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Playing A Garbage Character

   
I think it's too easy to lump "low tier" in with "garbage character." I see a lot of truenamers, fighters, and monks in here but honestly, some of the best characters I've seen played were in these classes. I've had more than few garbage clerics though... and a druid. I've had a bad sorcerer, too, and a truly aggravating artificer. I will confess, I've never had a bad wizard, but I've seen some garbage wizards.

Most of the time, I got a garbage character because I just didn't know what I was doing with them. I never recommend a druid to a first time player for this very reason... especially not a ranged druid. Druid's come with a lot of homework and upkeep. Their arsenal is huge, even at level 1, and it can be overwhelming to someone who is still trying to understand which dice to roll an attack for. Being a bad fit for your character is, from what I've seen, the biggest reason for making a garbage character. It damages RP, makes you a lump in skill encounters, underutilizes your unique race/class abilities, and drags down your team in combat. It can be a game killer no matter what your stats are, or what tier your character is.

Another reason I get a garbage character is because I get bad dice rolls. The complaints about bad dice rolls are valid. It's ok to have a dump stat. My son plays a half-orc fighter in a dungeon diver with an INT of 3, and his character is perfectly functional. But your prime stats still need to be over 13. That's why D&D 4E and 5E recommends point buy in core. In 3.5, this is even truer. Most feats that are specialized for your class won't work if you have less than a 14 in the relevant stat, and if you're a low level martial class with less than +3 to hit, you might as well pack your bags and go home, because you have less than a 50% chance of hitting your target each round (which is the statistical equivalent of being blind in 3.5) so you will spend most of the time whiffing until the caster boosts your To-Hit, or until you get some masterwork weapons or better. However, bad stats really only effect your combat ability. RP and skill checks are still fun, and you can make up for weak combat with these other forms of play. Which is really the reason why it's the second biggest reason for a garbage character.

The third, and rarest yet statistically still relevant, reason for making a garbage character is when I didn't play to synergize with the group whether in or out of character. OOC, group synergy is vital. I've seen some well balanced well statted characters with good feats and lots of potential. But the player isn't taking the game seriously while the rest of the party is. Everyone else wants to play a brooding, emotional story arc, coming to the table dressed like their characters, and speaking in their accent... perhaps the elf wizard actually learned some elvish to use while casting her spells. Then a player with a halfling rogue named Bona Tuggins rolls up with a sixer and a new app on his phone to keep him "busy" in between combat encounters. The vibe is way off. He didn't get the memo that this was an immersive experience, so now he's bored and the group is frustrated. Other times the opposite occurs, and everyone's got the beer, snacks, and half-baked character concepts, except for the one player who showed up with an 11 page back story and every intention of staying in character the whole session. The character will have no meaning in a game like this, and gameplay will be awkward and off balance. In either of these scenarios, player synergy has been broken, and so the ill-fitted characters will be garbage.

And while character tier imbalance can create a garbage character by exception (3 tier fives and a tier 1 = toss the tier 1; 3 teir 1's and a tier 5 = toss the tier 5), it's not a chiseled in stone rule, and my experience has been that the exceptions occur just as often as the rule. The most successful campaign I ever ran had a Truenamer, a Fighter, a Ranger, and a Wizard in it. And the most unsuccessful campaign I ever ran I restricted the campaign specifically to a singular tier. Everyone walked away frustrated and bored, including myself.

So I have played the game with my 'garbage' character (2 sessions actually, that's why it took a bit longer). One session I didn't have much to do and the other where I did a lot more. And while I can say that he got the sh*t kicked out of him fast once he was faced against an olympian type character, and I had to put quite a bit of effort in, everyone seemed to have enjoyed it. I've actually been asked to return again.

That's why I think Inex over me is pretty spot on. If you don't jive with the character or the other way around, it will propably be a garbage character just because you don't enjoy it.







 

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