Problem Ranger


Advice


so my party is level 9 soon to be 10, and the party just finished a deadly encounter with a group of orc mercenaries that attacked their favorite local tavern. the stats for the orcs and their leader can be viewed Here
the encounters were as follows
Outside Tavern Orc Warriors x4 CR 7 attacking lvl 5 Warrior City Guard
Ist floor Orc Warriors x8 CR 9 (ally lvl 5 alchemist bartender)
2nd Floor Orc Warriors x4 Orc Manhunter X1 CR 10

now my party ranger and IRL roommate is a lvl 9 half elf ranger with a wolf companion (with celestial template from bargaining with a god), he uses a +1 Composite longbow with +1 STR, however he has constantly complained in the past and especially last night that he feels never does any damage though he constantly neglects to use spells no matter how many times me and the party point out the spell cards I printed for him and when he doesn't use deadly aim or rapid shot he complains he does no damage, and when he does use deadly aim and rapid shot he complains he never hits anything. his attack bonus is +14/+9 and damage is usually 1d8+2 unmodified by feats. now simply put he spent the entire session last night b~@!~ing that my encounters are Darksouls level difficulty and he wants to abandon the party to go peruse his own ends and I never throw his favored enemy at him (he fought 3 humans the session before), on top of complaining that the orc archer they fought at the end was so much more op an archer than him when they practically had the same feats just different classes and the orc had more STR and Less Dex. I'm at my wits end trying to help a player that is never satisfied with how many boons and cool items and bad ass story moments I give them and does nothing but complain and point out the holes in my story and everything wrong with my game, all the while they can't be asked to read their class page or use any of their abilities or spells. I offered to change his class to fighter no cost no retrain time if he was that unhappy with his combat performance and he refused


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Some people will b!tch about anything... you have to remember that. Your encounter sounds fantastic.

Put a better bow in some loot. Why he only has a +1 bow at level 9 is just silly. He should have been upgrading his bow, but obviously hasn't. Make it the bow of a human bandit... a Ranger with the exact same stats and feats that he has... may the best bowman win.

Have other people start asking him for his magic... hey man, let me get some of that Lead Blades goodness from you. Maybe he will warm up to using his magic more, and his damage/accuracy should both improve.

Look him dead in the face and tell him to quit being such a b!tch.


well technically it's a +2 bane bow but that didn't really matter as he was fighting orcs nor did his favored enemy so I didn't think to factoring that into my explanation. also you sir are my favorite type of person, I nearly dead ass fell out of my chair laughing from that last comment, honestly he ain't the type to take that well though he can be pretty man-childish and he fully expects to win every encounter because that in his eyes is what makes a game fun and be spoon fed a story instead of trying to mold the story himself as a player should, and being a wannabe indie game dev nobody can tell him otherwise and I can't exactly tell him to stop b~%%*ing or go suck a prickly rakshasa dong as he pays the other half of the rent -.- but yeah suggestion taken I'm just gonna bump the bow the now dead orc leader was using up +1 and if that doesn't please him I'll just wait until his own incompetence to use his classes strengths finally kills him I guess


Well his stats do seem low.

Against CR appropriate enemies he's doing ~6.795 DPR (Damage Per Round).

If he uses rapid Shot it goes up to ~8.9375 DPR.

If he uses Deadly Aim instead it's ~8.5625 ~8.9375 DPR, but he's hitting way less than half his shots.

If he uses both Rapid Shot and Deadly aim he gets ~10.5 ~11 DPR, but he's only hitting on a 14+ with his best attacks.

To out those in perspective he wants to be doing ~28.75 DPR.

Spells will help, but so will a hetter Bow, and maybe a DEX belt. It actually might be worth throwing more favoured enemies at him just so he can keep up.

EDIT: It may be that he's just not right for the group though, I don't know what kind of challenges you throw at the party or what everyone else is doing. If he's doing as much damage as everyone else then the problem may just be with expectations.

EDIT: I got all my numbers wrong, but not by much. I'll have to check them later, but you get the idea =P


These kinds of players are almost impossible to deal with. I've found that any kind of confrontation or perceived attack will only make them feel validated in their grief and redouble their efforts.

The first thing I usually do is show them my efforts. Don't tell them; talk is just so much noise and easily ignored.
Show him the stats on that enemy archer. Crunch the numbers and show him how much damage he could do with the right application of feats and spells. List the last 5 encounters and show him ho many were his favored enemy.

The second thing I do is go full-on Socrates. Ask questions. Do not make statements. Let his their answers defeat their arguments.
"What do you see that makes sense this archer better than yours?"
"Which attack pattern will lead to you feeling more effective?"

And then, the big one. The question I ask them after I've shown my honest efforts to make this game fun and fair. "What do you think I should do?"

That question usually seems to reveal the petty nature of their demands and they end up backing off.
Sometimes, though, they have a suggestion. And if you want any kind of progress at all with them, you need to seriously listen. You need to give them the respect that they haven't thus far given you. Because some people are inherently selfish. It's not fair to you, but if you want to actually change the situation, I've found it's often the only way through to them.

As a last recourse, I'll get a little more personal. I'll try to explain that, hey, I'm trying my best here, and that I'm putting in a lot of time and effort, but it never feels like enough. How it isn't fun for me, and it's kind of a drain to feel like I'm constantly failing to make the game fun for them.
If that doesn't move them, then I'll usually offer them a way out of the game; if everyone else is having fun, maybe this particular story, system or group just isn't for them.
If they really want to dig their heels in, then I'll just end the game altogether and start a new one without them. And let everyone else's disappointed and frustration be on their head.


If he isn't using his spells and he's complaining about favored enemy, maybe he'd rather be playing a slayer. That aside, point out that he gets instant enemy at 10th level, which should help considerably. Though I'd make an effort now to clear up what the spell does exactly, since there hasn't been universal consensus on the topic.


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The Roguish Chef wrote:
... he fully expects to win every encounter because that in his eyes is what makes a game fun ...

Sorry I was writing my last post when you posted this, so I didn't see it.

This is your problem. His expectations of the game are different to yours.

I want to make it clear that this is YOUR problem, not his. You may think he's being childish/whatever, but he's not "wrong" any more than you are - fun means different things to different people.

Now as to this being your problem, this doesn't mean you're wrong either. Unfortunately as the GM you do shoulder more responsibility though.

YOU NEED TO TALK TO HIM ABOUT THIS OUT OF CHARACTER.

Your two different expectations of the game are what's causing the problem, so discuss what's expected. As a discussion you should be open to his input, but at the end of the day you're preparing the game, so if he's not into what you've prepared he's probably better off in a different game.

This doesn't even mean you stop playing with him, but maybe he stops playing in THIS campaign. You can still play other campaigns/one-shots/etc with him, but if this isn't his cup of tea then why torture each other?


ErichAD wrote:
If he isn't using his spells and he's complaining about favored enemy, maybe he'd rather be playing a slayer. That aside, point out that he gets instant enemy at 10th level, which should help considerably. Though I'd make an effort now to clear up what the spell does exactly, since there hasn't been universal consensus on the topic.

This is exactly it. Slayer is essentially Unchained Ranger for people who aren't Animal Companion focused (Hunter is Unchained Ranger for the Animal Companion aficionados).

Ranger is a pretty awkward class and the player in question is bad at either playing it or building it, which means you have two problems combining into a larger one, and that's even without the numerous other issues mentioned.


MrCharisma wrote:
The Roguish Chef wrote:
... he fully expects to win every encounter because that in his eyes is what makes a game fun ...

Sorry I was writing my last post when you posted this, so I didn't see it.

This is your problem. His expectations of the game are different to yours.

I want to make it clear that this is YOUR problem, not his. You may think he's being childish/whatever, but he's not "wrong" any more than you are - fun means different things to different people.

Now as to this being your problem, this doesn't mean you're wrong either. Unfortunately as the GM you do shoulder more responsibility though.

YOU NEED TO TALK TO HIM ABOUT THIS OUT OF CHARACTER.

Your two different expectations of the game are what's causing the problem, so discuss what's expected. As a discussion you should be open to his input, but at the end of the day you're preparing the game, so if he's not into what you've prepared he's probably better off in a different game.

This doesn't even mean you stop playing with him, but maybe he stops playing in THIS campaign. You can still play other campaigns/one-shots/etc with him, but if this isn't his cup of tea then why torture each other?

You're right. People have different ideas of what they want in a campaign. Some people want to have a game where they do whatever they want and the "story" builds itself in reaction to what the players do to the world, where other people want to play as a participant of a composed story with their character reacting to it. Neither is correct or incorrect, though obviously if either the player expects to just handwave the combats as a formality or the GM expects every encounter to be a challenging life-or-death struggle there is a deeper disconnect; in that case, talking about this out of character is even more important.


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If he's not using spells and complaining about not having his favored enemy show up have him retrain into Ilsurian Archer Half your highest favored enemy against all enemies, no spellcasting and a few extra situational archery feats.


MrCharisma wrote:
I want to make it clear that this is YOUR problem, not his. You may think he's being childish/whatever, but he's not "wrong" any more than you are - fun means different things to different people.

I would agree to a point. It's all well and good to want different things out of your gaming experience. But--and maybe this is just me picking up on something that isn't actually there--some people don't want X so much as they want to not want Y. Some people are impossible to please.

If that's what's going on here, then all the open-mindedness and patience and empathy in the world won't do you any good.

Furthermore, even if this person isn't just determined to complain about anything and everything, even if they actually do have a legitimate point and this is just a matter of differing expectations, they're still wrong in how they're going about getting their way.
GM'put so much more effort into the hobby, it's astounding that so many players have the gall to complain when the GM's efforts aren't to the players liking. Don't like the game? Here's the core rulebook. You run something.


I don't know the guy so I won't comment much on the approach thing. Just, at some point, if he's just choosing to ignore all the advice you throw his way, that's on him.

Anyway, reading about that orc archer that annoyed him so much, I have to think : next time they have to face an archer, don't make one that's very similar to his character. Just let them face his exact clone.
You don't make it sound like he built an unusable character, if it's purely because he doesn't know how to use an archer, show him. It's not exactly a weak combat style, it shouldn't be too hard to demonstrate his PC's possibilities when run cleverly.

It could also be that the archer playstyle just doesn't suit him. Not everyone will enjoy everything, and that's fine.
If examples and advice don't work, ask him what he wants. Because, I only see talks of complaints, and I can't tell for sure why, or what he expects.

Sidenote : did he make weird choices building his character ? That's a rather unimpressive attack bonus at that level.


Magic similar to a Mirror of Opposition to make a "clone". Show him how effective he can be. Though I would make the clone a temporary ally, so the other pcs don't kill it before you can use it.

I agree, +14/9 attack for a 9th level archer seems low. That might be why when he "does use deadly aim and rapid shot he complains he never hits anything".


I mostly meant "clone" as in the exact same stats, feats, class abilities, etc. not necessarily an actual clone, but whatever works.

Just copy his character sheet, change the name, make that one of your antagonists, see what happens.


Now when I say he fully expects to win every encounter and he doesn't try to mold the story I meant that in a pretty broad sense, he doesn't expect to just win he expects to do so with ease like the badass his character is, and he doesn't just not mold the world qround him through his decisions, he hardly reacts to anything I throw at him either, or interact with the world much at all unless something approaches him first, for example his character is supposedly in love with a dryad which would be great if he had initiated a single interaction with her or made even made an effort to treat the npc as anything more than a trophy with the expectation that I was gonna shower him with plant tiddies. As his roommate I can tell you that pathfinder is but one of many topics he complains about, to the point I will no longer watch a show with him because he will complain and point out the shows "flaws", or play any type of skill based or competitive game with him that he can't win with the click of a button. I have helped him build his character, printed him out quick reference documents and spell cards so he can easy know what his abilities are and what they do and for the most part he does understand the class and enjoy playing archer classes, I've even let him reroll certain starting stats, I'm generally a very generous DM but one that challenges my players in return, but I feel like there's not much I can do to please him except give him exactly what he wants without challenge. For the most part I feel I have satiated his appetite for the time being with the new bow and reaching lvl 10 and gaining Instant enemy which I pray for the love of shelyn he friggin uses. All in all thank you all for the advice.


You have incompatible expectations for the game and it sounds like he doesn't realize this. You need to tell him explicitly what you expect from players and the game, and explain how his expectations and actions don't fit with yours.
From there you can try to come to some mutual agreement about how the game will proceed, in character and OOC.

Worst comes to worst you will have to decide whether to change the game to please him, or continue as you have so far. Then he can either suffer in silence (don't accept continual whinging once a decision has been made) or leave.


Just going to echo what others have said: it sounds like this isn't the campaign for him.

Like Mr. Charisma said, talk to this guy out of character. Set expectations for the game. Make sure he understands that Pathfinder isn't just a game about winning every fight, or at least your table isn't, and if that's a deal breaker he's free to step away.

If, however, he wants to stay, you can help him build a better character.

He's a Ranger who doesn't use spells. He doesn't interact with the world and mostly plays for the combat. So, if you keep this guy around, offer to rebuild his character for him. You can build an archery-focused Fighter, or try that Ilsurian Archer ranger archetype. One of those two ideas is simple enough to play that it sounds like he wouldn't have any trouble grokking them.

My personal suggestion would be to look at his character, rebuild it as a Fighter of equivalent point buy (but with stats better distributed to maximize his ranged damage), give him Weapon Specialization and Deadly Aim and all that, and boost his AB/damage with feats as much as possible.

If you rebuild him, he'll want good STR and DEX.

Here's what a good 9th level Fighter with, say, 20 Point Buy would look like:

Starting Stats
Racial modifiers added in parentheses)

Strength: 15, add +1 at level 4 for 16
Dexterity: 16 (18), add +1 at level 8 for 19
Constitution: 14 (12)
Intelligence: 8 (10)
Wisdom: 12
Charisma: 8

This gives you a solid archer right off the bat. Now we move on to feats and class abilities:

Level 1 - Point Blank Shot
Fighter 1 - Precise Shot
Fighter 2 - Weapon Focus (Longbow)
Level 3 - Deadly Aim
Fighter 4 - Weapon Specialization (Longbow)
Level 5 - Improved Critical (Longbow), making it a 19-20 x3 weapon
Weapon Training I - Bows (+1 attack/damage with bows)
Fighter 6 - Clustered Shots (so he won't be upset when you fight golems or something)
Level 7 - Manyshot
Fighter 8 - Weapon Focus, Greater
Level 9 - something to shore up his defensive weaknesses, like Iron Will perhaps
Weapon Training II - Advanced Weapon Training - Bow (Warrior Spirit), making him better at shooting things. I think it's a free action.

Assuming these are hits stats and that he has a Composite Longbow with +3 Strength, let's look at his attack/damage.

BAB: 9.
+1 enhancement on bow: +1
Greater Weapon Focus: +2
Weapon Training bonus: +2
Dexterity: +4

Just from the above, his AB is +18. This assumes no magical items besides a +1 attack bonus from the bow. Even a +2 DEX belt would increase his attack by 1. Point Blank Shot pushes the number up by another +1. So, with a +2 belt and being within 30 feet, his AB is now +20.

I will assume from now on that he has a belt of DEX +2.

Damage is gonna look a lot better, too. Assuming you make his composite bow have a +3 strength instead of +1, his damage is...

1d8+3(STR)+2(Weapon Spec)+2(Weapon Training)+1(enchantment), or 1d8+8 with +19 attack. Activate Deadly Aim and it goes up to to 1d8+14 with +16 attack. If he uses Rapid Shot it goes down to +14 attack, but he makes:

- two attacks at +16 AB
- one attack at +11 AB
- one attack at +6 AB

And he can boost that attack bonus if he gets a Heroism spell cast on him (duration: 10 minutes/caster level) from a friend, increasing his AB to 18/13/8.

Finally, remember that he still has bane weaponry, and he can boost his attack/damage by using Warrior Spirit (which lasts a full minute) to add magical effects to his bow. This could mean making his arrows deal 1d6 fire damage, or just adding a simple +1 Attack/Damage to each shot.

Most importantly, it's a much simpler chassis than a Ranger. It takes very little thinking to do this right. Rather than giving him spell cards, you just have to make cards for:

- Rapid Shot
- Deadly Aim
- Warrior Spirit
- Point Blank Shot

And that's really it. It should be easy for him to keep track of his bonuses and such with that.

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