Confronted by Choices… maybe?
So, I’m on my third PC for the current incarnation of the Carrion Crown campaign I’m playing in. I lost a ninja to a sneak attack (very embarrassing) and a paladin who fell under a dogpile of undead (less embarrassing – but since I failed to take ANY of them with me, a little embarrassing). And now I’m working up my third character – a halfling summoner.
And here’s the thing… I’m finding that I’m underwhelmed by choices. That is to say, I’m underwhelmed by character creation choices. I find that I’m sitting here, making my Summoner, and I have this cool concept of her as a person – and her relation to the order she’s in, etc. but as I put the character together mechanically, I find that I’m worn out by all the choice points. Especially because there don’t actually seem to be any particularly important choices… that is, if I want the character to remain mechanically effective. I’m not the type to uber-optimize but I do feel a responsibility to my fellow players not to just hare off and make oddball choices that I justify as “these are RP choices.” I’ll show enough personality in play that I’ve got my RP choices covered. But all kidding aside, I don’t really see myself making my character much different than the other summoners I’ve met. For example, I feel like I have to justify why I’m taking a biped base form instead of a quad. The Quad is simply superior – in basically every way – to the other base form options. And when looking at evolutions – well – some are clearly trap choices and some are just too good to pass up.
I have felt this way when making my ninja and my paladin as well. Yes I had a dozen choices for race, class, ninja powers, etc. But honestly, after some brief poking at the choices, the list narrows pretty quickly to a few “worthwhile” choices and the rest are left aside.
Who cares if I take Knowledge (Planes) or (Arcana)? Honestly, both are already covered in the party (all the knowledge skills are) so my summoner’s skills are redundant… not to mention that the summoner is a Charisma-primary class with no Charisma skills that work on people as class skills. Handle Animal and UMD are Charisma skills but…
Well, that last bit is just complaining – don’t listen to that – it highlights the problems of “skill lists” to some extent but those rules also have a lot of value and I don’t really want to jump into that conversation right now.
Suffice it to say, I guess my takeaway point is that no matter how many choices seemingly exist for characters – the number of worthwhile choices is considerably smaller (primarily based on the fact that too many modern games are just very straightforward math problems) and that the smaller list of choices is limited further by the fact that of the worthwhile choices, some of those are just “better” so the pool gets even smaller.
Maybe I’ve just made too many characters in a short span of time – I really should stop dying – but I have to wonder if I’m the only one who feels this way, I mean, all this water but nothing to drink (to badly paraphrase), right? Don’t think I’m too disillusioned. I still enjoy Pathfinder and I am still having fun with this game (dying can be surprisingly awesome if you let yourself enjoy it). I just find myself confronted by the fact that I can make a ridiculous amount of choices during character creation, but really, those choices are far more constrained than we are led to believe.
Chime in, tell me what you think. And thanks for reading.