Do you actually care about Balance?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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PCs need to be balanced amongst themselves, at least enough that everybody is having fun.

So long as everybody is having fun, the rest is irrelevant. We might think Jimmy the GM's 40 point buy game where everybody gets a template is silly... but if Jimmy's players enjoy it, then good for them.

As has been noted a few times, the problem arises when one player feels overshined by the others, to the point that they're no longer having fun. If that's the case, then something needs to be done. Otherwise I don't care how many fistfuls of dice you can roll


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Eltacolibre wrote:

I know a lot of people seems to be obsessed with the idea of everything needs to be balanced...but quite frankly do you actually really care? Like a player wants to play a tiny fey creature barbarian and complains that he isn't doing as much damage as the half-giant barbarian? Old school players do you remember how hard it was to play a pixie barbarian?

I mean, I understand that some people like to play special snowflake characters but do you actually care that them playing a subpar option or class should be compensated by something else?

Frankly, I don't think that everything should be balanced to be viable at the same scale of power all the time but that's just my opinion.

I think balance means different things to different people. I like the idea of niche protection within limits. However I don't think all classes should be equally effective across the board, or that one class should not be more powerful than another class. Power disparity is fine. At the same time the gap between classes should not get too big, and yes I realize "too big" is a matter of taste. I have never known a snowflake to ask for compensation, and to me that is a different topic from the balance topic. If you play certain things you just have to deal with the consequences. Likewise I would not expect the half giant to be as stealthy as the tiny creature. He just has to accept that the small creature will be stealthier if they both play rangers.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I want balance, but not balance in the sense that everyone is equal. If the balance is a scale, I dont want precisely the same things on both sides of the scale. I want one side to have a 5lb weight, a 3lb rock and a 2 lb bag of sand, while the other has an 8lb weight, and a 2lb bag of sane.

I want there to be equivalence, not equality. Particularly in the area of narrative power. The ability to influence the story on both the encounter level and the storyline level. The fact is we dont play a book/novel/comic book. We are playing an interactive storytelling game. The dm shouldn't have to go out of his way to make sure everyone can participate, neither should general character choices (like class) limit a player's ability to participate.

This means I dont care how high their to hit is or how much damage a character does, or how difficult the save dcs on his spells are. %chance of success is actually very easy to balance. Modify a few numbers here and there and you can make everyone have roughly similar chances of success. What I care about is what happens when they succeed. Many character concepts (a combination of class, race and other choices) have significant narrative power. When they 'do their thing' successfuly, they are able to alter the circumstances of the encounter, or even the story in general. Where as other concepts are subject to acting within the circumstances they are presented. Often they can be good at overcoming those circumstances, but thats not the same thing as being able to change them.

What I want balanced is ability and opportunities to express narrative power. And I honestly dont mind which way it goes so long as it is well managed. Either decrease that power for those who have it, or increase it for those that do not. And no, I dont believe making it harder for those who have the power to succeed represents balance. It just represents frustration. And it just creates an arms race between player and dm, with the player stuggling to optimize for greater chances of success and the dm countering it. Its a negative feedback loop.

What I want is for characters that are well build for a wide variety of character concepts to be able to influence what goes on during a session on roughly the same level when acheiving a roughly equal amount of successful actions


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Master of Shadows wrote:
I don't really know why there is all this hate on the rogue in this thread? I have played them, and I have never found a well played rogue to be subpar, and never found it difficult to arrange sneak attacks every single round (as long as the enemy is not immune). Its on the player of the rogue to build a fun rogue, and yes, in theory a highlevel wizard can sing the "everything you can do, I can do better..." song but only if you assume he has completely free reign over his spell selection. If a campaign actually adheres strictly to the guidelines for how wizards learn new spells, its not as easy as you think. Especially if the GM limits the availability of Spell Scrolls and the campaign down time it takes to research new spells.

It is not hate. That word is used way too much, and I dont like the idea of limiting one class to help another one. If you want to know why people advise not playing rogues there are a lot of threads on it, but I dont want to turn this into a rogue thread so I will stop here.


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Kolokotroni wrote:
The dm shouldn't have to go out of his way to make sure everyone can participate, neither should general character choices (like class) limit a player's ability to participate.

+500


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The moment a player complains that they don't do much damage after they choze to be a pixie barbarian, I stop caring so much. Especially if they whined about getting to play one.


Ssalarn wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
OTOH, spellcasters were pretty weak thru level 4, so it balances.
In RotRL, our elven wizard was regularly a more effective archer than our Crossbowman Fighter at levels 1 and 2 (before archery started being a waste of her time), dealing more damage thanks to her gravity bow spell, with comparative AC, only a 5% smaller chance to hit, and better saves on average (her Fort was a bit lower, but she had better Dex and resistance up 24/7).

Well, a few things. I dunno why a Fighter would choose a CB, instead of a CLB. And since he'd have 3 feats, why not one to boost his BaB? And why would his DEX and CO be so low, if he didnt have to put a lot in STR? Look, the Wizard has to put a high stat in Int. The Fighter doesnt. Any intelligent build (since he went fo CB I think we can cross off "intelligent" tho).

Gravity bow got her an extra 1pt of damage. Unless he used a Hv CB.

The trick of casting "resistance" every minute all day long is something few DM's would allow, but even if your DM did, then why not cast it on the Fighter also?

This is like saying "well, one of our players was doing a club specialist- with a non Optimized build and the Elf wizard was about to do better with her Elven Curve Blade".

So, to make a fair comparo, we have
Fighter with three 14's in STR, DEX CON, making Dex a 16 with Human.
Vs a Elf with 14's in Int, DEX, Con, making it 16, 16, 12.

Ftr has MW Comp str LB with Weapon focus (three other feats for PB, Precise, Rapid) . +7 to hit. Dmg 1-8+2. Or two shots @ +5 to hit.

Wiz has +4 to hit, dmg is 1d10 for one combat. (With MW bow it's +5, but why?)

Fighter does at least twice as much damage.

Fighter has saves of 3, 0, 0 but with stats it's 5, 3, 1.
Wiz is 0, 0, 3, with stats it's 1, 3, 3 (or 4).

A/C should be about the same for 1-2 hours a day for the wizard. I assume the fighter wants to stay mobile and wears Chainshirt, which is a OK choice.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

No

Grand Lodge

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Eltacolibre wrote:

I know a lot of people seems to be obsessed with the idea of everything needs to be balanced...but quite frankly do you actually really care? Like a player wants to play a tiny fey creature barbarian and complains that he isn't doing as much damage as the half-giant barbarian? Old school players do you remember how hard it was to play a pixie barbarian?

I mean, I understand that some people like to play special snowflake characters but do you actually care that them playing a subpar option or class should be compensated by something else?

Frankly, I don't think that everything should be balanced to be viable at the same scale of power all the time but that's just my opinion.

First of all, I can see somebody has been watching Spoony's Counter Monkey Videos.

Which is funny, because I remember when I watched that video I was like, "Well, of course that's ridiculous! You picked a ridiculous example!"

I do expect SOME balance. What that means is I don't need every option to be as good as every other option - and I really haven't heard of any players who are asking for that.

But speaking as someone who mostly GM's, there is nothing more frustrating than running a party where one member is either A) So powerful they make the rest of the group redundant (In my group these are generally Clerics, although one Paladin in a demon-heavy campaign pretty much one-shotted every encounter) or B) so weak that they never get to contribute anything. (EVERY rogue I've had come across my table has fallen to this.)

If you want to play against type and challenge yourself with a build that's not super powerful but you love the concept, I absolutely believe you should have that choice. But when comparing optimized builds against one another there shouldn't be options that so vastly outperform the other that they render the latter obsolete.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
The dm shouldn't have to go out of his way to make sure everyone can participate, neither should general character choices (like class) limit a player's ability to participate.
+500

We play different games.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Eltacolibre wrote:

I know a lot of people seems to be obsessed with the idea of everything needs to be balanced...but quite frankly do you actually really care? Like a player wants to play a tiny fey creature barbarian and complains that he isn't doing as much damage as the half-giant barbarian? Old school players do you remember how hard it was to play a pixie barbarian?

I mean, I understand that some people like to play special snowflake characters but do you actually care that them playing a subpar option or class should be compensated by something else?

Frankly, I don't think that everything should be balanced to be viable at the same scale of power all the time but that's just my opinion.

i want my interest in playing a class to be balanced

i'm sorry, fighter, i'm sorry rogue, but all you let me do is roll dice and talk to people...

Shadow Lodge

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I care about fun, normally its not fun when the wizard is doing everything and the monk who wanted be the party face is sitting doing anything and dies at the second session


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blahpers wrote:
We play different games.

Exactly right!

But here's the source of the disagreements: the game you're playing doesn't really require balanced rules -- in honesty, it doesn't really really and truly require any rules at all. In contrast, the games that I and Kolo and others would like to play do require reasonably well-balanced rules, which Pathfinder does not necessarily provide.

Conclusion 1: Pathinder is not the right game for us.
Observation 1: Pathfinder is a rules-heavy game that purports to be right for us.
Conclusion 2: We're playing it wrong. You're playing it right.
Observation 2a: The devs keep telling us that no one is wrong.
Observation 2b: Your style of play works equally well with any other game, or none at all.
Conclusion 3: Neither you nor we are doing anything wrong. Instead, the parts of the game that are supposed to be working for people like us aren't. They're meant to, but they're not.


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Balance is fun to chat about on the forums, but generally it's a nonissue as most problems within a real game can be solved by telling a player to stop being a dick.

The only time I ever see balance become an issue is when everyone wants to play a high-powered game, but one player lacks the ability to realize their character concept in such a high powered game, because the game is balanced in such a way that every representation of that archetype is toward the lower end of the power spectrum.


swoosh wrote:
The only time I ever see balance become an issue is when everyone wants to play a high-powered game, but one player lacks the ability to realize their character concept in such a high powered game, because the game is balanced in such a way that every representation of that archetype is toward the lower end of the power spectrum.

This describes the majority of games, for some groups.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Balance is a continuum. I have a respect for balance for classes/character options to be in the general ballpark for each other, especially in a mechanics heavy game like PF where success can be tied so much to how characters are made. In games where mechanics are lighter and more freeform and where player skill is aimed towards improvisation and adaptiveness in play (as opposed to player skill in making characters and dealing with the mechanics), then balance is less of an issue because more depends on how the player interacts with the situation independently of level.

For a mechanics heavy game like PF (that emphasizes use of special character abilities first and foremost) and has challenges in terms of character level, then yeah balance is relatively important to me. (Because if it's all over the place, then the tools they give you to guestimate stuff is inaccurate and just gets in the way.) The worst kind of imbalance is the kind that isn't obvious (the kind that often seeps into PF as a result of coming from a legacy system where intentional Timmy imbalances were part of the design goals.) If the imbalances weren't so hidden but instead clearly labeled so the rules could be more easily used as a tool-set to filter out which options were appropriate for a given power dynamic, then it would be less of an issue.

Basically, I condone neither an obsession with balance nor an avoidance of it. For me, balance isn't simply a categorical yes/no but rather something more complex. Whereas not all characters will be equal in everything all the time, having characters on roughly the same playing field overall is a good thing to strive for as one of the design goals.


swoosh wrote:


The only time I ever see balance become an issue is when everyone wants to play a high-powered game, but one player lacks the ability to realize their character concept in such a high powered game, because the game is balanced in such a way that every representation of that archetype is toward the lower end of the power spectrum.

So, basically every game where someone wants to play a rogue, fighter, or monk.


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Kirth Gersen wrote:
swoosh wrote:
The only time I ever see balance become an issue is when everyone wants to play a high-powered game, but one player lacks the ability to realize their character concept in such a high powered game, because the game is balanced in such a way that every representation of that archetype is toward the lower end of the power spectrum.
This describes the majority of games, for some groups.

My experience has tended toward the opposite, with players willing to compromise toward the middle for each other.

It's rare that I run into a game that sets itself out to be particularly high powered, but that's just my experience, and like I said when you do run into that game, the person trying to play a Swashbuckler next to a Wizard, Cleric and Arcanist is going to suffer, and there's really not much that he can do to change that.

Orfamay Quest wrote:


So, basically every game where someone wants to play a rogue, fighter, or monk.

Well, like I said, in a lot of games players are able to compromise. The wizard, cleric and druid can do things that don't utterly replace a beatstick or scout.

In games where they can't or won't it definitely becomes a problem though, I won't dispute that.

Eltacolibre wrote:

I mean, I understand that some people like to play special snowflake characters but do you actually care that them playing a subpar option or class should be compensated by something else?

Frankly, I don't think that everything should be balanced to be viable at the same scale of power all the time but that's just my opinion.

Ask yourself this: What does your game gain by making options intentionally terrible and unplayable? What benefit is there in sabotaging a player's ability to realize a certain character concept by arbitrarily deeming what should and should not be good?

Because I honestly can't see any upside here.


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swoosh wrote:


Eltacolibre wrote:

I mean, I understand that some people like to play special snowflake characters but do you actually care that them playing a subpar option or class should be compensated by something else?

Frankly, I don't think that everything should be balanced to be viable at the same scale of power all the time but that's just my opinion.

Ask yourself this: What does your game gain by making options intentionally terrible and unplayable? What benefit is there in sabotaging a player's ability to realize a certain character concept by arbitrarily deeming what should and should not be good?

Because I honestly can't see any upside here.

The upside is that some people like playing games on "hard mode." So I can see "hard mode" being an option for those people.

What I dislike is that it's an unlabeled option; you don't know if you're playing on hard mode or not until you are in the middle of the dungeon and sucking dead rat through a straw. If you tell me up-front that monastic vows are meant to provide a role-playing challenge because they reduce the effectiveness of the character, that tells me something very important. If I just think they're a cool concept and you didn't tell me about the rest of the Faustian bargain,.... well, we're back to that straw and the pile of dead rats.


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"Hard Mode" is fine... but you can play an Elf Wizard on hard mode too and you'd be hard pressed to find someone who calls that combination 'special snowflake" or "something that shouldn't be good" or "weak".

Agree with the labeling too. Games like Ars Magicka and Mage are pretty imbalanced, but they come out the gate and tell you that if you aren't a spellcaster in either of those games you suck, so at least people know what they're getting into.

The Tragedy of Pathfinder is that a lot of people will look at the Swashbuckler or Rogue and think they're gonna be awesome (and admittedly might very well be awesome because, like I said in my first post, game balance is rarely the primary factor for disparity in an individual session).


Albatoonoe wrote:
In a game like Shadowrun, they are not separate issues. And also, gun users tend to be better and have an easier time than anyone else on the offense front. So there is your "non-character creation imbalance"

Ok, but "Gun users are better" does not imply that gun users are easy to make or that gun users are easy to play, it just means they are more powerful than non gun users


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swoosh wrote:
Balance is fun to chat about on the forums, but generally it's a nonissue as most problems within a real game can be solved by telling a player to stop being a dick.

This is a community issue with regards to balance changes. Many people see making a character that is powerful as a negative, or if you make a powerful character you are a jerk.

I think this stance absolves the developers of responsibility. Instead, we should hold the developers to be responsible for their game


I want some balance. That means: I want the game to be playable, nothing so horrifically broken like an 'instant-win' button/spell/ability.

But I wouldn't want a game that is "perfectly" balanced. Balance shouldn't be the main focus when designing a game, though it should definitely be in the frame. I'd rather have a game like Pathfinder than the game "it doesn't really matter what you do, everyone else can do it, too".

It doesn't bother me too much at all with some things being under powered, like poison using. I still want to do it, even while being subpar. And I'd rather have it that way than everyone using it, if it was over-powered instead.

And now I open the can:
I don't think a rogue and a wizard should be able to do the same things. To me that's like saying "Sam should be as cool as Gandalf". Sam still had his place in the story, but he's not a friggin wizard.
Note: I'm not saying "martials can't have nice things", I'm saying "martials shouldn't try to fill the wizard role".

My problem with them so far is that wizards can play everywhere while a martial only shines in combat. And the poor rogue isn't even that combat focused. Hopefully the Unchained book will give martials something else to do, outside of combat.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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DrDeth wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
OTOH, spellcasters were pretty weak thru level 4, so it balances.
In RotRL, our elven wizard was regularly a more effective archer than our Crossbowman Fighter at levels 1 and 2 (before archery started being a waste of her time), dealing more damage thanks to her gravity bow spell, with comparative AC, only a 5% smaller chance to hit, and better saves on average (her Fort was a bit lower, but she had better Dex and resistance up 24/7).

Well, a few things. I dunno why a Fighter would choose a CB, instead of a CLB. And since he'd have 3 feats, why not one to boost his BaB? And why would his DEX and CO be so low, if he didnt have to put a lot in STR? Look, the Wizard has to put a high stat in Int. The Fighter doesnt. Any intelligent build (since he went fo CB I think we can cross off "intelligent" tho).

***

He was playing the actual "Crossbowman" archetype, under the assumption that if there's an entire archetype for a weapon, it must make it worthwhile. If there was an archetype called "Club Specialist", most players would assume that something about said archetype makes wielding a club worthwhile. If it doesn't, that just feeds back into the issue at hand of some classes just being subpar. He didn't have to-hit boosting feats because he had to feed the monstrous feat construct that led up to his vital striking double crossbow with Dex and 2xInt to damage cannon. Real classy calling my friend stupid by the way, that definitely helps your argument.

The wizard used a longbow (because she was an elf).

DrDeth wrote:


The trick of casting "resistance" every minute all day long is something few DM's would allow, but even if your DM did, then why not cast it on the Fighter also?

Most GM's don't allow spellcasters to use a cantrip to buff their saves? Bull. She did it for herself because it was a small expenditure of time, she didn't stop every minute to buff the whole party because that would be a waste of time and nothing would get done.

On top of all that, you grabbed the one instance that you thought you saw a weak point in, when really there was a whole slew of other examples I brought up. If I'd said "Archer" instead of "Crossbowman" very little about the situation would have changed.


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Kirth Gersen wrote:
blahpers wrote:
We play different games.

Exactly right!

But here's the source of the disagreements: the game you're playing doesn't really require balanced rules -- in honesty, it doesn't really really and truly require any rules at all. In contrast, the games that I and Kolo and others would like to play do require reasonably well-balanced rules, which Pathfinder does not necessarily provide.

Conclusion 1: Pathinder is not the right game for us.
Observation 1: Pathfinder is a rules-heavy game that purports to be right for us.
Conclusion 2: We're playing it wrong. You're playing it right.
Observation 2a: The devs keep telling us that no one is wrong.
Observation 2b: Your style of play works equally well with any other game, or none at all.
Conclusion 3: Neither you nor we are doing anything wrong. Instead, the parts of the game that are supposed to be working for people like us aren't. They're meant to, but they're not.

That's bad. Sorry you aren't getting what you want from the game. But not caring about balance is not the same thing as not caring about rules at all. And questioning whether such an approach is "sane" or "useful" is a little on the side of "unnecessarily adversarial".


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I see PF as a tilted top. It's not perfectly balanced, but it is close enough that I could keep the game going with nudges.

As a player though, I am growing less and less tolerant of playing a mere mortal next to gods.

I'll just link 3 chars (26 point buy, because that is what the campaigns I play in are using):
Magus - Current character
Sorceress - Back up char (campaign is a meat grinder where things worse than death can happen to chars)
MMM Warrior - A build for a different char that avoids getting mythic vital strike

Now the Magus is a real char, so not at WBL. The sorceress and the MMM Warrior are more comparable. The Fighter has 3 mythic tiers and WBL over the sorceress, but the sorceress is both a better ally and a worse foe to face. She drains no party resources (no need for gear), can poop monsters, and is the perfect scout. All that is just the beginning, but already puts her leagues above the fighter. If you don't think so, ask yourself who you would rather have as an ally, and who you would rather not have as an enemy.
Now I think the geared Magus vs Sorceress comparison is much closer. But then you have to remember that one has no money. No money spent on bribing outsiders, or making a bloody skeleton army, or crafting gear for the rest of the party. When I really pour over the numbers and the features, the comparison result is just not fair. Even the magus starts to suffer from having mortal elements as the levels climb higher and higher.

RAW note on the sorceress:
. Shadow projection has some interesting RAW questions around it. Can shadows cast? Do you use your cha for HP? Can you use items like ghost? JJ weighed in on the matter, thinking shadows could talk, but his view of the spell is that the shadow projection only gains what the spell says it gains but only keeps what the spell says does not change. My friends/GMs looked over the spell with me and we couldn't pull that conclusion from the spell. We decided that shadows could cast, but don't have spell component pouches. We saw evidence that you couldn't use constant effect items, nor would your HP change to based off cha. RAI we thought if the reverse was true the spell would be far too strong for it's level (just compare it to overland flight).


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blahpers wrote:
And questioning whether such an approach is "sane" or "useful" is a little on the side of "unnecessarily adversarial".

True. It was meant to be an amusing quip, but that in no way excuses it.

To be fair, I should probably note that I find it unnecessarily adversarial every time someone comes into a thread and says, in essence, "Well, my group's getting what WE want, so screw all the rest of you. So what if the game could easily give us both what we want? It'll never do that, because those of us who can already play it will always work tirelessly to make sure no one else can." It reminds me of putting your signal on for a lane change, and encountering a bunch of those drivers who will intentionally speed up and slow down solely to prevent you from merging into their lane, even though there's plenty of room there for all of you.

It's not a zero-sum thing.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Rub-Eta wrote:

I want some balance. That means: I want the game to be playable, nothing so horrifically broken like an 'instant-win' button/spell/ability.

But I wouldn't want a game that is "perfectly" balanced. Balance shouldn't be the main focus when designing a game, though it should definitely be in the frame. I'd rather have a game like Pathfinder than the game "it doesn't really matter what you do, everyone else can do it, too".

No one is saying balance should be 'everyone can do everything equally'. Those people dont play pathfinder. What most are saying is they want a game where each character has similar amounts of influence. Its not superman, green lantern, wonderowman, and joe. Its Superman, green lantern, wonderwoman and batman.

Quote:

It doesn't bother me too much at all with some things being under powered, like poison using. I still want to do it, even while being subpar. And I'd rather have it that way than everyone using it, if it

Underpowered/vs overpowered in that context is irrelavent. That kind of power is effectively %chance of success. Thats not the kind of balance I care about. I can account for that in my game by fiddling with numbers.

What cant be easily accounted for is that a high level wizard can completely bypass things like the lord of the rings trilogy. Elrond picks up frodo, teleport to mount doom (where he had been before), frodo drops ring, elrond teleports home. This isnt about sam being as cool as gandalf. Gandalf is like a 5th level magus. He is completely non-comparable to what a pathfinder wizard or other significant caster can do.

What I cant easily account for is that a for a party of a druid, wizard, summoner and cleric, a 50ft gap is effectively an irrelavent challenge at a certain level. For a fighter, ranger, rogue, paladin party its impassable.

This is what I mean by balance. That the impact the character makes on the story without my direct intervention as dm, is similar. Not the same, but similar.

Sovereign Court

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Kirth Gersen wrote:
blahpers wrote:
And questioning whether such an approach is "sane" or "useful" is a little on the side of "unnecessarily adversarial".

True. It was meant to be an amusing quip, but that in no way excuses it.

To be fair, I should probably note that I find it unnecessarily adversarial every time someone comes into a thread and says, in essence, "Well, my group's getting what WE want, so screw all the rest of you. So what if the game could easily give us both what we want? It'll never do that, because those of us who can already play it will always work tirelessly to make sure no one else can." It reminds me of putting your signal on for a lane change, and encountering a bunch of those drivers who will intentionally speed up and slow down solely to prevent you from merging into their lane, even though there's plenty of room there for all of you.

It's not a zero-sum thing.

Remnants of the great E.war I'm afraid. That zone where everybody gets what they want isn't as big as a lot of folks may think. Many of the proposals to make the game more balanced would pretty much ruin the game for me. Not saying the goal isn't admirable, but don't assume the "just tellin a story" folks are cool with whatever changes to the game are necessary for a tightly balanced product. While the fight may be exhausting, I think its worth having to make sure the game stays in the zone for everyone. After all, D&D/PF is pretty much an unpaved country road at this point. Not much room for merging traffic in such a tiny community.


blahpers wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
blahpers wrote:
We play different games.

Exactly right!

But here's the source of the disagreements: the game you're playing doesn't really require balanced rules -- in honesty, it doesn't really really and truly require any rules at all. In contrast, the games that I and Kolo and others would like to play do require reasonably well-balanced rules, which Pathfinder does not necessarily provide.

Conclusion 1: Pathinder is not the right game for us.
Observation 1: Pathfinder is a rules-heavy game that purports to be right for us.
Conclusion 2: We're playing it wrong. You're playing it right.
Observation 2a: The devs keep telling us that no one is wrong.
Observation 2b: Your style of play works equally well with any other game, or none at all.
Conclusion 3: Neither you nor we are doing anything wrong. Instead, the parts of the game that are supposed to be working for people like us aren't. They're meant to, but they're not.

That's bad. Sorry you aren't getting what you want from the game. But not caring about balance is not the same thing as not caring about rules at all. And questioning whether such an approach is "sane" or "useful" is a little on the side of "unnecessarily adversarial".

So, is the message you are trying to convey, is that if you care about balance in your roleplaying game, we should not look to purchase Pathfinder material?


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Caedwyr wrote:
So, is the message you are trying to convey, is that if you care about balance in your roleplaying game, we should not look to purchase Pathfinder material?

Let me put it this way: I have a number of shelves full of Paizo APs that I still hope to run. But I would not want to do so using the RAW.

There's still a lot of great Pathfinder material -- all the stuff that doesn't necessarily rely on a balanced rule system.


Balance is important...but not as much as disparity,that's were the conflict's at :)
I use a lot of house rules to create what I feel is a balanced game.
At the same time though, system mastery goes a long way...I play with alot of high op PC's, and a noob player would need help at making a character that could keep up with the rest.
Every table has it's own standard and while some would say that it's indicative of the problem,I find it a feature rather than a flaw.
The game rewards players that do their homework and plan ahead.I love to see new players "get it" and start to build synergistically strong characters that can combo their feats and abilities.
I address the fact that some classes are "hands down" better than others by giving them differing xp advancements.I have alot of other houserules but the xp thing has the biggest effect.
IMHO the fighter should be able to master swordsmanship faster than his buddy the wizard can master all of reality *shrug*.
So in the end I guess my answer to the imbalance problem is to create more imbalance...it works though.


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Balance, to the vast majority of people except to those who enjoy Skinsaw Murders-level of strawman, is not that a poorly built character should perform as well as a well-built one, but that any choice should be meaningful and have *balanced* trade-offs with respect of the other choices.

If you constantly make bad choices that don't have synergy with each other, like taking Power Attack and wearing Heavy Armor on your Wizard, then of course you should not be rewarded.

But if I intelligently build a tripping build, or a well-rounded two-handed fighter, or a resourceful rogue build, I still crash against a brick wall at some point. If the trade-off to a build is "then, it stops working", that is not balance.


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Caedwyr wrote:


So, is the message you are trying to convey, is that if you care about balance in your roleplaying game, we should not look to purchase Pathfinder material?

I think the stories and modules paizo produces are pretty great actually. I recommend all of them

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Eltacolibre wrote:
Frankly, I don't think that everything should be balanced to be viable at the same scale of power all the time but that's just my opinion.

The thing is, everything being balanced doesn't affect you, but things being imbalanced affect me.

So it makes more sense to work on achieving the former rather than settle for the latter.


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Spotlight balance is toxic. Spotlight balance means that in a party of 4 with one GM 3/5 of the people at the table are playing Angry Birds at any given time.


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Kirth Gersen wrote:
blahpers wrote:
And questioning whether such an approach is "sane" or "useful" is a little on the side of "unnecessarily adversarial".

True. It was meant to be an amusing quip, but that in no way excuses it.

To be fair, I should probably note that I find it unnecessarily adversarial every time someone comes into a thread and says, in essence, "Well, my group's getting what WE want, so screw all the rest of you.

That guy sounds like a jerk. Who was that?

Quote:

So what if the game could easily give us both what we want? It'll never do that, because those of us who can already play it will always work tirelessly to make sure no one else can." It reminds me of putting your signal on for a lane change, and encountering a bunch of those drivers who will intentionally speed up and slow down solely to prevent you from merging into their lane, even though there's plenty of room there for all of you.

It's not a zero-sum thing.

Zero-sum, no. Anything can be improved. PF has a lot of room for it. But you can't make a game that pleases everybody all the time. Doing the things you're asking for will make you and a lot of other people happy with the result, while others will like the result . . . less.

If you can make a game that is well-balanced (by your standards) and in every other way at least as good as Pathfinder (by everyone's standards), then please do so I can play it! It's never been done, so you should make a killing. But every attempt I've seen to do it ended up taking something away from the game.


again, blahpers, you should join the skinsaw cult because you are building a strawman this big. stop inventing the position of people who you disagree with. nobody wants everyone to be happy.


blahpers wrote:
If you can make a game that is well-balanced (by your standards) and in every other way at least as good as Pathfinder (by everyone's standards), then please do so I can play it! It's never been done, so you should make a killing.

Spoiler:
Have you ever played what TOZ called "Kirthfinder"? It's free.

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Kirth Gersen wrote:
blahpers wrote:
If you can make a game that is well-balanced (by your standards) and in every other way at least as good as Pathfinder (by everyone's standards), then please do so I can play it! It's never been done, so you should make a killing.
** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
I read through it. Sorry, it's not for me.

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Secret Wizard wrote:
again, blahpers, you should join the skinsaw cult because you are building a strawman this big. stop inventing the position of people who you disagree with. nobody wants everyone to be happy.

I do. I just recognize that it isn't possible.

You can call it a straw man, but Kirth and I are just two folks with reasonable opinions on what makes a good game. For the discussion to have any meaning, you have to extrapolate to the rest of the potential player base. And I just haven't seen any attempt to reconcile "balance-or-bust" with D&D that didn't end up somehow lessening the experience to someone. It's not as simple as "make it balance-friendly and we're both happy"; the methods of making it balance-friendly can make others unhappy. Maybe there's an awesome way to do it, but I haven't seen it yet. But as long as the conversation remains civil, I'm open to suggestions.


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Ssalarn wrote:
He was playing the actual "Crossbowman" archetype, under the assumption that if there's an entire archetype for a weapon, it must make it worthwhile. If there was an archetype called "Club Specialist"

Hehe..., too bad the water balloon jokes are no longer apporpiated.


I'm okay with whichever character you decide to play so long as you can roleplay it well and support the interests of the other players. Most of the time when a player gives me or another player attitude I try to work a compromise. If one character ends up becoming too powerful while the others can't keep up, you have meetings and discuss what needs to be changed. But there are those moments when you can't do anything because of the great time the party is having.

In a Kingmaker campaign where I was playing a conjurer there was a crane-style monk who had godlike AC (upper 60s), great saves, and SR that trumped entire encounters by being completely untouchable by monsters much higher level than him. Our DM was frustrated because he was forced to focus everyone else in the party instead of this one optimized monk. In spite of this everyone else in the party was having a great time (the monk was a great roleplayer and made us laugh at times). If he were a real jerk to us I wouldn't have teleported him anywhere, and the party cleric certainly wouldn't have ressed him.

So to be fully honest, I like the idea of unbalanced charcters so long as they are aware of their party's needs and have a good backstory.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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A very easy start would be more options for martial characters giving them a level of competence and narrative control akin to that enjoyed by spellcasters. It actually isn't that hard a thing to execute within the current framework of the game, and the Brawler and Investigator both gave some pretty serious hints about how that could be possible.

Less simple but probably with even faster and more satisfying results would be to rein in spellcasters so that we have more Hunters and Warpriests running around and fewer Clerics and Druids. A really large number of the biggest problem spells can be found in the last couple levels of spellcasting.


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It's not imbalance really. Rather it is when the game material doesn't give people what they need to make well informed decisions and not really a problem when it does. For example, the rules don't present NPC classes as equal to the other classes so nobody cares that they are worse then their counterparts.


Secret Wizard wrote:
Balance, to the vast majority of people except to those who enjoy Skinsaw Murders-level of strawman,

What do you mean by this? Whats the problem with the murders? Could you explain please?

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