For the OP haters


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Silver Crusade

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Wise Old Man wrote:
We're not your subsequents, don't rationalize me with a bigot mindset.

What the heck is that supposed to mean?


Wise Old Man wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Wise Old Man wrote:
Tyinyk wrote:
A book focusing on the real people playing the game is not a book I would buy. I think Paizo should stick to game content.
Player character's is game content. The first one taught player's how to play the game. The second one could be for rule sets for OP's and GM's and such. Make's perfect sense.

OP is subjective so that won't work. As an example I have run games for well optimized parties and to be put nicely, a group or two that forced me to run the game on easy mode or they would have died.

Both of those groups thought they were the baseline for "average" level play.

People can be sensitive, so if Paizo says _____ is the standard someone will take it as an insult. It is basically them saying "If you don't play like this you are doing it wrong", and that is not the attitude Paizo wants to promote.

An example of this is a post I made a while back explaining that it is better to prevent healing than make a character who does nothing but heal. Someone took what I said completely out of context, and even after I explained it they stayed mad at me. Eventually I realized they saw it as me saying "your playstyle sucks", and I was saying "this is more efficient". The same thing will happen with Paizo telling people what a baseline is, and how to get to that baseline.

As far as "how to do __", there are strategy guides here which teach optimization, and I don't mean "how to solo boss encounters". The idea is to just help people make useful characters, and some people complain about those.

Your heart is in a good place, but your idea of what is a problem is not really a problem that can be solved with a book.

PS: I am still waiting on your ideas to fix these problems. <----Just in case you forgot.

I've already explained three of my solutions. I don't have it in book form, if you're looking for thorough analysis of what I mean. I don't know what other affirmation you need from me.

I believe some...

I wasn't asking you to write a book. The book referernce was about your idea that Paizo should write a book.

As for your idea to solve these problems I have not seen them. I saw your ideas of how things should be, but nothing as far how to solve the problem that can work across the board with regard to incompatibility.


Wise Old Man wrote:
knightnday wrote:

It would give a foundation for people to argue about, much like they do now. Ironing out "over powered" will leave many sides debating if Paizo is correct, what about this corner case, are you saying I am bad, and so on. It's a no win scenario for them.

I cannot see this book selling well, considering the way that the Strategy Guide was talked about when it was suggested. This sort of thing would likely appeal to a very small market, not one that I'm confident that could justify the expenditure.

If nothing else, perhaps you could set up a Kickstarter to do a game neutral version if it is a subject close to your heart, and find others who feel the same to contribute. For me, I'd rather Paizo's work hours go towards books that will be of more general use.

It's interesting how you say general use, but yet there is optimizer's around every corner.

Define optimizer.


I will refrain from posting on this topic again. Obviously the opposition agrees more against it. I don't have all the answers. Sorry for wasting everyone's time. Have a good day.


Wise Old Man wrote:

*puts a brick in a glove and slaps Johnnycat with it*

I challenge you to a dual!
*shakes out the shattered remains*

...what? I don't know what qualifies as a written duel. PM me?

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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My views, so thus, mileage varies greatly.

Everyone I know of optimizes somewhat, unless they let someone else build their character. Even making choices such as moving to flank is optimizing slightly. Putting a 13 into Dex so you can put a 15 into Strength because you're going melee? Optimizing. Deciding to take Self Sufficient because you want a better Survival check? Optimizing. Everything to do with building a character is optimizing, at its core, but most people don't consider it to be optimizing. They reserve that title for people who try to push the numbers to extremes, which isn't entirely fair.

Now, I've had major-league optimizers in my groups before (I'm almost always the GM). One in an Epic Level campaign I ran in 3.5, and she swapped characters every time her character failed a single thing. She was what I considered a powergamer, or in terms that were used at the time, a munchkin. If she had thought I would've allowed it, she would've played Pun-Pun. But quite honestly, several times I had to bluntly tell her not to build a character because it wouldn't be fair to the other players who had already filled a particular niche, and she was going to abandon the character in 2 sessions anyway. It wasn't entirely fair to the other players that I allowed her to get away with everything I did, but I was also 20 years old, and everyone was older than me, and me being non-confrontational about things.

On the other hand, if everyone is optimizing to approximately the same degree, it can be a blast. In the Wrath of the Righteous campaign I finished last year, this was the case. Everyone tended to nuke things hard. In one instance, the party went up against a tarn linnorm. Those who have played the campaign will recognize the encounter, likely as not. 385 hit points, Regen 15/cold iron...a fairly tough foe, that they'd noticed ahead of time, while the linnorm was napping. Any single player could probably have soloed the fight, but they did a bunch of prep, and the halfling swashbuckler/Champion performed an alpha strike. In the opening round, he did over 700 damage in his full-attack after the move, all but doubling the hit points of the monster. It was hilarious, and the party had a blast.

But everyone in that group was optimized to about that degree. If he'd been the only one, like a character in one of the first campaigns I played in had been, and the GM was compensating for the one character...it would have been like the classic of Angel Summoner and BMX Bandit. But if you've got a party of BMX Bandits, and one Angel Summoner...isn't it more fair to either step down the high-powered character, or go to just the lower-level groups?

But all of that is my opinion. Too many variables, and pretending that all power gamers are innocent isn't fair. Most of them are innocent, don't get me wrong! But most of the toxic players I've encountered are also power gamers. It isn't fair to paint them all with the same brush, though. Remember, people...try to talk to people. Make sure you're all on the same page before feelings get hurt.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, we already had a "Paizo needs to write a "How To Deal With High-Power Games/High Levels" book" thread a few months in the past. With ever more exotic hardcovers coming out now, maybe there is space for such a book. Maybe in two years, when the last drops are squeezed out of this edition of the game. ^^


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Johnnycat93 wrote:
Jason Wedel wrote:
Johnnycat93 wrote:
In the grand scheme of TTRPGs, Pathfinder characters are actually on a pretty short leash. There's games out there where a wild power gamer can really mess things up.
In Champions I can destroy the world on about 3 Character points (Average Starting character has 400)
In RIFTS you can have a Cosmo Knight with faster than light travel in the same party as a Barmaid.

That's because the Barmaid will be throwing bear mugs that explode with the force of a tactical nuke.

There are times when Rifts plays a lot like Raven McCracken's Synnibarr.


Wise Old Man wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:

I think a lot of people are used to playing a certain way and they assume that way is the correct way.

Not all people are compatible as players, but unless someone is being intentionally obtuse in order to bend the rules, which I don't think most people do, I don't think making powerful character makes them bad players. I do think it could mean that some people are better off not playing together.

It sounds good to say "just play together anyway", but for reasons many all over these boards it is not that simple.

I think you're taking the game from something that people can enjoy publicly into a personal vendetta.

I am sorry I did not read the entire group of posts but I would have to say that your (Wise Old Man) comment really struck me.

Note: I am commenting based on your first two posts and trying to be polite as possible.
It seems you are arguing that people should be ok with the build you put together and just deal with it. In some groups in which games and PC are very transient that might fly but often I have seen in long term games this type of PC is a problem.
I have even seen people leave groups because of it, which goes back to different play styles comment in the second post.

From you reply it also seems as if you are just trying to start a flame war and not interested in peoples opinions but you just wanted to post to see if you get an positive feedback to support your own view of what is right.

Good Luck.
MDC


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Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
That's because the Barmaid will be throwing bear mugs that explode with the force of a tactical nuke.

O_o


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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
HeHateMe wrote:

Broken characters can certainly be a problem that can ruin everyone's fun (except the guy playing the broken character). However, I find that many players and GMs don't have enough system mastery to know what's actually OP and what's simply above average.

The issue is that it's difficult to find consensus on what "broken" is. If you have a table full of people playing sub-par characters, then even an average character can seem broken by comparison.

I've actually had to leave two separate campaigns because the GM nerfed my characters into oblivion, even though most of the players agreed with me that my characters were actually below average performers. Each time it was one or two particular players that cried "OP" and unfortunately they had the GM's ear. The other players did not. When you have a below average character that gets nerfed even more, it becomes unplayable.

I've been on the GM side of this, and generally when i notice something as OP, I do a careful audit, asking them what their character's expected DPR is, like what buffs they plan to have on most of the time. I then compare this to how many rounds it will take to kill a CR, then CR+2 average creature. If I find a dependency, I then look through their options to find out what is causing this. I then ask them to exchange the option for something else. Usually it's a single feat that meshed well in a specific way for unpredicted resonance with other options.

Generally it comes from allow 3pp, where different 3pp feats do about the same thing and unfortunately stack.

basically when nerfing a character you need to perform a careful audit, so far only 1 time I had to interrupt a game to deal with something OP, and that was like 3d6/level maximized non sense. compare to that I think most options are pretty okay.


JosMartigan wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
Tyinyk wrote:

I always find it interesting that people draw a hard line between character optimization and deep roleplaying. It's very possible to have both, and I daresay is how the game is meant to be played, to a certain degree.

Remember, it is both a role-playing game, and a role-playing game. They're equal, not opposite.

The line generally comes when a cheesy build comes out that makes no sense thematically.
My frustration with "optimization" (really just power gaming) is when 1 level dips are done for the sake of mechanics; no role-playing, no justification within the base character concept, or are just given half-hearted "role-playing" for the duration of time it takes to get the level then forget about keeping up that aspect of the character ever again. I'm dubious about 1 level dips in general (especially if it's fighter for a feat, rogue for skill points/skill options, and casters so they have access to a spell they need for a feat+spell+feature combo that makes them ridiculous at 3rd or 4th level)

Funny you say that considering I was just looking to dip into alchemist for the Long Arms spell.


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wraithstrike wrote:
Another thing is that his GM's only allowing Paizo related products is not a Paizo problem. He needs to educate his GM's. Many of Paizo's products are written by freelancers such as the members of this forum, so they are already using things not created by Paizo, when they buy Pathfinder products. Some of the monsters in the AP's are even taken from other 3PP companies.

I view Paizo as a curator more than anything else. Paizo isn't perfect, but there 3rd party stuff is way more likely to be broken and as a GM I would have to do a lot more vetting to keep 3rd party stuff balanced.


Also I forgot to add that in general I see nothing wrong with making the best PC you can with in the rules set by your group for PC creation and advancement. ie if you have to have a valid reason to buy/learn a feat vs it is in the book so I am taking it or you have to buy skills/feats/abilities/equipment based on your PC and the story and not just I want this because it is the best.

I would also like to say that I think the way a question or comment if phrased can tell you a lot.
For example: A GM says I am throwing giants at the party because I want to break there equipment vs a GM saying the group is going up against giants and I think some of there equipment is going to break.
The first example is a GM excited about breaking equipment and IMHO is viewing the game as if he was a player and the group (players) were the ones to be defeated. And the second is a GM telling a story and thinking about what might happen.

I have also had the pleasure of playing with a person who try's to make a PC to break a GM and or the game, which often meant he was mad that his concept was not approved or when audited did not pass audit. And also eventually lead to them being not invited to be a player other games.
So I guess it is the intent of the optimization that is the biggest concern for me.
MDC

The Exchange

Wise Old Man wrote:
...I'm not going to keep repeating myself in other words to please your questions or answers...

Too late!


Most RPGs I have played have rules for dealing with problem players. That could range from a player hogging the GMs time to outright cheating. Most games that actually had classes they always suggested if a class was unliked or too powerful, like the Cosmo Knight Ban it. Most in fact stated the whole point of playing was to have fun.
I'm reading several posts stating Optimizing should be banned and players who do this banned as well. Isn't this bullying? As a GM I have played with power gamers and most times I don't have a real issue with them. They want to win and tend to hog the spotlight but are not the overall problem. It's the cheaters or those who think it's more fun to disrupt the campaign more then actually play. I've banned Chaotic Neutral Alignment because every player I have ran into that plays this alignment screws up the campaign and then says I'm playing my alignment. They are the first to scream foul when something doesn't go their way. They'd rather stop the game and argue their point no matter how wrong they might be. They are unwilling to let a matter drop until after the game to discuss it. Our group has had three campaigns end after the first session because of these problem players. Even if they actually prove right, I think once they were, they continue to whine, complain and argue to where everyone else but them is frustrated and wants nothing more then quit for the day. We have actually lost a couple of players because of them.


johnlocke90 wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Another thing is that his GM's only allowing Paizo related products is not a Paizo problem. He needs to educate his GM's. Many of Paizo's products are written by freelancers such as the members of this forum, so they are already using things not created by Paizo, when they buy Pathfinder products. Some of the monsters in the AP's are even taken from other 3PP companies.
I view Paizo as a curator more than anything else. Paizo isn't perfect, but there 3rd party stuff is way more likely to be broken and as a GM I would have to do a lot more vetting to keep 3rd party stuff balanced.

I don't find any 3rd party stuff to be more broken or unbalanced than stuff that exists within 1st party books. And there are several publisher that manage to on average provide much less broken and more balanced products. Not that that sets the bar all that high...the core rulebooks contains some of the most broken and unbalanced option not only in Pathfinder, but in the d20 system as a whole.


johnlocke90 wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Another thing is that his GM's only allowing Paizo related products is not a Paizo problem. He needs to educate his GM's. Many of Paizo's products are written by freelancers such as the members of this forum, so they are already using things not created by Paizo, when they buy Pathfinder products. Some of the monsters in the AP's are even taken from other 3PP companies.
I view Paizo as a curator more than anything else. Paizo isn't perfect, but there 3rd party stuff is way more likely to be broken and as a GM I would have to do a lot more vetting to keep 3rd party stuff balanced.

Funny you should say that when there are 3PP that are FAR less broken and better for the game than the bulk of Paizo's offerings.

Paizo's greatest contribution to this game is the setting and Adventure Paths. PFS probably ranks highly for people who like that sort of thing [myself I can't stand the constraints of it.]


Johnnycat93 wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
That's because the Barmaid will be throwing bear mugs that explode with the force of a tactical nuke.
O_o

Yes... that was intentional... because it was Rifts.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

so after reading the whole thread, my opinion on the matter is paizo does not need to make this book. Also any efforts create this book would likely be wasted effort.

for instance someone said something about making a non-powerful rogue on purpose. I would prefer to not GM for them, because this is not the kind of game/story I enjoy enjoy running. I would try to help them make a better character and if turned down I would ask them to find another table, or if push came to shove a new GM.

there's nothing wrong with that, I just won't have fun watching or directing a character's failure.


Pan wrote:
Saldiven wrote:

The best gaming situation is one where everyone in the group is looking for the same thing. When the players all have very different ideas as to what constitutes "fun," it is really difficult to appeal to everyone.

Speaking as a 30+ year GM, it's just plain too much work to try to balance out a campaign where there are wide variations in expectation from the players. Trying to do that destroys my own fun. I used to try to do that, but it was stressful and almost never successful. So, these days, I always have a "session zero" type meeting where we hash all this kind of stuff out head of time.

This is a good view of the situation. Honestly, TTRPG is a small niche and requires group play.

This is what annoys me when people are quick to say "just find another group".

Its not trivial to find another Pathfinder group with people I want to play with.


johnlocke90 wrote:
Pan wrote:
Saldiven wrote:

The best gaming situation is one where everyone in the group is looking for the same thing. When the players all have very different ideas as to what constitutes "fun," it is really difficult to appeal to everyone.

Speaking as a 30+ year GM, it's just plain too much work to try to balance out a campaign where there are wide variations in expectation from the players. Trying to do that destroys my own fun. I used to try to do that, but it was stressful and almost never successful. So, these days, I always have a "session zero" type meeting where we hash all this kind of stuff out head of time.

This is a good view of the situation. Honestly, TTRPG is a small niche and requires group play.

This is what annoys me when people are quick to say "just find another group".

Its not trivial to find another Pathfinder group with people I want to play with.

Than maybe the answer is more flexibility on your part. The Internet has made online play the option it wasn't 5 years ago.


magnuskn wrote:
Well, we already had a "Paizo needs to write a "How To Deal With High-Power Games/High Levels" book" thread a few months in the past. With ever more exotic hardcovers coming out now, maybe there is space for such a book. Maybe in two years, when the last drops are squeezed out of this edition of the game. ^^

We got a book sort of covering that. Mythic monsters are a great way to power enemies up.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
Pan wrote:
Saldiven wrote:

The best gaming situation is one where everyone in the group is looking for the same thing. When the players all have very different ideas as to what constitutes "fun," it is really difficult to appeal to everyone.

Speaking as a 30+ year GM, it's just plain too much work to try to balance out a campaign where there are wide variations in expectation from the players. Trying to do that destroys my own fun. I used to try to do that, but it was stressful and almost never successful. So, these days, I always have a "session zero" type meeting where we hash all this kind of stuff out head of time.

This is a good view of the situation. Honestly, TTRPG is a small niche and requires group play.

This is what annoys me when people are quick to say "just find another group".

Its not trivial to find another Pathfinder group with people I want to play with.

Than maybe the answer is more flexibility on your part. The Internet has made online play the option it wasn't 5 years ago.

This. Or, worst case, you don't play for a while until you find a group that is right for you.

Sovereign Court

Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
Pan wrote:
Saldiven wrote:

The best gaming situation is one where everyone in the group is looking for the same thing. When the players all have very different ideas as to what constitutes "fun," it is really difficult to appeal to everyone.

Speaking as a 30+ year GM, it's just plain too much work to try to balance out a campaign where there are wide variations in expectation from the players. Trying to do that destroys my own fun. I used to try to do that, but it was stressful and almost never successful. So, these days, I always have a "session zero" type meeting where we hash all this kind of stuff out head of time.

This is a good view of the situation. Honestly, TTRPG is a small niche and requires group play.

This is what annoys me when people are quick to say "just find another group".

Its not trivial to find another Pathfinder group with people I want to play with.

Than maybe the answer is more flexibility on your part. The Internet has made online play the option it wasn't 5 years ago.

and if internets isnt your style you can still use it to find local gamers. Also, check out local PFS scene. Unless you live in a very rural area then you got limited options and dems da breaks.


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knightnday wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
Pan wrote:
Saldiven wrote:

The best gaming situation is one where everyone in the group is looking for the same thing. When the players all have very different ideas as to what constitutes "fun," it is really difficult to appeal to everyone.

Speaking as a 30+ year GM, it's just plain too much work to try to balance out a campaign where there are wide variations in expectation from the players. Trying to do that destroys my own fun. I used to try to do that, but it was stressful and almost never successful. So, these days, I always have a "session zero" type meeting where we hash all this kind of stuff out head of time.

This is a good view of the situation. Honestly, TTRPG is a small niche and requires group play.

This is what annoys me when people are quick to say "just find another group".

Its not trivial to find another Pathfinder group with people I want to play with.

Than maybe the answer is more flexibility on your part. The Internet has made online play the option it wasn't 5 years ago.
This. Or, worst case, you don't play for a while until you find a group that is right for you.

The last 2 responses above seem seriously disrespectful to someone who has GM'ed for 3 decades. I can vouch for the fact that finding a group that's a good fit can be extremely difficult. There are some areas where gaming is like a secret society, hidden from access. In others, people who want nothing but hack and slash or are avid power gamers have taken over.

As an older person who has played since 2nd edition and remembers leafing through the 1st edition red box, It's offensive to have other gamers tell me to stop being "so this" or "so that", meanwhile their narrow view of what gaming is, is actually as prejudiced as they are claiming I am because I like story, depth, and living breathing characters, instead of emulating video/computer or games or seeing nothing but a collection of exploitable stats and others who think the goal is to "win" the game - having a "me vs. the GM" attitude that turns into an arms race.


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JosMartigan wrote:
knightnday wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
Pan wrote:
Saldiven wrote:

The best gaming situation is one where everyone in the group is looking for the same thing. When the players all have very different ideas as to what constitutes "fun," it is really difficult to appeal to everyone.

Speaking as a 30+ year GM, it's just plain too much work to try to balance out a campaign where there are wide variations in expectation from the players. Trying to do that destroys my own fun. I used to try to do that, but it was stressful and almost never successful. So, these days, I always have a "session zero" type meeting where we hash all this kind of stuff out head of time.

This is a good view of the situation. Honestly, TTRPG is a small niche and requires group play.

This is what annoys me when people are quick to say "just find another group".

Its not trivial to find another Pathfinder group with people I want to play with.

Than maybe the answer is more flexibility on your part. The Internet has made online play the option it wasn't 5 years ago.
This. Or, worst case, you don't play for a while until you find a group that is right for you.

The last 2 responses above seem seriously disrespectful to someone who has GM'ed for 3 decades. I can vouch for the fact that finding a group that's a good fit can be extremely difficult. There are some areas where gaming is like a secret society, hidden from access. In others, people who want nothing but hack and slash or are avid power gamers have taken over.

As an older person who has played since 2nd edition and remembers leafing through the 1st edition red box, It's offensive to have other gamers tell me to stop being "so this" or "so that", meanwhile their narrow view of what gaming is, is actually as prejudiced as they are claiming I am because I like story, depth, and living breathing characters, instead of emulating video/computer or games or seeing exploitable stats and others who think the goal is to "win" the game - having a "me vs. the GM" attitude that turns into an arms race.

I wasn't being disrespectful, but rather honest and talking from experience. I've well over thirty years behind the screen myself and sometimes you cannot get a good table of people you can deal with. That isn't a hit against any poster, but rather a fact of life. A fact that happened in my life as it happens.

Now, I'm perhaps too picky or selective so that might have something to do with it. But speaking for myself, no game is better than a bad game, or a game with people I'd rather not play with for whatever reason.

So I apologize if you found my comment offensive, it wasn't my intention or desire to offend. Rather, I was giving an honest response of what myself and many others have had to endure.


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JosMartigan wrote:
As an older person who has played since 2nd edition and remembers leafing through the 1st edition red box, It's offensive to have other gamers tell me to stop being "so this" or "so that", meanwhile their narrow view of what gaming is, is actually as prejudiced as they are claiming I am because I like story, depth, and living breathing characters, instead of emulating video/computer or games or seeing exploitable stats and others who think the goal is to "win" the game - having a "me vs. the GM" attitude that turns into an arms race.

For what it's worth, an 'arms race' requires two racers. All you have to do with these players is give them what they want. Let them walk all over your encounters. If they say they want more challenge, tell them they can either follow character creation restrictions you give them, or they can 'play up' to higher CR encounters.

I know when I optimized it wasn't to 'win' so much as it was to safely crush encounters so my character could continue to experience the story we were partaking in.


Bandw2 wrote:
HeHateMe wrote:

Broken characters can certainly be a problem that can ruin everyone's fun (except the guy playing the broken character). However, I find that many players and GMs don't have enough system mastery to know what's actually OP and what's simply above average.

The issue is that it's difficult to find consensus on what "broken" is. If you have a table full of people playing sub-par characters, then even an average character can seem broken by comparison.

I've actually had to leave two separate campaigns because the GM nerfed my characters into oblivion, even though most of the players agreed with me that my characters were actually below average performers. Each time it was one or two particular players that cried "OP" and unfortunately they had the GM's ear. The other players did not. When you have a below average character that gets nerfed even more, it becomes unplayable.

I've been on the GM side of this, and generally when i notice something as OP, I do a careful audit, asking them what their character's expected DPR is, like what buffs they plan to have on most of the time. I then compare this to how many rounds it will take to kill a CR, then CR+2 average creature. If I find a dependency, I then look through their options to find out what is causing this. I then ask them to exchange the option for something else. Usually it's a single feat that meshed well in a specific way for unpredicted resonance with other options.

Generally it comes from allow 3pp, where different 3pp feats do about the same thing and unfortunately stack.

basically when nerfing a character you need to perform a careful audit, so far only 1 time I had to interrupt a game to deal with something OP, and that was like 3d6/level maximized non sense. compare to that I think most options are pretty okay.

That's a very good way to do things I think. Too many GMs just slap a player down with the nerf bat at the first complaint without even looking at the character sheet first. There are many reasons why someone might say "OP!". Maybe the person complaining is new to the system and fell into some traps when creating his character? Maybe there are ways to improve his character instead of nerfing someone else's?

Some things do need to be nerfed for the common good. It's been my experience that most GMs are too quick to punish one particular player rather than looking at overall group dynamics and group balance.


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Sometimes too I think there is a difference between optimized and exploitation ill use an analogy. For the original donkey kong there was a glich on I think its the 3rd level where you can stand in a certain spot and just continuously jump up and down to increase your score. Doesn't really require much skill at that point to get a high score just whoever has the patience to keeping jumping. This seems like a exploit of a glich. Doesn't really require much skill outside of the knowledge it exists to take advantage of it. While timing jumps knowing where to climb when to grab hammer that is more of a skill that fits with the intent of the game. So say pun pun is an exploit of the system taking advantage of a glich and i feel DM's are full in their rights if not duty bound to say NO! Unlike a video game its a little harder to make the line in pen and paper and it very well might vary from table to table based on how extreme the exploit is (pun-pun is always to extreme :P) At that point the argument is more about where do you draw the line then if there is a line. If a player makes a pc single handedly killing 4+ crs above I feel GM might have the right to complain a bit.


@knightnday I'm sorry for misjudging the statement you made. Obviously I feel strongly about this as I've been burned as a player and GM in several games by people taking advantage of mechanics that unbalanced a group. And I don't recognize emotional motivation well online (I miss sarcasm a lot, and things that seem snarky can be heart-felt and I'll totally read it the wrong way)

@kyrt-ryder The only reason I brought up the arms race analogy is because it typically involves 1 or 2 players out of an entire table that are creating this effect.
Giving them what they want may not work: many of the players I've had to deal with WANT easy foes, they want to feel like Gods and be capable of cleaving their way through thousands of creatures. it's an ego thing. I've never had a power gamer tell me (or a GM I was playing under) that a weak threat was unsatisfying. They were too busy gloating about how much damage they just did or how clever their specific combination was that they used to turn the enemy into a fine red mist .
If I create an enhanced threat, the logistics of getting the correct players to focus on the threat built for them, out of a mixed group of like enemies (normal and advanced), is exceedingly difficult without murdering the rest of the party in the process. Then you have the majority of the players pissed off that they've lost a character with so much story potential, or I lost a character I had an arc planned out for, or a character who was the focus of the current arc.


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Several years ago before my group got into Pathfinder we had a 3rd ed D&D group going. One of the players who joined us (a friend of mine before he took up gaming) was what the rest of us at the table called an over-optimiser. We don't play especially optimised characters, especially at the time, but he could only play characters that were as powerful and as strong as he could make. It got to a point where no one else at the table was happy with his style of play compared to our own.

We spoke to him away from the table and simply asked if he could tone his characters down and better match the rest of us (GM included). His reaction was simply a massive rant about how the rest of us played c**p characters and how we were forcing him to waste his time playing something he wouldn't enjoy. It caused a lot of grief and bad feeling but ultimately real world events caused him to leave the game before we had to say anything for the betterment of our game.

My point is, and I raised it with him at the time, was that if a player joins a group they should play to that group's play style. If the group doesn't over-optimise and/or the GM can't handle it then you need to either play down or, quite frankly, find another group. It's not fair to force players on either side of the problem into a play that they don't enjoy.

My personal opinion is that everyone in a group should share a similar play style if everyone is to enjoy the game.

Liberty's Edge

There is always a certain amount of optimization involved imo. While I'm not saying overshadow others at the table. Neither do I want to be the same as everyone else. If I'm a Fighter I want to do more damage then the rest of the group. Sometimes one is going to be better than some players at the table. The main problem is imo that players want their characters to do it all. The jack of all trades. Which is not that easy to do in D&D. One can do it in more generic systems like Hero System, Gurps and Savage World.

Another issue I see as well is a complete and utter lack of personal responsibility by some members in the hobby. A previous poster mentioned a a player who had a Rogue not happy that the Druid was better at finding traps. If one is going to take say 2-3 points in Perception and the other person maxing it out. One cannot really complain that their character is not as good as finding traps. Anyone with a shred of common sense should know that their character if they don't put too many skill points in a skill. Is going to be less effective than the other person who maxed out the skill.

Sometimes players players make good and bad choices during character building. Instead of assuming responsabilites for their choices blames others and call them optimizers. Sometimes it's a actual legitmate complaint. More often than not it's bad choice made during and after character building. If a player want to make a low Strength Fighter go right ahead. As both a DM and player I then don't want to hear the same player saying he can't lift as much. Move less and take a AC penalty due to being encumbered. While doing less damage and hitting less. Putting less points in Perception then accusing someone of being optimized because he or she took 1 or 2.
Then point to my character or someone else and go "It's not no fair your character is optimized". As a DM and player I will advise and offer suggestions. Never force a player of course. As a DM before I start I ask player if they are satisfied with their characters. Once the game starts that is it. Your choices made your personal responsability. Now live with those choices. I'm willing to allow a player one free redo of a character. If not to bad so sad you live with the choices made. Or leave the group and find another one.

I have played and seen true otpimization and mostly what I see hear and outside of the internet is really not it. I once had a player who had perfect flight at first level with no time limit. Made possible by system mastery, hacking Hero Lab, the use of 3pp and at the time a more permissive DM. You know who pointed out that the build was truly broken and optmized. The resident optimizer of the group at the time.

Dark Archive

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My views, and I've shared this in the past, are that there is a difference between optimizing a character and being a power gamer. But first a bit of background. I didn't seriously get into gaming till I started playing AD&D 2nd edition. And that game possibly has colored my views. I am perfectly fine with playing a character who's not at the peak of the power capabilities that are achievable. This stems from playing for a long time using the stat system of rolling 3d6 down the line. I recognize you can be perfectly capable without min/maxing. I've played plenty of Str 9 fighters and Int 13 wizards.

Which doesn't mean I consider making a character good to be a waste of time. I will optimize my characters within reason. WHen playing a sorcerer, you'd better believe I try for 17 to 18 Charisma. But I don't try for 20 charisma even when I could. When I make a fighter I like to have 18 Strength with a good con score (and dex). But it does mean that I'm willing to make trade offs. FOr example I may make a monk with 12 strength to start out, maybe 13. I'll make a sorcerer who's got a constitution score of 12 so I can afford to have a higher Int score. And I'll make choices that may be mechanically weak if it fits the character's storyline.

To me there's three classifications of optimization.

1. There's the people who couldn't care how powerful they are. They just make something they feel might be fun.

2. There's people who try to make as good of a character as they can, within reason. Such people, and I put myself in this category too, view roleplay to be just as important as character effectiveness. Thus they may make objectively bad choices just because it's something their character would do.

3. There's the people who try to squeeze every possible erg of power from the game. They spend vast amounts of time theory crafting and studying the game. They try finding all the little loop holes and how to minimize any drawbacks they might have.

The first type of gamer I welcome with open arms. They hearken back to a time when the DMG specifically pointed out that the only 'useless' character was one who's stats were all so low they don't qualify for a single character class. Such people can be a true joy because they bring creative ideas of how to use their resources. The second type can be fun to play with as well. They're more likely to roleplay then a true power gamer.

My problems with the 3rd group, the true power gamers, is that in my experience many of them were also cheaters. Not all, but enough that it makes me cautious of them. And often the ones who don't cheat tend to suck the fun out of the game for everyone else. Or at least that's my experience.

Don't get me wrong. I can power game with the best/worst of them. And I've done it before. I chose not to do so because I find when my character gets too powerful they stop being fun. I've rarely had a D&D character get to level 20, in part because often the group would retire our characters by around level 14 because it wasn't quite as fun any more.

Liberty's Edge

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While their were some power gamers when I played 2E try usually were few and far between. As dump stats actually had penalties. A low Con meant one had a good chance of not resurrecting a dead character. Mind you one needed a somewhat optimized character when playing a Paladin in that edition. A 17 Cha minimum to play one.

I'm also with Ka hell in that I don't mind playing with the first or second group. I do not like the third group. Their optimization and then their too much of it. Mind you I can see why some players don't like being told that they do. It's like being at work with a group of ten people. With six being slackers doing the minimum and the other four doing their job properly. Only to be told that their making the other six look bad.

It also has to be done in a respectful and diplomatic manner. Outright being rude and offensive is not going to get your Pont across. Neither is getting offended when one is told they optimize. It has to be handled carefully Imo.


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I have been talked down to by optimizers because I didn't make a character that had numbers shot up into space like them. I don't find it fun to obliterate an enemy on the first hit in a single round. I find that boring. My first rpg experiences were with 2nd edition, and old chat rooms on the internet, where doing such things were looked down on and you were referred to as a "god moder".

Now, I do optimize to some degree. If I am playing a fighter, I will put my highest stats into Strength and Constitution; or if I am playing a wizard I will put it into Intelligence. However, I have no problem not having a 20 or even an 18 or 19 in my primary stat at 1st level. Which, apparently, is doing it wrong according to others. Making a useless underpowered waste of paper. Or so they have told me.

My last group was like this. This was 2 years ago this month. I haven't touched Pathfinder since. I had been playing Pathfinder since Shattered Star was the new and hot AP. In that time, I have played with about 10 groups (most not lasting more than 3-4 sessions). Of those groups, 2 were made of people from a gaming community where their playstyles were rather similar to mine. The other 8 groups were made of random people put together over roll20. Only 1 of those groups didn't make numeric monstrosities that could slaughter the local militia at level 1 (a bit hyperbolic, but not too far from the truth). My experiences with Pathfinder is that it attracts those who prefer the numeric monstrosities, which is not something I prefer.

I would love to play Pathfinder again, try out one of the new classes that came out since 2 years ago (ACG had just been released). But it will take a group of people who have a similar playstyle to mine to make me do so.


I enjoy playing weak characters who cannot contribute to the game and who are more than likely to fail. It really helps me feel like a ROLEplayer when my character is bad at things. The party also appreciates it, especially during combat where my attacks miss and monsters save against my spells.


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The problem with PF [and the rest of 3E] is the massive variance in character power according to player choices.

Low power characters should be low level, high power characters should be high level with all the fluxes inbetween.

A player should be able to focus on his theme and story without concern over how powerful any given party member is going to be.

Dark Archive

The bar for how effective you need to be isn't actually all that high. Yeah, my scythe fighter can deal 2d4+9 damage at level 1. And yet, do I NEED to deal that much damage at level 1? If the average HP of my enemies is 6-8, then no I don't.


>gauging character effectiveness based on damage
>gauging character effectiveness based on a level 1 fighter

Come on now.


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johnlocke90 wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Another thing is that his GM's only allowing Paizo related products is not a Paizo problem. He needs to educate his GM's. Many of Paizo's products are written by freelancers such as the members of this forum, so they are already using things not created by Paizo, when they buy Pathfinder products. Some of the monsters in the AP's are even taken from other 3PP companies.
I view Paizo as a curator more than anything else. Paizo isn't perfect, but there 3rd party stuff is way more likely to be broken and as a GM I would have to do a lot more vetting to keep 3rd party stuff balanced.

Personally, as a GM, I limit the source material for purely self-serving reasons. Even if you just go with the hardcover books, there is already way too much stuff to reasonably have mastered. The more material included results in even more material I, as a GM, have to know well enough to adjudicate. There comes a point where the amount of material I'm expected to have mastered becomes so great that the game ceases to be fun for me. If I'm not having fun, I'm not going to run the game. If the group wants me to run the game, they have to accept the restrictions I place on source material; if they want wide open source material, then someone else can take over all that preparation.

Unsurprisingly, I was the sole GM in my play group for over five years before someone else finally stepped up and offered to GM. Nobody else was willing to put in the time investment required to run a campaign prior to just this past summer.


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The problem with optimized characters is that they are optimized for one thing, getting through an AP most efficiently. This is their sole focus, which makes any other focus not only valueless for them, it makes any other focus disruptive to them. They MUST push the game to their focus or they, themselves, are useless. This is why, for a game not focused on getting through an AP, it is only Wise for a GM to forbid heavily optimized characters.

If you need an example to support this, read Raving Nerd's last posts.

If your sole idea of a rewarding game is getting through APs quickly and efficiently, and the rest of the table is in agreement, you should all optimize to your heart's content. A non-optimal character doesn't belong. If the game is focused on exploring other avenues, then the you should find another table for you optimal character. It doesn't belong, no matter how warm and fuzzy being Death on Two Legs makes you feel.


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Raving Nerd wrote:

>gauging character effectiveness based on damage

>gauging character effectiveness based on a level 1 fighter

Come on now.

Most "optimizers" I have come across focus on the big damage, AC and DC numbers. Most that I have come across don't "roleplay" and are only having fun in combat, end it in 1-2 rounds, and try to hurry on to the next combat round before they have to "suffer through" more roleplaying.

Do they all? No. Are they bad people? No. Do I want to play with them? No. Do they want to play with me? I highly doubt it, and I really don't care.


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What if I want to roleplay a person who's really, really good in combat?


Please don't try to roleplay someone who is competent. That's bad roleplaying. It's much more interesting to roleplay someone who fails and dies. Where would Game of Thrones be if Ned Stark was still alive?

More to the point:

Ideally, optimization would provide a fairly modest (~15-20%) boost in character power. In 3.PF, the boost is much, much greater. A fighter is one Will save away from being an evil wizard's b@%~+ for the foreseeable future.

Part of this is the D&D legacy, where character options and versatility is managed almost entirely through spells and magic items. Part of this is the number of moving pieces in 3.PF (it's much harder to balance a complex game than a simple game). Part of this is bad design from Paizo.

Nonetheless, in a game that is geared toward combat--and 3.PF *is* geared toward combat, which is why a significant amount of text is devoted to combat rules, in the form of class features, spells, feats, and magic items--I expect the combat system to be functional. If you don't optimize, the combat system is non-functional.

There are plenty of ways that you can fail if you don't optimize properly.

• Attack bonus is too low to hit high ACs.
• Damage is too low to effectively reduce high HP values.
• Save DCs are too low to reliably affect enemies.
• Saving throw values are too low to reliably resist enemy attacks.
• Inability to meaningfully impact combat in another way (buffs/debuffs, for instance).


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Kahel Stormbender wrote:
My problems with the 3rd group, the true power gamers, is that in my experience many of them were also cheaters. Not all, but enough that it makes me cautious of them. And often the ones who don't cheat tend to suck the fun out of the game for everyone else. Or at least that's my experience.

The problem here is that's what the term munchkin used to cover, at least in part, yet the term powergamer has drifted there and probably too often. When I first knew of the term powergamer, it referred to players who operated at the higher ends of power - not just by optimization, but also by game content. They'd be the ones playing high level campaigns against tough god-like opponents whether in D&D, Call of Cthulhu, or Champions. These would be campaigns beyond the "sweet-spot" of most campaigns like 4th-10th level for AD&D. They may well have been playing the rules scrupulously, just with the volume turned to 11. Nightmare-level Diablo in hardcore mode.

Munchkins were the players without much conscience - backstabbing their fellow adventurers, twisting the rules, exploiting loopholes, toting around Monty Haul levels of loot, keeping Tiamat in a bottle because the last DM let them get away with stuff, claiming that questionable content in a gamer magazine was 'official'... basically, everything that Knights of the Dinner Table and the game Munchkin lampoon.


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The definitions i prefer

minmaxing: A very high level of dropping thigs that don't matter to your character to raise ones that do. (everyone minmaxes to some degree, so you really only need a term for an excessive amount)

Powergamer: Someone that uses the rules to make absurdly powerful characters.

Munchkin: someone that bends the rules and uses gray areas in order to make a powerful character.


JosMartigan wrote:
knightnday wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
Pan wrote:
Saldiven wrote:

The best gaming situation is one where everyone in the group is looking for the same thing. When the players all have very different ideas as to what constitutes "fun," it is really difficult to appeal to everyone.

Speaking as a 30+ year GM, it's just plain too much work to try to balance out a campaign where there are wide variations in expectation from the players. Trying to do that destroys my own fun. I used to try to do that, but it was stressful and almost never successful. So, these days, I always have a "session zero" type meeting where we hash all this kind of stuff out head of time.

This is a good view of the situation. Honestly, TTRPG is a small niche and requires group play.

This is what annoys me when people are quick to say "just find another group".

Its not trivial to find another Pathfinder group with people I want to play with.

Than maybe the answer is more flexibility on your part. The Internet has made online play the option it wasn't 5 years ago.
This. Or, worst case, you don't play for a while until you find a group that is right for you.

The last 2 responses above seem seriously disrespectful to someone who has GM'ed for 3 decades. I can vouch for the fact that finding a group that's a good fit can be extremely difficult. There are some areas where gaming is like a secret society, hidden from access. In others, people who want nothing but hack and slash or are avid power gamers have taken over.

As an older person who has played since 2nd edition and remembers leafing through the 1st edition red box, It's offensive to have other gamers tell me to stop being "so this" or "so that", meanwhile their narrow view of what gaming is, is actually as prejudiced as they are claiming I am because I like story, depth, and living breathing characters, instead of emulating video/computer or games or seeing nothing but a collection...

I've played just as long, and odds are I'm even older than you are, and I've learned that people don't automatically become wiser or lose that feeling of self-entitlement with age, if that's what they started out with. What I said, holds true whether you're 19 or 90.

Not every table can accommodate every style. Being excessively dogmatic or rigid about what and how you play is going to make finding groups that much more difficult.


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Johnnycat93 wrote:

I've seen snarky comments one way or another, but I've never seen anything that can truly be described as "demoralizing a power gamer".

.

Yes, I have never seen anything close to "a lot of people mistreat players who want to optimize their character's."

Snark, some condescending remarks maybe, but I would say those are mistreating.

And of course, some give RPers a little bit of a hard time, too.


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Kahel Stormbender wrote:


To me there's three classifications of optimization.

1. There's the people who couldn't care how powerful they are. They just make something they feel might be fun.

2. There's people who try to make as good of a character as they can, within reason. Such people, and I put myself in this category too, view roleplay to be just as important as character effectiveness. Thus they may make objectively bad choices just because it's something their character would do.

3. There's the people who try to squeeze every possible erg of power from the game. They spend vast amounts of time theory crafting and studying the game. They try finding all the little loop holes and how to minimize any drawbacks they might have.

4. The player who has a fun concept, but makes sure his PC can fully contribute to the team.

I agree, #3 is hard to play with, unless the whole table is that way.

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