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Pen & Paper Roleplaying Central => Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion => Topic started by: Theory of Games on December 30, 2020, 11:53:32 PM

Title: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Theory of Games on December 30, 2020, 11:53:32 PM
TLDR: Scott Garibay, some Christian-SJW insider, says optimizing builds is "immature" and harmful to the RPG hobby. To the extent that optimizers should be removed, eternally!



Does he have a point or is he full of excrement?
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: HappyDaze on December 30, 2020, 11:59:43 PM
I only watched about 5 minutes of the video. I don't give a shit how other people play their games, so talking about optimizers as some kind of movement (and doing the same to oppose them) means jack shit to me. At my table, optimizers are welcome--until they start telling others that they are doing things wrong. They then move to the "shut up" and, if not followed, to the "get out" phase. If someone else asks for their guidance on a build, more power to them (literally), but it has to be sough out advice or it's unwelcome.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Semaj Khan on December 31, 2020, 12:01:10 AM
Sorry, my eyes glazed over within the first minute.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Snowman0147 on December 31, 2020, 12:05:50 AM
He is shit.  Who wants to be a sub optimal character that constantly fails all the time?  No one wants to suck the dick of failure.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Slambo on December 31, 2020, 12:43:25 AM
TLDR: Scott Garibay, some Christian-SJW insider, says optimizing builds is "immature" and harmful to the RPG hobby. To the extent that optimizers should be removed, eternally!



Does he have a point or is he full of excrement?

No he's full of shit. Some people.likento optomize, i dont, but there are games for them and games for me (both in terms of games meaning systems or games meaning individual tables.)
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: myleftnut on December 31, 2020, 01:53:27 AM
I only watched about 5 minutes of the video. I don't give a shit how other people play their games, so talking about optimizers as some kind of movement (and doing the same to oppose them) means jack shit to me. At my table, optimizers are welcome--until they start telling others that they are doing things wrong. They then move to the "shut up" and, if not followed, to the "get out" phase. If someone else asks for their guidance on a build, more power to them (literally), but it has to be sough out advice or it's unwelcome.

Exactly.  Why piss on their parade?  That style of play is fun to some people.  I can’t stand these quasi-celebrity GMs telling people there is a “right” way to play RPGs
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Ratman_tf on December 31, 2020, 02:24:03 AM
Eh. On the one hand, I really hate 'builds' and 'optimizing' in computer RPGS. If it's a game I like, I find a guide online and copy it so I don't have to fiddle with the boring min/maxing.

At the table top? Optimize all you want, but keep it to yourself. That shit puts me to sleep.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: SHARK on December 31, 2020, 02:27:18 AM
He is shit.  Who wants to be a sub optimal character that constantly fails all the time?  No one wants to suck the dick of failure.

Greetings!

Hey Snowman! *Laughing* Sucking the dick of failure! Who wants to run a suboptimal character?

You know, I have often read of some people extolling the joys of playing characters with 8-12's across the deck. And I get the enjoyment that can come from having such a character struggle to survive, and gradually climb to being successful.

However--it's nice to do that, say once in awhile. Doing it all the time though, with every character like that? I have had some suboptimal characters before, of course--and it has a limited window as I mentioned of being fun and challenging. Damn, though, even with one such character, it doesn't take long at all when making skill rolls, attempting to fight, and attempting to actually accomplish something--and you come face to face with the reality with nearly every dice roll that you just plain suck. *laughing* I think that can get old, really fast.

Not saying I expect players or my own NPC's or my own player characters to have all uber stats across the board--but I am reminded that while we have in America a cherished cow of celebrating the "Common Man"--and rightfully so--the fact is, through history, great heroes, soldiers, warriors--they may have had common origins--but they rapidly transformed and demonstrated that they were anything but ordinary. Bumbling, clumsy farmers and shopkeepers die quickly, and in droves, unless they shape up real quick. They simply must discover within themselves competency, skill, and greatness, and bring it to the forefront very quickly, or they won't survive a season.

With adventurers, likened to rugged frontiersmen, soldiers, hardened mercenaries, epic heroes from myths, I always kind of assumed that most of the "suboptimal" people stay home on the farm, or stay at their shop or business in the city--and not forming ranks with teams of crazy, ruthless adventurers wandring out in the wilderness defending the kingdom from hordes of monsters and fighting dragons.

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: SHARK on December 31, 2020, 02:50:46 AM
TLDR: Scott Garibay, some Christian-SJW insider, says optimizing builds is "immature" and harmful to the RPG hobby. To the extent that optimizers should be removed, eternally!



Does he have a point or is he full of excrement?

Greetings!

Well, I watched the entire video. HEH. He is I'd say, 25% right, and 75% full of shit. Yes, "optimizers" are not holding the position of authority to tell anyone else at the game table how they *must* build their character. He's right in that sense--there are different goals, different preferences and play styles for everyone. It is not necessary for every character at the table to be absolutely optimized. There is room for lots of other different characters, built with different priorities. He's wrong though that this is somehow some kind of "movement" or ideology within the hobby that must be worked against, tolerated, pitied, or otherwise opposed. That is a tempest in a teacup! *Laughing* Back in the day, we used to call these kinds of people with these kinds of priorities "Min-Maxers" or "Hack and Slashers". That style of play, and approach to character building has always been in the hobby, from the earliest days--and likewise, there have also been players with many different priorities and play styles, which is fine and good. Let people be different, and enjoy the effing game.

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Semaj Khan on December 31, 2020, 03:19:55 AM
Yes, yes, Herr Doktor... the "dick of failure" quip is now my signature... and it's funny because it's true. 8)
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Altheus on December 31, 2020, 04:09:32 AM
He is shit.  Who wants to be a sub optimal character that constantly fails all the time?  No one wants to suck the dick of failure.

Sub optimal characters are fine, you don't have to squeeze every last +1 out of a character you build and its also perfectly fine to have the "Ordinary man doing extraordinary things" situation. Building stats and skills based on the character background is good as well.

As long as a character is basically competent at their job then I don't have a problem with them in a game.

The problem comes when someone makes an incompetent or useless character that gets my character killed because the game was balanced for competent characters and someone isn't pulling their weight.

A Half-Orc Mage is fine, Half-Orc mage with int 8 is an amusing liability and the joke falls flat after the first time.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Mishihari on December 31, 2020, 04:31:13 AM
Not gonna lie - didn't watch the video.  Y'all said it was a waste of time and I believe you.

IMNSHO optimizing, unless you enjoy it as a mini-game, is a waste of time.  I write my adventures to make them challenging but winnable through good tactics.  If you've spent hours optimizing your PC, you can expect an interesting, challenging, and winnable game.  Same if you made your chars in 5 minutes.  Optimizing will not improve your chance of succeeding in the adventure because I design the encounters with the known power of the party in mind.  The only time it becomes a problem is when you have optimizing and non-optimizing players together, because the optimizers will outshine the others.  The best solution then is to get all the players to take the same approach.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Shasarak on December 31, 2020, 05:35:05 AM
He does have a point, Combat is only a third of the 3 pillars of the game.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Steven Mitchell on December 31, 2020, 07:05:38 AM
As with a lot of things, some minimal optimization is playing the game.  It's people that can't see the forest for the trees that are the problem.  That includes the game designers with that issue.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: VisionStorm on December 31, 2020, 07:34:48 AM
Quote
Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?

No, but people who complain about optimization or "powergamers" are low intelligence lunatics who like to blame their personal failings on other people, and their words can be safely ignored without anything of value being lost.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: BronzeDragon on December 31, 2020, 08:08:12 AM
I think the whole idea of "builds" is distilled essence of cancer.

People should play a character they envision, not be led by "whatever gives the most bonuses" (as the old text file about Munchkins put it) into playing something that makes no sense.

I remember the height of the 3E fuckfest where people would say shit like "I'm playing a Fighter 3/ Paladin 2/ Divine Cocksucker 4/ Monumental Retard 8!" without stopping for a second to think what the fuck that actually meant in the world.

Now, if you truly want to play a Half-Dragonfaggot/Half-Tooth Fairy Arcane Wizkid/ Master of the Forces/ Assassin of Furries, and that happens to make sense in the world you're adventuring in, hey....more power to you. But that sort of shit would never fly at my table.

A completely different matter is a guy that wants to play his Fighter and then proceeds to choose the best possible options for his goal in terms of feats/skills/equipment. That is fine, and even hardcore roleplayers will often give their character the best possible chance of surviving combat encounters so they can get to the roleplaying they desire.

Something that happened more than 20 years ago comes to mind, though. A player in one of my Birthright campaigns rolled up a Mage, and he ended up with a couple of really low scores. He decided, very consciously, to put his 4 in Con. He was playing a Khinasi, so he also got a -1 to that, so he ended up with a Con of 3. This meant he was going to roll a D4 for HP and 75% of the time he'd end up with 1 HP for each level.

Well, that campaign went all the way to 17th level, and this guy, despite deliberately putting his mage in harm's way, simply could not get himself killed. At 17th level, he had 21 hit points. The character retired at the end of the campaign, a legend in our group. Had the player optimized that character, he certainly would've put the 8 he had rolled in Con, and dumped the 4 in Str. That would've meant no penalty to HP, and I'm pretty sure the God of Dice would've made sure that character would've been blasted in the face by the first Orog they ran across and the legend would never have been born.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: HappyDaze on December 31, 2020, 08:15:37 AM
He does have a point, Combat is only a third of the 3 pillars of the game.
You're being sarcastic again, right? Your overuse of sarcastic black type makes it hard to tell sometimes.

Anyway, if we're talking about D&D 5e, then combat is more like 5/6 of the 3 pillars of the game. The other 1/6 is optional.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Abraxus on December 31, 2020, 08:19:17 AM
He is shit.  Who wants to be a sub optimal character that constantly fails all the time?  No one wants to suck the dick of failure.

Seconded.

One of the comments posted sums up how I feel aboth him and his so called video:

Give me an optimizer over those who make a "flavorful" character that is useless at the table. Then complain that somehow other players who do the opposite and can actually contribute are "optimizers". Example they make a caster with low primary casting attribute then wonder why the spells they cast have no effect on opponents. Make a low Str Fighter then wonder why they don't hit or do as much damage as the player that does the opposite. Enjoy gaming in your bubble.

These kind of players piss me off to no end as they make shitty character choices for their characters. As the above make them as flavorful as possible then can do nothing at the table and rather than accept the responsibility of their personal choices, it's everyone else fault for being optimized. I can for example complain that it's not my fault for being diabetic because I won't stop eating sugar. Somehow it's the fit and  healthy people fault that I am diabetic. If you want to make the Wizard with the 10-12 Int don't cry, bitch or complain when the spells have no effect or not as effective as the player who takes a 16-187 int.

No, but people who complain about optimization or "powergamers" are low intelligence lunatics who like to blame their personal failings on other people, and their words can be safely ignored without anything of value being lost.

This guy gets it.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: HappyDaze on December 31, 2020, 08:39:23 AM
One thing that does bug me about optimizers is when their tendency to only focus on the mechanics and ignore the fluff/flavor of a campaign world. If I'm running in Warhammer's Old World but I (for some idiotic reason) want to do it with the full range of D&D 5e rules, then the asshole hard optimizing a Winged Tiefling Hexblade Warlock is going to find that character to be suboptimal in surviving regardless of its game stats and cool powers. These types of optimizers want the world(s) to accept any choice they make because it's only the numbers that *should* matter in their eyes. Sadly, WotC has been steadily making things easier for them with worlds full of tolerance for every weird fucking thing. No thank you...I'll stick to the Old World (and with WFRP too, as I learned earlier this year that D&D 5e doesn't really do what I'm looking for in a fantasy game).
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: BronzeDragon on December 31, 2020, 08:50:15 AM
Example they make a caster with low primary casting attribute then wonder why the spells they cast have no effect on opponents. Make a low Str Fighter then wonder why they don't hit or do as much damage as the player that does the opposite. Enjoy gaming in your bubble.

I agree that in the situation as is (i.e. 5E dominating the market), that is a bad thing to be doing, crippling your character intentionally.

What I do object to is a system built around the idea that if you don't have a superb stat in your primary characteristic, you're not just subpar, you're shit.

Before 3E, if your Mage had a 14 Int, he would only really encounter problems if your campaign reached 16th level (which the majority of campaigns never did). A Fighter with 12 Str was perfecly viable, since a 17 was only a +1 to hit and dmg. A Cleric with a Wis of 13 was almost as effective as one with 18 in it (sure, a few bonus spells up to 4th level and protection against mind-affecting spells, but the Slay Living of the first cleric hit just as hard).

5E math seems to be designed around characters wih at least a 16 in their primary attribute. They have literally made it so everyone must be heroic in order to be effective.

Now, knowing that, it's a good idea to not fuck your character up by putting a 12 into your primary, but I still prefer the previous design.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Charon's Little Helper on December 31, 2020, 09:21:39 AM

Before 3E, if your Mage had a 14 Int, he would only really encounter problems if your campaign reached 16th level (which the majority of campaigns never did). A Fighter with 12 Str was perfecly viable, since a 17 was only a +1 to hit and dmg. A Cleric with a Wis of 13 was almost as effective as one with 18 in it (sure, a few bonus spells up to 4th level and protection against mind-affecting spells, but the Slay Living of the first cleric hit just as hard).

5E math seems to be designed around characters wih at least a 16 in their primary attribute. They have literally made it so everyone must be heroic in order to be effective.

Now, knowing that, it's a good idea to not fuck your character up by putting a 12 into your primary, but I still prefer the previous design.

That's a system complaint though.

The video appears to be blaming the players for actually playing said system and having "badwrongfun" in a game totally unrelated to him.


Myself - I enjoy the optimization game, but I don't want to be "that guy" either, so I generally optimize sub-par concepts and/or support characters.

I prefer systems where the skill ceiling & skill floor of character builds are close enough that no one at the table feels useless, but I do enjoy having some amount of system mastery benefit as well. There's a happy medium there that I like. (And which I've aimed for in my own system.)
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: BronzeDragon on December 31, 2020, 09:27:05 AM
That's a system complaint though.

The video appears to be blaming the players for actually playing said system and having "badwrongfun" in a game totally unrelated to him.

Yeah, like I said in my first post, I think optimizing your character to do well in the system is fine.

My objections are entirely based on the "progression" that game systems have gone through in the last 20 years, making good stats more and more relevant and thus eliminating the unlikely hero (or making him extra unlikely).
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: mightybrain on December 31, 2020, 09:37:39 AM
System mastery is, in a sense, the opposite of character optimisation. Anyone can save the kingdom with Super-paladin 2.0, but it takes a master to do it with a randomly generated peon.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Charon's Little Helper on December 31, 2020, 09:40:25 AM
System mastery is, in a sense, the opposite of character optimisation. Anyone can save the kingdom with Super-paladin 2.0, but it takes a master to do it with a randomly generated peon.

In many TTRPGs, the character creation system IS the system mastery, or at least a big chunk of it.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: VisionStorm on December 31, 2020, 09:49:34 AM
One thing that does bug me about optimizers is when their tendency to only focus on the mechanics and ignore the fluff/flavor of a campaign world. If I'm running in Warhammer's Old World but I (for some idiotic reason) want to do it with the full range of D&D 5e rules, then the asshole hard optimizing a Winged Tiefling Hexblade Warlock is going to find that character to be suboptimal in surviving regardless of its game stats and cool powers. These types of optimizers want the world(s) to accept any choice they make because it's only the numbers that *should* matter in their eyes. Sadly, WotC has been steadily making things easier for them with worlds full of tolerance for every weird fucking thing. No thank you...I'll stick to the Old World (and with WFRP too, as I learned earlier this year that D&D 5e doesn't really do what I'm looking for in a fantasy game).

The problem lies in both, the designers, as well as people who insist on conflating ability selections, which by definition are strictly a mechanical component of the game, with their "RP". Stuff that's just for "fluff" and "flavor" or for "Muh AR PEE" and does nothing (or not much) mechanically should NOT exist as something that is codified in terms of the game rules as something you have to invest on and sacrifice your limited points (or "Feats", or whatever you get in the system to build your character) in order to write it in your character sheet. That shit belongs in your character's background, not as part of your mechanically components, which is what game abilities literally are.

That's where the problem from the players' end lies: this conflation of things that are strictly RP elements and should just be stuff that you discuss with your GM when defining your character's background with stuff that are necessarily mechanical elements that build up your character's abilities. The ONLY situation where that should be an issue is in terms of your character's abilities matching your character's purported role. So that if your character is a "Medic" then OBVIOUSLY you should have medical or healing skills or abilities as part of your selection, but the title of "Medic" itself should NOT be this mechanical game component that gives you nothing (or is mechanically crap) and exists just for "Muh AR PEE" purposes, but you still have to sacrifice points or select the correct ("but, muh gaem wurld") "class" to get.

Let "RP" be "RP" and take that stuff out of the ability selection process. And NO, codifying this crap as part of the game rules DOES NOT HELP RP. Writing garbage in your character sheet WILL NOT MAKE YOU RP BETTER. It only becomes a HINDRANCE to actual "RP", because you have to jump through hoops just to "AR PEE" shit out.

And on the designer's end there is the constant failure to make "flavorful" bullshit "Muh AR PEE" selections useful mechanically speaking. So that you end up being forced to take garbage and pretend that it's useful or adds "flavor" to you character cuz you WASTED a selection getting strictly for "Muh AR PEE", then complain that someone else does it better because (unlike you) they actually selected to stuff that's mechanically useful for what you wanted to do, or for the game in general. ALL game abilities should be useful to some extend or another, otherwise they're just a waste of space--both, in your character sheet, as well as in the game books--and they should not exist just for "Muh AR PEE's" sake, cuz that's what your character's BACKGROUND is for. If an ability does not give me anything, or if a class is complete garbage on its own, then it should either be modified to be useful or it should not exist at all. But "what about muh AR PEE?" should not be a reason to keep this garbage around.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Chris24601 on December 31, 2020, 11:19:11 AM
The problem lies in both, the designers, as well as people who insist on conflating ability selections, which by definition are strictly a mechanical component of the game, with their "RP".
I’ll admit, this was probably one of the harder things to get right in my own system. My ultimate solution was just to minimize the fluff associated with the mechanics down to literally just a pithy name for the ability.

For example, one ability that can be selected is called “Nothing to See Here” that lets you use your Presence stat in place of Reflexes for Stealth checks (which, depending on relative scores may be superior to gaining skill with Stealth or which might be stacked with skill in Stealth to allow an otherwise mediocre reflexes PC to be good at going unnoticed).

How does it work? Well, that’s up to you. Maybe it’s a Jedi mind trick, maybe you’re just really good at looking like you belong so no one pays attention to your walking down the hallway. The mechanical part is fixed, the RP is up to you.

The same goes for combat abilities; there’s a combat talent called “knock them around” that allows you to shift opponents you hit or knock them prone if you hit; but the how really depends on your character; a human might sweep the leg, a Minotaur might head butt them, a sprite buzzes around to throw them off balance, a dragon follows up its hit with a smack from its tail. Regardless of the RP reason, your PC is really good at knocking people around.

Sure, some things are harder to justify in multiple ways than others, but those are often very specific abilities you’re taking for a specific reason and, since there is no big fluff blurb attached to it, you’re usually taking it purely for the mechanics.

A similar hurdle was to just make it really hard to accidentally mess up a PC. This resulted in a lot of baselines just being hard-coded to not rely upon or minimize bad choices.

The basic to-hit bonus with skilled weapons, for example, is Strength+2 (min. 5). Unskilled weapon use is just Strength and has no minimum and Strength can range from -1 to 5 so, as long as you’re using a weapon you’re skilled with you’re hitting as if you had a 3 in Strength (damage will be less, but level bonuses to damage will eventually minimize the difference).

You would literally have to both tank your strength and use nothing but weapons you’re not skilled in to be completely useless. Even if you somehow accidentally started in this state, you could mostly fix it just by switching to a weapon you’re skilled in so the ONLY reason you could ever see this in game is if the player just wants their PC to suck.

Nothing can stop deliberate gimping, but I feel fairly confident in saying that my system has enough tools available that concept/RP should never have to be sacrificed for baseline mechanical effectiveness (also, because of this heavy optimization will also only yield a 5-10% performance increase over the baseline... enough to be an award, but not enough to completely eclipse everyone else playing either).

Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Ratman_tf on December 31, 2020, 01:28:47 PM
He does have a point, Combat is only a third of the 3 pillars of the game.

Yeah, but you can optimize the other aspects, like in Pathfinder stacking persuation to ludicrous levels.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Shasarak on December 31, 2020, 06:10:19 PM
He does have a point, Combat is only a third of the 3 pillars of the game.

Yeah, but you can optimize the other aspects, like in Pathfinder stacking persuation to ludicrous levels.

So if you just optimise for DPR can you really even be considered to be optimising?
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: consolcwby on December 31, 2020, 11:42:30 PM
In the late 80's I was accused of being one of these "POWAH GAYMAHS", so I let the DM create a character for me. Then when, instead of fighting head on with my cleric or using healing spells, I used stealth and subterfuge - lying with a high cha, she blasted me FOR NOT PLAYING THE GAME AS INTENDED! (Of course, I was also one of the few people who would actually USE that damn 10' pole to poke around a dungeon with... which according to her was cheating! lol!)
Sigh.
So, I accused her of using her own pathos against me. She didn't know what the word meant and when I wouldn't tell her, she kicked me out. I was grateful for one thing: I was the first of many she gave the boot to! This is how I got my early 90s group going! Great to have something in common with other players!
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Snowman0147 on January 01, 2021, 01:14:04 AM
He is shit.  Who wants to be a sub optimal character that constantly fails all the time?  No one wants to suck the dick of failure.
The problem comes when someone makes an incompetent or useless character that gets my character killed because the game was balanced for competent characters and someone isn't pulling their weight.

A Half-Orc Mage is fine, Half-Orc mage with int 8 is an amusing liability and the joke falls flat after the first time.

That is what I meant by sub optimal.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Abraxus on January 01, 2021, 02:10:53 AM
What I do object to is a system built around the idea that if you don't have a superb stat in your primary characteristic, you're not just subpar, you're shit.

I never said the character was shit just not going to be as effective as someone who has 16-187 in their primary stat. The problem is too much of D&D is built around a character stats

Compare a 12 Int +1 Mod VS 16 Int +3 Mod  Wizard. In PF The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a wizard’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the wizard’s Intelligence modifier.

         
Cantrip   11  13
Level 1   12  14
Level 2   13  15
Level 3   14  16
Level 4   15  17
Level 5   16  18
Level 6   17  19
Level 7   18  20
Level 8   19  21
Level 9   20  22
 
It may not seem much of a difference yet at higher levels beating Spell Resistance and saves does become an issue. So one can still be decent yet still not be as effective at higher level. With the caster needing the Int score to be able to cast the level of spells. Meaning to cast 8th level spells one needs to have an 18 int minimum.

Same thing with low str Fighter vs High Str both can hit yet one does damage and hits more often while also being able to carry more. While D&D is a team game I ain't no one pack mule after a certain point neither I nor the other players are going to be lugging your equipment because player ZYX decides to put an 8-10 in Str. Unlike 3E and after low ability scores gave not just penalties it also hampered say being brought back from the dead. Your Con is 8 in 1E and 2E I really hope you roll well on coming back to life or surviving being turned from Stone to Flesh.,

Again personally not  fan of sub-optimal design. As long as the player accepts full personal responsibility for poor choices with their character. too many refuse to do so and anyone and everyone halfway competent is a "filthy" Optimizer. One wants to put 6-8 in Str go for it. Don't whine and bitch after that the character can't wear heavy armor due to encumbrance or be unable to carry as much for the same reason. Or that the high level npcs and creatures shrug off magic tossed at them because the character again took a 6-8 in their primary caster stat.

Too much optimization can be annoying yet it's also tossed out way too easily by gamers against anyone and everyone character that is more competent than theirs with the character only being minimally optimized .

Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: TJS on January 01, 2021, 05:38:32 AM
Why does anyone care what some fuckwit with a youtube channel thinks?

Of course he's full of shit.

Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Chris24601 on January 01, 2021, 11:50:20 AM
What I do object to is a system built around the idea that if you don't have a superb stat in your primary characteristic, you're not just subpar, you're shit.

I never said the character was shit just not going to be as effective as someone who has 16-187 in their primary stat. The problem is too much of D&D is built around a character stats

Compare a 12 Int +1 Mod VS 16 Int +3 Mod  Wizard. In PF The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a wizard’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the wizard’s Intelligence modifier.

Cantrip   11  13
Level 1   12  14
Level 2   13  15
Level 3   14  16
Level 4   15  17
Level 5   16  18
Level 6   17  19
Level 7   18  20
Level 8   19  21
Level 9   20  22

Its actually worse than that...

Cantrip   11  13
Level 1   12  14
Level 2   13  15
Level 3   ---  16
Level 4   ---  17
Level 5   ---  18
Level 6   ---  19
Level 7   ---  ---
Level 8   ---  ---
Level 9   ---  ---

Because in 3.5/PF1 you could only cast spells of your casting stat score - 10. Unless you use level up stat bumps or items to boost your casting stat that 12 Int wizard is capped at 2nd level spells (they'd still get higher level slots, but could only prep 2nd level spells in them) and even the 16 INT wizard needs +3 to INT from level bumps or items to be able to cast 9th level spells.

The 12 Int Wizard will never be able to cast better than 7th level spells (and only at level 20) without a headband of intellect. If he uses every level bump on Int he'll still not get 5th level spells on his own until level 12 (vs. normally getting them at level 9) and won't get 6th level spells until level 16 (vs. level 11 normally).

Those systems are quite literally built around at least a 15 in your primary casting stat (and then using every stat bump for it) to not have a level of spell access delayed by low scores).

That the didn't just build the required stat bumps into the classes, but let you potentially gimp yourself with a bad pick shows that 3e/PF were built with optimization outright expected... anything suboptimal was ruthlessly punished by an often exponential set of penalties (i.e. not just lower save DCs, but fewer spells known, fewer spells prepped per day and only able to use lower level spells).
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Eirikrautha on January 01, 2021, 12:14:44 PM
You've gotten to the crux of the matter:  modern iterations of D&D are designed to incentivize mechanical optimization.  This isn't even arguable.  You can babble on about role playing all you want, but the actual mechanics of the game punishes players who choose sub-optimal builds and rewards (with greater skill success, an easier challenge, and more capabilities) players that maximize bonuses.

One positive about 5e is that it has backed off this a little with its bounded accuracy.  But the mechanics still reward numerical maximization.  You can play D&D without regard for the numbers, but you will fail more often, defeat lesser threats, and have fewer capabilities.  If that's what you are going for, then so be it.  But when other people in you group do not share that opinion, you're just being a dick by playing that way.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Shrieking Banshee on January 01, 2021, 12:24:31 PM
You've gotten to the crux of the matter:  modern iterations of D&D are designed to incentivize mechanical optimization.

Any game with any amount of player choice will do this. Grognards talk as if this was some horrific calamity that befell the purity of older games, when just rolling stats till you got the ones you wanted was a thing that happened all the time.

In a adventure game, the probable experience of playing a mute wheelchair-bound cripple was having him die in one hit to an orc.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 01, 2021, 12:32:03 PM
The 12 Int Wizard will never be able to cast better than 7th level spells (and only at level 20) without a headband of intellect. If he uses every level bump on Int he'll still not get 5th level spells on his own until level 12 (vs. normally getting them at level 9) and won't get 6th level spells until level 16 (vs. level 11 normally).
B/X D&D does it right: Int affects languages known, not spellcasting.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Abraxus on January 01, 2021, 12:39:44 PM
Its actually worse than that...

Cantrip   11  13
Level 1   12  14
Level 2   13  15
Level 3   ---  16
Level 4   ---  17
Level 5   ---  18
Level 6   ---  19
Level 7   ---  ---
Level 8   ---  ---
Level 9   ---  ---

Because in 3.5/PF1 you could only cast spells of your casting stat score - 10. Unless you use level up stat bumps or items to boost your casting stat that 12 Int wizard is capped at 2nd level spells (they'd still get higher level slots, but could only prep 2nd level spells in them) and even the 16 INT wizard needs +3 to INT from level bumps or items to be able to cast 9th level spells.

The 12 Int Wizard will never be able to cast better than 7th level spells (and only at level 20) without a headband of intellect. If he uses every level bump on Int he'll still not get 5th level spells on his own until level 12 (vs. normally getting them at level 9) and won't get 6th level spells until level 16 (vs. level 11 normally).

Those systems are quite literally built around at least a 15 in your primary casting stat (and then using every stat bump for it) to not have a level of spell access delayed by low scores).

That the didn't just build the required stat bumps into the classes, but let you potentially gimp yourself with a bad pick shows that 3e/PF were built with optimization outright expected... anything suboptimal was ruthlessly punished by an often exponential set of penalties (i.e. not just lower save DCs, but fewer spells known, fewer spells prepped per day and only able to use lower level spells).

Thanks for the correction Chris.

Not sure if it's DMs allowing players to gimp themselves then not changing anything else about the rpg. At higher levels Demons and Devils and other crestures/npcs with Spell Resistance are simply going to shrug off many of the spells thrown at them. Non-Optimized characters can work except it the puts more of a burden on the DM to even out the playing field. Not like the DM has his hands full running the game or anything. Even in earlier editions low attributes penalized players. I remember playing Baldurs gate and picked up the Bard (sounds alot like Brains from ThunderBirds) and noticed he was not able to learn many spells because he was pre-made npc who could become a PC with a cast stat of Int or 13.

Note one can still play characters with low stats one has to also acknowledge and more important the character will suffer somewhat compared to characters with average to higher stats. The whole "don't worry low stats mean nothing" they tried to push in earlier editions even to having a paragraph or two 2E PHB is simply BS imo. Sure one can get by with low attributes yet they tried to make it out that it would never affect the character negatively in anyway. Low Con Fighter can survive hopefully he does not take too many hits pr need to come back from the dead or shrug off any magical effects that are tied to Con. I always laugh and still laugh at the whole Joe Average goes on adventuring vibe I received from 1E and 2E. Joe adverahe stays at home farming the land 8-9 times of ten. It's the more exceptional people who go risk their lives adventuring.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Abraxus on January 01, 2021, 12:46:47 PM
Any game with any amount of player choice will do this. Grognards talk as if this was some horrific calamity that befell the purity of older games, when just rolling stats till you got the ones you wanted was a thing that happened all the time.

In a adventure game, the probable experience of playing a mute wheelchair-bound cripple was having him die in one hit to an orc.

Seconded it's like pre-3E they inflict themselves a lobotomy like somehow it NEVER EVER happened in 1E and 2E. Those editions also had what a character could do also tied to their stats.Using my example of the Wizard with low Int would hurt the character. Hell in 1E and 2E their were actual penalties for low Attributes. Want to dump stat Char good luck recruiting any hirelings or npcs not without a lot of gold to back you up. It's as bad as the same DMs who complain about Leadership as a feat in 3.5/Pathfinder yet either never played earlier editions or once again self inflicted lobotomy where a Fighter could get a keep with hirelings and a Ranger could get a Satyr or Unicorn and the DM really had no say about it.

Grognards really need to stop embarrassing themselves or at least not look at their earlier favored editions of D&D with rose colored glasses they also spray painted completely black. It's only 3E and later where D&D was "ruined""
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: VisionStorm on January 01, 2021, 02:04:59 PM
Any game with any amount of player choice will do this. Grognards talk as if this was some horrific calamity that befell the purity of older games, when just rolling stats till you got the ones you wanted was a thing that happened all the time.

In a adventure game, the probable experience of playing a mute wheelchair-bound cripple was having him die in one hit to an orc.

Seconded it's like pre-3E they inflict themselves a lobotomy like somehow it NEVER EVER happened in 1E and 2E. Those editions also had what a character could do also tied to their stats.Using my example of the Wizard with low Int would hurt the character. Hell in 1E and 2E their were actual penalties for low Attributes. Want to dump stat Char good luck recruiting any hirelings or npcs not without a lot of gold to back you up. It's as bad as the same DMs who complain about Leadership as a feat in 3.5/Pathfinder yet either never played earlier editions or once again self inflicted lobotomy where a Fighter could get a keep with hirelings and a Ranger could get a Satyr or Unicorn and the DM really had no say about it.

Grognards really need to stop embarrassing themselves or at least not look at their earlier favored editions of D&D with rose colored glasses they also spray painted completely black. It's only 3E and later where D&D was "ruined""

Pretty much. The OSR is basically an RPG cult obsessed with OD&D. They see in OD&D whatever they want to see--like people who see the visage of Jesus in burned toast. And OD&D rules are always uniquely suited to handle every eventuality better than other RPGs, even if it didn't include any rules for it, because even the absence of a rule is seen as a feature that promotes creative problem solving, as opposed to the books simply not covering those things.

A&D incentivized fighters rolling ridiculous STR, cuz all the real bonuses were gated behind the silly % nonsense. So you need to roll a 18, then roll REALLY high on the d100 to get a decent damage bonus. Not to mention the pointlessness of ability scores when a 17 in STR only gave you a measly +1 to hit and damage. At that point you might as well do away with ability scores if they're only gonna give you crap, since the scores themselves are largely superficial. Spellcasters themselves basically REQUIRED 18 WIS or INT out of the gate or they would NEVER be able to cast level 7 (divine) or 9 spells (arcane), unless the DM was generous enough to include items that permanently increased their scores. There have always been a lot of silly restrictions or conceits you have to put up with in D&D.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 01, 2021, 02:21:01 PM
Any game with any amount of player choice will do this. Grognards talk as if this was some horrific calamity that befell the purity of older games, when just rolling stats till you got the ones you wanted was a thing that happened all the time.

In a adventure game, the probable experience of playing a mute wheelchair-bound cripple was having him die in one hit to an orc.

Seconded it's like pre-3E they inflict themselves a lobotomy like somehow it NEVER EVER happened in 1E and 2E. Those editions also had what a character could do also tied to their stats.Using my example of the Wizard with low Int would hurt the character. Hell in 1E and 2E their were actual penalties for low Attributes. Want to dump stat Char good luck recruiting any hirelings or npcs not without a lot of gold to back you up. It's as bad as the same DMs who complain about Leadership as a feat in 3.5/Pathfinder yet either never played earlier editions or once again self inflicted lobotomy where a Fighter could get a keep with hirelings and a Ranger could get a Satyr or Unicorn and the DM really had no say about it.

Grognards really need to stop embarrassing themselves or at least not look at their earlier favored editions of D&D with rose colored glasses they also spray painted completely black. It's only 3E and later where D&D was "ruined""
Nah, you're the one embarrassing yourself. Because I'm pretty sure nobody has made that claim. People who play games are the ones who are familiar with the rules, after all.

The points they actually make are far more nuanced, but it's a lot easier to just create strawmen to knock down than to address arguments made by real people.

And 3e was a major shift in terms of optimization. The roots go back further, but it became a lot more important in 3e, and that was also accompanied by a culture shift, including the rise of the char op board on WotC website, the increase in the sense of player entitlement and the corresponding decrease in the authority of the Viking hat to curb abuses, builds, a greater degree of dependence on stats, a greater differential between optimized and non-optimized characters, and a lot more.

It's a very complex topic. And I say this as someone who frequented the 3.X char op board, and played in epic games where we bent the rules to the breaking point.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: TJS on January 01, 2021, 03:27:41 PM
I say this as someone who, on balance prefers 3rd edition to other editions, although I did ditch it to play Castles and Crusades for a long time and only really came back to it after playing 5E and thinking "this is nice but I prefer the real thing rather than the light version".

The big change that happened from 2e to 3E is that some people started planning their characters ahead of time and you had 'builds'.  This was a mistake.  A lot of it arose from bullshit prerequisites for prestige classes and feats and the way prestige classes were mishandled.

It can lead to players focusing so much on what they want their character to do in 5 levels that they are unable to react to the game they are playing now.
"You've running into invisible creatures a few times now - maybe you should consider picking up blindfigting".
"No it's not part of the plan".

By basically de-emphasising prestige classes Pathfinder improved this situation somewhat.  You know longer need to worry about prestige classes - feats are not such a scarce resource, and if you just keep going straight fighter at least you will not fall into a hole quite so quickly.

In a way this is what makes optimisation possible.  Sure you could optimise in 2e but it was pretty fucking obvious what you had to do.  The optimisation guides and the like arose in 3E because it was less obvious what was effective and the rewards were more effective.  Likewise optimisation guides for 5E are sad and pathetic things.

Basically optimisation is just appealing to people's enjoyment of gaining mastery - this is not really all that bad a thing in itself - it's "builds" that are the problem.

Prestige classes in 3E were meant to be more a way of adding depth to settings and making players do things like joining knighthoods feel like more then just fluff - problem is that the examples given in the DMG quickly became models and they became used as basic splats and power ups - and because the fluff wasn't linked to entry most of the time, it became ignored.  Prerequisites should always have been  focused more on things you could do in the game* - eg "must have killed a demon in single combat" - not have x feat and x skills. 

The above also somewhat highlights the fluff vs crunch distinction which arose and which was ultimately disastrous for 3rd edition and led to the design of 4th.

*This is the crux of the issue - it's the movement of so many key character decisions and elements out of the game itself.  This is why 5E still has the same problem despite the fact there's fuck all optimisation to actually be done.  At least, magic items are now once again something you have to actually play the game to get.

One of the best things you can do to address this when running 3.X or Pathfinder is to use Pathfinder's slow advancement.  Basically, if there's a longer gap between levels and you actually have to play the character for a significant time at each level, there becomes a lot less point in constantly looking ahead.  This also keeps the game in the levels that are actually fun to play.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Eirikrautha on January 01, 2021, 04:15:17 PM
Any game with any amount of player choice will do this. Grognards talk as if this was some horrific calamity that befell the purity of older games, when just rolling stats till you got the ones you wanted was a thing that happened all the time.

In a adventure game, the probable experience of playing a mute wheelchair-bound cripple was having him die in one hit to an orc.

Seconded it's like pre-3E they inflict themselves a lobotomy like somehow it NEVER EVER happened in 1E and 2E. Those editions also had what a character could do also tied to their stats.Using my example of the Wizard with low Int would hurt the character. Hell in 1E and 2E their were actual penalties for low Attributes. Want to dump stat Char good luck recruiting any hirelings or npcs not without a lot of gold to back you up. It's as bad as the same DMs who complain about Leadership as a feat in 3.5/Pathfinder yet either never played earlier editions or once again self inflicted lobotomy where a Fighter could get a keep with hirelings and a Ranger could get a Satyr or Unicorn and the DM really had no say about it.

Grognards really need to stop embarrassing themselves or at least not look at their earlier favored editions of D&D with rose colored glasses they also spray painted completely black. It's only 3E and later where D&D was "ruined""
Nah, you're the one embarrassing yourself. Because I'm pretty sure nobody has made that claim. People who play games are the ones who are familiar with the rules, after all.

The points they actually make are far more nuanced, but it's a lot easier to just create strawmen to knock down than to address arguments made by real people.

And 3e was a major shift in terms of optimization. The roots go back further, but it became a lot more important in 3e, and that was also accompanied by a culture shift, including the rise of the char op board on WotC website, the increase in the sense of player entitlement and the corresponding decrease in the authority of the Viking hat to curb abuses, builds, a greater degree of dependence on stats, a greater differential between optimized and non-optimized characters, and a lot more.

It's a very complex topic. And I say this as someone who frequented the 3.X char op board, and played in epic games where we bent the rules to the breaking point.

Nah, let them babble.  The fact that I play 5e far more than OSR wouldn't even phase them.  They are what they accuse others of being: cultists, but they don't even have the slight redeeming quality of being cultists for something, just cultists against something.

As to your point (which is an excellent one), the changing face of the game comes from a couple of things, tying into several ongoing threads on the board right now.  The first was the idea of character transience.  Sure, I had a couple of 15+ level characters in AD&D, but they were few and far between.  Most lasted a few levels and then got killed or got retired.  There wasn't the idea that we were creating an epic hero, nor a representation of ourselves.  Five minutes and a few rolls were all the characters got.  Sure, we'd occasionally do stat roll variants to spice things up and maybe get that elusive 18 strength, but I still have a bunch of characters from back then, and they weren't particularly high stat-wise (several with a 15 and a 14 as my highest).  That's because of the second part.

Secondly, the mechanics of the older editions meant that the characters of the same class were fundamentally the same in construction.  They differed based on play.  All of my fighters looked pretty much the same on paper at the beginning.  What separated them was either the personality I role-played or the magic items I gathered that changed their approach to problems and combat.  And the story that was built up by their experiences.  In some ways, counter to the claims of the haters, there wasn't any optimizing because there was very little to optimize before play.  The play created the strengths, weaknesses, and stories.  We weren't worried about backstories.  We were creating stories in the present.

I think this is where 3e made a mistake.  It created a conflict between the character's path via mechanics (the "build") and the character's path via adventure (the magic items, the roleplaying events, boons, and consequences), I think without recognizing that there was any conflict at all (probably because it developed organically beginning at the tail end of AD&D through 2e).  I think there is room for either approach alone, or even in conjunction, as long as the mechanics are developed for both.  In the case of D&D, I don't think that anyone was really considering how the game was changing and why...

P.S., as an example of this conflict.  In 1e, could you imagine a fighter who found a magic hammer turning it down (unless they already had a far superior magic weapon)?  But from 3e to PF to 5e, I've had players that eschewed a magic weapon for a non-magical on, because the magic weapon conflicted with their build.  "I'm not going to use a +1 longsword... my whole build is based around using Polearm Master and Sentinel!"  Yeah, not what I ever experienced in older editions...
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: VisionStorm on January 01, 2021, 04:52:19 PM
As to your point (which is an excellent one), the changing face of the game comes from a couple of things, tying into several ongoing threads on the board right now.  The first was the idea of character transience.  Sure, I had a couple of 15+ level characters in AD&D, but they were few and far between.  Most lasted a few levels and then got killed or got retired.  There wasn't the idea that we were creating an epic hero, nor a representation of ourselves.  Five minutes and a few rolls were all the characters got.  Sure, we'd occasionally do stat roll variants to spice things up and maybe get that elusive 18 strength, but I still have a bunch of characters from back then, and they weren't particularly high stat-wise (several with a 15 and a 14 as my highest).  That's because of the second part.

Dude, the idea of people thinking of their characters as some sort of epic hero existed since Basic D&D. They had rules for characters going all the way to level 36, for crying out loud! People trying to created idealized representations of themselves were also a thing, and people with long as character backgrounds focused on the drama existed as well. Whether it's a good idea to create a 10 page tragic story of woe for a newly minted level 1 character its a different matter (it isn't), but those kinds of people didn't start existing the moment that 3e rolled out. It's a personal failing, not a rules-dependent topic.

Level 15+ characters are also probably rare in every edition of the game, and if anything, more options means that some people will want to create a bunch of characters rather than stick to just one for prolong periods, just to try out different concepts. You're conflating your own playstyle preferences and anecdotes with the rule systems themselves.

Secondly, the mechanics of the older editions meant that the characters of the same class were fundamentally the same in construction.  They differed based on play.  All of my fighters looked pretty much the same on paper at the beginning.  What separated them was either the personality I role-played or the magic items I gathered that changed their approach to problems and combat.  And the story that was built up by their experiences.  In some ways, counter to the claims of the haters, there wasn't any optimizing because there was very little to optimize before play.  The play created the strengths, weaknesses, and stories.  We weren't worried about backstories.  We were creating stories in the present.

I think this is where 3e made a mistake.  It created a conflict between the character's path via mechanics (the "build") and the character's path via adventure (the magic items, the roleplaying events, boons, and consequences), I think without recognizing that there was any conflict at all (probably because it developed organically beginning at the tail end of AD&D through 2e).  I think there is room for either approach alone, or even in conjunction, as long as the mechanics are developed for both.  In the case of D&D, I don't think that anyone was really considering how the game was changing and why...

P.S., as an example of this conflict.  In 1e, could you imagine a fighter who found a magic hammer turning it down (unless they already had a far superior magic weapon)?  But from 3e to PF to 5e, I've had players that eschewed a magic weapon for a non-magical on, because the magic weapon conflicted with their build.  "I'm not going to use a +1 longsword... my whole build is based around using Polearm Master and Sentinel!"  Yeah, not what I ever experienced in older editions...

I don't know about 1e, but in my 2e campaigns every fighter always picked weapon specialization and would only use other weapons if those weapons were the only thing available. And no one ever made a spellcaster unless they got 18 in their key score, out of fear that they wouldn't be able to cast the highest level spells, despite characters rarely going that high in level. I've also seen 3e characters pick whatever magic weapon was available because not everyone has spare feats to focus on a single weapon, and unless you're a fighter with access to weapon specialization there isn't always a point.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Shasarak on January 01, 2021, 04:57:21 PM
P.S., as an example of this conflict.  In 1e, could you imagine a fighter who found a magic hammer turning it down (unless they already had a far superior magic weapon)?  But from 3e to PF to 5e, I've had players that eschewed a magic weapon for a non-magical on, because the magic weapon conflicted with their build.  "I'm not going to use a +1 longsword... my whole build is based around using Polearm Master and Sentinel!"  Yeah, not what I ever experienced in older editions...

Weapon Specialisation is a thing going back to Unearthed Arcana.

Sure I will take less attacks per round just to use your +1 magic hammer - said no one.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Shasarak on January 01, 2021, 05:13:55 PM
I don't know about 1e, but in my 2e campaigns every fighter always picked weapon specialization and would only use other weapons if those weapons were the only thing available. And no one ever made a spellcaster unless they got 18 in their key score, out of fear that they wouldn't be able to cast the highest level spells, despite characters rarely going that high in level. I've also seen 3e characters pick whatever magic weapon was available because not everyone has spare feats to focus on a single weapon, and unless you're a fighter with access to weapon specialization there isn't always a point.

And also in 3e you actually benefit from having different types of magical weapons.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 01, 2021, 06:07:13 PM
Dude, the idea of people thinking of their characters as some sort of epic hero existed since Basic D&D. They had rules for characters going all the way to level 36, for crying out loud! People trying to created idealized representations of themselves were also a thing, and people with long as character backgrounds focused on the drama existed as well. Whether it's a good idea to create a 10 page tragic story of woe for a newly minted level 1 character its a different matter (it isn't), but those kinds of people didn't start existing the moment that 3e rolled out. It's a personal failing, not a rules-dependent topic.

Level 15+ characters are also probably rare in every edition of the game, and if anything, more options means that some people will want to create a bunch of characters rather than stick to just one for prolong periods, just to try out different concepts. You're conflating your own playstyle preferences and anecdotes with the rule systems themselves.
Eirik* might not have phrased it perfectly, but it's a valid point. In a lot of old school play, character was emergent. You rolled up stats randomly, your magic items were largely left to serendipity, and Fighter #2 was a valid character name. A lot of characters died at low levels, leading to a winnowing out process where the typical survivor was better than average (though not always). There was a strong push back, from cultural and rules angles, against thinking too far ahead. It's true the editions had some conflict ideas about this (2e was notorious for promoting princesses & paladins, without having any rules that really supported that kind of character longevity), and there were tons of players who played differently (me included, though that's a complex answer). But there was a fairly strong tendency.

Third edition started with a similar mentality -- if you remember Erik Noah's site (pre-EN World) and the updates, all the designer talk, and the initial push of the gameplay out of the gate, they really though it was going to play a lot more like older editions that it did. But as people looked at what the rules did instead of coming in with pre-existing expectations, that broke down in a lot of ways, including attitudes toward character longevity. The build mentality is probably the best example, because 3.0 and especially 3.5 really encouraged players to decide on things like feats and prestige classes in advance, creating an expected progression that often included very precise and finicky allocations of things like feats and skill points to meet all the requirements. With that much work invested, there was a lot more pressure to find a way for characters to survive. Combined with more formalized notions of level appropriate encounters, more liberal magic item creation rules, and so on; it led to a very different experience.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 01, 2021, 06:09:41 PM
P.S., as an example of this conflict.  In 1e, could you imagine a fighter who found a magic hammer turning it down (unless they already had a far superior magic weapon)?  But from 3e to PF to 5e, I've had players that eschewed a magic weapon for a non-magical on, because the magic weapon conflicted with their build.  "I'm not going to use a +1 longsword... my whole build is based around using Polearm Master and Sentinel!"  Yeah, not what I ever experienced in older editions...

Weapon Specialisation is a thing going back to Unearthed Arcana.

Sure I will take less attacks per round just to use your +1 magic hammer - said no one.
That's one of the reasons why some grognards draw the line before UA was released. And much as I love BECMI's weapon mastery, it's worse. Five feat-equivalents in, and you're not switching.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Shasarak on January 01, 2021, 06:27:12 PM
P.S., as an example of this conflict.  In 1e, could you imagine a fighter who found a magic hammer turning it down (unless they already had a far superior magic weapon)?  But from 3e to PF to 5e, I've had players that eschewed a magic weapon for a non-magical on, because the magic weapon conflicted with their build.  "I'm not going to use a +1 longsword... my whole build is based around using Polearm Master and Sentinel!"  Yeah, not what I ever experienced in older editions...

Weapon Specialisation is a thing going back to Unearthed Arcana.

Sure I will take less attacks per round just to use your +1 magic hammer - said no one.
That's one of the reasons why some grognards draw the line before UA was released. And much as I love BECMI's weapon mastery, it's worse. Five feat-equivalents in, and you're not switching.

But Pat its a +1 magic hammer

A +1!
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: HappyDaze on January 01, 2021, 06:44:25 PM
P.S., as an example of this conflict.  In 1e, could you imagine a fighter who found a magic hammer turning it down (unless they already had a far superior magic weapon)?  But from 3e to PF to 5e, I've had players that eschewed a magic weapon for a non-magical on, because the magic weapon conflicted with their build.  "I'm not going to use a +1 longsword... my whole build is based around using Polearm Master and Sentinel!"  Yeah, not what I ever experienced in older editions...

Weapon Specialisation is a thing going back to Unearthed Arcana.

Sure I will take less attacks per round just to use your +1 magic hammer - said no one.
That's one of the reasons why some grognards draw the line before UA was released. And much as I love BECMI's weapon mastery, it's worse. Five feat-equivalents in, and you're not switching.

But Pat its a +1 magic hammer

A +1!
I'd still keep it around for all of those nails that are immune to nonmagical weapons.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 01, 2021, 06:48:51 PM
P.S., as an example of this conflict.  In 1e, could you imagine a fighter who found a magic hammer turning it down (unless they already had a far superior magic weapon)?  But from 3e to PF to 5e, I've had players that eschewed a magic weapon for a non-magical on, because the magic weapon conflicted with their build.  "I'm not going to use a +1 longsword... my whole build is based around using Polearm Master and Sentinel!"  Yeah, not what I ever experienced in older editions...

Weapon Specialisation is a thing going back to Unearthed Arcana.

Sure I will take less attacks per round just to use your +1 magic hammer - said no one.
That's one of the reasons why some grognards draw the line before UA was released. And much as I love BECMI's weapon mastery, it's worse. Five feat-equivalents in, and you're not switching.

But Pat its a +1 magic hammer

A +1!
A master wouldn't even throw back a +3 magic hammer of hurling.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Eirikrautha on January 01, 2021, 09:54:45 PM
P.S., as an example of this conflict.  In 1e, could you imagine a fighter who found a magic hammer turning it down (unless they already had a far superior magic weapon)?  But from 3e to PF to 5e, I've had players that eschewed a magic weapon for a non-magical on, because the magic weapon conflicted with their build.  "I'm not going to use a +1 longsword... my whole build is based around using Polearm Master and Sentinel!"  Yeah, not what I ever experienced in older editions...

Weapon Specialisation is a thing going back to Unearthed Arcana.

Sure I will take less attacks per round just to use your +1 magic hammer - said no one.
That's one of the reasons why some grognards draw the line before UA was released. And much as I love BECMI's weapon mastery, it's worse. Five feat-equivalents in, and you're not switching.

But Pat its a +1 magic hammer

A +1!

Well, I recognize that editions like 3.5 and PF have such broken mechanics that your characters can have +20 to skills and to hit by the time they are in their mid to late teens.  But, in AD&D you could easily have a character whose primary stat gave them a +1 to hit for the entire career of the character (that 17 you rolled didn't increase outside of very rare magic items).  So a +1 effectively doubled your attribute bonus.  But I recognize that's a foreign land to many of you.  Making fun of a +1 magic item in OD&D or AD&D shows how little you know what you are talking about (not everyone played in Monty Haul campaigns all the time)...
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Abraxus on January 02, 2021, 12:48:28 AM
The points they actually make are far more nuanced, but it's a lot easier to just create strawmen to knock down than to address arguments made by real people.

Just because you claim something is a strawman does not automatically make it so. I notice those who use it hide behind it when they can't really refute the point I made or it's attempt to make one look smarter. Or that it somehow makes the counterpoint have more weight. Note it really does not.

And 3e was a major shift in terms of optimization. The roots go back further, but it became a lot more important in 3e, and that was also accompanied by a culture shift, including the rise of the char op board on WotC website, the increase in the sense of player entitlement and the corresponding decrease in the authority of the Viking hat to curb abuses, builds, a greater degree of dependence on stats, a greater differential between optimized and non-optimized characters, and a lot more.

Oh please spare me the horseshit with your bullshit.

Optimization existed just as much in the Pre-3E days. You think no one ever optimized or because it's your favored edition that somehow optimization never happened with 1E or 2E. Some classes even encouraged it because if one did not meet the attribute requirements one could not take the class. The Ranger and the Paladin are a good example of it. As for Viking Hats we respect and always will respect the DM as we expect to receive the same. Let me tell something if the DM was an asshole no amount of viking hat crap was going to keep us at the table. Same applies and applied to player. If we were not having fun then like we were now we got and walked away and we still walk away. No imaginary Viking hat was going to keep any player who was and is not having fun at the table.

Except you Grognards love to think that somehow your favored pre-3E edition never had flaws. Nor the DMs or players who played and ran them had any flaws. No character optimization ever happened. I expect that kind of attitude from the younger 5E crowd the older gamers should know better. Whatever keep pushing the carefully constructed personal narrative that pre-3E never had issues as we all know nothing can go against the narrative. 

Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 02, 2021, 01:05:02 AM
The points they actually make are far more nuanced, but it's a lot easier to just create strawmen to knock down than to address arguments made by real people.

Just because you claim something is a strawman does not automatically make it so. I notice those who use it hide behind it when they can't really refute the point I made or it's attempt to make one look smarter. Or that it somehow makes the counterpoint have more weight. Note it really does not.
I refuted the point you made. You literally quoted it (below). On strawmen...

And 3e was a major shift in terms of optimization. The roots go back further, but it became a lot more important in 3e, and that was also accompanied by a culture shift, including the rise of the char op board on WotC website, the increase in the sense of player entitlement and the corresponding decrease in the authority of the Viking hat to curb abuses, builds, a greater degree of dependence on stats, a greater differential between optimized and non-optimized characters, and a lot more.

Oh please spare me the horseshit with your bullshit.

Optimization existed just as much in the Pre-3E days. You think no one ever optimized or because it's your favored edition that somehow optimization never happened with 1E or 2E. Some classes even encouraged it because if one did not meet the attribute requirements one could not take the class. The Ranger and the Paladin are a good example of it. As for Viking Hats we respect and always will respect the DM as we expect to receive the same. Let me tell something if the DM was an asshole no amount of viking hat crap was going to keep us at the table. Same applies and applied to player. If we were not having fun then like we were now we got and walked away and we still walk away. No imaginary Viking hat was going to keep any player who was and is not having fun at the table.

Except you Grognards love to think that somehow your favored pre-3E edition never had flaws. Nor the DMs or players who played and ran them had any flaws. No character optimization ever happened. I expect that kind of attitude from the younger 5E crowd the older gamers should know better. Whatever keep pushing the carefully constructed personal narrative that pre-3E never had issues as we all know nothing can go against the narrative.
I never said optimization didn't exist prior to 3e. In fact, I said the exact opposite, that all the roots were there. I emphasized that there was a difference in degree, which implies a lesser quantity, not an absence. That's a perfect example of a strawman. You literally ignored everything I said and fabricated a completely fantasy to rebut.

I also talked about my experience with third edition, implying I liked it, and talked about grognards in the third person. Yet you're pretending I'm a grogard, even though what I said explicitly contradicted it. Another strawman. Although strawman is probably too weak a term, because it's normally used for overly simplified caricatures of an actual argument, and you just ignored what I said and invented stuff.

You're also implying anyone who doesn't favor your preferred playstyle has no respect for others, and you called them assholes. Which is an asshole move. You also fail to understand the Viking hat metaphor.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Abraxus on January 02, 2021, 01:05:10 AM
Nah, let them babble.  The fact that I play 5e far more than OSR wouldn't even phase them.  They are what they accuse others of being: cultists, but they don't even have the slight redeeming quality of being cultists for something, just cultists against something.

The Pot called and it wants it's kettle back. You come here make blanket and wrong statements about pre-3E versions of D&SD while also ignoring the flaws of older editions because you favor them. I am no cultist yet don't try and con gamers into thinking older editions never had optimization it did have it. Simply because it's a favored edition of D&D. If you don't want or expect pushback don't post on a gaming forum. Your not getting an echo chamber.

Well, I recognize that editions like 3.5 and PF have such broken mechanics that your characters can have +20 to skills and to hit by the time they are in their mid to late teens.  But, in AD&D you could easily have a character whose primary stat gave them a +1 to hit for the entire career of the character (that 17 you rolled didn't increase outside of very rare magic items).  So a +1 effectively doubled your attribute bonus.  But I recognize that's a foreign land to many of you.  Making fun of a +1 magic item in OD&D or AD&D shows how little you know what you are talking about (not everyone played in Monty Haul campaigns all the time)...

Here is a little secret even in older editions players once they received +1 weapons were looking to upgrade them to better weapons. As eventually the weapon became useless against anything with a +2 or better to hit. o either you lucked out with DMs who went out of their way to go easy on you and the rest of the players as that +1 weapon at higher levels stops being effective for the most part. That creature that has +2 or better to hit is not going to be effected by that +1 sword of yours. It's been going on since 1E With 3.5/PF and Damage Resistance a +1 weapon in those so called editions that you call broken actually made a +1 weapon last longer. With DR one can still hit a creature that requires magic weapons the +1 Sword for example does less damage and one should still upgrade it yet one can get more mileage out of a +1 weapon. I actually carry a +1 weapon as a backup when I play a melee character. So I wonder if you actually played 3.5/Pathfinder or going off the wrong secondhand information.S.

But hey we don't know what we are talking about and all Monty haulers so what we know.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Abraxus on January 02, 2021, 01:22:32 AM
Pretty much. The OSR is basically an RPG cult obsessed with OD&D. They see in OD&D whatever they want to see--like people who see the visage of Jesus in burned toast. And OD&D rules are always uniquely suited to handle every eventuality better than other RPGs, even if it didn't include any rules for it, because even the absence of a rule is seen as a feature that promotes creative problem solving, as opposed to the books simply not covering those things.

I am starting to see that.

I have seen it also with the 4E and 5E crowd as well. Yet inevitably with the grognards it's "optimization nah never happened before 3E." with "your a Monty Hauler if you mock a +1 weapon with no clue to what your talking about". As again before 3E no one ever wanted to upgrade their +1 Sword. Let's ignore the fact that many creatures were immune to that weapon once one began encountering the +2 or better weapon to hit creatures.  PF/3.5 has it's flaws at least one can get more out of +1 weapon with Damage Resistance vs it having no effect on a creature.

A&D incentivized fighters rolling ridiculous STR, cuz all the real bonuses were gated behind the silly % nonsense. So you need to roll a 18, then roll REALLY high on the d100 to get a decent damage bonus. Not to mention the pointlessness of ability scores when a 17 in STR only gave you a measly +1 to hit and damage. At that point you might as well do away with ability scores if they're only gonna give you crap, since the scores themselves are largely superficial. Spellcasters themselves basically REQUIRED 18 WIS or INT out of the gate or they would NEVER be able to cast level 7 (divine) or 9 spells (arcane), unless the DM was generous enough to include items that permanently increased their scores. There have always been a lot of silly restrictions or conceits you have to put up with in D&D.

I always found that 18/25 Str % strange myself and imo really added nothing to the game. Your also correct about the high stats which continued into 3E. Somehow that never existed in earlier editions of the rpg and it's all those new fangled version of D&D at fault.

One cannot remove ability scores in D&D as so much is tied to them. Not without much work or trying another rpg where ability scores are not so tied to what a character can do. 
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: SHARK on January 02, 2021, 03:17:26 AM
Greetings!

Well, character optimization has always existed, from the old days of D&D, that's for certain. I think though, it certainly has increased by degree, as the mechanics of the newer editions have greatly magnified and facilitated such character optimization. Character optimization is fine. Going all in for the absolute maximum mechanical advantages can be fun--though it also can overlook or miss out on other emphasis in character development. There are different play styles, with different approaches and goals embraced by different players, which is also great.

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Shasarak on January 02, 2021, 04:24:01 AM
Well, I recognize that editions like 3.5 and PF have such broken mechanics that your characters can have +20 to skills and to hit by the time they are in their mid to late teens.  But, in AD&D you could easily have a character whose primary stat gave them a +1 to hit for the entire career of the character (that 17 you rolled didn't increase outside of very rare magic items).  So a +1 effectively doubled your attribute bonus.  But I recognize that's a foreign land to many of you.  Making fun of a +1 magic item in OD&D or AD&D shows how little you know what you are talking about (not everyone played in Monty Haul campaigns all the time)...

If your characters are all dieing before 4th level then maybe you should try some of the character optimisation that people keep talking about.

Either that or try a more forgiving game like 5e or something.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Shrieking Banshee on January 02, 2021, 05:50:27 AM
I feel OSR style meatgrinder games real opponents aren't later D&D editions but roguelike games.

If I want to play a game with minimum stats, a grueling challenge, and descending into dungeons for loot and using my wits to beat it, but with minimal character care backstory or stuff il play Delve, or Binding of Isaac.

Edit:

Unexplored is also really great because it encourages evasion and cleverness-not combat.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Chris24601 on January 02, 2021, 08:46:13 AM
Pretty much. The OSR is basically an RPG cult obsessed with OD&D.
I am starting to see that.

I have seen it also with the 4E and 5E crowd as well.
I’ll admit, 4E is my favorite edition of D&D, but even I can acknowledge its flaws which is why my spiritual successor project isn’t just some retroclone, but it’s own system now. Also, these days I’d either use my own system or Palladium Fantasy before I’d use 4E for my fantasy itch.

And to be fair to some of the OSR crowd who push it; RPGPundit made his name by releasing OSR titles; of course he’s going to tout OSR as the best thing since sliced bread. It’s in his financial interests to tout it (and his titles specifically) as the solution to all things tabletop RPG related. For him to do otherwise would be like expecting a Ford dealership to start touting the benefits of a Toyota.

By the same token, you’ll not see me badmouth my own system anywhere either; though I will admit that, even with the various optional rules I included to tailor the experience to let you play it more like other editions, OSR is what it can emulate least well (there’s only so far you can bend the default settings of “Big Damn Heroes” and “a choice to make each time you level”).

As to optimization, it was definitely a thing in Basic and AD&D; have you ever looked at the base scores of the solo fighter used to teach you the game in the Red Box? Or the ability scores of the pre-gen heroes in 1e Dragonlance modules (which were my first introduction to AD&D)?

Those were NOT characters you got from rolling 3d6 in order, nor does their backstory indicate dozens upon dozens of associates who died along the way getting to DL-1 Dragons of Despair indicative of these having been just the survivors who made it to level 4-6 for the adventure.

Their stats were clearly assigned based on campaign needs and the magic items in the dungeons were likewise preselected to be useful to the pre-gen PCs (almost as if the much poo-pooed “wish list” of 4E were being employed).

The main thing that 3e (or more accurately any “Living” campaign from that era who always used point buy scores) did and 4E continued was to forego the pretense and let you just assign good stats where you wanted them for your PC to begin with instead of pretending that some players didn’t roll multiple times to get just the right scores or just outright fudged the results and hoped the GM wouldn’t notice... or worst case just suicided the subpar characters so they could get a new PC with possibly better stats.

I remember one DM who outright said he was so sick of people messing with stat rolling and pretending their results were honest that he was just giving us all straight 18s and max hit points for every level, but would be upping the danger accordingly.

CharOps absolutely happened in older editions, it was just that a huge part of it was how well you could BS the DM into believing (or at least giving a pass because it wasn’t outrageous) that your stats were actually the legitimate result of 3d6 in order.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: mightybrain on January 02, 2021, 09:50:19 AM
We either roll in front of each other - in the first session, or for online games we use an online roller. So there's no real way to cheat other than using loaded dice.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Abraxus on January 02, 2021, 10:54:14 AM
No one has to like Optimization. I am not a fan of too much of it. I'm also not a fan of sub-par character creation either. Yet out of the two I rather have the first at my table as I can handle them easier and they can usually get the job done. The second tends to want be as good as the first yet blame everyone else when they can't do much or little at the game table.

It just seems like many perhaps too many have this romanticized view of the hobby where before 3E not hegative every happened imo. CharOps never happened. Monty Haul style campaigns can happen with any an all editions of D&D as it's more of a DM thing than the actual rules nah never happened. Unfortunately for them it did it was the pre-internet days and unlike now where one can see it on CharOps forums it all happened behind closed doors at gamers home games. To act like somehow 3E and later version of D&D made it easier don't piss on my leg and tell me it's not raining.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 02, 2021, 11:00:46 AM
No one has to like Optimization. I am not a fan of too much of it. I'm also not a fan of sub-par character creation either. Yet out of the two I rather have the first at my table as I can handle them easier and they can usually get the job done. The second tends to want be as good as the first yet blame everyone else when they can't do much or little at the game table.

It just seems like many perhaps too many have this romanticized view of the hobby where before 3E not hegative every happened imo. CharOps never happened. Monty Haul style campaigns can happen with any an all editions of D&D as it's more of a DM thing than the actual rules nah never happened. Unfortunately for them it did it was the pre-internet days and unlike now where one can see it on CharOps forums it all happened behind closed doors at gamers home games. To act like somehow 3E and later version of D&D made it easier don't piss on my leg and tell me it's not raining.
Monty Haul as a term describing a type of campaign dates back to at least the early 1980s. Read the preface for Supplement IV: Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes (1976), where Tim Kask rants about power gamers whose characters have reached absurd levels (40th). Read the letter in Dragon about using push to kill Thor and then take Mjolnir, or the even more notorious Waldorf.

Literally nobody in the history of the hobby has ever made the arguments you're so angry about.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Eirikrautha on January 02, 2021, 11:24:52 AM
Nah, let them babble.  The fact that I play 5e far more than OSR wouldn't even phase them.  They are what they accuse others of being: cultists, but they don't even have the slight redeeming quality of being cultists for something, just cultists against something.

The Pot called and it wants it's kettle back. You come here make blanket and wrong statements about pre-3E versions of D&SD while also ignoring the flaws of older editions because you favor them. I am no cultist yet don't try and con gamers into thinking older editions never had optimization it did have it. Simply because it's a favored edition of D&D. If you don't want or expect pushback don't post on a gaming forum. Your not getting an echo chamber.

Show me where I said that I favor older editions (in fact, I said the opposite above, I play more 5e than 1e).  Show me where I said older editions had no flaws (in fact, I said that the issues with mechanics started in 1e).  Show me where I said older editions had no optimization.  I said they had much less optimization and of a different kind (no "builds").

The only echo chamber here is between your ears, since you obviously can't hear a single thing anyone else is saying.

Well, I recognize that editions like 3.5 and PF have such broken mechanics that your characters can have +20 to skills and to hit by the time they are in their mid to late teens.  But, in AD&D you could easily have a character whose primary stat gave them a +1 to hit for the entire career of the character (that 17 you rolled didn't increase outside of very rare magic items).  So a +1 effectively doubled your attribute bonus.  But I recognize that's a foreign land to many of you.  Making fun of a +1 magic item in OD&D or AD&D shows how little you know what you are talking about (not everyone played in Monty Haul campaigns all the time)...

Here is a little secret even in older editions players once they received +1 weapons were looking to upgrade them to better weapons. As eventually the weapon became useless against anything with a +2 or better to hit. o either you lucked out with DMs who went out of their way to go easy on you and the rest of the players as that +1 weapon at higher levels stops being effective for the most part. That creature that has +2 or better to hit is not going to be effected by that +1 sword of yours. It's been going on since 1E With 3.5/PF and Damage Resistance a +1 weapon in those so called editions that you call broken actually made a +1 weapon last longer. With DR one can still hit a creature that requires magic weapons the +1 Sword for example does less damage and one should still upgrade it yet one can get more mileage out of a +1 weapon. I actually carry a +1 weapon as a backup when I play a melee character. So I wonder if you actually played 3.5/Pathfinder or going off the wrong secondhand information.S.

But hey we don't know what we are talking about and all Monty haulers so what we know.

What the hell does your screed above have to do with my point, which is that AD&D had much fewer and smaller bonuses, and that (in 1e as we played it, usually without UE) most players didn't look down their nose at a magic weapon when all they had were mundane weapons?  Oh, wait, it has nothing to do with it.  Of course players were looking for better items; they just didn't define "better" as "fits the build I decided upon six levels ago and took all my feats for," since that didn't exist.  Dude, I'm done with you.  You can't have a conversation with someone that isn't even listening...
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Eirikrautha on January 02, 2021, 11:27:50 AM
The fact that I play 5e far more than OSR wouldn't even phase them.
Either that or try a more forgiving game like 5e or something.

Dude...reading is fundamental...
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Abraxus on January 02, 2021, 11:31:26 AM
Literally nobody in the history of the hobby has ever made the arguments you're so angry about.

Not angry at all.

First my arguments are Strawmen now no one has ever made similar arguments.

Keep up the good fight sad disingenuous clown you make me laugh.

Dude, I'm done with you.  You can't have a conversation with someone that isn't even listening...

You come here guns a blazing with your posts and when posters dare to criticize or push-back against your posts you get all pissy  and angry. Maybe look in the mirror and not engage in the same behavior you accuse others of. From what I can see of your posts it's all about carefully constructed personal narratives. Anything and everything that goes against sad narrative does not exist

I'm done also engaging with you and Path at least on this thread. Join Pat as a member of the sad disingenuous clown club, you both make me laugh

Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: VisionStorm on January 02, 2021, 12:44:28 PM
P.S., as an example of this conflict.  In 1e, could you imagine a fighter who found a magic hammer turning it down (unless they already had a far superior magic weapon)?  But from 3e to PF to 5e, I've had players that eschewed a magic weapon for a non-magical on, because the magic weapon conflicted with their build.  "I'm not going to use a +1 longsword... my whole build is based around using Polearm Master and Sentinel!"  Yeah, not what I ever experienced in older editions...

Weapon Specialisation is a thing going back to Unearthed Arcana.

Sure I will take less attacks per round just to use your +1 magic hammer - said no one.
That's one of the reasons why some grognards draw the line before UA was released. And much as I love BECMI's weapon mastery, it's worse. Five feat-equivalents in, and you're not switching.

But Pat its a +1 magic hammer

A +1!

Well, I recognize that editions like 3.5 and PF have such broken mechanics that your characters can have +20 to skills and to hit by the time they are in their mid to late teens.  But, in AD&D you could easily have a character whose primary stat gave them a +1 to hit for the entire career of the character (that 17 you rolled didn't increase outside of very rare magic items).  So a +1 effectively doubled your attribute bonus.  But I recognize that's a foreign land to many of you.  Making fun of a +1 magic item in OD&D or AD&D shows how little you know what you are talking about (not everyone played in Monty Haul campaigns all the time)...

Show me where I said that I favor 3.5 and PF.  Show me where I said 3.5 and PF editions have no flaws. Show me where I said ability score or (specially) skill bonuses in later editions weren't too high. I said that optimization in old D&D was still a thing and old D&D still had builds (technically, I didn't mention that specifically, but you could make a high AC "DEX" fighter or focus on STR or CON instead even in old D&D).

The only echo chamber here is between your ears, since you obviously can't hear a single thing anyone else is saying.

Nah, let them babble.  The fact that I play 5e far more than OSR wouldn't even phase them.  They are what they accuse others of being: cultists, but they don't even have the slight redeeming quality of being cultists for something, just cultists against something.

The Pot called and it wants it's kettle back. You come here make blanket and wrong statements about pre-3E versions of D&SD while also ignoring the flaws of older editions because you favor them. I am no cultist yet don't try and con gamers into thinking older editions never had optimization it did have it. Simply because it's a favored edition of D&D. If you don't want or expect pushback don't post on a gaming forum. Your not getting an echo chamber.

Show me where I said that I favor older editions (in fact, I said the opposite above, I play more 5e than 1e).  Show me where I said older editions had no flaws (in fact, I said that the issues with mechanics started in 1e).  Show me where I said older editions had no optimization.  I said they had much less optimization and of a different kind (no "builds").

The only echo chamber here is between your ears, since you obviously can't hear a single thing anyone else is saying.

Two can play that game  :P
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 02, 2021, 01:06:01 PM
Literally nobody in the history of the hobby has ever made the arguments you're so angry about.

Not angry at all.

First my arguments are Strawmen now no one has ever made similar arguments.

Keep up the good fight sad disingenuous clown you make me laugh.
Strawmen are fictitious arguments that no one makes. That you can't even recognize a synonym isn't laughworthy, it's just sad.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Chris24601 on January 02, 2021, 01:25:07 PM
We either roll in front of each other - in the first session, or for online games we use an online roller. So there's no real way to cheat other than using loaded dice.
Sure there is; suicide the character you don't like by doing stupidly dangerous things. Repeat until you get a result you like. Takes longer, sure, but you'll get what you're looking for eventually... you'll just annoy the rest of the group if you keep doing it too much.

Which is why the notion of Point Buy and Arrays are so popular in modern systems. It saves a lot of time and frustration by just letting the players start out with a PC they actually want to use while also preventing other forms of cheating (because the GM can easily do a "check sum" of the scores and they don't have to break from the rest of the PCs to watch them roll in the middle of a session because their last character died to make sure they aren't massaging the results).

I know random stats is a huge part of the OSR experience... and that's just one of many reasons I'm NOT an OSR fan. In my three and a half decades of experience the only thing random stat rolls are good for is stories of funny PC deaths as those who rolled crap run through PCs in ridiculous ways until they get one that doesn't suck (and the occasional even funnier story of a crap PC that a player keeps trying to suicide and fails because the dice keep saving them).

Personally, I prefer to skip that step and just get on with an actual campaign where we're playing real characters and not collections of stats we haven't even named yet because we're not sure they'll survive their first session. If I wanted THAT I'd play a more in-depth board game; same tactical decisions, no pretenses that they're actual characters with drives and goals making in-universe decisions instead of cardboard cutouts you're waiting to see if its worth even slapping a name onto.

Hell, EVEN Palladium Books; godfather of never changing core mechanics; has acknowledged how nonsense completely random stats are in RPGs. Their second edition Robotech RPG (the one with The Shadow Chronicles as part of it) actually lets you choose one of eight arrays (based on which stat you want to be highest) where the variance is, for example; Fast Reflexes and High Dexterity: I.Q. 1D4+10, M.E. 1D6+9, M.A. 1D6+8, P.S. 1D6+9, P.P. 1D6+19, P.E. 1D6+9, P.B. 1D6+10, Spd 1D6+17.

So the absolute WORST you can possibly do with that is; IQ 11, ME 10, MA 9, PS 10, PP 20 (+3 to strike/parry/dodge), PE 10, PB 11, Spd 18.

The absolute best is (remember 15 or less is no bonus); IQ 14, ME 15, MA 14, PS 15, PP 25 (+5 to strike/parry/dodge), PE 15, PB 16 (30% charm/impress), Spd 23.

Basically, the clamp on best/worst is now +2 to strike/parry/dodge (or about +/-5% from the average result) if you decide on that build.

If even Palladium Books is abandoning completely random rolls for an almost pre-determined result (it's Palladium, they can only bend so far), that just about says it all.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: mightybrain on January 02, 2021, 01:50:36 PM
What actually happened was that one player decided he didn't like his rolls and just flat out threw it away and rolled another. The second wasn't significantly better than the first and the rest of us mocked him for doing it. He's not tried it again.

It's not cheating as such: just exposing your immaturity as a player to the rest of your group.

If I roll bad stats (and I do, a lot) it's disappointing, but you make do with what you get. That's the game.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: HappyDaze on January 02, 2021, 02:02:51 PM
What actually happened was that one player decided he didn't like his rolls and just flat out threw it away and rolled another. The second wasn't significantly better than the first and the rest of us mocked him for doing it. He's not tried it again.

It's not cheating as such: just exposing your immaturity as a player to the rest of your group.

If I roll bad stats (and I do, a lot) it's disappointing, but you make do with what you get. That's the game.
IIRC, there's no written rule that you have to play any character you generate (whether by a random or non-random method).
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: mightybrain on January 02, 2021, 02:09:38 PM
IIRC, there's no written rule that you have to play any character you generate (whether by a random or non-random method).

I have the Mentzer Red Box Player's Manual to hand:
Quote
Now find your highest Ability Score.
If it is less than 9, you should roll all the
Scores again. You may keep the character
if you wish, but he or she probably
won't be suitable for dangerous adventuring!
However, before you discard the
character, ask your Dungeon Master
what to do. Your DM might prefer that
you play the character you rolled, especially
if you are an experienced player.
If two or more Ability Scores are less
than 6, the character may have problems
later on. This type of character should
also be discarded, unless the DM says
otherwise.
You can adjust the' Ability Scores in
step 3 (Exchange Ability Points), but first
you must decide what Class your character
will be.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Eirikrautha on January 02, 2021, 02:13:39 PM
P.S., as an example of this conflict.  In 1e, could you imagine a fighter who found a magic hammer turning it down (unless they already had a far superior magic weapon)?  But from 3e to PF to 5e, I've had players that eschewed a magic weapon for a non-magical on, because the magic weapon conflicted with their build.  "I'm not going to use a +1 longsword... my whole build is based around using Polearm Master and Sentinel!"  Yeah, not what I ever experienced in older editions...

Weapon Specialisation is a thing going back to Unearthed Arcana.

Sure I will take less attacks per round just to use your +1 magic hammer - said no one.
That's one of the reasons why some grognards draw the line before UA was released. And much as I love BECMI's weapon mastery, it's worse. Five feat-equivalents in, and you're not switching.

But Pat its a +1 magic hammer

A +1!

Well, I recognize that editions like 3.5 and PF have such broken mechanics that your characters can have +20 to skills and to hit by the time they are in their mid to late teens.  But, in AD&D you could easily have a character whose primary stat gave them a +1 to hit for the entire career of the character (that 17 you rolled didn't increase outside of very rare magic items).  So a +1 effectively doubled your attribute bonus.  But I recognize that's a foreign land to many of you.  Making fun of a +1 magic item in OD&D or AD&D shows how little you know what you are talking about (not everyone played in Monty Haul campaigns all the time)...

Show me where I said that I favor 3.5 and PF.  Show me where I said 3.5 and PF editions have no flaws. Show me where I said ability score or (specially) skill bonuses in later editions weren't too high. I said that optimization in old D&D was still a thing and old D&D still had builds (technically, I didn't mention that specifically, but you could make a high AC "DEX" fighter or focus on STR or CON instead even in old D&D).

The only echo chamber here is between your ears, since you obviously can't hear a single thing anyone else is saying.

Nah, let them babble.  The fact that I play 5e far more than OSR wouldn't even phase them.  They are what they accuse others of being: cultists, but they don't even have the slight redeeming quality of being cultists for something, just cultists against something.

The Pot called and it wants it's kettle back. You come here make blanket and wrong statements about pre-3E versions of D&SD while also ignoring the flaws of older editions because you favor them. I am no cultist yet don't try and con gamers into thinking older editions never had optimization it did have it. Simply because it's a favored edition of D&D. If you don't want or expect pushback don't post on a gaming forum. Your not getting an echo chamber.

Show me where I said that I favor older editions (in fact, I said the opposite above, I play more 5e than 1e).  Show me where I said older editions had no flaws (in fact, I said that the issues with mechanics started in 1e).  Show me where I said older editions had no optimization.  I said they had much less optimization and of a different kind (no "builds").

The only echo chamber here is between your ears, since you obviously can't hear a single thing anyone else is saying.

Two can play that game  :P
Well, considering that wasn't talking to you, nor do I care what you've said... whatever...
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Abraxus on January 02, 2021, 02:21:45 PM
Literally nobody in the history of the hobby has ever made the arguments you're so angry about.

Not angry at all.

First my arguments are Strawmen now no one has ever made similar arguments.

Keep up the good fight sad disingenuous clown you make me laugh.
Strawmen are fictitious arguments that no one makes. That you can't even recognize a synonym isn't laughworthy, it's just sad.

Dance Sad Disingenuous Clown Dance. Here have rusty dented tin cup and a wooden nickels from me for your efforts.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 02, 2021, 02:24:25 PM
Literally nobody in the history of the hobby has ever made the arguments you're so angry about.

Not angry at all.

First my arguments are Strawmen now no one has ever made similar arguments.

Keep up the good fight sad disingenuous clown you make me laugh.
Strawmen are fictitious arguments that no one makes. That you can't even recognize a synonym isn't laughworthy, it's just sad.

Dance Sad Disingenuous Clown Dance. Here have rusty dented tin cup and a wooden nickels from me for your efforts.
So just insults on top of insults on top of insults.

Good argument.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Blink_Dog on January 02, 2021, 02:36:33 PM
He is full of shit overall, but I can see his point when it comes to more modern rpg's. If you play an OSR style game, 3D6 in order with old school HD rules you avoid optimization 90% of the time.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: VisionStorm on January 02, 2021, 02:56:05 PM
We either roll in front of each other - in the first session, or for online games we use an online roller. So there's no real way to cheat other than using loaded dice.
Sure there is; suicide the character you don't like by doing stupidly dangerous things. Repeat until you get a result you like. Takes longer, sure, but you'll get what you're looking for eventually... you'll just annoy the rest of the group if you keep doing it too much.

Which is why the notion of Point Buy and Arrays are so popular in modern systems. It saves a lot of time and frustration by just letting the players start out with a PC they actually want to use while also preventing other forms of cheating (because the GM can easily do a "check sum" of the scores and they don't have to break from the rest of the PCs to watch them roll in the middle of a session because their last character died to make sure they aren't massaging the results).

I know random stats is a huge part of the OSR experience... and that's just one of many reasons I'm NOT an OSR fan. In my three and a half decades of experience the only thing random stat rolls are good for is stories of funny PC deaths as those who rolled crap run through PCs in ridiculous ways until they get one that doesn't suck (and the occasional even funnier story of a crap PC that a player keeps trying to suicide and fails because the dice keep saving them).

Personally, I prefer to skip that step and just get on with an actual campaign where we're playing real characters and not collections of stats we haven't even named yet because we're not sure they'll survive their first session. If I wanted THAT I'd play a more in-depth board game; same tactical decisions, no pretenses that they're actual characters with drives and goals making in-universe decisions instead of cardboard cutouts you're waiting to see if its worth even slapping a name onto.

Hell, EVEN Palladium Books; godfather of never changing core mechanics; has acknowledged how nonsense completely random stats are in RPGs. Their second edition Robotech RPG (the one with The Shadow Chronicles as part of it) actually lets you choose one of eight arrays (based on which stat you want to be highest) where the variance is, for example; Fast Reflexes and High Dexterity: I.Q. 1D4+10, M.E. 1D6+9, M.A. 1D6+8, P.S. 1D6+9, P.P. 1D6+19, P.E. 1D6+9, P.B. 1D6+10, Spd 1D6+17.

So the absolute WORST you can possibly do with that is; IQ 11, ME 10, MA 9, PS 10, PP 20 (+3 to strike/parry/dodge), PE 10, PB 11, Spd 18.

The absolute best is (remember 15 or less is no bonus); IQ 14, ME 15, MA 14, PS 15, PP 25 (+5 to strike/parry/dodge), PE 15, PB 16 (30% charm/impress), Spd 23.

Basically, the clamp on best/worst is now +2 to strike/parry/dodge (or about +/-5% from the average result) if you decide on that build.

If even Palladium Books is abandoning completely random rolls for an almost pre-determined result (it's Palladium, they can only bend so far), that just about says it all.

I've always been iffy on random ability scores and have only grown to dislike them more over the years. They provide too much variability IMO--way more than I believe exists IRL (granted, ability score values have always been kinda subjective, so it's hard to say what range of points, precisely, truly exists IRL)--and I don't like wide disparities between characters in terms of raw competence or power in my game. So I've moved more towards arrays over time.

In a d20 derived system I'm currently working on, I decided that all characters will have a base score of 10 in all abilities, with one ability starting at 14, and two starting at 12. Then your Race, Class and Subclass (which is similar to AD&D 2e Kits) selections grant you a +2 to one related ability score, each (I kinda stole this idea from PF 2e, by the way). That way all characters start with decent, but not overly high scores in their abilities that are somewhat related to their race and background, and ability scores can be determined relatively quickly.

On a side topic...I always hated the way that Palladium handled their ability scores, TBH. It uses more scores than I think are necessarily and most of them have absolutely ZERO impact in the game unless you have a score of at least 16, making them completely pointless, then if you roll a score of 16, you get an extra 1d6, which means you always skip the bonus that 16 gives you, unless you get it from one of the dozen skills that boost your stats.

Well, considering that wasn't talking to you, nor do I care what you've said... whatever...

Who you were addressing is irrelevant, since you were making broad proclamations on the topic in general that Shasarak never brought up either. And you did mention "many of you" in the part I bolded from your post, which presumably includes me, so you were talking to me or at least about me in passing. So my point still stands. :P
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Eirikrautha on January 02, 2021, 03:41:46 PM
What actually happened was that one player decided he didn't like his rolls and just flat out threw it away and rolled another. The second wasn't significantly better than the first and the rest of us mocked him for doing it. He's not tried it again.

It's not cheating as such: just exposing your immaturity as a player to the rest of your group.

If I roll bad stats (and I do, a lot) it's disappointing, but you make do with what you get. That's the game.
IIRC, there's no written rule that you have to play any character you generate (whether by a random or non-random method).
Very true.  Sometimes we'd 3d6 down the line.  Sometimes we'd 4d6 drop the lowest.  Sometimes we'd rearrange, sometimes we'd play them in order.  For a while we had a DM who'd let you roll 3d6 in order until you got a set you liked.  Some folks would roll for a half an hour at the beginning.  Whether this was based on the rules or not didn't matter.  It was all dependent on what kind of game we wanted for that campaign.

But the most "building" we did in the early editions was decide we might multi-class or dual-class in a few levels.  And, as I mentioned above, even our better statted characters were far more defined by what happened during play than any choices we made before starting.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: HappyDaze on January 02, 2021, 04:23:40 PM
IIRC, there's no written rule that you have to play any character you generate (whether by a random or non-random method).

I have the Mentzer Red Box Player's Manual to hand:
Quote
Now find your highest Ability Score.
If it is less than 9, you should roll all the
Scores again. You may keep the character
if you wish, but he or she probably
won't be suitable for dangerous adventuring!
However, before you discard the
character, ask your Dungeon Master
what to do. Your DM might prefer that
you play the character you rolled, especially
if you are an experienced player.
If two or more Ability Scores are less
than 6, the character may have problems
later on. This type of character should
also be discarded, unless the DM says
otherwise.
You can adjust the' Ability Scores in
step 3 (Exchange Ability Points), but first
you must decide what Class your character
will be.
Still doesn't mean you have to play them. DM's preferences should be considered,  and so too should players' preference.  After all, a DM needs playerss' preference to remain the DM of that group.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: TJS on January 02, 2021, 04:39:03 PM
We either roll in front of each other - in the first session, or for online games we use an online roller. So there's no real way to cheat other than using loaded dice.

I know random stats is a huge part of the OSR experience... and that's just one of many reasons I'm NOT an OSR fan. In my three and a half decades of experience the only thing random stat rolls are good for is stories of funny PC deaths as those who rolled crap run through PCs in ridiculous ways until they get one that doesn't suck (and the occasional even funnier story of a crap PC that a player keeps trying to suicide and fails because the dice keep saving them).
You'll likely get a story now of some 'awesome' character someone once played that could only have been generated by rolling dice.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Razor 007 on January 02, 2021, 04:54:08 PM
I am not a fan of playing with characters of vastly different power levels, outside of the martial vs caster construct.  I do not like the concepts of Feats, Feat Trees, or Optimization Builds.  That stuff turns into a game of Superheroes, instead of Heroes.

I say at Level 1:

Give Fighters a +1 to Hit, +1 to Damage, and +1 to Saves (Except Saves vs Magical Effects)

Give Casters a +1 to Hit with Ranged Spell Effects / Attacks, and a +1 to Saves vs Magical Effects (Because of their time spent studying / researching / observing the effects of Magic).

Give Thieves a +1 to succeed at all Thief Skills; and no other bonuses, outside of their class skills.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Kyle Aaron on January 02, 2021, 05:20:57 PM
Didn't watch. But here's the thing: we have point-buy, and we have random roll.

If you have point-buy, players will naturally try to get as much as they can for the points they have. They'll optimise. This is hard-wired into humans, that's why if 1 thing in the store is $100 and 2 things are $150, you get 2 - even though you actually only needed 1. That's why after the lockdowns took away commuting and gave my wife 2 hours a day to do things other than get dressed for work and walk to the train station, wait for the train and take the train to work, she's not keen to go back - she has 2 more hours to spend, and wants to spend them as best she can - the other 14 waking hours are already accounted for in work, kids, and so on.

Humans are creatures who want to best spend limited resources, like time, money and character points for "builds". Given limited spending, we look to optimise that spending, get as much as we can for it. This will always happen, and many game writer's and game master's hours have been wasted trying to stop players doing it.

But if they use random roll, that sidesteps the whole problem - assuming you consider it a problem. There's nothing to optimise during character generation. "Roll 3d6 down the line, choose the class you qualify for. Write it up."

Now, depending on the game system, there may be some optimisation later on with feats and skills as prerequisites for other feats and skills, and so on. So again, choose a different system, and avoid the entire problem.

The last point is that whatever system you use, you as game master have to emphasise to players that they're in a party of adventurers - they work together. The individual character doesn't have to be optimised for any and all situations, they just have to be good at 1 or 2 things - it's okay if they're crap at other things, because someone else in the party will be good at it. This is true of real world "adventurers who wok in a party" - soldiers. You don't expect the medic to be a crack shot, and you don't expect the machinegunner to be much of a medic.

This is a mindset thing, and unfortunately players' minds have been polluted by generations of computer games with a solo character who, by virtue of being on their own, simply has to be good at everything, and star vehicle movies with Mary Sue characters, like Tom Cruise's guy in the Mission Impossible movies. So the game master has to emphasise this to players, and construct scenarios which reward individual specialisation backed up by teamwork.

So: random roll, and teamwork. And then optimisation becomes impossible, irrelevant, and not desirable.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Shasarak on January 02, 2021, 05:45:28 PM
The fact that I play 5e far more than OSR wouldn't even phase them.
Either that or try a more forgiving game like 5e or something.

Dude...reading is fundamental...

Dude, thats the joke.

People that cant handle OSR....play 5th.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Mishihari on January 02, 2021, 05:56:08 PM
The fact that I play 5e far more than OSR wouldn't even phase them.
Either that or try a more forgiving game like 5e or something.

Dude...reading is fundamental...

Dude, thats the joke.

People that cant handle OSR....play 5th.

You should put "I use black font for sarcasm" in your sig.  I understand your posts so much better since you made that comment.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: BoxCrayonTales on January 02, 2021, 06:07:51 PM
If designers don't like optimization, then they shouldn't design trap options.

Just play an ultra rules light system like RISUS or something.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 02, 2021, 08:21:59 PM
If designers don't like optimization, then they shouldn't design trap options.

Just play an ultra rules light system like RISUS or something.
Excluded middle. RPGs aren't vital equipment where failure could mean the death of millions, they're games played by and adjudicated by humans. While it's good design to reduce the number of traps, writing a game to avoid any at all is overkill, and tends to lead to overwritten, overly conservative tomes that read like contracts. While reading well isn't that important to RPGs, the rigid, remorseless design and the stifling of creativity needed to account for all possible unexpected interactions is a powerful negative.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: mightybrain on January 02, 2021, 08:43:44 PM
Optimising a character has very little effect on the game (as a whole) since it's a team game and all it does is make some task more or less difficult for your party. If you make it too easy, you'll just sail through to something more challenging. If you make it too hard, you'll have to re-group and come up with some other plan. The game should balance itself.

Sometimes, "we have a hulk" works; sometimes it doesn't.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Eirikrautha on January 02, 2021, 08:44:16 PM
If designers don't like optimization, then they shouldn't design trap options.

Just play an ultra rules light system like RISUS or something.
Excluded middle. RPGs aren't vital equipment where failure could mean the death of millions, they're games played by and adjudicated by humans. While it's good design to reduce the number of traps, writing a game to avoid any at all is overkill, and tends to lead to overwritten, overly conservative tomes that read like contracts. While reading well isn't that important to RPGs, the rigid, remorseless design and the stifling of creativity needed to account for all possible unexpected interactions is a powerful negative.

Plus, there's a balance between the desire to feel that your fate is mostly in your hands or the result of your decisions and the desire for some randomness so that outcomes aren't completely predictable (and therefore boring).  A game with completely equal options then feels like no choice matters (a complaint I hear sometimes about the classes in D&D 4e).  A game where the only differences between choices is the result of the die roll feels too random.  It's not easy to create meaningful choices that frequently succeed, but fail occasionally enough to feel satisfying.  Poor options may not be intentional, just the result of imperfect attempts to create that optimal "feel"...
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Eirikrautha on January 02, 2021, 08:53:35 PM
Optimising a character has very little effect on the game (as a whole) since it's a team game and all it does is make some task more or less difficult for your party. If you make it too easy, you'll just sail through to something more challenging. If you make it too hard, you'll have to re-group and come up with some other plan. The game should balance itself.

Sometimes, "we have a hulk" works; sometimes it doesn't.

That's the beauty of a system with a DM.  The DM can adjust (or not) the challenge of the tasks depending on the team's composition and level of optimization.  It's not like there are no monsters powerful enough to challenge a party at any level.  I would never advocate purposely invalidating a player's design by constantly creating situations where their abilities are counterfeited.  But some monsters are highly intelligent, and they most certainly would do their best to exploit the weaknesses of their opponents.  So sometimes the players shine, sometimes they struggle.  C'est la vie...
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Kyle Aaron on January 02, 2021, 11:34:31 PM
The issue with optimisation isn't finding sufficient challenge for the PCs, that's trivial. The problem with optimisation is how bloody long players take trying to optimise it, and how it leads to shitty play - because they become insanely protective of their optimised character, and won't co-operate as well.

In the dice lie freedom.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 02, 2021, 11:46:58 PM
The issue with optimisation isn't finding sufficient challenge for the PCs, that's trivial. The problem with optimisation is how bloody long players take trying to optimise it, and how it leads to shitty play - because they become insanely protective of their optimised character, and won't co-operate as well.

In the dice lie freedom.
It also severely curtails character options, because there's generally only a handful of ways to be really optimal.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Eirikrautha on January 02, 2021, 11:56:55 PM
The issue with optimisation isn't finding sufficient challenge for the PCs, that's trivial. The problem with optimisation is how bloody long players take trying to optimise it, and how it leads to shitty play - because they become insanely protective of their optimised character, and won't co-operate as well.

In the dice lie freedom.

Ehhh, I'd prefer to phrase it that optimization leads to players choosing to follow the numbers rather than the game.  While mechanics are important (though they can sometimes create a "reality" in the game that is different from our reality or the intended reality), when players reject the fiction of the game (the suspension of disbelief, if you will),that's when you really see the problem. When a player rejects something that, in world, would be a marvelous boon to them (as I talked about earlier, with the rejection of a magic weapon) because the numbers don't work with their build, then you have a problem.  No warrior would give up their blessed sword for another of lesser provenance (so not Excalibur for a simple named sword, or +3 for a +1 in mechanical terms [I feel it necessary to mention this because those on here that dumped Int and Wis are likely to argue I somehow stated the opposite]), but they would almost always give up their mundane sword for a blessed mace.  When the mechanics encourage the opposite, there is a problem with the mechanics.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: HappyDaze on January 03, 2021, 12:04:25 AM
The issue with optimisation isn't finding sufficient challenge for the PCs, that's trivial. The problem with optimisation is how bloody long players take trying to optimise it, and how it leads to shitty play - because they become insanely protective of their optimised character, and won't co-operate as well.

In the dice lie freedom.
Agreed on the shitty play, but disagree on how long it takes, because these days, the optimal path (and a few minor variations) are often easily found via internet search. And then your game picks up another alternate universe incarnation of character RaceXClassYSubclassZ with predictable Spells, Feats, etc.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: HappyDaze on January 03, 2021, 12:06:53 AM
The issue with optimisation isn't finding sufficient challenge for the PCs, that's trivial. The problem with optimisation is how bloody long players take trying to optimise it, and how it leads to shitty play - because they become insanely protective of their optimised character, and won't co-operate as well.

In the dice lie freedom.
It also severely curtails character options, because there's generally only a handful of ways to be really optimal.
That's a system issue. If the system is heavily focused on one aspect (usually combat in D&D-like games and many others) then this is where optimization will be heavily focused. If a game has real demands for characters to be more rounded or at least cover more bases, then optimization paths are going to be more open (with no one true optimal path).
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Omega on January 03, 2021, 01:05:27 AM
I think the problem is not really players that like to optimize their characters.

It is the idiots that try to squeeze every last iota of bonuses from the system for effectively a perceived "I WIN!" button. And either bend or cheat the rules to get that. Rules Lawyers go hand in hand with this. Or they throw a tantrum when it is not an "I WIN!" button.

And as others have noted. These types can take freaking forever to make a character.

Poor attitudes of some do not help either. I've seen a few who just came across as smug that they thought they had that "I WIN!" button. Or had bent the rules and pulled one over on the DM. Or the aforementioned fit throwing when such characters prove to be not as OP as they thought.

That said regular play can lead to some optimization simply due to the system. Most do not and D&D does not despite the incessant insistence of some who used to be here that it does.

This is one reason I liked BX as stats overall were not as potent as in AD&D and on. And those that did give bonuses were not huge ones as yet.
At best you might try to by the best weapon or armour you could. Or in one of my first groups as a player. We pooled coin to buy the fighter a good set of gear with what we had.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 03, 2021, 01:27:03 AM
The issue with optimisation isn't finding sufficient challenge for the PCs, that's trivial. The problem with optimisation is how bloody long players take trying to optimise it, and how it leads to shitty play - because they become insanely protective of their optimised character, and won't co-operate as well.

In the dice lie freedom.
It also severely curtails character options, because there's generally only a handful of ways to be really optimal.
That's a system issue. If the system is heavily focused on one aspect (usually combat in D&D-like games and many others) then this is where optimization will be heavily focused. If a game has real demands for characters to be more rounded or at least cover more bases, then optimization paths are going to be more open (with no one true optimal path).
That runs into problems with character focus, then. If you're not focusing on a consistent set of things, when what's the game about, and how do you choose what matters? You end up with things like GURPS characters with high stats and 1 point (or 1/2 a point) in everything.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Shasarak on January 03, 2021, 03:52:35 AM
The issue with optimisation isn't finding sufficient challenge for the PCs, that's trivial. The problem with optimisation is how bloody long players take trying to optimise it, and how it leads to shitty play - because they become insanely protective of their optimised character, and won't co-operate as well.

In the dice lie freedom.

Back in the days of Save or Die, players learned to take a bloody long time to check the door, check the floor, check the walls, check the ceiling, check the floor again, check the slope of the floor and then, and only then, they would be able to get out of bed to repeat the process to get to the privy.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: VisionStorm on January 03, 2021, 06:24:42 AM
If designers don't like optimization, then they shouldn't design trap options.

Just play an ultra rules light system like RISUS or something.
Excluded middle. RPGs aren't vital equipment where failure could mean the death of millions, they're games played by and adjudicated by humans. While it's good design to reduce the number of traps, writing a game to avoid any at all is overkill, and tends to lead to overwritten, overly conservative tomes that read like contracts. While reading well isn't that important to RPGs, the rigid, remorseless design and the stifling of creativity needed to account for all possible unexpected interactions is a powerful negative.

I don't think that designing an RPG that limits options that suck is such an impossible task or requires turning the game book into legalese. At the contrary, sometimes the most effective way to avoid trap options is to keep them simple, but useful. 5e, for example, managed to make feats that are more potent and less complicated than 3e's by simply making them more powerful--buffing up weaker feats with extra features to spice them up--and removing ridiculously long and convoluted feat-chains without turning the text into a legal document. If anything, 3e's feat lists are closer to legalese than 5e's.

This is one reason I liked BX as stats overall were not as potent as in AD&D and on. And those that did give bonuses were not huge ones as yet.

Depends on what you mean by "stats". Ability score modifiers at least tended to be higher in BX than AD&D, and more consistent as well, so you didn't have to reference the books to know what a score of 16 gave you (it was always +2). AD&D ability scores were a freaking mess. I can't count the number of times I thought of ditching AD&D scores during my 2e days to replace them with BX scores.

The issue with optimisation isn't finding sufficient challenge for the PCs, that's trivial. The problem with optimisation is how bloody long players take trying to optimise it, and how it leads to shitty play - because they become insanely protective of their optimised character, and won't co-operate as well.

In the dice lie freedom.

Back in the days of Save or Die, players learned to take a bloody long time to check the door, check the floor, check the walls, check the ceiling, check the floor again, check the slope of the floor and then, and only then, they would be able to get out of bed to repeat the process to get to the privy.

Yeah, but that's the goodrightfun type of play. Games that actually have OPTIONS, where characters aren't simply carbon copies of every single other character of the same class (and there's no real distinction between fighter A and fighter B, making wonder WTF is the point of EVER making or playing more than one) is where the badwrongfun starts.  ;)
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Chris24601 on January 03, 2021, 07:26:42 AM
That's why I mostly baked increased combat ability into character level, split options into level-locked combat and non-combat silos (combat option every even level, non-combat every odd level; system caps at 15 for seven and seven) and most of those options are more about lateral growth (i.e. mostly new tools vs. better tools) and the improvement options are limited to about +1 to hit, +1 to armor and +4 to damage (where leveling alone will add +23 damage).

That makes a lot more choices be about what new tools you want and that will be very campaign dependent vs. a single universal best. If you're mostly exploring the Northern Wastes, then the cryomancy talent will be less useful but the fire spirit boon (which can grant cold resistance) could be invaluable. Neither would be particularly strong if the campaign is focused on the political skuldugery of the Riverhold Palace.

Now there probably IS a singular "best build" and trap options if the campaign is exclusively about one thing (if all you're fighting is undead then Poison Expert is a trap option... if all you're doing is court intrigue its probably a little strong).
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Eirikrautha on January 03, 2021, 09:21:50 AM
5e, for example, managed to make feats that are more potent and less complicated than 3e's by simply making them more powerful--buffing up weaker feats with extra features to spice them up--and removing ridiculously long and convoluted feat-chains without turning the text into a legal document. If anything, 3e's feat lists are closer to legalese than 5e's.

True.  Feat chains are one of the primary components of a "build" system, and 5e is better for not having them.  It didn't completely escape, however, because combining the effects of feats still can give an "optimal" path (Polearm Mastery + Sentinel + etc.) that encourages planned growth over organic growth.  But 5e is much better at this than 3e or PF.

Another thing I think 5e attempted to address (with some limited success) is the large range of modifiers that also leads to optimization issues.  The reality is that any system where novice and expert are separated by large numerical values, but increases in skill are small numerical values, players will be encouraged to chase small increases over time.  This was a significant issue in 3.5e (and PF), where both bonuses and targets rose to such large values that a character could go from competent in some skill (with a +10 to it) at low level to incompetent (with the same +10) at high level without lots of planning and character investment. 

It's also, sadly, a product of using a d20 for most task resolution.  A +1 represents very little progression in abilities (an increase of 5%), so, in order to feel like an expert, bonuses have to grow to a larger value (+10 or +15) to achieve that feel.  The advantage/disadvantage is a good attempt to moderate this problem, I think, and another of 5e's successes.  But 5e still does not really solve the underlying problem, which I think comes from the changed use of the d20 in D&D...
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: VisionStorm on January 03, 2021, 09:59:32 AM
5e, for example, managed to make feats that are more potent and less complicated than 3e's by simply making them more powerful--buffing up weaker feats with extra features to spice them up--and removing ridiculously long and convoluted feat-chains without turning the text into a legal document. If anything, 3e's feat lists are closer to legalese than 5e's.

True.  Feat chains are one of the primary components of a "build" system, and 5e is better for not having them.  It didn't completely escape, however, because combining the effects of feats still can give an "optimal" path (Polearm Mastery + Sentinel + etc.) that encourages planned growth over organic growth.  But 5e is much better at this than 3e or PF.

Another thing I think 5e attempted to address (with some limited success) is the large range of modifiers that also leads to optimization issues.  The reality is that any system where novice and expert are separated by large numerical values, but increases in skill are small numerical values, players will be encouraged to chase small increases over time.  This was a significant issue in 3.5e (and PF), where both bonuses and targets rose to such large values that a character could go from competent in some skill (with a +10 to it) at low level to incompetent (with the same +10) at high level without lots of planning and character investment. 

It's also, sadly, a product of using a d20 for most task resolution.  A +1 represents very little progression in abilities (an increase of 5%), so, in order to feel like an expert, bonuses have to grow to a larger value (+10 or +15) to achieve that feel.  The advantage/disadvantage is a good attempt to moderate this problem, I think, and another of 5e's successes.  But 5e still does not really solve the underlying problem, which I think comes from the changed use of the d20 in D&D...

A lot of this is about tradeoffs. If you allow any degree of detail or specialization, with limited resources to get them, you're always gonna get people focusing on certain things and being better at them, while lagging (sometimes drastically) in others. I'm willing to accept that tradeoff because I like distinctiveness and some people are simply better at some things than others in real life.

The real issue becomes you have very wide disparities in ability ranges, like it happens with skills in 3e, where you can get modifier gaps of +10 or greater even at early levels (or as high as +20 or more at higher levels) between unskilled characters and those that throw everything into a single skill, making it impossible for unskilled or low skill characters to compete. Any gap greater than +10 in a d20 means you can be completely overpowered, which is why 5e ended up adding bounded accuracy to rein modifiers in (though, perhaps a bit ham fistedly). EDIT: So players need to get over their hangups and accept that low modifiers (like +1 or +2) and tight modifier ranges (not much higher than +10, maybe +15 tops) are the only thing that can work in a d20.

But true organic growth is impossible in a system with closed progression, like D&D, where you only get a limited amount of resources between levels to buy every ability you can ever get. In point-buy systems with open ended, freeform progressions that isn't as much of an issue, since organically branching out is only a factor of playing long enough and getting enough extra points to cover all those new abilities. But in D&D if you get polearm mastery (or some sort of equivalent, depending on edition) you're probably never gonna have enough feats to get shield mastery, or whatever.

Though, part of this is also tied to lack of weapon distinctions in D&D, beyond just higher damage for some than others. A specialized swordsman in real life might still pick up a military pick to fight against a heavily armored opponent with a metal helm, since picks can pierce through helms (and skulls) while swords are practically useless against armor, but in D&D weapon types vs armor don't matter.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 03, 2021, 10:03:47 AM
If designers don't like optimization, then they shouldn't design trap options.

Just play an ultra rules light system like RISUS or something.
Excluded middle. RPGs aren't vital equipment where failure could mean the death of millions, they're games played by and adjudicated by humans. While it's good design to reduce the number of traps, writing a game to avoid any at all is overkill, and tends to lead to overwritten, overly conservative tomes that read like contracts. While reading well isn't that important to RPGs, the rigid, remorseless design and the stifling of creativity needed to account for all possible unexpected interactions is a powerful negative.

I don't think that designing an RPG that limits options that suck is such an impossible task or requires turning the game book into legalese.
That's literally what I was arguing. BCT made an absolute statement, and I pointed out that attempting to avoid "traps" at any cost is a bad idea. You can minimize them, but blocking them entirely has some real negative effects (and is probably impossible in any moderately complex game anyway; see the abuses of v.3.5). That's why I said "excluded middle."
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 03, 2021, 10:41:53 AM
A +1 represents very little progression in abilities (an increase of 5%), so, in order to feel like an expert, bonuses have to grow to a larger value (+10 or +15) to achieve that feel.  The advantage/disadvantage is a good attempt to moderate this problem, I think, and another of 5e's successes.  But 5e still does not really solve the underlying problem, which I think comes from the changed use of the d20 in D&D...
+1 on 1d20 = +5% is true, at least from a certain perspective. But while it's a popular way of looking at it, it's not a particularly useful one. Note this is more a general comment than anything else, using your post as a springboard. It's not really about your post, or even the d20 system.

Say you succeed on a 19+ on a d20. That means in two cases (19, 20) you succeed, and in 18 cases (1...18) you fail. How does a +1 affect that? A +1 has a minimal effect on your chances of failure, reducing it from 18/20 to 17/20. That works out out to a 5.56% reduction, which is pretty close to the +1 = 5%. But not the same, and that's because it's a very different way of looking at things. To show how different, consider the other end of the spectrum. With a +1, you now succeed on a 18, 19, or 20, not just on a 19 or 20. That +1 means your chance of success has increased by a whopping 50%.

The reverse happens when the chance of failure is low. If you succeed on a 3+, that means you fail on 1 or 2, and a -1 means your chance of failure increases by 50% (since you now fail on a 1, 2, or 3).

In most RPGs, there's usually a low chance of a very bad effects happening (classic D&D saves are an exception, at low levels), and a high chance of a most routine things happening. For example, your chance to hit tends to be clustered toward the top end of the scale, where a +1 matters a lot more than it does in the middle or the bottom of the scale. Conversely, if there's a low chance of something really bad happening, then a -1 matters a lot more because it greatly increases your odds of failure. In other words, a +1 tends to worth a lot more than 5% when it comes to things you're fairly competent in, and a penalty matters a lot more when there's a small chance of something bad happening.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Zalman on January 03, 2021, 11:10:40 AM
+1 on 1d20 = +5% is true, at least from a certain perspective. But while it's a popular way of looking at it, it's not a particularly useful one. Note this is more a general comment than anything else, using your post as a springboard. It's not really about your post, or even the d20 system.

Say you succeed on a 19+ on a d20. That means in two cases (19, 20) you succeed, and in 18 cases (1...18) you fail. How does a +1 affect that? A +1 has a minimal effect on your chances of failure, reducing it from 18/20 to 17/20. That works out out to a 5.56% reduction, which is pretty close to the +1 = 5%. But not the same, and that's because it's a very different way of looking at things. To show how different, consider the other end of the spectrum. With a +1, you now succeed on a 18, 19, or 20, not just on a 19 or 20. That +1 means your chance of success has increased by a whopping 50%.

The reverse happens when the chance of failure is low. If you succeed on a 3+, that means you fail on 1 or 2, and a -1 means your chance of failure increases by 50% (since you now fail on a 1, 2, or 3).

Hm, I disagree that it's more useful to look at the bonus relative to the chance of success or failure without bonus, rather than relative to the chance of success or failure overall. Because in the game, the only differences that matter are the ones that affect player decisions enough to alter them. For that, it's the absolute chance of success or failure that matters, not the relative one.

If I have a 15% chance to leap across a chasm without dying, that's a risk I'd avoid at all costs. I couldn't care less if 15 is "50%" more than 10, or that it's "200%" more than 5 (maybe I got a +2 even!), because the relative change isn't ever going to affect my ultimate decision as a player. The only thing I care about is that I still have an 85% chance of dying, and until that number is low enough (via 5% increments), I'm staying on this side of the chasm.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Abraxus on January 03, 2021, 11:16:04 AM
I think the problem is not really players that like to optimize their characters.

It is the idiots that try to squeeze every last iota of bonuses from the system for effectively a perceived "I WIN!" button. And either bend or cheat the rules to get that. Rules Lawyers go hand in hand with this. Or they throw a tantrum when it is not an "I WIN!" button.

And as others have noted. These types can take freaking forever to make a character.

Poor attitudes of some do not help either. I've seen a few who just came across as smug that they thought they had that "I WIN!" button. Or had bent the rules and pulled one over on the DM. Or the aforementioned fit throwing when such characters prove to be not as OP as they thought.

That said regular play can lead to some optimization simply due to the system. Most do not and D&D does not despite the incessant insistence of some who used to be here that it does.

This is one reason I liked BX as stats overall were not as potent as in AD&D and on. And those that did give bonuses were not huge ones as yet.
At best you might try to by the best weapon or armour you could. Or in one of my first groups as a player. We pooled coin to buy the fighter a good set of gear with what we had.

Seconded.

On the end of the spectrum I have laso played and ran campaigns for those who went out of their way to make a subpar character while also ignoring and sometimes being rude to both players and dMs who try to point that out. Most optimizers know they will not be good at everything and acknowledge their weakness and try to work around the. The subpar mindset like the optimizers with the poor attitude want to have their cake and eat it too. Either expecting the players to cover their weaknesses which can only be done to a certain extent by everyone else or expect the DM to cut them slack. I'm not going to screw over another player as a DM who took a 14-16 in Int as a Wizard because player XYZ took a 10-12. The first players spells bypass SR and beat the npcs/monsters saves more often than XYZ.

Both types seems to want to blame everyone and anyone else for their bad builds and refuse to take responsibility for their poor decisions. The overly optimized tank who joined an AP which had many encounters that required Diplomacy who took no skills points in the skill while also being himself in character. The player was an Atheist who would go up to major and minor religious NPCs and claim religion on Golarion was for suckers than wondered why at least in many places he was barred from entering temples and churches. Or the Wizard with the 10 Int who spells at higher levels kept either bouncing off the enemies Spell Resistance or they made their saves. Who refused to put the extra attribute points into his casting stat and would love to buy magic items to boost it yet they were too expensive had his own wish list and expected the rest of the group to buy the Headband of Intellect.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Zalman on January 03, 2021, 11:23:03 AM
It is the idiots that try to squeeze every last iota of bonuses from the system for effectively a perceived "I WIN!" button.

I think this is the attitude that people are referring to when they allude to optimization being a "minigame". In my opinion, rolling stats randomly and finding a character in the gestalt of those stats is also a minigame that some people enjoy -- and I think both get conflated with the game in play, which for me is a different thing entirely. It's when people let the minigame get in the way of the game-as-played that I believe problems are created. This can be the aforementioned optimizer eschewing in-game benefits for "not fitting my build", as well as players who intentionally suicide their characters (often along with the rest of the party) for not fitting a desired gestalt.

The moral for me is: if you're looking to "win" outside of the game as played at the table, make sure everyone else wants to play that game as well, or make sure your personal game doesn't interfere with the game we've all decided to play.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 03, 2021, 11:23:28 AM
Hm, I disagree that it's more useful to look at the bonus relative to the chance of success or failure without bonus, rather than relative to the chance of success or failure overall. Because in the game, the only differences that matter are the ones that affect player decisions enough to alter them. For that, it's the absolute chance of success or failure that matters, not the relative one.

If I have a 15% chance to leap across a chasm without dying, that's a risk I'd avoid at all costs. I couldn't care less if 15 is "50%" more than 10, or that it's "150%" more than 5 (maybe I got a +2 even!), because the relative change isn't ever going to affect my ultimate decision as a player. The only thing I care about is that I still have an 85% chance of dying, and until that number is low enough (via 5% increments), I'm staying on this side of the chasm.
If the only thing that matters is whether it affects a player's a decision, than a +1 bonus to hit would be pointless because a fighter is going to swing either way. You're treating it as if some arbitrary threshold is the only thing that matters, when it's really about cumulative effects over time. Risk aversion is also highly situational, because why would you jump when there's any chance at all of dying, unless there was some compelling reason? In that case, it's more about managing the risk vs. the reward or other risks. Which is inherently subjective.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Zalman on January 03, 2021, 11:33:19 AM
If the only thing that matters is whether it affects a player's a decision, than a +1 bonus to hit would be pointless because a fighter is going to swing either way.

Whether it affects decision-making isn't the only thing that matters, but it's the primary thing that affects the actual game. The fact that a fighter will essentially ignore that +1 bonus when making decisions is demonstration that the 5% increment isn't substantial -- and in fact it's not, and won't significantly affect the outcome of a situation, no matter how creative you get with percentage comparisons.

This is Erik's point as I understand it. It's not until those +1's start to stack up to larger bonuses that they begin to have anything other than a "freak occurrence" type of effect on the game. The "point" to +1 bonuses is that they add up to a larger bonus, which eventually does matter.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 03, 2021, 11:37:14 AM
If the only thing that matters is whether it affects a player's a decision, than a +1 bonus to hit would be pointless because a fighter is going to swing either way.

Whether it affects decision-making isn't the only thing that matters, but it's the primary thing that affects the actual game. The fact that a fighter will essentially ignore that +1 bonus when making decisions is demonstration that the 5% increment isn't substantial -- and in fact it's not, and won't significantly affect the outcome of a situation, no matter how creative you get with percentage comparisons.

This is Erik's point as I understand it. It's not until those +1's start to stack up to larger bonuses that they begin to have anything other than a "freak occurrence" type of effect on the game. The "point" to +1 bonuses is that they add up to a larger bonus, which eventually does matter.
But if a single +1 increases your chance of success by 50%, that can add up significantly over the course of a game. While a +1 that only adds 6% to your chance of success will have a much smaller effect. Incremental effects matter, not just once they pass some arbitrary threshold. And it's the relative effect, not the absolute one, that determines the degree.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Zalman on January 03, 2021, 11:42:20 AM
But if a single +1 increases your chance of success by 50%, that can add up significantly over the course of a game. While a +1 that only adds 6% to your chance of success will have a much smaller effect. Incremental effects matter, not just once they pass some arbitrary threshold. And it's the relative effect, not the absolute one, that determines the degree.

Yes, 5% increases matter when they add up, but not until. My point is that your 50% figure is entirely unhelpful and in fact misleading. It's an attempt to conflate a "50% increase" with a "+50% chance of success", and as such it is fallacious.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 03, 2021, 11:43:51 AM
But if a single +1 increases your chance of success by 50%, that can add up significantly over the course of a game. While a +1 that only adds 6% to your chance of success will have a much smaller effect. Incremental effects matter, not just once they pass some arbitrary threshold. And it's the relative effect, not the absolute one, that determines the degree.

Yes, 5% increases matter when they add up, but not until. My point is that your 50% figure is entirely unhelpful and in fact misleading. It's an attempt to conflate a "50% increase" with a "+50% chance of success", and as such it is fallacious.
A 50% increase in the chances of success is a +50% to the chance of success. That's literally what it means. It's not fallacious, it's a tautology.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Eirikrautha on January 03, 2021, 11:52:04 AM
+1 on 1d20 = +5% is true, at least from a certain perspective. But while it's a popular way of looking at it, it's not a particularly useful one. Note this is more a general comment than anything else, using your post as a springboard. It's not really about your post, or even the d20 system.

Say you succeed on a 19+ on a d20. That means in two cases (19, 20) you succeed, and in 18 cases (1...18) you fail. How does a +1 affect that? A +1 has a minimal effect on your chances of failure, reducing it from 18/20 to 17/20. That works out out to a 5.56% reduction, which is pretty close to the +1 = 5%. But not the same, and that's because it's a very different way of looking at things. To show how different, consider the other end of the spectrum. With a +1, you now succeed on a 18, 19, or 20, not just on a 19 or 20. That +1 means your chance of success has increased by a whopping 50%.

The reverse happens when the chance of failure is low. If you succeed on a 3+, that means you fail on 1 or 2, and a -1 means your chance of failure increases by 50% (since you now fail on a 1, 2, or 3).

Hm, I disagree that it's more useful to look at the bonus relative to the chance of success or failure without bonus, rather than relative to the chance of success or failure overall. Because in the game, the only differences that matter are the ones that affect player decisions enough to alter them. For that, it's the absolute chance of success or failure that matters, not the relative one.

If I have a 15% chance to leap across a chasm without dying, that's a risk I'd avoid at all costs. I couldn't care less if 15 is "50%" more than 10, or that it's "200%" more than 5 (maybe I got a +2 even!), because the relative change isn't ever going to affect my ultimate decision as a player. The only thing I care about is that I still have an 85% chance of dying, and until that number is low enough (via 5% increments), I'm staying on this side of the chasm.

Agreed.  The overall chance of success is more important (psychologically) to most, I would wager, than the relative chances as modified.  I think people tend to forget that, as originally conceived, there was nothing special about the d20.  Heck, there were times when players would draw slips of paper to determine the results of actions.  The d20 took on a role as the determinant of hits and misses because the d100 was more granular than necessary, and 5% gradations seemed suitable, and the roll was on a chart of armor vs weapon.  It's only with the attempt to "unify" mechanics under WotC that the d20 became the arbiter of all actions, with standardized bonuses across the board.  I don't think the d20's 5% chance was ever intended to be the baseline for skill improvement.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Zalman on January 03, 2021, 11:53:32 AM
A 50% increase in the chances of success is a +50% to the chance of success. That's literally what it means. It's not fallacious, it's a tautology.
Sorry, if you can't tell the difference there, I can't explain it any better. I think it's pretty obvious that a +1 does not provide a +50% bonus, but carry on.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Eirikrautha on January 03, 2021, 11:55:45 AM
But if a single +1 increases your chance of success by 50%, that can add up significantly over the course of a game. While a +1 that only adds 6% to your chance of success will have a much smaller effect. Incremental effects matter, not just once they pass some arbitrary threshold. And it's the relative effect, not the absolute one, that determines the degree.

Yes, 5% increases matter when they add up, but not until. My point is that your 50% figure is entirely unhelpful and in fact misleading. It's an attempt to conflate a "50% increase" with a "+50% chance of success", and as such it is fallacious.
A 50% increase in the chances of success is a +50% to the chance of success. That's literally what it means. It's not fallacious, it's a tautology.

But that's not how most people make decisions.  Tell someone that if they cut out eating all meat they'd cut their chance of getting some disease in half and you might get their attention.  Then tell them their chance of getting the disease drops from 0.04% to 0.02% and watch them go get a burger...
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 03, 2021, 12:08:01 PM
A 50% increase in the chances of success is a +50% to the chance of success. That's literally what it means. It's not fallacious, it's a tautology.
Sorry, if you can't tell the difference there, I can't explain it any better. I think it's pretty obvious that a +1 does not provide a +50% bonus, but carry on.
A +1 to a 1d20, when you need a 19 or 20, does provide a 50% bonus. It increases the number of rolls on a d20 that will result in success from 2, to 3. A 50% increase.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Chris24601 on January 03, 2021, 12:10:55 PM
A 50% increase in the chances of success is a +50% to the chance of success. That's literally what it means. It's not fallacious, it's a tautology.
Sorry, if you can't tell the difference there, I can't explain it any better. I think it's pretty obvious that a +1 does not provide a +50% bonus, but carry on.
It's word games using an extreme outlier to try and make +1 relevant on its own. +1 if you only succeed on a 20 does double your odds of success, but only because the initial odds were so abysmal. By contrast, if you succeed on an 8+ (say DC 15 with a +7 modifier) then +1 only increases your odds of success by 7.7% (from 65% to 70%).

The importance of a given bonus is relative to the original odds and how often it will come into play. +1 on an attack in the early levels of D&D can be significant because starting ACs are often very high relative to the attack bonus and attack checks are made again and again. +1 to a check made once per session and which you already had a 65% chance of making are trivial... mattering maybe once in a dozen sessions.

ETA: for the opposite extreme of Pat's word games, if you succeed on a 2+ and natural 1's always fail, then even a +100 bonus will make no difference in your performance.

Generally when people insist on extreme outliers to make their case, its because reasonable examples show the case is a sham.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 03, 2021, 12:12:07 PM
But if a single +1 increases your chance of success by 50%, that can add up significantly over the course of a game. While a +1 that only adds 6% to your chance of success will have a much smaller effect. Incremental effects matter, not just once they pass some arbitrary threshold. And it's the relative effect, not the absolute one, that determines the degree.

Yes, 5% increases matter when they add up, but not until. My point is that your 50% figure is entirely unhelpful and in fact misleading. It's an attempt to conflate a "50% increase" with a "+50% chance of success", and as such it is fallacious.
A 50% increase in the chances of success is a +50% to the chance of success. That's literally what it means. It's not fallacious, it's a tautology.

But that's not how most people make decisions.  Tell someone that if they cut out eating all meat they'd cut their chance of getting some disease in half and you might get their attention.  Then tell them their chance of getting the disease drops from 0.04% to 0.02% and watch them go get a burger...
It's exactly how people make decisions. Psychological studies have shown that people think in relative terms, when it comes to probabilities. It's why, for instance, UX studies show that a 40% increase in speed (relative) is needed for people to feel that their computer is quicker. It doesn't matter how fast the original computer was, or if the absolute increase was greater (because the computer being tested was faster than in another test).

Incidentally, both your examples are relative, halving the chance of success. I agree that people don't naturally think in terms of numbers, but that's different than absolute vs. relative probabilities.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: mightybrain on January 03, 2021, 12:25:27 PM
When I first read this thread title I thought it was hyperbole. But having read the thread, I'm not so sure.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 03, 2021, 12:25:43 PM
A 50% increase in the chances of success is a +50% to the chance of success. That's literally what it means. It's not fallacious, it's a tautology.
Sorry, if you can't tell the difference there, I can't explain it any better. I think it's pretty obvious that a +1 does not provide a +50% bonus, but carry on.
It's word games using an extreme outlier to try and make +1 relevant on its own. +1 if you only succeed on a 20 does double your odds of success, but only because the initial odds were so abysmal. By contrast, if you succeed on an 8+ (say DC 15 with a +7 modifier) then +1 only increases your odds of success by 7.7% (from 65% to 70%).

The importance of a given bonus is relative to the original odds and how often it will come into play. +1 on an attack in the early levels of D&D can be significant because starting ACs are often very high relative to the attack bonus and attack checks are made again and again. +1 to a check made once per session and which you already had a 65% chance of making are trivial... mattering maybe once in a dozen sessions.

ETA: for the opposite extreme of Pat's word games, if you succeed on a 2+ and natural 1's always fail, then even a +100 bonus will make no difference in your performance.

Generally when people insist on extreme outliers to make their case, its because reasonable examples show the case is a sham.
In my first post, I literally pointed that a +1 matters a lot at one end of the spectrum, and relatively little at the other. In other words, I made exactly the point you just repeated. And I also talked about how that's important, precisely because RPGs tend to clump results toward the end of the spectrum. Which is the other point you just repeated.

Fuck you. If you're going to accuse me of word games, don't claim I'm wrong and then say I should have used the exact same arguments I did use.

Everything I said is factually correct, presented in the correct context, and is a more valid way of looking at probabilities than +1 = +5%. Failing to understand that +1 varies depending where in the range you are is a simple failure to understand basic probabilities.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Chris24601 on January 03, 2021, 12:54:19 PM
Stuff.
Given that multiple people are apparently misunderstanding your arguments in exactly the same way, that suggests to me that the failure is not in our ability to comprehend your arguments (if this were the case people who are wrongly interpreting your statements would be doing so in different ways), but rather that you're failing to communicate your argument as effectively as you think you are (which is why different people are misinterpreting it in the same way).
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 03, 2021, 01:01:07 PM
Stuff.
Given that multiple people are apparently misunderstanding your arguments in exactly the same way, that suggests to me that the failure is not in our ability to comprehend your arguments (if this were the case people who are wrongly interpreting your statements would be doing so in different ways), but rather that you're failing to communicate your argument as effectively as you think you are (which is why different people are misinterpreting it in the same way).
I always consider that. But there are three points against that. The first is I've looked at what I said, and it's seems pretty clear. That's not conclusive, because I could have missed something. But for me to reconsider that, you'd have to demonstrate where I miscommunicated, not just make a vague claim. Secondly, they didn't misunderstand my arguments in the same way. You made one argument, and they made other arguments. And most importantly is the third: People really don't understand probability well, and it can be challenging to break down their preconceptions. That's the reason why I posted what I posted. I expected some pushback.

Edit: There's also a fourth: It's the internet. People tend to skim, rather than read for content. For instance, your last post can be easily explained if you just read the last post or two in the thread, and didn't go back and read my original post. You could have gotten the idea that I'm arguing that +1 = 50% all the time, but that would have been a false impression, because you were missing context. Starting to listen to a conversation in the middle can give a very misleading impression.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Abraxus on January 03, 2021, 01:03:09 PM
Sorry, if you can't tell the difference there, I can't explain it any better. I think it's pretty obvious that a +1 does not provide a +50% bonus, but carry on.

I'm just wondering how a +1 seems to add 50% more. So if i have two apples and add another I somehow have 50% more apples.

It's the saw way as an Archer in Pathfinder I have to tape Point Blank Shot. It's not because it's a good feat or the bonus it gives is really that good it adds 5% to the odds. It's a requirement to have access for the other Ranged Weapon Feat. For low levels the 1 bonus on attack and damage rolls with ranged weapons at ranges of up to 30 feet is decent yet at higher levels not that much. The only instance I can see it being a significant factor is crit ranges on weapons where on 18-20 for example that +1 can double the damage of a weapon.



Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Eirikrautha on January 03, 2021, 01:49:23 PM
It's exactly how people make decisions. Psychological studies have shown that people think in relative terms, when it comes to probabilities. It's why, for instance, UX studies show that a 40% increase in speed (relative) is needed for people to feel that their computer is quicker. It doesn't matter how fast the original computer was, or if the absolute increase was greater (because the computer being tested was faster than in another test).

Incidentally, both your examples are relative, halving the chance of success. I agree that people don't naturally think in terms of numbers, but that's different than absolute vs. relative probabilities.
First, replication crisis.  Appeals to authority should at least appeal to slightly reliable authorities.

Secondly, my point was intended to point out the subjectivity of the player's perspective depending on what they are told.  No one looks at a +1 and thinks "Wow, I've got a 50% better chance to hit," if they only hit on a 19 or 20.  If presented with the 50% statistic, people will make different choices than they would if told they have a 90% chance of failure.  It's about the presentation, not the statistics.  And I've seen no evidence anywhere that players look at the benefit of an additional +1 over the overall chance of success.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: mightybrain on January 03, 2021, 02:41:29 PM
they become insanely protective of their optimised character, and won't co-operate as well.

It's probably not a good idea for a player to get too invested in their character given the deadly nature of the game. But an optimised character is probably going to be a lot better at stuff than a randomly rolled one. I think it's perfectly fine for such a character to be dismissive of their fellows. In fact that's quite a common theme in ensemble cast stories; Boromir in Lord of the Rings for example. And as is the case with Boromir, this provides the DM with a weak point to attack by tempting that character into splitting the party and making the Dark Lord's job a whole lot easier.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 03, 2021, 03:02:15 PM
It's exactly how people make decisions. Psychological studies have shown that people think in relative terms, when it comes to probabilities. It's why, for instance, UX studies show that a 40% increase in speed (relative) is needed for people to feel that their computer is quicker. It doesn't matter how fast the original computer was, or if the absolute increase was greater (because the computer being tested was faster than in another test).

Incidentally, both your examples are relative, halving the chance of success. I agree that people don't naturally think in terms of numbers, but that's different than absolute vs. relative probabilities.
First, replication crisis.  Appeals to authority should at least appeal to slightly reliable authorities.

Secondly, my point was intended to point out the subjectivity of the player's perspective depending on what they are told.  No one looks at a +1 and thinks "Wow, I've got a 50% better chance to hit," if they only hit on a 19 or 20.  If presented with the 50% statistic, people will make different choices than they would if told they have a 90% chance of failure.  It's about the presentation, not the statistics.  And I've seen no evidence anywhere that players look at the benefit of an additional +1 over the overall chance of success.
If you look at the UX field, the core principles have been heavily replicated, because it's so easy to do so. It's not like the Milgram experiment, which we'll probably never see replicated because ethical standards have changed, or any of the vast longitudinal studies that require massive investments in time and effort. It's also just one example of a widely accepted principle in psychology. Which could be impacted by the replication crisis, but I have no idea how to assess that.

Your second point is valid. There's a difference in how we intuitively think about probabilities (which seems to be relative, with no trace of the absolute), and how language and other learned tools like arithmetic shape the expression of our thoughts. My larger point is trying to reconcile them both -- that when we talk about a +1 to hit meaning a +5% chance, that's based on our learned ways of assessing probabilities, and doesn't match our internal conception. The gulf there is really evident at the fringes, where over time being able to save on a 2+ instead of a 3+ looks small, but is really means you die half as often. That's a huge improvement, which talk about 5% and +1 masks.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Eirikrautha on January 03, 2021, 03:19:30 PM
Your second point is valid. There's a difference in how we intuitively think about probabilities (which seems to be relative, with no trace of the absolute), and how language and other learned tools like arithmetic shape the expression of our thoughts. My larger point is trying to reconcile them both -- that when we talk about a +1 to hit meaning a +5% chance, that's based on our learned ways of assessing probabilities, and doesn't match our internal conception. The gulf there is really evident at the fringes, where over time being able to save on a 2+ instead of a 3+ looks small, but is really means you die half as often. That's a huge improvement, which talk about 5% and +1 masks.

While your statement is statistically true, what I question is how players actually behave.  I don't believe that most players look at it from your perspective.  I think many, if not most, simply look at their percentage chance of success when evaluating both their best course of action and also their choices during character creation when adding abilities and bonuses.  It doesn't matter if you are right when none of the people making the choices see it from the same perspective as you do.  Adding a +1 to a d20 roll does not, in the minds of most players, have a large effect on their success.  And, to my original point, it does not effectively represent the move from novice to expert.  When talking about expertise, no one will ever be satisfied with a 50% increase in their chance of success when that still means they have a 90% chance of failure.  That's not "expertise"!
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: TJS on January 03, 2021, 04:47:52 PM
It's exactly how people make decisions. Psychological studies have shown that people think in relative terms, when it comes to probabilities. It's why, for instance, UX studies show that a 40% increase in speed (relative) is needed for people to feel that their computer is quicker. It doesn't matter how fast the original computer was, or if the absolute increase was greater (because the computer being tested was faster than in another test).

Incidentally, both your examples are relative, halving the chance of success. I agree that people don't naturally think in terms of numbers, but that's different than absolute vs. relative probabilities.
First, replication crisis.  Appeals to authority should at least appeal to slightly reliable authorities.

Secondly, my point was intended to point out the subjectivity of the player's perspective depending on what they are told.  No one looks at a +1 and thinks "Wow, I've got a 50% better chance to hit," if they only hit on a 19 or 20.  If presented with the 50% statistic, people will make different choices than they would if told they have a 90% chance of failure.  It's about the presentation, not the statistics.  And I've seen no evidence anywhere that players look at the benefit of an additional +1 over the overall chance of success.
I definitely did in 4E when playing a Defender.  Once I got my defences high enough I could see the effect in play of getting my AC even higher.  I had a conditional +2 to AC that made me go from only hit on a 17 to only hit on a 19 and the difference was dramatic.  When it was the latter I felt perfectly safe waltzing through enemy lines without worrying about attacks of opportunity.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: HappyDaze on January 03, 2021, 05:47:37 PM
It's probably not a good idea for a player to get too invested in their character given the deadly nature of the game.
I've noticed that modern games, D&D 5e in particular, are far less deadly than earlier games. This is probably interrelated to the optimization/build bit, but I think it's a mix of cause and effect rather than just one or the other.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Abraxus on January 03, 2021, 06:12:43 PM
I've noticed that modern games, D&D 5e in particular, are far less deadly than earlier games. This is probably interrelated to the optimization/build bit, but I think it's a mix of cause and effect rather than just one or the other.

Good thing about 5E one can adjust the level of how lethal it can be. So one can have the default setting where it is less easier to die to one where the DM can run games that are more deadly.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: mightybrain on January 03, 2021, 06:43:59 PM
Optimisers should beware of monsters that know this maxim: the nail that sticks out is the first to get the hammer.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: VisionStorm on January 03, 2021, 06:58:40 PM
Optimisers should beware of monsters that know this maxim: the nail that sticks out is the first to get the hammer.

Minimizers should beware of monsters that know this maxim: the limp guy is the first one left behind when shit gets real.  :P
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Abraxus on January 03, 2021, 07:48:47 PM
Minimizers should beware of monsters that know this maxim: the limp guy is the first one left behind when shit gets real.  :P

Optimisers should beware of monsters that know this maxim: the nail that sticks out is the first to get the hammer.

Agree with both.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: SHARK on January 03, 2021, 07:54:05 PM
Minimizers should beware of monsters that know this maxim: the limp guy is the first one left behind when shit gets real.  :P

Optimisers should beware of monsters that know this maxim: the nail that sticks out is the first to get the hammer.

Agree with both.

Greetings!

Seconded. Definitely true!

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Omega on January 03, 2021, 10:57:27 PM
I always consider that. But there are three points against that. The first is I've looked at what I said, and it's seems pretty clear. That's not conclusive, because I could have missed something. But for me to reconsider that, you'd have to demonstrate where I miscommunicated, not just make a vague claim. Secondly, they didn't misunderstand my arguments in the same way. You made one argument, and they made other arguments. And most importantly is the third: People really don't understand probability well, and it can be challenging to break down their preconceptions. That's the reason why I posted what I posted. I expected some pushback.

I think the problem is more possibly where you are placing emphasis rather than the points themselves.

Yes, a +1 is a big deal at the outliers. But its not a big deal as you drift away from those edges.

But to an optimizer that +1 is a bonus period and they NEEED IT!

Or when I was a playtester on AQW. We had some nuts flipping out over how "unballanced" one class was over the others because its attack was .01 second faster. Even after we pointed out No. It didnt. Those were vauguarities in personal or serverside processing. But no-no. This is game breaking! And on the flip side others were declaring a different class THE BEST WHY TAKE ANY OTHER??? because they believed is was .01 sec faster. And of course it was not either.

And all this and so much worse behaviors been around a long time in tabletop gaming. As said. Some perceive it as an "I WIN!" button.

But at the end of the day to the more obsessive optimizer a +1 is a bonus across the board and thats all that matters. Better if can pump it up to a +2, 3, 4, etc.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Chris24601 on January 03, 2021, 11:54:39 PM
I think the problem is more possibly where you are placing emphasis rather than the points themselves.

Yes, a +1 is a big deal at the outliers. But its not a big deal as you drift away from those edges.
You pretty much nailed my read of their argument... Pat was putting so much emphasis on the outlier effects while ignoring that almost NO modern game (i.e. the types where you're most likely to see "builds" and planned optimization) build their system to have lots of outliers because, frankly, extremely low/high probabilities of success aren't actually that interesting.

Rolling 10-20 times just to hit once (because 10% doesn't mean you'll hit once every ten swings, it means you'll hit, on average, once every ten swings, but with the flat probability of a d20 there's quite a bit of swing until you're looking at hundreds of swings) is no one's idea of a good time.

Outside of TSR-era D&D (ex. 1st level Fighter with a Str 17 vs. AC 2) you just don't see odds like that too many places.

The fact is that most modern systems seem to be much higher than that... 50%, 60%, even 75% odds are not uncommon in modern systems (my system, for example uses a baseline for combat of about 60% or about three hits during a five round combat... this was also the baseline for 4E).

5e makes hitting even easier... low level opponents with ACs of 11-14 are pretty common while PCs probably have +5 to hit out of the gate for 60-75% odds of success with each attack. You'd have to be playing an 8 Str wizard using a non-proficient weapon to even get down to a 30% hit rate vs. AC 14.

And in those ranges, +1 is pretty trivial.

That's why I considered Pat's arguments off-the-mark/not communicated well. Sure, everything they said about the probabilities they mentioned were accurate, but almost no system where optimization is a big deal actually uses probabilities in the range their comments were primarily focused on.

Yeah, +1 in their edge case was a 50% improvement from 10% to 15% odds of success. But if situations where your odds are as low as 10% come up only once in a hundred checks... what's the point of using that 10 becomes 15% is a 50% bonuses in your argument. It's like arguing the utility of tiger repellent when travelling in India to someone who spends all their time in rural Montana. Sure, tiger repellent is useful in India... but its also a non sequitur to probably anything the Montanan may have been talking about.

Heck, from playtesting my own system +2 situational modifiers were largely ignored as not worth tracking by most players and skill-based boons (basically non-combat feats) needed to be about +5 to check results for 2-3 interrelated actions) before they were seen as worth taking on par with other options (adding graded successes that scaled up for every 5 points the base TN was beaten by also helped too since +5 gave the PC with the boon the same odds of pulling off the next higher grade as a person without the boon had of getting a basic success).

EDIT: Another thing I really think needs to be distinguished is that there were a lot of CharOps builds that were never intended for play; but rather theory-crafting exercises to see what they could break. A lot of those had critical weaknesses that were ignored because they were attempting to build for one specific target (best damage, best defenses, highest hit points) even if it gimped them elsewhere.

Those same people almost NEVER built the PCs they used in actual games that way because they understood that there are things like diminishing returns and that its not worth utterly gimping something else important just to chase them (i.e. I've never seen the people I knew who frequented various 3e/4E CharOps boards to consider taking a -2 penalty to all your saves/defenses as being worth getting just a +1 to hit).

Basically, you need to distinguish between theorycraft optimization and actual in-play optimization (which was rarely as severe unless it was someone copying a theorycrafting build from the boards without realizing it was a theorycrafting build... which usually left them with some gaping hole somewhere).
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Mishihari on January 04, 2021, 12:19:42 AM
But that's not how most people make decisions.  Tell someone that if they cut out eating all meat they'd cut their chance of getting some disease in half and you might get their attention.  Then tell them their chance of getting the disease drops from 0.04% to 0.02% and watch them go get a burger...

I find this point very telling.  If you tell someone that an action doubles their chance of success they pay attention.  If you tell them it increases the probability by .0001% they ignore it. If you give them both facts, then they ignore it.  This shows pretty clearly that the latter point is what people pay attention to.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Mishihari on January 04, 2021, 12:22:53 AM
The fact is that most modern systems seem to be much higher than that... 50%, 60%, even 75% odds are not uncommon in modern systems (my system, for example uses a baseline for combat of about 60% or about three hits during a five round combat... this was also the baseline for 4E).


I was in a discussion in ENWorld some years ago, when it was mentioned that WoTC had done some actual research and concluded that a 70% probability to-hit made the game the most fun. 
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: TJS on January 04, 2021, 01:01:21 AM
I always consider that. But there are three points against that. The first is I've looked at what I said, and it's seems pretty clear. That's not conclusive, because I could have missed something. But for me to reconsider that, you'd have to demonstrate where I miscommunicated, not just make a vague claim. Secondly, they didn't misunderstand my arguments in the same way. You made one argument, and they made other arguments. And most importantly is the third: People really don't understand probability well, and it can be challenging to break down their preconceptions. That's the reason why I posted what I posted. I expected some pushback.

I think the problem is more possibly where you are placing emphasis rather than the points themselves.

Yes, a +1 is a big deal at the outliers. But its not a big deal as you drift away from those edges.

But to an optimizer that +1 is a bonus period and they NEEED IT!

Or when I was a playtester on AQW. We had some nuts flipping out over how "unballanced" one class was over the others because its attack was .01 second faster. Even after we pointed out No. It didnt. Those were vauguarities in personal or serverside processing. But no-no. This is game breaking! And on the flip side others were declaring a different class THE BEST WHY TAKE ANY OTHER??? because they believed is was .01 sec faster. And of course it was not either.

And all this and so much worse behaviors been around a long time in tabletop gaming. As said. Some perceive it as an "I WIN!" button.

But at the end of the day to the more obsessive optimizer a +1 is a bonus across the board and thats all that matters. Better if can pump it up to a +2, 3, 4, etc.
People always put the emphasis on what is most easily quantifiable.

This is why it feels like a big deal in modern D&D if you don't max your attack score at character creation.  It's less that it's a big deal and more that you will always be obviously and in an easily quantifiable way behind someone who did.

See also focus on DPR etc - relatively easy to calculate.

If you're choice is between "overhead strike" and "underhand strike" then they'd better have equivalent effect because they're so obviously comparable.  If you're choice is between "combat badass" or "can turn into a bat" then that's much less comparable.

This is also why reskinning is dangerous - once you divide everything into fluff and crunch and decide the former is interchangeable then everything becomes much more comparable.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Kyle Aaron on January 04, 2021, 01:39:56 AM
I was in a discussion in ENWorld some years ago, when it was mentioned that WoTC had done some actual research and concluded that a 70% probability to-hit made the game the most fun.
People are going to hate Conflict, then. :D
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Chris24601 on January 04, 2021, 09:59:41 AM
I was in a discussion in ENWorld some years ago, when it was mentioned that WoTC had done some actual research and concluded that a 70% probability to-hit made the game the most fun.
I’d buy those numbers; though I suspect the actual probability for most fun is probably exactly 66.66~% and that 70% was just the closest value using 1d20 above that.

There’s just something in human psychology about threes (basically it’s the smallest number that can show a pattern) so “two-out-of-three” seems like the ideal for that... you’ll succeed about twice as often as you fail overall so those feel like reasonable odds when your life isn’t on the line (your PC’s life doesn’t count). By contrast 1-in-3 feels like bad odds.

I found a 60% baseline to work precisely because it’s that... the baseline and there are a couple of easy ways (the most easy is to use a weapon or implement with the accurate property) to improve it from there.

Also, PCs in my system always have a path (subclass) specific minor action they can use that’s either automatic or otherwise greatly increases the odds of succeeding in that path’s role (the most basic being the Fighter’s striker path action, which gives them a second attack using an offhand weapon; including the butt of a polearm, a shield bash or an unarmed strike if wielding a larger weapon; which gives even a baseline PC a 90% chance of hitting at least once per round).

Regardless, 2-in-3 odds need way more than a +5% bonus for that to feel noticeable. I suspect that’s partly why 5e’s advantage is so popular as it’ll take that 2-in-3 and bump it up to the neighborhood of 4-in-5 or more.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Steven Mitchell on January 04, 2021, 10:29:37 AM
There is something to the two-thirds chance part.  Anywhere from about 60% to 70% will safely evoke the feeling in most games. 

That said, I think there is also an element of how much real time it takes to have some success.  A simple system with only 45% to 55% chance of success can feel satisfactory to many players if they can get a hit in about the same amount of time it takes in a slower handling system with higher chances.  Plus, some people get satisfaction at being "shot at without results" (nothing so exhilarating).  The psychology of how successful a hit feels (e.g. damage relative to putting the opponent down) enters into it as well. 
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 04, 2021, 10:30:50 AM
I always consider that. But there are three points against that. The first is I've looked at what I said, and it's seems pretty clear. That's not conclusive, because I could have missed something. But for me to reconsider that, you'd have to demonstrate where I miscommunicated, not just make a vague claim. Secondly, they didn't misunderstand my arguments in the same way. You made one argument, and they made other arguments. And most importantly is the third: People really don't understand probability well, and it can be challenging to break down their preconceptions. That's the reason why I posted what I posted. I expected some pushback.

I think the problem is more possibly where you are placing emphasis rather than the points themselves.

Yes, a +1 is a big deal at the outliers. But its not a big deal as you drift away from those edges.

But to an optimizer that +1 is a bonus period and they NEEED IT!

Or when I was a playtester on AQW. We had some nuts flipping out over how "unballanced" one class was over the others because its attack was .01 second faster. Even after we pointed out No. It didnt. Those were vauguarities in personal or serverside processing. But no-no. This is game breaking! And on the flip side others were declaring a different class THE BEST WHY TAKE ANY OTHER??? because they believed is was .01 sec faster. And of course it was not either.

And all this and so much worse behaviors been around a long time in tabletop gaming. As said. Some perceive it as an "I WIN!" button.

But at the end of the day to the more obsessive optimizer a +1 is a bonus across the board and thats all that matters. Better if can pump it up to a +2, 3, 4, etc.
I didn't place the emphasis on that, I just used it as an example. Which I expanded upon in later posts, because the people initially responding to my post were misunderstanding the probabilities, and spelling out how 2/1 = 100% by listing the 3 numbers is easier than using 11/10 = 10%, and listing 21 numbers. Making things more confusing for the people I actually responding to because other people might come along and assume the example I used for illustration is the totality of what I'm saying doesn't seem like a good approach. Nor is repeating all of what I said in my first post, in every post. This really seems like a case where you read it superficially and drew the wrong conclusions, and where there wasn't a way for me to communicate it better.

You pretty much nailed my read of their argument... Pat was putting so much emphasis on the outlier effects while ignoring that almost NO modern game (i.e. the types where you're most likely to see "builds" and planned optimization) build their system to have lots of outliers because, frankly, extremely low/high probabilities of success aren't actually that interesting.
Same as above, plus note the 11/10 example I just used above is the middle of the range, and it still amounts to twice the +1 = +5%. That's good illustration that +1 = +5% is the wrong way of thinking.

Also, I think you're wrong about how frequently characters succeed in different games. It's not toward the middle. The study by WotC that Mishihari mentioned a couple posts back was in the back of my head when I wrote my first post, and that matches with my experience with a wide variety of games. Competent characters, which generally include the PCs, don't typically have a 20% chance of success, or even a 50%. Most tend to succeed in the 60-90% range. There's psychological reasons for this: People play games to have fun, and little victories like hitting fairly frequently become a system of positive feedback. Old school D&D tends to be a little bit of an outlier, because things like to hit rolls and saves can vary more, based on level. In low level games, the chance to hit or save can be anywhere from 5% to 50%. The reward here is a little different, with low level games feeling very hard or whiffy, but that gives a feeling of accomplishment to the players as characters advance and become more reliably successful at individual rolls. It's more of a delayed reward, which supports the themes of a game that focuses on leveling up rather than starting characters as full-fledged heroes.

Let's look at the full range, on the d20 spectrum, using some more broadly illustrative examples. (Incidentally, this is in line with where I hoped the discussion would go after my initial post, but the conversation got sidetracked a bit because people were misunderstanding how probability works, so I ended up repeating my example in a couple different ways, leading to the confusion you felt.)

Succeed on a / What a +1 bonus means to your chance of success
20: +100% (doubles it, since you now succeed on a 19 or 20, not just a 20)
16+: +20%
11+: +10%
6+: +7%
2+: +5% (chance of success increases from 2-20 to 1-20, or 20/19)

If we think of this in the long term, if you only succeed on a 20, a +1 bonus means you succeed twice as often, over the course of a campaign (well, as long as the conditions hold). Even a +1 bonus to hit when your chance to hit is 50% (11+) means you do an extra 10% damage, over time. The +5% in the last line of the table (2+) is rounded down (from 5.26%), so even when your starting chance of success is high, a +1 bonus means more than 5%, which should clearly show that +1 = +5% is always the wrong way of thinking about it.

And note this is focused on success. If we focus on failure and penalties, which is important when it's about avoiding a negative results (e.g. saves), then this is what happens:

Succeed on a (fail on a) / What a -1 penalty means to your chance of failure
20 (19-): +5% (chance of failure increases from 2-20 to 1-20, or 20/19)
16+ (15-): +7%
11+ (10-): +10%
6+ (5-): +20%
2+ (1): +100% (doubles it, since you now fail on a 1 or 2, not just a 1)

The table flips. That means there's always a way of looking at it where a +1 bonus is equal to +10% or more, and outliers become twice as common.

Though if you play in a game where the PCs have a high chance of positive results, and a low chance of negative results (to hit and saves, for instance), those will tend to fall in the 5% to 10% range. As I mentioned above, old school D&D is a notable exception. Another is getting hit by a monster, in most games (even if the PCs have a high chance to hit, the monsters tend to have a high chance to hit as well, which is a negative results for the PCs).
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Zalman on January 04, 2021, 10:39:34 AM
There is something to the two-thirds chance part.  Anywhere from about 60% to 70% will safely evoke the feeling in most games. 

Yes, not just as a "fun" indicator, but as a decision-maker at the table. Pat can harp on all he likes about "percentage increase in chance to hit", but players don't care about "percentage increase in chance to hit", only "percentage increase in chance to survive/win". A fighter that hits only on a 19-20 and gets a +1 only increases their chance of surviving that battle by 5%. That's the percentage that people care about (and rightfully so, it's the one that actually makes a difference.)
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 04, 2021, 10:46:01 AM
A fighter that hits only on a 19-20 and gets a +1 only increases their chance of surviving that battle by 5%.
That is completely false. A fighter that hits on a 19 or 20 (2 chances in 20) and gets a +1 bonus to hit will now hit on a 18 or 20 (3 chances in 20).

That doesn't perfectly map to their "chance of surviving", because that's a complex situation dependent on many variables. But it does increase their expected damage output by a full 50%, which is a lot.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Chris24601 on January 04, 2021, 11:41:40 AM
A fighter that hits only on a 19-20 and gets a +1 only increases their chance of surviving that battle by 5%.
That is completely false. A fighter that hits on a 19 or 20 (2 chances in 20) and gets a +1 bonus to hit will now hit on a 18 or 20 (3 chances in 20).

That doesn't perfectly map to their "chance of surviving", because that's a complex situation dependent on many variables. But it does increase their expected damage output by a full 50%, which is a lot.
Pat, I think you have to look at the replies here and realize that you are the one not approaching this like most people do. It may make perfectly logical sense to you, but other people aren't processing the odds in the same way you are.

Going from 2 average damage per round to 3 average damage per round may seem significant to you, but when the average damage per round with a 60% hit rate is 12, both 2 and 3 feel horribly sub-optimal.

Here's something I learned from all my playtesting for my system... You can be 100% right on the math, but if the people actually using the math don't process it the same way you do, then you're never going to convince them.

For example, when I was doing testing on flat-bonuses vs. advantage-style mechanics, one of my tests was offering a flat-bonus statistically better than even the re-roll mechanic could provide (a +6 bonus) and they STILL preferred the re-roll because the re-roll could save ANYTHING. Roll a 2 when you need a 10? +6 doesn't help you. Re-roll might.

Hat tip to the playtester who coined the term, but "save vs. failure" beat out even far statistically superior flat bonuses precisely because it was just that... a literal second chance and humans are just hard-wired to remember the times those pay off way more than the times they fail (you'd already failed, so having it continue to fail isn't notable... whereas a failure turning into a success is memorable).

From my testing, regardless of the statistical odds, the odds were ALWAYS perceived as better before the roll if you had a re-roll than a flat bonus unless the flat bonus actually took your odds to "sure thing" territory.

Another element from my testing... from my experience people almost NEVER judge on odds of success... they judge on odds of failure (i.e. risk). They don't see "I needed a 19-20, but now need an 18-20" as "I have 50% better odds of success" they see "I went from a 90% chance of failure to an 85% chance of failure."

Which, to bring this back to optimization, means that optimizers aren't chasing +1's to take improve their odds of success from 19-20 to 18-20... they're taking them to reduce the rate of failure... ideally to as close to "sure thing" as the system will allow.

As a practical example of this, back in Palladium days the default standard was to get at least a +3 to strike because a natural 1 always missed and a 1-4 result missed. With a +3 to strike anything that didn't auto-miss at least required the defender to make a parry or dodge roll in order to avoid a potential hit.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Zalman on January 04, 2021, 12:51:11 PM
But it does increase their expected damage output by a full 50%, which is a lot.

Here I disagree. A "50% increase" is "a lot" only if it's 50% of a significant number in the first place. No player I've ever encountered thought +1 was "a lot" on a d20 roll. At this point, the argument seems entirely disingenuous to me.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Zalman on January 04, 2021, 12:56:18 PM
Another element from my testing... from my experience people almost NEVER judge on odds of success... they judge on odds of failure (i.e. risk). They don't see "I needed a 19-20, but now need an 18-20" as "I have 50% better odds of success" they see "I went from a 90% chance of failure to an 85% chance of failure."

Interesting. My own experience is that the difference is generally viewed in terms of the larger chance, whether that happens to be success or failure, probably since it's the number that is relevant to outcome, and thus player decision.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Steven Mitchell on January 04, 2021, 01:48:21 PM
Another element from my testing... from my experience people almost NEVER judge on odds of success... they judge on odds of failure (i.e. risk). They don't see "I needed a 19-20, but now need an 18-20" as "I have 50% better odds of success" they see "I went from a 90% chance of failure to an 85% chance of failure."

Interesting. My own experience is that the difference is generally viewed in terms of the larger chance, whether that happens to be success or failure, probably since it's the number that is relevant to outcome, and thus player decision.

My experience is that players are all over the place, such that as a group their behavior defies description.  I can categorize some of the common bits, but even then there is a lot of variety and crossover.  To wit:

A. Player is all about the math.  (A.1 To the point of doing stupid stuff because the formula says so. A.2 Classic optimizer with modest tactics after the build.  A.3 Focused on winning on all levels. Etc.)

B. Player is all about the character.  (A.1 Unconsciously adapts the math via experience of what works mixed with good judgment. A.2 Repeatedly makes mistakes in evaluating odds due to gambler fallacy and other issues.  Etc.)

C. Player is orthogonal to both above, perhaps stirring up trouble or acting almost solely on an intuitive level or too many other ways to list.

Suppose a pre-gen character in a game with 3 attacks.  One very accurate, low damage.  Another is the opposite.  The middle one is a mix of accuracy and damage that is also the most mathematically efficient.  I've known different players that will always pick the accuracy or the high damage or the efficiency as long as all 3 options are available.  That's not even getting into the situational differences, limited resources providing the attacks, area effects vs number of targets, etc.  Not to mention players that will cycle between the 3 options with no appreciable pattern or even a logic that they can articulate.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 04, 2021, 02:54:06 PM
But it does increase their expected damage output by a full 50%, which is a lot.

Here I disagree. A "50% increase" is "a lot" only if it's 50% of a significant number in the first place. No player I've ever encountered thought +1 was "a lot" on a d20 roll. At this point, the argument seems entirely disingenuous to me.
Pat, I think you have to look at the replies here and realize that you are the one not approaching this like most people do. It may make perfectly logical sense to you, but other people aren't processing the odds in the same way you are.
Zalman, that's because, and I'm not trying to be mean about it, you seem to have no understanding of probabilities. You stated that someone that hits on 19 to 20 and then gets a +1 bonus has a 5% greater chance to survive a battle. The math error is relatively minor compared to the more fundamental one: That the survival rate simply can't be calculated by looking at one +1 bonus. Combat, and survival, involves a wide range of variables, as well as a number of subjective decisions. That +5% is completely, utterly meaningless.

I'm not sure what point you're trying to make with all these replies and snide remarks. Because while the tone of your posts seems to be strongly opposed to what I'm saying, and you adopt elements from my posts like the +5%, you use those elements out of any context that makes sense, and never seem to address any of the points I've made.

Chris, you seem to have a better grasp of probabilities, but otherwise you're doing exactly the same thing. It's really bizarre.

If you're not interested in what I'm talking about, why reply? And if you'd like to talk about how the probabilities work in a wider context, or about other topics like how players react to the different ways of presenting the same mechanics, then why not just say so? I've literally never said anything about any of that, in this thread, so why are you pretending you're rebutting anything I've said? Those are actually topics I would have been interested in talking about, if the waters hadn't been poisoned like this.

Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Shasarak on January 04, 2021, 03:10:17 PM
Optimisers should beware of monsters that know this maxim: the nail that sticks out is the first to get the hammer.

Minimizers should beware of monsters that know this maxim: the limp guy is the first one left behind when shit gets real.  :P

You assume that Minimizers want their character to live.  And why would you when it is so easy to roll up a new one 3d6 down the line.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Zalman on January 04, 2021, 03:17:22 PM
I'm not sure what point you're trying to make with all these replies and snide remarks. Because while the tone of your posts seems to be strongly opposed to what I'm saying, and you adopt elements from my posts like the +5%, you use those elements out of any context that makes sense, and never seem to address any of the points I've made.

Apologies, I don't mean to sound snide. I do disagree with your original statement, which I believe was that it's more "useful" to think of a +1 bonus as a "50% increase in the chance of success", and to thus consider it a "large" bonus.

I disagreed, and attempted to explain why to you, but you seem stuck in repeating mathematical truisms about comparisons that are, in my opinion, irrelevant to the context. As to the other points you brought up, like "survival is more complex than that," I find them entirely orthogonal to the conversation, so yes, I have nothing to say about them.

I understand probabilities just fine; I also understand relevance, which is something you don't seem to want to discuss.

In any case, I don't feel like you are engaging in conversation in good faith here, so I won't be continuing this line of argument with you.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 04, 2021, 04:34:00 PM
I'm not sure what point you're trying to make with all these replies and snide remarks. Because while the tone of your posts seems to be strongly opposed to what I'm saying, and you adopt elements from my posts like the +5%, you use those elements out of any context that makes sense, and never seem to address any of the points I've made.

Apologies, I don't mean to sound snide. I do disagree with your original statement, which I believe was that it's more "useful" to think of a +1 bonus as a "50% increase in the chance of success", and to thus consider it a "large" bonus.

I disagreed, and attempted to explain why to you, but you seem stuck in repeating mathematical truisms about comparisons that are, in my opinion, irrelevant to the context. As to the other points you brought up, like "survival is more complex than that," I find them entirely orthogonal to the conversation, so yes, I have nothing to say about them.

I understand probabilities just fine; I also understand relevance, which is something you don't seem to want to discuss.

In any case, I don't feel like you are engaging in conversation in good faith here, so I won't be continuing this line of argument with you.
Thanks for the apology, though the last two sentences are undercut it. It feels like you've been trying to dismiss my arguments, but nothing you've said seems to relate to what I've said. In turn, I can assure you, I've been trying to engage in good faith. There's a disconnect here, somewhere. One example is the comment you just made, that you consider the factors that contribute to survival to be orthogonal to the discussion. But you were talking about the percentage by which survival is increased, so that doesn't seem to make any sense to me.

One clarification, based on what you just said: I didn't say that +1 is a large bonus. I said +1 is a large relative bonus when it increases the chance of success from 2 in 20 (19+) to 3 in 20 (18+). The point I've been making is that a +1 on a d20 is not a flat 5% increase in your chances. The actual impact varies from slightly over 5% to effectively infinite (when a +1 makes an impossible hit possible, assuming the system allows that). The impact of a +1 bonus tapers off quickly from the unbounded result, to the median of 10%.

And I understand relevance quite well. That's why I've tried to place what I've said in context.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Theory of Games on January 04, 2021, 04:58:16 PM
My two coin:

Optimizers have a place as long as they can engage scenes that have nothing to do with whatever their character's great at. Calling the act of optimizing a character "immature" or "crazy" is more of that SJW "OneTrueWayism" that divides the hobby.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Chris24601 on January 04, 2021, 06:54:51 PM
Chris, you seem to have a better grasp of probabilities, but otherwise you're doing exactly the same thing. It's really bizarre.
Pat, I’ll say it again... when multiple people are misinterpreting you in exactly the same way which is more likely?

A) That everyone else just happens to be reading it wrong in exactly the same way.
-or-
B) That something in your statement isn’t conveying what you think it is and people are reacting to that in the same way because that is the reasonable take away from what you actually wrote (vs. what you think you wrote).

And I’ll sum it up again +1 may increase the odds of success by 50%, but they’re also only reducing the odds of failure by 5.7%, which isn’t terribly meaningful at all.

The fact is that when people look at a bonus they aren’t looking at how much it improves your odds by, they’re looking at what the new odds are. They aren’t seeing “my odds of success have gone up by 50%” they’re seeing “my odds have gone from 10% to 15% and so that +1 might matter once in 20 rolls.*”

You’re stuck on arguing the equivalent of “you’ll halve your odds of heart disease if you stopped eating meat” as statistically significant, while everyone else sees “meat = 0.2% chance; no meat = 0.1% chance” and getting a cheeseburger.

No one is arguing your numbers are right; we’re arguing your numbers aren’t important to how people are evaluating success/failure and when most people say “my odds have gone up 5%” what they actually mean is “this distribution of possible results on this particular roll has a 5% greater chance of success and a 5% lower chance of failure than a distribution without the +1 bonus added to it.”

Only “my odds have gone up by 5%” is faster to say and most people know exactly what the speaker means by that and don’t feel compelled to correct them for it.

* or matter after only 5 rolls or not matter in 40 rolls because the flat probability of a d20 will only get close to the mean in many times 20 rolls... the odds of actually getting a perfect distribution of every one of the twenty results over the course of 20 rolls is astronomically small.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Heavy Josh on January 04, 2021, 07:21:21 PM
Watching this video, I'm struck by two things:

1. The sheer paternalism underpinning the whole argument: "we must tolerate the optimizers and teach them to be better players. Hold your noses!"

Tolerance is great, but it's a virtue in and of itself. It's not a means to an end.

2. Any approach to gaming where a player is belittled for bringing a play style or character build to the table is counterproductive. Yes, there are games where the expectation is that everyone had better be optimized for their job, combat, or whatever. And there are games where a misfit bunch of adventurers stumble into a dungeon and that's fine too. In either case, let the GM handle those players that brought knifes to gunfights, so to speak.

Don't tell other people they're playing D&D wrong because they're not playing in the manner to which you are accustomed. Tolerate their play style, get your kicks, and if you can't do either, act in a mature and adult manner after the game is done.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: TJS on January 04, 2021, 07:24:51 PM
I'll say it again.  Some of you are missing where this does matter to players and is noticeable because you're focuing purely on chances to hit.

When it's your AC it has real and noticeable effect and after you play for a while you can see it.  It affects the risks you are willing to take.  If you are only hit on a 16 then increasing your AC further is noticeable - at a certain point you feel confident you can walk away from the 5 goons and go over and smack the wizard in the face.

Reducing the hits you take by a significant percentage means you're hit points can go a lot further. This was really noticeable in 4E because of how high you could get your AC - it's only slightly noticeable in 5E because of bounded accuracy.

It would matter for to hit chances if monsters regularly had AC that you can only hit on an 18 or 19, but that doesn't happen.  If every monster was like that then you can be sure that players would start doing everything they could to get that +1.

Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: TJS on January 04, 2021, 07:25:36 PM
Watching this video,
See that was your mistake right there.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Heavy Josh on January 04, 2021, 07:46:32 PM

See that was your mistake right there.

Well, I'm in Canada. I'm all full up on inept politicians being dangerous in their ineptitude.  I needed a break.

Also, I watched it at 1.5x speed, so it wasn't a complete waste of time.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 04, 2021, 09:13:13 PM
Chris, you seem to have a better grasp of probabilities, but otherwise you're doing exactly the same thing. It's really bizarre.
Pat, I’ll say it again... when multiple people are misinterpreting you in exactly the same way which is more likely?
Chris, I'll say it again: When we covered this, I told you I considered that, and gave four reasons contrary. And I can think of a 5th one: On technical issues, the crowd's answer tends to be completely orthogonal to the correct answer. To press your case, you'll need to present a case, not just make an unsupported assertion.

And I’ll sum it up again +1 may increase the odds of success by 50%, but they’re also only reducing the odds of failure by 5.7%, which isn’t terribly meaningful at all.

The fact is that when people look at a bonus they aren’t looking at how much it improves your odds by, they’re looking at what the new odds are. They aren’t seeing “my odds of success have gone up by 50%” they’re seeing “my odds have gone from 10% to 15% and so that +1 might matter once in 20 rolls.*”

You’re stuck on arguing the equivalent of “you’ll halve your odds of heart disease if you stopped eating meat” as statistically significant, while everyone else sees “meat = 0.2% chance; no meat = 0.1% chance” and getting a cheeseburger.

No one is arguing your numbers are right; we’re arguing your numbers aren’t important to how people are evaluating success/failure and when most people say “my odds have gone up 5%” what they actually mean is “this distribution of possible results on this particular roll has a 5% greater chance of success and a 5% lower chance of failure than a distribution without the +1 bonus added to it.”

Only “my odds have gone up by 5%” is faster to say and most people know exactly what the speaker means by that and don’t feel compelled to correct them for it.

* or matter after only 5 rolls or not matter in 40 rolls because the flat probability of a d20 will only get close to the mean in many times 20 rolls... the odds of actually getting a perfect distribution of every one of the twenty results over the course of 20 rolls is astronomically small.
Now that appears to be a reason, but I doesn't seem to make much sense.

Let's start with your first one. If you're at the place on the scale where a +1 increases your chance of success by 50%, that's huge. If it's an attack, you're increasing your damage output by 50%. That it only reduces the chance of failure by a smaller amount is irrelevant. What is relevant is that, if your improved chance of success is only 3 in 20, then the game will be very swingy. With only a 15% chance of hitting, your damage output will vary a lot, with long stretches where you do no damage at all, and then a big jump when you hit. In contrast, someone with the same average damage who hits 85% of the time will be the slow and steady type, dealing out a smaller amount of damage fairly consistently over time.

In fact, that's one of the design strengths of old school D&D. You don't just get new powers as you level up, but the very nature of attacks and damage shifts, as you move from a highly swingy game to a more stable and consistent one. This creates a lot of variety in play, over the course of a PC's career.

You addressed the swinginess, but what does that have to do with looking at the probabilities? They're separate issues, and both are important for determining how a game plays out. It's like I tried to explain the Pythagorean Theorem, and someone objected that the walls are too thin to bear the load. That may be a valid issue, but the one doesn't contradict the other in any way. The frequency a bonus comes into play is the same: Valid, but not directly related to anything I said. The same is true regarding player perceptions, and how they relate to the game mechanics.

So why the objections with what I'm saying? I'm talking about a set of tools for correctly assessing changing chances of success or failure. I haven't made any grand claims that it's the only important factor. It's like there's some instinctive aversion to even allowing someone to talk about the matter.

It's also irrelevant that people make blatantly incorrect statements in casual conversation. I'm discussing a technical issue, and in that context, being precise is useful, and statements that are incorrect should be corrected. Again, it's perfectly valid to talk about how players perceive things, but it's not an objection to anything I said.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Abraxus on January 04, 2021, 09:30:31 PM
Chris24601 do yourself a favor and walk away. No matter what you say you are in the wrong. Even if Pat is proven wrong it's never him it's everyone else.

It's not worth the time or energy and for what to be told your wrong all the time. Focus on something more productive as well as similar posters. That extra +1 is noticeable at low levels at higher levels not that much. If the +1 bonus would truly add 50% you can bet myself and others would be doing our damn best to get that bonus. For an extra 5% it's not worth it and hardly that noticeable and not worth the effort.

Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 04, 2021, 09:30:45 PM
I'll say it again.  Some of you are missing where this does matter to players and is noticeable because you're focuing purely on chances to hit.

When it's your AC it has real and noticeable effect and after you play for a while you can see it.  It affects the risks you are willing to take.  If you are only hit on a 16 then increasing your AC further is noticeable - at a certain point you feel confident you can walk away from the 5 goons and go over and smack the wizard in the face.

Reducing the hits you take by a significant percentage means you're hit points can go a lot further. This was really noticeable in 4E because of how high you could get your AC - it's only slightly noticeable in 5E because of bounded accuracy.

It would matter for to hit chances if monsters regularly had AC that you can only hit on an 18 or 19, but that doesn't happen.  If every monster was like that then you can be sure that players would start doing everything they could to get that +1.
There's a reason for that. AC increases staying power. It acts as a multiplier of hit points, and it's not a straight linear multiple. If a monster can hit you 50% of the time, and you can survive 10 hits, then you'll last 20 rounds. But if the monster only hits 5% of the time, then you'll last 200, a full 10 times more. Games that allow AC to vary outside the narrow middle range (old school D&D, 3.X, etc.) can create tanks that are very hard to take down with simple attacks.

But you to hit roll is a multiplier of the damage you inflict. If you hit 50% of the time, and can take down a foe in 2 blows, then you'll take out a foe on average every 4 rounds. If you hit 95% of the time, then increases, but not as massively as AC. Instead of a tenfold increase, you only roughly double (1 foe in slightly over 2 rounds). But if you hit 5% of the time, then the average time it takes to drop a foe does jump tenfold, to 40 rounds.'

So a high AC is more valuable than a high attack roll, but conversely a really bad attack roll hurts more than a bad AC. And the strong effects (high AC, or bad attack) are really skewed toward the end of the scale -- 5% is a tenfold difference compared to 50%, but even a single point nudge toward the center drops that to a fivefold difference (50%/10%), and 2 points drops it to a bit over over a threefold difference (50%/15%), and so on.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: TJS on January 04, 2021, 09:34:15 PM
I'll say it again.  Some of you are missing where this does matter to players and is noticeable because you're focuing purely on chances to hit.

When it's your AC it has real and noticeable effect and after you play for a while you can see it.  It affects the risks you are willing to take.  If you are only hit on a 16 then increasing your AC further is noticeable - at a certain point you feel confident you can walk away from the 5 goons and go over and smack the wizard in the face.

Reducing the hits you take by a significant percentage means you're hit points can go a lot further. This was really noticeable in 4E because of how high you could get your AC - it's only slightly noticeable in 5E because of bounded accuracy.

It would matter for to hit chances if monsters regularly had AC that you can only hit on an 18 or 19, but that doesn't happen.  If every monster was like that then you can be sure that players would start doing everything they could to get that +1.
There's a reason for that. AC increases staying power. It acts as a multiplier of hit points, and it's not a straight linear multiple. If a monster can hit you 50% of the time, and you can survive 10 hits, then you'll last 20 rounds. But if the monster only hits 5% of the time, then you'll last 200, a full 10 times more. Games that allow AC to vary outside the narrow middle range (old school D&D, 3.X, etc.) can create tanks that are very hard to take down with simple attacks.

But you to hit roll is a multiplier of the damage you inflict. If you hit 50% of the time, and can take down a foe in 2 blows, then you'll take out a foe on average every 4 rounds. If you hit 95% of the time, then increases, but not as massively as AC. Instead of a tenfold increase, you only roughly double (1 foe in slightly over 2 rounds). But if you hit 5% of the time, then the average time it takes to drop a foe does jump tenfold, to 40 rounds.'

So a high AC is more valuable than a high attack roll, but conversely a really bad attack roll hurts more than a bad AC. And the strong effects (high AC, or bad attack) are really skewed toward the end of the scale -- 5% is a tenfold difference compared to 50%, but even a single point nudge toward the center drops that to a fivefold difference (50%/10%), and 2 points drops it to a bit over over a threefold difference (50%/15%), and so on.
Yes.  I know that.

In fact I said that.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 04, 2021, 09:35:43 PM
Chris24601 do yourself a favor and walk away. No matter what you say you are in the wrong. Even if Pat is proven wrong it's never him it's everyone else.

It's not worth the time or energy and for what to be told your wrong all the time. Focus on something more productive as well as similar posters.
Says the poster who has spend the entire OD&D thread making unfounded attacks on OD&D players.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 04, 2021, 09:37:32 PM
Yes.  I know that.

In fact I said that.
I thought some additional quantification would be useful.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Abraxus on January 04, 2021, 09:46:34 PM
Another issue I have with complaints about optimization is how easily it is tossed out by some players in the hobby. For example I am playing a Cavalier in Pathfinder campaign (They rock as class BTW imo). Not too optimized focused on the bread and butter Cavalier feats. When I charge and hit with a Lance I do decent damage. That alone would be considered "broken" and a sure sign of "optimization". I have run for and played with actually hardcore optimizers yet where does one draw the line. So being good at what a character is supposed to do is sign optimization.   

Not to mention in later editions with the right spells and classes out of the core that +1 can go really far. A bard at least in Pathfinder is a nightmare if the class is run properly. Bardic song to inspire the rest of the group and himself to hit and do more damage. A class ability to boost other character dice rules. Spells like Saving Finale give second save to the Fighter targeted by Confusion.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Pat on January 04, 2021, 10:10:16 PM
Another issue I have with complaints about optimization is how easily it is tossed out by some players in the hobby. For example I am playing a Cavalier in Pathfinder campaign (They rock as class BTW imo). Not too optimized focused on the bread and butter Cavalier feats. When I charge and hit with a Lance I do decent damage. That alone would be considered "broken" and a sure sign of "optimization". I have run for and played with actually hardcore optimizers yet where does one draw the line. So being good at what a character is supposed to do is sign optimization.   

Not to mention in later editions with the right spells and classes out of the core that +1 can go really far. A bard at least in Pathfinder is a nightmare if the class is run properly. Bardic song to inspire the rest of the group and himself to hit and do more damage. A class ability to boost other character dice rules. Spells like Saving Finale give second save to the Fighter targeted by Confusion.
That's all true. I think the most overlooked aspect of optimization is social skills. Having one thing you're really good at shouldn't be a cause for an outcry, we should want all players to have their time in the spotlight. Conversely, if some players are better at optimization, it's more fun for everyone if they don't go to overboard, or help other players. RPGs are cooperative games, not individual competitions. There's nothing wrong with optimization, but it's also important to make sure everyone's having fun.

That's how we managed to make a highly optimized 3.0/3.5 epic game work. The DM was experienced enough to look over the character sheets and spot when something was too far out of step, but otherwise let everyone run with whatever they wanted. And the players were mature enough to work with each other. We wanted powerful, but we also wanted interesting and fun, so some choices were deliberately more challenging than others (like a high LA skill monkey). So we talked it out, and avoided stepping on each other's toes.

Bardic abilities and other abilities that apply to a lot of characters tend to be very powerful, especially as the group increases in size.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Shasarak on January 04, 2021, 10:50:34 PM
Chris24601 do yourself a favor and walk away. No matter what you say you are in the wrong. Even if Pat is proven wrong it's never him it's everyone else.

It's not worth the time or energy and for what to be told your wrong all the time. Focus on something more productive as well as similar posters.
Says the poster who has spend the entire OD&D thread making unfounded attacks on OD&D players.

Come on, Pat that is just not true - some attacks were not unfounded, some were shots of opportunity.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Eirikrautha on January 05, 2021, 12:01:36 AM
Chris24601 do yourself a favor and walk away. No matter what you say you are in the wrong. Even if Pat is proven wrong it's never him it's everyone else.

It's not worth the time or energy and for what to be told your wrong all the time. Focus on something more productive as well as similar posters.
Says the poster who has spend the entire OD&D thread making unfounded attacks on OD&D players.

Come on, Pat that is just not true - some attacks were not unfounded, some were shots of opportunity.

There were no attacks of opportunity in OD&D...
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Zalman on January 05, 2021, 11:25:13 AM
It would matter for to hit chances if monsters regularly had AC that you can only hit on an 18 or 19, but that doesn't happen.  If every monster was like that then you can be sure that players would start doing everything they could to get that +1.

Perhaps so, but I think in that situation my players would start doing everything they could to avoid combat first and foremost. Gaining some some small bit of advantage for a situation that is likely suicidal in either case would definitely be secondary for a smart player.
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: Omega on January 08, 2021, 08:58:49 PM
Chris24601 do yourself a favor and walk away. No matter what you say you are in the wrong. Even if Pat is proven wrong it's never him it's everyone else.

It's not worth the time or energy and for what to be told your wrong all the time. Focus on something more productive as well as similar posters.
Says the poster who has spend the entire OD&D thread making unfounded attacks on OD&D players.

Come on, Pat that is just not true - some attacks were not unfounded, some were shots of opportunity.

There were no attacks of opportunity in OD&D...

There are in BX. Just under a different name.  ;D
Title: Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
Post by: moonsweeper on January 08, 2021, 09:32:15 PM

There were no attacks of opportunity in OD&D...

There are in BX. Just under a different name.  ;D

I broke out B/X and started running it again about 9 months ago.  None of the players had played it in years.  When they had to retreat from some kobolds, the players started looking at each other and were like 'Oh shit, I forgot this had AOO."   ;D