OK I'm just going to say it. Barbarians are unbalanced.


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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andreww wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
Wish from simulacrums is extremely doubtful and I have never seen it allowed.
I don't think anyone actually disagrees that Wishes from simulacrums are a bad idea(not even Anzyr :) ) and really shouldn't be allowed. But, as things stand, it is entirely possible, even probable, that they are RAW even if a rather unintended consequence of some of the changes from 3e - PF.

I don't think simulacrums of monsters should ever be used in RAW debates, not because there is a clear "no, it is not RAW legal" answer available, but because the rules surrounding them are unclear and unhelpful.


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Oenar, the Winter wrote:
Marthkus wrote:
Alexandros Satorum wrote:
High optimization does limit the number of builds avaliables.

But does that limit RPing?

I might have to agree here. I find that I just can't play a fighter in a group with a synthesist summoner.

You've heard the Henry Ford quote "any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black."?

That's the limitation on RP high optimization requirements put.

How so? I've played the same optimized build multiple times with completely different personalities and backstories, and I'm sure even if others haven't recycled builds that they could do the same if they wished. The flavor of mechanics can be whatever you want it to be.

Using the car example, it's like saying you can't tell the difference between a black car and one with a tricked out paint job because they both have the exact same motor.


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chaoseffect wrote:
Oenar, the Winter wrote:
Marthkus wrote:
Alexandros Satorum wrote:
High optimization does limit the number of builds avaliables.

But does that limit RPing?

I might have to agree here. I find that I just can't play a fighter in a group with a synthesist summoner.

You've heard the Henry Ford quote "any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black."?

That's the limitation on RP high optimization requirements put.

How so? I've played the same optimized build multiple times with completely different personalities and backstories, and I'm sure even if others haven't recycled builds that they could do the same if they wished. The flavor of mechanics can be whatever you want it to be.

Using the car example, it's like saying you can't tell the difference between a black car and one with a tricked out paint job because they both have the exact same motor.

Well, the car quote is a bit of a hyperbole, but the basic is still the same; the higher the requirement of optimization, the less different characters can be played.

Say you have three concepts you want to play - a dual-bastard sword-wielding druid/wizard, a thuggish half-orc rogue and a human diviner wizard.

In a game with a really low floor of optimization, you can play any of these you wish.
In a game with more of a "standard" floor of optimization - say an AP - the first of them won't work, but the second two will.
In a really difficult game with a high optimization requirement, only the diviner wizard will really be useful.

As such, optimization limits roleplay, in terms of width, rather than height; it does not limit how WELL a single character can be roleplayed, but it limits what kinds of concepts can be made working characters and what can't.

You see examples of this with the quote above that a ninja that doesn't take vanishing trick is irresponsible; in a game where that person sets the optimization floor, ninjas who lack the power to turn invisible simply aren't valid roleplay concepts.

Hence, "you can have a car in any color you want, as long as it's black"; "you can roleplay any character you want, as long as it's mechanically powerful".

If your concept is not one the system rewards mechanically, optimization prevents you from roleplaying.


You are blaming optimisation for the flaws inherent in the system. Maybe if the system were more balanced there wouldn't be any need to take into account those issues.


I'm with andrew on this one. We're stuck in a system (alongside a great many players/gms) that really doesn't like Multi-classing.


Marthkus wrote:

Superstitious gives a +6 to saves human favored class bonus raises that to +12.

Beast totem gives pounce AND ac to make up for a lack of heavy armor, OR you can use reckless abandon to trade out that free AC for MORE to-hit.

With invulnerable Rager you can trade out some relatively useless anti-rogue defenses for crazy amount of DR /-.

I know people like the barbar because of how it actually competes with classes that can cast spells, but surely there is a better way to do that than just adding a +6-12 to all d20 rolls.

Just played an Invulnerable Barbarian with superstitious and reckless abandon in Rise of the Runelords. I can say this much, totally not over powered. I was meat shield that needed constantly healing. I was capable but nothing special really. The saves were great but the melee beatings I took where the real weakness due to low AC even lower with Reckless abandon. If it wasn't for the better DR I'd never have survived.


For those saying the wizard would run out of money...

Blood Money is a spell you know...


Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Marthkus wrote:
Lemmy wrote:
"Oh, no! A 20th level Barbarian has a good will save! How will I, a 20th level full caster, deal with this threat? It's not like I have any option other than directly targeting enemies with a SoL effect!"
Why is a barbar capable of resisting the highest possible DC from creatures that are not un-stated Gods?
Why should spellcasters always succeed? So one class, one, has a chance to not get railed hard by the 20th level Mythic 10 caster. You'll be glad you have the barbarian in your party when they're the only one that can survive the magic to bring the caster down. And you'll also be happy when he can sunder the domination magic off of you.

After one fight, the barbarian retreated with pretty much everybody else polymorphed into a fish or turned to stone. He was also in death mode, so he had to keep raging, down some potions for half healing, and finally fall unconscious. Fortunately the enemy has a psychosis that causes him to generally ignore opponents that leave him be, so the barbarian was able to rest, heal up, and then spell sunder all the fish with his bare hands (but he couldn't recognize which were which, so he wound up freeing some other things too...oops!)

All in all, it was a hilarious tale for us to tell and a lot of fun to be had, and the barbarian got to be the big damn hero.

A high level barbarian is that caster kryptonite but 9 tier fighter could drop that same barbarian in 1 round.


voska66 wrote:
A high level barbarian is that caster kryptonite but 9 tier fighter could drop that same barbarian in 1 round.

That's mainly because mythic vital strike and mythic initiative easily pushes the fighter DPR to 800+ AND you can move. Basically auto-hits barring some sort of miss chance like mirror image or displacement (which is one thing barbar don't always have).


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kyrt-ryder wrote:
I'm with andrew on this one. We're stuck in a system (alongside a great many players/gms) that really doesn't like Multi-classing.

I don't think multiclassing is really the issue. Some of the most powerful characters I've seen have been multiclassed.


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andreww wrote:
You are blaming optimisation for the flaws inherent in the system. Maybe if the system were more balanced there wouldn't be any need to take into account those issues.

We're going in circles here. Optimization is the problem. The system is only unbalanced when some people are optimizing more than others. The bar set by the system (CR) is really quite easily achieved. You really don't have to do super optimized things in order to compete with the APs and the typical CR of encounters. My argument about some of the classes (Alchemists, Paladins, most of the full casters, etc) being too powerful is that they exceed CR competency even when you don't really optimize them very much.

EDIT: Rather, you can say that the flaw with the system is that it allows some people to optimize more than others to such a dramatic degree. But anyway, this is still not a problem as long as no one actually does it. On the other hand, it can be very hard to make the argument for why they shouldn't. So don't get me wrong; I'm not denying deep systemic problems. But given their existence, we have to fix them ourselves. And we do that by not optimizing.

EDIT II: Incidentally there's optimizing and then there's optimizing. There's a lot of space between a truly weak or incompetent character and a highly optimized one. I'm not suggesting everybody make crummy characters that can't compete with CR. But on the other hand, when we're to the point of accusing people of foolishness for making, for instance, a ninja without vanishing trick, then there is clearly a problem.


Marthkus wrote:
voska66 wrote:
A high level barbarian is that caster kryptonite but 9 tier fighter could drop that same barbarian in 1 round.
That's mainly because mythic vital strike and mythic initiative easily pushes the fighter DPR to 800+ AND you can move. Basically auto-hits barring some sort of miss chance like mirror image or displacement (which is one thing barbar don't always have).

Heartseeker weapon property.


Jadeite wrote:
The Superstitious bonus is wrong. What Barbarian doesn't own a courageous furious weapon? And Superstitious grants a morale bonus ...

I don't see anything wrong with a moral bonus against spells. Seems to me that is a different bonus that the bonus to will saves. I can see an argument that they might not stack now but until now I've never even considered that. Seems to me that bonus would be intended to stack though. Kind of silly that it would stack.


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Oenar, the Winter wrote:


Say you have three concepts you want to play - a dual-bastard sword-wielding druid/wizard, a thuggish half-orc rogue and a human diviner wizard.

In a game with a really low floor of optimization, you can play any of these you wish.
In a game with more of a "standard" floor of optimization - say an AP - the first of them won't work, but the second two will.
In a really difficult game with a high optimization requirement, only the diviner wizard will really be useful.

You know, you might actually be able to make the dual bastard sword wielding druid wizard work...anyway, it's exactly the kind of challenge I enjoy! Time to get to work!


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Ooh goody! I hope he is serious, I REALLY want to see that build.


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Erick Wilson wrote:


We're going in circles here. Optimization is the problem. The system is only unbalanced when some people are optimizing more than others.

Please don't blame players for playing the game, thanks


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CWheezy wrote:
Erick Wilson wrote:


We're going in circles here. Optimization is the problem. The system is only unbalanced when some people are optimizing more than others.

Please don't blame players for playing the game, thanks

+1


Trogdar wrote:
CWheezy wrote:
Please don't <do whatever, it doesn't matter>, thanks
+1

Or what, you'll burninate the country-side?!?

/waiting to use that since I first saw your username*

* Yeah, I know it's a little off, but it's too close not too! And it doesn't matter if it's a stretch! I had to take the opportunity! Had to! You made me do it! You made me! Aaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrgggghhhhblblblaglabaerlblgr! ... phew. I'm okay.**

** Pfffffffff-ahahahahahah! No, I'm not, but they let me post here anyway! Suckers!


andreww wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
Wish from simulacrums is extremely doubtful and I have never seen it allowed.
I don't think anyone actually disagrees that Wishes from simulacrums are a bad idea(not even Anzyr :) ) and really shouldn't be allowed. But, as things stand, it is entirely possible, even probable, that they are RAW even if a rather unintended consequence of some of the changes from 3e - PF.

Took the words right out of my mouth. Gentleman's agreements are very important, since I would hate to actually sit down and try and houserule everything that needed it. I'll leave that level of Pathfinder houseruling to Kirth its just to much work for me.

Plus who points out the power level of something that they admit is overpowered on the creator's site, without intending to get that rule changed? I mean seriously a simulacrum fix would be fantastic... maybe if get enough people together, though more politely, ala Ice Tomb Hex?


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Yes, Yes I will.


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Rogue Eidolon wrote:


The honest truth is that any party that makes good use of their martial characters, optimized or not, can always keep going for many on-CR encounters before resting if they have enough sources of healing (like a wand of CLW). It's generally parties "carried" by the casters that wind up needing to rest sooner because even if your level 7 sorceress can wipe out the encounter with one 3rd level spell, she'll eventually run out. The exception being witches with their at-will hexes.

One of the reasons why my PFS Sorcerer is likely to end up with a Ring of Wizardry III after GM credits catapult him from 9th to 11th level is because I LIKE the idea of having the following:

1st Level [_][_][_][_][_][_][_][_]+[_][_] (Two Cheesy Purple Ioun Stones)
2nd Level [_][_][_][_][_][_][_][_]
3rd Level [_][_][_][_][_][_][_][_][_][_][_][_][_][_]
4th level [_][_][_][_][_][_][_][_]
5th level [_][_][_][_][_][_]

on my resource card. :)

14 3rd level spell slots means never having to say "I'm sorry, I'm out of fireballs." in a PFS scenario where there are 3-4 combat encounters that take 3-4 rounds each...

Now, you may be saying "Sorry you guys got in the way of the fireballs."

But that's why you allocate a few slots for Communal Resist Fire. So you don't care if they're in the danger safe of the fireball...

(And before anyone jumps up and down, yes, I know there are plenty of *better* uses for 70k (63k after Qadiran discount) for magic items. However, for roleplaying purposes? "What do you mean 'out of fireballs'? What do you take me for, some addlepated book-licker who's eaten all of his bat-s*+!?")

I also use those slots for Cure Moderate Wounds (Ring of Spell Knowledge III), and Dazing Magic Missiles (Magical Lineage: Magic Missiles)) as well as Vampiric Touch.


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andreww wrote:
You are blaming optimisation for the flaws inherent in the system. Maybe if the system were more balanced there wouldn't be any need to take into account those issues.
kyrt-ryder wrote:
I'm with andrew on this one. We're stuck in a system (alongside a great many players/gms) that really doesn't like Multi-classing.
Trogdar wrote:
CWheezy wrote:
Erick Wilson wrote:


We're going in circles here. Optimization is the problem. The system is only unbalanced when some people are optimizing more than others.

Please don't blame players for playing the game, thanks
+1

Okay, first off: There is nothing about "blame" here. We're not saying people who optimize are bad or inherently worse roleplayers. We are not discussing individual players and their characters.

But this issue exists in any system where some options and combinations are stronger than others - which means, the vast majority of games, period. It's rare with games where every choice has equally beneficial outcome, and some people claim those games aren't even games (I disagree vehemently with that, but it's worth noting some people see it as so central to the concept of game).

In any roleplaying game where there are certain options/combinations that are stronger, and certain options/combinations that are weaker, there is an inherent conflict between roleplaying and optimization. This doesn't mean those that focus more on optimization are "bad" in any way.

Optimization is about making the optimal mechanical choices. The higher requirement a game has on optimization, the less roles can be played, because some roles feature taking suboptimal choices. And this is not just on a build level, it's also a matter of in-game tactics; Whether the paladin should charge her archenemy she sworn to kill whenever she could or protect her party which might be mechanically superior, whether the arachnophobic sorcerer will make the perfect spell choice when beset by a bunch of giant spiders or if she will flee. Etc etc etc.

It's not just about multiclassing; a character that wants to be a master-scribe-turned-mercenary might be a fighter that want Cosmopolitan and Skill Focus (Profession: Scribe) as her first level feats, and would be a lot weaker for it and not fit in a mechanically difficult game.

The only exception is a rule system in which the mechanical choices are so completely defunct of flavor that any rule can be used for any purpose, but I've never seen such a game.

So, tl;dr:
1. Optimization exists in any system where some choices are stronger than others.
2. Optimization is all about making the optimal choice.
3. A high optimization requirement limits the number of different roles that can be played.
4. A high requirement of being able to play any role at all limits what mechanical difficulty can be in a game.
5. It's not about one being better than the other or individual players, it's an assessment about how roleplaying games function on a systematic level.


I think that I can tentatively agree with your premise Ilja, but it really hinges upon what kind of optimization your talking about. I usually optimize for teamwork and having a reasonably broad skill set to fall upon without having the best option for every situation. This does lead me toward hybrid casters more often than not. Is this the kind of optimization that is going to hinder roleplay? Because in my experience, having a bard can really make that struggling character look better than he/she is in actuality.


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chaoseffect wrote:
I've played the same optimized build multiple times with completely different personalities and backstories, and I'm sure even if others haven't recycled builds that they could do the same if they wished. The flavor of mechanics can be whatever you want it to be.

Have to agree on this point. I find that the vast bulk of my mechanical choices don't have a huge effect on how my character is roleplayed, aside from obvious stuff like not portraying a character as a skilled woodsman when he has 0 ranks in survival. Whether my character has a +7 or +8 to attack rolls doesn't really change his personality, goals, etc.

Ilja wrote:
Optimization is about making the optimal mechanical choices. The higher requirement a game has on optimization, the less roles can be played, because some roles feature taking suboptimal choices. And this is not just on a build level, it's also a matter of in-game tactics; Whether the paladin should charge her archenemy she sworn to kill whenever she could or protect her party which might be mechanically superior, whether the arachnophobic sorcerer will make the perfect spell choice when beset by a bunch of giant spiders or if she will flee. Etc etc etc.

To be honest, both of those situations strike me as great RP hooks even with the argument over what's optimal. The Paladin having to choose between revenge and the good of the party makes for a very archtypal roleplay hook, if you want a paladin who struggles with his ideals vs. his emtions. Same thing with a character being confronted by their greatest fear, and struggling to overcome it and keep a cool head; facing and overcoming fear is one of the most basic heroic stories there is.


Quote:
We're going in circles here. Optimization is the problem. The system is only unbalanced when some people are optimizing more than others.

I don't really care what you are saying Ilja, but this sentence literally says that it is some players fault, not the systems fault, they they can build stronger characters or whatever. That implies the system is perfect or something, which is false at its core.


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Sounds like he is saying unequal system mastery is the cause of most problems. It is a major cause of problems with the game.


Raith Shadar wrote:
Sounds like he is saying unequal system mastery is the cause of most problems. It is a major cause of problems with the game.

Not necesarily unequal system mastery. A good portion of system mastery is to obtain the best from the worst. Like how to make the best non-TWF shield and sword barbarian or something.

The good thing of system mastery is that in groups withlow optimization you can play and somewhat optimize the bad options.

Heavy umbalance in power amons diferent party members is a problem though.


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Alexandros Satorum wrote:
Raith Shadar wrote:
Sounds like he is saying unequal system mastery is the cause of most problems. It is a major cause of problems with the game.

Not necesarily unequal system mastery. A good portion of system mastery is to obtain the best from the worst. Like how to make the best non-TWF shield and sword barbarian or something.

The good thing of system mastery is that in groups withlow optimization you can play and somewhat optimize the bad options.

Heavy umbalance in power amons diferent party members is a problem though.

Most of the people I play with try to obtain the best of the best save for one player who doesn't like all the rule options and wants to go back to playing 1st edition D&D. Thus he spends a lot of time b&@@~ing about how powerful the other characters are. He is the one that plays a wizard the most often. At one point he didn't see the value of metamagic and thought it was worthless.

System mastery definitely has a dramatic effect on the game.


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Here is the simple truth--> 99.9999% of the time "______ is OP/broken" is false. For that to be true _____ has to cause a problem at most tables. The only problem is that the OP of such statements does not like ____, and wants to use their playstyle as the baseline of what should be. Once they realize their style of play is nothing more than their style of play, they can just adjust _____ for their group and keep it moving.

You(general statement) don't like _____. Well that is fine, but don't think what you don't like is "wrong".

On the recent sub-topic, the system is not perfect, but having players together with highly different levels of optimization and ability to play the game can(not will) cause a problem so the fault does not lie 100% with the system or the players. The problem is a result mechanics and players to include the GM at time.


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Well of course system mastery will make you stronger, and will affect game play. That is the same with ANY game.

Magic the Gathering? Its o fun playing with your janky legacy dekc that has this one cool combo, against a deck like High Tide, Stasis, or Show and Tell with a pilot who knows what he is doing.

FPS lose alot of appeal when you are playing with a buddy who is damned good and can headshots from across the map when you are barely able to hit center of mass from point blank range.

RPGs lose some appeal in the same way. When your janky, hobbled together mess gets out shown in every regard because your buddy knows how to make a more solid character, you start losing some fun.

But the fault in that lies in you. You just gotta learn what you can from the guy who knows what he is doing and do better. Hel I would have never been as good at magic as I am if I made a fit everytime I lost to Necropotence with my janky decks when I first started playing. You just simply learn what you can and work on your deck building (or in this case character building) skills and move on.


CWheezy wrote:
Quote:
We're going in circles here. Optimization is the problem. The system is only unbalanced when some people are optimizing more than others.

I don't really care what you are saying Ilja, but this sentence literally says that it is some players fault, not the systems fault, they they can build stronger characters or whatever. That implies the system is perfect or something, which is false at its core.

It only says that in such a black and white way when you selectively ignore everything I wrote after it. It also ignores my long history of posts, which you are welcome to look up, that call upon Paizo to take responsibility for their system and not put all the blame on the optimizers. That is, in fact, one of the reasons for all my efforts to persuade them to allow more liberal rebuilding in PFS, especially after errata.

I'm honestly not taking one side or the other. The system is a problem, yes. But it's also a problem when players exploit the flawed system rather than resisting its temptations. I'm not blaming anyone who does it, no. But I do think we should all stop.


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K177Y C47 wrote:


RPGs lose some appeal in the same way. When your janky, hobbled together mess gets out shown in every regard because your buddy knows how to make a more solid character, you start losing some fun.

But the fault in that lies in you. You just gotta learn what you can from the guy who knows what he is doing and do better...

This is dangerous thinking. This leads to "you are being irresponsible if you make a ninja without vanishing trick" talk. Kitty is right, but only to a point. The goal of "getting better" at the game simply cannot be to make your character more and more powerful, infinitely. We cannot have a game, ultimately, if we think this way. Because eventually somebody will invent a computer program that can crunch all the numbers and it will definitively arrive at the Ultimate Build (or maybe 3 or 4 of them to suit different roles) and then those will basically be the only characters that you can play in the game.

Now obviously, that's probably not going to actually happen. But that's where this thinking leads if you follow the logic to its conclusion. So while I do urge beginning players to learn how to make their builds compete with CR and do what they want them to do, beyond that I suggest that they absolutely reject Kitty's advice here.

EDIT: I would also like to point out that you cannot draw a perfect parallel between Magic and Pathfinder. It's worth mentioning that there are no explicit "win" conditions in Pathfinder, whereas there obviously are in Magic. That's why "learn and get better or you suck" advice taken from Magic culture becomes inappropriate when applied to Pathfinder. And to be honest, that kind of thinking is even a bit annoying in Magic at times. My experience with that game, too, has been that you have to find a group of like minded people who can agree on a level you all want to play at, assuming you're not going all out and entering the tournament scene.


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Alexandros Satorum wrote:


Not necesarily unequal system mastery. A good portion of system mastery is to obtain the best from the worst. Like how to make the best non-TWF shield and sword barbarian or something.

The good thing of system mastery is that in groups withlow optimization you can play and somewhat optimize the bad options.

Heavy umbalance in power amons diferent party members is a problem though.

Exactly. The main benefit of system mastery, in my mind, is that it allows you to make outsider concepts function on a level with competently made normal concepts. But when system mastery is applied to standard roles and classes, the result is overwhelming both in terms of destructiveness and banality.


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wraithstrike wrote:

Here is the simple truth--> 99.9999% of the time "______ is OP/broken" is false. For that to be true _____ has to cause a problem at most tables. The only problem is that the OP of such statements does not like ____, and wants to use their playstyle as the baseline of what should be. Once they realize their style of play is nothing more than their style of play, they can just adjust _____ for their group and keep it moving.

You(general statement) don't like _____. Well that is fine, but don't think what you don't like is "wrong".

On the recent sub-topic, the system is not perfect, but having players together with highly different levels of optimization and ability to play the game can(not will) cause a problem so the fault does not lie 100% with the system or the players. The problem is a result mechanics and players to include the GM at time.

Sure. If you're playing at a table where every single player is an optimizing, build-fu, system mastery genius, then knock yourselves out. You want to take your 9th level characters through the 20th level of the APs? Go for it! Why would I care how you are playing at your home table somewhere?

But don't bring that crap to my table and think it's ok, or expect me to have to (rise/sink, depending on how you look at it) to your level with my builds. This is especially relevant with regards to organized play. If you bring some optimized monster to the table and crush all the encounters while I am trying to play my quirky, corner-concept, RP build, then you are ruining my fun and it is your fault, not mine.

EDIT: Why can I make this last statement with confidence? Because the system is not mute regarding how powerful characters are supposed to be. It tells you. It's called CR. An APL+1 CR encounter is supposed to be "challenging" to a group of four PCs. So there you go. If that's not true, you're optimizing too much. Now, that said, my major gripe with the system is that CR is set too low. It is way too easy to exceed that bar with even the most minimal optimization, and in the case of some classes, with none. So that IS a major systemic problem that I think needs to be addressed. The CR bar needs to be raised, absolutely.


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Erick Wilson wrote:

Sure. If you're playing at a table where every single player is an optimizing, build-fu, system mastery genius, then knock yourselves out. You want to take your 9th level characters through the 20th level of the APs? Go for it! Why would I care how you are playing at your home table somewhere?

But don't bring that crap to my table and think it's ok, or expect me to have to (rise/sink, depending on how you look at it) to your level with my builds. This is especially relevant with regards to organized play. If you bring some optimized monster to the table and crush all the encounters while I am trying to play my quirky, corner-concept, RP build, then you are ruining my fun and it is your fault, not mine.

EDIT: Why can I make this last statement with confidence? Because the system is not mute regarding how powerful characters are supposed to be. It tells you. It's called CR. An APL+1 CR encounter is suppoed to be "challenging" to a group of four PCs. So there you go. If that's not true, you're optimizing too much. Now, that said, my major gripe with the system is that CR is set too low. It is way to easy to...

This is a two way street though. If you turn up to a home game with a mechanically weak but interesting character and everyone turns up with a mechanically strong but interesting character then you are in difficulties. In a home game you would hope people would discuss what they wanted to do and what sort o range of abilities they want to work in and things work sort of OK. However there will come a level when their is a major difference regardless of choices, if only because one person wrote Rogue on their sheet and another wrote Druid and there isn't much you can do about that.

The situation is very different in con or organised play. If you turn up with someone completely incapable of contributing or whose effectiveness is severely poor then you are affecting the game for 5-6 other people. That is very much your fault at that point, That isn't to say that niche or unusual concepts cannot work but at least have some regard to how you are likely to contribute to common situations.

As far as the CR system goes as a guide, that is a particularly murky area as it can be a complete crapshoot as to whether or not the CR of an opponent is even close to being realistic. This is particularly the case with classed NPC's which assumes that each class is equal. NPC gear level opponents aren't such an issue as they tend to force glaring weaknesses but the idea that a level 10 rogue with PC gear represents an equivalent threat to a group than a druid of the same level and gear is comical.


andreww wrote:


This is a two way street though. If you turn up to a home game with a mechanically weak but interesting character and everyone turns up with a mechanically strong but interesting character... (etc)

I don't disagree with any of this. As far as the CR system being unreliable, that's true too, at times (twigjacks is crazy, yo). But a little variance and instability in the challenge system is fine and probably even desirable to a degree. And as far as NPC power variance, well, you've got the same issue there are PC power variance. I still think you can reasonably arrive at a rough estimation of the power level represented by each CR. So if an NPC is going over, or failing to meet that standard, then it's poorly built for its purpose, is all.

EDIT: Though, again, the CR bar needs to be raised.

I think it ought to look more like this:

Difficulty CR
Trivial/No XP APL -2 or more
Easy APL to APL -1
Average APL +1
Challenging APL +2
Hard APL +3
Epic APL +4 to +5

It's a minor change, but I think it could be very significant.


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Erick Wilson wrote:
But don't bring that crap to my table and think it's ok, or expect me to have to (rise/sink, depending on how you look at it) to your level with my builds. This is especially relevant with regards to organized play. If you bring some optimized monster to the table and crush all the encounters while I am trying to play my quirky, corner-concept, RP build, then you are ruining my fun and it is your fault, not mine.

There is no such thing as an RP build. RPing is just something you do. Mechanics are things you are good at. Wanting to pick mechanically inferior options has NOTHING to do with RPing.

So what if I like to play fighters more than barbarians? That's a purely mechanical decision. If I want to RP a Lord Knight hero of justice, I can play a NG barbar with heavy armor proficiency OR a fighter OR a paladin OR a magus OR a cleric OR an oracle OR the warrior NPC class.

My mechanical choices have nothing to do with my Role Playing. The mechanics I prefer (even if sometimes weaker) have nothing to do with Role playing.

I prefer fighters over barbarians, because I like fighter mechanics better. To me they are just more fun and interesting mechanically. That has NOTHING to do with Role playing nor could it.


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Marthkus wrote:


There is no such thing as an RP build. RPing is just something you do. Mechanics are things you are good at. Wanting to pick mechanically inferior options has NOTHING to do with RPing...

My mechanical choices have nothing to do with my Role Playing. The mechanics I prefer (even if sometimes weaker) have nothing to do with Role playing...

This is a drastic oversimplification of the issue, but I can't explain why because brunch now.


Erick Wilson wrote:
Marthkus wrote:


There is no such thing as an RP build. RPing is just something you do. Mechanics are things you are good at. Wanting to pick mechanically inferior options has NOTHING to do with RPing...

My mechanical choices have nothing to do with my Role Playing. The mechanics I prefer (even if sometimes weaker) have nothing to do with Role playing...

This is a drastic oversimplification of the issue, but I can't explain why because brunch now.

marthkus is right. Optimization is something you do before playing. RPing is what you do when playing.


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Of course Barbarians are unbalanced, they have serious rage issues. Perhaps if they put a few points in anger management....


Alexandros Satorum wrote:
Erick Wilson wrote:
Marthkus wrote:


There is no such thing as an RP build. RPing is just something you do. Mechanics are things you are good at. Wanting to pick mechanically inferior options has NOTHING to do with RPing...

My mechanical choices have nothing to do with my Role Playing. The mechanics I prefer (even if sometimes weaker) have nothing to do with Role playing...

This is a drastic oversimplification of the issue, but I can't explain why because brunch now.
marthkus is right. Optimization is something you do before playing. RPing is what you do when playing.

Some roleplaying concepts require making other choices than the optimal choice.

Wanting to pick mechanically inferior options have EVERYTHING to do with roleplaying certain concepts, if those concepts include not always taking the optimal choice. Case in point: Elderly (non-magical) multilingual scribe turned mercenary fighter because of outside events. At 1st level, if you want to make that, for your roleplaying to work you pretty much have to have mediocre physical stats (at least mediocre for a martial character), decent weapon/armor proficiencies, good modifiers in profession (scribe) and a few knowledges as well as knowing a few different languages.
You can do that build and be efficient enough to take on the standard CR encounters. You cannot do that build and meaningfully play in the same game as a super-optimized master summoner.


Oenar, the Winter wrote:

Some roleplaying concepts require making other choices than the optimal choice.

Wanting to pick mechanically inferior options have EVERYTHING to do with roleplaying certain concepts, if those concepts include not always taking the optimal choice. Case in point: Elderly (non-magical) multilingual scribe turned mercenary fighter because of outside events. At 1st level, if you want to make that, for your roleplaying to work you pretty much have to have mediocre physical stats (at least mediocre for a martial character), decent weapon/armor proficiencies, good modifiers in profession (scribe) and a few knowledges as well as knowing a few different languages.
You can do that build and be efficient enough to take on the standard CR encounters. You cannot do that build and meaningfully play in the same game as a super-optimized master summoner.

Well since you can't start out elderly at 1, you'll just have to RP being an old soul. Human lore warden fighters have enough skill points to make that idea work. Grap a reach weapon for some tripping action along with tons of other combat maneuvers. You knock the foe down, effectively giving the master summoner's summons +4 to-hit and with greater trip you give them all AOOs too.

But there is a difference between RPing an old dude and wanting to roll profession(scribe) checks. The later is a mechanical desire not an RP one.


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There's no reason why your old guy has to have worse stats than everyone else. Ever play Fire Emblem? Other than being a scribe your character concept is essentially Gregor. For the record, Gregor is one of the best swordsmen in the game.

Just slap a bigger number under Age on your character sheet and you're good to go, no self-inflicted nerfs required.

Shadow Lodge

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Oenar, the Winter wrote:

Some roleplaying concepts require making other choices than the optimal choice.

Wanting to pick mechanically inferior options have EVERYTHING to do with roleplaying certain concepts, if those concepts include not always taking the optimal choice. Case in point: Elderly (non-magical) multilingual scribe turned mercenary fighter because of outside events. At 1st level, if you want to make that, for your roleplaying to work you pretty much have to have mediocre physical stats (at least mediocre for a martial character), decent weapon/armor proficiencies, good modifiers in profession (scribe) and a few knowledges as well as knowing a few different languages.
You can do that build and be efficient enough to take on the standard CR encounters. You cannot do that build and meaningfully play in the same game as a super-optimized master summoner.

A roleplaying concept does NOT require you to be suboptimal. Feeling a need/urge to pick a suboptimal choice to supplement roleplay, or a need/urge to take a mechanically optimal choice at the expense of roleplay will not make you inferior. It will take you away from the most optimal possible path for you to take, but you still can make it. Mechanics exist to supplement Roleplay. Roleplay exists to explain mechanics. You cannot have one without the other.

In some games, where optimization is high, you may have to pick a mechanically superior choice at the expense of an inferior choice that fits your flavor more, but you still aren't making yourself a bad roleplayer by choosing the most optimal path. You just have to look at that and see if you can make it fit your flavor. For instance, your scribe turned fighter concept in this game may be required to take Power Attack to keep his damage up, and then Furious Focus to keep his accuracy, and it might not fit your concept at first. But, you could easily call Power Attack being his old fantasies of being a hero coming to him and making him fight in a way that is more flashy but less effective, and then his professionalism kicking in on the first attack and him fighting smarter, not harder.

In other games, taking the suboptimal paths can be just fine and you can easily spend a normal feat on a feat-tight class to take Skill Focus[scribe] and the like, and you won't miss a thing because you don't have the requirement of being uber-optimal.

Mechanics and Roleplay are not superior to each other, and must be tailored to each other depending on the optimization floor of your campaign. They must be balanced, but they do not limit each other in any way.


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Some people tie flavor to mechanics, and no amount of discussion is going to change their mind.

To these players, slapping a higher number on their age means taking age penalties, for example.

The thing about the Fighter not working in this case is actually a problem with the Fighter class though. If Fighter had 4+Int skills per level then 12 Int would be sufficient to be an elderly scribe turned mercenary.


In PFS, age is just a number.

Grabthar the Elder

"Lemme tell you about the time old King Stevron got tricked by that Dwarven lady wrestler. Man walked bowlegged for a week. S'why they went to war with the Five Kings in, oh, '79 or '80. That war didn't end so well..."

"OK, horse. We're negotiating. You take me where I want to go. I don't feed you to the metal walking stick."

"Get down outta that tree. There's no such thing as a Dire Terrasque Swarm."


Leonardo Trancoso wrote:

Oh...sorry..i forgot the rule that you cant have more than one totem. I don´t like pounce and make a defensive build so a don´t use bear totem.

That´s the build: Human Inv Barb 20
Str:17 Dex:10 Con:18 Int:13 Wis:12 Car:8 (dual talent +2str, +2Con)
Str:19 Dex:12 Con:19 Int:13 Wis:12 Car:8 (+2Str lv12-16, +2Dex lv4-8, +1Con lv20)
Str:25 Dex:18 Con:25 Int:13 Wis:18 Car:8 (Belt +6Str,Dex,Con, Headband +6Wis)
Str:30 Dex:20 Con:30 Int:13 Wis:18 Car:8 (Manual/tome +5Str, +2Dex, +5Con)

Feats:
1-Endurance
3-Diehard
5-Combat Expertise
7-Stalwart
9-Improved Stalwart
11-Combat Reflexes
13-Raging Brutality
15-Power Attack
17-Critical focus
19-Staggering Critical

Rage powers:
2-Superstition
4-Animal Fury
6-Intimidating glare
8-Dragon totem
10-Dragon Totem Resilience
12-Dragon Totem Wings
14-Unexpected Strike
16-Come and get me
18-Improved Damage reduction

Favorite class lv 1-2 +1hp lv 3-20 +1/3 superstition

Boots of speed
cloak res +5
Falchion +5 courageous furious keen

Hp:20d12+202 / Negative Hp:30
Saves For:+27 Ref:+16 Will:+15
vs Spell For:+42 Ref:+31 Will:+30
RD:17/- Cold Resistence:6
Fire Resistence:34
Attacks with haste: +36/+36/+31/+26/+21 and Bite +31
Damage: 2d4 +20 crit15-20x2 staggering

at Rage
Rage rounds:52
Str:41 Dex:20 Con:41 Int:13 Wis:18 Car:8 (Rage + weapon)
Hp:20d12+302 / Negative Hp:41
Saves For:+32 Ref:+16 Will:+19
vs Spell For:+50 Ref:+34 Will:+37

Attacks +43/+43/+38/+33/+28 and Bite +38
Damage: 2d4 +29 crit15-20x2 staggering and Bite 1d4+7

Power Attack + Improved Stalwart
RD:27/-
Attacks +32/+32/+27/+22/+17 and Bite +27
Damage: 2d4 +69 crit15-20x2 staggering and Bite 1d4+40

ps>you can improve with other magical items.
ps2> You can invest on UMD skill or spell storing ring if you have a caster on the party. That allow you to cast Form of Dragon III (+10Str +8Con).

Thanks for the built it looks great, but as you your self concluded it dosent have pounce and is mainly strong on the defense. And Come and get me is loosing some charm against someone with reach i think.

There is no doubt that this barbar is gonna be powerfull but he is not gonna win without a team. He is not unbalanced for my high level game.
But it is a Nice built and thank you for putting it out here.


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kyrt-ryder wrote:

Some people tie flavor to mechanics, and no amount of discussion is going to change their mind.

To these players, slapping a higher number on their age means taking age penalties, for example.

The thing about the Fighter not working in this case is actually a problem with the Fighter class though. If Fighter had 4+Int skills per level then 12 Int would be sufficient to be an elderly scribe turned mercenary.

This reminds me of that bit of dialogue from Angel-

Angel: People who don't care about anything will never understand people who do.

Hamilton: But be won't care...

Look, Oenar tried to explain it to you guys, and you just jumped all over him. As usual, you lunged like jackals and tried to rip apart his specific example while ignoring his larger point, which is entirely valid. Do you actually want to understand, or don't you? If you don't, we can stop having the discussion right now.

Listen, no we don't all believe, for instance, that you have to take the specific age penalties when your character is the indicated age. We understand about reskinning and fluff. We have no problem with these concepts, and in fact I, at least, am a big proponent of them. But there's a line at which mechanics and aesthetics must coincide with one another in order to be satisfying to a person who is aesthetically sensitive.

It's fine if that line is in a slightly different place from person to person. But many optimizers I know put the line way, way beyond a point that I, personally, am okay with. Why? Because the first thing on their mind is not aesthetics (I'll use that term since "RP" seems to bother Markthus) or style, it is efficiency. And that's just not why I play the game.


Marthkus wrote:


Well since you can't start out elderly at 1

Uhm, that's not in the rules at all.

Quote:
, you'll just have to RP being an old soul.

Yes, and part of that might very well be starting out with a 10 in strength and dexterity.

Quote:


Human lore warden fighters have enough skill points to make that idea work.

Not by themselves; a quite high int is necessary too. Granted, that of course fits the concept but is hardly considered "optimal". With a 14 int and the FC bonus, the character has 4+2+1+1=8 skill points, enough to have basic training (+6 modifier) in 7 knowledges and one rank in linguistics, for a total of 4 languages. However, would a character like that would very well in a game where it's considered "irresponsible" not to take vanishing trick as a ninja?

Quote:
Grap a reach weapon for some tripping action along with tons of other combat maneuvers.

That might not be in the concept though; as you may have noted, I just gave the very basest bare-bones of a concept, not going into any details at all. Perhaps part of the concept is fighting with a sword that has some sentimental value, for example.

Quote:
But there is a difference between RPing an old dude and wanting to roll profession(scribe) checks. The later is a mechanical desire not an RP one.

Whether checks are rolled or not, the rules of the game are tied to a character's strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps you want to roleplay a character that _is_ weak, and with a high optimization requirement you cannot do that.

Of course, one can twist and turn the concept to fit better with optimization - that is what we have to do all the time. That is part of the conflict between RP freedom and optimization. I say RP freedom as opposed to RP, because of course you can roleplay an optimized character very well, but the freedom to roleplay any character at all is limited by the need to be mechanically effective.

Arachnofiend wrote:
There's no reason why your old guy has to have worse stats than everyone else.

Perhaps Str 18/Dex14/Con14 does not fit the concept. Perhaps part of the concept is that the guy is old and worn down and has stiff muscles.

The reason thus is the roleplay.

kyrt-ryder wrote:
Some people tie flavor to mechanics, and no amount of discussion is going to change their mind.

The GAME ties flavor to mechanics. That's a very basic and fundamental part of the game.

That's why the Wizard entry starts like this:

Spoiler:

Wizard

Beyond the veil of the mundane hide the secrets of absolute power. The works of beings beyond mortals, the legends of realms where gods and spirits tread, the lore of creations both wondrous and terrible—such mysteries call to those with the ambition and the intellect to rise above the common folk to grasp true might. Such is the path of the wizard. These shrewd magic-users seek, collect, and covet esoteric knowledge, drawing on cultic arts to work wonders beyond the abilities of mere mortals. While some might choose a particular field of magical study and become masters of such powers, others embrace versatility, reveling in the unbounded wonders of all magic. In either case, wizards prove a cunning and potent lot, capable of smiting their foes, empowering their allies, and shaping the world to their every desire.

Role: While universalist wizards might study to prepare themselves for any manner of danger, specialist wizards research schools of magic that make them exceptionally skilled within a specific focus. Yet no matter their specialty, all wizards are masters of the impossible and can aid their allies in overcoming any danger.

Spells
A wizard casts arcane spells drawn from the sorcerer/wizard spell list. A wizard must choose and prepare his spells ahead of time.

To learn, prepare, or cast a spell, the wizard must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a wizard's spell is 10 + the spell level + the wizard's Intelligence modifier.

A wizard can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given on Table: Wizard. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Intelligence score (see Table: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells).

A wizard may know any number of spells. He must choose and prepare his spells ahead of time by getting 8 hours of sleep and spending 1 hour studying his spellbook. While studying, the wizard decides which spells to prepare.

Starting Spells (See Spellbooks below): A wizard begins play with a spellbook containing all 0-level wizard spells (except those from his opposed schools, if any; see Arcane Schools) plus three 1st-level spells of his choice. The wizard also selects a number of additional 1st-level spells equal to his Intelligence modifier to add to the spellbook. At each new wizard level, he gains two new spells of any spell level or levels that he can cast (based on his new wizard level) for his spellbook. At any time, a wizard can also add spells found in other wizards' spellbooks to his own (see Magic).

Spells Gained at a New Level: Wizards perform a certain amount of spell research between adventures. Each time a character attains a new wizard level, he gains two spells of his choice to add to his spellbook. The two free spells must be of spell levels he can cast. If he has chosen to specialize in a school of magic, one of the two free spells must be from his specialty school.

rather than this:

Spoiler:

Prepared Effect User

A prepared effect user can create effects from a list the player has prepared. A player may choose to specialize in a certain group of effects.

Effects
The user may create effects from the prepared/spontaneous list. The player must list the effects ahead of time.

To gain, list or use the effects the user has to have a Stat4 score of 10 + effect level.

etc etc etc.

The spoilered section is a bit of a hyperbole, but you get the point; the game is completely infused with flavored mechanics. Yes, you can houserule the flavors into something else (though it'd be hard to _remove_ flavor alltogether - I don't know how the game would be played).

If I want to play an old man who takes up a sword to fight against the greater evil despite his physical weakness, I want to play someone who actually fights mechanically. Not take a wizard and claim my Confusion is actually him fighting. Because that if anything would make roleplaying incredibly hard.

There is a reason Strength is called Strength rather than stat1. It's because it actually represents how physically strong your character is.

I'm not tied to the RAW flavors at all times, and I think reflavoring can be very, very useful, but just because one can houserule away a problem does not mean that the problem doesn't exist.


Look at it this way: Creating a character is like painting a picture.
The mechanical difficulty of the scenarios, is the light level of the rooms the picture will be shown in.

In a dark room, blue and white surfaces are most easy to distinguish (though we can't see blue as actually being blue since we can't see colors in the dark). Followed by (afaik, I could very well be wrong, but let's assume I'm right in that for the moment) greens and yellows.

So, the most efficient way to make the painting is to make it in white, blue and black. Now, you can paint FANTASTIC paintings that are mostly made up of white blue and black, and a painting limited to those is in no way inherently worse than one using other or more colors.

However, a lot of paintings cannot be done very well in black, white and blue only. A lot of paintings involve more colors than that. And they will be harder to see in the darker rooms, and thus less efficient.

So in a game that is very hard, or in a room that is very dark, those things strongly limit the amount of meaningful characters/paintings that can be made. It's not that the characters/paintings that can be made are inherently worse, it's just that a lot of paintings/characters cannot be made in that environment.

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