LonePaladin
 member, 732 posts
 Creator of HeroForge
Mon 25 Jun 2018
at 20:26
[D&D/PF] Why does everyone want Gestalt?
I fully expect some criticism for this, but I've never been a fan of the Gestalt rules. I mean, I can kinda see using them if you have a very small group (or even a single player), but it seems like hardly a week goes by here without at least three full-group Gestalt games turning up.

Why is this so popular? What's wrong with using the existing systems?
V_V
 member, 748 posts
 You can call me V, just V
 Life; a journey made once
Mon 25 Jun 2018
at 20:52
[D&D/PF] Why does everyone want Gestalt?
Some classess, like bard, or hell, samurai, become much more fun when you can pair it with another class. Bards at epic level are AWESOME! Below that...it really takes a careful player to make fun.

As for gestalt versus not. I do both. MY epic game is single class, and I've had my players frequently ask "can we gestalt?!" which was on the table, but not something I wanted to do lightly.

Some classes, like wizard, can even be fun to do, if you aren't playing them at their "full" potential. I have a fighter that is paired with an enchanter, that dualed with dread necromancer. Against Undead, he does okay. Against oozes, constructs, and certain outsider with immunities, my fighter and the sorcerer with AoE have to clean up. I'm sure someone COULD make an enchanter that deal with an ooze or construct, but I doubt it. Especially not with focused casting.

It's all about how you play. If you play only the most powerful classes, with the most powerful abilities/spells then yes, you don't need gestalt.

Then again, you were upset about using charges off a .75k wand of CLW. So I'm not sure where you're coming from. In LG (living greyhawk)  Wands of CLW would be used every other module. lol

Play what you want to play, but that's why people like gestalt. It gives them more options, and MANY if not MOST of us have played it as "existing".  It's nice to change things up. I got a 12th level mage in LG. I did that, and so enjoyed the freedom of gestalt in home groups. It wasn't about power.

As for "existing". You know UA is first party, right? It's AU that was 3rd party.

Players like to be unique. Players, especially from other systems, want to play a concept, not just a class.

Bluntly put, single classes can be boring for some people. Why DON'T you like gestalt?

Anyway, be pro stuff. It really helps.
LonePaladin
 member, 733 posts
 Creator of HeroForge
Mon 25 Jun 2018
at 20:57
Re: [D&D/PF] Why does everyone want Gestalt?
V_V:
Then again, you were upset about using charges off a .75k wand of CLW. So I'm not sure where you're coming from. In LG (living greyhawk)  Wands of CLW would be used every other module. lol

What are you talking about?
donsr
 member, 1341 posts
Mon 25 Jun 2018
at 21:00
Re: [D&D/PF] Why does everyone want Gestalt?
never even pretended try that. I use  D&D  rules  with a bit  of Homebrew rules.. the rest, heck with it, They got enough of  my money of the years  I have played!
gladiusdei
 member, 696 posts
Mon 25 Jun 2018
at 21:01
[D&D/PF] Why does everyone want Gestalt?
I'll pitch since I have a hunch my post was in part what led you to ask this question.  I've played roleplaying games for a long time, and I am fairly tired of the run of the mill characters.  So like V_V said, single class characters seem to be boring.

and like V_V said, I enjoy creating character concepts and go with that.  I don't like running or playing games that feel like a slower version of a video game.  I prefer getting immersed in a story.

a side benefit is that, on average, gestalt characters tend to be a bit more robust and versatile, meaning a party of 4 gestalt can usually handle a LOT wider variety of encounters than a regular group of 4 players, which is helpful when planning campaigns.

Gestalt allows for a much greater diversity and ability to customize a character and create something that feels a lot more my own, and a lot more heroic.  Power is not the central reason for me.  Making a powerful character is great, but with the level of min-maxing and tailored builds online, it basically means everyone would be the same few characters ad nauseum, because they want to be the most powerful.

so I run gestalt to make it more immersive, more heroic, and give players (and myself) a much larger variety.
V_V
 member, 749 posts
 You can call me V, just V
 Life; a journey made once
Mon 25 Jun 2018
at 21:32
Re: [D&D/PF] Why does everyone want Gestalt?
Oh, there was a game you played with me where you were hellbent to not use a couple charges of a wand.



Spoiler for the dumb half-orc cleric: (Highlight or hover over the text to view)
It was about dragons. You were playing a dumb as rocks half-orc cleric, and I was playing the main tank. I was at <50% HP and I said "Can anyone cure me?" and you're like "suck it up, buttercup" lol it was literally 30 gp to heal me, and you were like "it's a waste". pffft. It's low level, every bit of HP counts.

When I would play LG one of the most common mistakes was people wouldn't fully heal between combats. It happened a lot. It many, many times better to heal, even over heal. Someone drops, you lose not one, but two actions. Always, always better to spend those couple charges.

I was also the tank. I took 70% of the team's damage. Your character took the remaining 30%.



I brought up wands, only to orient playstyle. To you, saving charges made sense. You have experience with, I presume, using it in battle or in a pinch, sometimes being without them. The notion of "wasting" a charge seemed too high a cost. That's different playstyle. It helps put things in perspective.

Playstyle affects a lot. Some people think fighters suck. I play them often enough I can keep up with save or die mages. Some people think wizards are OP, and refuse to play with them. Same thing with paladins, or chaotic neutral characters. Many people have their reservation, from isolated events/games.

Case in point, if you expect a cleric to be using his wand for emergencies, you're playing in a different atmosphere than me. Which is fine. Experiences differ. It's good to note those differences. That's just not something that worked in LG, or in the home games I played. I've seen people make that mistake and it was costly. Said person dropped, initiative came, they drooled and bled, one action gone, and then the cleric, druid, ranger, or paladin used a wand to get said person up. A second action wasted. If actions count in combat, you ALWAYS want to reserve in battle spells for offense or defense, not resource management. That should be done in between battle. Especially at low levels, when you have so little to begin with.

With gestalt, if you're used to fighting core MM encounters with roughly EL=PL, then gestalt can be overkill. If you have four person party, and fight EL+4 encounters, and deal with frequent par cor (sp?) environments, and disposable, but challenging encounters, then gestalt can really help take the edge off. Even with a core; wizard, cleric, rogue and fighter; the most basic of groups, you can run into situations you simply don't have the resources to handle.

I can copy and paste some battle plans if you'd like. I have most of the game home games I played, documented round by round. Mostly for my own keepsake, but it's also useful for comparison. It might give you an idea of how gestalt played out in practice, and not just theory. Every game I have on record goes from at most 7th (often lower) all the way to at least 16th (often higher).

GMs who want to put in badass monsters sometimes give the party more magic items. Sometimes they have more player spots. Sometimes they use gestalt. It's all about what the GM has in mind.

@Gladiusdel I actually, now, have the face to face group outvoting me. We have played ONLY gestalt for like nine years. Every time I mention single class, they give me a dirty look "Uh uh!" and I meekly retreat ""okay. It was just an idea" lol. So while I like gestalt more, it mostly ALL I've had to play that goes anywhere. RPoL is fun to MAKE characters, but I rarely get much PLAY out of them. So it would be nice to remember what we are overlooking.

Then again, when I played LG, it was VERY limited. I also played in the "big leagues" with friends who wanted to do meta-regionals,at APL+2 MINIMUM, and Dyver Meta-regionals were brutal as is at APL+0. So making use of very little to do a lot was what I did for a many years BEFORE my face to face group really hit it off. I never thought I would WANT to go bakc to single class back then. I miss it, a little, though
LonePaladin
 member, 734 posts
 Creator of HeroForge
Mon 25 Jun 2018
at 21:38
Re: [D&D/PF] Why does everyone want Gestalt?
V_V:
Oh, there was a game you played with me where you were hellbent to not use a couple charges of a wand.

I can confidently say that wasn't me.
gladiusdei
 member, 697 posts
Mon 25 Jun 2018
at 21:40
Re: [D&D/PF] Why does everyone want Gestalt?
Its like you said, different play styles.  The competitive rpg tournaments like that, like shadowrun's missions, or star wars living force, sound horrible to me.  I prefer catering the game to a story for the group.  I don't get a lot of enjoyment out of sticking to the base game and competing with the system.

Then again, I like using cheat codes on video games to make it more enjoyable, instead of trying to beat a game hardcore.

So everyone enjoys different things.
V_V
 member, 750 posts
 You can call me V, just V
 Life; a journey made once
Mon 25 Jun 2018
at 21:44
Re: [D&D/PF] Why does everyone want Gestalt?
Of note. I haven't played PF enough to level above 4th. I didn't even know they would HAVE gestalt. So that's interesting. It is based on 3.5 after all. I just didn't know that was a thing...I mean unless it's hybrid PF game that uses 3.5 material. In that case, I can understand wanting to use "existing" rules.

I was speaking purely from D&D 3.5.

@LonePaladin: The game is still active...

@gladiussdel It had story, but the groups were very competitive.I was part of the mage's guild, and off record I was the second highest Int character in the region. He was a flamboyant and emotionally flighty mage, so we had fun with that under certain modules. It was certainly quite a game, but any roleplaying, yeah, we made, or the GM ad libbed. The modules were, admittedly, quite dry.

But I digress

This message was last edited by a moderator, as it was moot, at 02:16, Tue 26 June.

Genghis the Hutt
 member, 2544 posts
 Just an average guy :)
Mon 25 Jun 2018
at 21:55
Re: [D&D/PF] Why does everyone want Gestalt?
Gestalt tends to give characters a bigger toolbox from which to draw.  Everyone likes more tools.  What with the action economy generally this isn't near as powerful as having two different characters played by one player, but it is more powerful than one character because if you have a hammer than every problem kind of needs to be bashed.  But if you have a hammer, screwdriver, etc., then you can more easily do different things.
Hunter
 member, 1445 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
 Lurker
Mon 25 Jun 2018
at 22:09
Re: [D&D/PF] Why does everyone want Gestalt?
As far as rpol is concerned, it's a combination of the pretty much non-existent level rate and character development.   I'll pick on one of my favorite characters, Ragnar.   Ragnar is my version of Hulk, so he'd ideally a barbarian/monk.    It's much easier to build a character like that when you've got more levels to work with.

As far as wand usage goes: it depends on the GM you're used to really.   Some GMs give consumable magic items (such as wands, potions, etc) out like candy while others pretty much force you to make your own.   There's also the mindset that I've had to deal with where divine caster = healbot.   Which usually isn't the case, in my experience.
ChromaticNewt
 member, 8 posts
Tue 26 Jun 2018
at 02:49
Re: [D&D/PF] Why does everyone want Gestalt?
LonePaladin:
I fully expect some criticism for this, but I've never been a fan of the Gestalt rules. I mean, I can kinda see using them if you have a very small group (or even a single player), but it seems like hardly a week goes by here without at least three full-group Gestalt games turning up.

Why is this so popular? What's wrong with using the existing systems?

The flaws of a class-based RP game system when you're trying to map a concept for something other than an archetype. Some people like class-based systems and that's fine. I played Pathfinder and play 5e. But it is trying to use a hammer to insert a screw. It can be done but...

Classless systems don't have that same issue. Running a Conan game with Modiphius 2d20 and a 1930's Pulp game using Savage Worlds in RPOL and the character concepts generally just map easily in terms of which attributes and skills the character needs to fulfill the concept. Sometimes it requires a bit of thought on how to build the character and sometimes the concept requires far more development than the starting characters in this game but its fairly easy to dial the concept back until the level matches everyone else.

Provide some xp every so often and they can buy some improvements without an arbitrary level mechanism getting in the way, e.g. if they want to specialise in combat to the detriment of everything else they can
aguy777
 member, 279 posts
 Join Date:
 Thu, 28 Nov, 2013
Tue 26 Jun 2018
at 03:21
Re: [D&D/PF] Why does everyone want Gestalt?
LonePaladin:
I fully expect some criticism for this, but I've never been a fan of the Gestalt rules. I mean, I can kinda see using them if you have a very small group (or even a single player), but it seems like hardly a week goes by here without at least three full-group Gestalt games turning up.

Why is this so popular? What's wrong with using the existing systems?

As others have pointed out, Gestalt works for certain unique character ideas or for mediums (such as RPoL) where leveling up takes an eternity (for most games). I know I'm not alone in having an idea for a character that I can't make work until level 8, whereas most games die far before that. Gestalt also provides a new and fresh way of playing with the same system you already know and love. I think that accounts for most of why Gestalt is popular.

It's worth noting that it's not equivalent to making every-one super-powered. The base mechanics help limit that, especially through action economy. Sure, a munchkin or power-gamer will have a field-day with some of the combos they can now do. But they can still only do so much in a single round. A good DM can make sure everything is balanced, even against a munchkin.
praguepride
 member, 1295 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Tue 26 Jun 2018
at 14:10
Re: [D&D/PF] Why does everyone want Gestalt?
From my experience it falls into three buckets:

  1. As mentioned above, people want to do more with their characters.

  2. Players want to make lower levels deal with more challenging encounters so you take two characters and cram them into one so low levels don't suck as much.

  3. Power gamers.


In my opinion, for Pathfinder, and again just from my observation, it's like 75%+ the 3rd category. #1 can be mostly resolved with the vast array of archetypes or hybrid classes in pathfinder do almost anything a gestalt does better but with a power level balanced against other classes. A magus has cool abilities that merge fighter and wizards together so why do you need to be a full fighter AND a full wizard if not for moar power?

#2 can be resolved a number of other ways that doesn't involve mangling the core game mechanics, namely magic items. You give your players some cool magic items early and they can take on higher level challenges without needing to play two characters in one.

#3 is where it's at. Players want all these neat abilities without having to sacrifice anything. They want to push the boundaries of the system in new ways, mechanically. It's not a bad thing. I know power gaming is sometimes used as a perjorative but it's not. People play RPGs for fun and fun isn't dependent on one person's definition. A game full of mary sue ubermen is FUN!!! so long as everyone is on board (see the vast array of Superhero RPGs). People want to be Conan or Superman or <insert pop culture reference here>. People want to single handedly duel the lich and save the prince(ss) but most game mechanics are designed to limit player power.
swordchucks
 member, 1488 posts
Tue 26 Jun 2018
at 17:34
Re: [D&D/PF] Why does everyone want Gestalt?
Gestalt inherently discourages GMs from sticking with the standard D&D "lots of little encounters with occasional big encounters" paradigm.  The endurance of a gestalt party above 3-4 players is just too much for most GMs to rely on as their normal balancer.  Instead, it pushes GMs toward having fewer, larger encounters that are directly challenging (since the ultimate limiter on gestalt is action economy).

This fits fairly well with the general push of PBP to have fewer, more meaningful combats.  I can get 4-5 small encounters and a large encounter done in a 4 hour face to face session.  Each of those small encounters is going to take at least a week in PBP and, worst of all, it's not really that interesting most of the time.

It's something of a chicken and egg problem, in that regard.

On the downside, gestalt characters take a good deal longer to make, are inherently more complicated to use, and are harder to challenge.