Stop Trying to Win


Advice

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Grand Lodge

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Here's a piece of advice that's going to sound counter-intuitive, foolish, or perhaps even offensive to some of you: Stop trying to win. You'll enjoy Pathfinder (and all RPGs) much more, I promise you. Here we go.

Stop building your characters for optimal performance and stop playing them like chess pieces. I'm not suggesting doing stupid things or making absurdly broken characters, but rather just making ones that sound interesting based on their backgrounds, motivations, and imagery instead of just their statistics. I'm also not telling you to be a hardcore role-player either, prancing around the room like you're auditioning for the Renaissance Festival. You don't have to be an aspiring thespian to come up with a fun idea for an interesting character.

In other words: Stop making characters that are built to win. Start making characters that you and everyone else at the table will enjoy interacting with. That should be your goal during character creation. "Will this character be fun to have around, be a source of interesting situations, and flexible enough to be part of just about any kind of story?"

Give it a shot for your next game. I promise you won't be disappointed. In fact, I promise you right now that the stories you come up with during that game will stick with you much longer than the exploits of "Minmax the Destroyer" or whatever your last catfolk gestalt magus/slayer's name was.


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Given that a GM will be tailoring encounters to a difficulty level appropriate to the party, I agree. And if it's an AP you don't need to be that well optimized anyway. It is a difficult mentality to break though.


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NEVER. LIVE TO WIN.


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Yes, this is correct.

Please make sure This is all future pathfinder characters.

Being competent at your job is obviously evil badwrongfun. Please everyone stop.

Think of the kittens and the unicorns!*

*Every-time someone is competent in pathfinder God drops a kitten from orbit to kill a unicorn, after all.**

**NASA has just proven this via "SCIENCE"!!!!

Dark Archive

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OR... you could make a character that sounds interesting based on their backgrounds, motivations, and imagery AND is optimal for the role they fulfil in the party, if that's what you enjoy.

Making a character who is a blast to have around and has a great story doesn't mean they have to be any particular level of optimised. Making a character who is highly optimised doesn't mean they can't be an absolutely great person to adventure with who ends up in brilliant stories. One does not discount the other.

Most importantly, so long as everyone involved is truly enjoying the game... why should we even think about judging how they choose to play?

Scarab Sages

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Or, you could give people advice they ask for instead of a broadside telling the people that frequent this board that they are having BADWRONGFUN because you ascribe to the Stormwind Fallacy.


Also I feel the STORMWIND blowing.


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I think you're missing the point. There are a lot of character options in Pathfinder. For an individual party niche only a few of these options would be considered optimal. If the GM is setting challenges to the ability of the party, why not pull back from the most optimal character concepts and try for more varied options? You'll still end up with the same level of challenge but maybe more diverse characters from campaign to campaign.


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Pathfinder Card Game, Companion Subscriber

I really, really dislike when people assume that because I start building a character by deciding on a mechanical theme, that my characters obviously cannot be interesting or fun to play (or fun to play with). The mechanics are the skeleton on which I can build an interesting personality. I've seen people try to focus on just the "fluff" and just do whatever for the mechanics at the end; they usually don't make any sense. "My character is a strong, silent swordsman." ...He's Str 7 Cha 19 with no sword proficiencies, because after you finished working on his personality you threw a dart at a board full of sticky notes with class names and hit Arcanist. And, since you think Archetypes are the very definition of bad-wrong-fun (I have honestly encountered this opinion), you didn't even think to give him the Bladebound Arcanist AT.

My characters' personalities and backgrounds inform AND are informed by their stats and feats. My latest feat-class feature-exotic weapon combo I've dreamed up is usually not a instant-win for all level-appropriate encounters, it's a quirk that (grants some advantage, yes, but...) ensures my character is still memorable and unique even during combat. No one remembers every martial character that puts out enough DPR to matter at the mid-levels; everyone remembers the Zen Archer Monk abusing Combat Patrol and Snap Shot to threaten the entire battlefield and protect all his allies, spamming Ranged Trip and Ranged Disarm on any opponent who dares move or cast a spell.

Admittedly, I've never actually played the Combat Patrol Zen Archer, but it's an awesome idea I got from a friend. I have played the crit-focused shaman with Mythic Flame Blade getting his crit range out to 9-20 (and grabbing teamwork feats to grant allies bonuses when I crit), the Fey-bloodline Sorcerer-sniper using the Kobold Magazine sniper rifle (before Ultimate Combat's firearms were released) to fire Charm Person spells into a town from a half-mile away, and the neutral-aligned Negative Channeling Aasimar Cleric using the Aasimar-unique channeling feats as a brand of high-dpr battlefield control.

And the biggest thing is - this is how I have fun playing Pathfinder. Figuring out a character's personality based on the trick that inspired their creation - the Cleric had been raised by their super-strict, super-disapproving Angelic father, and the conversion to an evil deity (but still doing good deeds using her evil powers) on Golarion was her form of teenage rebellion. Making characters my friends will still talk about long after the campaign has ended or the character retired - "Oh man remember that one time your Archer saved my Wizard by bouncing a shot off John's tank's helmet and pinning the werewolf's arm to my horse?"

Apologies for the wall of text, but the mindset that people who build powerful characters are incapable of playing the game "right" put me in a ranting mood. My friends like that I (and one other guy at the table) minmax, since it means we can carry combat in case their less-optimized ideas don't work out like they hoped. I like when their characters take the time to thank mine for pulling their hoops out of the fire. We all have fun our own ways. And if that means Combat Patrol with a 140 ft move speed to generate a threatened area bigger than your boring 20x20 dungeon rooms and generic Fighter-Wizard-Cleric done-a-million-times-before party, then so be it.

Dark Archive

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Yep, that's a great way to endear yourself on the internet. Telling people to do things the way you want them to do things, not the way they do.

What, pray tell, were you hoping to accomplish here?

Grand Lodge

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Covent wrote:
Yes, this is correct.

Let me sum this up for you a different way:

Why is Indiana Jones so awesome while Lara Croft is just kind of flat (ironically) and boring? They're both genius archaeologists with a flair for athletics and puzzle solving. Yet, for some reason, Jones is a household name and Croft is kind of an inside joke in the video game community and not really important beyond that. Let's leave the actual actors, directors, and scripts behind each out of this for just a moment and dig into their characters.

Indiana Jones isn't optimized. He's not a super ninja kung-fu master; he loses and/or flees from half the fights he gets into. He gets punched in the face and goes down. When he does something acrobatic, it looks like he's just trying not to not fall to his death and you can see the fear on his face. When he's on the ropes, there's drama, and when he emerges victorious, we cheer because he beat the odds by using his wits, charm, courage, and as many friends as he can muster.

Lara Croft, on the other hand, is basically a genetically engineered super human with no flaws. She's a martial arts master, a sharpshooter, an extreme sports enthusiast, and a savant. She's absurdly rich, fawned upon by all who meet her, and swaggers through every mortal encounter with a smirk on her face that just screams, "I'm the star of this movie - there's no way I die here." She's all 18s, has all class skills, and has every feat in the book. She's basically a nerdy 13-year-old's fantasy girl and that's why the games about her could easily swap her out for another hero (cough- Nathan Drake -cough) and the movies about her are so awful.

So, the next time you sit down to make a character, ask yourself this: "Is this an Indiana Jones or a Lara Croft?" I think that will put you on the right track.

Grand Lodge

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Seranov wrote:
Telling people to do things the way you want them to do things, not the way they do.

It's just advice; it can't hurt you.

Dark Archive

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And being a sanctimonious jerk on the internet doesn't seem to hurt you, either.

You know what makes good characters? Good storytelling. Guess how much of that is effected by whether you optimize or not. Take your time to answer, I'll wait.


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I wonder if the barn will be able to make it through the storm that is upon us

Scarab Sages

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Or perhaps it's because Indiana Jones is in a film with better dialogue, better direction, and a hell of a lot better actor in the lead than Angelina Jolie. (comparing film to film here, video games have next to zero character development for the hero).

From a character-building standpoint, they are identical. They both are tomb-raiding archeologists with guns who sometimes have to rely on hand-to-hand.

In fact, Indiana is more twinked than Lara because he invested in the Whip Mastery feat chain.

Grand Lodge

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Saba wrote:
why not pull back from the most optimal character concepts and try for more varied options?

This.

Give it a shot and you might be surprised at how much fun you have with un-optimized characters.


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Can I offer some advice?

I recommend that the player who minmax's continue to minmax all they want.

The person who wants to only focus on character development focus on that.

For everyone else, continue playing as obviously you are having fun and should not stop. I might encourage you to try to step out of your comfortzone and try something else atleast once or twice. But hell if you want to win, then win g+%#&~n it.

Headfirst, have you ever tried authentically to optimize a character and play it?


Yep, lots of storm wind here.


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Win without fixating on winning.

Win without worsening the game to win.

Win without overshadowing all other players.

Win while playing a monk.

Then you will have truly won.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Someone could make an honest to god astrologer kind of wizard...but as soon as he would pick Sacred Geometry since it fits the theme of his character, everybody would lose their mind.


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Headfirst wrote:


Why is Indiana Jones so awesome while Lara Croft is just kind of flat (ironically) and boring?

...Because video game movies suck big fat donkey dick 99.99% of the time?

And it's interesting that you mention Nathan Drake later.

He's interesting, charismatic, and fun to watch.

He's also a f&+!ing death machine who One Man Army's his way through what seems like a good percentage of the population of wherever he goes. Including supernatural beasties.

Thanks for giving an example that makes your entire (terribly rigged) point moot there chap.


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Headfirst wrote:
Covent wrote:
Yes, this is correct.

Let me sum this up for you a different way:

Why is Indiana Jones so awesome while Lara Croft is just kind of flat (ironically) and boring? They're both genius archaeologists with a flair for athletics and puzzle solving. Yet, for some reason, Jones is a household name and Croft is kind of an inside joke in the video game community and not really important beyond that. Let's leave the actual actors, directors, and scripts behind each out of this for just a moment and dig into their characters.

Indiana Jones isn't optimized. He's not a super ninja kung-fu master; he loses and/or flees from half the fights he gets into. He gets punched in the face and goes down. When he does something acrobatic, it looks like he's just trying not to not fall to his death and you can see the fear on his face. When he's on the ropes, there's drama, and when he emerges victorious, we cheer because he beat the odds by using his wits, charm, courage, and as many friends as he can muster.

Lara Croft, on the other hand, is basically a genetically engineered super human with no flaws. She's a martial arts master, a sharpshooter, an extreme sports enthusiast, and a savant. She's absurdly rich, fawned upon by all who meet her, and swaggers through every mortal encounter with a smirk on her face that just screams, "I'm the star of this movie - there's no way I die here." She's all 18s, has all class skills, and has every feat in the book. She's basically a nerdy 13-year-old's fantasy girl and that's why the games about her could easily swap her out for another hero (cough- Nathan Drake -cough) and the movies about her are so awful.

So, the next time you sit down to make a character, ask yourself this: "Is this an Indiana Jones or a Lara Croft?" I think that will put you on the right track.

Great analysis, also I made a meme as a gift to you:

http://memegenerator.net/instance2/627677


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Covent wrote:
Yep, lots of storm wind here.

...not really, IMO. Waving that flag around feels to me like losing the general message he's making by brushing it off with mislabeling.

Which is fine i suppose. I know my playstyles and preferences have never once changed or altered in the 31 years i have played RPG's. Nosir, not once at all in any way.


I donno, if we lose the story ends for our characters most of the time.
The real tip is to min-max to your heart's content, but also min-max for story reasons.

If you have a pissant story behind your character then I guess you're playing a pissant. As a general rule I assume that all heroic classed characters retrained to that class from an NPC class. This means a lot of people started as Adepts, Aristocrats, Experts and Warriors, with some monks maybe starting as commoners.

Build the best character you can. Make your character into a mortal god if you can. However, take heart to emphasize the non-mechanical nature of characters, since at the end of the day the things you will remember is what your character attempted to do as opposed to how his super build enabled him to do it.

I've noticed a great many people get upset when someone else's character is more effective than their own because said character was designed from the start around a specific thing. Well, no crap.

Expect the players to, "build to win," and be prepared to shift things around to play to their weaknesses. A well built team will be able to deal with things that target their weaknesses. Just take heart to also target their strengths as well.

Grand Lodge

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wait... Wait... WAIT....!?!?!?!

Are you telling me that it is not possible to create fun, flavorful characters with backstory and multiple role play opportunities who are actually strong at what they do mechanical wise?

Oh My Gods!?!?!?!

Every character I have ever built is wrong!?!?!

Quick, I need to find ways to completely dump the RP aspects on a number of characters, then find ways to make my other characters absolutely suck at everything they do so they can Role Play.


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Rynjin wrote:
Headfirst wrote:


Why is Indiana Jones so awesome while Lara Croft is just kind of flat (ironically) and boring?

...Because video game movies suck big fat donkey dick 99.99% of the time?

And it's interesting that you mention Nathan Drake later.

He's interesting, charismatic, and fun to watch.

He's also a f~~@ing death machine who One Man Army's his way through what seems like a good percentage of the population of wherever he goes. Including supernatural beasties.

Thanks for giving an example that makes your entire (terribly rigged) point moot there chap.

I disagree. Nathan Drake has a greater emotional range than Lara Croft but his "charisma" just comes across as talking too much.

His fights, while exciting and hollywood, lack the punch of poor Dr. Jones in over his head. Simply because Drake is a death machine, barely human, insanely lucky and seems amused rather than threatened by people trying to kill him. Probably because he easily murders swathes of humanity and then has a one-liner about it. Hur hur. Charismatic? I don't see it.

However put the language into French and he sounds more sleazy and annoyed (more amusing) or Polish and he sounds contemptuous and bitter (stronger, but more under threat). Either is a far superior experience to English-speaking Drake because of what the non-English voice actors brought to the table.

Yes, I play Drake as a Pole or French adventurer. Oddly fits in certain places that he goes.


That's just a matter of personal taste. The two characters are very different, but I'd be hard-pressed to say one is better than the other for the purpose they serve.

Indiana Jones is a guile hero. Which doesn't make him any less min-maxed mind you, he just put all his points into skills and "Luck" (in the M&M sense, where it translates to re-rolls).

Nathan Drake is a much more direct action hero, who mainly talks to stall for time to execute some clever plan. And he's shown as being pretty vulnerable in the second and third games (especially towards the last act of the second, after he gets shot).

They both excellently fill the role they are assigned.

It's just an apples and oranges comparison. One is a video game protagonist, one is a movie protagonist...the writing styles and on-screen character action HAS to be different for the most part.


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Eh, I'll keep playing to win. My characters always manage to be interesting, flawed and engaging, and yet somehow I pull this off time after time while making mechanically strong characters. How do I do this amazing feat? I don't know. Honestly, I astound myself.

That said, keep playing your interesting characters, just make them better. I promise you that you'll be a much better character, not just a better game piece, when you have options, not just thematic oneliners to fall back on. I guarantee you that you'll be much happier, and also smarter and more attractive if you take my advice.


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OP, maybe you should take your own advice and stop trying to win this argument.


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Rathendar wrote:
Covent wrote:
Yep, lots of storm wind here.

...not really, IMO. Waving that flag around feels to me like losing the general message he's making by brushing it off with mislabeling.

Which is fine i suppose. I know my playstyles and preferences have never once changed or altered in the 31 years i have played RPG's. Nosir, not once at all in any way.

The OP is stating that playing mechanically inferior characters will increase enjoyment of the game, so you know you may be right.

He is not just saying mechanical optimization is inversely proportional to role play, which means he is not using the Stormwind fallacy.

He is instead saying that mechanical optimization is inversely proportional to fun at the table and role play, which is even more ludicrous.

Fun is subjective so some players will have more fun with level X of optimization, and some will have fun with X + 10 or X -10. This means that this "advice" is either an over the top troll or a serious attempt to tell people that the way they enjoy playing is badwrongfun.

That is why I responded with ridicule, as that is all the idea deserves.


I agree that role playing and min-maxing aren't mutually exclusive most of the time and that it is a fallacy to assume that they are. However, occasionally I have seen some builds, especially with respect to choice of deities, that really stretch things to such an extent that they seem quite contrived just in order to try to make a character that beats the game.

With that being said, I have occasionally seen players put so little thought into their builds as to make them completely ineffective in the name of not caring about "winning". That just results in a meh character.

I also have a competitive personality, so I really cannot help myself in trying to win against the enemies and don't have fun not making tactical and strategic choices. Everyone has a particular style and particular preferences so there aren't any rights and wrongs, except for players that constantly refuse to be a part of a team and insist on always swimming upstream in a manner that ruins the fun for everyone else.


I like my character not dying, but I've also seen powergaming taken to the time-wasting extreme that others wished the powergaming character suffered and died. :)


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#1- IdowhatIwant

#2- That's all fine and dandy until you wind up with a useless party. It's happened to me several times, and a lot of DM's just aren't clever enough to make it a fun game, especially if your motivations and alignments are too far apart.

#3- You can have the most OP build imaginable and still give it a personality. The two aren't mutually exclusive. I'm usually the heavy hitter as well as the comic relief.


"Go! Fight! Win!" Edna Mode

Nothing wrong with optimized or non-optimal characters. Play the game or don't. Some people love the math, calculating DPR, blah blah. That's not for me but if somebody else likes it, whatever floats their boat.

I create (I don't call it "build", I mostly still use the term "roll up", but I'm an old-timer) both optimized and non-optimal, and never had trouble being significantly OP or lagging the rest of the party. All have been interesting role-playing experiences, from the self-proclaimed slayer of whatever happened to have been recently killed by the party goblin druid optimized for AC buffing (the only character I've had with Craft:Head Shrinking), to the "we samurai have no sense of humor we are aware of, ma'am" samurai with Perform:Kenbu, non-optimal but trying the Dazzling Display and specialized crit feat trees because I've never done that before. Both still put out the beat down in combat and entertained in role-playing.


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Headfirst wrote:
Covent wrote:
Yes, this is correct.

Let me sum this up for you a different way:

Why is Indiana Jones so awesome while Lara Croft is just kind of flat (ironically) and boring? They're both genius archaeologists with a flair for athletics and puzzle solving. Yet, for some reason, Jones is a household name and Croft is kind of an inside joke in the video game community and not really important beyond that. Let's leave the actual actors, directors, and scripts behind each out of this for just a moment and dig into their characters.

Indiana Jones isn't optimized. He's not a super ninja kung-fu master; he loses and/or flees from half the fights he gets into. He gets punched in the face and goes down. When he does something acrobatic, it looks like he's just trying not to not fall to his death and you can see the fear on his face. When he's on the ropes, there's drama, and when he emerges victorious, we cheer because he beat the odds by using his wits, charm, courage, and as many friends as he can muster.

Lara Croft, on the other hand, is basically a genetically engineered super human with no flaws. She's a martial arts master, a sharpshooter, an extreme sports enthusiast, and a savant. She's absurdly rich, fawned upon by all who meet her, and swaggers through every mortal encounter with a smirk on her face that just screams, "I'm the star of this movie - there's no way I die here." She's all 18s, has all class skills, and has every feat in the book. She's basically a nerdy 13-year-old's fantasy girl and that's why the games about her could easily swap her out for another hero (cough- Nathan Drake -cough) and the movies about her are so awful.

So, the next time you sit down to make a character, ask yourself this: "Is this an Indiana Jones or a Lara Croft?" I think that will put you on the right track.

I'd rather be Krieg, Drax the Destroyer, Brock Samson, Dirty Harry, The Terminator, Judge Dredd, The Cole Train, Bronn, or Fezzik. Or, like, any other beloved and also competent person.

Grand Lodge

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LoneKnave wrote:
OP, maybe you should take your own advice and stop trying to win this argument.

That's my secret, Cap: I'm never trying to win. Just trying to give advice, and here it is again (minus the tiny dash of edginess that clearly sends some people into a defensive rage):

The next Pathfinder game you play in, try an un-optimized character built "personality first" instead of "engine of death first." You might just enjoy the results.

Hmm, let me try something else to get the point across. Years ago I joined a Star Wars game that already had all the iconic roles filled. We had a jedi, a pilot, a noble, a technician, a solider, etc. So I said, "You know what? I'm going to play a protocol droid." My gamer buddies (who were moderate to severe min-maxers) thought I'd lost my mind. Not only was I going to be totally ineffective in combat, but wouldn't that get boring, playing a chatty droid in an action-packed space opera game? Seriously, who watches Star Wars and wants to be C-3PO?

You know what? It was an absolute blast! My character wasn't just comic relief, either; he saved the day a couple times with his polite diplomacy, average computer skills, and ready-made disguise. Of course, he also got torn apart by animals once, blasted to bits by bounty hunters, and even fell out of the ship once, but hey, who's counting. The point is: I went into a Star Wars game with the least combat optimized character you can imagine and it was awesome. My advice to you is to give it a shot as well.


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I have heard that several times with different GMs. A few times, following that advice leaded us to a TPK.

Everybody find fun in different things. I don't find it fun to visit often this
Mainly because I like to work in my PC, tie it to the adventure as much as possible, and write a background which I like. I'm also not very fond with raising the PC from the dead, unless there's a good reason to, so dying has a harsh penalty for me. TPKs are specially bad, as they often mean the AP is left behind and never finished, and, in my group, if it's started and then stop, probably nobody else would want to GM it again as people has played the first few books.

To each with its own. If you find it more enjoyable, you can try to lose. Whatever makes you happier.


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I would like to extend this advice to GMs as well.

Stop trying to almost win. The characters should be very good at what they're good at, there is nothing wrong with characters having things easy up to 80% or the time or so.

Stop cranking up the CR to 'challenge' someone in their specialty.

Somebody in the party got a high AC? They are supposed to be hard to hit. Somebody in the party got high saves? They are supposed to be hard to affect with special abilities/spells. Somebody deal high damage? They are supposed to kill things fast.

EDIT:

Quote:
making ones that sound interesting based on their backgrounds, motivations, and imagery instead of just their statistics. I'm also not telling you to be a hardcore role-player either, prancing around the room like you're auditioning for the Renaissance Festival. You don't have to be an aspiring thespian to come up with a fun idea for an interesting character.

I do both, prance around the dialogue like I'm auditioning for a Renaissance Festival [or anime convention] as a hard core roleplay while creating extremely potent characters as allowed by the rules.


Kyrt-ryder gave a good advice, that also fits well with my experience. The GMs that gave us the advice to "not optimize much" are/were the kind of GM that "need to feel" they could had won the fight, or that "didn't enjoy" the fight if the NPC got butchered.

It's a movie, or a novel, or a comic book. Most the time, NPCs get butchered in the films. Stormtroopers die by dozens. Orcs die so much, that the grumpy dwarf and the gracile elven archer bet who is going to kill more, and count the casualties loud, arguing if killing a ladder with 20 of them should count as 1.

My advice is: build your character, however you like, the way you enjoy more the game. Let other people do the same. Don't try to ruin the fun of anyone, either by stealing all the spotlight, or by telling others how they should play. If you are the GM, learn that the game is buil so the PCs win. The deck is stacked for the players, as it should, so don't feel frustrated if the wizard kills 10 trolls with a single fireball or the fighter can walk among enmies being hit only with 20s. It's not a competition, yo don't need to "almost win" to make it fun. You are the GM, the fun comes from telling a good story, involving everyone, and inmersing th group in a comunal narrative.

Again, this is what works for me. YMMV, so apply whatever makes you happier with the game, and let others do the same


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Headfirst wrote:
The next Pathfinder game you play in, try an un-optimized character built "personality first" instead of "engine of death first." You might just enjoy the results.

It's this subtle bit of arrogancce that puts people on the defensive, I think.

It starts with the assumption that nobody actually does this, or has tried it (or, at least, nobody who optimizes a character has).

I've built characters both ways. My first two characters were built concept first, mechanics second. The first (Navorak, a Half-Orc Monk who had recently escaped from a Shackles slave ship before taking berth on the ship Serpent's Skull starts on) was very unsatisfying to play.

The second was my LE Monk Sun Xiao who replaced Navorak, and who remains one of my favorite character to this day. I've remade him about 6 times so far, once being within the confines of the game due to both character development (retraining out of the Drunken Master PrC to go with him trying to kick his alcoholism) and being way overshadowed by a Barbarian GMPC, a Ranger who had recently replaced the Sorcerer, and the Paladin who replaced the ROgue.

I kinda swap back and forth when I make my characters. Sometimes it's the mechanics that strike me (my Slayer in Age of Worms exists purely because "Ooh, Slayer sounds cool!"), sometimes it's the concept (my first Paladin I made solely because I wanted to make a genuine nice guy who loved beauty, so he became a Paladin of Shelyn), and sometimes a mix of both things falling into place simultaneously (my Oracle, Marcus Greer, who I determined would have been driven insane and killed his wife in the backstory of a post-apocalyptic Cthulhu based Pathfinder game, and "Haunted Dark Tapestry Oracle" flooded in at the exact same time. I still dunno which came first.).

I haven't noticed any real difference in enjoyment one way or another. Sometimes characters are duds in spite of fun concept (like Navorak) and sometimes characters are duds in spite of fun mechanics (Sieg Alfbrecht, my German MMA fighter from the same game as my Haunted Oracle).

IME it's the grand mix of BOTH coming together that makes a fun character. If it's not fun to RP, it's not fun. If it's not fun to do everything BUT RP, it's also not fun.

I imagine many, if not most people have come to the same conclusion on their own.


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Allow me to try and make a post that is objectively more useful than the entirety of this thread. It might be slightly difficult, but here I go:

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There we go. It's an absolute beauty and I feel confident when I say it outshines the rest.


Headfirst wrote:
I'm not suggesting doing stupid things or making absurdly broken characters, but rather just making ones that sound interesting based on their backgrounds, motivations, and imagery instead of just their statistics.

This is a situation that depends on both your fellow players and your DM. I rolled a fighter and a summoner once, the fighter had a very fleshed out background, clear motivations and personality quirks, and was was optimized but not completely min-maxed. I had a s$$!ty time with him because my fellow players and DM were a little difficult to be around.

My second was Quarry, a Dwarven summoner. Yes you read that right. He was so s!%*ty at everything Dwarven (mining, smelting, crafting, etc) he gave up all Dwarven trades and became a summoner. This guy was min maxed like you wouldn't believe and I had a BLAST with him, primarily because I ran with a different group of players and DM.

However, there is truth to your statement. I think people should try to loosen up a bit and have fun. It is a game after all.


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Or for better advice: aim at about the same optimisation level as the rest of the party, because playing a useless rogue (not that all rogues are useless) among a party of competent characters sucks. I know, I've done it. He was fun to roleplay and achieved a bunch of odd things, but doing nothing useful in combat - worse, being told to sit out of combat by another player to avoid sucking up the limited healing resources at that time - is enormously frustrating.


avr wrote:
Or for better advice: aim at about the same optimisation level as the rest of the party, because playing a useless rogue (not that all rogues are useless) among a party of competent characters sucks. I know, I've done it. He was fun to roleplay and achieved a bunch of odd things, but doing nothing useful in combat - worse, being told to sit out of combat by another player to avoid sucking up the limited healing resources at that time - is enormously frustrating.

I know the feeling as well. I felt that exact same way with my very first character who was a fighter. I was playing with a Wizard, Druid, Sorcerer, and a ranger.


I luckily have a group that is only semi-optimal. So we all have the general mindset of "I want to play this, now lets make it functional" when it seems like it will at least work in a way that keeps it interesting to yourself.

That or our min-maxers only min-max against certain things which works as they sometimes will just be encounter MVP and other times just average or sometimes just a good punching bag. All depends on how the encounter/rolls go.

aka: We have a monk/samurai merfolk who is by far the silliest thing in our campaign but he's functional enough and built around supporting the party.

and then our paladin who is hyperfocused build against aberrations makes him DPS king....right up until there's none left, then he's a fighter with healing.

That said we've had barbarians in our group that joined in and made our fighter look pretty sad. But the party rather than be annoyed just kinda relies on them and focuses harder on keeping them alive (as they had all the damage with just about as much survivability as a mage without spells).

--
That said as a DM i make sure my group doesn't have 2 people trying to do the same thing, or at least in the exact same way.

Such as we have a fighter and a paladin, but the paladin is all smitey DPS while the fighter is an unhittable wall that likes to hit things back. Two people that if built the same could easily overshadow the other but instead have completely different ideas.

We have 2 monks but one is multiclass and one is a pure martial artist focused into being 1 punch man (pummeling style flavor and all).

So end of the day in our group even if you're overpowered in some manner someone else in the party can do something better that you in some other capacity making comparison of players a more difficult thing.


Honestly, I don't care if people optimize as long as they don't outstrip the other players. As long as they offer some interesting roleplay, who cares if the warpriest can bring a poor, innocent Greater Octopin to less than half health in a single round?

I would like to see more PCs willing to take "impractical" tactics, though. Charging the enemy that has them angry, even if it means taking an AoO from the enemy they're currently fighting. Running over to heal a friend they know is stable rather than finishing off the Big Bad. Not immediately disposing of the big greatsword with the skull motif and "Fury" inscribed into the blade in three different languages. Y'know. Players are [almost] always smarter than their PCs would logically be in the thrill of combat. Knowing that the player values staying true to their character over avoiding a few more points of damage is reassuring, "minmaxing" or no.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:


I would like to see more PCs willing to take "impractical" tactics, though. Charging the enemy that has them angry, even if it means taking an AoO from the enemy they're currently fighting. Running over to heal a friend they know is stable rather than finishing off the Big Bad. Not immediately disposing of the big greatsword with the skull motif and "Fury" inscribed into the blade in three different languages. Y'know. Players are [almost] always smarter than their PCs would logically be in the thrill of combat. Knowing that the player values staying true to their character over avoiding a few more points of damage is reassuring, "minmaxing" or no.

I feel like if either:

-Getting resurrected and back to full fighting form was cheaper (3000+ gp at the cheapest, and only if you're willing to gamble), easier (finding a high level caster is sometimes hard), and faster (even after you find the guy, and pay him, you need to wait a week to remove your second Negative Level)

-Avoiding death (via Hero Points and the like that let you Cheat Death as an option) were easier.

-There was some sort of incentive to do so (as-is doing something tactically stupid for RP is likely to result in lots of pain, little effect, and potential death with no real upside).

-Rolling up a new character didn't take a f!@!ing eternity sometimes.

Or multiple of the above, this would be seen more often.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

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This thread started off on a bit of an antagonistic foot. Let's see if we can rein that in please. Keep in mind there are a wide variety of ways to seek enjoyment from playing and we aim for inclusivity within the community.

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