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Author Topic: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games  (Read 82995 times)

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Online TheGlyphstone

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #200 on: July 19, 2011, 02:15:58 PM »
So Wikipedia is not a valid source simply because it's possible to edit it?   ::)

I don't buy that, sorry.

Wiki has almost always been accurate when I've done research on multitudes of things... and I used other sites as well.  The fact is if something on Wiki is not accurate there are -loads- of people who know what they're talking about to quickly edit it back.
No - I also use wikipedia frequently, but when a matter of opinion gets a formal definition page, it can't be used as a gospel source. That particular passage was obviously written by someone who considers optimization to be the same as powergaming/munchkining/etc....I believe the rest of the article calls them a 'Heart'.

Quote
Fordism?  *shakes head*  Ok, you're talking to someone who has never been to college.  Layman English please?

I sorta made the term up...you know the quote by Henry Ford, "you can have a Model T in any color you want, as long as you want black"? It's not a No True Scotsman/goalposts fallacy, because the goalposts weren't really marked beforehand, but I needed a name. Asking opinions as to something being beneficial/harmful then clarifying that it only counts as that thing when it is harmful.

Quote
Optimizing by it's very definition implies that extreme.  If something is optimal, one would assume it's as good as it can get.
Except the rest of Wikipedia disagrees on that point - only Mathematical optimization specifically deals with extremes. Process optimization, Product optimization, and Program optimization are all optimizing topics that deal along a non-binary scale, the sort I laid out above.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2011, 02:17:15 PM by TheGlyphstone »

Offline LunarSageTopic starter

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #201 on: July 19, 2011, 02:27:11 PM »
No clue what binary scale is, but RPG optimization -is- math based, isn't it?

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #202 on: July 19, 2011, 02:35:28 PM »
No clue what binary scale is, but RPG optimization -is- math based, isn't it?

It involves math, but it's not pure mathematics. This is something RPG communities often refer to as the split between Theoretical Optimization (TO) and Practical Optimization (PO). TO is simply milking a chararacter build for every drop it's worth, and like roads to Rome, all builds end up leading to Pun-Pun. Like pure math, it's done simply for the fun of numbers, and never intended for actual play in a game. PO is like the other optimization types I linked to...they involve math too, but actually have real factors and effects.

Quote from: Teh Wiki
Process optimization is the discipline of adjusting a process so as to optimize some specified set of parameters without violating some constraint.
Sounds like building a D&D character, if the set of parameters are "negative levels drained per spell" or "lockpicking ability", and the cosntraints are "only use Core+Completes" and "don't be an asshat to the rest of the group".

Quote from: Sir Pedia of Wiki
Product optimization is the practice of making changes or adjustments to a product to make it more desirable.
If your product is your finished character, slapping Power Attack on that Fighter instead of Skill Focus: Hide will make him more desirable for combat, even if your backstory says he was trained as an army scout.

Offline ofDelusions

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #203 on: July 19, 2011, 03:38:42 PM »
Here's another topic.

Character Creation: Optimized vs Effective.  Is there a difference?  Is one better than the other for the game in the short or long run?  Have you had any experiences where one could be compared to the other?

I'll chime in with my opinion after some others give their thoughts.  :-)

I don't see how you can even compare Optimized vs effective. To me they are adjectives that measure totally different things. Wether character is effective or not depends on if the character is a) not a burden to the party and succeeds in overcoming challenges to atleast a reasonable degree.
Optimised on the other hand measures how well the character is built mechanically. And how much power it has.

An unoptimised Shield and board figther can be effective in unoptimised group. An well optimised CW Samurai or truenamer can be ineffective in group of batman wizards and druids.

Me, my level of optimisation depends on my group. In roups of newbies I usually play either buffers or controllers that make their characters more effective. Though when playing with my cousins I have to go all-in to not be uneffective myself. (Thank the old ones for Tomes of awesome for making creating semi-optimised characters fast >.>)

Offline Black Howling

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Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #204 on: July 19, 2011, 08:32:34 PM »
I'm amused here by what I suspect is unintentional irony, because actual mechanical Flaws are generally viewed as powergaming, even by practiced optimizers.
I'm unfamiliar with making the character less powerful to be considered power-gaming. Though as I said, I have rarely seen an actually 'optimized' character. I have seen plenty that think they have 'optimized' it, but only a few that actually did. Most of the ones I seen were complete mary sues.

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #205 on: July 19, 2011, 08:58:15 PM »
I'm unfamiliar with making the character less powerful to be considered power-gaming. Though as I said, I have rarely seen an actually 'optimized' character. I have seen plenty that think they have 'optimized' it, but only a few that actually did. Most of the ones I seen were complete mary sues.
When you give your Wizard -2 on the melee attacks he'll never make or -1 to his already miserable AC, or make your greataxe, melee-only Barbarian -2 on ranged attacks from the bow he doesn't own, yeah, it's powergaming.

Isn't Mary Sue-dom a personality/storytelling problem, though, rather than a build problem? Unless you build Pun-Pun, it's impossible to make a character that's actually good/perfect at everything, which is the hallmark of any Sue to begin with.

Offline Black Howling

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Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #206 on: July 19, 2011, 09:07:28 PM »
When you give your Wizard -2 on the melee attacks he'll never make or -1 to his already miserable AC, or make your greataxe, melee-only Barbarian -2 on ranged attacks from the bow he doesn't own, yeah, it's powergaming.

Isn't Mary Sue-dom a personality/storytelling problem, though, rather than a build problem? Unless you build Pun-Pun, it's impossible to make a character that's actually good/perfect at everything, which is the hallmark of any Sue to begin with.
Well first of all I don't use variant character methods that often. They are pretty much a walking problem in my opinion. As for your words, first off you have to remember that I don't always play D&D. Even in D&D games(my new preferred is pathfinder)I've seen someone make a character that is seemingly good at everything. Also, Mary Sue is indeed a storytelling issue. Typically the reason the Optimized characters come out this way is that they are so hard to challenge in nearly any situation, so they come off as being just 'perfect'. Hard not to let that rub off onto roleplay.

This isn't me saying that powerful characters lead to worse roleplaying as I don't really see the Mary Sue complex to be bad roleplaying, but the optimized characters I have seen have not been liked do to their attitudes and how fake they seem.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2011, 09:09:55 PM by Black Howling »

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #207 on: July 19, 2011, 09:10:31 PM »
True enough - in my case, I'm almost exclusively D&D, where such Flaws are typically only the realm of the min-maxer looking to get free feats for no cost. I understand in many other games like Burning Wheel and FATE, you're only rewarded for flaws if they cause you problems, or even have to pay character points for weaknesses because of the storytelling opportunities they offer.

Offline Black Howling

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Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #208 on: July 19, 2011, 09:24:49 PM »
True enough - in my case, I'm almost exclusively D&D, where such Flaws are typically only the realm of the min-maxer looking to get free feats for no cost. I understand in many other games like Burning Wheel and FATE, you're only rewarded for flaws if they cause you problems, or even have to pay character points for weaknesses because of the storytelling opportunities they offer.
Oh I remember when I use to play with the flaw hungry people. Yes, the free feat thing is such a pain in the ass. I think that's why we stopped letting people use it at my gaming table. As for Fate and and the like, yes the flaws tend to be much different. On WoD for example, you only get Extra experience if said flaw hampers you in play. With GURPS, you get bonus character experience for flaws. They are always detrimental, and it is said that if they players are choosing a flaw that would be negated somehow to disallow it. The 'disadvantages' as they call them, are just things people will likely end up playing anyhow.

I am not really as worried about how powerful characters are though. As long as they are effective and pulling their own weight, then it's fine. Though when someone has tweaked up their stuff so much that I start hating how pompous their character seems, or if they are start coming off like superman; that's when things become a problem. Granted, it's only ever happened a few times. It's not an easy thing to do on any system.

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #209 on: July 19, 2011, 09:26:56 PM »
That's generally a problem with the person, I've found myself - certain people just have to be self-centered attention whores, whatever system they're playing - and the louder/more obnoxious they are, the worse they tend to be at actual character making.

Offline Black Howling

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Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #210 on: July 19, 2011, 09:28:12 PM »
That's generally a problem with the person, I've found myself - certain people just have to be self-centered attention whores, whatever system they're playing - and the louder/more obnoxious they are, the worse they tend to be at actual character making.
You have points there as well.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #211 on: July 19, 2011, 09:33:17 PM »
I try not to step on other's toes. So to speak.

Offline Kunoichi

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #212 on: July 19, 2011, 10:21:05 PM »
I rather like using flaws, myself, but I generally at least try to pick ones that fit the character they're for. ^^; ...Which usually means using ones from Dragon Magazine, rather than Unearthed Arcana, since there were a wide variety of flaws published across a few different issues.

Admittedly, I don't really get to use flaws that often, though...

Offline Black Howling

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Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #213 on: July 19, 2011, 10:28:03 PM »
I rather like using flaws, myself, but I generally at least try to pick ones that fit the character they're for. ^^; ...Which usually means using ones from Dragon Magazine, rather than Unearthed Arcana, since there were a wide variety of flaws published across a few different issues.

Admittedly, I don't really get to use flaws that often, though...
I actually thought they would bring better roleplay to the table myself, but then I mainly seen people trying to pick the ones that would effect them the least just to get free feats. The fact that most of them are mechanical to combat doesn't help either. Given I have seen some people use them 'appropriately', but there is always gonna be that group that ruins it for most everyone. The aforementioned people I talked about.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #214 on: July 20, 2011, 02:46:48 AM »
BH, I admit you're using some different terms from what I've heard.
Generally, optimisation means "you make the character as competent as he's meant to be, within his chosen area of speciality, with the least resources".
Munchkining is, as I use it, when you make the same without regards for character personality and end up playing a highly optimised set of numbers. Usually, these characters also tend to be one-trick ponies. Although one-trick ponies are known as "cannon fodder" in my games >:).

Optimisation is good. When you make a character that's supposed to pass guards unnoticed, it's a bad thing if due to lack of system mastery your sneaky guy is regularly noticed by not too alert guards. Your fencer is supposed to be a threat in street fighting with light weapons. And your social character should have the contacts and resources to back up his deals.
Now, different levels of optimisation might be a problem. I tend to solve that by running all the characters through the scrutiny of the nearest optimiser. They often hand you the character sheet back and tell you "you get the same stats, and you can improve here, here or here on top of that" ;D!
That way, everybody's happy, and on a level playing field.

Munchkining is a problem, though, even in games that don't make game balance a priority. The problem is it gets you shallow characters.

Seems like a change in the definition makes the word much less pejorative, doesn't it?


And, yes, some people are attention whores, no matter what game they are playing. You can easily find them in freeform games, too :P. My solution is to avoid playing with them, pure and simple.

BTW, guys, I'm pretty sure the word earlier was meant to be "forgism", as in, "part of RPG theory developed on the Forge site". In short, that means a really "indie" theory and game design, focusing on narrative first and roleplaying second, at least, these are the usual connotations.
And then there are the "índie" games that don't fit this description, so the term is a bit hard to define ;).

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #215 on: July 20, 2011, 06:38:42 AM »
No, it was 'Fordism' - I've heard of the Forge, but I've never been there...as explained, I was referring to the automaker Henry Ford.

Offline Black Howling

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Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #216 on: July 20, 2011, 07:16:13 AM »
BH, I admit you're using some different terms from what I've heard.
Hehe, what can I say? I guess I change the definitions of unofficial words to fit my own views and be unique. :P

Truth be told I never really looked them up, it's just the views I got from those I played with. It's sounds like my definition of effective is what most people think of as optimizing, which I thought was simply putting it just the most peaked of builds. I haven't seen many people do what I think of as optimizing, but the couple I have seen do it didn't do it on purpose. We were just playing, and this was how they turned out when trying something knew. It comes from too many twelve hour play sessions too many times a week.

Which I am actually glad I don't do anymore. ::)

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #217 on: July 20, 2011, 02:41:36 PM »
No, it was 'Fordism' - I've heard of the Forge, but I've never been there...as explained, I was referring to the automaker Henry Ford.
Sorry, must have missed the explanation ;).


Hehe, what can I say? I guess I change the definitions of unofficial words to fit my own views and be unique. :P

Truth be told I never really looked them up, it's just the views I got from those I played with. It's sounds like my definition of effective is what most people think of as optimizing, which I thought was simply putting it just the most peaked of builds. I haven't seen many people do what I think of as optimizing, but the couple I have seen do it didn't do it on purpose. We were just playing, and this was how they turned out when trying something knew. It comes from too many twelve hour play sessions too many times a week.

Which I am actually glad I don't do anymore. ::)
As long as you don't change the meaning of official words, we can define the rest.

And yeah, it seems we're using words differently.
To me, effective is not a quality of a build, it's whether you leveraged the abilities of a build.
It's not the character that's optimised to throw fire magic in Ars Magica, it's the guy with Water magic that invites him to fight on a ship, breaks the hull and suggests him he can drown or he can surrender. That's a session I've heard about on Internet.
Effective are the two heroic mortals in Exalted that take on the army of a Dragon-Blooded led by the DB and win. That one happened in a friend's game. Think "firedust traps".
Effective are the heroic mortals that were accused wrongly by a corrupt Dynast and subject to a Wyld Hunt. And they destroyed the Wyld Hunt before receiving an Exaltation. That one happened in my game, and I can guarantee I didn't make it easy for them. I never do, at least not intentionally.
Their NPC opponents were optimised, but that didn't help them. They were just outsmarted.
Effective and optimised is, however, the best option ;).

Offline ofDelusions

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #218 on: July 20, 2011, 04:05:34 PM »
Heroic mortals? take down whole wyld hunt? o.O
You do realise you have to tell us that story?

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #219 on: July 20, 2011, 06:55:21 PM »
Well, "only" a handful of DBs, actually >:)! They suspected them to be Yozi cultists or something similar, maybe servants of Anathema.
After a mad chase where poison, calligraphy, and cutting deals with outwordly entities were used to get an advantage, the Anathema part became a self-executing prophecy.
A tale, explaining how lethal calligraphy can get, and why DBs shouldn't make enemies of heroic mortals!
System notes: I used Reign, with the 25 Exalted skills, and the Exalted used a system of "on the fly" effects. Which means, they had 5 more skills, based off their castes, which were rolled with Essence, and possibly some Difficulty. If they made it, they unleashed a Charm, supplementing one of their actions, and that was usually it for mortals. ORE is as deadly as Exalted is on the mortal level. Individual Charms were reflected via Martial Paths and Esotheric disciplines applying to the Aspect skills.
Setting notes: They started in the Hundred Kingdoms, only three year after the Empress has disappeared. The local DBs from Lookshy and the Empire were vying for influence. The Immaculate religion didn't have a strong following, but it was a third player. And the local nobility didn't want to lose their independence, so four forces were clashing. Not surprising, given that there were First Age ruins. Actually, the whole city was built over a 5-dot Manse, but nobody found out. The Solar who built it way back when, was already paranoid enough to make it seem like it wasn't a manse >:)!
So, the two heroic mortal PCs, a thaumaturge and a sneaky scout, sided with the local nobility. Their plan to screw the Immaculates by sending their master off to get killed backfired spectacularly, when the master returned humbly with the head of the monster they had sent him up against. Actually, just good rolls, but that's a reason to love system games. Sometimes chance is all you need to spoil a plan.
Slowly, though, the two managed to score a few points over the Empire (guess the two Houses, it's Fire-aspected and Wood-aspected) and the Immaculates. In doing so, though, they looked more potent than they had a right to be.
And the Sidereals had just sent a warning that there are problems to be expected in the region. Damn their astrology ;).
In short, they were inconvenient and the Immaculates were suspicious, so the Cynis envoy persuaded them to call a Wyld Hunt on their heads, just to make sure. These monks weren't really the forgiving sort.
Good part was, they were warned by a mole they had planted in the Cynis household. The DBs not wanting to antagonize the king, they decided to demand an audience and to ask for permission to "test" them for Anathema worship. Of course, the tests were to be rigged, as the PCs suspected.
In an answer, the prepared two exquisite calligraphies, mocking openly or not so openly the virtues, manliness and Houses of the DBs. They were planted on a scroll, left over a couch with pillows. The PCs were nowhere to be seen.
The Fire-aspect didn't like that, and struck the pillow and scroll with his palm to destroy the thing. He intended to use his Essence to ignite it.
That's when they noticed the poisoned needles. The bastard scout was writing the text while the alchemist was brewing a potion.
Before the Cynis manages to reach him, it was too late.
That, of course, proved they're Anathema. So a Wood-aspected Dynast and two Immaculates followed them. It turned out they were travelling by barge on the river, so they decided to travel lightly.
They found where the two had gone back on land, down the river, and followed him to a crossroad inn. The innkeeper claimed they had gone already, but offered them food and refreshments. Since it was noon, they accepted.
Soon after, they began to choke on the food. The PCs had sneaked in the kitchen and poisoned the rice, since it was all the monks were eating.
The Cynis managed to save the Master and the student, but the student got shot with an arrow through the window. Sneak attacks are always nice. Aimed sneak attacks are instant death, if you can pull them off.
One to go, the Wood-aspect went to the roof to use his own artefact bow. However, he saw the shooter hide in a wooden building.
And down in the main room, the weakened master was fighting an unknown assailant with a trident. Seemed like a God-blooded martial artist. The impression was reinforced by him introducing himself and asking for a duel. NOW. And "no" wasn't an option.
So the guy, who had heard the challenge, jumped down, avoiding the main hall which was a battlefield by now, and went to secure the building. Hey, he lacked integrity, temperance and compassion, not guts or conviction ;)!
So, he opens the door carefully and notices... another door in the back. Realising that the mortal has just ran through the door while he was prudent, he runs towards it.
Of course, a net falls from the ceiling over his head and tangles him. The scout with a bow had an immobilised target then, if only for a couple seconds. Good night, Cynis, I told you in the letter your whole house was the epitome of spoiled and stupid ;D!
And the Immaculate? Why, that was a draw. They were going to kill each other, when a fast arrow shot him in the lower back moments before delivering his own blow. It slowed the Earth Dragon master's strike enough to allow the opponent's shot to land first. His palm twitched in his path, missing the opponent's head by a breadth's width, and smashed the central pillar of the building to pieces instead.
The central blade of a trident was stuck in his face. And the players had promised to perform an unknown task for the stranger with the trident, who had approached them.
Good for him, because he had just acquired two Exalted allies. I had arbitrarily decided that wiping a Wyld Hunt and surviving to tell the tale was worth an Exaltation. They still had no idea who it was, though!

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #220 on: July 20, 2011, 07:24:25 PM »
Sounds like a good plan paying off.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #221 on: July 20, 2011, 07:29:21 PM »
Indeed it was, but that's effective, right >:)?

Actually, they improvised most of it, but it wa still effective. And most importantly, it was fun on both sides of the screen ;D!
« Last Edit: July 20, 2011, 07:32:26 PM by Thufir Hawat »

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #222 on: July 20, 2011, 07:43:11 PM »
I had a character (this was back in 2e) who was a fighter who I had gotten permission to buy some stuff out of a 'crunch book'. Snap-line traps (small crossbows that would trigger and snap in the direction of the trip line) as well as some custom bolts and such as well as  a trio of trained hounds.

We were a low level group, and it was fun. I was the fighter who, aside from his 'gadgets' and dogs, was fairly generic. No special choice for weapons and such. My partner was a half elf cleric/mage who went for cantrips and some odd choices in spells. (One night he 'unravelled' a waitress' top at a strategic point for a distraction or the color cantrip to change the color of our horses after we were framed for murder).


Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #223 on: July 20, 2011, 08:05:02 PM »
Indeed it was, but that's effective, right >:)?

Actually, they improvised most of it, but it was still effective. And most importantly, it was fun on both sides of the screen ;D!

Offline LunarSageTopic starter

Re: D&D (in every incarnation), Pathfinder and other System Games
« Reply #224 on: July 22, 2011, 09:51:41 AM »
Here's a Pathfinder specific topic.

Wizards and Sorcerers.  Is one superior to the other?  Have you ever role-played one as being all arrogantly superior to the others?  I've played Wizards who were convinced that Sorcerers were second class magic users.

"Of course Wizards are better!  Not only do we have a far wider variety of spells we can cast, but honestly... we actually had to work for our magic.  We had to research and devote our entire lives to becoming the arcane gods that we are today.  Not like Sorcerers... no, they just get their magic without any work.  It just comes to them.  They're like the grasshopper and we're the ant, only for some reason their laziness still nets them an arcane reward.  How fair is that?"