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Trekkin
2010-04-17, 05:15 PM
In a recent game of D&d 3.5 of which I am voluntarily no longer a part, it came to light that I'd made a character so tremendously overpowered that it was negatively impacting the experience for the rest of the party. Bizarrely, I did so without ever consciously setting out to do so, nor did I ever realize I'd done so before it became a major problem.'

Thus I ask the Playground: what are good ways of checking the potential power of a character? What metrics may be used to place a particular build on a scale to which it may be compared to others?

In short, how do I make sure that I never accidentally make an overpowered character again, while not simply making a level X human commoner? I realize I made the character of my own volition, but how can I gauge the results?

Starbuck_II
2010-04-17, 05:20 PM
In a recent game of D&d 3.5 of which I am voluntarily no longer a part, it came to light that I'd made a character so tremendously overpowered that it was negatively impacting the experience for the rest of the party. Bizarrely, I did so without ever consciously setting out to do so, nor did I ever realize I'd done so before it became a major problem.'

Thus I ask the Playground: what are good ways of checking the potential power of a character? What metrics may be used to place a particular build on a scale to which it may be compared to others?

In short, how do I make sure that I never accidentally make an overpowered character again, while not simply making a level X human commoner? I realize I made the character of my own volition, but how can I gauge the results?

Can you give examples of what you did that was the problem.
It is possible you were appropriately powered, but everyone else was under.
End result you seem overpowered. Either way, give us what you claim to have done.

Was everyone a non-magic and you magic? That would make you overpowered by default usually.

Kylarra
2010-04-17, 05:21 PM
Talk to the other players and the DM about the expected power level of your campaign. The levels will be different for each group, so it's nearly impossible to find a base guideline that'll work for every situation.

Trekkin
2010-04-17, 05:26 PM
Warforged Shaper, with two Green Ronin templates he reached 30 Int at level five and was Fine-sized (i wanted to make a sort that was designed as a scholar rather than a soldier). Both caused significant problems, although only the first ever registered with me as ever being potentially problematic (and even then, most of a shaper's powers don't depend on Int in any way, so it only affected my manifesting stamina). The rest of the party all had some spellcasting capability except for the rogue, who intended to multiclass into wizard at the first opportunity.

Also, i was looking for a way to simply determine with a few metrics as possible how powerful I actually am, so I can take that analysis to my DM.

Touchy
2010-04-17, 05:29 PM
Talk to the other players and the DM about the expected power level of your campaign. The levels will be different for each group, so it's nearly impossible to find a base guideline that'll work for every situation.

This won't always work, because some players think monks are good, that wizards are underpowered, and/or that blasting is the best way to spellcast. :smallfrown:

Thrawn183
2010-04-17, 05:32 PM
Stop and ask yourself if there's something that you can do well in absolutely every situation. If the answer is yes, and nobody else can say the same thing, you've probably got a problem on your hands.

Kylarra
2010-04-17, 05:33 PM
This won't always work, because some players think monks are good, or that wizards are underpowered, and/or that blasting is the best way to spellcast. :smallfrown:I... fail to see the relevance of your statement. That does nothing except confirm that you need to know your group's expected power level. Being on the same page is key for any roleplaying game ... well except paranoia. :smallwink:


Warforged Shaper, with two Green Ronin templates he reached 30 Int at level five and was Fine-sized (i wanted to make a sort that was designed as a scholar rather than a soldier). Both caused significant problems, although only the first ever registered with me as ever being potentially problematic (and even then, most of a shaper's powers don't depend on Int in any way, so it only affected my manifesting stamina). The rest of the party all had some spellcasting capability except for the rogue, who intended to multiclass into wizard at the first opportunity.

Also, i was looking for a way to simply determine with a few metrics as possible how powerful I actually am, so I can take that analysis to my DM.Okay fine.

Do I have an absurdly high stat for my primary ability score?
Am I a nonstandard size consistently that affects either my output or my defenses?
Do I have a laundry list of immunities that most characters won't have?
How hard is it to challenge this character with standard creatures?
Do I need the rest of the party at all?
Am I using [a] template(s)?
Does this template contribute significantly to any of the first 3 questions?

Tackyhillbillu
2010-04-17, 05:38 PM
Take a Tier 3 Character (my suggestion would be a Human Warblade.) See how much higher level then you he has to be to beat you.

If the answer is infinity, maybe you should play another class.

AslanCross
2010-04-17, 05:44 PM
Warforged Shaper, with two Green Ronin templates he reached 30 Int at level five and was Fine-sized (i wanted to make a sort that was designed as a scholar rather than a soldier).

...and you're saying you didn't optimize? What exactly is your definition of optimization then?

That aside, I'm doubting the practicality of creating a construct the size of a postage stamp, even if it is a scholar. One the size of a human can do all the same work a human scribe or researcher could do without need for sleep or food, so even a garden-variety warforged is pretty suitable to such work. I don't think one would need to make it Fine-sized.

Trekkin
2010-04-17, 05:45 PM
Actually, I'd assumed that the high Int score would be primarily a roleplaying thing. As I'd said, most of my powers never looked at it.

It's moot now though. Clearly I have selective blindness at character building.

AslanCross
2010-04-17, 05:49 PM
Well, as a shaper, that alone gives you tons of PP for your level. The DCs are affected too. The Lv 10 Kineticist in my current party has only 22 Int.

Starbuck_II
2010-04-17, 05:50 PM
Are you positive you applied Level adjustments right?
Were you lv 1 with 2 +2 LA templates?
Remember if the template doesn't say LA (even +0), it means it is not suitable for players.
It will look like this LA -.

Playing a Wilder with 30 Int could be only roleplay, but a Shaper gets a a mechanical boost (that is always important to notice).

Trekkin
2010-04-17, 05:51 PM
Everything was mechanically sound from a purely numerical standpoint, absurdity aside.

Touchy
2010-04-17, 05:52 PM
Actually, I'd assumed that the high Int score would be primarily a roleplaying thing. As I'd said, most of my powers never looked at it.

It's moot now though. Clearly I have selective blindness at character building.

Alternatively, you're a natural optimizer.

awa
2010-04-17, 05:53 PM
being size fine for a character who does not use weapon damage is really quite powerful assuming your speed is not shot to hell you have big bonuses to ac and hide checks not to mention stuff like walking through key holes

Touchy
2010-04-17, 05:54 PM
being size fine for a character who does not use weapon damage is really quite powerful assuming your speed is not shot to hell you have big bonuses to ac and hide checks not to mention stuff like walking through key holes

You can also ride a rat for a mount, thats gotta be fun for awhile.

JaronK
2010-04-17, 05:54 PM
Thus I ask the Playground: what are good ways of checking the potential power of a character? What metrics may be used to place a particular build on a scale to which it may be compared to others?

Invest your power in the party (via buffs and other augmentations) instead of directing it at the enemy or yourself. This instantly fixes power issues, as it doesn't really matter that it's the Cleric who's buffing the party when the Fighter gets to rock out with his Righteous Wrath of the Faithful and such.

Or you can use roleplay reasons to restrict yourself. For example, our group once made a horribly overpowered group of Dragonwrought Kobolds, and then intentionally played like idiots (kicking open doors and announcing our presence, for example). It was tremendous fun.

JaronK

AslanCross
2010-04-17, 05:56 PM
You can also ride a rat for a mount, thats gotta be fun for awhile.

Heck, he can ride in a party member's pocket and have free cover/concealment.

Dust
2010-04-17, 06:14 PM
Trekkin, I want to tread lightly around this subject because I just finished reading a thread where the OP was very defensive and don't wish to offend.

That said, you mentioned one of your other players was a rogue planning on multiclassing wizard...and I understood that to mean 'not in a PrC qualifying way,' either.
So I have to ask - I wonder if the problem was less that you're a natural optimizer, and perhaps moreso that several other party members were severely below-par?

I ask this because I personally feel that hostility towards powerful characters isn't because they're powerful, but because the player who is offended feels as though they're rather lackluster.

More to the situation at hand, I generally check for twinkery by running a mock combat between the character and a Zombie with a CR one higher than the character. For example, level five character gets a Grey Render zombie. It's usually a good benchmark to check for any eye-raising situations that may pop up.

Starbuck_II
2010-04-17, 06:18 PM
Trekkin, I want to tread lightly around this subject because I just finished reading a thread where the OP was very defensive and don't wish to offend.

That said, you mentioned one of your other players was a rogue planning on multiclassing wizard...and I understood that to mean 'not in a PrC qualifying way,' either.
So I have to ask - I wonder if the problem was less that you're a natural optimizer, and perhaps moreso that several other party members were severely below-par?

I ask this because I personally feel that hostility towards powerful characters isn't because they're powerful, but because the player who is offended feels as though they're rather lackluster.

More to the situation at hand, I generally check for twinkery by running a mock combat between the character and a Zombie with a CR one higher than the character. For example, level five character gets a Grey Render zombie. It's usually a good benchmark to check for any eye-raising situations that may pop up.

But every lv 5 Wizard/lv 6 Warlock can beat that zombie (unless zombie can fly, you can pepper it to death till it is destroyed).

Your test works well vs non-casters, but casters have too much variety in options.

Trekkin
2010-04-17, 06:21 PM
Under less specific circumstances I would consider that as a perfectly viable possibility, but here we were told by the DM that he is less than adept at creating powerful encounters and we may find the game rather easy if we made absolutely optimized characters. Thus, my choice was more because "i want to play a really, really brainy character" and less "I want to trivialize the challenges presented"

And the rogue was in fact going to try to PrC into Arcane Archer, but i got the feeling he liked the idea of being able to cast spells. I can't get into his head but I don't think he was feeling underpowered.

And thank you; the zombie test will be most informative. I take it a properly powerful character should expend one fourth of their dairly resources to win by a narrow margin?

Ixahinon
2010-04-17, 06:22 PM
Power Gaming is so easy to accomplish, really. I'd consider a person at 5th level having a 30 intelligence to be align with power gaming, but then again, that depends on the type of campaign. If it is an overpowered campaign, where having mid-30 stats at that level is the norm, then you are fine. If, however, you are the only one in the party that has a stat that high...there's a problem.

In the game I am playing. I have a run of the mill Paladin at 5th level (Christof (http://www.dndsheets.net/view.php?id=874)) that the DM thinks is the epitome of power gaming. No magical items, sub par stats, and not even that great of feats.

Penitent
2010-04-17, 06:34 PM
If you want to compare a build in the abstract to power level in the abstract, use the Same Game Test.

Basically, you test yourself in isolation by doing some CR math.

A Party of four ECL 6 characters is a party level 6 group.

A Party of two ECL 6 characters is ECL-2, or party level 4.

A Party of one ECL 6 character is ECL-4, or party level 2.

A level 2 Party should have a 50% chance of victory against an EL 6 challenge, if it is the only one that day.

You'll note this is all from the DMG, and conforms perfectly with the fact that an ECL 6 character with PC levels and no LA is CR 6.

Now, arrange a serious of tests against the character, all EL 6. Face each one of them as if it were the only fight that day, and you had all your resources. (If you are prep caster or something, pick a generalized spell list and use it in every encounter, or sacrifice a certain number of slots to divinations, to represent a pattern or spending X spells on divination each night, and then prepare based on the information gleaned from those.)

To be "perfectly balanced" in this model, you should hit 50% in general against all the challenges, running each multiple times.

Your Rogue wins the trapped door every time, but loses to the golem every time? No problem. That works out to 50%.

Now, no method is perfect, so here's a breakdown of what this system does well, and what it doesn't:

Well:

1) Provides a central benchmark, and one that hits pretty near where the "balanced" classes usually hit. Druids usually beat 50%, Monks usually lose much more. But Rogues are right about there.

2) Operates in isolation. You don't need a lot of friends, or to make a balanced cast, or whatever else.

3) Is simple. You make a set up of monsters, and you run each one without any reference to the others. So you don't need to do any math about how well you win an encounter, it's just W or L.

4) Tests a wide variety of situations.

5) Reusuable and applies universally. Use the same tests for a given level against all possible builds.

6) In the RNG. You are fighting enemies of about your competence, so you don't have to worry about "can't hit" or "can't miss" or "can't make a saving throw" unless that's a feature or your character or the encounter. So if that happens, you should know it will probably happen a fair amount.

Not so Well:

1) Not Force Multiplier friendly. If you are a DFA bard, this doesn't really showcase your Strengths. Likewise, giving up a CL for War Weaver in this test isn't valued as highly as it might be normally, unless you are a summoner too.

2) Values Kiting and devalues healers (who don't kite). A Monk with Spring Attack can look like an almost playable character sometimes in this model. And a Warlock looks relatively awesome. But in game, when the monster can't attack you, it can still eat the Wizard, so your 12 damage a round isn't really helping.

3) Other stuff that my brain is failing to recall.

Starbuck_II
2010-04-17, 06:34 PM
And the rogue was in fact going to try to PrC into Arcane Archer, but i got the feeling he liked the idea of being able to cast spells. I can't get into his head but I don't think he was feeling underpowered.


Wait, Arcane Archer?
Like "some of my class features are emulated by casting Greater Magic Weapon" Arcane Archer?
That will make him underpowered sadly: it doesn't progress casting so you much split levels to even use the class features. Sad that they messed up the Prc.

Divide by Zero
2010-04-17, 06:36 PM
Invest your power in the party (via buffs and other augmentations) instead of directing it at the enemy or yourself. This instantly fixes power issues, as it doesn't really matter that it's the Cleric who's buffing the party when the Fighter gets to rock out with his Righteous Wrath of the Faithful and such.

+1 to this. Most flavors of casters have plenty of battlefield control and buff/debuff spells that will still let the other characters do their part, and other classes can do it too if you build them right. If you consistently outperform the party regardless of your character, try working on more of a support role.

Dust
2010-04-17, 06:43 PM
I like Penitent's method. Needlessly complicated, but more thorough.

Trekkin
2010-04-17, 06:44 PM
I ended up in a form of support role, using astral constructs to act as fighters to let the rogue and warlock cast and shoot into a grapple with impunity; a player fighter tends to object if you have a 50% chance of hitting him or her, but a construct cannot. My constructs and Minor Created objects also served to save, evacuate, rescue, and otherwise help. Example: creating a flying construct to rescue party members that fell off of a narrow catwalk, and a cowcatcher-shaped one to deflect an oncoming series of falling rocks.

I did at one time grossly overuse my power by creating a cloud of poison to knock out what I assumed was an attacking group of thirty monsters. The DM and I agree that it was overpowered, and it has not been repeated. Since then, I've made ladders, rope, and I believe some flour to act as a cheap Detect Invisibility.

kamikasei
2010-04-17, 06:57 PM
In the game I am playing. I have a run of the mill Paladin at 5th level (Christof (http://www.dndsheets.net/view.php?id=874)) that the DM thinks is the epitome of power gaming. No magical items, sub par stats, and not even that great of feats.

:smallconfused:

Is it a Pathfinder thing that you seem to have taken half-celestial without any LA?

Starbuck_II
2010-04-17, 07:02 PM
Maybe everyone in the party gets a free +2 Template?

IDK, that might be why he is considered "epitome of power gaming." :smallbiggrin:

Anasazi
2010-04-17, 07:19 PM
I find the one universal way of always being able to tell what range of power you should be in is advancing your own ability to read people. The first meeting, when you all meetup and talk about the campaign and address what you're going to be playing is the best time to analyze the other players in the group. Their understanding and skill of the game will apply alot to how they build their characters, but also their outlook on life (and more specifically the game) will help you analyze how far they will take said character.
For example, a beginning player will go for simple construction. A expert in a group with said beginner will still build a powerful character but they wont optimize their min/max'ing, they'll play something more utility driven so they can pick up the slack with the new player is lacking.

Also, if you can no longer build simple characters, its time to hang your hat up as you're no longer able to play with the majority of people you will run into.
Remember, failing in a task has as much of an effect on the story as success, the difference is how long it takes you to solve the issue you're on, which is never something you should concern yourself with.

To be honest, the GM should never have approved that character.
Besides, a real challenge isnt playing a character thats good, its playing a bad character and making him work through all of his faults. You'll find your favorite roleplaying sessions will be the ones where your character, seemingly incapible of doing anything, accomplishes a task the others failed at.

Trekkin
2010-04-17, 07:26 PM
My hat is indeed hung, and will remain so indefinitely, and that character has been rendered a nonfactor. It was to prevent similar occurrences in my translations of concepts to character builds that I began the inquiries that resulted in this thread.

What, by the way, is a natural optimizer?

Starbuck_II
2010-04-17, 07:28 PM
Basically one who optimizes without trying: you naturally do. Like a natural athlete is good at playing sports without really practicing or trying to be.

Penitent
2010-04-17, 07:31 PM
Besides, a real challenge isnt playing a character thats good, its playing a bad character and making him work through all of his faults. You'll find your favorite roleplaying sessions will be the ones where your character, seemingly incapible of doing anything, accomplishes a task the others failed at.

It's a good thing everyone has the exact same preferences as you and enjoys playing the plucky commoner with DM fiat more than the mischievous Demon or Powerful Wizard, or talented fighter, or stealthy rogue.

Because otherwise, that would be entirely untrue and completely unhelpful to someone trying to figure out how to play useful powerful characters without stepping on toes.

Trekkin
2010-04-17, 07:31 PM
Regarding natural optimization:Wonderful. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BlessedWithSuck)

Anasazi
2010-04-17, 07:32 PM
My hat is indeed hung, and will remain so indefinitely, and that character has been rendered a nonfactor. It was to prevent similar occurrences in my translations of concepts to character builds that I began the inquiries that resulted in this thread.

What, by the way, is a natural optimizer?

If thats the case, then I would find yourself a gaming system that your knowledge is limited on and begin anew. 4e is pretty hard to optimize that far, and is relatively balanced still. Lol, if you could find a way to optimize a controlled, your party would love you, not toss you out :P

Trekkin
2010-04-17, 07:36 PM
They did not toss me out. I left in horror at what I'd done without realizing it, before i could mess with even more of the DM's world.

Anasazi
2010-04-17, 07:40 PM
It's a good thing everyone has the exact same preferences as you and enjoys playing the plucky commoner with DM fiat more than the mischievous Demon or Powerful Wizard, or talented fighter, or stealthy rogue.

Because otherwise, that would be entirely untrue and completely unhelpful to someone trying to figure out how to play useful powerful characters without stepping on toes.

I was never referring to a commoner, but he build a multiple template character, thats far from a basic character. There are plenty of strong builds that still come from basic setups. The comment was addressed specifically to Trekkin, as he is an individual with superior knowledge or understanding of the gaming system, when you're that far above the norm, its best to take the opposite route you would normally go, fight your intial ambition to be a powerhouse character and see how far you can take yourself when you limit your creativity till after your character is built.
Perfect characters ruin games, anyone who's had a perfect character knows the dread of creating such a character.

edit: my bad trekkin, I do recall you saying that and I didnt mean negativity by it. It was an honorable thing you did and you will forever have my respect because of it. I too have felt that pain before, and it burns. Such is why I left 3.5

Trekkin
2010-04-17, 07:46 PM
As I said, my little psionlet and I are/were this (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BlessedWithSuck) in our own ways and both have experienced dread from it. Thankfully, my backstory included a suicide possible at any time, so I've activated that and ceased to exist in-character, together with my items. I suppose I could be a sling bullet now...

And while I agree with the idea that limiting creativity until after game start would be useful, my creativity after game start has been problematic as well. I'm working on how to limit that as well.

And no worries. It would have been perfectly within their rights to toss me out, and I have no doubt their experience will be improved with my absence, whether completely or in this form. Whether I left or was removed is purely an academic matter.

Penitent
2010-04-17, 07:55 PM
I was never referring to a commoner, but he build a multiple template character, thats far from a basic character...The comment was addressed specifically to Trekkin, as he is an individual with superior knowledge or understanding of the gaming system, when you're that far above the norm, its best to take the opposite route you would normally go,

Alternatively, it might just mean that he owns a single Green Ronin book which happens to have two unbalanced +0 LA templates. Possibly because they came out before Warforged.

Alternatively, maybe he was using the negative LA construct template, in which case he's just a jerk who hates everyone else.


There are plenty of strong builds that still come from basic setups.

Yes, Like Druid 20. Or Wizard 20. That doesn't mean you should through away interesting weaker characters away and play a Commoner 20 out of some twisted desire to "optimize after creation."


fight your intial ambition to be a powerhouse character and see how far you can take yourself when you limit your creativity till after your character is built.

Alternatively, build an interesting character who is good at things, but doesn't break any RNGs.


Perfect characters ruin games, anyone who's had a perfect character knows the dread of creating such a character.

Having invented a perfect character, I can say with some authority that it does not have to.

Anasazi
2010-04-17, 07:55 PM
As I said, my little psionlet and I are/were this (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BlessedWithSuck) in our own ways and both have experienced dread from it. Thankfully, my backstory included a suicide possible at any time, so I've activated that and ceased to exist in-character, together with my items. I suppose I could be a sling bullet now...

And while I agree with the idea that limiting creativity until after game start would be useful, my creativity after game start has been problematic as well. I'm working on how to limit that as well.

And no worries. It would have been perfectly within their rights to toss me out, and I have no doubt their experience will be improved with my absence, whether completely or in this form. Whether I left or was removed is purely an academic matter.

Their experience in the game, maybe my friend. But they could have learned alot from you about the game itself. Its the creativity that you offer when its not reliant upon skill checks that sticks with people, they tend to take such things and use it themselves. Remember the first time that someone suggested a means of detecting invisible targets by filling the floor with water so you could see the location of their feet? That was such creativity and look how much has spawned because of it.
When was the last time you DM'ed?

Ixahinon
2010-04-17, 07:57 PM
:smallconfused:

Is it a Pathfinder thing that you seem to have taken half-celestial without any LA?

Actually, I'm Aasamir, not Half-Celestial. I just put in Half-Celestial for flavor...cause that is what I wanted to be, but the DM wouldn't allowed it...with good reason. Half-Celestials in Pathfinder get a +4 bonus to Any three stats, and a +2 bonus to the other three. Assimar only get +2 to Charisma and Wisdom, along with a few other minor things.

As for LA: It's more or less the same...without the stupid LA buyoff crap. It's basically 'Pick a monster that the DM will allow you to play from the Monstrous Manual. treat that monsters CR as your level, then multiclass into core classes.

Example: Since Aasimar is CR 1/2, I could start off as level 1 Paladin with no problems. But if you wanted to play a Cloud Giant (And the DM allowed it), you would start off as 11th level Cloud Giant, and when you hit 12th level, you would take your 1st level core class.

To play Half-Celestial, you'd have to be 1st level Half-Celestial (Since the template is CR+1 for 5HD and less creatures) then on second level, multi-class into a core class.

Thurbane
2010-04-17, 08:00 PM
Actually, I'd assumed that the high Int score would be primarily a roleplaying thing. As I'd said, most of my powers never looked at it.
+10 skill points/level? A 30 in ANY stat by level five is definitely on quite a high power curve...

To be honest, the GM should never have approved that character.
I agree with this. A DM who allows a player to have two templates from a third party* source, and thus have a stat of 30 by level 5 and a non-standard character size should be prepared to have some of his adventures/challenges overturned...not to mention that such a character is going to have some serious disparity with a character on the "WoTC assumed"** level of optimization.

* Not to rag on third party material. A lot of it is quite excellent, but unfortunately a lot is not proof-read or playtested to the level that WoTC material is. Also, this isn't to say that there aren't some horribly broken things in "official" sources, we all know that there most definitely are!

** i.e. Healbot clerics, blasting wizards etc. Seriously, run any even semi optimized characters through an "official" module sometime, and see if they are remotely challenged, unless presented with some seriously level-inappropriate encounters.

Trekkin
2010-04-17, 08:01 PM
To answer anasazi's question:

I am DM'ing a quick game for my girlfriend at the moment. She is new to D&D, so I am letting her test out a new setting I've written (designed to keep anyone thinking they know too much of the setting) and showing her how the game works on a mechanical level at the same time.

Oddly, my villains and NPCs are usually less optimized than my characters. Without having to justify every stat point increase it's easier for me to just encode a concept and run with it, and thus far the close calls have been within my comfort level for a PC encounter.

And wow, I never thought of water. Too used to flying foes, I guess.

Regarding the skill points:

I sank most of those into bizarre Knowledge skills, as the character spent literally his entire life learning about the weirdest things he could find. The number of skills that actually came up for most of play was around five. Of course, when those bizarre skills started to come up...

Anasazi
2010-04-17, 08:11 PM
Alternatively, it might just mean that he owns a single Green Ronin book which happens to have two unbalanced +0 LA templates. Possibly because they came out before Warforged.

except he did it without thinking about it, he wasnt trying to optimize. Such is where the initial problem is stemming. He naturally creates powerful optimized builds, like a new person would create normal basic characters.



Yes, Like Druid 20. Or Wizard 20. That doesn't mean you should through away interesting weaker characters away and play a Commoner 20 out of some twisted desire to "optimize after creation."
I never once said to play a commoner, if basic setup to you means commoner to you then we clearly differ on its deffinition.


Having invented a perfect character, I can say with some authority that it does not have to.
If at any point you feel you have to hold back your character from doing what that character would normally do then you are failing at roleplaying. Good or bad, you gave life to that creation and you might as well follow it where it takes you. A perfect character would succeed in all the same jobs and tasks as your entire team, making your team useful only in the sense of bodies standing around for combat. By being perfect you remove your teams ability to distinguish themselves through their skills. Not playing your character to its full potential is a rip to the game.
Also, I dont mean to nitpick, but inventing a perfect character and playing one in a game are two very different things. Until you actually play one and watch its effects on the other players in your group, you could never understand. Now, I'm not saying you havent played one, because we both know that I can't know that, I'm just putting that out there.

Either way, you and are are getting far offtrack from the point of helping Trekkin find his way through this little issue, we can disagree, infact its best that we do, it gives him multiple routes to consider, but I for one donot consider my perspective on the matter to be superior to your, or anyone elses for that matter. It is mine, and I have said it, I will continue to speak my mind because doing anything else is a slant and the freedom I was given, I'm in great respect to anyone who does the same.

jiriku
2010-04-17, 08:16 PM
A couple tactics:


Choose item creation feats, and create gear for the party
Learn party-buffing spells, and cast them constantly.
Give yourself an optimization challenge by choosing an extremely weak base class and then making it perform as well as it can given its limitations.

Divide by Zero
2010-04-17, 08:16 PM
Besides, a real challenge isnt playing a character thats good, its playing a bad character and making him work through all of his faults. You'll find your favorite roleplaying sessions will be the ones where your character, seemingly incapible of doing anything, accomplishes a task the others failed at.

I disagree. My favorite roleplaying sessions came from a cheesed-out binder/sorcerer/anima mage/incantatrix who liked using mindrape. But maybe that's just me.

Anasazi
2010-04-17, 08:20 PM
lol, well, mindrape is fun, I'll give you that :P

sofawall
2010-04-17, 08:25 PM
...an ECL 6 character with PC levels and no LA is CR 6....

What about, say, Ogre?

Penitent
2010-04-17, 08:29 PM
except he did it without thinking about it, he wasnt trying to optimize. Such is where the initial problem is stemming. He naturally creates powerful optimized builds, like a new person would create normal basic characters.

Except that he did think about it. He choose to take those two templates knowing that it would make him as small as possible and as smart as possible.

What he didn't think about is what having a high Int and small size would do for his character.

That's like saying to a new player "Hey, you want to play a Big Strong Guy! I have this template that adds +100 to Str!" And then calling him a "natural optimizer" when the Str does something he doesn't want it to, IE make any enemy he can make an attack roll against automatically die.

He picked the things right in front of him to purposefully max two stats, without realizing what those two stats govern, that's the opposite of a natural optimizer.


If at any point you feel you have to hold back your character from doing what that character would normally do then you are failing at roleplaying. Good or bad, you gave life to that creation and you might as well follow it where it takes you. A perfect character would succeed in all the same jobs and tasks as your entire team, making your team useful only in the sense of bodies standing around for combat. By being perfect you remove your teams ability to distinguish themselves through their skills. Not playing your character to its full potential is a rip to the game.

1) Who said anything about holding back?

2) Who said anything about a team?

3) Maybe you should try playing with a team of perfect characters?


Also, I dont mean to nitpick, but inventing a perfect character and playing one in a game are two very different things. Until you actually play one and watch its effects on the other players in your group, you could never understand. Now, I'm not saying you havent played one, because we both know that I can't know that, I'm just putting that out there.

No, you aren't saying it, just implying it. Frankly, I thought the part where I asserted "Playing a Perfect character doesn't have to ruin the game." Might have implied just a little bit that I had done so.


Either way, you and are are getting far offtrack from the point of helping Trekkin find his way through this little issue

Actually, telling him to play weak characters does nothing at all to help him through the issue of measuring a characters power level.

And that is precisely why I am pointing this out. He has trouble knowing the power level of a character. Perhaps instead of telling him to play weak characters (cause you know, he doesn't actually know what a weak character is) you could aid by presenting some sort of advice, Re: identifying power level.


but I for one donot consider my perspective on the matter to be superior to your, or anyone elses for that matter.

Then you have a serious intellectual failing. If you do not consider your perspective on an issue better than someone elses, and you further don't want to gain a better perspective where possible...

Touchy
2010-04-17, 08:33 PM
Regarding natural optimization:Wonderful. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BlessedWithSuck)

That was more a joke, but it might just be your naturally resourceful, you can just figure out how to deal with a situation, and work with it from there, casters tend to support resourcefulness.

Also how the hell did you get tiny size as a warforged and 30 intelligence?

Trekkin
2010-04-17, 08:34 PM
Via two broken templates, aging (i wanted him to be really old but warforged only go to middle, so there we go) and adding my 4th level ability score bonus to Int.

Touchy
2010-04-17, 08:35 PM
Via two broken templates.

Is it that one that removes -2 la so you can gain 2 more la for free?

Penitent
2010-04-17, 08:36 PM
What about, say, Ogre?

Well since that... explicitly violates my stated condition "with no LA" it would obviously be an example that might not fit the conclusion.

See:

All Cars made by Toyota have four wheels.

"But about this Ford with six wheels?"

It's not made by Toyota.

As for actually balancing an Ogre.

Well, You'll probably discover things like "Ogres as PCs using the LA rules are weaker than they should be for the ECL" and then, that discovery might lead you to doubt the LA system.

Alternatively, you can read actual designer commentaries that explain that LA is supposed to make Monster characters weaker to discourage use, because Designers are stupid and hate fun, and that might lead you to the same conclusion, that LA sucks, and needs to be fixed.

Which might lead to you writing some sort of big book that includes rules for making PC outsiders that do outsidery things without being broken, but obviously much better than normal ECL outsiders, since ECL includes LA which is bad and needs to go away.

You could even call it something like "Tome of Fiends." Sound familiar OP?

Thurbane
2010-04-17, 08:37 PM
I disagree. My favorite roleplaying sessions came from a cheesed-out binder/sorcerer/anima mage/incantatrix who liked using mindrape. But maybe that's just me.
If you took levels of Binder (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=8108401&postcount=19), you didn't cheese it to it's full potential! :smalltongue:

Trekkin
2010-04-17, 08:38 PM
Miniature. It removes 4 LA, in addition to making the character really small and pointlessly weak. It's intended to be applied to PCs that have been shrunk past the point of functionality; as it happens, I wanted to be precisely that small.

Divide by Zero
2010-04-17, 08:41 PM
If you took levels of Binder (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=8108401&postcount=19), you didn't cheese it to it's full potential! :smalltongue:

Wow, I actually never noticed that. 1 level of binder doesn't kill its power, though.

Thurbane
2010-04-17, 08:44 PM
Via two broken templates, aging (i wanted him to be really old but warforged only go to middle, so there we go) and adding my 4th level ability score bonus to Int.
So you knew the templates were broken? :smalleek:

...yeah, that's not a "natural optimizer" - that's called "sliding one past the DM", and can lead to all sorts of problems. Even if you didn't think the templates would make your character as powerful/problematic as they did, you knowingly took broken templates. It's good that you saw that your character was a problem and retired it, but if you want to avoid similar problems in the future, don't add anything that you know to be broken to your character.

Trekkin
2010-04-17, 08:45 PM
the "broken" has been added in retrospect; at the time I assumed the material to be balanced.

Touchy
2010-04-17, 08:47 PM
For all who keep referring to natural optimizer, I was joking at the situation, it was more luck than anything. He also probably figured out it was broken by using it. Then again, I can be wrong. God damn ninjas, you even optimized those as well!


That is all.

Magikeeper
2010-04-17, 08:50 PM
Hmm.. honestly, power levels in D&D can vary to the extent that trying to test any PC in a vacuum isnít a great idea. I suggest reading other players sheets or at least glancing them over. Better yet, have everyone build their PCs at the same time and talk about it.

Itís not your level of power that is the issue, the issue is that your power level was wildly different from everyone else Ė including the DM. Even if you stick to a support PC, you might make the DM cry because he canít handle this stuff (At least, that is the impression I am getting).

Since you are not trying to optimize, we could go further and say that the underlying issue is that you have no idea what the power level of the rest of the party is. If you knew that, you could use them as the baseline. What are they good at? HOW good are they at it? Think about the players. What do they like to do, what donít they enjoy doing? Also think about the DM. Many people (guilty myself) donít think about this and end up with a PC that the players love and the DM canít handle. While glancing at someoneís sheet, one of the easiest ways to gauge their power level is to imagine that you will be playing this PC. How far below your average the other PC is will become evident then.


Some people might suggest solving this by helping the other players make better PCs, but I did that for a game Iím in and now the DM needs help (I keep meaning to make a thread about thatÖ). So just helping the other players make better PCs isnít that great of a plan when the DM is also far below you in optimization. If you are the DM that option becomes a much better idea.

------------------------


By the way, what did you mean by "my creativity after game start" ??

Thurbane
2010-04-17, 08:53 PM
the "broken" has been added in retrospect; at the time I assumed the material to be balanced.
Fair enough.

But -4 LA to get another template that presumably gave you quite a few boosts possibly should have rung a few alarm bells. What did the other template give you, out of interest?

Touchy
2010-04-17, 08:59 PM
Fair enough.

But -4 LA to get another template that presumably gave you quite a few boosts possibly should have rung a few alarm bells. What did the other template give you, out of interest?

I'm guessing he maxed int, so he has 18 by default, he gained 2 from middle-age, that template gave him 4 la, so he probably took something that gave him 8, so that limits our guessing chooses until he replies.

Trekkin
2010-04-17, 09:00 PM
My creativity after game start = you can make an astral construct for anything (in my case, as a disguise, but you can also use them as a 3d map for planning and, more problematically, a living safety net and evacuation service for your fellow party members, if you can manifest them fast enough)

also, minor creation. Aside from the aforementioned cloud of noxious gases, i was planning on making a cloud of ethanol and lighting it at some point, should we need a really loud noise. That I was considering doing this was a major problem for one of the players, so I decided to refrain.

And the template was Savant. 10 to Int, other bonuses I tried my hardest to minimize simply because it didnt seem like he'd use them intelligently, and penalties to physical stats that doubled up on a lot of what Miniature robs. It seemed perfect for a really, really, REALLY studious character. In retrospect it would probably have been a better fit on a Wilder, as has been suggested.
In retrospect, no matter how many times I used the word savant to describe him, he should not have been a Savant. And I didn't take Mini for the LA, I took it because it would have made sense to make a living sensor only as large as it needed to be. I didn't even know it was -4 LA until I looked in the text.

Penitent
2010-04-17, 09:13 PM
So you took a -4 LA template that gives you a Str penalty in return for AC and AB as someone who doesn't use Str...

And then you took a +4 LA template that adds Int, at the expense of Str?

I'm going to go with: There is no reason anyone should have ever considered even making this template a good idea.

I mean, any Wizard ever made wants this template. This + Firesouled+something else +1 LA with Int bonus equals +craptons of int, +immunities up the but, including daze for celerity + AC and AB bonuses!

That's... Dumb.

I mean, really. I'm not making any templates that look like this:

"Prerequisite, not being a Cha based caster:

Effects: You gain +400 to all stats but take a -400 to Cha, minimum 1. You are also immune to Cha damage!"

Because it's a dumb idea.

But if I were dumb enough to make them, I sure wouldn't make them minus LA templates.

Anasazi
2010-04-17, 09:14 PM
{scrubbed}

Trekkin
2010-04-17, 09:15 PM
Miniature penalizes Str, Dex, Con, movement rate, and more, actually. It's intended to make being small less than good.

Eurus
2010-04-17, 09:17 PM
And this is why 3rd party sources get such a bad rep. Not that WotC doesn't print some equally ridiculous things, but a -4 LA template that is, for many character archetypes, actually beneficial (some penalties, yes, but a sneaky type would adore that kind of bonus to hiding even with the movement penalties) is a Bad IdeaTM.

Doc Roc
2010-04-17, 09:18 PM
Basically, every single piece of Green Ronin material I've run into is awful, and it's just about the only company I trust less than White Wolf.

If you feel like you need to stretch, well, the ToS welcomes new blood.
Otherwise, my simplest recommendation is to turn to the DM, and ask him politely to vet your character for power-not-legality.

Touchy
2010-04-17, 09:20 PM
So you took a -4 LA template that gives you a Str penalty in return for AC and AB as someone who doesn't use Str...

And then you took a +4 LA template that adds Int, at the expense of Str?

I'm going to go with: There is no reason anyone should have ever considered even making this template a good idea.

I mean, any Wizard ever made wants this template. This + Firesouled+something else +1 LA with Int bonus equals +craptons of int, +immunities up the but, including daze for celerity + AC and AB bonuses!

That's... Dumb.

I mean, really. I'm not making any templates that look like this:

"Prerequisite, not being a Cha based caster:

Effects: You gain +400 to all stats but take a -400 to Cha, minimum 1. You are also immune to Cha damage!"

Because it's a dumb idea.

But if I were dumb enough to make them, I sure wouldn't make them minus LA templates.

Chill out. It was a joke, whats done is done and now you are the only one getting angry about it.

Anasazi
2010-04-17, 09:22 PM
And this is why 3rd party sources get such a bad rep. Not that WotC doesn't print some equally ridiculous things, but a -4 LA template that is, for many character archetypes, actually beneficial (some penalties, yes, but a sneaky type would adore that kind of bonus to hiding even with the movement penalties) is a Bad IdeaTM.

Agreed to an extend. I'm of the direction that if you want something that you cant find in offical content, then you sit down with the GM and pound it out individually. You can then ensure that one, the GM knows what the hell you're doing, and two, that you didnt break anything too horribly.

Out of curosity Trekkin, did the GM even look at your character?

Trekkin
2010-04-17, 09:23 PM
He looked at all of them, and raised no objections.

Starbuck_II
2010-04-17, 09:24 PM
Miniature penalizes Str, Dex, Con, movement rate, and more, actually. It's intended to make being small less than good.

If the template weakened any attack you dealt (inncluding magic) then it might be balanced (granted save or dies), but even than it would be iffy.
Negative LA is never easy to balance.

Eurus
2010-04-17, 09:26 PM
If the template weakened any attack you dealt (inncluding magic) then it might be balanced (granted save or dies), but even than it would be iffy.
Negative LA is never easy to balance.

I loathe negative LA... that, and metamagic reducers. Negative LA more, though, because it has far fewer innocent uses.

Penitent
2010-04-17, 09:33 PM
Chill out. It was a joke, whats done is done and now you are the only one getting angry about it.

Chill out. I'm not getting angry, it's apparently projection. I'm just commenting on the (lack of) balance in that template.

Knaight
2010-04-17, 09:42 PM
Basically, every single piece of Green Ronin material I've run into is awful, and it's just about the only company I trust less than White Wolf.

With the notable exception of Mutants and Masterminds, I would agree with you, had I not bumped into some really, really sad RPGs over the years.

Divide by Zero
2010-04-17, 09:54 PM
Basically, every single piece of Green Ronin material I've run into is awful, and it's just about the only company I trust less than White Wolf.

FATAL.text goes here

Trekkin
2010-04-17, 09:56 PM
What do you think of Shadowrun in terms of balance? How about Dark Heresy? Just curious if they are as prone to wide disparities in power level.

Doc Roc
2010-04-17, 10:01 PM
With the notable exception of Mutants and Masterminds, I would agree with you, had I not bumped into some really, really sad RPGs over the years.

My mistrust of M&M is voiced, and on record. :)


FATAL.
I'm still not satisfactorily convinced that FATAL isn't just an epic troll.

As for Shadowrun, it's breakable, yeah, but 4th is better than 3rd. SR has problems due to some of the options being weaker than others, but primarily it's due to the fact that if you sit down and decide to be exceptionally good at a couple things, you really can. I had a friend who was throwing 25 dice at any shooting test, and almost as many to dodge or soak.

Right now, I'm between systems, actually, and somewhat bitter about it. My favorite, mostly, is Savage Worlds, but thing is that Savage Worlds does exactly what it says on the tin:
Runs Pulp Games.



But yeah, basically, my recommendation comes in the form of a Pratchett quote:

"Come on if ya think y'are hard enough!"
~Unseen Academicals

Join us in the Test of Spite.

Knaight
2010-04-17, 10:04 PM
Pick an edition of shadowrun at the very least. And in classless systems, balance is more complicated anyways, so there is that for many. I personally would say Shadowrun can be optimized to a rather dramatic extent, but there aren't any obvious "this is always better than this" situations in most editions. Really though, minimalist rule systems often work well at expressing any number of characters without being broken. Think Fudge or FATE, or even Risus, rather than stuff like Dark Heresy. Though there are some remarkably well balanced and hard to optimize systems out there. GURPS for instance has a shallower optimization curve than D&D, HERO might, depending on context.

Penitent
2010-04-17, 10:07 PM
But yeah, basically, my recommendation comes in the form of a Pratchett quote:

"Come on if ya think y'are hard enough!"
~Unseen Academicals

Join us in the Test of Spite.


Right as soon as you change the rules to anything that will even come close to giving me a chance to do something I would actually enjoy.

Doc Roc
2010-04-17, 10:16 PM
I think that if you have power differentials, FATE isn't going to help, nor will most rules-light games. Most of them also wildly increase the amount of work that a GM has to do to keep it from spiraling into Magic Teaparty land.


Right as soon as you change the rules to anything that will even come close to giving me a chance to do something I would actually enjoy.

What would that take?
Without input, we don't achieve progress.

Penitent
2010-04-17, 10:21 PM
What would that take?
Without input, we don't achieve progress.

Making the people murdering other people less important in order to facilitate:

Allowing homebrew material, and focusing on dungeoneering.

Yukitsu
2010-04-17, 10:23 PM
The first request is inane for the intent of balance. Homebrew is both all over the place in terms of balance, and almost always desired because it's strictly better than an analogous legitimate source.

The second is around, it's simply harder to run. The neverending dungeon uses the TOS rules.

Trekkin
2010-04-17, 10:23 PM
What systems would you recommend then, Doc Roc?

Penitent
2010-04-17, 10:40 PM
The first request is inane for the intent of balance. Homebrew is both all over the place in terms of balance, and almost always desired because it's strictly better than an analogous legitimate source.

1) Not always strictly better. I could want to homebrew a Planar Shepard that is at a level that can actually be run in a game with a Wizard 20 who doesn't use "teh best spells" or other similar characters.

2) "inane for the intent of balance" what does this actually mean? What did you intend to mean? I want homebrew allowed in order to expand the available options for play to include things that currently interest me.

I mean, the current standard is "We start with an absolute maximum of materials, and then I selectively delete larger and larger segments everytime something wins." The only possible result of this is that eventually all inventive entertaining concepts of winning are banned, and there is no point. In the mean time, it's just a PVP test where the objective is to skirt the rule bannings until you win and everything you used gets banned too.

Yukitsu
2010-04-17, 11:07 PM
1) Not always strictly better. I could want to homebrew a Planar Shepard that is at a level that can actually be run in a game with a Wizard 20 who doesn't use "teh best spells" or other similar characters.

Why would you want to homebrew that? There's nothing in particular about a planar shepherd that would require a specific PrC above and beyond its broken abilities. The majority of things that you could want through homebrew, are tenable through resources that are currently available.


2) "inane for the intent of balance" what does this actually mean? What did you intend to mean? I want homebrew allowed in order to expand the available options for play to include things that currently interest me.

Because no matter what you are thinking you are intending, material which will be problematic will be requested. Constantly. If I were in charge of the ToS rules, I wouldn't want to deal with constant requests for homebrew to check for the balance of each and every case. And some people who didn't get the hint, would probably be doing minor tweaks to clearly broken requests, constantly irritating the person in charge, to the point where you're either going to have nothing getting through at all, or the person in charge will let a few things through that are clearly broken by error of judgement. For expedience and sanity's sake, you can't allow homebrew and expect it to remain balanced.


I mean, the current standard is "We start with an absolute maximum of materials, and then I selectively delete larger and larger segments everytime something wins." The only possible result of this is that eventually all inventive entertaining concepts of winning are banned, and there is no point. In the mean time, it's just a PVP test where the objective is to skirt the rule bannings until you win and everything you used gets banned too.

The majority of things banned are ones that guarantee a win under some conditions. The intent is to test strategy, luck, practical optimization and the ability to deal competently with a wide variety of encounter types. It is not to create something which will win under all circumstances all the time.

Trekkin
2010-04-17, 11:18 PM
It is not to create something which will win under all circumstances all the time.

That way lies only pain; DnD is one of those games you lose by "winning".

Doc Roc
2010-04-17, 11:29 PM
That way lies only pain; DnD is one of those games you lose by "winning".

Not in an arena, or in game design.

As for a system, if you want to run a extremely fun game, it's hard to screw up savage worlds, particularly deadlands. However:

For savage worlds, source books are literally the devil. Use one. Just one. Only ever one, with the only exception being the expansions to the Deadlands setting, which add almost no crunch.


As for homebrew in the ToS:
We allow a very small set of it, mostly by ToS veterans. Specifically, we allow Warmarked, Monk, and Paladin, from the Penny Dreadfuls. In part, this is a vanity choice, but every active member of the ToS group had some input in those classes. That's important. These are classes that are also tested much more extensively than any other homebrew except the Tomes. We've done dungeon tests, SGTs, and tons of arena matches. If you can offer to me homebrew that meets our exacting standards, I will consider it.

On Bannings:
Offer me a better ban-list, and I'll use it. We've seen almost two hundred characters, most of them still legal. I'd suggest to you that the viable portion of the design-space is actually tremendously LARGER under our ban-list than it would be under the traditional rules.

Dungeons:
The never-ending dungeon could comfortably be considered the current incarnation of the ToS dungeon.
Beyond that, I simply have no time to run the backing-dungeons, so unfortunately I can't do a lick about that.

PhoenixRivers
2010-04-17, 11:59 PM
Yes, homebrew is rarely added to the ToS for the reason of "I want it".

It generally needs to be something that targets a deficiency in base rules, and attempts to improve that.

Doc Roc
2010-04-18, 12:58 AM
Though, we have allowed it a couple of times on the grounds of:

"I think this is hilarious."

Penitent
2010-04-18, 08:19 AM
These are classes that are also tested much more extensively than any other homebrew except the Tomes. We've done dungeon tests, SGTs, and tons of arena matches. If you can offer to me homebrew that meets our exacting standards, I will consider it.

Emphasis mine.

Also, how do you expect material to be tested if it's use is banned. You didn't have all those arena matches until after you started allowing it into the arena, something you don't allow for any other source of homebrew besides yourself and your bestys apparently.


Offer me a better ban-list, and I'll use it. We've seen almost two hundred characters, most of them still legal. I'd suggest to you that the viable portion of the design-space is actually tremendously LARGER under our ban-list than it would be under the traditional rules.

Well here's an improvement right off the bat. Allow Druids to Wildshape. I could go through the list and probably find a hundred other things that don't need to be banned because they are of similar power level to a Necromancer with Finger of Death.


Dungeons:
The never-ending dungeon could comfortably be considered the current incarnation of the ToS dungeon.
Beyond that, I simply have no time to run the backing-dungeons, so unfortunately I can't do a lick about that.

Well, since I was permanently and irrevocably banned from that set for suggesting homebrew...

Also, anything that demands you start at level 1 and work your way up is incredibly conceptually limiting.

Like I said, I'll join the test of spite right as soon as it offers me something worth joining.

If you care more about PvP duels than dungeoneering, then I will continue to not join.

Yukitsu
2010-04-18, 10:35 AM
What? You didn't get kicked out over homebrew. You got kicked out for being rude about not being allowed to bend the rules.

Tiki Snakes
2010-04-18, 11:05 AM
What? You didn't get kicked out over homebrew. You got kicked out for being rude about not being allowed to bend the rules.

This sounds a lot more likely.

Also, I'm pretty sure that When Doc Roc says that things such as his Warmarked were extensively tested, and this is only from very distant following of events, It's clear to me that the testing in question was done, at length, long before it was Okayed for the Test of Spite.

I would consider that the other mentioned 'brews were likely a similar story. The Doc is nothing if not thorough.

Doc Roc
2010-04-18, 06:52 PM
Emphasis mine.

Also, how do you expect material to be tested if it's use is banned. You didn't have all those arena matches until after you started allowing it into the arena, something you don't allow for any other source of homebrew besides yourself and your bestys apparently.


Actually, I can't stand F&K, and get along with only a few of the denizens. Doesn't mean I don't have mad respect for them and their work. We tested our material extensively before allowing it. War-marked saw three months of solid work before we started demoing it. If you'd like to petition to have some specific homebrew allowed, I'll take a look, offer advice, and suggest some approaches to testing it.

On wildshape:
I would happily talk at length just about this. I suggest we spin off a thread to discuss it in the context of the ToS. How does this sound to you?

TroubleBrewing
2010-06-02, 03:17 AM
I know I missed the boat on this one (Not by much, mind you), but I have a suggestion for a balanced, fun system: Call of Cthulhu.

I've been running CoC games for about two years now, and I can't say enough good things about it. Lovecraft has always been one of my favorite authors, and his work translates surprisingly well into the RPG format.

Admittedly, the games invariably end one of two ways: you die, or you go mad. The object becomes to live long enough to go insane.

It's a d100 based system, so it really is low-maintenance (I get by with 2 d10's, 3 d6's, and a d4), and the rulebook makes one thing abundantly clear: if the answer to your question isn't printed, make it up.

Running a proper CoC game does require someone who knows the source material well, but this is actually a boon: if you want to run a game, you get to study up on H.P. Lovecraft!

It IS a horror game, as opposed to a fantasy or sci-fi game, so the mood can go one of two ways: dark and gloomy; or hilarious and madcap. (My games tend towards the hilarious and madcap, with splashes of shocking violence.)

The system is impossible to break as most of things you will be fighting are either A) Immune to everything you throw at them, B) so insanely terrifying that a mere glimpse of them will drive you mad, C) gods, D) older than gods, or E) all of the above. You'd think that this would make the games less fun, but it has the opposite effect, surprisingly enough. Making a well-balanced character leads to more fun for you, more use for the character, and a more cohesive party, as well as a better roleplaying experience. I recommend the system above every other that I've played (that list consisting of 3e, 3.5, 4e, White Wolf, CoC, Paranoia, SR, GURPS, BESM, and AO).