What happened to magic items? Are they useless?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Grand Lodge

My read of ABP is that it is taking away from the need of the big 6 and the +6 or such issues. It is showing you how those at Paizo want the game to be played.

Yes it seems slow or to "punish" those who aren't a single weapon user or use a shield but it is still playable with the ABP.

I have yet to try it so you don't have to listen to me, just putting in my read of ABP.

It isn't a fix it is an alternate system and it is very different from the current system with the Big 6 and having them at max to feel effective.


Raltus wrote:
Yes it seems slow or to "punish" those who aren't a single weapon user or use a shield but it is still playable with the ABP.

As long as you don't mind excluding some otherwise viable character types because they either don't play well with the option or you don't know how it works. It's like a car without heat/AC, wipers, radio and headlights. Is it drivable? Sure. Will I enjoy the ride? No.


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graystone wrote:
As long as you don't mind excluding some otherwise viable character types because they either don't play well with the option or you don't know how it works. It's like a car without heat/AC, wipers, radio and headlights. Is it drivable? Sure. Will I enjoy the ride? No.

Is that the only option you can see? Excluding character types? How about a smidge of flexibility? Adjusting and fixing cases that a system compromising, what, 2 pages, couldn't possibly account for?

For example, in our game, attunement went right out of the window, A silly rule harboring back to the even sillier WBL. We made all the bonuses inherent to the character. Pick up a chair, now you have a +3 damage and attack bonus with it. No, its not a magical glowing chair now - it's all you, kiddo. (This gives a slight boost to melee classes even, which along with the Unchained action economy and some other fixes made the CvM disparity a little less in our game.)

Yes, I'm sure it helps that we are mostly core book grognards and we don't play wereoctopi octawielding ectoplasmic eidolons, but if you enjoy that kind of system complexity and numbers juggling (not saying WrongBadFun here, I respect all proclivities equally), I think adjusting and improving ABP to fit your game would be a breeze.

It's funny how people (not directed at you Graystone, I don't know your posting history) are OK with the fact that you generally won't play an adventure module or AP by just picking it up and running it verbatim, without adjusting it for your group. But rules on the other hand, they are holy gospel and can't be touched. I guess we have PFS and the RAW-priests to blame for that. (And maybe a decline in home games? Folks play more at game stores and online with strangers and then rules adjustments become icky.)


The problem with the Big Six is that it creates these strange artificial benchmarks. Granted these are more common among the min-max crowd, but, here let me give you an example:

I had a player who joined one of my open Roll20 games... He joined late, another player had to drop due to work schedule... He tried to tell one of my existing players, who was playing a Fighter, that at level 10 (the level they were about to move to) he had to have at least a +21 to hit or he was "bringing the group down."

I had to slowly go over every CR 10 monster in the books:
Bebilith - AC 22
Brauchiosaurus - 18
Clay Golem - 24
Coatle - 22
Fire Giant - 24
Giant Flytrap - 22
Guardian Naga - 24
Rakshasa - 25
Young Red Dragon - 22
Young Silver Dragon - 22
Young White Dragon - 20

I also crunched the numbers on how you get that high, and came up with:
Strength 20 (+5)
Belt +4 (+2)
Weapon +2
Weapon Focus (+1)
Weapon Training (+2)
BAB +10

Being pretty much as high as you can go. You might be able to work in a higher bonus, of course, but that is a pretty straight forward build. Gloves of Dueling and such will yank it up higher, so will Greater Weapon focus.

It also is a +22 to Attack.

That is overkill. When you are dealing with enemies meant to take on 4 characters of level 10 and your attack bonus is so high that on everything but the Rakshasa you hit on a natural 2 (that takes a natural 3). In fact, on your second attack you still hit everything here on an 8 or less.

I mean fates forbid if you use flanking or anything else either.

Going all out, for example, can get you to a +25

So, how do you fare if you strip out the "Big Six" from this?

You lose a grand total of +4, meaning you're at a +18 (or a +21 if you're going full bore) and anyone who says that is useless.. Shocks me.

You don't need bonuses that high. Nobody does. However people see this number and somehow the optimization number becomes the benchmark.

A BAB 10 character with a +5 strength doesn't need the Big 6 to hit these things. He hits everything at a natural 10 or lower as it is. So, that is my argument about the big 6 I guess... You don't need the bonuses from them... You won't even notice they're gone most of the time if you're going the hard core route.


Iterative Attacks are a big thing for Fighters, and missing them means losing DPR.

At that level in the game, presuming some competence, you should hit with at least one attack, and then with enough bonuses, consistently hit with the other, which is what the player in question is asking. (And it's not unreasonable, given you should have enough bonuses in your Iterative to reliably hit.)

You're also not factoring in Power Attack (which is a -3 penalty), or if the enemy is trying to apply debuffs, like the Fatigued condition, Shaken, and so on. Which at that level, is basically a guarantee in addition to however they attack you.

The way I see it, at that level, if the chance your activity is effective is the same odds as the Bestow Curse spell saying you take no action, then quite frankly that action isn't worth doing on a regular basis.

The only time you'd do such an action, is if you have no other way to reliably contribute to combat, or if you're low level, and you only need your base attributes.

Grand Lodge

The big issue with magical items is it all became about DPR.


The big problem with this game is because it became all about a math problem to be solved.

And not to throw stones, I often treat the game this way myself when not looking at my character during game play. It becomes a pile of numbers to interact with other numbers.


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graystone wrote:
Weapon/armor attunement is more of a 'grand canyon' instead of a 'pothole' and the blog method is downright confusing. It heavily favors two handed fighting types and shafts two weapon fighters and sword and shield and doubly so if you TWF with a sword and shield. I mean 8th level to get 2000gp worth of enchants on armor and shield...

Amen to those. I mean, I also agree about all the stuff it doesn't even cover, but I feel like I'd be willing to cut them more slack on that part if the system at least worked correctly for something as simple as a sword and shield.

HWalsh wrote:
I had a player who joined one of my open Roll20 games... He joined late, another player had to drop due to work schedule... He tried to tell one of my existing players, who was playing a Fighter, that at level 10 (the level they were about to move to) he had to have at least a +21 to hit or he was "bringing the group down."

You might find this interesting in general. 21 isn't a "minimum" but 17 kind of is for a primarily physical attacking character. If you have other gimmicks then less AB is fine (below 13 is "This is a major weakness of mine") but...

HWalsh wrote:

So, how do you fare if you strip out the "Big Six" from this?

You lose a grand total of +4, meaning you're at a +18 (or a +21 if you're going full bore) and anyone who says that is useless.. Shocks me.

You also lose 6-8 AC (or more), 2-3 saves across the board, and 4-5 damage per hit. Want me to run some mathematical analysis?

Grand Lodge

Balkoth you are proving it is all about the math and a problem to be solved, I mean there is nothing wrong with that at times but really is that what this game is turning out to be a game of who can do their math better?


The attunement business is a sticking point I agree, but I see ... the design "need" for it.

So that as you get higher level, all weapons and armor do not become high level weapons and armor. To still keep it anchored in WBL. There is no denying making those bonuses inherent would be more intuitive and easier to bookkeep, but such is it.


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Raltus wrote:
Balkoth you are proving it is all about the math and a problem to be solved, I mean there is nothing wrong with that at times but really is that what this game is turning out to be a game of who can do their math better?

If the math isn't important, why have full BAB, 3/4 BAB, and 1/2 BAB classes? Why have high and low saving throws? Why have classes with different Hit Dice? Why have feats like Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, Dodge, Spell Focus, or Spell Penetration? Why have armor and weapons with different mathematical values for each aspect (AC, damage, weight, crit range, armor check penalty, etc)?

And none of that is even getting into magical items, let alone the "Big Six."


Raltus wrote:
The big issue with magical items is it all became about DPR.

Yes, it's about DPR. That's technically been what it's about since square 1, when 3.X and Pathfinder was released, and that's because the design principles and aspects behind their creations factored such things in.

The question is why we even adhere to or value things like this, and the answer is quite simple: The math supports the roleplay.

I mean come on, the ABP system is proof that the game, at some level or other, assumes that you have specific powers at specific intervals of levels. And the way I see it, even from a non-"most powerful character in existence" standpoint that the DPR Olympians can't seem to grasp or accept, if a character isn't meeting those level-based expectations (which are Paizo-supported, mind you), they aren't at an appropriate level that the game expects them to be. (And inversely, a person who has greater forms of what the ABP grants isn't at an appropriate level either; it's just on the opposite spectrum of the scale.)

For example, if I wanted to make a character that gears towards being the most powerful Wizard, I'd take X choice, and make sure that I have at least Y for my Intelligence, because the math tells me that if I follow those numbers, that character would be on the path of becoming "the most powerful Wizard," which is what I am going for in regards to designing this character.

Conversely, if I don't take those options, and instead take something that is mathematically inferior compared to the previous option, then I can't say that I am creating "the most powerful Wizard," because the math would suggest that there is another, more plausible way to become "the most powerful Wizard." Regardless of what choice I make, the fact of the matter remains: The math supports the type of character I want to make. You can't make a 3 Strength Fighter, and say he is Superman, because that 3 Strength means he can't barely walk or carry anything, and his to-hit with melee attacks (and damage with melee/thrown weapons) are standardly abysmal.

Now, does everybody's character design involve being "the most powerful X that ever lived"? No. And for those such characters, optimizing DPR isn't the most important thing, because DPR isn't on their priority list. And that's fine. In fact, "powerful" doesn't always have to refer to DPR, simply being unkillable or undefeatable means that, sooner or later, you'll win by default. (See Trolls V.S. Characters with no Acid/Fire damaging effects.)

From this, you can see there's also the matter of what constitutes "powerful," and that based on what the effect or ability is, determines whether it falls within that category. Incredible Buffing capabilities is powerful to some, and not to others. Similarly, Save or Suck/Die effects are powerful to some, but again, not to others. When power is subjective, and has variables (such as the number of players who benefit from your buffs, the DC on your effect, and what type of save it targets, and much more), you then run into issues as to which option has the most priority in comparison to what you're wanting the character to emulate, and whether that ability is actually powerful (or is only powerful in certain situations).


Envall wrote:

The attunement business is a sticking point I agree, but I see ... the design "need" for it.

So that as you get higher level, all weapons and armor do not become high level weapons and armor. To still keep it anchored in WBL. There is no denying making those bonuses inherent would be more intuitive and easier to bookkeep, but such is it.

Why do you need to anchor it in WBL? The weapons and armor doesn't become high level, the heroes are just getting that much better at fighting. They can even start to bypass DR without the needed materials. I see the ABP bonuses just as a necessary wedge to get the stats up to what the game expects you to have, for getting PC stats and opponent CRs, DCs etc. in line. Sure, some casters might complain they don't get an inherent equivalent to spellcasting, without attunement, but then they don't know how good they have it.

You could even skip the decrease of the inherent bonus for special effects, although we kept it - it would have been over the top at higher levels.


Razcar wrote:
Why do you need to anchor it in WBL? The weapons and armor doesn't become high level, the heroes are just getting that much better at fighting. They can even start to bypass DR without the needed materials. I see the ABP bonuses just as a necessary wedge to get the stats up to what the game expects you to have, for getting PC stats and opponent CRs, DCs etc. in line. Sure, some casters might complain they don't get an inherent equivalent to spellcasting, without attunement, but then they don't know how good they have it.

...because it is anchored in the WBL by default? I mean it is about taking half of the WBL away and transforming it into inherent attributes.

I don't think they want it to have far more reaching effects such as affecting throwing weapon builds or such, first thing that came to my mind. To "contain" it a bit more.

Eh.


Envall wrote:
Razcar wrote:
Why do you need to anchor it in WBL? The weapons and armor doesn't become high level, the heroes are just getting that much better at fighting. They can even start to bypass DR without the needed materials. I see the ABP bonuses just as a necessary wedge to get the stats up to what the game expects you to have, for getting PC stats and opponent CRs, DCs etc. in line. Sure, some casters might complain they don't get an inherent equivalent to spellcasting, without attunement, but then they don't know how good they have it.

...because it is anchored in the WBL by default? I mean it is about taking half of the WBL away and transforming it into inherent attributes.

I don't think they want it to have far more reaching effects such as affecting throwing weapon builds or such, first thing that came to my mind. To "contain" it a bit more.

Eh.

Yes, but all the other bonuses are inherent. Not having melee equipment bonuses be the same is, I suppose, just for not making folks that play non-melee characters bummed that melees are getting an "extra" inherent bonus that's​ pointless for casters. Which is true, but is an argument you can listen to or not depending on your views on melee/caster balance.


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Envall wrote:

The attunement business is a sticking point I agree, but I see ... the design "need" for it.

So that as you get higher level, all weapons and armor do not become high level weapons and armor. To still keep it anchored in WBL. There is no denying making those bonuses inherent would be more intuitive and easier to bookkeep, but such is it.

Is that really an important problem to solve though? I suppose I just really don't see what the issue is with a fighter being able to just pick a weapon up off a table and not lose their enhancement bonuses, especially at higher levels.

Grand Lodge

The Math doesn't tell you that you need Y int to be effective, you need Y int to cast level Y spells. Casters are really the only class that need a 19 in their primary stat because it allows them to cast their spells.

Fighters don't need an 18 Str, since they gain like you said Full BAB that is to show the growth of the fighters skill over the course of their adventuring career. It is the same as the 3/4 classes and the like, everyone gets better at doing things without needing a magical item ever.

The Magical Items to make certain things better which is a given and yes it makes things easier to kill/survive but they are 100% necessary since the game already has growth built in without the big 6.

The Fighter's resistance to physical miladies gets better as he levels, the Rogues ability to avoid certain things is better and the Wizards will gets stronger. All without magical items.

Yes you will fail rolls and yes you may not be "as effective" as if you had that cloak of resistance +5 or that Belt of Physical perfection +6, I cannot think what the head band one is. They are just extra's.

Razcar wrote:
I see the ABP bonuses just as a necessary wedge to get the stats up to what the game expects you to have, for getting PC stats and opponent CRs, DCs etc.

Is it a wedge or are we just wanting to steam roll everything so we add the ABP on top of magical items so we don't have that fear of dying?


Squiggit wrote:


Is that really an important problem to solve though? I suppose I just really don't see what the issue is with a fighter being able to just pick a weapon up off a table and not lose their enhancement bonuses, especially at higher levels.

I personally don't really see it as a big deal.

I get why they did it like they did, even if I don't care for the execution.


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I've just deleted a tall wall of text. We have the classic battle of crunch vs fluff, no one really is interested in changing their games focus, even if they are nostalgic about other styles. Frankly, games approaching the murderhobo ideal take less time, skill and effort to run and play. It really isn't anything more than that. Playing a stat block is so much less complex than playing some fluffy, unpredictable character role. It is easier to master crunch than it is to master fluff, especially if you demand conformity to The Rule.

The big six are a symptom, they are not the problem. The biggest problem is that life tends to leave us less and less time and energy for the game, or it leaves us behind.

It really is as simple as that.


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Raltus wrote:

The Math doesn't tell you that you need Y int to be effective, you need Y int to cast level Y spells. Casters are really the only class that need a 19 in their primary stat because it allows them to cast their spells.

Fighters don't need an 18 Str, since they gain like you said Full BAB that is to show the growth of the fighters skill over the course of their adventuring career. It is the same as the 3/4 classes and the like, everyone gets better at doing things without needing a magical item ever.

The Magical Items to make certain things better which is a given and yes it makes things easier to kill/survive but they are 100% necessary since the game already has growth built in without the big 6.

The Fighter's resistance to physical miladies gets better as he levels, the Rogues ability to avoid certain things is better and the Wizards will gets stronger. All without magical items.

Yes you will fail rolls and yes you may not be "as effective" as if you had that cloak of resistance +5 or that Belt of Physical perfection +6, I cannot think what the head band one is. They are just extra's.

Read what I said again; I said it takes Y Intelligence to become the most powerful Wizard PC, and any number less than that means you aren't the most powerful Wizard PC. Didn't say it takes Y Intelligence to be effective, because you could certainly have less than Y, and still be powerful enough. (Unfortunately, optimizers think they're the same number).

Fighters don't need a 20 Strength, but for that Fighter to be considered "the most powerful," he should have a 20 Strength, or even more in the case of an Orc PC. Similarly, a Fighter doesn't need an 18 Strength to be effective, since even a 16 Strength is only slightly less powerful in comparison (and doesn't require severe dumpstatting to achieve), or he may take feats to become Dexterity-based instead.

The expectations we're talking about are different, and as such, the numbers for said expectations will likewise be different. But even if they are, it doesn't change the factor that the game still assumes some modicum of optimization. After all, no sane person will take levels in Wizard even though they have only a 7 Intelligence, just like how no sane person will be a frontline character with only 3 Constitution.

Problem is that the Big Six aren't simply "optional" items, like Alchemist Fires are; the game requires that you have specific numbers/amounts of those items on your person at specific levels/areas of the game, and if you don't, the encounter becomes significantly more challenging, and potentially/realistically unbeatable. The ABP rules are proof of this, since you replace those items with the bonuses on the table, and serve as what you should have in terms of bonuses for those levels. So no, they aren't "extras," they are a difficulty supplement that comes from its predecessor, functioning as a holdover that was poorly designed. (The Big Six, not ABP.)

Grand Lodge

Daw you win the internet today, it is hard to play the person you want them to be at times because real life just hampers it.

PbP I find personally is easier to be in character, I don't want to play the wall of stats I want to play Edgar the Brave, weapons master who laughs in the face of the Balor.


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Razcar wrote:
graystone wrote:
As long as you don't mind excluding some otherwise viable character types because they either don't play well with the option or you don't know how it works. It's like a car without heat/AC, wipers, radio and headlights. Is it drivable? Sure. Will I enjoy the ride? No.
Is that the only option you can see? Excluding character types? How about a smidge of flexibility? Adjusting and fixing cases that a system compromising, what, 2 pages, couldn't possibly account for?

I'm talking about the unedited optional rule and why it doesn't work as-is. Could I make a new rule that works better? Sure, but then I'm not taking about the optional rule from the book anymore am I?

Razcar wrote:
We made all the bonuses inherent to the character.

It wish the official rule did this.

Razcar wrote:
Yes, I'm sure it helps that we are mostly core book grognards and we don't play wereoctopi octawielding ectoplasmic eidolons, but if you enjoy that kind of system complexity and numbers juggling (not saying WrongBadFun here, I respect all proclivities equally), I think adjusting and improving ABP to fit your game would be a breeze.

LOL I'm not talking 3rd party stuff here. Using JUST the hardback pathfinder books you can have 2 Ectoplasmic Lashes and 4-5 natural attacks Spiritualist [Ectoplasmatist] with a beast form 1 spell. Just looking at CORE, druids often deal with multiple natural attacks as do various other casters with shape shifting spells.

Daw wrote:
We have the classic battle of crunch vs fluff

it's hard to have one without the other. If your fluff is that you're a competent adventurer that's known for cleaning up bandits and orcs and you can get rolled by a wandering unarmed kobold, the crunch doesn't back up the fluff. it's not an either or issue. No matter how much fluff you have, if the basic mechanics don't work it's hard to enjoy the game. Might as well LARP then.

Daw wrote:
The biggest problem is that life tends to leave us less and less time and energy for the game, or it leaves us behind.

I agree, which is why it's important for rules to work as-is without tinkering or adjusting. If it doesn't all it does is take away from your actual gaming time.


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Raltus wrote:
I don't want to play the wall of stats I want to play Edgar the Brave, weapons master who laughs in the face of the Balor.

And what happens if the Balor then mops the floor with him because Edgar the Brave didn't have the stats to back up his roleplay?


Raltus wrote:

The Math doesn't tell you that you need Y int to be effective, you need Y int to cast level Y spells. Casters are really the only class that need a 19 in their primary stat because it allows them to cast their spells.

Fighters don't need an 18 Str, since they gain like you said Full BAB that is to show the growth of the fighters skill over the course of their adventuring career. It is the same as the 3/4 classes and the like, everyone gets better at doing things without needing a magical item ever.

The Magical Items to make certain things better which is a given and yes it makes things easier to kill/survive but they are 100% necessary since the game already has growth built in without the big 6.

The Fighter's resistance to physical miladies gets better as he levels, the Rogues ability to avoid certain things is better and the Wizards will gets stronger. All without magical items.

Yes you will fail rolls and yes you may not be "as effective" as if you had that cloak of resistance +5 or that Belt of Physical perfection +6, I cannot think what the head band one is. They are just extra's.

I see this and think, "So does a commoner" but the game really isn't designed that you play commoner, or that commoners being that high are a hard fight compared to an equal CR monster.

If you look at the HP of enemies, their attack bonuses, damage, and AC it should be clear that as enemies level, the damage of 1 hit isn't meaningful.
as a rough example
LV1 one hit kills
lv6 two hits
lv11 three hits

The fighter if keeping up on this pace is still getting worse as he goes. he goes from 1 rounding an enemy to often 1 rounding an enemy to maybe 1 rounding an enemy. Making it so your main attack always has like a 50% chance of hitting is done with a fighter with no gear, but that makes his damage to HP lower and lower and lower. So if you're okay with a fighter getting less good of a fighter while the casters become better casters then go no magic gear. Like the fighter is already getting trivialized, why make it worse by giving him a negative increase rather than the straight line he has if he has magic? And that's just damage, survivability wise, ac and saves, are also on a negative slope, getting worse as you level.

Now this argument is all about what the game says based off of CR and stuff. If the GM and party are cool fighting 1 CR3 enemy at lv5 and having it be a near TPK then their builds can be very awful.

So the base game that the books assume has magic items baked in and are much more of a need/expected to have. The more the table is okay varying from that and doing more work then you don't need to follow it and for that table magic gear isn't a need/expected. But that one table doesn't do anything to change the default expected state that the books present.

also you may easily see a decrease of classes being chosen with no magic gear. Combat 3/4 bab classes struggle more to do combat, 3/4 and full bab classes are more fragile, days are shorter since you need to have a healbot cleric heal the party, there's more need of a healbot since you have no wands for healing, now that the cleric isn't an offensive character the party is even more weak.

So sure, the table can be totally fine and have a fun time with weak character, even an all commoner party for a darksoul feel or something where threat of death is everywhere. But the default way the game is presented isn't that game.


Balkoth wrote:
Raltus wrote:
I don't want to play the wall of stats I want to play Edgar the Brave, weapons master who laughs in the face of the Balor.
And what happens if the Balor then mops the floor with him because Edgar the Brave didn't have the stats to back up his roleplay?

Presumably the character concept is that Edgar the Brave is delusional or a charlatan who believes his own propaganda.


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You do understand that a character only needs to be built to the level of lethality the GM wants the game to be played at, right? That building for a lethality beyond that does not enhance the game?

Do you feel that characters not being built to your standards is an attack on your playstyle?


Daw wrote:

The big six are a symptom, they are not the problem. The biggest problem is that life tends to leave us less and less time and energy for the game, or it leaves us behind.

It really is as simple as that.

This has me scratching my head a bit, as from my experience the game has gotten less murdehobo-y, not more. The most mindless gaming experiences I've had have been with older editions.

So this strikes me as kind of nonsequitur


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Bluenose wrote:
Balkoth wrote:
Raltus wrote:
I don't want to play the wall of stats I want to play Edgar the Brave, weapons master who laughs in the face of the Balor.
And what happens if the Balor then mops the floor with him because Edgar the Brave didn't have the stats to back up his roleplay?
Presumably the character concept is that Edgar the Brave is delusional or a charlatan who believes his own propaganda.

The character Edgar The Brave, whatever your idea of him, exists outside the ruleset. His representation in the game is an approximation, which indeed is given by the numbers on the character sheet: Is he actually a weapon master? Depends on his attack bonus. Is he actually brave? Depends on his Will save (specifically vs. fear effects). Ditto for a character's persuasive ability, toughness, and so forth.

If your character's stats and concept don't agree, you'll end up changing your concept to fit the numbers anyways, like in this example. At some point, if the disconnect is wide enough between concept and numbers, the numbers are no longer a faithful approximation of Edgar the Brave. They represent a different character entirely: Edgar the Blowhard, whom you might or might not want to play.


Daw wrote:
You do understand that a character only needs to be built to the level of lethality the GM wants the game to be played at, right? That building for a lethality beyond that does not enhance the game?

Perhaps you could clarify what you mean by "level of lethality?"

I can see at least two definitions:

A, the degree to which the GM wants to kill the players

B, the actual difficulty of the combats

These are two entirely separate concepts. For example, I'm GMing two campaigns right now and the combat overall is quite difficult. But my expectation is that the PCs will win each encounter and I am perfectly fine with the idea of zero PCs dying over the course of the campaign if they play intelligently.

Now, as it so happens, I actually killed two PCs last night (and one of them permanently). But that was only because the party was stupid about some things and played poorly on top of that. The fight wasn't even meant to be very difficult and past groups have handled it fairly easily.


Pick B. No one can build to beat a GM.


Raltus wrote:
I don't want to play the wall of stats I want to play Edgar the Brave, weapons master who laughs in the face of the Balor.

You forget, Balors are some of the strongest of Hell's creations, able to command legions of Demons, capable of terrorizing villages, destroying cities, turning the grandest of empires into nothing but monuments to head their grand schemes, and despoiling the most sacred of celestials into becoming depraved servants of the Dark.

The Heavens will tell you, that it takes more than a simple name and body to defeat the Heralds of Hell. Even with their powerful divine relics, their armies abound, and their faithful servants, the Heavens struggle to face such wicked denizens, even with the power of Good and Righteous on their side.

To be Brave is to take a risk, to stand up against what makes you afraid, and in the most dire of circumstances, accept defeat and sacrifice for the cost of success. To face the mightiest of Hell's forces, one can be considered Brave. But to face them when not prepared enough to do so, is to be called Foolish.

Grand Lodge

I se no reason to continue talking here, I will watch but really people want it to be ALL about the math. Which is fine.

I realize Balors are terrible to behold and face, I just picked the first thing that came to my head. Edgar the brave is just a name, he is brave no matter what because he wants to be brave. Stats don't define that he is brave, that can say mechanically that he is or is not but overall they don't tell Edgar the Imaginary PC that he is brave.

If you want to play Dead Pool who realizes he is an imaginary character and knows his stats that is fine, or you could play Spider man who doesn't know his stats but is brave none the less even when he should run.

Like the Kid at the end of Amazing Spider man 2 facing down Rhino, the kid didn't have the stats to be brave and stand up to Rhino but his mom was there and he wanted to protect her none the less. So he showed true bravery without magical items or the stats to back him up.


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Raltus wrote:
I se no reason to continue talking here, I will watch but really people want it to be ALL about the math. Which is fine.

Wow, to come up with that strawman you had to completely ignore people saying that it was about math backing up the roleplay. Which was repeated in one form or another several times by several different people.

Would you have still called that kid 'brave' if the GM had him roll a will save, which he failed because 'stats/math doesn't matter', causing him to become panicked and flee?

That scene takes on a rather different flavor, no? Good thing that he had the stats to back up the actions you saw on screen then.


Raltus wrote:
Balkoth you are proving it is all about the math and a problem to be solved, I mean there is nothing wrong with that at times but really is that what this game is turning out to be a game of who can do their math better?

It's been that way since at least D&D 2nd edition, sorry to say. And 3rd edition (and by extension, Pathfinder) was even more complicated. And you can talk all you want about how your character is BRAVE and MOTIVATED and RIGHTEOUS, but when the dice hit the table, it really is all about who got the most plusses and didn't roll a 1. Because PF has approximately zero options for roleplaying to affect gameplay aside from alignment violations.

If you want a game that's more about THE ROLEPLAYING, might I suggest Fate?


Or Amber Dice-less, though it still has stats.


FATE and Amber both still have numbers in them though and apparently numbers are evil now. So they'd both be bad options.


swoosh wrote:
FATE and Amber both still have numbers in them though and apparently numbers are evil now. So they'd both be bad options.

Even LARPing has things like character points and such. Really some people seem to want to cooperatively 'write' an adventure instead of playing one within the framework of a game with mechanical rules. Nothing wrong with that but it's an odd position to take in a forum for a game that HAS one of those frameworks.


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Raltus wrote:
Balkoth you are proving it is all about the math and a problem to be solved, I mean there is nothing wrong with that at times but really is that what this game is turning out to be a game of who can do their math better?

Not really, because the math is relatively simple.

The optimization end of the game is (and has since 3.0 at the very least) been about engineering better characters to fill certain roles, out of the options available to us: What can you build out of this pile of parts? That's fun for a lot of people (I'd expect there to be a big overlap between people who like building characters and people who liked to play with Lego as kids), and a big reason for the enduring popularity of 3.PF. It's quite clearly not the only part of the game or the only way to play, but it's an inevitable byproduct of any rules-heavy system with a high degree of character customization.

Digression:

Character building really is closely analogous to designing a machine, albeit a simple one. I'll use the analogy of the battle tank, because as anyone who's watched the History Channel in its heyday might remember, designing a good tank is about finding the best compromise between firepower, protection, and mobility (to which I would add cost and reliability).

A tank [martial class] needs a powerful main gun [high DPR] to do its job effectively. But that doesn't mean you should design your vehicle [character] around the biggest gun [highest DPR] you possibly can. The extra weight and bulk [cost in feats/gold/etc] means sacrificing in other areas, such as protection [AC/Saves] or things like mobility, reliability, unit price, and operating costs [out-of-combat utility].

The vehicle designer must make choices about which gun to use, which engine, suspension, armor layout, and so on, to fulfill the given role: MBT, IFV, SPAAG, etc. Similarly, the player must decide what class to use, which feats/traits he should take, how to spend his gold, what character-specific options he should take, etc. to fulfill a given role and/or most closely approximate the character concept he has in mind. The engineer is constrained by time, budget, the limits of existing technology, and the laws of physics. The player is constrained by the rules of the system, WBL and other obstacles the DM might put in his way (for example, building a character whose mechanics rely heavily on some specific magic item may not be the best idea in a campaign with no magic item crafting).

A lot of complaints people have about the game make a lot more sense through this lens. What do people mean when they complain about bloat? The pile of parts is enormous, with more being thrown on every month, and one has to dig through a ton of scrap to find that one good part they were looking for (if it even exists). People complain about "trap options": Parts that look like they work, but on closer inspection are poorly or non-functional. Martials must choose multiple parts that synergize towards One Weird Trick (e.g. combat maneuvers and other feat chains) while Casters can cherry-pick the best components that are compatible with their class, which don't need to be combined with some other part to function (for example, one does not need to learn Levitate before one learns Fly), and thus can expand their range of utility as wide as possible. Why is balance important? Because without it, everyone's Voltrons end up functioning in a very similar way, and difference for difference's sake is detrimental to performance (not to mention shallow).


I think if unchained had ABP planned to be part of it from the beginning with mark getting a decent allotment of pages rather than "we have some extra pages, and Mark has some ideas on how we can fill them", Mark would have been able to get the ABP cover a lot more bases and work a lot more efficiently than he's had to to.


_Ozy_ wrote:
That scene takes on a rather different flavor, no? Good thing that he had the stats to back up the actions you saw on screen then.

In all fairness, the kid could have rolled a natural 20. And, conversely, even a high saving throw doesn't matter if you roll a 1!

Athaleon wrote:
I'd expect there to be a big overlap between people who like building characters and people who liked to play with Lego as kids

I preferred K'NEX.


Balkoth wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:
That scene takes on a rather different flavor, no? Good thing that he had the stats to back up the actions you saw on screen then.
In all fairness, the kid could have rolled a natural 20. And, conversely, even a high saving throw doesn't matter if you roll a 1!

True, true...

Though if the kid really doesn't have the stats to back up the 'brave' label, you may as well title him Sir Robin. ;)


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Brave Sir Robin ran away
(No!)
Bravely ran away away
(I didn't!)
When danger reared its ugly head
He bravely turned his tail and fled
(No!)
Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about
(I didn't!)
And gallantly he chickened out
Bravely taking to his feet
(I never did!)
He beat a very brave retreat
(All lies!)
Bravest of the brave, Sir Robin!
(I never!)*

All text within the '()' are from the poor player of Sir Robin who didn't have the stats to back up his title. ;)


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Raltus wrote:
The big issue with magical items is it all became about DPR.

Four of the Big Six (Magic Armor, Cloak of Resistance, Amulet of Natty Armor, and Ring of Protection) go towards boosting defenses and the fifth (Stat Booster) increases defense and/or utility in addition to offense.

Don't get me wrong: I don't like that the Big Six are a thing, that the game is designed around the expectation that every character is a magic item Christmas tree, the setting and tone implications of magic items being g!$@$$n everywhere, or that you're almost always better off with your next +5% Chance To Not Die than with something more interesting. But unless you're also talking about reducing incoming DPR (never mind saves/status, and essential utility like Flight if your class doesn't provide it), that statement is just incorrect.

What is it about DPR that gets some people so upset?


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People do get upset about having non-DPR focused characters holding them back.
People get upset with people flipping them stuff because they are considered clueless and horrible because their non-DPR characters are dragging down the party.

I suppose people also get upset with snide individuals who think they are clever taunting people who don't agree with them with Monty Python bits. I'm just sure people are impressed with this rhetoric.

Would suggesting that your mother smells of elderberries earn your lasting respect?


Daw wrote:
I suppose people also get upset with snide individuals who think they are clever taunting people who don't agree with them with Monty Python bits.

Taunting? Snide? How so? It's a classic, if amusing, example of a title not matching the person that's from a recognizable movie. If any post was "taunting", it was Raltus' "really people want it to be ALL about the math" after a page full of people saying it's "about math backing up the roleplay". If someone gets upset about people pointing out that pathfinder has both mathematical and roleplaying aspects and the two are connected, then they are both thin skinned AND misguided about the game.


Milo v3 wrote:
I think if unchained had ABP planned to be part of it from the beginning with mark getting a decent allotment of pages rather than "we have some extra pages, and Mark has some ideas on how we can fill them", Mark would have been able to get the ABP cover a lot more bases and work a lot more efficiently than he's had to to.

I agree. Look what systems from Unchained gets discussed and mentioned the most here on the forums. It's (arguably) ABP, background skills and the revised classes. That would indicate that many players found these leaks in the PF boat the largest, and in most need of mending (out of what appears in the book, at least). Unfortunately ABP gets a scant two pages, while something I never heard anyone use (caveat: I'm sure there's some who use it somewhere...) like Stamina and Combat Tricks get around 25. Buhlman et. al. did a great job with that book but here I think they kinda dropped the ball.

The big six is something that often comes up as a big problem area in 3.x, and should in my opinion have warranted a larger and more comprehensive alternative system. Which I think both the ABP "lovers" and the "haters" can agree on. Maybe make a survey (and not only among PFS-players please!) about what systems us customers find problematic and/or lacking next time?


graystone wrote:
Daw wrote:
I suppose people also get upset with snide individuals who think they are clever taunting people who don't agree with them with Monty Python bits.
Taunting? Snide? How so? It's a classic, if amusing, example of a title not matching the person that's from a recognizable movie. If any post was "taunting", it was Raltus' "really people want it to be ALL about the math" after a page full of people saying it's "about math backing up the roleplay". If someone gets upset about people pointing out that pathfinder has both mathematical and roleplaying aspects and the two are connected, then they are both thin skinned AND misguided about the game.

Sorry, I agree with Daw here. Felt like people were ganging up on Raltus for entertaining a differing view of the game. I'm sure Raltus can speak for themselves and doesn't need me but I think it got a little mean from quite many directions.


Razcar wrote:
Unfortunately ABP gets a scant two pages, while something I never heard anyone use (caveat: I'm sure there's some who use it somewhere...)

Amusingly, the person you're replying to actually has used it multiple times. Especially in my "Make a monk from every class" project since it means I can make the character faster since there is less gp judgling and can give each character more interesting items, also it goes very well with a monk with vow of poverty.


Razcar wrote:
graystone wrote:
Daw wrote:
I suppose people also get upset with snide individuals who think they are clever taunting people who don't agree with them with Monty Python bits.
Taunting? Snide? How so? It's a classic, if amusing, example of a title not matching the person that's from a recognizable movie. If any post was "taunting", it was Raltus' "really people want it to be ALL about the math" after a page full of people saying it's "about math backing up the roleplay". If someone gets upset about people pointing out that pathfinder has both mathematical and roleplaying aspects and the two are connected, then they are both thin skinned AND misguided about the game.
Sorry, I agree with Daw here. Felt like people were ganging up on Raltus for entertaining a differing view of the game. I'm sure Raltus can speak for themselves and doesn't need me but I think it got a little mean from quite many directions.

Stating the facts isn't being mean. It's being realistic about the situation at hand. (And plus, Athaleon makes an excellent point that I didn't think about; out of all of the Big Six, only maybe 2 of them actually affect your raw DPR, and the others make it so you don't die as much, usually in the form of AC/Saves.)

If people are getting upset because of the facts being presented (and only the facts being presented), then the question shouldn't be "Are these people having badwrongfun," but instead "Is this a game that so-and-so should be playing?"

And as others have suggested, if the "numbers game" is ticking you off, then a system that relies on a "numbers game" to function probably isn't the game for you to play, especially when the "numbers" part of the game, which is entirely what the game is based off of, is something that you clearly dislike.

Nobody's saying he has to play the game. All we're saying is "This is how the game works, if you like it, great, if not, then it's best you find a game that's more tailored to your playstyle." In this case, a game with no numbers involved.


Milo v3 wrote:
Razcar wrote:
Unfortunately ABP gets a scant two pages, while something I never heard anyone use (caveat: I'm sure there's some who use it somewhere...)
Amusingly, the person you're replying to actually has used it multiple times. Especially in my "Make a monk from every class" project since it means I can make the character faster since there is less gp judgling and can give each character more interesting items, also it goes very well with a monk with vow of poverty.

Haha, ironic :)

EDIT: On a second read, this time with my brain a little more properly inserted into its slot, I think you misunderstood me, since I can't see how Stamina and Combat Tricks would save time, nor money.
I meant that Stamina and Combat Tricks got 25 pages, while the undoubtedly more popular, and in my view much more needed, ABP system only got two. It seems you think I meant that you do not use ABP. I've seen ABP used a lot. Stamina not so much.

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