I may have lost the game


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Simcha wrote:

I cannot stress this enough, I was not saying that D20 or PF in particular was a bad, inferior or restrictive system. It is not.

What I said was, and I will stick to it, it is obviously not the "right" system for me.

I'm in a similar boat but with slightly different situation (my players are great). I do think that the d20 gaming system is heavily flawed on the character creation/development side plus the unregulated DC system leaves something to be desired. On the flip-side I love the content that Paizo is putting out and from a DM perspective there is far more detail on the monster end then there ever was in 1st or 2nd ed AD&D.

I haven't run my PF game in 6 months and I am dreading returning to it even though my players want to get back in the game. Feels like I have to put more and more work into getting the game I want with no support and I spend as much time on game design/modification as a I do on actually designing content and story.

Last year I forced one of my regular players to DM a 2nd ed game and I had a blast. Not looking forward to running PF again - been working on developing other games (which are better at what they do) but I need to close out this campaign. Still buying great content from Paizo, but I may drop all my subs after Jade Regent launches. None of us have any interest in playing Asian themed adventures or material (may not get the Bestiary 3 because of this also) so that may be a good point to part ways.

I can understand where the OP is coming from so you have my sympathy. My advice to you is besides considering some of the game options other posters presented you may want to look into older versions of D&D. There are a few retro clones out there that marry some of the advancements of 3rd ed gaming but are less focused on optimization, trap builds and system mastery.

Whatever you decide, good luck and good gaming!


Been there..
Stopped playing for a year...got sick to death of number crunching and everyone trying to twist every rule to squeeze every last drop of cheese out of their marvellous concept.
All I saw at the gaming table was a bunch of bland clones all built exactly the same way, every fighter built the same, every wizard built the same...you could tell what feats and skills PCs had without even looking at the PC sheet.
I nearly gave away 30 years worth of accumulated stuff.

I took a break and ran a CoC game

Came back with vengeance to run Carrion Crown


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
ProfessorCirno wrote:

Ehhhhh.

There's a difference between "can do it" and "Does it well." A difference between "technically part of the rules" and "the main focus of the rules."

COULD D&D on the whole do a game about political intrigue and secret plots? It could. But a lot of games would do it far better. D&D on the whole is built towards killin' things and taking their stuff. Let's not forget that 3e was marketed entirely under the idea of "Back to the dungeon!" Sure, part of the rules include things that could be used for political intrigue or down to earth survival, but the game as a whole really isn't built for it.

Better is subjective. I think that other games provide stricter guidelines, but in the end roleplay is about mentality and about buy in from the whole group. Some games force you into that mentality but that doesnt mean its done any better or worse if everyone was ready and willing in the first place.

Grand Lodge

There have been times when I got tired of ROLLplaying, too.

I could never give up the game, though.

What I've done a few times with groups over the years to focus on ROLEplaying and move away from optimization is A: Throw away the Battlemat and miniatures. (I still do this.) 2: Minimize PC sheets to almost nothing; start by playing PCs that don't even HAVE character sheets! Finally: Design more story dynamic and less combat in the Campaign.

@Simcha, talk to the other Players and see if any are interested in starting a second game that doesn't focus on optimization.

Silver Crusade

If you want a good role playing game.
Paladium Fantisy, or any Paladium Game. Any of the Aldric Entertaniment Games. Are very good they are rule light role play heavy games. That dose not mean there are not ways around it. I can tell you from experance that any RPG can be broken if they player knows the rules well enough. Personly I love the storys paizo puts out. The only down side is in not a big fan of the rules. But the other players are so pathfinder it is. My personla choice is Paladium Fantisy.


W E Ray wrote:

There have been times when I got tired of ROLLplaying, too.

I could never give up the game, though.

What I've done a few times with groups over the years to focus on ROLEplaying and move away from optimization is A: Throw away the Battlemat and miniatures. (I still do this.) 2: Minimize PC sheets to almost nothing; start by playing PCs that don't even HAVE character sheets! Finally: Design more story dynamic and less combat in the Campaign.

@Simcha, talk to the other Players and see if any are interested in starting a second game that doesn't focus on optimization.

I still fail to understand why some people don't just go play systems designed around that instead of trying to shoehorn d20 into it and passive aggressively insulting people playing the game as it is.

Grand Lodge

I can't speak for others but I only ever played one game.

The rules or system (except for a few years in the 90s) were never so important to me.

I'm a D&Der.

No interest in trying any other system. (Not that other systems are icky -- I just don't care.)


W E Ray wrote:

I can't speak for others but I only ever played one game.

The rules or system (except for a few years in the 90s) were never so important to me.

I'm a D&Der.

The game you just described is no D&D rules set I am familiar with.

The Exchange

Quote:

The GURPS rules by themselves arent that bad. I'm talking specifically about building a vehicle in GURPS using GURPS Vehicles. I'll tell you what, find a copy of the book. Then build a four door sedan from scratch.

Go ahead, I'll wait.

*Who am I kidding? Unless he's a mechanical engineer this guy aint coming back sane.*

Are you kidding! I ****LOVED**** designined Gurps vehicles - maximizing throweight per payload. Considering acceleration and turn radius...

Still have Gurps Car Wars...somewhere...

Gurps Rocked! Course I also liked Fantasy hero 2nd edition, Runequest, Paranoia, Call of Cthulu..

Regarding OP: I really think she's right - that d20 is not the system for roleplaying. Amber or some of the white wolf products are much better suited.

I attribute much of the reality disconnect to the D20 roll itself. I'm a banker cashing a check in a hurry.. roll a d20. Oops I fail.
WTF? Explain that with RP.

Grand Lodge

Cartigan wrote:
The game (Ray) just described is no D&D rules set I am familiar with.

Eh, you're right.

Your point doesn't matter, though, for those of us who don't really care about the rules, those of us who feel the game is all about the Fluff. If we use the Monster Manuals and Character Classes & Races and the D&D settings or Homebrew cosmologies based on D&D-style sword-n-sorcery high fantasy -- it's D&D.

No matter what the rules set.

For some of us.

I play D&D.

Have since '81.

And I note that, unless you're among the crew that still plays the rules set from D&D from back in '74, since you allow for new systems (editions), it doesn't matter WHAT rules set or edition you play: If it looks like D&D, plays like D&D and feels like D&D -- it's Dungeons and Dragons.

Spoiler:
Even if it doesn't have the IP rights to call it D&D. And even if it says D&D on the cover -- if it ain't D&D, it ain't D&D!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Cartigan wrote:
I still fail to understand why some people don't just go play systems designed around that instead of trying to shoehorn d20 into it and passive aggressively insulting people playing the game as it is.
W E Ray wrote:

There have been times when I got tired of ROLLplaying, too.

I could never give up the game, though.

What I've done a few times with groups over the years to focus on ROLEplaying and move away from optimization is A: Throw away the Battlemat and miniatures. (I still do this.) 2: Minimize PC sheets to almost nothing; start by playing PCs that don't even HAVE character sheets! Finally: Design more story dynamic and less combat in the Campaign.

@Simcha, talk to the other Players and see if any are interested in starting a second game that doesn't focus on optimization.

There re a few factors that can lead to the focusing on stats rather than play. Regardless of what a lot of people say, game system is one of them.

The first is yourself. If you want to get away from the numbers game and back to the more fun aspect (in my opinon) then you have to be able to fail. You really have to be willing to play a character that you know could be better but isn't. If you are not comfortable doing that, that you will end up always looking for that way to be better, and it will take a huge chunk or your energy and you creativeness.

The second factor is the people you play with with. If there is someone who is always interested in being the best, then most times that will cause everyone to do the same. Lots of people will say "no, thats not true, i play MY character, I don't influence yours" but that is total BS. If one guy is always taking all the combat limelight, then you aren't going to have as much fun. Also it will affect the game, because the DM will want to challenge that player, usually by seting up challenges that will blow your "less-then-optimized" dude out of the water. Soon you will find you are dying, or sitting back in combat and watching everyone, and doing the same things over and over while the heavyweights get involved, OR you start building better characters. Which leads to the above issue.

The third factor is the DM, is he willing to adjust his encounters to allow you to not be the best. if not, then you are not going to have a good time always sitting out parts of the game that your caharacter isn't built to handle.

Last IS the system. If the system is built, so that way there are lots of way to find little advantages, they enable people to min/max. The pathfinder rules were built to simulate real life, and provide options, but they can also be twiddled with so much that it can limit thoes options. A game system with less rules/options and less ways for people to get every last drop of aweseomness out, can make the game easier for thoes that don't want to optimize.

Now the part that always confuses me, is this. I understand that the game has these options, and I understand some people really enjoy playing with the numbers to get the biggest bang, but I don't understand how they can sit there and say that just because they play that way dosen't make it harder for anyone else. That is just not true. By playing that way you are limiting the fun of other people who don't want to play that way. Also, there are other games that are dedicated to that type of game. Video games, strategy games, even RPG like mechwarrior.

I look at pathfinder as a middle of the road game, between battletech and vampire. I am not saying that optimizers should not play pathfinder, but I am saying that they should realize they do have an impact or the people they play with, and saying to somone to go play WOD, would be like telling the optimizer to go play WOW. Just because you can make a awesome great killing machine, dosen't mean you should. You should try to fit in with the people you play with, after all this is a co-operative game.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

For the OP.

The Exchange

Quote:
Now the part that always confuses me, is this. I understand that the game has these options, and I understand some people really enjoy playing with the numbers to get the biggest bang, but I don't understand how they can sit there and say that just because they play that way dosen't make it harder for anyone else. That is just not true. By playing that way you are limiting the fun of other people who don't want to play that way. Also, there are other games that are dedicated to that type of game. Video games, strategy games, even RPG like mechwarrior.

Its not like it doesn't go the other way around as well.

There is nothing I like better than a raw meat balls to the walls hard core ROLL playing.

And frankly ROLE Players almost invariably don't carry their weight. So CRs are skewed downward to the lowest common denominator to the point where its mind numbingly boring.

I don't really care why your character is going on this quest. Have zero interest in your 5 minute description of your character. I'm not interested in why you want to cast fireball. Cast it - or better yet, cast something effective - and move on...


noretoc wrote:
but I am saying that they should realize they do have an impact or the people they play with, and saying to somone to go play WOD, would be like telling the optimizer to go play WOW.

Hardly. The role-players insulting people telling them to go play WoW, are insulting them for playing the game as it is designed and written. The actively argue against playing the game in such a manner and disparage those who do. Ray is not describing the D&D/Pathfinder d20 system. I don't know what he is describing, but that certainly isn't it. They SHOULD go play WoD, or Burning Wheel, or Savage Worlds, or a more ROLE-PLAYING based system that support it. Transport the Eberron/FR/Golarion fluff with you, but play the system that you are actually WANTING to play instead of trying to shoehorn and manipulate the system you DON'T want to play (and the especially don't look down your damn nose at people playing the system as it is), but think you have to because that was the system the fluff you want was developed for.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:

Bah, the old Role play or roll play question.

It is a false dichotomy.

There is absolutely no reason that the player cannot enjoy role playing a 5 charisma min maxed dwarven druid who's only social skill is handle animal in a role playing situation where they're at a fancy ball (hint: turning into a muskrat and swimming in the punch bowl because it doesn't take as much alchohol to get you drunk at that size is frowned on). Your character does not need social skills (a mechanical concept) for the player to have fun interacting with the PC's and NPC's around him. The player does.

What IS real is a very statistically significant correlation between the player who doesn't like playing social situations and the players who optimize their characters to kill kill kill. Its not just that a system like pathfinder encourages killing as the solution, its that the people it attracts to the game are sort of expecting a bloody resolution at the end.

As to why more time is spent arguing over what class is overpowered or underpowered and why some feats are useful as opposed to how many foster homes your half elf should have had while growing up its the level of subjectivity. What someone's character should be, personality wise, is entirely up to the player. Its what you like. Its very hard (especially on the internet) to judge 99.44% pure subjective taste as being good or bad. If i tell someone that their planned character fails to meet its design goals i can point out why. If someone's character has less depth than a kiddie pool then that's not something i can see online, i'd have to see them play it.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

Bah, the old Role play or roll play question.

It is a false dichotomy.

There is absolutely no reason that the player cannot enjoy role playing a 5 charisma min maxed dwarven druid who's only social skill is handle animal in a role playing situation where they're at a fancy ball. Your character does not need social skills (a mechanical concept) for the player to have fun interacting with the PC's and NPC's around him. The player does.

What IS real is a very statistically significant correlation between the player who doesn't like playing social situations and the players who optimize their characters to kill kill kill. Its not just that a system like pathfinder encourages killing as the solution, its that the people it attracts to the game are sort of expecting a bloody resolution at the end.

As to why more time is spent arguing over what class is overpowered or underpowered and why some feats are useful as opposed to how many foster homes your half elf should have had while growing up its the level of subjectivity. What someone's character should be, personality wise, is entirely up to the player. Its what you like. Its very hard (especially on the internet) to judge 99.44% pure subjective taste as being good or bad. If i tell someone that their planned character fails to meet its design goals i can point out why. If someone's character has less depth than a kiddie pool then that's not something i can see online, i'd have to see them play it.

Honestly, it's not even a "roll-playing" vs "role-playing" debate. It's a "roll-playing" vs "people who accuse people of roll-playing" debate. I can role-play simultaneously with 'roll'-playing. I can play my character or play a different character entirely while still playing the same character with the same stats and the same results and not changing the system one iota. These people aren't role-players, they are elitists who don't like how you are playing your game.


Hama wrote:
obadiah wrote:
Why can't you tell stories that have optimized characters?
Because characters optimized for combat are pretty much good for combat only. Roleplay aside, you will never see a fighter invest in knowledge skills, if he is being played by an optimizer.

This is an insulting generalization. I would be like me claiming that everyone of you stormwinders purposely built str 8 fighters and clerics with holy symbols that only work when on fire and are disallowed from ever getting fire resistance. Just because someone wants there character to be competent at what is supposed to be their main shtick does not mean that they will not roleplay or include any colorful additions to their build.


Alex Smith 908 wrote:
Hama wrote:
obadiah wrote:
Why can't you tell stories that have optimized characters?
Because characters optimized for combat are pretty much good for combat only. Roleplay aside, you will never see a fighter invest in knowledge skills, if he is being played by an optimizer.
This is an insulting generalization. I would be like me claiming that everyone of you stormwinders purposely built str 8 fighters and clerics with holy symbols that only work when on fire and are disallowed from ever getting fire resistance. Just because someone wants there character to be competent at what is supposed to be their main shtick does not mean that they will not roleplay or include any colorful additions to their build.

By definition "optimized" characters are far more than "competent." Competency is not the goal of optimization. A "competent" fighter can have a str of 14 and a cha of 14. They can still "do the job" of a fighter "competently." A str 20, cha 8 fighter is optimized for str and as such loses the capability for some role playing options that might rely on charisma.

Yes, I know there is a large and vocal contingent on these boards who argue that charisma is a totally useless stat and that the player can role play their way out of anything, regardless of stats, but I'm directing this at people who actually believe their stats mean something.

The "dichotomy" between "role playing" and "roll playing" that I've seen has been that people who tend to "roll play" are usually optimizing their characters for combat wherre people who tend to "role play" their characters generally optimize their character to match their concept, which MAY OR MAY NOT be a combat optimized character. Those of us who champion role playing who also optimize on occasion for roll playing might believe that the optimized roll playing character is much more limited in other role playing situations than a character optimized for role playing.

In other words, if all of your role playing is done with roll play optimized characters, eventually you find yourself repeating common builds, and that gets boring.

At least it does to me, after the decades I've been playing this game. That's why I rarely optimize for combat anymore. I just find it boring to be a combat powerhouse with the social skills of a cow paddy.


brassbaboon wrote:
Alex Smith 908 wrote:
Hama wrote:
obadiah wrote:
Why can't you tell stories that have optimized characters?
Because characters optimized for combat are pretty much good for combat only. Roleplay aside, you will never see a fighter invest in knowledge skills, if he is being played by an optimizer.
This is an insulting generalization. I would be like me claiming that everyone of you stormwinders purposely built str 8 fighters and clerics with holy symbols that only work when on fire and are disallowed from ever getting fire resistance. Just because someone wants there character to be competent at what is supposed to be their main shtick does not mean that they will not roleplay or include any colorful additions to their build.
By definition "optimized" characters are far more than "competent." Competency is not the goal of optimization. A "competent" fighter can have a str of 14 and a cha of 14. They can still "do the job" of a fighter "competently." A str 20, cha 8 fighter is optimized for str and as such loses the capability for some role playing options that might rely on charisma.

A capable fighter cannot have a Str of 14 and do the job of a Fighter capably. What "role-playing" options, exactly, is a Cha 8 character missing out on?


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W E Ray wrote:

I can't speak for others but I only ever played one game.

The rules or system (except for a few years in the 90s) were never so important to me.

I'm a D&Der.

No interest in trying any other system. (Not that other systems are icky -- I just don't care.)

Quote:
Better is subjective. I think that other games provide stricter guidelines, but in the end roleplay is about mentality and about buy in from the whole group. Some games force you into that mentality but that doesnt mean its done any better or worse if everyone was ready and willing in the first place.

I will never understand this.

Play the system that works best. D&D will not come alive in anthropormorphic idealized form to thank you for your years of loyalty.

You do not have to play D&D. There are other systems, and many of them are quite nifty!

Dark Archive

ProfessorCirno wrote:
W E Ray wrote:

I can't speak for others but I only ever played one game.

The rules or system (except for a few years in the 90s) were never so important to me.

I'm a D&Der.

No interest in trying any other system. (Not that other systems are icky -- I just don't care.)

Quote:
Better is subjective. I think that other games provide stricter guidelines, but in the end roleplay is about mentality and about buy in from the whole group. Some games force you into that mentality but that doesnt mean its done any better or worse if everyone was ready and willing in the first place.

I will never understand this.

Play the system that works best. D&D will not come alive in anthropormorphic idealized form to thank you for your years of loyalty.

You do not have to play D&D.

And he can make his D&D work for him the way he wants to play. If it's easier for him to chop things out of the rules and every other supplement that comes out more power to him. He may prefer that to switching systems or going to a game with little content support.

And guess what, even if he pulls most of the rules out of his game he is still playing D&D (or Pathfinder) if he is still operating within the framework of the game. Please lay off the "all or nothing" mentality - it doesn't do anyone good perpetuating "you are doing it wrong" if he is happy with what rules he decides to use out of the core books and the way he runs his game.


Quote:
A str 20, cha 8 fighter is optimized for str and as such loses the capability for some role playing options that might rely on charisma.

No. A fighter with a cha of 8 looses no, nadda, zero, zilch, NO role playing options. They loose the ability to mechanically use Diplomacy/bluff etc as a mechanical means of meeting a skill challange. That's. It. They can still role play any way they choose in any situation they want.


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Simcha wrote:

I have never been the greatest adherent to D20 systems...

My PF days are over, for now, I guess. I want to tell stories, and for me, personally, D20 is not the means to do that. It may well be for others, and the APs tell great stories in their own right. But in the end, not for me.

Cheers all! Game on!

You gotta play what you enjoy! Good gaming.

Dark Archive

ProfessorCirno wrote:

FantasyCraft I've not played but I've heard some good about it. It's still D20, but it's not class based. Someone else could probably tell you more.

Fantasycraft is class-based, but the design is quite different balance wise, and it's really a blast, both to play and to run.

Moreover a bunch of non-combat related abilities/powers/skills/ game mechanics get as much in depth coverage in the game, and it could be quite entertaining in roleplaying heavy games (the recent Companion even has a setting dedicated to espionage focused campaigns).

Recommended.


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A fighter will not invest in knowledge skills, or at least will do it less, because has only 2 skill/level. Unless, you know, I OPTIMIZE for more skills, allowing me more rp hooks. The irony.

I said, I wish to point it out, hooks. You can RP a cha 5 PC at the same level you RP a 18. They are just very unlikely to behave in the same manner.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Quote:
A str 20, cha 8 fighter is optimized for str and as such loses the capability for some role playing options that might rely on charisma.
No. A fighter with a cha of 8 looses no, nadda, zero, zilch, NO role playing options. They loose the ability to mechanically use Diplomacy/bluff etc as a mechanical means of meeting a skill challange. That's. It. They can still role play any way they choose in any situation they want.

See, I said people would argue this. Oh well.


Why can't I be both optimized and an interesting/role-playing character...

I currently have a character that can do a ton of damage, it's crazy how much damage... and she was recently unknowingly impregnated by her female cohort... she refuses to except the title of princes (despite being sister of the king) and is great fun to role-play...

But she's also a gestalt 13th level Sorcerer/Rogue that just gained disintegrate. Do you realize how much damage that is?


brassbaboon wrote:
See, I said people would argue this. Oh well.

But you completely missed What the argument would be.

I'm not saying that charisma is useless (at least not here) What I'm saying is that your character doesn't need Charisma or ranks in social skills in order for the player to enjoy a role playing session/campaign. The player can have fun even if they don't meet the goal of the challange far, far more easily in a role playing encounter than in combat.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
brassbaboon wrote:
See, I said people would argue this. Oh well.

But you completely missed What the argument would be.

I'm not saying that charisma is useless (at least not here) What I'm saying is that your character doesn't need Charisma or ranks in social skills in order for the player to enjoy a role playing session/campaign. The player can have fun even if they don't meet the goal of the challange far, far more easily in a role playing encounter than in combat.

Actually, you are the one missing the point. To say that you can role play your 8 CHA fighter any way you want so that you can pump up your combat math is, to some, against the spirit of the rules. The stats and feats and skills making up your character may not strictly define your character for role playing purposes but again, certainly create a framework for the 'role' you are playing or trying to play. D&D is a role playing game.

'D&D is killing things and taking their stuff' is simply a false statement.

It may be that for some and you could argue an interpretation of the rules to that effect, but it is still a false statement

Dark Archive

roguerouge wrote:
Simcha wrote:
Still, I am so fed up with edition wars, optimization, drop stats, void classes, balancing, brokeness, monster PCs, and whatnot.
Sounds like you could use a one-shot as a wacky goblin "hero". As it happens, tomorrow there'll be just the module for that. Who optimizes a !!#!@# goblin?

Just for that I am gonna go home tonight and optimize a goblin. Just for kicks.


Quote:
Actually, you are the one missing the point. To say that you can role play your 8 CHA fighter any way you want so that you can pump up your combat math is, to some, against the spirit of the rules.

Not remotely. Having your level 14 dwarf with a charisma of 5 and 14 ranks in diplomacy is probably against the spirit of the rules (since he's more eloquent than most first level bards) But there's nothing about stopping a level 8 character from TRYING to be the life of the party. Charisma affects how others perceive your actions, rather than your personality.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNCrMEOqHpc

So i don't see what role playing fetters having an 8 charisma is supposed to put on the player. He tells the same jokes but they fall a bit flatter. He tries to dance but doesn't do it quite as well, he asks someone above his station to dance with him and it comes off as pretentious rather than daring.


Auxmaulous wrote:

And he can make his D&D work for him the way he wants to play. If it's easier for him to chop things out of the rules and every other supplement that comes out more power to him. He may prefer that to switching systems or going to a game with little content support.

And guess what, even if he pulls most of the rules out of his game he is still playing D&D (or Pathfinder) if he is still operating within the framework of the game. Please lay off the "all or nothing" mentality - it doesn't do anyone good perpetuating "you are doing it wrong" if he is happy with what rules he decides to use out of the core books and the way he runs his game.

I'm not saying he's "doing it wrong," but I can help you hammer yourself to that cross you seem so keen on sticking to if you want.

I'm stating that you don't have to play D&D and that, given the chance, I would far rather play a game that plays to it's strengths then trying to shove everything into D&D.

Incidentally, the argument of "roleplaying" vs "optimization" coveres a very notable topic: I would state that it is an immense flaw if optimization of the game's system leads to worse roleplaying, and it is not a flaw in the players.


cp wrote:
Quote:
Now the part that always confuses me, is this. I understand that the game has these options, and I understand some people really enjoy playing with the numbers to get the biggest bang, but I don't understand how they can sit there and say that just because they play that way dosen't make it harder for anyone else. That is just not true. By playing that way you are limiting the fun of other people who don't want to play that way. Also, there are other games that are dedicated to that type of game. Video games, strategy games, even RPG like mechwarrior.

Its not like it doesn't go the other way around as well.

There is nothing I like better than a raw meat balls to the walls hard core ROLL playing.

And frankly ROLE Players almost invariably don't carry their weight. So CRs are skewed downward to the lowest common denominator to the point where its mind numbingly boring.

I don't really care why your character is going on this quest. Have zero interest in your 5 minute description of your character. I'm not interested in why you want to cast fireball. Cast it - or better yet, cast something effective - and move on...

Wow, i am a bit surprised no-one reacted to this. If somebody says you cannot ROLE play & optimise people jump all over it. Somebody says that ROLE Players cannot optimise and everyone agrees by ommision.


DSXMachina wrote:
Wow, i am a bit surprised no-one reacted to this. If somebody says you cannot ROLE play & optimise people jump all over it. Somebody says that ROLE Players cannot optimise and everyone agrees by ommision.

People tend not to comment on obvious joke posts. At least, people who know not to take them seriously.


Cartigan wrote:
brassbaboon wrote:
Alex Smith 908 wrote:
Hama wrote:
obadiah wrote:
Why can't you tell stories that have optimized characters?
Because characters optimized for combat are pretty much good for combat only. Roleplay aside, you will never see a fighter invest in knowledge skills, if he is being played by an optimizer.
This is an insulting generalization. I would be like me claiming that everyone of you stormwinders purposely built str 8 fighters and clerics with holy symbols that only work when on fire and are disallowed from ever getting fire resistance. Just because someone wants there character to be competent at what is supposed to be their main shtick does not mean that they will not roleplay or include any colorful additions to their build.
By definition "optimized" characters are far more than "competent." Competency is not the goal of optimization. A "competent" fighter can have a str of 14 and a cha of 14. They can still "do the job" of a fighter "competently." A str 20, cha 8 fighter is optimized for str and as such loses the capability for some role playing options that might rely on charisma.

A capable fighter cannot have a Str of 14 and do the job of a Fighter capably. What "role-playing" options, exactly, is a Cha 8 character missing out on?

A 15% difference to hit on every attack and 3pts damage surely is not enough to make a well designed (& feated) character. With the right ideas, teamwork & buffs it is easy enough to make up for any slight loss in DPR.

& with point buy a STR & CHA14 saves 8pts enough to get another 13 & 14


ProfessorCirno wrote:
DSXMachina wrote:
Wow, i am a bit surprised no-one reacted to this. If somebody says you cannot ROLE play & optimise people jump all over it. Somebody says that ROLE Players cannot optimise and everyone agrees by ommision.
People tend not to comment on obvious joke posts. At least, people who know not to take them seriously.

I know but everyone still responds to [/Insert favourite Poster here] :)


Simcha: Try this RPG on for size: Minimus.

First - it's still a 'd20-based' system. It just gets rid of character stats. Your players already know how to play, and the character creation system is incredibly difficult to min-max or optimized to the point of idiocy.

Second - it focuses on what makes a character interesting. Not what makes a character a proper Killing Machine.

Third - it's shorter than a Pathfinder character sheet. 4 pages. You can print it out double sided an 11x17 sheet of paper for your GM copy, print out the first two pages double sided and give that out to your players. Low barrier to entry.

Disclaimer: I'm the author, if you like it, I hope you make a donation per the instructions on the bottom of page 2 or page 4.

Dark Archive

ProfessorCirno wrote:
I'm not saying he's "doing it wrong," but I can help you hammer yourself to that cross you seem so keen on sticking to if you want.

Please spare me the sideways insults, your act around here is getting old.

Obviously he (W E Ray) likes playing D&D his way, if you were not so dismissive and actually read what people post you might have caught on to that fact.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I think the reason I stick with d20 is how flexible it is, and how you can play any style by using less or more of the rules. Maybe it won't be 'optimal' but hey, whatever.

Grand Lodge

TriOmegaZero wrote:
I stick with d20 is how flexible it is

Indeed...

Besides, if the game were meant to played with optimal characters (as the only way of playing), then Wizards (and now Paizo with PFRPG) would have eliminated the "Classic" (3d6) and "Standard" (4d6 drop lowest) methods of ROLLING ability scores!

Because clearly, rolling for ones stats was SO 1st edition! ;-p

-That One Digitalelf Fellow-


Digitalelf wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
I stick with d20 is how flexible it is

Indeed...

Besides, if the game were meant to played with optimal characters (as the only way of playing), then Wizards (and now Paizo with PFRPG) would have eliminated the "Classic" (3d6) and "Standard" (4d6 drop lowest) methods of ROLLING ability scores!

Because clearly, rolling for ones stats was SO 1st edition! ;-p

-That One Digitalelf Fellow-

Except having only one possible character per class is exactly against optimization because then it would eliminate any fun and creative mental exercise. Optimizing an uber charger is no fun at all and really has no place in any game as it just turns all combat into rocket tag. Optimizing a clown bard whose shtick is being a one man circus (animal handler, acrobat, mime, etc) and making it a viable in actual play, now that's a fun optimization challenge.

The goal of optimization is to make the rules fit how you see your character rather than letting the rules determine how you play your character. If I have a character whose job is to hunt down heretics for the setting's big religion do I have to take the specifically marked "inquisitor" class or can I just call myself an inquisitor and have my levels be a mix of alchemist and bard. I as an optimizer would say that is totally fine but certain people would get upset at me for grabbing bard just for the bardic knowledge to represent my character being able to access situations well at a glance without having to be specifically trained for it. He would never use many other bard abilities and would never "preform" but that is because I want to represent the character I want to play; I don't want to play in prebuilt specified classes.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
W E Ray wrote:

I can't speak for others but I only ever played one game.

The rules or system (except for a few years in the 90s) were never so important to me.

I'm a D&Der.

No interest in trying any other system. (Not that other systems are icky -- I just don't care.)

That truly is your loss. Walking away from D&D for ten years was the best move I ever made. I learned much that I never would have if D&D type systems were the only one I ever played.

Don't fool yourself, the system you use does impose a certain mood style of play.


LazarX wrote:

That truly is your loss. Walking away from D&D for ten years was the best move I ever made. I learned much that I never would have if D&D type systems were the only one I ever played.

Don't fool yourself, the system you use does impose a certain mood style of play.

+1 to this.

Each system creates a set of boundaries marking out its 'territory' within this huge continent of Role playing as a concept. Seeing how another 'territory' gets things done allows for you to better understand and express the assumptions that may underpin each game as well as the ones you bring to the table. Not to mention there are just some fantastic non d20 games out there.

Dark Archive

Umbral Reaver wrote:


I believe optimisation is on one axis and roleplaying is on another. I have seen perfectly fine-tuned characters create more memorable scenes (not necessarily combat) without making a single roll while I have also seen players make the jankiest characters possible for 'roleplaying reasons' then contribute nothing but sitting morosely in a corner.

You can optimise. You can roleplay. You can do both, or neither!

None of this says you must optimise. I like to know that I can optimise and not have to. Greater system knowledge can help create more interesting and unique characters by pulling fun mechanics together that might not have been considered by someone that refused to look at the numbers to 'keep their roleplaying pure'.

This, 1000 times this. I've seen optimized guys that rock the RPing aspect, and roleplaying characters that add nothing. I've seen the reverse as well.

Its not the aspect of optimize or not that makes or breaks the game. Its the person behind the character that does.

Dark Archive

HappyDaze wrote:
LazarX wrote:
obadiah wrote:
Why can't you tell stories that have optimized characters?
You can... but optimization is like a drug, it's a slippery slope that frequently leads you to a point where building a roleplaying aspect of a character takes an ever more distant backseat to theorycrafting. Cinematic based rpgs like White Wolf are a lot less focused on nailing everything down to die rolls.
Seen this too. Had one player that spent more time cranking out builds than actually playing. He often lost interest in any particular character within a few sessions because he wanted to roll out the newest thing. This is a bad situation because if he kept changing characters the campaign loses consistency, but forcing someone to play a character they don't like is a great way to kill fun too (there are ways to handle this, but they often end up being unsatisfactory to someone).

Seen the very opposite, Guy couldnt keep playing one character because he had the next great roleplaying idea he wanted to play....


As a DM I no longer have time to prep for a 3e game. The game is a little too thick, and PF made it even worse. I think its a small nightmare to DM personally (and I know most of the rules back and forward). Players end-up focusing too much on mechanics in character creation, and in PF they tend to be way too powerful for my taste (all those extra HPs and such make them crazy-tough). Plus, 3e just has way too much magic and magic items, quickly becomes unwieldy.

So, I went back and picked-up 2e Ad&d, and never looked back. Also, Savage Worlds is a blast to run and play (but don't use it for D&D style fantasy!).

Grand Lodge

LazarX wrote:
Don't fool yourself (Ray), the system you use does impose a certain mood style of play.

Oh absolutely.

But what I was saying was that if (when) I want to run a game with a different mood or style, I just alter the rules set based on what I think will be fun -- well, with the input of the other players, certainly.

But I still call it D&D.

It still feels like D&D to me because I don't associate -- am unable to associate -- D&D with any particular rules set. Gamers that asociate D&D with a rules set will have a completely different take on it than I.

And right they should; they've likely played WoD and GURPS and "the d6 system" and Call of Cthulhu and lots of other ones I never have.

I think the most anyone can say about me on this topic is that I'm "sheltered" and "ignorant" about other games. I am.

I was introduced to D&D before grade school so for me, my entire childhood, gaming was about the pictures and the stories.
And I guess it still is.


@OP: I think that taking a break from any lengthy endeavor is a good idea. Large amounts of fun are generally had in small doses, I seem to find.
I have burnt out on more complicated RPGs myself a number of times and currently I am experiencing a similar issue --but related to publishing for the Pathfinder RPG as a 3PP. As a gamer, I find that I yearn for the days where I did not need to have a mini on a floorplan. What keeps bringing me back though, is the sense of community.

If you want to try a different game for a little while, here are some suggestions. Each of the links here are links back to Paizo's own store, so I don't believe that this violates any messageboard policy (if so, mods please remove):

  • Swords & Wizardry Complete Rules are by Frog God Games
  • Labyrinth Lord by Goblinoid Games (although this version appears a little dated)
  • Dragon Warriors (now) by Serpent King Games
  • Advanced Fighting Fantasy 2nd Edition by Arion Games
  • Castles & Crusades by Troll Lord Games.

    I have played them all and I like them all for different reasons. They are in the most part simpler games in some aspects, some a lot more than others. Each has its own reasons for being, which is why I like them all for what they are. Currently, Swords & Wizardry is getting a lot of coverage from Frog God Games. Furthermore, I heard that the Swords & Wizardry sessions at Paizocon were quite popular which highlights one of the great things about Paizo: They give the community the chance to sample other systems under their own roof, as it were.

    Good luck!


  • The game play experience you get is the overlapping sets (like a Venn diagram) of three types of rewards.

    What the GM rewards in play. By positive feedback to other players, by what challenges he makes (which encourages what kinds of skills and abilities players make).

    What the game system rewards mechanically. Pathfinder has about 900 options for making you better in combat as magic items (armor, weapons, things that improve your mobility, things that help you avoid damage in other ways) and feats. It has about 100 options for making you a better spellcaster (metamagic feats, metamagic rods, things that make saves more difficult). It has about a dozen options for making you better at ballroom dancing, flirting with the Duke's mistress and winkling out the pass phrase to get past his guards later... Thus, D&D predominantly rewards killing things, mechanically.

    What the players reward by social contract. Gaming is a social experience. When you do something awesome in character, it's even more fun when your fellow players go "Oh. COOL!" Even better is when you do something awesome that makes another character look cool too.

    For example, in a game I'm in, my character rolled a fairly high Intimidate check against an NPC. Rather than just "let the die roll do it", I described my character's blocking and how they moved around the room around the tied up NPC. And then when the NPC tried to fast talk me, I called on the intimidate check and said "No, the truth. If I wanted your opinion, I'd have her" *points to the Divination oracle boning a chicken..."read your entrails."

    Most people who exhibit the kinds of "I don't like it at my table" behavior - the guy who optimizes his Barbarian Zoomer to do 4.8 billion damage per round, the person who sits and monologues constantly and calls it roleplaying, the person who constantly changes to the Next New Shiny Thing - they're ignoring that third kind of reward mechanism.

    Any system with the combinatorial complexity of Pathfinder tends to emphasis reward mechanism 2 (game mechanical rewards) as their largest set, which gets adjusted by reward mechanism 1, and sort of hopes that reward mechanism 3 happens on its own.


    Hama wrote:
    obadiah wrote:
    Why can't you tell stories that have optimized characters?
    Because characters optimized for combat are pretty much good for combat only. Roleplay aside, you will never see a fighter invest in knowledge skills, if he is being played by an optimizer.

    Why do you need game statistics to roleplay?

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