Am I doing it wrong?


Advice

Silver Crusade

Hullo friends and fellow gamers,

I've been lurking on the forums for a while, but this is my first post. Please be gentle. :)

As individuals, which do you think is more important: having the right build, or building organically based on character experiences and theme? Am I asking about a false dichotomy here? I ask because many threads seem devoted to getting awesome builds, and in reading them, they do sound fun, but I never seem to do that. I usually take skills/feats/abilities that just seem fun to me. I know that it's a RPG, and the point is to have fun, which I do, I would just like to get an idea of what you guys, the community thought was the better way to go.

My most egregious example would be the magus that I played for a while who relied heavily on pool strike and its derivatives. The class guide seems to be telling me that this is somehow sub-optimal, but I found it fun and never had a problem in combat, or keeping up with anyone damage-wise.

At any rate, thanks for reading this, and for any responses. Happy gaming!


You're only doing it wrong if you aren't having fun or are preventing others from having fun. Period.

As far as character building processes go, my personal preference is to find a piece of artwork or a model, and try and work out how to build the character that comes to mind for me. Generally, at that point I'll do what I can to make the resulting character as effective as I can, but thats secondary to bringing the inspiration I found to fruition.

Looking at starting a campaign. Here soon, and my plan involves having a total of four classes involved to make it work.


I think it depends on the game. It also depends on what level you start the character at. I wouldn't call it a false dichotomy, but more a playstyle variance. Some GMs want to create an environment of extreme scarcity, in those games players will be rewarded for adapting to what is available rather than sticking to a concept or a pre-planned build. Some GMs want to have a game largely run on "the rule of cool" where staying true to your concept is more important than efficiency or survivability. Some GMs want to run a dangerous game where nobody plays softball and victory is not assumed, in those games efficiency is a floor, it doesn't matter how cool you are, you must be this efficient to ride this particular ride or nobody thinks you are cool except you. Some GMs are somewhere between these extremes. Some GMs are not aware of how they actually run, so asking is not always enough.

Liberty's Edge

In terms of gaming, the most important thing is to have fun.

In terms of optimization, the most important things to do are #1 to be effective vs. the opposition presented, and #2 to have a build around as powerful/effective as everyone else's so nobody feels overshadowed or left out. Both of these are to enable fun since most people like being effective, and few like being overshadowed.

So...from what you say, you've got this down and are doing things exactly right. For your particular group and game.

See, what kind of builds meet the criteria for optimization listed above (and thus aid in having fun) vary quite a bit from group to group and even game to game, and individual games are rather difficult for the forums to judge, so they pretty much advise on the basis of pure 'white room' effectiveness/optimization. Often even to the point where the build as suggested would be a bad call in many games (due to principle #2 above)...but most people don't actually use totally optimal builds directly, they mine them for ideas and base characters loosely on them, taking the basic idea and tailoring it to their own tastes...and thus likely to their particular group's. Some do use them directly, and that's fine...though the whole group probably needs to do so (or use equivalent builds) due to point #2 listed above.

So...in short, you're doing it right, but (as is true with all styles of character building) might not be in a different game, and might need to adapt if you get into such a thing.

Grand Lodge

The point is to have fun doing whatever it is you have fun doing.

For some people, that means doing it the way you explained above. For others, that means constructing the ultimate build for maximizing whatever it is that person enjoys, whether it be dealing damage and killing things as efficiently as possible, etc.

Whichever way you enjoy playing, the best advice is to find others who enjoy playing the way you do. I do think its possible to game with players of different styles, as long as the GM is wise enough to give everyone time to shine in their chosen spotlight.

Bottom line, there no wrong way to scale a dragon.

Sovereign Court

Hi, welcome.

The best way to go is what is fun to you. Thing to keep in mind about the forums is that generally people try and break arguments down to objectives. That usually means putting effectiveness into some type of metric. That is fine if your ultimate goal is effectiveness. Though if you are asking about flavor then you fall to the realm of opinion. When it comes to opinions about elf games there really isn’t any winners or losers. IMO of course.

When it comes to optimizing I find folks fall into one of two camps.

Type I optimizer takes a concept and optimizes it to be as effective as possible with the given options. Great axe might not be the most superior weapon but a type I optimizer will find the best ways to make it effective and play out that concept.

Type II optimizer picks out the very best options possible and negates anything suboptimal. For instance a greatsword uses 2D6 which is better than a greataxe because it uses D12, therefore a great axe is never ever an option making the concept unplayable.

Now sometimes the gap is so large it results in disapointing play making a type II optimizer justified. Often though the gap is not significant and a player will be happy with a suboptimal character. Keep in mind the guides are just that a guide.

Have a great weekend!


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If you and the rest of your group are having fun, then no, you are not doing it wrong, and you shouldnt change a thing.

Mostly those posts worried about optimization come when someone isnt having fun one way or another. And thats where there is a problem.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Yes you are doing it wrong. Quit now and never show your face here again!

Kidding of course.

I like fairly optimized characters personally, but I usually end up a bit or two off a pure op build for character reasons. Having a theme and a character that feels organic is important too.

As others have said, the biggest thing if importance is that all the characters are close enough that everyone feels like they contribute and that the GM adjusts to whatever level of optimization the party is to provide fun and challenging encounters. If that doesn't happen, someone usually ends up not having fun.


Paladin Panda wrote:

Hullo friends and fellow gamers,

I've been lurking on the forums for a while, but this is my first post. Please be gentle. :)

As individuals, which do you think is more important: having the right build, or building organically based on character experiences and theme? Am I asking about a false dichotomy here? I ask because many threads seem devoted to getting awesome builds, and in reading them, they do sound fun, but I never seem to do that. I usually take skills/feats/abilities that just seem fun to me. I know that it's a RPG, and the point is to have fun, which I do, I would just like to get an idea of what you guys, the community thought was the better way to go.

Those builds are theory crafting , they are rarely played in IRL tabletop games. Mind you,theory crafting has quite a bit of value. You should know what build are optimal, but that doesnt mean your build needs to be that optimal.

You should know that a dedicated archer does better DPR than a Crossbowman at higher levels. That doesn't mean you can't have a LOT of fun playing a dwarf inquisitor with a CB. You should know that many times a archeologist bard will fit the trap-finder niche better than a straight rogue. But that doesn't mean you have to play a archeologist.

The world would be a boring place indeed if no one played anything but the most optimized rules bending PC.

You should optimize juuuuust enuf to be a valuable member of the party, and to have fun.


I often make plans that will make my character fantastic. But then i change my mind about every time i level up:)
I am currently playing a Diviner. He startet his carrer as a inv. rager barbarian but after a few retrains he is now a wizard diviner with not exactly the optimized stats.
There is no wrong in this. Making a character that is in the way of other players or the GMs fun or is no fun to play is the only wrong there is.


Frankly a well designed character that's not optimal will always come out ahead in my table. A well build character will just be more powerful so in order to keep the encounters interesting, you have to up the difficulty. evening it out, without any game. Having a character you like and find believable and role-playable, that's priceless.

That is not to say that you cannot have a good character if you go for powerful builds. But one will cannibalize on the other.

If you are a player that finds min/maxing fun, you should play as such, just make sure you play with likeminded individuals. The opposite is also true. its the best way to guarantee a fun time for all involved

The Exchange

My usual style is to allow the campaign to alter whatever character concept I had in mind - which tends to mean that I don't do a complete 'build'. It's still worthwhile to look ahead to feats or prestige clases or spells that I intend to take eventually, in order to make sure I'll qualify - but that's not quite the same as deciding my entire career in advance.

I might as well note that the degree to which you should "free-form" does vary a little by class. Non-spellcasters (or those to whom 'a few spells' is sufficient) have the greatest flexibility in that they can multi-class with a minimum of efficiency loss, and bump up whatever attributes they prefer. "Prepared" spellcasters like wizards and clerics will usually not take any other class levels (aside from an occasional prestige class) and usually have their attribute increases already dedicated to their spellcasting stat, but still have enough flex to change their mind about future feats, skills, and spell choices. Spontaneous spellcasters - well, they've got it rougher yet: taking spells with a wide variety of applications is about all they can do to handle future changes in direction.

If your campaign uses the Retraining rules, of course, things are a little better for the second two categories, since that allows them to change their mind about previous decisions.


I build towards a certain theme and invest in that theme. But i always make characters that are good at something but not good at everything, i always leave a weakness in my character that can be taken advantage of. Reason why i do is usually when i doing what im good at, its the same ol thing. BUT when i encounter something im weak against i have to get creative and i love those situations because i gotta do outta the norm. If i get locked down from something, i dont twiddle my thumbs, i still participate but im doing outta the norm stuff.

So no theres really no "ONE" way to play, but it depends on the group because then u come across situations where there IS a "wrong" way to play.

Silver Crusade

Thank you, everyone, for your prompt and insightful responses. I do tend to have fun with less than optimized builds, so in that sense I guess I'm fine. I've never been good at pure optimization, but no one in my group has complained, so it's all good. :)

As a couple of you mentioned, often I will also find a really cool piece of art and try to build a concept on that. So as before, I shall stick with my favorite useable, wacky builds and contribute as I may.

Thanks again!

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