What happens to the "suboptimal?"


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Henry

Autoexreginated
D&D 5 does a really good job of reducing “trap” options, and someone really has to go out of their way to make a character that actually negatively contributes to a group. (9 INT human Wizard with a dagger, and prestidigitation, mending, and light for cantrips, anyone? Even then, with point buy, he probably can’t help but have a 16 to STR or DEX!)
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
D&D 5 does a really good job of reducing “trap” options, and someone really has to go out of their way to make a character that actually negatively contributes to a group. (9 INT human Wizard with a dagger, and prestidigitation, mending, and light for cantrips, anyone? Even then, with point buy, he probably can’t help but have a 16 to STR or DEX!)

[MENTION=996]Tony Vargas[/MENTION] can say it's faint praise, but I see this as quite the important feature. It definitely wasn't true in 3.X/PF!
 

Warpiglet

Adventurer
D&D 5 does a really good job of reducing “trap” options, and someone really has to go out of their way to make a character that actually negatively contributes to a group. (9 INT human Wizard with a dagger, and prestidigitation, mending, and light for cantrips, anyone? Even then, with point buy, he probably can’t help but have a 16 to STR or DEX!)

The implication of this is more freedom to "play what you want." I think it is important (for me) to hear what others think are "poor" choices but then to evaluate them myself.

There are a large number of cases in which I say "so what" or "doing it anyway." But there is always a fear that I will really invest in a character and then be sad several levels later. In part due to responses to this thread, I am letting go more of this trepidation.

One thing I know for sure--if I only focus on mechanics (improving chances for success) I get bored quickly.

I really wonder if I need to alter my character generating experience even more to improve my immersion. Of late, I think of some feature, like imagining it and then start to add ideas until a character emerges. I would like to move to generation of an archetype and personality and then decide how to mechanically express it.

Or I am taking the game too seriously!
 

Tony Vargas

Legend
[MENTION=996]Tony Vargas[/MENTION] can say it's faint praise, but I see this as quite the important feature. It definitely wasn't true in 3.X/PF!

Comparing relative balance issues to 3.5 is going to be faint praise, it's like "come to Death Valley, it's more habitable than Antarctica!"

And, it's hardly necessary: when it comes to fewer trap options, broken options, dissociated options, chaff options, or whatever other sorts of player options you dislike, 5e is likely going to look good compared to any prior ed except, perhaps, Basic.
 

Gradine

The Elephant in the Room (she/her)
For most. Look at all the threads here on optimizing PC, different combos, whether to roll or use an array, etc.


Shoot I remember Traveller when during character creation your PC could die and you had to start over.

The prevailing theory is that the online charop community is vastly over-representative of gamers as a whole, and the online community in specific.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Comparing relative balance issues to 3.5 is going to be faint praise, it's like "come to Death Valley, it's more habitable than Antarctica!"

And, it's hardly necessary: when it comes to fewer trap options, broken options, dissociated options, chaff options, or whatever other sorts of player options you dislike, 5e is likely going to look good compared to any prior ed except, perhaps, Basic.
I don't like that analogy because you're essentially declaring that while it's better (and that is not hard to do), that it's still pretty bad.

As you said it yourself, this has been a problem for a number of editions and 5e didn't just improve it marginally, but significantly so. We may not quite be in Tuscany yet, but we are at least in eastern Ontario.
 

Tony Vargas

Legend
I don't like that analogy because you're essentially declaring that while it's better (and that is not hard to do), that it's still pretty bad.
That's the point. Better than 3.5 on a balance issue doesn't say enough.

Does 5e have fewer trap options than 3.5? Sure! Unavoidably so, since 5e has fewer player-facing options in total than 3.5 had trap options.

While true, that doesn't really tell us much about 5e.

As you said it yourself, this has been a problem for a number of editions and 5e didn't just improve it marginally, but significantly so.
I don't think that's quite fair to say, either. 5e has a very different emphasis than 3.x/PF, 4e/E, or I suppose, even later 2e w/'Option' books. If you were to judge 5e by the number, depth, & granularity of player-facing options, it would come out far 'behind' all those prior editions, too, for the same reason.
5e is a DM-centric edition, so it avoids issues that plagued more player-centric eds, it also has different strengths (the DM-facing options in 5e dwarf those of 3.5, for instance, because, well, there are some - rule 0 being a farce in the face of the community's RaW-obsession).
That's different from being an improvement, technically, but if you're running it that technicality hardly matters...

If one of your players finds a combination of options that's mechanically, objectively, starkly inferior to the others being played at the table, it doesn't matter too much - you can still put that PC in the limelight a fair proportion of the time and everyone can have their moments of fun in the campaign. You can tailor challenges, drop magic items, and narrate success/failure in such a way that no one feels like they're useless, even if any numeric analysis would strongly suggest they were. ;)
 
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