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Help! I optimize too much!

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Radu the Wanderer:
It has been pointed out to me that I tend to optimize characters too much.  I did not realize this until I looked back at things, but it is true:

I am a compulsive character optimizer.

There.  I said it.

Any other hardcore CO'ers on this board who want to step forward?  Maybe we can begin a support group or something.  I know it's not that hard to do, but it is beginning to interfere with my ability to give other players character creation advice, something I was formerly good at.  I'm a good character concept guy, and good at bringing that concept to fruition through mechanics, but I fear now the mechanics are starting to overshadow the concept.

Any advice or snipes from the peanut gallery?

deree:
I too *sob* can sometimes *sob* fall into this catagory. I start off with a character concept *sob* then somewhere, *sob* somehow, in the course of the game *sob* i change it to make the character better *sob* and by the end of it all *sob* the character is nothing like what i intended it to be *break down uncontrollably*

I need help!!!!!!!

My name is Steve, and i am a character optimiser.

Radu the Wanderer:
Hi Steve, and thanks for coming to the meeting.  Admission of the problem is the first step towards solving it.

What I meant in the first post was that I'm fantastic at making mechanically powerful characters, a skill which has been very useful in helping those less rules inclined hang with everyone at the table, and at making character concept and character playability match up.  What's become the issue, however, is that I find it hard for me to not optimize, and more disturbing to me is that I find the alternatives increasingly unfathomable.

To put it another way:

I'm the DM in a game that has only two real optimizers in it, and one of them is me.  I helped one of the other players make her character, and so I know for a fact that there are two very well optimized characters and two run by players in it for the storyline/dramatic progression who could give a shit about the mechanics.  My problem is that I find it difficult to give advice to these players without being ham-handed.  I want to give appropriate treasure awards, items the players will appreciate and actually use, but without forcing them down what I percieve to be the "best" path to mechanical power.

Not everyone wants those boots of striding and springing.  Some people want boots of the winterlands or a ring of sustenance instead.  That sort of stuff.  I wouldn't ever think of getting a ring of animal friendship over a ring of counterspelling, but that's exactly the sort of thing some of my players love and want.

It frustrates me that I can't think like a roleplayer very well anymore without simultaneously thinking like a number cruncher, because it means I can only really empathize with one of my players instead of all four, and I'm afraid it may result in me unfairly skewing the game towards his character by virtue of not really being in synch with what the other 3 want.

Svartalf:
ROFLMAO :P .... Sorry guys... I have the exact opposite problem when I'm on the player side. I run my character advancement exclusively by concept and as per what the character would do ... which sometimes lead to under par power, reduced survivability, and lack of adaptation to the challenges offered (like, say, playing a specialist wizard with no skills outside lore instead of a more combat powerful sorcerer, and pursuing arcane might above all else rather than multiclassing) .

Fortunately when I'm on the Master side of the screen, I have some basic notions of optimisation, so my monsters and NPC's are not pushovers.

But yeah, I understand players wanting funny, folkesy equipment rather than more generic, purely combat utilitarian stuff. Those cute items allow you to handle sides of the character's life that go beyond the combat grid, and enhance the role playing experience... If, as a DM, you're a combat monster, I suggest a good long talk with your players and reevaluation of campaign focus, and possibly the XP award system.

David R:

--- Quote from: Radu the Wanderer ---It frustrates me that I can't think like a roleplayer very well anymore without simultaneously thinking like a number cruncher, because it means I can only really empathize with one of my players instead of all four, and I'm afraid it may result in me unfairly skewing the game towards his character by virtue of not really being in synch with what the other 3 want.
--- End quote ---


I've got the opposite problem. There are two players in my current group who derive fun from the whole optimizing aspect of the game. I don't really dig the mechanical part of rpgs and the other five players are more interested in the roleplaying part.

I have always believed it's part of my job as a gm to see that all of the players are having fun.Sometimes in the rush of the game, I tend to forget that there is a small minority in the group who would like something more tangible for their characters other than a great storyline.

I'm always careful to include stuff in the adventures, be it treasure, opportunities to accumulate more xp/skill points whatever. I do this because I realize that unattended to, this problem has the potential to blow up into a major issue for these players.

Regards,
David R

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