Balancing Casters vs Fighters


Advice

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DM Artemis wrote:

I made 9th level casters 6th level casters, 6th level casters into 4th level casters, and those with 4th level casting have no spells. The paladin and ranger have alternate abilities that still provide them excellent options to make them not feel left out. One would think that would be crazy...but it works.

all the 9th level casters gained additional abilities useful, and capping magic at 6th level was rather healthy. Can still get that magic world field without timestopping, wishing, miracles, firestorms, and all that silly stuff. I also made thinks like raise dead, teleporting etc still be able to be used, but not hot button items. Puts a lot of classes near the same. Even classes like the warpriest are still impressive with 4th level casting.
Drastic-yes
More balanced-yes
Hurt my party's optimizers-yes
Same amount of fun-yes

Excellent solution, with the added benefit that it makes the CR system more relevant as a guide.


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Personally, I think the two will never really be balanced at higher levels.

"Fighter" is not really a 10th level concept - not on its own, anyway. The class simply doesn't reinforce the narrative weight that 9th or 6th level casting lends.

And narrative weight is really what lies at the core of magic-vs-nonmagic imbalance.

Druids, clerics and wizards all get *downtime* spells that go "you have friends. Yay you!" around those levels, whether it be through mind control, raising zombies or make trees come alive and follow you around. Nonmagicals just don't.

And that's just one of a thousand examples. Spellcasters can move laterally through the world and the plot you're in, whereas noncasters can interact with the world and the setting through combat, social skills, obtain information through knowledge checks, overcome obstacles with movement skills and that's it. Except of course for magic items.

I think I've read just about exactly one story with level-appropriate warrior heroes, in what you might call d&d-esque fantasy settings, and precisely because of this, that character wound up acquiring the abilities to raise armies of undead(started with just one, progressed to an actual army), gate between two planes, making semi-solid objects from shadows, summon ice, passive cold resistance, cast suggestion, steal one power at a time from other high-level characters, and break literal and metaphorical stuff easier. On top of the political powers all this and the narrative affords.

It's also easy to say that high-level characters should have narrative power, but that kind of thinking often leads to abilities that straight up hands you magical swords and armies outright, which doesn't work well on a class system that represents intrinsic power. The only place I've seen this broken is in the animal companion class feature. And leadership, come to think of it. One might expand this aspect; if a fighter gets a cleric following him around, why, that player has the narrative breadth of a cleric! Even if the fighter's intrisic powers remain sharply curtailed.

I don't have any good answers, really. One might attempt something like 1st editions level caps; thief is a class with 8 levels, sucks to be you. This is obviously bad design, but you could shore up on it with having a wide range of prestige classes that slot naturally after, granting magical powers such as is appropriate to the setting while progressing your warrior-ness on the side.


PossibleCabbage wrote:


I feel like meaningfully interacting with the world outside the context of combat shouldn't really require anything beyond "talking to NPCs" and "making choices about how one course of action is preferable to another."

Amen to that.

I am now wondering quite how atypical my player group is, in that so much of this argument feels like "Player A can do X and Y and Z and player B can only do W and that makes the game broken and less fun", while mine very much start from the position "We can do X and Y and Z and W, how best can we synergise this to achieve the campaign goals in a fun way." And sure, there are games that may more naturally tend to the latter direction than Pathfinder necessarily does, but there's only so much Pandemic Legacy in existence.


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Groundhog wrote:
And that's just one of a thousand examples. Spellcasters can move laterally through the world and the plot you're in, whereas noncasters can interact with the world and the setting through combat, social skills, obtain information through knowledge checks, overcome obstacles with movement skills and that's it. Except of course for magic items.

It would be ok, if the difference wasn't so big. Let's take for example Mutants & Masterminds. "Casters" still come ahead, but even a brute character built around high strength can be pretty badass up to high levels. When your character can just go through walls like they are not there, crush force fields, crumple tanks and punch battleships out of the water it rarely feels like you can't contribute. And you very much will have enough points left to get skills that you want.

Of course if we allow casters unlimited access to all other powers - planar movement, teleportation and so on - they will be able to take the upper hand most of the time and have the versatility advantage. The point is - divide is still nowhere as big.


Let's equate Wizard Schools to Feat Categories to illustrate the point.

Wizards have the following schools: Abjuration, Conjuration, Divination, Enchantment, Evocation, Illusion, Necromancy, and Transmutation (plus Universal).
Feats are categorized according to the following areas: Animal Companion, Combat, General, Item Creation, Metamagic, Other, Story, and Style.

In an apples-to-apples comparison, if Fighters had the flexibility of arcane casters, they'd be able to choose a Feat Category (probably Combat) and their feats could be chosen as they please (while following BAB restrictions only), occupying one feat slot. They'd have to choose two opposition categories, where feats cost two feat slots per... Using the same mechanics that arcane casters use.

Alternatively, using the same mechanics that Fighters use, you wouldn't have any opposition schools, but if I wanted to get Fireball (for example), I'd have to take Burning Hands, and Flaming Sphere before I could take Fireball.

That would fairly balance out resources in part, 'cause Wizards get feats and spells to work with (and they have more than 20 spells by 20th level).

The two systems are very different (which I'm okay with), but they're balanced way in favor of the caster (which I'm less okay with). I just think that we need to figure out reasonable ways to give martial characters (like the Fighter, especially) the same (or similar) level of narrative power.

Best wishes!


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the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:


I feel like meaningfully interacting with the world outside the context of combat shouldn't really require anything beyond "talking to NPCs" and "making choices about how one course of action is preferable to another."

Amen to that.

I am now wondering quite how atypical my player group is, in that so much of this argument feels like "Player A can do X and Y and Z and player B can only do W and that makes the game broken and less fun", while mine very much start from the position "We can do X and Y and Z and W, how best can we synergise this to achieve the campaign goals in a fun way." And sure, there are games that may more naturally tend to the latter direction than Pathfinder necessarily does, but there's only so much Pandemic Legacy in existence.

A point of the Disparity argument is Player 1 can do X Y Z and W while player 2 can only do W.

Basically the claim is player 2 is sort of redundant and unnecessary / adds nothing new to the parties abilities.


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An important thing to remember is that we don't necessarily want two classes to have the same sort of narrative power, nor for things to be totally unique to one class. (If ONLY a Cleric could heal, that would make them near-mandatory, regardless of whether or not anybody in the group wanted to play a Cleric.) In general, a class should probably have at least 2-3 areas it's pretty good in - one in combat and one out of combat, at bare minimum, and each area coming up often enough to be genuinely impactful on the game.

Silver Crusade

Bodhizen wrote:
I'd love to know how Ssalarn addresses it at his gaming table.

I'd assume with Spheres of Power and Might ;)

necromental wrote:
If you are open to 3pp, Legendary Games has got your back.

Among other ways to boost martials, such as Legendary Gunslinger.


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GM Rednal wrote:
An important thing to remember is that we don't necessarily want two classes to have the same sort of narrative power, nor for things to be totally unique to one class. (If ONLY a Cleric could heal, that would make them near-mandatory, regardless of whether or not anybody in the group wanted to play a Cleric.) In general, a class should probably have at least 2-3 areas it's pretty good in - one in combat and one out of combat, at bare minimum, and each area coming up often enough to be genuinely impactful on the game.

The "Three Pillars" seems like a pretty easy way to resolve things for class design.

Basically, every class should be designed with three things in particular in mind: Combat, Exploration, and Interaction. While none of the classes should be a master of all three pillars, each class should have features that are geared towards these three pillars to different degrees. For example, a Ranger gets strong combat and exploration abilities but limited (but still present!) interaction abilities, while the bard has decent combat and great interaction abilities and less developed exploration abilities.

The classes have niches, but each is designed to be able to perform outside of its niche, facilitating greater teamwork. I'd be putting the fighter next to the Vigilante here for an example of where I feel the latter is what I'm talking about and the former isn't.

The fighter's exploration and interaction abilities begin and end with skill ranks, of which he does not get very many. Even recent attempts to skill up the fighter with things that let him use his BAB as ranks, like Master Marshmellow's more versatile Shrodinger's Fighter, are dependent on being able to grab a feat that gives them the skills they're using. Once this is done, however, it's not so much a power that facilitates better exploration or interaction as the fighter has now brought himself up to speed with a normal character who has trained in the skill naturally.

The vigilante, meanwhile, is a character built with combat and interaction in mind, and to enable this he has a distinct pool of socially-oriented abilities that are distinct from the abilities he uses to get better at fighting, which are themselves formidable. With his social talents, the Vigilante can gain powers that improve his social interaction (and to a lesser extent, his ability to explore) beyond just having skill ranks in the right place. With Social Grace he can get a sizable bonus to a number of mental and social skills, while other social talents enable him to do things another face-oriented class would not, like gathering information in a much shorter period of time, fool magical lie detection, create absolutely secure hiding places, become a master of disguise to an extent even skill-unlocked rogues could only dream of, and so on.

Ideally, I feel like every character would have some separate pools of abilities, some of which are used to fight enemies, some of which are used to get around the game world, and some of which are to gain powers that facilitate new and interesting interactions with NPCs. Primary magic-users would get the smallest pool of such abilities to compensate for the fact they get magic, which already does this, while wholly nonmagical characters get a much larger pool of such abilities to compensate for not having spells.


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necromental wrote:
If you are open to 3pp, Legendary Games has got your back.

Not really, the Legendary Fighter just gave it more combat abilities rather than anything to actually help against the caster/martial disparity or anything to give it any narrative weight.


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MerlinCross wrote:
So how do you balance casters/martials?

Assuming you mean me personally and aren't asking rhetorically, by putting some limits on the casters, and giving the martials some narrative power and minor niche protection.

MerlinCross wrote:
I don't know but in my own experience and bias, don' let power gamers get a hold of them.

As pointed out, the problem existed even when the player in question (me) did just about everything possible to underpower the caster so as not to show up the martials.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
So how do you balance casters/martials?

Assuming you mean me personally and aren't asking rhetorically, by putting some limits on the casters, and giving the martials some narrative power and minor niche protection.

MerlinCross wrote:
I don't know but in my own experience and bias, don' let power gamers get a hold of them.
As pointed out, the problem existed even when the player in question (me) did just about everything possible to underpower the caster so as not to show up the martials.

And yet I'm trying to actually be effective and I've contributed nothing to the group to the point I'm switching over to something that actually doesn't just sit in combat.

My WIS and CHA are pretty good I should be party face right? Faster players and good rolls have robbed me of talking to people.

But hey my Spells should make up for that right? Look at Shaman Spell list. And then understand for a good part(At least for my run) the enemies are immune or you're in a position where casting them is either risky to your team or you can't cast due to terrain.

Surely hexes would work right? Mixed bag either too limited or small but I'll confess this is getting away from the "Caster" main problem which is Magic usually. Their own innate abilities aren't brought up too much.

You did everything to gimp yourself, I tried to the point of reading guides(A couple in fact) to be effective.

And then I realized Alchemist can actually do stuff.

Now this isn't to say that ALL Casters are like me but I can't be the only one hat tried to make a character and saw it bungled. What's worse is that a fellow player is a Sorcerer, who took Impossible Bloodline. So they get to ignore all the "Construct Immunities" that I still have to deal with.

I'll be back to tell you if they are breaking the game but as of right now they are doing better than me.


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MerlinCross wrote:
So how do you balance casters/martials? I don't know but in my own experience and bias, don' let power gamers get a hold of them.

The biggest issue with that idea is that "power gamer" is a completely meaningless concept. All it really means is "someone whose skill at character building or preferred level of system mastery is significantly different than one or more other players at the table". I, personally, have literally brought the same character (a Hunter, no less) to three different games and had the reactions at each table vary from "OMG, we said no power-gaming!" to "Dude, we said this was going to be a high difficulty game and that's what you show up with? We're not going to carry you if you can't keep up". On the Pathfinder Facebook forums there was a GM complaining about a player who was "power gaming" because they played a fighter with a 16 STR, Power Attack, and a scythe; 1 core class plus 1 core feat plus 1 core weapon and a fairly average primary stat was power gaming in this person's opinion. There's no gauge to delineate what power gaming is because it's purely contextual.

But let's say there was a gauge... What follows is an admittedly sarcastic hypothetical scenario revolving around the solution quoted at the top of this post.

As GMs, we have hypothetically instituted a test to detect power gaming so we can prevent these power gamers from contributing to disparity issues at the table.

GM: All right everyone, I've collected the tests I had you all take at the start of the evening and graded them all based on your performances. Solid C+ work from you Jen and Tom, go ahead and build whatever you want. Alex, I'm afraid you and I are going to have to have a talk.

Alex: Uh, what seems to be the issue GM?

GM: Alex, I'm afraid that you scored over 80% on your exam. You won't be allowed to play an characters with 6th - 9th level spellcasting.

Alex: Wait, I scored high so I can't play spellcasters?

GM: That's exactly right Alex. It's like how Robert Jordan applied for the Boston police department but was turned down because his aptitude scores were too high.

Alex: Well maybe I'll play a-

GM: Sorry Alex, I wasn't quite done yet. Because you also correctly answered the extra credit question at the end of the test, I'm also going to have to bar you from playing Alchemists, Barbarians, Brawlers, Investigators, Paladins, Rangers, Slayers, Vigilantes, and anything with "unchained" in the name.

Alex: So I can play what, fighters, cavaliers, monks, or rogues?

GM: Actually, since section 3 of the test indicates that you actually understand the mounted combat and use magic device rules, I'm afraid I can't have you playing a cavalier or rogue either.

Alex: You know what, screw it, I'd rather not play.

GM: I had a suspicion you'd say that based on your test scores Alex, which is why I've already notarized your test. Didn't you find it odd that you had to write your name at the end of the test instead of the beginning? That section was actually a legally binding contract forcing you to play for at least 150 sessions and purchase a minimum of $50 worth of products per quarter for the duration or face a $2,000 fine.

Alex: Why is this happening to me?

GM: Because you're too smart for your own good Alex, and I can't afford for this necessary test to scare people off from the hobby. There's dozens of designers with bills to pay and mouths to feed.

Alex: Could I maybe at least play Starfinder instead?

GM: Alex, we both know that now that this test has identified you as a power gamer, you're not going to be welcome at many tables. As GMs we have to recognize that there are a lot of people out there; people who aren't as good at math as you, people whose reading skills aren't as sharp as yours, and people who simply aren't as invested in learning the ins and outs of the game as you are. I cannot and will not allow someone with the audacity to pour the kind of love and effort into a game that you've shown the potential for to ruin it for everyone else.

Alex: So... how am I supposed to have fun?

GM: I strongly suggest that in your next life you aim a little lower and collect a few more participation trophies.

Alex: What if I don't believe in reincarnation?

GM: Then you're screwed Alex, because power gamers can't go to heaven.


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Reviewman wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
So how do you balance casters/martials? I don't know but in my own experience and bias, don' let power gamers get a hold of them.

The biggest issue with that idea is that "power gamer" is a completely meaningless concept. All it really means is "someone whose skill at character building or preferred level of system mastery is significantly different than one or more other players at the table". I, personally, have literally brought the same character (a Hunter, no less) to three different games and had the reactions at each table vary from "OMG, we said no power-gaming!" to "Dude, we said this was going to be a high difficulty game and that's what you show up with? We're not going to carry you if you can't keep up". On the Pathfinder Facebook forums there was a GM complaining about a player who was "power gaming" because they played a fighter with a 16 STR, Power Attack, and a scythe; 1 core class plus 1 core feat plus 1 core weapon and a fairly average primary stat was power gaming in this person's opinion. There's no gauge to delineate what power gaming is because it's purely contextual.

But let's say there was a gauge... What follows is an admittedly sarcastic hypothetical scenario revolving around the solution quoted at the top of this post.

As GMs, we have hypothetically instituted a test to detect power gaming so we can prevent these power gamers from contributing to disparity issues at the table.

GM: All right everyone, I've collected the tests I had you all take at the start of the evening and graded them all based on your performances. Solid C+ work from you Jen and Tom, go ahead and build whatever you want. Alex, I'm afraid you and I are going to have to have a talk.

Alex: Uh, what seems to be the issue GM?

GM: Alex, I'm afraid that you scored over 80% on your exam. You won't be allowed to play an characters with 6th - 9th level spellcasting.

Alex: Wait, I scored high so I can't play spellcasters?

GM:...

Entertaining but maybe a smidge over the top.


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Pun-Pun wrote:
Entertaining but maybe a smidge over the top.
"reviewman wrote:
...admittedly sarcastic hypothetical scenario...

May have been what was aimed for


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Reviewman wrote:
Pun-Pun wrote:
Entertaining but maybe a smidge over the top.
"reviewman wrote:
...admittedly sarcastic hypothetical scenario...
May have been what was aimed for

Mayhaps a bulls-eye then.


I feel like the problem with "power gamers" is not that there are people with the system mastery to produce very powerful combinations of things, but that there are some people who do not play well with others and do not know how to share the spotlight. The latter group can be managed sometimes when they end up making sub-optimal choices which force them to be a team player and share the spotlight, but if they pick up system mastery faster than they pick up social skills, there might be an issue.

Which is to say, the reason I never even bothered to learn how to play a Wizard in Pathfinder is that I don't really want to have to walk the tightrope between "optimized enough to be fun for me" and "subdued enough to fun for everyone else." When I play something "lower tier" I know I can optimize the heck out of it without stepping on any toes.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I feel like the problem with "power gamers" is not that there are people with the system mastery to produce very powerful combinations of things, but that there are some people who do not play well with others and do not know how to share the spotlight. The latter group can be managed sometimes when they end up making sub-optimal choices which force them to be a team player and share the spotlight, but if they pick up system mastery faster than they pick up social skills, there might be an issue.

Which is to say, the reason I never even bothered to learn how to play a Wizard in Pathfinder is that I don't really want to have to walk the tightrope between "optimized enough to be fun for me" and "subdued enough to fun for everyone else." When I play something "lower tier" I know I can optimize the heck out of it without stepping on any toes.

Yeah thing about those types of players they will find a way to mess with your game no matter what too. If its not power-gameing they will find some way to steal the fun for themselves.

As far as the holding back thing goes. I always hold back with new DMs I don't want to make their life any harder then it is. DMing can be stressful.


I am not satisfied with complete player pardon.
Experienced players ought to know better and accept the responsibility.


Envall wrote:

I am not satisfied with complete player pardon.

Experienced players ought to know better and accept the responsibility.

They do, its the other ones that come on forums and complain about things.


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Knowing how to tiptoe around a problem does not excuse the problem existing in the first place, and does not mean the problem is not there.

Yes, I know there's a giant pot hole on my route home. Yes, I know to swerve to miss it. I feel the trip would be more enjoyable if there weren't a pothole that I had to remember to swerve around every day.


I stopped using Paizo classes and the issue has mostly disapeared. In general using 3PP has made the game more fun for everyone involved.


I have an entire thread dedicated to showcasing my custom revised action system and a thread on its results in play testing after multiple full campaigns which brought my group from level 3-20 multiple times.

As far as in combat goes, implementing more variety into the caster's turn creates artificial balance that makes the game feel better. Active counterspell rules, and less action versatility make caster's immediate resources more valuable and causes failure more often. Counterspell wars are good for the game. Removing the full attack mechanics and simply giving martials access to their full roles closes the gap all but entirely as far as user experience in game goes.

Out of combat you have the same issues you've always had, with the exception being that better and better feats and options continue to get printed.

I cannot get behind the concept that System Mastery is a gateway to deciding whether a class is effective or not. Perhaps I just have a higher expectation of people to read up on resources if they're serious about a character they plan on playing presumably for weeks or even months.


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Pun-Pun wrote:
Reviewman wrote:
Pun-Pun wrote:
Entertaining but maybe a smidge over the top.
"reviewman wrote:
...admittedly sarcastic hypothetical scenario...
May have been what was aimed for
Mayhaps a bulls-eye then.

Ayn Rand would be so proud.


Omnius wrote:

Knowing how to tiptoe around a problem does not excuse the problem existing in the first place, and does not mean the problem is not there.

Yes, I know there's a giant pot hole on my route home. Yes, I know to swerve to miss it. I feel the trip would be more enjoyable if there weren't a pothole that I had to remember to swerve around every day.

Ok, I'm feeling a bit sassy, but you do realize this is all platitudes now?

I can make my own story spin too. Let's say it is not a pot hole, it is a decorative bollard. Sure, it is in the middle of the intersection, but the road is wide enough, and the designated lanes clearly avoid it. Now a driver has his god given right to just say "well if they didn't want me to crash into it, WHY PUT IT THERE!" and gas pedal right into it out of pure sheer of will, but even this just turns into a platitude.

By the end of that day, if we strip the platitudes, we are asking whether the system is flawed, or is our application of the system.


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Envall wrote:
Omnius wrote:

Knowing how to tiptoe around a problem does not excuse the problem existing in the first place, and does not mean the problem is not there.

Yes, I know there's a giant pot hole on my route home. Yes, I know to swerve to miss it. I feel the trip would be more enjoyable if there weren't a pothole that I had to remember to swerve around every day.

Ok, I'm feeling a bit sassy, but you do realize this is all platitudes now?

I can make my own story spin too. Let's say it is not a pot hole, it is a decorative bollard. Sure, it is in the middle of the intersection, but the road is wide enough, and the designated lanes clearly avoid it. Now a driver has his god given right to just say "well if they didn't want me to crash into it, WHY PUT IT THERE!" and gas pedal right into it out of pure sheer of will, but even this just turns into a platitude.

By the end of that day, if we strip the platitudes, we are asking whether the system is flawed, or is our application of the system.

Considering how easy it is to accidentally break the game I'm gonna go with the system being flawed.


Reviewman wrote:
Envall wrote:
Omnius wrote:

Knowing how to tiptoe around a problem does not excuse the problem existing in the first place, and does not mean the problem is not there.

Yes, I know there's a giant pot hole on my route home. Yes, I know to swerve to miss it. I feel the trip would be more enjoyable if there weren't a pothole that I had to remember to swerve around every day.

Ok, I'm feeling a bit sassy, but you do realize this is all platitudes now?

I can make my own story spin too. Let's say it is not a pot hole, it is a decorative bollard. Sure, it is in the middle of the intersection, but the road is wide enough, and the designated lanes clearly avoid it. Now a driver has his god given right to just say "well if they didn't want me to crash into it, WHY PUT IT THERE!" and gas pedal right into it out of pure sheer of will, but even this just turns into a platitude.

By the end of that day, if we strip the platitudes, we are asking whether the system is flawed, or is our application of the system.

Considering how easy it is to accidentally break the game I'm gonna go with the system being flawed.

And by "the system" they mean literally every RPG ever created as well as every tabletop wargame and most every video game.


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BARBARIAN BREAK EVERY GAME SYSTEM BARBARIAN AM TOUCHING.

NOT WANT SEE WHAT BARBARIAN DO TO SPACE MARINES, AND NOT EVEN GET STARTED ON WAAGH BANDS OF ORKS. AM EVEN BREAKING VALOR ON KNEE. THAT NOT EVEN MENTION BARBARIAN FEELINGS ON BESM, WHICH AM NOT SHARED IN POLITE COMPANY.

BEING BARBARIAN AM BLESSING, ALSO CURSE. BAG OF HOLDING AM MIXED, FOR REAL.


Envall wrote:
By the end of that day, if we strip the platitudes, we are asking whether the system is flawed, or is our application of the system.

"Is there a problem with the system? No, it's the players who are wrong." At what point does this become plain fanboyism?


Athaleon wrote:
Envall wrote:
By the end of that day, if we strip the platitudes, we are asking whether the system is flawed, or is our application of the system.
"Is there a problem with the system? No, it's the players who are wrong." At what point does this become plain fanboyism?

Alternately, there are a wealth of games out there to play, and it speaks poorly of those who'd rather play one they don't really enjoy and complain about not enjoying it rather than put the effort into finding something they do enjoy doing.

Edit: "the players" meaning the subset of forum goers who post complaints. You don't speak for "the players" It doesn't even look like your position has a majority stake in the "actual experiences with C/MD thread.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
Athaleon wrote:
Envall wrote:
By the end of that day, if we strip the platitudes, we are asking whether the system is flawed, or is our application of the system.
"Is there a problem with the system? No, it's the players who are wrong." At what point does this become plain fanboyism?

Alternately, there are a wealth of games out there to play, and it speaks poorly of those who'd rather play one they don't really enjoy and complain about not enjoying it rather than put the effort into finding something they do enjoy doing.

Edit: "the players" meaning the subset of forum goers who post complaints. You don't speak for "the players" It doesn't even look like your position has a majority stake in the "actual experiences with C/MD thread.

I have lots of fun with Pathfinder, I just don't play non-casters (aside from the occasional Path of War class). I maintain that people who claim not to have seen C/MD actually have seen it, but didn't notice it or think it was a problem because no one complained. And again, fanboyism is a real problem, and if you don't fight it you get PF's initial playtest. Or the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Of course this isn't an official poll, and neither is that other thread, but the consensus opinion everywhere I've been to (aside from maybe this site), is that C/MD exists and is particularly egregious in 3e and its derivatives. Some people embrace it under various justifications or simply put up with it: Poring over splatbook material to allow their Fighter to cast Fly and Dimension Door a few times a day, for example, or simply playing casters or hybrids.

As an aside, to address this growing insinuation, how much of a min-maxing munchkin does one have to be to notice, "oh, we can use Teleport to get to that distant destination"?


Ryan Freire wrote:
Reviewman wrote:
Envall wrote:
Omnius wrote:

Knowing how to tiptoe around a problem does not excuse the problem existing in the first place, and does not mean the problem is not there.

Yes, I know there's a giant pot hole on my route home. Yes, I know to swerve to miss it. I feel the trip would be more enjoyable if there weren't a pothole that I had to remember to swerve around every day.

Ok, I'm feeling a bit sassy, but you do realize this is all platitudes now?

I can make my own story spin too. Let's say it is not a pot hole, it is a decorative bollard. Sure, it is in the middle of the intersection, but the road is wide enough, and the designated lanes clearly avoid it. Now a driver has his god given right to just say "well if they didn't want me to crash into it, WHY PUT IT THERE!" and gas pedal right into it out of pure sheer of will, but even this just turns into a platitude.

By the end of that day, if we strip the platitudes, we are asking whether the system is flawed, or is our application of the system.

Considering how easy it is to accidentally break the game I'm gonna go with the system being flawed.
And by "the system" they mean literally every RPG ever created as well as every tabletop wargame and most every video game.

I dont see how that response from you was in any sort of way a response to my post. Please rewrite and elaborate.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Ryan Freire wrote:

Alternately, there are a wealth of games out there to play, and it speaks poorly of those who'd rather play one they don't really enjoy and complain about not enjoying it rather than put the effort into finding something they do enjoy doing.

Edit: "the players" meaning the subset of forum goers who post complaints. You don't speak for "the players" It doesn't even look like your position has a majority stake in the "actual experiences with C/MD thread.

How about another possibility? The majority of people in this thread actually love Pathfinder, but recognize that as a massive system built on a framework over two decades old it has places that can be improved upon to maximize their personal enjoyment of the game and that of the people they play with. If left to their own devices, these individuals would have the opportunity to share their collective experience and help each other and anyone else seeking to improve their game experience to do so.

Unfortunately, there are individuals out there who see a thread title referring to rebalancing the game and think to themselves "Aha! This is my opportunity to go tell all these people they're playing the game wrong because they don't use the exact same set of house rules I do, and then haunt the thread until any potential for it being helpful to anyone dies. If I'm really lucky, over time I'll erode the fanbase so thoroughly that Paizo will go out of business and I'll never have to be even tangentially aware that anyone is talking about adding improvements or customizations to the game ever again." Inevitably, these individuals succeed in thoroughly derailing the thread and burying any potentially helpful advice so that it's impossible for anyone searching for help to find it, which leads to the need for another such thread, which starts the cycle over again.


I think we should all read more.


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master_marshmallow wrote:
I think we should all read more.

This is the xxxxxth time we have had this thread and we have become exceedingly efficient at it.


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Ssalarn wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:

Alternately, there are a wealth of games out there to play, and it speaks poorly of those who'd rather play one they don't really enjoy and complain about not enjoying it rather than put the effort into finding something they do enjoy doing.

Edit: "the players" meaning the subset of forum goers who post complaints. You don't speak for "the players" It doesn't even look like your position has a majority stake in the "actual experiences with C/MD thread.

How about another possibility? The majority of people in this thread actually love Pathfinder, but recognize that as a massive system built on a framework over two decades old it has places that can be improved upon to maximize their personal enjoyment of the game and that of the people they play with. If left to their own devices, these individuals would have the opportunity to share their collective experience and help each other and anyone else seeking to improve their game experience to do so.

Unfortunately, there are individuals out there who see a thread title referring to rebalancing the game and think to themselves "Aha! This is my opportunity to go tell all these people they're playing the game wrong because they don't use the exact same set of house rules I do, and then haunt the thread until any potential for it being helpful to anyone dies. If I'm really lucky, over time I'll erode the fanbase so thoroughly that Paizo will go out of business and I'll never have to be even tangentially aware that anyone is talking about adding improvements or customizations to the game ever again." Inevitably, these individuals succeed in thoroughly derailing the thread and burying any potentially helpful advice so that it's impossible for anyone searching for help to find it, which leads to the need for another such thread, which starts the cycle over again.

I've tried a couple of times to get into some more useful advise, but to little avail so far.


Ssalarn wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:

Alternately, there are a wealth of games out there to play, and it speaks poorly of those who'd rather play one they don't really enjoy and complain about not enjoying it rather than put the effort into finding something they do enjoy doing.

Edit: "the players" meaning the subset of forum goers who post complaints. You don't speak for "the players" It doesn't even look like your position has a majority stake in the "actual experiences with C/MD thread.

How about another possibility? The majority of people in this thread actually love Pathfinder, but recognize that as a massive system built on a framework over two decades old it has places that can be improved upon to maximize their personal enjoyment of the game and that of the people they play with. If left to their own devices, these individuals would have the opportunity to share their collective experience and help each other and anyone else seeking to improve their game experience to do so.

Unfortunately, there are individuals out there who see a thread title referring to rebalancing the game and think to themselves "Aha! This is my opportunity to go tell all these people they're playing the game wrong because they don't use the exact same set of house rules I do, and then haunt the thread until any potential for it being helpful to anyone dies. If I'm really lucky, over time I'll erode the fanbase so thoroughly that Paizo will go out of business and I'll never have to be even tangentially aware that anyone is talking about adding improvements or customizations to the game ever again." Inevitably, these individuals succeed in thoroughly derailing the thread and burying any potentially helpful advice so that it's impossible for anyone searching for help to find it, which leads to the need for another such thread, which starts the cycle over again.

The problem with changing the game as a whole is that many (perhaps most) don't see a great deal of C/MD. This leads to the conclusion that this is not a macro issue.

If you have a game that is optimized in favor of casters and/or have casters that are willfully trying to break the game there is likely to be C/MD. If you have a more balanced game and/or have casters that behave reasonably there will be little to no C/MD.

If you have C/MD, adjust how you play your game or don't play martials.


To be fair, Gallant Armor has a valid point.

3.x and Pathfinder have rules which lends itself to objectively value magic over non-magic. This is evidenced by the base game assuming a modicum of magical items and/or effects on characters at certain levels of the game, and with magic being practically limitless in its capabilities.

Non-magical options are almost always weaker, and also have less support simply because the game is designed with magic in mind, and not much of anything else.

It's time to introduce some League of Legends terminology, specifically "The Meta." The "Meta" refers to what is currently the most powerful/versatile/invincible options to choose from, making other options not-so-great, or just outright horrible, meaning choosing those options compared to other options creates a gap between how one choice is more powerful/versatile/invincible than the others. This is what we call the Disparity in Pathfinder; and in League of Legends, the "Meta" is constantly changing, meaning one thing that is in the "Meta" currently may not be in the "Meta" in the future.

So, how does this apply to Pathfinder? In short, prior to 3.x and Pathfinder, there was less of a gap between options (though it objectively is still there), and in those games there wasn't much of a "Meta" to it, classes were better balanced, and each class had uses that the others could not, or weren't realistically able to do.

Whereas in 3.x and Pathfinder, magic has been shifted to being the "Meta," and as such, playing something that isn't in the "Meta" is only asking to be weaker/worse than what the "Meta" currently is, and if character power is relevant to the player, it is really safe advice to avoid playing what one can perceive to be "a bad game."


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Ryan Freire wrote:
And by "the system" they mean literally every RPG ever created as well as every tabletop wargame and most every video game.

Does every system have imbalances?

Mostly.

But that is not the same as outright breaking the game.

In 4th edition, one of the big, controversial feats that had the fanbase divided as something there's no reason anyone who uses a weapon should ever not take had the overall effect of... +1 to hit. And possibly damage.

Then you had things like rain of blades, that moderately increased your damage output above what was expected, and that got errata'd.

And let's not get into edition wars; I pick 4e as a point of reference, to the point that every RPG can be broken. Maybe so, but not with the same ease or to the same degree.

Ryan Freire wrote:

Alternately, there are a wealth of games out there to play, and it speaks poorly of those who'd rather play one they don't really enjoy and complain about not enjoying it rather than put the effort into finding something they do enjoy doing.

Edit: "the players" meaning the subset of forum goers who post complaints. You don't speak for "the players" It doesn't even look like your position has a majority stake in the "actual experiences with C/MD thread.

This is a complete non sequitur

"This game has this problem."

"If you don't enjoy the game, you don't have to play it."

These do not follow.

What's more, acknowledging the problems in these sorts of things is how we make them into better things. It is not due to an inadequacy of my enjoyment of the game that I can see its flaws, and a mindset of denial of flaws is fundamentally insincere.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Gallant Armor wrote:


The problem with changing the game as a whole is that many (perhaps most) don't see a great deal of C/MD. This leads to the conclusion that this is not a macro issue.

What does this have to do with anything? Multiple people from different tables, states, and even countries experience an issue and try to find solutions to that issue. If you don't believe the issue exists, what could you possibly have to contribute to such a thread?

Quote:


If you have a game that is optimized in favor of casters and/or have casters that are willfully trying to break the game there is likely to be C/MD. If you have a more balanced game and/or have casters that behave reasonably there will be little to no C/MD.

It feels like you're projecting here. Numerous people have given examples of how they adhere to the rules presented in the core rulebook and still experience the issue. I went into great detail more than once in this thread about how several disparity issues can naturally arise creating these issues, using both rules citations and anecdotal evidence. Others have given their own examples of times they intentionally tried to avoid disparity issues and couldn't.

Quote:


If you have C/MD, adjust how you play your game

That's literally what people are trying to figure out how to do in this thread, but it's really hard when people are coming in telling them they're dirty power gamers or that their problems don't actually exist and are just crazy forum theorycraft. That's nonsense. People look for solutions because they experience problems. Just because your table desn't experience those issues doesn't mean that other people aren't experiencing them. At the end of the day, if everyone whose only contribution to the thread was "disparity doesn't exist and if it does it's because you're doing it wrong" hadn't contributed such an unhelpful post in the first place, leading to people trying to explain why their issues really do exist, we wouldn't have a cycle of the same argument over and over. We'd have a single helpful thread full of explanations of how and why disparity can occur and the solutions people use to fix it.

Quote:
or don't play martials

Stuff like that is sublimely unhelpful. Maybe the person having the issue doesn't want to have to be a caster just to play with their friends. Maybe they're the one playing the caster and they feel bad because they keep accidentally stepping on their friends' toes without meaning to and would like advice on how to help prevent that happening. Maybe someone out there is going to read that and go "Oh, I guess this game that all my friends love just isn't for me", and Paizo is going to permanently lose a customer who might have bought books and played for years just because someone told them this isn't the kind of game where they can play the kinds of characters they want.

My goal in even bothering to ever participate in a thread like this is to help players experiencing real issues find solutions that don't cost the hobby players and Paizo and their 3pp community customers. I have personally talked to dozens, maybe even hundreds of people who love Pathfinder but have issues whenever they try to play certain types of characters in their games, for a variety of reasons. I meet these people at conventions, game stores, I met many of them when I was in the military and D&D was one of the only social activities we were allowed or could afford. The solutions are many and varied- sometimes they just need to know about a rule they aren't enforcing, sometimes they need some advice on how the nature of sandbox/dungeon crawl/adventure path adventures can differ, distorting different game mechanics and creating issues they might not need to see in a different type of game. Sometimes it's just a group of smart people who have naturally come to play at a very high level of optimization looking for ways to keep certain character concepts relevant as they reach the upper boundaries of what Pathfinder naturally allows.

Stating that you have had issues with disparity in your game is not an attack on Paizo, Pathfinder, or anyone (or anything) else. It's a statement that you have a recurring issue and would like help resolving it, the kind of thing that you come to the Advice forum of the game-maker's messageboards to find. If you don't experience that issue in your game, great! Maybe you can explain the house-rules and gentleman's agreements you use to make that happen. If you don't intentionally make any changes or do anything to make that happen and it's just not something you have an issue with, then maybe it's possible that you don't have anything relevant to contribute to a thread about addressing one or more of those issues. And that's fine. Disparity is the result of a variety of different issues including party composition, player system mastery levels, style of game being played, how much material is allowed for each character during character building, and even stat generation can play a role. It is entirely possible for two tables who are both playing Pathfinder and following the rules to have completely different experiences as regards disparity. It doesn't mean either side is wrong, it just means that one side may have issues the other won't for a variety of reasons. If someone is having those issues, they should be able to get advice on ways to address them without finding themselves or one of their friends verbally attacked or told they just shouldn't play the character they may want to play.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

To be fair, Gallant Armor has a valid point.

3.x and Pathfinder have rules which lends itself to objectively value magic over non-magic. This is evidenced by the base game assuming a modicum of magical items and/or effects on characters at certain levels of the game, and with magic being practically limitless in its capabilities.

Non-magical options are almost always weaker, and also have less support simply because the game is designed with magic in mind, and not much of anything else.
[***]

Telling someone to play a different game may very well mean they play no game. There's not so many GMs out there that everyone has their pick, and there's a lot of GMs with thousands of dollars worth of books who don't want to have to start a new collection. More than that, they may jump to a different game only to discover it has the same issues, putting them right back where they started only $50+ poorer.

The awesome thing about Pathfinder is that it's not a videogame, and each table has the ability to change the meta by adjusting their rules, adding or subtracting content, or swapping the game from an open world sandbox to a linear dungeon crawl. While you don't need any experience with coding to make those changes, you do need game-specific experience, or the advice of people who have it, and you need the abiltiy to have that information communicated to you in a reasonably accessible fashion. Every bit of helpful advice in this thread has been almost immediately drowned out by a cascade of people telling anyone with an issue that it's their own fault and they should play different characters or games, and the response from people trying to explain that they do in fact know the rules and like the other people at their table but are experiencing the issue regardless.


Ssalarn wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:


The problem with changing the game as a whole is that many (perhaps most) don't see a great deal of C/MD. This leads to the conclusion that this is not a macro issue.

What does this have to do with anything? Multiple people from different tables, states, and even countries experience an issue and try to find solutions to that issue. If you don't believe the issue exists, what could you possibly have to contribute to such a thread?

I believe the issue exists, my contention is that it has more to do with table variance than inherent game balance issues.

Ssalarn wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:


If you have a game that is optimized in favor of casters and/or have casters that are willfully trying to break the game there is likely to be C/MD. If you have a more balanced game and/or have casters that behave reasonably there will be little to no C/MD.
It feels like you're projecting here. Numerous people have given examples of how they adhere to the rules presented in the core rulebook and still experience the issue. I went into great detail more than once in this thread about how several disparity issues can naturally arise creating these issues, using both rules citations and anecdotal evidence. Others have given their own examples of times they intentionally tried to avoid disparity issues and couldn't.

If some tables have C/MD and some don’t that means that it’s a table level issue.

Ssalarn wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:


If you have C/MD, adjust how you play your game
That's literally what people are trying to figure out how to do in this thread, but it's really hard when people are coming in telling them they're dirty power gamers or that their problems don't actually exist and are just crazy forum theorycraft. That's nonsense. People look for solutions because they experience problems. Just because your table desn't experience those issues doesn't mean that other people aren't experiencing them. At the end of the day, if everyone whose only contribution to the thread was "disparity doesn't exist and if it does it's because you're doing it wrong" hadn't contributed such an unhelpful post in the first place, leading to people trying to explain why their issues really do exist, we wouldn't have a cycle of the same argument over and over. We'd have a single helpful thread full of explanations of how and why disparity can occur and the solutions people use to fix it.

Your entire post was on why the issue is game balance not table variance (Edit: rereading your post, it looks like I misinterpreted your intent). If you are looking for solutions:


    *Have a longer adventuring day forcing them to ration resources (this can be accomplished with a ticking clock, or situations where rest isn't easy.)
    *Force concentration checks with grappling/readied attacks (vital strike is of great use here).
    *Mindwipe, spellcrash, night terrors and similar effects.
    *Include enemies with good saves/SR
    *Provide a variety of challenges that can't easily be predicted.
    *Encounters that have an answer for commonly used tactics (true seeing, energy immunity, teleportation blocking, protection from scrying, etc).
    *Have logical in-game repercussions for using certain tactics (enemies that the party teleports past attack en masse, kill a beloved NPC, or otherwise disrupt the game)

Ssalarn wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:
or don't play martials

Stuff like that is sublimely unhelpful. Maybe the person having the issue doesn't want to have to be a caster just to play with their friends. Maybe they're the one playing the caster and they feel bad because they keep accidentally stepping on their friends' toes without meaning to and would like advice on how to help prevent that happening. Maybe someone out there is going to read that and go "Oh, I guess this game that all my friends love just isn't for me", and Paizo is going to permanently lose a customer who might have bought books and played for years just because someone told them this isn't the kind of game where they can play the kinds of characters they want.

My goal in even bothering to ever participate in a thread like this is to help players experiencing real issues find solutions that don't cost the hobby players and Paizo and their 3pp community customers. I have personally talked to dozens, maybe even hundreds of people who love Pathfinder but have issues whenever they try to play certain types of characters in their games, for a variety of reasons. I meet these people at conventions, game stores, I met many of them when I was in the military and D&D was one of the only social activities we were allowed or could afford. The solutions are many and varied- sometimes they just need to know about a rule they aren't enforcing, sometimes they need some advice on how the nature of sandbox/dungeon crawl/adventure path adventures can differ, distorting different game mechanics and creating issues they might not need to see in a different type of game. Sometimes it's just a group of smart people who have naturally come to play at a very high level of optimization looking for ways to keep certain character concepts relevant as they reach the upper boundaries of what Pathfinder naturally allows.
Stating that you have had issues with disparity in your game is not an attack on Paizo, Pathfinder, or anyone (or anything) else. It's a statement that you have a recurring issue and would like help resolving it, the kind of thing that you come to the Advice forum of the game-maker's messageboards to find. If you don't experience that issue in your game, great! Maybe you can explain the house-rules and gentleman's agreements you use to make that happen. If you don't intentionally make any changes or do anything to make that happen and it's just not something you have an issue with, then maybe it's possible that you don't have anything relevant to contribute to a thread about addressing one or more of those issues. And that's fine. Disparity is the result of a variety of different issues including party composition, player system mastery levels, style of game being played, how much material is allowed for each character during character building, and even stat generation can play a role. It is entirely possible for two tables who are both playing Pathfinder and following the rules to have completely different experiences as regards disparity. It doesn't mean either side is wrong, it just means that one side may have issues the other won't for a variety of reasons. If someone is having those issues, they should be able to get advice on ways to address them without finding themselves or one of their friends verbally attacked or told they just shouldn't play the character they may want to play.

That was admittedly pedantic, but the point is that if this problem is not solvable and martials are unplayable at your table then they shouldn't be played.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Gallant Armor wrote:
That was admittedly pedantic, but the point is that if this problem is not solvable and martials are unplayable at your table then they shouldn't be played. If you are having a table level issue, don't expect the entire system to be changed to fix your problem.

How is anyone going to know if the problem is solvable when they're attacked the moment they start looking for a solution to it? No one expects the entire system to be changed, at least not that I'm aware of. They started or participated in a conversation about how to resolve a recurring problem that can naturally arise as the result of various interactions within the game. They asked for ways to a fix a problem that can naturally occur as a result of the nature of the system, and they did it in the Advice forum under a thread titled with the nature of the issue they're experiencing. If your reaction to a thread titled "Balancing Casters vs. Fighters" in the advice forum is to immediately jump in and tell people to play a different game because their problems don't exist, I have to question what baggage you're carrying around yourself.

Disparity is a direct result of the nature of the game. It's foundational to the way magic is implemented and the sheer size and breadth of options available. But whether it's "feature", "bug", or "non-applicable" is entirely dependent on the table. Some people will encounter it, some won't. The fact that disparity is directly proportionate to system mastery means that there's a very real possibility more people won't encounter it than will, the same way most people can do basic math but may not be able to tackle advanced trig.

I will reiterate one last thing and then I'm bowing out of this thread entirely: If you remove all the posts from people trying to put the blame for disparity issues on the people experiencing those issues, along with all the responses to said posts, and trim out the sarcastic and borderline trolling commentary (largely from those same people or people responding to them), what you have left is a thread full of people talking about the issues they've run into and how they've solved them, a thread that would be extremely helpful for anyone experiencing those issues and which would help reduce the need and likelihood of such threads proliferating. Unfortunately, we can't seem to get to that thread because the moment someone asks for help or offers advice on how they've addressed the issue at their table, someone sends out an alert that I can only assume reads "Dirty Power-Gamers Are Plotting to Break Into Paizo And Rewrite All The Books! Follow This Link To Tell Them Off!" Following which the thread is massively derailed, everyone argues about things that are entirely tangential to the topic, very few people are helped, and at the end of the day the thread is entirely useless for anyone who experiences a related problem in the future, as someone inevitably will.


Ssalarn wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:
That was admittedly pedantic, but the point is that if this problem is not solvable and martials are unplayable at your table then they shouldn't be played. If you are having a table level issue, don't expect the entire system to be changed to fix your problem.

How is anyone going to know if the problem is solvable when they're attacked the moment they start looking for a solution to it? No one expects the entire system to be changed, at least not that I'm aware of. They started or participated in a conversation about how to resolve a recurring problem that can naturally arise as the result of various interactions within the game. They asked for ways to a fix a problem that can naturally occur as a result of the nature of the system, and they did it in the Advice forum under a thread titled with the nature of the issue they're experiencing. If your reaction to a thread titled "Balancing Casters vs. Fighters" in the advice forum is to immediately jump in and tell people to play a different game because their problems don't exist, I have to question what baggage you're carrying around yourself.

Disparity is a direct result of the nature of the game. It's foundational to the way magic is implemented and the sheer size and breadth of options available. But whether it's "feature", "bug", or "non-applicable" is entirely dependent on the table. Some people will encounter it, some won't. The fact that disparity is directly proportionate to system mastery means that there's a very real possibility more people won't encounter it than will, the same way most people can do basic math but may not be able to tackle advanced trig.

I will reiterate one last thing and then I'm bowing out of this thread entirely: If you remove all the posts from people trying to put the blame for disparity issues on the people experiencing those issues, along with all the responses to said posts, and trim out the sarcastic and borderline trolling commentary (largely from those same people or people...

Good job only replying to the most irrelevant part of my post. I outlined several tips for balancing games that are experiencing C/MD. I will admit that I misread the intent in your original post. Rereading it I can see we agree that there are table level issues.

In all of these threads I don't think I've ever seen anyone on the "C/MD is breaking the game" side ever took a piece of advice and said "That's could work, I'll give it a try". They either ignore the advice or say that it wouldn't work/it would be unfair to use those tactics.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Gallant Armor wrote:

Good job only replying to the most irrelevant part of my post. I outlined several tips for balancing games that are experiencing C/MD. I will admit that I misread the intent in your original post. Rereading it I can see we agree that there are table level issues.

I didn't respond to the other part of your post because it consisted of a mischaracterization of my stance that you yourself corrected and a legitimate stab at being helpful, which didn't need responding to.

Quote:
In all of these threads I don't think I've ever seen anyone on the "C/MD is breaking the game" side ever took a piece of advice and said "That's could work, I'll give it a try". They either ignore the advice or say that it wouldn't work/it would be unfair to use those tactics.

Have you considered that your advice may legitimately not be helpful to them for a variety of reasons? Maybe it doesn't actually address the issues they're experiencing. Just because no one has found your well-intentioned advice helpful in the past doesn't mean they're jerks who aren't lookin for advice, it just means your advice wasn't helpful. Let me offer an analogy- In real life, I suffer from severe depression. It's something I've fought every day for as long as I can remember. My mother suffers from a completely different type of depression. She often tries to give me well-meaning advice for solutions that don't work for me. When I tell her those don't work me, she doesn't accuse me of wallowing in my depression, she acknowledges that it needs to be handled differently by everyone and she offered what advice she could. That's what we should all be doing. Don't get mad when your advice doesn't work for someone else's problem, just understand that in a game like Pathfinder, which is only slightly less complex than real life, what works for you won't work for everyone else.

Now, as I said previously, I really am bowing out. I've already offered all the advice I can and had it drowned out, so I'm not accomplishing anything other than stirring the pot. If you'd like to discuss anything further with me, feel free to PM me. I'm usually around.


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Gallant Armor wrote:
If some tables have C/MD and some don’t that means that it’s a table level issue.

Just because not everyone runs into a problem does not mean that problem is purely the fault of the individuals at the table and the rules themselves are blameless.

Gallant Armor wrote:

Good job only replying to the most irrelevant part of my post. I outlined several tips for balancing games that are experiencing C/MD. I will admit that I misread the intent in your original post. Rereading it I can see we agree that there are table level issues.

In all of these threads I don't think I've ever seen anyone on the "C/MD is breaking the game" side ever took a piece of advice and said "That's could work, I'll give it a try". They either ignore the advice or say that it wouldn't work/it would be unfair to use those tactics.

Friend, these dueling, line-by-line, wall of text snipe-fests get exhausting, and this specific outbreak has been going on for a month.

And I have my criteria for what sorts of balance fixes I want for my game. Namely, they have to be something I don't have to actively fiddle with in play. "Run your game in this specific way that is actively biased against the wizard" instantly fails my criteria because the game has already begun, and it's still a headache for me as a GM.


Ssalarn wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:

Good job only replying to the most irrelevant part of my post. I outlined several tips for balancing games that are experiencing C/MD. I will admit that I misread the intent in your original post. Rereading it I can see we agree that there are table level issues.

I didn't respond to the other part of your post because it consisted of a mischaracterization of my stance that you yourself corrected and a legitimate stab at being helpful, which didn't need responding to.

How is "a legitimate stab at being helpful" not worthy of being responded to?

Ssalarn wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:
In all of these threads I don't think I've ever seen anyone on the "C/MD is breaking the game" side ever took a piece of advice and said "That's could work, I'll give it a try". They either ignore the advice or say that it wouldn't work/it would be unfair to use those tactics.

Have you considered that your advice may legitimately not be helpful to them for a variety of reasons? Maybe it doesn't actually address the issues they're experiencing. Just because no one has found your well-intentioned advice helpful in the past doesn't mean they're jerks who aren't lookin for advice, it just means your advice wasn't helpful. Let me offer an analogy- In real life, I suffer from severe depression. It's something I've fought every day for as long as I can remember. My mother suffers from a completely different type of depression. She often tries to give me well-meaning advice for solutions that don't work for me. When I tell her those don't work me, she doesn't accuse me of wallowing in my depression, she acknowledges that it needs to be handled differently by everyone and she offered what advice she could. That's what we should all be doing. Don't get mad when your advice doesn't work for someone else's problem, just understand that in a game like Pathfinder, which is only slightly less complex than real life, what works for you won't work for everyone else.

Now, as I said previously, I really am bowing out. I've already offered all the advice I can and had it drowned out, so I'm not...

I'm not saying just my advice, as I can understand that not being for everyone, any advice seems to be met with animosity. It seems like many people are more interested in complaining about C/MD than doing something to address it.


Omnius wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:
If some tables have C/MD and some don’t that means that it’s a table level issue.
Just because not everyone runs into a problem does not mean that problem is purely the fault of the individuals at the table and the rules themselves are blameless.

If the system is balanced for some games and unbalanced for others, then changing the system will not fix the issue as you will bring some games into balance while unbalancing others. An optional alternate rule set could help, but given the scope that would be quite a challenge.

Omnius wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:

Good job only replying to the most irrelevant part of my post. I outlined several tips for balancing games that are experiencing C/MD. I will admit that I misread the intent in your original post. Rereading it I can see we agree that there are table level issues.

In all of these threads I don't think I've ever seen anyone on the "C/MD is breaking the game" side ever took a piece of advice and said "That's could work, I'll give it a try". They either ignore the advice or say that it wouldn't work/it would be unfair to use those tactics.

Friend, these dueling, line-by-line, wall of text snipe-fests get exhausting, and this specific outbreak has been going on for a month.

And I have my criteria for what sorts of balance fixes I want for my game. Namely, they have to be something I don't have to actively fiddle with in play. "Run your game in this specific way that is actively biased against the wizard" instantly fails my criteria because the game has already begun, and it's still a headache for me as a GM.

I can understand wanting a macro level solution rather than adjusting how you play your game. And to reiterate, my suggestions aren't biased against casters - the way that many games are played are biased in favor of casters and my suggestions address that bias. There is no point playing a martial in a low-combat, creative solution type game. I agree that if someone wanted to play a martial in that type of game there would need to be a system overhaul to make them relevant.


If your game is already concrete then my advice may not be the most helpful. Our groups have found the most effective and simple way to play with minimal C/MD issues is to not use classes designed by paizo. In the curent campaign we are using Sphere's of Might and Sphere's of Power as our core class books and it's working very well.

Sphere's of Power makes our mages more specialized while still letting them be magical.

Sphere's of Might lets our martials have more tools to interact with the world without resorting to being magic themselves.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

To be fair, Gallant Armor has a valid point.

3.x and Pathfinder have rules which lends itself to objectively value magic over non-magic. This is evidenced by the base game assuming a modicum of magical items and/or effects on characters at certain levels of the game, and with magic being practically limitless in its capabilities.

Non-magical options are almost always weaker, and also have less support simply because the game is designed with magic in mind, and not much of anything else.

It's time to introduce some League of Legends terminology, specifically "The Meta." The "Meta" refers to what is currently the most powerful/versatile/invincible options to choose from, making other options not-so-great, or just outright horrible, meaning choosing those options compared to other options creates a gap between how one choice is more powerful/versatile/invincible than the others. This is what we call the Disparity in Pathfinder; and in League of Legends, the "Meta" is constantly changing, meaning one thing that is in the "Meta" currently may not be in the "Meta" in the future.

So, how does this apply to Pathfinder? In short, prior to 3.x and Pathfinder, there was less of a gap between options (though it objectively is still there), and in those games there wasn't much of a "Meta" to it, classes were better balanced, and each class had uses that the others could not, or weren't realistically able to do.

Whereas in 3.x and Pathfinder, magic has been shifted to being the "Meta," and as such, playing something that isn't in the "Meta" is only asking to be weaker/worse than what the "Meta" currently is, and if character power is relevant to the player, it is really safe advice to avoid playing what one can perceive to be "a bad game."

I had actually been thinking about the League of Legends meta myself. Everything was more or less balanced, then they released a new arena (Dominion). Suddenly the guys that happened to be at there best in Dominion were OP and had to be nerfed into the ground.

When you try to factor in GM and player experience and playstyle, finding a perfect balance can be super hard. Probably impossible to maintain for long.

From all my debates on the topic the solution comes down to three things, all drastic;
1) Ban spellcasters, or at least full casters.
2) Completely re-write the combat rules and feats to favor martials
3) Use spheres of power (sadly, my players will not do that)

Whats the feeling on the Martial Master fighter, if it still kept it's weapon training? Seems to give fighters a lot more flexibility.

What exactly counts as a martial? Are we talking about rangers, paladins, bloodragers, alchemists, ninjas, barbarians, monks, and rogues, since they all get magical powers but still hang out in melee? Seems like these usually degenerate into fighter vs. everyone else, especially wizards.

Something to think about; IRL who does the world favor, the amish and other luddites that refuse to use technological magic, or high-tech magic users?

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