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Chalkarts
2019-02-17, 01:36 PM
I'm working on a character that I think would be fun for me but I don't want to annoy the group.

Paladin,
Variant Human

As an RP choice the character is secretive, and the group wouldn't even know what his class was.
That would be the fun part for me is seeing how long I could keep the class secret.

He also holds to a Vow of Poverty.
After each adventure he'd sell off all of his spoils and host feast for the poor and give the wealth away.
His armor is cobbled together Hide armor, His shield is beaten and dented, His weapon is a short sword or dagger. He E-blasts a lot.

I've always played with 1 starting feat for everyone, so a variant human would start with 2.

I give him Magic Initiate and Ritual caster so he can have Eldritch Blast and Find Familiar.
He's also an Urchin so he can stealth and disable traps and Locks.

The thing that I'm afraid will annoy the group is how not optimized he is.
Under-armored and with a light weapon for his class, I can still be effective.
I want him to be a total bag of tricks between his various magics, and skills with thieves tools, and his combat prowess, I'd like to keep the groups guessing, but I don't want them annoyed that I'm not "pulling my weight" when they find out I'm a paladin whose not in plate with a longsword, lol.

thoughts?

JNAProductions
2019-02-17, 03:13 PM
Should be in the 5E forum.

It's not that bad, in terms of optimization, but the secrecy can easily be annoying. Talk to your group-we don't know them, but you do.

username1
2019-02-17, 03:33 PM
I would tell your group what class you are, but play like their characters donít know. This way the players donít get annoyed.

ngilop
2019-02-17, 04:03 PM
I would tell your group what class you are, but play like their characters donít know. This way the players donít get annoyed.

Yeah tell the group. If for no other reason so they know OOC, what you character is capable of.

I had a guy who played a bard, and everybody thought (IC) he was some kind of legendary warrior because for his first 4 levels he never used a spell and rolled VERY well on his attacks.

Everybody knew (OOC) he wasn't and it was fun RP moment when he started using spells because at 5th level the not really a fighter came back in force to face check reality.


It is actually only one of the handful of times that I left a table, some dude didn't want to share what his class was. MAde it a big super deal about us (OOC and IC) never knowing and I just got fed up with it and told the DM mid session "cannot do it anymore'

oxybe
2019-02-17, 04:41 PM
"hi i would like to join your team of professional danger seekers"

"what talents do you bring to the team?"

"teehee"

"next applicant please!"

Jay R
2019-02-17, 06:15 PM
My experience is that
if the players all trust each other, and
if that trust is justified, and
if the party doesn't generally develop interpersonal drama, and
if the secret doesn't hurt the group, and
if the secret isn't to get the PC more power, treasure, or screen time than the other PCs, and
if the secret is not permanent, and is not intended to be permanent,
then the rest of the players will enjoy it.

The potential red flags here are the under-powered PC (which can hurt the party) and giving away the party's treasure (which could have become more power for the party).

The revelation to the party should be the most fun part of it. Just make it a joke they become part of, rather than a joke on them.

In an Old West game, I announced that I was going to build a character based on a TV western. I showed up with Cali Yang, a martial artist clearly patterned after Kwai-Chang Cain of Kung Fu. I had fun inventing eastern-style proverbs while fighting hand-to-hand.

Until about four sessions in, when he washed off the makeup and revealed himself as Cal Young, federal agent, patterned on the disguise artist Artemus Gordon from Wild, Wild West.

Mr Beer
2019-02-17, 06:47 PM
It is actually only one of the handful of times that I left a table, some dude didn't want to share what his class was. MAde it a big super deal about us (OOC and IC) never knowing and I just got fed up with it and told the DM mid session "cannot do it anymore'


"hi i would like to join your team of professional danger seekers"

"what talents do you bring to the team?"

"teehee"

"next applicant please!"

I view it as a red flag for the reasons stated eloquently above.

mucat
2019-02-17, 08:09 PM
The "unknown character class" bit would not be a big deal in most groups I've played in, because we don't really treat classes as a "real" thing in-universe. The characters don't wonder whether their friend is a Fighter or a Ranger or an Expert or a Scout, but they ARE glad to know that she has sharp eyes, will guard their back in a fight, and that she grew up on this river and knows it like the back of her hand.

But if the character's secrecy extends to in-universe matters --

"Where are you from, Frank?"
"Oh, here an' there."
"Why do you want to travel with us?"
"Not sayin'"
"Who was that woman with all the knives glaring at you back in the last town?"
"Nobody you'd know."

-- then it could get annoying fast, IC, but more importantly, OOC. Both because the other players have to contort their logic further and further to figure out why their characters still trust this guy, and because that kind of secretiveness is, paradoxically, usually a grab for extra attention at the table. Attention that would be better earned "honestly" by making the character interesting, rather than by making him a puzzle to be solved.

Yora
2019-02-18, 04:17 AM
I think that being secretive about your character is always somewhat silly, but in this case I don't see anything that is disruptive. If you want to play a shabby warrior, you should be free to do so.

dps
2019-02-18, 06:51 AM
The potential red flags here are the under-powered PC (which can hurt the party) and giving away the party's treasure (which could have become more power for the party).


I don't like the poorly equipped aspect of the character concept--even if you have taken a vow of poverty, you would still want to have the best equipment you can get, so as to be better able to fight Evil. Of course, that's a separate issue from the secrecy desired.

Hand_of_Vecna
2019-02-18, 11:11 AM
I have complex feelings about both IC and OOC secrecy on something as big as character class.

OOC

A lot depends on the group. I have encountered this several times with fresh groups and every time it has come across as incredibly conceited and led to the association being very short.

In a group that already has trust and respect established it can work well. You do however need to make sure to show some aspects of the character. The net is full of stories of lone wolves who were really secret bastard heirs and no one ever knew until after the character died. I think this is a more subdued version of the smugness that comes from secrets in fresh groups.

IC

Not revealing everything IC is totally fine. In online games, I've seen people post full character sheets in the application thread and then be coy about their abilities IC, this is fine with one caveat. If everyone is meeting up for the first time IC please give some hint of what you can be depended on for or in other words why we should bring you along.

One of my worst experiences with this sort of secrecy was in a game where we were distinctly forming a party in game from my IC brother and I were both Fighters and were clearly walking around in heavy armor and carrying swords, shields, and bows so we got the most attention and were looked to form the core of the party. We automatically invited a Dwarf scout who was wearing light armor and carrying several weapons. Then two unarmored characters approached us the first introduced themselves and told us that they were an adventurer they were not a professional fighter, but could wield a sword or bow when pressed, that they had studied magic and could cast a few spells including some minor healing, and that their musical skills would make them pleasant to have on the road. *Great welcome aboard.* Then we get to the secretive guy, he's wearing robes that may or may not have light armor under them and not carrying any obvious weapons. "I'd like to come with you" *and you're abilities are?* "Oh, I'm a teller of tales" *and* "Vague allusions to having a knowledge skill". . . *I'm sorry you may have misunderstood, we aren't hiring any porters*

Basically he gave us no reason to take him along IC and was depending on the social contract of the table to force us to tolerate him.

OOC/IC

One place where I've seen secrecy work well is in a game where a group of characters were selected by a third party for a mission and brought together. The second Evil Campaign from Another Gaming Comic was a great example of this brought to the next level with the DM creating a half dozen evil characters with class levels and describing all of them interspersed with descriptions of the PC's and the PC's all giving their actions via passed notes for the initial brawl.

Chalkarts
2019-02-18, 11:46 AM
But if the character's secrecy extends to in-universe matters --

"Where are you from, Frank?"
"Oh, here an' there."
"Why do you want to travel with us?"
"Not sayin'"
"Who was that woman with all the knives glaring at you back in the last town?"
"Nobody you'd know."

-- then it could get annoying fast, IC, but more importantly, OOC. Both because the other players have to contort their logic further and further to figure out why their characters still trust this guy, and because that kind of secretiveness is, paradoxically, usually a grab for extra attention at the table. Attention that would be better earned "honestly" by making the character interesting, rather than by making him a puzzle to be solved.


No, it wouldn't be anything like that,
I was just thinking that when asked about his past he'll tell you all about his childhood on the streets and his duty to make sure all children are fed.

He'll disable the trap and pick the lock then Cast Eldritch blast from stealth while his familiar does a flyby attack then punch a guy with his spiked gauntlet (is that a weapon?) and heal the mage after the battle.

A true Swiss army knife.
I think it would also be really fun to use in a stream so none of the viewers know his class, but do periodic polls for viewers to guess on.

hotflungwok
2019-02-18, 11:53 AM
You say it's an 'RP decision', but why does your character keep who/what he is a secret? Does he actively lie about who he is to protect the secret? What are the consequences if he's found out? It doesn't really make a lot of sense to keep secrets just for kicks, unless your character enjoys stirring up drama there has to be a reason for the whole secrecy thing.

Chalkarts
2019-02-18, 11:59 AM
You say it's an 'RP decision', but why does your character keep who/what he is a secret? Does he actively lie about who he is to protect the secret? What are the consequences if he's found out? It doesn't really make a lot of sense to keep secrets just for kicks, unless your character enjoys stirring up drama there has to be a reason for the whole secrecy thing.

He's got a price on his head for a thing he did to the wrong guy. He frequently changes his appearance via disguise kit(in service of the party, and self) to avoid recognition and for infiltration.

Jay R
2019-02-18, 01:06 PM
It depends on the players.

You know these people, and we don't. If you thought the chance of annoying them was real enough to justify starting this thread, then you probably shouldn't do it.

icefractal
2019-02-18, 03:25 PM
IC, I see no issue - if you describe your skills accurately, that sounds like some kind of mage-warrior, and I don't see why a party would object to that.

OOC, it depends on the group. Some would be fine with the secrecy (or not even ask about other people's sheets to begin with), but some would take it as a red flag that you intend to betray them. If your group's not that latter, it should be fine.

As far as effectiveness, that depends on how the GM is running things. In a "non-scaled" world, having an extra party member is better than not, regardless if they're maximally effective. Alternately, if the GM is scaling things to the party's effectiveness, it's also fine. In the case that things are being scaled just according to level (AL / PFS for example), then it could be a problem.

Willie the Duck
2019-02-18, 04:17 PM
No, it wouldn't be anything like that,
I was just thinking that when asked about his past he'll tell you all about his childhood on the streets and his duty to make sure all children are fed.

So he personally does not think of himself in class terms? That's fine. That's a lot better than I think we were all assuming, where you were basically making this a burden on your fellow players, requiring them to jump through hoops for you and your character's play.


He'll disable the trap and pick the lock then Cast Eldritch blast from stealth while his familiar does a flyby attack then punch a guy with his spiked gauntlet (is that a weapon?) and heal the mage after the battle.

Familiars cannot attack, so the question of whether a spiked gauntlet is a weapon (not in 5e) is irrelevant.


A true Swiss army knife.
I think it would also be really fun to use in a stream so none of the viewers know his class, but do periodic polls for viewers to guess on.


I think people have kind of universally agreed that people that play the game for the benefit of a streaming audience (especially ones that don't actually exists) are doing the actual fellow gamers at the table something of a disservice.

LordCdrMilitant
2019-02-18, 05:06 PM
Yes. Specifically, the secrecy.

The selling of loot might, depending on how they're feeling that day and how hard fought the battles to get it were, but I don't tend to award good loot anyway.

mucat
2019-02-18, 05:14 PM
No, it wouldn't be anything like that,
I was just thinking that when asked about his past he'll tell you all about his childhood on the streets and his duty to make sure all children are fed.

He'll disable the trap and pick the lock then Cast Eldritch blast from stealth while his familiar does a flyby attack then punch a guy with his spiked gauntlet (is that a weapon?) and heal the mage after the battle.

A true Swiss army knife.Different groups may vary, but that guy would not annoy me at all. Someone who gives a sense of who he is and where he comes from -- even if there are crucial details left out -- is a whole different story (literally!) from a brooding hooded stranger who cryptically rebuffs all questions (but also sulks if people stop trying to figure out who he is.)


I think it would also be really fun to use in a stream so none of the viewers know his class, but do periodic polls for viewers to guess on.That part I would NOT encourage, streamed or not. Again, if the most interesting thing about the character is a puzzle, then he's not an interesting character.

Kami2awa
2019-02-18, 05:29 PM
I agree, secrecy in these things really is annoying to the other players. I'd recommend bringing it up OOC.

Hackulator
2019-02-18, 10:11 PM
I mean, it would not annoy MY group, but whether it might annoy your group is an entirely different question. This is really a question only someone who knows the group in question can answer. I definitely WOULDN'T tell them out of character. I ****ing HATE IT when people tell me stuff out of character that I don't know in-character, because it makes it impossible to figure something out in-character without constantly having to wonder if you are metagaming unintentionally and wouldn't have figured something out if you didn't already know.

Pex
2019-02-18, 10:49 PM
I'm working on a character that I think would be fun for me but I don't want to annoy the group.

Paladin,
Variant Human

As an RP choice the character is secretive, and the group wouldn't even know what his class was.
That would be the fun part for me is seeing how long I could keep the class secret.

I already don't trust you right there. You can have whatever backstory you want short of resulting in betraying the party because you secretly work for the bad guys or some such that we don't know and get to enjoy it play out as the levels progress, but if you refuse to tell us what you can do so we can plan tactics and the basics of playing with each other then there's no point adventuring or even playing together.


He also holds to a Vow of Poverty.
After each adventure he'd sell off all of his spoils and host feast for the poor and give the wealth away.
His armor is cobbled together Hide armor, His shield is beaten and dented, His weapon is a short sword or dagger. He E-blasts a lot.

I've always played with 1 starting feat for everyone, so a variant human would start with 2.

I give him Magic Initiate and Ritual caster so he can have Eldritch Blast and Find Familiar.
He's also an Urchin so he can stealth and disable traps and Locks.

The thing that I'm afraid will annoy the group is how not optimized he is.
Under-armored and with a light weapon for his class, I can still be effective.
I want him to be a total bag of tricks between his various magics, and skills with thieves tools, and his combat prowess, I'd like to keep the groups guessing, but I don't want them annoyed that I'm not "pulling my weight" when they find out I'm a paladin whose not in plate with a longsword, lol.

thoughts?

If you can't function competently at what you're supposed to do then I further want nothing to do with you. I know I'm sounding harsh, but I've long since been fed up with drama queens who care only about the story and never how the game works. You don't need to be optimized but still do what you're supposed to be doing. A 5E paladin with a criminal background because he's a reformed thief but still knows a few tricks like unlocking treasure chests is fine. A 5E paladin who won't get into melee and smite the bad guys is not. You need the AC. If you're going DX it's possible. You can have an 18 AC with scale mail, shield, and 14 DX. You can still have the 16 DX eventually 18 and possibly 20 attacking with a rapier or short sword and smiting. Shield of Faith gets you AC 20. Not being in platemail with a long sword is fine as long as you still have the good AC being in melee and smiting.

Edit: If you're multiclassing Hexblade a bit to use CH as your attack stat so you're not the buff paladin that's fine too. You can go against stereotype but still do what you're supposed to do and let your fellow players know what you can do.

Great Dragon
2019-02-22, 11:27 AM
I already don't trust you right there. You can have whatever backstory you want short of resulting in betraying the party because you secretly work for the bad guys or some such that we don't know and get to enjoy it play out as the levels progress, but if you refuse to tell us what you can do so we can plan tactics and the basics of playing with each other then there's no point adventuring or even playing together.
This here is a very good Reason IC to not include this Character.
Heck, even pretending to be 'Just a Warrior' - or "Fighter, with some extra skills" would at least be truthful enough to be accepted by the rest of the Party. And then shock them when the PC does more than expected damage when he suddenly Smites a foe, or casts a spell, or any other Paladin ability.


If you can't function competently at what you're supposed to do then I further want nothing to do with you. I know I'm sounding harsh, but I've long since been fed up with drama queens who care only about the story and never how the game works. You don't need to be optimized but still do what you're supposed to be doing. A 5E paladin with a criminal background because he's a reformed thief but still knows a few tricks like unlocking treasure chests is fine. A 5E paladin who won't get into melee and smite the bad guys is not.
You need the AC. If you're going DX it's possible. You can have an 18 AC with scale mail, shield, and 14 DX. You can still have the 16 DX eventually 18 and possibly 20 attacking with a rapier or short sword and smiting. Shield of Faith gets you AC 20. Not being in platemail with a long sword is fine as long as you still have the good AC being in melee and smiting.
This is right on point for almost any Group, IME.

Just a thought, but even a (3x) Vow of Poverty person could still have items (like Plate Armor and Shield) - they just did not own them - they were on loan from a Church, a Lord, or a Party member. Whoever provided these items knew the risk of losing the items when the PC Died, since the PC is a known Adventurer.
The PC just does their best to make sure that these Items are returned when they die - if at all possible.

As for spending Treasure, The PC is free to do whatever they want with their Share, but should not affect what anyone else in the Party gets.


Edit: If you're multiclassing Hexblade a bit to use CH as your attack stat so you're not the buff paladin that's fine too. You can go against stereotype but still do what you're supposed to do and let your fellow players know what you can do.
Depending on how many Hexblade levels you take (3rd level would give you a weapon you never lose- if you take Blade Pact, I believe) this can affect the PC's number of Paladin Spells Known as compared to Spell Slots. But, just using those Higher Slots for Smiting would not be a problem.

Grod_The_Giant
2019-02-22, 11:42 AM
I don't mind if you're a bit coy about what your build is (unless I'm the DM), but...

If you can't function competently at what you're supposed to do then I further want nothing to do with you.
This I'd be concerned about.

You're relying on a cantrip for offense, meaning your damage is going to stink-- yes, even with Eldritch Blast, given that you don't have Agonizing Blast or Hex.
You're wearing hide armor, meaning your AC is going to be low.
You're a paladin, meaning you won't be any better at skills than anyone else.

I'm afraid you'd wind up feeling like a kind of crappy generalist. A Bard might fit the concept better?

MoiMagnus
2019-02-22, 12:01 PM
I will mostly repeat what other said (except point 3) but:

1) You seems to be playing D&D. A lot of D&D players play because they like to build team strategies, or at least some kind of planing when fighting. They need to know what you character is able to do to enjoy fighting. Hence, hiding your capacities is not a good idea.

2) Some peoples hate knowing things their character don't know and would be glad if you keep things fully secret. Some people hate NOT knowing things even if their character isn't suppose to know them, and will not trust you (the player) if you hide them. Knowing on which side is your team is quite important.

3) An interesting background leads to a bad character, and a bad teammate. (Exceptions may apply, of course). The most interesting part of the life of your character is supposed to occur after meeting your teammate, not before. Unless everybody agreed that you will be the "main character", the past of each characters should only influence side quests, not warp the campaign around them. (This should not prevent you from retcon latter your background into an interesting one, this may even be handy for plot hooks for the DM).

icefractal
2019-02-22, 01:13 PM
1) You seems to be playing D&D. A lot of D&D players play because they like to build team strategies, or at least some kind of planing when fighting. They need to know what you character is able to do to enjoy fighting. Hence, hiding your capacities is not a good idea.
Is full knowledge really required for strategy though? I'm someone who's into strategy, but it doesn't bother me when my allies aren't maximally effective. I think of them as one of the factors I can't control, and focus on making the best use of what I can control - myself and sometimes the situation.

MrZJunior
2019-02-22, 02:49 PM
It wouldn't bother me, but I don't really care about effectiveness or mechanics. I'm more interested in the role playing aspect.

Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure I didn't learn the class of at least one team mate the last time I played D&D.

Keltest
2019-02-22, 03:32 PM
Adding my voice behind the people saying that deliberately crippling yourself and making it difficult for the team to understand what you can do are both things that would get that character throw in the bin in my group. You don't need to be the best ever at your job, but if youre actively going out of your way to not do it as well that's a problem. Likewise if your party mates don't actually have a clue what it is you bring to the party, they don't have a lot of reason to travel with you.

Hackulator
2019-02-22, 04:27 PM
Adding my voice behind the people saying that deliberately crippling yourself and making it difficult for the team to understand what you can do are both things that would get that character throw in the bin in my group. You don't need to be the best ever at your job, but if youre actively going out of your way to not do it as well that's a problem. Likewise if your party mates don't actually have a clue what it is you bring to the party, they don't have a lot of reason to travel with you.

Honestly, the reasons why parties adventure together are mostly contrived and in reality are because these are the PCs and not any other good reason. I mean, how often in character do you really say your class name anyway?

As for the issue of being under-optimized, it's certainly not worse than a player who is over optimized.

Guizonde
2019-02-22, 04:36 PM
i built my pathfinder inquisitor so that in-character, the team i played with forgot what my class was.

ooc, everyone knew i was your skill-monkey inquisitor that could stop-gap anything the party sucked at: healing, skills, recon, stealth, offense, socials, whatever the situation called for, i was good at it. not great, but more than adequate.

the only sign that the characters had that my inquisitor was not a swashbuckler/rogue/bard/ranger/dex-build fighter/evil genius was his holy symbol customized to be a badge of office. by session 3 they forgot and assumed i was your run of the mill pirate. the players forgot too despite me casting judgements every so often, casting healing spells, and being immune to alignment shifts.

now, here's how i pulled it off:

1: i waited to see the group's composition before deciding on being the generalist with the group's and the dm's approval.
2: i optimized that character to be as versatile as possible, thus not compromising group efficiency, and in a way, becoming a force multiplier.
3: i told the players what i played as, and that my theme was going to be the "undercover crimefighter", so no, i wasn't going to parade as my class often, and quite often would play against type to trick anyone we came across that i was your garden variety dex-build beatstick.
4: i roleplayed the hell out of it without keeping it secret. a teammate would ask ooc what my class was, i'd answer honestly. ingame, i'd answer "years of practice".

keeping your character sheet secret is skeezy in my book. too many munchkins, too many bad stories.
keeping your team out of the loop in character? rogue's gotta rogue, yo.
keeping your team out of the loop out of character? a necessary evil, and to be used as little as possible and in the direst circumstances. trust is a 2-way street.
keeping your class secret in and out of character? outlook cloudy for good fun. outlook good for trouble. warn your team what you're going for. i wouldn't jump into a game with a secretive character simply to know what build would be useful.

look at it this way for your teammates: wizard - rogue - ??? - fighter - you

do you play cleric to cater to healing? oh no! there's 2 healbots in the team!
do you play skillmonkey? a wild bard appears!
do you play support? aw, too bad, there's already a sorceror in there.
do you play dps? drat, both a ranger and a monk in the same group! now you're lacking magical support!
etc, etc...

just playing the odds of the role-filling, there are only so many possibilities before hitting redundancy. a bit of redundancy is good (that's why paladins have healing spells too). but 2 guys playing the same role? boring for one, both, or all concerned.

your character concept is novel, and i wouldn't mind playing with that kind of paladin. it's refreshing. but warn your team at the very least.

D+1
2019-02-22, 10:45 PM
Pardon the snark below, but IME this doesn't work. It's an idea for a character in written fiction or some other medium, but in the context of an RPG it's neither all that original nor likely to produce desired results. Points for effort, but no prizes.

Never have I ever, in 40 years, played an RPG where all the player characters knew nothing about the others, did not know each other, didn't trust each other (except Paranoia - but that's the POINT of that game)... and yet they then went out and together risked their very lives and souls WITH each other and FOR each other. A group of Mystery Men who all want to be The Sphinx: "What's his power?" "Well, he's very mysterious..."

However, I have seen it plenty of times where just one player wanted their character to be The Shadow. He is the enigma, the question mark, the mysterious one, the fly in the ointment and the monkey in the wrench and other players and their characters alike will be endlessly intrigued and entertained by the unknowns that surround The Shadow from the moment they meet him. The players will curse their own lack of ingenuity for having not thought of the concept for The Shadow first.

Other players or PC's must not know The Shadow's class. They may not know his motivations nor alignment. They must know nothing of his past. They may not know his capabilities nor his commitment to the PC's as a group, nor to any other individual in the group. They must never even be given hints that they are guessing correctly because that's no fun. ...and yet those players and their PC's MUST accept that character into the party and be an intimate associate from the outset and for the duration of the game. They WILL NOT be given clear, sensible answers when The Shadow is asked direct and sensible questions about WHO HE IS and WHAT HE DOES. The Shadow must be blindly trusted so that the player of The Shadow can one day FLOOR EVERYONE with THE BIG REVEAL about the REAL person that they have only known as The Shadow.

Usually, in my experience, that reveal is:
"Ha ha! I am Evil and have been a close associate of all you highly Goody-Goody characters, lo these many months! Aren't you the STUPID ones for not realizing it?! Aren't I the clever one for pulling the wool over your eyes for so long?!"

Or perhaps:
"Ha ha! I am a thief and have robbed you all blind, lo these many months! I leave you ultramaroons now, for I am a naturally self-centered thief who no longer sees profit in hanging around with you, but you must be told that I was not just a dexterous fighter as you assumed! Only now that you know the truth is it dramatically appropriate that I leave, as is the correct idiom."

It's at least different that the end goal in this case with all the secrecy and mystery is not to subvert the party and just make them out to be chumps. But the BIG REVEAL is, what?
"Yeah, I'm actually just a paladin with a few unexpected ability choices."

I'm being a wet blanket obviously, but (and I've said this before, responding to those who suggest this sort of approach of The Shadow character) this rarely, if ever, works. It really isn't fun or interesting for the other players, largely because you are giving their characters NO REASON WHATEVER to trust your character, to accept your character as the <FLASHING RED LIGHTS AND KLAXON> danger he is because they know nothing about him and the concept relies on them NOT finding out until the big reveal. If the other players/PC's DO pry, they spoil the concept and get frustrated and annoyed because they HAVE to pry in order to get information; information which there is ultimately no reason (from their perspective) to not just be told without resistance. If they DON'T pry, the concept for the character has failed because they don't care anyway - and keeping everything secret from the other players was the point. The player of The Shadow doesn't get the big reveal or reactions they wanted and everyone ends up at best disappointed, if not upset.

If you like the idea of keeping mysteries from the other players, be a GM.

CharonsHelper
2019-02-22, 11:36 PM
"hi i would like to join your team of professional danger seekers"

"what talents do you bring to the team?"

"teehee"

"next applicant please!"

Unless Deadpool was running the show -

https://i.imgflip.com/299t96.jpg

oxybe
2019-02-23, 12:17 AM
Hey, Peter was honest about his lack of abilities. You could plan with and around it. between Peter and Mr.Teehee, i'd pick Peter over the latter. Peter's a team player.

Mr.Teehee could potentially be a frenzied berserker necropolitan that explodes negative energy when killed. That's the kinda thing you usually don't want popping up as a random oopsie-doodle moment.

I mean, he's probably not a frenzied undead timebomb, but knowing that a teammate can both go invisible and cast spiderclimb while being trained in lockpicking is very useful to infiltration missions.

Great Dragon
2019-02-23, 09:48 AM
Edit

I got rid of the first of a Double Post.

Great Dragon
2019-02-23, 09:51 AM
Not sure why this posted twice, tried to delete above and failed.


I mean, how often in character do you really say your class name anyway?

Funny, I refer to my PC's Class IC a lot.
Even if I'm playing a mysterious PC, this is only meant to be a Short Term Mystery, and I'll answer OoC Questions honestly.

And, as the DM, the World is aware of what each Class is, and what they (mostly) do - even if they have Different names In Game.

True, NPCs don't understand things like Hit Points, Saves, Class Levels (I use Ranks, since most people would understand that a 15th Rank Fighter is better than a 12th Rank Fighter - I've even been known to go back to the old AD&D Class Level Names when I have the time to do so), etc.

I'm not sure if the NPCs would really understand - or care - about the difference between the Subclasses of any given Class. This can make arguments interesting between PCs of the same Class about which "Path" is better, and then asking a nearby NPC for their opinion:
"Um, your both (insert Class), right?"

Also, am I the only DM that find the Thieves' Tools to be equally usable by anyone with Proficiency annoying?
Personally, I feel that the Rogue - who is trained to deal with Traps and Locks - should be better than a Wizard (or other Class) with either the Criminal or Urchin Backgrounds. I tend to use the old 3x rules: only Rogues can deal with things over a DC 20. I would have to either playtest or get feedback about if this should be lowered to 15 DC - since 5e does not really have a lot of Traps/Locks with DC 20 or above....

Maelynn
2019-02-23, 10:15 AM
Personally, I think you're asking the wrong people if your character concept would be considered annoying. There are quite a few people on these forums who abhor secrecy between players and are quite eager to say they 'wouldn't want you at their table' (seriously, it's chanted like a mantra around here, used excessively and for any possible difference in playstyle).

Just ask your fellow players directly. Be straight up about wanting to play a character without them being able to pinpoint its class, and ask them if they'd mind being kept in the dark both IC and OOC. If they're okay with this, then you can concoct whatever you have planned and see how long you can keep it up before they figure it out. If they say they're okay with IC but would want to know OOC, well then accept that and trust their ability to not metagame the knowledge.

The other point mentioned here about becoming a mediocre asset in the party.. this also greatly depends on how your party thinks about bringing the big guns to the table. Both the tables I play at (one as a player, one as DM) consist of players that care more about roleplay and teamwork than about being the top of your class or having all possible tools and roles covered. And there's also the chance that a skilled character throws garbage rolls and ends up being worse at what they do than a mediocre character who gets good rolls, so mileage may vary regardless of your build. The level of your character's skills might not be the dealbreaker that some people here make it out to be. So again, you're asking the wrong people - ask your fellow players.

Great Dragon
2019-02-23, 10:32 AM
you're asking the wrong people - ask your fellow players.

I agree. My post was just my Opinion and given as Advice.
But, in the end, it really does depend on the other Players (and the DM) at the table.

Hackulator
2019-02-23, 12:00 PM
Almost any suggestion of roleplay over effectiveness will get shot down at these forums. Likewise, it often feels like nobody in these forums actually plays with friends or even people they like, so people act as though they have zero trust for anyone else at their table. I'll be honest a lot of the ideas espoused here seem so out of whack to me that I literally cannot understand where they even come from. I guess maybe I've just been lucky to always have had actual friends who play D&D instead of an ever increasing pile of people who apparently do everything they can to ruin games either as a player or DM.

zinycor
2019-02-23, 12:58 PM
I've always played with 1 starting feat for everyone, so a variant human would start with 2.



Are you also the GM?

Pex
2019-02-23, 01:00 PM
Also, am I the only DM that find the Thieves' Tools to be equally usable by anyone with Proficiency annoying?
Personally, I feel that the Rogue - who is trained to deal with Traps and Locks - should be better than a Wizard (or other Class) with either the Criminal or Urchin Backgrounds. I tend to use the old 3x rules: only Rogues can deal with things over a DC 20. I would have to either playtest or get feedback about if this should be lowered to 15 DC - since 5e does not really have a lot of Traps/Locks with DC 20 or above....

If a Rogue really wants to be that good with Thieves' Tools he would choose it with his Expertise class ability. In 5E it was by on purpose design that you don't need any one specific class to do a Thing. They spread healing around by spell and other means so you don't need a Cleric. Anyone can pick a lock or deal with traps so you don't need a Rogue. Tool use is a skill, not a class feature.

ngilop
2019-02-23, 03:23 PM
Almost any suggestion of roleplay over effectiveness will get shot down at these forums. Likewise, it often feels like nobody in these forums actually plays with friends or even people they like, so people act as though they have zero trust for anyone else at their table. I'll be honest a lot of the ideas espoused here seem so out of whack to me that I literally cannot understand where they even come from. I guess maybe I've just been lucky to always have had actual friends who play D&D instead of an ever increasing pile of people who apparently do everything they can to ruin games either as a player or DM.

It has absolutely NOTHING to do with roleplaying over effectiveness and nothing at all to do with ' my Character (X) don't know anything about your Character (Y). its I (as a player) have no idea what you are playing and what they are capable of. I even gave an example in my first post. The game is about teamwork and cooperation. If you (the player) make it a point to DELIBERATELY make it so that the rest of the players have no idea what your character is capable of doing how in the world, that teamwork and cooperation breaks down because 1) they cannot reliably plan around your character in a strategic way 2) they wonder OOC why you are being so hush-hush with what is on your character sheet- which by and large- typically means there are nefarious reasons as to why you are doing so.


that is what session 0 is about. to get the feel of what the campaign is going to be about, and what each player is thinking in terms of character concept. if you have a group of 5 people and guy A says : "I want to play a haunted swordsman who takes blame for something he is blameless on, suffering from survivors guild, but is the last of an elite style of sword fighting". Guy B says "My guy is the ol' clichť halfling who doesn't understand property rights, but means well as is jovial. The last game I played was really deep, and I just wanted some more simple RP at the start for this. might get broadened as the game goes on". Guy C says "My characer is a noblewoman, she has spent her whole formative years studying and practicing magic, as well as getting in touch with the innate magic that elves are born into.. my plan is to eventually be going into ultimate magus" Girl A says "My character is a dwarf battlemaiden of Haela Brightaxe, I am going mostly cleric but plan on dipping fighter for a couple levels" then you says "I have a character, but I not telling what it is, what it can do, or why it does what it does"

Everybody gets what each is going to be capable of doing except for your character. I would hope most people would see the issue with that. Its not that nobody IC know what your class is, it is that OOC nobody knows anything, and trust needs to be established as well as communication so OOCly the players can adjust to challenges they encounter throughout the campaign.

Great Dragon
2019-02-23, 03:45 PM
If a Rogue really wants to be that good with Thieves' Tools he would choose it with his Expertise class ability. In 5E it was by on purpose design that you don't need any one specific class to do a Thing. They spread healing around by spell and other means so you don't need a Cleric. Anyone can pick a lock or deal with traps so you don't need a Rogue. Tool use is a skill, not a class feature.

I forgot to mention Expertise.
Not every Rogue puts one of thier Expertise in Thieves' Tools, because they are playing something else. Like Spy, Scout, or Social Expert.

This means that there is very little difference between the Rogue and the Criminal/Urchin PCs.
The only thing I can think of is that Rogue gets Proficiency in Investigate so at to Detect Traps.

Other then that one detail - Why play a Rogue (other then for Sneak Attack and RP) when another PC can bypass the Traps and Locks just as good as you, especially if you did not take Investigate as a Skill for your Rogue PC?

That is what annoyed. Especially as a Player, but still a little as a DM.

Sure those Backgrounds allow you to bypass Simple Traps and Locks, but the Rogue knows how to get past harder ones - and even more so with Expertise, but even without it - was my Idea.

Sure, Healing is spread around, but only the Life Cleric really masters it.
But, Bards can match other Domain Clerics, but both outshine Paladins.
Even with the Paladin casting Cure Wounds in a 5th level Slot {5d8 = 25 hp average, 40 hp maximum) and Lay on Hands {level times five}. 20th level = 80 hp maximum a day.


Which is why most Players will check to see what class is covered in the group, so that there is less overlapping.

Pex
2019-02-23, 05:37 PM
I forgot to mention Expertise.
Not every Rogue puts one of thier Expertise in Thieves' Tools, because they are playing something else. Like Spy, Scout, or Social Expert.

This means that there is very little difference between the Rogue and the Criminal/Urchin PCs.
The only thing I can think of is that Rogue gets Proficiency in Investigate so at to Detect Traps.

Other then that one detail - Why play a Rogue (other then for Sneak Attack and RP) when another PC can bypass the Traps and Locks just as good as you, especially if you did not take Investigate as a Skill for your Rogue PC?

That is what annoyed. Especially as a Player, but still a little as a DM.

Sure those Backgrounds allow you to bypass Simple Traps and Locks, but the Rogue knows how to get past harder ones - and even more so with Expertise, but even without it - was my Idea.

Sure, Healing is spread around, but only the Life Cleric really masters it. Even other Clerics can usually do more.

Exactly, why play a rogue. That's the point, to be able to handle locks and traps if that's what you want and still do other things like cast spells or smite your enemies. It's no longer an exclusive rogue thing and not supposed to be. Rogues can do lots of things depending on where they choose to utilize expertise and subclasses. Some may want to be a con-man focusing on charisma skills. Others want to be a deadly assassin, and it's all about doing as much damage as possible while not getting caught or at least retaliated against. For the rogue player who wants to deal with locks and traps he can be very good at it, better than others because of his expertise and chosen subclass can improve it.

Hackulator
2019-02-23, 05:48 PM
It has absolutely NOTHING to do with roleplaying over effectiveness and nothing at all to do with ' my Character (X) don't know anything about your Character (Y). its I (as a player) have no idea what you are playing and what they are capable of. I even gave an example in my first post. The game is about teamwork and cooperation. If you (the player) make it a point to DELIBERATELY make it so that the rest of the players have no idea what your character is capable of doing how in the world, that teamwork and cooperation breaks down because 1) they cannot reliably plan around your character in a strategic way 2) they wonder OOC why you are being so hush-hush with what is on your character sheet- which by and large- typically means there are nefarious reasons as to why you are doing so.

Everybody gets what each is going to be capable of doing except for your character. I would hope most people would see the issue with that. Its not that nobody IC know what your class is, it is that OOC nobody knows anything, and trust needs to be established as well as communication so OOCly the players can adjust to challenges they encounter throughout the campaign.

Paranoid much? Maybe they just prefer the more realistic RP that comes from you actually not knowing things your characters don't know? I personally prefer not to know things my character doesn't know.

As for the game being "about teamwork and cooperation", the game is about a lot of things, and you can still have teamwork and cooperation without full knowledge. It's not terrible that you might have to learn about your teammates in game. You usually know way MORE than you should IC, why is it so terrible that sometimes you might know less?

Jay R
2019-02-23, 06:00 PM
Make it fun for the other players.
Make your character supportive of the other PCs.
Make your play supportive of the other players.

Every potential problem brought up has been some version of hiding things to take advantage of the other players or characters. Don't do this and it can work.

Mysterious is fine, if you are a mysterious ally and supportive friend.

Great Dragon
2019-02-23, 06:01 PM
Pex

Moved this to the 5e/Next board.
"Thieves Tools"

Pex
2019-02-23, 06:06 PM
Paranoid much? Maybe they just prefer the more realistic RP that comes from you actually not knowing things your characters don't know? I personally prefer not to know things my character doesn't know.

As for the game being "about teamwork and cooperation", the game is about a lot of things, and you can still have teamwork and cooperation without full knowledge. It's not terrible that you might have to learn about your teammates in game. You usually know way MORE than you should IC, why is it so terrible that sometimes you might know less?

Without full knowledge is not the same thing as no knowledge. Refusing to say anything means I can't trust you. If I can't trust you I don't want to adventure with you. For those who like that sort of thing there are games for that. D&D is not one of them.

In one of my games I knew the player was playing a halfing warlock who can change her appearance at will, says "pew pew" when casting Eldritch Blast, and likes to collect gems/rocks. It was only last session I learned her character's real name and she ran away from home. That was fine not knowing until the dramatic reveal. I did need to know she was a halfling warlock to be able to play the game with her.

Keltest
2019-02-23, 06:15 PM
Paranoid much? Maybe they just prefer the more realistic RP that comes from you actually not knowing things your characters don't know? I personally prefer not to know things my character doesn't know.

As for the game being "about teamwork and cooperation", the game is about a lot of things, and you can still have teamwork and cooperation without full knowledge. It's not terrible that you might have to learn about your teammates in game. You usually know way MORE than you should IC, why is it so terrible that sometimes you might know less?

Is this a trick question? its "so terrible" because its important information. If were invoking roleplaying to that degree, such a character concept is automatically unworkable because it fails the "who is this and why are they here?" test. If you cant even explain why your character is here or what they want, you need a better character to roleplay. Out of character, if you wont even tell the other players your class, you've essentially removed yourself from the group. You aren't playing with them, youre playing next to them, or even against them. Theres no cooperation, youre just there, sitting at the table, playing separately.

ngilop
2019-02-23, 06:38 PM
Paranoid much? Maybe they just prefer the more realistic RP that comes from you actually not knowing things your characters don't know? I personally prefer not to know things my character doesn't know.

As for the game being "about teamwork and cooperation", the game is about a lot of things, and you can still have teamwork and cooperation without full knowledge. It's not terrible that you might have to learn about your teammates in game. You usually know way MORE than you should IC, why is it so terrible that sometimes you might know less?

Not so much paranoid just understanding how human interaction works.

Any relationship is built on 2 foundations Trust and Communication. And playing a game with friends or acquaintances is a relationship.

This particular idea literally throws both of those out.

Question the 1st. Why join a game wherein you play with people ( I guess for some such as yourself) cooperatively if you are doing everything to be opposite of that.

Question the 2nd. How do you play D&D when you refuse to work in cooperation with the other players and I guess antagonistic in terms of teamwork? I am seriously asking because I have no idea how that would work and in case I ever play with a person at the table who refuses to work with the other players I can figure out how to play regardless/in spite of.

Great Dragon
2019-02-23, 06:40 PM
IC - even if your Playing the Secret Spy, the Character still shows what Class they are, even if all their Background and History is hidden behind an Alias. The Other PCs still have a Name and a Class to work with.

I suppose that you could hide the fact that your a Paladin, but would still look and mostly act like a Fighter.
-------
I tend to agree with the Not Doing this in OoC thing.

But then, I tend to have to Play/DM with Random Players a lot of the time.

Just moved to a new City, and so - no friends.

MoiMagnus
2019-02-23, 07:39 PM
Paranoid much? Maybe they just prefer the more realistic RP that comes from you actually not knowing things your characters don't know? I personally prefer not to know things my character doesn't know.

Sure, however, for this to work, you need to trust the other player. If the trust between players isn't set up, anything which look antagonistic (like secrets) may degenerate into OOC conflicts. That's why "having secrets" is something quite fun to do at the middle of a campaign, or with a group you know quite well, but I would advice against for the beginning of a campaign with strangers.



As for the game being "about teamwork and cooperation", the game is about a lot of things, and you can still have teamwork and cooperation without full knowledge.

You can have teamwork and cooperation without full knowledge, but you can't if the other players think you are not genuinely trying to cooperate.
I've played plenty of non-D&D games where nobody really knew the power of the others, because they were semi-cooperatives, but I've not seen any D&D game where it would have been accepted by the players, mostly because D&D players I know expect to do technical optimisations at team level (not just character level).



It's not terrible that you might have to learn about your teammates in game. You usually know way MORE than you should IC, why is it so terrible that sometimes you might know less?

Knowing less than your character isn't a problem when only the DM knows what you don't, because they can "change the truth" at any moment to make sure what you've guessed isn't that far from "truth". But you can't do that when another player know the truth.

I know plenty of players who will straight up reject having to suffer consequences from "not knowing stuff they should have known" (possibly asking to change actions done few sessions ago).

(While, to the contrary, a lot of players are actually happy to know more than their characters, feeling like in a "first person omniscient" story.)

OmSwaOperations
2019-03-12, 09:42 AM
Tbf, I get the sense that players (and therefore their characters) can be wise to potentially shady characters in their midst, which decreases how annoying it is (even though I'm sympathetic to the general consensus that this sort of thing is trite and bad for the most part).

To give you an example; once I played in a Dungeon World game where one of the PCs was in service to some Evil Demon. She would occasionally pass notes to the DM, and obviously do shady stuff in the process. However everyone at the table knew this was going on (both OC and - after some rolls - IC as well), and when she did the inevitable heel face turn, she was cut down in about two seconds by a hail of magical artillery prepared for the occasion.

It didn't necessarily impact cooperation too badly prior to her getting killed, either, insofar as there were joint enemies to fight against, loot to win for the whole party, and so on (which gave her a motivation to work with us, and vice versa)... it just added some spice to the game.

The Kool
2019-03-12, 10:46 AM
I've seen a lot of comments regarding secrecy IC/OOC and how well or not well in goes (in short, it depends on the group, be willing to abandon the secrecy if it's causing issues). So I'll address this line here.


The thing that I'm afraid will annoy the group is how not optimized he is.

That depends on how optimized the other characters are. Check in with them if it's alright you're underpowered. If they're fine with it, then you will have no issues. You can check this without blowing any secrets, so there's no reason not to unless you're deliberately trying to troll them. Remember that communication and cooperation are key to having a good time.

Cliff Sedge
2019-03-26, 11:55 PM
I'm working on a character that I think would be fun for me but I don't want to annoy the group.

Paladin, ...

I'm already annoyed.

(Just kidding - kinda)


Variant Human

More annoyed, maybe, .. depends on what you mean by "variant." What's the variation?


... the character is secretive, ...

Super-annoyed.


... and the group wouldn't even know what his class was.
That would be the fun part for me is seeing how long I could keep the class secret.

Please don't.


The thing that I'm afraid will annoy the group is how not optimized he is. . . .

thoughts?

That "not optimized" part is the least-annoying aspect of this character.

As others have mentioned, do not keep you character's secrets secret from the players. Roleplay it for the lulz in-game, but you should ask your fellow players these questions; say to them, "Hey guys, would you be annoyed if I did all this annoying stuff?" and let them at least know that you want to play a secret paladin with a vow of poverty who masquerades as an arcane thief or whatever for fun RP interactions.


I recently tried to watch a live-game stream on Youtube of people playing D&D via Roll20, and it was the beginning of the campaign, so the players were doing the 'introduce our characters' thing, and this one guy (playing Mr. Super-Secret Assassin) wouldn't even tell the other players what he looked like.
Another player asked, "What class are you?"
- "What class do you want me to be?"
- "What's your character's race?"
- "What race do you want me to be?"
- "My character is looking at you; what does he see?"
- "I can look like whatever you want"

I wanted to reach through the screen and punch that guy.

Don't be that guy.

Themrys
2019-03-30, 02:54 PM
I suppose this is a question of whether you prioritize roleplay over optimization.

With the typical "you randomly meet in a tavern" start to an adventure, characters have no logical reason to trust the other PCs, anyway. That's an element you have to ignore more or less anyway. Whether they tell you about their skills makes little difference, a character doesn't have to be a professional thief to steal all your stuff while you are asleep. So, no, I do not think it is a roleplay problem if this guy who wants to go on a dangerous adventure with you doesn't tell you about all his skills, but just that he has a sword and can use it.

What the characters would want to know is if this guy is really as good at fighting as he claims to be, and if he can be trusted.

I play pen&paper games for fun, not for efficiency. (Efficiency at what, exactly? I want to get the maximum of fun out of it)

So, have your paladin imply that he's a common fighter, then have the other characters learn he's a paladin when he needs to use one of this paladins skills to get them out of a sticky situation.
No problem.

What I do have a problem with is his using substandard armor. That doesn't make sense. If he truly wants to fight evil, I'd assume he'd re-invest his money for better equipment. (He can still give the rest of the money to the poor and not buy any luxury items, sure. And since the most expensive kind of equipment likely won't be on sale just about everywhere, he can buy the best thing he can get at that specific place and give the rest of his money to the poor)



For a character of unknown class to not fit into the group, not only would the player of that character have to be a jerk, the GM, who presumably knows about it too, would also have to be a jerk, or incompetent. So, there's that. When I play with a group, I have to trust that the GM isn't an idiot, anyway. If he is one, then a PC with a class that doesn't fit the group is going to be the least of my problems.

D+1
2019-03-31, 10:10 AM
I suppose this is a question of whether you prioritize roleplay over optimization.Really it isn't. The problem is that not all character concepts are equally viable under all circumstances. If nobody else cares how secretive you want to be with the basic details of your character you can play Mr. Undercover to the hilt. Maybe nobody cares because the group doesn't optimize at all. Maybe they don't care because they already have all the strategies and tactics they need worked out with existing characters and that won't change when you introduce Mr. Undercover. Maybe they don't care because they want to permit you to roleplay your concept to your hearts content. Optimization vs. roleplay within the group doesn't matter if they don't care about your concept. But if they do care then it matters whether there's priority on EITHER roleplay or optimization.

If they're optimizers then of course they want and need to know who that character REALLY is and what they can and can't do. If they're roleplayers then they need to adapt THEIR character concept to fit the concept of Mr. Undercover, because the viability of Mr. Undercover in the game REQUIRES that all the other PC's accept the lies, evasion, and obfuscation that they'll be fed until the player of Mr. Undercover finally (if ever) decides to reveal their true identity.

CAN the concept work? Yes. Is it a good idea? Well, it's not an original idea, it's not that clever, and as has been stressed rather well in the thread, it has a great deal of issues with being able to pull it off without just annoying everyone to extreme distraction. That pretty much makes it NOT a very good idea. Certainly not without VERY specific attitudes and approaches to play that are NOT to be casually assumed. It's a concept that just does not work WELL for a PC in an RPG. The overwhelming likelihood is that only the instigating player will derive any satisfaction or entertainment out of it. Everyone else will be most likely to just be frustrated and irritated by it.

People have pooh-poohed the idea of cooperation in D&D, but like it or not that IS the basic conceit of the game - the PC's, regardless of how different they may be, DO work together for mutually beneficial ends. Are there campaigns which defy that convention? Sure. But that is not being presented as a prerequisite for this kind of character concept. It simply does not belong in most campaigns because most campaigns will have players and player characters who want and need truthful, basic information about the other participating characters.


With the typical "you randomly meet in a tavern" start to an adventure, characters have no logical reason to trust the other PCs, anyway. That's an element you have to ignore more or less anyway. Whether they tell you about their skills makes little difference, a character doesn't have to be a professional thief to steal all your stuff while you are asleep.Even with the 'ol "you meet in a tavern" start, maybe they don't have logical reason to trust the other PC's but THEY DO because they are given basic information about their new companions. "Mr. Undercover is w race, x class. His appearance can be described as y. He behaves in manner z." "I am Galstaff, sorceror of light!" Maybe he then reveals information about his past and/or his goals, but the other players/PC's get basic information about him.

NOT having a logical reason to trust the other PC's is deliberately OVERLOOKED because this is an RPG, not a novel, and the first three chapters aren't going to be wasted time spent in pointless character introduction and party formation. The formation of the party is ASSUMED at the time that PLAYING the game actually begins. That is the POINT of summarizing all that getting-to-know-you chit-chat with, "You all meet in a tavern." The understood corollary to that statement is, ".. and you have all learned enough about each other to accept joining together as a party." Perhaps the most typical alternative to, "You all meet in a tavern," is for the DM to say, "You tell ME how you all meet, get to know each other, and decide to join together as a party." The concept in the OP requires that none of the other PC's know so much as the characters class. ALL they know about him is his appearance - and that appearance is intentionally deceptive on the part of the player, giving the PC Vow of Poverty and being deliberately under-optimized with the STATED goal being the fun of seeing how long the deception can be maintained. And the OP started the thread because he's understandably concerned that when the other players find out the truth about the PC they won't be thrilled with the lack of optimization. I think they'll cease to be thrilled at the outset with the intentional deception both in-game and out regardless of not being optimized. Lack of optimization is just increasing their likelihood of annoyance, or raising its limits that much higher.

Save this idea for a novel. For D&D, do everyone a favor and simply come up with something else. Preferably something that doesn't have even the player creating it doubting its viability.

Angelmaker
2019-05-01, 03:11 AM
i have never ever in my last ten years of roleplaying, except when asssisting poeple with creating their characters, asked what class they're playing. I might have asked things like "will you be melee focussed?", etc. But especially in character i couldn't have cared less.

I also never cared if somebody wasn't pulling their weigt, mostly because the DM has to be in on whatever shenanigans the players pull, so he never threw more on us than we could chew.

But i definitly have judged other characters in their merits and accolades when it comes to IC interaction, which is the more fun part anyway. If you had shown reckless behaviour endangering the party, I would certainly say so. But a bit of IC spice is honestly necessary.

So my 0.05$ (and in most of my rgular party's vie) : do what you think is cool with your character. Honestly, having a player not throw all his money into the acquisition of more bling bling does sound fun.

Regarding character/group composition we usually have a session 0 were we agree on a unifying party theme. Everone is trusted to play along those lines, so this is were most of our party cohesion comes from.

SirBellias
2019-05-01, 08:43 PM
Seems like people have a lot of reservations on this, but I find that sort of character fits perfectly in the games I play. Whoever DMs in our groups tend to balance unoptimized characters out with in game boons or magic items through accomplishing missions relating to their backstory (or the DMs plan for them going forward), so that aspect wouldn't be an issue at my table.

Literally not telling the players at least one of your classes would be a bit silly, but you have a really solid idea for a character besides that so explaining who they are and that they are a generalist would probably satisfy my group. Hell, my favorite character so far was a rather poorly optimized strength based bard, and people wouldn't get off my back for not taking Vicious Mockery, but they accepted it after it came up and my character proved their worth in character. Weird builds with interesting capabilities tend to work well in a party if most other things are covered already or if everyone generalizes in a different way.

That said, my group is not your group (probably). So you should probably be asking them. You do have a very inspiring idea that I may use in a future game though, so you're in my group in spirit if nothing else.