How do people feel about Paizo's "new" base classes?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Kirth Gersen wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
I am curious since you have mentioned this before, what are the usual objections you've faced to a classless system, and how does kirthfinder address these concerns while being more modular?

I've gotten a lot of two basic statements:

1. "If there aren't classes, it just ain't D&D!"
2. "If I wanted to play a classless game, I'd play GURPS or HERO."

To these, sometimes there's a third:
3. "I don't want to have to build a new class every time I make a character. Just give me a package!"

Objection #2 you can deal with by pointing out that other systems aren't compatible with Pathfinder APs, which presumably people are interested in or they wouldn't be on the Paizo boards to begin with. Objection #1 is simply old-skool preference and can't be addressed with logical arguments; you can only take it or leave it.

For Objection #3, for some reason a large number of options is a lot more palatable to people if you group them under general "classes" and then describe how to combine them later on. No one screamed bloody murder when Paizo added rogue talents, for example, so I took that idea and ran with it: almost all classes in "Kirthfinder" get talents, and a lot of those talents were ripped off from prestige classes, which obviated the need for most of the latter as a separate thing.

---

After all that, there's a fourth objection, from people who can't mentally separate the "crunch" from the "fluff." To those people, a "ninja" has to wear black pajamas, is required to do backflips, and must use shuriken in ranged combat -- for some reason they get fixated on these as non-negotiable things that somehow need to be hard-coded into a separate class. For those people wanting to play a ninja, a rogue with all of the abilities of a ninja won't work for them, because you didn't cut-and-paste the entire class, change the name of class and the names of all the class features, and declare that they need pajamas. Some of these people will tell you that they want to run a straight...

Tolkien setting. Wouldn't elite goblin scouts and jobbers be in essence, goblin ninjas?


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3.5 Loyalist wrote:
Tolkien setting. Wouldn't elite goblin scouts and jobbers be in essence, goblin ninjas?

One would think. But to the people who insist that "ninja = black pajama'd Sho Kusugi clones ONLY," that sort of logic doesn't work.


3.5 Loyalist wrote:
Tolkien setting. Wouldn't elite goblin scouts and jobbers be in essence, goblin ninjas?

Or would they be goblin Rangers or Rogues?

What makes them closer to Ninja, other than that Ninja is a more effective class than Rogue?


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thejeff wrote:
What makes them closer to Ninja, other than that Ninja is a more effective class than Rogue?

For that matter, what makes "ninja" less Tolkien-y than "rogue," other than some names? If we change the name "ninja" to "skulker," and change "ki powers" to "underhanded tricks," does he suddenly become non-Oriental and pro-Tolkien? Or does the Universe implode?


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Kirth Gersen wrote:
thejeff wrote:
What makes them closer to Ninja, other than that Ninja is a more effective class than Rogue?
For that matter, what makes "ninja" less Tolkien-y than "rogue," other than some names? If we change the name "ninja" to "skulker," and change "ki powers" to "underhanded tricks," does he suddenly become non-Oriental and pro-Tolkien? Or does the Universe implode?

Yep ... it's all fluff, and fluff is mutable. Class name, spell names, ability names, all of that is meaningless. You don't like the sound of it, change it.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
thejeff wrote:
What makes them closer to Ninja, other than that Ninja is a more effective class than Rogue?
For that matter, what makes "ninja" less Tolkien-y than "rogue," other than some names? If we change the name "ninja" to "skulker," and change "ki powers" to "underhanded tricks," does he suddenly become non-Oriental and pro-Tolkien? Or does the Universe implode?

Ninjas have more magic-type stuff that doesn't fit as well with Tolkien in my opinion. But then I don't think most PF fits very well.

But really I was just curious if there was something that made Ninjas a better representation of "elite goblin scouts and jobbers" than Rogues or Rangers?


That's just it ... if you want to run Tolkien (Dear Celestia, why?!), then you just say 'no ninjas' if you don't think they fit. Or anything else. Meanwhile, the folks who run other styles of games can use it.

Everybody wins.


Dear Celestia?

Ninjas aren't really that magical... Smoke bombs, stealth, and acrobatics. Not too magical there.


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Tolkien's world is magic heavy. Heavy enough that it took forever before one of the most learned individuals and a literal wizard figured that Bilbo's ring wasn't just a drop in the ocean. That being said, Ninjas are what you make of them. The core rogue has some magical qualities as well, including the ability to learn to cast low level spells better than real mages (SLAs instead of spells, require no components, cannot be countered, etc). You can just choose not to pick those if you want a more mundane rogue.

Ninja is much the same. The majority of their ki abilities aren't particularly flashy and they have many useful abilities that aren't specifically magical (including poison use, death attack, and the ability to periodically get extra attacks).


I still don't know why Ninjas are such a better fit for "elite goblin scouts and jobbers".


Kirth Gersen wrote:
thejeff wrote:
What makes them closer to Ninja, other than that Ninja is a more effective class than Rogue?
For that matter, what makes "ninja" less Tolkien-y than "rogue," other than some names? If we change the name "ninja" to "skulker," and change "ki powers" to "underhanded tricks," does he suddenly become non-Oriental and pro-Tolkien? Or does the Universe implode?

There is nothing wrong with reskinning a class to make it suit the needs of your game, but this is a pretty advanced concept role-playing wise.

When a new player opens the books, they look at the name of the class and they look at the pictures and either go "That looks cool, I want to be that" or "That reminds me of character X, I want to be that".

This is why, if you aren't playing in a 3 class system, the more classes the merrier. Mechanics are something veterans should worry about, and that's where homebrew, third party and reskins come in. Novices should really just be expected to pick a class and run with it until they've mastered the game.

90% of ninjas will be in black pjs, 90% of samurai will wield katanas and 90% of monks will be kung fu masters. And 90% of paladins will be white knights, 90% of wizards will wear robes and 90% of druids will wear brown and green. This is a reality of class based games, like it or not. You can break the mold, but most won't, because it makes the game smoother.

The class as archetype allows people to choose a character concept out of the box and paint by numbers, making every druid potentially unique, but most druids recognizable as druids. This is a simple and effective means of storytelling. Bad guys wear black hats, good guys wear white, wizards wear robes.

Then, once you've mastered that, go nuts. I agree that purists need to pull their heads out of the sand and acknowledge that once you get past a certain level of gaming experience, mechanics are just mechanics. A goblin scout could easily be a rogue or a ninja or a ranger or a druid or an inquisitor. And a japanese ninja could easily be any of those classes too (maybe not a druid, but you get the point.)

But classes are a better starting point than having to choose 6 character features from hundreds at level 1 and then having to do that every time you level up, from a novice pov. Someone says "I want to be a ninja", boom, there's the ninja class. Someone says "I want to be King Arthur" boom, theres the fighter, paladin or cavalier. Simple choices to cover a host of potential options. And the mechanics are fairly irrelevant to the choice. A picture and a class name get the ball rolling, and trust in paizo to make the mechanics fly. (Certainly some tweaking could and should happen, *cough* rogue *cough* but this is again an advanced concept. Which is probably why the base classes are in the advanced players handbook)

I love playing a game where I get to tailor my character to be what I want it to be, and in my youth games like fallout and morrowind led me to explore gamma-world and WOD for those systems. But when I started with D&D 2E, I looked at the names and the pictures and let the classes teach me how to play the game, one character at a time. It's good game design.


@ Dr. CM -- great post regarding experience levels; and, yes, class-based games are probably a lot easier for new players -- I know I started with them, way back in the day. That said, I and a lot of the people I've played with have been playing dozens of RPGs for 30+ years, so "past a certain level of gaming experience" is pretty much the standpoint we're coming from!


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thejeff wrote:

I still don't know why Ninjas are such a better fit for "elite goblin scouts and jobbers".

They can situationally grant themselves an extra attack or a +4 untyped bonus to Stealth. They also increase the DC to track them or notice them when they are stationary and not taking actions (this makes them ideal for both scouting or ambushes). At 6th level they can effectively double-move while ignoring difficult terrain. This also makes them really good as scouts in the swampy or forested locations that you see frequently in the Lord of the Rings.

That's without counting tricks.


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thejeff wrote:

I still don't know why Ninjas are such a better fit for "elite goblin scouts and jobbers".

Not better, just "a fit". The mechanics say: This is a mobile stealth class with power points to govern their stealth/striker capabilities.

This sounds like a scout to me.

The fluff says: These are asians in pyjamas who are masters of killing in the shadows with strange abilities powered by ki.

The fluff is a valuable guide to give a player a familiar archetype to role-play, but a different set of fluff can still fit the mechanics. And I don't see it as meta-gaming to reskin a class for those purposes.


There is no fluff anywhere stating you have to wear PJs to be in the ninja class. I don't know where everyone gets that from, but it bothers me. To my knowledge only alignment restrictions and code of conduct really mix roleplaying into mechanics.


Zhayne wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
thejeff wrote:
What makes them closer to Ninja, other than that Ninja is a more effective class than Rogue?
For that matter, what makes "ninja" less Tolkien-y than "rogue," other than some names? If we change the name "ninja" to "skulker," and change "ki powers" to "underhanded tricks," does he suddenly become non-Oriental and pro-Tolkien? Or does the Universe implode?
Yep ... it's all fluff, and fluff is mutable. Class name, spell names, ability names, all of that is meaningless. You don't like the sound of it, change it.

This... is only partially true.

Let me clarify. While it's definitely true that fluff is theoretically readily changeable, it's still important for "suggestion" factor.

It's one of the reasons that people like the class-based systems: there's an inherent recognition of the general concept built-in to the class itself.

There's also value in designing around the class-based idea in the first place. For example, if someone wants to play a character that swings his sword and casts magic, in a free-form skill system it tends to be all-to-easy to completely break the system (either by being too powerful or too weak) without trying. In the game system like PF, on the other hand, we have a magus, who is (on a very rough scale) more or less balanced with a fighter and a wizard*. One of the values of having a class-based system is to grant a general (if broad) level of power.

This brings the following benefits (though there are undoubtedly more): 1) world creation naturally flows from such defined limits and abilities, 2) character ideas readily spring from the prefab suggestions, 3) [related to "2"] multiple people can play the same basic idea, but still have very different characters, 3) everyone at the table understands the basic ideas behind a given character, 4) it's easier to get a bead on what's necessary for your character to function well.

Benefit "1" is something of a surprise element of such a system. It's one I use all of the time**, though I couldn't have told you that in so many words, for the longest time. It's one of the things that makes Golarion dynamic, and makes worlds so internally consistent. Having a suite of predefined abilities allows us to create worlds that function the way we want them to function, which is over-all a solid place to be. (It is also, incidentally, why many people hate what's happened to, say, Forgotten Realms over the years.)

Benefit "2" and "3" are kind of the same benefit, but kind of different.
For part "2", it means that people can go into the game with certain broad expectations and that there becomes a kind of social contract that people understand "this is the kind of game we're playing", and can get that idea all without people having to sit and explain most things to said player. "3" let's people go, "Hey, I like this one guy, and this is kind of similar, but I want to see what would happen if someone similar was like this instead..." and so on. It also allows discussion to start because when people are exposed to different sides of something they thought they knew, it forces them to think and, often, talk it over with someone who comes up with a different vision of the same thing... and most importantly allows them both to start from the same base.

The first three benefits that I listed all have something in common: consistency and being a solid foundation for imagination to build off of. My wife and I like to refer to Pathfinder as an "imagination focusing tool", because, ultimately, that's what it is. And, in general, that's what class-based systems are: an imagination focusing tool, set to a particular gradient of "focus".

Skill-based systems, on the other hand, are exceedingly broad and oftentimes lack a solid-enough foundation for imagination to take a hold of, causing it to flounder before the over-abundance of options - kind of like pouring too much fertilizer onto a plant and causing it to burn out. "Too much of a good thing" as it were - too much freedom in this case, without enough guidance.

It should be noted that I am not against skill-based systems. I think they can function perfectly well. However, I'm noting, now, that skill-based systems have pit-falls, and those potential pit-falls include the complete separation of fluff from the mechanics, which can harm imagination, communication, and creativity.

This is one of the reasons why, despite arguments to the contrary, Paladins needing to be lawful good may well be a "thing" in a core system - if you're dealing with substantially different base ideas, imagination - especially collective imagination - can start to falter, and it can actually cause collaborative story-telling groups to fracture. The class based systems give cohesion and focus.

These are also reasons why having a spell named "fireball" and having it be a third-level spell in the core is an important thing as well. A lot of creatures are variously immune to or resistant to fire (and thus fireball), meaning that it's potent, but not the most potent, and thus validates itself in the level that it holds. It also ensures that everyone - more or less - understands what's going on at the table. If I instead created "Twin Shiva's Icy Motorbike"***, I either have the luxury of saying, "it's just like fireball, only ice and far more radical" or I have to carefully explain in fine detail what the spell does... something that's time-consuming and can be frustrating if I give the wrong idea in the heat of the moment at a table.

These are the predominant reasons that fluff has an important place at the table in Core systems, including things like ninjas, paladins, and the like; simultaneously, this is why many people object to new classes and the fluff therein, because it messes with their sense of consistency.

The fourth of the expected benefits of a class based system that I outlined above is why there are so many "please fix the monk/rogues suck" threads. Having the prefabbed classes provides at least a rough sense of balance, and when that sense is thrown off heavily enough... we start to question the system, even if it's over-all pretty solid (which PF is).

While it seems like an easy enough argument to make, "Well, just make sure the skills are balanced with each other", you're actually asking far more than that seems because, unlike a class, a given skill must be balanced across all the skills in the game, and that's either really irritating, really difficult, really complicate, or the game is extremely simplistic (which is not actually a bad thing in all cases, but does not fit with many styles of play).

And before you hold 4E as a paragon of balance, I wish to clarify that "balance" isn't a holy grail. Yes, 4E was hyper-balanced, and too much so. But that doesn't mean that all semblance of balance should be thrown out the window.

There's a fine line, and the d20 system (and Pathfinder) walks it pretty well, over-all.

All that said, skill-based systems can work, and can work pretty well. But class-based systems aren't bad game design. Similarly, inherent fluff isn't bad game design. When it's there, it's a focusing tool to get the imagination working along certain lines.

That's one reason I like rogues and ninjas both, and that I like inherently lawful good paladins and so on. Having those inherent restrictions and those additional options actually creates solid stories because of those restrictions and additional options.

The system becomes an "imagination focusing tool". I also like free-form skill systems, too, but they do different things.

* Yes, I'm making that claim... at least compared to a free-form skill-based system. The important thing to note is the context in which the statement is given. In the realm of PF by itself, the statement is not true. In comparing PF to the other systems I've seen, it is.
** Seriously: there are so many ideas you guys never get to see. These are just a few.
*** Final Fantasy 13, you are so daggum weird.


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Dr. Calvin Murgunstrumm wrote:
thejeff wrote:

I still don't know why Ninjas are such a better fit for "elite goblin scouts and jobbers".

Not better, just "a fit". The mechanics say: This is a mobile stealth class with power points to govern their stealth/striker capabilities.

This sounds like a scout to me.

The fluff says: These are asians in pyjamas who are masters of killing in the shadows with strange abilities powered by ki.

The fluff is a valuable guide to give a player a familiar archetype to role-play, but a different set of fluff can still fit the mechanics. And I don't see it as meta-gaming to reskin a class for those purposes.

I'm currently playing a dual-discipline psion (shaper/egoist) who thematically is a wild kellid witch with a style that is like a hybrid between a druid and a witch (she is a caster who calls spiritual beasts and changes into a variety of creepy forms). Her psicrystal is her former mentor's eyesocket polished into an amulet with an opalescent gem within the socket (the gem is actually not a gem at all but a concentrated spiritual essence from her mentor). Her psicrystal serves as they eye of her dead mentor on her journeys as she helps her young pupil on her journey.

During a recent tabletop game with her, she transformed into a centipede and began burrowing through the ground. Later she called a "phantom wolf" to attack the orcs who were chasing her. Later still her fetish (her psicrystal) transformed into a black cat. Everyone at the table was like "whoa I love your character, what is she!?".

"A psion."
Everyone else - O.o


Tacticslion wrote:
That's one reason I like rogues and ninjas both, and that I like inherently lawful good paladins and so on. Having those inherent restrictions and those additional options actually creates solid stories because of those restrictions and additional options.

I like creating my own story thanks. Removing options removes story. Its only convenient if its your own of course.


Kirth Gersen wrote:


3.5 Loyalist wrote:


Tolkien setting. Wouldn't elite goblin scouts and jobbers be in essence, goblin ninjas?
One would think. But to the people who insist that "ninja = black pajama'd Sho Kusugi clones ONLY," that sort of logic doesn't work.

The it's "just fluff" argument grates on me a bit. If it was "just fluff" there would be no difference. There is, if very little. It's about the mechanics, not the fluff.

And, to paraphrase thejeff, why wouldn't those sneaky Goblins be Rogues? Should I only make sneaky Goblins Ninja? Should I make all sneaky people Ninja? Why do I need two sneaky classes, Rogue and Ninja, that are so similar? Should I just use the Ninja for that one PC who wants it? Because it's mechanically, slightly, superior? Because he's the only one in the world who works this specific way? Should I retcon Ninja in all over the place? Should I use some formula to divide the current sneaky NPCs / PCs into one class or the other? Or should I just go with Rogues and not use Ninja?

Conservation of time / energy says just go with the last option. Especially when the difference between the classes is not too great. Mind you I'd be saying the same thing (why use the new class) if the original stealth class had been Ninja and the Rogue was the new boy in town...

If a class brings something significantly new / useful (say mounted combat / horse survivability with the Cavalier) I'm more apt to want to do the work. Otherwise, as others have said, just fix the Rogue and have done with it. It's not like we are talking massive differences here, just some. Enough to yield a perceived advantage of course...


ninja has no requirement to wear pajamas

Ninja could just as easily be
a magically gifted cat burglar with a hint of alchemical knowledge
an assassin of any flavor, doesn't matter whether she wears pajamas, a school uniform or a leather catsuit
a government intelligence agent with a handful of thematic gadgets
a military scout with some sorcerous blood

and that is just the tip of the ice berg


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Kirth Gersen wrote:
@ Dr. CM -- great post regarding experience levels; and, yes, class-based games are probably a lot easier for new players -- I know I started with them, way back in the day. That said, I and a lot of the people I've played with have been playing dozens of RPGs for 30+ years, so "past a certain level of gaming experience" is pretty much the standpoint we're coming from!

This is why I think 3E and Pathfinder are really successful games. They still hold true to the "Paint by Numbers" class systems for beginners, but they also offer the paints and brushes to start painting your own pictures once you've mastered the concepts.

Sometimes they don't always do the job (I agree, not all the multiclassing options are optimal), but 3.x was really the first time your class didn't have to define your character the way it did in previous D&D editions without arcane rules. (And yes 2E boosters, unless you were an elven fighter/mage/thief, your class was probably the first thing you'd look at to define the shape of a character. Your kit was probably the second thing)

Multiclassing, feats AND skills instead of proficiencies and errata for Gesalts, Warrior/Adept/Expert systems and the OGL to provide hundreds of different classes with different mechanics. It was certainly unbalanced, but the options were limitless(I loved reskinning Star Wars Nobles for D&D games!) and pathfinder's reverse compatibility enables you to curate those options while keeping it's core game a little more polished than 3.5.

It's the system's initial simplicity and real flexibility that kept it strong while 4E turned into "Everybody's a Warlock" tapioca pudding.


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I see classes as a sort of building block to making a greater whole. Think of it like LEGOs. You could cast plastic into the correct shape for whatever you wanted to make or you could use preconstructed blocks and modular foundation. That's how I see a class based system.

See, I've tried point systems and they usually come out as being very swingy when it comes to balance. Without really trying you can often make severely under or over powered characters, and there is rarely a method to set out the qualities of powers.

A class system is really attractive from design standpoint. You can create a rather robust and well designed system and by making classes that can handle at least 3 different forms of characters (preferably more) then you're doing very well.

RPG systems have never needed things like Alignment to be good or to allow players to have something. Instead it ensures we cannot have something. Until there is a full BAB 1/2 divine caster that doesn't have the inborn limiting fluff, people simply cannot play such a character no matter how much they want to unless their GM is cool (and even then you're boned in PFS).


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Fluff is fine, yes. It's a good starting point. But players should realize, or be told if they haven't, that it's not set in stone. This comes in especially often with people I know for class names. I frequently remind them that class is not concept. A class is a series of level-locked mechanical abilities that you use, singularly or in tandem, to realize a character concept.

You can be a Barbarian (class) without being a barbarian (concept), and vice versa. Not all Monks are monks, and not all monks are Monks. Assassins too.

This is the primary reason I loathe alignment restrictions on classes etc. They serve as an unnecessary straitjacket. If I lie too much, I can't get better at punching people in the face?


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Ashiel wrote:


I'm currently playing a dual-discipline psion (shaper/egoist) who thematically is a wild kellid witch with a style that is like a hybrid between a druid and a witch (she is a caster who calls spiritual beasts and changes into a variety of creepy forms). Her psicrystal is her former mentor's eyesocket polished into an amulet with an opalescent gem within the socket (the gem is actually not a gem at all but a concentrated spiritual essence from her mentor). Her psicrystal serves as they eye of her dead mentor on her journeys as she helps her young pupil on her journey.

During a recent tabletop game with her, she transformed into a centipede and began burrowing through the ground. Later she called a "phantom wolf" to attack the orcs who were chasing her. Later still her fetish (her psicrystal) transformed into a black cat. Everyone at the table was like "whoa I love your character, what is she!?".

"A psion."
Everyone else - O.o

Awesome. This is exactly why pathfinder rocks. You could probably build your concept in 6 different ways and still be able to roleplay what you want. Once you get the system, you get to own the fluff.


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Dr. Calvin Murgunstrumm wrote:
Ashiel wrote:


I'm currently playing a dual-discipline psion (shaper/egoist) who thematically is a wild kellid witch with a style that is like a hybrid between a druid and a witch (she is a caster who calls spiritual beasts and changes into a variety of creepy forms). Her psicrystal is her former mentor's eyesocket polished into an amulet with an opalescent gem within the socket (the gem is actually not a gem at all but a concentrated spiritual essence from her mentor). Her psicrystal serves as they eye of her dead mentor on her journeys as she helps her young pupil on her journey.

During a recent tabletop game with her, she transformed into a centipede and began burrowing through the ground. Later she called a "phantom wolf" to attack the orcs who were chasing her. Later still her fetish (her psicrystal) transformed into a black cat. Everyone at the table was like "whoa I love your character, what is she!?".

"A psion."
Everyone else - O.o

Awesome. This is exactly why pathfinder rocks. You could probably build your concept in 6 different ways and still be able to roleplay what you want. Once you get the system, you get to own the fluff.

All my +s are belong to this. :P

One of the best classes in core for playing a samurai is the Barbarian. :P

It's one of the reasons I love psionics. Beautifully robust system, extremely customizable, and incessantly fluffable! My brother used my psionic monk to create a well-intentioned assassin in the spirit and flavor of the assassins from Assassin's creed. :P


Kthulhu wrote:
Wind Chime wrote:
Maccabee wrote:
So we're back to bashing the Pathfinder rogue because its a thief and not a stabby machine from Azeroth. The only difference between a Fighter and Samurai is the dogmatic code the Bushi paid lip service to. Sure, in Pathfinder they can be "magical karate warriors" if you want them to be, but in actuality you're talking about an asian themed fighter with ranks in poetry, banzai pruning, and bullying the peasantry.
People are bashing the rogue because he fails to match the wizard at being the ultimate thief, stealth expert (invisibility), trap finder (detect trap,magic etc), skill monkey and also fails to be able to outfight anything. The rogue is an inferior good, pretty much outclassed at all its specialities by the periphery talents of other classes.

Which is a reason to fix the wizard, not the rogue. Of course that runs contrary to the d20 design philosphy of magic being able to do anything that anyone else can accomplish, but with the spellcaster only needing to be half the level.

Strengthening the "weaker" classes isn't the only way to balance the game. Nerfing the "stronger" classes is just as acceptable an option.

Or, you know, actually making them play by the rules, which is frequently ignored.

Except almost every class is a better Rogue than the Rogue. The Ranger fights better, has nearly as many skill points, and can still sneak and steal things and unlock doors/disarm traps.

Any spellcaster automatically beats him at all of those things.

Even the Monk can be just as sneaky/disarmy and at the very least doesn't have to buy Feats for TWFing.

And the list goes on.

If 90% of the classes are better, it's not a problem with the 90%. The Rogue fills a role that is unnecessary most of the time. There is no purpose for the class to exist. Fix that, or get rid of it. As-is it's just taking up valuable space in the book.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Ashiel wrote:
I see classes as a sort of building block to making a greater whole. Think of it like LEGOs. You could cast plastic into the correct shape for whatever you wanted to make or you could use preconstructed blocks and modular foundation. That's how I see a class based system.

"You must first master the conventions of the medium before you can subvert them."

Going along with what Tacticslion posted, classes are very much the instruction sheets to the mechanic Lego pieces of d20. A new player follows the steps and arrives at the intended design while the experienced player sees a whole other shape that can be achieved with the same pieces.

The trick is breaking out of the idea that the instructions must be followed. But without forcing it before the player is ready to break free.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
I see classes as a sort of building block to making a greater whole. Think of it like LEGOs. You could cast plastic into the correct shape for whatever you wanted to make or you could use preconstructed blocks and modular foundation. That's how I see a class based system.

"You must first master the conventions of the medium before you can subvert them."

Going along with what Tacticslion posted, classes are very much the instruction sheets to the mechanic Lego pieces of d20. A new player follows the steps and arrives at the intended design while the experienced player sees a whole other shape that can be achieved with the same pieces.

The trick is breaking out of the idea that the instructions must be followed. But without forcing it before the player is ready to break free.

I agree. A good example would be BESMd20. It's a point-based D20 system but has a lot of "classes" which are 1-20 progressions that have all the points assigned to them based on a theme. There's stuff like Samurai or Monster Trainer and stuff like that, but if you're experienced you can just toss the classes and go full-on point buy system (Kirth might like it actually).

I'd personally rather see fewer archetypes and more suggestions on how to build interesting characters and concepts with what we already have. Star Wars d20 did something like this (it had themed character builds that showed multiclassing progressions to cover certain archetypal characters).


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In fact, it wouldn't be hard. Just as you can add a generic description you could add a small paragraph suggesting other ideas for a class to be used for. For example...

Other Roles: The barbarian class is naturally good for representing someone with a primal ferocity and wild spirit, but it could also be used for a diehard champion of valor, or a samurai warlord who has honed his battle focus through the arts of Bushido. It can make a good model for any diehard warrior who needs some heroic adrenaline.

Grand Lodge

Assuming_Control wrote:
MrSin wrote:

Huh, are we talking about alternative classes here too? I guess I need more rant then.

** spoiler omitted **

One thing that really gets me however, is when people say classes are Asian and there fore should be banned. Classes are not Asian. They are as Asian as you make them out to be. I'll say it 100 times, ninjas don't wear PJs. The fact its called a ninja or the samurai is called a samurai is about the only Asian thing about it. If I called the ki pool a guile pool would it suddenly be not Asian? If I call my samurai a knight does he lose all his samurai class features? If I call my fighter a samurai do I gain resolute and 4+ skill points per level?

I'm all for people playing Samurai and Ninja, I'm just against the Samurai and Ninja classes. Want to play a Samurai? Fighter. Ninja? That's a Rogue (or even wizard, If you want to go with a more culturally authentic version).

Heck, I've been waiting to make a Tian Fighter/Duelist based on Boxer Rebellion lore and chinese secret societies whose "rapier" is actually a jian.

I actually think the outcry over "Asian" themes is a sort of low key racism. Racism and cultural prejudice against east asian people and cultures seems to almost universally be given a free pass for some reason.

I think this is a lot less to do with racism, and more of a backlash against people who insist everything Asian is better whether that should be true or not. I know when I get frustrated about Asian themes, it's usually in response to some very white Otaku talking out of his rear end again about all the ways Eastern blank is better than Western blank.


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MrSin wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
That's one reason I like rogues and ninjas both, and that I like inherently lawful good paladins and so on. Having those inherent restrictions and those additional options actually creates solid stories because of those restrictions and additional options.
I like creating my own story thanks. Removing options removes story. Its only convenient if its your own of course.

<Takes all rulebooks, throws them away>

No restrictions left. All the options you could possibly want. Let's make up characters and start playing.

All the rules are restrictions. But without them there isn't a game. At best there's a story. At worst there's two kids on the playground yelling "I hit you!" "No, you missed!"


thejeff wrote:
MrSin wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
That's one reason I like rogues and ninjas both, and that I like inherently lawful good paladins and so on. Having those inherent restrictions and those additional options actually creates solid stories because of those restrictions and additional options.
I like creating my own story thanks. Removing options removes story. Its only convenient if its your own of course.

<Takes all rulebooks, throws them away>

No restrictions left. All the options you could possibly want. Let's make up characters and start playing.

All the rules are restrictions. But without them there isn't a game. At best there's a story. At worst there's two kids on the playground yelling "I hit you!" "No, you missed!"

I accept your proposal, but only so long as we accept that gravity and matter is the same level of restriction as paladin's being LG only and monks being all lawful.


Ashiel wrote:
thejeff wrote:

I still don't know why Ninjas are such a better fit for "elite goblin scouts and jobbers".

They can situationally grant themselves an extra attack or a +4 untyped bonus to Stealth. They also increase the DC to track them or notice them when they are stationary and not taking actions (this makes them ideal for both scouting or ambushes). At 6th level they can effectively double-move while ignoring difficult terrain. This also makes them really good as scouts in the swampy or forested locations that you see frequently in the Lord of the Rings.

That's without counting tricks.

Which of course is why ninjas are the go-to example for this discussion. Because they're everything rogues are, but better.

Probably would have been better if Paizo had just rewritten the Rogue into something much like the Ninja.

More generally though, properly reskinned Ninja are among the last classes I'd ban from a Middle-Earth game. After almost all the casters.

<Yes, I'm aware there's a lot of magic in M-E. It's just not anywhere near as flashy as PF magic is. Casters of a kind would be possible, but it would be a total rewrite of the PF magic system to make it work. Back to my original argument that PF is a bad system to use for Tolkein>


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Kirth Gersen wrote:

Lazurin, I seem to be expressing myself poorly, for which I apologize to you. If you have the patience to bear with me, I'll address your last post in two parts, to see if I can do a better job -- and finish with an example or two that I think will be illustrative of what I'm getting at.

Lazurin Arborlon wrote:
I see two tool boxes that will ultimately need more and more tools in them to get to the same result. Or to take or more apt anology to my mind I see a lot of people advocating selling bricks and a bunch of other people advocating selling walls and in the end your both are still ending up with a house.

I actually see one toolbox (multiclassing) advertised, but when you open it up, the box is empty! Because a fighter 10/wizard 10 casts only 5th level spells (CL 10th), he's noteably inferior to what the baseline (the current magus or eldritch knight) should be. Therefore, the only real opotion you have is the current model: not a toolbox at all, but a limited number of "each-sold-separately" packages, all in different places. In terms of bricks and walls, I'd like a big construction depot with a lot of bricks and usable mortar, so I can build whatever kind of wall I need. I don't have that. What we do have are a collection of premade walls that may or may not even come close to fitting what we want, but they're what the prefab wall builder people decide we "need."

Lazurin Arborlon wrote:
the existence of the Inquisitor doesn't prevent you from doing it your way, but it does facilitate doing it mine.
The existence of the Inquisitor is a testimony to the fact that my preferred method does not work at all using the current rules, and that Paizo has no interest or intention of ever enabling it to work. Say we both want a sort of rogue/cleric hybrid. You get an inquisitor, who gets 3/4 casting and a bunch of additional abilities (judgments, etc.) that scale with level. Using traditional multiclassing I get... 1/2 casting, and some abilities that don't scale meaningfully with level....

Sorry... I am going to Necro respond to this, I lost track of the thread and owe Kirth a response. All I can really say in response is that I don't think dual classing is quite as bad as you do. But I do agree that its not optimal anymore and I would prefer it be a whole lot better. I think Paizo set out expressly to make staying a single class from start to finish of greater benefit than spreading levels out and the end result is more classes to fill archetypes people are looking to play. It was an intentional design decision that I agree with you isn't what I would prefer. It is also true that if your approaching it from an optimization slant my Inquisitor is going to be a stronger build than your multiclass. Ideally it would be nice if the classes could exist along side a stronger system to build a character in a modular way. Sort of like using classes as short cuts or templates, but being able to deviate as far as you like from the norm. Still I don't think I would want to go fully modular, I have played games that are designed that way and its not really what I prefer for my group. I am not the type who likes to spend a session leveling that could be spent playing and my group has a few players that don't usually bother with getting to full system mastery in a given game they play.


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Humphrey Boggard wrote:
Assuming_Control wrote:
Samurai the concept, is a Fighter. Samurai the PF class is a joke. In no way does samurai the PF class actually have anything to do with Samurai historically or even as presented in popular culture (see Sanjuro, The Seven Samurai etc.).
I emphatically disagree. The classic, pre-Tokugawa, samurai was a mounted warrior skilled in archery, swordplay, and the use of pole arms. The PF samurai is as a good a representation as you'll get in a d20 system and the use of the honor/resolve mechanics are a nice touch.

Anyone can do mounted combat, Fighters do it better than most because the get ride, handle animal and bonus feats. Cavaliers Do it best, because that's their whole schtick.

Fighters are better at archery, swordplay and pole-arms than cavaliers, and better at mounted combat than anyone other than Cavaliers.

To me, The Cavalier would make more sense if you were trying to make a Mongolian warrior alternate class, Since the horse was so integral and inseparable from their whole method of warfare.

Virtually all members of warrior castes have used mounts in warfare. However, the Horse does not have a particularly important place in the stories, legends and portrayals of Samurai, as I see it.


EntrerisShadow wrote:
Assuming_Control wrote:
MrSin wrote:

Huh, are we talking about alternative classes here too? I guess I need more rant then.

** spoiler omitted **

One thing that really gets me however, is when people say classes are Asian and there fore should be banned. Classes are not Asian. They are as Asian as you make them out to be. I'll say it 100 times, ninjas don't wear PJs. The fact its called a ninja or the samurai is called a samurai is about the only Asian thing about it. If I called the ki pool a guile pool would it suddenly be not Asian? If I call my samurai a knight does he lose all his samurai class features? If I call my fighter a samurai do I gain resolute and 4+ skill points per level?

I'm all for people playing Samurai and Ninja, I'm just against the Samurai and Ninja classes. Want to play a Samurai? Fighter. Ninja? That's a Rogue (or even wizard, If you want to go with a more culturally authentic version).

Heck, I've been waiting to make a Tian Fighter/Duelist based on Boxer Rebellion lore and chinese secret societies whose "rapier" is actually a jian.

I actually think the outcry over "Asian" themes is a sort of low key racism. Racism and cultural prejudice against east asian people and cultures seems to almost universally be given a free pass for some reason.

I think this is a lot less to do with racism, and more of a backlash against people who insist everything Asian is better whether that should be true or not. I know when I get frustrated about Asian themes, it's usually in response to some very white Otaku talking out of his rear end again about all the ways Eastern blank is better than Western blank.

I haven't really encountered what you're describing, but I have encountered people who throw a fit over someone wanting to play a pole-arm Fighter (Like, a vanilla fighter with a glaive written down as guan-dao on his character sheet) from an ancient China analogue.

So maybe my experience has coloured my perception of the issue.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Pathfinder samurai are based more on historical tropes (such as the samurai art of yabusame and characters such as Seven Spears of Victory) and less on the popcultural/anime portrayal of barely-armored swordmasters, which had little in common with the historical developments up until late Tokugawa. Until XVI century, samurai were almost exclusively fighting from horseback, and infantry was considered a "lesser" form of warfare. The most famous stories of samurai battles are stories of cavalry charges and mounted warfare.


MrSin wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
That's one reason I like rogues and ninjas both, and that I like inherently lawful good paladins and so on. Having those inherent restrictions and those additional options actually creates solid stories because of those restrictions and additional options.
I like creating my own story thanks. Removing options removes story. Its only convenient if its your own of course.

You... completely missed the point of my post.

I apologize for my part in it (I can be obtuse toward readers due to my predilection for lots of words), but you focused entirely on the part where I gave my preferences instead of my arguments and dismissed my points based off of preference instead of argumentation.

I'm all for more options. Point in fact, the part that you quoted notes that I like options. I've argued for non-evil undead, for PCs with templates, and for all sorts of other things.

Further, House Rules are absolutely the perfect place for options that are not supported by the Core rules, and I'm a huge fan of house rules. I use them all the time.

To be a bit more clear (hopefully) class-based systems focus not only mechanics for balance purposes, but flavor for creation purposes... this applies both to designers and players.

Let's say, for example, we take the eleven core classes, and break them down into mostly point-based creations (something that's been done more than once).

Using most of those methods, you end up with a reasonably robust system that functions well and can create various characters.

Yet... most people don't. There are many options there, but they don't cover all the archetypes you could want and without deviating too much beyond making most of the abilities point-based.

But. Said set of rules... doesn't suggest anything. Character creation is made from an entirely blank slate. And that's fine in many cases. But it doesn't push people - designers or players - toward doing "more". The magus wouldn't exist if d20 was purely point-based. We'd have nothing like the arcana. Similarly, ninja-tricks wouldn't exist because no one would have created the ninja. When you separate the options that much they become even harder to balance or get a "feel" for what you're creating.

Thus fluff does make and inform mechanics. After the mechanics are formed, however, I see no reason that the fluff must be purely maintained. I said that I loved lawful good paladins, but if someone wants to make a game with different ones well... that's their prerogative, though it'd be a very dissonant game for me.

The paladin was created to be a lawful good holy warrior. The mechanics are that of a lawful good holy warrior. It can be re-fluffed and redone in home games, but there wouldn't be any of those abilities to alter if the paladin hadn't first been developed because they wanted to create a lawful good holy warrior.

I've strongly argued against James Jacobs' tendency to eliminate non-evil options that deal with traditionally evil creatures (ala Juju Oracle and Paladin of Asmodeus). That's because I'm a fan of options, over-all.

But there is something to be said for limitations creating stories.

Example time: a link that you may have ignored in my previous post. The premise? Only the NPC classes and the classes from the APG exist (and the artificer from Eberron).

That's... certainly a restriction on options. But the world it creates? Amazing. And very interesting... it kind of writes itself in many ways.

I'd have never come up with the world if there wasn't an APG to "suggest" such a thing. It's because of the limitations the world is at least somewhat unique. If you look at that thread, however, you note that I heavily modify the mechanics. While the base of the world comes from one set of things, I alter them to fit my own desires.

But the limitations make for an interesting story.

My posit is that: yes, there are limitations in creating a class-based system. That's what d20, at it's core, is. But those limitations to create focus.

Dr. Calvin Murgunstrumm wrote:

Not better, just "a fit". The mechanics say: This is a mobile stealth class with power points to govern their stealth/striker capabilities.

This sounds like a scout to me.

The fluff says: These are asians in pyjamas who are masters of killing in the shadows with strange abilities powered by ki.

The fluff is a valuable guide to give a player a familiar archetype to role-play, but a different set of fluff can still fit the mechanics. And I don't see it as meta-gaming to reskin a class for those purposes.

The most important part of my point is the bottom paragraph, except it extends to designers just as much as it does players: the fluff is an extremely important part of the design process.

For this reason it's a valid argument when someone says "That bothers me, I don't like it, it makes me uncomfortable." but it is also a valid argument to say, "If you don't like it, than change it." presuming, of course, the mechanics can be changed.

Because, see, I'm also a fan of house rules, and totally okay with point-based systems (which I point out do different things).

Or, you know, look at Ashiel's and TriOmegaZero's posts. 'Cause I generally agree with them, here.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
3.5 Loyalist wrote:
Tolkien setting. Wouldn't elite goblin scouts and jobbers be in essence, goblin ninjas?
One would think. But to the people who insist that "ninja = black pajama'd Sho Kusugi clones ONLY," that sort of logic doesn't work.

Yeah the ninja has more potential, if you escape the idea of the ninja from movies of the 80s and 90s. Or if you investigate the many disguises of the ninja and how they moved around to spy and job people. Priest, merchant, samurai were all common disguises in Japanese class society.

I was doing some game prep for Taldor, and I was thinking what class to make the nobles of this mountain fortress (off in the east and south, forget the name now). Melee classes fit with the warrior-guardian idea, but then ninja came to mind. As I worked on the fluff, this line of ninja aristocracy bore some fruit. It was pretty nifty, the leaders keeping their teachings only within the family and some retainers, mountain-top training, passing themselves off as normal provincial nobles, not adept at knightly fighting but fine generals of their region (for serious engagements, the ninjas would go in to get the job done, then the army would support and mop up). Their ninja abilities making them hard to assassinate (they were assassins and scouts mainly), giving them some potential to escape losing battles, it worked and tied together. They would not wear black pajamas, but they might wear browns and grass-coloured outfits, or just simple hunter garb (think lions were in their area in force).

Then I stuck it to an adventuring culture amongst the young ninjas of the clan/family. So some years you adventure and get good, get experience, then you settle down to help rule the county and train the next gen. Secrecy was paramount, the batman like background had to be concealed from others, especially the other families, so they had to head to remote and challenging regions. They weren't a central bidder for power, and spying on this ninja family was difficult.

So yeah, I took the ninja, and transplanted it to Taldor.


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I try not to let trivial things lead me into generating or forcing negativity into the lives of other people, just to try to make myself feel better.

Just something I'm trying to cut down on.

Even if I didn't like the APG, I wouldn't be freaked out about it. As it is, I'm not really into a couple of the classes, but I don't think they are there to trick people into buying books or flood the game unnecessarily. Some appeal to me naturally, some just don't get notice from me.

Do I understand that some people might like them or find new opportunities for roleplay with them? Absolutely.

Not to mention that the book is what... two years old now? Little late to get freaked out about it.


Assuming_Control wrote:
EntrerisShadow wrote:
Assuming_Control wrote:
MrSin wrote:

Huh, are we talking about alternative classes here too? I guess I need more rant then.

** spoiler omitted **

One thing that really gets me however, is when people say classes are Asian and there fore should be banned. Classes are not Asian. They are as Asian as you make them out to be. I'll say it 100 times, ninjas don't wear PJs. The fact its called a ninja or the samurai is called a samurai is about the only Asian thing about it. If I called the ki pool a guile pool would it suddenly be not Asian? If I call my samurai a knight does he lose all his samurai class features? If I call my fighter a samurai do I gain resolute and 4+ skill points per level?

I'm all for people playing Samurai and Ninja, I'm just against the Samurai and Ninja classes. Want to play a Samurai? Fighter. Ninja? That's a Rogue (or even wizard, If you want to go with a more culturally authentic version).

Heck, I've been waiting to make a Tian Fighter/Duelist based on Boxer Rebellion lore and chinese secret societies whose "rapier" is actually a jian.

I actually think the outcry over "Asian" themes is a sort of low key racism. Racism and cultural prejudice against east asian people and cultures seems to almost universally be given a free pass for some reason.

I think this is a lot less to do with racism, and more of a backlash against people who insist everything Asian is better whether that should be true or not. I know when I get frustrated about Asian themes, it's usually in response to some very white Otaku talking out of his rear end again about all the ways Eastern blank is better than Western blank.

I haven't really encountered what you're describing, but I have encountered people who throw a fit over someone wanting to play a pole-arm Fighter (Like, a vanilla fighter with a glaive written down as guan-dao on his character sheet) from an ancient China analogue.

So maybe my experience has coloured my perception...

Wow, that is some serious racism there. "You use a Guan Dao and are based off Guan Yu? Get the *** out of here!" Shockingly bad form.

I wonder, and can barely grasp, how weirded out some people get by the idea of Asian themes, heroic Asian characters, ninjas and the like. The cultural worlds of gaming are not under their control, awww, they must rage so hard.


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@TacticsLion You need to format that some more. Its hard to read with all the girth. Spoilers really help. I didn't miss the point. I had my own. Pre made fluff is great, but don't let it limit people.

Bad design is "All characters of the ninja class must wear black PJ's to use their class features" this defines a character far too much, and becomes restricting. It doesn't allow for mutable fluff, or many characters created.(also historically inaccurate, but this is an example mind you).

An example of good design is "Templars are divine vessels of an ideal. Many of them follow and serve an order or deity. Good Templars are sometimes refered to as Paladins." Then the alignment of the Templar determines certain class features. At certain levels he determines the effect of his aura, and its in relation to his chosen ideal and/or alignment. "Many Templars choose to follow a code of conduct. This code determines who they are, and shapes them as individuals." this is a powerful roleplaying tool, but its mutable and its not limiting. It can vary from game to game. "Though some Templars gain power from outside sources, many are powered by their own faith. They have become an embodiment of an ideal, and are powered by such." Its also very flavorful in itself.

I do think flavor can play a part, but I believe it should be mutable. I never said I wanted a barbarian who blew up things with his axe, or throws spells, or is powered by magic. That's not a restriction. A restriction would be "all undead are evil. No exceptions ever." While its flavor that controls the world, its also restrictive and binding. I believe that the golarion specific flavor such as this should be separate from the game mechanics. When the base toolkit is too restrictive, it then creates a problem. I like having my options, and I don't like problems.

We're probably far off topic from base classes at this point however. More on topic, I'm okay with Asian classes. I don't think classes are Asian, but I think I said that several times now. I can make an Asian wizard, or a European samurai, but I don't think the classes are inherently oriental. I think they're as oriental as you make it. I've definitely seen some problems with people who see Asian or animal eared people and freak out.


I can agree with what has been said about restrictions. I just think most of those restrictions should exist at the table level, not at the system level, particularly when it comes to race and class. No matter where something is printed, whether initial 'core' book or random splatbook down the road, it is in no way obligated to be included in every game world.

(I say, as someone who habitually makes game worlds without humans ...)

Liberty's Edge

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Actual ninjas never wore those black pajamas anyhow. They're a fairly modern invention.

They actually preferred to look innocuous. Imagine wearing something that screams, "I'M HERE TO KILL SOMEONE!"...


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EldonG wrote:

Actual ninjas never wore those black pajamas anyhow. They're a fairly modern invention.

They actually preferred to look innocuous. Imagine wearing something that screams, "I'M HERE TO KILL SOMEONE!"...

I can't remember where I read it, but it went something like ...

"Those guys in the black pajamas that everybody can see? They're not the real ninjas. They're decoys. The real ninja is disguised as your butler and is poisoning your wine while everybody is watching your guards attack the guys in pajamas."

Liberty's Edge

Zhayne wrote:
EldonG wrote:

Actual ninjas never wore those black pajamas anyhow. They're a fairly modern invention.

They actually preferred to look innocuous. Imagine wearing something that screams, "I'M HERE TO KILL SOMEONE!"...

I can't remember where I read it, but it went something like ...

"Those guys in the black pajamas that everybody can see? They're not the real ninjas. They're decoys. The real ninja is disguised as your butler and is poisoning your wine while everybody is watching your guards attack the guys in pajamas."

Nice. :)


Zhayne wrote:
I can agree with what has been said about restrictions. I just think most of those restrictions should exist at the table level, not at the system level, particularly when it comes to race and class.

I think you just managed to state most of one of my big points in about 2 easy to understand sentences. I think I'm supposed to say thank you now.


3.5 Loyalist wrote:
Assuming_Control wrote:


I haven't really encountered what you're describing, but I have encountered people who throw a fit over someone wanting to play a pole-arm Fighter (Like, a vanilla fighter with a glaive written down as guan-dao on his character sheet) from an ancient China analogue.

Wow, that is some serious racism there. "You use a Guan Dao and are based off Guan Yu? Get the *** out of here!" Shockingly bad form.

I wonder, and can barely grasp, how weirded out some people get by the idea of Asian themes, heroic Asian characters, ninjas and the like. The cultural worlds of gaming are not under their control, awww, they must rage so hard.

Might be racism. Might not be.

Might be not wanting to play with the whole fish out of water, alien from far away culture thing. If I'm running a real-world medieval Scottish Highlands game and someone shows up wanting to play an actual Chinese warrior, I'm going to shut him down.

This is the other side of the coin. This isn't wanting to use the Ninja mechanics in a non-Asian game. This is wanting to play the actual black PJ clad Ninja all the way from Japan in a Taldor game, using the rogue mechanics.


Zhayne wrote:
EldonG wrote:

Actual ninjas never wore those black pajamas anyhow. They're a fairly modern invention.

They actually preferred to look innocuous. Imagine wearing something that screams, "I'M HERE TO KILL SOMEONE!"...

I can't remember where I read it, but it went something like ...

"Those guys in the black pajamas that everybody can see? They're not the real ninjas. They're decoys. The real ninja is disguised as your butler and is poisoning your wine while everybody is watching your guards attack the guys in pajamas."

This reminds me of Hitman 2.

The part with ninja bodyguards you could kill stealthily, disguise as, and then sneakily kill their master.


Zhayne wrote:
EldonG wrote:

Actual ninjas never wore those black pajamas anyhow. They're a fairly modern invention.

They actually preferred to look innocuous. Imagine wearing something that screams, "I'M HERE TO KILL SOMEONE!"...

I can't remember where I read it, but it went something like ...

"Those guys in the black pajamas that everybody can see? They're not the real ninjas. They're decoys. The real ninja is disguised as your butler and is poisoning your wine while everybody is watching your guards attack the guys in pajamas."

OTOH, the full black outfits are kind of useful when you can't disguise your way in and you're trying to slip over the wall in the dead of night.

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