How far much should one dedicate to flavor and rp, over mechanics?


Advice


I have a character, that is supposed to be an amazing strings player (perform strings of course). Come next level, I could dedicate my feat and a class ability to get it to +30 (+32 w/ masterwork instrument). At this stage of the game, I have more mechanically useful options, and really all I get out of having such a high perform is occasional RP fun.

In a situation like this, would you go with flavor and rp over mechanical usefulness? Or the other way around?


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I usually go for flavor and RP over mechanical usefulness, but its all a balancing act. Is your character's goal to be the best strings player in the world (and perhaps others)?

If so, dedicate as many resources to it as you can.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

It seems to me that your character probably already is an amazing strings players. You don't say what you will have without the feat and class ability, but I expect it is above +20 in any event.

With numbers like that, you don't have any need to devote more mechanics to the flavor you describe.

Also if you as a player see that you have more mechanically useful options, then I would expect your character would see the same, and is behaving in a manner that not only doesn't justify a pure focus on one skill, but doing so is likely not really justified as being 'in character.'

I presume you are looking at alternatives that are useful in combat, which means your character, despite being an incredible strings player, doesn't spend the focus of their time in concert halls just performing, instead he chooses to go out and have adventures and face evil. He isn't just a great strings player, he is other things as well, and to be realistic and 'in character' some of his focus mechanically should be in other areas just as some of his focus in how he lives is in other areas.

Liberty's Edge

Depends on a lot of things.

Two that immediately leaps to mind are these:

Are you the most effective PC in the group, or the least?

Does your group regularly run into problems in combat encounters, or are they usually pretty easy? This one's especially relevant in a published adventure.

See, if you're already breezing through a published adventure, extra optimization is probably not super necessary, unless a lack of it will put you way behind the other PCs and make you feel ineffective in comparison.

The only ways optimization is relevant is in comparison to the other PCs and the things you fight. The numbers mean nothing in and of themselves.

So basically, are you optimized enough that you'll still have fun in combat and be effective and on par with others in the group even if you focus on your Perform? If you are, go Perform. If not, then don't.


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As long as your still strong enough mechanically that you keep up with your group then it's fine.


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Perform DC 30 : Extraordinary performance. In a prosperous city, you can earn 3d6 gp/day. In time, you may draw attention from distant patrons, or even from extraplanar beings.

So if you have a +20 that means you can take 10 and perform so well that other planes are taking notice. Take 10 is something you can do basically all the time. This means that you're known basically everywhere at a +20.

A 25 is a Memorable performance. In a prosperous city, you can earn 1d6 gp/day. In time, you may come to the attention of noble patrons and develop a national reputation.

So a +15 gets you famous withing a nation. So you're a pop star, a radio singer. People know YOU.

and a 20 is a Great performance. In a prosperous city, you can earn 3d10 sp/day. In time, you may be invited to join a professional troupe and may develop a regional reputation.

So even just a +10 means that you're good enough that the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra would come ask you to join. People know the group you play for.

So my guess, you're already good enough to be called an amazing strings player


I once played a bard where I kept perform (tea) maxed out at every level.

And I think that's all the answer you need.


Interesting. Thanks for the suggestions everyone. It gives quite a bit to consider.

The character is meant to be a prodigy, almost compulsively humble, able to play strings as good, if not better than most, but when applauded he'd say it wasn't good enough.

I'm in the +21 to +23 range right now depending on if I have a masterwork instrument so if I hit a 17-20, I'm hitting 40 and up. My DMs added RP for going this far with it, having my character meet a Lillend who loved his music, which confused my character as he wasn't even on the same plane (she apparently could hear his heart in the music from her plane). She said she'd probably come some way or another to play alongside him if he played with his heart (hitting 40 on the roll).

Anyways, I digress. It's a good point to take into consideration the campaign, and it's a custom, quite dangerous one. So, there's a good chance I'll just go with the 22 SR I can get next level (9th). Our mage doesn't dole out many party buffs, and me and my cohort use supernatural abilities most of the time, so I can still get those buffing me I think. Might be the way to go.

Thanks again everyone.


Third Mind wrote:
I'm in the +21 to +23 range right now depending on if I have a masterwork instrument so if I hit a 17-20, I'm hitting 40 and up. My DMs added RP for going this far with it, having my character meet a Lillend who loved his music, which confused my character as he wasn't even on the same plane (she apparently could hear his heart in the music from her plane). She said she'd probably come some way or another to play alongside him if he played with his heart (hitting 40 on the roll).

Something to keep in mind: Lillends themselves only have +16 Perform, so you're already better at it than they are.


As others have said beyond a certain level it is largely irrelevant, HOWEVER as your character has dedicated themselves to the study of their instrument I would probably suggest a common human aim in the real world would be t be as good as they possibly can be. So in this case roleplaying may support absolute maximisation. The same argument could go for any field of study in theory also, e.g. sword play or magic.

The Exchange

Depends on how much optimisation the campaign requires. SR is a double edged sword when it comes to using clw wands, though 11+ CL is quite competitive...


If the character is still fun to play outside of performance checks then you should feel free to continue focusing on strings. If you find that level things get rough and you wish you had instead taken some more combat/survivability features instead then ask the GM to retrain and RP it as a reality check and the character finds a need to harden their self to survive in the world. This can also add to the character as they come to resent the threats in their life that prevent them from pursuing their music. It makes a more nuanced character i think and creates a plot hook for that lillend to become interested in your well being now that something is interfering with your "musical destiny"


Halinn wrote:
Third Mind wrote:
I'm in the +21 to +23 range right now depending on if I have a masterwork instrument so if I hit a 17-20, I'm hitting 40 and up. My DMs added RP for going this far with it, having my character meet a Lillend who loved his music, which confused my character as he wasn't even on the same plane (she apparently could hear his heart in the music from her plane). She said she'd probably come some way or another to play alongside him if he played with his heart (hitting 40 on the roll).
Something to keep in mind: Lillends themselves only have +16 Perform, so you're already better at it than they are.

Well, he's only better that the base Lillend. The one he's talking with may have bard levels on top of that.


Balancing RP flavor and mechanics is always something to pay attention to. I had a player in my last campaign that played an egotistical Ranger. "Surely you've heard of me! No? Of course you haaave." Was a great character, caused a lot of relevant story events to happen. However, he focused statistics and skills more on the personality of the character. Which was all fine half the time, but when it came time to fight, he was under performing a good deal. And though he said otherwise, it certainly seemed that he was annoyed by this aspect.

To me, you can totally make a build a character with, well... character, and make it work both RP wise and mechanically. But its something that needs balance. I hate seeing players that stop having fun when the night shifts over to an aspect they're not set up for because they focused too heavily on flavor or beating the living tar out of the monsters.


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I think in this case, where your amazing strings player is already good enough to win a fiddle of gold against your soul, any more points put into perform strings would be largely unnecessary even for RP.

Unless you happen to know that strings playing will be both super difficult and super important for upcoming campaign challenges (such as a character of mines +27 to Profession Sailor, but knowledge that we will be sailing into the Eye of Abendego in the near future) I would suggest that you go with the mechanically superior options.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

I'd say you're debating whether to cross the line from "one of the best in the world" to "one of the best that ever was." If the latter accolade is your goal, then pile as many bonuses on there as you can. If "among the best in the world" is sufficient, then invest mechanical options elsewhere.


My friend, the two need not be exclusive.

If you wish to further your mechanical prowess, do so. If you wish to boost your art, there are other ways. Do you have a follower to act as your manager and hype man? Do you have any other performers to back you up for those aid another checks? Do you own (or know the owner of) a grand stage to offer good acoustics and seating for a large audiance? Nevermind the plentiful options when 8t comes to noble patrons.

Once your numbers are in a comfortable place, you have plenty of options to get creative with the presentation.


If you're a bard, you play those strings to do all of your Bardic stuff. RP and sickening effectiveness combined.

Scarab Sages

It sounds like your GM has taken notice of the points you're putting into the performance part of your build, and is laying the groundwork for some kind of RP award or event when you finally hit a performance check of 40 - so you may want to make at least some effort in that direction, although how long you want it to take for your character to get to that point is up to you.


Have we all forgotten the hidden gem that is

Versatile Performance (Ex) ???

"At 2nd level, a bard can choose one type of Perform skill. He can use his bonus in that skill in place of his bonus in associated skills. When substituting in this way, the bard uses his total Perform skill bonus, including class skill bonus, in place of its associated skill's bonus, whether or not he has ranks in that skill or if it is a class skill. At 6th level, and every 4 levels thereafter, the bard can select an additional type of Perform to substitute."

String (Bluff, Diplomacy)

So OP's build is not as crazy as it seems, it is equivalent to putting all your skill ranks into diplomacy or bluff.

so from a mechanical perspective, he is just playing a face REALLY well, along with some nice flavor to boot.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I would go for what brings the most fun for the whole table, GM and yourself included.

Let's face it, you know your group far better than we do ;-)

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