Who Should Acquisitions, Inc Recruit Next?

Fedifensor

Explorer
I just dislike the assumption that if you're not playing a race that has a +2 in your primary score, you're a chump. But then, I hate automated race/class combos.
Those combos are useful for beginners. The problems Acquisition, Inc has had in the various podcasts indicate that they should have had more characters with races giving a boost to the primary stat of the class.

Jim Darkmagic is the only character who actually gets a bonus to the primary stat of his class. Omin is a half-elf cleric - no boost to Wisdom (or Strength), though at least he gets Charisma. Binwin is a dwarf fighter...no boost to Strength, though he does get a secondary stat (Constitution) and chose a race that had multiple racial abilities suited for a defender. Finally, as mentioned before, Aeofel only gets a boost to a secondary stat (Intelligence).

There are other problems besides character builds. Omin keeps using Lance of Faith in situations where the temp HP from Sacred Flame is more useful. Jim was smart enough to use Scorching Burst, but keeps falling back on Magic Missile whenever he's unsure what action to take. It's hard to see what mistakes Binwin is making in combat without seeing the map, but at the least he's impulsive and falls back on the same tactic like Jim does (let me guess...Brash Strike?). And we saw what happened to Aeofel. Maybe WotC needs to run a training session for the group.
 

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Those combos are useful for beginners. The problems Acquisition, Inc has had in the various podcasts indicate that they should have had more characters with races giving a boost to the primary stat of the class.

Jim Darkmagic is the only character who actually gets a bonus to the primary stat of his class. Omin is a half-elf cleric - no boost to Wisdom (or Strength), though at least he gets Charisma. Binwin is a dwarf fighter...no boost to Strength, though he does get a secondary stat (Constitution) and chose a race that had multiple racial abilities suited for a defender. Finally, as mentioned before, Aeofel only gets a boost to a secondary stat (Intelligence).

There are other problems besides character builds. Omin keeps using Lance of Faith in situations where the temp HP from Sacred Flame is more useful. Jim was smart enough to use Scorching Burst, but keeps falling back on Magic Missile whenever he's unsure what action to take. It's hard to see what mistakes Binwin is making in combat without seeing the map, but at the least he's impulsive and falls back on the same tactic like Jim does (let me guess...Brash Strike?). And we saw what happened to Aeofel. Maybe WotC needs to run a training session for the group.
Not saying there's anything wrong with seeing it this way, but from my point of view, I see them falling back on "Jim's Magic Missle(tm)", Binwin being a rather brash warrior, and so on. Those choices fit the PC's personalities. Overall, they seem to be having a lot of fun, so I don't see "problems" that need solving. And what problems I do see aren't often due to suboptimal power choices.

In the case of the last podcast, they made several bad calls that had nothing to do with powers and wound up largely failing. But the interesting thing is, most all of those bad choices fit the personalities of the PCs and made sense from their perspective at the time and have potential role-playing fallout. Binwin lied (or misunderstood the ghost) in order to direct the PCs toward his enemy and even told a comrade to split off from the group and get that foe - now that comrade is dead from a trap that Binwin could have had knowledge of from the ghost. Omin is healing himself over capacity while one of his men is screaming and being dissolved in acid in a nearby room. Jim Darkmagic has lost his innocence and seen his first PC death. Did Aeofel fail Melora, or did Melora fail Aeofel? It's too bad they only play 1 long session every several months because these are all great hooks both for players to explore their PC's personality as well as for the DM to introduce further adventures that are more personal to the PCs and not just "Someone in a tavern is offering gold if you'll go do whatever."

For me, and others, getting too much into the numbers and only focusing on the optimal choices makes it feel more like a boardgame that we need to "win" rather than an immersive role-playing experience. Now, don't take that as edition war baiting, there's nothing intrinsic in any edition that prevents either style of play. Plus there's nothing wrong with that style of play. There's definitely enjoyment to be had in the challenge of finding the optimal mechanical choices in combat and doesn't preclude "role-playing", I'm just saying there are some of us who may make sub-optimal choices (while hopefully not outright dumb choices) because it is simply what the PC would do. Although there were some bad choices, nothing sounded outright dumb at the moment it was made and all seemed to fit the character.

Despite setbacks, misses, and some battles being more difficult than they needed to be, it sounds like they were all having fun, even with the fate of Al - uh, I mean Aeofel. That is what matters - the fun. For some "failing" takes the fun out of it, and I can see that. For others, whether you succeed or fail, acting true to the PC and having some excitement is what makes it fun.
 


Storminator

First Post
The most egregious mistake was in Aeofel's hit points. As he dies he's at -19 hp and says his negative bloodied is -13, but that's wrong. He took Toughness, and has something like 46 hit points.

One of the best things about the podcast, IMO, is that they are clearly having a blast with suboptimal PCs, numerous ineffective decisions, and a lot of forgotten rules (marks, oaths, Healer's Lore, etc). Yet despite all the bumbling they're a great party to follow.

PS
 

Engilbrand

First Post
He should play a Monk of Melora from the same monastery the Avenger came from. Who's to say that that monastery only had Avenger? It could be a friend or cousin.
(I haven't listed to the podcasts, so I don't know if they went with the monastery idea.)
 

Fedifensor

Explorer
Not saying there's anything wrong with seeing it this way, but from my point of view, I see them falling back on "Jim's Magic Missle(tm)", Binwin being a rather brash warrior, and so on. Those choices fit the PC's personalities. Overall, they seem to be having a lot of fun, so I don't see "problems" that need solving. And what problems I do see aren't often due to suboptimal power choices.
I think they would have fun even if the party was TPK'd...but that doesn't mean they should seek death.

In the case of the last podcast, they made several bad calls that had nothing to do with powers and wound up largely failing.
Well, one thing I saw was the group not using powers they had. Binwin only charged once in the last fight despite picking items that improved his charge. Aeofel repeatedly forgot to use his armor to repel foes. Omin almost never used Sacred Flame, even though doing so could have given much-needed temp HP to Jim and Aeofel (Binwin was cycling temps, and they don't stack).

Jim...well, on reflection, he did okay in that final fight. He used powers that attacked multiple foes (Scorching Burst, Burning Hands)...his dice just weren't rolling that great. His problems are more design-oriented. I think he could use to switch out a few powers to get ones with controlling effects instead of raw damage.

But the interesting thing is, most all of those bad choices fit the personalities of the PCs and made sense from their perspective at the time and have potential role-playing fallout.
To an extent. However, bashing someone back with Tide of Iron is just as in-character for Binwin as "striking brashly". Jim can just as easily use "Jim's Scorching Burst" as "Jim's Magic Missile".

However, I think Omin is the poster child of what is wrong with the group. There were several poor choices, but one in particular stands out. Omin healing himself over capacity was only a roleplaying choice if Omin is a selfish, greedy jerk...which may be the case. But it's not the mark of a group leader, and maybe it's time for the rest of Acquisitions, Inc to stage a corporate takeover.

For me, and others, getting too much into the numbers and only focusing on the optimal choices makes it feel more like a boardgame that we need to "win" rather than an immersive role-playing experience. Now, don't take that as edition war baiting, there's nothing intrinsic in any edition that prevents either style of play.
The thing is, those styles aren't mutually exclusive. It's quite possible to play a character that is both optimized and focused on roleplaying hooks.

Despite setbacks, misses, and some battles being more difficult than they needed to be, it sounds like they were all having fun, even with the fate of Al - uh, I mean Aeofel. That is what matters - the fun. For some "failing" takes the fun out of it, and I can see that. For others, whether you succeed or fail, acting true to the PC and having some excitement is what makes it fun.
That group can make anything fun. But I still sense some disappointment on Wil's part. His character may have died while chasing his oath target...but it was a rather pointless death. By going off on a side quest instead of pursuing the Crest of Melora, he didn't even die questing after his goal. Furthermore, at least two other members were more concerned about treasure and their own skins than the death of their friend ("I promise not to sell your stuff for at least three days"). Only Binwin seemed to be truly sorrowful at the loss of Aeofel.


I recommend that whatever character Wil picks, it should be one that is capable of getting out of tough spots himself. The group plays more as a collection of individuals than a team, and that can be really tough on a group in 4E.
 

Kzach

Banned
Banned
The thing is, those styles aren't mutually exclusive. It's quite possible to play a character that is both optimized and focused on roleplaying hooks.

This 100%.

I'm not happy unless I can marry the two in a character. The concept in my head needs to fit the character's stats, but the stats also have to fit the concept in my head. Sometimes I make small compromises in either direction, but for the most part I'd rather not play a character unless I have a happy marriage of powergamer and roleplayer.

On the matter of Aeofel, I reckon he should come back as a revenant assassin. I have a build I can recommend that does a nice nova by 11th-level for roughly 200 hit points :D
 

Hussar

Legend
Really, you don't even have to optimize that much. Just actually remember what you have can make all the difference in the world.

As has been mentioned a few times, there were some pretty big rules errors on the parts of the players. IIRC, Jim Darkmagic dropped a daily that would let him magic missile as a free action for the rest of the encounter. He used it once, maybe twice and then forgot about it. There are lots of other missed stuff as well that people have pointed out.

Even with the characters they have, unoptimized as they are, they could have done significantly better simply by RTFM and some organized tactics.

Focused fire is your friend. To me, listening to that last fight, I heard three or four individual fights going on. Instead of making sure they dropped one thing at a time, they settled for damaging everyone a little bit each round. They really had trouble getting their ducks in a row and putting down targets quickly.

That more than anything will change how an encounter plays out. IMO.
 

Mr. Wilson

Explorer
Probably a striker of some sort. They need the damage.

I'd say either a new class or a rogue (or at least someone trained in Thievery). They could use the help with traps.
 

fba827

Adventurer
my assumption of their primary goal is to 1) be entertaining (as it is advertising of a sort) and 2) have fun. being optimized does not necessarily have to be a requirement for them (though it could just as easily be a requirement - since i'm not them, i don't know).

yes, they do sometimes forget how things work, which isn't always a great thing from the adveritsiing perspective, but they're still seemingly enjoying themselves and still somewhat entertaining (*listening to other people play D&D is usually not entertaining for me, but they manage to still be somewhat entertaining for me as background noise while I do other work).

As to who Acquisitions Inc should acquire next? I guess it would depend on what Will likes to play. The Avenger did inspire Will to get in to it (evidenced by the backstory, fluff he added during power description, etc) so I think something else that inspires him would be a good thing.
Though, I have to say, a class from PHB3 does seem fitting if any of those strike his fancy.


Anyway, all just my own opinion with no real worth :)
 

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