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  1. - Top - End - #31
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    Honestly with a party as "optimized" as this, I'd just play druid and dump a feat into Spontaneous Healer (Complete Divine). Take whatever spells you want and when you need to heal, just convert spells into Cure Wounds spells.

    After that you can play as the tank if you want and focus on other things instead of just being the party healer. You could even ask your DM if Wildshape would let you qualify for Minor Shapeshift (it would be a house rule but the feat is anything but game breaking) so you can heal yourself as the tank and not have to worry a great deal.

    As for your questions

    1) No, but if the DM is telling you to play healer or at least be a healer then I'd take healing abilities
    2) Depends on the DM, but this isn't an optimized party
    3) See 2

  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    A cure light wounds heals about 4HP at lv1. An entangle that traps 3 kobolds for 10 rounds has just "healed" 40. A summoned celestial monkey that eats a crit from an ork chieftan's scythe just "healed" over 100. Healing is a wands job and best left for in between battles.

  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanBruce View Post
    Sadly, players have become way too complacent with the idea that “magic marts” are a must have in every single campaign. Same for easy availability of magic items.

    Having seen this behavior in players many times before , I hate to have to burst their fantasy bubble by telling them that no, wandering wizards Deus Ex Machina and Magic Mart franchises are not a thing.

    Your class features? They’re a thing. Use them to your heart’s content.
    It's one of my few complaints about "optimization" guides, there's a lot of "don't bother with this feature, just buy the magic item!" and I'm like...great...now lets try this build assuming we have zero magic items. Suddenly features that seem lame (and probably are) jump in value. And frankly, if your build requires a magic item, all you're doing is putting a big red arrow on your head telling your DM "Take this item and you can totally neuter my character!" And I've been there, I've had that character. And oh, you wanna get that item back? Better make 17 pacts with 500 angels about how you'll save all the babies ever and stop eating meat. Yeah no thanks, I'll just go jump off a cliff and bring a new character who doesn't need "stuff" to be good.

    Quote Originally Posted by tyckspoon View Post
    Play the game you enjoy, sure, but WBL and magic item shops (..well, not explicitly dedicated magic item shops, but the idea that PCs should be able to search for and purchase specific items, the game mostly just glosses over the specifics of how that happens) are inherent assumptions of the 3.5 rules. If you are hard core opposed to the concept of purchasable magic and reliable access to magical equipment, at least some portion of which the player is going to select instead of having randomly assigned.. 3.5 may not be the game for you.
    Please, I've played all the way through epic levels with zero magic items. 3.5 isn't some kind of computer game that mandates you to have specific item-level of gear or "purples" if you want to fight the big stuff. It's completely adjustable at every level of play.

    I've played "savage lands" 3.5 to space-punk 3.5 with minimal adjustments to gameplay. Monsters run fine right out of the book. Leveled humanoids pose fair challenges as enemies. Basic "weapons" and "gear" and "gold" being all the players ever get keeps them all in line just fine, no WBL and no magic item shops need apply.

    I'll gladly submit that 4E got out of hand with requiring the MMO loot-grind. But 3.5? Not even close.
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  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    You don't need a plot device to get a wand of CLW or a healing belt. They both cost 750 gold, which means it'll take literally 1 day's work (8 hours) to craft using a spell that all good clerics and half of neutral clerics can cast spontaneously. There's realistically no reason why you shouldn't be able to go into any city big enough to have a couple of temples to good deities, ask around for someone to craft a wand or a belt if they don't have one on hand that you can buy, and then leave with your freshly-crafted item the next day.

    And the fact that you have personally played a game with no magic items and didn't have a problem with it has no bearing on another person's experience at another table with another group. The wealth by level table is a thing because characters advance by both class levels and with their equipment, to the extent that the DMG even recommends giving the party a extra loot every once if a while if they're falling behind WBL guidelines so they can afford equipment upgrades. Buying magic items is an intended game mechanic.
    That's not to say that this whole "magic mart" business isn't ridiculous. You shouldn't be able to waltz into town and be able to throw money at any given magic shoppe for any item you want. Minor magic items (for example, a wand of a level 1 spell at CL 1) shouldn't be a problem to get your hands on, but I'd generally say that anything costing more than a one or two thousand gold should be made to order. Larger items should be purchases made when the party has a decent amount of downtime between adventures, or an item ordered before they leave on an adventure and picked up when they return to that town. If your bard wants to increase his charisma you shouldn't cloak-block him, but maybe make him wait two weeks or so to get it.
    Last edited by Vaern; 2019-10-17 at 08:51 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    Segue: I HATE this argument. It's based on the assumption that wands of CLW are always readily available and affordable in at any given table, in any given campaign. They may not be, and the fact that the DM is trying to force a person to be a healer should be a strong indicator that alternative means of healing are not readily available.

    Players should never assume they'll be able to get XYZ magic item once their characters hit the table. The assumption should always be that they'll get nothing more than their class features. If they get more stuff, great! But they shouldn't assume WBL, magic-item-shops or anything of that nature.

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    It's one of my few complaints about "optimization" guides, there's a lot of "don't bother with this feature, just buy the magic item!" and I'm like...great...now lets try this build assuming we have zero magic items. Suddenly features that seem lame (and probably are) jump in value. And frankly, if your build requires a magic item, all you're doing is putting a big red arrow on your head telling your DM "Take this item and you can totally neuter my character!" And I've been there, I've had that character. And oh, you wanna get that item back? Better make 17 pacts with 500 angels about how you'll save all the babies ever and stop eating meat. Yeah no thanks, I'll just go jump off a cliff and bring a new character who doesn't need "stuff" to be good.

    Quote Originally Posted by tyckspoon View Post
    Play the game you enjoy, sure, but WBL and magic item shops (..well, not explicitly dedicated magic item shops, but the idea that PCs should be able to search for and purchase specific items, the game mostly just glosses over the specifics of how that happens) are inherent assumptions of the 3.5 rules. If you are hard core opposed to the concept of purchasable magic and reliable access to magical equipment, at least some portion of which the player is going to select instead of having randomly assigned.. 3.5 may not be the game for you.
    Tyck's right here.

    The game's design not only presumes that magic items will be common as dirt but freely traded in an open market. This is all but explicitly stated outright. Like it, don't; whatever but it -is- part of the system.


    Please, I've played all the way through epic levels with zero magic items. 3.5 isn't some kind of computer game that mandates you to have specific item-level of gear or "purples" if you want to fight the big stuff. It's completely adjustable at every level of play.
    Of course you can compensate for not giving out magic items. In fact, you have to. I'm glad your GM was able to handle it.

    I've played "savage lands" 3.5 to space-punk 3.5 with minimal adjustments to gameplay. Monsters run fine right out of the book. Leveled humanoids pose fair challenges as enemies. Basic "weapons" and "gear" and "gold" being all the players ever get keeps them all in line just fine, no WBL and no magic item shops need apply.
    Gee, if the enemies are all gear dependent classed humanoids, just like the PCs, the gear dependence issue solves itself? Who'd have guessed?
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  6. - Top - End - #36
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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    Tyck's right here.

    The game's design not only presumes that magic items will be common as dirt but freely traded in an open market. This is all but explicitly stated outright. Like it, don't; whatever but it -is- part of the system.
    Weird, considering actually employing this at a table seems to be IME, non-normative.

    Also, W/E. I'm not here to argue if it is or isn't in the system. I don't care if it is or isn't in the system. We play D&D because it's got big bold text that says "Play how you like." If we wanted to be beholden to the system we could all log in to WoW where we get no say in how the game is played.
    Last edited by False God; 2019-10-17 at 10:17 PM.
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  7. - Top - End - #37
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    Does a party need to be optimized in the abstract? No. Optimization is never necessary in an absolute sense. However...

    Should a party aim to match its capabilities to the DM's goals? Absolutely 110% yes. And that usually requires some amount of optimization, but exactly how much will vary a lot. More importantly, it will vary not only from DM to DM, but from character to character. A highly-optimized (PO, not TO) Pathfinder party of one each arcanist/druid/cleric/synthesist summoner/bloodrager will blow a mild-mannered, beer-and-pretzels kind of campaign out of the water, and while the rush of power will feel good at first, steamrolling things really does lose its luster after a while. On the other, a poorly-optimized PF party of one each paladin/slayer/UC-monk/kineticist/medium will likely struggle mightily if their DM even slightly favors giving a challenge.

    And that doesn't even take into account that different optimization for different party members can modulate overall competition. That is, a Wizard only very casually optimizing (that is, just avoiding bad choices, no more) may actually be less powerful than an extremely high-OP Sorcerer, even though one is Tier 1 and the other is Tier 2. Or, to give a full-group example: consider a party of druid/sorcerer/bard/paladin/summoner. Having the druid and summoner intentionally avoid high optimization, while the paladin actively seeks high optimization, can actually make for a party in a pretty tight range band of power. Having the Druid intentionally do whatever's fun regardless of power, while the Paladin ruthlessly optimizes and gets just a light touch of providential narrative/treasure benefits, could put the whole group in Tiers 2 to 3, which is a pretty good range to be in.

    So I'd say:
    Appropriate overall optimization is necessary, up to the point of keeping up with the campaign style your DM offers.
    Appropriate individual optimization is not strictly necessary, but very VERY useful for smoothing out tier differences.

  8. - Top - End - #38
    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    And that doesn't even take into account that different optimization for different party members can modulate overall competition. That is, a Wizard only very casually optimizing (that is, just avoiding bad choices, no more) may actually be less powerful than an extremely high-OP Sorcerer, even though one is Tier 1 and the other is Tier 2. Or, to give a full-group example: consider a party of druid/sorcerer/bard/paladin/summoner. Having the druid and summoner intentionally avoid high optimization, while the paladin actively seeks high optimization, can actually make for a party in a pretty tight range band of power. Having the Druid intentionally do whatever's fun regardless of power, while the Paladin ruthlessly optimizes and gets just a light touch of providential narrative/treasure benefits, could put the whole group in Tiers 2 to 3, which is a pretty good range to be in.
    This has the issue that "fun" options range in power though. For example, the iconic bear Druid riding a bear and summoning bears (think Beorn) is actually pretty darn powerful while the rabbit Druid is far less so. This is precisely why optimisation is quite useful: it allows you to control the level of power a given option carries. The most important part is the awareness of power relative to other options. This allows precise configuration for the desired power level; a Druid optimising for fun can still overpower a campaign somewhat incidentally but a Druid specifically building for a tier 2-3 game will 100 % fit in.
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  9. - Top - End - #39
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    This has the issue that "fun" options range in power though. For example, the iconic bear Druid riding a bear and summoning bears (think Beorn) is actually pretty darn powerful while the rabbit Druid is far less so. This is precisely why optimisation is quite useful: it allows you to control the level of power a given option carries. The most important part is the awareness of power relative to other options. This allows precise configuration for the desired power level; a Druid optimising for fun can still overpower a campaign somewhat incidentally but a Druid specifically building for a tier 2-3 game will 100 % fit in.
    I was assuming, for the sake of the example, that the Druid player would genuinely be having fun taking un- or low-optimized choices, and likewise that the Paladin player would be likewise having fun taking powerful options (and getting a little DM hand up).

    Like...it's obvious that if a player won't have fun playing anything but a high-op Wizard, they're probably not going to be a good fit for this group. Likewise if a player adores playing Fighters and gets anaphylactic about anything even vaguely looking like "character optimization," they're probably not going to fit well in a big-challenge psion/druid/wizard/cleric party. Not to say that such things never ever work, just that it's...pretty unlikely for them to work out.

  10. - Top - End - #40
    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    I was assuming, for the sake of the example, that the Druid player would genuinely be having fun taking un- or low-optimized choices, and likewise that the Paladin player would be likewise having fun taking powerful options (and getting a little DM hand up).

    Like...it's obvious that if a player won't have fun playing anything but a high-op Wizard, they're probably not going to be a good fit for this group. Likewise if a player adores playing Fighters and gets anaphylactic about anything even vaguely looking like "character optimization," they're probably not going to fit well in a big-challenge psion/druid/wizard/cleric party. Not to say that such things never ever work, just that it's...pretty unlikely for them to work out.
    My contention was not there though, but that it requires some system mastery from the Druid to assess, what's the power of the character. You ought to probably not say "pick fun things" but rather pick "fun, mechanically weak things" as that's what you mean (and this, again, requires optimisation - optimisation to a certain level). Some of the most "fun" builds can be incredibly simple and incredibly high optimisation and it takes some system mastery to figure this out before the game. "Fun", "simple" and "mechanically powerful" do not exist on the same axis at all, all combinations of those exist ("fun, simple, powerful", "fun, complex, powerful", "unfun, simple, powerful", "unfun, complex, powerful", "fun, simple, weak", "fun, complex, weak", "unfun, simple, weak", "unfun, complex, weak" - though as scalars with infinitely more variety and minding the subjective nature of "fun").
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  11. - Top - End - #41
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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    Quote Originally Posted by SpicyBoi_Nezu View Post
    According to my friend, I am not allowed to play tank because that is what I usually play (and quite well if I do say so myself).
    [Emphasis added] Maybe it's just poor phrasing, but this sentence comes across as you being forced to change character archetypes for no reason other than someone else effectively deciding they don't like the look of your face. If the crux really is that your friend thinks a tank character won't fit into this op-level, then that's a valid concern, but the given party info doesn't necessarily support that idea.

    In my opinion, a party can have two melee dps without many issues, because there are less enemies to hurt the rest of the party if half of them don't make it past round one.
    This depends highly on the type of battlefields you find yourselves on. There is a very real problem with having two melee characters in a dungeon full of 5' wide corridors where only one melee character can engage: this setting is perfect for tanks, but means that there is literally only room for one melee person in front (and ranged attacks have to go through both soft cover and shoot into melee penalties). Even when advancing, there is often only one good spot to attack from: the closest adjacent square to the enemy, the one you can charge into, the one you won't eat AoOs for getting into. Two melee characters means one gets that spot, and the other doesn't.
    A second ranged dps would allow for more than just one of the further away enemies to be dealt with, allowing the melee dps to focus on the closer enemies without worrying about using all of his movement in order to get all of them. If the party has a tank, that is quite good at defending the spell-caster and ranged dps, enemies pose less of a threat to the typically squishier members of the party
    If this melee dps is truly optimized, they will explicitly want to move, in order to trigger whatever lol pounce they have, and (as they don't value the idea of "tank"), will probably not care about leaving the squishies undefended.
    Do I NEED to play a healer?
    No one "needs" to play a "healer," but standard 3.5 monsters are written under the assumption that the party can deal with the status effects and powerful AoE energy attacks they dish out, as well as a bunch of different dungeon navigation/survival spells. These defenses are guaranteed in the standard party by one particular class, the Cleric. With no cleric, every single monster that dishes out a crippling long-term status effect goes from Easy if Handled Properly (by running away and preparing the spell tomorrow), to just deadly, and any situation that happens to require a "utility" spell the sorcerer doesn't have, is now a likely insurmountable obstacle unless/until you buy an item to deal with it.

    But if these optimizers are so good, they should have already brought their own Cleric. If you're the one who supposedly has to match them, it's their job to do the hard part and manage the casters.

    And on the contrary, a party this focused on "dps" probably does need a tank, because they've got themselves a big 'ol blind spot. The thing is, in terms of just taking hits, a Cleric is as good as anyone, often better because they've got less reason to pretend shields are bad. You could easily make a tank, a true Tank, with the actual ability to take hits and soak other people's damage, with a Cleric- they have the Shield Other spell with literally splits someone else's damage with you, and you can take the Constant Guardian+Dutiful Guardian (Drow of the Underdark) and/or Combat Expertise+ Allied Defense (Shining South) feats with a Cleric as well as anyone else. The guardian feats let you transfer some AB to an ally's AC (without actually requiring an attack) and swap places with them during someone else's turn, while Allied Defense just lets you share your AC bonus from Expertise. A human could start with both guardian feats at 1st.
    Do we NEED to have an "Optimized" party in order to survive?
    Well the people to ask would be those that have played with this DM before. It would appear they're saying yes, but despite being afraid of this DM's game's power level, they've gone and built a party that they don't think can handle it. And expect you to do it for them. How 'bout no?
    Does anyone ever REALLY NEED an "Optimized" party? Especially when you're starting at level 2.
    Most char-op starts before 1st level and is planned at least through 6th, if not the whole 20. Without retraining you could permanently "cripple" your character by starting them off "wrong."

    As for what to do with this game? I'd say tell your friend and the DM to stuff it, if they needed a healer that bad they should have built one themselves. If they've invited you to join this already 4 person party, they should be fine with you playing whatever you want, and if they're not then I'd suggest you probably don't want to play in this particular game.

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    Players should never assume they'll be able to get XYZ magic item once their characters hit the table. The assumption should always be that they'll get nothing more than their class features. If they get more stuff, great! But they shouldn't assume WBL, magic-item-shops or anything of that nature.
    Random treasure and the ability to spend it if you find a town are in there firmly enough that going below that minimum should definitely qualify as a game change the DM should have known would require disclosure. But generally I agree- the game neither expects nor guarantees perfect items, just a certain few bonuses that you should get one way or another. However. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    Please, I've played all the way through epic levels with zero magic items. 3.5 isn't some kind of computer game that mandates you to have specific item-level of gear or "purples" if you want to fight the big stuff. It's completely adjustable at every level of play.
    Something I noticed when checking on 3.5 changes to many spells was that the whole "you must have X/Y/Z constant bonus," was way less of a thing in 3.0. Saving throws weren't easily boostable without Cloak of Resistance, but why boost saves when you could just negate the damage or effects entirely, as the Cleric can already do? The stat booster spells originally lasted hours/level (and could be boosted to higher numbers with metamagic), Greater Magic Weapon/Vestment were +1/3 levels rather than the +1/4 they are now, and those are the only things you truly need from items in 3.5. Assuming your party casters are party casting.

    But they nerfed those spells, in what seems to be intentionally trying to make the party more item dependent. 3.x expects you to have a certain progression of ability and weapon/armor enhancement bonuses, and 3.5 made the spells that provide those short enough/weak enough that you need items to do the job. That's where the DM adjustment comes in of course, as the DM can just read the character sheets and figure out when it's time to break from CR X.
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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    It's one of my few complaints about "optimization" guides, there's a lot of "don't bother with this feature, just buy the magic item!" and I'm like...great...now lets try this build assuming we have zero magic items. Suddenly features that seem lame (and probably are) jump in value. And frankly, if your build requires a magic item, all you're doing is putting a big red arrow on your head telling your DM "Take this item and you can totally neuter my character!" And I've been there, I've had that character. And oh, you wanna get that item back? Better make 17 pacts with 500 angels about how you'll save all the babies ever and stop eating meat. Yeah no thanks, I'll just go jump off a cliff and bring a new character who doesn't need "stuff" to be good.
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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    Segue: I HATE this argument. It's based on the assumption that wands of CLW are always readily available and affordable in at any given table, in any given campaign. They may not be, and the fact that the DM is trying to force a person to be a healer should be a strong indicator that alternative means of healing are not readily available.

    Players should never assume they'll be able to get XYZ magic item once their characters hit the table. The assumption should always be that they'll get nothing more than their class features. If they get more stuff, great! But they shouldn't assume WBL, magic-item-shops or anything of that nature.

    ----
    @OP: Alternative: Make a cleric or a druid. Then you can be a tank/healer/DPS/support whenever you want. If you're not feeling "healing" today, you can turn into a cat. If you're not feeling like protecting your party with your bear butt, you can throw out some buffs and find a nice rock to sit on. If you're particularly bored, just go go godzilla.
    To be fair; Magic Mart is more or less the default assumption for 3.5 and a DM is supposed to give you an explaination for changes from this default. Either a low magic setting or "the art of magic item creation is lost to the ages" etc. RAW usually assumes that if you need a wand (for example) you'll be able to get it within a couple of sessions.

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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    Quote Originally Posted by Asmotherion View Post
    To be fair; Magic Mart is more or less the default assumption for 3.5 and a DM is supposed to give you an explaination for changes from this default. Either a low magic setting or "the art of magic item creation is lost to the ages" etc. RAW usually assumes that if you need a wand (for example) you'll be able to get it within a couple of sessions.
    I haven't read the DMG cover to cover, so I don't know what it says in particular about the availability of magic items for purchase. But my friends and I have toyed around with town generators in the past that will determine the wealth level of a city (effectively setting the upper limit of equipment readily available for purchase) and the levels of NPCs of various classes who could potentially craft items to order for you, both of which tend to correlate with the population of the city in question.
    It seems perfectly reasonable to me to set a soft cap on item availability based on market value, while using the levels of NPCs available to craft new items as a hard cap. It also seems more realistic in-universe that a ridiculously expensive item, which the inhabitants of the city in question could not afford, would have to be made to order for an absurdly wealthy adventurer passing through town rather than just being "in stock" at ye olde shoppe and waiting for the lucky day that someone hits the lottery and wants that specific item.

    But regardless of how you handle item availability in game, a wand of a 1st level spell is still such a minor and inexpensive item that you'd be hard-pressed to find a temple where you couldn't find one.
    Last edited by Vaern; 2019-10-18 at 10:55 AM.

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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    Weird, considering actually employing this at a table seems to be IME, non-normative.

    Also, W/E. I'm not here to argue if it is or isn't in the system. I don't care if it is or isn't in the system. We play D&D because it's got big bold text that says "Play how you like." If we wanted to be beholden to the system we could all log in to WoW where we get no say in how the game is played.
    It is one of the great ironies of this game that the edition where 'Magic is a purchasable commodity and can be traded for gold just like any other item' is a baseline assumption of the rules is also the one where all the 'Magic should be rare, special, and never in the direct control of the player' people decided to plant their flag, yes.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vaern View Post
    I haven't read the DMG cover to cover, so I don't know what it says in particular about the availability of magic items for purchase. But my friends and I have toyed around with town generators in the past that will determine the wealth level of a city (effectively setting the upper limit of equipment readily available for purchase) and the levels of NPCs of various classes who could potentially craft items to order for you, both of which tend to correlate with the population of the city in question.
    It seems perfectly reasonable to me to set a soft cap on item availability based on market value, while using the levels of NPCs available to craft new items as a hard cap. It also seems more realistic in-universe that a ridiculously expensive item, which the inhabitants of the city in question could not afford, would have to be made to order for an absurdly wealthy adventurer passing through town rather than just being "in stock" at ye olde shoppe and waiting for the lucky day that someone hits the lottery and wants that specific item.
    This is pretty much how the rules operate, yeah. You figure out how expensive an item a particular town can support, and anything at or under that level is considered to be generally available. And with random generation rules that can create characters capable of casting 9th-level spells in a sufficiently large city, pretty much everything is potentially available as a special order.

    As for waiting on a special order, I think that goes to another largely unspoken assumption the designers had, which was that there would be notable downtime periods between adventures or even as breaks during an adventure. Whether you just got back from your 1st level adventure and you want somebody to make you a shiny new suit of masterwork plate armor or you're a high-level adventurer and you want somebody to make you a suitably expensive magic item, it's supposed to be ok to hang around chilling in your fort/living off your patrons/doing whatever it is your characters 'normal' daily life is for the three months or so that will take. It's not explicitly said anywhere that I can recall, but the existence of things like rules for seasonal weather and the amount of time it takes to perform tasks like crafting and spell research suggests you're supposed to have time to do that somewhat regularly.

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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    This extended downtime also seems to be the time in which experience is assumed to occur as well.

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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaern View Post
    I haven't read the DMG cover to cover, so I don't know what it says in particular about the availability of magic items for purchase. But my friends and I have toyed around with town generators in the past that will determine the wealth level of a city (effectively setting the upper limit of equipment readily available for purchase) and the levels of NPCs of various classes who could potentially craft items to order for you, both of which tend to correlate with the population of the city in question.
    Quote Originally Posted by tyckspoon View Post
    This is pretty much how the rules operate, yeah.
    To be clear, this is exactly how the rules operate, in the random town generation section of the DMG (unless the DM is not using it, etc). Online city generators for 3.x just insta-roll and lay it out for you instead of doing it by hand, and sometimes throw in their own stuff like maps or names.
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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    Just play a Dragon Shaman from Player's Handbook II. They can technically heal with Vigor Aura.
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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    Leaving aside whether it is standard for characters to have control over their magic items and have WBL and the rest of it - imo yes but not the point - it's a bit of a crappy move from a GM to withhold magical resources that do boring stuff and allow the PCs to do their fun stuff. Like healing. If everyone's on board, then happy days, but if they're not it's just not nice.

    Also kinda like telling someone they can't play their favoured playstyle and that they've got to fit into their own standard for how effective parties run. Tone is everything so I don't know how crappy the GM's actually being but the OP's situation is waving a few red flags for me.

    In any case, playing a Cleric/Druid/Paladin and being a tanky healer does sound like the best compromise.

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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    Ultimately, it boils down to the information the DM gives its players regarding the setting before character creation.

    The default (and sad) assumption by everyone- DM included- is that the Magic Mart Franchise is there. Be it a hamlet or major city, you're pretty much guaranteed to have some shop keep that will sweat a few days and nights at the forge, but you're getting that +1 collision magebane returning hand axe. How could you not? It's a Magic Mart!

    And that's if the DM is being somewhat "realistic". Usually said weapons are ready on the go, hanging shiny and proudly on the shelf behind the counter for all to see. Hell, make it a baker's dozen while you're at it and throw a pair of anklets of translocation, on the house.

    Now, I did mention earlier that players and DMs have become complacent to this notion. I blame it on 3.5 throwing an avalanche of book after book during its heyday. each with brand new trinkets that cause everyone at the table to drool. Why, there's even a book called The Magic Item Compendium... take a guess at what's in it.

    Rant aside and addressing the original poster, be a healer... on your terms. This may have been mentioned already, but you can build a rogue and max UMD. I believe there are tanks in the party already, right? Sneak around. Flank. Stab. Kill.

    And when the encounter's over- and assuming your WBL was spent on them or your DM opened the Magic Mart franchise in his world, whip out your trusty wand of healing (your choice of curative spell) and UMD away.

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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanBruce View Post
    Ultimately, it boils down to the information the DM gives its players regarding the setting before character creation.

    The default (and sad) assumption by everyone- DM included- is that the Magic Mart Franchise is there. Be it a hamlet or major city, you're pretty much guaranteed to have some shop keep that will sweat a few days and nights at the forge, but you're getting that +1 collision magebane returning hand axe. How could you not? It's a Magic Mart!
    Oh it's likely that there's a caster in town who's got the levels to cast the spells to craft what you want under the gp limit, they're all right there on the city generation table. As to whether they're interested in working for you or have the feats. . . Well, it's entirely possible to pre-generate all the high level casters of a city, all of whom are quite powerful and likely either hard to find or hard to reach. And if you've a spotty reputation, ping bad on Detect Evil, or have an aversion to working with Evil people, whatever weights the random alignment table has could work against you.

    In fact now that I've actually checked- the random NPC alignments table has 50% Evil? Best to stick to the alignment percentages in the MM for the various races.
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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanBruce View Post
    Ultimately, it boils down to the information the DM gives its players regarding the setting before character creation.
    This is absolutely correct. As long as the GM tells you up front that it's going to be a campaign where magic items are (ridiculously) rare, it's his world and you've been warned. You're going in knowing that you're going to have issues as a non-caster that you wouldn't have in a campaign under the default rules, particularly if the GM has done this with no real thought and doesn't adjust encounters to account for it.

    That said, I always take it as a great big red flag when a GM says "low magic" campaign and then allows caster PCs with no changes. That says to me that either he doesn't know what he's doing or he's making presumptions about how the party's going to play and interact without voicing them. Sure hope somebody's in the mood to play a support caster.

    The default (and sad) assumption by everyone- DM included- is that the Magic Mart Franchise is there. Be it a hamlet or major city, you're pretty much guaranteed to have some shop keep that will sweat a few days and nights at the forge, but you're getting that +1 collision magebane returning hand axe. How could you not? It's a Magic Mart!

    And that's if the DM is being somewhat "realistic". Usually said weapons are ready on the go, hanging shiny and proudly on the shelf behind the counter for all to see. Hell, make it a baker's dozen while you're at it and throw a pair of anklets of translocation, on the house.
    This always struck me as funny, although not in a humorous way. The people that level this complaint always seem to have put the least, if any, imagination toward this "problem."

    Of course a franchcise of magic mega-marts is just plain absurd.

    At the same time, how many mages across the world have been making how many magic items for how long again? How often do they find their way into "dungeons" in the hands of adventurers that don't make it back and so need to be regularly replaced? How many 10s of thousands, 100s of thousands, or even millions of cloaks of elvenkind, for example, have been made, taken into hostile territory, dropped by their recently deceased owners, and dragged back to civilization as loot by more succesful adventurers a few years, decades, or centuries later?

    Unless your world is either very young or much much tamer than the default setting, there should be -plenty- of magic items in circulation even if artificers aren't a thing in that particular world. Why wouldn't they be traded on an open market?

    And mind, that's "open market" not "supermarket." I presume there are various guilds, syndicates, gangs, and other organizations in your world. It's only natural that each has its uses for some items more than others. How often does, say, an explorer organization delving ancient ruins find itself in possession of the ancient weapons, armor, and other various charms and trinkets of the long-dead that they either don't know how to use or have no use for? What better way to raise funds for further exploration than to sell them to various mercenary groups, mages colleges, churches, and the odd traveling merchant? And why wouldn't they spend some of the proceeds from such on magical navigation tools or other acoutrements to make spending large amounts of time away from civilzation more comfortable?

    And all that is before you even consider brokers; people whose entire job is to find specific things for people in the wider market than simply the local settlement in exchange for a commission on that item. That +1 collision magebane returning handaxe might not be hanging in the local smith's market stall but is it reallly impossible that it exists somewhere? Is there no one from whom it could be commissioned anywhere? No one has -ever-, in the thousands of years of most campaigns' history, had a desire and the funds to have commissioned one in the past that it might have found its way into the market after he no longer had need of it?

    If you insist on roleplaying every interaction with a shopkeeper, I can see how all this would get tedious but it makes plenty of sense to me and you -can- choose to simply gloss-over the shopping trips. It's not the most compelling gameplay to most people anyhow.

    Honestly, rare magic items needs more explanation than common ones to my mind.


    Now, I did mention earlier that players and DMs have become complacent to this notion. I blame it on 3.5 throwing an avalanche of book after book during its heyday. each with brand new trinkets that cause everyone at the table to drool. Why, there's even a book called The Magic Item Compendium... take a guess at what's in it.
    You're right about it coming from 3e. You don't have to look any further than the 3.0 DMG to find it though. It says plain as day on pages 160-161 that magic items, while rare and expensive enough to be out of reach of common folk, are a commonly traded commodity just like any other. The 3.5 DMG elaborated on this point further in the guidelines surrounding settlement demographics and economies. The designers have even acknowledged in various interviews and articles that they made the conscious decision to make that the default in this edition because of the issues that arose in how magic items were handled in previous editions and made a number of balancing decisions based on that choice. The intent was always that a GM should have a good reason to exclude an item rather than demand a reason he should include one in 3e.

    As is the case with any design element of any P&PRPG, you're free to like it, dislike it, keep, discard, or change it as you see fit. If you're going to change or discard it though, you should know that you -are- making a change to a fundamental part of the system and think it through accordingly.
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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    With the ease of making magic items and many of their permanent value, the real question is why society doesn't have more instead of less.

    Sustaining Spoons for instance cost 5kgp, which is a lot. Each one also allows 4 soldiers to campaign without carrying food, so they become much more mobile. In 14 years the spoon will have paid off the cost of its being made regardless, and since is laats forever they are a literal boon to soviety. If the government buys a few a year it can quickly wipe out hunger, a farmer buying one can turn his/her production to cash crops, etc.
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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanBruce View Post
    The default (and sad) assumption by everyone- DM included- is that the Magic Mart Franchise is there. Be it a hamlet or major city, you're pretty much guaranteed to have some shop keep that will sweat a few days and nights at the forge, but you're getting that +1 collision magebane returning hand axe. How could you not? It's a Magic Mart!

    And that's if the DM is being somewhat "realistic".
    If the GM is being even more realistic then, when you return to town with sufficient funds to afford the item you want, Quertus' associates will be waiting for you at the town gates, item in hand. Because magic shops that are not using Divinations to proactively caster to their customers will be put out of business by Quertus' superior precognitive business model. Maybe some day he'll manage to get out of debt…

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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    If the GM is being even more realistic then, when you return to town with sufficient funds to afford the item you want, Quertus' associates will be waiting for you at the town gates, item in hand. Because magic shops that are not using Divinations to proactively caster to their customers will be put out of business by Quertus' superior precognitive business model. Maybe some day he'll manage to get out of debt…
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    Last edited by Xervous; 2019-10-21 at 02:44 PM.

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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    Play and ubercharger barbarian, and tell the ranger DPS's to deal with it, because once you get online at like level 8 or so any damage they do will be largely irrelevant.

    Alternatively, they're missing the "God" role from an optimized party, Wizard into Incantatrix is good for that. Hell, go Wu Jen into Anima Mage, and bind Zceryll, have you and your Body outside Body clones summon 11,000 monsters in a day. I'm sure at least one of those monsters can heal.

    Alternatively, tell the party to go get pact of return on their spell lists.


    Artificer is also a good choice, you can also do whatever you want there.
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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    With the ease of making magic items and many of their permanent value, the real question is why society doesn't have more instead of less.
    Greece had a functional steam engine. Steam engines didn't see practical use until about the 1600's. Sure, at trail ration rates of 5 sp/day, a Sustaining Spoon that feeds four folks per day pays itself off in 2700 days (7.4 years), and a Ring of Sustenance which sustains one person pays itself off in 5000 days (13.7 years) at best efficiency.

    That's "at trail ration rates". A "Trained Hireling" is 3 sp/day. An Expert-1 with Wis-10, 4 ranks and Skill Focus in Survival can take 10 to take care of himself and three other people (four, with a masterwork tool). That's 1 sp/day/person (or less). At 1 sp/person/day, that 2,500 gp Ring of Sustenance now takes 25,000 days (68.5 years) to hit break-even, and the sustaining spoon 13,500 days (37 years). As a bonus, he also keeps the army from getting lost, and knows tomorrow's weather (both DC 15).

    Alternately, you can pack raw materials, and have cooks. An expert 1 with a 10 in the relevant ability score, Skill Focus, and 4 ranks has a +7 modifier. "Poor" meals are 1 sp/each, and will sustain your basic conscript army. Materials are 1 sp per 3 folks for a day, and if I assume a Poor meal is a "very basic item", then per the Craft Skill it's just DC 5. Take the penalty for working quickly, take ten, and that's DC 15 * check 17 = 255 copper pieces of progress per day. That's 25 meals, costing 3 sp (labor) and 8.333... sp (materials) - to feed 24 soldiers (the cook also eats, of course). 0.347222222... sp/soldier/day. Now that Ring of Sustenance takes 72,000 days (197 years) to hit break even, and the sustaining spoon 38,880 days (106 years).

    In the meanwhile, you've got 1,000 troops to move and a war to win. Expert-1's are easy to come by (you'll find them in basically any old thorp), while Cleric-3's are much harder. If you're expecting six months in the field, do you want 250 sustaining spoons or 42 cooks? If you go with the cooks, you can afford some reasonable armor and weapons for your troops, and are more likely to win the war. By a lot. And the experts are much lower value loot if you lose them to the enemy.

    Sure, you might keep a few such things around for various scouting or strike teams... but no, they're not a good choice for a ruler to issue to anything resembling a conventional army. You maybe make sure you have a handful (for scouting or strike teams), but you stop buying them after that. They've got a horrid return on investment compared to other methods of feeding folks. For comparison, if you're trying to get investors for your business, and your business model does not predict that you'll be making a profit within five years... you're unlikely to get many, if any, investors. That Sustaining Spoon has a 106 year break even point. It's a bad choice. Sure, a net effect of the proliferation of such spoons will be better for society... but they're not good items for a shop, so they're not stocked (other than the handful that are found for various reasons). They're a bad investment, so the only ones that are purchased are those to replace those for the specialized teams that lose them for various reasons. Few of them are made, because the folks the specialized teams lose them to (by however many steps) are the folks that sell them to the shops that they're bought from. The number of sustaining spoons in the world doesn't really trend upwards.

    ... and that's assuming the King approaches the matter as a modern man, who looks at a the world as a pool of resources for accomplishing his goals. Most folks in the ancient world didn't really do cost/benefit analysis, which is part of why Romans did Tax Farming and nobody really thought to improve the life of peasants.
    Last edited by Jack_Simth; 2019-10-21 at 09:48 PM.
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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack_Simth View Post
    Most folks in the ancient world didn't really do cost/benefit analysis, which is part of why Romans did Tax Farming and nobody really thought to improve the life of peasants.
    That is... way wrong.


    In any case, crafting sustaining spoons isn't the most efficient way to feed your army. You want kettles for that, and travel cloaks for your knights and special forces (1200 gp, food, water, permanent endure elements, tent).
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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack_Simth View Post
    - economic analysis elided for space -.
    It should probably be noted that any attempt to use magic item pricing compared to more real-world concerns is going to be distorted by the fact that magic item prices are primarily based on their utility to adventurers .. and travel/food items in particularly are hugely overpriced in the DMG, presumably because the developers thought 'how are we going to feed ourselves' should have been a much bigger challenge than it actually is. Later versions of such items are massively cheaper, such as the Field Provisions Box (Magic Item Compendium) feeding 15 people/day for only 2,000 GP market price (a bargain at only 133.33 GP/person fed, or a pittance of 67 GP if you get it at craft rate! And if you're going to raise practical concerns, carries benefits such as not having a vulnerable supply train that can be attacked or poisoned, letting your armies move much faster because they can just march and are not restricted to the speed of whatever is carrying their food or burdened by carrying their own provisions, not having to stop and forage/scavenge/loot their surroundings to feed themselves, etc..)

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    Default Re: Does a party NEED to be "Optimized"

    In regards to "needing" a healer to "optimize", that should come down on the DM.
    I've had no problem throwing a bunch of extra and gratuitous healing items into the mix so nobody has to go through the trauma of playing a healbot when they do not want to. It is not that difficult, and even easier with splatbook support.
    Indeed, any issues of "needing" to "optimize" should always come down on the DM. Throwing sufficiently overpowered encounters at a party until they break is easy. Actually balancing a campaign to the abilities of the player to optimize and their chosen characters is what takes skill.

    As for a "magic mart":
    IF, a DM is going to "insist" a party be "optimized" in whatever particular way;
    THEN, it seems rather incumbent on that to DM to provide a "magic mart" or reasonable equivalent thereof so the players can actually "optimize" thoroughly.
    Otherwise it comes off as the DM just insisting everyone play DMNPCs the way he wants them to so he can play his own campaign. (And I say that having run campaigns with hard limits and requirements for character races, classes, and even feats. If I am throwing extra roadblocks up, it is on me to make sure the end result gives the players a fair chance to get through everything.)

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