Tis ROLE PLAYING game, not an action one…
By - Con_Job_
Yeah Well…this is why session zero should be a thing. Know your audience. Know what your GM and other players expect.
I wanted to run a very tactical heist campaign so I told everyone to make optimized characters and we worked as a group to make characters with good synergy and choices.
It's as easy as communicating the expectation and helping people to meet it when needed.
Opposite here: I want to set up a heist but have the players build the clumsiest dimwits to be thrust into a daring caper full of hijinx and hilarity… but yours is fine too.
Ocean's 11, but all of the guys they asked to join the heist said, "nah". Then the next set of guys and the ones after that said no too. They finally managed to find some guys willing, but they were really scraping the barrel with these dudes. You're the team that said yes. You're Ocean's Tenty-One.
You mean Ocean's Onety-one?
That sounds amazing. Like dumb luck trip their way through a heist.
Henry Stickmin The Role-playing Game
Every player starts with lucky feat
Accidentally dropping a deck of many things onto a blackjack table in a casino. Oceans I just shit myself!
Accidently write a new oceans movie in the process
Like a rogue with zero stealth? Or a barbarian that seduces their way through as they have no strength? Or a dad-bard?
I always find out that no matter how professional your squad is, any heist always ends up looking like this.
But, it would be a funny one shot to have a heist squad where everyone has to make one of Dex/Int/Wis/Cha their dump stat (everyone chooses a different dump stat), but everyone gets the Lucky feat.
Just started a new in person game where only me and the DM had experience. I suggested a session zero and everyone was down for it, then everyone just built their characters ahead of time and it was really session 1 anyway. Thankfully it’s been going ok anyway but I was like, damn, this is how trouble starts
It's even simpler than that. As a DM, learn what your players do. If you have one player with a min-maxed multiclass instakill character and another player that prepares Knock everyday because they think the spell is neat, then give player 1 someone to assassinate and put their target behind a locked door.
You can do it as you play. Ask them what skills they're proficient in. Ask them what spells they prepare. Ask what tools they have. Ask to look at their character sheet. Then design scenarios that allow them to use those abilities.
I think a lot of new players approach D&D thinking it's completely free-form role-play & that causes a lot of frustration for seasoned players who understand the unspoken rule that it's not really pure role-playing (evil is an option, you can choose to be evil, but you better not role-play evil)
This is why I wish other RPGs had the popularity of D&D. There are so many suited for much more free form RP, using one specifically designed to be about going into dungeons and kill dragons is often the worst choice for what they want.
You're not wrong -- I'm a huge Powered by the Apocalypse fan -- but as someone who ran a non-D&D campaign in a narrative system? *Not everyone can do it.*
As a GM, I loved the one-hour preparation with a simple ruleset, not to mention the wonders it brought out in imaginative players. But it was also extremely intense at all times, and the campaign immediately ground to a screeching halt if the interest or attention of even one player dropped. As a GM I needed to move the plot, sure thing, but also weave in each of the players' character and story face to face, ad-hoc. It's a lot of emotional labor for the GM (and totally on me that I find that exhausting).
As a player, in turn, you can't space out -- by the time you've returned from la-la-land, your fellow players have already re-written half the world and some of the rules too; you better let yourself be swept away, get back on the board, and ride the wave. Ride it well, too; differences in creative talent, social aptitude, and strong personality are apparent at all times. Which is perfectly fine if everybody is self-aware and aware of others in a cooperative fashion, but again, that's a must every moment.
See, this is just the thing. When I started, a lot of players started DnD with the background of computer RPGs, and it took a little time before the free form elements really kicked in. That was the fun part, really. You could do anything, but in a structured way, and that was very new, game experience wise.
I think it also depends on your DM. what I didnt fully consider going into my first game was that these worlds and storylines can take a long time to build for the DM and they are probably very excited to share it so when I try to run off on a tangent & they keep throwing brick walls at me or just straight up saying "you can't do that", im being rude by not letting them get to their story, or just creating chaos because they can't think of material on the spot that fast
it's as much about the DM having a good time as the players I suppose
I don’t mind an unoptimized teammate but I’m starting to find it tiring that people seem to think an optimized character is inherently less inclined to role play. Like the two are not exclusive.
We have a player at our table who is playing whatever the D&D version of an accountant is. We've got a fantasy setting and this person chose to roleplay as a person who's essentially just Steve from accounting, and it's a blast.
And yet despite being this incredibly weird character stuck in the forgotten realms who is great roleplay material he still is incredibly competent in combat encounters as our wizard. Steve from accounting when it all goes south can light everyone on fire, and he isn't the worse role player for it.
Are they just a regular dude who got isekai'd?
Not within the canon of the setting: they are a wizard that has a backstory of being a bureaucrat with a personality to match.They definitely originate in the setting, but are essentially as you put it just a regular dude.
Is Steve's last name Lumbergh by chance?
he's the kind of wizard that knows where every book is in the wizard library
Exactly. 5e is wild that you can be an absolute curveball character and still be the mvp
Oh man that brings back memories of my accountant character who was also a wizard. He got saddled with the party on a quest by the quest giver to keep the mission on budget. I played him a lot like the bank stooge character from Life Aquatic
And there’s a stark difference in “unoptimized” and “actually useless”
I’ve encountered far too many “RP heavy” players that feel that if you make say, a Tabaxi Rogue, that is just a solid mechanics race class choice that you’re trying to min max. And you need to make a Wizard with 11 Int and only casts Illusion spells.
You can be into heavy role play and still be good at what your class does.
It’s because people are told characters need flaws to be compelling, so they view more flaws = good character. I don’t think stats make a character interesting, nor does being unoptimised. Personality flaws are considerably more interesting. I do not give a fuck about an 11 strength paladin, but if he has doubt in his god? Oh shit, I’m interested.
I played a non shapeshifting druid with a dexterity of 5 once. I rolled low and put my lowest stat in dex, then played a dwarf.
He was a weird dude but a total blast to play and it made me think outside the box. How do I not get hit? What animals have toxins I need to worry about dex damage from? Why is he so clumsy and slow? Turns out it’s exacerbated trauma from repeated concussions.
But that was his one flaw. He was a competent spellcaster who mainly focused on buffing his companions. He was good at survival skills. He had combat medic training. He leaned into the “one with the earth” thing and started slowly turning into an earth elemental.
He just could not get out of the way when something was coming at him.
It's often referred to as the [Stormwind Fallacy](http://dictummortuum.github.io/2017/11/25/stormwind-fallacy.html)
If anything, an optimized character makes more sense. A fighter is going to be good at fighting and have the tools necessary to do that. Nobody's going to train a twig asthmatic soldier.
A wizard is likely going to have the intelligence needed to figure out how magic works and cast relatively strong spells. I mean, sure a dumb wizard is plausible, but I assume locating and training a person suitable to be an apprentice is costly and time-consuming, you'd probably want to pick someone worth the effort.
Generally, people are going to be well-suited to their chosen profession. There will be outliers, of course, but they're not going to get very far and nobody's going to be singing their praises to the board of adventurer human resources.
Yeah, there's so many classes to choose instead as well. If you want to be a "wizard" who is dumb then just be a sorcerer or warlock. Or be a mastermind rogue if you want to be a "fighter" who stands back and give out orders.
Incompetent characters aren't automatically interesting and I'd say they often suck. I always point to how PCs in Critical Role are built. The players there always create competent characters based on their class. Caduceus is dumb but an excellent cleric. Caleb is fragile but a powerful wizard. If the most interesting thing about your character is that they're a dumb jock wizard then that isn't very interesting in my opinion.
To be fair though, a fighter could be more intelligent and wise than strong, as in a general or commander for an army.
[I made this image to describe myself.](https://i.imgur.com/iwVMYm0.jpg) I spend about equal time trying to come up with and develop my PC as a character and also trying to create and optimize them for gameplay.
I think, deep down, they know they're not exclusive. But that would mean they have no excuse to make such a useless character, other than not knowing better.
And that's where the ego comes in.
I haaaaaate characters that are almost intentionally made bad "for roleplay" because 99% of that time the character isn't fleshed out enough to justify it or is just useless when it comes down to fighting.
Interesting characters are interesting because of their backstory and personality, Jim the gnome isn't interesting because they're an 8 int wizard that actively makes combat harder for everyone involved. On the other hand John the Human fighter who's optimized for combat can still be interesting because of his backstory and how their player plays them. Combat and combat optimization rarely takes away from RP, but RP can REALLY make combat suck if done improperly.
Hell I think good characters are kinda necessary to RP better cause then you're actually capable of doing the things you want to do in RP
People associate optimization with cookie cutter builds, because, at least for the combat portion, there is a "right" way to do things.
Isn't this the essence of the stormwind fallacy? That optimized means no roleplay or that unoptimized automatically means good roleplay is fallacious?
Personally, I don't have an issue with people playing unoptimized characters so long as they don't get butthurt when they can't do the cool shit they think they should... Like, just don't whine about it
It's fine as long as everyone knows what you're doing. But I'm in a current party with a guy who is trying to be a front line character and for awhile had lower HP and the same AC as the rogue, with a lower to-hit also. I know the DM is having trouble balancing encounters because this guy ends up on the floor *every single time* he gets hit. The player is a nice guy and the character is also a decent sort, but some of us are starting to wonder if the next time he goes down we should let him stay down.
Meanwhile the high-intelligence lower-charisma bard has fit in fine, works well in RP out of combat, and just uses a wand of magic missile in combat most of the time.
If no one is voicing these concerns to the player, someone should. It doesn't mean they have to totally change the way they're playing unless they're trolling. Even then, they could make it more entertaining somehow instead of a drag on everyone else. And trust me, DM's have enough to worry about without a player purposefully playing in some wonky manner that isn't fun for anyone else.
I'm not saying they're wrong, but maybe that behavior just isn't a good fit for your particular group.
From an RP perspective, I would think the character notices he's trying to be a tank and failing. There should be some pretty obvious character motivations for getting knocked out less often.
Call the player out in character. "Is this some sort of fetish thing? We're here trying to save the world, not enable your masochistic fantasies, Lalatina."
God I always feel like I got hit with a brick when I remember Darkness's full name. That show is so nuts and I love it.
Full name is very long and I can't remember it all but it's mostly known as Konosuba. It's an anime that basically takes lots of the weird tropes of Isekai stories and anime in general and makes fun of them. The basic story is a nerdy shut in dies and ends up transported to a fantasy world, as you do. He takes with him the goddess who is sending him there, and along the way he picks up a tank and a mage. They are all truly useless and dumb as hell and it makes for some ridiculous and hilarious scenes and episodes. Main character is also a major dick and unrepentant about it, which adds some fun.
Honestly it reminds me a decent bit of SAO Abridged, but just made like that straight out rather than a fan parody. It's great fun, especially if you are familiar with the tropes of anime and fantasy stories it is making fun of. I definitely recommend it.
If you like light novels and haven’t tried it, Abilaverage (I do remember the full title, I’m just too lazy to type it out) is a lot like that. The main character there isn’t a jerk at all, she just has absolutely no interpersonal skills whatsoever and is quite possibly the worst liar ever born. She thinks she’s hiding her awesome powers, but really everyone’s just playing along because she’s really nice in a clueless puppy kinda way and they don’t want to upset her.
KonoSuba: God's Blessing on this Wonderful World!
I was… not prepared for this to turn into a KonaSuba reference
Darkness is best. Except wiz
tfw no big tiddy blonde masochist paladin gf
Proof that the Horny paladin is real
"Don't call me that!!"
Edit: wow it’s a real sub, color me shocked
I guess you can say it was unexpected
One measly upvote is all you’re going to get from me. Good day sir. I said good day!
And as a player playing a *different* character, having to save this shlubs life while also trying to take out the evil necromancer or stop the summoning of Tiamat or whatever the fuck is just adding to my stress.
Stay home and we'll find someone that can sponge hits and also not die. Probably at the next tavern over.
This is also an opportunity for the story and PCs in-game to raise concerns over the health of their front-line fighter type…
“Hey Gronk… I know you are brave and like to put yourself between danger and us, which we greatly appreciate… but the frequent near-death experiences have worried the rest of us. Are.. you okay? Like is this coming from a place of pain for you? Do you… *want* to die?”
“No… Gronk just not as tough as Gronk wish Gronk was… Gronk can’t be big hero hiding from fights, Gronk just doesn’t want to let friends down…”
“Awwww big guy… let’s find you some new armor and maybe we can help you be stronger to protect us better!”
Gronk needs the Manual of Bodily Health
Yeah, I think a conversation dm-to-player about what the goals are would help.
"Are you worried about character death?
Are you being purposefully risk?
Are there adjustments that need to be made so that the DM, player, and other players are all playing *and* enjoying the 'same' game?"
DM will just invent some NPC to take damage
you can solve this in-character by having the party members express concern and tell the guy he's not as strong as he thinks he is and should probably back away when the fighting gets hairy. if he gets mad make him get mad in character
Nobody should want to die. If they do they are a risk to the party and an expensive traveling partner.
How are we supposed to fight if we're looking after you?
Had an old party member do this and get mad when it was brought up in game by our npc wizard (I used him like professor X to keep some people on track) he threw a fit, told me to cater encounters to him, and if I can't I suck as a DM. He wasn't invited back and wrote him off in game with a dear John letter that he joined the Imperial Sea Command.
While I usually make a character that’s good in combat, I am also super into making decisions that are more about role play. My DM has had to think quick, because I will walk my character into a death trap if I think that’s what she’d do.*
But RP (in my opinion, and depending on how the DM likes to play) includes the DM not bending reality *too much* to accommodate RP decisions. So if I make a squishy character or have my character make bad decisions, that means I am prepared for my character to die in service of RP.
*(Recent example: We’re exploring a cave, and our Warforged artificer encounters a friendly OP warlock who says we’re free to explore, but we’ll die if we go down a particular tunnel. Warforged catches up with my Genasi rogue, tells me not to take the tunnel. I ask why. He says not to take the tunnel. This happens over and over again because the Warforged is the self-designated leader and thinks everyone should just listen to him [all RP, he’s not a dick IRL]. So my rogue gets pissed, and just walks down the tunnel. Aaaaand POOF, the OP warlock appeared to warn me personally.)
Yes, exactly. I've had DMs try to protect my character from their stupidity before and rob me of a glorious death. When I do stupid shit in game 99% of the time I'm aware of a much better meta play, but that's not what the character would do. I think letting them die is fine, tbh. Sometimes a death in the party can bring everyone else together or provide motivation to continue a quest/go after a bbeg. Sometimes, having a death wish is in character and sometimes they're just really fucking stupid.
It depends on the group though. Some players don't want their characters to die and some are fine with it. But when the player who wants to die is currently the one stopping a tpk, hes not gonna die.
Players like that need to find my martial characters best friend, *the dodge action.*
I feel like not enough people realize this is an action that exists and they can take. Same with the Search action. It's also generally better than Blade Ward.
>Dodging is also almost always better than Blade Ward
I'm less confident than you on this point. I'm sure someone somewhere has done the math on this, but Blade Ward will win out when you were relatively likely to get hit, and dodge will win out when you were relatively unlikely to get hit. Then there's the minor details like Blade Ward applies to attacks of opportunity you provoke on your next turn when dodge has ended, but Blade Ward doesn't do anything for your dex saves. So, dodge to hold your ground against a horde of kobolds, Blade Ward to get to the other side of a horde of kobolds. Blade Ward against the BBEG with a sword, dodge against the BBEG throwing spells.
But yeah, 5e combat goes better when you don't play it like a game of Risk.
Nobody wants to skip a turn for defense, tbh. Not very fun.
There are situations that call for it. Like if the squishy caster has single digit hit points and is unable to run away. But I'm sure that sixth firebolt will be the one that breaks the pit fiend's back.
It's not purely defensive, but one of my favorite tricks is to jump into the middle of the enemy ballpit as a Drunken Master and use Patient Defense, then wait for someone to swing and miss.
There are situations where its optimal, but fuck optimal if its not fun.
To each their own, I get enjoyment out of fucking with enemies even if I'm not dishing out handfuls of damage dice
While it can be valuable, there is one valuable lesson I've learned from both tabletop and video games: "the best defense is a good offense." The enemy may have a harder time hitting you if you dodge, but they definitely can't hit you if they're dead or incapacitated.
This sounds like something that might best be handled with a in-game, in-character intervention. I know if i was in an adventuring party and as repeatedly watching all our healing get funneled into a guy who really shouldn't be on the front line, i'd say something. Could be a big moment for the group to come together.
>a guy who really shouldn't be on the front line, i'd say something.
Cast chill touch. Now they can only heal when you say so
No amount of stats will compensate for bad decisions. Either the group needs to give them tips/advice on what to do, or you need to treat them like the dead weight they are.
This. Stats are nothing if you can't make good decisions. I'm not saying TTRPGs have to be a chess match with 20-depth lines, but that you should have a bit of brain.
A good player can make any stat block work.
Is that a challenge?
Yes. Make a 9 INT wizard please.
This commenter is a great reason why d&d is so toxic these days
Motherfuckers obsessed with video gaming and winning role playing.
The single most important part of role play is and has always been the sex
Had me in the first half, and the...second half too? I'm not sure.
Roll for initiative
Ah, the succubus.
My safe word in Elminster! Use my +2 whip of pain!!!
I was worried a similar thing was going to happen in our game, because one of our main damage dealers, a paladin, keeps taking feats every level, so his damage stat is stuck at +3 even at level 8. But combat has been on a downturn in our game and as it turns out most of our characters are kinda damage-focused, so in the end everyone just ends up melting enemies together and they're still pretty successful, so I stopped worrying about it.
One thing I do love about 5E is that you can make almost anything work. Do you want to play a Frail pretty Elf girl with access to basic spells? There's options to still have something that will be useful to your allies.
>be useful to your allies.
Pretty much this. Doesn't have to be combat. But it has to explain why people would want to travel with you in a dangerous fantasy land. Rain man is a much less entertaining story if he can't count cards.
A campaign a while ago I realized that I was by far the most interested in "optimizing" my build at the table. I was also the most experienced player at the table. So I built a bard that focused almost exclusively on buffing the party... I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn but I made damn sure that the rest of those crazy bastards could knock the wings off a fly.
Yeah, this is the best way I've found to play an optimised character in a non-optimised party. Spend all your power on enhancing the other guys and nobody will mind you having morw power.
And then there is our tiefling bard that only casts shatter.
Are we doing stealth? Shatter!
In an old rickety building that’s about to collapse? Shatter!
In a cave that the DM explicitly said will cave in from something like shatter? Shatter, baby!
I’ve started calling game night Shatterday instead of Saturday.
"are we doing stealth? shatter!"
hey, the enemies don't know you're coming if they're all deaf!
I am about to be starting a third level Bard/Warlock gestalt and have fully leaned into being a support caster.
Her spell list right now is as follows:
Armor of Agathys
Feather fall is always neat to have. Makes a cliff a potential escape route.
Yeah, I never take it off since my last campaign where I made that mistake for ONE SESSION with my Wizard.
The one session you don't have it is of course *always* the one session where you needed to have it.
You take it 20 sessions consecutively and it might have been nice in one or two but still went unused because there were other options. Then the one time you don't have it available your options are death or falling to your death.
I'm not speaking from experience, what would possibly make anyone say that ...
Sort of used it like that in a campaign where I'm in. We were trying to find a cave entrance at a cliffside, but we didn't know exactly where it was. So to save time, we went up, then jumped off the side with my character (Artificer) using Feather Fall. Was quite rad, even if our Bard in-character is a little afraid of heights...
I really love dedicated support casters, and 5e has a bunch of different ways that you can play it. I really like the Divine Soul Sorcerer; twinned haste or just a really clutch twinned heal can turn the tide, but you also have access to a bunch of utility spells like Prestidigitation, Light, etc. The Celestial patron warlock, especially with pact of the tome, also gives you access to a ton of healing and support magic, without sacrificing anything in terms of combat or out of combat usefulness.
I just got my first twinspell Heal off last session on a player with two failed death saves and the other on like 10 hp; it was indeed glorious!
One of the things I liked about playing Pathfinder: Kingmaker was that you could build your caster character as a pure support build and it worked just dandy for the majority of the game, save for a few moments where you were working solo.
You want to play an Orc Wizard with no Intelligence? No problem! Still surprisingly works. As long as you dont pick spells that use a Spell Save DC or Spell Attack. Lol
Buff Wizard, the Orcish Wizard who casts buff spells on himself to make himself insanely powerful, and then beats things with his weapon!
Pretty much, had like 6 intelligence. Barely enough to read the spells. But just used buff spells and rushed into combat with a quarterstaff lol
Then immediately loses concentration by being hit
I kid, I kid. Melee wizards are super fun
I think a Bladesinger Orc Wizard could be pretty potent.
The problem comes from people thinking it's creative to do the exact opposite of what is expected of a role. For instance, "I'll be a Rogue who wants to be magical so I stole a wizard's wand and only attack using it". But like, okay, why? "I'll be a frontline strength based Druid, Circle of the Land, who uses Thorn Whip as a primary weapon and dump Con." Okay, but like, why?
Same energy as thinking a "wacky" race and class combo is an automatically interesting character.
If you can't write an actually interesting character, at least build one that can pull their weight.
I’d say it’s a good starting point for an interesting character, but certainly not meat of it. Besides, people can have very standard race/class combinations and still make a very interesting hero or villain. You can make your Half-orc barbarian your own. Your Dwarf Fighter or Gnome wizard can be your own, just have a strong core concept for a character. Also that’s part of what makes backgrounds fun! And hell, now that we have Dark Gifts the potential for interesting characters is even greater!
Eh, I feel Savage Worlds does this better since it doesn't do classes.
You could have a mage with heavy armor... Most people would flavor it as a paladin, but nothing stops you from just calling it a Magus or something similar.
And also, even with the basic starter skills, you can handle 90% of situations (basically any situation that doesn't need a specific skill)
Hey i have people who roleplay a lot and we do a big combat encounter every other session and they love it! We love RP’ing because we all work off each other well. Nothing wrong with not liking combat.
I struggle with the people who claim they don't like combat because they prefer roleplay and then those same people don't roleplay during combat.
They aren't distinct and separate spheres. If your roleplay brain turns off when initiative gets called, you're your own problem.
My group has gone 5-6 sessions in a row without combat.
Last session, as a prank on the alcoholic Rogue, the Bard and the Barbarian hid all the liquor. Chaos ensued.
Exactly what she said. D&D is a game. You like roleplaying? Go roleplay. You like doing tons of damage? Maximize away. You like to cripple your PC because you think it’s interesting? By all means, be my guest. You love to send your characters to die in the most interesting and grotesque ways possible? Have your nuts bit off by a Laplander, if that’s the way you wanna go!
The important thing is: have fun!
I agree and disagree here. You can do whatever you like in D&D. That said do not do something that ruins another users experience. Everyone needs a limelight.
In context don't be the rogue that steals from the party. Don't be the paladin that berates the team for not always following the path of righteousness. Etc, etc.
While the game is what you make of it, it is also made of participants.
I don't optimize to "kill things quickly", I optomize so I survive long enough to tell the story I have in mind
And besides, less time fighting monsters means more time role playing for the story, win win
Edit: I just realised that I've somehow managed to spell "optimized" both correctly and incorrectly, within the same sentence...
Yeah, I love playing with two clerics that spam cantrips every fight and a druid that only uses moonbeam, and then the party wonders why combat takes five hours.
To that point, you're also optimizing to help your teammates survive long enough to tell their story.
Same here i optimise for a specific build- like a lockdown paladin, with shieldbash and sentinel at level 7 a single enemy will not move while i am breathing.
It is fine to love what you love. DnD is a team game though. If your fun destroys someone else's it is not worth it. Play glass cannon or min-max but keep an eye out for whether the party/dm get what they enjoy too and adjust when possible, find another group, or speak up and discuss. That is what friends/adults should do. -end Ted Talk.
I’d like to believe that player attitude is everything - a min-max power gamer can get along with and tell a compelling story beside the wimpiest “fluff” PC if they’ve got good spirits, friendly demeanor, and work together… The DM facilitates this as well - it’s definitely a balancing act.
It’s the bad players that clash with other players and criticize their style of enjoying the game that cause problems. If you’re playing a min-max monster slaying badass, at least have humility that other players want to participate and tell/explore their perspective in the story.
I am all for focusing on roleplay and building your character around a theme or concept instead of maximizing their effectiveness.
However, you also can't roleplay that character if they're a corpse.
Good roleplay and combat effectiveness are not mutually exclusive. I can't believe this still has to be said.
I don't understand why people think these things have to be mutually exclusive or that one inherently takes away from the other. You said it exactly, I like this character and I like the characters I'm RPing with. I don't want them to die before I get the chance to RP them fully.
Usually because it's a way to shield one's self from criticism for having a poor proficiency when it comes to character building, which typically resolves from a lack of interest. Passionate learning about a system's mechanics leads to that sort of proficiency at a much more rapid pace but it isn't something everyone wants to do, therefore not everyone has that passion.
You can almost always make what you want to make and still have it be combat-effective. D&D 5th Edition isn't great about letting you incorporate every little RP detail into a mechanical benefit without significant homebrew by your GM, but the statement holds true. You *can* RP while *also* being effective.
So then, a step further, if you don't know how to build the character that your heart has written, it can be frustrating. It isn't your cup of tea, it isn't your passion, you want to care less about the combat effectiveness. This is where the disdain for 'minmaxing' is bred, where 'minmaxing' refers to any character with a thoughtful, well-researched build. Not everyone who doesn't find character building their cup of tea goes this route, but enough do that it becomes a thing and causes this rift that we're discussing: where good RP and good combat mechanics seem to be mutually exclusive, when they're not.
In the end, she's not wrong, people play however they want. However they want to have fun. This was just my crack at trying to explain the phenomenon.
I think you're pretty much right throughout. The only time minmaxing has bothered me is when I've seen players use the same template for a character over and over because they found their powerful niche and dont want to stray out of it. Otherwise 5e has enough options that you can play any class, roll stats, and choose spells/abilities that are actually valuable without sacrificing any role play capacity. Also honestly some people just need to find their peace with hand waving something a bit incongruous with their ideals when it's what will make the game more fun for everyone. Once I supported a heist as my paladin character despite it being out of character. Because I didn't want to be a stick in the mud and everyone else was excited. Don't know why I had to direct this comment at you, but that's my two cents lol.
Exactly. This comes across more as a deflection of legitimate criticism from someone that isn’t really interested in learning the rules. It’s especially noteworthy because this person has made an online presence for herself around the game, and therefore *should* be held to a higher standard of proficiency, and is trying to hide behind roleplaying as a catch-all defense for criticism rather than actually learn the rules and become proficient.
"this is too complex I don't want to engage with this level of character building I just want to play some D&D and do RP"
"oh right, then we should try something like Call of Cthulu, or another "roll under" system. Perhaps a success/ fail dice system? Whatever we play we can totally flavor it to high fantasy or even literally the D&D world if that's what you guys want?"
"no, I want to play D&D like critical role"
"ok so you're gonna have to engage with the combat system and spend time building a character"
*acts bored and is distracted throughout the session zero and introductory session one*
"same time next week yeah guys?"
"nah, probably not"
Fucking sick, nice one, absolutely made a cunt of me, really mugged me off, what a sick prank.
I really love sports, and love playing games where I get to throw the ball into a net rather than kick it into a goal.
But I refuse to play anything except soccer.
I’ve also played a very old, frail old man character before. RP’d him as super old and frail, but in combat it didn’t really come up and was still useful to the fight. He was a wizard, so not like he was a front line fighter anyways. You can totally play a “weak” character and still have them be useful in combat.
On the flipside, I’m in a campaign rn where one of my friends plays a perfectly competent artificer, yet is completely useless in combat nonetheless.
You can also maximize your effectiveness *within the constraints of your theme*. Roleplay and optimization aren't mutually exclusive.
I would also strongly advise anyone to ask their group if they’re ok with it. Because having to constantly carry a party member that is practically useless can quickly make the game less enjoyable for everyone else.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with making an intentionally weak character, but imho it’s vital that everyone is on the same page about what aims and expectations they have for the campaign, and not just throwing Bingles the 7 int wizard with osteoporosis into the fray at the start of a dungeon run.
Yes, I learned this a long time ago when I made my first character, a kleptomaniac rogue. I quickly realized that it just made everything worse for the party and annoyed the group
> first character, a kleptomaniac
I strongly believe that this kind of expectations are needed in session 0.
I played a game with a ranger with the sharpshooter & crossbow feats without talking to anybody else about their builds, and it turned out that my character was massively overpowered in comparison with the rest of the group (and I though my character was gonna be one of the less optimized ones).
I specially think you need to ask the party before overly optimizing your character (multiclass combos, mainly), because ideally the group should have more or less the same power. Also, I think before deliberately gimping your character (low core stats, mainly. Anything else works in 5e) you should have the approval of the party&dm. Having one character particulary underpowered or overpowered can give a lot of trouble to your dm and generate bad feelings in your group.
(Also, a silly anecdote with fake percentage numbers: I've never met anybody who "min-max"ed, because they always argued that they knew what the 100% combo was and they were only doing 90% on purpose. But that power level would put a normal single class character in the 15~40% range anyways...)
Also it is a cooperative game, it is not fun to drag about a useless corpse of a character becasue the player decided to be "quirky", I am all for RP but also take into account htat game has another pillar- combat, and when you fall from a stiff breeze and party has to waste their recources ( lay on hands/spellslots) after fighting a single goblin it might also be unfun for hte party.
In reality, I think most players do a bit of both. They get the basic shit they need to be effective and then use a few options to spice up their character's RP
Yeah, fuck yeah!
You can build whatever character you'd like. If it gets killed, you might realise only dead adventurers have lower than 10 CON.
I mean, the game varies table by table, but I as a DM won't hold back on encounters bc you have an unbalanced useless character in combat. You can have a great time RPing out her death and rolling a new one.
Sarcasm aside, dying is actually pretty hard in 5e, unless you have a total idiotic group, or they just want you to die. So even a commoner can contribute to fights with some lack and armour. It's just, if every one has that mentality, that I'm gonna RP this non violent fragile thing in DUNGEONS and DRAGONS (I mean, come on, even the name has pretty deadly things in it), don't wonder if your campaign won't last long. Which again, is might not be a problem if the table is fine with it.
Role playing, yes. And I would find this funny as hell. But DnD is historically a bad system to do only roleplay without any effectiveness in combat. For this to work, the whole rest of the table should stand behind this decision and support it.
I know the downvotes will be flowing in soon, but DnD is kinda bad for only RP without any combat abilities. I love it, but it got its downsides.
I'd say D&D is a team game more than anything so I totally agree with you. First you should be a good teammate (this can include being a pain in the ass), then whatever else you want RP, combat, farm simulator.
As Colville says - the Monster Manual is the largest part of the content of DnD. Other games don't tend to have Monster Manuals.
The majority of your abilities in any given class are going to be about solving problems with varying degrees of violence - at least in being an effective combattant in some way or another.
DnD is a game largely about killing monsters.
This is the truth. People try to make DnD fit every mold and it simply doesn’t. There are better systems out there for more dedicated play styles. Like cosmic horror? Play Call of Cthulhu. Like sci-if? Give Numenera or Starfinder a shot. Cyberpunk? Shadowrun is your game.
DnD does combat-focused, fantasy exploration and does it very well. That may change in 6th edition, but for the moment, this is what you should expect for a DnD system.
DnD truly is a single mold, and it’s not a fantasy one. You can do whatever you want to with DnD while operating inside the game loop. Outside of that game loop, the game will fight you. The game loop is as follows:
1. Prepare for an adventure
2. Go on the adventure/explore
3. Fight the things at the place you’re exploring
4. Get better at fighting and repeat
If a group values roleplay disproportionately more than combat, there’s more likely than not a system out there that has a game loop that better fits that group. But there’s nothing wrong with wanting to play DnD if that’s what a group enjoys doing.
If you’re looking for roleplay focus, the only system I have any exposure to is Vampire The Masquerade, and my experience with that is very limited. I know there are some amazingly dedicated communities out there for it, though, and it’s almost entirely roleplay.
If you’re looking just for role play and narrative I’d just recommend some Powered by the Apocalypse type game. Most are really straightforward and great at keeping the narrative at the core of the experience as opposed to combat.
I feel like milestone leveling opened a very viable progression system for RP intensive adventures. Not "by the book" official adventures mind you but something that includes narratively flexible victory conditions certainly.
Out of the box, I definitely agree that there are better systems for RP oriented game play.
Even then, the majority of the rules still focus on combat, and for role play you're basically on your own. The rules probably have some good tips on running an RPG in general and the lore and setting might be nice, but you could use that for any system, and it gives numbers to different skills and attributes that give a metric to how good your character is at something, but the numbers are gonna be arbitrary and they're going to be against an arbitrary DC set by the DM, so it just seems like you're needlessly complicating things if you're only interested in role play.
Milestone leveling also discouraged murderhoboing.
As a DM milestone leveling let's me keep players at a certain threat level while I paint minis for the cool new monsters.
Honestly, I always support not giving XP for killing non combatant NPCs and that type of thing.
Also, giving XP for beating an encounter socially rather than via combat.
I say this a drive-by /r/all reader that is passingly familiar with DnD and some other table top systems.
If you wanted to role play and didn't care much about combat mechanics, why not just pick an RPG system that is more focused on collaborative story telling and development?
Because then they would have to learn something other than D&D, and that's a whole other debate. In my experience the people who want something more roleplay-focused paradoxically do not want to learn a new system that would let them RP to their heart's content. They want to play D&D and D&D only. Or, in other words, "Why can't you just homebrew it?"
People will homebrew D&D into a bastardised monstrosity begging for death far clunkier to run and more unintuitive to learn than just trying a new system.
There's a reason other RPG systems exist.
City of Mists.
I know people are saying "buT SeSSiOn zErO" but seeing as its a twitter post theres a strong chance shes referring to other people on twitter, because there's a lot of people on that hellsite who very much feel the need to interject their shitty hot takes and UHM ACKSHUALLY opinions on anything they're interested in. And I've seen a lot of those that are DND related the past couple months.
Exactly. I almost wish this hadn't been posted here, she was literally talking about dumbasses on Twitter and I feel like this post is only going to exacerbate the issue.
So long as you dont make a useless char in all, it's all good yes it's a game but it's a team sport if you make it hard or unfun for the group then its an issue. That said we usually have that completely useless combat pretty person but hey no one needs social skills... till we do then were just murder hobos without the pretty face
Say it with me kids:
"A player character capable of holding their own in a fight and a well-roleplayed character are not mutually exclusive"
I can understand not caring about optimizing a character for combat, but IMO there’s a line between “unoptomized” and “detrimental” which I think this type of character would err closer to.
I don’t mind playing characters that aren’t perfectly optimized for combat, but I’d worry about going too far, since I feel like if I wasn’t contributing enough I’d constantly worry about whether my character is making things unfun for other people.
she actually has some good videos on youtube
Yeah, her videos are all very accessible and contain a lot of good advice that can really help lower the toxicity levels in a game.
Her videos are really good for new players. She has a warm personality and is well experienced with the rp side of things. Love all her videos explaining how to develop your PC
This, she's great. Also does great cosplay
As a min-maxer, I would love to play with this type of player.
I want my fellow players to be invested in the world and our story, if they wanna play that character good for them, their better time leads to me having a better time.
The only time i draw the line is for uninvested people also doing things sub-optimally to the point of hurting the party. Casting fireball on the melee players because you didnt think about the rest of the group or just don't care? I'll dislike you and probably never want to play with you again.
Tbh I would go with a different system. So many others are so much better for role playing compared to dnd. I remember hearing someone say that dnd is a role playing game with 80% of the rules devoted to combat. Monster of the Week is my new go to.
And Monster of the Week and those type of powered by the Apocalypse games are easy to initially learn then play all other types since they work similarly. Great for roleplay and drama in so many different settings.
Tis MEME page, not a PSA page...
Yup, this post should have been removed ages ago.
This might seem a little rough but...
That is all fine and dandy, it is a roleplaying game do what you will, but if you want a character with shitty spells and poor constitution on purpose and the rest of the party is having average builds then the encounters in my eyes would be set around the rest of the party.
"If he dies, he dies"
for reference, this is an old set of tweets and she quote tweeted this thread the other day and elaborated saying that she agrees people absolutely *can* optimize AND roleplay at the same time.
these tweets are solid and i completely agree with her, and my group operates on this mindset as we heavily emphasize roleplay and story, we'll often go a couple sessions without much if any combat. really, it's just what works for each individual group—you can choose to optimize, you can also choose not to!
i just don't want commenters to potentially tear Ginny to shreds over year-old tweets she's already elaborated and explained herself on.
Twitter really is a terrible means of communication. Nothing good can be said when you're limited to 140 characters.
Agreed! Nuance is completely left out and things get misinterpreted and become inflammatory really quickly when there's an imposed character limit.
Its also why hyperbole shouldn't be used lightly. She used a terrible example to defend herself, and it comes off as "**I** AM THE MAIN CHARACTER" which is a poor attitude to have in a team game. Again, I imagine having more room to write would have kept her from being dramatic, so I still insist Twitter is a shit medium. It's why I never got it. Why would I want to use a worse version of Facebook?
Yeah, the clear idea here is that this is a response to those types of ‘fans’ that criticize and complain about someone else’s character not being perfectly optimized, not a catch-all mandate opinion about how the game “should” be played.
Ok see this is a problem. DND might be a game but it is also not a single player experience. It's about Co-Op storytelling. If your trying to role-play a useless character without checking with the rest of the party that they can cover your shortcomings the end result is the DM working 100x harder to adjust every scenario for or to avoid the party losing.
Now if a player in session 0 talks it out and gets consent from everyone then groovy play anything.
But if not don't force the DM and other players to adjust everything for you. If your just playing a game and you wanna do it dumb then you just don't progress. In DND if you can't progress anywhere and that's not the story the DM or other players want to tell your holding them all back from their enjoyment for yours.
I was playing in a game with a player with a sorcerer with awfully assigned stats, tactics and spell selection, the player kinda just slapped it together and didn't want help because they liked how it looked. The DM was newish but a tabletop war gamer, and so combat was tactical. After the third time we almost all died in an encounter while our sorcerer bled out on the floor having done nothing we used our last potion to get him up, went back to town, sat him down and told him he will need to find another adventuring party. Player, complained but we just said tell us one reason why our characters would risk their lives to bring a person they can't rely on into the battlefield.
Role-playing goes both ways. PC death by exile should happen whenever anyone's concept is jarring with the party. All your badly played thieves, murder hobos and useless characters within role-play should be temporary because why would a competent party keep them.
People are probably going to vote you down to hell but I agree. It is like showing up to play basketball with everybody while you have a broken leg and being upset that both team captains are fighting over which team is going to be forced to take you on.
A broken leg is more of an accident and might not be your fault, so this is really more like somebody showing up to play basketball just because they want to pick out the uniforms for everybody to wear but don't actually want to play the game itself.
These players could probably all find one another and play a theater of mind campaign or something and that might even be a lot of fun, but joining a normal campaign with no intention of playing the game to the best of your ability sounds like a terrible excuse for trying to explain away why your character is trash. "Oh no, I don't actually suck at this game. I just am so good that I made my self suck on purpose. Not because I like a challenge, but because I only enjoy one aspect of this game and not the entire experience and this is my way of protesting".
I kind of disagree with “tis ROLE PLAYING game, not an action one”.
They game simply has action as a part of their core design. Saving throws and initiative rolls in particular imply action and consequence. The argument IMO is that there’s no reason that a character should be EFFECTIVE in action-oriented situations.
Sometimes it is better for a story when a character is adept at failing forward, or getting the party INTO trouble
Yeah, dnd is definitely an action game. Sure it's also a roleplaying game but its focus is on killing stuff. More than 50% of the rules are about killing stuff, 80+% of the class-features are about killing stuff and around 40% of the spells are about killing stuff.
Go ahead and make someone unoptimized, I don't think too many care... As long as you warn your party that you're gonna need to be carried a bit.
Those tweets exist because a lot of ppl online, for some reason even they themselves don't understand, get angry about how othet people play. I've seen a shit ton of such BS around CRs first campaing.
Some DMs gona run a campaing where your ultrafocused uberkiller will suck balls cause he can't do anything else but that single function. Some gona run a fully combat oriented dungeon/crawler where anything but "everybody has a function and they need to do that as best as possible" will be the right thing.
Point is both of those (and everything in between) are viable playstiles and getting angry at people for usimg the same toys like you but in a different way is for idiots, and it aint helping the hobby.
>Some DMs gona run a campaing where your ultrafocused uberkiller will suck balls cause he can't do anything else but that single function.
This isn't really a tradeoff in 5e. The most combat optimized characters are all full casters with wizard generally considered to be the very most combat capable class. Guess which classes *also* have the most general utility outside of combat, with wizard being the ultimate in flexible utility?
I’d love to see an Uber killer build that can’t do anything outside of combat, because I honestly don’t believe it exists. 5e isn’t designed that way.
Everyone has good points but im pretty sure this is just in response to people being rude/trying to explain things to her that she already knows while assuming that she doesn't. She most definitely has discussed this with her dm/party. I'd be irritated too if i shared some of my dnd character(s) and people got mad at me for not minmaxing constantly.
OK. Just don’t do it without telling your DM first.
Unless you want to die by session 1.
Dungeons and Dragons is a roleplaying game about fighting monsters. There are better RPG systems for RP centric, non-combat oriented games.
"My character's interesting because s/he sucks, actually" is almost never enjoyable for anyone else at the table, fam. If they're fine with you playing this way, fine, but this roleplaying game isn't all about you.
I came here looking for this.
D&D is a team game. A suboptimal character is fine, I'm all for it, but if you decided to pick a Wizard that only knows utility spells and cantrips, and very specifically not good ones, you aren't suboptimal. You're dead weight. D&D is a team game, and that means being a contribution to the team. If you're good in social encounters or baller at knowledge checks and built your character around those, that's also perfectly valid and fine, but if your character trait is "bad at everything" then, again, all you're doing is weighing the party down.
There's more than one person at this table.
I feel like she's saying "play D&D however you want" and then shitting on people playing D&D how they want
Sure, make whatever character you want. As a DM though, you have to know your players in order to balance encounters. If your players are more RP/puzzle focused, then it’s all good. If your players are more combat/minmax focused that’s all good too. It does get tricky when there’s some min max and some RP players. Its even harder when all but one of your players likes to min/max. If you’re making a character that doesn’t fit the party, you’re gonna have a bad time in combat. You’ll probly end up making a new character because I’m balancing on the overall party power level, not based on the lowest power level in the party.
TLDR: Know your group and plan your character/campaign accordingly
You're all wrong, DND is a contest, the winner is whoever makes the DM stress sigh first.