I hate pacifist clerics

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Actually, I don't hate them, I just mildly dislike them, but you don't get any comments if you simply state you mildly dislike something. :-)  From a mechanical perspective, their lack of DPS tends to drag out combats (which is already a problem in 4e).

However, my bigger problem with them is from an RP perspective.  Since at least 2nd edition, pacifist clerics get some sort of penalty when they directly cause damage.  The idea, I assume, is that injuring another creature is physically or morally repugnant to them or they have made some sort of vow to their god.  Interestingly enough, at least with the people with whom I've played, this has never actually translated into the way they play their characters (Granted, my data sample is two characters played by different people).

I mean, the pacifist clerics I've seen have never had any problem with the typical adventurer activity of heading into a dungeon, killing whatever is there and taking their stuff.  They have never suggested disabling opponents rather than killing them.  Generally speaking (though obviously there are exceptions), it doesn't seem that a pacifist cleric would be particular good fit as an adventurer.

So, is my experience atypical?  Are there people out there who play pacifist clerics who give more than lip service to their vows?   Am I misinterpreting how being a pacifist cleric impacts RP?
I agree, I dislike pacifists.  But mostly because they think of leaders as healers instead of leaders as enablers.  Which makes combats take longer and gives them little useful things to do otherwise.
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   That a class is poorly roleplayed is not a reason to dislike it.  Now it can be reason to house rule or just read the rules more strictly to encourage the player to roleplay the class more.
    Back in 3.5, a magic hating class was noted for being just as eager as other class to pick up magic.  DMs started to rule that this was against the spirit of the class and cut their special powers in the most blatent cases.  The players in question screamed, but the brass backed up the DMs.  If the player did not sufficiently roleplay the class/race, he can be penalized. 
     The same applies to our pacificist cleric. If he is too bloodthirsty, the DM can impose weaknesses, particularly reductions in his ability to heal.  Now we do have to consider how strong the class is.  [At one point it was quite powerful, but there have been a nurf.  The DM has to look closely before deciding the player is gaining a substantial advantage by playing a "healic" and not a healic.]  But the ability to stun oneself is a major disadvantage, and it's at least arguable that this alone imposes enough roleplay.

I’m a bit confused.


Are you mad because their class doesn’t offer enough to combat?


Or at the way they are RPing?


If it’s the strength in combat, then Eh, some people play OP classes some don’t. Not much you can do as a DM unless you’re just going to disallow cretin builds in your game (which I don’t recommend)


As for Role Playing, I wouldn’t even sweat it. Role Playing is totally up to the Player, and it shouldn’t be hooked to a “Class” or theme or background.  Role Playing is the fluff a player chooses to add to his character to give them life, the mechanics of the class IMO are just for what that character can or can’t do roll wise.


So if they want to be a Cleric that is bloodthirsty, I simply Ask. What’s the big deal?


Are they stealing the spotlight from other players? Have they become overpowered? Or do you just disagree with how they RolePlay because of the Class they choose?


If it’s the last then I’d just let it drop; no one likes a DM who try to manages the parties RP. Why not just let the player have his Class but call it something else (Fluff it and say his class is a bloodletting cleric or something)


Also, RP wise a Cleric doesn’t even know they are a Cleric, nor does a Fighter know he is a “Fighter” in the sense that they are bound to an unseen class (aka the mechanics of the game)

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I am playing a pacafist cleric PC at the moment. Although I have not taken the feat (I find it largely redundant), I am a pacifist cleric in every other way. Although they are not very popular, the 4th Edition incarnation of the class at least is not as bad as you make out.

My character is not making our combats any longer than they would otherwise be. Although I do not deal much or any damage myself, I am a very powerful enabler. Every turn, I give out multiple to-hit bonuses vs specific enemies. The strikers thus never miss. When the mage busts out his big spells it hits all the targets. When the defender uses his big encounter, it hits every time. Our combats are short and fun. By giving up any attempt to do damage personally, I enable the party as a whole to more more damage quicker. In this way my character can be similar to the warlord class.

Your problem, in any case, is with the roleplaying of the cleric rather than the class. And that has nothing to do with the class. You have simply had a bad experience with one or more players, and are taking it out on mechanics that have nothing to do with anything. There are multiple ways to roleplay a pacifist cleric - my particular one does not even worship a god so he has a very specific mentality. Some of them can make good adventurers, good roleplayers and good team-members - so long as the player is aware of the potential pitfalls of the class and makes an effort to play the game.
I am playing a pacafist cleric PC at the moment. Although I have not taken the feat (I find it largely redundant), I am a pacifist cleric in every other way. Although they are not very popular, the 4th Edition incarnation of the class at least is not as bad as you make out.

My character is not making our combats any longer than they would otherwise be. Although I do not deal much or any damage myself, I am a very powerful enabler. Every turn, I give out multiple to-hit bonuses vs specific enemies. The strikers thus never miss. When the mage busts out his big spells it hits all the targets. When the defender uses his big encounter, it hits every time. Our combats are short and fun. By giving up any attempt to do damage personally, I enable the party as a whole to more more damage quicker. In this way my character can be similar to the warlord class.

Your problem, in any case, is with the roleplaying of the cleric rather than the class. And that has nothing to do with the class. You have simply had a bad experience with one or more players, and are taking it out on mechanics that have nothing to do with anything. There are multiple ways to roleplay a pacifist cleric - my particular one does not even worship a god so he has a very specific mentality. Some of them can make good adventurers, good roleplayers and good team-members - so long as the player is aware of the potential pitfalls of the class and makes an effort to play the game.



+1

I played a Pacifist once for a short 5 level campaign. It was great fun in both the RP and mechanical sense. I dare say more fun I had than when I first played a standard laser cleric in 4e for the first time

I also find pacificist cleric distasteful.  From 2 angles.


First mechanically, lack of DPR and ridiculous amounts of healing make combats a grind.  I don't care how much enabling you do.  All you have done is remove swinginess in favor of dragging things out.  And the amount of healing is way beyond what is ever realistically needed.  You just don't need that much.  The game is designed such that regular healing word, maybe with one boosting feat to get a small bonus, is enough.  Sure taking someone from death's door to full HP, twice per encounter, is cool, but there is a reason we have second wind: because we don't need to rely on a healic in 4E


Second, how are you supposed to RP that?  The pacificist cannot bash something brains in, but its OK for him to enable other characters to do it?  That's just dumb. And the pacificist gets dazed from scratching a bloodied creature, but its ok to smash minions' brains in cause they aren't bloodied? It's nonsensical.


Pacificist clerics are strictly for munchkins.  If you want to be an enabler, play a warlord and RP your religion.


TjD

When you're playing, don't play one.
When you're running, don't allow one.

Problem solved.

P.S. Contrary to apparently popular belief, just because one lives by a code doesn't mean you have to try to force everybody around you to live by it as well.
When you're running, don't allow one.

Problem solved.

P.S. Contrary to apparently popular belief, just because one lives by a code doesn't mean you have to try to force everybody around you to live by it as well.



It humors me you can contradict yourself in less that 40 words. 

Here is the issue.  A vast majority of the time when people talk about "Pacifist Clerics" they do not mean a holy man who has taken a vow for non-violence.  What they mean is "A Cleric who has taken the feat "Pacifist Healer".  So lets clear that up right away, they are different things.

Mechanically speaking I do not like their mechanical choices that reflect their mechanical role in combat.  Nothing to do with RP, all mechanics.  Now, the mechanics and the role play should reflect one another, although a certain divide should still exist between the two.  You want the powers to feel like they make sense with your character, but you also want them to be effective.  Generally this is accomplished through picking a class/race/etc that is close to what you are going for (mechanically speaking) and then refluffling to fill in the gaps.

So again, mechanical topic, mechanical problem, mechanical responses.  Please separate from the RP responses (which are equally valid, but separate).

Now, from the RP side I don't see the way that most people interpret "Pacifist" to make a lot of sense either.  Basically anyone can look at the situation and go "If you support the bloodthirsty barbarian but act like Gandhi yourself you are just being a hypocrite".  I think that is a valid point of view to take.  Often times that point gets hand-waved away and/or ignored and/or is never brought up.  So, in my opinion, to keep things interesting you have to do something about that issue.  Here are some possible solutions:



  • "Never bring it up, its just a game and this is how I want the mechanics to work." - Perfectly valid.  Stress the separation in mechanics and RP and have fun with it if that is the kind of game you like.

  • You as the player know that your character at some point is going to realize this problem and it is going to rock his/her world.  This is a problem but it might be one that, for whatever reason, your character has not encountered yet.  This is an RP gold mine, so use it if you like.  Don't cut off your arm so you can lend someone a hand.

  • Your mission is to get your group to be non-violent.  If that is the case this should be something that is at the fore-front of your character.  Something that you bring up constantly and work against.  The pacifist surrounded by a world of blood and gore is going to need justification for why they should continue to be with a group.  Some groups can't handle this kind of intra-party strain so be careful.

  • Your group is one of those rare groups that can actually follow the path of non-violence as a group.  Does your group not really fight much and is interested in intrigue, politics or investigation?  You could totally make that work.  A group that works as bail-bond enforcers that try to never harm the people they find and bring back to Justice could work for a pacifist.  This route might also lead you to one of the others.  What happens when someone brings up to the pacifist that by helping the group someone they captured is executed?  Does that conflict with their pacifist code?


Now, to be clear, I don't like pacifist clerics.  The reasons I don't like them are as follows:



  • Mechanically speaking they are weak and counter-productive.  Yes their heals are good, but they waste a lot of time/good options at table and few players can build them to be non-useless.  These are the same kind of people that look at BCL and go "no thanks, I'll take Wis mod to my heals" without realizing how terrible of a plan that generally is.

  • Roleplaying wise I don't like them because nearly every interaction I've ever had with a pacifist in group has been exceedingly boring.  They don't contribute anything interesting to making the battle faster, or making the story more interesting and vivid.  This is, once again, anecdotal and generally linked to the kind of player that envisions their character as a pure-healer.  Someone who doesn't need to be on the front lines doing their thing but is more of a healing totem who will take their turns making sure the party doesn't fail as contrasted to the other players who are taking their turns making sure the party does succeed


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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here

 


Now, to be clear, I don't like pacifist clerics.  The reasons I don't like them are as follows:



  • Mechanically speaking they are weak and counter-productive.  Yes their heals are good, but they waste a lot of time/good options at table and few players can build them to be non-useless.  These are the same kind of people that look at BCL and go "no thanks, I'll take Wis mod to my heals" without realizing how terrible of a plan that generally is.

  • Roleplaying wise I don't like them because nearly every interaction I've ever had with a pacifist in group has been exceedingly boring.  They don't contribute anything interesting to making the battle faster, or making the story more interesting and vivid.  This is, once again, anecdotal and generally linked to the kind of player that envisions their character as a pure-healer.  Someone who doesn't need to be on the front lines doing their thing but is more of a healing totem who will take their turns making sure the party doesn't fail as contrasted to the other players who are taking their turns making sure the party does succeed






I don’t understand your end game, except that you want to state you don’t like the class choice and role-playing behind it? If that’s it, then you’ve done your job, but I’ll give two counter-points for the two quoted above.


1-      Unless you’re the type of DM that disallows Certain classes to be played (or in this case Certain builds) then it’s totally the player’s choice ((also if you’re that type of DM, shame on you)); you might not like the mechanics behind that class/build. BUT IT ISN’T your character, maybe the player DOES ENJOY how their character works.


2-      Unless you’re the type of DM that is going to try to control how players use (combat) or role-play (outside/inside combat) it still ISN’T YOUR CHARACTER, and once again maybe the player Really enjoys being a “healing totem”


I understand you don’t like them, but there isn’t really jack sh!t you can do about it unless you’re going to be an overbearing DM, shock as it may be, not all Players are trying to OP their party or Character, some like to play builds/classes which they know are not the “best” but make that choice because they ENJOY to play that way.


The Player’s ENJOYMENT of his character is much more important than how will it performs in battle; I’d much rather have an entire party of Seekers and Vampires whose players ENJOY to play them, then a super Nova/OP party of players who are just in it for rolling big dice, but not connected to their characters. Give me the former any day of the week.

(sorry for typos) 

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First off, I think this is pretty clearly an opinion-heavy thread given the OP.  So, with that in mind lets continue.


1-      Unless you’re the type of DM that disallows Certain classes to be played (or in this case Certain builds) then it’s totally the player’s choice ((also if you’re that type of DM, shame on you)); you might not like the mechanics behind that class/build. BUT IT ISN’T your character, maybe the player DOES ENJOY how their character works.




I'm not going to ban it from my games.  Nor am I going to crap on another player who wants to play one.  If that player, however, asks me my opinion on their character I'll give a paraphrased version of the response I just gave.  It isn't my job to infringe on their fun (As a DM or a player) but I can still not like them and still dislike what they do to my experience at the table.  Does that mean I will poke at them til they stop playing that?  No.

I also don't like permastealth builds in most cases, or even like 90% of the people who play the Rebreather build that I tried so hard to build and popularize


2-      Unless you’re the type of DM that is going to try to control how players use (combat) or role-play (outside/inside combat) it still ISN’T YOUR CHARACTER, and once again maybe the player Really enjoys being a “healing totem”



And they are welcome to enjoy it.  And I am not banned from noticing that if you took a different kind of cleric and put it in that player's place, in every experience I've had with pacifists, that the game would be more interesting out of combat and faster inside combat.
 


I understand you don’t like them, but there isn’t really jack sh!t you can do about it unless you’re going to be an overbearing DM, shock as it may be, not all Players are trying to OP their party or Character, some like to play builds/classes which they know are not the “best” but make that choice because they ENJOY to play that way.



I feel like, by this point in your reply to me, you aren't talking to me anymore.  Or you think you are talking to me, but are actually talking to an invisible player-hating DM standing next to me.  I can't force them to play there character like I want them to play their character.  Now should I, or even do I want to.  I want their characters to be interesting not to fit inside a box I have for them.  I want their character to enrich the experience at table instead of being a piece of furniture where the party stacks their healing potions.

You say I can do nothing about this, but that isn't exactly correct.  What I can do about it is, if asked about my opinion, give a level-headed and well-reasoned response as to why I would prefer something else.  I even pointed out several ways it could have been interesting, but never was.  If I'm talking to someone I consider a friend (and I consider most people I play with friends by default even at conventions), that opens our ability to communicate.  If I ask them RP questions and say "This doesn't make sense to me, please give me your reasoning",  the overall effect of that conversation, in my mind, should be positive.  If they come back with a response that is well-reasoned, something I've never heard of, or what-have you and I'm blown back by it that means "great, this game has more depth than it had prior to this conversation".  If it doesn't, then thats fine too.  They can continue to enjoy the game however they like, I just might not want to play at their table quite as much.

 

The Player’s ENJOYMENT of his character is much more important than how will it performs in battle; I’d much rather have an entire party of Seekers and Vampires whose players ENJOY to play them, then a super Nova/OP party of players who are just in it for rolling big dice, but not connected to their characters. Give me the former any day of the week.



Here is the issue that bugs me the most.  You place things on two sides and say you have to choose, when you really shouldn't.  I even made a point to separate them very clearly in my post.  The choice isn't between mechanically powerful character who are boring in RP and interesting RPers who are crippled in combat.  That is not, has never been, shall never be the choice I'm talking about.  If that were the choice, and again it isn't, I would agree with you.  Playing a game just for the numbers gets old quickly in my opinion.

The games I enjoy do not make that choice.  Ever.  They make powerful heroes both on and off the field.  They make players who know how to be their characters.  The games I enjoy are a merging of strong mechanics and strong RP.  The game I love is one where we can go one session of nothing but pure number-crunchy thematicly awe-inspiring combat directly into another session of polictical intrigue and moral dilemmas.  The games I love are the ones where the players act like people and fight like heroes.  And the ones that are doomed to failure, in at least one of those aspects, are the ones that think those two things have to be on opposite sides of the spectrum.
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
When you're running, don't allow one.

Problem solved.

P.S. Contrary to apparently popular belief, just because one lives by a code doesn't mean you have to try to force everybody around you to live by it as well.



It humors me you can contradict yourself in less that 40 words. 



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Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Why there should be the option to use alignment systems:
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If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

First off, I think this is pretty clearly an opinion-heavy thread given the OP.  So, with that in mind lets continue.

 .... 

The games I enjoy do not make that choice.  Ever.  They make powerful heroes both on and off the field.  They make players who know how to be their characters.  The games I enjoy are a merging of strong mechanics and strong RP.  The game I love is one where we can go one session of nothing but pure number-crunchy thematicly awe-inspiring combat directly into another session of polictical intrigue and moral dilemmas.  The games I love are the ones where the players act like people and fight like heroes.  And the ones that are doomed to failure, in at least one of those aspects, are the ones that think those two things have to be on opposite sides of the spectrum.




First, I understand J I do play devil’s advocate, and I know you’re not trying to justify being an Evil DM, but that being said there are plenty of DMs out there that are Bad and Overbearing, just don’t want them to see the thread and feel empowered to bash on player’s choices.  ((so not bashing you at all))


Seconded; and perhaps the most debated issue; is what makes the game fun. You have just described what you love about your campaigns (and I’m right there with you!) but I simply meant to point out it isn’t always so.


There ARE people who chose the best OP race/class build and then add a layer of RP on top of that; they are the players who just want to fight and gain levels/loot and while they RP are less interested in story and more interested in getting to that next battle. On the flip side there ARE people who build an RP idea first and then try to find the mechanics (class/race) to fit that idea; they while enjoying battle are more interested in the story and rping their characters social interactions.


Here is where I do think RP and Mechanics of the game are vividly split; while ideally players will be in the middle ground, it only takes one player to the extreme side to imbalance a game. (A Heavy RP game tends to drive OP/NOVA gamers away) while a combat heavy game tends to drive away the players who are more focused on RP and not their character sheet.


The solution… sadly there isn’t one, each DM will forever have to balance the issue (how to make power gamers have as much fun as RP oriented players) In a game I’m playing right now there is a guy who just wants Loot, the reason behind it does not matter as much as getting it (so the DM tries to give him loot) vs. myself who couldn’t care less about loot and just wants to RP tavern scenes (so the DM lets us be in towns a lot)

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First, I understand J I do play devil’s advocate, and I know you’re not trying to justify being an Evil DM, but that being said there are plenty of DMs out there that are Bad and Overbearing, just don’t want them to see the thread and feel empowered to bash on player’s choices.  ((so not bashing you at all))





Fair enough, but bullheaded people will take any justification for their position.  I don't need to drizzle in more caveats than I already do just so random putzs can't use my words to their own ends.  They are going to do that regardless of what I do about it.


Seconded; and perhaps the most debated issue; is what makes the game fun. You have just described what you love about your campaigns (and I’m right there with you!) but I simply meant to point out it isn’t always so.



Yes, it always so.  I am making a claim of what I find fun.  Not what others find fun, what I personally enjoy.  I've played enough to know what I like and to be able to articulate it fairly clearly.  So when we are talking about what I like, it is always how I just described it.  If we are talking about what people like, or even other players at my tables like, then we have changed subjects and you shouldn't be crossing one set of discussions with the other.



There ARE people who chose the best OP race/class build and then add a layer of RP on top of that; they are the players who just want to fight and gain levels/loot and while they RP are less interested in story and more interested in getting to that next battle. On the flip side there ARE people who build an RP idea first and then try to find the mechanics (class/race) to fit that idea; they while enjoying battle are more interested in the story and rping their characters social interactions.



None of this is relevant to my opinion about a class in a game I am playing.  I've already made it pretty clear that I'm not trying to force my opinion on others, but rather showing what my opinion is when asked.  So, please, don't respond to my post which says very clearly "Enjoy what you like, but this is what I enjoy" with "Other people enjoy other things".  Because those aren't the two opposing sides you are making them out to be.  They are two different topics.  Topics on which, apparently, we agree on a great deal.  I am failing to see the point you are playing devil's advocate for/against.

 

Here is where I do think RP and Mechanics of the game are vividly split; while ideally players will be in the middle ground, it only takes one player to the extreme side to imbalance a game. (A Heavy RP game tends to drive OP/NOVA gamers away) while a combat heavy game tends to drive away the players who are more focused on RP and not their character sheet.



And the people who only care about RP will be driven from my table just as the ones who only like to number crunch.  This does not bother me.  We are talking about my personal opinions here.  If someone is drawn away because their pacifist RP is being "ruined" by the rest of the party having fun murdering things, that means this isn't the group for that player/character.  If someone is drawn away because all of this talking isn't making any dice get rolled, then I'm not sad about that either.  I like a balance.  And to be clear, for the hundredth time, I'm not saying all games should have this balance.  I'm saying I prefer it.


The solution… sadly there isn’t one, each DM will forever have to balance the issue (how to make power gamers have as much fun as RP oriented players) In a game I’m playing right now there is a guy who just wants Loot, the reason behind it does not matter as much as getting it (so the DM tries to give him loot) vs. myself who couldn’t care less about loot and just wants to RP tavern scenes (so the DM lets us be in towns a lot)

 
The solution is to play with people you enjoy playing with.  To find what you enjoy together and go there.  The solution is to know what you like to play with and what you don't.  The solution is to be able to explain to others what you do and do not like, but at the same time be willing to not bring it up for the purposes of group cohesion.  The solution is to actually talk to one another (Player to Player and DM to players) as rational, reasonable human beings so you can turn the mish-mash that is the expectations and love of the half-dozen of you and turn it into a compelling and challenging story that you all work towards telling together.  The solution is to play DnD.


Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
When you're running, don't allow one.

Problem solved.

P.S. Contrary to apparently popular belief, just because one lives by a code doesn't mean you have to try to force everybody around you to live by it as well.



It humors me you can contradict yourself in less that 40 words. 




It humors me that you can miss the point so severely.

Vegetarians don't have to run around telling people they have to be vegetarians, and pacifists don't have to run around telling other people they have to be pacifists.
When you're running, don't allow one.

Problem solved.

P.S. Contrary to apparently popular belief, just because one lives by a code doesn't mean you have to try to force everybody around you to live by it as well.



It humors me you can contradict yourself in less that 40 words. 




It humors me that you can miss the point so severely.

Vegetarians don't have to run around telling people they have to be vegetarians, and pacifists don't have to run around telling other people they have to be pacifists.



Right, but if the vegetarian goes hunting with their friends that makes it a little awkward.  Especially if they are buying all the ammo.

Now you might say "Well the vegetarian is a vegetarian because of the inhumane treatment of chickens in the chicken farms." At which point we have something that is interesting and the start of a character.  This automatically puts it a step ahead, in my book, from every pacifist cleric I have ever seen. 
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If it’s the strength in combat, then Eh, some people play OP classes some don’t. Not much you can do as a DM unless you’re just going to disallow cretin builds in your game (which I don’t recommend)


(...)


So if they want to be a Cleric that is bloodthirsty, I simply Ask. What’s the big deal?


Are they stealing the spotlight from other players? Have they become overpowered? Or do you just disagree with how they RolePlay because of the Class they choose?


If it’s the last then I’d just let it drop; no one likes a DM who try to manages the parties RP. Why not just let the player have his Class but call it something else (Fluff it and say his class is a bloodletting cleric or something)


Also, RP wise a Cleric doesn’t even know they are a Cleric, nor does a Fighter know he is a “Fighter” in the sense that they are bound to an unseen class (aka the mechanics of the game)




There is a reason why I did not post this in the DM's forum... Actually, I agree with you: I don't like them, but I'm not about to start banning them from my games or making life harder for my players.  It does bug me from a design perspective. Why include a class that is so difficult to justify in most campaigns? Why include a class that (at least in the examples I've seen) encourages poor role-playing?

Note that I don't have problems reskinning the class. 




There is a reason why I did not post this in the DM's forum... Actually, I agree with you: I don't like them, but I'm not about to start banning them from my games or making life harder for my players.  It does bug me from a design perspective. Why include a class that is so difficult to justify in most campaigns? Why include a class that (at least in the examples I've seen) encourages poor role-playing?

Note that I don't have problems reskinning the class. 


Because more choices are good, I didn't start playing 4th  until a year ago or so. My main gripe with it when 4th came out, was the utter lack of choices a player could make. Every fighter looked like every other fighter every cleric looked like every other cleric. I've seen 2 pacifist clerics (one was a hybrid) and neither discouraged role-playing and in fact the pure cleric was one of the more memorable characters I've seen in the last 3 years of role-playing. 

Just a note I don't particularly like pacifist clerics and can say with some certainty I'll never play one, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be in the game.
Why is it so all-or-nothing with people? Just because a DM really dislikes a certain mechanical build element and decides to forbid it because it ruins his fun to the point of not wanting to run the game, does NOT make the DM overbearing and tyranical. A DM who is not having fun is not going to have a positive effect on your game. In the end it is a matter of degrees, how you communicate your wishes to the players and your reasoning for disallowing something. Obviously, a DM should not just outright forbid something, but nor does a player has any entitlement to anything ever designed for the game.

As for pacifist healing, in my experience the game mechanics behind it does negatively impact the game in most circumstances I have run across it. The healing can easily become rediculous in a game were healing is already rather easy. I have seen it really negatively impact game balance, making it all too harder to challenge the PCs. If that is the kind of game a player wants, there are easier ways to achieve it (simply communicate your wishes to the DM). The funny thing is that I have seen a few players drop the build, because they felt useless because they were well aware most  of the healing was overkill.

As for the RP aspect, I honestly don't care much about it. If you want to focus on the mechanics, ignoring the RPing, then that is fine by me. If you feel that a pacifist can actively help people commit violent acts without sounding like a hypocrit then that is fine by me as well. As long as your roleplaying is not acting as a jerk to your fellow players, then you are free to RP your PC however you want. Just don't expect me to like it ;)
The healing can easily become rediculous in a game were healing is already rather easy. I have seen it really negatively impact game balance, making it all too harder to challenge the PCs



Yeah, no.  That wasn't happening.  Pacifist doesn't do that.

What was happening was the players were taking longer to win the fights, and taking more damage in the process, and spending the same number of surges.  They weren't harder to challenge, and the game wasn't unbalanced, it was just *moving more slowly*.

They were getting more HP per surge spent, but taking more damage per surge spent, too.
Confused about Stealth? Think "invisibility" means "take the mini off the board to make people guess?" You need to check out The Rules Of Hidden Club.
Damage types and resistances: A working house rule.
The healing can easily become rediculous in a game were healing is already rather easy. I have seen it really negatively impact game balance, making it all too harder to challenge the PCs



Yeah, no.  That wasn't happening.  Pacifist doesn't do that.

What was happening was the players were taking longer to win the fights, and taking more damage in the process, and spending the same number of surges.  They weren't harder to challenge, and the game wasn't unbalanced, it was just *moving more slowly*.

They were getting more HP per surge spent, but taking more damage per surge spent, too.




This.

Although it feels less "threatening" because everyone knows a single heal pops them to full.  Now, the cleric isn't generally doing much else, but they are being an excellent healing totem.
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
I tried playing a pacifist character in a hack-and-slash game. It didn't go very well.

That said... if the DM and players are focusing on role-playing rather than combat (and understand how they are not the same thing), then the pacifist can role-play his efforts to seek peaceful resolutions and be an interesting character in the doing. I might recommend for such a character that the player who is playing the pacifist for such role-playing opportunities to have a less pacifistic disciple or more violent guardian if combat is going to be a part of the game and the player is expected to participate.

As far as a pacifistic healer... such a character might heal BOTH sides of a violent conflict, thinking the lives of BOTH sides are sacred.


There have been very intriguing and interesting characters in history, even in our own time with a pacifist bent. They sometimes must be very creative in order to keep their values, creating very interesting stories. They lead interesting lives. It is a challenge for a DM to create challenging situations for such a character... there are even forums that seem to think characters must meet some sort of optimization standard to be playable. Even the base rules for rolling up characters hints toward this mentality... throw away characters who don't have a certain stat criteria. This is because the standard D&D game has combat... and quite a bit of it.

In a game where the DM is willing and capable of creating a variety of non-combat challenges, a pacifist character is just another personality type to draw from. In a standard game, you may need some alternative way to keep the pacifist's pacifism to not hinder the party... be it an understanding that the pacifist will stay out of combat, but be more important in role-play encounters, hirelings that aren't so peaceful to help fight when needed, or some other manner agreed upon by the DM and players to overcome the challenges. Maybe the pacifist can bend his philosophy a bit so that he will certainly attempt to make peace, but will defend himself until his opponent his subdued or beaten... even going so far as taking care of his former enemy (hopefully you have a good enough DM that he can handle complications).



A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
When you're running, don't allow one.

Problem solved.

P.S. Contrary to apparently popular belief, just because one lives by a code doesn't mean you have to try to force everybody around you to live by it as well.



It humors me you can contradict yourself in less that 40 words. 




It humors me that you can miss the point so severely.

Vegetarians don't have to run around telling people they have to be vegetarians, and pacifists don't have to run around telling other people they have to be pacifists.

Irony overload.
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
Every ability score, feat, skill, background, theme, race and even class are a collection of numbers and mechanics and nothing more. They apply to what they need to apply to mechanically. That they have words on them with plain English connotations can be used for the purposes of creating constraint to your roleplaying, but that is an active (and certainly common) choice, not the default. Mechanics and fluff are completely separable. It's a player's choice to perceive fluff and mechanics as the same. Pacifist Healer feat means some extra healing and you're stunned if you do damage to a bloodied creature. The word "Pacifist" means nothing unless the player wants it to.

My friend created a great "pacifist" healer recently: Driftwood Sally, a hamadryad cleric. She's a total hippy beach bum, floating along through life. She doesn't "act like a cleric" outside of mechanics. She's just who she is.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

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Every ability score, feat, skill, background, theme, race and even class are a collection of numbers and mechanics and nothing more. They apply to what they need to apply to mechanically. That they have words on them with plain English connotations can be used for the purposes of creating constraint to your roleplaying, but that is an active (and certainly common) choice, not the default. Mechanics and fluff are completely separable. It's a player's choice to perceive fluff and mechanics as the same. Pacifist Healer feat means some extra healing and you're stunned if you do damage to a bloodied creature. The word "Pacifist" means nothing unless the player wants it to.

My friend created a great "pacifist" healer recently: Driftwood Sally, a hamadryad cleric. She's a total hippy beach bum, floating along through life. She doesn't "act like a cleric" outside of mechanics. She's just who she is.



Another variant on the Pacifist Cleric I've seen is one where "Pacifism" is not a philosophy or a goal, it's a compact:  the cleric has sworn an oath/made a pact/learned a magical style, whereby his healing magic is way more formidable but if he ever harms a wounded person there's a nasty feedback loop that incapacitates him.

He's not a "pacifist" in any sense other than "because of the kind of magic I use, it reacts badly with the kind of karmic resonances created by directly harming someone injured".   Like a taboo prohibiting shedding blood in a location, therefore using strangulation instead of stabbing.

That's another perfectly good way of doing "pacifist cleric" in an adventuring party without making your allies want to hurt you.
Confused about Stealth? Think "invisibility" means "take the mini off the board to make people guess?" You need to check out The Rules Of Hidden Club.
Damage types and resistances: A working house rule.
And then there are "technical pacifists" (if you're a Whovian, most incarnations of The Doctor tend to be this...most of the time).  These individuals rarely deign to pick up a weapon, and seem to have a marked distaste for martial characters and their implements...but regularly travel with people who have no problems bonking the bad guy over the head.

" The man who abhors violence, never carrying a gun, but this is the truth, Doctor: you take ordinary people and you fashion them into weapons... "
"You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies." -The Doctor, Remembrance of the Daleks
Now you might say "Well the vegetarian is a vegetarian because of the inhumane treatment of chickens in the chicken farms." At which point we have something that is interesting and the start of a character.  This automatically puts it a step ahead, in my book, from every pacifist cleric I have ever seen. 



In one of my current games, I missed the party-planning session and was told in no uncertain terms to play a pacifist cleric with healer's lore (and given a bad stat array, and forced to be a half-elf (I ended up with a 13/13/12/10/16/16 post-racial)).  It was stupid and annoying, and I would have made none of those choices on my own. I was really on the verge of leaving the group over being forced into it, but after writing up a backstory, I decided to give it a chance.

For my character, pacifism isn't a philosophical issue, or a pact/source of magic, but rather the result of not trusting himself. He believes he's posessed, and until he learns more about the manner of the possession and/or exorcises it, he does not trust himself with any weapon or any harmful magics.

It's created some interesting plot hooks.

Mechanically, he's as awful as you'd expect. But I've played LFR with a pacifist cleric in paragon, and I have to say, with the right choices, the pacifist can be a very decent single target controller, on top of the healing and enabling (Cause Fear is an enabling power). With messenger of peace and vistani heritage, you can keep a single target out of the fight for 3-4 rounds, or greatly mess up a solo/elite's day with attack/defense penalties/vulnerability with no save ends. 

It's true that the bonus healing is entirely mitigated by the extra round of damage monsters get to deal, but the very strong controller secondary mitigates the damage at least (and probably only) one target gets to deal, and defense penalties speed combat back up a bit if your allies have **** accuracy or dice rolls. 

I'm not arguing in any way that they're better than, well, any other leader choice (other than a sentinel), but I don't think they're as far behind as lots of CharOp does. Which is to say I don't feel that a sufficiently optimized pacifist in the hands of a tactically-minded player is remotely unplayable or a major hindrance to the right party.  To be sure, you need good stikers, but particularly if you lack a controller, I don't think of it as a RED option so much as a BLACK one. 

Pacifist? You need a net. Choose spells like hold person, fear and other spells that stop the enemy. Divinity spells to help you be better prepared for potential dangers so you can overcome them with as little violence as possible...and allies you respect and who also respect you.

This will help also: have a DM who is willing to occasionally throw a non-psychopathic-kill-you-at-all-costs NPC at you instead of simply throwing hordes of mindless insects or oozes or hungry rabid dire animals with an equal lack of sense of self-preservation.

Player: Okay. I have my character... a priest who has taken vows of peace and non-violence.
DM: Your adventure begins in a gladiator pit. The crowd roars loudly as a savage beast leaps from its cage like a jaguar after a gazelle... and you're the gazelle.
Player:
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
one of our players chose to make a pacifist healer for a party that consists entirely of evil characters

I suppose my hate for that decision could be interpreted as "in character"
Pacifist healers rock...here is why...multiple strikers in the party + pacifist healer = broken....typically you want to diversify a party, have a striker, off-striker, defender, controller, whatever...

If you really want to piss off your DM, run a pacifist healer and 4 strikers (blaster mage, Shoot to Thrill, Time Bomb, Barbarian Bruiser or some other striker). if you are unfamiliar with Shoot to Thrill, Time Bomb, Bruiser, take a look at LordDuskBlade's builds...

Anyway, we've run a few lair assaults with this idea and they are super easy, even on nightmare mode. We have not run this in a campaign, but I can pretty much assume it would go similarily...that is, until the DM gets pissed and starts putting you up against things 5-6 levels higher than you on a regular basis...

Congratulations, you found a mechanically optimized situation that requires a pacificist healer and a bunch of other min/maxed/optimized character to match.  One with all combat and no RP...


And you play a game where you compete against your DM...


Have fun with that.


TjD


Congratulations, you found a mechanically optimized situation that requires a pacificist healer and a bunch of other min/maxed/optimized character to match.  One with all combat and no RP...


And you play a game where you compete against your DM...


Have fun with that.


TjD




There's nothing to suggest in his post that the characters suggested by Tharc are any less of roleplayers than less optimized builds. As well, combat is roleplaying, so if you're kicking butt and taking names when that's what your character would also do, you're roleplaying. Please don't fall into the trap of thinking otherwise.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Congratulations, you found a mechanically optimized situation that requires a pacificist healer and a bunch of other min/maxed/optimized character to match.  One with all combat and no RP...

And you play a game where you compete against your DM...


Have fun with that.


TjD


There's nothing to suggest in his post that the characters suggested by Tharc are any less of roleplayers than less optimized builds. As well, combat is roleplaying, so if you're kicking butt and taking names when that's what your character would also do, you're roleplaying. Please don't fall into the trap of thinking otherwise.

Yes, it's too easy to dismiss someone who doesn't play the way we enjoy as "not roleplaying," meaning that they're doing it wrong or (if they're enjoying it anyway) are enjoying something different than what we enjoy. It divides up the hobby far too much.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.



I'm not arguing in any way that they're better than, well, any other leader choice (other than a sentinel), but I don't think they're as far behind as lots of CharOp does. Which is to say I don't feel that a sufficiently optimized pacifist in the hands of a tactically-minded player is remotely unplayable or a major hindrance to the right party.  To be sure, you need good stikers, but particularly if you lack a controller, I don't think of it as a RED option so much as a BLACK one. 




Yeah, it's always been amusing to me that a lot of charop calls them red...
Pacifists can be useful in the right party or the right kind of game. This should make them either green (campaign specific) or purple (inferior on it's own but has real potential if optimized around - including party op).

But for some reason they are red because they are always worse than a warlord.  
FWIW [4e designer] baseline assumption was that roughly 70% of your feats would be put towards combat effectiveness, parties would coordinate, and strikers would do 20/40/60 at-will damage+novas. If your party isn't doing that... well, you are below baseline, so yes, you need to optimize slightly to meet baseline. -Alcestis
yea, not sure how min/maxing isn't roleplaying as well...afterall, their skills are generally broken as well...furthermore, it's not competing against a DM, but rather makes it hard for the DM to come up with challenging encounters...either combat or otherwise. Regardless, that was a pretty short-sighted statement on your part. The game is what it is...for anyone who wants to make it what they want. I was simply pointing out a situation where pacifist healers rock...
Pacifist healers rock...here is why...multiple strikers in the party + pacifist healer = broken....typically you want to diversify a party, have a striker, off-striker, defender, controller, whatever...

If you really want to piss off your DM, run a pacifist healer and 4 strikers (blaster mage, Shoot to Thrill, Time Bomb, Barbarian Bruiser or some other striker). if you are unfamiliar with Shoot to Thrill, Time Bomb, Bruiser, take a look at LordDuskBlade's builds...

Anyway, we've run a few lair assaults with this idea and they are super easy, even on nightmare mode. We have not run this in a campaign, but I can pretty much assume it would go similarily...that is, until the DM gets pissed and starts putting you up against things 5-6 levels higher than you on a regular basis...



This might be true, but the same group with a leader who enables would be just as strong if not stronger, especially at higher levels.  A group with decent MBAs can delete a solo on the leader's turn with proper enabling.  Running a table at AL20 a solo entered a table and took at 750pt hail of steel to the face.  What the abilities of anything you are fighting doesn't matter if you 1) Win initiative, 2) Clear half+ the board on T1 and clear the rest on T2.  Now, I don't think the pacifist is useless, I just would rather have something else in that spot.  In rare instances (LA with an all striker group or as a 2nd leader for a mid-op Battle Interactive) it can be fairly effective.  Hell, if we are talking normal games my Breather with an enabling leader can typically wipe the board by himself on T1...

 (Side note: A lot of LDB's builds a pretty out of date).  


Yeah, it's always been amusing to me that a lot of charop calls them red...
Pacifists can be useful in the right party or the right kind of game. This should make them either green (campaign specific) or purple (inferior on it's own but has real potential if optimized around - including party op).

But for some reason they are red because they are always worse than a warlord.  



Part of this is perception of what the "pacifist healer" is.  One of these is that the true pacifist build, as char op sees it, takes Healer's Lore over BCL.  When you take a non-gold option you have to have a really really good reason.  And under almost all circumstances that reason doesn't actually exist (other than "but moar healz!" which is silly).  I wouldn't call Pacifists Red, but I would label them Purple.

yea, not sure how min/maxing isn't roleplaying as well...afterall, their skills are generally broken as well...furthermore, it's not competing against a DM, but rather makes it hard for the DM to come up with challenging encounters...either combat or otherwise. Regardless, that was a pretty short-sighted statement on your part. The game is what it is...for anyone who wants to make it what they want. I was simply pointing out a situation where pacifist healers rock...



I would argue that in those situations that either 1) Your pacifist isn't a complete white mage (what char op thinks of when we talk about pacifists.  Again, this was one of my points from the earlier post talking about definiations) or 2) You would have done just as well if not better with a Bravlord / Killswitch / Warchanter in that pacifist's place (depending on level).
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
Show
Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here

Congratulations, you found a mechanically optimized situation that requires a pacificist healer and a bunch of other min/maxed/optimized character to match.  One with all combat and no RP...


And you play a game where you compete against your DM...


Have fun with that.


TjD




There's nothing to suggest in his post that the characters suggested by Tharc are any less of roleplayers than less optimized builds. As well, combat is roleplaying, so if you're kicking butt and taking names when that's what your character would also do, you're roleplaying. Please don't fall into the trap of thinking otherwise.




You are absolutely right.  I'm wrong, there is nothing that precludes roleplaying from this game.  It is however, by nature of being lair assault, a very tactically oriented game with highly optimized characters and party.  It also implies a game that you have to "beat" and that kills off characters arbitrarily, and the statement of pissing off the DM implies, as well, competing against the DM.  Players vs DM and colaborative story telling, while not mutually exclusive, do not really go together.


My absolutely worst experiences in RPG's have all been because of a player versus dm mentality from either the dm or other players.    


I did not say he was doing it wrong though, its just not a game I want to play. And once again, he can "have fun with that".


TjD


Yeah, it's always been amusing to me that a lot of charop calls them red...
Pacifists can be useful in the right party or the right kind of game. This should make them either green (campaign specific) or purple (inferior on it's own but has real potential if optimized around - including party op).

But for some reason they are red because they are always worse than a warlord.  



I consider it purple, not because its worse than a warlord, but because its generally better to do any other sort of templar cleric build and most warpriest builds over a pacifist because of the huge opportunity cost for very little return.  You eliminate so many good power choices when playing a pacifist, you spend a feat, and if you go with healer's lore you add a bunch of stat and AC headaches and further reduce your party's offensive output.  All for some extra healing which you probably don't really need that much.

The roleplaying part is all fine and good, but it shouldn't hamper mechanics and cleric is an easy class to mess up especially if you are building it as a pacifist.

Yeah, it's always been amusing to me that a lot of charop calls them red...
Pacifists can be useful in the right party or the right kind of game. This should make them either green (campaign specific) or purple (inferior on it's own but has real potential if optimized around - including party op).

But for some reason they are red because they are always worse than a warlord.  



I consider it purple, not because its worse than a warlord, but because its generally better to do any other sort of templar cleric build and most warpriest builds over a pacifist because of the huge opportunity cost for very little return.  You eliminate so many good power choices when playing a pacifist, you spend a feat, and if you go with healer's lore you add a bunch of stat and AC headaches and further reduce your party's offensive output.  All for some extra healing which you probably don't really need that much.

The roleplaying part is all fine and good, but it shouldn't hamper mechanics and cleric is an easy class to mess up especially if you are building it as a pacifist.



I know, trust me on that one, i've read it several times and it's helped me a lot in the past 2 years.
That is why i specifically said "a lot of charop", and not your guide. I'm sorry if it wasn't clear.

I was referring to the plethora of other threads that come up about leaders (Which leader for this party), and the advice is always the same:
Several regulars call it red, some defend how they are decent controllers, and some say its a moot point because warlords exist.

FWIW [4e designer] baseline assumption was that roughly 70% of your feats would be put towards combat effectiveness, parties would coordinate, and strikers would do 20/40/60 at-will damage+novas. If your party isn't doing that... well, you are below baseline, so yes, you need to optimize slightly to meet baseline. -Alcestis
Yeah, I actually feel like that's the real issue: the pacifist is best served as a controller build, rather than a leader build, but this fact is hidden from both critics and the uninformed by their obvious and massive bonuses to healing. But of course, they don't really hold up well if you rate them against controllers either, unless you take the healing into account. 

They do have a fair suite of indirect enabling powers, but so do Psions. And Invokers hand out as many buffs. I'd rate their overall control ability far better than the binder and hunter, but still limited by its single-target focus. Maybe tied with the seeker for fifth place (behind wizards, invokers, psions and druids)?  

In my experience they're kind of like berserkers in that they can be built to be very effective in tactical combat, but the ways to do so aren't always obvious and ignore a lot of the stock concepts of the class.