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    Default How do I explain to a newbie that their build is underpowered?

    In a (fairly high op)campaign I'm running(a pathfinder game with some 3E stuff, such as ToM, ToB, and oriental adventures) one of the players is determined to play a 3.5 rogue/3.5 fighter(and picking just about the worst feat options possible)...in a group mostly of tier 1 or 2 characters(and a few high tier threes). How should I explain to him that even just pf rogue/pf fighter would be a better option? Should I just have npcs/monsters focus fire him until he dies, and have him reroll/leave?(he has few enough hp and defenses a CR 1/2 creature could one shot him by rolling max damage, or getting a normal damage crit, or hitting him twice, or if any of the players caused any splash damage, including himself)

    He also seems to think that the pf rules are "not worth taking time to learn" currently, despite the fact that from the start I stated the campaign uses them over 3.5 ones, with the only exception being the ability to select classes(other then spell casting ones, exluding the OA shugenja) from 3E/3,5 sources
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    Default Re: How do I explain to a newbie that their build is underpowered?

    The way to explain to him that PF Fighter, and PF Rogue, are better is pretty simple:

    Sit down and explain that those classes were designed to cover the areas where the 3.5 versions failed. Show him the actual classes and have him read them. It isnt like he is playing a paladin which is only definitively worse in one aspect in 3.5 (smite evil) then the PF version*. I may not have read PF Fighter, but even a cursory glance at the table shows to me that they at least understood that feats =/= good.

    One of the things i really found stupid at first about pathfinder, but learned afterwards that isnt really (still havent read the rules for them though), is the rewriting of combat maneuvers. Show him these too. Most of the rest of PF that isnt classes is identical, barring that everyone is proficient with unarmed strikes.

    Throwing PF fighters and PF Rogues against him is going to get a table flipping rage quit that will ruin the entire game for everyone else

    *PF paladin fixes Smite evil and LoH, but otherwise it doesnt add anything. the Archetypes are universally bad, and the Divine bond class feature is considered superior to its actual class value.


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    Default Re: How do I explain to a newbie that their build is underpowered?

    You don't, really. If it's underpowered he'll die soon enough anyway. Just carry on as normal - I've found in life it's much better to let people make their own mistakes and learn from them their own way, than it is to try to help them before they even realise they have a problem - when you do that, the person resents it and becomes stubborn in trying to prove you wrong.

    So yeah. Leave well enough alone, when the inevitable happens have a trick up your storytelling sleeve to get a replacement PC in, and if they ask "How did that happen?!" you can explain about flaws in the class/build, and suggest possible fixes (like PF classes)

    Although I have to say, that seems pretty irritating claiming that rules aren't worth learning. Do you really want this person at your table?
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    Default Re: How do I explain to a newbie that their build is underpowered?

    It is a pbp, so it's more "would I really want him at my virtual table" but I get your point.
    The other thing I realized is that he didn't even bother to at least use a pf sheet from mythweavers, so he wouldn't even have combat maneuver stats. So I've decided just to kick him, unless he ends up understanding pf.
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    Default Re: How do I explain to a newbie that their build is underpowered?

    Ok, first of all, don't do this if you actually want to play with this person again:

    Should I just have npcs/monsters focus fire him until he dies, and have him reroll/leave?
    I mean, if that happened to me, I would leave the group immediately. If I was one of the other players, I would also be inclined to leave at some point in the near future and would be on the lookout for further red flags. Plus, finding out that I just spent time in battle so the DM could teach one of the players a lesson about optimizing characters would just make me resentful of the DM.

    If you're using Pathfinder instead of 3.5 except for in certain key cases, then just explain that the PF rogue and fighter are replacements for the 3.5 rogue and fighter. Explain that if he wants to play those classes, he has to use the PF versions, which happen to be better in most respects. However, I'm getting the impression that non-spellcasting 3.5 classes are fine even when they have PF counterparts, which may be part of the problem.

    I would also try to figure out what he's trying to do with the character - does he have a specific concept in mind, or does he have a specific reason why he prefers this build over others that seem better? He may also be picking those versions just because he's more familiar with them.

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    Default Re: How do I explain to a newbie that their build is underpowered?

    just a quick note: Some people prefer the 3.5 sheets to PF sheets. yes this player was going to be a pain in the ass either way.

    It is a bit of a pain, but when it comes to the official sheets, i find the 3.5 Sheets a bit cleaner then the PF ones

    I dont disagree with your assessment of "Deal with the problem before it happens" though.


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    Default Re: How do I explain to a newbie that their build is underpowered?

    Part of the trouble started when I tried to use blanket ruling to make the big 16 seem less wordy and bloated(I went with 3.5 classes are available, rather then listing; shugenja, barbarian, all ToB, all ToM, spell thief, beguiler, dragon shaman, dragonfire adept, and the homebrewed ozodrin class from these forums). He also seemed to be going for some sort of greatsword wielding, rapier specialized(why on earth did he specialize in a weapon he wasn't going to use?) stealth character. He also never wrote up any sort of backstory(my only rule for it in this case was; have one. even if it's just "you happen to live in the place the campaign starts").
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    Default Re: How do I explain to a newbie that their build is underpowered?

    Talk with him. Ask him what he most wants to be able to do. Tell him that there are far better mechanical options available. Offer to let him change at no cost (basically, redo his character). If he refuses, don't force him to switch.
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    Default Re: How do I explain to a newbie that their build is underpowered?

    The campaign hasn't begun yet, so I do have plenty of time to try to get him to understand that he's making really bad choices for his class(also that he needs some sort of fluff, since he only has hair colour, height and weight so far). I'll probably kick him but I will give a single extra try, just to see if he can come up with a character if I point all these aspects out.
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    Default Re: How do I explain to a newbie that their build is underpowered?

    First: Make it clearer: You are running a PF game not a 3.5 one.
    Second: Update your houserule about 3.5 material, allow the use of it only if it has not been updated in PF. (Which will not allow him any choices about keeping the 3.5 ones)
    Third: Tiers are not related about powerfulness, they concern versatillity. A level 1 wizard who have only rays of frost and magic missile prepared can die quite quickly against a level 1 fighter.
    Forth: Warn him that he looks far weaker than any other players, if he is ok with this, let him try.

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    Default Re: How do I explain to a newbie that their build is underpowered?

    A question that comes to mind for me is..... why did you accept him for your game if you were going to be this critical on his character in the first place?

    if you intended to run a high op campaign and saw that he wanted to be some derpy rogue/fighter hybrid along with not having any place within the world or plan...... why even accept him, I mean, it seems needlessly cruel to say "sorry bro, I know I picked you but your character is too weak and you have no backstory..."

    It seems like this could have all been avoided if you had just screened him at player selection.

    EDIT: This just dawned upon me that it is not particularly helpful. My real message in this is let the guy last out his character, as you gave him a spot in your game already, then if it dies you either find a replacement, or you help him build a stronger character, and warn him that the same will happen if he continues to build weak characters in a high op game.
    Last edited by Averis Vol; 2012-11-16 at 05:33 AM.

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    Default Re: How do I explain to a newbie that their build is underpowered?

    part of the problem was that I thought he was a no-show(he posted once in the recruiting thread then vanished without a trace...until I opened the ooc thread after saying[to the rest of the people, who had made actual characters, and had posted more then once] that "huh?, aye your all accepted, I didn't see any problems with your characters, and my original plans were for a 4-6 person party"...I really shouldn't have been so vague.)
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    Default Re: How do I explain to a newbie that their build is underpowered?

    What role does this player intend to fill?

    When other players consistently perform this roll better, and faster, the player will either get bored or do something silly and get killed.
    Or, the player will be content in performing that role at the level they perform it at, and will just be a poor contributor, but remain a happy enough player.

    Of course, if you wish to speed up the process, by all means build in some greater need of this role than normal.
    IE-If they player wants to be some kind of trapmonkey, and there is already 3 better trapmonkeys, the player will likely adjust in some way. Adding in more traps means the player might come to the realization a bit faster, one way or another.
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    Default Re: How do I explain to a newbie that their build is underpowered?

    Actually, once I linked the parts of the pfsrd he needed he quickly fixed up his character sheet, and is much closer in power to the others now.
    Aparently I just had to link him the pages(which I originally did as more of an insult about his claim of not having enough time)
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    Default Re: How do I explain to a newbie that their build is underpowered?

    Keep an eye on his play though. it might not necessarily be that good.

    Who sane doesnt use the online SRDs or go shoveling for the Crystal Keep Indexes? They save so much time on character creation.

    Also, didnt i say he would probably turn right around if you showed him PF Fighter/Rogue?


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    Default Re: How do I explain to a newbie that their build is underpowered?

    Quote Originally Posted by Togath View Post
    The campaign hasn't begun yet, so I do have plenty of time to try to get him to understand that he's making really bad choices for his class(also that he needs some sort of fluff, since he only has hair colour, height and weight so far). I'll probably kick him but I will give a single extra try, just to see if he can come up with a character if I point all these aspects out.
    I wouldn't bother. He's shown plenty of red flags that say he's going to be a problem player. He's not your friend, so there's no reason to try to make it work above and beyond what you've already done. Just boot him and find a replacement (or run the game with one fewer player).

    I say this, having wished I'd listened to my gut the last time I tried running a game, and ended up having a problem player ragequit when the rest of my players called him out for being a selfish roleplayer.
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    Default Re: How do I explain to a newbie that their build is underpowered?

    I would let them play the character and they'll end up dying normally. Hell, they may be one of those rare "I survived with a junk build" type of people. Heavens know I've ran with many of them.

    Don't try to focus fire on him though, as that's going to be a bad time for you. People remember that stuff later down the line. And it's just better to present the disadvantages to their choices, in challenges as they appear.

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    Default Re: How do I explain to a newbie that their build is underpowered?

    Alright, so he didn't even show you his character, but he somehow got it into his head that you saying that all the characters seem fine means even his. And he somehow thought the "posted interest pages ago and then never spoke again" thing wasn't a factor.

    I think this guy's problems run deeper than having zero genre savviness in D&D.
    Last edited by Jade Dragon; 2012-11-16 at 11:39 PM.

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    Default Re: How do I explain to a newbie that their build is underpowered?

    I do plan to keep an eye out in case he acts up or acts too stupid.
    The setting will require them to think(or at least be smart enough not to zerg rush. edit: an example would be a very obvious trap, and could be disabled even untrained, that triggers a better trap when disabled...or if not disabled is triggered itself), so I should get a decent idea of how he is fairly quickly.
    Last edited by Togath; 2012-11-17 at 04:25 AM.
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    Default Re: How do I explain to a newbie that their build is underpowered?

    Quote Originally Posted by --Lime-- View Post
    You don't, really. If it's underpowered he'll die soon enough anyway. Just carry on as normal - I've found in life it's much better to let people make their own mistakes and learn from them their own way, than it is to try to help them before they even realise they have a problem - when you do that, the person resents it and becomes stubborn in trying to prove you wrong.

    So yeah. Leave well enough alone, when the inevitable happens have a trick up your storytelling sleeve to get a replacement PC in, and if they ask "How did that happen?!" you can explain about flaws in the class/build, and suggest possible fixes (like PF classes)
    Basically.. this.

    I find most theorycrafting is fine for a specific model of a campaign and cannot account for every variable nor the all-important circumstances and context of actual game play.

    You may 'know' their build is 'under powered', on paper.

    Fine. Play out the campaign as normal.

    The player may suprise you. The dice gods may favour them.

    You never know, the mon might even have.. fun.


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    Default Re: How do I explain to a newbie that their build is underpowered?

    Why are you mixing PF and 3.5 classes? Why allow the 3.5 equivalent of a class that exists in PF? Would you allow a 3.5 Druid in PF? So why allow a rogue?

    By allowing 3.5 classes at all, you're creating confusion. Make clear what kind of game you're running, and if he doesn't want to play in that kind of game, he should play in a different game. It's that simple really.

    But if you're allowing it and he's in the game with a sucky character, let him. Don't focus fire on him because of this, but don't spare him either. If his character dies, maybe he'll come to his senses.

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    Default Re: How do I explain to a newbie that their build is underpowered?

    Quote Originally Posted by mcv View Post
    Why are you mixing PF and 3.5 classes? Why allow the 3.5 equivalent of a class that exists in PF? Would you allow a 3.5 Druid in PF? So why allow a rogue?

    By allowing 3.5 classes at all, you're creating confusion. Make clear what kind of game you're running, and if he doesn't want to play in that kind of game, he should play in a different game. It's that simple really.

    But if you're allowing it and he's in the game with a sucky character, let him. Don't focus fire on him because of this, but don't spare him either. If his character dies, maybe he'll come to his senses.
    There are 3.5 classes that they didnt fix really in pf, such as, Paladin (which is moreso a result of Paladin's problems being LoH, the mount, and Smiting. All of which can be fixed in 3.5. Besides that, PF Paladin is actually Irrelevant if you are not going for a healer character. Everything they can do, the Cavalier can and does do better). Druid isnt actually Nerfed in PF, but the reason why it is weaker, is the fact that the options for Druid are nowhere near as powerful or overpowered as the ones in 3.5, same with Wizard, and sorcerer. The thing is, you have to know which ones are more powerful in each version of d20 fantasy.


    besides that: People need to learn to read the topic
    Last edited by toapat; 2012-11-17 at 11:34 AM.


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