Self Gimping a Wizard


Pathfinder Society

Dark Archive

Now I dont think anyone should do this but my question is is there any rule against it.

Can a player make a character that is a straight wizard with and int of 8. Gaining next to nothing from the class and being a terrible character.

Is there any rule preventing this?

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Agent, Rhode Island—Lincoln aka Upaynao

2 people marked this as a favorite.

No, there is no rule against that. The same way that in the desert there is no rule against eating rocks.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Indiana—Hammond

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Halek wrote:

Now I dont think anyone should do this but my question is is there any rule against it.

Can a player make a character that is a straight wizard with and int of 8. Gaining next to nothing from the class and being a terrible character.

Is there any rule preventing this?

A friend has a nagaji wizard with a high strength and very low intelligence. His magic missiles are darts and his mage hand is his fist. The character is pretty much there for comic relief, as his toad familiar sees himself as being punished for some unknown sin.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Link to a very long discussion of this exact question two years ago.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

This comes up from time to time. There's no game rule against it.

However, other players may not enjoy playing with a "dead weight" character. Keep in mind that if you add more PCs, difficulty goes up due to 4/6 player adjustments and all that. So if you're bringing a "useless" PC to the table, some people may feel you're sabotaging the group.

Dark Archive

So it is not banned just frowned upon. The reason I asked was I was challenged to optimize the most useless pfs legal character. Turning wizard into a commoner woukd make that easy.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Most useless overall, or most useless in combat, or most useless for it's class?

Most useless in combat:
A 5 str / 7 dex / 9 con gnome melee fighter/barbarian (int 8, wis 18, cha 20)
A 7 str / 9 dex / 7 con halfling melee fighter/barbarian (int 8, wis 18 cha 20)
A 7 str / 9 dex / 5 con elf melee fighter/barbarian (int 10, wis 18, cha 18)

Most useless for it's class (not counting archetypes that change casting stat):
A 5 charisma dwarf sorcerer or bard
An 8 int wizard
An 8 wisdom/8 charisma cleric
An 8 wisdom druid

Most useless overall:
Rogue or monk ... Just kidding

5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Finland—Tampere aka Rei

Damanta wrote:

Most useless for it's class (not counting archetypes that change casting stat):

A 5 charisma dwarf sorcerer or bard
An 8 int wizard
An 8 wisdom/8 charisma cleric
An 8 wisdom druid

Or if you want to keep with the theme of the 5 casting stat:

5 Cha oread sorcerer (with a not-relevant bloodline) or bard
5 Int nagaji wizard or witch
5 Wis wayang or ifrit druid (although the ifrit would get a little boost to wild empathy so be sure to switch that out)

Also, medium -Str races (kitsune, undine) are even worse at being Str 5 barbarians than gnomes or halflings, since small races get a size bonus to hit.

Dark Archive

The challenge was to make a character so useless as to be worse than a normal npc expert.

Sorceror gets a little use out of bloodline abilities. Witch gives a familiar.

Cleric still get domains.

Druids get an animal companion.

I guess any caster with a garbage casting stat would work. Thanks for the clarifacation.


Wizard with bonded item seems the best option. No familiar, poor HP, two poor saves, almost no skill points. Make him have a dumped CON stat and he'd be really useful as bait for monsters.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Minna Hiltula wrote:

Or if you want to keep with the theme of the 5 casting stat:

5 Cha oread sorcerer (with a not-relevant bloodline) or bard
5 Int nagaji wizard or witch
5 Wis wayang or ifrit druid (although the ifrit would get a little boost to wild empathy so be sure to switch that out)

Also, medium -Str races (kitsune, undine) are even worse at being Str 5 barbarians than gnomes or halflings, since small races get a size bonus to hit.

Thanks for those additions :)

I only went with core races as the pointbuy 20 generator I use most often has those build in, so I didn't have to look up their stats.

Halek wrote:

The challenge was to make a character so useless as to be worse than a normal npc expert.

Sorceror gets a little use out of bloodline abilities. Witch gives a familiar.
Cleric still get domains.
Druids get an animal companion.
I guess any caster with a garbage casting stat would work. Thanks for the clarifacation.

To be worse than an npc expert is hard due to the point buy 20.

This ensures that a PC will usually have a stat that boosts something over that of an expert :).

Even the wizard will have a school power he can use, so that's kinda the same as the bloodline abilities, though the 5 cha sorcerer cannot use most 1st level bloodline ability as those tend to be 3+cha mod uses with no minimum limit.


What do you do when you get your hands on a stats boosting item, like headband of vast intelligence or belt of giant strength? A +4 could already turn your PC from 'pretty much useless' into 'occasionally useful'.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
SheepishEidolon wrote:
What do you do when you get your hands on a stats boosting item, like headband of vast intelligence or belt of giant strength? A +4 could already turn your PC from 'pretty much useless' into 'occasionally useful'.

Dont buy that. Only buy signet rings and drugs. As in the game items that give temporary bonuses for long lasting attribute damage. Make a wizard with 9 int.

Take the familiar option and have it die. Spend all your money on awful drugs. Get the metal elemental school. Your powers are useless and you dont even get a familiar or a bonded object.

Enjoy being a drugged up commoner being a detriment to the party. Anything preventing this from being a pfs legal character.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Agent, Rhode Island—Lincoln aka Upaynao

2 people marked this as a favorite.

IMO, making a "useless" character is (relatively) easy. But making one that uses ill-known archetypes that aren't reviewed positively in their respective guides, and making him or her effective (or able to keep pace)... Now that's a challenge.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Gregory Rebelo wrote:
IMO, making a "useless" character is (relatively) easy. But making one that uses ill-known archetypes that aren't reviewed positively in their respective guides, and making him or her effective (or able to keep pace)... Now that's a challenge.

Agreed. Anyone can make a spellcaster with too low a casting stat to cast spells and be completely useless. But taking the worst class in the game and optimizing it to actually be good is a real challenge.

And on that note: To the OP, try making a medium without the champion spirit or any archetype, and making it useful enough to be worth giving up the 4 player adjustment to have that PC at the table. If you can do that, I'll be impressed.


7 people marked this as a favorite.
Halek wrote:
So it is not banned just frowned upon. The reason I asked was I was challenged to optimize the most useless pfs legal character. Turning wizard into a commoner woukd make that easy.

We get people opening new threads about 7-8 int wizards about once a month or two on the average. Your idea doesn't even have the virtue of originality.

If you plan on doing this... do it with a PFS table that has your friends on it that will tolerate this bit of whimsy until you get it out of your system. Otherwise it's a great way to antagonise strangers.


Halek wrote:

The challenge was to make a character so useless as to be worse than a normal npc expert.

You don't need to gimp stats or class features to do that. All it takes is bad play, and there's always plenty of that around.

Dark Archive

Fromper wrote:
Gregory Rebelo wrote:
IMO, making a "useless" character is (relatively) easy. But making one that uses ill-known archetypes that aren't reviewed positively in their respective guides, and making him or her effective (or able to keep pace)... Now that's a challenge.

Agreed. Anyone can make a spellcaster with too low a casting stat to cast spells and be completely useless. But taking the worst class in the game and optimizing it to actually be good is a real challenge.

And on that note: To the OP, try making a medium without the champion spirit or any archetype, and making it useful enough to be worth giving up the 4 player adjustment to have that PC at the table. If you can do that, I'll be impressed.

Use the archmage spirit. You can at least give a +2 damage on spell buff. Also you can add summoning spells to provide meat shields from the lesser boon.

Now you are a slightly worse off sorceror with a sucky bloodline. Now you also provide +2 on spell damage to the whole group. Do you have any blaster mage in the party? Now they love you. You still get bonus spells so mesmerist progresion isnt that bad.

Now you fall off later because well you have some garbage features like location channel and haunt channeller.

So you cant just use the archmage spirit your whole life but up to level 4 you have acesss to the same spell levels as a sorceror. At 5th you are at the same as a sorceror who took a dip into spellslinger wizard. At 6th you suck.

Now lets look what you can do after that. Sixth level start everyday with marshal spirit. Now be any race that gives weapon profciency. Be a half elf who dumps skill focus for proficieny in dorn dergar. Or be a dwarf. Take two weapon figthing as a first or thir level feat. Retrain your fifth level feat to dorn dergar master. You can now wear heavy armor plop down with a shield and be a slightly unoptimized reach figther.

You can even take hits to save party memebers using paladins sacrifice.

It can be done better but you effectively transition from playing at being a sorceror till you hit level six. Retrain a feat and go a normal reach figther build. Then you are a reach cleric able to self buff with enlarge person and absorbing damage.

Meatshield is a role and you are contributing.

Scarab Sages

Halek wrote:

Now I dont think anyone should do this but my question is is there any rule against it.

Can a player make a character that is a straight wizard with and int of 8. Gaining next to nothing from the class and being a terrible character.

Is there any rule preventing this?

Legal option. Could even have INT 5 via one of the races with -2 racial modifiers (7 is the lowest you can take BEFORE racial mods).

As for terrible characters, really shouldn't "try" to create terrible characters. If they end up terrible on their own, that's not an issue, but trying for failure seems unreasonable.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Indiana—Hammond

Murdock Mudeater wrote:
Halek wrote:

Now I dont think anyone should do this but my question is is there any rule against it.

Can a player make a character that is a straight wizard with and int of 8. Gaining next to nothing from the class and being a terrible character.

Is there any rule preventing this?

Legal option. Could even have INT 5 via one of the races with -2 racial modifiers (7 is the lowest you can take BEFORE racial mods).

As for terrible characters, really shouldn't "try" to create terrible characters. If they end up terrible on their own, that's not an issue, but trying for failure seems unreasonable.

The nagaji character that I mentioned earlier is there mostly for humor and is built mostly with GM credits. However, I have played with people whose characters were very ineffective -- and that made the session less fun.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I think this is just theotycrafting. I hope this poor wizard never sees a real game.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
William Ronald wrote:
The nagaji character that I mentioned earlier is there mostly for humor and is built mostly with GM credits. However, I have played with people whose characters were very ineffective -- and that made the session less fun.

Surprisingly, I have not noticed a corelation between effective/ineffective characters and players having fun. Making your character worthless will not automatically reduce the fun of the session. It'll make the session harder for the other players, which could affect their enjoyment (for better or worse). In particular, I've noticed oversized parties in PFS benefit from more ineffective characters, while smaller parties are hindered. And being ineffective is very contextual to the scenario and the party composition (and the dice, sometimes).

Mainly, a player is what brings fun to the table. Their character selection doesn't really impact the fun of the session, provided the player is fun to play with while roleplaying that character.


Whether or not you hit loses relevancy when you wield a 1d3(-3) starknife. It is a ranged weapon so you can even throw it on your first attack (and provokes AoO picking it up on the next). I think even a 1d4 (-3) non-lethal sap would be better.

Grand Lodge

Halek wrote:

Now I dont think anyone should do this but my question is is there any rule against it.

Can a player make a character that is a straight wizard with and int of 8. Gaining next to nothing from the class and being a terrible character.

Is there any rule preventing this?

Your mileage may vary, while the character may be legally built you may find GMs/players/regions who find a character designed in this way to be a violation of the "Don't be jerk" rule as it is being purposely designed to be ineffective.

Grand Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Don't make an int-dumped wizard. There's no challenge, and at higher levels, you will bug your party. They will see you as the person who is deliberately sabotaging their tables.

I love the idea of you taking an archetype that is widely viewed as inferior, or a medium, and making them awesome. Why not try to build an effective Scrollmaster Wizard?! You want self-gimping? You are literally fighting in melee with expensive, and disposable treasure!

Or find something else ridiculous and build a character around that. Just make sure that you always, always have a way to contribute.

Hmm

Dark Archive

Scroll master is easy. Snag mage armor and mending. You have better weapons than the figther at first level. Get a fortfying stone when you can until then you are still a wizard able to use color spray sleep and all spells.

For scrollmaster you can swing your sword 20 times with no problem. And mending can top it off between fights. Scrollmaster is still just a wizard with all the ease that brings.

5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Georgia—Atlanta aka Yiroep

Scroll blades cannot be repaired, per the archetype ability.

Dark Archive

That is what the fortfying stone is for. Scroll is never actually taking damage.

Scarab Sages

That Scrollmaster is in such dire need of an Errata...

Anyway, I suppose if making an INT dump "useful" wizard, I'd go with high CHA and the Necromancy School (Necromancy has that psuedo channel which is CHA based). Then focus on Use Magic Device and magic items. Still lacking, but you could make a reasonably useful character like that.

Silver Crusade 5/5 Venture-Agent, United Kingdom—England—Colchester

My personal recommendation for class and archetype for this kind of challenge is the build an optimal Rogue (Phantom Thief). Your call if you want to unchain it, but that would certainly be an optimal choice.

Grand Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Texas—Austin aka Partizanski

Jack Amy wrote:
My personal recommendation for class and archetype for this kind of challenge is the build an optimal Rogue (Phantom Thief). Your call if you want to unchain it, but that would certainly be an optimal choice.

Here is my try:
Best I can do at a glance is max the monster identifying knowledges using breath of experience on an unchained phantom thief.

Dex to damage and a +1 at level 7 (+2 at 10) bonus on attack rolls.

Use major magic 2-3 times for some spell options like shield, burning hands, magic missle etc, plus bookish rogue to change them out as needed. You should have a damn good day job to pay for the spell book/scribing costs as well.

OK in combat, very good in skills since they get everything except fly as a class kill which you could probably get 1 rank each in, especially if you have 12 INT and/or cunning.

That would be the chassis that has a couple talents/feats left over to customize.

Sczarni 3/5

Fromper wrote:
And on that note: To the OP, try making a medium without the champion spirit or any archetype, and making it useful enough to be worth giving up the 4 player adjustment to have that PC at the table. If you can do that, I'll be impressed.

Challenge accepted.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I assume that "4 player adjustment" is a PFS term? If so, building an effective Medium is easy, as a randomly thrown together group of 4 players (excluding the Medium) is highly likely to be lacking a specialty that the Medium can fill. He would be far less useful in a party where all players built their characters to fill all needed roles as a group.

Since a Medium with no archetype has access to all six spirit legends, I assume that what is meant by "without the champion spirit" is that the character selects no options designed to work with that spirit and also never channels that spirit if there is any reasonable alternative.

So this character would pump up his charisma rather than his physical stats. Of the 5 spirits that he would consider taking, Guardian and Marshall are fairly useless at the lowest levels -- leaving Archmage, Hierophant, and Trickster as viable options. The Marshall becomes a decent buffer at 6th level, and the Guardian gains the ability to soak up damage for allies via Paladin's Sacrifice at 7th level.

4/5 Venture-Agent, Minnesota—St. Louis Park aka BretI

1 person marked this as a favorite.
David knott 242 wrote:
I assume that "4 player adjustment" is a PFS term?

Yes.

Current scenarios are balanced for six players. The minimum number of players for a legal table is three plus an NPC (so four characters).

If the table has four characters, the challenges are reduced -- the four player adjustment. Often this can be something like sickened on one of the monsters or using the lower tier minions rather than the high tier minions.

A table of five or a table of six plays against the unaltered encounters.

So if you are the fifth player, you better make up for giving up the four player adjustment.

Scarab Sages

BretI wrote:

Current scenarios are balanced for six players. The minimum number of players for a legal table is three plus an NPC (so four characters).

If the table has four characters, the challenges are reduced -- the four player adjustment. Often this can be something like sickened on one of the monsters or using the lower tier minions rather than the high tier minions.

A table of five or a table of six plays against the unaltered encounters.

So if you are the fifth player, you better make up for giving up the four player adjustment.

The best games for worthless characters, are played with 7 players. And ideally 7 players with companions...

Dark Archive 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I'm aware of at least one character in my area that has triple classed, two of which are spellcasters, both of which the character lacks prerequisite statistics (two different statistics, mind you). It works really well.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Indiana—Martinsville aka thaX

I have a Celebrety bard that everyone likes...


Anything with 5 Con should be a challenge, and not taking the extra hp from favored class.

Scarab Sages

Fred Strauss wrote:
Anything with 5 Con should be a challenge, and not taking the extra hp from favored class.

I think it could be done. There aren't any Con-based skills, and most classes don't require con as a focus. It would still be tough, but I think it could be done. You'd probably want to play a race option that was immune or resistant to poison, since that is probably the biggest issue after the issue of having no HP.

5 Dex is probably harder to work with. Because even when dex is denied to AC, you still take the penalty to AC, plus lots of dex based skills, and not very many options to use ranged attacks with another stat. I've tinkered with 5 dex builds, it's just crippling. Especially in the Core Campaign.

5 INT, STR, CHA, and WIS are all very do-able. It's annoying, certainly, but most of what these stats do can be worked around (unless it is your caster stat).

I'm even a fan of purposely low will saves on barbarian-type characters, just so they are easier to dominate. How else is the evil cursed sword supposed to possess the barbarian...? lol.

It can also be practical to have low will saves on Paladins, if the party isn't inclined towards good behavior (party mind-controls the paladin to go along with code-defying plans).

3/5

This would be my reaction if a local player tried this.

Of course, our local players know better and they would only suggest this as a joke. If this is done for the sake of roleplay, then it doesn't take a stretch of logic to counter by saying that this character wouldn't be allowed to go on Pathfinder missions. Mystic Lemur put it best in the previously mentioned thread.

The only thing I disagree with is giving this character a chance in the first place. It could be frustrating for the other players to carry a useless sack through the scenario. But worse than that, you're encouraging this player to do it again instead of nipping it in the bud and preventing a future problem. In the highly unlikely scenario that this happens at a table that I'm GMing, I would be polite, and respectful, but firm in telling them not to play their 'commoner' build. I'm seeing it as deliberately undermining the other player's play for the sake of personal enjoyment and more than willing to invoke the "don't be a jerk" rule.

Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

I love the idea of you taking an archetype that is widely viewed as inferior, or a medium, and making them awesome. Why not try to build an effective Scrollmaster Wizard?! You want self-gimping? You are literally fighting in melee with expensive, and disposable treasure!

Hmm

I'm still in the camp that believes that archetype to be surprisingly good. Yeah, mulching scrolls for the privilege of doing terrible in melee isn't very effective, even if it gives you potential for hilarity.

"Books for the Book God! Scrolls for the Scroll Throne!!!"
But you don't give up a whole lot, and that 10th level ability is absolutely amazing.

4/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Rosc wrote:
Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

I love the idea of you taking an archetype that is widely viewed as inferior, or a medium, and making them awesome. Why not try to build an effective Scrollmaster Wizard?! You want self-gimping? You are literally fighting in melee with expensive, and disposable treasure!

Hmm

I'm still in the camp that believes that archetype to be surprisingly good. Yeah, mulching scrolls for the privilege of doing terrible in melee isn't very effective, even if it gives you potential for hilarity.

"Books for the Book God! Scrolls for the Scroll Throne!!!"
But you don't give up a whole lot, and that 10th level ability is absolutely amazing.

If you're willing to play a slightly worse version of one of the best classes in the game for 9 levels, you can officially become one of the most terrifying casters in all of creation for the rest of your career. That seems like a pretty reasonable trade.

Community / Forums / Organized Play / Pathfinder Society / Self Gimping a Wizard All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.