Creating a Gambling Player / Character


Advice


The whole concept of a tabletop's rule fall down to chance, and in the case of the best builds, reducing that chance through consistency. I wanna try to make a character that does the opposite, both in concept and mechanics, but also in the sense of how to play the character. A concept that every action has a legitimate risk of failure, but also that super high payoff of reward. A character that is the very concept of gambling that gets shunted by the consistency of the game.

A Swashbuckler feels like the ideal class to facilitate this. They get a lot out of critical hits, though they lack the spectacular failure aspect. The class is too consistent, often widening crit range and giving large to-hit bonuses.

Basically I want the character to be early level Power Attack, where you feel the penalty, but the bonus is meaty. Like can only hit on a 15+ roll, but if they do hit massive damage and/or crazy debuffs. Is there possibility in this type of concept? I could forsee putting feats towards critical abilities as a potential, but I think that mandates being a Fighter, which with it draws in way too much consistency from things like Weapon Training.

I want the gamble to also stretch into the defense as well. A low chance to be missed, but perhaps a penalty if you do. Opportune Parry and Riposte from Swashbuckler again feels like it fits, especially when you look at it as a literal roll for roll skill challenge.

Abilities as well that gain benefits from bad situations. Like for example, when you're flanked you gain some benefit. Obviously not a consistent one, or that removes the risk. The whole point of actually playing this concept would be the rush of gambling, putting your life on the line for the sake of the big win. Take out that rush, it's just the standard fare, or a powergaming play.


It'd end up being weaker than the character that's swinging away four times per round and hitting most of the time. The problem that I see with this kind of build is that if you gamble too hard, it's done and you're dead. Pathfinder is game where caution and planning are king, and teamwork is necessary. If your teammates can't support you because you're constantly leaping into battle and throwing everything on the line, you won't last long.

There are a few options that decrease hit chance to slap on some debuffs. Bloody Assault is one.


Give Sacred Geometry a try. If you are good at manipulating numbers, it is free metamagic feats. If you roll badly you lose the spell.

The payout should happen a lot more than a failure. But once in a while when you really need that spell to happen...you'll mess it up. Arcanist or Sorcerer would be more forgiving than a Wizard. If you screw up with a wizard you generally don't have a second copy of the spell prepared.


Meirril wrote:

Give Sacred Geometry a try. If you are good at manipulating numbers, it is free metamagic feats. If you roll badly you lose the spell.

The payout should happen a lot more than a failure. But once in a while when you really need that spell to happen...you'll mess it up. Arcanist or Sorcerer would be more forgiving than a Wizard. If you screw up with a wizard you generally don't have a second copy of the spell prepared.

Sorry to disagree so strongly, but you should never, EVER use Sacred Geometry. It manages to waste everyone's time and be completely broken at the same time. It's a train wreck of a feat that will make the other players (and GM) hate you if it works at all.


Find a deck of many things and go nuts.


Decks of many things are the devil's playing cards. Those things have killed more overexcited players than the old "sphere of annihilation in the mouth" trick.


Yeah Sacred Geometry, fun as a game it is on its own, wouldn't really fit. And would be a lot of time taken from the group. It is relatively low risk (a lost spell is a lost spell, a wasted turn but nothing more), and getting the reward is more of a logic puzzle than it is pure chance.

The Deck of Many things is gambling for gambling's sake, which is more at the core of the concept, while also missing it entirely. The point is to make every roll matter.

Currently I have a character that achieves this, not by design but by essentially being the wrong type of character for the AP they're in. It's in Starfinder and they're an Envoy with a focus on Intimidate in a campaign with nothing but things immune to mind affecting (didn't know before the campaign this would be the case). As a result, they have a relatively low attack bonus from class, but are also the 2nd strongest member of the team from a damage standpoint.

This character, with their main abilities often negates as a support, has a bunch of tools with which she gambles. She needs a 15 to hit most enemies due to the game balance, doesn't have very high AC and supplements it with an upgrade that makes creatures that hurt her take damage, and just due to me as a player often makes very high risk actions for the benefit of the rest of the party. This is a fun experience, and I'd love a character that rolls with that kind of concept.

Higher risk, higher reward. Forgo bonus for damage, take penalty for damage, take a hit for a chance! A true daredevil who does things for the sake of them, and waits for the moment where luck fails him and he dies in a glorious inferno.


You could always play an actual darechaser.

Barbarians work well with darechaser, and they have some rage powers that can force enemies to target you. That means you'll take more damage, but you'll also be hitting things back for some good damage.


TheGreatWot wrote:

You could always play an actual darechaser.

Barbarians work well with darechaser, and they have some rage powers that can force enemies to target you. That means you'll take more damage, but you'll also be hitting things back for some good damage.

Boring... There's no downside, no risk. At least basic Barbarians risk their lives when their Con bonus dies. The Darechaser is the inverse of what I'm going for. It's a class of increasing the odds by adding 1d6+ exploding to a roll. Unless you're playing a character who cannot do those things and needs the exploding to hit at all...

The only bit on the other side of the coin is Fatigue when they're done. Even Panache has more downside as a limited resource with certain abilities that shut out if you spend all of it. In Starfinder spending all your Resolve means your safety net is gone, that's when it all matters.


Spending all of your panache or resolve is not a risk or a chance. It's a conscious choice. That's still up to you in the end.

There aren't many effects that deliberately debuff you to add risk- many mechanics center around decreasing risks. The gamble in my suggestion isn't inherent to the mechanics, simply in how it's played. Go in guns blazing, let things hit you, and power attack/bloody assault/great cleave away to do incredible damage in return. That's a risk (your AC will be abysmal) that has a payoff, and it lets you control the battlefield along with it.

The darechaser's mechanics do make it easier for you to do things, that's true. But depending on which dare you choose, it could be more or less dangerous and have a real chance of failure- a chance that your bonuses make you more likely to succeed on. Big risk for big payoff.


TheGreatWot wrote:
Spending all of your panache or resolve is not a risk or a chance. It's a conscious choice. That's still up to you in the end.

Yes, but you have the slimmest chance to earn the Panache back through a confirmed critical hit, or felling the enemy with an attack. The Panache point, of which most characters tend to max out at 3, has value. It ties into half of your abilities functioning, you put the entirety of what your character can do on the line to spend them, which is why many builds focus on using them as little as possible.

A few rounds of Dare/Rage have no real value. They are basically irrelevant in most cases, you simply recieve too many for them to be worth anything.

You're missing the essence of the gamble I'm trying to capture. A Gunslinger has an equal chance to crit or misfire every shot, but with the raw power of firearms they are not gambling overall. Playing them without rapid reload makes every one of those easy to hit shots matter slightly more because you're forfeiting your next turn.


Not going with Rapid Reload isn't a chance with a big reward, it's an overall weaker build.

Choosing to omit a useful option doesn't make your shots "worth more". They'll all do the same damage, assuming they all hit and you don't misfire. If you do misfire, you gain no benefit, you're just nerfed. That also doesn't seem to be what you're going for.

Based on your example from Starfinder, I assumed that the barbarian idea would be appealing. Come and Get Me, Boasting Taunt, Superstition, Hurtful, etc. are all options that seem to fit into your build. If not, then I definitely don't have any more ideas. This type of build seems so hard to pull of in a game where most abilities are centered around making you better at things instead of worse.

Am I correct in assuming that you're ok with being less powerful?


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Gunslinger comes to mind, as firearm miss fires are one of the only risky mechanics I can think of. The gunslinger archetypes Maverick, Mysterious Stranger, Black Powder Leaper and Firebrand lean into this risky style. Gunslingers/Swashbucklers even have an alternate Daring Act ruleset for regaining grit/panache for taking risks. They also have Dares, which kick into effect once they're out of grit.

There are also a few class options which carry the risk of going into a confused, berserk state. The Rageshaper Shifter and the Wild Rager barbarian are both examples of this, but usually need GM permission and are a sure fire way to piss off all of your friends.

The Card Caster magus has a spellcasting mechanic based off drawing harrow cards.

The Dare Chaser prestige class does give you bonuses to taking risks, and rewards you for succeeding, BUT they are still risks, sometimes big ones! The class facilitates an adrenaline junky playstyle very well, and I think you should take a second look at it.


The other factor for Gunslinger: You're a ranged character who is in constant risk of melee due to the short range of firearms.


A lot of risk-taking is married to playstyle rather than mechanics. Errant's options are all good for a gambler, though.


I agree with Greatwot about gambling being mostly playstyle. There are certainly mechanics to enhance it, but you still have to drive the risk taking choices of the character. You could consider taking the Doubt drawback, which causes you to take an hour long -4 penalty to any ability or skill check you fail. There may be other drawbacks which would up the ante on certain checks.

Another possibility is playing a cartomancer witch, and taking the fortune and misfortune hexes. There's a Rogue archetype that gets hexes too.

A Gunslinger who never stops using Deadly Aim is also thematic. Deadly Aim is just ranged Power Attack.

Hell, Maverick Gunslinger 1/Cartomancer Witch or Hex Rogue X would be a great blend. All the risk of firearms, plus a lower BAB to increase that risk, plus gambling themed hexes.


TheGreatWot wrote:

Not going with Rapid Reload isn't a chance with a big reward, it's an overall weaker build.

...

I was generally implying the idea that as opposed to Rapid Reload you have something more akin to Deadly Aim. A different route of power, getting more out of each now more valuable shot. I have 0 care for the meta, just want to have some fun.

TheGreatWot wrote:

...

Am I correct in assuming that you're ok with being less powerful?

0 f~&!s are given about power. I have a portfolio of "sub par" builds all about having fun first. Something which a lot of people seem to have forgotten.

Basically, abilities have have obvious drawbacks. Power Attack sacrificing attack for damage. Reduced AC for damage. Things that make using them an actual risk and not just the standard fare. The standard fare is boring, sitting and doing the same thing with no stakes other than the attack roll.


I made an entire google doc full of multiclass builds that were 100% subpar. Accusations aren't conducive to getting good advice.

When I build a character, I focus on being effective at doing my job, and hopefully in having a flexible and entertaining range of ways to do it. I'm not the kind of player that looks for risks or over-the-top challenges... which means I'm probably not going to be able to give you much help here. This method of playing is foreign to me.


High risk, big payoff. There's quite a few on-hit effects which have weak save DCs but devastating effects. Certain poisons, certain magic weapon abilities, (prestige) class abilities based off a stat which isn't your best. If you're high enough level then there's critical feats to make that 15-20/x2 crit more impressive when it works.

A spellcaster with some neat trick for defence (invisibility, mirror image or whatever) but no real backup trick is good until that first trick fails.

Another thought - the one big hit is what a kineticist does. Also if they're loaded up with burn they go down easy.


The chaos and law Domains seem like good choices for gamblers. Touch of Chaos makes everyone else roll twice and take the worse result. Touch of Law makes you always roll an 11.


Maybe try a bad touch wizard build? Wizards do not belong in melee combat. The spells are high risk, high reward. Focus less on stuff that does damage and more on stuff that disables opponents.

Like Calcific Touch can two shot an opponent with good rolls. Or it could take 5 rounds. Can you're wizard survive 5 rounds of melee?

You could also double down on this and go Sorcerer. More spells per day, less choices.

Or you could do easy mode and go with a Magus. aka the little glass cannon that could...until it shattered. Name yourself Humpty.

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