Why are there so many people obsessed with "balance" on here?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Grand Lodge

I am seeing more and more threads with class vs class and "Why is this class so weak" or "This class is SO overbalanced and it is not fair"

I always thought that this game was about a group dynamic and not about an individual? I think that with the onslaught of the MMO that people are obsessed with character balance in a game where it should not apply. If this was a game about Player vs Player then I would concede the point but we do not fight each other (at least in most games I have played since 1974). As a group we fight evil (or good if you are so inclined) not each other. So why is this forum so obsessed with PC balance?

There is no one class that is more powerful then another if we as a group could use the skills that the character brings to the group, right? It is about the group. Is it more fun to play some powerful character, sure? Is it more fun to have more kills then some, sure. But this is not about balance. A Fighter is not going to be fighting a wizard one on one typically. A fighter in a group might see a wizard in a tower and decide as a group that they need to get rid of it and so as a group go to eradicate it. This is not a one on one type of fight though. Each character brings something to the group individually and make each more powerful as a group instead of an individual.

If the game was not about groups then I would again concede that there would need to be balance between the characters, but this is NOT the case either. Besides if there was ever a need for almost a perfect balance of equality between classes then I could suggest another game from another company that has balanced their classes much like an MMO would.

I guess I am just sick and tired of hearing that a rogue is the worst character in the game... or wizard is way to powerful, or some such. But lets face facts here. If the wizard were to go in to a fight alone against a well thought out group then said wizard no matter the tactics the wizard uses would likely die. A rogue brings with it nuances that no other character can achieve but on the same token a group could live with out any one class but no class should be with out a group or thought of as an individual class when building it. A player should always think of the group they are playing with when building their character, it is that group that will help in the end to help you as a character survive in the long run.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

I think you're just being hyperbolic that somehow this month is more about that topic than others.

Intra-party balance matters because not everyone appreciates being Aquaman.

Concerns about it have been around long before the MMO. Internet boards for RPGs hadn't been that big for that long before the MMO, so you didn't get to see very much opinion outside of your limited social circle. I'm not saying you're antisocial and have few friends, just that your experience is with a tiny fraction of the demographic of gamers.

The Exchange

I'm with you, but I think that these threads come from players who, either see it in their tablemates or in their own reflections, the dismay that can set in when they feel that they aren't nearly as powerful as another PC in the group. This PC could be of any class. It's not a failing of the rules, just a product of play styles.

Some players scrounge the rulebooks, trying to find every little way to optimize their characters. Others do not. As a result, there can be a gap between the abilities of one character to another.

Most groups that I've played with, it's not a problem. The PCs help each other out in combat. That's the way it should be.

Liberty's Edge

If my character gets to do something cool I don't care how supposedly weak or strong they are. They did something cool. Heck yes.

Unfortunately the fun and the balanced do sometimes get at odds with each-other, and that's about when you go too far one way or the other. If things are balanced enough that people still play very different characters without thinking about it, and they have fun doing it, then you're fine.

Also, does anyone else like cookies? They're delicious.

Sovereign Court

StabbittyDoom wrote:
Also, does anyone else like cookies? They're delicious.

Win. I've been known to share my number one rule of DnD that even trumps rule 0:

...
...
...

Rule 1/2 - Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you

All jests aside, I think people are beginning to lose site of fun-factor and going with a purely mathematical approach to DnD where numerics are everything, and powergaming is paramount. I think too many people start threads complaining about balance. This isn't to slight anyone, but I think it's an overly discussed topic that just never seems to find middle-ground for people. But meh, life is what it is and people are as diverse in their play-styles and perspectives of what is fun as they are in personality in the world in it's entirety. More power to 'em.

The Exchange

ZangRavnos wrote:


All jests aside, I think people are beginning to lose site of fun-factor and going with a purely mathematical approach to DnD where numerics are everything, and powergaming is paramount. I think too many people start threads complaining about balance. This isn't to slight anyone, but I think it's an overly discussed topic that just never seems to find middle-ground for people. But meh, life is what it is and people are as diverse in their play-styles and perspectives of what is fun as they are in personality in the world in it's entirety. More power to 'em.

I want to see more threads complaining about DnD from a purely theatrical approach. How come only Halflings can take the Child-like feat? I just want to play a human child. Like the one from Robocop 2.

Scarab Sages

Waffle_Neutral wrote:
ZangRavnos wrote:


All jests aside, I think people are beginning to lose site of fun-factor and going with a purely mathematical approach to DnD where numerics are everything, and powergaming is paramount. I think too many people start threads complaining about balance. This isn't to slight anyone, but I think it's an overly discussed topic that just never seems to find middle-ground for people. But meh, life is what it is and people are as diverse in their play-styles and perspectives of what is fun as they are in personality in the world in it's entirety. More power to 'em.
I want to see more threads complaining about DnD from a purely theatrical approach. How come only Halflings can take the Child-like feat? I just want to play a human child. Like the one from Robocop 2.

The 'Plucky Kid!' That (Name might be a bit different) was a character Archtype in the Feng Shui RPG.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

ZangRavnos wrote:
All jests aside, I think people are beginning to lose site of fun-factor and going with a purely mathematical approach to DnD where numerics are everything, and powergaming is paramount. I think too many people start threads complaining about balance. This isn't to slight anyone, but I think it's an overly discussed topic that just never seems to find middle-ground for people.

Eh, the fun-factor remains for me and I'm quite certain it remains for many others in the place it belongs, at the game table. This board isn't the game table, however, so the goals are different. For all the crowing/encouragement some give to talk about your personal game (for which there's a forum for), the fact is that threads/blogs about your specific game doesn't attract discussion in the same way that campaign-neutral rules. This goes double for a rules-focused system like 3.X


Complete Balance is the LAST thing I want to see in Pathfinder.

God forbid this game turn into 4e, and just be about the combat.

Dark Archive

There are two distinct types of people with balance issues. The first type are those who start threads like 'Summoner, you gotta be kidding me' or 'Psionics are overpowered'. They usually complain about a class being too strong.
On the other hand, there are people who understand the rules. They usually complain about a class being too weak in comparison with the other classes. Unlike the other type, they are usually able to support their claims. Some of them are certainly rude, but if I have to chose between someone rude knowing what he's talking about and someone rude who doesn't I chose the former. I'd rather have someone complaining about the rogue being too weak than complaining that sneak attack is totally overpowered and needs to be nerfed.
Most of those arguing about rogues or monks being weak don't want everyone to be a wizard, they just want to be able to play a class without feeling bad about making a really bad decision. Before the APG, there were similar complaints about the barbarian, but Paizo managed to make the class more interesting.
People like me just hope that the same will be achieved for rogues and monks who don't happen to be zen archers.


Deanoth is right, even more right that even he thinks. Balance on a game of interpretation and storytelling is basically nonsense.

If it was a game like chess, everyone would use the same rules, and the game itself would be about tactics and strategies and clever use of abilities, but on a game that involves roleplaying, interpretation, and weaving of a good story, balance is not just useless, but absurd as well.


Beek Gwenders of Croodle wrote:

Deanoth is right, even more right that even he thinks. Balance on a game of interpretation and storytelling is basically nonsense.

If it was a game like chess, everyone would use the same rules, and the game itself would be about tactics and strategies and clever use of abilities, but on a game that involves roleplaying, interpretation, and weaving of a good story, balance is not just useless, but absurd as well.

I think people like to look at it as a chess game but the knight, king, and rook have a personality. Imbalance is when the guy having fun being mr.knight and the guy having fun being mr. bishop make it much harder for guy who accidentally chose mr. pawn to have any fun.

Sure you could be the pawn that makes it to the other side of the board and becomes awesome, but relying on DM fiat is a poor excuse to balance things. Because the only way you got there is if Knight and Bishop cleared the path or the enemy queen walked right up to you with a sword in her gut


Shadow_of_death wrote:

I think people like to look at it as a chess game but the knight, king, and rook have a personality. Imbalance is when the guy having fun being mr.knight and the guy having fun being mr. bishop make it much harder for guy who accidentally chose mr. pawn to have any fun.

Sure you could be the pawn that makes it to the other side of the board and becomes awesome, but relying on DM fiat is a poor excuse to balance things. Because the only way you got there is if Knight and Bishop cleared the path or the enemy queen walked right up to you with a sword in her gut

You're making me want to run a game set in Homestuck now.


Umbral Reaver wrote:
Shadow_of_death wrote:

I think people like to look at it as a chess game but the knight, king, and rook have a personality. Imbalance is when the guy having fun being mr.knight and the guy having fun being mr. bishop make it much harder for guy who accidentally chose mr. pawn to have any fun.

Sure you could be the pawn that makes it to the other side of the board and becomes awesome, but relying on DM fiat is a poor excuse to balance things. Because the only way you got there is if Knight and Bishop cleared the path or the enemy queen walked right up to you with a sword in her gut

You're making me want to run a game set in Homestuck now.

Luckily, in RPGs, you have more than one mean to go to the other path, not necessarily through the board.

And besides, it's the way you are enjoying the journey, not how fast and effectively you get there, that counts.
IMHO, of course.
What I meant is that I find total balance is an RPG is impossible to reach, unless everyone is playing the same character with same class and same abilities. Even then lucky or unlucky dice could turn off "balance".


Beek Gwenders of Croodle wrote:

Deanoth is right, even more right that even he thinks. Balance on a game of interpretation and storytelling is basically nonsense.

If it was a game like chess, everyone would use the same rules, and the game itself would be about tactics and strategies and clever use of abilities, but on a game that involves roleplaying, interpretation, and weaving of a good story, balance is not just useless, but absurd as well.

Why? I mean, it's trivially easy to create a character at a higher or lower level, if a GM or a player needs/wants that for the sake of the 'story'.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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Beek Gwenders of Croodle wrote:
If it was a game like chess, everyone would use the same rules, and the game itself would be about tactics and strategies and clever use of abilities, but on a game that involves roleplaying, interpretation, and weaving of a good story, balance is not just useless, but absurd as well.

Yeah, good thing Pathfinder isn't about the rules and is only about the story and roleplaying. Excuse me, the kid wants in the room, but the core book fell in front of the door and now she can't push it open...

Where was I? Ah, yes, the misconception that better mechanical balance creates a bland 4E clone that's about nothing but combat. I'm sure if you changed the AC/damage numbers on the monk class table (thus making it more balanced than before) then suddenly the rest of the book will rewrite itself to excise everything noncombat related. I've seen balanced monk rewrites, and they also come off as more flavourful and evocative than before.

Yes, I can have fun with less balanced systems, but that's in spite of their mechanical flaws. Having a more balanced ruleset lessens the chances of intraparty imbalance, which can and has created social strain; I mean, you try and feel good about yourself when you solo a single mook while another killed the BBEG and three other mooks in the same time frame. It's also easier to design encounters where everyone contributes.

I've run regular 3.5 games and I've run Den-inspired games, and while both have been fun, the latter has honestly mitigated intra-party imbalance (not eliminated, as player skill remains) and encounter design is appreciably easier.


Related.

Sovereign Court

Along the lines that this is a storytelling game:

I would like to see some people (I refer mostly to forum trolls that booboobooboo over imbalance and in a very rude manner) read a book and complain to me about how much the antagonist was stronger than the protagonist and should have won and therefore the book needs to be rewritten in order to reflect realistic balance of sides....

That would make me giggle.

Grand Lodge

Shadow_of_death wrote:

I think people like to look at it as a chess game but the knight, king, and rook have a personality. Imbalance is when the guy having fun being mr.knight and the guy having fun being mr. bishop make it much harder for guy who accidentally chose mr. pawn to have any fun.

Sure you could be the pawn that makes it to the other side of the board and becomes awesome, but relying on DM fiat is a poor excuse to balance things. Because the only way you got there is if Knight and Bishop cleared the path or the enemy queen walked right up to you with a sword in her gut

So what you are saying is that it would take DM Fiat (What ever FIAT means, I am assuming it means that they could not do it without help of some kind from the DM) to help the Pawn through to the other side of the board? Even though in your analogy that the Bishop and knight cleared the path? I am interpreting this to being the pawn being a low level character or new player and needs help from the veteran character/player.

Like has mentioned before in this thread by others. This is a game of interpretation and rules that use the rules as more of a guideline then a hardline of how they are used, in my humble opinion. I think when one argues balance they are loosing sight of the group overall picture and how it applies to the game itself. Each character plays a specific role in the group, with each being able to be great in their own way. None of which would be a Pawn as so aptly put by Shadow of death above. There is no "pawn" in this game at all.

Grand Lodge

Bluenose wrote:
Beek Gwenders of Croodle wrote:

Deanoth is right, even more right that even he thinks. Balance on a game of interpretation and storytelling is basically nonsense.

If it was a game like chess, everyone would use the same rules, and the game itself would be about tactics and strategies and clever use of abilities, but on a game that involves roleplaying, interpretation, and weaving of a good story, balance is not just useless, but absurd as well.

Why? I mean, it's trivially easy to create a character at a higher or lower level, if a GM or a player needs/wants that for the sake of the 'story'.

When did "story" become such a dirty word, even implied you make it sound thus. It is ok to create a character for the need of the group as well, not JUST the story. This game there are many many things that are trvially easy as you put it. It is also trvially easy to create a character, min/max'ing them to the limits of the players knowledge and thus disrupting the GM in the game, using metagaming to take advantage of what the group needs and what would the game need in the long run to take advantage of the rules and what is happening IN the game at the moment. This is both unfair for the group AND the party.

Silver Crusade

Deanoth wrote:
So what you are saying is that it would take DM Fiat (What ever FIAT means,

It's an Italian automobile manufacturer.


Balance is something to strive for (though it will never be perfectly balanced) because heroic classes are not just for player characters. Many villains will be represented by levels in various classes. If I am designing an adventure, I am somewhat limited in choosing villains that will challange a balanced party. A monk villain who is a few levels higher than my balanced party of PCs won't be much of a challange, but a cleric or wizard villain of the same level might just cause more than one character death.

This problem becomes worse in "unbalanced" parties. A party consisting of a ranger, fighter, barbarian, and rogue might not do so well against a lich, where party consisting of a druid, cleric, wizard, and paladin will give the lich a very hard time.

Balance is not just important so that the players feel good about their characters, it is also important so that the gm can craft stories and villains and not have to worry too much about what classes the PC's party is composed of, as long as the challange ratings are appropriate.

Pathfinder has come a long way in balancig the classes without making them the same, but their are still problems (looking at rogues and monks).

Sovereign Court

Deanoth wrote:

When did "story" become such a dirty word, even implied you make it sound thus. It is ok to create a character for the need of the group as well, not JUST the story. This game there are many many things that are trvially easy as you put it. It is also trvially easy to create a character, min/max'ing them to the limits of the players knowledge and thus disrupting the GM in the game, using metagaming to take advantage of what the group needs and what would the game need in the long run to take advantage of the rules and what is happening IN the game at the moment. This is both unfair for the group AND the party.

I constantly finding myself creating characters that have skill sets and such that never come into play in the game, and provide no real mechanical benefit, purely because it fits background of the campaign and the character's overall lifestyle. Does this hurt the party/character when there's better traits/feats/skills to take? Maybe, but to me the story is everything. I'm playing a character, not a robot. As a matter of fact, my DM currently has us devote 10% of our starting wealth specifically to mundane items that provide no mechanical benefit in order to further round out the character. Things like personal keepsakes, valuables, family heirilooms and such. Granted he raises the overall starting wealth to compensate, but the idea at least is pretty cool. At least imho.


You need enough balance to avoid 2 scenarios.

A character being much weaker than the rest of the party. This is actually one reason why my group switched from dice rolling stats to point buy. It isn't much fun to play "normal guy" when the rest of the party gets to be heroes.

A character is much more powerful than the rest of the party. You don't want combat to devolve into the group asking "why are we even here?"


Deanoth wrote:

When did "story" become such a dirty word, even implied you make it sound thus. It is ok to create a character for the need of the group as well, not JUST the story. This game there are many many things that are trvially easy as you put it. It is also trvially easy to create a character, min/max'ing them to the limits of the players knowledge and thus disrupting the GM in the game, using metagaming to take advantage of what the group needs and what would the game need in the long run to take advantage of the rules and what is happening IN the game at the moment. This is both unfair for the group AND the party.

A Story is what you tell about what happened, after it happened. Unlike some games I play D&D does not provide support for telling a story, and that having an effect in the game. And I dislike intensely a game where I think the GM has already decided what's supposed to happen, and I'm just playing my appointed part in his story. That's one of the things that gets me to walk from a game. One of the others, incidentally, is when someone is screwing around with a character designed to grab attention, which actually relates to your last point.


It's all well and good to say "This is a story game" right up until your fighter who took Skill Focus as every feat enters combat and whoops look at that you're useless. The fact is, we ain't playing AMBER here. There's dice rolling and numbers involved.

That's where the talk of balance comes from. As was already mentioned, nobody wants to be the Aquaman. It's not fun to just sit there and do not all that much while the wizard bends all of reality.

Personally I think it's far more bizarre that some people think it's dirty to look at the math in the, uh, numbers-based math intensive game. I mean come on, we're all nerds playing make believe. Your way of being a rainbow elf doesn't make you a superior nerd compared to my way of being a rainbow elf.


ZangRavnos wrote:


I constantly finding myself creating characters that have skill sets and such that never come into play in the game, and provide no real mechanical benefit, purely because it fits background of the campaign and the character's overall lifestyle. Does this hurt the party/character when there's better traits/feats/skills to take? Maybe, but to me the story is everything. I'm playing a character, not a robot. As a matter of fact, my DM currently has us devote 10% of our starting wealth specifically to mundane items that provide no mechanical benefit in order to further round out the character. Things like personal keepsakes, valuables, family heirilooms and such. Granted he raises the overall starting wealth to compensate, but the idea at least is pretty cool. At least imho.

Bravo.

As a matter of facts, paradoxically, suboptimized characters are even often the best ones to play, if they're done with this mentality.
A character might be weaker than the rest of the party, if we consider combat - but combat is just not the only goal a character might have. Zang is probably enjoying his character in combat even if he's not blasting every monster to pieces. That's why balance is not important to him.
Also, consider the vast majority of action movies, odds are always against the hero, which can't face the final enemy because it's too strong (whoo, the encounter is not balanced), then they find some clever means to overcome the danger.
I acknowledge one must have a good GM that maintains the story interesting, if the GM is the one more obsessed with balance and mechanics, it could be a problem, especially if he's not evocative, bad at storytelling, and runs a flavorless game.


Mikaze wrote:
Deanoth wrote:
So what you are saying is that it would take DM Fiat (What ever FIAT means,
It's an Italian automobile manufacturer.

So... you're saying the DM (GM? or is that too confusing now) has a breakdown after 2 days

Sovereign Court

ProfessorCirno wrote:

It's all well and good to say "This is a story game" right up until your fighter who took Skill Focus as every feat enters combat and whoops look at that you're useless. The fact is, we ain't playing AMBER here. There's dice rolling and numbers involved.

That's where the talk of balance comes from. As was already mentioned, nobody wants to be the Aquaman. It's not fun to just sit there and do not all that much while the wizard bends all of reality.

Personally I think it's far more bizarre that some people think it's dirty to look at the math in the, uh, numbers-based math intensive game. I mean come on, we're all nerds playing make believe. Your way of being a rainbow elf doesn't make you a superior nerd compared to my way of being a rainbow elf.

Ok, you have a point sir. I can't argue with that. I think, though, that when you boil it down to it, if your GM is accepting a character sheet with nothing but skill focus...he's not helping his players...

ON the other hand, the math is important. I'm not trying to say that the math should go right out the window. I'm simply saying that avoiding extremes and finding a decent middle-ground should be much more important than only focusing on the math 100% of the time.

But yes, I agree with your point there.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Morain wrote:

Complete Balance is the LAST thing I want to see in Pathfinder.

God forbid this game turn into 4e, and just be about the combat.

The game can be balanced, not like 4e, and not just about combat, all at the same time. It's not an either/or situation.

Grand Lodge

ZangRavnos wrote:
Deanoth wrote:

When did "story" become such a dirty word, even implied you make it sound thus. It is ok to create a character for the need of the group as well, not JUST the story. This game there are many many things that are trvially easy as you put it. It is also trvially easy to create a character, min/max'ing them to the limits of the players knowledge and thus disrupting the GM in the game, using metagaming to take advantage of what the group needs and what would the game need in the long run to take advantage of the rules and what is happening IN the game at the moment. This is both unfair for the group AND the party.

I constantly finding myself creating characters that have skill sets and such that never come into play in the game, and provide no real mechanical benefit, purely because it fits background of the campaign and the character's overall lifestyle. Does this hurt the party/character when there's better traits/feats/skills to take? Maybe, but to me the story is everything. I'm playing a character, not a robot. As a matter of fact, my DM currently has us devote 10% of our starting wealth specifically to mundane items that provide no mechanical benefit in order to further round out the character. Things like personal keepsakes, valuables, family heirilooms and such. Granted he raises the overall starting wealth to compensate, but the idea at least is pretty cool. At least imho.

ZR,

I like your way of thinking to be honest. I think that creating a character based on the premise is more fun then the metagaming approach some take and even go so far to take advantage of as I mentioned in the quote you highlighted by me. :)

Sovereign Court

TriOmegaZero wrote:


The game can be balanced, not like 4e, and not just about combat, all at the same time. It's not an either/or situation.

Gotta agree. The game itself is too fluid NOT to be a case by case situation sometimes. It's very situational.

Grand Lodge

ProfessorCirno wrote:

It's all well and good to say "This is a story game" right up until your fighter who took Skill Focus as every feat enters combat and whoops look at that you're useless. The fact is, we ain't playing AMBER here. There's dice rolling and numbers involved.

That's where the talk of balance comes from. As was already mentioned, nobody wants to be the Aquaman. It's not fun to just sit there and do not all that much while the wizard bends all of reality.

Personally I think it's far more bizarre that some people think it's dirty to look at the math in the, uh, numbers-based math intensive game. I mean come on, we're all nerds playing make believe. Your way of being a rainbow elf doesn't make you a superior nerd compared to my way of being a rainbow elf.

My point though is that there is no Aquaman like character in this game unless YOU the player creates him as thus. As some have mentioned if a DM allows a fighter with all skill focus feats then that DM is not being very helpful, but again if the player despite the DM's advice still decides to use all skill focus feats then that is the players choice.

If a player focuses on all the math of a character then the player is missing the other half of character generation and that is the personality, the being that is your character. It is not JUST the numbers but yes there is numbers involved and it just seems that there is to MUCH focus on those numbers then the other part.


Having balance available to those that desire it, doesn't necessarily detract from those who don't care about it.

That being said, balancing through making similar should be avoided.
I mean:

Fighter sword swing: roll 10+ on d20 to deal d8 damage to adjacent foe.
Fighter shoots arrow: roll 10+ on d20 to deal d6 damage to a distant foe.

Would be balanced with

Wizard staff swing: roll 10+ on d20 to deal d8 damage to adjacent foe.
Wizard magic missile: roll 10+ on d20 to deal d6 damage to a distant foe.

However it'd be quite boring. (and just a few steps down from 4e imho :-p)

So diversity first, balance a close second! :-)

Sovereign Court

I think the pursuit of balance is misguided. Nearly every time someone talks about balance, they bring up what a particular character can do in combat. There's a lot of emphasis on combat because it is an easy waay to create excitement and suspense... but I've actually felt the most excited when the suspense comes from drama. While some characters have always been better at fighting, martially or magically, other characters had always been better at the other stuff.

In a game where there is equal importance on events in and out of combat, balancing combat effectiveness seems superfluous. The characters that are (albeit stereotypically) supposed to show their effectiveness in combat generally don't have the skills or points necessary to do much more than dabble in so-called Face skills, for example.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I'd like to remind everyone that this isn't a 4E discussion. Side comments about the quality of that game serve no purpose here.

Back on topic.

Balance has an effect on the story.

If part of my story has the PCs traveling the Silk Road and encountering the trials of guarding a caravan on a ride across a continent, and the wizard decides to just teleport everyone to the destination, the game has interfered with the story.

Balance has an effect on the fun.

If I want to play a master of many weapons, but the rules reward focusing my character on one and only one weapon, and being good with many weapons makes my character perform worse, I am going to be disappointed that my character concept actively punishes me for playing it.

Balance has an effect on verisimilitude.

If there is a drought and famine plaguing the land, and I run into a 15th level wizard with a decanter of endless water, I'm going to be wondering why he isn't making a fortune/being a hero by saving the kingdom, and why someone else isn't if he won't.

Does this mean you can't have fun with a balanced game? No. Can you change the rules to fit the story or game you want to play? Yes.

But if you have to change the rules to get what you want, they have already failed you.


Deanoth wrote:

I am seeing more and more threads with class vs class and "Why is this class so weak" or "This class is SO overbalanced and it is not fair"

I always thought that this game was about a group dynamic and not about an individual?

Funny, we've always played it as "a group of individuals". The party isn't under any special obligation to stick together. I realize this is not standard, but it's the way we like it.

I would, however, agree that there is almost too much focus on balance. If I wanted my fighter to always have the same level of involvement as the wizard (and vice versa) I would still be playing 4th edition.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
roccojr wrote:
In a game where there is equal importance on events in and out of combat, balancing combat effectiveness seems superfluous. The characters that are (albeit stereotypically) supposed to show their effectiveness in combat generally don't have the skills or points necessary to do much more than dabble in so-called Face skills, for example.

Which is why both combat and out of combat skills should be separate and balanced.

Sovereign Court

TriOmegaZero wrote:

I'd like to remind everyone that this isn't a 4E discussion. Side comments about the quality of that game serve no purpose here.

Back on topic.

Balance has an effect on the story.

If part of my story has the PCs traveling the Silk Road and encountering the trials of guarding a caravan on a ride across a continent, and the wizard decides to just teleport everyone to the destination, the game has interfered with the story.

Balance has an effect on the fun.

If I want to play a master of many weapons, but the rules reward focusing my character on one and only one weapon, and being good with many weapons makes my character perform worse, I am going to be disappointed that my character concept actively punishes me for playing it.

Balance has an effect on verisimilitude.

If there is a drought and famine plaguing the land, and I run into a 15th level wizard with a decanter of endless water, I'm going to be wondering why he isn't making a fortune/being a hero by saving the kingdom, and why someone else isn't if he won't.

Does this mean you can't have fun with a balanced game? No. Can you change the rules to fit the story or game you want to play? Yes.

But if you have to change the rules to get what you want, they have already failed you.

+1

I dont think the balance topics are really what bothers people so much. I think it has more to do with statements that the game is broken or completely unplayable because of a particular or perceived weakness in the rule set. There are legitimate concerns out there and you can have civil discussions on them.

The internets have an uncanny ability to polarize people. Some folks get so wrapped up in things they stop being civil and behave poorly. These camps get so entrenched that people feel like they are at war. Just take a deep breath and remember its only the internets. The devil's greatest trick and all that.....


Deanoth wrote:


My point though is that there is no Aquaman like character in this game unless YOU the player creates him as thus. As some have mentioned if a DM allows a fighter with all skill focus feats then that DM is not being very helpful, but again if the player despite the DM's advice still decides to use all skill focus feats then that is the players choice.

If a player focuses on all the math of a character then the player is missing the other half of character generation and that is the personality, the being that is your character. It is not JUST the numbers but yes there is numbers involved and it just seems that there is to MUCH focus on those numbers then the other part.

What you are talking about is balance. You can call it whatever you want but you (or your DM in this case) are still analyzing the usefulness of a character. The fighter with nothing but skill focus isn't particularly useful after 3rd level or so and will have lot's of problems. But is the same true of all classes? Wizards, clerics, and druids, can take skill focus at every level and still contribute meaningfully to the party at every level, in and out of combat. Sure they won't be as powerful as they could be but they are by no means weak for doing so.

I agree 100% that characters are more than the sum of their parts. That style, personality, background, and character development are all critical. But they aren't critical here on these boards, only during play. When making an objective assessment of the effectiveness of a character or the utility of an item, feat, spell, etc., statements like "its cool and interesting" or "I have fun with it" are entirely useless claims. So in play those numbers may be only half the hero, but here, they are the hero.

tl;dr Just because my monk has a cool back story doesn't mean he isn't aquaman.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Morain wrote:

Complete Balance is the LAST thing I want to see in Pathfinder.

God forbid this game turn into 4e, and just be about the combat.

The game can be balanced, not like 4e, and not just about combat, all at the same time. It's not an either/or situation.

I'd still prefer it to be as unbalanced as possible, but that's just me. And don't get me wrong, I like playing rouge too.

Liberty's Edge

Deanoth wrote:
If a player focuses on all the math of a character then the player is missing the other half of character generation and that is the personality, the being that is your character. It is not JUST the numbers but yes there is numbers involved and it just seems that there is to MUCH focus on those numbers then the other part.

+1

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Waffle_Neutral wrote:


I want to see more threads complaining about DnD from a purely theatrical approach. How come only Halflings can take the Child-like feat? I just want to play a human child. Like the one from Robocop 2.

The Anime RPG forums are that way -------------->


Deanoth wrote:
If a player focuses on all the math of a character then the player is missing the other half of character generation and that is the personality, the being that is your character. It is not JUST the numbers but yes there is numbers involved and it just seems that there is to MUCH focus on those numbers then the other part.

All the fake ye olde english talk in the world won't make a difference if you can't hit the orc but the orc can hit you.

Alternately - the problem is, you can't really debate the second one. Math, sure, you can discuss that. It's objective. Look at that 7, it is bigger then the 6. My wizard does 10 and your wizard does 5. How do I get that 10? Can other classes get a 10? How can they get a 10?

But roleplaying isn't objective. At most it's all of us telling stories we all think are really cool but most other people aren't really all that interesting, and then them telling their stories while we wish we could just go back to telling ours. There really isn't much if anything to discuss there.


LazarX wrote:
Waffle_Neutral wrote:


I want to see more threads complaining about DnD from a purely theatrical approach. How come only Halflings can take the Child-like feat? I just want to play a human child. Like the one from Robocop 2.

The Anime RPG forums are that way -------------->

No, MY taste in terrible nerd stuff is objectively better!


ProfessorCirno wrote:


All the fake ye olde english talk in the world won't make a difference if you can't hit the orc but the orc can hit you.

Alternately - the problem is, you can't really debate the second one. Math, sure, you can discuss that. It's objective. Look at that 7, it is bigger then the 6. My wizard does 10 and your wizard does 5. How do I get that 10? Can other classes get a 10? How can they get a 10?

But roleplaying isn't objective. At most it's all of us telling stories we all think are really cool but most other people aren't really all that interesting, and then them telling their stories while we wish we could just go back to telling ours. There really isn't much if anything to discuss there.

This does a much better job of expressing one the points I was trying to make. Kudos.


The search for balance is a flawed pursuit. Even if the rules/classes/etc. were divinely granted from the mouth of the Supreme Creator upon the the good folks at Paizo and unerringly transposed into their hallowed tomes (printed and electronic), there are two simple things that ruin "balance" - the players and DMs.

No two players/DMs will ever play/run the game the same exact way in every situation. Some players/DMs have a better grasp of the rules than others. Some have better imagination than others. Some people cheat. Some people make mistakes. Some people min/max. Some people don't. Some DMs emphasize some rules and ignore others. Some players favor certain abilities/classes over others.

In short, once the game is actally played, the illusion of balance is up to the players/DM to maintain according to their own group's needs. Some will do it well. Some won't.


The Mighty Grognard wrote:

The search for balance is a flawed pursuit. Even if the rules/classes/etc. were divinely granted from the mouth of the Supreme Creator upon the the good folks at Paizo and unerringly transposed into their hallowed tomes (printed and electronic), there are two simple things that ruin "balance" - the players and DMs.

No two players/DMs will ever play/run the game the same exact way in every situation. Some players/DMs have a better grasp of the rules than others. Some have better imagination than others. Some people cheat. Some people make mistakes. Some people min/max. Some people don't. Some DMs emphasize some rules and ignore others. Some players favor certain abilities/classes over others.

In short, once the game is actally played, the illusion of balance is up to the players/DM to maintain according to their own group's needs. Some will do it well. Some won't.

So because less imaginative players, cheaters, min/maxers, and mistakes all exist we have to just give up pretend that the game can't be improved upon? This idea that what people seek is some sort of zen balance, an acsended Buddhist perfection of the D&D yin and yang is a fallacy. What we want is to slowly improve the game we love. That's it. None of things you mentioned prevent that.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I for one don't really care whether the classes are internally balanced or whether there are 'bad choices' which can make you end up with a fifth wheel (or aquaman - never heard that before). I regularly play suboptimal characters and I suspect that even when I try to create a well-constructed PC that I fail dismally. It isn't an issue in our groupd and we're unlikely to play with anyone else after this many years so it makes no real difference.

Having said that, I find it very odd that people chime in on the threads they don't care about. Why not let those who are cluey about game theory discuss the relative strengths and weaknesses of various builds and classes to their heart's content? They can argue with each other about whether one should take power attack at 1st, 3rd or 13th level whilst those who want to discuss 'story coherence' (or whatever) can start as many threads as they want about that topic.

I'm sure Paizo want to hear what everyone who's playing their game thinks is good and bad about the game. I doubt they want to hear what we think about how other people are playing it.


WPharolin wrote:
What we want is to slowly improve the game we love. That's it. None of things you mentioned prevent that.

My problem is that for some people (me included), what others call "improving" or "balancing" is making the game worse, not better.

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