Talk me down: Exotic Race Antipathy


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Nobody said that. We said the players have a responsibility to adapt their characters tothe campaign.


Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that anyone had said that. I was just clarifying where the asymmetry in responsibility in my view comes from. The asymmetry in responsibility comes from an asymmetry in power.


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Well, if you have it, I would suggest reading the chapter about player types in the Dungeon Master Guide II for 3.5. One of those types, that a DM has to be aware of, there called the outlier, i.e. a player who gets his/her jollies by BREAKING sense of immersion, verisimilitude of a campaign setting, and other (often unspoken) assumptions and expectations of the game. They play gonzo races, they do things that nobody else in the group want to do BECAUSE they don't want to do it. Often, they act in such a way that the group either has to see their mission fail, or do illogical things which break suspension of disbelief.

Now, they do not do this because they are evil, or stupid, but because questioning and breaking the rules of the game are where they get attention, which they like. Dealing with this is not easy as a GM, especially since they also have other sides to their roleplaying. Kicking people out is not a good thing.

But what you specifically DO NOT NEED as a GM is some other player "standing up for them", and saying that a GM who doesn't always change the game setting to accomodate every player character suggested is a bad/inflexible/stupid/lonely GM. If you face a situation where one of the other players demands to play a half-pleroma half-goblin crocodile, know what you are dealing with. And support your GM in trying to make an entertaining campaign work. Even if letting the outlier player play his freak would be enjoyable to him because he got the power to change the setting.


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The only asymmetry in power in this situation results from an asymmetry in the value of the services being provided by the two people involved. The GM is doing lots of prep work to provide an ongoing service to the player. The player is consuming that service. As the provider, the GM is free to outline the terms under which that service will be provided. As the consumer, the player is free to either accept those terms or to reject them and not partake of the provided service.

In the context of gaming, no one player has leverage to make demands of the GM on their own because, frankly, they aren't providing anything to the GM. Only the entire player base available to the GM as a whole provides any sort of benefit to the GM. So long as the majority of players like how the GM runs things, the GM has all of the tools needed to have fun running a campaign.

That's not me being harsh. That's just supply and demand.


While it is not as simple as that, not just a supply and demand issue, the truth is that the GM is the one carrying the burden of making a campaign work, not the players. This takes time and energy. In general, as a very rough estimate, there is about the same amount of prep time as time played, down to perhaps half that. Now, your GM does this because he/she wants to do it, but that level of involvement is also a pretty serious argument for why the GM should be the one deciding such things as what races players can choose from. If the player feels he should have gotten to play a freak race, well, let him pitch a setting where half-troglodyte awakened horses, thessalotyughs, half-demilich nymphs and gorgon-orcs are the major races. Maybe the other players want to let him GM, eh? It should, however, come as no surprise to said player when one of those players want to play a regular human fighter, or something else he wanted to avoid in his campaign.

Another very good reason for letting the GM decide this is that how much they enjoy the setting as it is will decide how much time they are willing to devote to said setting, and generally matter to how long they feel invested enough to keep the campaign going.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

on the other hand...an outlier player can break the game if he wants without an exotic race or banned class. There are plenty of ways to sabotage a game or send it off the tracks available to a core human fighter.


Absolutely. Having one in the group is ALWAYS going to be a strain. The problem is that much of this is not even conscious to them. They just consider it "fun". However, with a freak race, the outlier wins by walkover. With a core human fighter, you can try to hem them in.


You do know that not everyone who enjoys a "gonzo" race is an outlier / has that "breaking of immersion" as their main motive?

There's no good reason to lump some people who just enjoy the exotic into the same box as those who just enjoy being "that guy" at the table.


The effect on the setting is the same. If you are a player, find a way to adapt your concept to the races provided. If someone truly loves gonzo races, let them GM such a setting.


Outliers: I've had those before. Those guys are hilarious.

Generally how I handle it is by letting him more or less do as he likes, causing the world to react appropriately, and then either a) the game continues or b) he's requested to leave if he's too disruptive to the enjoyment of the others.

Heck, some of the most fun we had was dealing with the Outlier's PC's shenanigans in-character. Two immediately spring to mind.

One of our outliers (ancient male human sorcerer named Cheezecake the Venerable, called Cheeze for short) actually really helped the PCs out, even with his Polymorph-Any-Object'd (permanent human) Yak familiar dancing through the forest.

Another (I don't really recall his character's name right now - it was typical and elven - and he was a Sun Elf archer cleric) thwarted game plans (GM and player alike) repeatedly, degraded the playing experience of everyone, and was thus rejected and ejected from the table.

This is isn't the either/or proposition people make it out to be. Based on personal experience, on a local level, I understand why people have such strong opinions. But the reality is that people clash. Impasses do happen.

If the majority of people don't like what the GM is doing they'll likely do it for a friend, have faith that they'll like eventually, soldier through because of duty, request or demand a change, or leave; perhaps they'll ask for something I can't think of right now.

If the majority of people like what the GM is doing, it's the onus of the few to agree or make their changes and shenanigans acceptable.

The game is a group game. The GM has more power and must be the arbiter, but it's still a group game.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Sissyl wrote:

No. Just that if they do play, they are bad DMs unless they always accomodate all races, no matter the freak show it becomes.

And tell me, did your catfolk, lizardman, changeling party have a good time at the Demonskar Ball?

Ooo, I forgot to mention I had a full on ghaele eladrin in the party too, Savage Species progression.


So you had one character that could pass for human? That would simplify things, yes.


Devil's Advocate wrote:
The only asymmetry in power in this situation results from an asymmetry in the value of the services being provided by the two people involved. The GM is doing lots of prep work to provide an ongoing service to the player. The player is consuming that service. As the provider, the GM is free to outline the terms under which that service will be provided. As the consumer, the player is free to either accept those terms or to reject them and not partake of the provided service.

Oh, when I DM a game, I see it as coming together with some friends to engage together in an activity which all of us enjoy. I don't see it as a market transaction, just like how I don't see inviting friends over for drinks and a movie as a market transaction. I can see how thinking of DMing as providing a service to consumers would make you callously disregard the desires of others.

Sissyl wrote:
Well, if you have it, I would suggest reading the chapter about player types in the Dungeon Master Guide II for 3.5. One of those types, that a DM has to be aware of, there called the outlier, i.e. a player who gets his/her jollies by BREAKING sense of immersion, verisimilitude of a campaign setting, and other (often unspoken) assumptions and expectations of the game. They play gonzo races, they do things that nobody else in the group want to do BECAUSE they don't want to do it. Often, they act in such a way that the group either has to see their mission fail, or do illogical things which break suspension of disbelief.

I don't really believe that the DMGII is an authoritative source on the psychology of roleplayers (I'm unaware of any authoritative source on this) and I'm opposed to creating taxonomies of roleplayers. In my experience, they are vast oversimplifications and aren't actually useful for much. The DMGII positing the existence of this kind of roleplayer doesn't mean they actually exist or exist in significant numbers. I'm still willing to look at it, however.

Let's look at some of the behaviors the DMGII attributes to outliers:

3.5 Dungeon Master's Guide II, pp. 17--19 wrote:

[Outliers] enjoy trying out weird character concepts and strange mixtures of abilities... They define success on their own terms---terms they can more easily meet... Most outliers... employ a defense mechanism that keeps the other PCs from stuffing the outliers' characters down the nearest pit trap. They bring the brunt of their failures on themselves, ensuring that they suffer enough self-directed ill consequences to make any additional punishment redundant...

Not all outliers are comic loonies. A player who creates a scholarly noncombatant type in a battle-heavy campaign is also trying to tell you something by opting out of your game's standard activities. Others might be story- or drama-driven players who want you to facilitate their experimentation with hard-to-play PCs.

I italicized that last paragraph (which is the last paragraph in the description of the outlier) because it contradicts the previous page in the DMGII which set out to show all outliers are, well, comic loonies. These paragraphs explain how outliers "enjoy the confusion and consternation they cause in others" and how their "fun comes from upending the group's pursuit of its goals". Of course, the DMGII fails to provide us anyway to distinguish between these two very different kinds of motivation. As such, the last paragraph comes off very much as an afterthought. In short, parts of this passage from the DMGII come off as largely an attempt to argue that players whose goals with their characters don't mesh with the mechanics of the game are having badwrongfun and are intentionally trying to ruin everyone else's fun. However, I think one can safely ignore the DMGII's claims regarding the motivations of outliers and focus on just its advice on how to handle the consequences of their behavior.

That passage describes outliers in terms of their relation to the mechanics of the game world, not the fluff. For example, it doesn't say that outliers like to play "gonzo races" or that they try to "break suspension of disbelief". In fact, the main problem it focuses on is outliers' mechanically weak characters leading to other players being "punished":

Quote:
The mood will sour if the outlier's goofball decisions lead to an outcome in which the party suffers a significant loss, such as a humiliating defeat in a climactic encounter or the death of another player's character.

It then goes on to give some advice on how to avoid this. All in all, I think this is a fine passage with good advice, if you're willing to read around some weird bits. However, I don't see how it supports your claims about what you termed outliers (which differs from the DMGII's definition).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Sissyl wrote:
So you had one character that could pass for human? That would simplify things, yes.

Half-elf Ranger

Elf Fighter
Eladrin
Lizardfolk Warlock
Catfolk Monk
Changling Sorcerer

My latest campaign has this so far.

Aasimar Bard
Ifrit Monk
Elven Wizard
Gnome Oracle


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Vivianne Laflamme wrote:
Devil's Advocate wrote:
The only asymmetry in power in this situation results from an asymmetry in the value of the services being provided by the two people involved. The GM is doing lots of prep work to provide an ongoing service to the player. The player is consuming that service. As the provider, the GM is free to outline the terms under which that service will be provided. As the consumer, the player is free to either accept those terms or to reject them and not partake of the provided service.

Oh, when I DM a game, I see it as coming together with some friends to engage together in an activity which all of us enjoy. I don't see it as a market transaction, just like how I don't see inviting friends over for drinks and a movie as a market transaction. I can see how thinking of DMing as providing a service to consumers would make you callously disregard the desires of others.

Sissyl wrote:
Well, if you have it, I would suggest reading the chapter about player types in the Dungeon Master Guide II for 3.5. One of those types, that a DM has to be aware of, there called the outlier, i.e. a player who gets his/her jollies by BREAKING sense of immersion, verisimilitude of a campaign setting, and other (often unspoken) assumptions and expectations of the game. They play gonzo races, they do things that nobody else in the group want to do BECAUSE they don't want to do it. Often, they act in such a way that the group either has to see their mission fail, or do illogical things which break suspension of disbelief.

I don't really believe that the DMGII is an authoritative source on the psychology of roleplayers (I'm unaware of any authoritative source on this) and I'm opposed to creating taxonomies of roleplayers. In my experience, they are vast oversimplifications and aren't actually useful for much. The DMGII positing the existence of this kind of roleplayer doesn't mean they actually exist or exist in significant numbers. I'm still willing to look at it, however.

Let's look at some...

So just to be clear, callous disregarding of the desires of others is fine as long as it comes from the players?


Arssanguinus wrote:
So just to be clear, callous disregarding of the desires of others is fine as long as it comes from the players?

Actually, I don't think players should treat Pathfinder games with their friends as market transactions. It's certainly not fine just because they aren't the DM.


So why, like a friend would, don't they just pick something else from the near infinite variety available to them instead of shoehorning in something that has been stated to specifically not be part of the setting?


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Arssanguinus wrote:
So why, like a friend would, don't they just pick something else from the near infinite variety available to them instead of shoehorning in something that has been stated to specifically not be part of the setting?

First off, would you be so kind as to stop saying "near infinite"? It's nonsense. Just say "many" or "large" or something like that.

Petty complaints about phrasing aside, throughout this entire discussion, I have tried to provide examples of how a player's concept for their character might be worked into the world. Underlying this has been the realization that campaign worlds are not static, unchanging objects, fixed before the beginning of the game. It's not feasible as a DM to plan out every detail before the game. Even when running published adventures, you'll have to add new material in the middle of the campaign, whether that's because your players' characters acted in a way not anticipated by the module or because you just had an idea you wanted to use.

The world changes to meet the demands of the story and the desires of the DM. Of course, a lot of retconning can make for an unsatisfying story, which is why I think it's a good idea to not try to nail everything down in advance. You won't know in advance what you will need to improvise or what ideas you will get and want to use halfway through the campaign. If there's no room in your world for a labyrinth filled with gelatinous cubes, then if you get a really cool idea for a labyrinth filled with gelatinous cubes, you won't be able to use it without retconning.

It is true that there may be things that are stated to not be in the setting. I am not disputing that some DMs may choose to do that. However, the setting is not static. If you can make changes to accommodate the awesome ideas you get as DM, you can make changes to accommodate the ideas of players. Sure, sometimes players want to play characters of a class or race you don't like. However, this is a group game. You aren't the only one playing and the campaign world isn't your special little baby that players should feel blessed that you deign to let play in. That way lies the DMs who treat their game as a pre-written fantasy novel who get upset if their players ever try to get off the pre-laid railroad. In my opinion, speaking as a player instead of a DM now, a railroaded campaign is certainly more obnoxious than a railroaded setting. However, it's never fun to be told that you may not do something just because the DM doesn't like it (and really, this is what a lot of the reasons given in this thread have boiled down to---something is excluded from the setting because the DM doesn't like it). As a DM, I rather like the people I play with, else I wouldn't invite them to my games. I want them to enjoy it and I don't want them to leave feeling like the game is about conforming to my desires.

Yes, sometimes as a DM, there are reasons beyond personal preference why you would exclude something. However, that still doesn't mean that it cannot be changed. Take the example above of a campaign where gunpowder and guns are introduced. But in cases like this, you can talk to your player and come to an agreement. Maybe you'll modify the setting to accommodate their character, maybe they'll modify their character to accommodate the setting. However, you should go into this from the perspective that you want your player to have fun! You shouldn't go into this with the perspective that your setting is unchangeable and you are being especially kind and should get cookies if you let your players play a character you don't like an aspect of. Players aren't irrational beings and they (we) recognize that the game is not just about them (us). However, as a DM, if you go into this with an antagonistic, patronizing attitude, don't be surprised if your players return in kind. Being told your character won't fit the setting is very different coming from a DM who made an honest effort with you to try to fit it in than it is coming from a DM who just said no upfront.

In short, it's not just the action of banning upfront certain races/classes/whatever that I am objecting to, but rather the entire mindset behind it. The idea that your friends are being rude if they want to play a character that doesn't fit easily in your setting is not helpful.


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Sissyl wrote:
Vivianne: Again, in my experience, a player who argues in this situation is NOT ready to accept a crossbow gunslinger.

I would honestly love a GM who let me have a Crossbow Gunslinger so much more than one who just said I could play a Gunslinger.

I love crossbows. I hate that they suuuuuuck. =/


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Icyshadow wrote:

You do know that not everyone who enjoys a "gonzo" race is an outlier / has that "breaking of immersion" as their main motive?

There's no good reason to lump some people who just enjoy the exotic into the same box as those who just enjoy being "that guy" at the table.

When I have a 'gonzo' player whose primary focus is not "breaking of immersion" I'll reconsider, but with nearly 30 races allowed in my game, I generally look askance at someone who insists in a half-celestial/half devil playing a custom class that was on the internet or they'll hold their breath till they turn blue, I'm unimpressed. Believe it not, the groups ran fine. And all 4 snowflakes found other games to play in, none of which lasted 5 sessions, primarily because the GM lost control. Three of the snowflakes wound up the same game and tanked it after two sessions.

My world hasn't had Half-orcs, monks or color coded Dragons since 1978. My players know that and respect it. They flesh out the world with customs, relationships and more. One the wildest 'adventure paths' I've ever run was virtually written by my players. I don't run Vancian magic, preferring most every spell point system. No gunpowder, become a wizard and and find out why at fifteenth level. My 'gods' have limited interference with mortals, restricted to guiding, providing divine powers, and selecting worthy representatives the world. They don't pop in every session to annoy the players. The world has a number of institutions that just are.

Why should I ruin the experience for the other players in order to placate someone who won't even get to know my world before they start demanding that bow to their whims and whose selfishness requires me to alter a world I've been running since before their first birthday? What if is a good reason for not having something, a reason even the most special snowflake would agree with? A reason that defines the whole campaign? Having played in a party that included 2 half-dragons, a half celestial and a medusa, I've seen what happens when weird groups play. It was fun, but 'no'.

Liberty's Edge

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From now on every post I see throwing the term "Snowflake" around as a label are getting tagged as insult/abusive.


graywulfe wrote:
From now on every post I see throwing the term "Snowflake" around as a label are getting tagged as insult/abusive.

Can we say "frozen tiny supercooled cloud droplets"? ;D

Liberty's Edge

pres man wrote:
graywulfe wrote:
From now on every post I see throwing the term "Snowflake" around as a label are getting tagged as insult/abusive.
Can we say "frozen tiny supercooled cloud droplets"? ;D

HAHA Sure :P


graywulfe wrote:
From now on every post I see throwing the term "Snowflake" around as a label are getting tagged as insult/abusive.

You also going to tag posts using "tyrant" as a label?


Bwang wrote:
who insists in a half-celestial/half devil playing a custom class that was on the internet

Who, in this entire thread, has been arguing for custom races and custom classes?

Even those who say that they should be able to "choose anything" generally couch their arguments in terms of "anything published".

There was a story of someone making a custom race (that was purposefully mechanically weaker than their constituent races), but they weren't arguing that such things should be the norm, I thought.

Also,

Bwang wrote:
Why should I ruin the experience for the other players in order to placate someone who won't even get to know my world before they start demanding that bow to their whims and whose selfishness requires me to alter a world I've been running since before their first birthday?

and,

Bwang wrote:
What if is a good reason for not having something, a reason even the most special snowflake would agree with? A reason that defines the whole campaign?

are a little different altogether from each other and most of the discussion.

First, Bwang, you obviously run a very customized game. I can respect that. I'm all about that in general.

But you have to understand that in doing so your experience is going to be substantially different from "the norm" by any measure thereof. That's okay - it's really totally okay, and I often run things differently too - but I'm letting you know that it's going to be different from most people. Because it's so different, you're going to naturally come down on a side that respects your own. Thus much of the conversation doesn't apply.

Check out some of my own campaign settings. (Seriously, and feel free to add to them. They're supposed to be somewhat collaborative, after all.) You'll quickly see that I run things very differently in them.

I love house rules. But playing by house rules is not going to let me talk about "normal" things like "normal" people because, as common as house rules in general are, in specific house rules are very different from each other and heavily rely on a group's individual social contract.

Allow me to share my experiences:

EXAMPLE ONE
* Player of a drow noble: ran the game perfectly, worked with the GM (me) to make the game good for everyone, chose not to outshine others.
* Same game, player of a dwarven cleric: worked hard to ruin it for everyone

EXAMPLE TWO
* Player of the half giant barbarian were-spider: worked hard to make the game run smoothly, and follow the plot hooks, and generally keep the game running well for all players.
* Player of the human wizard: worked really hard at destabilizing the campaign, ruining the world, and creating all sorts of problems

EXAMPLE THREE: Player of the half-frost giant/half-drow (me) followed the plot-lines, and worked to make the game work well

EXAMPLE FOUR: The blue goblin psion kept the entire game on track

EXAMPLE FIVE: The doppleganger psion kept the game on track

EXAMPLE SIX: the succubus assassin kept the game on track

These different iterations are all examples of outlier games and/or outlier races or both. Generally considered "gonzo".

Then, of course, the most "gonzo" players I've ever had were a human sorcerer and an elf cleric: two core races and two core classes.

These things? I wouldn't consider them "normal" by any stretch of the definition. But they are my experiences. They also directly contradict yours, at least if I take,

Bwang wrote:
When I have a 'gonzo' player whose primary focus is not "breaking of immersion" I'll reconsider

as my evidence of your experience. But what that means is that while our experience differs, mine proves your assertion irrelevant, and proves Icyshadow's statement solid: you can't assign generalized motives to all people who place "gonzo" races ("gonzo" being a slightly subjective term anyway).

I do agree with your idea that your world might have good reasons for the restrictions. As I said, the worlds I created have them and that informs the character of the world. Changing those would change a great deal.

I don't agree that "even the most special snowflake" would agree with your ideas, because, you know, people disagree. It happens all the time.

With that in mind, I need to mention two things you said.

Bwang wrote:
Why should I ruin the experience for the other players in order to placate someone who won't even get to know my world before they start demanding that bow to their whims and whose selfishness requires me to alter a world I've been running since before their first birthday?

If it ruins things for everyone, it's not a good idea. I'm pretty sure that everyone agrees with this.

Running a setting since before someone's birthday neither invalidates their ideas, nor validates your own.

Bwang wrote:
What if is a good reason for not having something, a reason even the most special snowflake would agree with? A reason that defines the whole campaign?

Good reasons are good. Reasons define the whole setting are generally the kind of reasons that many hate this kind of thing. I don't, but I'm letting you know that isn't a solid way to argue this.

Also it comes across as arrogant.

My point is: you have a few good points that are kind of hidden under a weaker post that sounds arrogant.

So do they. Please be civil everyone.

EDIT:

Arssanguinus wrote:
graywulfe wrote:
From now on every post I see throwing the term "Snowflake" around as a label are getting tagged as insult/abusive.
You also going to tag posts using "tyrant" as a label?

Sounds like a fair compromise.


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That's all well and good, your players can have the best intentions of keeping the game and campaign running smooth as much as they want, but it isn't going to stop the city of regular humans who only know of other human looking things from going "DID THAT GIANT FROG JUST F*****G TALK!?!?!?!?" Players have to understand that the world has to react to your character's race, and if they have never seen something like you before, and they think you happen to be a monster because you look like an effing monster, then you have to deal with the consequences of that. If it means the village attacks you, then it means the village attacks you. If it means you get imprisoned or hunted down, then you have to cope. Don't go walking around as some random monster looking race that no one in this DM's world has ever seen and expect to be treated like a human all nonchalant like it's totally normal for you to be there, because if it was, you would immediately not want to play that race anymore.


-Glances at the last page-

Yeah. I'm just gonna respond to the OP. Too much work to read all that.

Personally, as a GM and as a player, I absolutely adore exotic or even monstrous races, but insofar as they aren't simply used for optimization. As such, when, as a gm, a player approaches me and says I want to play x, I ask Y? (Har, see what I did there?) If you want to play a Tiefling, why do you want to do it. Do you want to play it because of the darkness in your character's ancestry, do you want to be the scapegoat that many of the people around you will despise, or are you just interested in the stats? In all honesty, usually it's the last of those. They just want that +2 dex, +2 int, -2 cha, just so that they can play a better rogue. But there are times where its another reason.

Usually, a very simple way for me to gauge this is for me to ask the person to write up a backstory. I even applied this back in 3.5 to the more unusual (or sometimes in my opinion OP) classes. More often than not what I'll discover is that someone who writes up an interesting or at the very least well thought out backstory at least to some degree is simply interested in playing the character, not just benefiting from the stats. Sure, they still may enjoy the stats and the benefits they grant, but playing that character is what is important to them.

I tend to have games where I'll have 3-4 players playing common races, and 1-2 playing "uncommon" races. Aka you have a human, dwarf, and an elf, and then an aasimar and a sylph (one of my current games). The three that play the regular races play them just for the sake of playing the game. the Aasimar is a paladin, and wrote up a fairly convincing backstory, so I allowed it. The Sylph wrote up a very interesting backstory, and went with the Druid Archetype for the race, even though they felt like the archetype made them a little less powerful, just to meet the needs of the character.

So in my opinion, don't simply throw exotic races out as an option, just learn what to look for to determine if that person really needs to play that race.


I lean on the GM side and restrictions being just fine. Part of that probably comes from being a HERO gm for decades, where the rules are incredible flexible, but things that are "book legal by raw" are disallowed as they are unbalanced. That is an expected part of the GMs job. It's also been part of every setting - HERO doesn't have settings and rules tied together - you have the rulebook that tells you everything you can do, and a separate setting book that says "This is how you use those rules to create your world (or present ours)"

I take that same attitude when I play Pathfinder. The rules are Pathfinder rules - including a lot of 3PP and some 3.5 and other stuff (Unearthed Arcana - I love the Akashic).

When I sit down and pitch an idea to the group I lay out the ideas and restrictions and tone of the game. I get buy in. If a player joins that game later - then she would be expected to follow the restrictions agreed on by the table.

I've thought about playing a game with CRB Classes or Races. If that game were going and someone wanted to play a human, I'd tell them no, as part of the foundational idea for the theme of the campaign is to not have that race as a playable race.

In practice, in my games, no one has ever been turned away for a race choice, and only a few characters denied for class choice (I only allow "good" PCs, so no Anti-paladins). I like my pubs to look like the cantina in Star Wars, but I am fully in support of the principle that The World is the GMS, including choices and limitations set. I would never allow someone to bring in a character that wasn't built (or rebuilt from the ground up) to fit my world - and I never used published worlds, so the potential player should talk to me before creating a character. I give any GM I am a player for the same courtesy.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Lord Mhoram wrote:

I lean on the GM side and restrictions being just fine. Part of that probably comes from being a HERO gm for decades, where the rules are incredible flexible, but things that are "book legal by raw" are disallowed as they are unbalanced. That is an expected part of the GMs job. It's also been part of every setting - HERO doesn't have settings and rules tied together - you have the rulebook that tells you everything you can do, and a separate setting book that says "This is how you use those rules to create your world (or present ours)"

I take that same attitude when I play Pathfinder. The rules are Pathfinder rules - including a lot of 3PP and some 3.5 and other stuff (Unearthed Arcana - I love the Akashic).

This is a good idea with any RPG with a lot customization options for the PCs.


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Arssanguinus wrote:
You also going to tag posts using "tyrant" as a label?

Spoilered response 'cuz increasingly off-topic.

Spoiler:
My usage of the phrase "petty tyrant" was apropos. It's a real phrase for a real phenomenon and everything.


I seriously do not understand the idea that everything published should always be fine to play. Paizo has released hundreds of books by now - I have to accomodate ALL the stuff in all of them? Why? I have GMed a witch character in Curse of the Crimson Throne, and due to the nature of AP single big bad structure, had it play merry heck with almost every encounter. Difficult Will save for two rounds, fail one and have to roll twice and take the worse result for every action etc, lasting while the witch cackles? Yeah. No thanks. Sorry to say it, but Paizo did not always balance their new stuff against the old. And that is just one reason not to allow something that was published.

A deeper issue is the assumption that because you play Pathfinder, gonzo races are part of the game. Pathfinder is a ruleset. You can use it to play anything you like, adding or removing pieces of the ruleset, design elements and such to tailor the game to what you want. Saying less is unnecessarily limiting, I feel. If I want to play a noir game without arcane magic in a half-orc only city, and can use part of PF to do so, there is nothing wrong with that.


Vivianne Laflamme wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
You also going to tag posts using "tyrant" as a label?

Spoilered response 'cuz increasingly off-topic.

** spoiler omitted **

So is the other phrase. It is a real phenomenon. There are plenty of players, and people, like that. So ...


Sissyl wrote:
A deeper issue is the assumption that because you play Pathfinder, gonzo races are part of the game. Pathfinder is a ruleset. You can use it to play anything you like, adding or removing pieces of the ruleset, design elements and such to tailor the game to what you want. Saying less is unnecessarily limiting, I feel. If I want to play a noir game without arcane magic in a half-orc only city, and can use part of PF to do so, there is nothing wrong with that.

So your assumption of how the game is supposed to be (aka the one true way) is okay, but mine isn't?

As a DM, I disagree with you on that. I will also disagree with you on that as a player. I hope you realize exactly why I do so.


Icyshadow wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
A deeper issue is the assumption that because you play Pathfinder, gonzo races are part of the game. Pathfinder is a ruleset. You can use it to play anything you like, adding or removing pieces of the ruleset, design elements and such to tailor the game to what you want. Saying less is unnecessarily limiting, I feel. If I want to play a noir game without arcane magic in a half-orc only city, and can use part of PF to do so, there is nothing wrong with that.

So your assumption of how the game is supposed to be (aka the one true way) is okay, but mine isn't?

As a DM, I disagree with you on that. I will also disagree with you on that as a player. I hope you realize exactly why I do so.

So you think the ONLY way to play is with every single game element included, in golarion?

Edit :

And how is "you can use it to play any way you like, adding or removing" advocating a "one true way"?


There is no true way. Everyone is wrong.

EVERYONE


Umbral Reaver wrote:

There is no true way. Everyone is wrong.

EVERYONE

There is a one true way - its the way you, whoever you are, have decided to play it at your table. Wether that is including everything under the sun, or whether its 'human fighters only'. Whether its completely "the world has rules, one are followed" or "there is a table vote on everything"

In my place, the world has a setting, and it has some specific, targeted, hard exclusions and everything else is negotiable.


Arssanguinus wrote:
Umbral Reaver wrote:

There is no true way. Everyone is wrong.

EVERYONE

There is a one true way - its the way you, whoever you are, have decided to play it at your table. Wether that is including everything under the sun, or whether its 'human fighters only'. Whether its completely "the world has rules, one are followed" or "there is a table vote on everything"

In my place, the world has a setting, and it has some specific, targeted, hard exclusions and everything else is negotiable.

My way still has to be okay with the four other people at the table.


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To recap:

Some GMs feel that they need not justify limiting the race possibilities available in their campaigns - there is discussion that this is rigid, over rigid or completely ok.

Some players feel that they should be allowed carte blanche race choices in any setting regardless of how rigidly or openly it has been conceived, designed or is run by hypothetical GMs. There is discussion that this smacks of entitlement, evokes feelings that said characters are therefore only some sort of bespoke shaped frozen water from the sky or only capable of destroying the fabric of reality in-game and out.

From what I can gather there is a philosophic divide here based on preferences, not on rationally approaching the social contract. Without discussion and acknowledgment of desires on both sides of the (metaphorical) screen there can be no resolution. Neither side must accommodate the other, but at least considering the other's viewpoint is the least one can do in any discussion. Then by all means discount or disagree - as a GM make your pronouncement, as a Player, choose whether to play or not.

I like gnolls, lizardfolk and vegepygmies as PCs. I like skeletons and wights as PCs. I want to play a shae PC. I wouldn't know if these are under- or over-powered nor how to optimise them for classes, and really am not looking to powergame nor am I interested in "stealing the limelight". I am repectful of other players and the campain setting.

I dislike dwarves, halflings, elves and gnomes.

I'm not going to get bent out of shape if my choices aren't particularly welcomed, allowed, available or in existence in a particular GM's game world. I'll try to insert my character thematically into the setting after I hear what its theme and framework is. Sometimes being a human is the freakiest thing you can be.


Icyshadow wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:
Umbral Reaver wrote:

There is no true way. Everyone is wrong.

EVERYONE

There is a one true way - its the way you, whoever you are, have decided to play it at your table. Wether that is including everything under the sun, or whether its 'human fighters only'. Whether its completely "the world has rules, one are followed" or "there is a table vote on everything"

In my place, the world has a setting, and it has some specific, targeted, hard exclusions and everything else is negotiable.

My way still has to be okay with the four other people at the table.

So does the other. If it wasn't, they wouldn't be there and ... There are five people at the table, and the gm is one of them, not a public utility. And if you decide I don't have any control over the ingredients in my soup, then instead of me cooking it, one of you can. Any takers? No? Oh, I see then.


Oceanshieldwolf wrote:

To recap:

Some GMs feel that they need not justify limiting the race possibilities available in their campaigns - there is discussion that this is rigid, over rigid or completely ok.

Some players feel that they should be allowed carte blanche race choices in any setting regardless of how rigidly or openly it has been conceived, designed or is run by hypothetical GMs. There is discussion that this smacks of entitlement, evokes feelings that said characters are therefore only some sort of bespoke shaped frozen water from the sky or only capable of destroying the fabric of reality in-game and out.

From what I can gather there is a philosophic divide here based on preferences, not on rationally approaching the social contract. Without discussion and acknowledgment of desires on both sides of the (metaphorical) screen there can be no resolution. Neither side must accommodate the other, but at least considering the other's viewpoint is the least one can do in any discussion. Then by all means discount or disagree - as a GM make your pronouncement, as a Player, choose whether to play or not.

I like gnolls, lizardfolk and vegepygmies as PCs. I like skeletons and wights as PCs. I want to play a shae PC. I wouldn't know if these are under- or over-powered nor how to optimise them for classes, and really am not looking to powergame nor am I interested in "stealing the limelight". I am repectful of other players and the campain setting.

I dislike dwarves, halflings, elves and gnomes.

I'm not going to get bent out of shape if my choices aren't particularly welcomed, allowed, available or in existence in a particular GM's game world. I'll try to insert my character thematically into the setting after I hear what its theme and framework is. Sometimes being a human is the freakiest thing you can be.

I don't mind something unusual at all. I just want it to be something unusual that is part of the setting.


Icyshadow wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
A deeper issue is the assumption that because you play Pathfinder, gonzo races are part of the game. Pathfinder is a ruleset. You can use it to play anything you like, adding or removing pieces of the ruleset, design elements and such to tailor the game to what you want. Saying less is unnecessarily limiting, I feel. If I want to play a noir game without arcane magic in a half-orc only city, and can use part of PF to do so, there is nothing wrong with that.

So your assumption of how the game is supposed to be (aka the one true way) is okay, but mine isn't?

As a DM, I disagree with you on that. I will also disagree with you on that as a player. I hope you realize exactly why I do so.

I wasn't saying that my way is the only correct one. Quite the contrary. I was specifically stating that THERE ARE MANY "TRUE" WAYS TO PLAY Pathfinder. I was saying that "EVERYTHING included" is NOT the "ONE TRUE WAY". How you managed to get from there to what you say I claimed, I will never know.


Sissyl wrote:
Icyshadow wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
A deeper issue is the assumption that because you play Pathfinder, gonzo races are part of the game. Pathfinder is a ruleset. You can use it to play anything you like, adding or removing pieces of the ruleset, design elements and such to tailor the game to what you want. Saying less is unnecessarily limiting, I feel. If I want to play a noir game without arcane magic in a half-orc only city, and can use part of PF to do so, there is nothing wrong with that.

So your assumption of how the game is supposed to be (aka the one true way) is okay, but mine isn't?

As a DM, I disagree with you on that. I will also disagree with you on that as a player. I hope you realize exactly why I do so.

I wasn't saying that my way is the only correct one. Quite the contrary. I was specifically stating that THERE ARE MANY "TRUE" WAYS TO PLAY Pathfinder. I was saying that "EVERYTHING included" is NOT the "ONE TRUE WAY". How you managed to get from there to what you say I claimed, I will never know.

I apologize. This would be the second (or maybe the third) time I misunderstood a post on a forum today.


Game companies publish options to make money.
Game companies don't always publish options that mix well together for a balanced gameplay experience for everyone.
If the choice of options becomes a arms war for the best options it eliminates either fun or the previous options that are subpar.
Every published option should not be an option for every game. Even game designers, whose job depends on people buying options, have alluded to such before.
It is the GMs role to determine the options available to any campaign. This will ensure that older options do not become obsolete and everyone will have a good experience.

This does not hold true in game groups that the whole idea is everything published is open and the whole goal is to build the best build possible of all the options available. And that's fun for some people. To each their own in that regard. It's not fun for me, but a friend of mine created a "dungeon of doom" that was all about that type of play for many months.

But I just can't buy into the fact of the mentality of "I should be able to play anything I want because it's been published. It's official." That kind of attitude made 3.0 eventually unplayable if GMs weren't putting some limitations on the game by everyone who was not a rules master. It took much less time as options exploded for 3.5. And it will happen with Pathfinder, too, if there are not limitations on the table.


Humans are the only Core Race that receive a bonus feat, you know.

Mechanics are, again, not the only reason people choose an exotic race.


Icyshadow wrote:

Humans are the only Core Race that receive a bonus feat, you know.

Mechanics are, again, not the only reason people choose an exotic race.

Absolutely true. But you can't say with a straight face that it isn't a reason that some chose them, right?


Arssanguinus wrote:
Icyshadow wrote:

Humans are the only Core Race that receive a bonus feat, you know.

Mechanics are, again, not the only reason people choose an exotic race.

Absolutely true. But you can't say with a straight face that it isn't a reason that some chose them, right?

Why would I need to say it with a straight face?

I was speaking mostly for myself, not for anyone else here.

Optimizers, munchkins and powergamers will take what they can.

If the Human turns out to be the best option for a build, he/she will take it.

If the homebrew race with Powerful Build is better for said character, he/she will prefer that.


IS it hard to add new races? I have seen both people claiming it is simple and those claiming it take a ton of extra work. Who is right and who is lying? The answer is that they are both right. To a gamist adding a new race is a rather simple process where you evaluate the mechanical benefits against what is already available and make sure it is balanced, nothing more need be done. The process is quick and easy. BUT a simulationist disagrees adding a race to a world requires a ton of researching into where this race may have come from and where they might live now. It requires altering millenia of history in order to include the new race and a complete rewrite of some areas and role play reactions just to make it barely playable. In other words a ton of effort for little if any return on time and creativity invested. I won't address narativists because they don't seem to be part of this argument. So really this entire web rage argument boils down to a difference in game ideology... OR in other words: gamist players calling simulationist GMs bad/wrong for restricting races, which is really what is happening here.

PS: an aside to the player claiming "I can just make gunpowder in game" (or an F-18...because lets face it in a world where you can create an item instantly via magic an F-18 would only take one action to construct) That is metagaming in it's worst aspect. Your character has no idea what ingredients might be used to make gunpowder. And inventing new things is entirely in the GMs hands it wouldn't be wrong for him to say "sorry those ingredients that make gunpowder in the real world are NOT the ones needed to make it in this fantasy world - you fail." I would also strip away his role play XP bonus because metagaming is NOT playing in character and issue him a Verbal Warning for attempting to cheat via metagaming.


Aranna wrote:
gamist players calling simulationist GMs bad/wrong for restricting races, which is really what is happening here.

Maybe partly, but I think a lot more of it is the difference in attitude between "this is MY setting, and I'm begrudingly allowing you to play in it unless you break something, so look but don't touch!" vs. "this is OUR setting and let's all decide together what we're allowing and what we're not, and we understand it might get a little messy now and then."


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Aranna wrote:
OR in other words: (1) gamist (2) players calling simulationist GMs bad/wrong for restricting races, which is really what is happening here.

Yeah... no. Wrong on both counts, at least with regard to me. A consistent theme in my posts have been about the importance of keeping the campaign and setting coherent when adding new races/classes/whatever. I've barely mentioned mechanics. That's not exactly a gamist approach. Also, most my comments have been coming from the perspective of a DM, why I take this approach when I run games, and how it has worked out well for me. I've mentioned my experiences as a player only to talk about how it informs how I DM.


I don't mind playing such a campaign, IF that is what I am doing. I could make a few basic scribbles on a paper, call it a map, say anything goes as far as rules are concerned, make a few adventure locales that would be cool, and add a BBEG wanting something which would be bad. To this, I could add whatever serpentfolk/half-human griffon/owlbearfolk/dwarf-elves/half-dragons the players want as the major races.

But I would in all likelihood find it rather lacking as a setting. Without a theme of some sort, something that distinguishes the setting from any other, without a focus for what stories to tell there, I am not going to feel it is very satisfying. Likewise, I suspect players would find it pretty lacking if they took any kind of interest in setting verisimilitude and the like.

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