Friday, December 06, 2013

Banned! And I Complain about the Rogue class

There is currently a thread on the Paizo boards that made me both sad and rather annoyed - to the point I stopped reading it. There are a lot of people out there that I'm glad I don't have to game with. They don't like something so they ban it from all of their games. It isn't necessarily over powered or "broken" or imbalanced or bad flavor. They just don't like it so its banned. These people come across to me as being narrow minded which is a big reason why I have not posted on that thread but rather making a post here.

I play with a pretty open minded group of people. Nothing is banned! Now we do tend to rotate DMs so maybe this helps as well. With that being said  there are some limitations we try to stick to whether they are written or unwritten.

Alignments: This tends to be pretty relaxed in most games but most APs have a certain flavor too them and it doesn't work as well playing evil in a heroic campaign or playing good in an evil one.

3rd party material: The general rule here seems to be let me look it over first and then go for it. It it becomes disruptive you may have to change it. In fact this general rule seems to apply to most things.

Classes: People can play what they want. No one has tried a gunslinger yet but I think that has more to do with lack of interest than anything else.

Flow of the game: Early levels this isn't an issue but after a while combat turns take forever and it can be over 30 minutes between turns. With this in mind we have a gentlemen's agreement in place that tries to keep things moving as fast as possible. Pet classes are frowned upon, summoning multiple creatures is a no-no, wide area long duration spells that involve checks each turn like black tentacles are best avoided. In boss fights it tends to be anything goes, but if someone is summoning 10 creatures every time a bunch of goblins show up they are going to get a lot of dirty looks from the other players. Leadership is usually not a valid option.

Flavor: This is probably the loosest restriction. The DM usually has some idea about how the PCs are going to fit into the campaign and it is is supposed to be very elf-centric and the party are a bunch of random obscure races, its probably not going to work so well. On the same note lots of DMs like to keep the Asian flavor out of Western fantasy (no Ninjas!, although why you can't just call the class something different is beyond me). The monk class is already a bit of an oddball here.

So that's it. I like a nice wide open game with few restrictions. I don't like heavy handed DMs who ban stuff just because they don't like it. If there is an agreement that something has become disruptive then I'm OK with that. Disruption usually comes into play when several factors come together. The Witch class can be OP in a very humanoid-centric campaign but is pretty much useless in an undead-centric campaign. The Witch class should not always be banned just because it is very strong against certain classes of enemies.

A final thing that pisses me off is people that ban classes or archetypes because they are better than another class. "I ban the Vivisectionist archetype for the Alchemist because its is better at sneak attacking than a Rogue". Dude, I hate to break it to you but the Rogue class sucks. Banning something because another class is better is going to get everything but the monk, rogue and fighter banned. And for that matter most of the monk archetypes will be banned because almost all are stronger than the base class.

I'm getting off topic here but I don't see why people are so hung up on class names. "I love being a Rogue". Why? They have terrible saves, sneak attack doesn't work most of the time, they can't hit in melee, they can't do damage at range. Let's see: they have lots of skills, have a cool class name, and trap finding. Why not just take another decent class/archetype that actually does everything a rogue can do but better and call it a Rogue? Archaeologist bard, Trapper ranger, or Crypt breaker alchemist are all very roguish but have a lot more options available to them. Play one of them and call it a Rogue.

Maybe its just me, but why be mediocre in a heroic game? Why do you want to be good at just sneaking and disabling traps, when you can be good at sneaking and disabling traps as well be able to buff the party, throw bombs, and have decent defenses? I just don't know.

Don't give me any BS about role-playing either as the mechanics of your character have a limited at best connection to how you role play them.

And I did spend a campaign playing a Rogue. Even being over the WBL guideline I still was over shadowed in combat by the martial characters and didn't shine especially bright in any other areas of the game.  I optimized like mad to make him an effective combatant and in the end realized that it wasn't worth the trouble. Other roguish classes can have the same flavor and be twice as effective with half the effort. So yes, I've tried to make an awesome rogue. Unless you are playing a very restricted type campaign where everyone is playing a rogue, I can't see any reason to play one.

1 comment:

Brian Denning said...

I agree with most of the discussion on a group agreement to make a game functional; except my main request to players in combat is to at least 75% of the time have it together. You want to summon lots of monsters? Fine; but know something about the stats and special abilities of the creature you are summoning ahead of time. This goes double for summoning monsters with the fiendish or celestial template added; you had better have done the work ahead of time and have a stats page calculated and ready. Having it together also means actually paying attention to the combat and having a few basic plans on the rounds leading up to your turn, and then expediting your actions. Knowing what your feats do, knowing what your spells do. It seems like a no-brainer but lots of people show up to game without having done any prep. Some old pros can catch up quickly; others not so much. I also want to point to the GM in a game in helping fix OP issues. Your spellcaster has an OP enchantment spell list? Then make sure at least some of your encounters include undead, or constructs, or unintelligent fungus or plants. Your fighter has a huge hit range with his sword? Pit him against an incorporeal. Or against a creature that takes half damage from slashing. I'm not saying make their opponents unkillable- just balance some of the encounters to make the game actually challenging and as the Game Master you can nerf at will, by introducing elements that do just that. That's why banning a class just seems silly.