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  1. - Top - End - #151
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    Default Re: Why hate optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    This is an example of a normal character that has optimized a skill, not a crazy optimizing player. This character can answer any question from easy to really tough, and that is fine. Of course ''30'' does not max out the scale, the rules never say that. DC's can go up forever. DC's still keep going up as the game level increases....just like the DC of everything else does. Questions beyond ''really tough''. And, the rules are clear that the DM gets to set the DC for things.
    The game also defines, what DCs in general mean. If you redefine that you are not playing D&D, but houseruling.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    A high level character can do a lot of things 100% of the time...but that is because they are a high level character. And, as said, a high level character does not need to optimize to do easy things. A 10th level character can do things of DC 30 with little or no problem. But ''30'' is not the end of the scale, as the DC scale has no end. The 10th level character would still have a problem with a DC of say 45 or 50. Plus a character might not always be able to ''take 10'' , might lose their items/stuff or be under something like a spell or curse that effects skill rolls.

    But the optimizer wants to be the Super Duper Expert even at first level, to get that +20 at first level. They MUST be a race that has AT LEAST a +4 to intelligence AND will demand no LA; they MUST start with a ''masterwork knowledge book'' for that extra plus, even if they don't have the money for it. And they MUST take that feat/ability/whatever that gives a plus, no matter what the ''rules'' say.

    And the optimizer will never be happy....even with a +20 and the ability to know all common, hard and ''really tough'' things...they will still not be able to know ''beyond really tough things'', so they will still be obsessing and going crazy to get more pluses.
    So you are saying that really tough things are unknowable, even if you play Pun-Pun. You want to know why people leave your games? Because you use your DM fiat to break core rule assumptions. It's one thing to say "My game is hard-mode, all DCs are +5 higher", it's another to invalidate builds out-right, which should work by RAW. Do you tell this your players in advance? Or do they discover that after a number of sessions that you deviate from what is written in the CRB?
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    Default Re: Why hate optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by unseenmage View Post
    It has become more than clear that some folk emphasize the RP while others emphasize the G of RPG.
    Well, except optimizers are NOT doing that G, as they are not playing the game.

    As many optimiozers have said: they want to always 100% succeed at whatever they want their character to do. So the Roll Playing Optimizers want to Hit and Do Damage every single round of combat.

    THAT is not playing the game. That is just running through a one sided fantasy to see how the character wins.

    The rules even say ''roll a d20 to see if your character succeeds or fails at an action'', they don't say ''your so special your character always succeeds, so don't bother even rolling: you win!"


    Quote Originally Posted by unseenmage View Post
    On the other hand, if one remains too fascinated by the 3.x/PF ruleset to simply discard it then one has but two options, learn to use said rules (read as optimize) or be VERY clear and up front about one's intention to throw them to the wayside at the first opportunity.
    I do a bit of both, and I'm VERY clear.....not that most new players care to listen.

    As I've said I ''break'' lots of optimizers...even more the ones with little system mastery or my favorites: the one trick ponies.


    Quote Originally Posted by EldritchWeaver View Post
    The game also defines, what DCs in general mean. If you redefine that you are not playing D&D, but houseruling.
    DC's, as well as everything else in D&D increase with levels...this is pretty basic. Sure you can say that ''page 11'' does not list anything beyond ''really tough'', but it also does not say ''30 is the absolute maximum ever for a skill check''. And just doing the ''monster knowledge'' use of the skill, you can get over 30 with a monster with a lot of HD (that again, have no in game limit too)

    Quote Originally Posted by EldritchWeaver View Post
    So you are saying that really tough things are unknowable, even if you play Pun-Pun. You want to know why people leave your games? Because you use your DM fiat to break core rule assumptions. It's one thing to say "My game is hard-mode, all DCs are +5 higher", it's another to invalidate builds out-right, which should work by RAW. Do you tell this your players in advance? Or do they discover that after a number of sessions that you deviate from what is written in the CRB?
    Well, nothing is ''unknowable''. Should a 10th level character automatically know everything in the multiverse...nope.

    Not sure where you see ''breaking core rule assumptions'', maybe your ''assumptions'' are wrong? There is no limit on DCs or ACs, but you put a cap on them and say ''only this high as you say so''. That is homebrewing.

    And yes, I'm very clear and open about how I play the game....not that it matters much as most players don't ''get'' it.
    Last edited by Darth Ultron; 2017-12-27 at 08:54 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #153
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    Default Re: Why hate optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crake View Post
    You're not really adressing the point though. I agree with all your points about being in the right position and whatnot, and sure, standing there "does something", but if you read what I said, I didn't say you're "not doing anything" I said you "wasted your turn"
    Let's go back to what I quoted:
    Quote Originally Posted by Jormengand View Post
    Uhm...

    In 3.5, at least, a character who misses with a weapon attack absolutely, literally, and in every situation I can think of other than fighting defensively, does nothing but waste their action. A character who misses really is doing nothing.
    That's the argument. In responding to me, you have taken up that argument.

    But, even as you attempt to confuse the issue, I have attacked your stronger position. It is not a waste to stay where you are and not attack if staying where you are is vital to the party's success. You must still be there to assess the situation to know that is the best that you can do. You are still making choices. That the choice you made did not result in your mini moving or an enemy being removed does not mean it was wasted. Your turn is only wasted if you go off and play CoD, because then no choice was made.

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    Default Re: Why hate optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    ...

    As I've said I ''break'' lots of optimizers...even more the ones with little system mastery or my favorites: the one trick ponies.
    If anyone agrees to play with you and you manage to trick them long enough to "break" them then you certainly did not make your gaming expectations clear.

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    Default Re: Why hate optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crake View Post
    You believe optimization creates a problem when two people compete in the same role, resulting in an imbalance, and one player feeling less effective? While that's correct, unless they're built exactly the same, one will always be more effective than the other. Sure, optimization can exacerbate the issue, but it's not the root of the issue, but at the same time, optimization can also balance the issue, by helping the weaker character concept become more effective.
    You can have a game with multiple people filling the same role at equal power levels, sure. DM will have to account for it by altering encounter construction, and depending on the role it could still go good or bad. But when you have one guy who wants to be a monk and another who wants to be cleric who fights alongside their summoned monsters, with both competing over the meat-shield role, you have an exaggerated example of when its not going to work.
    Sure, if you can one round enemies that does kinda remove the need for other roles, but not every encounter will be so easy. . . I think most people would agree that overoptimization is very much so a bad thing as it ruins the game for many people.
    Sure, but again that requires more careful encounter building by the DM to compensate for the individual, as well as an agreement on how much optimization is okay for what class and all the understanding and self-awareness required to do those things.

    how to hide?
    Hiding is part of movement, requiring no action. Shooting while hiding reveals your position unless you use the sniping rules with the -20, but that only applies to sniping while remaining stationary. If you're standing at a corner, doorway, or pillar, you're only 5' away from breaking line of sight, no bluff check needed. With a single move action you can pull back from the corner behind the wall or put the pillar between you and your foe, turn around and made a hide check to peek out, and then fire your shot with a standard action. It doesn't matter that they see you now and know you'll do it again if you can beat their spot check and retain full concealment at the corner. Boom, sneak attack every round.

    I've always seen fog run as concealing things from outside observers, such that standing at the edge you can see out just fine (as no one outside the fog is concealed by it), but I can see the other interpretation. The tactic can still work if you use the Hiding While Moving rules from Rules Compendium to take a -5 to move 5' out, with a slightly favorable ruling to use it for delivering an attack rather than only moving between cover. If neither ruling is allowed then you'll have to stick with terrain only, but I see absolutely nothing wrong with letting a rogue ninja use smokebombs to good effect as an extension of something they can already do with cover.

    And that's what I think, at least for you Fizban, is where the issue arises. Not in optimization itself, but in overoptimization, which is honestly something I think everyone could agree on. Darth Ultron seems to have a different issue which I'm still trying to understand.
    Well yeah, I said on the first page that I don't hate optimization. I only figured out you could ranged sneak attack every round when I was trying to beat out the actual Ninja's Ghost Step, though I'd bet some people were effectively running it that way on instinct already. As for DU, well I'm just digging into where problems come from and why they bug people. The only "issue" I'd say he has is being stubborn, passionate/angry, and not seeing a need to dig into why, which is hardly rare at all. Most people don't bother thinking about why real things annoy them, let alone games. That's why I'm folding out some new answers.
    Also, regarding social skills. Pathfinder fixed that quite nicely by having traits that granted class skills, sometimes even multiple social skills at once, and by having class skills be a binary, rather than per level thing. Anyone can get practically any one or two skills as class skills by simply picking the right traits.
    Still based on the same skills though (yes I know they made some tweaks), and still requires the players to build their characters for separate social roles, and requires the DM to communicate that doing so will be necessary for required social encounters. I still won't agree that having one person good at every role, in this case every social skill, doesn't harm people who are good at only one role- it just means everyone has to take all of them. You also still need to design encounters with resources and risk, which I don't think they have built in, and find a way to either cross those resources with combat without actually making them boost combat or accept that the party now has two resource pools and can double xp gain.

    It can totally be done, but I'd rather not. The existing system of social "encounters" as basically just participation and roleplay xp where the PCs skills or lack thereof are already mostly accounted for is much easier.

    Edit: ooh, I like this one-
    Quote Originally Posted by DMVerdandi
    The disconnect is with you. If you are in college and you are taking your final exam, 60% is a fail. 80% is damn near a fail.
    Good analogy, but again, DnD 3.5 only expects 60% success, and no more than 95%. Losing every encounter above your level is pretty fail, but within parameters.


    And yeah, I do find it a little amusing. Accuse DU of being terrible, but if you strip out the attitude he's not really making any different arguments than those of myself or other people. And yeah, I'll jump all over people for their attitude, but as he's the minority I'm more than willing to give enough benefit of the doubt to see it, particularly in a thread asking for those of his persuasion.
    Last edited by Fizban; 2017-12-27 at 09:01 AM.
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    Default Re: Why hate optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by unseenmage View Post
    If anyone agrees to play with you and you manage to trick them long enough to "break" them then you certainly did not make your gaming expectations clear.
    It's more they don't understand.

    I lot of modern players play under the silly ''agreement'' where the DM bows down to the players and lets them do whatever they want. I don't play that way.

    For example, in my game you will find foes that use things like disarm and sunder.....and they will use them against the PCs. A lot of modern DMs won't do that......after all if you break/destroy the special characters one trick item....then that character is ''useless''.

    The same way if your a 15th level character and you charge a lich...he will cast a high level attack spell, lets say Deathbolt...and not attack with like Buring Hands.

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    Default Re: Why hate optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    Well, except optimizers are NOT doing that G, as they are not playing the game.

    As many optimiozers have said: they want to always 100% succeed at whatever they want their character to do. So the Roll Playing Optimizers want to Hit and Do Damage every single round of combat.

    THAT is not playing the game. That is just running through a one sided fantasy to see how the character wins.
    Enough, just enough.

    Everyone here enjoys the game very differently than you and you are the odd one out. So accept that this is your unique personal taste, your preference, and stop arguing that what we are doing is wrong, incorrect, not rpg, inferior to your way of playing, and that we should all conform to your tastes.

    Everyone here is enjoying their games very much with heavy optimization and no amount of "You're wrong, you're ruining your own games with optimization, and you should all play without optimization because that's the wrong way to play the game" is going to change that.

    If you hate optimization then don't optimize, but don't go around saying your way of playing is the best, because it's not by a longshot.

    Same with your opinion on success/failure. Some people like to play games where failure is the result of mistakes not bad dice rolls and claiming these types of people are playing the game wrong is definitely retarded. If you like it when players fail because they missed their attacks 3 times in a row and hate it when players optimize so that never happens again then that is your personal taste because I can confidently say that every experienced DM I played with didn't care about whether players optimized their attack or AC into the stratosphere.
    Last edited by RoboEmperor; 2017-12-27 at 09:16 AM.

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    Default Re: Why hate optimization?

    Like, seriously guys, stop and read the actual words he is saying.

    When Darth Ultron "breaks" an optimizer, it's by actually adjusting the adventure to compensate for their build. The assumption is that he breaks the rules to screw with people, but the examples are always the exact same sort of thing optimizers say DMs need to do in order to reign in their overpowered characters.

    It's freaking hilarious once you realize it.
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    Default Re: Why hate optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    It's more they don't understand.

    ...
    And if they don't understand then how exactly have you made yourself clear?

    If you aren't clear about your game expectations then you should be.

    Though it is becoming more and more clear that your goal is to trick "optimizers" and not to facilitate shared fun between yourself and anyone else you might be caught playing with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by magicalmagicman View Post
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    Default Re: Why hate optimization?

    @Fizban:

    Yeah, its funny that it seems hard to grasp that the core rules provide a combat engine for some lighthearted dungeon crawling in a very restricted environment and with a system-based balancing point. Nothing more, nothing less. The number of rules that are necessary for it is actually quite slim, which can be seen in skills and spells necessary....

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    Default Re: Why hate optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post
    @Fizban:

    Yeah, its funny that it seems hard to grasp that the core rules provide a combat engine for some lighthearted dungeon crawling in a very restricted environment and with a system-based balancing point. Nothing more, nothing less. The number of rules that are necessary for it is actually quite slim, which can be seen in skills and spells necessary....
    It sounds like you're agreeing with my general point of people losing sight of the core game, but you lost me on the last line. Which "it" has a slim amount of rules as evident in the skills and spells neccesary to do "it?" I would guess "it" is things other than the combat engine, because they aren't the focus?
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    Default Re: Why hate optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    DC's, as well as everything else in D&D increase with levels...this is pretty basic. Sure you can say that ''page 11'' does not list anything beyond ''really tough'', but it also does not say ''30 is the absolute maximum ever for a skill check''. And just doing the ''monster knowledge'' use of the skill, you can get over 30 with a monster with a lot of HD (that again, have no in game limit too)
    I didn't claim that DCs can never be higher than 30. But according to RAW, anything higher isn't just really tough, it is extremely, super super hard tough. That is the kind of tough, which normal PCs don't manage automatically, they really need to optimize. And then they should get those answers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    Well, nothing is ''unknowable''. Should a 10th level character automatically know everything in the multiverse...nope.

    Not sure where you see ''breaking core rule assumptions'', maybe your ''assumptions'' are wrong? There is no limit on DCs or ACs, but you put a cap on them and say ''only this high as you say so''. That is homebrewing.

    And yes, I'm very clear and open about how I play the game....not that it matters much as most players don't ''get'' it.
    I suppose that your phrasing threw me off. So I'm going to state several possibilities. Which one are you using?


    • An easy DC for 1st level PC stays at that DC for 10th level PC. Same goes for tough DCs, but due to buying skill ranks etc. tough DCs are effectively guaranteed to succeed.
    • Easy DCs stay at that level, but you increase tough DCs, if you feel that the PC shouldn't succeed automatically.
    • DCs automatically increase, so relatively PCs have the same success rates regardless of level.
    • Anything else. Please explain.
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    Default Re: Why hate optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Narsil View Post
    I think this gets at a kernel of my problem with most optimisation advice. It's not so much that people talk about building characters that are powerful in their advice, it's that people talk about building characters that have almost no resemblance at all to answering the question being asked and which more or less just hijack the entire thing to talk about their favourite feat chain or prestige class combination that might only be tangentially related to what's being talked about.

    If at all. I think we're going to need a new phrase to go alongside the Stormwind and Oberoni fallacies.

    I'm not going to name it after myself, especially since I've been wanting to change this username for ages, but the vague definition is 'whenever the advice being given on a requested optimisation topic is completely and utterly irrelevant to the question being asked'.
    This is very true. It's also cousin to another genre of hate-able optimizers threads, where a noob asks a fairly simple question ("I'm about to play 3.5 for the first time and what should I do to make a guy good at fighting with a big axe? Oh, and what's a saving throw, how many of those should I have? It sounds like I should save them for the big fight?") and is given a 20-level n-sourcebook 5-class combo. (I say n-sourcebooks because the posters have long ago left the mundane realm of remembering what illegal pdf any given highly useful feat/race/ACF started in.)

    Instead of telling him simple things like "Power Attack is always good as a feat. Toughness and the save boosters are okay at low levels, but if you keep playing they don't keep up and you'll wish you took something else instead."

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    Default Re: Why hate optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
    Which "it" has a slim amount of rules as evident in the skills and spells neccesary to do "it?"
    The core game itself. Once you start separating things between "necessary" and "player controlled/instigated", the amount of general rules and discreet rules element on the "necessary" side is very slim indeed. Now expanding beyond the basic dungeon crawl and into unsupported game-play, its funny to see how things (what you call roles) get extrapolated from there and how the apparent stuff that is necessary seems to grow with each expansion. What is funny in this context, especially when looking at Pathfinder, is the vast difference between what seemed to be necessary based on extrapolation and how reduced the needed rules still are in the official expansions. I think its fair to say that D&D/PF is vastly over bloated with discreet rules elements that are given as options, but are never really supported as part of the core game anyways.

    Edit: A funny example is the whole thing about flight, when the system doesn't even provide a functional 3D combat system.
    Last edited by Florian; 2017-12-27 at 09:54 AM.

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    Default Re: Why hate optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    I think it's called "the internet." That said...

    This is the sort of thing I was suggesting on page 1: we should try to have a semi-standard set of questions for people asking for help, to try to identify their comfort level with optimization stuff.
    This is very good. I would add a question or two about how much TTRPG experience and how much 3.5 experience a player has.

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    Default Re: Why hate optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post
    The core game itself. Once you start separating things between "necessary" and "player controlled/instigated", the amount of general rules and discreet rules element on the "necessary" side is very slim indeed. Now expanding beyond the basic dungeon crawl and into unsupported game-play, its funny to see how things (what you call roles) get extrapolated from there and how the apparent stuff that is necessary seems to grow with each expansion. What is funny in this context, especially when looking at Pathfinder, is the vast difference between what seemed to be necessary based on extrapolation and how reduced the needed rules still are in the official expansions. I think its fair to say that D&D/PF is vastly over bloated with discreet rules elements that are given as options, but are never really supported as part of the core game anyways.

    Edit: A funny example is the whole thing about flight, when the system doesn't even provide a functional 3D combat system.
    Yes, 100% agree, you've summed it up nicely. The bottom-up explanation to match the top-down digging. Or middle-out digging? Maybe not the right phrase.
    Last edited by Fizban; 2017-12-27 at 10:25 AM.
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    Default Re: Why hate optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    People really need to separate real life from the game. Real Life is not a Game.
    Can you see how someone might want to do things in a similar way, though? For a game example, let's say you've got a low-level party preparing to storm a kobold den. They have a good amount of spare cash, and really want to make sure things go well, so they spend a few days buying special gear and learning about the kobolds from the locals before they attack. This means that they know that one of the kobolds can breathe fire, and that some of the kobolds don't die unless you attack them with acid.

    So now, when this party goes into the kobold den, things are a lot easier for them. When they notice some of the kobolds aren't going down, they use acid flasks they bought in town, and the wizard uses a spell he normally wouldn't prepare to do acid damage. When they meet the kobold chief who breathes fire, the fighter drinks a potion to resist flame and fights him up close.

    It's not 100%, but it's a lot closer to 100% than it would've been if they just ran in unprepared. Can you see why this could be fun, in its own way?
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    Default Re: Why hate optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    What game are you talking about? Not 3.5E D&D, right?

    Because lets take 3.5E D&D. Say on round one you roll and your character misses....does the whole game world explode? Well, no, not in a normal game. In a normal game the player can try again the next round or do something else. So every round, every couple minutes of real time, the player can roll an attack again...or try to do something else.
    Except that a non-optimized mundane doesn't have a lot of mechanical options. He could attack again--or he could try "something else", with no mechanics to support it--he's supposed to be this big badass hero, but his chances of accomplishing "something else" are the same as any random peasant, or as the NPC the party taking on the escort mission. So in real games, you attack again. Hopefully you hit this time, or your character's relevance in this story is really suspect.

    I agree most optimizers are absurd. They will demand things like having maximum hit points, no matter what. It is an easy tell of an optimizer.
    Wut? If that were true, optimizers wouldn't be advising you to play Tier One casters, because they have puny d4 or d8 hit dice.

    I agree, but note that does not say anything about optimization. And this is another perfect tell for an optimizer. A normal player will take a feat that fits a character concept/goal even if that feat is not ''the super duper best most awesome mechanical roll playing feat ever''. An optimizer won't.
    A normal player will do this at first. But a normal player will also eventually figure out that taking this feat makes him, in game, basically a chump. That is--bad.

    Let's say you want to role play a sword-and-shield fighter. That is a reasonable thing to expect to do in a sword-and-sorcery game--slaying monsters, protecting allies, etc. Except the mechanics don't support that--your damage output quickly falls behind a two-handed weapon fighter, you can't do much mechanically to "tank" for your squishy allies.

    To do these things effectively--to engage CR-appropriate monsters in melee combat with a sword and shield, to use game mechanics to cause enemies to target you (with your heavy armor and shield and d10-d12 hit points compared to their no or light armor and d4-d6 hit points)--you have to look through other sources--other books, guidebooks on forums like this one, PDFs legal and otherwise.

    (You could also roleplay that your guy wises up to the world around him, and decides that the idea you had for him is a sucker's game--your guy doesn't want to be a "sword-and-shield-wielding hero", he wants to be a live, ideally rich hero, so he switches to a two-handed weapon, maybe starts taking levels in Tier One casting classes--because casting shield before combat and being able to use cheap scrolls makes him a better hero than another +1 BAB, bonus feat and d10 vs d4 hit points would.)

    And note we are not talking about becoming a great swordsman, as that does imply that the character has to be a ''not great'' swordman to start...and the optimizer won't accept that. They must have the highest everything for their character ''now''.
    But without optimizing, a Fighter is not going to EVER be a "great" swordsman relative to CR appropriate enemies, or relative to his party members. His cleric buddy who notices the spell "Divine Power" is going to be just as good with a sword as he is.

    As with most things in life, there is such a thing as "too much" (optimizing Tier 1 classes, TO/PO shenanigans, one-shot uberchargers). But the DNA of 3.5 is such that a sizable number of role-playing concepts need serious optimizing support or they're not going to do what they're supposed to do, role-playing-wise.

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    Default Re: Why hate optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    This is a good spot to separate optimization from a normal player that just wants to have a good character.

    Normal Player: A mid level specialist (so this would be 10 on D&D 1-20 scale) to a normal player should be able to do: Simple and Easy tasks with just about no chance of failure, do Average tasks more then half the time, Do Hard Tasks slightly less then have the time and only have a small chance of doing a Very Hard Task.

    Optimizer: My character must always succeed at every task they do, otherwise I'm doing nothing and not playing the game at all.

    See that huge disconnect?
    HAve you considered that your definition of "optimizer" is--idiosyncratic?

    I submit for consideration the idea that optimizing is a continuum. There can be none of it--build characters purely for fluff, and either let them sink or swim or expect that the DM will arrange the story so that their choices turn out to be helpful or at least meaningful. There can be some of it--Dodge and Toughness look good at first glance, and actually are pretty good for surviving the first level or two. There can be too much of it--ending up with spontaneous casting access to the entire Spell Compendium.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PersonMan View Post
    It's not 100%, but it's a lot closer to 100% than it would've been if they just ran in unprepared. Can you see why this could be fun, in its own way?
    I don't know what DU will say, but I will point out that "easy if handled properly" is meant to be 20% of encounters. If your PCs are capable of "properly handling" every encounter, something is off (compared to "standard" anyway). The other 80% aren't supposed to be any easier or more difficult for the PCs usual methods.

    DnD has lots of monsters that are inherently "easy if handled properly"- everything that requires an immunity or resistance buff to fight safely, including dragons, to the point where I'd actually agree that it's hard to have only 20% of things that can be squashed with easy prep-work.

    But as I said above, characters who are optimized in such a way that they have no "usual" methods but instead beat everything easily with prep even against normal monsters, (or even fail every time without prep against normal monsters), throw off the expected difficulty.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PersonMan View Post
    It's not 100%, but it's a lot closer to 100% than it would've been if they just ran in unprepared. Can you see why this could be fun, in its own way?
    Applied Combat as War, in contrast to Combat as Sports, which Fizban points out as an important and integral part of d20.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
    I don't know what DU will say, but I will point out that "easy if handled properly" is meant to be 20% of encounters. If your PCs are capable of "properly handling" every encounter, something is off (compared to "standard" anyway). The other 80% aren't supposed to be any easier or more difficult for the PCs usual methods.

    DnD has lots of monsters that are inherently "easy if handled properly"- everything that requires an immunity or resistance buff to fight safely, including dragons, to the point where I'd actually agree that it's hard to have only 20% of things that can be squashed with easy prep-work.

    But as I said above, characters who are optimized in such a way that they have no "usual" methods but instead beat everything easily with prep even against normal monsters, (or even fail every time without prep against normal monsters), throw off the expected difficulty.
    Just keep in mind that for every optimizer that trivializes an encounter that was meant to be harrowing, somewhere else the quirky CR system TPKs with an encounter intended to be trivial without the players making any bad rolls or tactical errors.

    Half the reason optimization became such a subject in 3.5 was the sudden application of PC rules to NPC monsters, which made a few CR designations rather difficult to predict.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    For example, in my game you will find foes that use things like disarm and sunder.....and they will use them against the PCs. A lot of modern DMs won't do that......after all if you break/destroy the special characters one trick item....then that character is ''useless''.
    It's more the issue that Sunder is kind of lopsided/broken when used against PCs as taken in context with the rest of 3.PF rules. In a game system where magic items are actually NECESSARY to succeed past a point, since the game math is all built on the assumption that you'll have +X weapons, Y Armor Class value, Z save bonuses, etc. to determine the ability DCs, armor class, and special abilities of monsters, Sunder is an insanely overvalued tactic for monsters. You put a monster with six attacks up against a PC and they can easily cripple the PC permanently by just sundering their Cloak of Resistance, Ring of Protection, Amulet of Natural Armor, Belt of +X stat, Headband of +Y stat, and taking a solid stab at their weapon.

    I find the tactic plenty fair game in systems like Savage Worlds or 5e where gear is easily replenishable given a bit of time and money or mostly optional respectively, but Sunder falls into a similar category of throwing an encounter at PCs where you have multiple enemies that spam save or die spells every round; it's an adversarial tactic that should be used sparingly if at all.

    Either case regardless leads to the exact arms race you claim to abhor. If you overuse Sunder as a PC **** you tactic, PCs will optimize CMD, or saves with the SoD/S example.

    In my experience players tend to over-optimize PCs when they have experience with "DM optimizers" that have "Kill the PCs" as their primary goal in combat. It's not a healthy table dynamic for anyone involved, and gets stale quickly, particularly for the players who have not the time or aptitude to figure out how to "fix" their character builds to handle DM tactics designed to keep hammering them until they break.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnbragg View Post
    HAve you considered that your definition of "optimizer" is--idiosyncratic?

    I submit for consideration the idea that optimizing is a continuum. There can be none of it--build characters purely for fluff, and either let them sink or swim or expect that the DM will arrange the story so that their choices turn out to be helpful or at least meaningful. There can be some of it--Dodge and Toughness look good at first glance, and actually are pretty good for surviving the first level or two. There can be too much of it--ending up with spontaneous casting access to the entire Spell Compendium.
    I would argue that "0% optimizing" is actually impossible. The average player is going to attempt to make a decent character, even if they fail at it. They may pick suboptimal options but they're attempting to play to some kind of concept. If your concept is punchy warrior, a new player will likely pick Monk, which may not be optimized compared to a punchy Fighter or Brawler but is optimized compared to, say, a Commoner lacking Improved Unarmed Strike. When you get to the opposite end where someone is attempting to build the worst character possible...they're still optimizing, just in reverse. Optimizing for suck is still just picking the "best" options to accomplish your character goal, it's just that in this case the goal is "Be the worst at everything".

    Optimizing is something everyone that plays the game does, consciously or not. It is simply in human nature to attempt to be good at something and improve. Some people get overly into it, while others do so more casually, but every player does it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
    Modern day first world countries don't use the commoner class anymore thanks to modern farming. Someone who spends 14 hours a day subsistence farming will have a smaller skill set than you, as would someone who spent all their time working out and drilling with weapons instead of studying.
    "LOL, Fightars r dum."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
    The classes of 3.5 were built for a certain type of game with certain roles, but people either don't know or ignore those roles and make up their own. These roles don't fit the game, so they make it exceedingly easy for certain classes infringe on these made up roles, and optimizing those characters makes a bad situation worse.
    Unfortunately, the roles they were made for aren't the roles the rules actually support. The designers WANTED frontliner Fighter, backstabbing Rogue, healbot Cleric and blastomancer Wizard. Instead they got speedbump Fighter, frontliner Cleric, and god-Wizard.
    Last edited by Arbane; 2017-12-27 at 11:50 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pleh View Post
    Just keep in mind that for every optimizer that trivializes an encounter that was meant to be harrowing, somewhere else the quirky CR system TPKs with an encounter intended to be trivial without the players making any bad rolls or tactical errors.
    Does it though? That's my point, those "trival" encounters were actually "easy if handled properly," where the party lacked the ability to handle it properly (standard disclaimer about truly broken monsters applies). The standard party vs standard MM1 monsters has an answer to every EIHP monster as long as they're allowed to flee- Shadows and Allips are the worst offenders, but even at 3rd level Turn Undead has a chance of holding them off, with Allips being basically the worst I've seen. Encounters where the party is at a disadvantage, forced to fight, lacking expected abilities, or fighting more powerful later MM monsters, all have extenuating circumstances.

    The actual number of optimizers who trivialize encounters is probably about equal to the number of truly borked monsters- quite small, but where the DM can just choose not to use the monster, it's harder to get a player to play differently or compensate.

    Half the reason optimization became such a subject in 3.5 was the sudden application of PC rules to NPC monsters, which made a few CR designations rather difficult to predict.
    Spoiler: Rant
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    The NPC CR designation is one of the worst things in 3.5, specifically because people take it as the primary definition of CR, and oh how I've argued about it. Re-organization in the switch to 3.5 actually made it far more prominent: originally it was in the rewards chapter, three chapters after the main encounter definitions, but in 3.5 rewards were moved to the end of the chapter right before the encounter definitions. This would not stop rules lawyers from making the equivalence anyway, but it still bugs the heck out of me. Regardless, the encounter building section never once mentions NPCs or PCs as having CR or EL: only monsters. It's just so easy to take that one poorly written rule, originally meant for assigning xp, and pretend it invalidates everything else about the CR system because now you have a "balanced equation" to apply transformations to. The equation is not balanced, encounters only happen between PCs and monsters or NPCs acting as monsters, PCs never have CR or EL, and if they did they would obviously require modifiers for having 3x as many magic items so it still wouldn't be balanced
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    Default Re: Why hate optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
    Does it though? That's my point, those "trival" encounters were actually "easy if handled properly," where the party lacked the ability to handle it properly (standard disclaimer about truly broken monsters applies). The standard party vs standard MM1 monsters has an answer to every EIHP monster as long as they're allowed to flee- Shadows and Allips are the worst offenders, but even at 3rd level Turn Undead has a chance of holding them off, with Allips being basically the worst I've seen. Encounters where the party is at a disadvantage, forced to fight, lacking expected abilities, or fighting more powerful later MM monsters, all have extenuating circumstances.

    The actual number of optimizers who trivialize encounters is probably about equal to the number of truly borked monsters- quite small, but where the DM can just choose not to use the monster, it's harder to get a player to play differently or compensate.


    Spoiler: Rant
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    The NPC CR designation is one of the worst things in 3.5, specifically because people take it as the primary definition of CR, and oh how I've argued about it. Re-organization in the switch to 3.5 actually made it far more prominent: originally it was in the rewards chapter, three chapters after the main encounter definitions, but in 3.5 rewards were moved to the end of the chapter right before the encounter definitions. This would not stop rules lawyers from making the equivalence anyway, but it still bugs the heck out of me. Regardless, the encounter building section never once mentions NPCs or PCs as having CR or EL: only monsters. It's just so easy to take that one poorly written rule, originally meant for assigning xp, and pretend it invalidates everything else about the CR system because now you have a "balanced equation" to apply transformations to. The equation is not balanced, encounters only happen between PCs and monsters or NPCs acting as monsters, PCs never have CR or EL, and if they did they would obviously require modifiers for having 3x as many magic items so it still wouldn't be balanced
    So is it optimization to play a Cleric who can turn undead just in case there are Allips or are players allowed to be an all Rogue party if thats whats fun for them?

    If they are all rogues is one of them allowed to spec themselves against Allips? Or would that be optimizing?

    I ask because it sounds like you want players to treat these intended party roles as an immutable rule. That if they play any other way well then too bad, so sad, wasnt the designers or the systems fault they all died to random poorly designed game element. It was clearly theirs.

    And if the above is the case then even playing a combination of classes that doesnt adhere to these intended party roles is an optimization tactic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arbane View Post
    Unfortunately, the roles they were made for aren't the roles the rules actually support. The designers WANTED frontliner Fighter, backstabbing Rogue, healbot Cleric and blastomancer Wizard. Instead they got speedbump Fighter, frontliner Cleric, and god-Wizard.
    Actually, Itīs good to keep in mind that the designers wanted a more streamlined AD&D 3rd with less need for gm judgement calls and rulings.
    That's why we get the whole slew of "legacy" classes and spells, thatīre still more fitting to a tabletop war-game and why the risks formerly associated with spells and items have been removed from the core, but get mentioned in (3E) the world building and customizing the game section of the DMG.

    Itīs also good to keep in mind that a lot of the norms and behaviors that we now see in the optimizing community come from the old RPGA rules, like how to handle RAW and all that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arbane View Post
    "LOL, Fightars r dum."

    You don't think being able to feed yourself off of the land is a skill?
    Its one skill: Profession (Farmer). Two if you want to count hunting and gathering without a farm with Survival. It is not a whole bunch of skills (in DnD terms), nor is it the real world example I expect was behind the post I was responding to- people who've taken all sorts of college classes, potentially multiple degrees, multiple languages, as well as picking up random other skills around the place and generally being sociable. A substance farming commoner can't do all that, nor can a fighter, because they literally don't have access to or time to learn those extra skills, but a 1st level expert can. (Incidentally, Fighter is also just about the only class that doesn't get Profession- they can craft things but not run a business.)

    Unfortunately, the roles they were made for aren't the roles the rules actually support. The designers WANTED frontliner Fighter, backstabbing Rogue, healbot Cleric and blastomancer Wizard. Instead they got speedbump Fighter, frontliner Cleric, and god-Wizard.
    I feel like you've completely missed the point. Your stated roles don't even match those that I have given as the intended design, as I understand it based on the rules (and suggestions, guidelines, history, etc) given. Your expectations do not match the game, which does not mean the game is wrong: it means you are playing the game differently from how it was intended.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
    Its one skill
    Which is a good reminder that the blanket skills of Profession and Craft are pretty powerful and often overlooked in favor of the more specific, task related skills.

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    Quote Originally Posted by unseenmage View Post
    So is it optimization to play a Cleric who can turn undead just in case there are Allips or are players allowed to be an all Rogue party if thats whats fun for them?
    No? I'm pretty sure you got lost: I said that some people optimize so hard that even normal encounters are easy when prepared, even when they're not supposed to be EIHP, he said that for each of those optimizers there's a monster that screws the CR system, and I said those monsters were already EIHP (and thus potentially deadly if not). Playing a cleric isn't optimizing, it's literally the baseline, and refusing to have one in the party is actually something that can be defined as anti-optimization.

    Bringing a cleric to an Allip fight doesn't mean you trivialize it- it means you have a somewhat better chance of escaping and coming back with Magic Weapon prepared where you didn't before (and/or Magic Missile if the wizard knows it). The proper expected counter for a whole room of them is Death Ward on the whole party- if you enter the dungeon without it, you Turn and run. If you have it, they're easy. EIHP.
    If they are all rogues is one of them allowed to spec themselves against Allips? Or would that be optimizing?
    If they're all rogues than the CR system has gone so far out the window the DM should know better than to treat them as the standard party. Warranty void if tampered with.

    I ask because it sounds like you want players to treat these intended party roles as an immutable rule. That if they play any other way well then too bad, so sad, wasnt the designers or the systems fault they all died to random poorly designed game element. It was clearly theirs.

    And if the above is the case then even playing a combination of classes that doesnt adhere to these intended party roles is an optimization tactic.
    Yeah, pretty much. It's on the whole group, not just the players, but you can't expect something with this many variables to hold up when you start messing with the variables it was designed with. Like Florian said, almost all of 3.5 is "unnecessary" stuff added for funzies, which doesn't mean it's going to be balanced. That's what the DM is for. The more options you want, the more poorly designed game elements there are going to be, PC or monster.

    Yes, playing different classes is an optimization tactic, obviously. Char-op says everyone should play casters, because optimized casters obviate all roles simply by existing. You bring more casters, you've optimized for casting. You bring more rogues, you've optimized for. . stealth? You bring more fighters, you've optimized for day-long mook slaying, not that anyone will accept the idea of that game existing. You've also de-optimzed for whatever roles you're lacking- casters have daily limits and aren't guaranteed a predictable number of daily encounters, even if people pretend otherwise, rogues and fighters lack the crowd control and buffs needed to fight many monsters, clerics lack crowd control, fighters lack trapfinding.

    And the DMG acknowledges all this, though not in such stark terms, because writing a set of core books with 11 classes and then saying only 4 are "correct" would be extremely self-destructive. They waited until PHB2 to put it in a book where it's easily quotable, though there may have been acknowledgement in articles before that.

    Edit 2: first bit for clarity, added final bit.
    Last edited by Fizban; 2017-12-27 at 12:28 PM.
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