Dealing with Optimisation

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So our latest game started last night and I rocked up with a soft optimised 4th level Knight, I got that stance that slows, and World Serpent's Grasp to knock stuff down. I read the guides, but try to play down power levels since I know no one else reads guides.

One of my mates rocks up with a 4th level Rogue that seems almost intentionally bad, he tanks his Dex because he wanted to be a party face, took Skill Training Arcana and Ritual Casting and no Rituals.

So the Rogue fails to hit, does little damage, and then gives me the worst glare in the world after I hit for more than 20, then hates on our Sorcerer because she has 20 charisma to his 19.

This is partially just storytime, partially "does this happen a lot" and partially a question about the best way to encourage people towards the idea that combat effectiveness does not detract from roleplaying prowess.
No, it doesn't happen a lot.  I've never seen anybody crap out DEX on a rogue.  The book freakin' tells you that you need a high DEX.  There's even a specific rogue build that uses DEX primary, CHA secondary.

As far as the sorcerer goes, that doesn't mean much.  The Sorc can't train in the kind of skills the Rogue can (at least not easily).  Raw stats don't matter so much for being the face as skill trainings.

All you can do is tell him what you just said; optimization and role-play are not inversely proportional.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
It's not real common.  Not much you can do other than say "What did you expect would happen if you purposefully took a low dex for a rogue."  In my group if a character doesn't work out its not uncommon to rejig the character a few sessions in.  Maybe that person can be open minded and take the comments as instructional rather than criticism
Like the others have said.  It isn't real common to encounter people who make characters that purposefully horrible, but it also isn't unheard of.  That player sounds like someone who the DM needs to have a sit-down with so he/she doesn't have to have a "get out of my game" style confrontation at some point fairly soon.
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As far as the sorcerer goes, that doesn't mean much.  The Sorc can't train in the kind of skills the Rogue can (at least not easily).  Raw stats don't matter so much for being the face as skill trainings.



Yeah that kinda gets me, all he looked at was raw stat and had a cry. It's all pretty ludicrous really.

Well I may say something when he calms down, he swears he's going to do his own rebuild before next session because he's sick of coming last or something.
So, what was his concept? Sounds like he wanted to play some kind of spell caster with a penchant for theivery, or just did not understand the game mechanics.

I have, from time to time, played less-than-optimized characters, and played characters less than optimally.
And for a goof, we sometimes have weird one-off advetures (The All-Jawa party, the All-Droid party, the All Dragonborn party, the all-primary-stat=dump-stat party) but en every case, it was agreed ahead of time that everyone would be playing the same way, with the same general idea. To have one person be the clown is OK, if that person understands that he will be the ineffectual clown, but to go in without knowing... or understanding... That is a problem.

Yes, we also have the "If you don't like the character, retrain or retire it" rule. Sounds like it might be helpful.

If your fighter/knight is doing more damage than the rogue, something is very wrong. Now, what we have always found effective is for the fighter and rogue to team up. The fighter provides the flanking and marking, and the rogue pounds in with the extra damage and occasional interrupt. (Not very original, but still quite effective). Maybe you and your friend can start setting up that kind of relationship with your characters?
with tanked dex, I don't see how the rogue can even hit anything to get his sneak attack dice in.  I think the correct response to this is "dude, look at your dex.  WTF did you expect?"  This isn't an optimisation problem.  This is a "player chose to gimp himself" issue.

EDIT:  I should probably offer advice if I'm going to comment.  I'd recommend to the player if he wants to be both a rogue, and the party face...take a look at being a changeling to get a bonus to both dex and charisma.  That allows him to change his appearance for the situation.  Put a 16 in both charisma and dex, with racial bonuses that will put him up to an 18 in both.  Take a background that gives a bonus to diplomacy (I am assuming that a rogue can train it natively)

That will give him reasonable combat modifiers, and make him good at the skills a party face would need, such as diplomacy, bluff and intimidate.
I'm going to be blunt.  He should have RTFM.  If you play a dex-based class, and the book tells you you to put your highest stat in dex so you can hit stuff, and you tank dex, you have no one to blame but yourself.  So...yeah...

I would give some more constructive criticism if I had a better idea of what the player was trying to achieve.  With the combination of rogue, ritual casting, and desire to be the party face, it sounds like he wanted to play a charismatic spellcaster with some roguish skills, and there are a number of ways to achieve that.  Just off the top of my head, wizard, sorcerer, warlock, and bard all lend themselves to that concept easily.  And they are far from the only options.
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Yes, upon re-reading the original post, perhaps a warlock would be a better choice in classes.  They get theivery out of the box, and with a background can pick up stealth.  Go with a dex/cha race.  Pick skills accordingly.  And for the love of all that is holy...pick char based warlock powers, not con based ones.
So, what was his concept? Sounds like he wanted to play some kind of spell caster with a penchant for theivery, or just did not understand the game mechanics.



The concept was a literal "deal with the devil", where he's the devil doing the dealing. So he has ritual caster, took a feat for arcana, took a feat for ritual caster, dunno where the third went, all so he can write up contracts(?)

It's all rather funny how he handled it, "ugh, I have to wait another 10 levels until I can be good at stuff".
OK, Warlock.
Infernal or maybe Dark pact.
Sounds like a "Supernatural" "Crowley" fan.

So, the warlock is basically someone who sold his/her soul for power. Most of the epic destinies are about them weaseling out of the deal. There is not (so far as I know) and actual recruiter paragon path/epic destiny, but I have a Fey Warlock who did much the same thing.

Downside: To maximize their powers, Warlocks require full use of Move, Minor and Standard every round. Daze, slow, and immobilize are potential problems. Warlocks are not the glory-beings of combat. But they can be very fun.
First 2 feats are Dooming Action and (Killing Curse?). The first lets him use curse damage with action points. The second turns his curse damage dice from d6 to d8. Don't even try to use any other feats first. After that, he can pick and choose more, um, indescriminately.
yeah, he totally sounds like classic warlock fluff to me.  Honestly I prefer accuracy feats first.  I dislike missing.  A lot.  My thoughts are, you do 0 damage on a miss.  I'd be taking expertise first (likely rod), and perhaps accurate impliment as my second feat.  I wouldn't touch the damage feats until after I'd maximized my accuracy.
The concept was a literal "deal with the devil", where he's the devil doing the dealing. So he has ritual caster, took a feat for arcana, took a feat for ritual caster, dunno where the third went, all so he can write up contracts(?)

It's all rather funny how he handled it, "ugh, I have to wait another 10 levels until I can be good at stuff".


The Ritual Caster feat is of no use here.  Houserules aside, there are no rituals for writing up contracts, so that's squarely in the realm of fluff, not mechanics.  Either way, that's an aspect of the character that would require DM cooperation to help flesh out.

With that out of the way, Warlock seems to be the obvious choice going by the class's default flavor.  They're not top-tier where it comes to striker damage, but they can still dish out plenty enough hurt and they have good control too.  So they are a solid choice.

But flavor is mutable and, again, there's lots of different classes that lend themselves easily to this concept.
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I was about to fly into lecture mode on Warlocks' mechanics, but better not.
They are fun to play, and sound most like what your friend was trying to accomplish.
Yeah he's even a Tiefling, I'm not sure why Warlock didn't pop up to him. But I won't try to build his character for him, the way he reacted I'm not sure how it'd go down. Maybe I'll mention Warlock, at least then his Charisma will be his hit stat.

The rest of us are hardly top tier optimisers, I'm the only guide reader and I respect that by playing down quite a bit, got a lot of dark looks when I brought out a Streak of Light Pixie Slayer too heh.
its pretty much the same in my group, my optimization is to pick up the slack, rocket pixies ftw

warlock has plenty of close burst and melee options too if he wants the versatility and wanted to be closer to the action, a lot of the HotFK powers are geared that way