Fluff vs crunch: Do you need crunch to play certain flavor?


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Often players want to rebuild characters they know from media. Whether that is good or bad is another topic I do not want to elaborate on in this thread.
What I AM after is this: If you aim to create a pathfinder pc that resembles a certain media character, why is it so important that every fluff you have in mind is backed up by facts?

Example: Someone wants to play a Guts (whoever that is) style PC wielding a sword with an oversized blade.
In PF blades and hilts always have the same size. There are no large weapons with a medium sized hilt. So you can either wield a medium sized sword and fluff the blade as bigger or you can wield a large sword* and fluff its hilt as medium. Now, why is it so important for people that the blade size is reflected by the crunch, the rules? Even if it would be much easier to just fluff it? The PC would "be" the character who's flavor you want.

*large two-handed swords can't be wielded by medium sized PCs.

If it is the flavor you are after, why is it important to create new rules? Why not use the existing rules and still play your fluff?

Example 2: Someone wants to play a strong dual wielding Samurai. How important is it that this pc really has the samurai class written on his sheet? From a rules perspective he could well play a slayer, getting TWF from a ranger combat style. If he behaves and dresses like a samurai why would it be any worse, fluff wise, than a pc with samurai written on the sheet? Again, why look at the rules when you are aiming for a certain fluff?


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Example 1 it is entirely reasonable for a player trying to use an oversized weapon to see some kind of mechanical impact from it. It's actually a common enough trope I expected rules for it to already exist.

Example 2 is a problem I've had with players for ages. The name of a class means nothing. A player needs to identify what they wish for their character accomplish mechanically, and make the choices, including class, that best represents what they are going for. This problem is made worse by Pathfinder's aversion to multi-classing. Easy multi-classing makes fine tuning a character much easier.

TLDR: Crunch should be able to line up with your character concept and make it possible to play.


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It depends on what they are trying to do for example number 1, and how much they are ok with just reflavoring instead of actually "doing".

For example number 2 it is a personal choice. I look at classes as a bag of features. Paizo's ninja as an example does not match my vision of "ninja" so I am more likely to play a trapper ranger combined with some other archetype, or to use a slayer.

However in recent conversations on the boards if you don't play by the flavor given to you from Paizo then you are a munchkin(not everyone took it to this extreme, but some do feel this way), and you should not go take the class that fits the concept better mechanically. You should go by the book description when picking a class.


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Short answer: no. it's not. you don't

Longer answer: You don't need the samurai class to be a samurai, you don't need to multiclass witch and sorcerer to fit your "Warlock"-character concept or what have you.
You can put your caster in light armor and roleplay a soldier awakening his MIGHTY MAGICAL POWUUUUUHR ...

... but some things should be tangible connected at least;
your slayer/ranger/bard-who-is-a-samurai should have a rank in knowledge: nobility.
; your Soldier-awakening-to-arcane-POWUUURHG should probably take a rank in profession:soldier.
; a character who is known as "the best swordsman in the country/out of the academy/his village/whatevs" should have SOME good combat stats at least.

the exact balance between fluff & crunc is different for everyone, I usually try to keep things simple.
If my concept requires 4 different classes and a lot of bookkeping & shenanigans then I usually go back to the drawing board and ask "is ALL of this an important part of the concept?"
After some removing of incredible specific rage powers and druid spells and having 18 in all stats except a con on 14 .. my original idea has been crystalized from a garbled mess from snowflake-land ... to a magus that wields a flail & focuses on defensive fighting.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

frankly this comic strip pretty much sums up my point of view on the manner:

A Samurai


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The reason why it is often important that fluff be backed up by crunch is because if it is not then your character is clearly delusional. If a character believes they have certain abilities but can't actually ever demonstrate them then they're crazy.

As for example one, the question would be if having an oversize blade does anything at all ever. If the oversize blade was just a meaningless visual quirk then there is no need for crunch to back it up because it has no effect. But if the oversize blade, say, made it so only the super special PC could use the sword, or something like that, then the character's going to start looking a bit crazy when mook number 3 disarms him and wields his sword without problem.

For example 2 class names are fluff. Now, if there's some sort of in setting organization or something that can tell if you don't have the right class levels then that would be a different matter, but in a vacuum you're talking about official fluff versus custom fluff not fluff versus crunch, so it doesn't really apply.


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Umbranus wrote:
Again, why look at the rules when you are aiming for a certain fluff?

I wish I knew. I have had discussions with this guy in my group about stuff like this all the time. His answer is, "I just don't think Pathfinder is a 'refluff it' kind of game." WTF does that mean?

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
mplindustries wrote:
Umbranus wrote:
Again, why look at the rules when you are aiming for a certain fluff?
I wish I knew. I have had discussions with this guy in my group about stuff like this all the time. His answer is, "I just don't think Pathfinder is a 'refluff it' kind of game." WTF does that mean?

Maybe: "Look, you are coming dangerously close to openly revealing my lack of imagination. Do not do that!"


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I've never had a problem matching the fluff to the crunch but that may be because I know I can get away with an essay on "The Use of Rhetoric to Obscure a Lack of Content". There are certain fluff elements (mech builder off the top of my head) that have not yet been published by Paizo but I'm led to believe 3PP have done a lot of filling in on those gaps.

Example 1: Seriously, does this even matter? I can make my greatsword as big as a I want and my hilt as small as I want as long as the stats are functionally a greatsword (so no reach, extra damage, etc.) and other medium creatures can use it as such. Never in my years of gaming has anyone asked me to describe my sword's hilt. I'm not 100% on Guts but I seem to recall the sword he uses nobody else can use because it's so heavy making it a large 2-handed weapon and he has some ability that allows him to use larger weapons normally. Maybe it's even bigger than that and he is a (fixed) Titan Mauler.

Example 2: I think the OotS comic covered that one. Samurai is a title. There's no "Knight" class but I'm pretty sure people are allowed to use that to describe themselves.

Now, on to the more interesting question. You look at the rules when making a character because ideally fluff and rules come together in harmony. If your character is a soldier there's a skill to represent that. If your character is supposed to be uptight there's an alignment for that. If your character is supposed to be some badass fighter then they probably need a class that can fight (or high natural ability (stats) to cover for poor skills). I've never expected my players to know all the little nuances (some days I'm just happy they remember what their spells do) but I do expect that if they say they're good at something, then their character is good at it. If their concept is super long range sniper and their class is rogue I expect them to know how to overcome the 30 foot limit on sneak attack (or have traded it out or ask me how). If they haven't then they're not a super long range sniper, they're a... jump dude in an alley sniper?

Not all fluff is created equal. If I want to play superman than the game better be a high point buy, monster races, etc. Because there's really no way to build superman as a level 1 PC. If I want to be a super long range devastating hit sniper rogue (and refuse to compromise on any of that) then we better be at least level 7 so I can buy the sniper goggles. I find that most of the complaints about crunch not being available for fluff have to do with the crunch being available but at a much higher level or locked behind some prereqs and the player doesn't want to pay the cost or wait until higher level. I agree with quite a few of these complaints (looking at you anything with race requirements) but find that most DMs are fairly accommodating on allowing things in. The short answer though is that fluff should always be backed up with some crunch as when you say you're the scariest mother@#$%^& alive you better have the Intimidation to back it up, otherwise you're just a braggart (also an acceptable character choice, just make sure to preface it with "my character thinks" so the other players know).


A few notes:

Example number 2 is generally something I always do in my own games. Certain concepts such as samurai/ninja dont necessarily need a class with their name on them. In more european-ish settings, I rename samurai "Stalwart knight" and ninjas "Dashing Rakes".

Example number 1 is more complicated. The whole thing is "what is the dude expecting from an oversized blade". I have no problem re-fluffing a blade to be apparently larger, but it will have no mechanical impact.

I will posit a third example: what happens when flavor relies on crunch?
Let's say I want to play a ninja assassin. There are certain "crunch" expectations that come with that:
-I will hurt people more when they arent aware of me
-I can sneak
-Depending on the mindset (for example, naruto fans) one might expect magical powers.

If the crunch of the game does not support such expectations, well, you're screwed.

In summation, I believe problems arise when players expect significant mechanical implications from a "fluff" concept. It's the usual "expectations vs. reality" problem.

Shadow Lodge

Some concepts are pretty close to impossible if some crunch is not there, for example lets say you wanna play Gandalf, you could do this with wizard you wouldnt be able to do it with fighter.

Example 1: Guts sword was big enough that he actually got reach out of it (its even mentioned in the story by some minions). However you dont have to put up with that if you are the dm , there is some crunch which gives you reach like with bloodrager but guts was not actually "magical". Depending on the style of the player he will or not seek ways to emulate more realistically his preferred trope, thats not actually bad, but it also depends on the DM because some actually enforce the fluff text of abilities, something is believe is totally counterproductive. For example i hate the fact you need mutiple arms to dual weild xbows/guns efectively. Its a terrible as fluff goes, some dms may rule ok "you dont hactually have many arms just some weird technology" others may have other opinion.

Example 2: Its not important at all, except for new players who most of times get stucked with trap options because they tought "samurai" was the class they should play if they wanted to emulate musashi effectively. People with system mastery do not have this limitation, we know how the rogue fares and how the wizard works, this knowledge is not available to everybody.

Shadow Lodge

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williamoak wrote:

A few notes:

Example number 2 is generally something I always do in my own games. Certain concepts such as samurai/ninja dont necessarily need a class with their name on them. In more european-ish settings, I rename samurai "Stalwart knight" and ninjas "Dashing Rakes".

Example number 1 is more complicated. The whole thing is "what is the dude expecting from an oversized blade". I have no problem re-fluffing a blade to be apparently larger, but it will have no mechanical impact.

I will posit a third example: what happens when flavor relies on crunch?
Let's say I want to play a ninja assassin. There are certain "crunch" expectations that come with that:
-I will hurt people more when they arent aware of me
-I can sneak
-Depending on the mindset (for example, naruto fans) one might expect magical powers.

If the crunch of the game does not support such expectations, well, you're screwed.

In summation, I believe problems arise when players expect significant mechanical implications from a "fluff" concept. It's the usual "expectations vs. reality" problem.

Yeah this is something new players have to deal with. My first character was a small rogue who used a dagger. I really tought i was gonna be "the asassin" of the group, influenced by games and FF. Altought i had a a really good time i could notice how the fighter did triple my damage, mostly i supported but got nowhere close to the idea I envisioned.


Hark wrote:
Example 1 it is entirely reasonable for a player trying to use an oversized weapon to see some kind of mechanical impact from it. It's actually a common enough trope I expected rules for it to already exist.

You could just use it as an explanation for your power-attack. Or enchant the weapon with impact but refluff the enchantment as a property of the oversized blade.


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Example 1: You can quite easily SAY your character just has a giant sword, even though the stats are exactly the same as any other sword. But this is a slight problem for some when your totally huge oversized sword gets compared to an actual oversized sword. I'm having trouble thinking of a specific example at the moment (foggy brain) but there are plenty of instances where the rules and the fluff just interact weird. Like, you have a monster that is fluffed as "the ultimate liar, an outsider that is the physical embodiment of deception" but mechanically it has a lower bluff check than another kind of monster with no special "lying" power in its fluff, but it's much higher hit die, higher charisma, and put some ranks in bluff for feinting in combat.

Oh, here we go: the old "gnomish farmer with an ear of corn is more threatening than an orc barbarian with a greataxe because of charisma." I think PF mitigated that with racial traits, but it's still an issue if the barbarian doesn't take special steps (which sacrifice other choices and options) to be more intimidating than a flouncy, poncy bard. It isn't an ISSUE per se, unless someone hits you in the face with it, usually by making a character who is better than you at something.

Another semi-issue with Guts is the age-old issue with narratives, which is that narrative characters don't do their thing within game rules. They don't run the risk of rolling nothing but 1s at a ridiculous time, they can be tough enough to cut through an army but weak enough to be cold-cocked by a stable-boy with a 2x4 when the plot demands it, and that's just a thing about narrative characters vs. game characters.

Example 2: It's just a title, and probably a social or political thing. The only issue that might arise is if the character in question is using powers that don't seem to fit. A samurai who is a paladin still makes sense (shining knight). A samurai who is a magus that casts lightning through his sword stretches the concept a bit, but doesn't break it. A samurai who is a wizard, that breaks it for most people, its weird.

You can still do it, I suppose, since fantasy world where magic is real would have spell-slingers in their military. But it's a paradigm-shift.


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Number 1 is a problem. Because it can get out of hand if a players tries to abuse it.However, if we apply the fixed version of the Titan Mauler it works out okay. The penalty offsets the gain in my opinion.

Number 2 is absolutely fine. Sometimes I think we would be better if we just named all the classes with number or letter designations. Maybe even after unrelated things, like the different version of Android all being named after desserts/sweets. By the way, has everyone updated to Lollipop?

Players just need to understand that to fulfill their concept they may not be making optimal or the most powerful characters, and be okay with that.


Claxon wrote:

Number 1 is a problem. Because it can get out of hand if a players tries to abuse it.However, if we apply the fixed version of the Titan Mauler it works out okay. The penalty offsets the gain in my opinion.

That's the core of my question: We are imaginative people, why do we need what you call a fixed version of the titan mauler? You can have the class' fluff without the class. Is the mechanic needed? Especially in a game that seems to go out of its way to not have abilities like it?

The titan mauler is a nice archetype and it has working abilities. They just don't do what people were expecting (and maybe not what the author wanted) but that doesn't make it bad or non-functional.

What I'm up to: Players often claim to be after some fluff. But in reality it is the crunch they want. You see that well when you offer them the fluff without the crunch. Suddenly they are not interested in the fluff anymore.


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Yeah, I don't suppose you really need crunch, but it's certainly nice.

And in some cases, yeah, you need crunch. Let's say you wanted to play Bane. Get pumped up on whatever and smash guys in a fist fight. Sure, I guess you can reflavor a barbarian's rage as that, but it's also wrong. Bane is always smart and calculating and the barbarian is explicitly not that when raging. So, Alchemist was closer but you didn't have the martial prowess to really punch guys in the face to your maximum potential. And here in the ACG we get the Mutagenic Mauler, a perfect realization of the concept.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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There has to be at least some link between fluff and crunch. If someone wants to play Harry Potter and they write cavalier down on their sheet there is a big disconnect between fluff and crunch. (I'm not saying this is impossible, only that the player is starting from pretty far away compared to going with wizard, sorcerer, or arcanist) Usually there is a mechanical "best fit" for the concept, and IME most of the time if you go that route you require only minimal refluffing.

For your samurai example, I guess to me the decision is which is more important - easy TWF, or all the cavalier-ish trappings like fealty to a lord, orders, and so forth? If it's the second then the samurai class is the way to go. Societally samurai is a social position, so if you didn't care about the specific class abilities of the samurai class there's no reason you couldn't use a ranger, slayer, fighter, or whatever.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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I want my highly-skilled swordsman to feel different than my brawny axe-wielder. If they're both just spending combats Power Attacking for the same damage as each other, then they feel pretty "samey". To me, that hurts the experience.

That's not to say there aren't people who say they want to play concept X but really just want mechanic Y. Just that the existence of those people doesn't mean there's zero reason for anyone else to want a mechanic to match up with a concept.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Where number two can become a problem is if it creates false expectations in the other players.

It is fine calling yourself a Samurai without the class, provided you are willing to dispel confusion by explaining it to each new player. Not doing so is borderline deceptive because of the false expectations caused by game terminology.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
blackbloodtroll wrote:
mplindustries wrote:
Umbranus wrote:
Again, why look at the rules when you are aiming for a certain fluff?
I wish I knew. I have had discussions with this guy in my group about stuff like this all the time. His answer is, "I just don't think Pathfinder is a 'refluff it' kind of game." WTF does that mean?
Maybe: "Look, you are coming dangerously close to openly revealing my lack of imagination. Do not do that!"

Or he prefers it when his fluff and crunch have a unified meaning. Let's think about other possibilities before insulting the man.

Personally, I think fluff and terms have significance too, not just mechanics. They're what forge a shared vocabulary between different gaming tables so I take as much care in reviewing, using, and revising them as I do for mechanics.


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Why play as a big strong Fighter when you can play as a Commoner and pretend that you're a big strong fighter.


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Umbranus wrote:
Claxon wrote:

Number 1 is a problem. Because it can get out of hand if a players tries to abuse it.However, if we apply the fixed version of the Titan Mauler it works out okay. The penalty offsets the gain in my opinion.

That's the core of my question: We are imaginative people, why do we need what you call a fixed version of the titan mauler? You can have the class' fluff without the class. Is the mechanic needed? Especially in a game that seems to go out of its way to not have abilities like it?

The titan mauler is a nice archetype and it has working abilities. They just don't do what people were expecting (and maybe not what the author wanted) but that doesn't make it bad or non-functional.

What I'm up to: Players often claim to be after some fluff. But in reality it is the crunch they want. You see that well when you offer them the fluff without the crunch. Suddenly they are not interested in the fluff anymore.

Some people are imaginative. Others treat this more like a tactical sim. I fall somewhere between the two, as I am most interested in combat and rules for combat and prefer my roleplay to parts to be very open-ended and without rules so the GM can just make up the story without having to feel beholden to diplomacy checks and so forth. But that is a separate discussion.

In any event, things like "wield bigger than normal sword" is kind of hinged on crunch and fluff. It's one of the things where there needs to be some change from the normal mechanic to represent the difference, at least in my opinion. Mostly because everyone else at the table is going to forget that the character is wielding giant weapons, unless they have something reminding them, like rolling 3d8 because you have a large sized impact weapon. Saying you wield a giant sword with no change in mechanics at all doesn't feel any different when everone else forgets about it. And that sucks. So to some extent, some things require a mechanical adjustment. We just need to make sure it's balanced and try to work within the existing framework of rules to accomplish this.


I need a proper balance of fluff and crunch to make a balanced breakfast.

I like playing a character with some depth, but I like to be a powerful badass who wins. There are crunch things I won't do because of character reasons and there are character things I won't do because of crunch reasons. I could get into playing an unbreakable brick of a non-casting fighter, I won't because there's no way I know of that isn't vastly overshadowed by better builds. I have a barbarian going for chain-flail even though it's a pretty lousy weapon option.

Whether that makes me a drama-huffing lamer or a stinky little munchkin is a question I leave up to other folk.


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I seem to recall someone talking about playing an fistfighter character who had attained perfect mental control of his physical abilities. This was not a Monk, but a Barbarian, fluffed such that Rage represented a temporary heightened state of physical prowess.

So yeah, classes don't come with any inherent flavor, and you can pretty much make up for yourself what it looks like your character is doing.

That said, if part of the flavor you're going for it "strong and daring champion", you probably want to be at least pretty good at combat mechanics.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

And this is the point at which fluff and crunch meet: if your character concept should be able to do something, and your mechanics cannot make it happen, the verisimilitude is broken. In most cases, you can make the mechanics fit the concept reasonably well, but sometimes it fails. It actually gets harder when a class has a lot of built in fluff, which Paizo have developed a bad habit of doing lately, because the new fluff may not match the old so well.

For example, an oracle is mechanically very different from a cleric and from an inquisitor, but all three may be called a Priest. The oracle is a priest chosen by the gods, the cleric a priest that has studied in a seminary, the inquisitor a part-time priest part-time something else (say a priest with a history of being a warrior or hunter or thief). Even a paladin could be a priest, but one whose primary calling is martial.

In-game fluff is easy to build but at the same time hard to maintain sometimes.


Heck for all that absolutely anybody could call themselves a priest, run around with their deity's favored weapon, decked out in their holy symbols and quoting the appropriate scripture. None of that requires a specific class. The only priestly thing that we see lacking is divine spell casting or divine supernatural or spell like abilities. Which in Pathfinder might actually be a big deal as far as a sign that you are actually a priest of a deity. And that could be the sole observable difference between a fanatic follower, and a priest of a deity.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Indeed, an adept can be a priest from that perspective.

The whole point, though, is that you do not have to be a religeous zealot to be an inquisitor. You do not have to be a holier-than-thou knight to be a paladin. You do not have to have been to a seminary to be a cleric - and so on. There's enough scope and flexibility to realise almost any build.


1. a class or archetype or even rules tweak is nothing more than a mechanic to represent and explain how your character functions, and sometimes, a Gut's inspired character is expected to wield a Gargantuan Greatsword without penalty as a medium sized humanoid. and well, it makes sense to add some reach and power to compensate the weight. not that it is optimal

2. you can divorce class name and class mechanics to tweak your character as you please, which would be better with easier and more dippable multiclassing rather than discouraged multiclassing, but your mechanics better at least vaguely resemble the character you play, even if you don't have everything. for example, a shaman better have a Rank Each in Knowledge; Nature and Craft;Alchemy because many historical Shamans were the pharmacists of their tribal communities


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mplindustries wrote:
Umbranus wrote:
Again, why look at the rules when you are aiming for a certain fluff?
I wish I knew. I have had discussions with this guy in my group about stuff like this all the time. His answer is, "I just don't think Pathfinder is a 'refluff it' kind of game." WTF does that mean?

While I don't necessarily agree, I can definitely see where he's coming from. Lots of PFs rules, especially regarding prerequisites, are definitely predicated on pre-established fluff. 99% of all racial feats, for example. If you wanted to make elves in your game, say, swamp-dwelling dual-knife fighters, you have to redo dozens of 'elves love bows and trees' feats.


*shrug*

Because some people aren't as imaginative as others.

And that's okay.


Claxon wrote:
Heck for all that absolutely anybody could call themselves a priest, run around with their deity's favored weapon, decked out in their holy symbols and quoting the appropriate scripture. None of that requires a specific class. The only priestly thing that we see lacking is divine spell casting or divine supernatural or spell like abilities. Which in Pathfinder might actually be a big deal as far as a sign that you are actually a priest of a deity. And that could be the sole observable difference between a fanatic follower, and a priest of a deity.

Put a single rank in KN: Religion, and you can be a priest. Being a priest just means you are granted the authority to perform religious rituals on behalf of a church. Spellcasting not required.


Because crunch is important. Fluff can be wholly ignored but if you're doing 2d10+50, x4 crits with a 15-20 range then you better sit up and pay attention. No one at the table can deny mechanics. Crunch legitimizes a build.


Umbranus wrote:
What I'm up to: Players often claim to be after some fluff. But in reality it is the crunch they want. You see that well when you offer them the fluff without the crunch. Suddenly they are not interested in the fluff anymore.

Why would you wonder that people want function and not just form?

And why would you purposefully offer your players what you seem to know they don't want?


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

One of my favorite witch characters was a sorcerer.


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Umbranus wrote:

What I AM after is this: If you aim to create a pathfinder pc that resembles a certain media character, why is it so important that every fluff you have in mind is backed up by facts?

like others have said, for the sanity of the character. Now I don't normally make "special" characters myself, but sometimes people want a character that can do something that is atypical, like wield a giant sword one handed, if there is no change in the mechanics, then they aren't doing it. If the sword only LOOKS giant, but functions the same as any normal sword, then there is no internal consistency with the character, or the world around him.

Example: Yes my sword that i tore form the grip of a dead giant is great, but i also do the same damage with Joe's sword, likewise, Joe can swing my Giant Sword just as efficiently as his own. No wonder that Giant went down so easily.

Quote:


If it is the flavor you are after, why is it important to create new rules? Why not use the existing rules and still play your fluff?

Some "flavor" needs to be backed up with crunch to maintain flavor. If your flavor is a guy who can breathe fire, and he in fact, cannot breathe fire. Then what the hell is going on?

Now, I personally, try to make my flavor and crunch match in the first place, but there are some archetypes (titan mauler) that can't effectively do what their fluff implies, and that's an issue.

Quote:


Example 2: Someone wants to play a strong dual wielding Samurai. How important is it that this pc really has the samurai class written on his sheet? From a rules perspective he could well play a slayer, getting TWF from a ranger combat style. If he behaves and dresses like a samurai why would it be any worse, fluff wise, than a pc with samurai written on the sheet? Again, why look at the rules when you are aiming for a certain fluff?

If the crunch came first, then the fluff can be rewritten, if the fluff came first, then the crunch should match it.

What i mean by this is: If the fluff is on the Player's side, that is to say, the character wrote the fluff, then they should be matching the crunch that is there. But if the fluff is on the game's side, the game should have the mechanics match it. Again, the most notorious example of this is the Titan Mauler.


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Fluff is adaptive as long as the characters abilities make sense for the concept.I just see class as a set of abilities,nothing more.
After all,the classes all have different names in other languages.
I don't know what the Chinese word for "Paladin" is ...but a rose by any other name still smells the same.
Crunch has to matter though.It's the literal expression of the character in action.
If the character "Talks the Talk" but doesn't "Walk the Walk"...the concepts a sham.
The Hulk must SMASH..."The proof is in the pudding!"...other cliches :P

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Well, for those who said they would throw up their arms, and quit, if they allowed larger weapons to be wielded, the Giant Hunter's Handbook is out.

I give you, the Titan Fighter:

Giant Hunter's Handbook wrote:

Titan Fighter (Fighter)

Titan fighters make use of enormous weapons others can
barely lift. Titan fighters have the following class features.

Giant Weapon Wielder (Ex): At 1st level, a titan fighter can wield two-handed melee weapons intended for creatures one size category larger than himself, treating them as two-handed weapons. He takes an additional –2 penalty on attack rolls when using an oversized two-handed weapon. This ability replaces the fighter’s 1st level bonus feat.

Sorry to see you go...


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For home games, I'm of the opinion that re-fluffing and house-ruling are nearly identical. They're nearly identical in that they're both the means for helping a player create a character concept that's clunky by RAW.

Let's say the GM's goal is to help a player actualize a javelin throwing character with the same DPS as an archer.

Fluff means: Give the player a bow & arrows and re-fluff it as javelins.

House-rule means: Make a thrown-weapon parallel feat for all those archery only feats. Make a glove that's +1 enhance-able like a bow. Give quick draw to the player for free.

See? Goal achieved. Different means. The house-rule route won't work for PFS or other organized games though, for obvious reasons.


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kikidmonkey wrote:
Umbranus wrote:


If it is the flavor you are after, why is it important to create new rules? Why not use the existing rules and still play your fluff?

Some "flavor" needs to be backed up with crunch to maintain flavor. If your flavor is a guy who can breathe fire, and he in fact, cannot breathe fire. Then what the hell is going on?

Now, I personally, try to make my flavor and crunch match in the first place, but there are some archetypes (titan mauler) that can't effectively do what their fluff implies, and that's an issue.

I agree.

Show, don't Tell. It's a useful principle when you're creating RPG characters as well as when you write. Characters that routinely Show they don't match up to what we're Told they can do are not ones that make me feel more interested in a game.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

Well, for those who said they would throw up their arms, and quit, if they allowed larger weapons to be wielded, the Giant Hunter's Handbook is out.

I give you, the Titan Fighter:

Giant Hunter's Handbook wrote:

Titan Fighter (Fighter)

Titan fighters make use of enormous weapons others can
barely lift. Titan fighters have the following class features.

Giant Weapon Wielder (Ex): At 1st level, a titan fighter can wield two-handed melee weapons intended for creatures one size category larger than himself, treating them as two-handed weapons. He takes an additional –2 penalty on attack rolls when using an oversized two-handed weapon. This ability replaces the fighter’s 1st level bonus feat.
Sorry to see you go...

I dunno why people say Fighter is underpowered, it's a great 1st level dip for Barbarians now.

Seriously though, that's pretty great.


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ryric wrote:
There has to be at least some link between fluff and crunch. If someone wants to play Harry Potter and they write cavalier down on their sheet there is a big disconnect between fluff and crunch. (I'm not saying this is impossible, only that the player is starting from pretty far away compared to going with wizard, sorcerer, or arcanist) Usually there is a mechanical "best fit" for the concept, and IME most of the time if you go that route you require only minimal refluffing.

Yet ironically, arcanists, sorcerers, and wizards are about are mechanically disconnected from Harry Potter as Cavalier, as nothing in their mechanics at all reflects the way magic works in Harry Potter sans that those classes could have familiars.

Quote:
For your samurai example, I guess to me the decision is which is more important - easy TWF, or all the cavalier-ish trappings like fealty to a lord, orders, and so forth? If it's the second then the samurai class is the way to go. Societally samurai is a social position, so if you didn't care about the specific class abilities of the samurai class there's no reason you couldn't use a ranger, slayer, fighter, or whatever.

It's my experience that Barbarian actually makes an exceptionally good basis for Barbarians. They are powerful warriors who excel at two-handed weapons, wear medium armor, have enough skill points to represent their social stature, all the right proficiencies, and their class features give a very nice samurai feel (the uncanny dodge makes for a really cool martial-ascetic, rage makes for a fine battle-trance, and the DR and increased endurance models the indomitable spirit of the fantasy samurai very well). About the only thing that doesn't fit in the core chassis is trap-sense.

Rangers make good Samurai too for similar reasons, especially for mounted samurai.


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Klarth wrote:
Why play as a big strong Fighter when you can play as a Commoner and pretend that you're a big strong fighter.

Because Commoners have better class skills, and if you could get the 2:1 level:CR deal for playing a commoner that NPCs do, it would easily overshadow fighters as big strong warriors.

2 NPC levels vs 1 Fighter level? 2 NPC levels 24/7. It's not even a contest. You'd end up getting +1 feat / level which wouldn't be restricted, better saves after a few CR levels, +1 to +2 BAB, higher max-ranks, way more skill points, and comparable or better HP.

2 levels of Commoner = +1 BAB, +2/3 Fort/Ref/Will, 4 + (IntMod*2) skill points, +2 HD (more resistant to certain effects), 7 + (ConMod*2) HP, +1 feat, and you even have better skills.

No contest. :P

EDIT: Or you could be a barbarian. That works too.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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Ashiel wrote:
Klarth wrote:
Why play as a big strong Fighter when you can play as a Commoner and pretend that you're a big strong fighter.

Because Commoners have better class skills, and if you could get the 2:1 level:CR deal for playing a commoner that NPCs do, it would easily overshadow fighters as big strong warriors.

2 NPC levels vs 1 Fighter level? 2 NPC levels 24/7. It's not even a contest. You'd end up getting +1 feat / level which wouldn't be restricted, better saves after a few CR levels, +1 to +2 BAB, higher max-ranks, way more skill points, and comparable or better HP.

2 levels of Commoner = +1 BAB, +2/3 Fort/Ref/Will, 4 + (IntMod*2) skill points, +2 HD (more resistant to certain effects), 7 + (ConMod*2) HP, +1 feat, and you even have better skills.

No contest. :P

EDIT: Or you could be a barbarian. That works too.

Yeah, I'm not seeing it with commoner. 10th level fighter: +10 BAB, +7/+3/+3 saves, 20+10*int mod skill points, 10HD, 59.5+10XCon hp, 11 feats, weapon training +2, armor training, actually proficient in weapons and armor. Fighter class skill list eclipses commoner with the exception of Perception, which I don't accept as a "god skill."

20th level commoner has: +10 BAB, +6/+6/+6 saves, 40+20*Int skill points, 20 HD, 70+20XCon hp, 11 feats, and one simple weapon. So the commoner ends up with slightly better saves, hp, decent skill points but a smaller skill list, and worse attack rolls, damage, armor and weapon choices. Seems to me that if I'm looking at playing a fighter I might prioritize armor, weapons, attack rolls and such more than skill ranks. Also don't forget that your CR 2 for 1 calculation presumes the NPC is built on 3 point buy, while the PC class gets 15.

And I deliberately picked Harry Potter as a fiction example that doesn't translate exactly into Pathfinder, and thus would requires some refluffling. I still maintain that by starting with any spellcaster you're starting closer than if you pick slayer or something. Personally I'd probably go with witch for that one - at least you'd get some "spells" you can use at will.


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ryric wrote:
And I deliberately picked Harry Potter as a fiction example that doesn't translate exactly into Pathfinder, and thus would requires some refluffling.

Lvl 1 Human Commoner, straight 10 for stats +2 Cha from the human bonus.

1 rank + 3 skill focus + 2 magical aptitude + 4 trait +1 Cha = +11 UMD

Add another +2 for Hermione breathing down your back and that's a 70% chance of activating a wand. I'd take those odds.

An Owl at market price costs 10gp and your +5 Handle Animal is enough to teach it the deliver and fetch tricks if you take 10. The owl and the wand costs a pretty penny; but you have had Rich Parents so you can afford it.

Yer a wizzard now 'arry.


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DominusMegadeus wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

Well, for those who said they would throw up their arms, and quit, if they allowed larger weapons to be wielded, the Giant Hunter's Handbook is out.

I give you, the Titan Fighter:

Giant Hunter's Handbook wrote:

Titan Fighter (Fighter)

Titan fighters make use of enormous weapons others can
barely lift. Titan fighters have the following class features.

Giant Weapon Wielder (Ex): At 1st level, a titan fighter can wield two-handed melee weapons intended for creatures one size category larger than himself, treating them as two-handed weapons. He takes an additional –2 penalty on attack rolls when using an oversized two-handed weapon. This ability replaces the fighter’s 1st level bonus feat.
Sorry to see you go...

I dunno why people say Fighter is underpowered, it's a great 1st level dip for Barbarians now.

Seriously though, that's pretty great.

Uh...that's great? It's a trap for "Timmy." -4 to hit for, what, +3.5 damage (2d6 -> 3d6, right?)? That's a horrible deal. Dice are the least important contribution to weapon damage.

Liberty's Edge

For myself Fluff and Crunch have to be equal. Or at the very least both have to be useful. Craft Ooze is a good example imo. It has some great fluff. Yet the crunch really does not make it worth taking imo. It requires some decent prerequistes to take. It cost money time and a proper place to make a ooze. Only to have the ooze not only be dumb as a rock and also not loyal to the creator. Unless one is part of a group that retreats alot it's useless in combat. As it can't tell friend from foe and it can't be made to tell who is either. As they have no loyalty. It might be worth keeping the ooze as a guard or something similar. Might as well just get a Otyugh who is smarter and loyal. To that'd the problem with much of the material.

Beautifully written descriptions. Yet the rules just don't match up. Let alone make it worth taking. I'm not a optimizer. I just want to take abilites that are worth taking. Too often I find both the older and new material lacking. Or sometimes too situational.


mplindustries wrote:
DominusMegadeus wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

Well, for those who said they would throw up their arms, and quit, if they allowed larger weapons to be wielded, the Giant Hunter's Handbook is out.

I give you, the Titan Fighter:

Giant Hunter's Handbook wrote:

Titan Fighter (Fighter)

Titan fighters make use of enormous weapons others can
barely lift. Titan fighters have the following class features.

Giant Weapon Wielder (Ex): At 1st level, a titan fighter can wield two-handed melee weapons intended for creatures one size category larger than himself, treating them as two-handed weapons. He takes an additional –2 penalty on attack rolls when using an oversized two-handed weapon. This ability replaces the fighter’s 1st level bonus feat.
Sorry to see you go...

I dunno why people say Fighter is underpowered, it's a great 1st level dip for Barbarians now.

Seriously though, that's pretty great.

Uh...that's great? It's a trap for "Timmy." -4 to hit for, what, +3.5 damage (2d6 -> 3d6, right?)? That's a horrible deal. Dice are the least important contribution to weapon damage.

Yeah, it's not so great unless there's a way to reduce the penalty and/or you're building to get the most out of your weapon damage dice (further size increases, vital strike, etc).


Quote:

Example: Someone wants to play a Guts (whoever that is) style PC wielding a sword with an oversized blade.

In PF blades and hilts always have the same size. There are no large weapons with a medium sized hilt. So you can either wield a medium sized sword and fluff the blade as bigger or you can wield a large sword* and fluff its hilt as medium. Now, why is it so important for people that the blade size is reflected by the crunch, the rules? Even if it would be much easier to just fluff it? The PC would "be" the character who's flavor you want.

Gut's uses monkey grip from 3.5 in pathfinder a large bastard sword on a barbarian is the closest analog.


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Undone wrote:
Quote:

Example: Someone wants to play a Guts (whoever that is) style PC wielding a sword with an oversized blade.

In PF blades and hilts always have the same size. There are no large weapons with a medium sized hilt. So you can either wield a medium sized sword and fluff the blade as bigger or you can wield a large sword* and fluff its hilt as medium. Now, why is it so important for people that the blade size is reflected by the crunch, the rules? Even if it would be much easier to just fluff it? The PC would "be" the character who's flavor you want.
Gut's uses monkey grip from 3.5 in pathfinder a large bastard sword on a barbarian is the closest analog.

Bingo.

Anyone that has Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword) or a racial trait such as Swordtrained (tengu) can use a Large bastard sword (2d8/19-20) as a two-handed weapon at -2 on attack rolls. Amiri (the iconic barbarian) is the standard example. Add in the Lunge feat (at +6 BAB) and Example 1, including the reach benefit, can be realized with just Core. Archetypes such as titan mauler and titan fighter just give other options (with some possible mechanical benefits).

Example 2 is just a matter of keeping the "samurai" (a.k.a., Japanese noble) social designator distinct from the character class of the same name. Just as any member of the nobility doesn't need levels in the noble NPC class, a "samurai" doesn't need levels in the samurai alternate cavalier class.

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