Forum Problems that don't occur at your Table


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In the games I play, rogues are nightmares. One often outdamages a barbarian in a game I'm playing right now. Granted we flank all the time, but why wouldn't you flank all the time? Casters are not considered overly powerful, heck they aren't even really considered necessary. They just make miscellaneous activities much easier, also healing makes the game run smoother. But that's it.


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Asian spambots!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Things that seem like a big problem on the boards but have never been a problem in any games I've run...

1) The 15-minute adventuring day. My players consider resource management to be a big part of the game; no one novas then needs to rest for the day.

2) Martial/caster disparity. If anything, martials tend to be more powerful than arcane casters in my games. (See #1.)

3) Underpowered rogues. Rogues tend to do pretty darned well most of the time in my games.

4) Alignment issues. I'm clear about what alignment means, and my players are on board.

5) (Subset of #4) Paladins have never been a problem: the players promise not be be disruptive, and the GM promises not to put them in no-win situations.

Because, honestly, the vast majority of the problems harped about on the boards are really about someone being a jerk and ruining others' fun. Rules changes can't fix people being jerks.


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I have experienced some of the issues on the board, but not to the degree that the board makes them out to be. For instance, I can see that Fighters lack options and defense, but they've never felt completely redundant.

In-combat healing I know the rationale behind it, and it can be more effective to end the combat quickly, but it's still needed, especially to keep up the action economy.

(Rogue and Monk issues, however, do crop up. Our group agrees that Monks are wretched, and while my DM insists that Rogues can be made effectively, I still want to retrain my rogue due to barely being able to contribute in combat.)

Spellcasters always having the perfect spell, or being able to use a single spell to invalidate even a high-level encounter. I wish I could see that more often. It's not that uncommon for our spellcasters to be just as spent as everyone else by the end of the day.

Item crafting feats being overpowered and unbalancing. Mostly because are characters are always on the move. Not that we're always on a tight deadline, but I've never seen our group take more than a day's worth of downtime. And if they do, the wizards want to just relax, drink ale, and go to the bathouse just as much as the fighters do. Why do they have to work long hours while their friends are out partying?

I'm not sure how to phrase my last point. I don't want to say abuse of certain spells, but the incredibly effective application of a few of them. This isn't a problem with the full board, but sometimes it feels that the people that mention some incredibly useful spells, especially if used in method X, expect method X, or simply the powerful application of said spell, to be common knowledge. Again, have not seen some of the examples they propose 'every wizard would know.'


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All of the so-called problems that people whine about on this board are solved through better GM'ing. This forum is overrun by a vocal minority that does not represent the larger whole.


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Brother Fen wrote:
All of the so-called problems that people whine about on this board are solved through better GM'ing. This forum is overrun by a vocal minority that does not represent the larger whole.

I would agree and add that some can be fixed by having an honest conversation with players about where the line is. Letting people get away with things can cause a number of the issues we see on the boards, as well as trying to get away with those things. A permissive GM is not great, but neither is testing the boundaries and forcing the issue.


Simon Legrande wrote:
Thought of another one. We're not in the habit of calling people dicks when they do things in character that we might not agree with.

I sense passive-aggression. Must be a list thread.


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Oh look, someone thinks a good DM fixes every problem. Clearly that means problems don't actually exist.

Things I haven't seen in my games:

1) Gunslinger damage issues, the one gunslinger played at my tables felt perfectly all right in damage, though very swingy. He was terrifying at very close range but wasn't very tough to take a counterattack.

2) Paladin woes: the DM occasionally says "are you really sure you want to do that?" When alignment starts getting murky. This causes paladin players to think, and explain their reasoning. Sometimes they do it, sometimes they don't. The one fall we've had was something he claimed to be reasonably certain he would fall for and chose to anyway.

Forum issues I have seen in my games:

1) Rogues are awful, and lose the ability to meaningfully contribute very early compared to other, similar classes. I have one player who starts every new character with "ugh... I wish rogues were better" before rolling up a satisfying slayer, alchemist, investigator, Inquisitor or ranger.

2) Monks are awful etc, etc. One of my high optimization players made the best character I've ever seen who was a monk. This made a less optimizing player decide they were awesome and try one. He was extremely disappointed. Turns out that if you don't make every choice very carefully, the monk is a pile of crap.

3) Summoner Problems: We had a master summoner. Together, the dm and player decided it was too powerful, had the character die dramatically, and banned the archetype. We had a synthesist, same story. Against our policy one player got very excited about synthesist and we allowed it again, only to ban it once more after 3 sessions. The base class is not yet banned but its on shaky ground.

4) Caster/Martial Disparity: see it all the time.

5) Skills invalidated by spells: Actual quote to new player "Don't waste too many skill points on climb or swim. Well all be flying by level 7 or so. Throw one into it for emergency situations but it'll be useless later"


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Brother Fen wrote:
All of the so-called problems that people whine about on this board are solved through better GM'ing. This forum is overrun by a vocal minority that does not represent the larger whole.

Because this is diverging from the thread's goals, I'll just point you here to state your case. #4 and #5 are the ones you'll want to talk about.


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A good GM doesn't fix everything, no. Not being a pushover, however, fixes a number of problems.

Are there problems with the game's mechanics? Sure, and any number of people (despite the ever famous Oberoni fallacy) have been working on ways to fix them for their own games, and many even are posting them so that others may find their solutions useful.

But problems with the game as far as the forums go tend to balloon with the telling; what might be a minor, correctable problem is often inflated into a game ending catastrophe that requires immediate action or else! Whether that is true or not is often a matter of attention; even those that agree there is a problem often don't agree on the degree of the issue.


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Ya know, there are a few of the problems that get constant thread chatter that occur at my table-late players, not having your next spell readied, having to look up an oft-used rule-but ya know what? We're friends. We overlook these things and have fun instead of griping about them.


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DungeonmasterCal wrote:
Ya know, there are a few of the problems that get constant thread chatter that occur at my table-late players, not having your next spell readied, having to look up an oft-used rule-but ya know what? We're friends. We overlook these things and have fun instead of b(*^&ing about them.

I think that might be a good point. Those that frequent the forum often are fans -- and that means fanatics. We're the equivalent of the guys in negative temperatures at football games with painted bodies and barely any clothes screaming for our team while complaining that Johnson's numbers suck and if only the coach had gone back to the X43 play like last year and <insert sports stuff here.>

The average gamer likely isn't that level of discussion. What irritates people on the forum might be met with a shrug from the average gamer -- it literally doesn't come up for them because they are not digging through 10 books and worrying about how to merge a number of different ideas. They are there to BS and play with friends; they do work all day! Who wants to work on a game?


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I've seen most of the common problems at my table, especially the caster martial disparity.

Most of the common complaints are generally not a problem in my games because I talk to my players and specifically ask them to avoid some builds, tactics, spells, etc.

It took me a long time to figure this stuff out however, and it really bums me out when I think of the hundreds of hours I have spent bored or frustrated when I could have been having more fun. I feel sad when I remember the really cool campaigns that have fallen apart. There are also several players who could have enjoyed the game for years who left after a session or two because despite the GMs best efforts, they felt like side-kicks.

EDIT: "If you're healing in combat, you're doing it wrong" and "defense is irrelevant" are the statements I find very ridiculous.


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Class disparities, OP vs UP, etc are all non issues for us.


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knightnday wrote:
I think that might be a good point. Those that frequent the forum often are fans -- and that means fanatics. We're the equivalent of the guys in negative temperatures at football games with painted bodies and barely any clothes screaming for our team while complaining that Johnson's numbers suck and if only the coach had gone back to the X43 play like last year and <insert sports stuff here.>

Love the analogy. I find this is often the case for my group. No one I have gamed with in the past five or so years spends a significant amount of time on any gaming forums (that I am aware.)

Occasionally I've had a player ask me some questions that leads me to believe they've googled "best x class build in Pathfinder." When this happens, I always caution my players that the environment in which some of these things flourish is not likely to match the environment at our gaming table.


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Brother Fen wrote:
All of the so-called problems that people whine about on this board are solved through better GM'ing. This forum is overrun by a vocal minority that does not represent the larger whole.

Yeah! All those chumps who lacked highly skilled GM's shouldn't be playing Pathfinder anyway! If you can't balance the the game yourself, you haven't earned the privalage of fun! Go play WoW![/sarcasm]


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Like many here I haven't experienced the caster/martial disparity, overpowered gunslingers/underpowered rogues etc. I've played wizard, witch and arcanist and didn't nullify all encounters or invalidate all classes and skills. Part of it might of been play style but tbh I think this notion is a total myth that emerged from 'perfect world' thought experiments where wizards know all spells, have an unlimited number prepared for every possible scenario and of course every scenario is perfectly arraigned for the wizards convenience.


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Decimus Drake wrote:
Like many here I haven't experienced the caster/martial disparity, overpowered gunslingers/underpowered rogues etc. I've played wizard, witch and arcanist and didn't nullify all encounters or invalidate all classes and skills. Part of it might of been play style but tbh I think this notion is a total myth that emerged from 'perfect world' thought experiments where wizards know all spells, have an unlimited number prepared for every possible scenario and of course every scenario is perfectly arraigned for the wizards convenience.

It emerged from nerds... I mean scholars... who spend hours studying and contemplating the spells and the ways to use them to best effect.

Martial Caster Disparity occasionally rears its head on accident among casual gamers, as you sometimes see stories of on these boards, but its only among people who really thoroughly understand the system that it becomes a regular part of the system.

You get something similar when you played with a GM who ran Dragons as Martials with a little bit of casting who could travel pretty fast, and then you bump into a GM who runs Dragons as ruthless genius spellcasters with massive mobility. Both are within the rules but one is FAR more potent and dangerous than the other.


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Guys, if you keep this up, someone's going to make a "Forum Problems that do occur at your table" thread. Or they'll just start arguing on this one. Let's not make this thread an argument.


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You know, when I started playing, your only choices for learning to GM/play better were talking to one or two local GM's (who were in middle or high school at the time), driving hours to a convention, or writing a letter to Dragon magazine, and waiting months/years for the possibility of a response. These days I can communicate with thousands of different people, many of them with decades of experience in GMing, mathematics, and game design/theory. People a hell of a lot smarter then I am. I can participate in playtesting and ask the developers their opinions and tell them mine. The options are more then I had dreamed of when I was young.

It has also helped that AD&D was a horribly balanced train wreck, and D&D/Pathfinder has been drastically improving ever since. Pathfinder is a better version then ever before, but not as good as it could be.

The wisdom I (slowly) gained from this is to learn about other peoples experiences, rather then defend my own experience. Monk is the most powerful class in your games? Why? One character is eclipsing the others? Why? By asking this stuff I figured out how to be a better GM. If you don't know this stuff, it is really difficult to recognize a problem before it causes a lose of fun. It is also difficult to fix problems because solutions are not always intuitive or obvious. For example, it is common for new gamers to think that fighters/barbarians are too powerful, and start thinking of ways to limit that type of character.


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1. Alignment Stuff - I've never had a problem with paladins, or with people playing CN characters, or any of that stuff that there's like 3 billion threads on. That may be a consequence of:

2. "Problem players!" - I screen my players, and only invite the people I get along with. So I never see anyone being a jerk, trying to ruin the game, drinking all the Sacred Moon Milk, or whatever else people are always going off about.

3. "Optimized characters with no personality" - I generally see the exact opposite: the people with optimized characters also get into role-playing the most. The people with mechanically lackluster characters also don't put much effort into the role-playing side, either.

4. "DM declares campaign; players accept or take a hike!" - In my experience, at my table, I ASK what kind of game they're interested in; I don't TELL them.

5. "Unusual additions ruin my setting!" - On the contrary, by allowing stuff I hadn't previously considered, I often find that my setting is enriched by the addition. And amazingly, this does in any way conflict with #6:

6. "Infinite Suspension of Disbelief is Good for the Game!" - People always talk about how their games are so much better if everyone ignores when the game world as described doesn't match the rules AT ALL. And we all did that in 1e, but the introduction of cause-and-effect storylines since then sort of means that, when the logical consequence of the RAW is that living underground is stupid -- and yet all the bad guys have underground lairs -- we need a good reason why. Sometimes that means tweaking the rules to make that happen. Usually I don't see people unwilling to accept the desirability of that.


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I have never had a problem with players drinking my milk without permission. Or with me doing it.

In all seriousness, out of all the groups I have gamed with I have seen or had very little problem with good host or guest behavior. I think the most egregious violation was my own young stupidity when, after seeing another player bringing his dog to the hosts' house every game session, I decided to bring my cat. They were good sports about it, and most of the disasters were pain on my end, so I quickly learned my lesson and they didn't need to tell me not to do it again.

Dogs can, with permission, be fine companions at a game session. Cats, not so much.

Scarab Sages

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Things Not Seen At Our Table

The paladin's player getting into an argument with the GM or other players because he's "not playing his paladin right".

Any character being underpowered or useless - not even the pacifist cleric who never used a weapon, or the druid with an 8 Intelligence, or the halfling who took one level in every class.

Players getting into a fight at the table.

Anyone walking out in the middle of a game because things didn't go their way.

The GM taking magic items away from the PCs because he suddenly realized he'd made them too powerful.

The game being ruined by the GM fudging dice rolls to prevent PCs from dying.


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There are several things I see on the forum that I don't see in person. I'm going to list them from least extreme to most extreme (where by 'extreme', I mean that it seems like a huge deal on the forums). The 'forum problems' I am listing apply primarily to this website, Paizo.com. While I do visit other gaming forums occasionally, these 'forum problems' seem primarily contained on this one for some reason.

5. "Stop telling me I'm doing it wrong! No YOU stop telling ME I'm doing it wrong!"

There's a fair amount of this self-victimization on this forum. I don't think I've ever actually seen someone tell another forumite that they are 'doing it wrong', yet every other day there is a new thread in which the OP complains that other forumites are accusing them of doing it wrong.

At the gaming table, much as in the forum, I don't see people accuse each other of Doing it Wrong. But unlike in the forum, I don't see people at the table whine that they are being victimized by the fun police.

4. "This one is MOAR 3rd party!"
Most people are surprised to learn that their exist tabletop RPGs which do not have "Dungeons and Dragons" in the title.
And when I do meet someone in the subset of gamers who have heard of Pathfinder, it's surprisingly common for them to assume that it is a spin-off, marketed by the same company as D&D.
So it's a pretty small subset of players I encounter face-to-face who know that no, Pathfinder is not owned or produced by the same company as the D&D brand, it is produced by a 3rd party using WotC IP under license.
Among the subset of players who are aware both of Pathfinder's existence and of its legal status, I have yet to encounter anyone who views, say, 1001 spells and Psionics Unleashed differently than the Bestiary 2 and Advanced Class Guide. They're all just supplements outside of this forum. They all also make use of other game company's IP via the same licensing agreement. I'm always amazed by the inane obsession a portion of this forum community has for declaring some supplements MORE third-party, or somehow deserve to be treated in a special manner compared to other supplements.
Heck, even Jason Bulmahn says who printed a supplement shouldn't be what you use to evaluate it.

On other gaming forums, I do occasionally see people who demand Super Official Canon in their RPGs...
and those people don't play Pathfinder. They play a game brand/system that isn't built entirely on an overly-permissive license for 3rd party publishers. It's just Paizo.com where there is this bizarre obsession with how terrible '3rd party' stuff is, except for this one 3rd party which is flawless.

I suspect people who play in brick-and-mortar game stores may have a different perspective on this issue than people who play in the house, apartment, or dorm of one or more of the players.
3. "Entitled GMs vs Evil Players"
In my gaming group, before a game starts, we talk to each other about what we all want to play. We decide on what sort of campaign to play...
and then we pick who is going to GM.
If no one wants to run the agreed-upon campaign premise, then we either use a rule system which can be played without a GM, or we scrap the campaign and pick something else that someone is willing to run.

2. "IRL fantasy game"
Outside of the forums, most people I talk to about games and/or game with understand the differences between a fantasy game and the real world. One of them exists, the other has magic.

On these forums, though, I regularly see people throw around phrases like "IRL Pathfinder", "actual play", and "Real World pathfinder game".
I can't even imagine the mental gymnastics you have to jump through to use such an oxymoron without even a hint of intentional irony.
Usually, such phrases are to be distinguished from "fake" Pathfinder, with the implication being that whoever is speaking considers their game of "real" pathfinder to be superior to others' games of "fake" Pathfinder. Outside of the forums, in my experience, people generally understand that calling someone else' fantasy game 'fake' or 'theoretical' does not in any way make YOUR fantasy game 'real'. It just makes you a hypocrite.

But far and away the big winner of a forum problem that I don't see outside of this website is:
1. "Forums are destroying the universe, so I'll keep using forums to destroy it faster!"

Offline, I have met gamers who have voiced a distaste for gaming forums. Those people don't come to gaming forums.

I have also met people, both offline and online, who have no objection to gaming forums in general, but dislike one or more specific gaming forums. Those people, again, don't visit whichever forum(s) they dislike.

On other gaming forums, I occasionally see people who create an account just to say how much they had that particular forum. They make a thread with an inflammatory title, write the OP about how much they hate the website they are on, and then never post again.

But on the Paizo.com, we have a unique group of forumites. There are forumites who describe the Paizo forums as "poisoning people's minds", "corrupting newcomers to the hobby", or "destroying the game". And some of these people post here every day and have thousands of posts!

I don't know if there is a form of entertainment that I would consider figurative 'mind poison'. However, if there were, I suspect I would try to avoid consuming it, just like I try to avoid consuming literal neuro-toxins, like Mercury.

Outside of the gaming community, there are people (including national politicians) who describe certain forms or subgenres of entertainment or media as "mind poison". And, for the most part, those people avoid what they believe to be harmful. Paizo.com is the only place I know of where people say "yep, this is totally corrupting, destructive, and mind-poisonous, so give me more of it every day!"


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Tormsskull wrote:

Hi all,

I find often times that the problems or arguments people make on the forums don't occur in actual game play at my table. While this is of course anecdotal and doesn't mean these things aren't valid or actual problems, I'm curious if others find this to also be the case.

So, post those things that you hear on the forums/elsewhere that don't actually end up being problems at your table.

Please note - I'm sure for every one of these items listed, someone can come along and say that someone must be doing something wrong. Let's try to avoid telling other people that they're doing it wrong at their tables.

1.) Fighters are worthless. Players in my group often argue over being able to be the fighter (as we generally don't like class duplication.)

2.) Wizards are overpowered. Wizards and sorcerers seem to have an above average mortality rate in the games I've run or been in.

3.) In-combat healing is a bad idea. I've found that this is rarely the case - in-combat healing is virtually a necessity.

A lot of them actually!

Yes on 1, 2, 3.

Also complaints against monks. My vanilla monk was the strongest member of our group in the campaign. The megadungeon wasn't built to make him shine but shine he did.

Characters almost killed by rogues means that "rogues are weak" is not something I hear much of.

Don't have much problem with problem players over the past few years. I am quite selective with who I play with these days.

Martials are weak without all their gear upgraded along very specific lines and all their slots filled as mandated by the online community guild of optimizers. This isn't my experience.

Lastly, a lot of what 137ben said. :)


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Ah, recalled a few others.

Now, I may be missing something, or assuming a problem that actually isn't agreed on, but I do recall seeing mention that summon spells are suitable replacements for martial classes.

I've rarely seen a summoned monster be able to match our martials. Hell, I've seen times where the summoned creature couldn't even hit the thing we were fighting, and did piddling damage compared to the punishment our martial was dishing out at the moment.

Summons are still useful, certainly, but I've rarely seen them really contribute in combat beyond absorbing attacks and damage.

-----

'Traps are of little concern.'

Our group has taken a lot of damage from traps. It's become a joke how scarily effective a 10-foot pit can be. (It took a few hours for our group to get over one, considering how often we kept falling into it, and bungling our checks to get out.) Also, our DM loves using poison in traps, and that s~#% you can't just patch up with a CLW wand.

-----

And a big one: The game breaking at higher levels, which supposedly amplifies the many problems the board already has tenfold.

If there's supposed to be some massive paradigm shift at the higher levels, I've never really seen it. Our martials are still just as necesssary, and our spellcasters still don't always have the right spell to instantly end an encounter. Our DM runs two games a week (Two mostly different groups) with three games each (Depending on who can make it that night.) Three of these groups are around the 13-15th level mark. And I haven't seen a lot of problems I keep hearing are supposed to be occuring.

While it was 3.5, I had a halfling fighter that raised all the way to 27th level. Certainly, like I said with my previous post, he lacked options, but he was never redundant.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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I keep thinking I've remembered another one to add to this list, then remembering a time that I encountered it after all. Hmm... I think I might be tapped out.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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I had a list of problems I don't have (someone is more optimized than the rest, someone brought a build that I'd classify more of a theory exercise than something polite for the table, problem players, etc).

But I simply haven't had these problems recently because there haven't been new players at our table recently.

Certainly these things have happened in the past when I was in other groups.


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Well, in a 3.5 game, once we got to the point where the casters could toss 9th level spells around (Like Shapechange) yes, we found that more or less made martials useless.

My martial actually dominated the table until about level 13, when he got lost in a plane shift gate (he got back safely, but couldnt rejoin the party so I had to bring in another).

In our RotRL game, the Fighter dominated until we ended the campaign around lvl 15. If someone tells me that commonly in 20th level games, Martials have a issue due to 9th level spells, I will accept that.

In Combat healing was a must.

The rogue player wasn't around half the time and half the time didnt update his PC, so i can't really say how well a rogue would do in RotRL. In other games, played only until level 7, the rogue was just fine. I am willing to accept a Core only rogue might lag in higher levels.

I have never seen a PF game that allowed 3.5 stuff willy-nilly, only by special request and DM Ok.

We only had one guy that dumped stats.

We tried a Master Summoner- the issue was spotlight hog, not really that OP. he was running 2-3 monsters plus himself every combat, it got old fast. We banned it. Regular Summoner was fine, but the DM had to check and recheck the math.

No 15 minute days.


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Another one I thought of - I haven't seen it as much recently though, if that's any kind of good news.

The Drama king/queen player. Supposedly this person roles plays so much, that they demand the lion's share of the spot light and try to impress everyone with their acting skills.


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I have not seen:

Gunslinger damage issues
Summoner OP issues

Things I have seen:
Paladin alignment issues (both from the player and the GM)
Rogue uselessness-in-combat issues
Fighter uselessness-outside-of-combat issues
Monk uselessness issues everywhere


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I have not seen people leaving the table over minor differences or due to different social values. No one has stood up and said "well I oppose the opinions and beliefs of what's his name over there" and stormed out in an indignant self-righteous huff. With people of different races, political persuasions and backgrounds, we have all managed to game together.


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DM Under The Bridge wrote:
I have not seen people leaving the table over minor differences or due to different social values. No one has stood up and said "well I oppose the opinions and beliefs of what's his name over there" and stormed out in an indignant self-righteous huff. With people of different races, political persuasions and backgrounds, we have all managed to game together.

I've never left or seen someone leave a table mid-game, but I have seen people simply never show up again due to differences in gaming styles or personality clashes. And I've done it myself.

One 3.5 table I played at had players and GM alike criticizing me for wanting to play a fighter who uses a longsword and a medium shield (this was before I knew the term "sword and board"). They criticized me for wanting to play something so cliche, and told me to pick something unique and rare, like a spiked chain. This would have been around 2007-08.

That same table also kept calling me on alignment issues. I was playing a LN fighter, but because I wasn't applying the local laws (Cormyr in Forgotten Realms) to goblins and other monsters, they said I wasn't playing my character right. The GM threatened that my character would have an alignment change if I didn't start treating monsters as if they were a part of Comyr society and Comyr law.

I never played at that table again.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DM Under The Bridge wrote:
I have not seen people leaving the table over minor differences or due to different social values. No one has stood up and said "well I oppose the opinions and beliefs of what's his name over there" and stormed out in an indignant self-righteous huff. With people of different races, political persuasions and backgrounds, we have all managed to game together.

There's obviously something wrong with you people. :)

Shadow Lodge

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So, so many crappy rolls in a row. Dice roller on the forums sucks.


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Things that generally aren't a problem (except possibly at higher level)
- caster/martial disparity (it's there but doesn't matter)

- rogues/fighters being useless

- the 15 minute adventuring day - this really depends on how heavy combat was. Certainly, no one I play with thinks we should rest after casting one or two spells because we aren't at our best, but if we empty ourselves of spells and are low on hit points, we obviously don't press on barring some really time sensitive issue.

- crazy power-tripping railroading GMs. It happened once, over 20 years ago when we were just starting out, but the person in question didn't play with us more than a year or two.

- whiny, self-entitled, disruptive, special snowflake-making, spotlight hogging players. Everyone I play with is considerate and fun to be around. Some times characters get a bit dull or a bit same-y, sometimes people do stupid stuff, sometimes people do things that annoy the rest of us, but the PCs are rarely annoying and the players even more rarely.

- alignment arguments. It has happened but has never shut down a game and it's rarely an issue these days. We just assume that there is some leeway in alignments and don't make a big deal of it most of the time. Pointing out how some action might not fit the alignment on the sheet rarely turns into anything more than a brief discussion (or often an acknowledgement) which is quickly resolved.

- Optimization issues. We have a couple of self-professed optimizers but only one is actually any good at it. That one makes a concerted effort to not make anything that is too powerful for the game or overshadows the other players and generally only ends up being the MVP most of the time rather than not needing the rest of the party at all. For the most part we rather naturally play the game at the power level the designers intended (at least, how we believe the designers intended, based on their published adventures and comments made throught various books).


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I've seen most of the problems, both mechanical and social, sometimes being the problem myself (either as a GM or a player), although admittedly they have not been like some of the horror stories from the internet. Mechanical problems we keep in check with gentlemen agreements and houserules and we don't see caster/martial disparity anymore 'cause nobody plays a pure martial anymore.

The 15 minute workday is the one mostly not seen, as we are all good at conserving our resources and most of us play magical martials.

Silver Crusade

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Absolutely none of the problems/ theories that make a regular appearance on the boards.


Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:

Things that generally aren't a problem (except possibly at higher level)

- caster/martial disparity (it's there but doesn't matter)

- rogues/fighters being useless

- the 15 minute adventuring day - this really depends on how heavy combat was. Certainly, no one I play with thinks we should rest after casting one or two spells because we aren't at our best, but if we empty ourselves of spells and are low on hit points, we obviously don't press on barring some really time sensitive issue.

- whiny, self-entitled, disruptive, special snowflake-making, spotlight hogging players...

- alignment arguments. It has happened but has never shut down a game and it's rarely an issue these days.

Good post.

Yep, not seen it, does happen at 17th level or so in 3.5, so I assume that same for PF. Never had a PF game get over 15.

15 Minute day is very rare.

I have played so long in some many games, I have seen this, but mostly back in the old days. Still rare.

We did have a huge 3 hour long alignment debate, I think in 1977. ;-)


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Let's see, boards complaints that I haven't experienced? The biggest one that comes to mind:

"I ONLY PLAY PATHFINDER BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT EVERYONE ELSE PLAYS, AND NOBODY HAS HEARD OF/IS WILLING TO TRY ANYTHING ELSE."

I found the majority of my groups through a Meetup.com group in my city with about 500 members. They are constantly advertising games on their calendar, and only about 25% are Pathfinder. Another 35% are D&D, one edition or another, but the other 40% or so really run the gamut. I have seen people advertising and running Rifts, Heroes Unlimited, Mutants and Masterminds, Savage Worlds, GURPS, d20Modern, and a bunch of stuff I haven't heard of. I even met one group that exclusively runs indie games, like Dogs in the Vineyard or...some gawd-awful Greek mythology based game where you're supposed to compete with the other players to see who kills the most. I forget what it was called.

Smaller offenders that seem to be the exception to the rule at my table?

-My former GM pulled no punches and gave no special rights to his girlfriend. In fact, her character was the first to die. I do the same with my wife, (although I helped design her character, and I'm a dirty min-maxer, and so she's been hard to take down).

-Best character we've seen has been a monk, hands down made the rest of us look like chumps.

-Players like my NPCs, and ask them to join up GMPC style without prompting. I build them all intentionally weaker than PCs, and they do not Mary Sue at all.

-My players LIKE experience, and got pissed when I tried to take it away and hand wave levels. They also really like alignment.

-My players are all optimizers except two newbies. The two newbies don't b**** about it, they actually ask the pros for help, and everyone involved enjoys the process. My two biggest optimizers roleplay the most, my two who don't optimize? They roleplay the least.

Liberty's Edge

The Green Tea Gamer wrote:
"I ONLY PLAY PATHFINDER BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT EVERYONE ELSE PLAYS, AND NOBODY HAS HEARD OF/IS WILLING TO TRY ANYTHING ELSE."

Oh yeah, this is true of me too. I'm currently running two games and playing in two others. One of the four is Pathfinder. Now, some of that is me (I'm running one of the non-Pathfinder games, after all)...but as the two non-Pathfinder games I'm playing in indicate, not all of it. And I don't exactly live in a bustling metropolis, y'know? Well, maybe by Montana standards...

The Green Tea Gamer wrote:
-My former GM pulled no punches and gave no special rights to his girlfriend. In fact, her character was the first to die. I do the same with my wife, (although I helped design her character, and I'm a dirty min-maxer, and so she's been hard to take down).

I've sadly seen this kind of favoritism happen. I've also seen it not happen, but I've seen it a couple of times.

The Green Tea Gamer wrote:
-Players like my NPCs, and ask them to join up GMPC style without prompting. I build them all intentionally weaker than PCs, and they do not Mary Sue at all.

This has been known to happen in my games. I think the distinction is whether the GM thinks of them as 'their PC' or not. If not, things are good, if so there tend to be problems.

I haven't ever had any alignment debates either. Not during play anyway.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I've never seen crafting magic items drive up a PC's WBL.
I've never seen having a cohort craft for you be a problem.
I've never seen magic item buying/crafting cause a serious problem - it has shown a tendency toward the Big 6 but that's not exactly a big problem - more a minor disappointment.
I've never seen the difference between using a craft skill and a fabricate spell be an issue.


Bill Dunn wrote:

I've never seen crafting magic items drive up a PC's WBL.

I've never seen having a cohort craft for you be a problem.
I've never seen magic item buying/crafting cause a serious problem - it has shown a tendency toward the Big 6 but that's not exactly a big problem - more a minor disappointment.
I've never seen the difference between using a craft skill and a fabricate spell be an issue.

Should have added these to my list. Actually, in the game I'm running now the first one could easily be a problem since I removed most restrictions on crafting, the party gets a lot of money and they have lots of downtime. However, I asked my players not to go overboard with crafting and I take their total power level into account when making encounters so it isn't a problem. Net result is that the players and PCs get a lot of the specific items they want and the game is fun and runs smoothly (mostly).


Bill Dunn wrote:
I've never seen crafting magic items drive up a PC's WBL.

I'm a bit confused as to how this is the case. By their very nature they do this.

You craft a Bane Baldric, you have 5k gold to spend on something else (driving your effective wealth up by 5k).


Rynjin wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:
I've never seen crafting magic items drive up a PC's WBL.

I'm a bit confused as to how this is the case. By their very nature they do this.

You craft a Bane Baldric, you have 5k gold to spend on something else (driving your effective wealth up by 5k).

generally because APs dont just hand out tons and tons of GP, you get items.

Items get sold for 1/2.

You craft items at 1/2.

Net even balance.

Crafting feats are intended to be the "I get the item I want" feat. Not the "double my wealth" feats.


Except your WBL is pretty much calculated based on you selling a lot of those items for cash, not keeping them and totaling that value.

Say you're level 5, and you have a 10, 500 gp WBL. You have 6000 of that tied up in existing items.

You find 9000 gold worth of junk you can't use (a +1 weapon you aren't proficient in, a +1 Cloak when you already have one, likewise Ring/Amulet or some item you just don't want like a Headband of Vast Intelligence, etc.).

You sell all that for 4500 gp, putting you to 10, 500 gp, your max WBL in funds.

Except, you turn that 4500 gp into 9000 gp worth of items. Now you're at 15000 gp.

That's really how most APs are balanced, at a base level. There's a lot of salable junk that adds up to WBL for 4 PCs, and then some (in case they miss some treasure). Some of it they might keep, but most of it they'll sell.

If you need some proof, here's the treasure log from my Carrion Crown and Skull and Shackles game (this is what they currently have that they haven't been able to sell yet, or have kept in the case of the potions):

Carrion Crown:

2035 gp

- 7 potions of Cure Light Wounds
- 8 potions of Cure Moderate Wounds
-1 potion of Cure Serious Wounds
- 3 potions of Lesser Restoration
- 2 Potions of Cure Disease.
- 1 Potion of Fox's Cunning
- Oil of Keen Edge
- 1 Potion of Invisibility
- 1 potion of Water Breathing
- Potion of Displacement
- Potion of Gaseous Form
- Potion of Nondetection
- 1 potion of Heroism

Alchemical Items:

-14 vials of Acid.
-12 vials of Nushadir
-5 Tanglefoot Bags
-3 Thunderstones
-1 Antitoxin
-3 packets of Flash Powder
-2 pots of Alchemical Grease
-5 pots of Bladeguard
-10 doses of Bloodblock
-5 Silver Weapon Blanches
-5 Cold Iron Weapon Blanches
-1 Adamantine Weapon Blanch
-4 doses of Silversheen
Wands and Scrolls:

-Wand of Spider Climb (34 charges)
-Scroll of Remove Disease
- Spirit Planchette

- 4 Haunt Siphons

- Bodybalm

Weapons and Armor:

-Masterwork SILVER War Razor
-+1 Mithral Chain Shirt
-+1 Breastplate x3
-Breastplate x2
-Heavy Steel Shield x2
-+1 Bastard Sword
-+1 light crossbow
-+1 Scythe x3
-Masterwork dagger
-Masterwork Longsword x3
- 4 +1 Arrows
- 10 +1 Crossbow Bolts
- 5 +1 Ghost Touch arrows
- 2 +1 Undead Bane arrows
- 10 crossbow bolts

Misc Valuable Magic Stuff:
- Rope of Climbing
- Unidentified Magic Ring (RoFF)
- +1 Cloak of Resistance
- +1 Amulet of Natural Armor
- +1 Ring of Protection
- +2 Headband of Vast Intelligence
- Unguent of Timelessness
-Pearl of Power I x3

Salable Junk:
-2350 gp in Onyxes
-3000 gp in silver surgical tools
-Silver dust (75 gp)
-Silver Holy Symbol of Urgathoa x3

Spellbook:
Cantrips: All
1st: Expeditious Retreat, Mage Armor, Magic Missile, Obscuring Mist, Shield

2nd: Acid Arrow, Darkvision, Detect Thoughts, Dust of Twilight, Scorching Ray, Web

3rd: Gaseous Form, Lightning Bolt, Stinking Cloud, Summon Monster III

4th: Dimension Door, Black Tentacles, Charm Monster, Summon Monster IV

5th: Cloudkill, Freedom of Movement

Skull and Shackles:

+1 Cloak of Resistance
-Ring of the Iron Skull
-+1 Ring of Protection
-Besmara's Bones (10, 800 gp)
-Fan Feather Token x2
-Captain's Chest (30k gp)

-The tattered remnants of a +2 Headband of Inspired Wisdom and the shattered, twisted metal that is all that remains of +2 Bracers of Armor.

Potions:

-7 potions of Cure Light Wounds
-8 potions of Cure Moderate Wounds
-6 Potions of Waterbreathing
-Potion of Haste - 750
-Potion of Barkskin - 250
-Potion of Blur - 250
-Potion of Invisibility
Scrolls and Wands:

Scroll of Cure Moderate Wounds - 150
Scroll of Magic Missile - 25
Scroll of Summon Swarm - 150 (don't sell this, it's strong)
-2 scrolls of Dispel Magic
-Scroll of Fly
Wand of Bless Weapon (13 charges)
-Wand of Web (37 charges)
-Wand of Gust of Wind (6 charges)
Weapons and Armor:
Melee:

-Masterwork Club
-A +2 Trident

Ranged:

- 17 Alchemist's Fire
- 2 Tanglefoot bags
- 3 oil
-6 Adamantine Distance Ballistae Bolts

Armor:

Miscellaneous:
-Leather drinking cup
-Silver inlaid sextant (1000 gp)
-Taldan Silverware (450 gp)
-Wyvern Race board, citrine and bloodstone (175 gp)
-Various valuables (327 gp)

(If you're wondering, the Headband and Bracers are from a guy who failed two consecutive saves vs Lightning bolt with a 1.)

Dark Archive

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15 minutes adventuring day never happened.

Healers are sought after with a passion.

No magic shop/WBL/magic item wishlists. And the game works fine.

Alignment/paladin stuff. There are times when things get strange, but the group as a whole discusses the matter, and positively expects the DM to be the final arbiter of the thing at hand.

No class tiers. There are those who are good at fighting, those who are good at buffing, at stealth, at defence/healing, at arcane magic (both in the blasting and utility spells variants). A group that does not cover as many niches as possible is in trouble, both in the short and long run.

Archetypes, racial class bonus, traits have been ditched as the common consensus was "they botch the game".

Smurf infestation. None, ever.


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You're playing the game smurfbadfun.


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BigDTBone wrote:
Crafting feats are intended to be the "I get the item I want" feat. Not the "double my wealth" feats.

I agree with you in theory, but well...

FAQ about Item crafting and WBL:

PC Wealth By Level: If a PC has an item crafting feat, does a crafted item count as its Price or its Cost?

It counts as the item's Cost, not the Price. This comes into play in two ways.

If you're equipping a higher-level PC, you have to count crafted items at their Cost. Otherwise the character isn't getting any benefit for having the feat. Of course, the GM is free to set limits in equipping the character, such as "no more than 40% of your wealth can be used for armor" (instead of the "balanced approach" described on page 400 where the PC should spend no more than 25% on armor).

If you're looking at the party's overall wealth by level, you have to count crafted items at their Cost. Otherwise, if you counted crafted items at their Price, the crafting character would look like she had more wealth than appropriate for her level, and the GM would have to to bring this closer to the target gear value by reducing future treasure for that character, which means eventually that character has the same gear value as a non-crafting character--in effect neutralizing any advantage of having that feat at all.


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The Green Tea Gamer wrote:

Let's see, boards complaints that I haven't experienced? The biggest one that comes to mind:

"I ONLY PLAY PATHFINDER BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT EVERYONE ELSE PLAYS, AND NOBODY HAS HEARD OF/IS WILLING TO TRY ANYTHING ELSE."

Heh. The group I recently joined said this when they were interviewing me for a spot at the table. "Look," they said, "We've read your rules, and we like them, but we're not using them. We've heard good things about 5e, too, but we're not playing that. Not enough support. And we loved 2e, but we're not playing that, either, because we already switched to 3.0, and 3.5, and PF. We're tired of learning new systems. So we're not playing anything except Pathfinder and maybe some board games. You in?"

On the other hand, last I heard houstonderek had switched to 5e and was perfectly happy with it. I'm not sure, but I don't think he ever did get a Shadowrun game going, though.

So I think it depends on the group, and the alternatives.

The Green Tea Gamer wrote:
My two biggest optimizers roleplay the most, my two who don't optimize? They roleplay the least.

That's been my experience, too, with nearly every group I've ever sat down with.

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