Xand
 member, 18 posts
Thu 12 Jul 2018
at 23:14
Questions on a Conceptual Character (Pathfinder)
I have a character concept for Pathfinder that has been rejected or dismissed every time I have proposed it to a forming game, and I'm beginning to wonder if the concept itself has issues a gm doesn't like and I'm just not seeing.  I was hoping that by posting here I might be able to get some outside perspective.  The basic character design is thus:

- Half-Orc Sorcerer with the Orc Bloodline
- Alternate Racial Trait: Skilled (Replaces Darkvision)
- Alternate Racial Trait: City-Raised (Replaces Weapon Familiarity) for Whip Proficiency
- Weapon Focus in Whips
- Dazzling Display with Whips
- High Strength and High Charisma
- High Intimidate Skill for Dazzling Display
- Uses Trips and Disarms from reach (Whip)

I'm certain everything there is from the core rule book.  So I'm left wondering if something about the character is unpalatable.  Is there a general disfavor for whip-use?  I'd just like a little input from the community about anything wrong or perhaps even meta-gamey with the character.

I'll admit the character idea struck me after re-watching the old 1980 animated Return of the King.  Where there's a Whip there's a Way!
Carakav
 member, 650 posts
 Sure-footed paragon
 of forthright dude.
Fri 13 Jul 2018
at 00:10
Questions on a Conceptual Character (Pathfinder)
A character concept is not limited to its mechanics. There's nothing I can see that's wrong with anything here, and if it is your concept, then I can't really comment on it, because in my mind a concept includes things like their motivation, background, physical characteristics, and personality quirks. RTJs are also layered with other points of interest, such as the disposition of the applicant, their grammar and formatting, and the clarity of their prose.

My second question would concern whether you're tailoring your character enough for the game(s) that you're seeking to join? I can't speak for other DM's needs, but when I apply to games, or when people apply to my games, the first thing I look for are opportunities to craft a character that suites the narrative goals of the campaign and its setting. What is the culture of the game and what is the theme of the story it wants to tell? What are the needs of the campaign, in terms of its protagonists? How can I fit my character into an ensemble cast? How can I craft an experience not just for me, but for my players and/or for the GM that I'm appealing to?

Not always, but in the past, I've docked applicants for submitting characters that obviously were not designed specifically for the campaign I was getting ready to run. Maybe that's what is turning people off? Every DM is different, and their needs and turn-offs shift from game to game.
Xand
 member, 19 posts
Fri 13 Jul 2018
at 00:41
Questions on a Conceptual Character (Pathfinder)
I certainly try to tailor the character for each campaign.  Fine-tuning it to fit in where I'm applying.  Why I'm so baffled with this character is it is the only time I've ever had so much difficulty with a character being accepted.

I know I'm not going to get into every game I apply, but this particular character has been rejected roughly ten times.  I keep wondering if it's because GMs don't want to fit in a half-orc, or don't like whips or even don't want to deal with Combat Maneuvers.
Talon
 member, 377 posts
Fri 13 Jul 2018
at 02:08
Questions on a Conceptual Character (Pathfinder)
I think you're right that the half-orc aspect is a big part of the difficulty getting the concept accepted. Especially a half-orc sorcerer, if a half-orc isn't a big dumb brute in heavy armor with an axe then I imagine some GMs are balking at the idea of it. (And then throw in a magic based character with a heavy focus on a martial weapon and they really just don't know what to make of this character.)

I imagine if you changed the race to human or elf you'd have little difficulty getting the character accepted.
Xand
 member, 20 posts
Fri 13 Jul 2018
at 02:29
Questions on a Conceptual Character (Pathfinder)
Half-Orc prejudice, eh?  You're probably right about a whip-wielding elf or human being more acceptable (especially if female) but Half-Orc is the only one that lets me start from level 1 with whip proficiency as a sorcerer (I think).  That and the core of the character is, unfortunately, Half- Orc Sorcerer of the Orc Bloodline.  I suppose a human with the Orc bloodline could work, I just don't like the idea near as much.

I suppose I don't much enjoy playing to stereotype in character design.

This message was last edited by the user at 02:30, Fri 13 July.

LonePaladin
 member, 740 posts
 Creator of HeroForge
Fri 13 Jul 2018
at 04:59
Questions on a Conceptual Character (Pathfinder)
Speaking strictly about the mechanical side of it: why a sorcerer? Bards get proficiency with whips by default.

Also, Weapon Focus requires a +1 Base Attack Bonus, which a bard or sorcerer wouldn't have until at least 2nd level. You're not allowed to leave your 1st-level feat empty, so you'd have to pick something for it. I mean, sure, as soon as you make 2nd level you can retrain it -- if the GM allows such.

If you're mostly wanting to do lots of tricky maneuvers with your whip, you might be better off playing a fighter for all the extra feats. You'd need to use one of your 1st-level feats for proficiency, but you could quickly get other feats like Improved Disarm and Improved Trip.
Genghis the Hutt
 member, 2553 posts
 Just an average guy :)
Fri 13 Jul 2018
at 15:07
Questions on a Conceptual Character (Pathfinder)
You might prefer an Oracle.  As a half-orc, you can use your per-level bonus to get +1/2 Intimidate.
Isida KepTukari
 member, 215 posts
 Elegant! Arrogant! Smart!
Fri 13 Jul 2018
at 15:32
Questions on a Conceptual Character (Pathfinder)
I don't see anything hugely wrong with the character (aside from what LonePaladin said about some feat prereqs), but it might be that you have a disconnect with an anticipated plot arc, or a possible character role conflict.

You're a spellcaster with a bloodline and proficiencies that lead you to be up close to the action.  As such, you're not as tough as a fighter-type or rogue-type in the same role, and your advantages (bloodline powers and spells) are more easily depleted than a sneak attack class feature or a bucketload of feats.

That said, your character is an intriguing one, but would need the right kind of party and campaign.  Your character lends him/herself to a city campaign as a sort of unconventional bruiser or bodyguard, or an unexpected leader who looks like one thing before breaking out abilities of a totally different nature.  You might want to search for less adventure path storylines and look for (or request) someone doing a campaign that needs out-of-the-box characters like yours.
Xand
 member, 21 posts
Sat 14 Jul 2018
at 02:35
Questions on a Conceptual Character (Pathfinder)
Thanks for your replies everyone, I think I have a good idea why this character has a hard time getting into a game.  Isida KepTukari gives good advice; I think what is needed is a search for games that don't follow an adventure path and aren't looking for cookie-cutter parties.  This character is definitely out-of-the-box.

And sorry about the confusion regarding feat selection; I should have mentioned that the character was planned out to level 5; with Weapon Focus taken at 3 and Dazzling Display at 5.  I'm loathe to change the class in order to focus on whips; the character began with a want to play a half-orc sorcerer; the whips were added to give the character a more unique style.  I figured I would go up to Dazzling Display with whips and then focus on the sorcerer part of the character after that.  I never intended to go all the way up through the whip mastery feats as a fighter might do.

Maybe I should further explain the character when applying to a game.  I can't see how that would hurt when the character doesn't lend itself to easy understanding.
LonePaladin
 member, 741 posts
 Creator of HeroForge
Sat 14 Jul 2018
at 03:42
Questions on a Conceptual Character (Pathfinder)
I still think a bard would be a better fit, if you're wanting a quick-change artist. Also, a properly-wielded whip could be used as the basis for a Perform (dance) check, or Performance Combat.

If you're willing to use a different class, you could try a magus. They start off with the ability to cast a spell while using a weapon, and at 2nd level can send touch spells through their weapon. There aren't any arcana or class archetypes specifically for whip-users, but there are several of each that would be useful regardless.
Genghis the Hutt
 member, 2554 posts
 Just an average guy :)
Sat 14 Jul 2018
at 13:25
Questions on a Conceptual Character (Pathfinder)
Oh, I thought you were trying to make a intimimancer sorcerer, someone who gets by on a super high intimidate check, building up to being able to intimidate whole crowds into doing what you want with your dazzling intimidating displays of prowess, then with magic powers as a backup in case you meet a mindless foe.

It can be difficult to properly challenge a group if one person just keeps intimidating every BBEG into surrendering. That's probably what people are thinking. That you're a low hp front-line fighter is on your head, and I wouldn't care about it.
praguepride
 member, 1314 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Sat 14 Jul 2018
at 13:37
Questions on a Conceptual Character (Pathfinder)
(on mobile so sorry in advance)

As a long time DM on rpol I can almost guarantee that the problem isn’t mechanics. Most RTJs focus on character concepts and player writing ability. I even explicitly tell incoming applicants not to discuss crunch beyond high level race/class/archetype because that is the least important part during an RTJ.  It is far easier to swap feats than players.

So with almost no information about you character or RTJ process my red flag is when asking “why can’t I get in games” you think about crunch. Whip bias? Half-orc bias? Probably not. I have accepted poor crunch into my games by just saying “hey i like the concept but synthesist summoners are a no go. You mind playing a sorcerer instead?”

Like I said, crunch is easy to fit.

Anyway if you want a nuanced critique rMail me your last RTJ and I can help you get into your next game. Hopefully :D

edit: so many typos...

This message was last edited by the user at 13:42, Sat 14 July.

GreyGriffin
 member, 208 posts
 Portal Expat
 Game System Polyglot
Sat 14 Jul 2018
at 18:04
Questions on a Conceptual Character (Pathfinder)
It might not be that you have different or bad or overpowered mechanics, but rather that the focus on mechanics as the centerpiece of your RTJ is offputting.

It looks like you have very, very carefully thought out your mechanics so that you can play effectively within a certain aesthetic.  That's good!  To a degree.  To some players, though, and many GMs, CharOp is a very touchy subject.  A GM who sees a list of feats and interactions can definitely worry that he is missing something, and allowing a character who is too powerful into the game.

When you attach that to a character description or background that seems either much more sparse in terms of motivation, explanation, or emotional depth; or alternately that seems over-engineered to produce the mechanical results that you want, the perception will be that the mechanics are what matters most, and your background is hammered into shape around "creating" that mechanic.

Like bonsai, the most beautiful character looks like it has grown into shape, even though it has been very carefully directed, cultivated, and trimmed to appear that way.  And the more tightly defined your desired mechanic or unusual your desired aesthetic, the more difficult it is to "grow" a character to fit it.
Combined
 member, 4 posts
Sat 14 Jul 2018
at 18:36
Questions on a Conceptual Character (Pathfinder)
As others have said, when it comes to accepting a character like this into the game, first I would like to hear his backstory and more about him as a character. It should naturally explain how he grew into this characterization and why he has this build. The mechanical outline certainly doesn't really help unless you're trying to enter a game where you're requested to do it - it just makes it stick out more.

Similarly, a big put-off that I think could be most likely is just that, well, it seems kind of like a "gimmick" character. Not to say there can't be good gimmick characters, but when it's based around this kind of build, it may be off putting because it's very difficult to see how this character would be realized as a fully-fledged and developed character, or an effective one, and not have it become over-the-top and silly due to his "whip" gimmick and somehow using this whip to intimidate his enemies.

While it's certainly out of the box, it's out of the box in the sense that it has a mechanic behind it that really needs a good backstory to tie together the entire thing, or else it just seems like a character based around a trait that you'll get tired of. In my games, I have had a few characters like that, and they really need a lot behind them to appear well-crafted. Fitting it into a more traditional setting or group might be difficult, as well.
GreyGriffin
 member, 209 posts
 Portal Expat
 Game System Polyglot
Sat 14 Jul 2018
at 18:49
Re: Questions on a Conceptual Character (Pathfinder)
Combined:
... it's very difficult to see how this character would be realized as a fully-fledged and developed character, or an effective one, and not have it become over-the-top and silly due to his "whip" gimmick and somehow using this whip to intimidate his enemies.

When all you have is a whip, all the world is an untamed lion?
Xand
 member, 22 posts
Sun 15 Jul 2018
at 01:05
Re: Questions on a Conceptual Character (Pathfinder)
Combined:
...when it comes to accepting a character like this into the game, first I would like to hear his backstory and more about him as a character.


That is one of the issues I've run into; so many GMs that I've been applying to specifically request that there is no background information written during the RTJ.  They want the basic character design for the most part; I don't think forcing a background on them when they don't want it will help things along.  So the character becomes difficult to "sell" to a campaign, so to speak.

The thing is though; the gimmick of the character revolves around the taking of 3 or 4 feats.  Otherwise it's simply a high strength sorcerer (look at the Orc Bloodline).  That is exactly why feats exist, aren't they?  I've always felt that everything I intend to do with a character needs to be fully explained to the GM before I start doing it; no surprises.  I've GMed myself, and have been absolutely disgusted by players thinking they're being clever by hiding what they can/are doing from the GM.

It might be that fully explaining, from the start, where I'm taking the character does make it sound like there's more that I'm not letting on.  Maybe if I was more simple with just saying half-orc sorcerer instead of going into 5 levels of feats and how they work together.
praguepride
 member, 1315 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Sun 15 Jul 2018
at 04:29
Re: Questions on a Conceptual Character (Pathfinder)
Xand:
It might be that fully explaining, from the start, where I'm taking the character does make it sound like there's more that I'm not letting on.  Maybe if I was more simple with just saying half-orc sorcerer instead of going into 5 levels of feats and how they work together.


Ding ding ding... Beyond the problems I mentioned earlier there is also the impression that you are making these choices fixed in stone without waiting to consider the direction of the game or the composition of the other players.

It's of course fine to have a vision but it's important to portray some flexibility as well.

From my perspective of a DM, if you already know what your character is going to do and how it will grow over the next X levels...why are we even playing? It feels like if I try to deviate from that path it's setting myself up for drama.

I've played with players like that before where they have to have X, Y, or Z for their character or it becomes absolute drama. There was no room for discussion or negotiation which is why in RTJs I ask players for a "flexibility" score so I can fall back on that if I have questions about how much wiggle there is on their character.