Playing for enjoyment vs. Crunching numbers


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Shadow Lodge

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I find a lot of the "fun" in our games happens when a character does something either exceptional or completely incompetent. This gives the other players and GM something to riff of off, be it roleplaying or tactics/strategy. Being average is where the "boring" lies.

And so, defining a character concept requires the numbers to back it up - be they effective or completely ineffective. As long as it's not done in a cheesy way, I see nothing wrong with using the numbers effectively to define a character. While not precisely min-maxing, this approach to the game is built on being highly aware of how to get the numbers where you want them.

As always, and particularly when it comes to "fun", your mileage may vary.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
I mean... There is a minimum line that any build has to cross before it's "viable". And being viable is not just about "winning", but about "fun". It's not fun to suck, to get owned by monsters, to miss more than half the time, that your spells never work.
Your notion of what's fun to roleplay seems to exclude a fair amount of things mine do not, and I appreciate the game supporting both parts of that range.
Its easy to play an ineffective combat character. Spread your stats so your highest score is a 14 (or put your highest score in charisma on a non-Sorcerer/bard. The game does support your style of play. What people are checking/complaining about is whether it supports their style of play.
I'd say a 16 Dex/16-18 Cha Scoundrel rogue is pretty viable. Maybe not exactly what one would expect from a Rogue, but it should work pretty well.

That wasn’t what I was saying. I was something more like

STR 14
CON 14
DEX 12
INT 14
WIS 12
CHA 12

Pretty sure with human, right background and rogue such a character is possible. If you want to play an ineffective combat character the above would definitely help achieve it.

Even those stats by level 10 could produce a fairly competent Fighter/ MC Wizard. After two sets of 4 boosts, you’re now:

STR 18
CON 18
DEX 12 (Splint/Halfplate for max item+dex)
INT 18
WIS 16
CHA 12

Not too shabby, actually. By level 20 you’re 20 Str/Con/Int. You have more skills and languages, hearty with good saves across the board, are well rounded in just about anything and you’ve burned less attribute points to +18 boosts. I would consider this more long-term than suboptimal. If you wanted to play this that’s perfectly fine.


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Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Half of the guys meta building and calling everything non-viable, don't even play the game. You can play whatever, we had some NPC level characters in our Dragons Demand campaign, and nothing terrible happens. In PF2 you can be a lot more terrible on purpose and still contribute, thanks to the decreased focus on ability scores and magic numbers.


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Liegence wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
I mean... There is a minimum line that any build has to cross before it's "viable". And being viable is not just about "winning", but about "fun". It's not fun to suck, to get owned by monsters, to miss more than half the time, that your spells never work.
Your notion of what's fun to roleplay seems to exclude a fair amount of things mine do not, and I appreciate the game supporting both parts of that range.
Its easy to play an ineffective combat character. Spread your stats so your highest score is a 14 (or put your highest score in charisma on a non-Sorcerer/bard. The game does support your style of play. What people are checking/complaining about is whether it supports their style of play.
I'd say a 16 Dex/16-18 Cha Scoundrel rogue is pretty viable. Maybe not exactly what one would expect from a Rogue, but it should work pretty well.

That wasn’t what I was saying. I was something more like

STR 14
CON 14
DEX 12
INT 14
WIS 12
CHA 12

Pretty sure with human, right background and rogue such a character is possible. If you want to play an ineffective combat character the above would definitely help achieve it.

Even those stats by level 10 could produce a fairly competent Fighter/ MC Wizard. After two sets of 4 boosts, you’re now:

STR 18
CON 18
DEX 12 (Splint/Halfplate for max item+dex)
INT 18
WIS 16
CHA 12

Not too shabby, actually. By level 20 you’re 20 Str/Con/Int. You have more skills and languages, hearty with good saves across the board, are well rounded in just about anything and you’ve burned less attribute points to +18 boosts. I would consider this more long-term than suboptimal. If you wanted to play this that’s perfectly fine.

You spend the first 4 levels being 2 behind everyone which is crippling and the next 14 being 1 behind everyone who started with an 18 in their primary.

If for some reason you want stats like these by 10 while still not harming your basic ability to function you can still start with an 18. As for 20 in in 3 stats, look at it for what you will be really playing with, you will have 19 str/con/int for 9 levels. If enjoying the game is the aim forget about that one last level you may not even play at.

You have features where getting +1 is a big deal. Unless you plan to roleplay as someone ineffectual for laughs, starting with a primary below 18 is silly when the game is balanced around the idea you do.


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I flat disagree. A 1 bonus difference is not crippling. If another player wants to build this character, that is fine. If you, another player, are not ok with that, that is not ok.

5% chance difference is certainly not a game-ending unviable variance.


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Doompatrol wrote:
starting with a primary below 18 is silly when the game is balanced around the idea you do.

The game is balanced around a 16 primary stat at level 1. An 18 is only +1better at 10/20 levels.

Silver Crusade

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Liegence wrote:

I flat disagree. A 1 bonus difference is not crippling. If another player wants to build this character, that is fine. If you, another player, are not ok with that, that is not ok.

5% chance difference is certainly not a game-ending unviable variance.

Um you're both right.

The math in this game makes a +1 MORE important than before (due to Crits and fumbles). It's at least a 10% difference (NOT a 5%) over more rolls than PF 1 ( combat lasts longer and has more actions).

That said, it depends a lot on your character. A healing cleric needs an 18 wisdom less than a FTR needs an 18 STR. A 16 is going to be viable for most characters but you really need a GOOD reason for it not to be a 18. And at 14 you really WILL significantly underperform

The Exchange

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Look I rather have a functional party, roleplay is a plus. Lost the count with frustrated players not happy they weren't able to do anything to help the group and just have some niche role in roleplay.


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Agree to disagree. I personally find roleplay to be the most important aspect of tabletop role playing games. If a player is unhappy with their build, I will totally help them, but if they want to build something less than optimal for character reasons that’s totally acceptable as well.

You cannot win the game. The outcomes, both positive and negative, are part of the story. Besting every challenge can be as unfun as never winning. Characters can be weak or strong, someone can be Legolas and another player can be Samwise - their contributions to combat are not an indicator of entertainment value to all players.

However, when you demean other players and criticize them for not building meta or making their own design choices based on something other than the mathematically optimal choice - that, to me as a GM, is a problem.

Any character with a comparative -2 to his peers in whatever stay in the Pathfinder 2E RPG is still 100% absolutely completely viable, valid, and can be equally entertaining to play with either as a player or his ally. If you suggest otherwise - in generalities - I humbly disagree.

Dark Archive

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If playing a Fighter with a +2 in their main stat isn't viable then I guess all other martials are as well, since that's exactly how accurate they are with a +4.


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LuniasM wrote:
If playing a Fighter with a +2 in their main stat isn't viable then I guess all other martials are as well, since that's exactly how accurate they are with a +4.

Fighters are probably the most forgiving when it comes to stats.

A starting 16 is also completely viable. It's not as good as an 18 obviously. But it is viable (viable being seen as about 60% accuracy across most levels).


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LuniasM wrote:
If playing a Fighter with a +2 in their main stat isn't viable then I guess all other martials are as well, since that's exactly how accurate they are with a +4.

Almost as if other martial have other methods of competing like rage , sneak attack or hunter's edge.

This isn't some punpun nonsense, if you are going to play a fighter whose primary feature is being more accurate by 2 and then decide for whatever reason to be less accurate by 2, you can do that of course but lets not pretend it's anything but bad in terms of mechanical decisions.

If a player asked for a feat that gives plus 2 to hit they would told to f$*+ off, that's OP.

Liberty's Edge

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LuniasM wrote:
If playing a Fighter with a +2 in their main stat isn't viable then I guess all other martials are as well, since that's exactly how accurate they are with a +4.

In fairness, the other martial Classes all have something to make up for the Fighter's greater accuracy.

But yeah, a Str 14 Fighter is by far the most viable attack stat 14 character in the game. Other characrers with their highest stat at 14 are maybe not viable, legitimately.

However, as others note, 16s are completely viable, if not quite optimal.

Silver Crusade

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LuniasM wrote:
If playing a Fighter with a +2 in their main stat isn't viable then I guess all other martials are as well, since that's exactly how accurate they are with a +4.

As others have stated, a fighter is quite viable with a Str of 14. It loses far less from a lower stat than others do.

However, I admit that I run into a different issue.

I'm finding it very hard to think of a character that I'd build as a Str 14 fighter (as in class fighter, NOT as in English language fighter). Basically, unless my goal was to play a character who was VERY accurate why on earth would I play a fighter?

Note, I'm NOT trying to call badwrongfun. Tastes vary. But I just find the concept alien to me. If I wanted, say, a skill monkey I'd be playing a rogue. Or if I was going for social stuff a bard. Or a cleric if I wanted to heal. Or (well, you get the picture).

If I really wanted something like their attack of opportunity I'd dip into fighter as a multiclass.

PF2 (at least at the moment, I'm sure this will change) Silo's things a bit too much for my taste. And the fighters silo (to me, at least) is pretty much "Best at hitting things with weapons". So, why on earth would I play a fighter unless my character concept included (NOT restricted to any longer, but included) "Really good at hitting things with weapons"


Deadmanwalking wrote:
LuniasM wrote:
If playing a Fighter with a +2 in their main stat isn't viable then I guess all other martials are as well, since that's exactly how accurate they are with a +4.

In fairness, the other martial Classes all have something to make up for the Fighter's greater accuracy.

But yeah, a Str 14 Fighter is by far the most viable attack stat 14 character in the game. Other characrers with their highest stat at 14 are maybe not viable, legitimately.

However, as others note, 16s are completely viable, if not quite optimal.

It depends on what the defining term is for ‘viable’ which seems to change depending on the situation. It also doesn’t help that without a concrete definition viable can apparently be defined by a single point difference from your example. By this logic LuniasM is completely fair in their example that with the presented facts and accompanying opinions that any class other than Fighter wouldn’t be a ‘viable’ Martial class.


Fighters are the only ones who can reliably hit against level+3 opponents. Their durability and maneuverability means they can get into a flanking position which gives everyone else +2 to their attack roll without dying immediately.


pauljathome wrote:
And the fighters silo (to me, at least) is pretty much "Best at hitting things with weapons".

The fighter also has the best access to a number of weapon style feats. Like, Rangers support TWF, Archery and Crossbowchery and Barbarians mostly support THF and unarmed with one style, but Fighter has support for those options plus one-handed fighting styles and other things.

A ranger could MC into fighter to pick up some one-handed weapon feats if they didn't want to TWF or archerize, but that's pretty expensive (fighter dedication is almost a dead feat for another martial) and you'll never be able to pick up higher level options in a timely fashion.

That said, to an extent you're right, the Fighter is best at playing concepts that aren't better supported by the Ranger, Barbarian, Champion, Rogue or Monk more than it's defined by its own unique identity.

Dark Archive

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Wow, that's a lot of comments trying to counter or clarify an offhanded remark aimed at the supposed non-viability of a Fighter/Wizard with STR 14. I'm at work, so I'll try and filter through all that when I get home, but suffice to say I'm really not convinced. If the game is indeed balanced around having a 16 starting stat as some people have said, then decreasing that to a 14 and losing -1 attack,-1 damage at worst is really not going to absolutely destroy the character's ability to function in combat. The math is tight, but it's not *that* tight.

Before I get home, I'd like to make a point. What is considered "viable" is going to differ from player to player, table to table, and campaign to campaign. A group that regularly faces APL+2 or +3 encounters as standard fare is probably going to have higher standards for viability than one that normally faces APL+1s, for instance. An Outwit Ranger is probably going to be seen as less viable in combat-focused campaigns, but more powerful in campaigns with a heavy focus on social intrigue.

Will a STR 14 Fighter be weaker than a STR 18 Fighter in combat, given the exact same build otherwise? Obviously. Nobody's debating that, not even me. Is that -2 to attack and damage compared to the maximized Fighter enough to make it unplayable or non-viable? That depends. And certainly, in the case of the STR 14 Fighter/Wizard, that character is bringing more to the table than just hitting stuff with a sword.


Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
LuniasM wrote:
If playing a Fighter with a +2 in their main stat isn't viable then I guess all other martials are as well, since that's exactly how accurate they are with a +4.

In fairness, the other martial Classes all have something to make up for the Fighter's greater accuracy.

But yeah, a Str 14 Fighter is by far the most viable attack stat 14 character in the game. Other characrers with their highest stat at 14 are maybe not viable, legitimately.

However, as others note, 16s are completely viable, if not quite optimal.

It depends on what the defining term is for ‘viable’ which seems to change depending on the situation. It also doesn’t help that without a concrete definition viable can apparently be defined by a single point difference from your example. By this logic LuniasM is completely fair in their example that with the presented facts and accompanying opinions that any class other than Fighter wouldn’t be a ‘viable’ Martial class.

No there, not, multiple people have pointed out that other classes have other features.

The Barbarian hits and crits less but adds more damage.

Also it helps if you don't revolve around the word viable. But if you want an example, an animal companion can be a viable source of damage, a player should aim for good.

So yes a fighter with 14 in their attack stat is viable but it's a badly made PC.

We finished a campaign recently with a player with a really badly built martial artist, I offered to help them make changes and they turned the offer down. So you had this character that was more or less a walking damage sponge.


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doesn't 2e basically have a built in autocorrect for "character building challenged" players? Why would anybody deliberately downplay on their class strenght's? If you are a fighter with str 14, you better have dex at least 16 and use a finesse weapon...or you pick another class FFS...

In 1e you had to be really savvy with the rules or get help from someone who is to make a fully functioning character(by everyone's standard)

In 2e you have to deliberately play against that autocorrect....so you must make an effort to be sub optimal.

it's like playing a team sport where 2 of my guys are playing dumb, making it harder for all of us and calling it fun.

I'm a GM that never rolls behind screen and fudge rolls...and i always help "rules light" players to make their character viable in combat and still keep ALL their RP wishes and flair.

I'm sure that I can turn ANY character concept that you can think of into a viable character in 2E(again, by everyone's standard)...hit me with anything...


Doompatrol wrote:
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
LuniasM wrote:
If playing a Fighter with a +2 in their main stat isn't viable then I guess all other martials are as well, since that's exactly how accurate they are with a +4.

In fairness, the other martial Classes all have something to make up for the Fighter's greater accuracy.

But yeah, a Str 14 Fighter is by far the most viable attack stat 14 character in the game. Other characrers with their highest stat at 14 are maybe not viable, legitimately.

However, as others note, 16s are completely viable, if not quite optimal.

It depends on what the defining term is for ‘viable’ which seems to change depending on the situation. It also doesn’t help that without a concrete definition viable can apparently be defined by a single point difference from your example. By this logic LuniasM is completely fair in their example that with the presented facts and accompanying opinions that any class other than Fighter wouldn’t be a ‘viable’ Martial class.

No there, not, multiple people have pointed out that other classes have other features.

The Barbarian hits and crits less but adds more damage.

Also it helps if you don't revolve around the word viable. But if you want an example, an animal companion can be a viable source of damage, a player should aim for good.

So yes a fighter with 14 in their attack stat is viable but it's a badly made PC.

We finished a campaign recently with a player with a really badly built martial artist, I offered to help them make changes and they turned the offer down. So you had this character that was more or less a walking damage sponge.

I’m not using the term viable, but rather commenting on it. LunaisM’s response post actually sums up my feelings on the matter quite well. There is a real issue that when statistics and averages get thrown around enough that it has a tendency to for some people to think in right or wrong. Some take it more seriously than others.

I do agree that a character with 14’s will have more trouble, but i feel it’s much less of an issue than in 1e.


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This whole thread reminds me of the player profiles Wizards uses when talking about Magic players:

Timmy/Tammy: plays for the experience. In Pathfinder, this would be the player who takes the path of least resistance when it comes to character building - decide on a theme and pick the stuff that matches and call it a day.

Johnny/Jenny: plays to express themselves. In Pathfinder, these would usually be the players who create oddball concepts and tries to figure out how to make those concepts in the game.

Spike: plays to prove themselves. These are the ones pushing the game engine to its breaking point to squeeze out every advantage.

Being aware of these different player types is a Good Thing, as is realizing that clearly not everyone wants the same thing out of the game as you do.


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I usually play by the maxime "good is good enough". So when I create a character I will usually ensure that this char is not only valid from a roleplay perspective but will also work well within the given set of rules. This is my way to "master" both enjoyment levels and number crunching.


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Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
Doompatrol wrote:
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
LuniasM wrote:
If playing a Fighter with a +2 in their main stat isn't viable then I guess all other martials are as well, since that's exactly how accurate they are with a +4.

In fairness, the other martial Classes all have something to make up for the Fighter's greater accuracy.

But yeah, a Str 14 Fighter is by far the most viable attack stat 14 character in the game. Other characrers with their highest stat at 14 are maybe not viable, legitimately.

However, as others note, 16s are completely viable, if not quite optimal.

It depends on what the defining term is for ‘viable’ which seems to change depending on the situation. It also doesn’t help that without a concrete definition viable can apparently be defined by a single point difference from your example. By this logic LuniasM is completely fair in their example that with the presented facts and accompanying opinions that any class other than Fighter wouldn’t be a ‘viable’ Martial class.

No there, not, multiple people have pointed out that other classes have other features.

The Barbarian hits and crits less but adds more damage.

Also it helps if you don't revolve around the word viable. But if you want an example, an animal companion can be a viable source of damage, a player should aim for good.

So yes a fighter with 14 in their attack stat is viable but it's a badly made PC.

We finished a campaign recently with a player with a really badly built martial artist, I offered to help them make changes and they turned the offer down. So you had this character that was more or less a walking damage sponge.

I’m not using the term viable, but rather commenting on it. LunaisM’s response post actually sums up my feelings on the matter quite well. There is a real issue that when statistics and averages get thrown around enough that it has a tendency to for some people to think in right or wrong. Some take it more...

His argument was intrique games and fighter/wizard. If it's an intrique game the GM would let you know but unless said otherwise fighting is the meat and potatos of pathfinder which is why bonuses to hit are valued higher than bonuses to skills, there is also no reason a fighter/wizard can't have 18 str and 14 int to start with. This isn't 1st edition where having 18 to start was a higher investment than 14 or 16.

Which comes to the main point of all this. Why even make an argument for lower stats. It all comes across as very contrarian.

If I say to a new player that 18 is must have, I don't mean that literally but you guys come along and say they don't need an 18, that is technically true but you are not doing them any favors.


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Staffan Johansson wrote:

This whole thread reminds me of the player profiles Wizards uses when talking about Magic players:

Timmy/Tammy: plays for the experience. In Pathfinder, this would be the player who takes the path of least resistance when it comes to character building - decide on a theme and pick the stuff that matches and call it a day.

Johnny/Jenny: plays to express themselves. In Pathfinder, these would usually be the players who create oddball concepts and tries to figure out how to make those concepts in the game.

Spike: plays to prove themselves. These are the ones pushing the game engine to its breaking point to squeeze out every advantage.

Being aware of these different player types is a Good Thing, as is realizing that clearly not everyone wants the same thing out of the game as you do.

Which is all nonsense because people want multiple things. I've never actually met a pure power gamer who didn't care whatsoever about the theme of the character.


John Lynch 106 wrote:

I crunched the numbers to check whether starting with a 16 in your primary stat was viable. That’s right. I did a dirty thing and crunched numbers on a non-optimal choice. In fact, I’ve largely been doing that. Why? Because I want to see what the tolerance is for not min/maxing.

So before you pat yourself on the back as a superior role player, you might want to look at the context in which numbers are getting crunched.

I am not arguing for myself as a superior role-player, and am sorry if I came across as making such a claim.

I am arguing that for me, and for a non-trivial number of people I have played with, the range of characters we are interested in includes ones that don't meet the standards for "viability" being held up in this thread. In my case, this goes back to the days of BECMI; first-level wizards who could easily not survive a fight with an angry housecat and so on.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
Donovan Du Bois wrote:


That isn't fair. Wanting your character to be viable isn't 'wanting to power build'.

A lot of complaints are "I want to do this, but it makes me an actively worse character." which means that they want to make a character based on a concept, but they can't because it would be ineffective as part of the party.

And if that's what all of you want, the trick is to play a different style of game where "effective" doesn't depend so much on combat.

Combat is such an important part of the game. Look at any Paizo AP, even the roleplay heavy ones easily have combat take up a third of the time.

And are in general well-equipped with suggestions of possible alternative ways to handle any individual encounter.

Quote:


You know what isn’t fun? Not contributing to the success of the game for a third of the time. Remember fighters from PF1e? How they had nothing to contribute outside of combat? That was the number 1 complaint about the class. Why is it ok to complain about that, but not okay to complain about having the same problem in combat?

I had kind of hoped that the bit of my post I have bolded would count as an answer to that. I was offering a suggestion for an approach to deal with the specific issue of combat-ineffectiveness getting in the way of making the characters people are interested in playing. I have no objection at all to people who want to play games almost entirely focused on combat to ameliorate the lack of utility of fighters in other contexts; the later parts of the Giantslayer AP suggest to me that neither do Paizo.

If I'm arguing for anything, it's support for playing the game you want to play.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Its easy to play an ineffective combat character. Spread your stats so your highest score is a 14 (or put your highest score in charisma on a non-Sorcerer/bard. The game does support your style of play.

I don't like point-buys generally fwiw, I far prefer the range of characters you get from 2d6+6, or 4d6 and drop the worst.


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People tend to misinterpret discussions on forums about the game itself with declarations of "you should only make characters who get max DPR" or whatever.

The meta discussions around, say, scaling armor proficiency is simply a higher level discussion about the metagame, how much flexibility does the system actually give you to create a character whose costume is unorthodox for the class. This does not mean that everyone discussing that topic wants to "powergame" and only play in heavy plate in order to win the game.

In fact, these sorts of discussions exist for the exact opposite reason: people want to play many different creative concepts, and don't want those concepts to be invalidated by the math as was too frequently the case in PF1.

PF2 exists largely because of the sorts of discussions being had right now, careful analysis of the balancing of the system and how that might impact what choices are actually valid in play, what options might seem good but are a massive opportunity cost compared to other choices, et cetera. If a system is well-balanced, there's a lot more freedom to explore concepts without your character being mechanically unsatisfying.

I bring up the Stormwind Fallacy a lot because this confusion tends to derail useful discussions by accusing those participating of enjoying the game wrong or being bad roleplayers, and it's probably why OP got an initially hostile response.

It's through over a decade of these discussions that one of the most studied TTRPG systems of all time went from a system that was widely regarded as becoming dysfunctional past level 6 and required careful knowledge of the class tier system and optimization in order to balance player agency to a system that more or less will let you play damn near anything you can imagine within the confines of its rules and still be effective both in and outside of combat. It's resulted in a system that will let you pick really any ancestry and class combination you want, without feeling like you're shoehorned into one particular ancestry or that you can't play what you want because the stat boosts don't match.

Iunno, it's the people who are most openly antagonistic to optimizers who tend to cause the most issues at tables I've played at. Lots of broken etiquette, sandbagging, My Guy syndrome, and other problem behavior that seem very easy to avoid to those familiar with meta discussions but aren't intuitive to those coming from more narrative systems or forum roleplaying. If you understand the mechanics of the game, you better understand the game as a whole, and if you better understand how the game actually plays you can better understand how to roleplay in a way that's actually interesting and not just disruptive to others.

consider this a callout post to all the ding dongs who put a 14 in their primary stat thinking that's what roleplay is /s

Regardless, PF2 isn't a system where you need to pick between the two. THe idea that optimization and roleplay are even at odds is a result of 3.5, PF, and myriad of other crunchy RPG systems up until the aughts that didn't have the benefit of modern game design theory and would utterly break with even mild optimization, without even deliberately trying to cheese anything. In PF1, the class tier stratification meant anyone wanting to not cause trouble for a group wanting to play the concepts they like had to be super cognizant of the math and assumptions of the system in order to not overshoot numbers too much or take too much control of the campaign. But that's no longer the case, so it's going to take time for people to adjust to not needing to treat optimizers like ticking time bombs at their tables.


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the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:

I crunched the numbers to check whether starting with a 16 in your primary stat was viable. That’s right. I did a dirty thing and crunched numbers on a non-optimal choice. In fact, I’ve largely been doing that. Why? Because I want to see what the tolerance is for not min/maxing.

So before you pat yourself on the back as a superior role player, you might want to look at the context in which numbers are getting crunched.

I am not arguing for myself as a superior role-player, and am sorry if I came across as making such a claim.

I am arguing that for me, and for a non-trivial number of people I have played with, the range of characters we are interested in includes ones that don't meet the standards for "viability" being held up in this thread. In my case, this goes back to the days of BECMI; first-level wizards who could easily not survive a fight with an angry housecat and so on.

If your group enjoys missing more than half the time whenever they try to do anything, more power to you. In my experience, across a few game systems and with a non trivial amount of different people, I have consistently seen people’s enjoyment decrease and decrease until they no longer enjoy playing the game with that character (or in extreme cases they just don’t enjoy the game anymore).


the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
Donovan Du Bois wrote:


That isn't fair. Wanting your character to be viable isn't 'wanting to power build'.

A lot of complaints are "I want to do this, but it makes me an actively worse character." which means that they want to make a character based on a concept, but they can't because it would be ineffective as part of the party.

And if that's what all of you want, the trick is to play a different style of game where "effective" doesn't depend so much on combat.

Combat is such an important part of the game. Look at any Paizo AP, even the roleplay heavy ones easily have combat take up a third of the time.

And are in general well-equipped with suggestions of possible alternative ways to handle any individual encounter.

Quote:


You know what isn’t fun? Not contributing to the success of the game for a third of the time. Remember fighters from PF1e? How they had nothing to contribute outside of combat? That was the number 1 complaint about the class. Why is it ok to complain about that, but not okay to complain about having the same problem in combat?

I had kind of hoped that the bit of my post I have bolded would count as an answer to that. I was offering a suggestion for an approach to deal with the specific issue of combat-ineffectiveness getting in the way of making the characters people are interested in playing. I have no objection at all to people who want to play games almost entirely focused on combat to ameliorate the lack of utility of fighters in other contexts; the later parts of the Giantslayer AP suggest to me that neither do Paizo.

If I'm arguing for anything, it's support for playing the game you want to play.

1. Paizo AP adventures consistently have dungeons (at least 1 per book) and while individual encounters might have suggestions on non-combat encounters, it is by no means possible to bypass all of them. Most often boss encounters can’t be role played past.

2. Viability isn’t limited to combat. See above comment on being unable to contribute outside of combat.


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the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
Its easy to play an ineffective combat character. Spread your stats so your highest score is a 14 (or put your highest score in charisma on a non-Sorcerer/bard. The game does support your style of play.
I don't like point-buys generally fwiw, I far prefer the range of characters you get from 2d6+6, or 4d6 and drop the worst.

Ok. Well if you enjoy viability being controlled by random chance (or more likely low stats = play a wizard) more power to you. That isn’t the style of game I personally enjoy. I also think Paizo’s ability score generation is superior to either point buy or rolling.


Small side track.

Honestly, I always felt point buy was the good (not perfect) medium point between the wild arrays of rolling and the pretty much shoehorned "standard array". This new method certainly opens new options, personally I would prefer more granularity (I liked odd scores), but simple methods are better than granularity.

People could always just house rule it. Ex: Double the number of increases put half their value (8 1 point increases instead of 4 2 point increases).

*********
My point in writing that, is to show there are many ways to do things that have similar results. But just because they are different doesn't mean they are broken, wrong, or against roleplaying.

Shadow Lodge

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Starting with a 16 as your highest stat makes your ability modifiers flat out higher at levels 5-9, and 15-19. Your main stat will only be lower at levels 1-4, 10-14, and 20.

Realizations like this are one reason why I crunch the numbers. I know there is going to be some wonkiness to the system and I want to be aware where it lies.

I recall a 1e game with a new player whose enjoyment suddenly tanked when he realized the numbers on his character sheet did not support the concept in his head. His character was not good at the things he wanted it to be good at, and that ruined the game for him. Some of us think spending an hour crunching numbers to make sure our character will perform as desired is a worthwhile investment to a game we plan on spending numerous hours playing.

Silver Crusade

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gnoams wrote:

Starting with a 16 as your highest stat makes your ability modifiers flat out higher at levels 5-9, and 15-19. Your main stat will only be lower at levels 1-4, 10-14, and 20.

Uh, that is absolutely NOT true. There is no reason that the person with a stat of 18 at level 1 HAS to raise that stat at level 5.

Unless I was VERY confident that the game was going to spend a substantial amount of time at level 20 I'd NEVER raise my characters stat past 20. Just not enough benefit.

And I'd have to be reasonably confident of getting to level 10 before I'd raise a stat to 19. In my experience campaigns only rarely get to level 10.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Its easy to play an ineffective combat character. Spread your stats so your highest score is a 14 (or put your highest score in charisma on a non-Sorcerer/bard. The game does support your style of play.
Or play an alchemist. Especially one that has sunk everything into getting an 18 in their main attribute, which they do not use for attack rolls.


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I'd like to point out that even the title of this thread is biased. You play "for enjoyment", or you "number crunch"; the implication is that if you're "number crunch"-ing you cannot play for enjoyment.


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pauljathome wrote:
gnoams wrote:

Starting with a 16 as your highest stat makes your ability modifiers flat out higher at levels 5-9, and 15-19. Your main stat will only be lower at levels 1-4, 10-14, and 20.

Uh, that is absolutely NOT true. There is no reason that the person with a stat of 18 at level 1 HAS to raise that stat at level 5.

Unless I was VERY confident that the game was going to spend a substantial amount of time at level 20 I'd NEVER raise my characters stat past 20. Just not enough benefit.

And I'd have to be reasonably confident of getting to level 10 before I'd raise a stat to 19. In my experience campaigns only rarely get to level 10.

That's why I honestly will just allow players to reallocate their boosts for free to work around this. Take back one of your boosts to a weird stat from level 5 in order to get your main stat to 20 at level 10. I don't want players worrying at all about that sort of thing, I'd rather they do what's enjoyable now and not worry that it's going to limit their potential later.

NemoNoName wrote:
I'd like to point out that even the title of this thread is biased. You play "for enjoyment", or you "number crunch"; the implication is that if you're "number crunch"-ing you cannot play for enjoyment.

I personally, wonder whether anyone in this thread actually plays this game for fun or if they just care about roleplaying. No disrespect, but personally I find making people happy and solving world hunger more important than pretending to be an elf with other adults. Your enjoyment of roleplaying is valid, I just have trouble imagining why someone would prefer that to the love of their firstborn child. /s

Iunno, the argument comes up so often. I feel extremely tempted to just start shooting back, "Well, I guess if you're just a BAD ROLEPLAYER then I can understand why you have such an issue with other people discussing the mechanics. I mean, you can't expect a BAD ROLEPLAYER to understand how poor balancing might suffocate certain concepts or make them feel less impactful, so your wrong opinions on the validity of this discussions are perfectly valid." Probably shouldn't, but it's tempting to get catty.


Helmic wrote:


I personally, wonder whether anyone in this thread actually plays this game for fun or if they just care about roleplaying.

For some of us those two things are identical.

Quote:


No disrespect, but personally I find making people happy and solving world hunger more important than pretending to be an elf with other adults.

No disagreement there, which is why I choose my day job and many other aspects of my life accordingly. However keeping myself sane and reasonably happy is a large part of staying optimally able to be productive and positive in those other spheres, and for me roleplaying is a major cheering element in my life.

Playing a bunch of different perspectives, with different moralities, and - perhaps most important to this particular discussion - different degrees of capacity and agency within the RPG universe (referring to that as "viability" seems an over-simplification) and interacting with other people doing the same, is an ongoing contribution to broadening my understanding of and ability to empathise with a broader range of people in the real world. So yeah, I will defend my roleplaying as positive in intent to the broader world, and encourage others towards it on similar grounds. (And that is specifically "encourage", not demand or dictate or anything like that save within the context of negotiating the particular social contract of a game I am personally involved with.)

The maths involved in Pathfinder, on the other hand, is arithmetic and probability on a scale I was reasonably competent in thirty years ago in school and only occasionally have use for since, so there is only so much benefit polishing those skills by min-maxing is to me, even if I did find it fun.


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


I personally, wonder whether anyone in this thread actually plays this game for fun or if they just care about roleplaying.

For some of us those two things are identical.

Quote:


No disrespect, but personally I find making people happy and solving world hunger more important than pretending to be an elf with other adults.

No disagreement there, which is why I choose my day job and many other aspects of my life accordingly. However keeping myself sane and reasonably happy is a large part of staying optimally able to be productive and positive in those other spheres, and for me roleplaying is a major cheering element in my life.

Playing a bunch of different perspectives, with different moralities, and - perhaps most important to this particular discussion - different degrees of capacity and agency within the RPG universe (referring to that as "viability" seems an over-simplification) and interacting with other people doing the same, is an ongoing contribution to broadening my understanding of and ability to empathise with a broader range of people in the real world. So yeah, I will defend my roleplaying as positive in intent to the broader world, and encourage others towards it on similar grounds. (And that is specifically "encourage", not demand or dictate or anything like that save within the context of negotiating the particular social contract of a game I am personally involved with.)

The maths involved in Pathfinder, on the other hand, is arithmetic and probability on a scale I was reasonably competent in thirty years ago in school and only occasionally have use for since, so there is only so much benefit polishing those skills by min-maxing is to me, even if I did find it fun.

I play video games because I find them entertaining and an enjoyable way to pass the time. I play roleplaying games for the same reason + I enjoy the social aspect of it.

I don't know if you're really trying to justify roleplaying games as "saving the world". But if you are that is certainly one of the more unique perspectives I've ever seen (unless your doing it as part of a prison outreach program or as part of a reaching out to troubled youths).

This forum really does crack me up sometimes with the amount of crap that comes out of it.


Honestly, the amount of number crunching some players employ really suck me out of the game. It gets worse when the powergamers start trying to advise other folks - sort of backseat driving another player's charop.

I wish folks would just be happy with "effective" without going down the rabbit hole of "optimized." As soon as folks go for optimized, the game changes in a fundamental way that affects others at the table and can be detrimental to the campaign as a whole, IMO.

Dark Archive

Anyway, I've been checking out the Average AC and Median AC by creature level, and as I suspected the chance you'll hit is heavily dependent on the level of the creatures you're fighting.

Against enemies of Level+0 (ie: enemies of the same level as you), a Fighter with STR 14 is hitting anywhere from 55-70% of the time on their first Strike of the turn, on average. That's with no bonuses from buffs or circumstantial bonuses, and no penalties to enemy AC from conditions like Flatfooted or Frightened. "Martials" (Barbarian, Champion, Monk, Ranger, and Rogue) are -10% behind that at all levels, while "Casters" (Alchemist, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, and Wizard) are usually -10% behind those characters (except for Levels 1-4 and 11-12, when their proficiencies are the same, with Warpriests having slightly more levels where they're on par). However, against enemies of Level+2, the math swings in their favor by roughly 15% on average. This can make that first Strike difficult to land unless you're using every trick you can find to make your attack more likely to hit. That means Flatfooted, Frightened, Sluggish, Insipire Courage / Heroics, Bless, Heroism, etc.

If your campaign consists mostly of encounters against Level+2 or higher enemies, you should probably be wary of playing characters who start with a +2 in their attack stat - it's doable, but difficult. But if you're playing in a campaign with more Level+0 enemies, you're fine. Just watch out for those occasional higher-level enemies.

As for whether such a character is "making an effort to be suboptimal" or is "a bad PC", that's entirely dependent on both the campaign being played and what the character is bringing to the table instead of their normal assumed role. I'd be surprised if a player intentionally took a low score in their attack stat for absolutely no benefit whatsoever. For instance, I built a Fighter/Bard the other day with STR 14 just to see what I could come up with, and the resulting tank/support hybrid instead prioritizes CHA and picks up feats like Cooperative Nature/Soul, Inspire Competence, Inspirational Performance, Shield Warden, etc to give them a variety of debuff and support options they can take instead of going for a second or third attack. That lower STR bonus didn't really impact them too much, since they only make 1 attack per round anyway and the alternative options they use rely more on CHA to function.

Grand Lodge

Data Lore wrote:

Honestly, the amount of number crunching some players employ really suck me out of the game. It gets worse when the powergamers start trying to advise other folks - sort of backseat driving another player's charop.

I wish folks would just be happy with "effective" without going down the rabbit hole of "optimized." As soon as folks go for optimized, the game changes in a fundamental way that affects others at the table and can be detrimental to the campaign as a whole, IMO.

IMHO, in PF2, It is much harder to make an ineffective character. I mean, you really have to work at it! It takes real system mastery to create a substandard character. Unless the character is being created by committee, like "Dr. Heckle" on the recent "Twitch Stream" game.


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


I personally, wonder whether anyone in this thread actually plays this game for fun or if they just care about roleplaying.

For some of us those two things are identical.

Quote:


No disrespect, but personally I find making people happy and solving world hunger more important than pretending to be an elf with other adults.

No disagreement there, which is why I choose my day job and many other aspects of my life accordingly. However keeping myself sane and reasonably happy is a large part of staying optimally able to be productive and positive in those other spheres, and for me roleplaying is a major cheering element in my life.

Playing a bunch of different perspectives, with different moralities, and - perhaps most important to this particular discussion - different degrees of capacity and agency within the RPG universe (referring to that as "viability" seems an over-simplification) and interacting with other people doing the same, is an ongoing contribution to broadening my understanding of and ability to empathise with a broader range of people in the real world. So yeah, I will defend my roleplaying as positive in intent to the broader world, and encourage others towards it on similar grounds. (And that is specifically "encourage", not demand or dictate or anything like that save within the context of negotiating the particular social contract of a game I am personally involved with.)

The maths involved in Pathfinder, on the other hand, is arithmetic and probability on a scale I was reasonably competent in thirty years ago in school and only occasionally have use for since, so there is only so much benefit polishing those skills by min-maxing is to me, even if I did find it fun.

The /s denotes sarcasm. It's a s*@&post meant to illustrate how wording how other people enjoy the game as mutually exclusive with some generally positive quality is essentially just asking, "When did you stop beating your wife?" I roleplay just as much as anyone else here, but the outright hostility towards those who engage with the prominent crunchy bits of the game can seem awfully hypocritical. It comes across as accusing others of "wrongfun" or portraying those who enjoy tinkering with the system as inherently problematic.

It doesn't help that a lot of anti-optimization or anti-crunch discussion can often pick up a lot of anti-neurodivergent baggage in less well-moderated spaces, where someone that's autistic can get s!$$ for enjoying a part of the system "too much" for some NT's personal tastes. Considering a lot of problem behavior is unique to those purely trying to "roleplay" while ignoring the rules, treating those engaging with the rules as a problem can feel like it's honing in on those being clocked as autistic.

Not that that's what's happening here, but my experiences with that have colored my view on a lot of "roleplay > rollplay" discussions. I've certainly had been insulted as "autistic" before in these sorts of contexts, so whenever the discussion is about someone having too narrow an interest in the game my guard tends to go up.

tl;dr let people enjoy things on their own terms


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NemoNoName wrote:
I'd like to point out that even the title of this thread is biased. You play "for enjoyment", or you "number crunch"; the implication is that if you're "number crunch"-ing you cannot play for enjoyment.

Wrong.

The title is an admittance to number-crunching, and a place for those guilty to gather.

Hey folks my name is rainzax and I crunch numbers.


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Aristophanes wrote:
Data Lore wrote:

Honestly, the amount of number crunching some players employ really suck me out of the game. It gets worse when the powergamers start trying to advise other folks - sort of backseat driving another player's charop.

I wish folks would just be happy with "effective" without going down the rabbit hole of "optimized." As soon as folks go for optimized, the game changes in a fundamental way that affects others at the table and can be detrimental to the campaign as a whole, IMO.

IMHO, in PF2, It is much harder to make an ineffective character. I mean, you really have to work at it! It takes real system mastery to create a substandard character. Unless the character is being created by committee, like "Dr. Heckle" on the recent "Twitch Stream" game.

In my view, this is a great improvement over the PF1 paradigm. Lifting the "floor" and closing the gap between crappy and excellent will hopefully make it easier for people with differing styles to play at the same table.

In PF1, it was relatively easy to screw up and make a very weak character - although I don't really mind being a sidekick, I can totally understand why people would want to "number crunch" ahead of time to avoid doing that to themselves. I'm hoping it'll be less of an issue in PF2 and that a Pick-n-Mix PC can hold their own in a party with someone built using a spreadsheet.

In the perfect world, the optimiser will derive benefit from carefully building their PC whilst the casual player will still be able to contribute something meaningful, even if not quite as finely tuned as the first.


Aristophanes wrote:
Data Lore wrote:

Honestly, the amount of number crunching some players employ really suck me out of the game. It gets worse when the powergamers start trying to advise other folks - sort of backseat driving another player's charop.

I wish folks would just be happy with "effective" without going down the rabbit hole of "optimized." As soon as folks go for optimized, the game changes in a fundamental way that affects others at the table and can be detrimental to the campaign as a whole, IMO.

IMHO, in PF2, It is much harder to make an ineffective character. I mean, you really have to work at it! It takes real system mastery to create a substandard character. Unless the character is being created by committee, like "Dr. Heckle" on the recent "Twitch Stream" game.

I ended up wanting to try out Cleric, for the very first time ever, during the first part of the PlayTest.

18 wis
16 cha
14 str
14 dex

I wanted to try out Healing and use a Reach Weapon. Fair to say i messed up with placing my stats, and as punishing as the PT was there wasn’t much way to lessen the gap; leaving me to Heal and spam Cantrips. Summon Monster helped flank with flanking. :P

That’s why i personally looked to see how it was balanced at 14’s. It’ll be the most common number you’ll average on any tertiary stats. With the numbers more balanced in the final CRB i can feel comfortable that a 14 isn’t a death sentence like it was for me in the PT.

Scarab Sages

Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
With the numbers more balanced in the final CRB i can feel comfortable that a 14 isn’t a death sentence like it was for me in the PT.

At level 13 your going to have a +22 to hit. Against Level-2 foes you'll hit with your primary attack 60% of the time. Against At Level foes you'll hit with your primary attack 45% of the time. At Level+2 foes you might as well not roll (30% of the time).

At 18th level those numbers are basically unchanged.

So the good news is that the numbers are quite consistent. The better news is if you flank you can boost all those numbers by +10%. Possibly good news is that you get heroism so if you're willing to blow your biggest spells at 13th level you can add an additional +2 to those numbers (with the spell likely lasting 1 combat, at best lasting no more than 2 combats). At 18th level that increases to +3.

So your right. A 14 isn't a death sentence. And if your primarily using spells to contribute to the party then the fact your not great with the weapon isn't that important. It ultimately depends on how you want your character to contribute.

But I think you can definitely say the game is more forgiving then PF1e was.


Helmic wrote:
I roleplay just as much as anyone else here, but the outright hostility towards those who engage with the prominent crunchy bits of the game can seem awfully hypocritical. It comes across as accusing others of "wrongfun" or portraying those who enjoy tinkering with the system as inherently problematic.

I can only speak for myself here, but my personal less-then-cordial attitude towards 'optimizers' stems from the experience that these people have an awful tendency to ruin everybody else's fun.

When you build your own Fighter looking towards protecting your Rogue and Cleric fellows, and a few levels into the game the Cleric flat out blows both other characters out of the water without even trying too hard (Divine Metamagic and Nighsticks anyone?) that leaves a sour taste.

And when you then go to some message boards to get some help and are basically told 'only losers play Fighter', well, screw you.

Of course decrying people who like tinkering with the rules as 'bad roleplayers' is just as toxic, just with the polarity reversed.

The problem is just that 3.x is just so abuseable, and the people who commit the worst feats of rules abuse are generally also the ones prone to rubbing it into other people's face. So, if you profess a fondness for number crunching, be prepared to be found guilty by association. Innocent until proven guilty only applies in a court of law, not in the court of public or personal opinion.

Hopefully PF2 will keep the reins short on any potential rules abuses, making it much easier to tolerate min-maxers... simply becaus they can't cause too much damage any more.

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