BBEGs and the characters that can take them down. Why? Because they enhance the game just as much as detailing the political undercurrents of the city of Absalom does.

Why would a Narrativist ever bother to detail political undercurrents and such when a player can just spend a plot point or action point or whatever outside of the agency of their character and change the details to 'make for a better story'? That kind of setting detail is deep immersion IC role-playing stuff. The kind of thing the inventor of Narrativism claimed was 'brain damaged.'

I'll welcome the optimizer if he'll refrain from calling the rest of us stupid for our non-optimal IC choices, but having Narrativists around would be like having tennis players in a golf forum.


Samuel Leming wrote:
Are you really a Narrativist as the word is commonly understood?

Perhaps I have a different understanding of that term than you do. I had always understood 'Narrativism' to stand for someone who is more interested in the story and plot elements of roleplaying games than the numbers and percentages that underlie the rules system.

Whatever you call it, I personally enjoy the storytelling angle, but I have absolutely no problem with folks who enjoy crunching numbers. In fact, I lean heavily on them to help me with designs for my NPCs, since I find the math an onerous chore.


Charles Evans 25 wrote:

Hmm. I wonder if something like this could be run for a short trial period, to see if it worked, or caused too much trouble?... :-k

See my thought is "CharOp" shouldn't just be the numbers. "Optimizing" a character, a person, should be about helping to completely flesh out an idea for use in a "real world" setting like Galorian. The story behind the feats is just as important as the feats chosen. I think welcoming both types of help improves the game as a whole. It helps those good at the numbers but not at the story learn to be better role players, and it helps those that are great at the role playing become better roll players.

Nothing kills a story or dramatic scene like one of the people involved having to say, "Um, ah I do, no wait instead I'll..." and then having to look up how to do what he is doing. By visiting the Char Design forums you could better learn the mechanics behind how to do what you really want to do in the scene. On the other hand nothing is quite as boring as saying, "I swing... again, and again, and again." By helping these people that know the numbers but not the story telling skills we can instead get "I sweep for his legs, and while he jumps I adjust my hands instead finishing with an upward slash while he is in the air."

By changing the "Fluff" of what we are doing in a supposed "CharOp" we can in this case effect a change in the "crunch" of what is happening in the process. Instead of just being about the numbers we focus on the character as a whole.

Once such a character is done, the thread becomes a great reference for instant made NPCs for DMs as well.

Samuel Leming wrote:


I'll welcome the optimizer if he'll refrain from calling the rest of us stupid for our non-optimal IC choices

Agreed. Just like I don't want to see a role player subbing his nose at the optimizer for not understanding the "true nature" of what we are doing. In order to avoid that we should try to merge both passions into one. Great choices for great characters, with great history and story.

Liberty's Edge

What about a 'Character Design and Development' forum? The best of both worlds.


I want to vote for a "Character Design" or "Character Development" board RATHER THAN a "Character Optimization" forum, if we have to have such a thing.

I think it's great when people post thread about their strongly-imagined character concept, and how to use the system to build the character they imagine, or outfit an interesting or unusual character concept to make something effective and competent.

But all those threads looking for ways to break the game to build the l33test character are just mental masturbation, making up bizarre combinations that any sensible DM would Rule 0 into oblivion within a round. This isn't a game where players test the system to look for broken rules to exploit: it's a game where DMs and players work together to collaborate on the creation of an imagined world.

It is in the nature of calling such a process "optimization" that implies that min/maxing and powergaming are more important that developing and roleplaying interesting characters. Broken min/maxed characters are not "optimal" while other characters are inferior.

Quote:
I don't want to show up with my TWF Dance-Fighting Bard or Draconic Gnome Melee Sorcerer and I end up forcing a class to do something it just plain isn't going to do as well and, as a whole, is really just going to let down my party.

In my experience, characters like that rarely survive longer than an encounter or two. Up the lethality level a notch and you'll have a chance to make up a new character. It's a problem that can take care of itself ;)

Quote:
Just tagging a given topic as [CharOp] may be enough.

Or [CharDev] plz ;)

Silver Crusade

Abraham spalding wrote:
Charles Evans 25 wrote:

Hmm. I wonder if something like this could be run for a short trial period, to see if it worked, or caused too much trouble?... :-k

See my thought is "CharOp" shouldn't just be the numbers. "Optimizing" a character, a person, should be about helping to completely flesh out an idea for use in a "real world" setting like Galorian. The story behind the feats is just as important as the feats chosen. I think welcoming both types of help improves the game as a whole. It helps those good at the numbers but not at the story learn to be better role players, and it helps those that are great at the role playing become better roll players.

Very well said!


As someone who was an unabashed regular on the old 3.5 CO boards at wizards, I would strongly be in favor of a CharOpt forum.

I won't waste time listing all the reasons why there's nothing wrong with optimizing a build (many have been covered here already), but let me make this one point. One of the main reasons I dislike 4E (my opinion, mind you) is that the mechanics make it very difficult to play a particular style of game. 2E, 3.0, 3.5 all allowed for a spectrum of gaming, from roleplaying to "rollplaying" to use the hackneyed phrase. One of the best things about Pathfinder is that it retains this ease of play regardless of the preferences and styles of the gaming group. Similarly, these forums should allow and encourage players of all styles to play the way they prefer.

In short, to the extent that people aren't interested in optimizing a character, they don't have to visit the forum, but that doesn't mean those that like that sort of thing shouldn't have a place on the forums to discuss it.

Liberty's Edge

The Mailman wrote:

As someone who was an unabashed regular on the old 3.5 CO boards at wizards, I would strongly be in favor of a CharOpt forum.

I won't waste time listing all the reasons why there's nothing wrong with optimizing a build (many have been covered here already), but let me make this one point. One of the main reasons I dislike 4E (my opinion, mind you) is that the mechanics make it very difficult to play a particular style of game. 2E, 3.0, 3.5 all allowed for a spectrum of gaming, from roleplaying to "rollplaying" to use the hackneyed phrase. One of the best things about Pathfinder is that it retains this ease of play regardless of the preferences and styles of the gaming group. Similarly, these forums should allow and encourage players of all styles to play the way they prefer.

In short, to the extent that people aren't interested in optimizing a character, they don't have to visit the forum, but that doesn't mean those that like that sort of thing shouldn't have a place on the forums to discuss it.

Well, it isn't like you guys aren't going to discuss it anyway, and without the board the people who do not like such discussions will see them popping up in the general forum and won't be able to avoid reading it.

Dark Archive

Joseph Silver wrote:


So how about it, almighty moderators? Can we have a CharOp forum for Pathfinder?

Please? That way I can collapse it and not have to deal with optimizers telling me how I don't know how to play the game because my character that I have spent five years building through play isn't as good as the character they slapped together in a few hours by doing nothing but reading rule books.


Pony Stalker wrote:
Joseph Silver wrote:


So how about it, almighty moderators? Can we have a CharOp forum for Pathfinder?
Please? That way I can collapse it and not have to deal with optimizers telling me how I don't know how to play the game because my character that I have spent five years building through play isn't as good as the character they slapped together in a few hours by doing nothing but reading rule books.

[humour] Which is like saying that building a sports stadium will guarantee that you never ever see a sports fan anywhere in your neck of the woods except for in that stadium... ;) [/humour]


Pony Stalker wrote:
Joseph Silver wrote:


So how about it, almighty moderators? Can we have a CharOp forum for Pathfinder?
Please? That way I can collapse it and not have to deal with optimizers telling me how I don't know how to play the game because my character that I have spent five years building through play isn't as good as the character they slapped together in a few hours by doing nothing but reading rule books.

And the optimizers can avoid all the "role playing" snobs who turn up their noses at actually knowing the rules and say, "Sure he can do it because it's cool and fits his character."

Right?

This sort of stuff doesn't help anyone's case. It makes the "role players" look like snobs that can't be bothered with knowing the system, and "Roll players" look like socially inepts that put too much stock on "what the book says" to know how to run a good story.

Neither stereotype is good, and we have moved much beyond such basic bickering in this thread already.

The term we are looking at now is "Character Design focus" or "Character Design" in order to facilitate both ends of character development in tandem. There is nothing wrong with making choices in character for good mechanical reasons too, just as there is nothing wrong with making mechanically poor choices for good role playing reasons as well.

Grand Lodge

My problem with the CO boards on that "other" site is (and we are struggling with this issue in my home game with a couple newer players) it gives ideas on how to take advantage of "broken" builds they wouldn't have ordinarily known about. It's too idealistic to think that CO boards are about developing a character. Shouldn't it be about taking a general character concept and then using the rules/mechanics to build the character to reasonably do the things you invision? What I see much more often is someone who discovers a feat combo, or a multi-class option that is uber successful and then build a character to not only do that, but to do it such that it is neigh impossible to stop. As a GM, it can be difficult to forsee what the player has in store for the character's development before its too late and they wreck an otherwise good campaign. I just don't have the time to read a lengthy board to be "up" on all the breaks so I can sniff them out before a players can get away with it.

And before someone points out the obvious, please don't advise me to "get better players." Sometimes the players stumble on a broken build by mistake, so they are not all trying to cheat the game.


No.


I understand that some players dont see the fine line between very powerful and broken. That is where you as a DM has to step in.

I see no problem with broken builds being posted. As a player, assuming you see the fine line, you should say X,Y, and Z are pretty good, but A and B are ridiculous. The CO boards should be a reference point, not a copy, and paste.


Pony Stalker wrote:
Joseph Silver wrote:


So how about it, almighty moderators? Can we have a CharOp forum for Pathfinder?
Please? That way I can collapse it and not have to deal with optimizers telling me how I don't know how to play the game because my character that I have spent five years building through play isn't as good as the character they slapped together in a few hours by doing nothing but reading rule books.

I do hate those sorts of replies. Even if you preface it with I know class/feat/ability X is not the best one they still tell you not to take that feat.


Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I would like to see an optimization board. It is the fastest way I know to find all the broken classes. Once we have all the broken builds we herd them into the closet and lock them in the dark! Mwahah ha ha ha!


I'd like to see a character optimization forum...

I had good experiences with the D&D one.

I went there when I was designing my current character about 4 years ago (which just hit level 23 last night). I said what I wanted to build, a pure barbarian dwarf with a two-handed axe, and what books I was using (which was a fairly short list).

I got a solid list of suggested feats to use, and it worked out really well. Nobody told me I was silly for wanting to build such a vanilla character, and that I should really make a Barbarian X/Frenzied Berzerker Y/Goodness knows what Z.

Some of the handbook articles have also been fun and informative.

Sure there are lots of threads I've never bothered with, but there are people who do like them.

I'm an adult, I can look to the information gathered by those who like to tear things appart, and take things from it that fit with the flavour of the game, and won't disrupt balance on the poor hard working GM.

It would be great to have a resource forum like that for Pathfinder IMO.


I too would be interested in such a forum.

Eventually it is going to happen somewhere, why not here where the designers can more easily what their game is capable of and make adjustments accordingly?

As for playing op'd characters, it's funny how powerful the word "NO!" can be when your GM doesn't like what you are doing. (To my gm's credit, he would usually let it slide once before making a ruling.)

I would argue most people really don't enjoy playing game-breaking characters for very long.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

I'm not seeing the downside of a Character Development forum.

People are going to discuss character design and optimization anyway. (You can already see it happening in General Discussion.) And just having a [CharDev] tag doesn't do anything to keep threads (both CharDev and general discussion) from bumping one another off the top of the forums.

Plus, a character development forum would be a selling point for the Pathfinder game. "Pathfinder isn't over-balanced and vanilla. Pathfinder lets you stretch your game-breaking optimization muscles when your in the mood for it." That demonstrates that Pathfinder supports multiple play styles instead of catering to one and only one style.


Did you know that the optimization forums are a tool for the dms too?

I mean although i dont know much about (barbarians),for example ,by viewning these forums i can anticipate the broken builds of my players.

And another point is that by these forums ,especialy the "handbooks" and class recopilations ,you can learn how to develop your character for role playing in an area that you didnt know.


On topic, my vote is yes. I know what class I like to play, and how to make the most of that class is something I'd find quite useful, both in mechanical and role-playing terms.

Off-topic reflection thingy:

I think the progress of this thread, from the beginning to here, seems like a good indication of how the proposed forums would go. An idea is posted, people agree/comment/disagree, people get mightily P.O.'ed about things said (for various reasons, be they personal attacks or otherwise), followed by a completely off-topic discussion that will cool the heels of those who intend to stick around (A full page on the topics of Asshattery and other insults? Seriously? I was in stitches :D), finally leading to a calmer, more well-worded discussion on the original topic.

Lantern Lodge

NO

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

NO U!


There are many ways to enjoy 3.5 and Pathfinder. If people like to make creative builds, and attempt to break the system, let them. If there are people who don't want to see that part of the boards, they can use the handy little triangle next to the forum, and never see it again.

There is no correct way to play. We should be inclusive.

Nothing is lost by anybody if there is a designated area for Charop. I won't participate, but I wholeheartedly support their call for one.

Even if it is not my thing.

Beatrice Hall

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
-- The Friends of Voltaire, 1906

Dark Archive

Set wrote:
The Outlaw Josie Whales wrote:
I would not favor a character optimization forum mainly because I don't believe there is such a function. The sole purpose of having a role playing character is to have fun so what is optimized in that context?

The term 'role playing game' doesn't end at 'role playing.'

There's that pesky word at the end, 'game.'

Some people stop reading at the end of 'role playing' and cast all sorts of aspersions on those who read the entire phrase.

Other people see only 'game' and ignore the 'role playing,' and decide that the entire point of the exercise is to 'win' (and, more importantly, make sure that everybody else *loses*).

Both sides are like blind men grabbing opposite ends of an elephant, and coming up with radically different ideas of what it is. It has it's roots in wargaming. It also has roots in fireside storytelling of mythic tales. But it's not 100% either.

It's both chocolate *and* peanut butter. Mixed together. You can try to separate them out again, and turn your nose up at the peanut butter fans, as they similarly deride your love of chocolate, but as long as you both are having fun, neither of you is 'doing it wrong.'

The only time someone is 'doing it wrong' is when they crap all over another person who loves the game, telling them that *they* are 'missing the point' or 'not doing it right.'

Emphasis mine.

Unfortunately, in my experiences with various forums (in various languages!) dealing with RPGs, this is a most common event.

I do remember some examples that happened on this very boards, mostly regarding the optimal fighter builds and Valeros...


I find myself in the--at least to myself--enviable position of starting a new campaign with brand new players who know little or nothing of the D&D rules infrastructure. They've created characters which we'll port to PFRPG as soon as I can get my hands on the rulebook (I live in Bangkok). Not only can I pull all the old school DM tricks like rhyming riddle puzzles, new-found allies that betray at the drop of a hat, etc. but THEY CAN'T MIN/MAX. When I finally throw a +1 longsword their way, I'm thinking at about 3rd level, they'll have the same reaction I had way back in the day. I love it! None of this "but wait, page X of book Y says blah." No 4 class PrC builds. No preconceptions. I may eventually allow PrCs, but you can bet it'll be part of the storyline.

I've read a lot of mechanics debating, uber-character building, rule-twisting posts here and on other forums, and honestly it says more about DMs than it does the players posting. I can't really argue against a character optimization thread, I just don't want to ever play with or DM for someone who uses said thread to make a PC.

Zo


DigMarx wrote:

I just don't want to ever play with or DM for someone who uses said thread to make a PC.

Zo

Why not? Not everybody has the ability or the time to learn how to build mechanically efficient PC's. It would be no different than asking another player in your group for tips, the only difference is you are going online to ask for tips. As long as you keep your build reasonable I dont see the harm.

Sovereign Court

My first thoughts upon seeing this thread was, "Oh no, not again." But I don't want to be hostile to any segment of our community here @ Paizo, there was more than enough of that elsewhere!

So if there was a Character Design and Development boards I'd be in full support of it. I also dislike the term Character Optimization because it really just brings back that unhappy-blah-blah feelings of the edition wars. Not that I haven't snagged an idea or two from those boards (the H.I.V.E. is just wrong, but it really worked for my Epic level continuation of the STAP w/Obox-ob).

--Vrock the vote!


concerro wrote:


As long as you keep your build reasonable I dont see the harm.

Amen to that, brother. The key word is "reasonable". Where does it start, and where does it end? I'm sure there are players, DMs and groups out there who have the opposite point of view as myself, who would see characters I make as gimped and (quite reasonably) unable to survive in a high-powered combat oriented campaign. I certainly don't want to be a person who tells someone else how or what to play. If that's what you like, go for it.

My personal preference is for story and background heavy campaigns, which, in my experience, can be easily sidetracked by an "arms race" between players. You also have to reconcile party cohesion. Why are the good drow, tiefling, blackguard, dervish and halfling dragon disciple working together? "Because"? If one of the PCs has been dipping in 5 different classes, how do they have time to go adventuring full-time (ostensibly between training sessions)? The kinds of campaigns I prefer to be involved with require these questions to be reasonably answered for the sake of suspension of disbelief.

Zo


Well it depends on the classes dipped, and what classes represent in your game. If classes are your "job" then yes it could look odd, however if classes are simply a means to explain mechanically how you do what your character does, then not so much.

Sorcerous power could spontaneously erupt in the character just before the level they take their first level of sorcerer. Before this they were a strong armed thug with a really bad temper (rogue/barbarian). Since their new powers manifested thought they've taken to practicing both their new arcane talents along with their long time roguish skills (arcane trickster). At that point Eldritch Knight might look good, or depending on your choices in skills and bloodline maybe giving up the roguish life in your older years to become a bookworm (loremaster) looking for information on how you gained your sorcerer power and the nature of the magic you now command.


Abraham spalding wrote:
Well it depends on the classes dipped, and what classes represent in your game.

I'm with you, I'm not saying it can't be done. Assuming the PC has been in the campaign since the beginning or reasonably near to it, I would expect any dips, or any change of class for that matter, to coincide with the story line. The fighter could learn a level of rogue from the party rogue, the wizard could suddenly recover from his long dormant amnesia to realize he's trained with the longsword, whatever. As long as the DM and other players are on board, more power to ya.

What I'm saying is it's--at least for me--kind of lame to just say "ta-da, now I'm a pirate" without any background. Ret-con, no problem, just make it plausible. In an ideal (game) world, the player running the fighter would have decided in advance to say "I'm going to start training as a thief with Sneaktoes" well before he levels-up. This opens up all kinds of opportunities, not least of which is adventure potential for the DM.

Zo


DigMarx wrote:
concerro wrote:


As long as you keep your build reasonable I dont see the harm.

Amen to that, brother. The key word is "reasonable". Where does it start, and where does it end? I'm sure there are players, DMs and groups out there who have the opposite point of view as myself, who would see characters I make as gimped and (quite reasonably) unable to survive in a high-powered combat oriented campaign. I certainly don't want to be a person who tells someone else how or what to play. If that's what you like, go for it.

My personal preference is for story and background heavy campaigns, which, in my experience, can be easily sidetracked by an "arms race" between players. You also have to reconcile party cohesion. Why are the good drow, tiefling, blackguard, dervish and halfling dragon disciple working together? "Because"? If one of the PCs has been dipping in 5 different classes, how do they have time to go adventuring full-time (ostensibly between training sessions)? The kinds of campaigns I prefer to be involved with require these questions to be reasonably answered for the sake of suspension of disbelief.

Zo

I understand that. As long as they can explain them selves there should not be an issue, but if the players are competing with each other the DM may have to pause the game and explain the concept of a team. Hopefully the idea gets across, but if not I think there is an issue that can't be solved by restricting player choices.


I'd love to see such a forum, myself.

It seems silly to want to stifle something when it's much easier to just ignore it.


DigMarx wrote:
If one of the PCs has been dipping in 5 different classes, how do they have time to go adventuring full-time (ostensibly between training sessions)?

Simple, the character isn't training with anybody, he is developing his own adventuring style/unlocking his dormant powers on his own, and they happen to be similar to abilities that appear in 5 different classes.


I guess I'm shocked this thread is still going. I don't think we'll see such a forum, unfortunately. I'd really like a place to go now that gleemax is proper-dead.


Wow. Can't believe I sat here and read all of this. Man, insomnia bites.

I am in no way in favor of Character Optimization as a practice- despite fairly regular clamoring to the contrary, I feel that it is in many ways nothing more than a way for players to undermine their DM. The phrase "Not in my game" should be -- and is -- used as a last resort, but when a group of people come together to see who can make the DM cry uncle loudest and fastest, the focus has been shifted away from the game itself to the relationships within it, and not in a positive way. Furthermore, this creates problems for the character optimizer, as over time, it gets frustrating to have one's perfectly game legal and astonishingly innovative creations shot down due to what ultimately boils down to one person's whim. Optimizers can lash out, attempting to lean on other players to use their improvements for their own characters, claiming that "there's no reason not to", and point out where they may have already done so on their character sheets. DMs can get more restrictive, ignoring crucial(if poorly written) rules if only to hobble those who bend or take advantage of them, and increasingly rely upon unique, homeberewed creatures to negate any pre-existing player knowledge. After a while, what started off as a friendly game becomes an exercise in self-destruction and one-ups-manship. A losing proposition.

That said, I wouldn't be opposed to a Character Optimization Forum, and firmly agree that if you want one on here, just create the thread! Those who disagree with character optimization will stay out of it(I know I will), and it will mainly be populated only by those who have something positive to say.


Freehold DM wrote:

Wow. Can't believe I sat here and read all of this. Man, insomnia bites.

I am in no way in favor of Character Optimization as a practice- despite fairly regular clamoring to the contrary, I feel that it is in many ways nothing more than a way for players to undermine their DM. The phrase "Not in my game" should be -- and is -- used as a last resort, but when a group of people come together to see who can make the DM cry uncle loudest and fastest, the focus has been shifted away from the game itself to the relationships within it, and not in a positive way. Furthermore, this creates problems for the character optimizer, as over time, it gets frustrating to have one's perfectly game legal and astonishingly innovative creations shot down due to what ultimately boils down to one person's whim. Optimizers can lash out, attempting to lean on other players to use their improvements for their own characters, claiming that "there's no reason not to", and point out where they may have already done so on their character sheets. DMs can get more restrictive, ignoring crucial(if poorly written) rules if only to hobble those who bend or take advantage of them, and increasingly rely upon unique, homeberewed creatures to negate any pre-existing player knowledge. After a while, what started off as a friendly game becomes an exercise in self-destruction and one-ups-manship. A losing proposition.

That said, I wouldn't be opposed to a Character Optimization Forum, and firmly agree that if you want one on here, just create the thread! Those who disagree with character optimization will stay out of it(I know I will), and it will mainly be populated only by those who have something positive to say.

Many of the optimizers are DM's so the "screw the DM" argument falls flat.

Most players are nothing like the people you describe above. I think it would be fair to say less than 10 percent would go out of their way to cause such trouble.


concerro wrote:
Many of the optimizers are DM's so the "screw the DM" argument falls flat.

How so? Remember, the point of optimization- even when it's done to "help the DM"- is to take advantage of poorly written rules to be at a distinct advantage over the challenges they face. Although the DM is on the other side of the screen, she is playing the game as well, and may find any authority in running it compromised(or to go in the other direction, amped up to an unsually high degree) due to character optimization practices.

concerro wrote:
Most players are nothing like the people you describe above. I think it would be fair to say less than 10 percent would go out of their way to cause such trouble.

I don't believe hard percentages apply to this situation, but unfortunately, most is not all. DMs have had to kick people out of games before for a wide variety of reasons, and excessive character optimization- when mixed with boorish behavior- is one such reason.


Freehold DM wrote:
DMs have had to kick people out of games before for a wide variety of reasons, and excessive character optimization- when mixed with boorish behavior- is one such reason.

So because SOME people are boors, and utilize optimized characters, we should suppress character optimization?

I'll echo what concerro said - most players are not like this.


Brian E. Harris wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
DMs have had to kick people out of games before for a wide variety of reasons, and excessive character optimization- when mixed with boorish behavior- is one such reason.
So because SOME people are boors, and utilize optimized characters, we should suppress character optimization? I'll echo what concerro said - most players are not like this.

Actually I never said Character Optimizers should be surpressed, just that I was not in favor of the practice, as I consider it a losing proposition. A thread for Character Optimization would be a boon.

Furthermore, what do you, and concerro, believe should be done in this case? Is it wrong to kick someone out of a game for over optimization and boorish behavior? Is it surpression when the DM vetos something that someone can do according to the rules? Or for that matter, is it okay when characters are killed because they AREN'T optimized? Or when an optimized character is killed by a novel monster created simply to kiling the character? There is another side to this debate that is being missed, I think.


Freehold DM wrote:
Actually I never said Character Optimizers should be surpressed, just that I was not in favor of the practice, as I consider it a losing proposition. A thread for Character Optimization would be a boon.

Alrighty, my misunderstanding. It's frustrating to see so much support for...censorship is by far the wrong word, but I can't think of one that conveys the gist of what I'm seeing...of a potential CharOp sub-forum, when one can simply (and easily) ignore it/collapse it. Arguments of "I don't want my players to see this" and the like are quite infuriating.

Quote:
Furthermore, what do you, and concerro, believe should be done in this case?

In the case of the live player? Boot them.

Quote:
Is it wrong to kick someone out of a game for over optimization and boorish behavior?

Absolutely not, provided that the expectations of the game/group have been set.

Quote:
Is it surpression when the DM vetos something that someone can do according to the rules?

Rule 0 trumps all. My players (when I DM)/co-players (when I'm playing) have all generally accepted limitations placed by the DM on things. Not that there hasn't been grousing (on all parts) and debate, but we're friends, and we can argue and not hold a grudge.

Quote:
Or for that matter, is it okay when characters are killed because they AREN'T optimized?

I won't say I can't see how this would happen, but this seems to be more of a DM issue - if one player has a power level that much higher than the other players to the point that a challenge for that player is going to walk all over the other players, this is a situation that has gotten out of hand on all sides. "Extreme Optimization" isn't the only issue here.

Quote:
Or when an optimized character is killed by a novel monster created simply to kiling the character? There is another side to this debate that is being missed, I think.

I'm hoping that you didn't convey that exactly how you wanted - I'd be quite upset if the DM created a monster simply for the sole purpose of killing my character. Creating a monster to be a challenge, that's cool.

At extreme character power disparities, creating a monster or challenge that the whole party can tackle (rather than accomodating the high-power character) isn't always easy, and I respect that. This is where the game/group expectation setting comes in. I have yet to meet one of these boorish optimizers that can't respect the entire group, and practice good teamwork. We've had to ask people to leave our groups, or simply stop inviting them, but it hasn't been for optimization reasons.


Freehold DM wrote:
concerro wrote:
Many of the optimizers are DM's so the "screw the DM" argument falls flat.

How so? Remember, the point of optimization- even when it's done to "help the DM"- is to take advantage of poorly written rules to be at a distinct advantage over the challenges they face. Although the DM is on the other side of the screen, she is playing the game as well, and may find any authority in running it compromised(or to go in the other direction, amped up to an unsually high degree) due to character optimization practices.

concerro wrote:
Most players are nothing like the people you describe above. I think it would be fair to say less than 10 percent would go out of their way to cause such trouble.
I don't believe hard percentages apply to this situation, but unfortunately, most is not all. DMs have had to kick people out of games before for a wide variety of reasons, and excessive character optimization- when mixed with boorish behavior- is one such reason.

The point of optimization is not to take advantage of poorly written rules or break characters. The optimization that uses the most broken possible interpretation of the rules is known as theoretical optimization, and many times the creator will have a disclaimer saying up front that your DM may allow the character, and many times it is just mental gymnastics and the character was never meant to be played.

People are going to be terrible to play, has nothing to do with character optimization. Is it their view on the game that is faulty. If their view was not so far outside the norm they would not bring such a character to the table anyway.


Freehold DM wrote:
Brian E. Harris wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
DMs have had to kick people out of games before for a wide variety of reasons, and excessive character optimization- when mixed with boorish behavior- is one such reason.
So because SOME people are boors, and utilize optimized characters, we should suppress character optimization? I'll echo what concerro said - most players are not like this.

Actually I never said Character Optimizers should be surpressed, just that I was not in favor of the practice, as I consider it a losing proposition. A thread for Character Optimization would be a boon.

Furthermore, what do you, and concerro, believe should be done in this case? Is it wrong to kick someone out of a game for over optimization and boorish behavior? Is it surpression when the DM vetos something that someone can do according to the rules? Or for that matter, is it okay when characters are killed because they AREN'T optimized? Or when an optimized character is killed by a novel monster created simply to kiling the character? There is another side to this debate that is being missed, I think.

Most groups have power levels(levels of optimization) they are used to playing in. Basically what is good for one group is not good for another group. If the new guy oversteps his bounds then the DM should pull him off to the side, and the new guy should also be willing to help the others make characters if they want to get better at it.

If the optimizer knows the comfort zone of the group and refuses to cooperate, or for some reason just fails to see what is going on then it may be best to kick him out. Many people view this as a bad thing, and most of the time it is, but some people just dont mesh well with certain groups. It does not mean the DM or the player is evil. That is just the way things are sometimes.

The rules should be overwritten when they are abused are subject to abuse. I know broken is a relative term, most of the time and that is part of the reason for my above paragraph. I think the DM style, and the intended difficulty of the adventure determine character deaths. There really is not right or wrong answer to that question. My group enjoys difficult adventures, but you dont have to create the best character possible to survive. You do however have to create a useful character if you expect to survive. Creating a monster just to kill a PC is wrong. If you have that much of an issue with the player pull him off to the side and talk to him like an adult, whether he is one or not. He may not "get it" right then, but it may help him see what the issue was later. Most people are reasonable so normally such issues can be resolved.


Everyone's made some good points that I will have to respond to later- I have a game to run tonight, and need to prepare.

Liberty's Edge

I like how on page 2, TigerDave put forth a really insightful, intelligent post that should have ended this thread, and was then entirely ignored so's people could go on calling each other out on having wrongbadfun. Pretty awesome.

I also like how people seem to be mortified when considering the thought of a board dedicated to character mechanics - as if they would be forced to read it, physically, violently Clockwork Orange'd into the horrific act of reading a board they claim they have no interest in ever frequenting, because those character optimizers will undoubtedly enter their homes at night and... wait... that won't happen, they don't have to visit it if they don't want to, right? - which seems kind of silly; mechanics are part of the game after all, aren't they what separate a 'Tabletop RPG' from 'Adult Pretend in a Basement'? I think they just sort of remove the "uh-huh"/"nuh-uh" from it. Convenient, eh?

So? Let the optimizers have their board, and the optimizers will let the people who don't want to visit that board do exactly that. Seems fair to me.


Sheboygen wrote:

I like how on page 2, TigerDave put forth a really insightful, intelligent post that should have ended this thread, and was then entirely ignored so's people could go on calling each other out on having wrongbadfun. Pretty awesome.

I also like how people seem to be mortified when considering the thought of a board dedicated to character mechanics - as if they would be forced to read it, physically, violently Clockwork Orange'd into the horrific act of reading a board they claim they have no interest in ever frequenting, because those character optimizers will undoubtedly enter their homes at night and... wait... that won't happen, they don't have to visit it if they don't want to, right? - which seems kind of silly; mechanics are part of the game after all, aren't they what separate a 'Tabletop RPG' from 'Adult Pretend in a Basement'? I think they just sort of remove the "uh-huh"/"nuh-uh" from it. Convenient, eh?

So? Let the optimizers have their board, and the optimizers will let the people who don't want to visit that board do exactly that. Seems fair to me.

Your points, Tiger's points, and several other valid points have been restated several time. We will probably only be ignored again, but maybe if we repeat it enough times they will start to listen to us.

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