For the OP haters


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Kahel Stormbender wrote:
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.

Part of this is because modern adventure design seems to throw you against enemies several CR higher than you with quite frequency. I've noticed this in Adventure Paths at least. While some enemies, 1d8 +2 might be enough, but when that big bad CR + 3 / +4 enemy comes along, as it inevitably does, I want to be prepared to deal with it.

Or worse, the level 1 Imp fight. "What do you mean it has DR!?"

That said. I think the trick isn't so much maximizing damage, but getting damage high while also ensuring you don't die to the first Save you have to make that your class is weak against. Most optimizing I do is based around these things:

- Making sure I have an effective combat strategy. If it's damage based, making sure I have enough damage to reliably overcome DR (the worst case scenario).
- Making sure I have a backup plan that I'm at least ok at(generally means: keep a bow handy)
- Keeping my saves medium-high. Because I'd prefer not to die horribly or turn against my party. I consider optimization to be very important here unless the party actively likes having one of their members constantly being brainwashed.
- Making sure I can do at least one thing outside of combat, to ensure I'm not The Lump that the party has to drag around outside of combat. Preferably two things. This could be "Scout", or "Diplomacy".

All that takes a lot of work (at least on certain character character classes). It could be considered powergaming. I consider it a basic responsibility to ensure that I am always contributing something to the team. It does result, at least, in attributes being fairly balanced- I find it hard to imagine starting with a 20 in a stat because of what it'd do to my other vital stats.

Also, I'd just like to say I find it odd that so much discussion of minmaxing focuses on martials squeezing out damage when spellcasters can so easily shut down entire groups in a single spell, fly over obstacles, and ultimately, at higher levels, derail entire campaigns. Compared to that, ensuring your attacks deal a significant amount of damage... just doesn't seem that big.


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5. The type who dedicates immense mental resources into creating a character, both the engine (crunch) and the body (characterization) who does everything he can to protect his cherished car [PC]


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Ultimately this isn't a game question, this is a people question. The game works best when you sit at a table of your friends, (presumably people you already get along with) who not only are looking to have fun, but enjoy having fun together. If that isn't the case, you don't have the foundation of a good table.

Optimization, power gaming whatever you want to call it is only bad if its disruptive. There are lots of ways to be disruptive at the table, including ways that have nothing to do with how much damage your character does.

Unfortunately a lot of people have created opinions on this and many subjects that have little foundation in reality. But again, that's them, the people. A book from paizo isn't going to resolve this conflict, people at a table have that opportunity (though they may well not succeed).

People who have different opinions on what is best in an area like optimization can in fact co-exist. I know because I have seen it happen. But it can only come from a place of understanding and actual communication. And it works because we all genuinely liked each other. If you have that, whether or not the druid or the rogue is better at perception is sort of silly. And usually, you aren't walking around with bruised egos over how encounters went. Mostly we are just telling stories about the amusing times when encounters went spectacularly wrong.


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Wise Old Man wrote:
People say that there will always be world hunger, but it's only 450 billion to end it. Governments can do it. So everything possible.

That's PHB thinking. Anything you don't understand must be trivial. It's not. You can't solve world hunger by giving everyone food. You can't even solve world hunger by giving everyone a farm.

some reasons you can't solve world hunger by throwing money at the problem:

If people with power benefit from the existence of hunger no solution can be implemented without first fighting a war over it. Food donations often don't make it to actual hungry people in tyranical or lawless countries because they're intercepted by tyrants and would be tyrants who want to use the threat of starvation to enforce loyalty. Moving more food from the over-producing to under-fed nations won't get it to the actual hungry people.

If permanent changes aren't made to the cultures that allow tyrants to rise you don't have a long term solution. No one has figured out to do this without first completely breaking society as was done to the Axis nations in the Second World War. At some point you count the cost and find that you have millions of dead people and have brought back colonialism.

From the other end the people in developed nations pushing solutions to world hunger benefit politically from the existence of an unsolved hunger problem. Some care more about humanitarianism than political gain, but those who care about political gain are more likely to be politically influential. Removing those who benefit from pretending to want a solution while avoiding an actual solution doesn't require violence like removing the strongmen on the receiving end, but it would destroy the political voice for wanting a solution.

Not everything is possible and some people really can't sit at the same table. Certainly people at the table to roleplay criminal deviancy can't sit peacefully at the same table as people who are there to roleplay heroism. Maybe optimizers and roleplayers should be more compatible than heroic fantasy and consequence free escapist slapstick murderhobo fantasy, but it's not axiomatic.


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MinMaxing isn't hyper-specialization or min everything to max one thing
hyper-specialization isn't necessarily optimizing a character

Hyper-specialization characters are the ones that are usually blamed for "optimized". Example : I do 5000 damage on a mounted charge and my will save is -2.

Hyper-specialization characters are often one trick ponies. Sacrifice everything for one thing.

min-maxing is getting the maximum benefit for the minimum cost.
Optimizing a character is getting the best overall character.
Yes you can say you're wanting to optimize charge damage at the expense of everything, aka hyper specialize.
But if you say you want to optimize a fighter it included buffing your saves and being able to contribute outside of combat, aka cover your weaknesses.

Thus a character that has been optimized doesn't have a weak-point you can exploit, their "weak will save" is higher than the party's wizard's will save. And they usually will have a way or two to manage outside of combat.
But a hyper-specialized one has many weaknesses.

But since these terms are common or default we often get miscommunication. Someone says optimized and means optimized while someone else hears optimized and thinks hyper-specialized.

Thus when talking about OP or the likes, try to define or give examples of what you mean to help conversation happen.

Dark Archive

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So true Kolokotroni. I personally have never really seen the Caster/Martial disparity people tout. I mean, sure casters can get really powerful at high levels. But then so are martial types if you think about it. And as a game master there's something to remember... You DO actually control what spells the player gets access to over the course of the campaign. Don't want the wizard teleporting everywhere? Then they just don't find a copy of the teleport spell. Want things like Wish and Limited Wish to be rare and valuable? Then make it so.

But yes, as I mentioned. The bar for what's needed to be effective isn't that high. The average encounter in a given adventure will be CR=APL. The 'boss' type encounters may be APL+2 or +3. But those are the fights which are suppose to be difficult. And it's been my experience that the party wipe caused by one person getting Dominated tends to happen because someone felt the need to push things as far as they can when building their character.

The guy who gleefully brags about how he has a +12 attack and deals 15-20 damage with each attack at level one is also the same guy who kills the party because he failed a will save. Not the person who does 1d8+3 damage with a +3 or +4 attack bonus at level 1.

Grand Lodge

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Kahel Stormbender wrote:
So true Kolokotroni. I personally have never really seen the Caster/Martial disparity people tout. I mean, sure casters can get really powerful at high levels. But then so are martial types if you think about it. And as a game master there's something to remember... You DO actually control what spells the player gets access to over the course of the campaign. Don't want the wizard teleporting everywhere? Then they just don't find a copy of the teleport spell. Want things like Wish and Limited Wish to be rare and valuable? Then make it so.

Not without really invasive character leveling actions. You'd have to ban it from sorcerers spells known, wizards free spells on level up, and from Travel domain clerics.

You have to actually talk to your players to prevent the disparity from cropping up, and even then you'll see shades as you level anyway.

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Chess Pwn wrote:

MinMaxing isn't hyper-specialization or min everything to max one thing

hyper-specialization isn't necessarily optimizing a character

Hyper-specialization characters are the ones that are usually blamed for "optimized". Example : I do 5000 damage on a mounted charge and my will save is -2.

Hyper-specialization characters are often one trick ponies. Sacrifice everything for one thing.

min-maxing is getting the maximum benefit for the minimum cost.
Optimizing a character is getting the best overall character.
Yes you can say you're wanting to optimize charge damage at the expense of everything, aka hyper specialize.

I agree that over-specialization is one of the bigger behaviors that people will call out "rollplayers" for. But, I want to point out that MinMax is a specific game theory term. In the context of Pathfinder, I would describe it as maximizing the minimum amount of damage your character can deal in a round and minimizing the (maximum) amount of damage you take in a round. This can lead to over-specialization as it encourages doing your one thing really well.


PK the Dragon wrote:
Also, I'd just like to say I find it odd that so much discussion of minmaxing focuses on martials squeezing out damage when spellcasters can so easily shut down entire groups in a single spell, fly over obstacles, and ultimately, at higher levels, derail entire campaigns. Compared to that, ensuring your attacks deal a significant amount of damage... just doesn't seem that big.

Because we like to quantify thing and DPR is a good yardstick. I have seen plenty of (for example) fire/blasty specialist builds- but yes, again, DPR.

It's hard to quantify battlefield control, which is the most useful type of spell- IMHO.

However, I see no real big deal to spellcaster being able to cast movement spells, since normally they are shared with the entire party after a certain point.

You do make one excellent point- I hate to play with those PCs with really cruddy will saves. THEY make think it's fun to be dominated or confused and turn on the party, but I dont.


Kahel Stormbender wrote:

I personally have never really seen the Caster/Martial disparity people tout. I mean, sure casters can get really powerful at high levels.

The guy who gleefully brags about how he has a +12 attack and deals 15-20 damage with each attack at level one is also the same guy who kills the party because he failed a will save. Not the person who does 1d8+3 damage with a +3 or +4 attack bonus at level 1.

I have seen it at levels when spellcasters get 9th level spells.

And those can be spellcasters too- i have seen wizards dump wis.


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Kahel Stormbender wrote:
The guy who gleefully brags about how he has a +12 attack and deals 15-20 damage with each attack at level one is also the same guy who kills the party because he failed a will save. Not the person who does 1d8+3 damage with a +3 or +4 attack bonus at level 1.

That is a hyper-specialized character and isn't a well optimized character.

I have a build for an fairly optimized lv1 damage dealer. He has 21 HP, +9 to hit for 1d12+12 damage or +8 for 1d12+15 with PA using reach weapon. with a fort save of 6 and will save of 5.

Yes my guy can kill the party on a failed will save. But I'm more likely to make that save than the average party wizard. Often has a better or equal will save to a cleric.

This is an optimized guy because he's not likely to fail an important save and will continue to be the least likely guy to fail a such save.


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Kahel Stormbender wrote:
So true Kolokotroni. I personally have never really seen the Caster/Martial disparity people tout. I mean, sure casters can get really powerful at high levels. But then so are martial types if you think about it. And as a game master there's something to remember... You DO actually control what spells the player gets access to over the course of the campaign. Don't want the wizard teleporting everywhere? Then they just don't find a copy of the teleport spell. Want things like Wish and Limited Wish to be rare and valuable? Then make it so.

That doesn't work for divine casters. And all casters get at least some spells they choose (and for those with spells known that's all of them.

That said it isn't really a matter of specific spells. It is the nature of them. And many people will go through gaming for years without seeing direct evidence of the disparity because it isn't actually about power. Not in the traditional sense. Both martial characters and casters can contribute to ending encounters within their area of expertise. But only magical characters (it isn't just spells that do this) can change the nature of that encounter. That's what magic does differently and its narrative power. Many people would rather toss fireballs then exercise narrative power. Which is of course completely ok, but it means you aren't using the thing that most people either know directly or know instinctively that color their opinion about the whole martial/caster thing.

Quote:

But yes, as I mentioned. The bar for what's needed to be effective isn't that high. The average encounter in a given adventure will be CR=APL. The 'boss' type encounters may be APL+2 or +3. But those are the fights which are suppose to be difficult. And it's been my experience that the party wipe caused by one person getting Dominated tends to happen because someone felt the need to push things as far as they can when building their character.

APL and CR are hardly perfect measures. There is waaay too much variation to simply say X 4th level characters have Y power, and the loose grouping of monsters of roughly similar power that make up a CR add up to a threat to them of the same value.

What actually matters is 'Is the GM satisfied with the encounters difficulty'. The most optimized party possible with all the 'perfect' choices, and you wont have more power then the GM. He or she will keep adding to the difficulty until they feel satisfied. Baring the few that play published adventures purely by the book with no alterations, its really a matter of meeting expectations, not of hiting some kind of universal bar.

Which is why I always say play with your actual friends, who like you, and want to have fun. In my group, we know, Jon is a free wheeling seat of the pants kind of gm. Pull out your crazy and maybe not so effective character ideas. Matt is the one who really wants to get into his homebrew world, and ever so often throws a threat at the party he totally didn't realize was as dangerous as it is. Make a character that fits the world neatly and is survivable. Its all about matching player and gm expectations to be 'effective enough'.

Quote:

The guy who gleefully brags about how he has a +12 attack and deals 15-20 damage with each attack at level one is also the same guy who kills the party because he failed a will save. Not the person who does 1d8+3 damage with a +3 or +4 attack bonus at level 1.

Not all optimization is minmaxing. I generally optimize, but I usually optimize towards well rounded characters. Which often requires a level of optimization to have strengths in multiple areas without being superman in any one.

Also if its actually a trope in your group for the dm to throw save or lose spells at the party, you probably need to talk with the gm. Someone is unhappy about something. Maybe he is tired of the level of optimization so he feels he needs to exploit weaknesses, or what have you but something is up if that happens regularly enough to be your general impression of things.


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DrDeth wrote:
PK the Dragon wrote:
Also, I'd just like to say I find it odd that so much discussion of minmaxing focuses on martials squeezing out damage when spellcasters can so easily shut down entire groups in a single spell, fly over obstacles, and ultimately, at higher levels, derail entire campaigns. Compared to that, ensuring your attacks deal a significant amount of damage... just doesn't seem that big.

Because we like to quantify thing and DPR is a good yardstick. I have seen plenty of (for example) fire/blasty specialist builds- but yes, again, DPR.

It's hard to quantify battlefield control, which is the most useful type of spell- IMHO.

And I'd like to add, control spells are in four parts. Those that care about SR and those that don't and those that care about saves and those that don't. And it's really easy to know how to do this. Up your save DC and try and up your caster level. And that is basically be a solo-classed caster with max main stat. There's not much to discuss on the topic.

The Exchange

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Raving Nerd wrote:

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).

While this can be a problem, it doesn't have to. If the players don't optimize (assuming they know what they are doing), they do it probably because they want to have a harder challenge. Or they do so because they are not interested in a game where those opponents who would pose such problems play a large role. I'm sure there are other reasons.

Take, just as an example, any of the official APs: None of them needs much optimization on the player characters' side to be played through successfully. On the contrary, too much optimization might take the challenge out of the AP (and thereby force the GM to adapt the Encounters).

On the other hand, the GM has every tool he needs to tone down encounters if they would be to difficult for a given group. It's basically the same as changing the encounters for an optimized group of PCs, just in the other direction.

And that's the whole thing. You don't need to optimize to have a competent character able to play through most official adventures. Optimizing might be fun for those who are inclined to do so, and as long as everyone is on the same page, there's nothing harmful in it.

But the system is flexible enough that you don't need to optimize for the system to function. In the end it's a matter of taste and not of doing it right or wrong.


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WormysQueue wrote:
Raving Nerd wrote:

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).

While this can be a problem, it doesn't have to. If the players don't optimize (assuming they know what they are doing), they do it probably because they want to have a harder challenge. Or they do so because they are not interested in a game where those opponents who would pose such problems play a large role. I'm sure there are other reasons.

Take, just as an example, any of the official APs: None of them needs much optimization on the player characters' side to be played through successfully. On the contrary, too much optimization might take the challenge out of the AP (and thereby force the GM to adapt the Encounters).

On the other hand, the GM has every tool he needs to tone down encounters if they would be to difficult for a given group. It's basically the same as changing the encounters for an optimized group of PCs, just in the other direction.

And that's the whole thing. You don't need to optimize to have a competent character able to play through most official adventures. Optimizing might be fun for those who are inclined to do so, and as long as everyone is on the same page, there's nothing harmful in it.

But the system is flexible enough that you don't need to optimize for the system to function. In the end it's a matter of taste and not of doing it right or wrong.

I would say its always harder to scale down then it is to scale up as a GM. Scaling up can literally be a simple as adding 2 of everything in an encounter. Scaling down is never that simple.

Dark Archive

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Unless you're GMing for Pathfinder Society Organized Play, you do have a lot of control over the world setting. For instance I'm working on a homebrew campaign set on Earth thousands of years after a magic based apocalypse. In this setting teleportation is mainly something caused by deity level beings. You're not going to find a scroll of teleport because the arcane version is a ritual which takes half an hour and multiple participants. The divine version is faster, but is effectively asking your deity to teleport you. And the gods may not always agree. There's only one fast 100% way to teleport, but it again requires 5 people to pull off. It's also limited to a select group of people who are basically the chosen avatars of a group of gods/goddesses.

As the GM it is up to you to decide what is unbalancing. Do you feel that a given spell is too powerful? Then disallow it. Course, as mentioned this doesn't work for PFS organized play. But for a home campaign the GM is the final word on what's allowed. Don't want summoners, don't allow them. Think that alchemists and magus are too dang broken? DOn't let people play them.

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Like I said, that's not 'easy'. That requires a lot of player buy in. So the GM cannot avoid the disparity by himself, without changing the game, and that runs the risk of it becoming a game no one wants to play.

Dark Archive

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When you set up such restrictions at the onset, the players know exactly what they're getting into.


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PK the Dragon wrote:

Part of this is because modern adventure design seems to throw you against enemies several CR higher than you with quite frequency. I've noticed this in Adventure Paths at least.

Well, yeah. A CR+0 encounter isn't meant to be a challenge, it's meant to be a cakewalk - basically just a way to burn through a few of the party's resources. If you genuinely want the PCs to get challenged, you throw higher CR encounters at them. And since a game with no challenge is rarely fun... XD You get a lot of that. This is totally deliberate.

Being prepared for such fights is good! Just don't try to make every fight a cakewalk. XD

The Exchange

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Kolokotroni wrote:
I would say its always harder to scale down then it is to scale up as a GM. Scaling up can literally be a simple as adding 2 of everything in an encounter. Scaling down is never that simple.

Maybe. I've done both in my campaigns, I've also adapted encounters for larger or smaller groups, depending on the game world I use, and so on. I don't see the big difference, especially as adding opponents changes the action economy which is a big part of Pathfinder combat and should only done with reason.

But then, scaling down might literally be as as simple as subtracting from the numbers (which also might solve some of the problems Raving Nerd as talking about) or just using another monster.

Generally, and speaking for your home campaign, a lot of the scaling can be done on the fly or by winging it and doesn't necessarily have to be made into a science. but my main point is, that it isn't a one direction thing. I have had players optimizing to have easier encounters. I have had players optimizing their characters and then expecting me to adapt the encounters so that they would still have a challenge. And I've had players not too interested in crunching numbers for whatever reason expecting me to adapt the encounters to reduce the lethality factor. And the important thing is: none of them was wrong.


GM Rednal wrote:
PK the Dragon wrote:

Part of this is because modern adventure design seems to throw you against enemies several CR higher than you with quite frequency. I've noticed this in Adventure Paths at least.

Well, yeah. A CR+0 encounter isn't meant to be a challenge, it's meant to be a cakewalk - basically just a way to burn through a few of the party's resources. If you genuinely want the PCs to get challenged, you throw higher CR encounters at them. And since a game with no challenge is rarely fun... XD You get a lot of that. This is totally deliberate.

Being prepared for such fights is good! Just don't try to make every fight a cakewalk. XD

Yes, but specifically, the post I was replying to was talking about average HP of enemies being 6 or 7 so why do you need really high damage output, and I was saying that generally speaking, it's going to be harder than that. Possibly much harder than that. It's very possible to be encountering things with 30-40 HP at level 1. You don't necessarily need 2d4 + 9, but you need more than, say, 1d8 + 2. And if you're playing, say, PFS, with no real assurance that the entire team will be able to contribute to picking that thing down, you want to have fairly solid damage output. Even if you aren't, you want to know that you can deal a decent amount of HP damage to monsters like that.

And yeah, I do feel like I picked up some of my optimization habits from PFS, where you're playing with random people and random GMs. As such, I also don't EVER assume that GMs will ever scale back encounters for me. I'm also currently prepping Rappan Athuk for my current group of players, which takes the approach of "if the party dies, they die, it's their fault for not running away". Granted, I'm letting my party know beforehand that it's not going to be scaled, so that they know what to expect.

(Also, on the subject of scaling, it's also easier to create a strong character and hold back- simply use a weaker weapon, weaker spells, etc. On the other hand, it's much harder to make a weak character strong if the party needs more firepower. )

Grand Lodge

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Kahel Stormbender wrote:
When you set up such restrictions at the onset, the players know exactly what they're getting into.

And usually avoid the game.


Johnnycat93 wrote:
What if I want to roleplay a person who's really, really good in combat?

YOU'RE A MONSTER!!!


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BigNorseWolf wrote:

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.

I think I am going to start using the Munchkin-Power Gamer as a new type of gamer that symbolizes the worst of both groups.

Thanks
MDC


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Kahel Stormbender wrote:
When you set up such restrictions at the onset, the players know exactly what they're getting into.
And usually avoid the game.

From my experience the ones that avoid the game are they ones who would be happy else were and with other people. So why not get it out of the way at game start instead of waiting until a crucial point when it may cause the whole group to die?

Another thing is this is not a new situation and I have seen it rise a few times since I started playing in 79.
MDC

Grand Lodge

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That's what I do.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
And usually avoid the game.

Not my experience, as long as you're fair about it. Luckily, most players (at least most players I know) are perfectly able AND willing to compromise so long as you show them the same respect.


Chess Pwn wrote:

MinMaxing isn't hyper-specialization or min everything to max one thing

hyper-specialization isn't necessarily optimizing a character

Hyper-specialization characters are the ones that are usually blamed for "optimized". Example : I do 5000 damage on a mounted charge and my will save is -2.

Hyper-specialization characters are often one trick ponies. Sacrifice everything for one thing.

min-maxing is getting the maximum benefit for the minimum cost.
Optimizing a character is getting the best overall character.
Yes you can say you're wanting to optimize charge damage at the expense of everything, aka hyper specialize.
But if you say you want to optimize a fighter it included buffing your saves and being able to contribute outside of combat, aka cover your weaknesses.

Thus a character that has been optimized doesn't have a weak-point you can exploit, their "weak will save" is higher than the party's wizard's will save. And they usually will have a way or two to manage outside of combat.
But a hyper-specialized one has many weaknesses.

But since these terms are common or default we often get miscommunication. Someone says optimized and means optimized while someone else hears optimized and thinks hyper-specialized.

Thus when talking about OP or the likes, try to define or give examples of what you mean to help conversation happen.

Yeah, a good example would be a min/maxed archer fighter versus a crossbow fighter. The archer is just going to be better, without any exploitable weaknesses.

The best way to avoid this is to have everyone at the table specialize to some extend in different roles. So even if skill levels are different the weakest character still has something unique.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Kahel Stormbender wrote:
So true Kolokotroni. I personally have never really seen the Caster/Martial disparity people tout. I mean, sure casters can get really powerful at high levels. But then so are martial types if you think about it. And as a game master there's something to remember... You DO actually control what spells the player gets access to over the course of the campaign. Don't want the wizard teleporting everywhere? Then they just don't find a copy of the teleport spell. Want things like Wish and Limited Wish to be rare and valuable? Then make it so.

Not without really invasive character leveling actions. You'd have to ban it from sorcerers spells known, wizards free spells on level up, and from Travel domain clerics.

You have to actually talk to your players to prevent the disparity from cropping up, and even then you'll see shades as you level anyway.

Especially with Teleport. Teleport is an obvious skill to pick on level up because you can then teleport to a major city to buy any scroll you want.


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Raving Nerd wrote:
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.

There we go a great example of how both extremes like to harass the opposite. Pure sarcasm criticizing anyone who doesn't play the game the way they do. It happens on both sides. I'm not going to retype what I've already said but this post illustrates what I was talking about perfectly.


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My only real gripe about Ultra-Optimizing is when it is based on an ambiguous rules area; IE if someone else can make a solid counter-interpretation of a ruling, then your build is on shaky ground of legality.

My other irritation is from a narrative point, when someone makes what I call a Stitch-Job. A character who is X amount of class 1, Y of this, Z of that, Q of that prestige class, and it creates a convoluted mess, all for mechanical stacking's sake.

Saw a tengu medium 1 barbarian 1 alchemist 1, all for the sake of Rage + Mutagen + Champion spirit with three natural attacks @ lvl 3. The player justified it with a story, but I felt it lacked any depth; essentially saying he was a drug addicted who learned to make his drug, ODed, sees spirits now from the brain damage, and also has emotional issues now. It's felt like it was all to excuse the class stitching.

If anything, it often makes it more irritating. That's really more of a pet peeve of mine though, so I don't expect anyone to echo those thoughts.


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"Issac Daneiel wrote:


Saw a tengu medium 1 barbarian 1 alchemist 1, all for the sake of Rage + Mutagen + Champion spirit with three natural attacks @ lvl 3. The player justified it with a story, but I felt it lacked any depth; essentially saying he was a drug addicted who learned to make his drug, ODed, sees spirits now from the brain damage, and also has emotional issues now. It's felt like it was all to excuse the class stitching.

If anything, it often makes it more irritating. That's really more of a pet peeve of mine though, so I don't expect anyone to echo those thoughts.

Sounds like a heck of a lot more thought went into that character's origins than your average pathfinder.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
"Issac Daneiel wrote:


Saw a tengu medium 1 barbarian 1 alchemist 1, all for the sake of Rage + Mutagen + Champion spirit with three natural attacks @ lvl 3. The player justified it with a story, but I felt it lacked any depth; essentially saying he was a drug addicted who learned to make his drug, ODed, sees spirits now from the brain damage, and also has emotional issues now. It's felt like it was all to excuse the class stitching.

If anything, it often makes it more irritating. That's really more of a pet peeve of mine though, so I don't expect anyone to echo those thoughts.

Sounds like a heck of a lot more thought went into that character's origins than your average pathfinder.

Yeah, that actually sounds like a really cool Alchemist. "I went tripping in the desert and now I'm partying with Angels man. You guys gotta open your minds man, there's just all kinds of, like, possibilities. Got a little something here, help you guys embrace the universe... just a dab will do you though, unless you want to see some REALLY weird stuff man..."

That's actually a character I'd love to have in a party. Just a weird hippy Alchemist that's been experimenting with so much different stuff they can't tell what reality is anymore.


Make the book Paizo, make it!!

*disappears back into a cloud of smoke, laughing maniacally as it fades into a echo*


WormysQueue wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
And usually avoid the game.
Not my experience, as long as you're fair about it. Luckily, most players (at least most players I know) are perfectly able AND willing to compromise so long as you show them the same respect.

I have had mostly people be willing to compromise for a time (maybe 6 months) and then leave if they did not like the style of my game. But they did give it a chance and the game I ran was not PF and not that combat heavy.

I have also seen about 6 people (IIRC) show up to other peoples games and after the PC creation process not come back to play again because they often wanted to play an over powered class or use an over powered series of rules.

MDC


I broke this out from my post above to make it more noticeable:

To the Original Poster:
I am very curious as to what type of game you are talking about? Is it a home game? A pick up game? A Pathfinder Society game? A game at a Con?

It also seems from you post that the GM and one or more of the other players had a problem with your PC and class/feats/magic items/etc or was it just the GM?
How many of the players in the group had a problem with your PC?

Thanks
MDC


The "low level imp fight" scenario is a big reason why optimizing (for damage) can be important for the continued mental health of the group.

Tried to play an Arcanist focusing on utility spells in Mummy's Mask. Rest of the party were Dex based in some way or another (one ranged, one TWFer, one rapier aspirant). Would've been fine, in many scenarios. But my god the DR. And Hardness. And immunity to most of what I could throw.

Ended up having to convert the Arcanist into a big beefy melee dude mid fight (in an admittedly funny scene) so we could progress. Unfortunately everyone, from the GM down to myself were fed up with the b~&&*%$# and dropped the game soon after. Nobody could do much of anything, because nobody was particularly optimized for damage.

Should be a disclaimer in that AP that reads "You must be this stronk to ride".

I guess technically this is anti-optimizing in one way, but 1st level Arcanists against things immune to mind affecting aren't super hot regardless.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mark Carlson 255 wrote:
I have had mostly people be willing to compromise for a time (maybe 6 months) and then leave if they did not like the style of my game.

Had this naturally happen as well. But not too often. As a GM I feel that I also need to compromise to make it "our" instead of "my" game, meaning that I (together with the players) try to find a middleground everyone at the table is comfortable with. Now I can't look into other people's head so if they agree to things they absolutely don't like just because they want to play, that naturally can lead to a situation where they will eventually leave the game.


@Sundakhan: I look at that partially as a failure of the GM. APs are generally written with certain assumptions about group effectiveness. If the GM notices that basically every fight seems to be a slog, they should probably reconsider what foes are being fought, or help nudge the party towards things that would be useful. For example, scrolls of spells that would be good for fighting common foes that could be written into an Arcanist's spellbook.

Always running the AP exactly as written is usually a bad idea.


So I'm still not sure what the OP wants in this book. Like if Paizo were to write something, what would they be writing about?


Chess Pwn wrote:
So I'm still not sure what the OP wants in this book. Like if Paizo were to write something, what would they be writing about?

He thinks that any group of people can sit down and play together at a table no matter what their personalities are, or the style of gaming they prefer. He wants Paizo to write a book showing how to make this happen.

Specifically, he started with people who have different levels of acceptable optimization.


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right, I can kinda get his end goal. I'm just super confused on what they'd put in a book to do that. Like, people have a really hard time making that work IRL with friends that want to play together. I walked out of a few groups because they were super rules loose and I like a more rules matter kind of game. I'm not sure what some book can have in it to suddenly make everything work out.


Sundakan wrote:

The "low level imp fight" scenario is a big reason why optimizing (for damage) can be important for the continued mental health of the group.

Tried to play an Arcanist focusing on utility spells in Mummy's Mask. Rest of the party were Dex based in some way or another (one ranged, one TWFer, one rapier aspirant). Would've been fine, in many scenarios. But my god the DR. And Hardness. And immunity to most of what I could throw.

Ended up having to convert the Arcanist into a big beefy melee dude mid fight (in an admittedly funny scene) so we could progress. Unfortunately everyone, from the GM down to myself were fed up with the b~$@&#&~ and dropped the game soon after. Nobody could do much of anything, because nobody was particularly optimized for damage.

Should be a disclaimer in that AP that reads "You must be this stronk to ride".

I guess technically this is anti-optimizing in one way, but 1st level Arcanists against things immune to mind affecting aren't super hot regardless.

If I may make a sideways comment on this:

Strategic combat should not involve shutting characters down because shutting characters down is not fun for the players of those characters. When you come up against a fire Pokemon, you break out the water Pokemon. When you come up against a werewolf, you break out the silver weapons. But what can you do against a creature with DR 10/--? Nothing. Without a method of bypassing such, you're SOL.

Unfortunately, 3.PF doesn't offer any methods for characters to do so...at least not unless they're the right class that has invested permanent resources into it.


GM Rednal wrote:

@Sundakhan: I look at that partially as a failure of the GM. APs are generally written with certain assumptions about group effectiveness. If the GM notices that basically every fight seems to be a slog, they should probably reconsider what foes are being fought, or help nudge the party towards things that would be useful. For example, scrolls of spells that would be good for fighting common foes that could be written into an Arcanist's spellbook.

Always running the AP exactly as written is usually a bad idea.

It really depends. For some groups, some GMs, adventure paths are a challenge to be overcome, and messing with that destroys the integrity of the path. Some GMs are running it these for Pathfinder Society and literally can't deviate. Some GMs aren't perfect at gauging their challenges. That's reality, and to be perfectly honest, it doesn't make them a bad GM, it just means they're a little weak on the mechanical side. People are human.

(EDIT: I do agree, early DR without obvious weaknesses is horrible design and I consider it a worst case scenario. But I've also encountered it in PF society games, it does come up, and when it does it's *awful*. I like to be prepared for the worst case scenarios.)


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Kahel Stormbender wrote:
When you set up such restrictions at the onset, the players know exactly what they're getting into.
And usually avoid the game.

That hasn't been my experience.

I am very open about what restrictions I have on source material, etc., for both of the campaigns I am running, and I have a wait list to get into each of them.

Mark Carlson 255 wrote:

From my experience the ones that avoid the game are they ones who would be happy else were and with other people. So why not get it out of the way at game start instead of waiting until a crucial point when it may cause the whole group to die?

Another thing is this is not a new situation and I have seen it rise a few times since I started playing in 79.
MDC

I agree with this. It goes back to my original post in this thread (I think) where I intimated that it's important for everyone at the table, players and GM, to be on the same page with each other. Everyone doesn't have to enjoy the game in exactly the same way. Everyone is more happy if they all find groups that want the same things out of their gaming experience.


Chess Pwn wrote:
right, I can kinda get his end goal. I'm just super confused on what they'd put in a book to do that. Like, people have a really hard time making that work IRL with friends that want to play together. I walked out of a few groups because they were super rules loose and I like a more rules matter kind of game. I'm not sure what some book can have in it to suddenly make everything work out.

He thinks that being a good game designer means they must have some alogrithms and formulas they can apply to fix the problem. <---He said this. It is not me being facetious.

We tried to tell him it was not that simple. Basically, he is being naive about the situation.


Yeah, no-real-weakness DR is pretty nasty early on. XD ...Are PFS GM's allowed to offer non-specific suggestions, such as "a character with good damage would be useful in this scenario, does anyone have one they'd like to play"?


Yeah, we really, really don't need a book on this.

At best, a free downloadable advice pamphlet or something describing GMing with difficult groups. I can see that. But I don't think it's necessary. There's many resources on the subject.


Sundakan wrote:
Should be a disclaimer in that AP that reads "You must be this stronk to ride".

Personally, I think this goes back on the GM.

Before a GM is going to run a campaign, he/she should have a pretty strong idea about the kind of opponents and environment will show up. During the character creation process, the GM should give enough information about the campaign that the players can make more appropriate choices. The GM shouldn't give out huge spoilers or anything, of course, but can steer the players away from obviously bad choices that would result in a frustrated player once the adventure got going.


All I want is some party rule sets for characters who take the spot light away from the party. I said that not everyone will get along in a group, but if at least some percentage can, that's better than nothing. And yes, I believe that a book like that can help a percentage.

Party rules can't be hard to make, it's whatever a party does is equal to their level. I'm sure you can fit max damage charts in there per level, max attribute bonus per level, max this and that per level.

I know what you're thinking, "There's already third party books like that"
Yes, but if its by Paizo, the PFS can use it as an Optional rule, according to GM specific.

I don't want to start a flame war as someone mentioned previously. But it seems to me that some people like to rearrange words in a way that is more suiting for them to argue. Probably because of something to do with always wanting to sound right. I myself am a character optimizer, I just don't like to be mistreated by others when I'm writing something on the boards or nagged by other players for whatever reason that they're not satisfied with about my character being too powerful. I want everyone to be on the same playing field, so I can make whatever I want without any problems. Is that someone who sounds like a bad, crazy, deranged person?

People sound like I murdered someone.

Imagine if this book already existed and I said we did't need it, I'd get crapped on regardless. Its inhumane.

P.S.
If you are curious about what I said earlier in this thread, you know how to get there.

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