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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Quote Originally Posted by Jormengand View Post
    You're... you're kidding, right?

    Apart from an oddly-specific sub-list of undead (namely "Vampires" and "Undead orcs", AFAICT), the spell does exactly as much damage to undead as fireball, hits fewer targets, has a shorter range, and requires a roll to hit at all rather than allowing a roll for half damage. Against vampires and undead orcs, it does an extra one point of damage per level, still has a shorter range and still hits fewer targets and still needs a roll to hit at all. And at least fireball works properly on living creatures and constructs.

    Now of course, a doombringer champion is more likely to have a decent attack bonus than a reflex save DC worth a damn, but searing light is awful. It's one of the worst blasting spells you can get (in fact, most of the light spells seem to be pretty awful).
    no, i wasn't. i do mean what i wrote. for starters, it's a domain spell for sun clerics, which does help tremendously. maybe not "fireball" levels of ubiquity, but it benefits from the sun domain's augmented capabilities and affects all undead (for double damage) and on top of that affects all creatures that have a weakness against flames, making it a surprisingly effective but situational blast against vampires, liches, plant life, and things without a pulse. otherwise, it's just 3d8 damage of laser beam. nothing to sniff at, but there's better.

    i should have specified that it was great for clerics, not wizards. that spell got me out of more tight spots than "enlarge person" ever did, no pun intended.
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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    Not being hugely combat focused also tends to help the jack of all trades - at least they have some relevant skill for most everything, even if they're not on par with an expert.
    That reminds me of a recent experience, which inspires another possibility:
    Make a game where the focal mechanics, sample adventures, adventure hooks, etc, all revolve around combat. Then make a class which focuses on noncombat tasks (e.g, investigation) without giving them unique combat abilities.


    Quote Originally Posted by Guizonde View Post
    i should have specified that it was great for clerics, not wizards. that spell got me out of more tight spots than "enlarge person" ever did, no pun intended.
    I'm no optimization expert, but if your best tactics revolve around blasting as a T1 caster, you may want to stick to low-op games.
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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    I'm no optimization expert, but if your best tactics revolve around blasting as a T1 caster, you may want to stick to low-op games.
    i'm not a great optimizer of t1, namely because i care very little for theory or "magic solves everything". i much prefer situational spells, wits, and quick thinking to solve problems. but when you're in a group that is scared out of their minds by a dm that grew up playing tomb of horrors and cthulu, your wizard is fresh out of spells except for "invisibility" and "haste" and you've got several over-cr undead monsters facing you in a tomb, i was glad to have that little blast as my domain spell for the day. i only prepared that spell more than once on two occasions, and both times i knew we were heading into a crypt.

    most of the time, that game i played halfway between a healbot, a tank, and making sure that whatever my team hit they hit with three to five times their usual force. having a laser beam up my sleeve was "insurance". i do not regret that spell or consider it bad by any means. situational? oh yes, no questions. bad? no way.

    hell, i'm steamrolling a game right now that consists of an oracle, a cleric, and a bard. the paladin is more competent a combattant than the monk (who gets one-hit killed every two sessions), and i'm playing a friggin' inquisitor that is as unoptimized as they come (seriously, a skill-monkey inquisitor... only for the sake of a joke). but why is my inquisitor an invaluable part of the team? because i've got enough experience to know what i can do, what i'm good at, and what i can do to make my team gain as much glory as painlessly as possible. it's not about theoretical power, it's about practical knowledge of what to do when the plot hits your team. which, to be honest is a recurring theme on these boards. a lot of people forget that there is a whole game beyond "playing the sheet".

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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Ah the irony, generally the better you can optimise the less you need to.

    I'll admit in actual games I'll pick options based on two things, what seems fun and how my character's been acting. That's why in a GURPS game I played the party warrior but sunk every CP I earnt into more ranks of Charisma, we never got into fights because we talked our way out of them, and it felt like my Warrior Priest did prefer talking to fighting (that game also revealed that if I don't do a shifty character I'll go full blown lawful idiotic, not helped when my primary disadvantages were Honesty, Truthfullness, and Overconfidence).

    I suspect most of us are the same, and suspect most of us actually stay away from the most powerful builds. Generally those that try their hardest to power game are only about average at it, as a friend once showed me (power gamed like crazy, refused to play any wizards bar Evokers*), and those of us that are good at it will still occasionally outshine others when playing medium-op characters.

    I once arranged for a character to be removed from the game because if it continued I'd have been able to take on the rest of the party (this was M&M and I was the only one who knew how to use Arrays). I was the one having the least fun, as either I'd be equal to the others or I'd be dominating the battle with area effects and high damage precision attacks, I didn't feel good when there was nothing that I was bad at. (Would be a fun build to try again though, although I've got a lot of cooler M&M ideas to try first).

    * Also got annoyed at me when I picked the Fighter class and went for a Dexterity build. I actually ended up relatively sticky at the low levels we were playing, although I was a bit annoyed at my stats as I'd wanted to play an illusionist.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Quote Originally Posted by Guizonde View Post
    no, i wasn't. i do mean what i wrote. for starters, it's a domain spell for sun clerics, which does help tremendously. maybe not "fireball" levels of ubiquity, but it benefits from the sun domain's augmented capabilities and affects all undead (for double damage) and on top of that affects all creatures that have a weakness against flames, making it a surprisingly effective but situational blast against vampires, liches, plant life, and things without a pulse. otherwise, it's just 3d8 damage of laser beam. nothing to sniff at, but there's better.

    i should have specified that it was great for clerics, not wizards. that spell got me out of more tight spots than "enlarge person" ever did, no pun intended.
    For a start, it doesn't "Benefit from the sun domain's augmented capabilities." The augmented capability of the sun domain applies to turn undead, not light spells. Second, it doesn't "Affect all creatures that have a weakness against flames." I mean it does, but it only does half damage to most of them: it only does the d8 per level against undead with a particular weakness to bright light. Plants? d8/2 levels. Liches? d6/level. Things without a pulse? Potentially as little as d6/2 levels. It's like you never even read what the spell did. 3d8 damage of laser beam is terrible when you could have taken a real domain (I shudder to call "Fire" a "Real domain", but Burning Hands deals 1 fewer point of damage out of a first level slot, to multiple creatures. Produce flame deals 5 fewer damage... up to six times. Out of a second level slot. And is generally consdiered terrible). I mean, or if you want to kill undead, rather than dealing 6d6 (21) damage, you could always deal 3d8+6 (19.5) damage with a cure spell, and then at the price of doing ever so slightly less damage (you actually do more damage at 5th level!) you didn't have to prepare a spell that doesn't work properly on anything else. Hells, you didn't have to prepare a spell at all.

    Or! Or! You have turn undead! Why in the nine exalted blazes are you preparing spells which only work on undead when you have a class feature that only works on undead? And is better, because it instantly defeats them if it works!

    The doombringer champion, of course, doesn't have ToRU, but they do have the ability to whack the undead creature twice with a stick - and even if that stick is just a quarterstaff, 2d6+12 damage for two whacks is still almost as much as 6d6 and doesn't cost spell slots. More likely, a doombringer champion will actually have a real weapon proficiency, and therefore deal 4d6+12 damage, which is even more!

    Searing light is both mathematically and practically not a good spell, and certainly not "One of the best". It's simply awful.
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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Quote Originally Posted by Jormengand View Post
    For a start, it doesn't "Benefit from the sun domain's augmented capabilities." The augmented capability of the sun domain applies to turn undead, not light spells. Second, it doesn't "Affect all creatures that have a weakness against flames." I mean it does, but it only does half damage to most of them: it only does the d8 per level against undead with a particular weakness to bright light. Plants? d8/2 levels. Liches? d6/level. Things without a pulse? Potentially as little as d6/2 levels. It's like you never even read what the spell did. 3d8 damage of laser beam is terrible when you could have taken a real domain (I shudder to call "Fire" a "Real domain", but Burning Hands deals 1 fewer point of damage out of a first level slot, to multiple creatures. Produce flame deals 5 fewer damage... up to six times. Out of a second level slot. And is generally consdiered terrible). I mean, or if you want to kill undead, rather than dealing 6d6 (21) damage, you could always deal 3d8+6 (19.5) damage with a cure spell, and then at the price of doing ever so slightly less damage (you actually do more damage at 5th level!) you didn't have to prepare a spell that doesn't work properly on anything else. Hells, you didn't have to prepare a spell at all.

    Or! Or! You have turn undead! Why in the nine exalted blazes are you preparing spells which only work on undead when you have a class feature that only works on undead? And is better, because it instantly defeats them if it works!

    The doombringer champion, of course, doesn't have ToRU, but they do have the ability to whack the undead creature twice with a stick - and even if that stick is just a quarterstaff, 2d6+12 damage for two whacks is still almost as much as 6d6 and doesn't cost spell slots. More likely, a doombringer champion will actually have a real weapon proficiency, and therefore deal 4d6+12 damage, which is even more!

    Searing light is both mathematically and practically not a good spell, and certainly not "One of the best". It's simply awful.

    ok, ok, you know what? yes, my memory is a bit hazy regarding that spell. i needed the sun domain for the prc, although i didn't mind it. why didn't i turn or heal? because i was out of one and my team's total hp was under 10. having a ranged attack as a mandatory spell was a bit better than casting moderate heal (which i could've just swapped out any other spell for). that level 5 cleric was optimized for healing at that moment, not for attacking 13th level lich-like specter-things. hindsight is 20/20, i'll give you that. i'm still glad i had that spell.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Ah the irony, generally the better you can optimise the less you need to.

    I'll admit in actual games I'll pick options based on two things, what seems fun and how my character's been acting. That's why in a GURPS game I played the party warrior but sunk every CP I earnt into more ranks of Charisma, we never got into fights because we talked our way out of them, and it felt like my Warrior Priest did prefer talking to fighting (that game also revealed that if I don't do a shifty character I'll go full blown lawful idiotic, not helped when my primary disadvantages were Honesty, Truthfullness, and Overconfidence).

    I suspect most of us are the same, and suspect most of us actually stay away from the most powerful builds. Generally those that try their hardest to power game are only about average at it, as a friend once showed me (power gamed like crazy, refused to play any wizards bar Evokers*), and those of us that are good at it will still occasionally outshine others when playing medium-op characters.

    I once arranged for a character to be removed from the game because if it continued I'd have been able to take on the rest of the party (this was M&M and I was the only one who knew how to use Arrays). I was the one having the least fun, as either I'd be equal to the others or I'd be dominating the battle with area effects and high damage precision attacks, I didn't feel good when there was nothing that I was bad at. (Would be a fun build to try again though, although I've got a lot of cooler M&M ideas to try first).

    * Also got annoyed at me when I picked the Fighter class and went for a Dexterity build. I actually ended up relatively sticky at the low levels we were playing, although I was a bit annoyed at my stats as I'd wanted to play an illusionist.
    you know how they say "no plot survives first contact with the players"? well, "no build survives first contact with the plot" is just as true. it's also why i'm loathing dnd/pf/d20 more and more. for example, let's take my two current characters, inquisitor josé (pathfinder), and arch-militant raymond (rogue trader). for josé, i've got his build roughly outlined until level 10, and written up until level 8, he's level 4. i know that whatever i write will change based on the demands of the plot since i'm working with unknown variables all the time. i might get an item that radically changes my entire layout. i might fall, forcing me into swapping inquisitions to heretic (currently heresy because of reasons). i hate that whole tzeentchian planning, oh, the planning might be all for nought if the campaign ended due to irl troubles.
    now, raymond up there? he's muscle. he's got skills from his backstory. his progression is unknown to me at the moment because the plot and his actions dictate how he'll grow (if. it is rogue trader and death and dismemberment is an ever-present possibility). he's got a hellgun and doesn't afraid of anything, which is kind of a fringe benefit since we're currently neck-deep salvaging a wreck. none of the players have any idea how it will turn out. i prefer narrative structures to build characters, it creates a better story and it creates more believable characters, which incidentally is my gripe with a lot of dnd prc's. you can't get into a lot of them without lots of forward planning. i try to never have "dead levels", instead being relevant no matter the level or the build.

    regarding the "trap choices", one of the teammates of my rsop cleric up there was a sorceror going into draconic disciple. that guy flaunted his "optimizing" to high heavens and yet pulled us back a lot. you don't play "support and cqc" as a sorceror specced in divination if you value not dying or being useful.
    Last edited by Guizonde; 2017-11-30 at 02:39 AM.
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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Quote Originally Posted by Guizonde View Post
    well, "no build survives first contact with the plot" is just as true. it's also why i'm loathing dnd/pf/d20 more and more. for example, let's take my two current characters, inquisitor josé (pathfinder), and arch-militant raymond (rogue trader). for josé, i've got his build roughly outlined until level 10, and written up until level 8, he's level 4. i know that whatever i write will change based on the demands of the plot since i'm working with unknown variables all the time. i might get an item that radically changes my entire layout. i might fall, forcing me into swapping inquisitions to heretic (currently heresy because of reasons). i hate that whole tzeentchian planning, oh, the planning might be all for nought if the campaign ended due to irl troubles.
    The idea of "the stormwind fallacy" falls apart when you have to roleplay the character acquiring all those specific skills.

    At this point I'd say "why don't you just stick to a base class", but that only really works for casters. Maybe if you let characters take one full castor or gestalt into two "base only" melee (or maybe one [non-full] caster and one melee?

    But this type of answer doesn't rake in the money for WOTC/Pazio, so the game was designed to make it less and less viable.
    Last edited by wumpus; 2017-11-30 at 12:04 PM.

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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Quote Originally Posted by Guizonde View Post
    you know how they say "no plot survives first contact with the players"? well, "no build survives first contact with the plot" is just as true. it's also why i'm loathing dnd/pf/d20 more and more. for example, let's take my two current characters, inquisitor josé (pathfinder), and arch-militant raymond (rogue trader). for josé, i've got his build roughly outlined until level 10, and written up until level 8, he's level 4. i know that whatever i write will change based on the demands of the plot since i'm working with unknown variables all the time. i might get an item that radically changes my entire layout. i might fall, forcing me into swapping inquisitions to heretic (currently heresy because of reasons). i hate that whole tzeentchian planning, oh, the planning might be all for nought if the campaign ended due to irl troubles.
    now, raymond up there? he's muscle. he's got skills from his backstory. his progression is unknown to me at the moment because the plot and his actions dictate how he'll grow (if. it is rogue trader and death and dismemberment is an ever-present possibility). he's got a hellgun and doesn't afraid of anything, which is kind of a fringe benefit since we're currently neck-deep salvaging a wreck. none of the players have any idea how it will turn out. i prefer narrative structures to build characters, it creates a better story and it creates more believable characters, which incidentally is my gripe with a lot of dnd prc's. you can't get into a lot of them without lots of forward planning. i try to never have "dead levels", instead being relevant no matter the level or the build.
    Oh certainly. I've given up on planning builds, instead I'll op a character at the starting level and then pick my level up choices when we level up. It's just not worth the hassle, especially after the time I made an illusionist who banned Evocation and the GM immediately filled the dungeon with mindless undead and contructs.

    regarding the "trap choices", one of the teammates of my rsop cleric up there was a sorceror going into draconic disciple. that guy flaunted his "optimizing" to high heavens and yet pulled us back a lot. you don't play "support and cqc" as a sorceror specced in divination if you value not dying or being useful.
    What really annoyed me about it was that he knew Evoker was a weak choice, and that I was playing a melee character, and then started complaining that my human with about 16 Dexterity and possibly Improved Initiative (it's been a few years) consistently won initiative and charged into the thick of things. I could probably have also taken him in a fight despite a rather dreadful build, I had a decent chance of surviving his daily allotment of spells.

    Quote Originally Posted by wumpus View Post
    The idea of "the stormwind fallacy" falls apart when you have to roleplay the character acquiring all those specific skills.

    At this point I'd say "why don't you just stick to a base class", but that only really works for casters. Maybe if you let characters take one full castor or gestalt into two "base only" melee (or maybe one [non-full] caster and one melee?

    But this type of answer doesn't rake in the money for WOTC/Pazio, so the game was designed to make it less and less viable.
    Honestly? I think we should start going back to less defined characters, let people just assign ranks to DIY skills and ignore trying to codify magic in a system. All my favourite games these days are like that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Honestly? I think we should start going back to less defined characters, let people just assign ranks to DIY skills and ignore trying to codify magic in a system. All my favourite games these days are like that.
    That really is a personal taste thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guizonde View Post
    you know how they say "no plot survives first contact with the players"? well, "no build survives first contact with the plot" is just as true. it's also why i'm loathing dnd/pf/d20 more and more. -snip-
    I've played D&D (and Pathfinder) for years, and never felt the need to plan out my character's build. I don't fault anyone who does that, but I do question anyone who thinks it's a core part of the experience.

    regarding the "trap choices", one of the teammates of my rsop cleric up there was a sorceror going into draconic disciple.
    Yeah..."trap choices" are indefensible. And there are a fair number of them in D&D. The game isn't literally unplayable if you stumble into them, but I'd call it a fair reason to hate the system.


    Quote Originally Posted by wumpus View Post
    The idea of "the stormwind fallacy" falls apart when you have to roleplay the character acquiring all those specific skills.
    ...What?
    So, you claim that a character multiclassing and acquiring a bunch of specific skills is both impossible and required for the Stormwind Fallacy to be a valid critique, correct? I don't see how either of those is true. Could you explain this sentence which is kinda important to the rest of your post making sense?


    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    That really is a personal taste thing.
    What? Don't be ridiculous. I have the most fun doing X, so therefore X must be the most fun thing. This also fits in well with some rhetoric I've heard about games that resonated with me, so it must be true.
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    Ah, thank you very much GreatWyrmGold, you obviously live up to that name with your intelligence and wisdom with that post.
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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    I've played D&D (and Pathfinder) for years, and never felt the need to plan out my character's build. I don't fault anyone who does that, but I do question anyone who thinks it's a core part of the experience.


    Yeah..."trap choices" are indefensible. And there are a fair number of them in D&D. The game isn't literally unplayable if you stumble into them, but I'd call it a fair reason to hate the system.

    i've done it only a couple of times myself until i went with "improvise along the way". on the other hand it seems that a lot of my friends (those that actually like the nitty-gritty of the system) look forward to doing a 1-20 build, even if it never gets used. i guess it's akin to having a swiss army knife.

    i know i kept hearing later on that dragon disciple is "a good choice", but there are also a lot of other classes that keep getting bandied around like it's the be-all-end-all-you-can't-say-you've-experienced-dnd-unless-you've-played-that-class awesome things (that nobody really ever plays). i wanted to play a halfling outrider, but mechanically, a cavalry build meant to kite is very situational. it's early morning here and can't think of other examples for now, though.

    re: the stormwind fallacy thing. i think i can sort of see where you're coming from, but what i meant was that in a 1-20 pre-build, i don't know how the plot will influence my character development thus why i change partway through. sometimes i just can't contrive my character's personality to stick to the build (if ever). it's just not my style of roleplay, but my monk teammate is currently in that optic... even if he's a dead-weight dps-wise until level 7 or so, he's still a bag of hp and a better target for the dm than the oracle or cleric. my build by necessity had to include a lot more of cqc-orientation as a result to compensate (although i still kick myself for taking twf... idiot trap choice...)
    regarding my choice of sustenance:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    That really is a personal taste thing.
    Sorry, I thought saying 'I think' would make it clear that it was a personal opinion. It just seems to be like the games I've enjoyed recently have been rules medium or less, which is reflected in the games I write.

    I'm honestly against giving characters special rules-defined abilities these days, I think that they just over-complicate gameplay too much. But again, that's very much a personal preference. It shows in the games I run/play (where the most complex it might get is 'you have access to a couple of combat techniques' and most of the character is just their stats and skills).

    However the fact that people have different tastes is a great thing, that's why I tried to write it as an opinion rather than a fact.
    I prefer science fiction to fantasy, and generally play in the former genre. Due to this, I generally expect the laws of physics to apply to games, and work from that perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guizonde View Post
    i've done it only a couple of times myself until i went with "improvise along the way". on the other hand it seems that a lot of my friends (those that actually like the nitty-gritty of the system) look forward to doing a 1-20 build, even if it never gets used. i guess it's akin to having a swiss army knife.
    Some people just like building builds. To each their own.

    i know i kept hearing later on that dragon disciple is "a good choice", but there are also a lot of other classes that keep getting bandied around like it's the be-all-end-all-you-can't-say-you've-experienced-dnd-unless-you've-played-that-class awesome things (that nobody really ever plays). i wanted to play a halfling outrider, but mechanically, a cavalry build meant to kite is very situational. it's early morning here and can't think of other examples for now, though.
    Yeah, D&D is not a good game for completionists...

    re: the stormwind fallacy thing. i think i can sort of see where you're coming from, but what i meant was that in a 1-20 pre-build, i don't know how the plot will influence my character development thus why i change partway through. sometimes i just can't contrive my character's personality to stick to the build (if ever). it's just not my style of roleplay, but my monk teammate is currently in that optic... even if he's a dead-weight dps-wise until level 7 or so, he's still a bag of hp and a better target for the dm than the oracle or cleric. my build by necessity had to include a lot more of cqc-orientation as a result to compensate (although i still kick myself for taking twf... idiot trap choice...)
    I've never thought of my character build as being tied to my character's personality. I mean, it would be good if I could find a way to do that, but nobody else in my gaming group cares particularly about game design or the interplay of mechanics and narrative, so I try not to worry too much about the details nobody else will care about. I try to keep my character's build matching his character in broad strokes, but don't worry too much about the details.
    Though it probably helps that I don't usually do complex builds. Some people like building builds, and I am not one.


    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Sorry, I thought saying 'I think' would make it clear that it was a personal opinion.
    Just because you start it with "I think" doesn't mean it's an opinion to be judged as any other. When you follow "I think" with "we should," you're proposing a course of action for everyone to follow. Not all opinions are the same; an opinion that everyone should do it your way is far different than an opinion that your way is fun.

    I'm honestly against giving characters special rules-defined abilities these days, I think that they just over-complicate gameplay too much.
    I'm curious as to what you mean. And how you adjudicate special abilities.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    Just because you start it with "I think" doesn't mean it's an opinion to be judged as any other. When you follow "I think" with "we should," you're proposing a course of action for everyone to follow. Not all opinions are the same; an opinion that everyone should do it your way is far different than an opinion that your way is fun.
    Yeah yeah, I know, I wasn't clear and implied something I didn't quite mean.

    To explain, I personally think that games should move towards lighter, more freeform mechanics, but this doesn't mean I think somebody who's view is 'games should move towards more complicated, specific mechanics' is wrong. I'm very much of the view that somebody can have a different opinion to me and be right.

    I'm curious as to what you mean. And how you adjudicate special abilities.
    In all honesty? By making special abilities special. PCs should not get special abilities just for being PCs, they generally already get extra stat and skill points compared to NPCs.

    But to explain, let's say that I'm running a game where PCs may have studied at martial arts academies and wield various sytles. Instead of making them learn techniques and stuff each style is just written on their sheet with a couple of adjectives. In this case I wouldn't give somebody with a style an advantage or disadvantage against somebody without a style, but if somebody with a quick, brutal style goes up against somebody with a showy, defensive style I might give bonuses.

    Or lets say a character can do magic. Each spell is probably a skill, so your character might have Talk to Animals 3, Bolts of Force 1, and Evil Eye 4. That's all I need, because other characters might have skills like Knight of the Chalice or Inventing.

    So in short? On the fly, because there's less chaff to get in the way.
    I prefer science fiction to fantasy, and generally play in the former genre. Due to this, I generally expect the laws of physics to apply to games, and work from that perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Two quick questions about your rulesless special abilities.

    1. How do you determine that a quick, brutal style is superior to a showy, defensive style? Some kind of rules, perhaps?
    2. What do the numbers associated with special skills indicate? Are they connected to some kind of rules?

    It's sounding less like you don't use rules and more like you use different rules. Which is fine, of course, but I'd like to make sure we're all on the same page here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    Two quick questions about your rulesless special abilities.

    1. How do you determine that a quick, brutal style is superior to a showy, defensive style? Some kind of rules, perhaps?
    2. What do the numbers associated with special skills indicate? Are they connected to some kind of rules?

    It's sounding less like you don't use rules and more like you use different rules. Which is fine, of course, but I'd like to make sure we're all on the same page here.
    1) No clue, randomly came up with the example. But yeah, I'd likely come up with a bunch of different descriptors and a set of rock paper scissor mechanics for what gets bonuses against what.
    2) Skill ranks. You want to talk to animals? Roll your Talk to Animals skill.

    But the idea is that the rules should generally be more freeform and much less 'a 63rd level digger gets the reloate pebbles ability'.
    I prefer science fiction to fantasy, and generally play in the former genre. Due to this, I generally expect the laws of physics to apply to games, and work from that perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Okay, are you familiar with a strawman argument? Because while that 63rd-level digger isn't strawmanning anything I've said, it's still a strawman of the kind of thing you apparently don't like. It sounds patently ridiculous, so it's clearly bad.
    But it's not even good as a strawman, because beyond being ridiculous, it's not entirely clear what your issue is with. Do you not approve of how granular more mechanically-defined abilities are? Do you not like the presence of specific abilities with specific limits? Do you not like leveling-up granting preset, arbitrary abilities? It's not helpful.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    Okay, are you familiar with a strawman argument? Because while that 63rd-level digger isn't strawmanning anything I've said, it's still a strawman of the kind of thing you apparently don't like. It sounds patently ridiculous, so it's clearly bad.
    But it's not even good as a strawman, because beyond being ridiculous, it's not entirely clear what your issue is with. Do you not approve of how granular more mechanically-defined abilities are? Do you not like the presence of specific abilities with specific limits? Do you not like leveling-up granting preset, arbitrary abilities? It's not helpful.
    Arbitrary abilities, gained at arbitrary times, that don't actually make the game more fun. Like the classes in D&D5e, so many abilities, at most I'll use like three in the campaign. I don't like having defined abilities separate from skills at all if I can get away with it, if I can't I like the mechanics as simple as possible.
    I prefer science fiction to fantasy, and generally play in the former genre. Due to this, I generally expect the laws of physics to apply to games, and work from that perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Arbitrary abilities, gained at arbitrary times, that don't actually make the game more fun. Like the classes in D&D5e, so many abilities, at most I'll use like three in the campaign. I don't like having defined abilities separate from skills at all if I can get away with it, if I can't I like the mechanics as simple as possible.
    How much 5e have you played? The only place I can see that critique truly applies to is spells; my AT has used his actual class abilities almost constantly, and most of his spells have been used at least once (although fire bolt and shield get a lot more play time than most).

    I don’t get a lot of chances to play, so a system that I can spend free time coming up with different build synergies and wacky combos in is important to my gaming experience. Different games scratch that itch differently; for example, Nobilis’ special abilities are more loose and narrativistic, but gluing together different Keys and other elements allows for a non-mechanics-driven example of build synergy. 5e DnD’s abilities are more mechanically solidified and segregated, but the race-class-background setup actually intrigued me more than the abilities themselves, and having a list of abilities which interact in one way or another is more of a bonus than anything. I could probably keep going, but I think that’s enough for me to finish up from - if every RPG company decides to follow through with toning down its mechanical complexity and depth, I’d probably be one of the folks who’s less than thrilled. I like my character building too much to be satisfied with something approaching your ideal game, Anon.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Sorry, I thought saying 'I think' would make it clear that it was a personal opinion. It just seems to be like the games I've enjoyed recently have been rules medium or less, which is reflected in the games I write.

    I'm honestly against giving characters special rules-defined abilities these days, I think that they just over-complicate gameplay too much. But again, that's very much a personal preference. It shows in the games I run/play (where the most complex it might get is 'you have access to a couple of combat techniques' and most of the character is just their stats and skills).

    However the fact that people have different tastes is a great thing, that's why I tried to write it as an opinion rather than a fact.
    Ah. In that case, more power to you.

    Personally, I like rules-crunchier systems, because I like being able to predict what my character can actually do without having to negotiate with the GM each time I come up with something new. I like the unforeseen interactions that a crunchier system can lead to, even though this also leads sometimes to stupid unforeseen interactions that need to be adjudicated out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JBPuffin View Post
    How much 5e have you played? The only place I can see that critique truly applies to is spells; my AT has used his actual class abilities almost constantly, and most of his spells have been used at least once (although fire bolt and shield get a lot more play time than most).

    I don’t get a lot of chances to play, so a system that I can spend free time coming up with different build synergies and wacky combos in is important to my gaming experience. Different games scratch that itch differently; for example, Nobilis’ special abilities are more loose and narrativistic, but gluing together different Keys and other elements allows for a non-mechanics-driven example of build synergy. 5e DnD’s abilities are more mechanically solidified and segregated, but the race-class-background setup actually intrigued me more than the abilities themselves, and having a list of abilities which interact in one way or another is more of a bonus than anything. I could probably keep going, but I think that’s enough for me to finish up from - if every RPG company decides to follow through with toning down its mechanical complexity and depth, I’d probably be one of the folks who’s less than thrilled. I like my character building too much to be satisfied with something approaching your ideal game, Anon.
    Sorry, again, trying to give personal experience. Whenever I've had a character with more than about three abilities they quickly get forgotten, no matter the system (except for spells, weirdly, but even then if I have more than a handful I'll just use the same subset over and over). Reactive abilities are even worse for me.

    So yeah, I have a distinct interest in limiting the number of abilities a character has. If it gets to ten or more I'll forget them in the heat of the moment, two to five seems to be a sweet spot for me where they'll be remembered and used. Which is strangely why my favourite 5e class is the Fighter, followed by the Barbarian, as it has the fewest distinct abilities (which yes, does include spells, although they seem to count for half an ability in my brain).
    I prefer science fiction to fantasy, and generally play in the former genre. Due to this, I generally expect the laws of physics to apply to games, and work from that perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    Personally, I like rules-crunchier systems, because I like being able to predict what my character can actually do without having to negotiate with the GM each time I come up with something new.
    That's the big thing for me. I don't like playing "GM May I" as player or GM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Sorry, again, trying to give personal experience. Whenever I've had a character with more than about three abilities they quickly get forgotten, no matter the system (except for spells, weirdly, but even then if I have more than a handful I'll just use the same subset over and over). Reactive abilities are even worse for me.

    So yeah, I have a distinct interest in limiting the number of abilities a character has. If it gets to ten or more I'll forget them in the heat of the moment, two to five seems to be a sweet spot for me where they'll be remembered and used. Which is strangely why my favourite 5e class is the Fighter, followed by the Barbarian, as it has the fewest distinct abilities (which yes, does include spells, although they seem to count for half an ability in my brain).
    I’m like that with trading card games and competitive online stuff; the pressure of competition shoots them right out of my brain. It confuses the heck out of my friend who plays League of Legends - he thinks I ought to be better than I am in practice (partially from a lack of practice, but that’s only half of it).
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBPuffin View Post
    How much 5e have you played? The only place I can see that critique truly applies to is spells; my AT has used his actual class abilities almost constantly, and most of his spells have been used at least once (although fire bolt and shield get a lot more play time than most).
    The extent to which 5e assigns abilities that are just useless isn't the point here - it's more about a preference for which character building elements are standard. To make some really sweeping generalizations that only apply to pretty traditional RPGs there's about a half dozen major categories of character abilities that crop up a lot. You've got stats, skills, talents, powers, tags, and pools. None of those are extremely well defined and some of them are pretty oblique, but as a quick set of definitions:
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    Stats: Attributes, derived attributes, and other mechanical constants that aren't skills. D&D examples would be the attributes, AC, saves, BAB, and move rate.
    Skills: Numerical ratings for accomplishing specific tasks. Skills fit here, BAB kind of fits here (it's a good example of a fuzzy boundary), and profession ranks fit here in games like Barbarians of Lemuria (where instead of having Stealth X, Sailing Y, Climb Z you have Thief X, Navigator Y, Cultist Z).
    Talents: Individual bonuses that aren't directly rolled but affect stats and skills or provide soft bonuses. Feats are a textbook example, but usually you'll see talents, gifts, or advantages used as the term.
    Powers: These are abilities you have which are directly used. Spells and class abilities that aren't passive generally fit here in D&D, but if you really want to see these on display take a look at HERO system.
    Tags: Tags are descriptions that don't do anything on their own but which can get tied into other traits (mostly though permissions or targeting on those traits). Alignment is a tag, as are monster types. Outside D&D the obvious example is Fate's Aspects. This is a particularly fuzzy category.
    Pools: Pools are resources that dwindle with use and generally get replenished. HP and spell slots are the obvious D&D examples, but these crop up all over the place.


    Anonymouswizard has been expressing a preference towards systems that are primarily or even entirely stat-skill systems, and a dispreference towards powers specifically. This preference set exists independant of the quality of a given powers system. D&D meanwhile is a stat-power system with the rest being comparatively minor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    So yeah, I have a distinct interest in limiting the number of abilities a character has. If it gets to ten or more I'll forget them in the heat of the moment, two to five seems to be a sweet spot for me where they'll be remembered and used. Which is strangely why my favourite 5e class is the Fighter, followed by the Barbarian, as it has the fewest distinct abilities (which yes, does include spells, although they seem to count for half an ability in my brain).
    Personal preference here, but I'd hate to play a character who can only do 2-5 things. In a recent campaign, I always wound up either summoning celestial hyenas or shooting my bow at things, and that was boring. (Though the fact that neither me nor Shenzi felt effective didn't help.) Now, I can see having a few abilities which worked together to let me do more meaningfully-different things, but that seems like it would run into the same issues as having that larger number of things to do with an equal number of abilities.
    I suppose one objective counterargument is that I'm not sure there's a direct correlation between number of abilities and variety of available actions, especially once you strip out blatantly foolish choices (e.g, raging in a useless encounter, or not raging at the start of a major one).

    I dunno if this'll help you any with making you like other character/game concepts more, but I'd recommend not making yourself decide what to do in the heat of the moment. Try planning ahead of time, in the 15-20 minutes it takes from when you roll your last dice to when your turn comes up again. Look over your spell list while the others are rolling, see if any look like they'd be useful/effective/interesting to use in your current scenario, and figure out what you'll try to do. Sure, another player's action might invalidate what you tried to do, but in most cases your strategy will be adaptable with some changes. And if not, well, you're no worse off than you would be without planning.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    The extent to which 5e assigns abilities that are just useless isn't the point here - it's more about a preference for which character building elements are standard. To make some really sweeping generalizations that only apply to pretty traditional RPGs there's about a half dozen major categories of character abilities that crop up a lot. You've got stats, skills, talents, powers, tags, and pools. None of those are extremely well defined and some of them are pretty oblique, but as a quick set of definitions:
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    Stats: Attributes, derived attributes, and other mechanical constants that aren't skills. D&D examples would be the attributes, AC, saves, BAB, and move rate.
    Skills: Numerical ratings for accomplishing specific tasks. Skills fit here, BAB kind of fits here (it's a good example of a fuzzy boundary), and profession ranks fit here in games like Barbarians of Lemuria (where instead of having Stealth X, Sailing Y, Climb Z you have Thief X, Navigator Y, Cultist Z).
    Talents: Individual bonuses that aren't directly rolled but affect stats and skills or provide soft bonuses. Feats are a textbook example, but usually you'll see talents, gifts, or advantages used as the term.
    Powers: These are abilities you have which are directly used. Spells and class abilities that aren't passive generally fit here in D&D, but if you really want to see these on display take a look at HERO system.
    Tags: Tags are descriptions that don't do anything on their own but which can get tied into other traits (mostly though permissions or targeting on those traits). Alignment is a tag, as are monster types. Outside D&D the obvious example is Fate's Aspects. This is a particularly fuzzy category.
    Pools: Pools are resources that dwindle with use and generally get replenished. HP and spell slots are the obvious D&D examples, but these crop up all over the place.


    Anonymouswizard has been expressing a preference towards systems that are primarily or even entirely stat-skill systems, and a dispreference towards powers specifically. This preference set exists independant of the quality of a given powers system. D&D meanwhile is a stat-power system with the rest being comparatively minor.
    Yeah, essentially this. I'm just bad at expressing myself* so I tend to say something that makes perfect sense to me and people take it in a completely different direction. Although I'm not completely against Stat-Powers systems if they leave skills and talents out of it, I like Lamentations of the Flame Princess and I don't actually know why (once we get past the nostalgia factor).

    * I kid you not, I've got no clue as to how I attracted the woman I'm in a sort-of relationship with.

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    Personal preference here, but I'd hate to play a character who can only do 2-5 things. In a recent campaign, I always wound up either summoning celestial hyenas or shooting my bow at things, and that was boring. (Though the fact that neither me nor Shenzi felt effective didn't help.) Now, I can see having a few abilities which worked together to let me do more meaningfully-different things, but that seems like it would run into the same issues as having that larger number of things to do with an equal number of abilities.
    I suppose one objective counterargument is that I'm not sure there's a direct correlation between number of abilities and variety of available actions, especially once you strip out blatantly foolish choices (e.g, raging in a useless encounter, or not raging at the start of a major one).
    Okay, it's obvious we play different games. The ones I play are light on enabling abilities, to the point where they might even leave out magic systems, so the idea is that the number of actions you can take is not dictated by what's on your sheet. Flip a table to provide the party with some cover, deactivate the reactor to put out the lights, attack the hull to let out the atmosphere, these are all viable actions that don't require abilities.

    Honestly, while I used to always play mages, I'm liking Barbarians a lot more. Sure, I'll still take an engineer character if the game offers because they give me a lot of thinking time when I'm using my creation abilities, but if it's something I have to use now for an advantage, I've got no problem with saying 'I attack again'.

    Seriously, I hated playing a 5e Battlemaster because I had to work out if spending SD was worth it, and so never did. The Champion is a much better fit for me (and ironically the Sorcerer is the best 5e caster for me).

    While your playstyle is great for you, it sucks for me. I used to play like that, and never had time to consider 'is this what my character would do' because I was too busy comparing all my options.

    I dunno if this'll help you any with making you like other character/game concepts more, but I'd recommend not making yourself decide what to do in the heat of the moment. Try planning ahead of time, in the 15-20 minutes it takes from when you roll your last dice to when your turn comes up again. Look over your spell list while the others are rolling, see if any look like they'd be useful/effective/interesting to use in your current scenario, and figure out what you'll try to do. Sure, another player's action might invalidate what you tried to do, but in most cases your strategy will be adaptable with some changes. And if not, well, you're no worse off than you would be without planning.
    Honestly? You're not telling me to do anything I don't do, but in the games I tend to play the situation could change significantly between one round and the next (which might take as little as five minutes). Plus I suffer from decision paralysis outside of gaming as well, it's a real problem.

    Heck, when playing a game of Mutants and Masterminds I had a lot more fun when playing a speedster than a telekinetic, because I didn't have to look at my eight item array every round and pick the best action, I had to ask myself if I was going to use my speed or my strength (both were high, but I could only be in one 'mode' at a time for combat) in the situation at hand, and could actually judge how they applied. I jotted some notes down, when running fast I could move over water and up walls, and it made my decision making a lot easier. Which, believe it or not, made me start using longer term plans (including attempting to invalidate a villain's trump card before the fight with them began).

    For the record, this is how I see the 5e Barbarian:
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    Rage: cool, an option that gives me a boost for the combat.
    Unarmoured Defence: it's just a change to a number on my character sheet, I'll note my AC and I don't have to consider it.
    Reckless Attack: another cool option, and one to consider every round.
    Extra Attack: must remember I have that. Normally will, it's just a case of 'make two attacks a round instead of one'.
    Feral Instinct: I'll honestly generally forget this, but it won't affect my enjoyment.
    Brutal Critical: Awesome, I hope I remember.
    Relentless Rage: Again, I'll honestly forget about it. But when I remember during the climactic battle it'll be nice.
    Persistent Rage: Won't come up much, but it'll be cool.
    Indomitable Might: won't really make a difference, but it's still a cool passive.
    Primal Champion: Just changes numbers on the sheet, easy to remember.

    That's what, two active use abilities to remember, three if I go Berserker, and five passives of which three won't overly affect me if I forget. Compare to the Fighter, who has two active abilities and one reactionary one, with most features being extra uses, and is also good, to the Monk who has seven active abilities, a couple of reactionaries and a load of passive ones without getting into the subclass. Or the Paladin, who gets four, plus spellcasting, plus a bunch of passives, and has to juggle smites with spellcasting?
    I prefer science fiction to fantasy, and generally play in the former genre. Due to this, I generally expect the laws of physics to apply to games, and work from that perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  27. - Top - End - #87
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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Okay, it's obvious we play different games. The ones I play are light on enabling abilities, to the point where they might even leave out magic systems, so the idea is that the number of actions you can take is not dictated by what's on your sheet.
    Now I'm even more confused. You don't like having too many abilities because they make it hard to decide what to do...but what you can do isn't even related to what abilities you have?
    I'm the GWG from Bay12 and a bunch of other places.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Blade Wolf View Post
    Ah, thank you very much GreatWyrmGold, you obviously live up to that name with your intelligence and wisdom with that post.
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  28. - Top - End - #88
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    Now I'm even more confused. You don't like having too many abilities because they make it hard to decide what to do...but what you can do isn't even related to what abilities you have?
    There's already a large number of potential actions in any action situation, and I suffer from decision paralysis. Therefore having more options (or worse, not having some basic options because I don't have some ability, but that's rare) adds even more for me to consider, which makes my decision paralysis works.

    Or rather, abilities adds more options, and there's already a lot of them.
    I prefer science fiction to fantasy, and generally play in the former genre. Due to this, I generally expect the laws of physics to apply to games, and work from that perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  29. - Top - End - #89
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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Quote Originally Posted by Lalliman View Post
    What else can we think of? Ideas from a 3.5, 5e or system-neutral perspective are all welcome.
    In almost every system I've seen, making a 'jack of all' usually falls within this category. A new player will go 'wow, they can do x&y&z&q? how is this not broken in its versatility?'. A more experienced one will go 'why would I want that when I'd rather have someone who does X, someone who does Y, someone who does Z, and someone who does Q'. Party play encourages specialization, so jacks either lag behind in use (if they're the only one in that roll), or are made redundant by someone better (where roles overlap). This is especially true if it's not possible to perform more than one role at a time (i.e, action economy, finite resources), so you're never really a hybrid, just a crappy substitute.

    Similarly, backloaded damage (i.e, 'you do little damage early on, but a lot of damage late in the fight') or a focus on AoE damage tends to be this, for the same reason: you want enemies to spend as little time able to damage you as possible. So you want the damage to be ASAP to deny action, and 1 dead person and two unharmed people is preferable to 3 half dead.
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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Quote Originally Posted by Necroticplague View Post
    In almost every system I've seen, making a 'jack of all' usually falls within this category. A new player will go 'wow, they can do x&y&z&q? how is this not broken in its versatility?'. A more experienced one will go 'why would I want that when I'd rather have someone who does X, someone who does Y, someone who does Z, and someone who does Q'. Party play encourages specialization, so jacks either lag behind in use (if they're the only one in that roll), or are made redundant by someone better (where roles overlap). This is especially true if it's not possible to perform more than one role at a time (i.e, action economy, finite resources), so you're never really a hybrid, just a crappy substitute.

    Similarly, backloaded damage (i.e, 'you do little damage early on, but a lot of damage late in the fight') or a focus on AoE damage tends to be this, for the same reason: you want enemies to spend as little time able to damage you as possible. So you want the damage to be ASAP to deny action, and 1 dead person and two unharmed people is preferable to 3 half dead.
    honestly, when it comes to skills or actions, i found that overlap can be useful. i call it "necessary redundancy". for instance, your healer was the only one taken out in the fight. he's bleeding out. if no one has a modicum of skill in first aid, you've got a dead guy that could've been avoided. or, a classic group blunder: splitting the party. who can tank when the meatshield is absent? who can break locks or doors when the rogue is gone? what needs to be done is of course to coordinate how much redundancy is to be had and how it's split, but it's not a bad thing in practice, so long as you have a primary and a backup. everyone being able to do everything will make players bored to tears since it's never their moment to shine. in theory, it's awful, i agree. in practice, always have a plan b.

    hell, we've got two skill monkeys in my group, and we tuned our fiddles so that we only overlap on 4 skills, and we each have 4 unique ones (silly thing, though, neither of us have a "fly" or "linguistics" skill).
    regarding my choice of sustenance:
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    My judgement is: That is awesome.
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    dm is Miltonian, credit where credit is due.

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