Do you actually care about Balance?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Blueskier wrote:
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?

I believe he is alluding to some ghoul scarecrows, who our camouflaged with copious quantities straw....


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
blahpers wrote:
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.

While I do believe many of the balance issues...are exaggerated and probably less problematic with the player base as a whole than made out on the forums, I don't necessarily agree with this argument. While perfect balance and a game that pleases 100% of people 100% of the time are impossible, that doesn't mean the solution is to do nothing. Otherwise no one would ever revise a game, which obviously has happened many many times.

So...there are probably some things that could be done in the system that could boost martials. Which appears to be what Pathfinder unbound is attempting to do, with combat in general and the rouge and monk classes specifically.


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Ssalarn wrote:

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.

So what I noticed is that martials basically just become more competent at what they do with level, while casters become more competent AND ascend up in tiers of power until they are fundamentally different.

Martials don't become fundamentally different. The problem I think with addressing that is A LOT of PF players prefer martials that way, and would rather casters switch to a more competency increase than for martials to tier up. On the flip side you have people who like what casters do and would want martials to level in a similar way. PF has a spectrum of players inbetween those extremes. This makes addressing the issue difficult. Paizo has their own answer, just keep printing classes. Tiering martials are the 3/4 casters, but they can also be considered more competency increasing casters. You don't need full casters to make a working party, nor do you need martials. I've come to the conclusion that PF/3.5's popularity stems from their mass appeal, but that is also responsible for the systemic balance problems.

I have a theory. A litmus test if you will about you(the reader) as a player and how much you enjoy PF.
Test: Ask yourself what level the fellowship of the ring was, specifically Aragon.
Your answers will probably range from 4 to 20.
If your answer is closer to level 4, you see levels more as an increase in tier. You see large problems in PF. You prefer to play casters. You may want to play martials, but wouldn't do so unless the group and GM is very laid-back and you have no obligation to optimize.
If your answer is more in the 10-13 range you see level as both a mixture of competency and tiers. You probably don't see many problems in PF. You'll play any class and have fun doing so without feeling like you are weak or overpowered.
If your answer is closer to 20, you see levels as an increase in competency. You see large problems in PF. Magic is simply out of control and reigns need to be pulled back on it. You prefer to play martials, you may want to play a caster, but the way magic works in PF just doesn't sit right with you.

The odd thing is, in PF there is no correct answer. If Aragon was 10 or higher, he could fall from the sky and be just fine. But he could also not be low level just from the experience of all the orcs he killed, even assuming the orcs were CR1. He was also able to hang with a guy who solo'd a CR 20 encounter. Really the PF perspective of level has contradicting factors that make any answer both right and incorrect.
I myself fall in the 4 range, but I would also prefer a game where levels were an increase in tier not competency, regardless of how "weaboo" it might seem.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

That's one of the most interesting way to look at levels that I have seen in awhile. I tend to fall toward the level 4-6 range in my mind when I think of the Fellowship.

Something that I found sad and funny, in one game that came out relatively recently, Dragon's Crown, they had wizard, sorcerer, barbarian, fighter, dwarf, archer as playable classes, the rogue was a npc sidekick like you would literally just order the rogue to disarm trap, treasure chests and unlock doors.

But anyway I digress, it's interesting to see that the players have all different ideas what Balance is, even if the forums tend to be the most vocal part of the community, always good to see that at least some people are thinking about it.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yes, I want balance.

As a player, I want there to be multiple options on how to create a character. I don't want options that are a mechanical trap that results in an ineffective character. I want the descriptive text to match the mechanics given. I want some sort of fairness. I want to be able to work with other players to create a group to tackle the challenges ahead. I don't want my character to be a handicap to the group. I want to have a role to play in the group and be able to do my part towards that success.

As a player, I don't want to be Aquaman in the JLA.

As a GM, I want to be able to estimate what sort of challenges the group can reasonably be able to handle. I don't want so much disparity in the offensive or defensive capabilities of one character that it can solo most or all of the challenges. It shouldn't be the case that in order to be able to hurt one character I have to build a monster that would slaughter any typical character of that power.

As a GM, I don't want one character that is so specialized that I have to put together a special adventure just to make them feel useful.


BretI wrote:
As a player, I don't want to be Aquaman in the JLA.

Aguaman is a badass

Crass video about it


A better comparison is "I don't want to be Hawkeye/Black Widow in the Avengers."


Insain Dragoon wrote:
A better comparison is "I don't want to be Hawkeye/Black Widow in the Avengers."

Yeah Hawkeye!


Spent an hour trying to find that comic where hawkeye wrecks the dark avengers, no luck though.

They did kinda piss all over him in the movie though.

Grand Lodge

Blueskier wrote:
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?

I believe he's referring to an AP wherein many of the enemies you fight are Scarecrows.


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The problem with tiering is that it forces genre shift. I want my games to stay in one genre, not force me to jump from gritty realism to silver age comics to golden age comics. They don't call for the same kinds of characters and aren't always suitable for the same social circles. Slogging through progressively less gritty genres to get to what you actually want to play is stupid and having to stop playing or kludge some low power variant there isn't actual support for is also stupid.


Tiering doesn't force anything, it's just mapping out what already exists.

If you want gritty realism, don't play above level... 2 and don't let people be wizards?

having to "kludge some low power variant" is something you already have to do if you want the game to stay "gritty" for more than a couple sessions.

Shadow Lodge

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Yeah, it's so strange he responded to the request for an alternative to Pathfinder with the alternative he wrote. People usually don't promote their own work after all.

What class did you develop again? I've forgotten. :)


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DrDeth wrote:
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 **

I am so very surprised you are here knocking Pathfinder and pushing your competing game system.

Perhaps, some might say there could be some bias here towards your own product?

Yes, it would have been so much better if he were a hypocrite, right.


Marcus Robert Hosler wrote:


The odd thing is, in PF there is no correct answer. If Aragon was 10 or higher, he could fall from the sky and be just fine. But he could also not be low level just from the experience of all the orcs he killed, even assuming the orcs were CR1.

"you should never bother awarding XP for challenges that have a CR of 10 or more lower than the APL."

So we know, at least, he's no higher than level 11.


I always make players take a Fort check or die if falling from a great distance without any thing to diminish that damage.


Why?


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No. Balance was a skill that was 100% useless after everyone started flying and has been merged into acrobatics (not that acrobatics doesn't have problems)


Rynjin wrote:
Why?

To me, HP represent physical endurance to go on. A Fighter could go from 140 HP in a game to 1 HP without a scratch in my games, the loss of HP just means he's really drained out - that attack that "hit" him was actually an attack that glanced him - enough to apply poison and what not - but it really shattered his morale.

A high-level Wizard has high HP because he's more practiced in battle and the amount of adventures and dangerous situations he has gone through successfully in the past give him a boost in his will to keep fighting...

But it doesn't mean he doesn't break every single bone in his body if he falls from a Cesna.

If you have what it takes to beat the Fort check, then yeah, you can do that kind of stuff because you are that awesome.

LD50 (lethal dose for 50% of humans) of height is a 10 feet distance into concrete. So I make the Fort check if you fall for more than 5ft, the check being 5 + 1 per 5 feet, with an extra +2 per 5 feet if you fall in hard terrain. If you fail by more than 5, you cannot be stabilized and die immediately.


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", 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...

That's not a bad Archetype. But really, no PB shot, no Precise Shot, no Weapon Focus? PB shot is near a requirement.

And with that archetype, he'd want a 18 Dex, he didnt have that? It gets fairly dangerous @ 3rd level with a high Dex.

In any case, I dont understand why he didnt have a high Dex or Con. What did his spend his ability points on? How did the Elf end up with a higher DEX? (yes, the elf gets +2 but a Human can put +2 in Dex also).

Why was the Elf's Con higher than the Fighters? It would have to be to have the Wiz "(her Fort was a bit lower,)", since her base save is 3 less. So somehow the Elf had a High Int, a High Dex and a High Con, and the Fighter had lower DEX and CON. Odd, given the fact that elves get a -2 to CON.

With a 20 pt buy, how did the elf put enuf points in CON (as well as Int, Dex, and even STR since a dumped STR would give a minus to damage) to be higher in CON as well as DEX?

In other words, the numbers you gave make no sense at all given any sort of vaguely optimized build for the Fighter. A fighter who is going for the CB archetype can easily have a 18 in DEX and a 14 in CON, and still leave enuf points for a couple of 12's in STR and WIS. In order for the ELF to have a 16 CON she'd have to start with a 18. Or perhaps she only put a 16 there, down to 14, but the Fighter only put a 10???? I can't see any point combo where the elf wizard has a higher CON, and the only build that makes math sense has a lower CON. (Which means, a fort save a LOT lower than "a bit"). And the DEX should be the same, at the very least, but a higher DEX is the best optimized build for the Fighter.

It's about the same amount of time to buff 4 as it is to buff 1, if you're not counting time. But yes, few DM's allow casters to spam a cantrip every minute all day long, casting it 1000 times a day or so. So, if the elf was casting Resistance every minute just on her, that's rather selfish in a TEAM game.

Not to mention what with having Mage armor up all day (only a hour per level)and Gravity Bow for every combat, that doesn't leave many spell slots. In fact- there's not enuf slots. Five is Max (unless along with her 18 CON and 16-18 DEX she also had a 20 INT??), and with four combats that leaves one for mage armor.

So, either you numbers are off, or the Elf Wizard had higher abilities (maybe you guys roll?) and she optimized but he didn't. I would like to see the numbers. Please.

And if you have one player optimizing and another not, then a comparo is meaningless.


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No one cares about Balance. It no longer exists. They rolled that skill and Jump into Acrobatics.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
DrDeth wrote:
I hope you can see the difference between promoting your product (which is fine) and constant belittling your competitors product- on their very own site.

So why aren't you on my case for belittling Pathfinder all the time?

Shadow Lodge

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
I hope you can see the difference between promoting your product (which is fine) and constant belittling your competitors product- on their very own site.
So why aren't you on my case for belittling Pathfinder all the time?

Probably because you aren't pimping TOZfinder.


Going to back out of this, since it's becoming personal.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Edit: Fair enough DrD.

Kthulhu wrote:
Probably because you aren't pimping TOZfinder.

Yeah, but I pimped Kirthfinder just as much as he did. Just wondering why the double-standard.


I care about balance in the sense that I wish there was less of it.

Trying to hard to balance the classes leads to blandness imo, because it calls for removing some really cool over the top abilities.

Shadow Lodge

Edited my previous reply, to be a bit less abrasive.

(I can do that, on occasion.)


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Anyone here who says they don't care about balance (well aside from the balance skill) is lying. At least I hope so. If you really don't care about balance, then you'd let me roll into your campaign with the Lightning Warrior. It's full of flavor after all since it sacrifices a familiar, one of the strongest possible options, for Full BAB, one of the weakest possible options. If you don't care about balance you are fine with players taking Sacred Geometry. If you don't care about balance, you are fine with Dust of Sneezing and Choking and Candle of Invocation.

The truth is that most of the people who claim they don't care about balance, really do. They just have the misguided that notion that "balance" means "sameness" which simply isn't true. Not to pick on you Morian, but I guess this must be a cool spell that you would allow in your campaign:

Assume Abilities
School transmutation (polymorph); Level alchemist 2, sorcerer/wizard 3
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (a piece of the creature whose form you choose)
Range Personal
Duration 1 min/level (D)
Saving Throw Will negates (harmless); Spell Resistance yes (harmless)

This spell only works when you are under the effect of a Transmutation Spell turns you into another creature. You gain all the (Ex), (Su), and (Spl) abilities of that creature for as long you remain in that form or until the duration of Assume Abilities ends, whichever comes first.

See it's so neat and flavorful!


It is not just a matter of sameness. I really don't want the classes to be equally powerful either.


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Morain wrote:
It is not just a matter of sameness. I really don't want the classes to be equally powerful either.

In all seriousness, why?

Why are the only people that can assume almost total control over the narrative of the story, and possibly the entire game world, spellcasters?

How is that remotely fair to the other people at the table, and, if you take it at face value, why is there a single kingdom anywhere in any gaming world you run that isn't run by a 9-level caster?

Equally powerful doesn't mean Fighter Fred is going to be tossing Fireballs or flying, but it does mean that he has counters to those, or abilities that allow him to operate on his own, without having to need a caster strapped to his belt, or ten thousand wands.


TOZ wrote:

Yeah, it's so strange he responded to the request for an alternative to Pathfinder with the alternative he wrote. People usually don't promote their own work after all.

What class did you develop again? I've forgotten. :)

(Psst, I actually am constantly saying my supplement was actually rather badly done. Mainly because it was.)


I have never seen you say that ever


CWheezy wrote:
I have never seen you say that ever

"Author of the Manual of Aurania, a very outdated supplement for the Original 3 Vol Set, notable only in that it was the first privately printed “D&D” supplement."

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2pr8w&page=3?How-do-people-feel-about-Paizo s-new-base-classes#119

"The Manual of Aurania. Notable only in that it was the first privately published "D&D" supplement. 1977. Pretty bad, really, but did do some ground breaking."

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2pxb6?Published-Paizonians#17"
But there's "The Manual of Aurania' in 1977, the first privately printed D&D supplement. Not very well done, very outdated but is fairly important as far as the history of D&D goes."

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2qtbt&page=5?Recapturing-the-Essence-of-ADD -in-Pathfinder#233

"It's in my profile. D.Daniel Wagner, Author of the now completely outmoded and rather badly done OD&D supplement Manual of Aurania , put out in 1977. This was the first Non TSR D&D supplement, and yes, for that reason it's a little important historically, as it was the first 3PP. Oh, and I (along with much help from my friends) invented the Thief class."


Nocte ex Mortis wrote:
Morain wrote:
It is not just a matter of sameness. I really don't want the classes to be equally powerful either.
In all seriousness, why?

Saying why is very difficult. Why do we like different foods, movies and books? I guess the short answer is because it's fun.

Nocte ex Mortis wrote:


Why are the only people that can assume almost total control over the narrative of the story, and possibly the entire game world, spellcasters?

Because they are, and should be imo the most powerful.

Nocte ex Mortis wrote:


How is that remotely fair to the other people at the table, and, if you take it at face value, why is there a single kingdom anywhere in any gaming world you run that isn't run by a 9-level caster?

I don't see why it should be fair. I have fun when I play rogues, fighters, barbarians, rangers, wizards, sorcerors and clerics. Learn to work together and accept that not everyone is equal in power. And as for why is not every country run by a wizards the answers are many, but one I guess is that not many are intelligent enough to be a wizard, and even fewer have had the training to become one.

Nocte ex Mortis wrote:


Equally powerful doesn't mean Fighter Fred is going to be tossing Fireballs or flying, but it does mean that he has counters to those, or abilities that allow him to operate on his own, without having to need a caster strapped to his belt, or ten thousand wands.

I's fine the way it is. His counter to fireballs is hitpoints, and his counter to fly is a bow.


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So, in your opinion, the other classes are there to... what, basically be the 9-level caster's henchmen after about level 6? That strikes you as entertaining?

It sure doesn't to me.


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Morain wrote:
It is not just a matter of sameness. I really don't want the classes to be equally powerful either.

If only there was a mechanic which can make *characters* unbalanced which doesn't also involve making classes unbalanced. Perhaps based on how much experience and skill the character had in what they did. It could be called something like Level, because it reflects your level of experience.

But I don't suppose that would ever catch on.


Nocte ex Mortis wrote:

So, in your opinion, the other classes are there to... what, basically be the 9-level caster's henchmen after about level 6? That strikes you as entertaining?

It sure doesn't to me.

No they are there to be played by people who don't necessarily need to be the best at combat to have fun. Like me. Mind you though, I think all classes are viable in combat as is, maybe a bit too much so.


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 do not think every option should be equal. Like a pixie barbarian. But I think all classes should have the option to be in the same league as all the other classes. Rogues, clerics and wizards should all have an equal amount of narrative power. Where narrative is not roleplaying but story changing/forming.

For example: In classic WOW classes were very different and not everyone could everything. But with some sad exceptions all classes were viable. Today the classes are much more similar. Every DD has AOE effects and many of the buffs have been equalized so now it's mostly irrelevant what kind of DD, what kind of tank or healer you bring as long as the mix is right.*
*I'm not talking about heroic mode raids

But in classic the game was more fun because every class felt special. We had a guild with only tauren in them and had to accomplish all the 5man dungeons without any AOE effects worthy of the name.

TL;DR I hate equality in games but I want balance in the form of similar viability of classes.


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Morain wrote:


No they are there to be played by people who don't necessarily need to be the best at combat to have fun. Like me. Mind you though, I think all classes are viable in combat as is, maybe a bit too much so.

The most powerful things are out of combat


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Secret Wizard wrote:
any choice should be meaningful and have *balanced* trade-offs with respect of the other choices.

What I came in here to say.

"You can pick Y or Z instead of X if you want, but those choices are essentially just X but worse in every possible way imaginable," seems to be a core design philosophy at times.

I don't like that, nor do I get it outside the perspective of Ivory Tower game design. If you are going to include something and then make it simply an inferior version of the "one true option" with no trade offs then why did you even bother to include it?

Going back to the ridiculous example of the mop wielding fighter, yeah, if there was a specific weapon entry for "mop" I don't think asking for it to be something more than "every weapon but worse" would be asking too much.

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