Strip 481

2nd May 2017, 12:00 AM in Cave of No Return
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Rastaba 2nd May 2017, 12:01 AM edit delete reply
Rastaba
...is his name BS or 'Total BS'? I am seriously asking here. I also admire his conviction to simply outright say no and clearly state his personal feelings behind his reason for saying no. A tad aggressively but mucho respect for the GM who doesn't back down on something he is principally against.
Arillius 2nd May 2017, 1:49 AM edit delete reply


So in order to respect the idea of the past, you must ensure that nothing can change for the future? The entire idea of retraining isn't about rewriting history, it's about acknowledging that a character is growing beyond certain things from their past.

Granted, if he decided to say 'you need a good personal reason to retrain, not just because your numbers aren't high enough' I'd be all over that. If he decided to simply say no, that'd be... less cool? I'm not a fan of DM's who think the games they run are 'their games and no one elses' but in this case this isn't a DM in that sense but an arbiter of the physical laws of this reality.

But this halfway pseudo reasoning is just a good reason to not play with the guy anymore, in reality.
Snowtwo 2nd May 2017, 5:53 AM edit delete reply


Well then, I suppose you could say his reasoning is... total BS.

In all seriousness... EHhhhhhHhhHHhHhh... I kind of feel like both sides have a point and it really gets muddled by the amount of munchkining that happens in a game. Like, on the one hand making your character only to find out that you're simply incapable of doing what you wanted to do while your allies end up being titans in comparison really flipping sucks. So having a mechanic to change your build built into the game = good thing.

On the other hand a lot of people will just use it to become the optimal build and do stuff like trade in levels in classes that they don't need in favor of 'better' ones = bad thing.

Course, it's entirely possible to make the retraining a valid IC choice which = good thing.

Also would be a cop-out from potential character development as a character wouldn't struggle to overcome their problems and instead just retrain them away = bad thing.

So... Ehhhh... I'm split but, honestly, I think my decision would come down to the player. If I could see they weren't enjoying the game due to being left behind or could see them making it a valid IC decision then I'd allow it, but if they were just gonna munchkin it up or use the safety net as a hammock, not gonna fly.
Otaku 2nd May 2017, 12:02 PM edit delete reply
Otaku
So... can someone explain this concept to me?

Short version: I know only the most fundamental aspects of D&D/Pathfinder, and even there I wouldn't bet my life on it. I tend to avoid Class-based systems because, as I understand them, the entire point is to provide rigid guidelines for character progression, niche protection, etc.

So... why would anyone be able to "retrain" levels. I just don't get it as a concept, so I find myself agreeing with the GM here.
Halosty45 2nd May 2017, 1:25 PM edit delete reply
Halosty45
TLDR: Retraining is pretty much a convenience-only rule.

There's almost no logical reason that anyone would be able to retrain levels from an in-setting point of view. The only reason that it *should* exist is so that a character that isn't turning out to be what the player wanted can be kept, while changing the way the actual character plays. They might still like the character's personality, relationship with the group, backstory, etc, and not want to lose that.

As for why retraining shouldn't work in setting:
It's supposed to take anywhere from 1-18 years of training to get your "first" class level, depending on class (barbarians are much faster than wizards, for example) and whether you actually want to roll for how long it took or not, etc. After that, though, levels in any class just come as you get enough experience (possibly instantly, or possibly with a week or a few of downtime to actually get the level after reaching the proper amount of experience, depending on who's running the game). All of that experience you have gained is what makes you able to progress so quickly, possibly leveling in a day or a week (though some GMs/campaigns might have enough time between adventures for it to be slower)

Retraining itself starts with skills and feats. For example, a ranger might find himself more interested in tracking than dealing with animals. He could retrain skill points from Handle Animal into Survival (the skill used for tracking). This would represent a devotion of some time into learning a new skillset, at a cost of not keeping in practice with an old one. This can take a few days to a week or two, depending on how many points need retraining (numbers might not be 100% accurate, but are in the right ballpark). This is so the character doesn't require too much time out of an adventure, so it is still much faster than it should be in reality.

Levels, though, are much less logical to retrain, since they represent much more than just a single thing the character has learned. In fact, levels in classes are what give skill points to begin with. They also give hit points. It's one thing to change from a class to the same base attack bonus and/or similar idea (fighters and barbarians) or same number skill points (Actually a lot of classes have a base of 2) or the die rolled for hit points (fighter/paladin/ranger). It's a very different deal if you change some of those things.
For example, a fighter changing into a wizard suddenly goes from 1 BAB/level to 1/2. That might mess up some pre-requisites. Their hit dice goes down from a d10 to a d6, which means if you didn't keep track of hp at every level you might not accurately change it. Fortunately, their skill point numbers stay the same... Though not really which skills they would want. The fighter also gets a bonus feat, which means you have to retrain *that* (remove it, actually). More importantly, this implies a huge shift in style, going from a purely martial class to a purely magical class. Plus, where did those extra years of training come from? Obviously, logic can be circumvented in some cases, and if the character already had levels in wizard it wouldn't be such a huge leap of thought... but it's still there.
In this particular case, Fighter is a martial class, whereas magus is a hybrid martial/magic class. Retraining the levels to magus isn't a *huge* shift, emphasizing magic over martial skills. However, retraining everything to wizard, while it doesn't seem much further, is very different. While Magus and Wizard both use magic, there is a very different emphasis on how they use it, and the way they would have trained, and the types of spells they would typically learned. It's still not *completely* unreasonable (both classes use spellbooks and actual study to perform magic, and can learn from each other's spellbooks), but at the numbers given in the retraining rules, it is.
Registered 3rd May 2017, 1:25 PM edit delete reply


TL;DR
It's just easier to kill off the character and make a new one. Makes more sense from an Equipment-Standpoint too.
Otaku 3rd May 2017, 2:32 PM edit delete reply
Otaku
Thank you for explaining, Halosty45! :)

Even after hearing what you have to say, I am thinking that it isn't a good thing to allow. Maybe for some super rare circumstances, but the real issue is either:

1) Poor game design, locking your character on a path from when a player couldn't know better...

2) ...or poor player choices, which a player ought to own.

If we don't mind giving the player a "freebie" by allowing his or her character to retrain, seems like the GM and player could just figure out how to better develop that character in the proper direction quickly.

At least, that is my newbie opinion on it. Of course, it might just work better for the games for which I am familiar. Either you're character shouldn't be that far off, so future advancement can steer it the proper direction, or is so far off, you'd rather just scrap the character and start over again.
Malroth 3rd May 2017, 10:09 PM edit delete reply
Malroth
Registered had it about right. With Retraining you make an optimization mistake and you can fix it in a few months of downtime. Without retraining your best bet is throw yourself into a volcano. There are at least a couple hundred combat feats printed and 98% of them are trap options that will only help you in a few situations if then. Not to mention whole classes that are even worse traps than the feats (standard monk, all fighters most barbarians, most rogues, slayer, ranger, gunslinger, )
Otaku 3rd May 2017, 10:30 PM edit delete reply
Otaku
Not what I got from Registered's post, Malroth, but I do appreciate your perspective. If you have to be fully optimized, that sounds like a game design flaw, and this is a patch. That or a GM flaw, as the job of the entire group (all players, the GM, adversaries if you're using them) is to have fun. :) Unless, mechanically, there is no way that all those people cooperating can still have a fun campaign with suboptimal character builds, then it is back on the system.

Ugh. Even I think this sounds like me ripping the system, but I'm just trying to understand. I mean, the weird thing about a flawed build is that it can give some excellent opportunities for roleplaying.
vinom 4th May 2017, 5:30 PM edit delete reply


"A slightly less biased answer"
In level based systems, such as DnD and Pathfinder, it is very unusual for characters to know what their levels are, what their classes are called, or even that they have feats. They only have 'the way they fight', 'what they know', etc.

Levels and classes are just a mechanical abstraction, and occasionally people find that the mechanical abstraction is no longer accurate to how the character has grown or changed in their mind. Retraining is the process in which the mechanical abstraction can be gradually adjusted to align back with how the play currently see's the character.

For example, a character could start out favoring one fighting style, such as sword and board fighting, but find that as the story progressed, this is no longer how the character fights... perhaps he now favors a two handed sword or a mace because of what has happened to the character, who their enemies are, or just what they found on their journey. In an example like that, retraining serves to show the character getting rusty with the old fighting style and more adept with the new.

Of course, their are more radical shifts possible and changing levels from one archetype (Warrior, Thief, Holy man, Theumaturge) to another might take more doing in explaining, but as long as it is being done for goods reasons, namely ones outside of optimization for it's own sake over the character narrative, it is just part of how the game functions.
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