Paradigm Shift or Not? Pathfinder and D&D Traditions


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Abraham spalding wrote:

OK folks, instead of Channel positive energy, why don't you think about channel negative energy hm?

Really you want a battle cleric nothing quite says I blast through you with damage you can't resist like blasting through something with energy they can't resist. Heck Channel Smite too. Maybe with all those battle buffs you have.

You don't have to give up anything that you wouldn't have given up in 3.5. Your choices are the same. The only difference is the fact that when facing a lich you can actually use your channel energy to hurt him instead of doing nothing.

AoEing enemies while in armor to me isn't a battle cleric, it's a tank mage. I recall them from UO long long ago, they were broken then, I have doubts about them now.

Shadow Lodge

It mostly depends on my group and mood. I like to be challenged as a player, but I like to be challenged by more than just numbers.

Optimizing can be fun. I'm not talking about power gaming, but rather making a character that is good at something on purpose. However, if only part of a group is optimized, it is not fun for anyone. Those who are tend to get agrivated at those who are not for spoiling teir fun, those who are not tend to resent the ones that are for getting to much into the numbers, and DM's are stuck having to adjust challenges for two different levels.

Shadow Lodge

Thurgon wrote:


AoEing enemies while in armor to me isn't a battle cleric, it's a tank mage. I recall them from UO long long ago, they were broken then, I have doubts about them now.

I don't know, the Beta version was pretty dang fun. Positive and Negative.


Beckett wrote:
Thurgon wrote:


AoEing enemies while in armor to me isn't a battle cleric, it's a tank mage. I recall them from UO long long ago, they were broken then, I have doubts about them now.
I don't know, the Beta version was pretty dang fun. Positive and Negative.

I don't doubt it. I was running a game and the cleric made minced meat out of the undead in the 2nd adventure in the RotRL AP I was running. I went with it but him blasting every round and also healing was way way way over the top.


Thurgon you do realize that in the final you don't blast and heal right? It's one or the other now at any time not both.

I ask not to be insulting but if you didn't realize it I can see why you might think it is so powerful (doing both at once still I mean).


Abraham spalding wrote:

Thurgon you do realize that in the final you don't blast and heal right? It's one or the other now at any time not both.

I ask not to be insulting but if you didn't realize it I can see why you might think it is so powerful (doing both at once still I mean).

Yeah I know. I also know you use it in a big swilling melee with non-undead you end up healing them as well as your guys. I still think it is far more powerful then turning ever was, even with the splat book feats you could use with turning.

Shadow Lodge

I would have much prefered to keep the healing and damage, even if one or the other were toned down some. The one singe thing I like about the "white mage" was that they had the single most powerful magic attack, specifically against Undead/Evil/whatever. Holy, and channeling that heals and hurts felt both really cool and also gave the Cleric a nice option to do something while healing.
I just reall liked the concept it allowed for a Cleric to be a specialist blaster of sorts.


Beckett wrote:

I would have much prefered to keep the healing and damage, even if one or the other were toned down some. The one singe thing I like about the "white mage" was that they had the single most powerful magic attack, specifically against Undead/Evil/whatever. Holy, and channeling that heals and hurts felt both really cool and also gave the Cleric a nice option to do something while healing.

I just reall liked the concept it allowed for a Cleric to be a specialist blaster of sorts.

I can understand that. Remember you can use the mass cure spells like that though. So it isn't entirely gone.


James Jacobs wrote:

So... MY RANT!

The concept of "optimizing character builds" is at great odds to providing character choices. The goal of optimization is to build the most perfect build for a class, at which point the notion of not playing that particular build is a "poor choice." I disagree with that on every level of my role-playing being. I've seen many times a player come up with a cool concept for a character that an optimizer then picks apart and "tries to help" by making it more number crunched and "correct." Invariably, the result is an embarrassed roleplayer who comes away from the experience thinking he made an error in building his character. In fact, his only error was to listen to the optimizer.

RANT OVER.

I agree 100%. Luckily my group is more of the "play whatever you want" kind of group. A great advantage of playing with the same people for close to 10 years.

I was just stating that many more people are going to go for the white mage flavor of cleric that wasn't really even possible before. I probably shouldn't have used the word "most". Just trying to drive my point home, I guess.


James Jacobs wrote:
RANT!

All right!

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32

James Jacobs wrote:

So... MY RANT!

The concept of "optimizing character builds" is at great odds to providing character choices. The goal of optimization is to build the most perfect build for a class, at which point the notion of not playing that particular build is a "poor choice." I disagree with that on every level of my role-playing being. I've seen many times a player come up with a cool concept for a character that an optimizer then picks apart and "tries to help" by making it more number crunched and "correct." Invariably, the result is an embarrassed roleplayer who comes away from the experience thinking he made an error in building his character. In fact, his only error was to listen to the optimizer.

RANT OVER.

This. A Thousand Times This.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

James Jacobs wrote:

So... MY RANT!

The concept of "optimizing character builds" is at great odds to providing character choices. The goal of optimization is to build the most perfect build for a class, at which point the notion of not playing that particular build is a "poor choice." I disagree with that on every level of my role-playing being. I've seen many times a player come up with a cool concept for a character that an optimizer then picks apart and "tries to help" by making it more number crunched and "correct." Invariably, the result is an embarrassed roleplayer who comes away from the experience thinking he made an error in building his character. In fact, his only error was to listen to the optimizer.

RANT OVER.

I don't really look at it as one perfect build or one "optimal choice". I see it more as a range of "viable choices".

And there is a lot of room for choice within that 'viable' range. For instance, I've played a gnome melee cleric and it was a blast, but you can bet I was spamming Power Attack and making a modest effort to optimize the rest of my build. Conversely, when my battle cleric was a dwarf with an 18 strength score, I felt a lot more freedom to pick weird skills and feats.

As for whether number-savvy players should "help" others or leave them alone, that's hard for me to say. My first character was a cleric1/sorcerer2/wizard1. The character was awful, the dm was awful, the session was awful and I had an absolute blast.

It's hard to say now whether or not it would have spoiled my fun, had some older player been there to say "dude, a straight-up sorcerer can still be smart and religious".


James Jacobs wrote:

So... MY RANT!

The concept of "optimizing character builds" is at great odds to providing character choices. The goal of optimization is to build the most perfect build for a class, at which point the notion of not playing that particular build is a "poor choice." I disagree with that on every level of my role-playing being. I've seen many times a player come up with a cool concept for a character that an optimizer then picks apart and "tries to help" by making it more number crunched and "correct." Invariably, the result is an embarrassed roleplayer who comes away from the experience thinking he made an error in building his character. In fact, his only error was to listen to the optimizer.

RANT OVER.

The goal of the optimizer is to say take X, Y, and Z to be more mechanically effective, but as a player most of us realize that only taking X is ok as long as you stay within the concept. As long as you put up a statement saying I want my character to be better, and this(whatever that may be)is the concept, most people will try to give you the best mechanically efficient character within that concept that they can.

More often than not a player is happy for the help, and I can't stand to see a player sulking at a table when he realizes the party could drop him off, and not lose any steam.


James Jacobs wrote:

So... MY RANT!

The concept of "optimizing character builds" is at great odds to providing character choices. The goal of optimization is to build the most perfect build for a class, at which point the notion of not playing that particular build is a "poor choice." I disagree with that on every level of my role-playing being. I've seen many times a player come up with a cool concept for a character that an optimizer then picks apart and "tries to help" by making it more number crunched and "correct." Invariably, the result is an embarrassed roleplayer who comes away from the experience thinking he made an error in building his character. In fact, his only error was to listen to the optimizer.

RANT OVER.

+1


concerro wrote:


More often than not a player is happy for the help, and I can't stand to see a player sulking at a table when he realizes the party could drop him off, and not lose any steam.

So how would you deal with a player who even given a perfectly optimized character capable of laying waste to entire encounters without breaking a sweat still ends up being dead last in combat effectiveness because they chose to do less than wise things (oh, like say, not paying attention and walking into a sphere of annihilation)


James Jacobs wrote:

I've seen many times a player come up with a cool concept for a character that an optimizer then picks apart and "tries to help" by making it more number crunched and "correct." Invariably, the result is an embarrassed roleplayer who comes away from the experience thinking he made an error in building his character. In fact, his only error was to listen to the optimizer.

RANT OVER.

That's why we have a "no a%*hole rule" in our groups. Optimizers are welcome. The others? Not so much.


It's very interesting in fact that I'm a totally drama-oriented player (being a student of psychology and such), but I really love good rules.

My plaers are shaped by me into some gr eat roleplayers that love drama and interaction, however I also help them to make the most optimized build out of the character concept and story they make. I just hate dips, strange races, classes and non-prestige prestige classes. All the other (using the best feats to the g reater effect and such) is fair and encouraged game.


Pathfinder got me back into D&D and "kick the door down, hack the goblin and sift through whats left of its spleen for XPs" style play, which I'd burned out on pretty thoroughly before. We'll see how long it lasts.

However, good show to Jason and all of the Pathfinder crew. I have, so far, not found a single thing I disagree with in the changes. I've seen changes I wouldn't've made, but nothing I disagree with.

Even if their giving a +/- 4 size mod to Intimidate based on relative size means that my Halfling Barbarian isn't quite as good at giving monsters "The BatLook" as he was before.

(Cue a Troll looking opportunistic on a party that's banged up from a fight. Cue the Halfing Barbarian who's in the best shape of anyone in the party - good AC and high hit points.)

Halfling steps up to face the troll, bastard sword and buckler at the ready. Looks up - all 3'4" of him and 40 lbs of barely checked Berserker fury.

"I intend to Intimidate the Troll."

"Uh. OK. What are you doing?"

"Oh, I'm making eye contact, growling low in my throat, letting the foam dribble out of my mouth. Let him see the blood on my sword."

"Roll for it."

"21 after mods."

*laugh* "OK. Good enough. The troll looks down at you. I mean, it really looks."

"I step forward. I give it my biggest "I'm going to eat your liver" smile."

"It's pretty sure it could eat you in two bites. On the other hand, it's also not used to food acting this aggressively at it. It backs off."

(Under the new rules, that 21 after mods would have been about a 17, and might not have been as good an iconic moment...)

(Rest of the play group cracked about a Chihuahua forcing a Rottweiler out of its yard the yard for the rest of the session.)


Well the paladin doesnt use wisdom as one of his base ability scores but relies on Strength and Charisma. The paladin in first and second edition was supposed to be the hardest class to qualify for in first and second edition especially having to role for the Cha 17 and Wis 14 and Strength 13. I think wisdom should have been kept for their spells. Paladins are meant to have an understanding in good and evil.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Agreed. It wouldn't be the end of the world if a 16th level paladin who's charisma was still only 13 had to go without 4th level spells. Apparently, he's enjoying his divine grace, lay-on-hands and smiting enough that he isn't going to miss them.


James Jacobs wrote:

So... MY RANT!

The concept of "optimizing character builds" is at great odds to providing character choices. The goal of optimization is to build the most perfect build for a class, at which point the notion of not playing that particular build is a "poor choice." I disagree with that on every level of my role-playing being. I've seen many times a player come up with a cool concept for a character that an optimizer then picks apart and "tries to help" by making it more number crunched and "correct." Invariably, the result is an embarrassed roleplayer who comes away from the experience thinking he made an error in building his character. In fact, his only error was to listen to the optimizer.

RANT OVER.

-1

It doesn't seem like you even understand the concept of character optimization. The reason why somebody goes to a forum like char-op(before crazy theoretical builds that should never see play) is that they have an idea for a character(great or not), their DM may be allowing a ton of say 3.5 resources, but the player doesn't have an encyclopedic knowledge of character crunch options. Some options he may have looked over, but not realized the potential of at first.

Char-op regulars didn't generally say "Take this or your character doesn't deserve to hang out with his adventurer buddies" unless they were trolls, which happens in a forum, any forum. They present tons of ideas, that all fit the character and can synergize well. The player doesn't need to take all or even any of the advice offered, it is his character afterall. The point is that more options are highlighted for what they could offer.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The problem comes when people ditch fluffy options due to crunch. I have a Binder player who never uses most of his spirits (drawn both from ToM and Pact Magic books), because, to quote "Charop forums say they are crap, I prefer to do 12d6 of damage instead of some silly roleplaying stuff".

That's why I am all in with James and Paizo design philosophy.

Dark Archive

Kalis wrote:


Char-op regulars didn't generally say "Take this or your character doesn't deserve to hang out with his adventurer buddies" unless they were trolls, which happens in a forum, any forum. They present tons of ideas, that all fit the character and can synergize well. The player doesn't need to take all or even any of the advice offered, it is his character afterall. The point is that more options are highlighted for what they could offer.

Then I must be regularly encountering trolls. I've rarely met an optimizer who wasn't focusing on other players and PCs to maximize their combat capability first regardless of character conception.


I'm with Mr Jacobs on this, as well.

Also, having just run my first session of my first PF AP two nights ago, I must say that it felt like D&D more than anything I've played (including various iterations of actual D&D) since the 80s. I've been buying up the material for the past year, but hadn't had a chance to put it into play and was really just enjoying reading it til last Sunday. Last Sunday sold me.

I'll also say that the only difference I'm noticing in the 'feel' (for lack of a better word) of the game at all is that they seem to *ADD* things that needed adding, like well thought out writing, intricate plots, etc.

Last but not least I detect some Robert E Howard and H.P. Lovecraft fans on staff, and that can't be beat. I think EGG would've been proud.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Kalis wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

So... MY RANT!

The concept of "optimizing character builds" is at great odds to providing character choices. The goal of optimization is to build the most perfect build for a class, at which point the notion of not playing that particular build is a "poor choice." I disagree with that on every level of my role-playing being. I've seen many times a player come up with a cool concept for a character that an optimizer then picks apart and "tries to help" by making it more number crunched and "correct." Invariably, the result is an embarrassed roleplayer who comes away from the experience thinking he made an error in building his character. In fact, his only error was to listen to the optimizer.

RANT OVER.

-1

It doesn't seem like you even understand the concept of character optimization. The reason why somebody goes to a forum like char-op(before crazy theoretical builds that should never see play) is that they have an idea for a character(great or not), their DM may be allowing a ton of say 3.5 resources, but the player doesn't have an encyclopedic knowledge of character crunch options. Some options he may have looked over, but not realized the potential of at first.

Char-op regulars didn't generally say "Take this or your character doesn't deserve to hang out with his adventurer buddies" unless they were trolls, which happens in a forum, any forum. They present tons of ideas, that all fit the character and can synergize well. The player doesn't need to take all or even any of the advice offered, it is his character afterall. The point is that more options are highlighted for what they could offer.

I support your assertion that "optimizers" are not necessarily jerks, and further, that "optimizing" a character does not always mean throwing all fun choices out the window in order to make the very best character of a given class.

However, the friendly behavior that you're describing (in "char-op threads") has very little to do with the phenomenon which James was talking about.


All in all I think PF is a superior game to 3.5 as well as 4E.

The changes are consistent with former editions of D&D and the flavor is very much the same. PF has its own thing going with Golarion, which to some extent affects my sense of PF, but not in a bad way.

I think the changes are mostly minor and those that are not improve upon the ballance in the game. So far I have not run into anything that I dislike and if I eventually do I am confident that I will be able to house rule it with ease.

As for ulterior motives I think Paizo are doing the right thing for D&D. They are keeping it a roleplaying game and are loyal to the tradition and to the players. It is obvious that they lova and care for D&D and its future. I cannot imagine Paizo would have a hidden agenda - I think they are smart enough to know that they would get dropped faster than a copy of the 4E PHB if they did.


James Jacobs wrote:

So... MY RANT!

The concept of "optimizing character builds" is at great odds to providing character choices. The goal of optimization is to build the most perfect build for a class, at which point the notion of not playing that particular build is a "poor choice." I disagree with that on every level of my role-playing being. I've seen many times a player come up with a cool concept for a character that an optimizer then picks apart and "tries to help" by making it more number crunched and "correct." Invariably, the result is an embarrassed roleplayer who comes away from the experience thinking he made an error in building his character. In fact, his only error was to listen to the optimizer.

RANT OVER.

The exact same thing could be said of hide bound traditionalists who insist that characters that don't conform to the iconic are being played wrong.

Optimization is a play style choice. Those who enjoy it can be a bit overzealous in advocating it and I agree this can have a negative impact on newer players who haven't developed their own style of play and confidence in their character concepts.

There is nothing wrong with the concept of optimizing character builds and it is not necessarily in direct conflict with providing character choices. It only becomes problematic when optimization is done in a vacuum that disregards character concept and eliminates less than optimal aspects of a character. Basically what the character can do is divorced from who the character is, much like in an RPG video game.

Character optimization is fine if it supports the player's vision of the character, but bad if it defines the players vision of the character. It needs to be one aspect, not the sum total.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kalis wrote:


Char-op regulars didn't generally say "Take this or your character doesn't deserve to hang out with his adventurer buddies" unless they were trolls, which happens in a forum, any forum. They present tons of ideas, that all fit the character and can synergize well. The player doesn't need to take all or even any of the advice offered, it is his character afterall. The point is that more options are highlighted for what they could offer.

I don't know where your tribe of Char-ops came from. Everywhere else where they show up, I've come from thier discussions my head spinning from Excel spreadsheet mathmatically analysis leading to "cookie cutter" builds for each class to the point of "if you're not building your fighter this way and getting these magic items etc.. you suck."

Heck I remember one person's main comment on Elminster on how sucky a mage he was because of those wasted cleric, fighter and rogue levels.This Char op mentality is no doubt large part of what WOTC responded to when they crafted 4e. Heck just looking at the Character Builder tool itself reveals a lot of effort at automating such optimisation.

Liberty's Edge

If there’s any paradigm shift between 3.5 and Pathfinder, it’s “more options for character building”. And that’s something I can get behind. Outside of that, there really seems to be less of a shift than there has been between some of the previous editions.

For instance, I feel that there’s far less a departure between 3.5 and Pathfinder than there was between AD&D 1st ed. and 2nd ed. (the only edition change, other than 4th, that caused me grief). While 2nd ed. did offer some good changes (thieves being more customizable, dragons being beefier, etc.), it removed a lot (half-orcs, monks, assassins, many spells, psionics, just about anything extraplanar-related, etc.), and changed quite a bit (rangers, bards, unarmed combat, etc.). All the groups that I played with ended up going 1.5 ed.—using a mixture of both rule sets.

Unlike with 2nd ed., Pathfinder has all the same options from the previous edition’s core rules, allowing you to replicate characters from the previous edition with minimal effort.

While I may not like every change that Pathfinder has wrought (spiked chain and half-orcs being among the top of that list), I have yet to encounter an RPG that I haven’t had to make house rules for. On the whole, I truly like the vast majority of changes I’ve seen so far.


At the risk of just being a grump, there are shifts, and there are paradigm shifts. If Pluto's not a planet anymore, there's some new moons, and some orbits were a little more complicated than we thought they were, that's a shift. If the Sun and the Earth switch places as the third planet and the center of the solar system, then that's a paradigm shift. A change (or changes) in the model does not equal a change in the fundamental model.

Thus endeth my complaint.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Kalis wrote:

It doesn't seem like you even understand the concept of character optimization. The reason why somebody goes to a forum like char-op(before crazy theoretical builds that should never see play) is that they have an idea for a character(great or not), their DM may be allowing a ton of say 3.5 resources, but the player doesn't have an encyclopedic knowledge of character crunch options. Some options he may have looked over, but not realized the potential of at first.

Char-op regulars didn't generally say "Take this or your character doesn't deserve to hang out with his adventurer buddies" unless they were trolls, which happens in a forum, any forum. They present tons of ideas, that all fit the character and can synergize well. The player doesn't need to take all or even any of the advice offered, it is his character afterall. The point is that more options are highlighted for what they could offer.

Actually, I do understand the concept of character optimization. I even approve of it. What I don't approve of are those who view optimization as the end-all solution to the problem of building a character. PARTICULARLY when it's a personality trait that a game designer adheres to. If a game designer honestly believes that there's only one legitimate option for a character build but still designs other options and then implies that folks who take those choices are being sub-optimal... he's doing the game a disservice by being a game designer.

More or less my rant was inspired by learning that a professional game designer said something like, "Oh... I get it! Roleplaying is deliberately choosing a suboptimal choice for your character!" And then enforced by seeing gamers build characters they like and then feel like they're playing the game wrong when another player builds a character that works better.

It's a rant, in any case. I don't defend it as "right" or "wrong." Anymore than I defend my other rants (such as DOWN WITH DWARVES!!!).

Scarab Sages

Azzy wrote:
All the groups that I played with ended up going 1.5 ed.—using a mixture of both rule sets.

I never bothered buying a 2E DMG; copied a couple of pages on overland travel and light sources, and used everything else from the 1E DMG, which was absolutely packed with info you never knew you never knew. The agenda for 2E seemed to be to eke out the info from 1E DMG over as many of the 'blue books' as possible.

Shadow Lodge

You want Dwarves even shorter? Ha ha


James Jacobs wrote:
Kalis wrote:

It doesn't seem like you even understand the concept of character optimization. The reason why somebody goes to a forum like char-op(before crazy theoretical builds that should never see play) is that they have an idea for a character(great or not), their DM may be allowing a ton of say 3.5 resources, but the player doesn't have an encyclopedic knowledge of character crunch options. Some options he may have looked over, but not realized the potential of at first.

Char-op regulars didn't generally say "Take this or your character doesn't deserve to hang out with his adventurer buddies" unless they were trolls, which happens in a forum, any forum. They present tons of ideas, that all fit the character and can synergize well. The player doesn't need to take all or even any of the advice offered, it is his character afterall. The point is that more options are highlighted for what they could offer.

Actually, I do understand the concept of character optimization. I even approve of it. What I don't approve of are those who view optimization as the end-all solution to the problem of building a character. PARTICULARLY when it's a personality trait that a game designer adheres to. If a game designer honestly believes that there's only one legitimate option for a character build but still designs other options and then implies that folks who take those choices are being sub-optimal... he's doing the game a disservice by being a game designer.

More or less my rant was inspired by learning that a professional game designer said something like, "Oh... I get it! Roleplaying is deliberately choosing a suboptimal choice for your character!" And then enforced by seeing gamers build characters they like and then feel like they're playing the game wrong when another player builds a character that works better.

It's a rant, in any case. I don't defend it as "right" or "wrong." Anymore than I defend my other rants (such as DOWN WITH DWARVES!!!).

What did the dwarves ever do to you?

Shadow Lodge

Frostflame wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Anymore than I defend my other rants (such as DOWN WITH DWARVES!!!).
What did the dwarves ever do to you?

They are too tall. . .

Contributor

James Jacobs wrote:


What I don't approve of are those who view optimization as the end-all solution to the problem of building a character. PARTICULARLY when it's a personality trait that a game designer adheres to. If a game designer honestly believes that there's only one legitimate option for a character build but still designs other options and then implies that folks who take those choices are being sub-optimal... he's doing the game a disservice by being a game designer.

I think there are obviously different schools of thought on this issue, but I've always been on your side of this debate.

If roleplaying is a means of fantasy simulation then the truths that govern our real-life existence would also hold sway in a fantasy world. In other words, not everyone is in the top 5% of their given profession. A system that caters only to the top 5% renders the other 95% losers and declares pointless those who play the game because they enjoy their unique character concept. Game mechanics and adventure difficulty should be built around a median character.

The "game" of a roleplaying game should take place as characters have adventures, face dangers, and overcome them, not the building phase before the character ever sees any action. I think that some of the optimization mentality comes from CCGs, where most games are won and lost based on the their ability to create a killer deck. That's not to say that players should be rewarded for building characters stupidly (the Joxer fighter with a Strength of 8 for example), but that reasonable choices should be part of the game.

If the game designer is leaving open one path for an optimized character then s/he is intentionally violating game balance in order to reward players who subscribe to the same philosophy of RPGs as they do. In that way, I agree that they are definitely doing the game a disservice by sacrificing the enjoyment of the players who subscribe to a more traditional notion of roleplaying than they do.


Darrin Drader wrote:
If roleplaying is a means of fantasy simulation then the truths that govern our real-life existence would also hold sway in a fantasy world. In other words, not everyone is in the top 5% of their given profession. A system that caters only to the top 5% renders the other 95% losers and declares pointless those who play the game because they enjoy their unique character concept. Game mechanics and adventure difficulty should be built around a median character.

95% of the typical fantasy setting are losers. They are called NPCs, and have levels in things like commoner, expert, adept, warrior, or if they are lucky aristocrat. Sure it can be fun to try to play a commoner with 10's and 11's in all the stats all the way to 20th level. But really most people want to play a better character than that.


Krigare wrote:
concerro wrote:


More often than not a player is happy for the help, and I can't stand to see a player sulking at a table when he realizes the party could drop him off, and not lose any steam.
So how would you deal with a player who even given a perfectly optimized character capable of laying waste to entire encounters without breaking a sweat still ends up being dead last in combat effectiveness because they chose to do less than wise things (oh, like say, not paying attention and walking into a sphere of annihilation)

Most players that are that "out of the game" never notice they are not needed. If they are not paying attention they might be bored for some reason.

My post was referring to the player that is really interested, but is just a terrible character builder.


Rude people stand out, so that is what is normally remembered, but I am sure it is not the norm. Many optimizers might argue about the best way to do X, and say their way is the best way, but I have not seen many insult people if they choose to not optimize completely.

Contributor

pres man wrote:


95% of the typical fantasy setting are losers. They are called NPCs, and have levels in things like commoner, expert, adept, warrior, or if they are lucky aristocrat. Sure it can be fun to try to play a commoner with 10's and 11's in all the stats all the way to 20th level. But really most people want to play a better character than that.

I'm not referring to NPCs. I'm referring to the 95% of players who do not run heroic characters that are perfectly optimized.

Liberty's Edge

Snorter wrote:
Azzy wrote:
All the groups that I played with ended up going 1.5 ed.—using a mixture of both rule sets.
I never bothered buying a 2E DMG; copied a couple of pages on overland travel and light sources, and used everything else from the 1E DMG, which was absolutely packed with info you never knew you never knew. The agenda for 2E seemed to be to eke out the info from 1E DMG over as many of the 'blue books' as possible.

Yeah, the 2E DMG was a complete joke, especially when compared to the 1E DMG. As for the "blue books", that seem like the general tactic of 2E--put stuff that should have been in the core rules into a ridiculous amount bunch of splat books. *sigh*

I was really impressed when 3.0 came out and Monte gave us a real DMG again.

Scarab Sages

It's interesting that the Char-Op defenders instantly assumed James was writing about messageboard or forum behaviour, when his rant was directed instead at the specific situation of an Optimizer criticizing another player character without concern for that players feelings or ideas.

I totally understand the purpose, need, and behaviour on Char-Op boards. And I agree that in some cases it serves an overall purpose to educate gamers (players and DMs alike). But pushing your singular view onto another player to the point of ruining their game is no fun for anyone.

I've had this happen both in game, and behind the non-optimizers back. I politely told the optimizer that it wasn't any of their business how the other players played the game and left it at that.

James' other point that I got was that if you are stuck optimizing, you sacrifice a myriad of other options that would make for really interesting and dynamic characters at the table (both in and out of combat). At that point, you ARE excluding creativity for the sake of optimization, and that's sad.


Jal Dorak wrote:
It's interesting that the Char-Op defenders instantly assumed James was writing about messageboard or forum behaviour, when his rant was directed instead at the specific situation of an Optimizer criticizing another player character without concern for that players feelings or ideas.

I understood it to be directed at anyone who behaves poorly, as he described. It's unacceptable, regardless of where.

Jal Dorak wrote:
James' other point that I got was that if you are stuck optimizing, you sacrifice a myriad of other options that would make for really interesting and dynamic characters at the table (both in and out of combat). At that point, you ARE excluding creativity for the sake of optimization, and that's sad.

Why is it sad? Why does it continue to be an issue, from either side of the fence, when people choose to play a way that is different from others? Almond Joy has nuts. Mounds don't.

Scarab Sages

Brian E. Harris wrote:


Why is it sad? Why does it continue to be an issue, from either side of the fence, when people choose to play a way that is different from others? Almond Joy has nuts. Mounds don't.

It's sad because as human beings we should seek to better ourselves and provide our lives with rich and rewarding experiences.

Sure, I'm not saying a person who Optimizes all the time is wasting their life - they are enjoying it the way they want. What I am saying is that there is more to life. Take a risk now and then. Maybe you'll enjoy playing a Sorcerer who only casts divination spells and fights with two weapons.

To go back to your candy bar analogy:

Non-optimization lets you choose what you want from the bulk section.
Optimization says that you must only buy [Peanut Brittle] because it [has the most varied ingredients per price point].

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

It's almost hackneyed at this point: if everybody else at the gaming table is looking to build characters who are very effective in combat, then following suit is "playing right", and playing a character markedly less useful is "playing wrong". Contrariwise, if everybody else is playing a fun character without consideration for whether it's a powerhouse in combat, then optimizing your character is "playing wrong", because you'll dominate every combat situation.

So, to James' comment about the optimizers "trying to help", it depends on everybody else at the table. In some cases, that's exactly the right attitude to take. In others, it's butting in and doing damage to a player's perfectly good, less-than-optimal character.

Having said that, Paizo has earned a reputation for some serious meat-grinder adventures. (The Age of Worms AP, "Seven Swords of Sin", "Skinsaw Murders", many of the Pathfinder Society scenarios.) You're welcome to play that non-optimized fighter / monk / bard if you like, but the GM is going to have to backpedal some of those encounters.


I know this is a fantasy game, but come on. How many people in real life start out optimizing their existence? You always choose a couple of 'paths' that aren't optimal to your life. In college they are called electives. To me I try to picture a character's life. Total optimization is like saying they came up through early life without ever thinking, 'I want to be just like that guy,' only to realize later that not everyone has what it takes to be a swashbuckler, or ranger, or whatever. That's why the decided on cleric instead. I wish there were a few background feats that gave you a 'taste' of an alternate class that you tried to apprentice to, but learned you are a better wizard, or whatever.


Jal Dorak wrote:
It's sad because as human beings we should seek to better ourselves and provide our lives with rich and rewarding experiences.

And that's pigeonholing someone who optimize as not having a rich and rewarding experience.

Quote:
Sure, I'm not saying a person who Optimizes all the time is wasting their life - they are enjoying it the way they want. What I am saying is that there is more to life. Take a risk now and then. Maybe you'll enjoy playing a Sorcerer who only casts divination spells and fights with two weapons.

Because optimizers only play one character type?

Quote:

To go back to your candy bar analogy:

Non-optimization lets you choose what you want from the bulk section.
Optimization says that you must only buy [Peanut Brittle] because it [has the most varied ingredients per price point].

Where does optimization say that? ANYTHING can be optimized. As people have mentioned before, you're optimizing when you build any character. You put more points in one skill over another? Optimized. Why'd you choose that feat instead of the other one?

This attitude is exactly the same as the attitude people describe the optimizers as having.

Liberty's Edge

stonechild wrote:
jocundthejolly wrote:


For example, if clerics gain the ability to use, say, a spear or a dagger, it doesn't really invalidate a cleric running around with a mace. Similarly, letting dwarves be wizards doesn't mean that an existing dwarf fighter has changed any, or if a gnome has a different favored class that it changes a gnome illusionist any.

After 10 years I'm still not entirely comfortable with clerics using edged weapons and dwarves tossing wizard spells. Just feels icky.

Kinda like a paladin using a ranged weapon, let alone being able to smite with it.

Actually, that was a silly "1.5" (Unearthed Arcana) change. The AD&D PHB Paladin had no such restriction.

I thought UA (1E) was a load of crap, btw. Except for some of the spells. And the stuff from modules.

Liberty's Edge

Re: Char Op stuff.

Thing is, though, unless your DM is a big softie powder puff, most Paizo APs will chew sub-optimal characters up like wood in a chipper.

Just sayin'.


On second thought, let's not go to Unearthed Arcana.

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