The "too much books and bloat" argument.


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Grand Lodge

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Steve Geddes wrote:
"Bloat" seems an incontrovertible fact, to me. Any system with more than just its core rules has bloat to some degree. I don't think that's inherently negative, though. Some people like bloat, some people don't - arguing how much is the "correct" amount is as silly as arguing whether an RPG should have aloof elves or not. Taste isn't a rationally derived thing.

Agreed.


It's all well and good to have options, and it's completely understandable that you might not have to use everything from every book, but you have to admit that when there are three different feats that are all the same in spirit, as well as two feats that are literally the same but with ever-so-slightly different wording, that maybe bloat isn't as nonexistent a problem as we think it is.

Not to mention all the feats that allow you to do something that you should already be able to do without requiring them.

Maybe it's just me, but I feel like a lot of feats like the three(*four) previously mentioned should be added on as additional rules as opposed to feats.

((Hopefully I was able to code everything right.))


thejeff wrote:
Diffan wrote:
knightnday wrote:
thejeff wrote:

So, all the rules are optional and don't need to be used, so bloat can't be a problem, but you'd better have a good rational reason for not using any particular option or source a player wants to use.

I love how the argument goes in circles.

My question about this is "What is a "good" reason?" A reason that makes sense to the GM? One that doesn't make the player angry? One that makes sense when one of the parties comes on the forums to tattle?

Usually I categorize "good" reasons as something that is based on the campaign. If the DM is looking for a game where everyone is a magic-user then classes like the Fighter and Monk isn't going to fly. If the DM is running a game that has little to no magic, obviously classes like the Wizard and Sorcerer won't fly. Same goes for campaigns where divine magic is rare or in a setting that's Eastern Themed.

Additionally, I'm perfectly fine with bans on things that are questionably broken OR create mechanical issues with the DM or the group.

But not, I take it, with blanket bans based on too many books or any of the things associated with bloat?

Well that depends. If by blanket bans you mean X, Y, or Z product in its entirety then yes. If you mean a DM wants to run [Core] only and not worry about everything outside that one book, then I'm ok with that. The difference being that the first one suggests that a DM does allow certain material outside of the basic books but not all of it because laziness.


knightnday wrote:
Diffan wrote:
Being willing to bend and adapt certainly applies to DMs too.

Which I'm more than willing to do. That said, if you read the house rules document and what is/isn't allowed and persist to try to wrangle me into letting you do something, the only adaptation I'm going to make is to adapt to a different number of players.

I wouldn't go to a PFS game and insist that the rules bend for me. I know they have banned or ruled against certain things, and arguing it is pointless. I extend the same courtesy for any other table and hope that either I find a way to play something else fun, or I find something else to do. Arguing is the antithesis of fun for me.

Certainly. I don't encourage people who don't like a specific ban to complain about it in order to change the ban but I still don't agree with the reasoning behind some of the bans that are set forth. I had a DM that said he doesn't allow anything that he doesn't own. I said he could borrow any one of my books to read over for a week or two to become familiar with them. He then said that I could BUY it for him and then he'd allow it. Certainly a lazy one if I ever saw one. So I could buy him a book, he could not read it at all, and instantly allow me anything out of it just because he now owns it.

The thing is I find DMs who ban things for what I'd say not Good reasons running games that I would probably not really enjoy in the first place. For me, it gives me a sense of the sort of person they are prior to even going to the game. That same DM above also told me the v3.5 Warlock was SO overpowered and broken and that was banned and any sort of meaningful discussion about the class often just led up to a "agree to disagree" standpoint. That also tells me that he's probably not the best person to run games and I gracefully bowed out.


Diffan wrote:
knightnday wrote:
Diffan wrote:
Being willing to bend and adapt certainly applies to DMs too.

Which I'm more than willing to do. That said, if you read the house rules document and what is/isn't allowed and persist to try to wrangle me into letting you do something, the only adaptation I'm going to make is to adapt to a different number of players.

I wouldn't go to a PFS game and insist that the rules bend for me. I know they have banned or ruled against certain things, and arguing it is pointless. I extend the same courtesy for any other table and hope that either I find a way to play something else fun, or I find something else to do. Arguing is the antithesis of fun for me.

Certainly. I don't encourage people who don't like a specific ban to complain about it in order to change the ban but I still don't agree with the reasoning behind some of the bans that are set forth. I had a DM that said he doesn't allow anything that he doesn't own. I said he could borrow any one of my books to read over for a week or two to become familiar with them. He then said that I could BUY it for him and then he'd allow it. Certainly a lazy one if I ever saw one. So I could buy him a book, he could not read it at all, and instantly allow me anything out of it just because he now owns it.

The thing is I find DMs who ban things for what I'd say not Good reasons running games that I would probably not really enjoy in the first place. For me, it gives me a sense of the sort of person they are prior to even going to the game. That same DM above also told me the v3.5 Warlock was SO overpowered and broken and that was banned and any sort of meaningful discussion about the class often just led up to a "agree to disagree" standpoint. That also tells me that he's probably not the best person to run games and I gracefully bowed out.

Ah, one of those kinds of DMs. I don't require anyone to buy me anything -- tho I do appreciate it if it happens! -- but I at least want to see it. I've had people try to sell me on a fuzzy recollection of what they think a friend told them about something and just wanted it approved, or "hey! I had a DM allow this character in his last game, can I play it? What do you mean a +10 sword made out of lava is too much? HE didn't have any problem with it!" (yes, that was a real player and a real item.)

Some of my reasons might be kneejerk on the surface, or so I am told -- why no kender? Because this isn't Dragonlance and most people tend to play kender worse than they'd play an evil character -- but I'll at least explain it once. Sometimes twice, and with lots of handwaving and emphasis. But there comes a point where we may just not agree and have to step back at that point.

Anyway, one bright spot of options/bloat is that there are usually more than one way to portray something so if a GM decides not to allow X, they might allow Y.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
pipedreamsam wrote:
It's a product of the business model.

Well said and I'm in total agreement. I hope Paizo and Pathfinder continue to thrive for years to come. I have no plans to go to 5E or do I buy the bloat propaganda. Thanks for the sanity post.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I don't ban much. Spell points/psionic points systems, a few specific books that have proven to be broken, and that's about all.

But, anything not from a source I'm familiar with requires approval.

But, I still have players who whine about stuff being either not allowed, or in even worse scenarios-- for using the rules! One game had a player re-roll his character when we made him apply the -30 in penalties to his stealth skill and roll the checks instead of just auto-hiding without even rolling.


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Banning Psionics!

You monster.


I ban stuff based on setting more than I do mechanics, though I do give warnings to my players if they pick something that could hamper the play experience of them or other players.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think one of the reasons I hate the bloat argument so much is because that's what basically destroyed the Forgotten Realms (though I know some people claiming that everything after the grey box already had done a fine job with that; obviously I don't agree).

But letting my feelings about that aside, I think it's worth remembering that this game is played by a lot of very different people with very different tastes, so(and no matter if you call it options or bloat) not every offering is intended to be for everyone. from this point of view, I'm with Milo v3 in that not adding a new book to my pathfinder library doesn't equal cutting out anything.

I may be wrong but sometimes I'm under the impression that at least a part of the people complaining about bloat actually mean that there's too much stuff they a) cannot afford to buy, b)simply aren't interested putting up with and/or c) not like at all for whatever reason. What does irk me about that is that, while all fine and good for the person complaining, it may actually not be true for a lot of other players, who love those options. (and next time it may be the other way round that an option liked by the person formerly complaining about bloat now gets called bloat by the other ones.

To me, it has ever been the case that it's much easier not to use options available than to create those options by myself. Even if I end up not using a particular option (like say, the Mythic rules). Which makes it hard for me to understand why other people don't like those options to exist at all. I clearly don't get this feeling of "it's there so I must use it and that's a bad thing". I also didn't get this problem when referring to the Realms.

Though to be honest, the one gripe I have about the "rules bloat" is, that it may bind ressources I'd rather have the designers use to create more "setting bloat", so obviously there's bloat and then there's bloat.


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WormysQueue wrote:

I think one of the reasons I hate the bloat argument so much is because that's what basically destroyed the Forgotten Realms (though I know some people claiming that everything after the grey box already had done a fine job with that; obviously I don't agree).

But letting my feelings about that aside, I think it's worth remembering that this game is played by a lot of very different people with very different tastes, so(and no matter if you call it options or bloat) not every offering is intended to be for everyone. from this point of view, I'm with Milo v3 in that not adding a new book to my pathfinder library doesn't equal cutting out anything.

I may be wrong but sometimes I'm under the impression that at least a part of the people complaining about bloat actually mean that there's too much stuff they a) cannot afford to buy, b)simply aren't interested putting up with and/or c) not like at all for whatever reason. What does irk me about that is that, while all fine and good for the person complaining, it may actually not be true for a lot of other players, who love those options. (and next time it may be the other way round that an option liked by the person formerly complaining about bloat now gets called bloat by the other ones.

To me, it has ever been the case that it's much easier not to use options available than to create those options by myself. Even if I end up not using a particular option (like say, the Mythic rules). Which makes it hard for me to understand why other people don't like those options to exist at all. I clearly don't get this feeling of "it's there so I must use it and that's a bad thing". I also didn't get this problem when referring to the Realms.

Though to be honest, the one gripe I have about the "rules bloat" is, that it may bind ressources I'd rather have the designers use to create more "setting bloat", so obviously there's bloat and then there's bloat.

This is my sole objection (I don't call it an "argument" but I definitely have a preference for no rules bloat at all). My desire for more resources devoted to setting than rules has nothing to do with stopping things I don't want - that's just an economic consequence of getting things I do want.


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Diffan wrote:
I had a DM that said he doesn't allow anything that he doesn't own. I said he could borrow any one of my books to read over for a week or two to become familiar with them. He then said that I could BUY it for him and then he'd allow it. Certainly a lazy one if I ever saw one.

I'm not that bad, but I'm increasingly becoming a lazy GM. I can no longer be bothered to keep up with all the new classes and feats.

My players tend to use 'the internet' as their resource for creating their characters rather than specific books.

So, what to do when starting a campaign? Give them a list of everything I already know and tell them everything else is forbidden? Allow them to pick whatever they want and hope for the best, then retrospectively ban anything it turns out I don't like?

What I did: I banned a few things I did know but didn't like, then left them to fend for themselves amidst the bloat.

What they did: Picked a bunch of ACG and unchained classes and archetypes, literally none of which I recognised.

Result: All of them were basically fine (except for an underoptimised Investigator) but I had no idea of what they were capable of at any given time or whether they were playing legally.


Y'know, it's solely a personal preference, but when I as a player have to explain the mechanical function of my character to the DM in play, I feel like I've violated a very basic tenet of the game. As psyched as I might be to play whatever archetype/class/race, I prefer material the DM is familiar with.


I know what you mean - a GM has to appear omniscient where possible. If a player says, "What do I see to the north?" or "Does this spell work?", you can't really say, "I have no idea."

On the other hand, I don't like things being too predictable. I'm a pretty strategic thinker, so it's hard for me not to instinctively counter the PC's abilities. When my player explains that due to a feat he can charge over difficult terrain, it's a pleasant surprise.

Grand Lodge

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I can and do say 'I do not know' when it comes up. It's just part of having an encyclopedia for a gamebook.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
I can and do say 'I do not know' when it comes up. It's just part of having an encyclopedia for a gamebook.

I prefer to say, "Hang on, I'll just double-check, I'm pretty sure it's in the appendices." Or make something up on the spot.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Yeah, I prefer not to BS my players out of game.

Scarab Sages

Matthew Downie wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
I can and do say 'I do not know' when it comes up. It's just part of having an encyclopedia for a gamebook.
I prefer to say, "Hang on, I'll just double-check, I'm pretty sure it's in the appendices." Or make something up on the spot.

Another winner I've found is using it as a collaborative storytelling opportunity. Huh, I don't know what's to the north. What do you think would be cool to have there? And then the whole table gets involved and what might have been "I dunno, go south instead" turns into three hours of no dice rolling but the creation of a new town on the map that is some twisted Lovecraft sort of thing. YMMV based on having a really awesome group to play with.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
WormysQueue wrote:
I think one of the reasons I hate the bloat argument so much is because that's what basically destroyed the Forgotten Realms (though I know some people claiming that everything after the grey box already had done a fine job with that; obviously I don't agree).

Ed Greenwood's license to TSR (now Wizards) is what bloated Forgotten Realms. If a year goes by that an original FR product is not released (novel or supplement), the setting reverts back to Greenwood. So to keep their setting, they must bloat it.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
I can and do say 'I do not know' when it comes up. It's just part of having an encyclopedia for a gamebook.

I'm not saying you (or any DM, for that matter) shouldn't, by any means.

Maybe I shouldn't have spoken so generally. I was thinking of when I bought the 3e Psionic Handbook and played a Psychic Warrior in a game my friend, who wasn't even slightly familiar with 3e psionics, was running. For a while there it sort of turned into me running encounters he'd designed, and I felt like that was over-stepping the bounds of good player behavior. It didn't end badly or anything, we're still friends, I just had to come to terms with my excitement over new material vs the DM's expectations for the encounters he's designing.


Matthew Downie wrote:

My players tend to use 'the internet' as their resource for creating their characters rather than specific books.

So, what to do when starting a campaign? Give them a list of everything I already know and tell them everything else is forbidden? Allow them to pick whatever they want and hope for the best, then retrospectively ban anything it turns out I don't like?

What I did: I banned a few things I did know but didn't like, then left them to fend for themselves amidst the bloat.

What they did: Picked a bunch of ACG and unchained classes and archetypes, literally none of which I recognised.

Result: All of them were basically fine (except for an underoptimised Investigator) but I had no idea of what they were capable of at any given time or whether they were playing legally.

Very similar experience, only due to HeroLab. If we didn't have all the same resources, they'd come up with feat and traits that I had no idea existed.

I've learned to try and roll with it to a degree. Some things I do ban outright, mainly due to setting issues.

The Exchange

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deinol wrote:
Ed Greenwood's license to TSR (now Wizards) is what bloated Forgotten Realms. If a year goes by that an original FR product is not released (novel or supplement), the setting reverts back to Greenwood. So to keep their setting, they must bloat it.

Well, It's basically the same as with this discussion here. I never considered the Realms canon as bloated myself, yet other people claimed the exact thing to be true and unluckily (for me) the designers of the 4E Realms agreed.

The thing is (and it doesn't matter if we're talking about setting or rules stuff), that with the bloat argument we could basically argue that Paizo should stop producing new material for every single line they're doing right now. I'll never be able to run or play all those adventure paths they already did, so why write another one. I'll never be able to use all the player options from the companion line so please stop it already. And so on.

And please stop producing under the OGL license already because that basically allows 3PPs to multiply the bloat. Now I have to put up with all the stuff Wolf Baur and his kobolds crank out and worse, I have to find room for this 900-page behemoth Rich Pett just forced on me. And that's only two of the bigger ones.

The simple truth is, and I want to quote Ryback here: FEED!ME!MORE! I might not have use for everything and I surely cannot afford to buy everything. But as long as other people have use for the stuff I don't, everyone wins.


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WormysQueue wrote:
deinol wrote:
Ed Greenwood's license to TSR (now Wizards) is what bloated Forgotten Realms. If a year goes by that an original FR product is not released (novel or supplement), the setting reverts back to Greenwood. So to keep their setting, they must bloat it.

Well, It's basically the same as with this discussion here. I never considered the Realms canon as bloated myself, yet other people claimed the exact thing to be true and unluckily (for me) the designers of the 4E Realms agreed.

The thing is (and it doesn't matter if we're talking about setting or rules stuff), that with the bloat argument we could basically argue that Paizo should stop producing new material for every single line they're doing right now. I'll never be able to run or play all those adventure paths they already did, so why write another one. I'll never be able to use all the player options from the companion line so please stop it already. And so on.

And please stop producing under the OGL license already because that basically allows 3PPs to multiply the bloat. Now I have to put up with all the stuff Wolf Baur and his kobolds crank out and worse, I have to find room for this 900-page behemoth Rich Pett just forced on me. And that's only two of the bigger ones.

The simple truth is, and I want to quote Ryback here: FEED!ME!MORE! I might not have use for everything and I surely cannot afford to buy everything. But as long as other people have use for the stuff I don't, everyone wins.

The Realms fell victim to misunderstanding by the higher ups. There is a big difference between having a narrative rich setting and a bloated game system. There is no such thing as story bloat: What an author writes about has no more effect on a GM's game than the goings on at a neighboring game table.

Plus I'd say the real problem with Pathfinder isn't rules bloat so much as changing standards. Pathfinder wants to become something different, but also wants to stay true to its goal of being backwards compatible. So it tries to be many different things, and by its nature that means there are best options. Only those options are buried in a mountain of not so good options, and the rules tend to tell you what you can do rather than being a way to express yourself.

Coming back to Pathfinder as a player after a long hiatus, I was tasked with making a sixth level wizard. Many years ago I would have been happy with my options, but I just can't make the characters I want to make with Pathfinder's system anymore. The options appear to be there, but it takes incredibly high stat roles combined with very specific traits, racials, and options to do it. Some of them don't even make sense, like taking "Find your Kin" just to get more skill points instead of taking appropriately flavored background traits. I have to power game just to make a mercantile mage.


Jabborwacky wrote:
Coming back to Pathfinder as a player after a long hiatus, I was tasked with making a sixth level wizard. Many years ago I would have been happy with my options, but I just can't make the characters I want to make with Pathfinder's system anymore. The options appear to be there, but it takes incredibly high stat roles combined with very specific traits, racials, and options to do it. Some of them don't even make sense, like taking "Find your Kin" just to get more skill points instead of taking appropriately flavored background traits.

I sincerely do not understand this. How did the additional options, remove previous options?

Quote:
I have to power game just to make a mercantile mage.

... or you could just put skill ranks in profession.


Jabborwacky wrote:
The options appear to be there, but it takes incredibly high stat roles

1. rolling for stats

2. Complaining about balance

Pick one. If some characters are just going to be better than others then certain options may as well be better than others. Real old school DnD embraced this. Better classes required better stats. The superior races had level caps and stat minimums. Being a woman was a mechanical disadvantage. Things were just unfair. As the game evolves things have been getting more and more fair. Well balanced parties and combats have become the norm rather than the exception. Pathfinder is tied to 3.5 and thus inherits unfairness via builds. As it ages, this issue will seem more and more ridiculous while never changing.


The game is bloated; no question about that, just like AD&D and 3e got bloated as time went by. I think it's just the nature of the beast: Popular games with virtualy limitless potential for expansion and a market that's willing to buy a lot of new stuff.

I would hardly blame Paizo for it, as this is a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" type of situation; I don't think anyone can objetively determine where's the line between too much and too little, considerng there's always a niche some group will want covered. And the more players there are, the more niches to consider.

Bloat certainly has it's drawbacks; I've encountered several players who have become wary of PF because they feel threatened by the deluge of material, and as much as we can argue that 99% is optional, the first impression still gives them doubts. On other cases, it causes severe paralysis in the face of unending ooptions, and not all groups have the discipline to preemptively check all sources and carefully limit what's available, specially when so much can be accessed freely online.

However, those I believe are unavoidable sideffects of something which is sort of essential to the game: Even if we rationally know an RPG book can be used for as long as it can be read, a game without regular publishing of new material runs the risk of feeling stale and unsupported. And as the years pass by (let's not forget we're entering the 7th year of PF, 8th if we count the beta), stuff will pile up.

Personally, I enjoy collecting books; I have every hardcover published by Paizo with the exception of Mythic Adventures and Pathfinder Unchained, as well as most softcovers that are not APs. I have shelves upon shelves of stuff from all editions of D&D, so I'm no stranger to bloat. I can manage it and so can my players; sometimes I let them use every book I have (as it has been for the past 3 years in our Planescape campaign using PF), and others I simply restrict them to core. That doesn't mean I cannot empathize with people who feel threatened by the size of the game, even if I know options are not mandatory.

Dark Archive

Forever Slayer wrote:


So who's forcing people to buy all those books out there? You don't need anything outside of core to play the game so why give out and keep others from having the options they want when all you have to do is limit what you buy?

Given Paizo's business strategy has a strong emphasis on a subscription model, I'd hazard to say them. Its paizo that is, while not forcing, heavily encouraging buying them all. And once you start people buying all the products, then they will want to use them what they have bought.


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I don't see how that's a problem.


While I don't have a problem with many rules and books, I can understand that some can experience problems. They probably don't want to consider which one of the 40+ classes to play, which of the ~1000 feats to pick when they just want to swing a sword and be effective. With all those options they'll have to take a stand between many combinations, which may be too much for them, as they don't want to have to do this for a simple concept. But then again, why not just stick to CRB only?

Portraying Pathfinder as some sort of mutated beast of a system that is declining through bloat to justify their own preference is just weak.

I like a bigger system (like Pathfinder) more because a smaller one (like 5th ed) is extremely reliant on what few rules they have. If something isn't good, it really bad and missing from the game. If some rules in Pathfinder are bad, just dig up another set of rules (granted, not even Pathfinder can do this for every set of rules, yet).

Hitdice wrote:
Y'know, it's solely a personal preference, but when I as a player have to explain the mechanical function of my character to the DM in play, I feel like I've violated a very basic tenet of the game. As psyched as I might be to play whatever archetype/class/race, I prefer material the DM is familiar with.

I get what you mean, but as a DM I (and probably many other DMs) am far to busy to look up all the new classes in detail everytime a new book comes out (let alone archetypes). Though I often ask for a quick explanation when they want to use something that I'm not familiar with, class feat, spell or what ever it may be. Just so that I know what to be prepared for and not screw something up behind the screen.

With that said, the only reason I can do it like this is because the entire group has a good feeling for balance, fairness and rules. It's not possible with bad players (like the one I had who claimed to have at-will fly as a 2nd level Witch and picked mythic feats while gravely misinterpreting them to be broken by even mythic standards).

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
captain yesterday wrote:
I don't see how that's a problem.

I wouldn't say that it's necessarily a problem but if you're like me and don't want to heavily restrict player access to all the stuff out there, it creates a certain workload. And as I get older, it seems that I have less and less time to read new stuff in advance.

That's something that makes me quite hesitant to start a PbP game here at these boards. Because most probably the players who participate will know the (newer) rules better than me.


YOu can make a perfectly playable character using only the core book or books as long as your group isn't going to go for the DPR olympics.

Dark Archive

captain yesterday wrote:
I don't see how that's a problem.

It becomes a problem because of the break neck rate of release. And combine tgat with the sheer amount of products out there and rules in each, there is no way to check how rules interact with each other or how the stack....into things that become broken combos. Which, depending on your table, may not be welcome bu the DM or outshine other players.

Don't forget that early pathfinder was advertised as 3.5 cranked to 11. Pathdinderdefinately delivers that with the bloat....for good or for ill.


carmachu wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
I don't see how that's a problem.

It becomes a problem because of the break neck rate of release. And combine tgat with the sheer amount of products out there and rules in each, there is no way to check how rules interact with each other or how the stack....into things that become broken combos. Which, depending on your table, may not be welcome bu the DM or outshine other players.

Don't forget that early pathfinder was advertised as 3.5 cranked to 11. Pathdinderdefinately delivers that with the bloat....for good or for ill.

That may be true, but no one is forced to buy any of the material, nor buy it when it comes out. You can pick and choose what options you want in your games. You can sort through them and see how they connect and conflict with each other; it gives people things to do between posts on the forums.

Unless there is a gun to your head, no one has to buy anything. Nope, not even if you want to play PFS. You can with just the Core book, you can slowly build up your library at a pace that you and yours want. You can buy zero, one, or all of the books if you want to. The "break neck rate of release" is in no way an indication that you have to get them at that rate.


RDM42 wrote:

YOu can make a perfectly playable character using only the core book or books as long as your group isn't going to go for the DPR olympics.

Well, duh. There's a reason 3 of the best classes in the game are still in core. If it were broke in 2000 why fix it?


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There are some people who won't play with you as a player if they see you as a GM have a huge ban list.

I personally skip right over the words "Core Only" when games are advertised in PbP, and it has NOTHING to do with optimizing. I can make a druid all core that dominates everything if I just want to be the toughest.

It's because of three reasons:

1. I don't like having my creativity bottlenecked. There are some newer options that better express ideas. Fire sorcerer is good. Flame Oracle is another way to do what I had in mind. Oh, cool, Pyrokineticist, that's what I thought of!

2. GMs who ban stuff USUALLY (but not always) do so because of "balance" which indicates to me a mindset of crippling your player on purpose instead of stepping up your game as a GM when the players are more powerful than you expected. It makes the game a competition instead of a collaboration. This isn't always the case with banning, but enough so to make it not even worth my time to find out.

3. When it's not for power, it's flavor, which to me is worse. There's just a mindset with the flavor-ban GM's that I can't stand. I can't just call my ninja a mage-rogue and use the same class, really? You won't let me play a samurai because you don't want eastern, but for some reason heaven forbid I call it a knight and use the same mechanical chassis? No witches in your world, and I ABSOLUTELY can't use the class and call it something else? Seriously, the marriage of class names and flavor text without possible modifications is just indicative of a close minded GM lacking creativity probably telling a boring cliche story.

So, all that in mind, yeah, you don't HAVE to use all the books, but there are players who won't bother with you if you don't. I'm not the only one who thinks this way.

I'm not saying I won't play if someone has an incomplete list, but personally, the more you say NO to, the less likely I am to be interested for the reasons I stated above.

(Here's where some grognard glances over 1/3 of what I said, ignores the content and accuses me of being a dirty minmaxer even though none of the reasons I gave had anything to do with power. Happens every single time I make this point in a thread.)


Redbeard the Scruffy wrote:

There are some people who won't play with you as a player if they see you as a GM have a huge ban list.

I personally skip right over the words "Core Only" when games are advertised in PbP, and it has NOTHING to do with optimizing. I can make a druid all core that dominates everything if I just want to be the toughest.

It's because of three reasons:

1. I don't like having my creativity bottlenecked. There are some newer options that better express ideas. Fire sorcerer is good. Flame Oracle is another way to do what I had in mind. Oh, cool, Pyrokineticist, that's what I thought of!

2. GMs who ban stuff USUALLY (but not always) do so because of "balance" which indicates to me a mindset of crippling your player on purpose instead of stepping up your game as a GM when the players are more powerful than you expected. It makes the game a competition instead of a collaboration. This isn't always the case with banning, but enough so to make it not even worth my time to find out.

3. When it's not for power, it's flavor, which to me is worse. There's just a mindset with the flavor-ban GM's that I can't stand. I can't just call my ninja a mage-rogue and use the same class, really? You won't let me play a samurai because you don't want eastern, but for some reason heaven forbid I call it a knight and use the same mechanical chassis? No witches in your world, and I ABSOLUTELY can't use the class and call it something else? Seriously, the marriage of class names and flavor text without possible modifications is just indicative of a close minded GM lacking creativity probably telling a boring cliche story.

So, all that in mind, yeah, you don't HAVE to use all the books, but there are players who won't bother with you if you don't. I'm not the only one who thinks this way.

I'm not saying I won't play if someone has an incomplete list, but personally, the more you say NO to, the less likely I am to be interested for the reasons I stated above.

(Here's where some grognard glances over 1/3 of what I said, ignores the content and accuses me of being a dirty minmaxer even though none of the reasons I gave had anything to do with power. Happens every single time I make this point in a thread.)

There's going to be people that won't play if you are Core only, if you are NOT Core only, if you like green dice, if you allow ninjas, if you don't. If a GM or game doesn't want to use some product then you have to either play a game that you don't like or look for another.

It sucks, but it sucks more to play under a GM or table that is begrudgingly letting you do something and then taking it out on you in game. At least you were warned ahead of time if they give a list of denied topics.


Yep. It's appreciated. I'd rather move on. My time is limited.

But I've also seen those same GM's complain they can't find players.


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I've actually found my ban list has gotten smaller, just leadership and Antagonize, I used to ban summoners, but gave that up.

I never take something away, that's just poor form all around.


When I propose a setting for my players I ask them if they are comfortable with the flavour-based bans such as "only humans" or "no wizards".


Redbeard the Scruffy wrote:

There are some people who won't play with you as a player if they see you as a GM have a huge ban list.

I personally skip right over the words "Core Only" when games are advertised in PbP, and it has NOTHING to do with optimizing. I can make a druid all core that dominates everything if I just want to be the toughest.

It's because of three reasons:

1. I don't like having my creativity bottlenecked. There are some newer options that better express ideas. Fire sorcerer is good. Flame Oracle is another way to do what I had in mind. Oh, cool, Pyrokineticist, that's what I thought of!

2. GMs who ban stuff USUALLY (but not always) do so because of "balance" which indicates to me a mindset of crippling your player on purpose instead of stepping up your game as a GM when the players are more powerful than you expected. It makes the game a competition instead of a collaboration. This isn't always the case with banning, but enough so to make it not even worth my time to find out.

3. When it's not for power, it's flavor, which to me is worse. There's just a mindset with the flavor-ban GM's that I can't stand. I can't just call my ninja a mage-rogue and use the same class, really? You won't let me play a samurai because you don't want eastern, but for some reason heaven forbid I call it a knight and use the same mechanical chassis? No witches in your world, and I ABSOLUTELY can't use the class and call it something else? Seriously, the marriage of class names and flavor text without possible modifications is just indicative of a close minded GM lacking creativity probably telling a boring cliche story.

So, all that in mind, yeah, you don't HAVE to use all the books, but there are players who won't bother with you if you don't. I'm not the only one who thinks this way.

I'm not saying I won't play if someone has an incomplete list, but personally, the more you say NO to, the less likely I am to be interested for the reasons I stated above.

(Here's where some grognard glances over 1/3 of what I said,...

I find often I get more creative when bottlenecked, and can often paint a better picture when my pallet of paints is restricted.


At some point you will join my darkside and say f$@@ it, nothing is banned. Then again, I will not advertise that if I'm trying to bring random people into a game versus my friends. I only try to enable people to build what they want, and while it means I have a lot of house rules I'm pretty sure all home GMs do with Pathfinder.

It's been a lot easier saying "bonus spells are spell slots that can be recovered once per day with rest", or "you gain a bonus combat feat each BAB increase, this is the only way to gain combat feats", or "combat maneuvers can be performed with a weapon with the matching feature without risking an AoO" than trying to manage classes or races. Since I build a world as I go the race options just determine the primary races of that game.


It's all a matter of perspective. One man's bloat is another man's options. Personally, I allow basically anything on the PFSRD, that I own, or that a player can furnish/lend me.


Massive spell lists can be a bother
They are a pain in the ass to manage


hiiamtom wrote:

At some point you will join my darkside and say f~$! it, nothing is banned. Then again, I will not advertise that if I'm trying to bring random people into a game versus my friends. I only try to enable people to build what they want, and while it means I have a lot of house rules I'm pretty sure all home GMs do with Pathfinder.

It's been a lot easier saying "bonus spells are spell slots that can be recovered once per day with rest", or "you gain a bonus combat feat each BAB increase, this is the only way to gain combat feats", or "combat maneuvers can be performed with a weapon with the matching feature without risking an AoO" than trying to manage classes or races. Since I build a world as I go the race options just determine the primary races of that game.

Many GMs and players - like an established world with history and detail and dangling loose ends, including past achievements of past characters, and for not every world is mos eisley cantina an appropriate atmosphere.

There is nothing wrong with that sort of world, it's just not the only one that should ever see play because it's somehow criminal to have infinity minus one choices to build your characters instead of infinity plus one.


You are marrying class mechanics with person.

For race, that argument makes sense, but for class? Why can't I call my witch a wizard and use the witch chassis if your world has no witches?


Redbeard the Scruffy wrote:

You are marrying class mechanics with person.

For race, that argument makes sense, but for class? Why can't I call my witch a wizard and use the witch chassis if your world has no witches?

I'd assume you'd be required to give an explanation of why your wizard functions different to all other wizards.


Redbeard the Scruffy wrote:

You are marrying class mechanics with person.

For race, that argument makes sense, but for class? Why can't I call my witch a wizard and use the witch chassis if your world has no witches?

Depends.

Possibly you can. Possibly I object to the mechanics and find the witch's hexes and patrons don't fit into how I've long established wizards work in the world.

This question also has a flip side that has always bothered me in such cases: It's always assumed the player is only interested in the class mechanics and will be happy to completely change the flavor to whatever the GM allows. Perhaps not so obvious in the witch/wizard case, but with the ninja example, maybe the player actually wants the stereotypical black pajama clad, secret clan kind of ninja, but doesn't care about the mechanics as much and it's that stereotype that doesn't fit the setting?

Personally, in most cases, I'm more likely to shoot down concepts for flavor than to flat out ban mechanics. So up front lists of what's not allowed don't really work.


Redbeard the Scruffy wrote:

You are marrying class mechanics with person.

For race, that argument makes sense, but for class? Why can't I call my witch a wizard and use the witch chassis if your world has no witches?

Because Brand™ RPG is married to Brand™ other products?

I mean sure Pathfinder RPG can have affair with any other setting you like, but it will never work perfectly.


Exactly. If magic functions a specific way in that world, say 'arcane mages are priests of the God of magic and all arcane spells are essentially devotions to her, prayed for the night before - and spontaneous oracles do not exist - then if you want a sorcerer, it's going to be an issue unless you come up wth an absolutely fascinating reason why.

Conversely, if the gods of the world are mysterious and inscrutable and do not reveal themselves directly to mortals, but instead work in mysterious ways and grant divine essence to chosen vessels without telling them how or why(casters of the divine are oracles) then a normal cleric is going to require a significant explaination.

Or 'all magic is spontaneous - prepared casting does not exist. Magic is in the blood, it is a bloodline thing - if it's an oracle it means that somewhere in your family tree an ancestor was 'touched by an Angel' which made ther be the chance of being a divine conduit in your bloodline. Conversely an arcane caster was influenced by or had an ancestor of an inherently magical race which gave a 'touch of the arcane' to their bloodline.

In that world Mage schools and priesthood a scour the world for these 'divine conduits' or 'arcane conduits' to tie them to their deity's cause or to bind them to their arcane organization. It also keeps magic as rare if it must be in the blood and cannot be merely learned.

You can keep players able to change classes by retroactively saying they had it latent in the blood, where not just doing that for most of the populace, thus averting tippy. Introducing learned magic upsets that balance.


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I'm sure that making magic something indistinguishable from a science in which there's one way and only way one it works and nothing else is possible is possible. It's also one of the best ways to remove the "wonder of magic", making it incredibly reliable and predictable and only working in one way.

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