I would like to see more martial classes with non-STR stats to damage


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Hmm, those number fluctuate a lot from level to level and different levels has may have more or less an advantage.

At early levels a crit by a level+2 or level+3 enemy, specially when large, will kill you more likely than not. Its only Monks and Champion who happen to have a full plate that even stand a chance of not dying to those crits. Meanwhile, most PC will have a high chance of crit failing vs those people, making the encounter very likely to end in a TPK.

Non-str PC have it even worse as they typically require a lot of set up to even start. Making them very likely to either not have enough actions, or to trigger a reaction. Getting or missing those +1 at early levels is a matter of live and death.

Grand Archive

They don't really fluctuate that much though. 10% at the very most. This is speaking of at level enemies. Once you get into the level+ range, the difference can fluctuate more at the multiples of 5.

The point being, the design is that an at level enemy is a challenge for 4 at level PCs.


Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:

They don't really fluctuate that much though. 10% at the very most. This is speaking of at level enemies. Once you get into the level+ range, the difference can fluctuate more at the multiples of 5.

The point being, the design is that an at level enemy is a challenge for 4 at level PCs.

Yes, and against those threats as well as the level+ type threats you really do want that extra point on each save and that extra bit of AC. Anything to avoid those extra percentage points to get crit because crits end fights.


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Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:


The point being, the design is that an at level enemy is a challenge for 4 at level PCs.

because of how tight the math is the design is that an at level enemy is a challenge for 4 optimized at level PCs. having one or more non-optimized characters compounds the difficulty.


CrimsonKnight wrote:
Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:


The point being, the design is that an at level enemy is a challenge for 4 at level PCs.

because of how tight the math is the design is that an at level enemy is a challenge for 4 optimized at level PCs. having one or more non-optimized characters compounds the difficulty.

Not to mention that a single at-level enemy is considered trivial. You need to be able to fight 3 or 4 of them at once and win. Which probably isn't happening if you dump your saves and get blown out in one round.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

an equal number of at level enemies is a severe encounter. The game only expects a 50/50 chance of the party surviving such an encounter.

Grand Archive

Verdyn wrote:
Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:

They don't really fluctuate that much though. 10% at the very most. This is speaking of at level enemies. Once you get into the level+ range, the difference can fluctuate more at the multiples of 5.

The point being, the design is that an at level enemy is a challenge for 4 at level PCs.

Yes, and against those threats as well as the level+ type threats you really do want that extra point on each save and that extra bit of AC. Anything to avoid those extra percentage points to get crit because crits end fights.

"want"


Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:
"want"

Yes, and you want that in more cases than you want an extra point of most non-primary stat. There's a reason why the default way to assign things is to boost your primary stat + save stats. You lose out on too much in terms of saves if you don't.

Grand Archive

Verdyn wrote:
Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:
"want"
Yes, and you want that in more cases than you want an extra point of most non-primary stat. There's a reason why the default way to assign things is to boost your primary stat + save stats. You lose out on too much in terms of saves if you don't.

Oh, I get that. I really do. But I am merely pointing out the difference between want and need.


Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:
Oh, I get that. I really do. But I am merely pointing out the difference between want and need.

By that logic all stats are wants and none are needs. Classes might want certain things they do to be effective, but as it's a game with zero stakes nobody ever needs anything.

A character with straight 8s in all stats at level 1, while impossible under standard stat generation, is perfectly playable.

Grand Archive

Verdyn wrote:
Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:
Oh, I get that. I really do. But I am merely pointing out the difference between want and need.

By that logic all stats are wants and none are needs. Classes might want certain things they do to be effective, but as it's a game with zero stakes nobody ever needs anything.

A character with straight 8s in all stats at level 1, while impossible under standard stat generation, is perfectly playable.

Fair, but I am positing that the only 'need' is your attack stat. All others are wants.


Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:
Fair, but I am positing that the only 'need' is your attack stat. All others are wants.

How does that track? Is attacking more important than surviving? Is a +5% to hit provably better than a +5% chance to avoid a hit or make a save?


Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:
Verdyn wrote:
Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:
"want"
Yes, and you want that in more cases than you want an extra point of most non-primary stat. There's a reason why the default way to assign things is to boost your primary stat + save stats. You lose out on too much in terms of saves if you don't.
Oh, I get that. I really do. But I am merely pointing out the difference between want and need.

Do you want your character to live? Then you need those attributes. There really is no difference here, no matter how hard you try to emphasize that there is one.

The game and the underlying math it presents literally assumes you have those level of attributes to be viable in combat.

Grand Archive

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Verdyn wrote:
Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:
Fair, but I am positing that the only 'need' is your attack stat. All others are wants.
How does that track? Is attacking more important than surviving? Is a +5% to hit provably better than a +5% chance to avoid a hit or make a save?

It tracks in that your attack stat for every class (excluding Alchemist) allows the character to do what their class is intended to do (attack, land spells, etc..). Meanwhile, you still have 6 other ability boosts at character creation to spread how you want (like defensive stats if that is important to you). By 5th level you have had 9 ability boosts (under the assumption that you are spending all possible on the attack stat). By 10th you've had 12, 15th 15, and 20th 18.

Also meanwhile, the challenge system is built to consider that you have a defense that has an ability mod of zero.

Again the point being that the perception that the save stats 'need' anything more than a secondary or tertiary consideration is an optimization perception. Which I will reiterate is not a wrong perception, merely a skewed one.


Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:
It tracks in that your attack stat for every class (excluding Alchemist) allows the character to do what their class is intended to do (attack, land spells, etc..).

I wasn't aware that Wisdom was needed for Cleric to buff and heal their team, so that disproves your point right there. The Fighter can be built with pure Dexterity in mind and thus can dump their "primary" stat and still work. Do Monks even have a primary stat?

This assertion also doesn't prove that offense > defense.

Grand Archive

Verdyn wrote:
Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:
It tracks in that your attack stat for every class (excluding Alchemist) allows the character to do what their class is intended to do (attack, land spells, etc..).

I wasn't aware that Wisdom was needed for Cleric to buff and heal their team, so that disproves your point right there. The Fighter can be built with pure Dexterity in mind and thus can dump their "primary" stat and still work. Do Monks even have a primary stat?

This assertion also doesn't prove that offense > defense.

If a cleric does not attack, then it does not need an attack stat.

If a Fighter is built with dex, then isn't dex their attack stat?

...whatever stat the monk uses to attack...?

I never claimed that offense is better than defense.


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Unicore wrote:
an equal number of at level enemies is a severe encounter. The game only expects a 50/50 chance of the party surviving such an encounter.

I don't understand comments like this. So long as severe and extreme encounters exist, the party needs to be built to win them. A player tanking their saves reduces already unreliable chances of success pretty badly. When the game openly outlines the upper end of difficulty you don't really have an excuse for not being able to handle it.

Grand Archive

gesalt wrote:
Unicore wrote:
an equal number of at level enemies is a severe encounter. The game only expects a 50/50 chance of the party surviving such an encounter.
I don't understand comments like this. So long as severe and extreme encounters exist, the party needs to be built to win them. A player tanking their saves reduces already unreliable chances of success pretty badly. When the game openly outlines the upper end of difficulty you don't really have an excuse for not being able to handle it.

Out of curiosity, do you GM?


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PF2 is fundamentally built around the idea that a GM can appropriately challenge any party at any level. Likewise, so long as a GM stays within the guidelines there's not going to be an unwinnable fight no matter the party.

An equal level, same number of opponents fight is roughly equivalent to (and includes potentially) "the party fights evil duplicates of itself" which is absolutely a fight they should have 50/50 odds in.


Fighting yourself is a nice benchmark for what the 50/50 should be. But its not a good benchmark for what general combat should be, much less boss fights.

In any case, the game still assumes that you maxed out your stats when it come to NPCs that are not your exact clone. Its the biggest reason why single target offensive casters need to max out their stat or otherwise they are literally useless. Same thing happens with martials, it just less noticeable since they get item bonus and can attack multiple no problem.


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It is very rarely the case that severe fights themselves become unwinnable. It is more often the case that parties stumble into them at less than full resources, while the enemy is at 100%, and then how the encounter is written to run, as far as how tactically the monsters fight.

Any 50/50 encounter fought at 50% of party resources becomes a 75% chance of TPK.

The issue is most often that players significantly underestimate how valuable the few limited resources that a party has, and so will convince themselves that having the martials at full HP is having the party at full strength, when the casters being out of high level spell slots is actually a pretty big problem for the whole party.

As far a the need to optimize your attack attribute AND all of your saves, the value of every plus 1 is being negatively exaggerated to a certain extent on these boards, to the point that it seems like you probably need to start with at least 4 18s to even have a hope or a prayer of surviving in the game. This is patently untrue, and even having the highest attributes you can have in your saves and attack stat are not certain protection against your character dying or having an off night.

Both of the characters that I have played the longest have started off with 16s in their attack stat and been exceptional contributors to their party. The only characters that really even benefit that much from having an 18 starting in their attack stat are characters that are going to be using that stat to functionally make 2 or more attacks every round, which are often characters stuck in very narrow action routine. The Magus is one that pretty much needs an 18 weapon attack for example because most of what they do is built around having to hit with that first attack.

Fighters get a lot out of that 18 STR, but that is because they don't really need anything else other than accuracy and damage to be very, very good, and even then, if you have other things you want to do in combat often, Starting with a 16 is only ever even something that effects the game for about 11 levels of the game, and only feels particularly noticeable in the first 5. But for very nearly half the game, the choice to start with an 18 STR instead of a 16 has 0 effect on anything, and can often mean ending the game with a secondary attack stat that is 2 boosts higher than the character that started with an 18.

And that is where I think the reputation of "Must have max accuracy" has become so prevalent. Starting with an 18 in an attack stat is most noticeable at level 1, and starting with a 16 in an attack stat is most punishing at level 1 as well. But if your primary attack stat is not also significantly tied to damage (like any class other than thief rogue that uses dex to attack), the benefits of starting with an 18 are often less than starting with two 16s, one in your attack stat and one in a skill stat that you will use almost every round of combat.

All of this boils down to what kind of character you want to play and what you want your character to be doing. If it is one specific combat routine, over and over again, as often as possible, then optimizing accuracy can pay off, especially when it is tied to damage as well. But there are many classes and builds of classes where that is not really an optimal way to play your character and the other things that characters can contribute through skills, and picking up feats that require certain secondary or tertiary stats or skills that use those stats, are often worth having a slightly lower attack stat or a slightly tanked save.

A party that learns how to use their actions to support each other can often give each other bonuses or debuff the enemy in ways that are much more effective than every character just maximizing their own personal attack accuracy and focusing on their own DPR. And as always, any question like "how important is it that I optimize my character for combat" is best directed at your GM and not a message board where you have players, GMs, and even non-players that all have their own specific agendas and purposes for coming to these message boards.


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Also, the "evil duplicates fight" in practice has slightly more favorable odds than 50/50, since:

- The players are absolutely more motivated to "win the fight" than the GM is. A GM may play the challenge the party, but wants the story to continue instead of end.

- The players are presumably more familiar with their own characters capabilities and weaknesses than the GM is, and n>1 people have more tactical processing power than 1 person does.

It's just that these things aren't quantifiable in any meaningful sense.


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Unicore wrote:
even having the highest attributes you can have in your saves and attack stat are not certain protection against your character dying or having an off night.

I mean yeah, that's part of the problem. A lot of monsters are designed around having their saves challenge the most specialized character in the party, which means everyone else is struggling to succeed and getting crit with increasingly dangerous frequency, which is why players often feel this passive pressure to focus on improving their saves, because constantly failing and crit failing checks constantly is both dangerous and feels bad.

In any case, the point was never that it was impossible to play a character with a less than optimal statline, just that the game puts these pressures on players to prioritize certain stats, which can make it frustrating to build certain characters that happen to be MAD from their class features and can feel punishing to players who want to invest in less combat-ready stats. A character who focuses on Dex, Con and, Wis is going to feel a lot sturdier and safer than one who wants Str, Int and, Cha... and frankly this doesn't feel like a positive balancing point either.

Quote:
Starting with a 16 is only ever even something that effects the game for about 11 levels of the game, and only feels particularly noticeable in the first 5. But for very nearly half the game, the choice to start with an 18 STR instead of a 16 has 0 effect on anything, and can often mean ending the game with a secondary attack stat that is 2 boosts higher than the character that started with an 18.

This is also one of the problems with the game. Strength's scaling is kind of broken, which makes it weirdly disproportionately important the lower your level is.

For someone like our aforementioned Swashbuckler friend, investing in Strength is a significant contributor to their overall damage at low levels, moderately helpful at mid levels and almost negligible at high levels. It ends up being pretty awkward, imo, and creates a mechanical incentive to have radically different ability score layouts based purely on what level you're playing at.


I don't know if strength is totally negligible at high levels. Sure my swashbuckler for Ruby Phoenix was hitting for 4d8 + 6 + 6 + StrMod + PropertyRunes by the end but you're still going to end up in situations where the mob is left standing with like 4 HP where "If I only had maxed out strength...) is going to be a consideration.

Plus, in the "Start at 10" AP, I figured that I wanted to invest in strength a little bit early on just so my late level stat increases were more useful (I wanted 20 Cha, but 21 is useless). I could have done Int instead, but it didn't really fit the character (based largely on the "Beggar So" character in Sammo Hung's 1979's timeless Kung Fu comedy "Magnificent Butcher").


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I don't know if strength is totally negligible at high levels. Sure my swashbuckler for Ruby Phoenix was hitting for 4d8 + 6 + 6 + StrMod + PropertyRunes by the end but you're still going to end up in situations where the mob is left standing with like 4 HP where "If I only had maxed out strength...) is going to be a consideration

To me STR is always nice to have for a character.

I wouldn't probably go past 18 with a swashbuckler, but the difference between +0 and +4 seems worth the investment especially during the first half of the game ( lvl 1-10 )

Also, I think something which may make the difference is what kind of property runes the character is going to get. I really love the Grievous rune, though it doesn't increase the DPR ( apart from some weapons like pick and dagger, on critical hits ), but we can easily assume a pp approach to only get extra elemental damage.


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I still stand by the point I've been making for two years that making the game hard by default and asking people who don't know what they're doing to adjust down if necessary is completely backwards logic, but, let's ignore that for a little bit. Because it's not just about difficulty.

Like other people said before, monster numbers are balanced around challenging the absolute bestest person at that thing. This means anyone who leaves that thing very low will fail, and most importantly, critically fail, a lot. And critically failing saving throws usually means being essentially out of the fight. I'd make a wild guess that most people don't find "not playing the game" particularly fun. Adjusting difficulty down doesn't change this unless you turn it down so much your boss fights are level-1 creatures and everything is a cakewalk. That's just the consequence of how +10/-10 crits, ability/spell design and monster math design interact.

Grand Archive

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dmerceless wrote:

I still stand by the point I've been making for two years that making the game hard by default and asking people who don't know what they're doing to adjust down if necessary is completely backwards logic, but, let's ignore that for a little bit. Because it's not just about difficulty.

Like other people said before, monster numbers are balanced around challenging the absolute bestest person at that thing. This means anyone who leaves that thing very low will fail, and most importantly, critically fail, a lot. And critically failing saving throws usually means being essentially out of the fight. I'd make a wild guess that most people don't find "not playing the game" particularly fun. Adjusting difficulty down doesn't change this unless you turn it down so much your boss fights are level-1 creatures and everything is a cakewalk. That's just the consequence of how +10/-10 crits, ability/spell design and monster math design interact.

"...it's not just about difficulty." (and then proceeds to talk about difficulty)

This is the whole thing though. The game is intended to be the way you are describing. It is also designed to be easily toned down if the players want less difficulty. How is this a bad thing?


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Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:

"...it's not just about difficulty." (and then proceeds to talk about difficulty)

This is the whole thing though. The game is intended to be the way you are describing. It is also designed to be easily toned down if the players want less difficulty. How is this a bad thing?

If they design the game to be at x difficulty every class should be designed to function at x difficulty. If some classes need to function at x-1 difficulty because Paizo botched their design process, that will lead to these sorts of threads cropping up.


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I mean, the premise of Gloomhaven is basically "I want to play a game like Pathfinder, but nobody wants to be the GM" isn't it? So it's specifically built to be a system that runs itself. So it's a weird comparison for a roleplaying game that assumes there's an actual human at the wheel capable of improvising, making judgment calls, etc.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean, the premise of Gloomhaven is basically "I want to play a game like Pathfinder, but nobody wants to be the GM" isn't it? So it's specifically built to be a system that runs itself. So it's a weird comparison for a roleplaying game that assumes there's an actual human at the wheel capable of improvising, making judgment calls, etc.

Kind of but it can also function as a deep tactical single-player game or, as my group uses it, a tactical RPG where the combat is the focus but people still play in character.

Grand Archive

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Verdyn wrote:
Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:

"...it's not just about difficulty." (and then proceeds to talk about difficulty)

This is the whole thing though. The game is intended to be the way you are describing. It is also designed to be easily toned down if the players want less difficulty. How is this a bad thing?

If they design the game to be at x difficulty every class should be designed to function at x difficulty. If some classes need to function at x-1 difficulty because Paizo botched their design process, that will lead to these sorts of threads cropping up.

I'm trying to say that it is designed to function at x difficulty. It is possible that you may not like x difficulty. The beauty of the system is that shifting it to x-1, x-2, x+1, or whatever difficulty you want is sooo easy. That is the design of the system.

Many other systems I've played end up being unable to equally challenge multiple characters. Either it is too easy for one or too hard for another.


Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:

I'm trying to say that it is designed to function at x difficulty. It is possible that you may not like x difficulty. The beauty of the system is that shifting it to x-1, x-2, x+1, or whatever difficulty you want is sooo easy. That is the design of the system.

Many other systems I've played end up being unable to equally challenge multiple characters. Either it is too easy for one or too hard for another.

So a party of 4 bomber alchemists won't need any adjustments to tack the same challenges as a party with a cleric, fighter, rouge, and wizard? That's news to me.


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In Gloomhaven, the default setting is that your characters cannot die. No one GMs and all monsters have very specific scripts that they run and if you are overwhelmed, you go back and try again.

You can play PF2 that way, and having a new party come in after a TPK to find out what happened and continue the story on can work just fine if the players are into making new characters with motivations connected to what is happening currently, but I think it is also common for TPKs to feel a little too overwhelming and disheartening. But true TPKs in PF2 are pretty rare and usually driven by parties deciding to stand or fall as one and never retreat unless the situation for one of the characters is clearly hopeless. If you are going to play with that attitude, then you can certainly do yourself a favor and be more comfortable with Standing or Falling as one meaning that the whole party just might fall as one.

GMs have a challenging task in keeping everyone invested in the story and characters, without getting so invested in the individual characters that they each see themselves as the protagonist of the story and thus are the one character whom everyone else in the party should makes sure survives.

But all of this is stuff to resolve talking to your table about your expectations and even when it blows up and people get angry, you stop, and talk about what is making people frustrated and then push on from there.

As far as tailoring the game to new GMs, part of the problem is that new GMs make mistakes and misread rules often, in any game. Maybe it would be a good idea to encourage newer GMs to focus more on playing NPCs and monsters to take the actions that create the most interesting and compelling story instead of trying to focus on murdering the PCs like it is their job, and that they don't really need to worry about fights being too easy because the dice will eventually intercede anyway and make for some tough encounters.

I feel like most of the severe encounters in APs are explicitly written this way anyway, with many monsters perfectly happy to drag off one PC for dinner or negotiate with stubborn opposition for a treasure reward, or to have non-mechanical flaws in their personality or decision making capabilities that keep them from being the murder machines that so many players are afraid of.

PF2 is a role playing game and not a tactical simulator. Playing it as a tactical simulator would be weird because the mechanics of the game only work within their own system and are not applicable to any situations where you would want to run tactical simulations.


Unicore wrote:
PF2 is a role playing game and not a tactical simulator. Playing it as a tactical simulator would be weird because the mechanics of the game only work within their own system and are not applicable to any situations where you would want to run tactical simulations.

Strange that 80% of its rules are focused on combat and that it innovates very little when it comes to writing crunch that promotes interesting exploration and roleplaying. It seems very much like PF2 is a tactical game with some token rules to move your players from one fight to the next with a couple of die rolls in between.


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My tables regularly have entire sessions without a fight, but we never go a session with out rolling the dice and consulting rules for determining outcomes. Combats tend to take longer to resolve than social encounters, environmental encounters and exploration activities, but downtime (an entire system in PF2 with rules and character options built around) can often take as long as combat when paired with role playing.

Take a look at at the strength of thousands AP and you will see that the game was very clearly designed to embrace all phases of a good roll playing game. Some players are just not looking for more than combat rules. The game can accommodate that, but it is not built for it.


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Rather than a tactical game, I'd consider it a boardgame if I were to compare it with 3.5 or 5e.

And while it leaves enough room for either combats and roleplay, I think it's far from being a "tactical game" ( and far beyond being a simulator ).

It comes down to party whether to look for combats or social parts, though I admit both AoA and EC are combat oriented rather than "social" oriented.
Can't say for others AP ( apart from plaguestone ) since I didn't try them.


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Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:

"...it's not just about difficulty." (and then proceeds to talk about difficulty)

This is the whole thing though. The game is intended to be the way you are describing. It is also designed to be easily toned down if the players want less difficulty. How is this a bad thing?

The amount of difficulty is one thing, that was the first point. The second is not about how difficult something is but how that difficulty is presented. You can have a Moderate encounter in which you critically fail a save against a paralysis effect because your Fortitude is terrible and your team still wins quite easily in the end. The difficulty was not high, but that doesn't change the fact that spending 3-4 rounds doing nothing feels terrible and having like a 25% chance for that to happen every time you're targeted by a similar effect is something that can be felt as mandatory to avoid at all costs.


If there is a range of stats that you can legally get. Encounters should be balanced around the average of each of those stats, not the maximum.

Balancing around the average makes it so the person who is dumping 1 stat is not dunpstered. While also making it so specialists can shine by getting that slightly higher chance to succeed. Paizo balances moderate encounters on the maximum stats. Making level+2 and level+3 being incredibly more difficult.

All of that assuming no +/-10 crit system. With a +/-10 crit system the numbers need to be even tighter as every +1 above you means more chance to crit. That high leads to a higher chance to one shot at low levels. Which is not fun for most people.

Also the game should not expect the GM to know how to balance the game. Nor should it expect players to have to convince the GM to make it less difficult. Both things this board actively tell people to do.

It's like the most of the board wants Rise of the Runelords to be the default difficulty. One AP that was known for having multiple TPK by default.

Grand Archive

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I originally thought that some of you didn't understand how the game was designed. But it seems that I was wrong. It is not that you misunderstand the game design, it is just that you don't like it.

At this point I don't know what to say. It is what it is.


Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:

I originally thought that some of you didn't understand how the game was designed. But it seems that I was wrong. It is not that you misunderstand the game design, it is just that you don't like it.

At this point I don't know what to say. It is what it is.

Wait you though we didn't know about how its designed?

That's actually kind of surprising given how in depth the discussions are. Something that is hard to do with no knowledge.

Grand Archive

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Verdyn wrote:
Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:

I originally thought that some of you didn't understand how the game was designed. But it seems that I was wrong. It is not that you misunderstand the game design, it is just that you don't like it.

At this point I don't know what to say. It is what it is.

Yes, one should never discuss ways to fix issues in the world. Just bury your head in the sand and accept that what is must ever be.

"Fix issues" implies that there is something wrong or something is not working properly. It is different when something is just not liked. In that situation, the onus for adaption changes from the thing not liked to the one not liking.

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