What makes you feel useful


Pathfinder Society

1/5

Everyone always talks about powergamers here and people trampling encounters there and various complaints of PCs outshining others, etc etc. It makes me wonder, what makes you feel useful when you actually play PFS? Do you need to kill things in combat, or make a skill check, or keep everyone alive, or what?

Personally I've kinda gotten used to not being able to do much in combat before my teammates kill everything, no matter what class I play, so I guess I feel useful when I can do a skill check no one else can or something that makes things easier for the party. I'm used to playing support anyway.

Silver Crusade 2/5

It depends on what character I'm playing.

Alexander Damocles, I feel great when I drop one of my "I take ten and get 37 on any knowledge skill" moments, and get to share a whole lot of backstory to the party.

Vati, I enjoy when I get to keep people alive, taking the hits for them. And if she fails in her goal of keeping them alive, being able to raise them from death for free is awesome.

Father Forthill, I enjoy being the nice guy on a quest for redemption. He can do a bit of everything, and he is just fun to find out how he can fit in with a different group.

Aislyn...if I get to creep people out with Ms. Frozen Eyeballs, its a good night.

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

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Honestly? More than anything, my PCs enjoy being colorful in the interaction with NPCs and other PCs. I try to build my characters so that they are effective in combat without being over-the-top, because many of my cohorts enjoy being over-the-top effective.

1/5

I guess those are fair points. I suppose it does depend on the character. With my bones oracle, I feel nice if I actually manage to do some diplomacy, and in battle if I get to kill anything with a skeleton (they're more or less my only means of any worthwhile damage, and I only get two a day), but I generally don't expect to get to do more than wand of bless then battle is over because party has killed most everything.

It's kinda the same with my life oracle--I mainly want to keep the party alive and up, so I feel bummed when I can't do that. She's also a pyromaniac and has the blackened curse, so I want to at least once a scenario cast burning hands, scorching ray, or flaming sphere, but again it's one of those things that's usually unfeasible because limited spells per day and usually I have to spend my first turn getting Bless up, and by the time I can get in position for things most everything is dead or I have to use one of my other spells or actions instead and I'm like, "Oh."

For my alchemist, I feel good when I can do a disable device, get those knowledge rolls, and bomb the hell out of things, but the two times I've ever gotten to play her I spent more time asleep or unconscious than I did actually participating in battle.

Perhaps I'm being selfish here, or just asking too much...I dunno.

Sovereign Court 4/5

It isn't selfish to want to have fun, too. That's why we all play, to have fun.

As to your original question, overall I feel useful if I am not a hindrance to the party. I bring my own heals, my own equipment, and don't beg for bless or haste or anything like that. That's just my nature as a player.

Shahorn, half-elf ranger, is useful to get up in enemies' faces and distract them from more vulnerable characters. At this point, this basically means charging in on a wolf and trying to leave a clear shot for others.

Samhain, elf ranger, is useful more in mobs, whittling down the number of foes and distracting them with his owl.

Quinn is a little different. He helps best he can, but ultimately looks out for himself. But he'll always try to set up a flank for whoever needs it, dancing around the enemy to get into position. While a fragile kitsune, he will leave the heavy hitters to help the lone rogue who wandered into an ambush.

I don't like power builds and try not to use them myself. I'd rather go for flavor and a good story. And what good is a story of there's no chance of failure. So if I need to be the pilot who gets skewered to raise tension, so be it!

2/5

FanaticRat wrote:
It makes me wonder, what makes you feel useful when you actually play PFS? Do you need to kill things in combat, or make a skill check, or keep everyone alive, or what?

When I say something at the table that makes someone laugh or do something someone thinks is cool, interesting, or inspiring.

Dark Archive 4/5 5/55/5 **** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Midwest

Really, for me, it just takes being part of the story.

Example, my namesake character is a rogue, and as such, seems to be often outclassed in everything (save perhaps actual disabling devices, usually!) However, in a certain recent scenario, two members of his party rushed forward while going through a trapladened dungeon, and both got hit with a trap. That is the only trap out of probably 10 that we triggered, thanks to Silbeg and his "magic fingers".

Or, it could be Angelo, who last night was the third of three wizards in his adventuring party (third by level, that is). He managed to keep himself useful... in one encounter he set up a pack of rabid dogs with a Grease spell and a Color Spray. Good use of 2 first level spells, I'd say!

Just being able to have those things that you can talk about, and feel proud about. If all you do is follow the others... never landing a hit, never getting to speak, never solving a puzzle; well, that can get boring, as in, why did I spend 5 hours for that freak of a gunslinger alchemist with 3 arms to blast everything into a pulp in the first action of combat?

3/5

Silbeg wrote:

Really, for me, it just takes being part of the story.

Example, my namesake character is a rogue, and as such, seems to be often outclassed in everything (save perhaps actual disabling devices, usually!) However, in a certain recent scenario, two members of his party rushed forward while going through a trapladened dungeon, and both got hit with a trap. That is the only trap out of probably 10 that we triggered, thanks to Silbeg and his "magic fingers".

Or, it could be Angelo, who last night was the third of three wizards in his adventuring party (third by level, that is). He managed to keep himself useful... in one encounter he set up a pack of rabid dogs with a Grease spell and a Color Spray. Good use of 2 first level spells, I'd say!

Just being able to have those things that you can talk about, and feel proud about. If all you do is follow the others... never landing a hit, never getting to speak, never solving a puzzle; well, that can get boring, as in, why did I spend 5 hours for that freak of a gunslinger alchemist with 3 arms to blast everything into a pulp in the first action of combat?

The third arm is not required in any way; one can simply put weapon cords on their pistols, which do not interfere with reloading.

Silver Crusade 2/5

I just like my characters to be able to play the role of hero in some capacity. I realize that often I'll get unlucky and get scenarios where a given characters is not that effective, but that's a lot easier to swallow than a power guild owning everything.

Shadow Lodge 3/5

Honestly, I think it just comes down to balance.

I don't even really mind a powergamer in the group if my character can't pull his weight for whatever reason and this other guy is saving my life. By all means, take the spotlight.

Shadow Lodge

I feel rather useful when I make a character that is just so odd, that it confuses the enemy while me and my allies beat the s#!+ out of it. Like the three armed tiefling alchemagus that screams "You racist bastards" at everything that tries (and often fails) to hit him. Or the 4 armed alchemist that dual-wields crossbows.

Liberty's Edge 1/5

What is best in Pathfinder Society? To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of the women. That's what my Shoanti barbarian likes best. He also likes making linguistics checks.

My cleric of Asmodeus feels most useful doing diplomacy (his only useful skill what with 2 points per level).

I feel most useful if my characters can fill a need within the group and contribute to a fun and successful conclusion of a scenario.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Mostly just succeeding at something. My rogue was horribly nerfed in certain encounters with enemies he couldn't get flanking on, but managed to ace the his faction mission with a good Diplomacy roll. So while the group carried him through the combats, he managed to be useful in the social encounters.

1/5

FanaticRat wrote:
...what makes you feel useful when you actually play PFS? Do you need to kill things in combat, or make a skill check, or keep everyone alive, or what?

Since you're asking about what makes someone feel "useful" and not necessarily what is fun, the answer for the vast majority of the population is pretty straightforward psychology:

Non-trivial purpose.

Yes, I know this sound like agent Smith, but the Wachowski brothers didn't invent the concept, they just recognized it. Purpose is generally the most important aspect of an RPG. Characters, their feats and abilities and the choices we make as the player must, at some point, serve a purpose. For most people this occurs during combat. But out of combat, we feel useful when we put points in Ride and are the only character who is able to Take 10 over the obstacles to deliver the message in time. We feel useful when we put ranks in Linguistics and we decipher a code that completes someone's faction mission.

Simply having a skill is not enough, however. For example, using a +20 in Diplomacy means little when you charm a bartender who has no impact on the mission or the outcome. But if that bartender tells you about a secret entrance in the adjacent building, then your character feels useful.

So "usefulness" is a function of my character overcoming obstacles in a scenario that call upon the skills specific to my character.

Lantern Lodge 1/5

I felt useful when the scroll of Breath of Life, which I had brought for the group, saved our rogue from death. I felt like Hannibal in the A-Team. Of course, then we split the party and pulled 3 encounters by accident at once. Smart and dumb, in the same scenario!

2/5

I feel useful if my character fulfills my intended purpose for it. Say I have a skill focused bard and I make the high DCs for the knowledge checks you usually have at the start of a mission, even if what we learn ends up having no outcome on the game I still feel useful because I did what I wanted to do. If, on the other hand, the same guy flubbed the one big important diplomacy check but then got a really high initiative and a X4 crit on the big bad to drop him, I wouldn't feel useful - I would feel lucky.

Liberty's Edge 3/5

Travis VanOverbeke wrote:
Silbeg wrote:

Really, for me, it just takes being part of the story.

Example, my namesake character is a rogue, and as such, seems to be often outclassed in everything (save perhaps actual disabling devices, usually!) However, in a certain recent scenario, two members of his party rushed forward while going through a trapladened dungeon, and both got hit with a trap. That is the only trap out of probably 10 that we triggered, thanks to Silbeg and his "magic fingers".

Or, it could be Angelo, who last night was the third of three wizards in his adventuring party (third by level, that is). He managed to keep himself useful... in one encounter he set up a pack of rabid dogs with a Grease spell and a Color Spray. Good use of 2 first level spells, I'd say!

Just being able to have those things that you can talk about, and feel proud about. If all you do is follow the others... never landing a hit, never getting to speak, never solving a puzzle; well, that can get boring, as in, why did I spend 5 hours for that freak of a gunslinger alchemist with 3 arms to blast everything into a pulp in the first action of combat?

The third arm is not required in any way; one can simply put weapon cords on their pistols, which do not interfere with reloading.

Epic job of missing the point?


when the other three of my party mates get dazed by a failed will save from a necrophidious.
My elf wizard is out of spells to damage (more utility) goes hard in the paint and through a combination of alchemist fire and an enlarge person spell beats it to death, because at level 1, an enlarged wizard is a bad person to mess with. (str 10 woot.)

The Exchange 5/5

Jason S wrote:
FanaticRat wrote:
It makes me wonder, what makes you feel useful when you actually play PFS? Do you need to kill things in combat, or make a skill check, or keep everyone alive, or what?

When I say something at the table that makes someone laugh or do something someone thinks is cool, interesting, or inspiring.

I think this was the best answer to this thread I have seen here.

+1 Jason.

Liberty's Edge 2/5

doing something inventive.
example, enlarging to lift the other characters to a fight. Something that helps other players in ways they were not expecting.

Doing the most damage, yeah ok...fun. Dont remember that.

1/5

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I always feel that the most useful person at the table is that first person to start heavily role-playing their character. I find very few people who will do this but once they get going others at the table will start too. Turns a dull table into a blast. +1 role-player guy/girl

Silver Crusade 1/5

I made this Gnome Druid (not optimized) as you can guess by the whole Gnome Druid thing of the Blight Druid Archetype (according to someone's guide, this is also very un-optimized, rated one of five stars, and red; meaning never ever do this). I also took a 14 Charisma (again, not the best for optimization). Finally, I took a thrush familiar mostly because I love robins, a member of the thrush family. Once again, not terribly optimized. I am not sure that the guides even mention a thrush as a possibility.

Anyhow, I also took the Adopted trait to get Helpful (Halflings of Golarion) so I grant a +4 bonus when I succeed at an Aid Other action instead of the normal +2.

So what my unoptimized Druid does, is act as a face when necessary (Ease of Faith trait). (+10 Diplomacy +1 Rank, +3 Class Skill, +3 Thrush, +2 Charisma +1 Trait).

Otherwise all I do is Aid Other.

You need a flanking buddy? I charge in and use Aid Other to grant what you need, be it to hit or armor class.

Out of Combat, I help with anything else.

Almost never actually directly attack. Esme is just here to help everyone else out. There is a lot less by way of individual glory, but I expect to get a whole lot of RP even in optimization heavy groups.

3/5

Honestly my favorite thing is being comic relief. I try to create situations people do no think of and be silly with them. If my character does nothing to help the party the whole game, but has multiple times caused players to laugh out loud. Well I am being usefull because I make them enjoy the game more.

2/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
FanaticRat wrote:

Everyone always talks about powergamers here and people trampling encounters there and various complaints of PCs outshining others, etc etc. It makes me wonder, what makes you feel useful when you actually play PFS? Do you need to kill things in combat, or make a skill check, or keep everyone alive, or what?

Personally I've kinda gotten used to not being able to do much in combat before my teammates kill everything, no matter what class I play, so I guess I feel useful when I can do a skill check no one else can or something that makes things easier for the party. I'm used to playing support anyway.

Bad guys captured, nobody dies, mission success. That makes me feel useful.

I guess sometimes if anything, I feel either over-used (25 charges of CLW in a 3-4 because no one else has any healing, or no one has knowledge, craft, or linguistic skills which would result in mission failure) or completely worthless because I'm missing that *ONE* skill, but that's due to the random nature of Society adventures.

In the end though I am more concerned about just having fun. If I spend the mod doing some interior redecorating and get the roleplay it up, then fine :) And yes sometimes I like rolling a huge pile of dice and saying "damage!!!" *clatter of box of dice* :)

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