log in or register to remove this ad

 

Pathfinder 1E When the min-maxer tries to build your character for you.

Fauchard1520

Explorer
There’s nothing worse than unsolicited personal advice. There you are minding your own business, just trying to be the best you that you can be, when some jackhole decides to chime in with their naughty word hot take.

“Yeah dude, you really ought to go half-elf with that build.”

“Who doesn’t take power attack?”

“I don’t want to tell you your business, but the rapier is the only real option.”

Funny how such opinion-wielders never want to tell you your business, then proceed to tell you your business. Maybe I’ve got storyline reasons for not going half-elf. Maybe I’m challenging myself to build sans power attack. Maybe my short sword was the gladius gifted to me by my Roman-esque mentor before she died in the arena. Rapier doesn’t quite fit into the picture, you know?

Now let-me-be-clear: the key word in all of the above is ‘unsolicited.’ If you’ve gone to the forums or your buddies and asked for an opinion, there’s no reason to get your dander all up in a bother because of honest feedback. The only correct response there is, “Thanks for taking the time to help a gamer out.” If you want to have an ongoing dialogue, maybe you explain your thought process a little and hash out the options from there. But here’s what’s truly obnoxious: Sitting down at a table with an oddball of a PC and immediately hearing, “Why would you ever make a halfling fighter? That’s an awful choice! Human would have been much better.”

So here's my question for the board: Have any of you guys dealt with this mess? What was your build, and what advice was forcibly plungered down your esophagus? Is there a best way to politely discourage this nonsense beyond a light stabbing?

(Comic for illustrative purposes.)
 

log in or register to remove this ad


payn

Hero
I havent experienced this in awhile, but I recall a super fun forum discussion once. The OP said he wanted to make a swashbuckler character that used a rapier. The thread devolved into making a monk who uses a piercing strike with their empty hand lol.

There are myriad of pitfalls in the 3E/PF1 system so its hard to sit back and not offer advice when somebody is making a mistake. I usually will ask beforehand if I may make a suggestion or ask if they would like advice. Oddly enough, I recently had to get very surely with a player because they felt asking, "may I make a suggestion" beforehand was excusing their constant commenting on other's chargen. So, you should also respect their answer if it is no too.
 


pming

Legend
Hiya!
So here's my question for the board: Have any of you guys dealt with this mess? What was your build, and what advice was forcibly plungered down your esophagus? Is there a best way to politely discourage this nonsense beyond a light stabbing?
Never in any version of D&D/AD&D...actually, never in any game with anyone with ONE exception: "The Smith Family". Playing Rolemaster for the first time. No, I will not go into details because me and my best friend still have PTSD from that whole year+ experience (and, again, no, I am NOT KIDDING about the PTSD thing!)

When making our very first RM characters we were constantly told "Oh, you can choose...[list of 14 classes]", then we'd look them over, pick one and get "Oh. You should play a [insert one or two classes]". Next "Here are the races..[insert 10 races]"...then... "Oh. You should take [this race] in stead]". This continued for EVERY single choice. Ok, maybe not every, but easily 99/100. "Oh, don't take Dagger...take Jamiya from this supplement"... "Take the backpack from this supplement because it's the same but weighs less"... "Don't go with blue eyes, make them brown...our GM will have everyone attack you because a notorious villain in our game has blue eyes" (and, again, not kidding on that level of craziness!).

Anyhoo... I think some people who are really into "optimizing" and love the rules minutia are the ones who can't help themselves but constantly offer "suggestions". Some of these people actually get angry...raised voice, furrowed brow, etc...when they see someone taking Fighter and choosing to fight with a Quarterstaff and wear leather armour. In their mind, someone making a character can't POSSIBLY have fun with it and they are worried that such a "sucky character" is going to get their character killed...the character they spent over 17 hours reading, searching, and 'building'.

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
I have found that generally, replying with "And will YOU be playing this character?" dissuades the unsolicited rebuild-advice-giver. I can learn through my own experience ... and from my own mistakes.

This is coming from somebody who will take a new player 'under my wing' and help them figure out what their character is supposed to do and how to do it - as a friend (I hope) and mentor, not by running their character while they watch.
 

This is one of the reasons a hate the term character build … it just implies that you are mechanically building a character based only on numbers and bonuses.

I much prefer saying I am creating my character … there’s more of a sense that I am using creative ideas, a sense of fun when I get to play the character, interesting backstory, etc. as well as considering the math and best options.

I’ve always felt creating a D&D character should be as much a form of creative expression (or art) as science.
 

PhiloPharynx

Explorer
I do find that a game generally goes smoother if most of the characters are close to the same level of optimization. If there's too much of a difference, then it gets hard to balance encounters. I think people should find some happy medium that everybody can enjoy.
 

payn

Hero
I do find that a game generally goes smoother if most of the characters are close to the same level of optimization. If there's too much of a difference, then it gets hard to balance encounters. I think people should find some happy medium that everybody can enjoy.
Question then is are you willing to come down to their level or are you going to pester them until they climb up to yours? Some folks want to learn the system by trying it themselves and a lot of folks try to prevent that.
 

aco175

Legend
I mostly find that people in general want to help, and this may mean even if unsolicited. People are social and in a setting where you are doing the same thing it makes people have something to talk about. I like to play golf and might see new players doing something that I think I can help with by giving a tip. I used to try and offer, but more sit back now and wait until asked. Golf is fickle like that, but I see lots of activities or games where this may happen.

Worse is when advise comes in game with someone telling you you should cure wounds instead of healing word, or whatever the Pathfinder equivalent is, because of blah, blah, blah...
 

PhiloPharynx

Explorer
Question then is are you willing to come down to their level or are you going to pester them until they climb up to yours? Some folks want to learn the system by trying it themselves and a lot of folks try to prevent that.
As I said, I prefer a happy medium. I tend to have a lot of rules expertise, and I generally offer different options that fit with the other character's background and flavor. I don't present it as "you'd better take X or you're a dumbass" I tend to say, "X offers you Y, and it connects to your time with the Monks of Zygoth. Or R offers you S and fits your style of shielding others."

I'm not trying to prevent them from learning. I try and explain what some of the options are.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
I also loathe when it's your turn, and other players give unsolicited advice, "You really need to do this right now, otherwise your wasting your turn." Just let me make my own decisions gosh darnit!
I've had to shut down players about that one - particularly when they do it to kids.
 

I have a horrible feeling I am that min-maxer. :.-(

In a game GM, one of players recently re-designed their fighter barbarian. (Back when the campaign started half the players were brand new so I'd drawn up most of the PCs. Some levels later people now want to do their own thing.)

The player wanted to take the feat that lets you ignore penalties with improvised weapons. Before I knew what my mouth was doing I said "What? Really? That's not exactly a great feat." Or words to that effect. I immediately apologised and backed off. The player wasn't even slightly bothered. But I'm hoping to be better in the future.
 

Azuresun

Adventurer
I havent experienced this in awhile, but I recall a super fun forum discussion once. The OP said he wanted to make a swashbuckler character that used a rapier. The thread devolved into making a monk who uses a piercing strike with their empty hand lol.

I remember building a Swashbuckler and going for archetypal acrobatic-human-with-rapier, then getting told that optimally, I should have gone for a dwarf with a pick because [mathbabble mathbabble mathbabble]. Which is what everyone thinks of when they hear the word "swashbuckler", right?
 

Liane the Wayfarer

Frumious Flumph
"This build isn't really optimized."
"Yes it is."
"What? You made a goliath wizard, that's not optimized for a bunch of reasons, like-"
"No, no, you misunderstand me. This is a totally optimized character -- for roleplay."
"... But the numbers-"
"I'm not playing with numbers, I'm playing with people. You should try it."

EDIT: I should mention, that was a guy at an Adventurers League event, who moved to a different table. I'm pretty sure my table had more laughs, and oddly enough my table also had the only wizard left standing at that event after the particularly tough end-boss fight. Stone's Endurance, baby!
 


niklinna

Looking for group
I have a horrible feeling I am that min-maxer. :.-(

In a game GM, one of players recently re-designed their fighter barbarian. (Back when the campaign started half the players were brand new so I'd drawn up most of the PCs. Some levels later people now want to do their own thing.)

The player wanted to take the feat that lets you ignore penalties with improvised weapons. Before I knew what my mouth was doing I said "What? Really? That's not exactly a great feat." Or words to that effect. I immediately apologised and backed off. The player wasn't even slightly bothered. But I'm hoping to be better in the future.
No need to feel horrible: There's nothing wrong with being a min-maxer—for yourself, of course. And, you caught yourself before pushing something on another person; I wouldn't be bothered if told a choice wasn't great, and might be curious about why.

Then again, I am an optimizer (which sometimes involves min-maxing). ;-)
 

No need to feel horrible: There's nothing wrong with being a min-maxer—for yourself, of course. And, you caught yourself before pushing something on another person; I wouldn't be bothered if told a choice wasn't great, and might be curious about why.

Then again, I am an optimizer (which sometimes involves min-maxing). ;-)

I'm a shocking min-maxer for my own characters. I just can't go past certain options. "A fighter without Power Attack? Getowddahere." And that's fine. I just gotta remember that, even if I'm GMing, it's not my job to do that for others. I mean, I am worried that when they run into my optimised NPCs they'll get smacked down. But so far this hasn't happened so I'm probably just worrying for nothing.
 

niklinna

Looking for group
I'm a shocking min-maxer for my own characters. I just can't go past certain options. "A fighter without Power Attack? Getowddahere." And that's fine. I just gotta remember that, even if I'm GMing, it's not my job to do that for others. I mean, I am worried that when they run into my optimised NPCs they'll get smacked down. But so far this hasn't happened so I'm probably just worrying for nothing.
Part of the problem (for those to whom it's a problem), is that certain games put an emphasis on "winning" and "being effective" rather than "encouraging/enabling interesting things to happen". To pick an option that fits a concept but doesn't provide much in any direction, mechanically or for role-play, is to pass up on something of real value!

One of the things I loved about Spirit of the Century and the generic Fate system that evolved from it is that it encouraged players to design aspects for their characters that could both fuel tactical & narrative advantages as well as complications (that pay you back with fate points)—as opposed to mere mechanical disadvantages. Now, Fate is a much more free-form system than some people like, but it's one of the best examples of what I'm talking about.

You put D&D or Torg Eternity in my hands, though, and I'm gonna optimize the heck out of my character, which often involves min-maxing, depending on the character concept of course (which for me overrides most considerations of "being effective").
 

Part of the problem (for those to whom it's a problem), is that certain games put an emphasis on "winning" and "being effective" rather than "encouraging/enabling interesting things to happen". To pick an option that fits a concept but doesn't provide much in any direction, mechanically or for role-play, is to pass up on something of real value!

Agreed, DnD/PF/etc definitely put an emphasis on succeeding in combat. Now obviously this isn't the only way to play them; one can role play in any system. But when compared to a game like Fate, where role play mechanics are put up front, it's a bit of an epiphany to realise that DnD/PF can be played like this.

The good news is that Fate's fate-point system is easily tacked on to any other game. I've even got plans to tack it onto my next Champions game. Only, since it's supers, I'll be calling it Soap instead of Fate.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top