How do I help the insecure players feel important?


I optimize. Others in my new gaming group do not. They are worried I will outshine them, which I find unlikely, as my character is highly specialized and will only do decent damage in combat, but the facts of the matter seem irrelevant to their worries.

No matter how much I assure them I will not suddenly attack them (yes, they were actually worried I would make my character attack their characters for little reason), that my damage is not as massive as they believe, and that they can both contribute in combat, they still seem concerned.

Yes, neither of their characters could kill mine, not even if they banded together to do it, but since that is simply because mine is a tank and they are both squishies, that is hardly a good way to decide if they will be useful in the actual game or not.

I like these players, though, and I want them to have fun.

How do I best make them feel that I like their characters, and how do I make them see that their characters are good enough? How do I best help them enjoy our game?

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I would encourage those players to recognize and play up their role in the party. Are they focused on battlefield control? Buffing/debuffing? Social interactions? Figure out how their role can work together with yours, and emphasize that the power of the team is greater than its component parts.

Also, if they're squishy, they're probably casters - emphasize that casters usually ARE somewhat less effective than non-casters at the early levels, but that this will change as they get stronger.

You could also try to roleplay yourself in a somewhat more "protective" role, with lines like "Don't worry, I'll hold them off while you [whatever their role is]". If they start thinking of you as "the guy who keeps me safe while I solve our problems", I think their worries will disappear.

Oh, and talk to your GM - cite your observations of their insecurities and ask him to sneak in a few more chances to let them shine and gain some confidence.

Sovereign Court

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If they're that worried about it - ask them if they want help to tweak their characters. Not everyone enjoys optimizing, but much of the time those same players don't mind you helping them.

There are exceptions to this though - who just seem to get mad that you're better at optimizing than they are and refuse to change. Fortunately, in my experience they're just that - exceptions.

Um... talk to them like a normal human would.


Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Optimize to Buff.

Completely rule at making your fellow PCs do what they do better, and keep them going.

Add ways to remove conditions, handle a bit of healing, a push them to the limelight.

The Exchange

Ask GM to let you retire, bring a new character. Bring an evangelist cleric lol. Leadership domain, or be helpful halfling who abuses aid another.

@ GM Rednal:

Lots of useful, general purpose advice here. I appreciate it.

@ Charon's Little Helper:

Hey, thanks. I have discussed this with them before, but yeah, I think I should definitely check in with them again. I agree with your characterization, I have definitely seen both types of players, but I do not know the other players in this campaign very well quite yet.

@ alexd1976

Yeah, I have no idea what this even means. Thanks anyway.

@ Blackbloodtroll, Just a Mort:

While I do appreciate that you want to help me fit in, if I did play an optimized buffer, I would still be playing an optimized character, and they would not be playing an optimized character. Like I said, they worry about a damage output I do not have. My issue is not that I built a bad character - my issue is that these people seem irrationally insecure, although I mean no offense to them in saying that.

(Also, while I value their time around the table, I will not abandon the character I want to play if that character in itself is not making the game worse, and at least right now, with how irrelevant to reality some of their worries are, I really don't think my character is remotely the root of the problem)

I suppose what I was looking for might have been more on the lines of tips for good communication and how to handle jealousy and insecurity in the context of a tabletop role playing game.

The Exchange

No, no, no, you're getting it all wrong. By the time we're done with you, no one's going to recognize you as optimized(most people don't recognize optimized buff bots).

Lets say starting with a standard human, this is the stat array you use on a 20 pt buy evangelist cleric of Iomedae.

10 str, 14 dex, 14 con, 10 int, 16 wis(after+2 bonus), 14 cha.

Level 1 feats: Lingering performance, flagbearer.

Lv 3 feat: selective channel

Lv 5 feat: sacred summons.

Just being within 30 ft of you gives everyone a +1 to hit and damage. Once you activate bard song (which lasts 3 rounds), its another +1 more to hit and damage. As a standard action, you can give an ally +2 to attack and ac(unlimited uses).

Thats a total of +4 to attack, +2 to dmg to your chosen ally, +2 to attack and damage to the rest of the team. Fun part, with that stat lineup, you can forget about meleeing anything. You won't even be able to make many skill checks with only 3 skill pts per level, so you won't be stealing anyone's glory.

With so many buffs flying around its hard not to hit stuff even if your character isn't optimized unless the GM ups the bar.

First, I think you've got a great attitude asking for guidance on this.

Second, you're not responsible for other's jealousy or insecurity. That's on them, and for them to handle.

GM Rednal's post and Charon's Little Helper both had great suggestions: play a support role; and/or offer to help tweak the other player's builds to be more optimal.

And last: give it time. It sounds like this is a new group. Let them get to see how you actually play, and for you to see how they actually play, before worrying about it.

I think it's great that you're concerned about your fellow players because in my experience, most optimizers are more critical of their fellows than helpful. That said, you don't really have a responsibility to help them feel useful. That onus is between them and the GM.

Just roleplay your character and deal destruction when you need to. As long as you're not belittling your companions, that is all you can do.

The Exchange

Meh, I feel its on the onus of the individual to tone down to the group's power level. I for one would not want to overpower a group. My cheese-o-meter has multiple settings! If I feel I'm touching too much cheese, I tell myself core only, and viola, problem solved!

Just buff the group, so their power levels increase. And you won't be outshining anyone with the stuff I earlier suggested. Use guidance and aid another for helping out with out of combat skill checks.

If you need to power-up(I.e, faced with imminent TPK), abuse sacred summons and flood the battlefield with hound and lantern archons. But concentrate on buffing, not summoning for most of the time.

I wonder what class you've made. Anything that has to rely on a class code, like a paladin or cavalier can have that code made in such a way as to bar yourself from turning upon your allies or face severe penalties. Just make it clear to the others that you have such a mental barrier and if you break it you'll become worthless. Think up something with your GM to organise some way of enforcing such a feature upon your character if it doesn't naturally have it.

Have you strait up told them your character would never attack their unprovoked and that the spirit of the game is more important than "its what my character would do"

Also if you like optimizing this could be a great chance to test unproven concepts or specifically optimize for fun. I don't mean have fun optimizing, I mean optimize a character catering to maximum table fun. Like a two weapon fighting swashbuckler, or a summoner that only summons pigs, or a fighter specializing in quaterstaff who thinks he's a wizard. Just fun fun fun.

Just...don't kill them. Play with them for a while, and they'll begin to trust you to defend them. I do suggest taking a somewhat overprotective role at the outset, then just help them ease into their niches in the group. If they're squishy then you probably mean spell casters or a rogue. If that's the case, make it clear that, in a direct fight between you and them, you're supposed to win. If they think you're much stronger then them with no idea that you're supposed to be so, then naturally they'll be on edge. Some specific classes would be good to know though, so please provide them if you would. If this is your first campaign together, then once this campaign is over, assuming you haven't done something horrible, they will probably take your optimization fairly good naturedly from then on. I actually suggest making this a fairly short campaign, if it's your first time working with them. Make this campaign an acclimation period. From an actual game perspective, I very much suggest that you get some protection against control type spells. You know the type:charm, domination, just mind control spells generally. If you're that confident you could beat them all in a fight, and the GM knows this, then if they're a good GM they'll likely try to control you and turn you against the party at some point.

@ James Gibbons

I always optimize for fun, in both senses. I find enjoyment in simply building and designing interesting and weird characters. I just keep making characters until I find one I want to play, one I find inherently interesting or promising. I find a lot of enjoyment in this. It is also a good way to get a grasp on the rules.

@ Dukeh555:

You raise an excellent point. The GM picking me as a target for control spells is very likely. Will have to think about my priorities in what buffs to get first.

We are playing a Spheres Of Power game with a lot of rules tweaking, including a complete Wealth by level and alignment overhaul. In simple terms, I play as a Incanter (think wizard) who polymorphs into a Huge wolf and spends every spell per day on buffs, giving myself Spell Resistance, Fast Heal, DR/Silver, immunity to fear, miss chance and so on. They play as a Rogue specializing in crossbows and poisons, and a Symbiat, essentially a Jean Grey-ish, Bard-ish support class with Mid casting progression, specializing in mind control and telekinesis.

@ Otherwhere, Brother Fen:

Thanks for being supportive. I'm touched.

But yes, this is a new group, and yes, I've decided to simply let them get used to me and get to know me. I am not responsible for their insecurities, and I will simply be a good role player and teammate, and hope that they can resolve them.

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