Is optimising characters actually suboptimal?


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Then there is the fact that what 'people' would do is different for each particular value of 'people'. While technically an average person exists, I'm not sure I've ever met that person.

To a degree, abnormality is normal.


RDM42 wrote:

Then there is the fact that what 'people' would do is different for each particular value of 'people'. While technically an average person exists, I'm not sure I've ever met that person.

To a degree, abnormality is normal.

For a lot of things this is more applicable though. The question is less 'What soda do you prefer?' and more 'Your drinking soda through a straw do you put the straw to the left, right, or center it ?' If there's a suitably overwhelming predilection for one action it's what I'd start with because it's 'normal' if all three are about the same then they're all 'normal' and I have a list to pick from. Lists of likely responses are nice to have. They're how I'm able to function socially. It's sort of like texas hold'em with conversation. Outliers still happen but it's uncommon enough they're more interesting than surprising but the percentages are visible. I actually at one point had a really good track record guessing how strangers mt friends would pick at random would respond to 'Hi" ie whether they'd just say hello back or 'how you doin' and the like. Also you'd be surprised at how often even abnormal people still behave 'normally' <relative to age, gender, culture and such> in common everyday situations. Which I assume ambushes would be for bandits.

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HyperMissingno wrote:


Add in the fact that most games are in a different time period with different moral codes and those of us that are autistic have a hard time figuring out just what the hell people will do.

That's what the alignment codes are for.

Remember the alignment codes are not situational,and not personal. They are independent and stand on their own, unaffected by mortal perception.

Thus, what is 'good' for a LE character is not Good from the standpoint of an alignment.

So, people act according to their alignment that they've chosen.

For this person, 'good' is being willing to help a neighbor, sacrifice for family, king and country, be hospitable to strangers, and respectful of the gods.

For this person, 'good' might be gouging prices to maximize profit, stealing if you think you can get away with it, burning down the shop of an aggressive competitor, and having a mistress in every town because you married your wife for money. All such behaviors benefit him, how could they be bad?

but the alignment codes will call one Good and the other Neutral (at best).

What is 'good' in the old days was often simply lawful, if you were 'civilized', or 'blood and family above all' Neutral, if you were a barbarian.

'Complete self-interest' is sometimes seen as the highest good by some philosophies, where nothing matters but your own desires, yet is basically sociopathic Evil on the alignment scale.

That is why the game has alignment. Just because a person or society thinks something is 'good' doesn't mean it is Good. The alignments stand on their own, and are effectively timeless. If you wonder how 'different moral codes for different eras' apply, just remember that rule.

==Aelryinth


Alignment codes exist so we can have cool and interesting outsiders

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and debates on paladin codes and what alignment batman is.

==Aelryinth


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Boomerang Nebula wrote:

Adding to what Ashiel said.

My google fu is hopeless, I couldn't find the original version of the Stormwind fallacy. In a nutshell what I believe the Stormwind fallacy says is that optimising a character does not prevent good role-playing. And similarly lack of optimisation does not necessarily lead to good role-playing. I assume that when he refers to optimising he means using knowledge of the games mechanics to produce the most powerful character within the parameters defined by the setting, GM or whatever. Feel free to correct me if this is not the case.

My view is that the Stormwind fallacy is a genuine fallacy in that it is correct for the most part and that there is a degree of independence between role-playing and optimisation which is often not appreciated. Especially by those gamers who claim to be firmly within the role-playing camp. But I don't think that allows us to conclude that optimisation and role-playing are completely divorced from one another and perhaps the original Stormwind would agree with that idea as well.

The reason I don't think that optimisation and role-playing are completely divorced is that I don't believe the human brain can handle two distinct, potentially conflicting ideas at the same time. There is some neurological research that supports that idea. Experiments were done and published in mainstream scientific journals where participants were asked to attempt to multitask and the evidence showed that people don't multitask, instead they switch between tasks which is exhausting and not nearly as efficient. It's like having a conversation on your mobile (cell) phone while driving, unless you are a very experienced driver, it is hard and potentially dangerous to try to do both at once. Whereas having a conversation with someone in the same car while driving is not nearly as distracting. There is alignment with the in-car conversation that you don't always get while on the phone.

In a similar vein I think since we can't multitask, the switching problem occurs when...

Oh it's a legitimate fallacy, if an informal one. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma Just it's a very specific name for a specific False Dilemma.


Boomerang Nebula wrote:

Adding to what Ashiel said.

My google fu is hopeless, I couldn't find the original version of the Stormwind fallacy. In a nutshell what I believe the Stormwind fallacy says is that optimising a character does not prevent good role-playing. And similarly lack of optimisation does not necessarily lead to good role-playing. I assume that when he refers to optimising he means using knowledge of the games mechanics to produce the most powerful character within the parameters defined by the setting, GM or whatever. Feel free to correct me if this is not the case.

My view is that the Stormwind fallacy is a genuine fallacy in that it is correct for the most part and that there is a degree of independence between role-playing and optimisation which is often not appreciated. Especially by those gamers who claim to be firmly within the role-playing camp. But I don't think that allows us to conclude that optimisation and role-playing are completely divorced from one another and perhaps the original Stormwind would agree with that idea as well.

The reason I don't think that optimisation and role-playing are completely divorced is that I don't believe the human brain can handle two distinct, potentially conflicting ideas at the same time. There is some neurological research that supports that idea. Experiments were done and published in mainstream scientific journals where participants were asked to attempt to multitask and the evidence showed that people don't multitask, instead they switch between tasks which is exhausting and not nearly as efficient. It's like having a conversation on your mobile (cell) phone while driving, unless you are a very experienced driver, it is hard and potentially dangerous to try to do both at once. Whereas having a conversation with someone in the same car while driving is not nearly as distracting. There is alignment with the in-car conversation that you don't always get while on the phone.

In a similar vein I think since we can't multitask, the switching problem occurs when...

I'm not sure this really applies to ttrpg's to be honest. Optimization and role playing occur at different times.


Envall wrote:
I'll tell ya, it is the chicken and the egg.

Egg came first.

Paizo Employee Design Manager

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^^ What Trogdar said. Optimization and roleplay generally don't even happen concurrently. Optimization occurs during character creation or level up, roleplay occurs at the table. There may be some overlap at the table when optimization and roleplay Voltron together to become "tactics", but by and large you're exercising different mental muscles at different times.

I'm also one of those people who believes that good roleplay and optimization feed into and enhance each other. If Jack the player is a great smooth-talker and social chameleon in real life, and he's trying to play his 8 INT/CHA barbarian with no ranks in social skills as though it is also a smooth-talking social chameleon, then IMO Jack is a bad roleplayer. He cannot separate his real-life talents from those his character should have. I'll even go a step farther and say that if a GM is encouraging this by rewarding Jack for "good RP", then that's not a good GM either.

Mechanics and roleplay should inform each other, providing the various tools necessary to transform a piece of paper into a character. If your RP is not backed by mechanics that at least show an attempt to encapsulate the character you're portraying, you aren't playing Pathfinder, you're engaging in magical story time with friends. That works both ways, of course, whether you're a "great" actor who failed to read the script (your character sheet), or a great "optimizer" who ignores the mechanics and parts of the game they find inconvenient and tries to turn every encounter into a Jack and slash.


Lemmy wrote:
Envall wrote:
I'll tell ya, it is the chicken and the egg.
Egg came first.

Hush with your 'facts'. Everyone knows that science is a conspiracy propagated by ROLLplayers.

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Ssalarn wrote:
^^ What Trogdar said. Optimization and roleplay generally don't even happen concurrently. Optimization occurs during character creation or level up, roleplay occurs at the table. There may be some overlap at the table when optimization and roleplay Voltron together to become "tactics", but by and large you're exercising different mental muscles at different times.

Note that, depending on the system, the "optimization happens away from the table" thing might not actually be true.

For instance, in Pathfinder, your equipment is basically a second XP track, playing a huge role in your character's power scaling and therefore optimization. However, the selection and distribution of gear very often happens at the table (except in PFS).

If you reach outside of the D&D/PF paradigm, other examples show up as well. Blades in the Dark includes end-of-session character advancement that's done as a group based on how your character acted during the session. Urban Shadows ties almost any at-the-table action to character advancement in one form or another.

While we're on the subject, the idea that roleplay is what happens at the table is suspect as well. For example, if you're constantly portraying your sorcerer as a dedicated fanatic pyromancer, what spell do you pick while you're at home leveling up? Do you pick a fire spell, or do you leave the fire spell behind in favor of something else? Picking the fire spell would be an act of roleplay, despite being performed away from the table.

"Roleplay is at the table and optimization is at home" is a very shaky claim.


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Picking the fire spell would be an act of optimizing for the concept you're trying to play as well though.


Aelryinth wrote:
HyperMissingno wrote:


Add in the fact that most games are in a different time period with different moral codes and those of us that are autistic have a hard time figuring out just what the hell people will do.
That's what the alignment codes are for.

I'm not talking about alignment. I'm talking about eras where s*%+ like marrying a 12 year old is commonplace and incest is looked down upon but excusable to make sure your line keeps the crown. It becomes tricky to figure out what's acceptable behavior in an era like that. And that's only the humans, we're dealing with multiple races after all.


Squiggit wrote:
Picking the fire spell would be an act of optimizing for the concept you're trying to play as well though.

Yes, that is the crux of the issue in my opinion, aligning RP with mechanics is the optimal solution.

I agree with Jiggy, RP happens both at and away from the table, same with mechanical optimisation. Some games like Vampire The Masquerade are so simple that there really isn't much in the way of mechanics to optimise but Pathfinder is definitely not like that, so optimisation like role-playing is a continuous process.

Paizo Employee Design Manager

Squiggit wrote:
Picking the fire spell would be an act of optimizing for the concept you're trying to play as well though.

That's basically my take on it. I've never really seen a situation where someone picks "a fire spell because I'm a pyromancer", it's generally "I'm a pyromancer and scorching ray is a good spell for this level that fits that theme", which would be an act of optimization, and part of why I said optimization and roleplay should inform each other. I (at least in my opinion) shouldn't just say I'm a pyromancer but then not have any fire spells; at that point I'm roleplaying a concept my mechanics don't support.

Jiggy's example of shopping/crafting as an activity that blends optimization and roleplay is fair, though I still don't think it's actually a counter against what I said. Outside of play, you figured out what your optimal gear was, and then in game you're going shopping. The act of deciding that your Fighter had to have winged boots and a +3 greatsword probably happened away from the game, and in game you're using your designated downtime to try and acquire those items.

My point, ultimately, is that whether your stance was "RP is what the game's about, not your munchkin power-gaming" or "L2P noob, this isn't magical story time over tea, it's a game with rules", you're objectively wrong either way. The game requires both roleplay and character-building (the ultimate expression of optimization), and in my opinion if you're doing both of those well you're probably going to be an objectively better player and table-mate. With the obvious caveat I mentioned earlier regarding each player's responsibility to try and gauge the relative strength and performance of their group and the challenges the GM is presenting and make suitable choices for the gaming environment or find a game more in line with their expectations.


>Is optimising characters actually suboptimal?

What kind of loaded question is that? Before anyone can decide if something is "suboptimal", you first have to define the criterion for which you are optimising, because "optimal" thing is just a thing that has a minimum(or a maximum) of that criterion. E.g. damage per round, or fun per second, or thrown bears per minute, or whatever. You can't "optimise" in general.

So, OP, what is your criterion?


Klara Meison wrote:

>Is optimising characters actually suboptimal?

What kind of loaded question is that? Before anyone can decide if something is "suboptimal", you first have to define the criterion for which you are optimising, because "optimal" thing is just a thing that has a minimum(or a maximum) of that criterion. E.g. damage per round, or fun per second, or thrown bears per minute, or whatever. You can't "optimise" in general.

So, OP, what is your criterion?

Pretty sure the OP didn't think it through to that extent, otherwise the criterion would be spelled out in the post.

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Ssalarn wrote:
Jiggy's example of shopping/crafting as an activity that blends optimization and roleplay is fair, though I still don't think it's actually a counter against what I said. Outside of play, you figured out what your optimal gear was, and then in game you're going shopping. The act of deciding that your Fighter had to have winged boots and a +3 greatsword probably happened away from the game, and in game you're using your designated downtime to try and acquire those items.

What about distributing found items among party members? Or even shopping in settlements with limited item availability? That's more what I was talking about.


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Klara Meison wrote:

>Is optimising characters actually suboptimal?

What kind of loaded question is that? Before anyone can decide if something is "suboptimal", you first have to define the criterion for which you are optimising, because "optimal" thing is just a thing that has a minimum(or a maximum) of that criterion. E.g. damage per round, or fun per second, or thrown bears per minute, or whatever. You can't "optimise" in general.

So, OP, what is your criterion?

Whatever it was before it is now thrown bears per minute. Full stop.


Jiggy wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
Jiggy's example of shopping/crafting as an activity that blends optimization and roleplay is fair, though I still don't think it's actually a counter against what I said. Outside of play, you figured out what your optimal gear was, and then in game you're going shopping. The act of deciding that your Fighter had to have winged boots and a +3 greatsword probably happened away from the game, and in game you're using your designated downtime to try and acquire those items.
What about distributing found items among party members? Or even shopping in settlements with limited item availability? That's more what I was talking about.

Wholeheartedly agree!

I suppose another way of looking at optimisation is as an iterative process. The more iterations you can squeeze in, the better optimised your character is at any point in time. Stop optimising and you fall behind.


VargrBoartusk wrote:
Klara Meison wrote:

>Is optimising characters actually suboptimal?

What kind of loaded question is that? Before anyone can decide if something is "suboptimal", you first have to define the criterion for which you are optimising, because "optimal" thing is just a thing that has a minimum(or a maximum) of that criterion. E.g. damage per round, or fun per second, or thrown bears per minute, or whatever. You can't "optimise" in general.

So, OP, what is your criterion?

Whatever it was before it is now thrown bears per minute. Full stop.

What's the range increment for a thrown bear?

Scarab Sages

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Boomerang Nebula wrote:
VargrBoartusk wrote:
Klara Meison wrote:

>Is optimising characters actually suboptimal?

What kind of loaded question is that? Before anyone can decide if something is "suboptimal", you first have to define the criterion for which you are optimising, because "optimal" thing is just a thing that has a minimum(or a maximum) of that criterion. E.g. damage per round, or fun per second, or thrown bears per minute, or whatever. You can't "optimise" in general.

So, OP, what is your criterion?

Whatever it was before it is now thrown bears per minute. Full stop.
What's the range increment for a thrown bear?

"Enough."


Spoilsport!

Sovereign Court

Davor wrote:
Boomerang Nebula wrote:
VargrBoartusk wrote:
Klara Meison wrote:

>Is optimising characters actually suboptimal?

What kind of loaded question is that? Before anyone can decide if something is "suboptimal", you first have to define the criterion for which you are optimising, because "optimal" thing is just a thing that has a minimum(or a maximum) of that criterion. E.g. damage per round, or fun per second, or thrown bears per minute, or whatever. You can't "optimise" in general.

So, OP, what is your criterion?

Whatever it was before it is now thrown bears per minute. Full stop.
What's the range increment for a thrown bear?
"Enough."

We should make a new amendment. The right to bear bears. *nods sagely*

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HyperMissingno wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:
HyperMissingno wrote:


Add in the fact that most games are in a different time period with different moral codes and those of us that are autistic have a hard time figuring out just what the hell people will do.
That's what the alignment codes are for.
I'm not talking about alignment. I'm talking about eras where s#+# like marrying a 12 year old is commonplace and incest is looked down upon but excusable to make sure your line keeps the crown. It becomes tricky to figure out what's acceptable behavior in an era like that. And that's only the humans, we're dealing with multiple races after all.

You ARE talking about alignment.

That's neutral/lawfulish behavior. It's not Good to marry a 12 year old or perform incest. It may be 'good' according to the standards of the day, but that does NOT make it Good in the profound sense.

Despite it being acceptable,it doesn't pass the test of Good. The standard is NOT dependent on what mortals think is 'good'. You're trying to argue that relativity is what is important, and as far as alignment goes, relativity means nothing.

Act your NPC's for their alignment, and you'll be fine. If they have behaviors of a certain alignment that clashes with being Good, then they ain't good, regardless of how acceptable that behavior is to them.

because if it IS fine, then you only have to keep turning down the moral dial until ANY behavior is acceptable if you can get away with it, and Evil doesn't mean anything.

And that's why you have alignment in the game...to remove the relativity and 'what I think is what's right!' completely from the equation.

==Aelryinth


Right, let me make this 100% clear for you.

I'm saying it's hard for me as someone who lives in a modern era to remember how to act like someone in the middle ages where life is short, medical science isn't making everyone live to old age, there's violence all around, not everyone can read or has access to a library, you starting to get it? Even if they somehow have objective morality spelled out to them they're still living in an entirely different world with different rules and sometimes it's hard to remember which of our rules apply and which don't.

Note that this is on top of not getting normal modern humans. It took me years to figure out expressions and tone and I'm still learning how social interactions work outside of niche groups (and good gods are those f$+*ers inconsistent and picky in those things.) It doesn't help that I isolated myself from normal humans as much as I could in my middle school and high school days and that there's no basic instruction booklet or dialogue options on the screen to handle them.

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It sounds less like you're talking about the game, and more that you're simply talking about people.

Because you can handwave most interaction with NPC's with a Diplomacy or Sense Motive check...one so your character can figure out how to talk to them, and the other to understand what they actually want.

Now, dealing with RL people, who actually run those NPC's, is another matter entirely. :)

So, if you need consistency, lean on those two skills I just mentioned for the game, so you get good results. That way, you won't have to act or interpret, which you seem to have difficulty doing, your skills and the rules will do it for you.

You should not HAVE to remember precisely how to act. That's what your PC is for...if they have the skills, they know what to do even if you personally do not.

=-==Aelryinth


There's another issue that pops up, though only with NPCs that have crazy high int (22+) like archmages. I'm not sure how to run them being that smart without them metagaming. Am I supposed to give them standard genre savviness or go above that? I'd go with experience or just copy what I see in media but from my experience nobody carries that high of an int stat that isn't The Doctor from Doctor Who.


HyperMissingno wrote:
There's another issue that pops up, though only with NPCs that have crazy high int (22+) like archmages. I'm not sure how to run them being that smart without them metagaming. Am I supposed to give them standard genre savviness or go above that? I'd go with experience or just copy what I see in media but from my experience nobody carries that high of an int stat that isn't The Doctor from Doctor Who.

Can I offer some advice?

1) For alignment I recommend you simply make your own moral standard the default objective standard. Whatever you think is good is good aligned, whatever you believe is an evil deed is evil aligned etc. Since Pathfinder assumes an objective universal alignment system you can assume that all your NPCs share the same standard. You don't need to modify it for historic or other reasons.

2) There is no way of comparing Pathfinder intelligence scores to real world intelligence. Einstein may have an intelligence score of 20 or 40, who knows? You could make reasonable arguments for both. You don't really need to be precise in how you interpret each score, however if you want a particular character to appear intelligent just metagame like you suggested. It does work.

Edited: to remove insulting content.

Liberty's Edge

HyperMissingno wrote:
There's another issue that pops up, though only with NPCs that have crazy high int (22+) like archmages. I'm not sure how to run them being that smart without them metagaming. Am I supposed to give them standard genre savviness or go above that? I'd go with experience or just copy what I see in media but from my experience nobody carries that high of an int stat that isn't The Doctor from Doctor Who.

Ooh, this I can actually help with. At least somewhat. Other super smart people in media off the top of my head:

Hannibal Lecter.
Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish, Tyrion Lannister, and Varys from Game of Thrones.
Tony Stark.
Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty.
Raymond Reddington on The Blacklist.
Fitz and Simmons on Agents of SHIELD.
Walter White on Breaking Bad.
Nathan Ford from Leverage.

Basically all of these people would have Int scores in the 20s in Pathfinder (or, at least, are equivalently smarter than those around them), though none are likely as smart as The Doctor (who'd have an Int in the 30s at least).


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Boomerang Nebula wrote:
HyperMissingno wrote:
There's another issue that pops up, though only with NPCs that have crazy high int (22+) like archmages. I'm not sure how to run them being that smart without them metagaming. Am I supposed to give them standard genre savviness or go above that? I'd go with experience or just copy what I see in media but from my experience nobody carries that high of an int stat that isn't The Doctor from Doctor Who.

Can I offer some advice?

1) For alignment I recommend you simply make your own moral standard the default objective standard. Whatever you think is good is good aligned, whatever you believe is an evil deed is evil aligned etc. Since Pathfinder assumes an objective universal alignment system you can assume that all your NPCs share the same standard. You don't need to modify it for historic or other reasons.

And my advice is never, ever, do this.


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Boomerang Nebula wrote:
1) For alignment I recommend you simply make your own moral standard the default objective standard. Whatever you think is good is good aligned, whatever you believe is an evil deed is evil aligned etc. Since Pathfinder assumes an objective universal alignment system you can assume that all your NPCs share the same standard. You don't need to modify it for historic or other reasons.

That is... extremely unwise, for a few reasons. There's no way for you to satisfactorily communicate all of your opinions to the people you're playing with, for whom this has direct mechanical ramifications, and means you have to go through the bestiary with a red pen and change all the outsiders. It's also prone to being highly specific to certain situations and variable, whereas current alignment rules run on broad strokes that are very easy to define (for example hurting, killing, and oppressing is evil- if you are not doing those things then whatever you're doing is not evil). It's also inconsistent, and as campaigns progress means the meaning of alignments will change as your own moral code changes (because nobody goes through their whole life without changing opinions on subjects).

Reasons why this is a really, really bad idea go on. Please reconsider.


Aratrok wrote:
Boomerang Nebula wrote:
1) For alignment I recommend you simply make your own moral standard the default objective standard. Whatever you think is good is good aligned, whatever you believe is an evil deed is evil aligned etc. Since Pathfinder assumes an objective universal alignment system you can assume that all your NPCs share the same standard. You don't need to modify it for historic or other reasons.

That is... extremely unwise, for a few reasons. There's no way for you to satisfactorily communicate all of your opinions to the people you're playing with, for whom this has direct mechanical ramifications, and means you have to go through the bestiary with a red pen and change all the outsiders. It's also prone to being highly specific to certain situations and variable, whereas current alignment rules run on broad strokes that are very easy to define (for example hurting, killing, and oppressing is evil- if you are not doing those things then whatever you're doing is not evil). It's also inconsistent, and as campaigns progress means the meaning of alignments will change as your own moral code changes (because nobody goes through their whole life without changing opinions on subjects).

Reasons why this is a really, really bad idea go on. Please reconsider.

You are entitled to your opinion but I think you are wrong. It is far better to assume a modern value system, like your own, than a historic one: or do you think it is okay to run a racist, sexist, homophobic game? Because they were all absolutely acceptable up until modern times.


Boomerang Nebula wrote:
VargrBoartusk wrote:
Klara Meison wrote:

>Is optimising characters actually suboptimal?

What kind of loaded question is that? Before anyone can decide if something is "suboptimal", you first have to define the criterion for which you are optimising, because "optimal" thing is just a thing that has a minimum(or a maximum) of that criterion. E.g. damage per round, or fun per second, or thrown bears per minute, or whatever. You can't "optimise" in general.

So, OP, what is your criterion?

Whatever it was before it is now thrown bears per minute. Full stop.
What's the range increment for a thrown bear?

Keep laughing. 140 to 1000 feet. https://www.reddit.com/r/Pathfinder_RPG/comments/2o7rn8/minmax_nonsense_har ry_tosser_tosser_of_bears/


Boomerang Nebula wrote:
Aratrok wrote:
Boomerang Nebula wrote:
1) For alignment I recommend you simply make your own moral standard the default objective standard. Whatever you think is good is good aligned, whatever you believe is an evil deed is evil aligned etc. Since Pathfinder assumes an objective universal alignment system you can assume that all your NPCs share the same standard. You don't need to modify it for historic or other reasons.

That is... extremely unwise, for a few reasons. There's no way for you to satisfactorily communicate all of your opinions to the people you're playing with, for whom this has direct mechanical ramifications, and means you have to go through the bestiary with a red pen and change all the outsiders. It's also prone to being highly specific to certain situations and variable, whereas current alignment rules run on broad strokes that are very easy to define (for example hurting, killing, and oppressing is evil- if you are not doing those things then whatever you're doing is not evil). It's also inconsistent, and as campaigns progress means the meaning of alignments will change as your own moral code changes (because nobody goes through their whole life without changing opinions on subjects).

Reasons why this is a really, really bad idea go on. Please reconsider.

You are entitled to your opinion but I think you are wrong. It is far better to assume a modern value system, like your own, than a historic one: or do you think it is okay to run a racist, sexist, homophobic game? Because they were all absolutely acceptable up until modern times.

I am not going to engage you. I am reporting this post. I urge others not to engage in any further flaming posts.


Boomerang Nebula wrote:
Aratrok wrote:
Boomerang Nebula wrote:
1) For alignment I recommend you simply make your own moral standard the default objective standard. Whatever you think is good is good aligned, whatever you believe is an evil deed is evil aligned etc. Since Pathfinder assumes an objective universal alignment system you can assume that all your NPCs share the same standard. You don't need to modify it for historic or other reasons.

That is... extremely unwise, for a few reasons. There's no way for you to satisfactorily communicate all of your opinions to the people you're playing with, for whom this has direct mechanical ramifications, and means you have to go through the bestiary with a red pen and change all the outsiders. It's also prone to being highly specific to certain situations and variable, whereas current alignment rules run on broad strokes that are very easy to define (for example hurting, killing, and oppressing is evil- if you are not doing those things then whatever you're doing is not evil). It's also inconsistent, and as campaigns progress means the meaning of alignments will change as your own moral code changes (because nobody goes through their whole life without changing opinions on subjects).

Reasons why this is a really, really bad idea go on. Please reconsider.

You are entitled to your opinion but I think you are wrong. It is far better to assume a modern value system, like your own, than a historic one: or do you think it is okay to run a racist, sexist, homophobic game? Because they were all absolutely acceptable up until modern times.

In character, yes, that is perfectly fine. Racism, for example, is a huge fantasy trope. Its even codified in the Pathfinder rules in some ways, such as with the racial enemy traits.


Aratrok wrote:
Boomerang Nebula wrote:
1) For alignment I recommend you simply make your own moral standard the default objective standard. Whatever you think is good is good aligned, whatever you believe is an evil deed is evil aligned etc. Since Pathfinder assumes an objective universal alignment system you can assume that all your NPCs share the same standard. You don't need to modify it for historic or other reasons.

That is... extremely unwise, for a few reasons. There's no way for you to satisfactorily communicate all of your opinions to the people you're playing with, for whom this has direct mechanical ramifications, and means you have to go through the bestiary with a red pen and change all the outsiders. It's also prone to being highly specific to certain situations and variable, whereas current alignment rules run on broad strokes that are very easy to define (for example hurting, killing, and oppressing is evil- if you are not doing those things then whatever you're doing is not evil). It's also inconsistent, and as campaigns progress means the meaning of alignments will change as your own moral code changes (because nobody goes through their whole life without changing opinions on subjects).

Reasons why this is a really, really bad idea go on. Please reconsider.

Also when a conflict of morality occurs then things get real hairy.

For example: Town is slowly being poisoned by something. Town treated you as outcasts earlier and refused to open up to you until you proved yourselves not to be a threat. They tell you about a cave that has the thing you came to this town to look for. In the cave you find the souce of the poison.
You can
A: Fix it
B: Tell them about it so they can fix it
C: Don't talk about it

As a DM I counted C an evil act. Two of my players considered C a neutral act and did not like that I bumped their alignment in response to that event.


Boomerang Nebula wrote:

Can I offer some advice?

1) For alignment I recommend you simply make your own moral standard the default objective standard. Whatever you think is good is good aligned, whatever you believe is an evil deed is evil aligned etc. Since Pathfinder assumes an objective universal alignment system you can assume that all your NPCs share the same standard. You don't need to modify it for historic or other reasons.

Just gonna third the points against this. On top of the issues already raised, I'll point out that people tend to take their personal moral stances far more seriously than they do any game-defined objective standard.

That's not to mention that a lot of people will have at least one or two issues where they're a bit out of step with norms. Like one guy I knew who was generally pretty nice and level-headed, but really hated hunting. If he were GMing a game, would that turn making Survival checks to find food into an evil act? Or, to get into more dangerous territory, what if the GM demands that any non-hetero-normative characters be evil-aligned because that's their personal moral belief?


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Boomerang Nebula wrote:
You are entitled to your opinion but I think you are wrong. It is far better to assume a modern value system, like your own, than a historic one: or do you think it is okay to run a racist, sexist, homophobic game? Because they were all absolutely acceptable up until modern times.

Wtf are you talking about? What is racist, sexist, and homophobic about

Alignment wrote:
Good Good implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.

or

Evil wrote:
Evil Evil implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master.

I am totally baffled. Can you give me a citation of something like that in the alignment rules...?


I think you are taking what I said out of context and turning this whole thing into a storm within teacup. My advice was specifically for HyperMissingno and was addressing the question as to what to do about historic value systems when it comes to alignment.

Most people who play Pathfinder have modern sensibilities, so assume a modern value system that they are comfortable with, better to do that than make us some fantasy one or use an outdated historic one which is much more likely to offend people.


Aratrok wrote:
Boomerang Nebula wrote:
You are entitled to your opinion but I think you are wrong. It is far better to assume a modern value system, like your own, than a historic one: or do you think it is okay to run a racist, sexist, homophobic game? Because they were all absolutely acceptable up until modern times.

Wtf are you talking about? What is racist, sexist, and homophobic about

Alignment wrote:
Good Good implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.

or

Evil wrote:
Evil Evil implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master.
I am totally baffled. Can you give me a citation of something like that in the alignment rules...?

Okay maybe I wasn't clear. I am suggesting that you use your own moral code as in you Aratrok, which I am 100% confident would match perfectly with the alignment rules because I have no doubt you are a moral person. The alignment rules match very well will the modern concept of what is right and wrong so no conflict there either.

It is far better to adopt that as your universal alignment code than some out of touch but historically accurate moral code that would offend modern sensibilities.

I was not implying that you were: sexist, racist or homophobic I was implying that you were none of these things and that is why you should find the idea of using historic moral systems repugnant.


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I just want to know what any of this had to do with 'historical moral codes' when we're talking about alignment rules. It seems like a completely pointless non-sequitur.


Aratrok wrote:
I just want to know what any of this had to do with 'historical moral codes' when we're talking about alignment rules. It seems like a completely pointless non-sequitur.

I was addressing this post.

HyperMissingno wrote:


Right, let me make this 100% clear for you.

I'm saying it's hard for me as someone who lives in a modern era to remember how to act like someone in the middle ages where life is short, medical science isn't making everyone live to old age, there's violence all around, not everyone can read or has access to a library, you starting to get it? Even if they somehow have objective morality spelled out to them they're still living in an entirely different world with different rules and sometimes it's hard to remember which of our rules apply and which don't.

Note that this is on top of not getting normal modern humans. It took me years to figure out expressions and tone and I'm still learning how social interactions work outside of niche groups (and good gods are those f*++ers inconsistent and picky in those things.) It doesn't help that I isolated myself from normal humans as much as I could in my middle school and high school days and that there's no basic instruction booklet or dialogue options on the screen to handle them.

And the subsequent one from the same person. Does that clarify things for you?


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No, not really. I guess it means historical moral codes were the sequitur, but it still makes no sense and the advice is still harmful to gameplay and friendships.

Liberty's Edge

Which is always strange to me as D&D was and is and never meant to be historical take on the Middle Ages. Even Alignment it's not meant to be a modern code to leave by now or then. Frankly I find it too open ended and wish their was clear and concise rules as to what a player can or cannot do at the table. Espcially for Paladins.

Player A: I know your a Paladin but nothing in the code requires you to commit suicide

Player B: (insisting on playing a Lawful Stupid Paladin) No we must wake our opponent. It outguns and can kill us easily but to use any unfair advantage is not heroic...CHAAARGE!!!

Player A and the rest of the players (Sigh)

Not to mention the default setting is not set in the modern day. It has slavery. A country that run by Outsiders. Another by Undead. Those who control those countries are not thinking nor treating their subjects the way the would be treated in the current world.

Racism,sexist,homophobia were and are unfortuantely still a problem. Those three are reduced in the modern world. They still exist. Racial groups still suffer racism. Sexism is low but it's not gone. Homophobia still exists as well. It's not something that was only prevalent during the Middle Ages.


Golarion are truly "PG-13 edgy".

But for the best. Actual real life dark subjects can easily take you out of the happy go fantasy escapism.

Liberty's Edge

Envall wrote:

Golarion are truly "PG-13 edgy".

But for the best. Actual real life dark subjects can easily take you out of the happy go fantasy escapism.

Uh...have you actually read any of the APs? Those go hard R pretty readily and rapidly upon occasion.

And some setting books dabble in doing so too.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Envall wrote:

Golarion are truly "PG-13 edgy".

But for the best. Actual real life dark subjects can easily take you out of the happy go fantasy escapism.

Uh...have you actually read any of the APs? Those go hard R pretty readily and rapidly upon occasion.

And some setting books dabble in doing so too.

Curious

Which setting books do you refer to?


Insain Dragoon wrote:
Aratrok wrote:
Boomerang Nebula wrote:
1) For alignment I recommend you simply make your own moral standard the default objective standard. Whatever you think is good is good aligned, whatever you believe is an evil deed is evil aligned etc. Since Pathfinder assumes an objective universal alignment system you can assume that all your NPCs share the same standard. You don't need to modify it for historic or other reasons.

That is... extremely unwise, for a few reasons. There's no way for you to satisfactorily communicate all of your opinions to the people you're playing with, for whom this has direct mechanical ramifications, and means you have to go through the bestiary with a red pen and change all the outsiders. It's also prone to being highly specific to certain situations and variable, whereas current alignment rules run on broad strokes that are very easy to define (for example hurting, killing, and oppressing is evil- if you are not doing those things then whatever you're doing is not evil). It's also inconsistent, and as campaigns progress means the meaning of alignments will change as your own moral code changes (because nobody goes through their whole life without changing opinions on subjects).

Reasons why this is a really, really bad idea go on. Please reconsider.

Also when a conflict of morality occurs then things get real hairy.

For example: Town is slowly being poisoned by something. Town treated you as outcasts earlier and refused to open up to you until you proved yourselves not to be a threat. They tell you about a cave that has the thing you came to this town to look for. In the cave you find the souce of the poison.
You can
A: Fix it
B: Tell them about it so they can fix it
C: Don't talk about it

As a DM I counted C an evil act. Two of my players considered C a neutral act and did not like that I bumped their alignment in response to that event.

I agree with PCs, Look at your choices:

A: Fix it (Good deed, you are helping another)
B: Tell them about it so they can fix it (neutral, not your problem)
C: Don't talk about it (Neutral, Again not your problem)
d. You missed D, Lie. (Evil, making them think it is fixed but isn't would be evil because you then actively causing/prolonging harm)

How does not talk about it cause you to be evil? Did you forget the Neutral alignment?


Exactly! Thabk you for proving my point :)

I still consider C evil. Just because something isn't directly your problem doesn't mean it's not worth solving. You can't call yourself good or neutral while allowing hundreds of innocents to die because "I thought they were a jerk."

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