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Tam_OConnor
2007-02-17, 12:04 AM
So, like the title says, I need to optimize a tank. She's being played by one of my friends, who feels like she's not doing anything besides soaking up damage. She's a relatively new player, so I want to keep her interested.
The skinny: our roles were take a free 18 and roll 4d6 for the rest. She wound up with Str 12 Dex 11 Con 18 Int 10 Wis 10 Cha 11.
Female human Fighter 2, about to level up.
Feats are Exotic Weapon Proficiency and Weapon Focus (both in bastard sword) and Blind-Fight.
4 ranks in Climb, Intimidate and Jump.
Gear consists of full plate armor, heavy steel shield, 2 masterwork bastard swords (for weapon breakage) and a mighty shortbow (Str 12).
The rest of the party: a Sorcerer 3, who seems to be focusing on destructive spells; a halfing Rogue 3, of the flanking style; a Cleric 3 of Healing and Sun, also an effective meatshield. And occasionally, a Paladin 2.
Also, our DM isn't too crazy about bringing in too much none core stuff. A few feats or a class, sure, but not horrible amounts of min/maxing.
Your goal: take these stats and make a character who is interesting to play, while not being overly complex.
Ladies, and Gentlemen, I stand ready for your advice.

oriong
2007-02-17, 12:20 AM
Well, for best results she needs to get her hands on her ability increase at 4th level and put it into strength so she can get acess to power attack and the like.

Also, she seems to be missing a feat: by 2nd level she should have 4 (1 from human, 1 at 1st level, and 2 from fighter levels)

For now, if you're looking to give her options other than a damage sponge,she's in a bit of trouble. With ability scores like that most active feats are just unavailable to her.

What might be an option to consider is dipping into some other class to gain access to new abilities. Barbarian would give her Rage, which would allow her to be a bit more intimidating in combat. Sorcerer is a bad choice unless your DM allows something like Armored Caster from Complete Arcane, but if he does then she could dip that and get a few useful 1st level spells. Bard is possible but with these ability scores it's pretty much pointless.

Honestly there's not a lot that can be done with her until 4th level when she can finally get that strength score above 12. Until then there's really not much that can be suggested other than feats which improve her resiliency and saves (basically doing what she already does a bit better)

EDIT: if you DM allows it a Favored Soul might be a good class to splash into, gain a handful of divine spells. Warlock might be an interesting but definitely sub-optimal class.

Hario
2007-02-17, 12:56 AM
too bad she wasn't dward I'd suggest dwarven defenders those are teh tanks, but besides those monks are generally good tanks, though don't mix well with armor. I've seen a VoP Dwarven monk/Dwarven Defender build lets just say, not pretty, can't be touched with a standard 10 foot poll...

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-17, 01:04 AM
Any chance of swapping CON and STR?

PinkysBrain
2007-02-17, 01:07 AM
So what are we suppose to do? Pick one feat and fix a character using the weakest class, a weak selection of feats, with quite probably the weakest rolled stats of all the PCs and with the least levels of almost all them too? No, can't be done.

Those ability scores are not suited for a tank, they are only suited for a door stop ... tanks in core don't work well even with good ability scores. To become a target you first have to be a threat. to become a target while being the hardest to hit of all the PCs you have to be the biggest threat in the party. So not only do you have to have the best defense, you also have to have the best offense. She isn't particularly good at either at this point.

What is probably happening now is that your DM has to cuddle the party and include a bunch of weak monsters which target her for no logical in game reason. With those ability scores she should have made a caster or an archer, at least if she enjoys playing effective characters ... she doesn't enjoy playing ineffective characters it seems.

Lo-Alrikowki
2007-02-17, 01:52 AM
Any chance of using the retraining option from PHBII? If you can, retake first level as Barbarian, pick up Extra Rage and Improved Rage for your 1st level feats, then you retake the 2 levels of fighter as quick as you can. I wouldn't use bastard sword myself, but there you are. Pick up proficiency and weapon focus with the fighter bonus feats. As was suggested, you'll be wanting to put that point into strength when you get to fourth level. I'd also counsel you to move up the Power Attack tree, maybe multiclass into Frenzied Berzerker. Of course, all this is dependent upon retraining and owning Complete Warrior, but you said some non-core was fine, right?

Note: If you are going to take Frenzied Berzerker later, get Destructive & Intimidating Rage feats instead of Extended & Extra. They're key.

Druid
2007-02-17, 01:54 AM
Switch con and wisdom and change to either clreic or druid. That's the only way I can see making a decent tank with those scores.

Everyman
2007-02-17, 02:53 AM
I don't have the PHBII in front of me, but I seem to recall that one could drop (upon leveling) x points from one ability modifier and add half that to another score. I'd drop 2 points from Con and throw 1 into Str. Upon reaching 4th, I'd then bump Str again, giving her a much more reasonable set of stats (not great, but reasonable). I know your DM doesn't like to go out of core, but this retraining rule would greatly assist her build.

After that, I'd focus on enhancing her weapon (flaming, shocking, etc) and picking up some Gauntlets of Ogre Strength. Talk to the DM to see how likely it is to find those. Enhancing her armor and shield would also be an excellent idea.

Since she isn't exactly an agile character, I'd focus on "In your face, SMASH!" style fighting. By taking Power Attack, she can add a little bit of extra damage to her strikes. If she's willing to use breastplate, a level or two of barbarian would greatly enhance her damage potential.

Ikkitosen
2007-02-17, 05:38 AM
Her Str score needs to be fixed - she doesn't meet the pre-requisite for EWP: Bastard Sword.

Khantalas
2007-02-17, 05:44 AM
Note: Fighters and barbarians aren't good tanks. Paladins aren't good tanks. Clerics and druids are.

GitP Forums. Enlightening people since the days of yore.

greenknight
2007-02-17, 06:21 AM
I have to agree with the other posters. It would be far better to rebuild the character rather than try to optimize this one. If you had the chance to do it again, a Human Druid with 18 Wisdom could fill the role of Tank much better, since Wild Shaping will get rid of most of those average ability scores and spells would be powered by the great Wisdom score. Alternatively, if you really wanted a sponge type character, a Dwarf working towards Dwarven Defender would be the way to go, although you'd need to boost the character's Dex with level. It would probably also have been better to use a different weapon. Personally, I like the Guisarme, since it's a two handed weapon (good for when you start making Power Attacks), has reach (helps when you start fighting foes with reach of their own), and allows you to make trip attacks (although with that Strength, it might not be such a good idea to do that). Greatsword is also a very good choice if the character doesn't mind getting up close and personal in combat. And of course, there's also the ever-useful Spiked Chain.

As it is, all I can suggest is continue the Fighter route until Level 4, putting the bonus point into Strength. Take Weapon Specialization (Bastard Sword) and then switch over to Barbarian. Fight using the Sword & Board style until the character Rages, at which point it's much better to drop the shield and use Two Handed attacks. Be aware that even if you take this advice, this character is going to become less powerful as the party gains levels (relative to the other party members).

Quietus
2007-02-17, 06:31 AM
Khantalas - apparently some people around here think that fighters aren't good anything, though I beg to differ. I've seen some really well built fighters before.

Sometimes you don't WANT to play the "uber leet super optimized caster version of the fighter that's 200x as good at everything". Perhaps instead of suggesting that people rebuild with a different class, we might be able to provide some help with the build they have?

Tam - those stats don't allow a huge amount of variations; I agree with everyone's suggestion on using your level 4 ability point for strength. Power Attack is important for this build, for the options it opens up.

Power attack itself will be sub-optimal. You need a high attack bonus to make the most out of it, which this char won't have. Neither will other skills such as bull rush and the like. However, Improved Sunder is an awesome feat to look at - make certain to get hold of an adamantium bastard sword, so you can make up for the lack of strength with a nice fat hardness increase. Your con will help a LOT (try seeing if Improved Toughness is an available choice, potentially, should you ever run out of juicy feats), but breaking their weapon will only make things more awesome for you. Leaving them without a weapon could potentially make several of their feats useless (if they have improved sunder or the like, for example, or weapon focus), plus anyone untrained in unarmed fighting takes attacks of opportunity whenever they attack. It's win-win for you.

Considering a level or two of barbarian isn't a bad choice, either. I'd probably aim for it at a level in which you can time it to pick up Extra Rage as well, and take only a one-level dip. Gaining fast movement will let you get to the part of the battlefield that's in trouble faster, and with Extra Rage, you'll be able to get the +4 strength, +4 con, and +2 will more often. Raging will be useful against opponents that either A) have silly amounts of difficulty hitting you, or B) Will hit you anyway.

I'd suggest, for a couple of levels, pouring a pile of skill points into Tumble. Yes, it's cross-class; It also will increase the benefits of fighting defensively, which will in turn make you more of a tank. +1 ac when fighting defensively and +2 on full defense is nothing to sneeze at, when you get to level 7 or higher and have a total of 5 ranks in it.

Matthew
2007-02-17, 06:54 AM
As Ikkitosen points out this is an illegal build. Strength 13 is required to get Exotic Weapon Proficiency Bastard Sword (which is a waste unless you are going Exotic Weapon Master anyway). If she can drop that, she should.

That automatic 18 has been unhelpful in this situation, as chances are she would have had to roll those Attribute Scores again, unless her last roll was above 13. It should have been "substitute an 18 for your worst Attribute Score after rolling a legal Character."

One option is to, just before training or levelling up, have the Cleric cast Bull's Strength on her and take Power Attack (according to the FAQ this is legal). Then, invest in some Potions and Scrolls of Bull's Strength to use in conjunction with Power Attack.

Leush
2007-02-17, 06:58 AM
If you want to make a character which keeps the same stats and class, I'd recommend taking endurance for the next feat. Firstly it goes well with the on score. Secondly you can sleep in medium armor, which is useful if she switches to breastplate or gets a set of mithral somewhere along the line. Partially because it is good against ambushes. Also, I agree with people who advocate a barbarian dip. More for the interest factor of being able to have one more thing you can do in combat more than anything. (Edit: And if you are playing with the strength prerequisite to EWP: BS, you might as well change to Diehard (not the greatest feat, but lets you do things rather than just lie there and watch the combat when you're taken to under 0 and hence makes it more interesting for the player) and Weapon Focus: Longsword- the difference is like, one point of damage on average, and you can still wield it in two hands to power attack at later levels).

Khantalas
2007-02-17, 07:57 AM
Quietus, I know fighters are good for a few things. However, one of them is not being a tank.

Arbitrarity
2007-02-17, 08:28 AM
Soo... +4 to hit, dealing 1d10+1?! At level 2?

And 20 AC, +2 to hit (with longbow) dealing 1d8+1?!

Admittedly, low level characters suck, but this, this is a travestry.

"Fear my terrifying 24 hp!"

And, you can fear the opposite, with an 18 in str: +7 to hit, 1d10+4, extra longbow damage, and the same AC, having a mere 18 hp.

Hits 50% more often, deals 3 points more average damage.

Never mind, I can't take it any more. You may not need a spiked chain trip-monkey, but this is just sad.

Best "tank" I had just walked in the front of a line down thin hallways, using his shield as total cover :D. He was the cleric.

But we were level 6 (or 7) and we had an FB, which was rather amusing to watch when raging, frenzying, and buffed.

After that, we got the hell out of there :D

Matthew
2007-02-17, 09:11 AM
I wouldn't go that far. You're comparing extremes. The AB of this Character only falls slightly below the expected average for a Level 2 Fighter.

dorshe1
2007-02-17, 09:46 AM
No need to re-build. If I read the post correctly the fighter is being played by a female who is a new player. Hello..... McFly.....

All she has to do is flirt and she'll get a large supply of magic items to increase her bad scores. What you need to teach her to do is roleplay, and use the taunt skill in order to make opponents attack her.

Remember, the monsters don't know that she is weak, all you have to have her do is dress over the top and make a lot of noise. People will assume she is a threat. That is of course if your DM actually gives your NPCs actual human intelligence instead of DM intelligence.

Role playing is the answer to this situation, not roll playing. By 6th level she will have conned the party out of so much magical stuff that she will actually be a threat... ahhh.... victory.

Yvian
2007-02-17, 01:09 PM
OK, we have a new Player - which means not only do we have to optimize the character, but we have to optimize the character to the player.

For example, all fighters should have power attack, but the mechanical are complex. Combat Expertise is also good, but also complex to optimize.

For a meat shield Endurance is good. Diehard is better, but Endurance is a pre-request. Toughness is also good. And the feats are simple and easy to use.

Gloss over the strength that prevents you from using power attack. You can get 13 STR when you are at level 4. I am thinking your DM is going to give you some flexibility on that.

I would be hesitant in dipping into another class because it adds complexity that the new character might not be up to. With the high CON taking 2 levels of barbarian along the way would not be too bad, even though one would have to ditch the heavy armor.

Those are my ideas without dipping into anything too weird.

LotharBot
2007-02-17, 01:19 PM
we have a new Player

Which means, IMO, the DM should've given the player a shot at rerolling those awful attribute scores. A free 18, and then nothing above 12? Ugh. Harsh. Tough selection of feats, too. With stats like that, a half-orc of some sort would've been a much better choice (str would've come up to 14.)

Honestly, there's not much I can do for this character to make her viable. A score increase at level 4 will at least open up power attack (and with it, cleave) but the simple fact is, it's going to be hard to contribute much of anything with a character whose main ability is "lots of hitpoints".

Lycar
2007-02-17, 02:17 PM
Gah i can't take it anymore ! :smallfurious:

This character is exactly as viable or not viable as the players and the DM make her!

That is assuming we are talking abour a ROLEplaying game instead of a ROLLplaying game that is.

So she has mostly average stats but choose CON to be her best stat ?

So maybe she ain't a heavy hitter but she has staying power and she refuses to go down easily. Maybe she is just too stubborn to die. Maybe take Strong Will as a feat, just to underscore this point ?

So she is not the greatest damage dealer in the world but if she toughens up to each fight the party encounters and takes up her shield and gets up in the front line to protect her friends to the best of her abilities, no matter how much SOME PEOPLE love to ridicule them, then *I* would rather have her in my party then Buffy McStronginthearm, Überfighter (and nothing else but).

But hey, to each his own. The rules of the game are just that: A set of rules. Some people enjoy tinkering with them and build the most 'effective' or 'awesome' or 'über' or whatever set of stats.

Other people like to create actual characters, that is living, breathing (if imaginary) PEOPLE, who have a live and strengths and weaknesses and are not, in any way 'optimized' to fit into an arbitrary and artificial shema of 'party effectiveness' .

Fine. So the party may not be able to take on challenges as tough as the run-of-the-mill 32-point buy party. So what ? The game is what YOU make out of it ! Maybe instead of cleaning out caves or ruins or whatnot your people are more concerned about INTERACTION with other people. They might not be able to waste a small band of bandits just like that but maybe, just MAYBE, they put up a fight impressise enought to convince them to depart for greener pastures.

You say that she is a new player. So you get to either teach her game of math and statistics with some roleplaying elements tacked on as an afterthought (which, frankly, is what D&D comes from), OR you teach her a roleplaying game that just happens to be built on a set of rules geared toward high fantasy sword-and-sorcery settings.

If she is only concerned about being able to hack & slash with the rest of the group, then just redo from start. Make the usual fighter build. Take the usual feats. The character will be much more 'viable'.

But will she be as enjoyable to roleplay with all her shortcomings ? I dare say no.

OR you could all sit down and have a little chat about what kind of game you want to play anyway ? Just a bunch of never-do-wells who run around the countryside, killing stuff that happens to be on the 'won't get you charged with murder' list of their usual save havens and take their stuff ? Or maybe a group of people who just happen to be friends and live and travel together to see the world and have adventures, dreaming of becoming rich and/or famous, or avenging a dead family member or.. and they just happen to kill things and take their stuff on the way. You get the idea. Or at least i hope you do.

But that is just me. YOU decide. Or rather she, you, the other players and the DM decide. Choose what game you want to play. But be warned that roleplaying and rollplaying hardly ever coexist peacefully.

Okay, i'll stop ranting now. Peace.


Lycar


PS: Yes, i *know* about the "roleplaying vs. rollplaying fallacy'. Yes it IS possible to have a decent build and still play a great character. I just can't stand people who deny a sub-optimal character any right to exist. There have been lengthy discussions about it elsewhere. But as far as *I* am concerned: If you refuse to play with people who like they characters other then 'build no. 12, spiked-chain-tripmonkey' or what have you, congratulations, you just made it on my personal list of 'jerks i won't play with' or 'detects as evil to anyone with an ounce of common sense' .

LotharBot
2007-02-17, 02:29 PM
Nice rant, but I think you missed the point.

The character has very, very, very average stats, including mental stats. There's very little ROLEplay hook for a character of that sort. And she's obviously displayed some concern over not being able to contribute to combat -- that is, the ROLLING part of the game. You suggest she should play the "soaking up damage" role, but way up in post #1 it says she's not content with that. (Why ridicule us for thinking dice are a part of the game?)

I'm not going to ridicule someone who chooses to play such a character. But there's no way I would force a new player into such a role. That's the real issue here -- because the character is so limited, it's going to be tough to roleplay anything other than "I can really take a punch", which just might not be what this player wants to play. If I was the DM for such a campaign, I'd have given the player at least the option to reroll or to take an extra 2 points to add to anything but the 18.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-17, 02:38 PM
Gah i can't take it anymore ! :smallfurious:

This character is exactly as viable or not viable as the players and the DM make her!
That is assuming we are talking abour a ROLEplaying game instead of a ROLLplaying game that is.

Wow! It's a pity that that's not true! Monsters have stats! NPCs have stats! Monsters that challenge the rest of the party will eat her face!


So she has mostly average stats but choose CON to be her best stat ?

So maybe she ain't a heavy hitter but she has staying power and she refuses to go down easily. Maybe she is just too stubborn to die. Maybe take Strong Will as a feat, just to underscore this point ?Wow! Make the character even worse, when you could portray the character that way with any other feat, or with a solid AC instead of a bunch of HP!


So she is not the greatest damage dealer in the world but if she toughens up to each fight the party encounters and takes up her shield and gets up in the front line to protect her friends to the best of her abilities, no matter how much SOME PEOPLE love to ridicule them, then *I* would rather have her in my party then Buffy McStronginthearm, Überfighter (and nothing else but).
It sure is a pity that she can't protect her friends, because enemies can just walk around her! And it sure is a pity that being a damage sponge is something the player is NOT HAVING FUN WITH. But, hey--who cares about fun! Roleplaying a living, breathing, crap-in-combat character is more important!


But hey, to each his own. The rules of the game are just that: A set of rules. Some people enjoy tinkering with them and build the most 'effective' or 'awesome' or 'über' or whatever set of stats.

Other people like to create actual characters, that is living, breathing (if imaginary) PEOPLE, who have a live and strengths and weaknesses and are not, in any way 'optimized' to fit into an arbitrary and artificial shema of 'party effectiveness' .
Yeah! Because a well-built character can't POSSIBLY be well-roleplayed and have a well-developed personality! Screw everyone who can make an effective character, because they're all powergaming jerks who can't roleplay worth a damn, right?!
Effectiveness, in D&D, isn't arbitrary. It's the result of the rules of the game. If you don't like it, play a different game. There are tons of better games that encourage certain kinds of roleplaying, or even just systemless roleplaying were stats don't matter.
If this were Wushu, she could be a character with the "Too Tough To Go Down" Aspect at 5, and be exactly as effective as a character with the "Heavy Hitter" Aspect at 5. But this is D&D, where you have to actually make a character that won't go down (with a low AC and low offense, 18 CON won't make that happen) if you want the mechanics to reflect that kind of character!


Fine. So the party may not be able to take on challenges as tough as the run-of-the-mill 32-point buy party. So what ? The game is what YOU make out of it ! Maybe instead of cleaning out caves or ruins or whatnot your people are more concerned about INTERACTION with other people. They might not be able to waste a small band of bandits just like that but maybe, just MAYBE, they put up a fight impressise enought to convince them to depart for greener pastures. I don't think you're getting it. The party is made up of people. If she's significantly weaker than the rest of her party, anything that challenges the rest of them will kill her face off, and anything that challenges her will be easily killed by the rest of the party. Against moderately tough opponents, she's likely to feel like she's not contributing.


You say that she is a new player. So you get to either teach her game of math and statistics with some roleplaying elements tacked on as an afterthought (which, frankly, is what D&D comes from), OR you teach her a roleplaying game that just happens to be built on a set of rules geared toward high fantasy sword-and-sorcery settings. D&D is not that game. If you're introducing someone to D&D, shouldn't you play D&D? Not play a game that is nominally D&D, but actually consists of ignoring huge chunks of game mechanics and the ruleset where they don't jive with the roleplay? There's nothing wrong with the latter. My favorite roleplaying games are all rules-light, thematics-heavy, character-interaction-heavy affairs. But those games are built for it. Their mechanics actually help and promote such a playstyle, rather than working AGAINST it as D&D's do.


If she is only concerned about being able to hack & slash with the rest of the group, then just redo from start. Make the usual fighter build. Take the usual feats. The character will be much more 'viable'.

But will she be as enjoyable to roleplay with all her shortcomings ?A character with huge mechanical shortcomings is NOT inherently better or more fun to roleplay. All characters have shortcomings. These shortcomings do not have to be mechanically reflected in the inability to contribute to any encounter.
It's not necessarily fun to play a useless character because you rolled some crappy stats or suck at building a character. Maybe your character concept involved a warrior who was actually good at fighting. Gasp! How horrific! What's that? Realistically, trained warriors would be good at fighting? Who cares! It's ROLLPLAYING!

C'mon. You've got people who are playing D&D, and a player who is frustrated, because her character is not contributing anything mechanically.
And your answer to that is... "shut up and enjoy sucking, not sucking is for hack-and-slashers, real roleplayers play 'flawed' characters who can't do anything in combat despite the fact that the basic premise of D&D is a bunch of combat-capable adventurers doing stuff"?
You go, man. You tell'em.


I dare say no. But that is just me. YOU decide. Or rather she, you, the other players and the DM decide. Choose what game you want to play. But be warned that roleplaying and rollplaying hardly ever coexist peacefully."Roleplaying vs. rollplaying" is a tired, [email protected]#$! phrase that does nothing productive. You're playing D&D, you're rolling dice.
Roleplaying and "rollplaying" have nothing to do with each other. You can do just one, just the other, or both. They don't have to work against each other; take Exalted's "Stunting" mechanic: flavorful descriptions get you a bonus die or two on your actions. This promotes the game's anime-inspired, wuxia-style, high-on-Awesome atmosphere. Similarily, Wushu's Details mechanic promotes descriptive roleplaying.
The two are not inherently opposed. D&D is inherently a "rollplay"-heavy game: the mechanics, the numbers, are a large part of the game, and they're the part the OP was looking for help with.

What you're doing is the equivalent of telling someone who's not having fun in Monopoly because they're always behind everyone else, "picture yourself as the lowly worker striving to make ends meet, and enjoy roleplaying that! Isn't it more fun to play a flawed poor character than a perfectly capable rich guy?"

Khantalas
2007-02-17, 02:49 PM
White Wolf can have a character as you describe, Lycar. From what I've heard about it, so can GURPS, and so could S.P.E.C.I.A.L.

D&D can't. You can't just protect your friends by giving yourself the heaviest armor, the largest shield, the best defensive "buffs" and increasing your HP to "you don't wanna know". At the end of the day, if you can't scratch the fiend that will slaughter your friends, you're doing poorly.

Even if you base a character on interaction, you still are dependent on stats playing D&D as it is given. Why? Have you seen Chapter 4 of Player's Handbook? Have you seen the skill list? Can you find the skills Diplomacy, Gather Information, Intimidate, Bluff and Sense Motive there for me? Yeah, thank you.

I am perfectly capable of having weaknesses for my character. And I like roleplaying as such. Hell, I will go ahead and create a mute and deaf minstrel for my Hunter game. However, if I have good reason to believe I do need an optimized character because the DM or the system is like that, I can even roleplay Pun-pun himself.

EDIT: Oh, and if you think about possibly repeating that speech in a thread where the title says "Optimization" (which, you know, is about stats and math), I quote;


you just made it on my personal list of 'jerks i won't play with' or 'detects as evil to anyone with an ounce of common sense'.

Thank you. And peace,

Khan, the lovely annoyance.

Matthew
2007-02-17, 03:05 PM
Indeed. The original Poster wanted something to make this Character mechanically better at combat. Bull's Strength Potions and Spells are about all I can think of without a rebuild.
Incidentally, I was interested to note Takhan's suggestion that the PHB2 allowed for a 2:1 Attribute Point trade off. I can't remember where I first encountered that rule, but its been a staple of character creation ever since.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-17, 03:07 PM
PS: Yes, i *know* about the "roleplaying vs. rollplaying fallacy'. Yes it IS possible to have a decent build and still play a great character. I just can't stand people who deny a sub-optimal character any right to exist. There have been lengthy discussions about it elsewhere. But as far as *I* am concerned: If you refuse to play with people who like they characters other then 'build no. 12, spiked-chain-tripmonkey' or what have you, congratulations, you just made it on my personal list of 'jerks i won't play with' or 'detects as evil to anyone with an ounce of common sense' .
So, everyone who disagrees with you is an evil jerk who refuses to play with anyone who isn't a spiked-chain tripmonkey?

Maybe you should stop assuming everyone who thinks differently from you is having badwrongfun and start thinking about the huge gaping holes in the things you say.

Kantolin
2007-02-17, 03:18 PM
As a relatively mild aside, if the DM makes the enemies you fight not go around the fighter for other people, then having extremely high constitution and low strength can sort of work.

This is actually quite normal for a decent slew of enemies, too... like mindless undead. While it is then a bit unrealistic when facing any kind of competent enemies, if that's how you play, then go for the constitution. *Shrug*

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-17, 03:19 PM
Except, of course, those extra few HP only do so much.

oriong
2007-02-17, 03:24 PM
Well, the idea that enemies will simply 'go around' a fighter is pretty false.

If someone charges right into the center of a group of enemies and begins hacking away they'll pay him attention. Some might go past but for the most part the enemy group (especially if they're simple minded) will attack what attacked them first. Once the forces on the back start tossing spells at them they may wise up and move on from the fighter, but by then at least a round or two has passed and given the time scale of most D+D battles this means the battle is very nearly over. If the spellcasters use their abilities to support this strategy (providing summon monster reinforcements to block off the approach more, creating 'wall' effects to discourage enemy pursuit or just a well placed grease spell) then it works better.

The problem is that the character presented won't be doing anything but acting as the initial 'distraction that survives'. The damage she inflicts will be negligible right now, and forever if she doesn't get that strength boost. So she'll basically just be taking hits without actually doing much to end the battle herself.

Matthew
2007-02-17, 03:27 PM
It's true, making her successful relies on the co-operation of her team mates. For instance, setting up Flanks for the Rogue and receiving buffs from the Cleric.

Kantolin
2007-02-17, 03:27 PM
Edit: Um, aimed at this post, as that was a lot of ninja'ing going on there:


Except, of course, those extra few HP only do so much.

True. But if you do indeed have the ability to designate 'All of the enemies are very likely to be attacking me and only me regardless of how much of a threat I pose to them'... then focusing on AC and hit points is probably a decent idea, even in this case.

Of course, not even dodge is an option with the above stats, and Shield Specialization is noncore, and from the sounds of it, the above statement of 'Enemies will attack her simply because she is the fighter' is untrue. So pah...

At the very least, at level 4 I'd place your stat point into strength, and go for power attack. Once you have power attack, your damage output can increase significantly making things more worka... ahh. Heavy steel shield, thus not a two-hander.

Mrr. Probably still worth doing, though.

Quietus
2007-02-17, 03:33 PM
The problem with "Roleplaying vs Rollplaying" comes in when neither side seems to want to give any - if you consider optimization to be "I only want to play this character if they can own everything in the face", then you've got to admit, you're probably going a bit too far. Capable, yes... you want to be capable. But I know people who've refused to play a char that didn't have 18's, or refuse to play a char with one 9 and the rest of his stats were 14+.

That said - yes, this build is going to be more difficult to work with. If the DM will allow a reroll/rebuild, and the player isn't happy with the character, go for it! However, if the player wants to keep THIS character, but make them more combat-capable, who's to say "Forget it, it isn't possible"?

The high con makes for a very annoyingly resilient character, which is awesome. Now the problem lies in the low strength. What options are there to fix that? Level 4's stat increase should go in there, and as many people have mentioned, the one-level barbarian dip is an awesome idea. I'd say that I would go for taking that as your third level, then take Fighter at 4/5. That way, at level 5, you'll qualify for Weapon Specialization - which will, for the time being, be a better option than power attack. Level 6 you can pick up Power Attack, if you feel you can afford the hit to your attack rolls.

Matthew
2007-02-17, 03:39 PM
I think since she is just about to make Level 3, she might as well stay with Fighter if the aim is to get Weapon Specialisation.

Roderick_BR
2007-02-17, 03:49 PM
OKay, for starters, let her re-roll. Her stats just won't let her get any useful feat. Or move that 18 to Strength, give her a two handed weapon, and stuff her with Power Attack, Cleave and Great Cleave (let her know when she can do that), Bull Rush (good to let her know she can push people if they get too near her allies. It'll make her feel useful).
One suggestion of PrC, if your campaign go long is Devoted Defender, because of the "Harm's Way" ability, but then, you's need to have a high Constitution.
Just lower that Charisma to 11, and rise her Strength to 13. That can work fine to get the Power Attack feats.

These are just simple suggestions to make a fighter be useful in combat.

Edit: If she can re-roll and get better results, and manage to get a Dex 13 or more, she can take Combat Reflexes, to AoO those that try to run past her.

Han
2007-02-17, 04:10 PM
Maybe get a heavy warhorse and some mounted combat feats? That way she gets a horse to fight with her.

And maybe multiclass into ranger? You've been playing for a while, so if you encountered a lot of the same monsters, a +2 against them from favorite enemy is nice. Plus you can get a feat at level 2 you wouldn't qualify for ontherwise.

LotharBot
2007-02-17, 05:34 PM
If you refuse to play with people who like they characters other then 'build no. 12, spiked-chain-tripmonkey' or what have you, congratulations, you just made it on my personal list of 'jerks i won't play with'

I don't see anyone here saying they'd "refuse to play with people who like [to role-play underpowered] characters". I see people saying it's harsh to stick a new player with a very-underpowered character who doesn't like the fact that she can't contribute. This isn't people saying "we don't like playing with her", this is her saying "I don't like playing, I'm not worth anything to the group." And that's a recipie for losing a player.

So, suggestions, in order:

1) DM should allow a complete rebuild. Let her reroll stats, and hope for at least one other number above 12. Then pick feats and styles accordingly.

2) If not a complete rebuild, then a couple points of stat-shifting. Take a couple off of CHA or whatever and add them on to STR or DEX in order to make the character qualify for other feats.

3) Take a dip into barbarian, so she can rage and move faster. Then at level 4/5, go back to fighter and take a 1 point STR increase and power attack whenever it becomes available. I'd go for Cleave before Weapon Specialization, but try to get both fairly shortly after level 4.

Lycar
2007-02-17, 10:21 PM
Wow! It's a pity that that's not true! Monsters have stats! NPCs have stats! Monsters that challenge the rest of the party will eat her face!
True but only from a purely mechanical point of view. And that is exactly what makes me so mad at people woh won't look past the numbers. Yes, the numbers say she hits less often and inflicts less damage then your average cookie-cutter fighter build. There are a lot more ways of challenging a party then throwing a bunch of stats at them that happen to have high numbers for AC, BAB, hit points etc., a LOT more. The monsters don't have to have über stats, they just need to be played in a way that allows the players to outplay them instead of outrolling them.

Has the thought ever crossed your mind that maybe you encounter a band of adversaries and one of their number happens to be someone the leader happens to be very fond of ? Like his son or something ? And just IMAGINE the party picking up on that. Suddenly they son't have to hack down all opponents, just play it smart and threaten the life of the son enought to convince the leader that maybe a draw is actually a desirable out come ?


Wow! Make the character even worse, when you could portray the character that way with any other feat, or with a solid AC instead of a bunch of HP!
Yes, that doesn't help her mechanically. But if the problem if one of playing styles, then mechanics alone won't fix this anyway.


It sure is a pity that she can't protect her friends, because enemies can just walk around her! And it sure is a pity that being a damage sponge is something the player is NOT HAVING FUN WITH. But, hey--who cares about fun! Roleplaying a living, breathing, crap-in-combat character is more important!

Enemies walking around the front line fighter in heavy armour and with the big sword because they *SOMEHOW* know that they will get away with it because the characters stats suck is.. well. metagaming of sorts. The enemies don't know it. They may find out in a few rounds of fighting but no DM worth the title ought to have enemies act on knowledge they ought not to have.

But yes, the problem is that the player DOES NOT HAVE FUN with the way the game works out for her. What makes me mad is just that everybody automatically blames bad stats and not the playing style. Because being the damage sponge CAN be fun. It just requires EVERYBODY to play along.

Which, sadly, doesn't usually happen.


Yeah! Because a well-built character can't POSSIBLY be well-roleplayed and have a well-developed personality! Screw everyone who can make an effective character, because they're all powergaming jerks who can't roleplay worth a damn, right?!

Wrong. Read the whole post before answering. See post scriptum.

Effective stat building does not have to exclude good roleplaying. Neither are flawed characters the hallmark of 'good' rolepalying. This point has been discussed to death elsewhere. But the fact remains: 'bad' characters CAN be fun to play if the game is played that way.


Effectiveness, in D&D, isn't arbitrary. It's the result of the rules of the game. If you don't like it, play a different game. There are tons of better games that encourage certain kinds of roleplaying, or even just systemless roleplaying were stats don't matter.

Ah, now you are getting somewhere. It is indeed the core of the problem, isn't it ? D&D evolved from a wargame. It never was meant to be a roleplaying game. What it does best and is imo quite good at, is to deliver a sword and sorcery style tactical combat 'simulation' . But the point is, in such a game one has to look BEYOND the mere mechanics.

Maybe it's just me but as far as i'm concerned, the mechanics are there to allow the players to play the game they want, not to dictate what game they cna play. That is what makes me mad, that people seem to regard the RAW as some holy scripture that must not be deviated from on the pain of death.

The RAW make a character like hers mechanically weak/ineffective. If all you are concerned about is mechanical effectivity, then by all means scrap that set of stats and build something new ! But if she has the slightest inclination to play that character the way it is, then it is entirely possible to do that if everybody agrees to play along.


If this were Wushu, she could be a character with the "Too Tough To Go Down" Aspect at 5, and be exactly as effective as a character with the "Heavy Hitter" Aspect at 5. But this is D&D, where you have to actually make a character that won't go down (with a low AC and low offense, 18 CON won't make that happen) if you want the mechanics to reflect that kind of character!

That is oen way to go. The other is to fit the game to allow the players to play what they want to play. See above.


I don't think you're getting it. The party is made up of people. If she's significantly weaker than the rest of her party, anything that challenges the rest of them will kill her face off, and anything that challenges her will be easily killed by the rest of the party. Against moderately tough opponents, she's likely to feel like she's not contributing.

Oh i'm getting it all right. All the other players have 'proper builds' that perform as expected under the RAW. Except her. How dare she play a fighter with a 12 strength ? As i mentioned previously, a challenge is more then just a bunch of monsters trying to eat the party. So that party has a sub-optimal tank. So that party cannot take on challenges like the archetypical fighter-cleric-wizard-thief combo dictates. Well, it is the job of the DM to provide challenges that are fun to play. A weak fighter isn't making this easy for the DM, certainly not.


D&D is not that game. If you're introducing someone to D&D, shouldn't you play D&D? Not play a game that is nominally D&D, but actually consists of ignoring huge chunks of game mechanics and the ruleset where they don't jive with the roleplay? There's nothing wrong with the latter. My favorite roleplaying games are all rules-light, thematics-heavy, character-interaction-heavy affairs. But those games are built for it. Their mechanics actually help and promote such a playstyle, rather than working AGAINST it as D&D's do.

I agree. Totally. D&D does not lend itself easily to a gaming style where, well, style is more important then the mechanics. Unfortunately, D&D is nowadays sort of the 'Windows' of gaming systems. There are dozens of other systems out there, and many of them get the 'style over mechanics' part down a lot better then D&D. D&D wasn't meant to be that way. Exactly.

Bu that doesn't mean it can't be made to work. (But please see summary at end of post.)


A character with huge mechanical shortcomings is NOT inherently better or more fun to roleplay.

No, no he isn't, not inherently so or otherwise. And i didn't say otherwise.


All characters have shortcomings. These shortcomings do not have to be mechanically reflected in the inability to contribute to any encounter.

Uhm i don't quite get you here ? Certainly the rogues inability to use his most potent attack form (precision damage) vs. foes with immunities (like undead) is a shortcoming that is pretty well reflected mechanically. Or rather, the mechanics are made in a way that the rogues sneak attacks contribute heavily in some encounters and not at all in others.

But if you are talking about character flaws here, personality traits, well, no they do not have to manifest themselves in mechanical 'downsides' . But some people might want to play a fighter who does NOT have maxxed out strength and still tries to cope to the best of his abilities. There are character concepts who thrive on being non-optimized for their intended role. And yes, there is a difference between non-optimized and bad (or even abysmal). Trying to play a fighter with sub-average STR is just silly. A fighter with above-average but not maxed out STR can be quite viable.


It's not necessarily fun to play a useless character because you rolled some crappy stats or suck at building a character. Maybe your character concept involved a warrior who was actually good at fighting. Gasp! How horrific! What's that? Realistically, trained warriors would be good at fighting? Who cares! It's ROLLPLAYING!

You are missing the point here. It is not NECESSARILY fun to play a useless character. Well duh. The point is, it CAN be fun if everybody agrees to play that way. And there is still a long way between sub-optimal and useless. But of course, the sub-optimal character is usually still a LOT more fun then the useless. And it's not about RP-ing a trained warrior. That's what every 'decent' fighter build is about. But if someone WANTS to play a fighter type character with non-maxed STR, then WHY does everybody want to punish him/her for it ? For 'being a drag on the party' , for 'lowering or GP/XP income per encounter' ?


C'mon. You've got people who are playing D&D, and a player who is frustrated, because her character is not contributing anything mechanically.

Yes, that is the problem here. Mechanics make a character not-fun to play.


And your answer to that is... "shut up and enjoy sucking, not sucking is for hack-and-slashers, real roleplayers play 'flawed' characters who can't do anything in combat despite the fact that the basic premise of D&D is a bunch of combat-capable adventurers doing stuff"?
You go, man. You tell'em.

No, my answer is: Why the hell is everybody ever only looking at the purely mechanical side of that problem when it really is about playing styles and philosophies ? Why FORCE someone to build a decent set of stats when he/ she wants to play something different ? It just gets to me that noone seems to be willing to even consider the other approach: Change the gameplay to make playing such a character viable. Don't change the character to fit the mechanics, fit the mechanics to fit the character ! Or rather, the character the palyers want to play.


"Roleplaying vs. rollplaying" is a tired, [email protected]#$! phrase that does nothing productive. You're playing D&D, you're rolling dice.

Yes, dice are at the heart and core of the rules. They decide about life and death of characters and NPC alike. But what exactly those numbers the dice come up with represent depends entirely on the game of D&D you are playing. They are not uncaring gods, who hand out character death on a whim, they are tools to facilate a certain element of random uncertainity in a game of make-believe. A game of make-believe with a very complex and even powerful rulesset. But remember that the rules are to serve the game, not the other way around.


Roleplaying and "rollplaying" have nothing to do with each other. You can do just one, just the other, or both. They don't have to work against each other;

Sorry i don't think i properly understand what you are trying to say here. :smallconfused:

Either roll and role-playing are mutually exclusive game styles or they are really just two sides of the same coin. I totally agree that they don't have to cancel each other out. Which is kinda my point ! The RAW dictate certain terms that every character must meet to be a 'legal' build, for example, no chaotic monks. They also SUGGEST certain terms, like 'fighters ought to max out their strenght' . The rules are geared towards fighters maxing STR, rogues maxing DEX and put a good score into INT too etc... but that does not mean you cannot play a clumsy rogue. He just has to be played differently from your archetypical cookie-cutter one. And if your player wants to play a clumsy rogue, you change the game in a way that makes that possible. Then the clumsy rogue and the only-above-average-STR fighter CAN contribute. It is a lot of work. It means you have to actually think out of the boy, or rather, outside of the boundaries the RAW define.

It is not that most people just won't want to do it, they want to play out of the box and that is one way to do it, no problem. The problem i have is that nobody seems to even realize THAT THAT IS NOT THE ONLY WAY.


take Exalted's "Stunting" mechanic: flavorful descriptions get you a bonus die or two on your actions. This promotes the game's anime-inspired, wuxia-style, high-on-Awesome atmosphere. Similarily, Wushu's Details mechanic promotes descriptive roleplaying.
The two are not inherently opposed. D&D is inherently a "rollplay"-heavy game: the mechanics, the numbers, are a large part of the game, and they're the part the OP was looking for help with.

And i'm afraid, if we really only look at the mechanical aspect then this character is just screwed from here to next week. Better start over from scratch. End of post. Next time just take a look at the example PCs in the Players Guide and twist an change a few things to your personal taste and you are good to go. That is the easiest solution. Will give her a decent, capable character to play and have fun with. If that is what you want, then that is your answer.

But if what you really want is to play a character that can contribute WITHOUT being a template with cosmetic modifications.. see above.


What you're doing is the equivalent of telling someone who's not having fun in Monopoly because they're always behind everyone else, "picture yourself as the lowly worker striving to make ends meet, and enjoy roleplaying that! Isn't it more fun to play a flawed poor character than a perfectly capable rich guy?"

No, that is not a valid comparison. Monopoly is just a game of chance when you really boil it down. Sure, some buisiness acumen (or lack thereof) can make a huge difference. But in the end, the best player can be brought low by bad dice rolls. What i wanted to suggest is just making sure that if she wants to play a non-optimal character, then ONE way of handling this is to make sure that normal rolls will allowe her to be fine. Even the most 'über' character cna be brought low by bad luck. But if someone wants to play something different for a change, he or she should not be unduly punished because the rules where not made with people like him/her in mind.


To summarize:

First of all, i really need to apology. I am afraid i did get carried away when writint that post, never a good thing. :smallsigh:

The point i was trying to make is that what is represented as a purely mechanical problem could as well be a mixup of different playing styles.

As a new player, she does not know about the nitty-gritty mechanical consequences of her stat choices. She took her highest score in CON which is supposed to represent toughness, durability etc.(Yes, i'm just assuming here but im willing to take that risk for the argument.)

If she is happy with just playing a character without worrying about the stats, just help her make a new character from scratch with a proper build and everybody will be happy.

If she wants to play the character as is, however, only in a way that allows her to STILL contribute, then you have to get together and have a little chat about gaming styles. Then you need to explain to her how D&D in essence is a tactical combat game first and a roleplaying game second. Explain how it is an easy game to learn, to 'get into' it and later change to other systems where style is more important then mechanics.

But what totally should NOT happen is to tell her to "Make a character that can pull it's own weight in this party or get lost". Because that is exactly what i meant with the 'jerks i never will play with' . Because gaming is supposed to be fun. And telling someone who wants to play along to 'either do it our way or no way' is just rude and immature. If you find that you have different philosophies about what 'roleplaying' ought to be about, then talk about it ! Find out what each of you expects from the game and work together to make it happen for everyone.


Lycar

Lycar
2007-02-17, 10:41 PM
Nice rant, but I think you missed the point.

The character has very, very, very average stats, including mental stats. There's very little ROLEplay hook for a character of that sort. And she's obviously displayed some concern over not being able to contribute to combat -- that is, the ROLLING part of the game. You suggest she should play the "soaking up damage" role, but way up in post #1 it says she's not content with that. (Why ridicule us for thinking dice are a part of the game?)

Uhm, not quite. I do not really see why average stats should in any way making roleplaying more difficult. As it has been said before, bad stats don't make a good roleplaying character PER SE, but neither do they prevent a character from having roleplaying hooks. The most obvious of course being, why would a person being unsuited for the role of a fighter still choose to take that role.

But yes, the problem is that she doesn't like how the game plays out, that she cannot properly contribute to the success of the party. I was just suggesting to take into account the option to change the game in such a way that the 'soaking up the damage' role becomes viable. Beyond the usual remedies of just rebuilding the character from scratch.


I'm not going to ridicule someone who chooses to play such a character. But there's no way I would force a new player into such a role. That's the real issue here -- because the character is so limited, it's going to be tough to roleplay anything other than "I can really take a punch", which just might not be what this player wants to play. If I was the DM for such a campaign, I'd have given the player at least the option to reroll or to take an extra 2 points to add to anything but the 18.

Absolutely correct. If the character isn't fun to play, don't force it to be played. But IF "I can rally take a punch" IS what the player wants to play, but the mechanics as are don't support this, well, then either build the character up to those specs OR, and that is what i'm trying to say, find a way to make things work anyway. Her problem isn't really a low strength, the point difference is not THAT great. Yes, 2 or 3 points of difference in BAB and damage are huge for a starting character, but the difference becomes less pronounced in later levels.

But why not allow her CHA 13 and the 'Goad' feat ? What she lacks is the capability to deal damage, the ability to soak up attacks just requires the right gear. As a fighter, she can wear half-plate which doesn't allow a dex-bonus anway. Take a shield, maybe even a tower shield ! Try to block off the enemy, the possibilities are there, one just has to be willing to use them.

But if you just compare the 'buy points' of her stats with those of the other players and find that her rolls are just bad.. then reroll and be done with it.


Lycar

Lycar
2007-02-17, 10:51 PM
I don't see anyone here saying they'd "refuse to play with people who like [to role-play underpowered] characters".

Yes, sorry, that was kinda a pre-emptive knee-jerk reaction and uncalled for. It is just that i have read too many posts on certain 'character optimization' boards that go like -> "If you dont min-max your character you are an idiot and suck, now fu** off and let us REAL players have our way." :smallannoyed:


I see people saying it's harsh to stick a new player with a very-underpowered character who doesn't like the fact that she can't contribute. This isn't people saying "we don't like playing with her", this is her saying "I don't like playing, I'm not worth anything to the group." And that's a recipie for losing a player.

So, suggestions, in order:

1) DM should allow a complete rebuild. Let her reroll stats, and hope for at least one other number above 12. Then pick feats and styles accordingly.

2) If not a complete rebuild, then a couple points of stat-shifting. Take a couple off of CHA or whatever and add them on to STR or DEX in order to make the character qualify for other feats.

3) Take a dip into barbarian, so she can rage and move faster. Then at level 4/5, go back to fighter and take a 1 point STR increase and power attack whenever it becomes available. I'd go for Cleave before Weapon Specialization, but try to get both fairly shortly after level 4.

And amazingly enough, there have been lots of useful suggestions that should help a lot towards solving the problem.

As i said, pre-emtive knee-jerk reaction. :smalleek:

So just to say it again. Im sorry about that, i want to apologize to everyone who might feel unjustly accused of power gaming or being a jerk for suggesting mechanical solutions. This was not my intention but i can see where it might look that way. :smallyuk:

Fortunately these boards are a lot more mature, polite and level-headed then what i got used to at... other places.


Lycar

MeklorIlavator
2007-02-18, 01:03 AM
Uhm, not quite. I do not really see why average stats should in any way making roleplaying more difficult. As it has been said before, bad stats don't make a good roleplaying character PER SE, but neither do they prevent a character from having roleplaying hooks. The most obvious of course being, why would a person being unsuited for the role of a fighter still choose to take that role.

But yes, the problem is that she doesn't like how the game plays out, that she cannot properly contribute to the success of the party. I was just suggesting to take into account the option to change the game in such a way that the 'soaking up the damage' role becomes viable. Beyond the usual remedies of just rebuilding the character from scratch.

The problem with average stats is that to roleplay them you have to roleplay the "average" person, which usually isn't what someone who is playing DnD want to do. Its called Heroic Fantesy for a reason. This isn't saying that you can't be heroic and average, but its is harder and some people don't want to do that.

Also, the point is that she doesn't want to only be the damage soaker and tough person. Maybe she wants to be the fighter who takes a hit, and the slices the attacker in to. What ever she wants, her ability scores matter, because they define feats you can take, which define the person you can roleplay. You can't be the fighter who relies on finesse and grace, if you have a dexterity of 10.



Absolutely correct. If the character isn't fun to play, don't force it to be played. But IF "I can rally take a punch" IS what the player wants to play, but the mechanics as are don't support this, well, then either build the character up to those specs OR, and that is what i'm trying to say, find a way to make things work anyway. Her problem isn't really a low strength, the point difference is not THAT great. Yes, 2 or 3 points of difference in BAB and damage are huge for a starting character, but the difference becomes less pronounced in later levels.

But why not allow her CHA 13 and the 'Goad' feat ? What she lacks is the capability to deal damage, the ability to soak up attacks just requires the right gear. As a fighter, she can wear half-plate which doesn't allow a dex-bonus anway. Take a shield, maybe even a tower shield ! Try to block off the enemy, the possibilities are there, one just has to be willing to use them.

But if you just compare the 'buy points' of her stats with those of the other players and find that her rolls are just bad.. then reroll and be done with it.

Lycar

Again, the point is that she wants to be more than a tank. And the ability scores matter not so much in terms of damage, because you are right, the boost is pretty insignificant. They matter as prerequisites for feat that define the character in some ways. They are not the sum of the character, but they define certain action that one could take and some give roleplaying hooks, or are essential to the character(weapon finesse).

Also, your theory about tanks is a bit flawed. I mean, in modern warfare soldier let other tanks or units with anti-tank capabilities deal with enemy tanks and concentrate on the easier to wound infantry. Yet you would say that the soldier would concentrate on the tank if it came right up into their formation, ignoring the weaker targets. Why?

In a earlier post you complain about people obsessing over mechanics, but the whole point of this thread is that the OP wants help solely with mechanics. If someone asked foe help for preparing for the verbal SAT's, you don't lecture that on the math or writing sections. Instead, help them with what they asked for help in

LotharBot
2007-02-18, 01:52 AM
The point is, it CAN be fun if everybody agrees to play that way.

...

Why FORCE someone to build a decent set of stats when he/ she wants to play something different ?

As stated in the original post, the character is not happy with the build. My assumption is that she wants to play a pretty normal fighter type, but just didn't roll well enough on her stats to get something that fit her character concept, and doesn't know the game well enough to know what to do about it. If that's wrong, I expect the OP to come back and tell us, but until then, that's my operating assumption.

The best option I can see is for the DM to step in and modify the character so that it better fits the player's concept. If the character is willing to play a "damage absorber" role, then perhaps just taking some of the feats/classes described above would work. It really depends on the player's attitude and expertise.

rob
2007-02-18, 02:30 AM
Hey, I think there might be some salvageable stuff in the character that could make it fun to play, as is. Personally, I love to play fighters - one of my favorite characters to role play was one of my character's fighter cohort. I think there is a lot to be said for some stat shifting, especially more points in STR, and I'm not a big fan of specific-weapon feats for early characters/players (wait till you've figured out your fighting style, then specialize in it). Here's my "as-is" suggestions, for fun playing:

1. Remember you are able to use pretty much every weapon, and quite well. Use them. Longspear for certain situations. Couple javelins tucked in behind the shield for runners. Daggers hidden inside the gauntlets, for that nasty suprise. Bite, spit, scratch and scream if ya gotta.
2. Don't forget about the blind fighting! Could be a huge advantage in low-level combat in certain situations! That feat ALONE would give this character a huge advantage in a bar fight - just douse the candles, have the priest bar the door, and go to town. As a player, get in situations where you would be able to use it to your advantage.
3. Use the roleplaying advantages offered by the intimidate skill. This character should feel no fear about getting in someone's face, because she can easily take the initial blows of anyone of equivalent level.

If I were playing this character, I'd play her as a 'scientific-style' gladiator type - patient, cautious, keeps up a solid defense and waits for the enemy to make a mistake. Gets up-close and personal and tries to scare and discombobulate the enemy.

Khizan
2007-02-18, 02:34 AM
Firstly, the DM shouldn't have given a brand new player a character so sub-par.
#1 solution is a rebuild with new stats. For a new player, I'd find out what sort she wants to play, and then use a point system to make her a character that she actually wants to play. Since you want to give a new player a decently strong character anyways, I prefer to do this rather than repeating rolls till you find an appropriate random selection.

#2 solution is to just boost the str/con a bit and repick feats. The stats suck enough so that dropping 2 points each onto strength and dex isn't out of the question.

#3 is a metagame shifting of her to half-orc, making her tough, strong, and sorta stupid, which can be pretty fun to play, and letting her take Barbarian without a penalty. Repick feats for the new stats.



But if she has the slightest inclination to play that character the way it is, then it is entirely possible to do that if everybody agrees to play along.

Characters that are only fun if everybody else in the group decides to change the way they play based around that character... well, they suck. If the character of the first time player doesn't mesh well with the group she's playing with, the character should change to something more suited, rather than having the entire group change playstyle for her. This not only makes the game more fun for everybody else, it gives her a much more realistic picture of what she can expect if she plays with them again.

Lycar
2007-02-18, 07:09 AM
The problem with average stats is that to roleplay them you have to roleplay the "average" person, which usually isn't what someone who is playing DnD want to do. Its called Heroic Fantesy for a reason. This isn't saying that you can't be heroic and average, but its is harder and some people don't want to do that.

Precisely. So the problem can be either that the stats simply don't allow the kind of heroics the player is after. In that case, reroll until you get a set of stats that do. OR try to modify the gaming style that ALLOWS the character with average stats to STILL be heroic. There are a lot of heroic thing characters can do that are totally not stat-dependent. Sometimes, being a hero is a matter of attitude, and that is just roleplaying.

Imagine that comparativly weak fighter going up against some thug who is harrassing the patrons in a bar. One way is to have the usual powerful character just get up smiling, giving the thug one token chance to surrender before going over to subdue the crap out of him and returning to his table. Fun but not really that heroic. Now the fighter with average stats will have a harder time to deal with that klod. Maybe she really takes a good beating before finally taking him down. And then she returns to her table, bloody but victorious ! Maybe that is just me but *I* would consider that more heroic.

Or take it a step further ! She CAN'T take on the guy by herself ! She does go up against him anyway because that is the right (and heroic) thing to do ! And when it becomes apparent that all by herself she will be defeated, suddenly the other patrons, inspired by HER DISPLAY OF HEROIC COURAGE join in and help her clobber the jerk into submission ! And after the battle, toasts are exchanged and lots of ale consumed.

There are ways to provide the experience of heroic victories other then just cleaving through hordes of enemies. You just have to be willing to go them. Maybe just long enough for that character to gain enough feats and class abilities to compensate for her mechanical weaknesses enough so she can contribute in a more mechanical way again.


Also, the point is that she doesn't want to only be the damage soaker and tough person. Maybe she wants to be the fighter who takes a hit, and the slices the attacker in to. What ever she wants, her ability scores matter, because they define feats you can take, which define the person you can roleplay. You can't be the fighter who relies on finesse and grace, if you have a dexterity of 10.

Ain't that true.... some things you can't do because the rules won't allow you to. In that case it would be best to reroll until the numbers allow you to do what you want to.


Again, the point is that she wants to be more than a tank. And the ability scores matter not so much in terms of damage, because you are right, the boost is pretty insignificant. They matter as prerequisites for feat that define the character in some ways. They are not the sum of the character, but they define certain action that one could take and some give roleplaying hooks, or are essential to the character(weapon finesse).

Indeed. But i am afraid there is no mechanical remedy for that other then rerolling or raising the significant stats to a level where they do. But that is the problem with rolling for stats instead of using point buy. You can end up with stats that simply prevent you from taking certain options.

So what is the game like they are playing ? Is it "let the dice fall where they may and make do with what you have" ? Then every bit of helpful mechanical advice is going to do only so much but the DM tailoring the game to accomodate for the player who managed to roll up bad stats can make all the difference.


Also, your theory about tanks is a bit flawed. I mean, in modern warfare soldier let other tanks or units with anti-tank capabilities deal with enemy tanks and concentrate on the easier to wound infantry. Yet you would say that the soldier would concentrate on the tank if it came right up into their formation, ignoring the weaker targets. Why?

Excellent question ! And the answer lies in roleplaying. Remember that the DM has to ROLEPLAY the opponents too.

Imagine the players fighting agains a squad of hobgoblins. They are intelligent AND disciplined, they are supposed to act like trained soldiers. They can be expected to employ PC tactics too. They will keep their ranks closed to deny agile PCs the chance to get at their supporters, they may even use aid another actions to boost each other. They could conceivably realize that they can afford to try to push past the fighter to get at the weaker PCs first.

Now take a group of gnolls for example. They are intelligent but undisciplined. For a gnoll warrior, fighting is a way to increase his standing in the packs pecking order. How so ? By taking on the most-badass enemy and defeating him. So for the gnolls its totally okay to gang up on the SEEMINGLY toughest foe and gain glory taking him down. Leave the weaklings for mopping up later, there is no glory in fighting them. Also those gnolls would put their personal chance at glory in front of unit cohesion and happily break formation for a personal gain. A broken formation is something savvy PCs exploit to get at their shaman or leader or what have you.

That would be a good example where NPCs would conceivably ignore the weaker targets. If the GM plays it that way. Of course the gnolls too can act like that squad of hobgoblins. It just would be poor roleplaying on the part of DM if you ask me.


In a earlier post you complain about people obsessing over mechanics, but the whole point of this thread is that the OP wants help solely with mechanics. If someone asked foe help for preparing for the verbal SAT's, you don't lecture that on the math or writing sections. Instead, help them with what they asked for help in

True, i kinda did not help with the mechanical solutions to the problem. Again, sorry for ranting. What i really wanted to say was that there are non-mechanical ways to at least mitigate mechanical problems and that those ought to be considered too. Because they can take the sting off of bad stats until the character catches up enough to become mechanically viable again.

IF the player wants to play that character. If not, reroll, because all the help and advice offered by the other posters (and there is lots of good advice there) won't stop that character from being a pretty average person stat-wise. And as you already pointed out, some people don't want to play that.


Lycar

Lycar
2007-02-18, 07:33 AM
Characters that are only fun if everybody else in the group decides to change the way they play based around that character... well, they suck. If the character of the first time player doesn't mesh well with the group she's playing with, the character should change to something more suited, rather than having the entire group change playstyle for her. This not only makes the game more fun for everybody else, it gives her a much more realistic picture of what she can expect if she plays with them again.

True. Just to clarify, i did NOT mean to say "all the other players have to change their play style so that ONE player with bad stats can have fun too".

What i meant was: "If you do not simply want to reroll, there are ways to make that character fun to play WITHOUT forcing everybody down the same route."

See the above post. In the case of a fight vs. a pack of gnolls, the mechanical inability to physically prevent enemies from simply stepping or even moving past her (a problem, by the way, that even the most über-statted fighter has (unless hes the spiked-chain-tripper)) won't mean she can't be the fighter protecting her friends, because in THAT sceanrio, she is attracting the enemies attention merely by the fact that she APPEARS to be the MOST BADASS target.

Okay, it boils down to her being the decoy that makes them gang up on her while the above-average-stats fellow players do the grunt-work of inflicting hit points on the gnolls. But in a way she IS contributing. Just not in a way fighters are usually expected to.

The question is: Is that something that she could live with ? Then that is a possible way to deal with the situation. But if she is unhappy with just being the 'decoy fighter', then im afraid there is only so much that can be done about that other then simply allowing her to get decent fighter stats.

But of course you put the finger down on the most crucial problem: What do people expect from their game. We don't know what the rest of the party of the original poster is like or if the other players have a problem with their fighter being sub-optimal too.

Imagine it should turn out that they would actually enjoy playing a slightly different game where her fighter can contribute too. Stranger things have happened. :smallsmile:

I just wanted to point out there are more ways then just mechanical ones to deal with the problem of characters with bad stats. It does not mean they are the right ones for you. But they do exist. Just don't forget about them when choosing what works for you please.


Lycar

MeklorIlavator
2007-02-18, 12:19 PM
You say that the fighter would seem the biggest threat, but why not the spellcasters? This is a world where magic is feared as extremely powerful, so the gnolls might attack the spellcasters as the greatest enemy. OR, after the first round or so, once the gnolls start to realize that this fighter can't harm them but the spellcasters/rogue are, I would say that the focus of the battle might switch

Talkkno
2007-02-18, 01:00 PM
Fighters are often called Tanks, and I think it is a pretty good analogy. Much like tanks, Fighters are normally heavily armed and armored engines of destruction which take and hold ground, enact and exploit breakthroughs in the enemies' lines, and close with and destroy the enemy. Also much like tanks, Fighters are most effective when they are used in combined arms. A tank by itself is vulnerable if you know and exploit its weaknesses; a tank that is properly supported is almost unstoppable.

Modern tanks are normally judged by three criteria’s, and I think this applies well to the tank-type Fighter. In modern tank design, it is a matter of give and take with these, and normally, a tank can do two of the three very well, at the expense of the third.Firepower: How much damage cans the fighter output, how accurately that fighter can deliver that output. How well equipped is the fighter to do damage with varied sources for different circumstances? A Fighter's damage is normally subtly deceptive, it is not as impressive as allot of Arcane of Divine DDs, but at the end of a full adventure, a well crafted and well positioned fighter has probably done more damage than a full wand of fireballs.

Armor: How well is the fighter protected? Protection begins with a fighter's AC, it doesn't end with it (a fighter's last line of defense is his HPs). A well protected Fighter has multiple layers of defense to deal with damage. Good saving throws, combat expertise, DR, Miss chance items, disarming, sundering, trips, evasion, uncanny dodge, can all be combined to save as many HP's as possible. It is a mistake to rely on AC alone, at the higher levels of play, a Fighter's AC is not so much to stop his foe's first attack, but to prevent his foe's 2nd, 3rd, 4th attack, and prevent his foe from doing massive power attacks.

Mobility: Excellent damage potential and unshakeable defenses are meaningless is you are out of position to test your defenses or deal your damage. Mobility is things like base move and the spring attack chain, but it is also reach, combat reflexes, alternative movement methods, ranged attacks, attack flexibility (ala quickdraw), mounts and mounted combat, physical skills. Mobility is all about reaching your enemies and being nimble enough to prevent them from going where you don't want them.


Firepower: How much damage cans the fighter output, how accurately that fighter can deliver that output. How well equipped is the fighter to do damage with varied sources for different circumstances? A Fighter's damage is normally subtly deceptive, it is not as impressive as allot of Arcane of Divine DDs, but at the end of a full adventure, a well crafted and well positioned fighter has probably done more damage than a full wand of fireballs.

Armor: How well is the fighter protected? Protection begins with a fighter's AC, it doesn't end with it (a fighter's last line of defense is his HPs). A well protected Fighter has multiple layers of defense to deal with damage. Good saving throws, combat expertise, DR, Miss chance items, disarming, sundering, trips, evasion, uncanny dodge, can all be combined to save as many HP's as possible. It is a mistake to rely on AC alone, at the higher levels of play, a Fighter's AC is not so much to stop his foe's first attack, but to prevent his foe's 2nd, 3rd, 4th attack, and prevent his foe from doing massive power attacks.

Mobility: Excellent damage potential and unshakeable defenses are meaningless is you are out of position to test your defenses or deal your damage. Mobility is things like base move and the spring attack chain, but it is also reach, combat reflexes, alternative movement methods, ranged attacks, attack flexibility (ala quickdraw), mounts and mounted combat, physical skills. Mobility is all about reaching your enemies and being nimble enough to prevent them from going where you don't want them.


Part of the problem with optimizing a fighter is the common mistake of trying to pursue multiple feat chains with different purposes rather than synergistically focusing feats into a single super chain. To my knowledge, few builds achieve this, the Gatling Chain Fighter being the most prominent. In the past, this has been hampered by the available feats. As supplements are produced though, more and more feats can be combined synergistically.

The Fighter's largest advantage is its speed of implementation, as soon as a Fighter don's his gear, he is "on". He doesn't need to cast buff's, expend abilities, or otherwise consume resources, the Fighter acts at full capacity throughout the day dictated only by the limits of his HPs. He fights just as well after his 12th encounter as he did his first, and he can spring immediately into action without preparation, engaging the enemy while the rest of the party spins up to speed. The difference being at higher levels, players' magical resources often mean they can dictate both nature of the fights they engage in and the number of fights they take, so the fighters' endurance and spontaneity become less and less important.

Tam_OConnor
2007-02-18, 01:47 PM
Whoa! Serious outpourings of emotion!
Seriously, though, thanks for all the advice. Just a few points I wanted to clarify: the player isn't brand new; this is the second campaign she's been in (first is still ongoing, but at higher levels), but she's still learning both the rules and the roleplaying.

I honestly never saw the minimum Str 13 for Exotic (Bastard sword) and since I'm the rules nut, that falls on my shoulders. And as for her fourth feat, she's not a third level yet, she's just close. For her excess of equipment, she's in debt to the party a few hundred gold.

A word on the group's tactics: generally, the cleric and fighter lock shields (figuratively) and ready attacks against the baddies. The sorcerer occupies the traditional spot, hiding a few squares behind us with crossbow loaded and magic missiles ready. The rogue generally waits until the monsters' have hit the cleric/fighter line, and then flanks (but not always; silly halfings...)

So far, the beasties we've been up against haven't been able to even hit her, so I think she'll be a bit leery about abandoning it for Barbarian levels. But who knows?

The campaign itself is set in second age Middle Earth, so half-orc isn't exactly an option. Potions of bull's strength are a possibility, but it would sink her even deeper in debt. The cleric just made third too, and he's reserved at least one 2nd level slot for bull's strength.

Again, much thanks, and keep it coming!

greenknight
2007-02-18, 06:11 PM
as for her fourth feat, she's not a third level yet, she's just close.

A Human 2nd level Fighter does get 4 Feats. Here's how it works out:

1st level: 1 Feat
Human: +1 Feat
Fighter 1: +1 Feat (Fighter list)
Fighter 2: +1 Feat (Fighter list)


So far, the beasties we've been up against haven't been able to even hit her, so I think she'll be a bit leery about abandoning it for Barbarian levels. But who knows?

The problem will come if the campaign reaches higher levels and the PCs start going up against higher CR creatures. Many of them have ways to get around the front line, using reach, flight and magical abilities. The Barbarian levels are suggested so that the character can move around further and pose a greater threat. Using weapons with reach will help a little in protecting against fliers.

Higher level foes are likely to become much more competant in melee. You might want to check how her Fighter would fare against typical 3rd level foes like Dire Apes, Dire Wolves, Ogres and Shadows. The best defence is usually to take these foes down fast, and I doubt she can contribute much to that at the moment.

Tam_OConnor
2007-02-18, 07:17 PM
Righto. Actually thought about the whole feat business; thanks for not being as woolbrained as I am. I think, (but I'm not sure) that the last feat is a skill booster (Alertness, maybe).

silverwolf
2007-02-18, 07:21 PM
kill someone relllly oppresing or just get rid of all the emos in the world get atleast thousand pepole to worhip you and you get one divine rank :D:D:D

Norsesmithy
2007-02-18, 08:20 PM
Yes, sorry, that was kinda a pre-emptive knee-jerk reaction and uncalled for. It is just that i have read too many posts on certain 'character optimization' boards that go like -> "If you dont min-max your character you are an idiot and suck, now fu** off and let us REAL players have our way." :smallannoyed:

We acknowledge the type of people that can cause reactions like that, but I would have to say that playing an "average" or highly suboptimal character does get in the way of role playing.

Say for example a Paladin is gathering up a group of like minded individuals to go clean out a desecrated catacombs, (for glory, treasure, and the protection of the innocents being preyed upon by the foul creatures within). This Paladin knows that he will have to fight dezions of the dark, demons, undead, necromancers, etc. So why would he recruit people unable to pull their weight?

This isn't to say that he would refuse to go with anyone who isn't a Warhulking Hurler, Codzilla, Batman Wizard, or charge cheese Barbarian, but that he would probably decline the applications of those individuals who show themselves unable to do something effectively.

He probably wouldn't pick a sickly man like Rastlin, because he is headed into an area where even healthy men get sick. He won't choose a sorcerer who is so foolish as to not be totally trustworthy. He won't bring a barbarian so stupid as to not be able to understand the basic tactics of tunnel fighting. He won't choose the cleric who is afraid of the dark. I could go on.

My characters like to live (as should every-body's characters), and they tend to choose their allies in such a way as to maximise every-body's chances at survival. You should require effective allies, you would in real life (I mean if we made you a Army Ranger, and sent you to chase Bin Laden out of the mountains of Central Asia, you wouldn't drag along a teammate who was afraid of tunnels, can't balance to save his life, complains loudly in inopportune times, or couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with rifle fire, would you?).

ShneekeyTheLost
2007-02-18, 09:16 PM
So, like the title says, I need to optimize a tank. She's being played by one of my friends, who feels like she's not doing anything besides soaking up damage. She's a relatively new player, so I want to keep her interested.
The skinny: our roles were take a free 18 and roll 4d6 for the rest. She wound up with Str 12 Dex 11 Con 18 Int 10 Wis 10 Cha 11.
Female human Fighter 2, about to level up.
Feats are Exotic Weapon Proficiency and Weapon Focus (both in bastard sword) and Blind-Fight.
4 ranks in Climb, Intimidate and Jump.
Gear consists of full plate armor, heavy steel shield, 2 masterwork bastard swords (for weapon breakage) and a mighty shortbow (Str 12).
The rest of the party: a Sorcerer 3, who seems to be focusing on destructive spells; a halfing Rogue 3, of the flanking style; a Cleric 3 of Healing and Sun, also an effective meatshield. And occasionally, a Paladin 2.
Also, our DM isn't too crazy about bringing in too much none core stuff. A few feats or a class, sure, but not horrible amounts of min/maxing.
Your goal: take these stats and make a character who is interesting to play, while not being overly complex.
Ladies, and Gentlemen, I stand ready for your advice.

1) You only need to take Weapon Focus: Bastard Sword once. Every time you take Weapon Focus, it has to apply to a different weapon, they do not stack, and it works for every Bastard Sword you pick up.

2) Man, she got some sucky stats for 4d6 rolls. Nothing other than the freebie over a 12? This drastically limits her feat options. If she had an Int of 13, she could go for Combat Expertise and get AC bonuses. Dex of 13 is needed for Dodge.

Ask your GM if there is a way she can look at Dwarven Defender (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/prestigeClasses/dwarvenDefender.htm) without being a Dwarf. First, though, she needs to pump her Dex to 13 to get Dodge. If she puts her level 4 and level 8 points into Dex, she'll be able to get Dodge at Fighter8, and be able to go into Dwarven Defender at level 9.

DD has all the flavor you want of being a 'tank', all the bonuses of a raging barbarian, without the raging, and the ability to soak up massive amounts of damage.

This means get Endurance and Toughness as feats, and talk to the GM. Maybe she gets hit by something and gets turned into a Dwarf, or maybe the Dwarves like her style and let her train with them or something. It isn't overpowered (by ANY means), and is quite simple, and is SRD (PrC found in the DMG). Sounds like what you are looking for.

Tam_OConnor
2007-02-18, 11:18 PM
Eh, Shneekey, it's Exotic Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword) and Weapon Focus (bastard sword). Sorry if that wasn't clear.

Kantolin
2007-02-19, 06:07 AM
Or take it a step further ! She CAN'T take on the guy by herself ! She does go up against him anyway because that is the right (and heroic) thing to do ! And when it becomes apparent that all by herself she will be defeated, suddenly the other patrons, inspired by HER DISPLAY OF HEROIC COURAGE join in and help her clobber the jerk into submission ! And after the battle, toasts are exchanged and lots of ale consumed.

This, in fact, sounds like it'd be fairly cool for that scene in the bar.

Less cool for when you're trying to stop the bandits just outside of town, and can't do that either.

Even less cool when the orc cleric is standing on your -7 body and snickering.

Downright unfun when the kobold laughs at you.

But hey, if that's what she's aiming for... then great! I have fun playing the odd man out sometimes. But if it's not what she's aiming for, then perhaps help is in order.

Lycar
2007-02-19, 09:09 AM
Thar barfight scene was just meant to be an example how a fighter with bad stats can still do heroic stuff. Or rather, how you can give the player in questions a scene to feel good about.

That does not solve the problem of him/her being underpowered but if one wants to solve this problem by leveling and taking feats/classes that make the best out of whats at hand, then this is something that lets the player feel good about the character. To compensate for that feeling of utter inferiority when he/she can only serve as a damage sponge for her teammates or something.

Of course that also requires that the other players play along. That is, the rogue doesn't get up too and just sneak-clobbers that thug while the fighter is buisy being beaten to a pulp. Or the mage/sorceror just waves his hands dismissivly and casts sleep etc. You know, that they don't steal the limelight in the scene that is supposed to be about the fighter who, even if he really is not one of the best fighters around, still has the courage to stand up to the enemy and fight. You know what i mean.


Lycar

Yakk
2007-02-19, 03:40 PM
Are there any decent con-based feats out there? I can't find any in the core.

The fact that the build is already illegal is an issue. :) EWP(Bastard Sword) just doesn't work.

I've seen a decent Knight class built around "I challenge you -- and if you don't attack me, I punish you with lots of damage".

daggaz
2007-02-19, 04:22 PM
If you think your DM will allow a reroll, then definitely ask for one. You got screwed, and while there have been viable options posted to *ahem* optimize this character to the best of its abilities, you will always be chasing a tall treant with a short stick.

If you have the feeling your DM is gonna make you stick with these stats, then by all means, suicide in the awesomest way possible, ASAP. Stand up at the gaming table, let out a defiant battle cry, and declare that your character charges straight into the raging orcish hordes!


Then reroll, and if you ever get such bad stats again, quietly show your DM the page in the PhB where it says you should get to reroll if the sum of your modifiers is under 7 or whatever it now is..

Telok
2007-02-20, 04:39 PM
Hmm, interesting problem. Considering that I've played since AD&D was first published I don't find those attribute rolls at all bad. Granted, they won't make anybody goober-eyed from amazement, but the only "bad" thing about them is the lack of feat requirements.

If the player dosen't want to give up and die on the character there are a few ways to go about making her more effective.

Fighter 2/Bard 1/Fighter +2 (4 total)/Dragon Disciple 2.
Put your level attribute increases into Con, let the PrC take care of Str. The Bard level allows for some nice RP and give access to a variety of wands and scrolls. As a nice bonus the DC of your breath weapon is... Con based. The skill points are tight here, all six from Bard and the other two from the next Fighter levels are put into Kn:Arcana.

Alternate levels of Fighter and Rogue. No whining, this is a character not a stat block. This is interesting as it allows the player to invest in some non-combat skills, pick up Evasion, improve Reflex saves, and dish out some extra damage. While the character will never be a ubermaxpwnzor build it will have increased non-Str based damage, acceptable BaB (using the fractional method), and much more non-combat ability than a straight fighter ever could. Even the d6 HD won't hurt this character significantly.

Magic items. Since the melee characters live and die by magic equipment after level 10 you could start giving a few odds and ends to the player early on. Simply dropping a Manual of Gainful Exercise +2 on the party could go a long way. It's a one use item that most benefits the fighter, and most benefits the party if the fighter gets it. It could even be given as a reward to the fighter for putting herself between someone and some danger.

Anyways, those are a few ideas that don't involve giving up because the character dosen't meet some silly Str requirement to be a Fighter. Those don't exist anymore.

Raum
2007-02-20, 09:12 PM
Hmm, interesting problem. Considering that I've played since AD&D was first published I don't find those attribute rolls at all bad. Granted, they won't make anybody goober-eyed from amazement, but the only "bad" thing about them is the lack of feat requirements.Well yeah, but we used to be happy with rolling 3d6 once also...and those aren't bad for 3d6. D&D has gone trough some twenty years of power creep. :)

As for the OP's question, does the player wish to remain a fighter? You intimated the DM might allow a non-core class, if so I'd recommend a look at Warblade (ToB). Otherwise she's kinda hosed till she can qualify for Power Attack and related feats.

Black Swan
2007-02-20, 11:52 PM
My two coppers: first, see about a reroll and rebuilding with feats. If she doesn't like feeling like she's just there to suck up damage, she should probably build something more offensive-minded. Maybe a power attack build with a two-handed weapon. She'd have four feats, so you could set her up to have darn near everything in that chain but great cleave. If the DM won't allow a reroll, then see if the stats can be reallocated to put that 18 in str. With some cautious playing and good advice she'll get by, and she'll probably have more fun because she'll actually be doing damage. If you can swing that, see about convincing her to take levels in barbarian, maybe take a power attack-related tactical feat from Complete Warrior at lvl 6 (because by then she should be able to keep track of all her abilities). Hell, if you can get her to take another lvl of fighter between now and then so that her 6th level is her 4th level of fighter, then she could take both of the power attack related tactical feats at 6th level. It sounds like she wants to kick butt and take names, and power attack with a two-handed weapon isn't a bad place to start.

At any rate, if the DM does allow a rebuild, then someone with a fair chunk of experience needs to guide her through the character creation process. Literally hold her hand while she does it. Someone who's making a char for the first time isn't going to know if a given build is going to give them the gaming experience they want. For instance, the first 3rd ed char I built was a cleric. I didn't know how good they could be at crunching things because I was used to them being healing batteries in 2nd ed. Kinda found out about that by accident.

If the DM won't allow either, then I dunno. High con is helpful but won't turn a fighter into a damage machine. Best thing to do there is to go into Barbarian starting next level. I don't really see anything else to do about it. This char doesn't have the strength for the power attack chain (and couldn't do any good with it anyway), the dex for the dodge chain, or the int for the combat expertise stuff.