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Author Topic: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games  (Read 42274 times)

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Offline ofDelusions

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #100 on: July 10, 2011, 11:23:34 AM »
Well, in Exalted, a starting solar can remove misogyny from pretty much any society with a charm.

Offline meikle

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #101 on: July 10, 2011, 11:26:48 AM »
Again: I didn't say there aren't any cultures that show prejudices.

Exalted, as a setting and a game, doesn't support the idea that there is any meaningful difference between people.  The people in the setting might, but the game is neutral about it, and the setting includes all kinds of groups that do all kinds of things.  Women are just as capable and competent as men; often more capable (because of who they are as people, gen.  Many of the world-changing Exalted personalities are gay or bisexual, and so on.

'There are some cultures that are patriarchal' does not change this.  There are some that are matriarchal, and some that live like robots, too.  The important point is that Exalted will never make it a suboptimal decision to play a woman, or a gay man, or a transgendered individual, or someone with a particular skin color.  Mortal societies and their grievances are not a concern for the Exalted.

Exalted sets up characters to overcome (or enforce, I suppose, as they see fit) these kinds of disparities: they become the saviors or the controllers, but they are never the victims.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 11:29:29 AM by meikle »

Offline Black Howling

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Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #102 on: July 10, 2011, 11:29:05 AM »
Well, in Exalted, a starting solar can remove misogyny from pretty much any society with a charm.
Yes, but it takes a long time to remove it from an entire terrestrial direction. Then multiply that difficulty and time by one hundred when doing such displays your glory as an anthema, and the armies of the dragon blood come marching on a wyld hunt. :-)

I actually like the setting. But Creation, like most of white wolf's settings, tend toward extremes. This includes social extremes. It can get stifling at times.
Again: I didn't say there aren't any cultures that show prejudices.

Exalted, as a setting and a game, doesn't support the idea that there is any meaningful difference between people.  The people in the setting might, but the game is neutral about it, and the setting includes all kinds of groups that do all kinds of things.  Women are just as capable and competent as men; often more capable.  Many of the world-changing Exalted personalities are gay or bisexual, and so on.

"There are some cultures that are patriarchal" does not change this.  There are some that are matriarchal, and some that live like robots, too.  The important point is that Exalted will never make it a suboptimal decision to play a woman, or a gay man, or a transgendered individual, or someone with a particular skin color.  Mortal societies and their grievances are not a concern for the Exalted.
I never said it did, but how does that make it different from any other setting? I don't know any game that makes it mechanical.

Offline meikle

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #103 on: July 10, 2011, 11:34:23 AM »
I never said it did, but how does that make it different from any other setting? I don't know any game that makes it mechanical.

My first post was in response to people discussing mechanically representing physical deviations between men and women ...  (Well, it was in response to the discussion that spawned from that.)

Exalted is different because regardless of what society says, an Exalt can do whatever the hell they want.  A Solar walks into your homophobic city and starts making out with his boyfriend in town square: what are you going to do about it?  Nothing, unless you want to get your ass kicked but good.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 11:35:50 AM by meikle »

Offline Black Howling

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Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #104 on: July 10, 2011, 11:42:07 AM »
So finally we get to your point; that demigods as players make the game better? :P I'm just joking with you now. Though you did have me confused since the topic, even from what you had mentioned, had shifted from mechanics to setting detail.

Offline ofDelusions

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #105 on: July 10, 2011, 11:46:02 AM »
Demigods? are you implying that the exalted are below mere gods?  ???

Offline meikle

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #106 on: July 10, 2011, 11:47:20 AM »
So finally we get to your point; that demigods as players make the game better? :P I'm just joking with you now.

Joking or not, I hope you take my point: a character in a position to be a victim of social dysfunction and a character in a position to rise above that dysfunction make for very different gaming experiences.

"You're a woman, so when the boy knocks you down the stairs, you just have to accept it or risk getting yourself into deeper trouble" is a very different experience from "When the local boy tries to trip you down the stairs, you explode his brain and set the city on fire in a triumphant display of torrential power and nobody in their right mind will try to stop you."

Offline Black Howling

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Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #107 on: July 10, 2011, 11:51:04 AM »
Joking or not, I hope you take my point: a character in a position to be a victim of social dysfunction and a character in a position to rise above that dysfunction make for very different gaming experiences.

"You're a woman, so when the boy knocks you down the stairs, you just have to accept it or risk getting yourself into deeper trouble" is a very different experience from "When the local boy tries to trip you down the stairs, you explode his brain and set the city on fire in a triumphant display of torrential power and nobody in their right mind will try to stop you."
I find the point somewhat off actually. For example, PC's by nature are magically equipped extraordinary individuals. Yous still have the same issues in Creation for that matter. The Solar can do what he wants, so long as the wyld hunt doesn't run him out. No different then a female PC on DnD that decides instead of bowing before the magistrates she kills them all. Makes a point of dodging the guards, and then to try and change things she sneaks into the nobles manor and guts him before making a point to hang his body outside and tell people that the gender situation will change.

Either way, armies and powerful people come after them; and while they don't die(unless they are stupid)they still have to deal with the consequences of their actions.

(Yes the above situation actually happened in one of my games)

Offline meikle

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #108 on: July 10, 2011, 11:56:53 AM »
I guess you can come up with mechanically unfeasible behaviors for any game?

There's a pretty big difference between playing a character who has to seriously worry about going to prison for, say, having the audacity to wear pants instead of a skirt, and a character who has to worry about being hunted down for being a threat to the entire world.

Thinking otherwise is just focused ignorance.

Edit: this conversation is further proof of how misogyny in gaming is alienating.  "This kind of thing makes me uncomfortable with a game."  "Well you're wrong to be uncomfortable!"

Uh, okay.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 11:58:02 AM by meikle »

Offline Black Howling

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Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #109 on: July 10, 2011, 12:00:40 PM »
I guess you can come up with mechanically unfeasible behaviors for any game?

There's a pretty big difference between playing a character who has to seriously worry about going to prison for, say, having the audacity to wear pants instead of a skirt, and a character who has to worry about being hunted down for being a threat to the entire world.

Thinking otherwise is just focused ignorance.
I've never seen a setting or game that has this extreme behavior. On settings that were even close, no PC ever went to jail because they were too powerful to be taken there. Exalted may make it easier to have a powerful character, but I've never seen it happen to even starting level PCs on D&D. It's not ignorance, it's experience. If the character had to worry about such and focus to gain power in order not to be scared of rejecting the social norm, then there was a problem with the 'heroic' character to begin with.

EDIT: I'm not telling you it;s wrong to be uncomfortable, I'm just saying that the point of you being uncomfortable is somewhat strange to me. This is coming from a person who often played males in Dark Elf society.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 12:01:58 PM by Black Howling »

Offline meikle

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #110 on: July 10, 2011, 12:06:39 PM »
Quote
If the character had to worry about such and focus to gain power in order not to be scared of rejecting the social norm, then there was a problem with the 'heroic' character to begin with.

I'm finding your approach to arguing this to be incredibly disingenuous.

Here is my thesis: Games that assume a position where one class or subclass of people, particularly one marginalized in real life, are inferior -- mechanically or otherwise -- are alienating to players who fall under that subclass of people, and this is especially true of games where the expectation is that characters of these sorts should suffer because of their membership within this class or subclass.

If you are going to argue with me, you can attack that directly.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 12:07:43 PM by meikle »

Offline Black Howling

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Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #111 on: July 10, 2011, 12:14:15 PM »
I'm finding your approach to arguing this to be incredibly disingenuous.

Here is my thesis: Games that assume a position where one class or subclass of people, particularly one marginalized in real life, are inferior -- socially or physically -- are alienating to players who fall under that subclass of people, and this is especially true of games where the expectation is that characters of these sorts should suffer because of their membership within this class or subclass.

If you are going to argue with me, you can attack that directly.
You are taking this too seriously. I'm not arguing with you; I am disagreeing with you. There is a difference. My confusion is that You have switched topic three times since the beginning. First the setting of Exalted made this better, then it was the characters, and now this? If you are getting upset over it, you should probably take a break. I'm not making things personal here.

Though as for the thought that anyone assumes players have to suffer? I don't think there is someone that would. In such settings, that subclass is always devoid from other issues that attack the primary class of people. And is never so extreme that they actually come out on bottom so to speak. It's a game, and I've never seen a PC adventurer or hero actually suffer anymore then someone who simply refused to accept being drafted as unpaid mercenaries when the country goes to war with another. There are social implications for every action; and I don't think any setting or game is devoid of them.

That is the only point I made. That these things exist regardless.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 12:15:23 PM by Black Howling »

Offline meikle

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #112 on: July 10, 2011, 12:29:05 PM »
First the setting of Exalted made this better, then it was the characters, and now this?

The Exalted setting was an example.  I clarified that I used the Exalted setting as an example because it is an example of a setting where characters are not constrained by social mores.  This fits perfectly into the thesis outlined above.

Quote
Though as for the thought that anyone assumes players have to suffer? I don't think there is someone that would. In such settings, that subclass is always devoid from other issues that attack the primary class of people. And is never so extreme that they actually come out on bottom so to speak. It's a game, and I've never seen a PC adventurer or hero actually suffer anymore then someone who simply refused to accept being drafted as unpaid mercenaries when the country goes to war with another. There are social implications for every action; and I don't think any setting or game is devoid of them.

'Most settings aren't that bad' does not engage the issue of "games where this happens are bad."  Of course an individual group can change how it chooses to portray their setting according to what they find interesting to engage with, and so on -- but there are still settings where 'being a woman' and 'being inferior' go hand in hand by default.  Most games with historical settings, for example, do this to some degree or another (and look, I don't play historical games.)
« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 12:30:55 PM by meikle »

Offline Black Howling

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Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #113 on: July 10, 2011, 12:47:21 PM »
The Exalted setting was an example.  I clarified that I used the Exalted setting as an example because it is an example of a setting where characters are not constrained by social mores.  This fits perfectly into the thesis outlined above.
And I clarified that it was a setting where characters were constrained by social mores. Every action in the exalted game has an equal and opposing reaction. It's worse about it then the Forgotten Relams setting in fact. So again, I do not believe it does unless you put that the players being Exalted make it so. And then again, the exalted even have social issues to worry about. As I clarified, and as is clarified in the story tellers section of the main book. Changing it up is fine, but that is ignoring the setting; not the setting being friendly as a whole toward it. You could do that with any setting.
'Most settings aren't that bad' does not engage the issue of "games where this happens are bad."  Of course an individual group can change how it chooses to portray their setting according to what they find interesting to engage with, and so on -- but there are still settings where 'being a woman' and 'being inferior' go hand in hand by default.  Most games with historical settings, for example, do this to some degree or another (and look, I don't play historical games.)
As for this not engaging the issue, it has. There are historical takes on great women that challenged and succeeded at changing the social norm. As players, these are the characters we play; and in any setting that is not primarily historical it is not an issue. Thus as you said, to not play historical games solves your problem. However, any game has some form of this; ignoring it is fine, and encouraged for fun; but no one setting is devoid of it. Which has been the point I have stayed on the whole time.

Offline LunarSageTopic starter

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #114 on: July 10, 2011, 01:46:08 PM »
Ok, a few things.

First of all, I want to point out that discrimination and prejudice regarding women does not necessarily equate misogyny.  A misogynist hates women and discrimination against women is often not done out of hatred.  Women get pregnant and give birth.  They are often seen as people that need protecting a la the "damsel in distress" trope.  Think about it... more often than not men get more upset if a woman is threatened than if a man is.  The man can take care of himself, after all, or so the thinking goes.  This, combined with the fact that women are on average physically weaker in strength than men and that women have been the traditional caregivers in pretty much every society on Earth while the men have been the providers since we all lived in caves has given rise to the "men are stronger, women are weaker" thought that's always dominated our society.  Can women be strong and dominant?  Most certainly, but these are pretty new ideas and society as a whole is a bit resistant to the idea of reversing gender roles.  It doesn't mean society hates women.  Some may, but I really do believe that in the Western world they are the minority.  Many men discriminate against women out of a misguided sense of protecting them. 

Second, to say that gender disparity alienates women is not necessarily true either.  Some women enjoy playing a victim... a damsel in distress that needs a big strong man to save her.  Or playing a female that must be RPed to overcome the obstacle of discrimination in whatever setting they're in.  I happen to be married to such a woman. 

As always, I mean nothing personal by anything I say... these are my opinions.  Take them for what they are.  :-)
« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 01:47:22 PM by LunarSage »

Offline Black Howling

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Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #115 on: July 10, 2011, 02:54:55 PM »
Ok, a few things.

First of all, I want to point out that discrimination and prejudice regarding women does not necessarily equate misogyny.  A misogynist hates women and discrimination against women is often not done out of hatred.  Women get pregnant and give birth.  They are often seen as people that need protecting a la the "damsel in distress" trope.  Think about it... more often than not men get more upset if a woman is threatened than if a man is.  The man can take care of himself, after all, or so the thinking goes.  This, combined with the fact that women are on average physically weaker in strength than men and that women have been the traditional caregivers in pretty much every society on Earth while the men have been the providers since we all lived in caves has given rise to the "men are stronger, women are weaker" thought that's always dominated our society.  Can women be strong and dominant?  Most certainly, but these are pretty new ideas and society as a whole is a bit resistant to the idea of reversing gender roles.  It doesn't mean society hates women.  Some may, but I really do believe that in the Western world they are the minority.  Many men discriminate against women out of a misguided sense of protecting them. 

Second, to say that gender disparity alienates women is not necessarily true either.  Some women enjoy playing a victim... a damsel in distress that needs a big strong man to save her.  Or playing a female that must be RPed to overcome the obstacle of discrimination in whatever setting they're in.  I happen to be married to such a woman. 

As always, I mean nothing personal by anything I say... these are my opinions.  Take them for what they are.  :-)
I agree with a majority of what you said. I do not really see a big disparity in the modern world for that matter. Sure some things are not as 'equal' as they should be. Though women pay lower taxes and do not sign up for selective services because of this. I myself am a dominate male, and love playing in Matriarchal societies because of the challenge it is to rise in them. It's always good fun. I also like playing females in male dominated societies, for roughly the same reason. It's not that big of a detriment, especially when you use the underestimation to your advantage.

I think people should stick to what they have fun with. My point was only that I think every setting has some feels of prejudice in them because conflict brings with it good storytelling. I don't want to read about how the woman was imprisoned or made a slave for standing up for her beliefs, I wanna read about how she managed to challenge the established societal norm and overcome it. That's what we are doing here; creating an interest tale of daring do. Not liking the angst is fine, but it is an opinion not a universal belief. Just as this is my opinion.

Offline MasterMischief

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #116 on: July 11, 2011, 09:47:40 PM »
Most of the systems I play do not differentiate between genders.  It might be worth noting mechanical biases vs. genre biases.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #117 on: July 12, 2011, 12:07:36 AM »
The Exalted setting was an example.  I clarified that I used the Exalted setting as an example because it is an example of a setting where characters are not constrained by social mores.  This fits perfectly into the thesis outlined above.
Even in many historical games, there are people that reject the social mores, and often they even get away with it. A prime example would be the xia in Ancient China, one of the most stratified societies I can think of!
Of course, some GMs make it impossible to "get out of the system", but that's not really historical, and it's down to the GM either way!

Offline Black Howling

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Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #118 on: July 12, 2011, 12:30:46 AM »
Even in many historical games, there are people that reject the social mores, and often they even get away with it. A prime example would be the xia in Ancient China, one of the most stratified societies I can think of!
Of course, some GMs make it impossible to "get out of the system", but that's not really historical, and it's down to the GM either way!
Exactly my point. Every setting has them, challenging and getting away with it is the feat. And it's achievable in ANY setting. If the GM makes it impossible, then won't he soon find himself without players?

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #119 on: July 12, 2011, 07:07:33 AM »
Exactly my point. Every setting has them, challenging and getting away with it is the feat. And it's achievable in ANY setting. If the GM makes it impossible, then won't he soon find himself without players?
Granted, but I must also agree with meikle's point to a degree. If she sees she has to join a particular group, and get herself outside of society, to simply do the same things my "privileged" character is doing?
Yeah, I can see how resentment would build ;).

But then, you do join a particular group in Exalted, and put yourself outside society, it's simply the group is the one of the Celestial Exalted! Trying to make up with your SO of the same sex in public in a society that disapproves of such relationships, is going to be challenging for mortals, much less so for famed Heroic mortals, and would likely carry only "hidden" social penalties for the God-blooded or Dragon-blooded.

So, in a way, I feel you've both got a point, but I think her point isn't so much about the setting, as it is about some GMs having a limited vision of historical societies.

Offline kenvinlee89

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #120 on: July 12, 2011, 09:15:54 PM »
I thought I'd create a thread to continue discussion from the Metagaming thread that we derailed with our talk regarding system games.

Actually I think a thread to talk shop with fellow RPG Geeks could be fun!  :-)
I also think so

Offline LunarSageTopic starter

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #121 on: July 12, 2011, 09:31:29 PM »
Another topic then...

You know what (personally) annoys me?  When a player decides (in a combat based game like D&D or Pathfinder) that they're going to intentionally play the weakest character that they can play just to try and prove a point that they're a better RPer and role-play is more important than being combat effective.  I can see this kind of thing in more story driven games like WoD and such, but in some games you need to be able to pull your weight in the party.  I've seen players refuse to spend all their skill points because they "didn't fit their concept", so they intentionally gimp themselves to the point that they can't even help socially out of combat.  Often these characters are also burdened with phobias and other mental or physical impairments that make it a -real- stretch as to why the party would allow that character to adventure with them.  Then there are the players who have their characters refuse any wealth or magic items, saying it's true to their character.  The games are often designed with acquiring magic items being necessary to be able to take on appropriate levels of monsters and other encounters.  If you don't accept magic items, again you're gimping yourself and turning into a drag on the party.  The healer has to work that much harder to keep you alive, and that can mean that he's not healing others or casting his own spells to take down the monster faster.  RP is one thing, but in games like pathfinder or D&D you need to keep up in terms of stats or that RP means next to nothing, just like stats with no RP means nothing as well.

Offline Kunoichi

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #122 on: July 12, 2011, 09:34:27 PM »
I also think so

So, talking shop...

Anyone got any particular builds that they favor for any given class?  I haven't actually had the chance to try this one Sorcerer build out, yet, but I have been thinking about taking Sorcerer into Mage of the Arcane Order, and then going into Archmage after that.  It'll probably be a bit difficult, meeting all the feat requirements, but with Mage of the Arcane Order providing a couple of free Metamagic feats, it should be doable.

Meanwhile, a character I actually built for a game that fell through was a Half-Drow Sorcerer who had levels in Fiend-Blooded, and who was, hopefully, going to take a level in Ruathar and then go into Abjurant Champion.  It would have been a pretty fun example of someone learning to turn 'evil' powers to a good purpose, and eventually finding redemption and acceptance...

Edit:
Another topic then...

You know what (personally) annoys me?  When a player decides (in a combat based game like D&D or Pathfinder) that they're going to intentionally play the weakest character that they can play just to try and prove a point that they're a better RPer and role-play is more important than being combat effective.

I've never actually met anyone like that, myself, but I can definitely see how it would be annoying.

Quote
I can see this kind of thing in more story driven games like WoD and such, but in some games you need to be able to pull your weight in the party.  I've seen players refuse to spend all their skill points because they "didn't fit their concept", so they intentionally gimp themselves to the point that they can't even help socially out of combat.  Often these characters are also burdened with phobias and other mental or physical impairments that make it a -real- stretch as to why the party would allow that character to adventure with them.

Oo; Wow.  That really is ridiculous.

Quote
Then there are the players who have their characters refuse any wealth or magic items, saying it's true to their character.  The games are often designed with acquiring magic items being necessary to be able to take on appropriate levels of monsters and other encounters.  If you don't accept magic items, again you're gimping yourself and turning into a drag on the party.  The healer has to work that much harder to keep you alive, and that can mean that he's not healing others or casting his own spells to take down the monster faster.  RP is one thing, but in games like pathfinder or D&D you need to keep up in terms of stats or that RP means next to nothing, just like stats with no RP means nothing as well.

So they don't even take Vow of Poverty? >>; Yeah, that's definitely ridiculous.  I can only imagine how annoying it must be to actually play alongside someone like that.

Especially considering all the ways in which one can create a character that's both mechanically powerful and has great flavor to go with their mechanics...
« Last Edit: July 12, 2011, 10:10:56 PM by Kunoichi »

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #123 on: July 13, 2011, 02:05:45 AM »
Another topic then...

You know what (personally) annoys me?  When a player decides (in a combat based game like D&D or Pathfinder) that they're going to intentionally play the weakest character that they can play just to try and prove a point that they're a better RPer and role-play is more important than being combat effective.  I can see this kind of thing in more story driven games like WoD and such, but in some games you need to be able to pull your weight in the party.  I've seen players refuse to spend all their skill points because they "didn't fit their concept", so they intentionally gimp themselves to the point that they can't even help socially out of combat.  Often these characters are also burdened with phobias and other mental or physical impairments that make it a -real- stretch as to why the party would allow that character to adventure with them.  Then there are the players who have their characters refuse any wealth or magic items, saying it's true to their character.  The games are often designed with acquiring magic items being necessary to be able to take on appropriate levels of monsters and other encounters.  If you don't accept magic items, again you're gimping yourself and turning into a drag on the party.  The healer has to work that much harder to keep you alive, and that can mean that he's not healing others or casting his own spells to take down the monster faster.  RP is one thing, but in games like pathfinder or D&D you need to keep up in terms of stats or that RP means next to nothing, just like stats with no RP means nothing as well.
I totally agree with that!
I mean, if you don't want to play an adventurer in a game about adventurers, you shouldn't get to play in D&D or Pathfinder. I don't know why some groups allow these people to attend, since their net contribution to the game is somewhere in the negative numbers. Personally, if I say I'm running a game about Arthurian knights, whoever wants to play a ninja can find another game!

So yeah, I agree this approach doesn't fit this kind of systems, and that's why I would skip any D&D or Pathfinder game in favour of another system, like Eclipse Phase, Unknown Armies or the like >:). But at least, I wouldn't detract from the fun of the rest of the party :D!

Offline MasterMischief

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #124 on: July 13, 2011, 07:21:01 AM »
I've never actually met anyone like that, myself, but I can definitely see how it would be annoying.

I have been fortunate that I have never encounted players like this.