Stopping Your Own Optimizing and Auto-Rules-Lawyering (or "What do I do when I know more than my GM and his lack of knowledge frustrates the hell out of me")


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Seems to be a not so seldom problem and i share it.
We came from D&D untill our GM decided to go 4th edition (this is not about editions!). There were heavy protests, but we played 4th edition then, untill we were ok with it, but our GM felt awry with it. At that time Pathfinder came up and we all liked the idea of it, so we switched again.

Now we have the problem, similar as we had with 4th ed. actually, that our GM didnt invest enough or maybe no time at all to update himself to a lot of stuff. That led to a lot of discussions at the table. Sneak attack and greater trip with AoO´s are just some of them. Also our GM is from the magic heavy& magic rules it all camp, sometimes being annoyed what you can do with skills or other stuff, because its too magic for him. Especially diplomacy and the like. He really likes high level play too, what has its own problematics combined with this. Aka 5 level 12 chars meet a pit fiend torturing the level 20 mage they are meant to escort and start battling him. For his excuse the adventure didnt take the way he had planned it then, but he should have given it a second thought. I knew we should bot be able to beat the pit fiend, but we did, because he didnt really know how to apply the pit fiends stuff. I mean one "blasphemy" and we would have been doomed. I know he didnt want us to die, but still...

There are a lot of problems emerging from things like this.
We came to a agreement. If something isnt up to the rules, the 2 players knowing the rules best intervene. Then we decide together if it would hamper the game or not, if yes and we know it just tell it correct, if we dont know it we look it up quickly in the pfsrd. If we feel it hampers the game, the GM says its important just now (a hint is enough), or we all feel it just would take too long, we houserule it on the fly. Then perhaps later we look it up and discuss it per e-mail or something, so everyone learns the rules better step by step without taking "classes".

I have to add though that a GM should invest some time into knowing the rules. You don´t need to know it perfectly, but you should know the basics, combat maneuvers, players abilities and the stuff foes and monsters you use bring up, which you can prepare.


To the OP:

I also used to be that guy. To things have helped me.

1) I just don't have time to read all the possible PH and 3PP books anymore. So I don't know it as well as I did in 2e and 3.0e. This doesn't appear to apply to you.

2) Write before correct (I'm still learning to do this one). When I notice something wrong, the FIRST thing I do is make a note to myself about it (that helps keep be from opening my mouth). Next, unless it is going to cause a major problem (fail mission, tpk, etc...) I try to keep my mouth shut. Finally, after the game I will bring it up or email it to whoever, in private along with the page reference. They can look it up and read for themselves to see you are correct. No one gets embarrased and it doesn't slow down the game. Plus I don't get embarrassed on those occasions when I'm wrong.

For example: Several weeks ago, an occasional player made up a new character and was talking about all the great domain spells he got. I was 95% sure that class only got the domain powers not the spells. So I made a note, looked it up during a slow spot, when we were closing up for the night I showed him the page reference. Smooth, easy, and made no effect on game play for that night.

Sovereign Court

@thegreenteagamer

It sounds like you really want good advice to stop a behavior of your own. We cannot control others but this exercise will help you a little bit get further toward your goal:

1. Join a group of AD&D players, either on Fantasy Grounds II online or at tabletop. (The actual game can be OSRIC, Castles & Crusades, or AD&D 1st edition).
2. Don't over prepare by learning all the rules. Make sure your character has stats but do not optimize nor min/max the character. Focus on the character personality and imagine all aspects with your mind's eye i.e. where he's been, what he wants, what he looks like, etc.
3. During the game, focus on your character's intentions and express them in words/phrases like, "my intention is to make it past the guardian skeletons so that I get behind them. Explain these intentions to the GM as you play, and avoid looking up any rules.
4. Resist the urge to monitor other's choices in game, just listen and keep trying (during the game) to image these things happening. Become busy tyring to picture the events described by the GM or other players as though you were actually there (in character). Think about colors, sounds, smells, and the way things feel (whether these are described to you or not, keep imagining).
5. Toward the end of the game, explain to the GM what your character thinks he might wish to do next, in terms of intention (but set aside all expectations of "how" that will happen, and "when" that will happen.

The exercise above, I call the "Supermodel" exercise, because its like a metaphor that you bring with you to the game table that can help you stay focused on things like story, context, characters, feelings, intentions, and the general mood of the campaign.

Think of the game like you would a Supermodel (male or famale as your preference). Imagine you're making love to the Supermodel. 1) the basic game is like a Supermodel 2) before hand you don't want to over-prepare or work yourself up into a nervous frenzy 3) during sex with the Supermodel avoid creating awkward moments by chatting about the science behind intercourse, instead go with the flow and do what feels natural. Explaning intentions in the game, without expectation of "how" they occur is a good exercise akin to feeling someone in your arms rather than quantifying the experience unncessarily.
4. Focus on integrating your character into the fabric of the GMs campaign world, just as you would focus on the Supermodel. Don't think of other mates (nor other players) during the encounter--just stay focused on her. Give the story, the context, the moment all your attention and if you're busy staying in-the-moment it will help you resist the urge to rules lawyer, min-max, optimize, and otherwise metagame. 5. After sex, i.e. after the game be sure to "cuddle" rather than pack up and leave, that is, stay engaged even when its not your turn, and toward the end express your characters interest in the game by suggesting some character-driven intentions to the GM. This helps the relationship keep going, and creates an overall post-climax denouement where your own character and the actual story arc and milieu have been your focus before, during, and after the game. With this solid approach, and with some practice, you can re-route your natural thoughts away from rules and toward story/context focus and help you stay more in-the-moment of the game.

Well, that's my best advice from Dr. Pax (Gaming Counselor) here. lol
I hope you appreciate the unusual approach here, and try this as an actual exercise. All the talk in the world won't change behavior, if that's your intention. So, try this assignment and let me know what you think. Good luck with your Supermodel!

-Pax Veritas


I think you are missing the optimization boat, greenteagamer. You're focused on making a character more POWERFUL.

What's wrong with powerful, you ask? In itself, nothing. If your Pathfinder game more closely resembles a Fantastic Four comic book, with villains punched through buildings, trips to alternate dimension, and armies of <ahem> golems in green cloaks shooting scorching rays, then have a great time. Excelsior.

But my guess is that it's more like this.

Your urge to optimize is fighting against one of the GM's jobs, preserving balance. So, if you break out alchemist bombs that threaten to overpower the adventure, BAM! they're gone. Break out a box full of sneak attack dice and BAM! they're gone.

If you do a search for Caelic's rules of practical optimization, you can see another explanation of this.

But the main point is, you can expect to have your nice toys taken away anytime you start to overshadow the rest of the group. They're going to feel like BMX bandit, and the GM (correctly) modifies the game so that everyone can contribute, meaning, have fun.


How do we fix this? Glad you asked.

Idea number one: Fit in.

You need to create a character that will be about even with the rest of the party. Either stop squeezing out all the efficiency you can, or give them a head start. Show them that you can compete with a 15pt buy, or make a crossbow-shooting monk effective.

Idea number two: Teach them.

Now, a word of caution. Teaching is SLOW. You CANNOT just start in with "Here's what I know, blahblahblahblahblahblah", or you'll get kicked out.

Instead, involve the GROUP in your plans. Buy enough alchemists fire for EVERYONE, and hand them out. Get the group to cooperate fire-bombing an enemy. Or practice flanking as a group, and make index cards that say +2 when flanking.

Every time you can make it 'We're awesome", you're doing well. Every time it feels like "I'm awesome, I don't even need the rest of you", you risk losing that ability.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Last word: Make your next character a back-rank spellcaster. Don't do a solitary thing yourself. Your only job is to buff your party members. If you do this well, everyone will have more fun, and the GM won't have a single word to say because you're using your share of the spotlight, and helping everyone else to do the same.

Paizo Employee

Different tables, players and GMs, have different preferences. Ask your table first to make sure that your corrections are a problem.

When I GM, I like it when players bring up rules issues during the session. I would be upset if someone at my table felt like their character was crippled by my mistake and they didn't tell me. Not upset at them, because I know there are many reasons someone might not tell me, but upset by the situation that I could have easily resolved.

My players (particularly my living rules encyclopedia, who I nearly always play with) point out issues that affect everyone, monsters included. 90% of the time I know the rule and just slipped up, and my response is "oops, you're right" and either playing things out from there with the rules change in mind, or possibly allowing a small amount of retcon if it isn't too disruptive, depending on the mood of the table.

If I don't know the rule, I'll either look it up or, if it would disrupt the flow of the game too much, as long as it doesn't sound unreasonable, I'll trust the player. Then I'll study the rule later, and next time I'll know it. If its a houserule, I explain the houserule.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
0gre wrote:


I agree with one tiny little caveat.

If you know how the rules work and make decisions based on that knowledge but your GM doesn't play by the rules you know it gets very frustrating as you do things you expect to work but don't. It's like learning the layout of a room by stubbing your toes.

I'm not sure there is a good fix for it beyond just mapping out what your GM thinks is the rules and adjusting appropriately.

True, you aren't going to avoid stubbing your toe that first time, most likely. However, like a blind man in an unfamiliar area, you probe before you step. In this case, that means saying 'DM, my character is going to do this, is that okay?' before committing to an action.

Liberty's Edge

From my own experience, optimizing is the addiction I followed after playing a character that was a total failure, not in the roleplaying sense (quite the contrary), but in the mechanics/rollplaying sense.

And the GM did not correct me, likely because he wanted me to have fun playing the character I wanted and maybe because he did not realize how weak that character was.

That is when I realized that if I wanted to play an efficient character, I needed to know the rules as best I could. Which rapidly led me to optimizing. But what really hides behind this reaction to the frustration of playing a failed character is a lack of trust in my GM.

To get rid of this addiction, I think that the first step is to find again your trust in your GM. Which means talking with him/her about your problem and find an agreement together so that you can feel confident that you can indeed trust him with your character's fate.
Maybe a written pledge that he will not kill your character, or that he will not prevent you from using his key abilities or from playing the role you want to give him.

In short, you have to explain to your GM what you want to get from playing this character so that he can take it into account. And he has to make a pledge that he will do his utmost so that you can get the fun you are looking for.

I think that after playing a few sessions and realizing that the GM is not out to get you (or your character) but tries to ensure that you get your fun, you will rebuild your trust and find that you can after all leave the rules-lawyering and blind optimizing behind.


I'm about to run into this with an additional problem, I haven't been a player very much in the last 30 years so I need to really focus my efforts on NOT being the GM. It's going to be very hard. I've also been this group's GM for three years so I expect some of them to turn to me instead of the GM out of habit.

Here is my plan:

1) Don't offer advice that isn't warranted unless it can cause someone to not have fun. The sneak attack example you gave is when I would say something.

2) Before I use any weird combinations or new ideas, I will run them by the GM to make sure that we are in agreement how it will work. I have several ideas and I want to make sure that he and I agree beforehand how feats, spells, abilities, and magic items interact. Also, if alignment matters for a character we should discuss that. It sucks having one opinion on Lawful Good and the GM has another.

3) If someone asks me instead of the GM how something should work, I will tell them that the GM is the one to make that decision. I can look it up for him quickly if he would like, but I won't tell anyone how it should work unless the GM asks for my opinion.

4) I won't tell anyone how to play their character. I may offer some in character advice, but I won't tell them what to do or how to do it. I also may make "subtle" suggestions like, "if only someone knew how to disable devices so we could get past this lock..."

The times in the past when I've had the chance to be a player, I've done this and it's worked. The problem is that I was only a player for a few sessions at most. I'm hoping I can do this for the entire campaign.


Bob it is difficult, also when the GM is making a tactical error.
I will be thinking why is he not taking the flank? Why is he using one monster where there are six of us? He is giving us a 30000 gp item at level 3?

The list goes on.


Thank for all the great replies. This post will be brief, as its on a smartphone, but I will come back and address as many comments as I can when I can get to a computer. Thumb typing when you normally go over 60wpm is as frustrating as playing a Paladin against a GM who never ever runs evil enemies.

1. The best idea I've seen repeatedly here is to write my qualms down and bring them up post-session. I will most assuredly try this next game.

2. I like the idea of playing a support guy as a transitory step out of the optimization. It sounds like optimizing a buffer bard would be a methadone for the heroin that is powergaming. Unfortunately I have played four guys in this game, only one as a result of character death. The players/GM didn't say they were tired of the switch up, but I had a feeling they were, so I made my last Guy to last. Then he died. Now I'm said rogue. Maybe if I tell GM what's up and WHY I want to, he can just murder my rogue.

3. I didn't learn to optimize under this GM. HE'S quite balanced in roll vs. Role, and tries to keep the challenge high without being nigh impossible . I actually appreciate him as a GM because of it. Its just a REALLY hard habit to break. I also enjoy helping friends make their characters optimum, but that's just a mental creativity and only when they ask.
Still...its earned me a Rep with the GM and new players as the table munchkin. Plus, as I may have said, its just not as fun as when I first played and could immerse in the character without worrying about if I could be better.


There is nothing wrong with not wanting to die. Now if the GM is not going to kill the party then optimizing is not that important. If he has no issue killing people then he should do so within the rules. That is my take on it anyway.


Multiclass your rogue INTO bard. Between that and ranks in UMD, you'll be there in no time.

If you want a challenge, there you go.

But yes, talking to your GM after the session is a great idea. Ask the GM, what kind of characters did you expect when you started this campaign?


I've had the same issue from time to time with my GM. Nerfing a class to make it near pointless to play them. (due to some rule exploit, etc)

On the same hand having his own characters that are exploited to the max, several levels higher then us (usually 3-5 levels) never miss the opponent (he rolls behing the screen) crit every other hit... (the enemies crit us just as much...)

Needless to say, I completely understand you and it REALLY bugs me that he fudges rules for him and we are bound but an uphill battle, (even with simple tasks like acrobatics and diplomacy and such) Making up DC's of like 35-40 at level 1... Here's how I deal...

Basically just learn to play under the new set of rules, or find another DM. (Usually not a solution due to being friends, me and my DM have been friends for many years.)

You'll find that you can optimize your character decently well even under the new set of rules. Basically I've learned to have fun by empowering the DM's character that he puts in our party, making us near invincible.

Another thing I've found that works is instead of discussing rules flat, just say the rule, and then add, "does this rule sound realistic in what would really happen, and is it balanced?" Forces the players to think about the rule and balance. If it is balanced, then makes the players not think about the rule in debate, but the balance of the game.

Hope this helps!

The Exchange

thegreenteagamer wrote:
Gerald wrote:
My advice is to smile and shut up. If someone is nice enough to run a game for you, shut up and play by the DM's rules. If you don't like it, just run the next adventure. Easy peasy.

Well holy monkey feces why didn't I think of that? Here I am writing out a multiple paragraph thread asking hows and I could've just considered a why which I'm already attempting to do with little success. Man, that's genius in its elegant simplicity.

Now, sarcastic trolling response aside, onto the genuine suggestions, comments, etc.

Jez, its not that the rules aren't being followed altogether, its that many are but those that aren't seem to be a gimping point when they come up.

Zakur that's what happens to me. I make a neco, he rocks, necros are now gimped. I male a rogue, he outshines all, sneak attack now sucks. Sometimes I feel if I'd make a fighter heavy armor and martial weapons would be banned. I'm kidding, but you get the point.

Tirq, I suppose I could try that, but then why would I be gaming instead of doing said other activity in the first place?

saying i feel your pain doesnt even start to express it. i actually get so frustrated that we have erupted into several yelling matches which always results in us all grabbing our pathfinder core and scanning down a rule. the annoying thing is we play a blended 3.5/pf game (i know hole ass crackers how annoying) so as we all pull our pathfinder core my dm grabs a dmg or a phb2 or some other equally irrelevant book since our 3.5 splash is supposed to be for monsters and gear and a few feats.

ive played/dmd for years another player has been play testing for wizards of the coast for years (even placing 1st in some monster match up he wont ever let us forget about) and my dm is quite possibly the most dedicated dm i have ever met. he lives his world developed trade routes currency exchange rates all his own races his own bonus system new rules that affect magic and on and on and on.
i have just tried to accept that this is a world apart from normal pathfinder. it operates on similar rules but there are exceptions. my dms biggest one is "how do you critically strike an undead/plant/golem/ any number of other things" to this we answer aim for a soft spot and let me sneak attack damn it. he clings to some of his 3.5 beliefs with a reverence only seen in the Vatican.
but all in all i have fun i enjoy the game as he runs it and my frustration fades away. but some nights we argue constantly. and the only answer i have come to find is "PICK YOUR BATTLES" if you point out every inaccuracy of the game you will become white noise. if you pipe up on the big issues there is a better chance you will be accepted. or you could bring up recurring infractions outside of game play time. i go through ink cartridges every month printing off source material outlining my arguments and i present them to him neatly stapled together and the relevant parts highlighted.
in the end you are the player you are so you and everyone else gets to deal with your insanity.


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thegreenteagamer wrote:

Thank for all the great replies. This post will be brief, as its on a smartphone, but I will come back and address as many comments as I can when I can get to a computer. Thumb typing when you normally go over 60wpm is as frustrating as playing a Paladin against a GM who never ever runs evil enemies.

Ok, brace yourself, I know what your problem is. This is going to sound like I'm ragging on you. I promise, I'm not.

Your problem is that you are FULL of yourself. Again, I'm not trying to insult you by saying this, but I imagine you're a teenager. I think this, because I was a teenager who thought I knew everything too.

Look back at some of the things you're saying, paraphrased to emphasize the actual message.

"I know the rules way better than anybody cause my brain is so awesome it's like a super computer."

"I'm so good at rules I can't even stop myself from correcting people [mentions incident in which you incorrectly corrected someone who was right all along]."

"For some reason, I like to be good at the things I do. Which is weird because most people enjoy sucking."

"Hey I'm typing this message on a smart phone. My fingers are so awesome at typing that this phone is driving my super hands crazy. I mean really, I can type like a boss on a keyboard. When I have more time to type a longer message on a real keyboard I'll reply more but this message is going to be short and half of it will be me mentioning why it's short. Can you imagine how short this message would actually be if I left that part out?"

And a little bit of,

"Your advice isn't the advice I was looking for, so shove it."

So, remember, I'm not trying to attack you. These are the observations I've made. That said, I don't really know what advice to give you. Being a know it all teenager is something a lot of people go through. I did, and I'm still smart, and I wouldn't categorize my knowledge as encyclopedic but I enjoy learning and reading the Pathfinder books and all that. At some point though, you realize that people are all different and if you want to get a long with them you have to make concessions. I'm not saying you have to pretend to be dumb, you just need to be courteous, and that's true when interacting with anyone.

There's nothing wrong with pointing out a rules error, but you don't make an argument about it. If it's that big of a deal to you, walk away man, it's a game. The best thing to do is say "I acknowledge your decision, and I'd like to discuss this after the session." or something like that. I typically double check stuff during other people's turns so it doesn't slow anything down.

If you honestly feel like you have a problem with pointing out the rules all the time, work at educating the other players and GM so that it becomes less necessary to do so. When I have to point out rules as a GM or player, I try and explain why it works the way it does to everyone so we don't keep making the same mistakes.

EDIT: I also want to mention that I once played in a game where I was the only person who had played Pathfinder before. I wasn't the GM, but I was the one people asked about rules questions. And I did have to make corrections. One guy played a summoner and wrecked it all to hell. When approaching someone and saying, "Hey, you made your character completely wrong." It's hard, and the most important thing is to be humble about it and respectful. If you correct people, but you do it as a friend and not as a jerk, it's not a big deal usually.


I do sympathize with you and understand the frustration. I'll give my +1 to Davick though.

I used to be the player that always knew the rules better and even memorized all the monsters (in D&d3.5), the DM went looking for other pictures so I didn't tell the others what it's weaknesses are, ...
As you can imagine, much yelling, frustration, ... ensued.

I grew out of it. Now we are at a point where we all have 15+ years of gaming behind us and the DM knows that I know the rules best. If he's in doubt, he looks at me and I tell the truth. He has great imagination but no head for the rules. We know that and we like it that way ;-)


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I'm...I'm not alone...?

*cries tears of joy*

wraithstrike wrote:
There is nothing wrong with not wanting to die. Now if the GM is not going to kill the party then optimizing is not that important. If he has no issue killing people then he should do so within the rules. That is my take on it anyway.

In our group, if you don't roll over and die, you're disrupting the game. A recent encounter with rot grubs killed our barbarian. I knew something was wrong though, and (much to the chagrin of the other players) I scoured the rules (and character sheets) looking for a way to save the barbarian.

Turns out rot grubs can't hurt anything with any amount of DR, and our barbarian had DR 1/- and should never have taken those 18 points of Constitution damage.

I saved the day and was STILL vilified for slowing the game down.


There's lots of people around like that RavingDork, do you have any help or advice on how to deal with it?

Was even the barbarian player angry for slowing the game?


I was going to make a post parodying Davick and saying how I used to be a guy who would come to forums and critisize teenagers and he is probably just full of himself for doing so. I was then going to purposefully misquote him to make him sound like he is far more of a jackass than he actually is likely just to make myself come across more superior.

...but then I realized how cyclical and unhelpful that would have been.

I don't think you are full of yourself. I have been in your position myself. I think Adamantine Dragon had the best advice and it is what I would give. Optimize concepts rather than effectiveness. That isn't to say that effectiveness isn't important. Just don't focus on it as much. Tailor your choses in character creation towards making the character be able to do what you envision the concept as accomplishing, not making sure his numbers are high enough to never fail.

If you do know the rules better and how to optimize your character better than your GM then you are likely to not be challenged much by the encounters he designs without him finagling the rules to allow for a challenge. This is sure to not lead to a fun gaming experience for anyone.

Also, I have a feeling that pointing out inaccuracies as to how the rules are being adjucated isn't an issue here. However, your delivery might need some work. From your posts I am not certain how your deliver was handled so I can't give specific advice. My best suggestion would be to explain how the book states how a rule is to be handled but that you understand if he would like to house rule against it. Then if the house rule bothers you, after the game explain why the house rule would lead to unbalanced play.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Canuberon wrote:
There's lots of people around like that RavingDork, do you have any help or advice on how to deal with it?

I don't know that I can top the advice already given, but it really comes down to making a judgement call. If it is a small error, and the fun of the game isn't necessarily hurt by it, bring it up after the game, if ever at all. However, if someone's fun is impinged by the mistake, I think you should be honest with yourself and with the others and speak up.

Also remember that people can be quite selfish. If you stall the game for half an hour to ensure one player's fun isn't impeded, the other players are likely only thinking about how you are impeding THERE fun by stopping the game. This goes for you too--try to remember that, even when helping one player, you might be reducing the fun for the others.

Canuberon wrote:
Was even the barbarian player angry for slowing the game?

At first, it was just grim acceptance over his character's fate. By the time I found a way to save his character, he was on the fence about even coming back to the table, not because he was angry or sad, but tired. It was getting late by that point and, though he was happy to continue playing his character, he didn't really have the energy to show it.


Davick wrote:

...Your problem is that you are FULL of yourself...

Look back at some of the things you're saying, paraphrased to emphasize the actual message...

What you are saying is possible. But I don't think there is enough info in his postings to tell one way or the other.

I would not call what you posted as paraphrasing. You significantly changed the meaning. I did not pick up on that vibe at all my first read through his posts.

I have encountered both sorts. (I hope I have not been both sorts, but I suspect I may have.) The one you are talking about though is not restricted to teenagers. I know plenty of adults who act like that all the time.

This person is asking for advice on how not to act like he has been, to me, that is unlikely to be an immature know-it-all. I don't think a person like that would ever admit there was anything wrong with his behavior. So I choose to give him the benifit of the doubt and address his question as he posted it.


Lune wrote:

I was going to make a post parodying Davick and saying how I used to be a guy who would come to forums and critisize teenagers and he is probably just full of himself for doing so. I was then going to purposefully misquote him to make him sound like he is far more of a jackass than he actually is likely just to make myself come across more superior.

...but then I realized how cyclical and unhelpful that would have been.

I don't think I came across as superior. My advice, like anyone's, was based on my experience with similar situations. And typically in those situations the problem is the person's attitude. I know because I was like that when I was younger. I made sure to say that I really wasn't trying to be a jerk. Sometimes honesty isn't pleasant, but it can help, and that's what I was, honest. If I'm right, then I hope he realizes it and works to b e a better person. If I'm wrong, then big whoop, just a few more useless words on the internet. I will point out that pointing out how you avoided being unhelpful by criticizing me was an unhelpful way to criticize me. Much as what I'm typing now is unhelpful too.

Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
Davick wrote:

...Your problem is that you are FULL of yourself...

Look back at some of the things you're saying, paraphrased to emphasize the actual message...

What you are saying is possible. But I don't think there is enough info in his postings to tell one way or the other.

I would not call what you posted as paraphrasing. You significantly changed the meaning. I did not pick up on that vibe at all my first read through his posts.

I have encountered both sorts. (I hope I have not been both sorts, but I suspect I may have.) The one you are talking about though is not restricted to teenagers. I know plenty of adults who act like that all the time.

This person is asking for advice on how not to act like he has been, to me, that is unlikely to be an immature know-it-all. I don't think a person like that would ever admit there was anything wrong with his behavior. So I choose to give him the benifit of the doubt and address his question as he posted it.

Maybe it's just been my tenure here on the internet, but I've seen plenty of people looking for "advice" on the internet that was really just a way to boast. "Please help me! How can I not kill women with my HUGE $$$$? How do all you normal people do it?" I've known adults who act this way also, but that just wasn't the impression I was getting here. Also, I did give real advice whether he was boasting or not.


Helping others optimize is pretty good. Not so much in the sense of telling what to do but asking them what they want their character to be and showing how certain feats and spells can help them accomplish their goals.


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my advice: play with friends. play with people you really like, and who really like you. friends will forgive your treaspasses, and you will forgive the treaspasses of your friends.

make the session about fellowship and friendship. dont care about how many experience points you get, but make the experience about how much you laugh.

drink good beer, eat good food.

your character sheet is not as important as the character sitting next to you.

thats my advice, not just for gaming, but for life.


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thegreenteagamer wrote:
2. I like the idea of playing a support guy as a transitory step out of the optimization. It sounds like optimizing a buffer bard would be a methadone for the heroin that is powergaming. Unfortunately I have played four guys in this game, only one as a result of character death. The players/GM didn't say they were tired of the switch up, but I had a feeling they were, so I made my last Guy to last. Then he died. Now I'm said rogue. Maybe if I tell GM what's up and WHY I want to, he can just murder my rogue.

I like this idea. I was going to say "Don't try to stop optimizing, but give yourself a few arbitrary restrictions. That way your charop-fu skills will just make up for the pre-gimped concept." A buff master bard sounds like a great way to do this.

And yeah, definitely tell your DM why you're switching PCs. Maybe tell the whole group that you're trying to "break the habit." Explaining stuff like this can make people a lot more sympathetic and patient.

Lastly I'll say that unfortunately, you're playing the exact wrong kind of game to break the charop habit. 3.x is written with the assumption that character detail and system mastery are virtues, so the game is working against you here. I'm sure you'll be able to break the habit if you stick with it, but it's a lot like an addict trying to stay clean with his dealer living next door.


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It's been almost three years, and I was looking back on this thread with fond memories of how helpful some of you have been with your advice for my gaming experiences.

I have been in a new group for about eight months now, having left the previous one for other reasons. (I was tired of constantly cancelled sessions, late players, and other flaky behaviors.)

I have gained a moderate amount of control over my antsy nature in regards to the rules - if something is an unbearable infraction I write it down to discuss later, as suggested. But more importantly, my current GM actually listens to me, respects my input, and remembers rules pointed out to him and adjusts further play.

I still make powerful characters - the game-within-a-game of character design is probably 1/3 of the fun of Pathfinder for me. However, I now purposefully design support characters or unusual designs so that other players get to be the star of the game more than myself. Again, a new group has really helped with this factor as well; some of the other players ask me for build advice, and when I help them design their character as opposed to my own, no holds are barred, I want them to be champions. They appreciate this, and it lets me really feel as if I'm part of the team.

In the meantime, myself and the current GM of this group are both trying to talk the other players into trying a less rules intense system, like Savage Worlds, so that gameplay can be more intuitive, story driven, and less disrupted by the side tracks of mechanics. I'd love it if every player had an encyclopedic knowledge of Pathfinder, but I think it's much easier to set that goal with an easier system.

I just want to thank everyone who meaningfully contributed here, and didn't just spit out some canned response about how I was a bad player without actually reading the post to realize I knew I was and wanted to correct that. It was good advice all around, and even when it was just someone saying "been there" it meant a lot to me. The community here at the Paizo boards is great.


thegreenteagamer wrote:
Sorry about being a prick, but its like you read the title, judged me and spit out a canned result. I WANT to stop. Im trying. Im asking for tips on how otheds who DON'T have the "ah screw it" personality types how they did it. Its like when someone asks "how do I make a good controller? I want to be a witch," and someone replies "by playing a wizard."

Ask for advice and then get people to tell you your idea sucks and give you their idea of what to do instead? Experience my pain.

My experience with this on the other hand is the whole 'older flynn from tron' experience of removing myself from the equation... Becoming a support character thats more interested in fluff than crunch... You may not be able to turn your passion off, but redirect it into the fluff of the game instead of the crunch. I entirely agree with the posts above that suggest pointing your attentions at other aspects of the experience as the best option.


Dot for later perusal.


Ahhh... Rules Lawyers. Doomed to forever cling to the razors edge of "being right" vs "disrupting the game". Vilified by all because they fail twice. First by "being right" since nobody seems to like being told they are wrong. And secondly by "disrupting the game" and pulling everyone out of the moment and into the crunch.

As a GM I kind of like rules lawyers, well I do when they are truly right and not just think they are right but are actually wrong. Because they can help me learn something new. They say "Wait! It works like X" I stop for a moment and consider how sure I am that it works the way I thought it did... If I am at all unsure then I go with his way, If not then I keep my way. I make the call and play continues. No more discussion about that till after the game. And after the game I will curl up on the sofa with some rule books and learn it completely myself. Right or wrong we will be doing things the right way next time.


Gluttony wrote:

The Gamemastery Guide suggests that players who know the rules really well help their fellow players and GM to learn. Perhaps if you hold in the blurt until later, except when it's really crucial? You might have better success holding back if you know you're going to say it later.

For example when I first started GMing I had one player who tended to blurt rules, and would assume I had gotten something wrong in every situation. When he blurted, it really annoyed me because he did it constantly. However he would once in a while (very rarely) say things between sessions instead. Those moments I really appreciated, as it helped me learn.

At least in my experience the only issue I've had with someone correcting me on rules is when they do it in the middle of gameplay and it's not extremely important. That just breaks the flow. If they can hold off until afterwards it's far less annoying, and can actually be helpful.

Might have something like a half hour session right after the gaming session to discuss rules issues and the like just make it me and every game and then you can get it out of you there and let it be unless it's critical during the game.

Sovereign Court

"What do I do when I know more than my GM and his lack of knowledge frustrates the hell out of me?"

Step 1: Forget what you know. Consider that the GM might actually actually right despite not being in step with what you think is right.

Step 2: If, upon re-reviewing the relevant materials, the GM is actually NOT right, then raise the issue, armed with direct passages you just looked up.

Step 3: If you don't convince the GM, give it no more than one "Buts" in rebuttal. If you don't convince him after one try and one "But", then two, three, or even more "Buts" won't do the job.

Step 4: If you still can't deal with the GM's wrongness after it's been raised and rebutted, then save all further discussion on the topic for the next break.

If you rules lawyer outside this very basic framework, then you are WrongBad.

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