How to help weak players once they reach level 4 / 7 (play season 4)


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JohnF wrote:
The game changes at tier 5-9. All of a sudden, you can get blindsided by the consequences of a poor choice made months earlier. This can be as simple as having 'wasted' money by enchanting a sub-optimal weapon, so when you eventually realise you should have had a weapon of a different type (or size), or one made of a different material, you end up paying more than a character built by a more experienced player. I don't like having to plan my characters five or more levels ahead to avoid this (let alone the insidious traps in areas such as feat tree progression), but it looks more and more as though this is necessary.

I would love to see some sort of method of perhaps paying a Prestige cost in order to retrain a choice or to sell an item for full gp value.

In a typical Pathfinder campaign, if a mistake is made, you get to work with your GM and repair the issue. In Organized Play, you're out of luck. That is, unless Organized Play were to institute some sort of system for repairing mistakes. Prestige makes an excellent mechanism for it.

-Matt


Mattastrophic wrote:
JohnF wrote:
The game changes at tier 5-9. All of a sudden, you can get blindsided by the consequences of a poor choice made months earlier. This can be as simple as having 'wasted' money by enchanting a sub-optimal weapon, so when you eventually realise you should have had a weapon of a different type (or size), or one made of a different material, you end up paying more than a character built by a more experienced player. I don't like having to plan my characters five or more levels ahead to avoid this (let alone the insidious traps in areas such as feat tree progression), but it looks more and more as though this is necessary.

I would love to see some sort of method of perhaps paying a Prestige cost in order to retrain a choice or to sell an item for full gp value.

In a typical Pathfinder campaign, if a mistake is made, you get to work with your GM and repair the issue. In Organized Play, you're out of luck. That is, unless Organized Play were to institute some sort of system for repairing mistakes. Prestige makes an excellent mechanism for it.

-Matt

\

I had hopes that the new retraining stuff from Ultimate Campaign might be sanctioned, but since the Tier 1 boon at GenCon this year is a rebuild, I'm guessing it probably won't be.


I always felt, from a players point of view, that there are no bad character choices that can't be overcome by smart play (and knowledge skills).

Weapon blanches and a bow and arrow being the most obvious tools... is the feeling that this isn't the case?

5/5 Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka Pirate Rob

Thod wrote:

JohnF

Thanks for your perspective. I hope you will pick up something here.

I hope your characters are not that bad that they are unplayable. That would be a tragedy. I'm still planning to get my families first characters (at least my wife and son) up to 12 and through the Eye of the Ten.

Eyes of the Ten explicitly grants sufficient flexibility in many of its encounters to appropriately challenge and entertain most groups.


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The trick is to balance optimizing your character with the style you need for you to enjoy your character. I feel character should pick a class based ont he abilities not the name. I freuently see people wanting to play a ninja to be a Naruto character that does magic attacks and is annoyed that the ninja class does not give an ability a ninja on naruto had. You can be a ninja-esque oracle/wizard/sorcerer. The name of the class are just fluff and do not matter. You can be a pure oracle with huge stealth and call yourself a ninja. That is prefectly fine and infact is awesome.

You should settle on doing less things and focus. You are a team. A team has a group of different skilled people to win the game. Pathfinder is nto different. I had a kid that was annoyed he could not be the best at damage spells, healing, fighting, and would also be unhittable. The more things you do the less power you will have in them. Realize you can not do everything and thet you will have 3 other people that can fill your gaps. If you do everything a little bit you will be near useless in manyplace because others will do it over you.

Realize you will have a weakness or weaknesses. Know your weaknesses. Know where you need help and look for ways to avoid the weaknesses.

Play as a team. One of the three rules are to cooperate. So cooperate. This includes tactics, advice, plans, ideas, skills, or whatever else. A group is always stronger than the sum of its parts. Look to make other players more effective. If a 5 foot step gives a rogue ally flanking and puts you in flanked position. It is usually worth the sacrifice. Deathes are always from players not being a team at my table. I can recall every player I GMed for that died I advised some player against selfish behavior and offered them to change their action. The sad part is it rarely the selfish player that dies.

Learn, learn, learn. Know as much as you can. This goes into the adventure, the rules, and your teammates. If you can see what is ahead you can prevent danger altogether by seeing ahead. People walking blindly into areas jaw first deserve to be hit.

Grand Lodge

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Excellent post.

I have mentioned in many of my reviews of 1-5 tier scenarios that the damage reduction being used in the 1-2 tier is excessive (with no on-hand equipment to bypass it). I'm thinking specifically of...

scenarios:
Disappeared and Veteran's Vault

I would also say that Bonekeep lite is Thornkeep: Forgotten Laboratory. If memory serves, they were written by the same author. That has a lot of different challenges for combat inexperienced players.

Teamwork is so, so, so critical but it seems really difficult to encourage it in PFS public play. It naturally evolves in a home game, but if you're playing with complete strangers and you don't know what their character is capable of (so many archetypes!) then teamwork is naturally going to suffer. The best teamwork I've seen is just the basic 'wait for wizard to haste us before running in'. And yes, my last character died due to a total lack of teamwork.

So much of this is on the GM and prompting players to either use knowledge checks in combat or just a basic INT check if something is obvious. GMs should be there to educate as well as challenge.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Adam Mogyorodi wrote:
I like Chris Mortika's suggestion of a Danger Room, but what if we DID attach a chronicle to it upon a full completion? Nothing big, more like a minor boon to show that you've successfully navigated the dangers, and to simulate Pathfinder training. Perhaps a one use bonus to knowledge checks?

Adam,

I appreciate the thought. But I'll disagree.

Attaching a Chronicle sheet to this makes it something that the campaign leadership needs to look at, approve, sign off on, probably put through development and editing and design ...

I want to build a "danger room" scenario workshop that we can run this weekend and adjust as we go.

And I don't want to attach an external reward for this. The reward is: your character survives more significant threats.

Dark Archive

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I'll say that I would appreciate both. The chronicle-less version because it's simple and can be tailored to a specific player's needs; the chronicled version because there is now incentive for the player to meet these needs before it becomes a life or death situation.

Some players will be thinking ahead, but those players don't need this help anyway.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Just a note about the pre-gens. They were terrible BEFORE season 4. They get slaughtered in previous season too...unless very well played. The idea I was given for why they were so badly made was that they were suppose to be bad so you would hurry up and make your own character (if that is the case, why the 4 and 7 are equally bad is beyond me). I just think the dev team just done goofed on these and find fixing them WAY low on the list.

Also, if you can't make a character better then the pre-gens, especially with some help, then I question your ability to even PLAY this game. Sorry, but a completely new to RPG person taking a look at the core rulebook for 30 min can come up with better characters. How do I know? I have had multiple people do just that. I have seen just ONE person who came up with a character worse then the pre-gens...and what is sad was that he was not new. He just made a bad character on purpose because he's a "roleplayer" and he's doing all these horrible mechanical things for roleplay reason. His brand new girlfriend however made a decent character. Yes this sounds elitists...but when 10 year old kids brand new to the game can do it, I find absolutely ZERO reason that you can't have a minimum requirement of must be at least as good as the pre-gens limit.

That said, pre-gen limit is still below par for most scenarios...even before season 4. And power of said character does nothing if played badly. Having a 6 hp rogue charge forwards is a bad idea and will get you killed. Having the 10 hp rogue do the same won't change the outcome. Now having the 6 hp rogue has +15 to stealth and sneak forwards to scout...well now we are talking.

Grand Lodge

Cold Napalm

How do you manage to advice a brand new player in 30 minutes to build up a good character. I'm talking here a new player who has never played RPG before.

It takes me half and hour just to talk a brand new player through the choice of race (7 core races) and class (11 classes). That leaves me with <2 min to describe the race or class, to point out background, advantages, disadvantages, lore, suitability.

There are options to speed it up. I can leave out some races or classes - giving me more time and to avoid unsuitable ones (casters for example need extra time to grasp and explaining spells can be very time consuming).

There is the alternative to use pre-generated characters as a start and tinker with them. pre-generated doesn't mean that they have to be the official PFS pre-generated characters. But it takes extra time to build up an own portfolio.

Feats - there are approx. 200 of them in the CRB. If I have 10 minutes time to help a new player to select them then I tend to restrict myself to simple generic ones (toughness, improved initiative etc.). This way I avoid completely flawed characters - but I don't get any truly powerful characters based on synergies.

I don't yet know if the new Player Companions help. They give you a theme - and useful feats, traits, class, race combinations. I haven't tried yet if a build based on such advice is significantly better or on par with the pregens. This might be a useful avenue to look into as these concepts try to distill relevant feats/skills/class/spell combinations.

I felt underwhelmed by them as it seemed to restricted - but maybe this is the way to go for a weaker player. Restrict the choice - ensure the restricted choice leads to a powerful character - and slowly add additional bits onto it.

Edit: In my experience the more powerful builds tend to take advantage of more extreme options / abilities / feat trees. This needs planning and knowledge where to end up. It also means you can screw up mightily. I remember the Archer build from a quite experienced player. He had cranked up Dex and dumped Str - forgetting that a Str 8 would affect his damage with the bow (he was an elf fighter), prevent the use of composite bows and make the whole character pathetic.
People skimming the books easily find 'strong' combinations - but it takes experience to ensure a 'strong' option has no flaws. Just read Knights of the Dinner table and you will often see how Bob or Dave fall into that trap. This isn't something I just make up - it happens and enough players / GMs have seen it at the table.
Level 1 rebuilds take out some of the worst - but come level 2 and you are stuck with a great idea (that is massively flawed). Pre-Gen builds like Valeros avoid these flaws - but it comes at the cost that they are baseline and don't excel.


Thod, for brand new players players I don't take them through the whole build process in a half hour.

When I go to PFS events (especially the con) I usually take a couple of already filled out character sheets to give away. I usually have a ranger archer, a barbarian THW, a sword & board fighter, and a casting/buffing cleric (or oracle).
They have a reasonable CRB build that is also fairly simple to run. I have some notes written on the back with suggestions about what feats, skills, spells, and class selections to take up through about level 5-7. A few notes on what to buy with the first few prestige points and first few missions worth of gold.
Mostly the builds are feats with static or easy to use bonuses at least for the first few levels. Like weapon focus, toughness, spell focus, exotic weapon prof, power attack, dodge, selective channel, improved channel, etc...

When they don't know the game, they can't really make reasonable choices on everything anyway. The name of something or a quick 30 sec description can't really tell you how good or difficult it is to use.

Grand Lodge

Kydeem

That might be the way forward. I once downloaded a full set of 75(85?) pregenerated characters who someone had donated. They offered a lot more of diversity (all common race/class combinations from CRB).
They were solid - but lacked any notes what to do with them afterwards. Having some notes with suggestions - what to do next - would be very helpful.
And I like your restriction to rather 4 simple types that are useful in different ways. It would be good if such resources could be shared / the official PFS pregens level 1 would have such suggestions for them.

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Captain, West Virginia—Charleston aka Netopalis

Thod,
As somebody who built his first character off of one of those 85 pregens, I highly support their use. This is a bit of a derail, but I tend to break things down into a decision tree for the new player to follow.

Question 1: Do you prefer melee, ranged or casting?
Question 2: If melee, consider X classes. If ranged, do you prefer area of effect or single target? If casting, do you prefer buff, debuff or blasting?

And so on and so forth. When we get down to a single class, I recommend some races that would be good for that class.

Sovereign Court

With regards to the Pre-Gens, I only have experience playing Kyra.

In her case, she becomes a lot more playable just by simplying getting the chance to switch her spells.

I played in a 10-11 mod with a Kyra Pre-Gen. Got the opportunity to switch out her spells (I don't remember the mod though).

In one fight, I got up the Magic Circle Against Evil when I had a feeling something bad was going to happen. It made the fight with the Succubus a lot easier. When she brought in her Darkness-spawning minion, Daylight made quick work of it.

Later on in the fight, Invisibility Purge took care of the BBEG who went invisible.

I forget the rest, but it seemed like in every fight, I had a spell that help shape the battle.

I got a high-five or two from the other party members, who were skitish about having someone they didn't know who played a Pre-Gen. I think I changed their minds quickly. Go System Mastery!

PFS is basically becoming a lot like Living Greyhawk now - kind of sad, but probably inevitable. Although, I do like the idea of a Danger Room module. It'll help new and old players to test their characters.


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For new characters I tell them think of any movie or story you heard of. From thosde think of a character as they just started and were not very skilled yet and you get to play as them. Then from there I work out their options, and tweak things based on their answers. I ask them what they want to be able to do and point them at the options to do that. Depending the person I can buil their character in 10 minutes at level 1. While they understand why their character does what. I try to give them very little unless they are looking at something specific. I also let them know they can rebuild their character if they are not happy with it. The one that understand the rebuild as usually the easier ones.

Grand Lodge 4/5

I start with what do you want to play...then go from there. You don't have to go through the whole core book for somebody to make their first character...just give them the highlights of what they want to play. Although, I am efficient enough that given a full hour, I can walk somebody through the player portion of core.


Napalm there is so much with that what that you could spend all day. My friend call is an overload of information. Most people that are new do not know what they do not know. They do not know that they do not know a fighter gets twice as many feats.

If I have more time(rarely the case). I will go over more things, but honestly when it is chracter creation time I am being split amongst 3 or more different people. I do not have 3 hours to be split.

I know the books well enough(and that they have a crazy amount of different ideas) that if people tell me the kinda things they want I can point at something that is similar to what they are looking for. Ofcourse this is barring the people that want a superman that can do everything and is better than everyone at everything.

I helped people make friar tuck, a katamari damacy, a sith(dark jedi), and indiana jones.

the people I have the hardest time with are the people that think they know stuff and have to read everything for themselves, misread the items, and refuse help. I often have to throw pregens at them or we would never start.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Well...having JUST enough information to be dangerous is another matter entirely.

But, here is the thing, most people who come to a PFS game has an idea of what they want to be. Be it a race, a type of fighting or maybe even a TV character. I then show them the appropriate races, classes, feats and spells to what they want to do...along with where they can get a summary of the other stuff...if they want to. If they have absolutely no idea what they want to do...well then yeah, it's gonna take longer since we gotta figure that out...but we gotta figure that out before we give them a pre-gen now don't we :P .


I had a person that came an hour early.(I try to come an hour early for every event for people). That could not pick a character in 2 hours(we waited an extra hour for her). I finally said we need to start I can quickly make you anything and you can change it after, you pick a pregen or we start without you. She looked at me like I slapped her. She had me make a druid for her and in 3 minutes we were playing. Then was excited about how awesome I made it(not much to do with a druid but whatever)

Sometime you have to put your footdown and force them to make a choice or no one will play.

I do not like throwing pregens at people. I hate it, but some people give you no choise

I saw another guy at another table demand the GM wait while he looked through and read every trait(from online sources) before they begin. Mind you he just started looking 5 minutes before the game because he was new to PF and did nto know abotu traits. Glad that was not my table and fought him on having the book to speed things up. Then I was I called over to enforce he could not pick campaign traits.

Pre-gen is a last resort.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Well in case one, you could steer the conversation a bit to help them pick something. If I had an hour, I would have pressed the make something now or pick a pre-gen at about 30 min in honestly. The whole is there a fantasy race you like? What do you want to be able to do in game? Do you like magic? Bows? nature? You know talk with them. I do realize that there are the rare few who are just indecisive as all heck and refuse to commit to anything...but you would be surprised how much you can steer people with the right way of talking with them. Yes I am actually quite good at talking with people. You would not realize it from how much of an asshat I can be on the forums...but I am quite good at reading people and that lets me interact with them quite easily.

The second case, tell the person that he is being inconsiderate to the other players at the table and he needs to either pick traits in the next 5 min or he will not have a legal character and he can either play a pre-gen or go home. He has the option to change those traits at a later time after all. That isn't really a new player issue, that is I am a jerk issue honestly.


I agree, but the first case, was an example of me helping two people. For the first hour she flip flopped with 4 different classes. She played D&D before so she knew alittle and lotsa wrong stuff, that hurt. Then when she asked me what was the best way to build each class and how she could get a pet for every class becasue in 3.5 yada yada yada. It became less of my helping her as to, "hey I know this game better than you the expert helping everyone else". So I dotter over her less.

Yes the second case, jerk. But still a new player issue getting over loaded with info that stops a game. Those were examples I threatened peopel with pregens.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Yeah, I try not to help more then one new player at a time. If I have to, I will handle them in sequence (that is rare tho as there is generally more experienced players to newbies in most cases). I find splitting attention just makes everything take longer. So the more experienced of the two gets one copy of the book to look over while the complete newbie gets taken care of, then I go to her and help her finish. But like I said, it's all about reading people...yes which I realize is a hard skill for gamer geeks to learn :P .

Grand Lodge

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Finlanderboy, Cold Napalm
Can I summarise what it boils down to. New players best don't make their own chatacter, they are best made for them by an experienced player.

Grand Lodge 4/5

I don't make there characters for them (okay sometimes I do if the person isn't game mechanics inclined)...I point out where in the book there are things relevant to what they want to make. Along with a quick summary of what some of the abilities do if they need it. Otherwise, they would have to read the whole core book...half of which is for the GM :P .

Grand Lodge

Cold Napalm
What do you do when they decide for subpar / stupid option - mainly based on a flashy name. After all - at that stage they are still blissfully unaware about the numbers below the hood driving the game and the hundreds of threads here discussing strong option and pointing out trap options.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

Repeat after me:

Held action to interrupt the spell-caster.

Concentration checks in pathfinder are hard, and damage scales MUCH faster than concentration checks even if your character is built worse than do it yourself furniture.

Use a ranged weapon, or a half/none spell, or better yet a magic missle. Wait for the caster to start and interrupt them- works MUCH better than a dispel magic or hoping that you both memorized the same spell- all you have to do is resist the urge to have your turn NOW.

Also I would like to second the danger room concept. PM me if you want help with this.

Though I can see the argument against, I like the idea that this might offer a chronicle. One with no XP or PP similar to the quests. Maybe something to update/purchase a secondary weapon at a discount. Or delay receiving a feat one level to replace an earlier one. Or making the WBG (now UE?) fireworks available to purchase. Or a discounted potion/scroll of fly.

Dark Archive

Isn't Veterans Vault a sort of danger room scenario? A lot of the serious effects that players need to learn to prepare for are introduced in a way/environment that means they aren't overpowering.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Thod wrote:

Cold Napalm

What do you do when they decide for subpar / stupid option - mainly based on a flashy name. After all - at that stage they are still blissfully unaware about the numbers below the hood driving the game and the hundreds of threads here discussing strong option and pointing out trap options.

I let them. They can try it out and see for themselves if they really want to.


I agree with napalm.

I always say smart play beats smart builds. So a crappy build played intelligently will still kick butt. If someone has some weak features I will suggest ways to improve them and make them aware that it is not optimized. I want them to know they could do X as well.

I always ask people what they think their character's strong points and weak points are. So they understand what they bring and do not bring to the table. The people that can not answer this or are gravely mistaken are issue players. (I had a univseralist wizard spend feats on skill focus and honestly claim he would be more dangerous then a fighter with a bow throwing his staff)


Thod wrote:

Cold Napalm

How do you manage to advice a brand new player in 30 minutes to build up a good character. I'm talking here a new player who has never played RPG before.

It takes me half and hour just to talk a brand new player through the choice of race (7 core races) and class (11 classes). That leaves me with <2 min to describe the race or class, to point out background, advantages, disadvantages, lore, suitability.

Brand new players should play a human, elf or dwarf fighter for their first character.

Maybe...

5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Finland—Tampere aka Rei

Funky Badger wrote:
Thod wrote:

Cold Napalm

How do you manage to advice a brand new player in 30 minutes to build up a good character. I'm talking here a new player who has never played RPG before.

It takes me half and hour just to talk a brand new player through the choice of race (7 core races) and class (11 classes). That leaves me with <2 min to describe the race or class, to point out background, advantages, disadvantages, lore, suitability.

Brand new players should play a human, elf or dwarf fighter for their first character.

Maybe...

My first character was a human fighter. I found the character herself to be alright as a character, but mechanically, she was horribly boring to play (vanilla fighter made in Season 0 who just swung a greataxe and did absolutely nothing else). Even if a fighter is easy to pick up, unless someone works with a new player to figure out what they actually want to play, you're might wind up with someone playing a character they don't want to play, even with the leeway given by first-level characters being rebuildable (it can easily take more than three scenarios to figure out the reason you're not getting everything out of the game is the mechanics of your character).

Currently, I have seven active PFS characters, every single one of which has some level of casting capability; the fighter, may she rest in peace, perished last year after being unused for a good three years. I doubt I'd have gotten into this game nearly as deeply as I did if I'd just forced myself to play with that first character.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Funky Badger wrote:
Thod wrote:

Cold Napalm

How do you manage to advice a brand new player in 30 minutes to build up a good character. I'm talking here a new player who has never played RPG before.

It takes me half and hour just to talk a brand new player through the choice of race (7 core races) and class (11 classes). That leaves me with <2 min to describe the race or class, to point out background, advantages, disadvantages, lore, suitability.

Brand new players should play a human, elf or dwarf fighter for their first character.

Maybe...

Absolutely not. New players should play what they like. We as experienced player should point them in the right direction so they can play what they like and not suck.


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I would never say anyone can only play one thing. However, I would try very hard to steer them away from some things. And a basic fighter does seem to be one of the easiest ways to learn the basic weapon combat rules.

Almost 2/3 of the new players I've talked to want to play rogue, monk, arcane trickster, mystic theurge, dragon disciple, etc...

Builds that even very experienced players have difficulty building effectively and playing well. Give one to a complete noob and they seem to decide the system sucks. Whereas in reality, they picked something mostly because of the name and fluff which it doesn't necessarily live up to. Or at least not easily.

That is why I have usually 4 kinda generic and simple but perfectly playable builds with me. Each includes some suggestions written on the sheet about what skills, feats, and/or purchases might be a good idea for the first few levels.

They are better than the pre-gens but rely more on the simpler rules, static bonuses, and the CRB. But I don't dump and stat to rock bottom and try to give them a few spread out and useful skills so they have things to try and do in many situations.

I specifically tell them it is not a tricked out death machine and once you get more used to the rules you may want to make something different. But it seems to work better than trying to help them create Dr Jekyl/Hyde right out of the gate. (Then watching them fail and never come back.)

In fact, I might start a new thread this evening to discuss exactly that. New player builds and suggestions that I can bring to PFS events.


But then you get players who have mistaken notions such as rogues aren't an npc class, and the whole table suffers. It's best if we give them guidance such as "Don't play a non-caster class".


ericthetolle wrote:
But then you get players who have mistaken notions such as rogues aren't an npc class, and the whole table suffers. It's best if we give them guidance such as "Don't play a non-caster class".

Sorry, but I don't understand what you meant.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Eric is being a troll. He's suggesting that only spellcasters are viable characters. (This is the guy who also wrote "If we allow people to just take 20 on searching for traps, it might lead to someone playing a mundane character over a spell caster- and that would just be wrong.")


Cold Napalm wrote:
Funky Badger wrote:
Thod wrote:

Cold Napalm

How do you manage to advice a brand new player in 30 minutes to build up a good character. I'm talking here a new player who has never played RPG before.

It takes me half and hour just to talk a brand new player through the choice of race (7 core races) and class (11 classes). That leaves me with <2 min to describe the race or class, to point out background, advantages, disadvantages, lore, suitability.

Brand new players should play a human, elf or dwarf fighter for their first character.

Maybe...

Absolutely not. New players should play what they like. We as experienced player should point them in the right direction so they can play what they like and not suck.

Give a player with no experience a complex character and they'll make a mess of it.

People should learn to run before they can walk. Can can a beginner possibly want to play a, for example, Arcane Duelist?

And if they want to play that so bad, do what everyone else does and buy the book, read it, and learn the rules.


Rei wrote:


My first character was a human fighter. I found the character herself to be alright as a character, but mechanically, she was horribly boring to play (vanilla fighter made in Season 0 who just swung a greataxe and did absolutely nothing else). Even if a fighter is easy to pick up, unless someone works with a new player to figure out what they actually want to play, you're might wind up with someone playing a character they don't want to play, even with the leeway given by first-level characters being rebuildable (it can easily take more than three scenarios to figure out the reason you're not getting everything out of the game is the mechanics of your character).

1st session - give them a fighter. If they enjoy roleplaying then they'll get a book and read it. Learning the system, then they'll create their own character...

...just like everyone else does, surely?

5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Finland—Tampere aka Rei

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Funky Badger wrote:

1st session - give them a fighter. If they enjoy roleplaying then they'll get a book and read it. Learning the system, then they'll create their own character...

...just like everyone else does, surely?

But what if that newbie player you're handing the fighter to feels overshadowed by characters whose classes fit the social role in the party better than the guy with the big weapon who occasionally hits things, or doesn't like the feeling of being the front line and would prefer to scout, support or heal while working on getting the hang of the system? Why not give them the option of, perhaps, the core iconics (fighter, cleric, rogue, wizard) and take a few minutes to go over the specialties of each? Or ask the player what level of complexity they're willing to deal with, and go from there, time permitting of course?

Or what if you have a table consisting entirely of complete newbies?


Chris Mortika wrote:
Eric is being a troll. He's suggesting that only spellcasters are viable characters. (This is the guy who also wrote "If we allow people to just take 20 on searching for traps, it might lead to someone playing a mundane character over a spell caster- and that would just be wrong.")

I'm being a bit sarcastic, but I'm also taking the consensus of the community to its logical conclusion. With the increased difficulty in Season 4, and the rumors that Season 5 will be even tougher, it makes sense that if we are going to train up players, then we should train them to make good choices in creating characters- and that means avoiding fighters, rogues and monks.

Based on what I've heard here, it's the duty of a good GM to show the player how to play an urban ranger, archeologist bard or vivisectionist alchemist instead of a rogue.

Silver Crusade

Fighters can stomp some serious butt, what's wrong with fighters exactly?

Shadow Lodge

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I actually wouldn't give a fighter to a newbie, because I think they are harder to play in Pathfinder than they were in earlier editions. I think of Sorcerer as the perfect starter character.

Sovereign Court 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
ericthetolle wrote:
I'm being a bit sarcastic, but I'm also taking the consensus of the community to its logical conclusion. With the increased difficulty in Season 4, and the rumors that Season 5 will be even tougher, it makes sense that if we are going to train up players, then we should train them to make good choices in creating characters- and that means avoiding fighters, rogues and monks.

I'm curious where this rumor comes from. I certainly haven't heard it before. I was under the impression that the difficulty wasn't changing, just how wealth and faction missions worked.

Also, if you're teaching someone to avoid classes because they're underpowered, then you're doing it wrong. Granted, you may need a bit more optimization for a monk or a rogue to be the same power level as other classes, but all of them can be competent members of a party. We are not at the point of difficulty where everyone needs to bring super-optimized builds or you're going to die. A rogue may not be as good as a ninja, archaeologist bard or urban ranger (can't be a vivisectionist in PFS), but if it is built well, then it can be good enough. If that means I need to spend more time helping players with good builds, then I will.

Besides, it's way more important to help new players with tactics and strategy than it is getting every single DPR out of their build. If I have multiple rogues as a GM, I will have one of them get into flanking position and ready for their buddy to get into flank so they can both sneak attack. I am constantly surprised by the number of players who are surprised by that tactic.

EDIT: I will also very rarely complain about a well-built Fighter, especially an archer.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Funky Badger wrote:


Give a player with no experience a complex character and they'll make a mess of it.

People should learn to run before they can walk. Can can a beginner possibly want to play a, for example, Arcane Duelist?

And if they want to play that so bad, do what everyone else does and buy the book, read it, and learn the rules.

Umm...no they won't. This system is not that hard to learn when you put your mind to it. You just have to get them to focus. That is the hardest part of running a game. Getting everyone to focus.

And arcane duelist is NOT complex. What I consider complex is well made monks, EKs, MT and such. builds that are so underpowered normally, that not only do you need a good build, but you have to be REALLY on ball with the tactics to make work...at all. Now if a newbie wanted to play one of these characters, I would warn them of the rather high difficulty...and if they still REALLY want to do it, I would help them build and more importantly PLAY there character so they do not suck and can have fun.

And if you have that attitude at the start, you think they will have much fun? If the newbie does not have fun, they will NOT buy the books, read it and learn the rules because they won't really be that interested in the game. They may not even come BACK. You get them interested first...the other party will happen shortly afterwards.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Iammars wrote:
ericthetolle wrote:
I'm being a bit sarcastic, but I'm also taking the consensus of the community to its logical conclusion. With the increased difficulty in Season 4, and the rumors that Season 5 will be even tougher, it makes sense that if we are going to train up players, then we should train them to make good choices in creating characters- and that means avoiding fighters, rogues and monks.

I'm curious where this rumor comes from. I certainly haven't heard it before. I was under the impression that the difficulty wasn't changing, just how wealth and faction missions worked.

This is a common rumor. Every season has gotten harder then the one before overall...so people just assume that season 5 will be harder. Most likely not the jump we saw between 3 and 4...but that is the assumption. Now if it will actually happen or not is another matter...but given the tendency for creep, I think we will see a rise in difficulty in season 5.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Agent, United Kingdom—England—Chester aka Paz

Here is a comment from Mark on the difficulty level of season 5:

Mark Moreland wrote:
Referring only to the OP, we hear your concerns and are watching the difficulty of the campaign closely to try to reach that ever-elisive balance that will both serve the overall needs of the campaign and players of all levels of experience. In terms of what your VL and 4-star GM friends told you, I don't know how they have insight into the difficulty of Season 5, as the only folks who know how the "hard mode dial" is going to be set are John, Mike, me, and the freelancers with whom we've already shared our Season 5 design guide.

Emphasis mine. Anyone claiming to know that season 5 will be more difficult is getting ahead of themselves.

Grand Lodge

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New players and what classes/races are right for them

Thanks for all the input. Please accept opinions from others. This isn't black and white !!

Advantage of Fighters and simple builds: they are quicker to pick up. A player more easily gets closer to the potential that this build represents

Advantage of all goes: a player has the opportunity to chose what he really likes

Aspects to look out for:
Some builds/classes are not CRB. Players are not allowed to play them unless they own the books. A build that needs 5 books (yes I know - there are cheap pdfs for the hardbound ones available) in addition to the CRB might be good for Paizo but could be too much of an investment for a new player. And advising him/her to have an illegal build isn't a good idea.

Complex vs simple builds: Ideally a player will read more in immerse himself/herself. The more he wants to do that / is capable - the more complex a build could be. But you also have the opposite - players who like to role play and only like to pick up a minimum of rules. They might spend 5 hours on a back story but will flip only through a rule book if they are forced to (aka make a character, upgrade it).

So there is no single solution. A solution needs to be tailored to the player.

Silver Crusade

Fighters need to be wise when they select feats, because they essentially *are* their feats. That being said, with the lorewarden archetype, they can contribute to the knowledge end of things as well. I'll tell you my dwarf tank fighter is perfect for plugging up doorways for indoor scenarios. He's not so great outside, because he's slow, but no character is perfect.

I'll give new people some advice: it doesn't sound like much when you read it, but friendly switch feat is boss in PFS. At least, in my opinion.

Silver Crusade

David Bowles wrote:


I'll give new people some advice: it doesn't sound like much when you read it, but friendly switch feat is boss in PFS. At least, in my opinion.

What book is this from? I had never heard of it before, so I looked it up on the SRD, and it looks cool. But it's the first thing I've ever seen on the SRD without a mention of what book it comes from.

5/5 Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka Pirate Rob

It's from Seeker of Secrets.

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