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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Minimizing and Maximizing

    As I read these foruma, and bask in the collective knowledge of what I consider a great game (DnD, yay! ) I see many, in fact most forum goers to imply maximizing character power over RPing, while disaproving of mnimizing and great RPing. I therefore ask: Why?

    Do most f you guy consider power/effectiveness more important than the role playing/fluff? This also bring s in a question of usefullness, in that a character can be useful, but "weak", and powerful, but selectively usefull.

    Copper peice for your thoughts?
    Last edited by slexlollar89; 2007-10-10 at 11:06 AM.

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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    OOo, I'd better loan you my Cloak of Fire Resistance, because you are about to be set aflame. You're probably going to see several mentions of a named fallacy, and people telling you that you don't know what you're talking about.
    Last edited by Tormsskull; 2007-10-10 at 11:13 AM.

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    HalflingRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    We had this player who thought that weak characters make a character a great role playing experience. We watched him die several horrible deaths.

    It just a wrong assumption that power is inversely proportional to roleplaying.

    I like great power with great roleplaying.

    Why would anyone minimize their character? In real life and definitely in role playing, one only ever wants to be better.
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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    Well, before the beasts tear you apart (and that sound you hear is them coming) let me ask you two questions.

    1) Where does it say that a more powerful character can't be roleplayed well?

    2) Where does it say that a weak character is going to be roleplayed well?

    If the answer to the above is "nowhere" then you already have the answer to your original question.
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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    It's simply that asking which character people like best is a matter of opinion and there really isn't much to talk about beyond that, whereas asking which character is strongest is a matter of fact, math, and finding combos. Thus the latter sees more debate.

    If I claim that "I like class X best because he can do Y", people can go "yeah, me too", or "I disagree" and that's about it. If I say that "class X is obviously the strongest because of Y", then people usually have a thing or two to say to that.
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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    Yeah, there seems to be a post about every week or so about how much min/maxing sucks and that real roleplayers just play sucky characters and own at roleplaying because of this. <sigh>
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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    Personally I prefer Fun over both. For example, right now in an oriental adventures campaign I play a cleric who keeps a cannon with a tower sheild bolted to each side in a bag of holding, and uses it quite often, I don't have many feats, but they are all to help using this cannon. He also has a hatred for the Walton-Gnomish mercentile group, AkA Walgnome.

    Is this character Min/Maxxed, nope.
    Is this character the greatest character to roleplay, proably not.
    Is this character fun, Yes.

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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    Okay, doing it nicely:

    The Stormwind fallacy states that just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean he cannot also roleplay well. Just because a character plays his character well does not mean he cannot be optimized.

    The corellary is that characters who are min/maxed are not automatically played worse than those who are not, and characters who are deliberately handicapped are not automatically played better than those who are not.
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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    Most people also seem to overlook that there is an in-character reason to be powerful. D&D is a dangerous world, and being weak means you're probably going to die the next time a worg pack decides its hungry and attacks your village.

    If you're strong, you'll survive, and there's no reason that can't be a both in and out of character decision.

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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    Actually, most of the min-maxing I post about is just a thought experiment. My gaming group is a mix of newer players and veterans. Although we use pretty much every supplement, we use them mostly for variety, not demi-godhood. But that doesn't mean that it isn't fun to talk about all the various combos and tricks that you could potentially pull off.

    And if a player does want to play a super powered PC, that's fine too. We make our PCs collectively at the beginning of the campaign, so PCs almost always end up roughly balanced compared to each other. So as a DM, its pretty easy to scale the encounters up or down accordingly.

    Finally, I'd add that "weak" builds with limited options, and "strong" builds an every egg in one basket super-combo that deals 10,000 charge damage, both tend to be really boring for a veteran gamer to play. You do the same repetitive task over and over again. If I want to do that, I can go to work. Increasing the power level of a build often increases its versatility. This increases your options during gameplay, making D&D more interesting and fun, assuming that you play with a mature group of players.

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    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    In a fairly humourous game I'm playing in currently (this is important! This character would NOT be good for roleplaying in a serious game!), I made my character a Teenage Mutated ninja Anthropomorphic Turtle who used two Katanas and spoke like a character in a bad cartoon. No prizes for guessing the name.

    TWFing Katanas with a -4 Strength penalty and few feats thanks to the Ninja class is -hard-, but this character is clearly a melee-only one, since he follows the principles of 'Bushido' and won't be trying to 'skill-monkey' or sneak-attack his way through fights.(I know ninjas don't. The cartoon character -does-.)


    Therefore, in order to roleplay properly and PLAY the ROLE in the party I was assigned - tank - it was imperitive that I maximise my ability to do so. Using a weak race and a poor combination of weapons meant that if I chose feats or classes poorly, I would be unable to fulfill this role, I would be unable to roleplay properly, and the game would become less fun for everyone as we'd all die. I'd be an Ewok.

    Sometimes, decent min-maxing is vital to good roleplaying.

    Another example: You're playing a druid. You've met other druids with Natural Spell who can cast while wild-shaped.

    It's simply -not good roleplaying- for your ambitious character to not want to learn how. Yet Natural Spell is often considered the best feat in the game. Min-maxing, or roleplaying? Clearly: Both.

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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    I personally hate maximizing characters (too many bad thoughts linked to that, like my great and cool PC be killed by a random CE player with power attack tree...), but I don't think it's wrong. I don't think it's right either. The uber-character can be fun, but it ruins gaming experience of other players that are less efficient but maybe have different alignments (it's not fun playing a CN beguiler in a party with an ubercharging paladin with true seeing...).

    Thus, I'd say:
    1) Don't minimize, you'll die and you'll won't have fun at all, death is horrible.
    2) Don't maximize, you'll ruin other's game experiences.
    3) What you must DO is build together you characters, so that they are balanced and maybe they work well together.
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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    I too have gamed with a player that believed you had to gimp your characters to make them roleplayable. I'll agree that there are optimizations that don't make sense and would never exist in a real character, but he took it too far. I realize that our characters don't know about game mechanics, but don't you think they'd want to be as effective as possible in whatever they decide to do? The player I mentioned earlier once had a cleric who took skill focus diplomacy (while having low charisma and no ranks in charisma) over augment healing. It doesn't make sense to me that a dedicated healer wouldn't want to be better at his craft. Skill focus healing would have made sense, even if it's nigh useless in terms of optimization. Augment healing would have also made sense AND made the character more effective.

    As far as my own min maxing goes, I'm a little weird. I'm perfectly competent at it. I used to bring my DnD books to my job to work on builds during downtime. But I rarely see the need to test a build in an actual game. In a game I want to play a character with a personality instead of a build with a stat-block. I end up powergaming my characters just enough to keep up with the other players (since nobody likes being the weak link) but never into absurdity.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    I think the essence of it is that here, on this board, we're not all involved in one another's games.

    Here, we just throw around a whole bunch of minmaxing because there's a fair amount of fun to be had in the mathematics of it. Tweaking everything to the highest advantage, seeing just how powerful a character you can make with a set of given restrictions, innovation, knowledge and understanding of the rules... these are the things we can do here. We can't actually play the D&D campaigns others are involved in, so we have our fun this way.

    There are a lot of disclaimers you'll see, actually, if you look hard enough: "Don't ever actually do this," "CHEESE," "I know this is metagaming but," and "This spell is ridiculously broken if used to its full potential, HERE'S HOW," that sort of thing. Basically, it's an exercise in "Here's what NOT to do."

    And again, yes, you can have a great deal of fun while playing a powerful character, and your character can be mechanically optimized while also played to the fullest. D&D is about having fun. And personally, I've never had fun watching my characters get cut down. (And I've watched a lot of my characters get cut down.) Conversely, I have had a great deal of fun mowing down hordes of enemies, showing my awesomeness, having a Rock-Star Moment or two.

    So this is a forum that shows how to minmax characters, if that's what you want to do. If you want to have a little more fluff, well, ditch the Shock Trooper feat, take two levels of Fighter after your one level in Lion Totem Barbarian for the bonus feats, and take three of the Combat Focus feats (probably Combat Focus, Combat Vigor, and Combat Awareness). Bam. You've got a character who's still very powerful and pretty well optimized, who can still obliterate a lot of enemies on the battlefield with his Power Attack, Leap Attack, Pounce, Spirited Charge, and lance, but still has the roleplay flavor of the wise savage, who combines ferocity with the intellectual.

    Or any number of other things, sacrificing one feat (and still being extremely powerful) for another "fluff" feat. (And in the case given above, the Combat Focus feats are far more than just fluff; they're pretty powerful in their own right.)

    That's what this forum is all about: people throwing out ideas as to how to maximize, and the actual players deciding what they want to do with those ideas.

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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    I Min-Max generaly alot of the time, If Im playing a grappler, I will give him Classes/Feats that optimise his Grappling, If Im playing a Camel riding desert orc, Im gonner take mounted combat feats that allow him to stack for very high damage, because that is what the character is, A charging mounted orc who scores for huge damage.

    Although playing weak characters doesnt make good roleplay, playing -intrestingly- weak characters is.

    I'd play a Anthropomorphic Rat Rogue over a halfling rogue, even though the halfling is a much better rouge than the rat, Being a rat is more fun..

    I'd much rather play a Dwarf bard than a Half-elf bard, even with the -2 Cha penalty the sheer awesomeness of a bagpipe playing dwarf is too priceless.

    and my funnest barbarian ever? a Kobold. I had to apply the Feral template to make him even slightly playable, but since hes a kobold it made him about as good as a Average barbarian.

    but playing a slightly niave, bloodthirsty kobold who likes collecting bones as trophys (regardless of wether the creature is still alive or not) is very very fun.

    Im playing a Half-Ogre wizard (heading towards Spellsword) to be a chainmail wearing glaive wielding Melee masher, with alittle spellcasting to boot.. shame about the hitpoints, however 20ft reach and 2d6+8 damage made him a decent secondary combatant, and the playing on "Me smash good!" is fun, especialy when you realy have 22 Intelligence and are getting ready to set off a 4th level spell in their eyes.
    Last edited by Yeril; 2007-10-10 at 12:13 PM.

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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    For me, the important part is not that a character be weak, but that a character have at least one exploitable weakness.

    Party of Mary Sues and Marty Stus is not at all interesting, because drama and roleplaying comes from conflict, and there can't really be much conflict if the characters will do everything wonderfully.

    That said, it's not exciting if your characters have such great weaknesses that they can't win the day either.
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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    Actually, most of the min-maxing I post about is just a thought experiment. My gaming group is a mix of newer players and veterans. Although we use pretty much every supplement, we use them mostly for variety, not demi-godhood. But that doesn't mean that it isn't fun to talk about all the various combos and tricks that you could potentially pull off.
    This is a fairly good description for my group, as well.

    When it comes down to it, so long as the members of your group are at about the same level of power, it doesn't matter what that level is. There is no in-character justification to be more powerful since the DM can (and probably should) adjust challenges to be possible for your group to overcome.

    And if you want a powerful character, don't make excuses for it. Just have one. If you try to justify your power with your character ("Yeah, since he's a wizard he's a supergenius who flawlessly analyzes every problem and emotionlessly calculates the perfect response"), you just limit your characterization options (namely, to characters who would intentionally seek that level of power) which really _can_ make for bad roleplaying.

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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    I have a plan for a minimised character,not for the roleplay but becuase it'd be down-right hilarious. Imagine a fighter, who in his day was as not half bad. But thats was years ago, now he's in the venerable age catagory. That ould be so funny to see him charging into melee, 4 on all physical stats, with a greataxe. If he lasted more than 3 rounds i'd consider it a success.
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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    Quote Originally Posted by hippie_dwarf View Post
    I have a plan for a minimised character,not for the roleplay but becuase it'd be down-right hilarious. Imagine a fighter, who in his day was as not half bad. But thats was years ago, now he's in the venerable age catagory. That ould be so funny to see him charging into melee, 4 on all physical stats, with a greataxe. If he lasted more than 3 rounds i'd consider it a success.
    All you need to make him a solid damage-dealer is enough magic to get him up to 13 strength.

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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    Quote Originally Posted by Bloddyredcommie View Post
    Personally I prefer Fun over both. For example, right now in an oriental adventures campaign I play a cleric who keeps a cannon with a tower sheild bolted to each side in a bag of holding, and uses it quite often, I don't have many feats, but they are all to help using this cannon. He also has a hatred for the Walton-Gnomish mercentile group, AkA Walgnome.

    Is this character Min/Maxxed, nope.
    Is this character the greatest character to roleplay, proably not.
    Is this character fun, Yes.
    Since I've never seen a cannon in a book: it may be very optimized.
    If explain how it works it may make more sense.
    Plus, if you are optimizing the cannon than you aren't being that bad. not like you took Skill Focus underwater basketweaving.

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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    Well the cannon fires rockets, which have varying costs for varying power levels, the ones I use cost about 150g a pop for decent AoE Damage. But it's preety innacurate, said damage hits anything in the radius, which can be a problem with our mostly meele-based group. if I roll a 1 on my attack roll it blows up in my face.

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    I think I may have unintentionally struck a collective forum nerve with his thread, so allow me to clarify .

    I did not mean to imply that minimizing makes better roleplaying, or the opposite. Rather I was asking at what cost is maximizing worth better roleplaying, or indeed if this is a factor. Additionally, is usefulness important to min/maxing a character? and can one RP while being useless or the proverbial show stealer?

    For example, I constantly find myself asking internally wheather or not to make a fighter venerable age, (yes I made a knight who was venerable, sue me...)because it would be a great RPing experience, but he would not be useful or powerful. Conversly, the goliath charge monger is powerful, semi-usefull, but RP lacking without great effort on my and the DM's part. I ended up with a Venerable Goliath Marshal who charged mounted with a lance (named Caladbolg the Cranky ).

    The first post didn't properly articulate what I wished to say, and for that I am sorry. I am in no way advocating game breaking tactics, or min/maxing or even good RPing. Thanx for the posts...er evryone who posted .
    Last edited by slexlollar89; 2007-10-10 at 01:24 PM.

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    i would rather play a powerful character AND rp, than play a weak on and rp.

    Those two things are not mutually exclusive

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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    To me a character is based on a variety of factors including, but not limited to:

    Fun, usefulness, uniqueness, playability and roleplayability

    Fun means just that: fun. Fun for me is being able to roll the dice and in an average situation and have a 50% chance of success at whatever my character is supposed to do. So, if I am party face or skill monkey, against Ted the first level commoner, I want to be able to Bluff him with at least a 50% chance. Failing every time you attempt to do something is not fun to me. Neither is always succeeding.

    Usefulness: The character needs to do something for the party, preferably something the party needs. So if we already have a fighter and mage and a thief, guess who needs to be a healer?

    Uniqueness: How recently has someone in our group made a very similar/identical character? If fairly recent, then I shop around for other ideas.

    Playability: This ties into fun. If I play a fighter and I make him an elf with with an 8 STR and a 6 CON then I am really not playable. It's fine if that's how your stats look after fighting some Lich or something, but to start your career off like that? Why?

    Roleplayability: I have a very difficult time roleplaying stupid characters. It's not impossible, just difficult and I find it unpleasant. Thus I tend to assign stats based around having at least a 10 INT. I usually choose a race/class combination that makes sense for the setting, then I optimize it to point where it will be enjoyable, useful and playable, without being so illogical that it breaks character.

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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    Quote Originally Posted by slexlollar89
    I did not mean to imply that minimizing makes better roleplaying, or the opposite. Rather I was asking at what cost is maximizing worth better roleplaying, or indeed if this is a factor.
    It almost never is a factor, though it can be beneficial to newer players. Playing a concept (the old retired warrior) can easily be optimized (taking Bard/Rogue/Scout/Swordsage levels instead of Fighter levels) without the slightest impact to the charater IC beside being useful to the party. If the concept is to be useless to a party, it would be best to check with them to see if their okay with the idea first, but usually people don't like dragging each others' dead weight.
    Last edited by Dr. Weasel; 2007-10-10 at 02:53 PM.

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    In regards to playability, <10 int doesn't mean you have to be retarded. For example, the 8 int fighter wouldn't cause chaos and be stupid stupid, just a little slow to do plans (the party wizard would have to explain things twice, or draw cartoons for the poor guy) or not understanding of certain ideas or customs, not a complete retard.

    And this illustrates my point: you can have fun with sub-optimal int., but you would'nt be as good a class (nescsarily) than if you had better int. So is there a line? Perhaps a point of mutual RPower?
    Last edited by slexlollar89; 2007-10-10 at 01:54 PM.

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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    Quote Originally Posted by slexlollar89 View Post
    For example, I constantly find myself asking internally wheather or not to make a fighter venerable age, (yes I made a knight who was venerable, sue me...)because it would be a great RPing experience, but he would not be useful or powerful.
    Nonsense. In fact, I invite you to start a thread on this topic so you can see some of the ways in which a venerable fighter can be worth a party slot. Sure, it's not the most powerful choice, but part of the fun of optimization is in taking something that's not inherently powerful and making it impressive.

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    You can't roleplay a dead character.

    Well, not in most settings anyways or without certain prestige classes.


    That said, I have indeed played 'squishy' non casting characters who are great fun but still focused on survival. Said campaign is mostly non-combat and the other PC in the team is a Medium Tarresque(sp?) who is a lot better at combat than my character.

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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    There's no problem at all with playing a commoner and you might roleplay it well. The problem is that your group will very often want you to be a contributing member (beyond just being another body), which is aided immensely by a bit of optimization.

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    Default Re: Minimizing and Maximizing

    Originally Posted by slexlollar89
    I did not mean to imply that minimizing makes better roleplaying, or the opposite. Rather I was asking at what cost is maximizing worth better roleplaying, or indeed if this is a factor.
    So far not a factor that in my 20+ years of playing with scores of people it's never come up until I started hanging out here.
    Sure, I've played the old man antiquarian in a horror game. He had an antique Colt Peacemaker that he could hit bottles with and a sword cane he didn't hurt himself with. When we inevitably got stuck in the house with zombies surrounding it with no escape. The mercs shot a lot of them. I used my character's strengths (or in that case I think it was Science skill) to make some firebombs out of common house hold substances. End of the night, I took the DM by such complete surprise I managed to save the entire party.

    Yes, you can start out as the peasant hero, but if it's a long running campaign Darwinism is going to take it's tole on a party. And to be honest, I (like my character) want my character to live.
    Alot is not a word. It's a lot, two words.
    Always use the proper tool. If the proper tool isn't available, try a hammer.


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