Fixing Bad Character Builds

This blog, comes from a personal experience that I am still struggling with to date. But I know I am not the only one, so I am sharing it with my fellow gamers in the hopes that perhaps we can all grow together!

As you know (either from the blog, or from my name on the message boards), my Society tag is Lady Ophelia. The name comes from a character known as Ophelia Stormslayer who is a Fire/Healing/Sun Cleric/Inquisitor of Sarenrae… Sounds cool in theory, but in application, it didn’t  go as well. Ophelia, was my first character that I ever made in Pathfinder Society when I joined the organization two years ago. (Seems like yesterday!) and while I was well versed in 2.0, 3.0, and 3.5 clerics, I was not as well versed with Pathfinder ones. So I built Ophelia, not really thinking in-depth as to where I wanted her to go in the years to come. Especially since, at the time I was busy establishing a PFS Chapter, so I never really got a lot of play time with her.

Cut to DundraCon this year. In the time when I built Ophelia the first time, I had created a few other characters that I had more time to level and work on instead of Ophelia. Until DundraCon, Ophelia, had been gathering credits and I had only played her maybe 3-4 times. So when she played with a few fellow friends her level, she was so underpowered and missing items, that even my fellow players were looking at me and going: “Come on Venus…You have better characters than this!” I was so embarrassed, but it got me to really thinking about this topic. Is there a way to repair or improve upon a build that may have been awesome in theory, but when in application, turned out not so well?

The nice thing about my area, is that I have many leaders and rules specialists that I can bounce ideas from, and they are always down for chatting more with me about it. And so, with their guidance in mind, I do give a short list of what you can do when you are trying to fix a bad character build.

Start with a complete Character audit. Making sure you haven’t missed anything is paramount in fixing a bad build. Many times a character may be missing stats when you get into higher levels.  It’s easy to forget that Power Attack adds more damage at a certain point. If you are like me, and you suck at maths and rules, have some one take a look for you! Sometimes you would be surprised what they find and how someone else can clarify and fix builds that may have been busted.

Consider multiclasing or Archetype Options that can do some patching. One of the the nice things about RPG’s, is if you have a build that may not have been your original taste, you can always change it by adding an archetype, or another level of a different class. Also considering Prestige classes can be helpful in patching up any issues that may have arisen such as a lack of skills or spells.

Going Shopping can do wonders! Sometimes, going shopping and having the right items for the job can sometimes make up for your stats lacking. If you are the one who has that random item, or some more items to help the team out, you would be surprised how much of a difference that makes. Getting new armor, special boots, gloves, headbands, and cloaks, many times can fill in those stat holes that you may not be able to fix between levels.

There is also… Making a new character.. So here’s the thing about having multiple characters in Society Play: It’s is always good to have more than one character in Society Play, if you are a fan of playing regularly. The reason being, is that if you have characters in multiple levels, you can play in more than just one set of games, and if you have higher tier characters, you can do some of the real fun high tier play such as AP advanced, and added modules. Now there, are those few diehards, who only want to progress only one character at a time. To which we respect and understand, but in that same vein, it means you have to be okay with your PC’s faults as well as strength.

I know  a few players, (myself included) that have an “inactive” list. Meaning we have built a few characters, and maybe due to time, level progression, bad building or otherwise, we do not use them unless needed. Many times, these characters go into the inactive, and they either play for no credit for kicks and giggles when needed to fill a legal table, or just go in to “retired” status, which means they don’t play them at all.

There is also the bummer option: Early Retirement.. If you are like me, and you want to learn and develop all characters you make, early retirement of a character just is one of those things  that mega sucks! There are no official rules or processes to retiring a character early, you just stop playing them. But the way that the current replay rules are in Society Play (Play 1, GM 1, except Tier 1’s.), if you retire a character, you don’t get to replay those adventures that you have attached to character.

Needless to say just like in regular campaigns, creating characters are incredibly important in Pathfinder Society. The nice thing, is that you can have more than one, unlike most campaigns. But it also means that whatever you build, needs to be something that is going to last. Once you clear a certain point, there is no going back and you will be stuck with the decisions that you make.

What will happen to Ophelia you ask? Well, she has an awesome sister-in-law by the name of Charlotte Amberdagger, who is a Fire/Healing Cleric of Sarenrae and entering high tier status. (Also known as Seeker Status) In May, both Charlotte and Ophelia will be put through the gauntlet, as they both will enter high-tier play in Pathfinder Society. Ophelia, will receive GM credit to retirement, and only play in high tier retirement play only from now on. This was decided  after a very detailed and specific shopping trip of tons of items, scrolls, potions and other healing supplements that compliment her style, and bring some more balance to her missing stats and terrible level progression.

Charlotte, who was my second cleric that I built after a small interlude with Inquisitors, Oracles, and Rangers, will enter the Eyes of Ten Arc at KublaCon 2013. If she survives the death dice of BAPS Rules Master/VL Will Johnson, Charlotte will go ahead to the high tier table of awesome known as Storming The Diamond City at PaizoCon 2013.

Ophelia, will be an attendee of The Ruby Phoenix Tournament, and adventure to the Academy of Secrets and the Tomb of The Iron Medusa this summer. So there’s plenty of work for my characters, I just have to be able to make do with what I have, and enjoy the ride.

Got any other tips or ideas to add? Leave a comment below!

Until then, remember to tip your GM’s with sodas, snacks and free Pathfinder goodies!
-Lady Ophelia

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