Yeah, I've got this itch to write, but I don't know how to put it down. I'm upset, I'm a bit hurt, and it's something I've had to deal with time and again, and I'm getting kind of sick of it. You see, I kinda like roleplaying, playing games with friends, feeling useful, and seeing people act and react to what I'm doing. What I don't like is people getting angry at me when I do it. What I don't like is feeling that, if I'm to be accepted, I have to basically 'play low'.
Not that it seems to make any difference.
I play games to feel good about myself. To feel like I can accomplish things. In my situation, I don't get to really accomplish much, and the idea of hanging around with friends, and being awesome with my friends is important. I want to feel safe around my friends, I want to feel wanted, I want to feel that people like having me around, and a part of that is to feel like I'm contributing to the group. I want to feel empowered.
And yeah, I build along that line. I make characters with some weaknesses, and then I try to make them awesome in other ways. That awesomeness could be in how they come off, it could be that they're just different, whether it's something out of left field, or maybe they're just strange, creepy, or whatever, and some of it is in what they're capable of.
Something that I wind up facing though is hostility. When I used to play online (and note, that's used to - I stopped) I got lashback because my characters were 'omg powerful' and 'game breaking'. The thing is, my characters were built using the same system everyone else had, and they had the same growth that everyone else had. I just used what I had available to me, and planned out my course, and stuck to it. But people started getting upset with me. So, I started getting less involved. If there was some 'danger' in the game, I waited. I gave people the chance to kick butt and be awesome. And when it would be unrealistic for me not to be involved, I'd get involved, and clean things up.
And people would get mad at me.
So, I weakened my character, I nerfed her hard, and tried that.
And people would still get mad at me.
So finally, I said fuck it, and I retired.
I still get requests to RP there from time to time - but not in any way that contributes to the game. No. Instead, these people want to have 'relationships' with me, So, great. I get to be the dutiful girlfriend or something, rather than, I don't know, doing things.
So, I (am) in a Pathfinder game. The GM's cool, and I liked the game. I was having fun, trying out a new idea that I'd not had the chance to play before. For those who are into gamespeak, let me break down what I did.
There's a class called the Hunter. It's kind of a Ranger/Thief combination class. This is a spellcasting class.
There's a class called the Witch. It has an archetype called the 'White Haired Witch', which sacrifices some of the Witch's hexing ability to allow her to fight using her hair. This is a spellcasting class.
There's a new way to multiclass, where you sacrifice every other Feat to get some seriously nerfed abilities from another Class.
So, I decided to do something different.
I got permission to move the White Haired Witch Archetype over to Hunter. Since Hunters don't have Hexes, what I did was sacrifice my spellcasting abilities. Then, I sacrificed every second Feat for monk abilities. What did I get? I got the monk ability to do unarmed damage. I didn't get the AC bonus, I didn't get the flurry of blows, I didn't get the awesome saving throws. I punch good. Or, in my case, I whip hair good.
Not many avenues for my character to pursue, so I decided to go with a grappling build, which works nicely with my character's hair. This is the one thing I'm good at - I can lock down a single target and squeeze them. Everything else is pretty much roleplaying.
A normal White-Haired Witch has other options. When they squeeze someone, they can throw spells at the target (or other target) and just ruin people's days. Not me. I don't get spells. They could, in theory, pull out a weapon and shoot people while they're squeezing someone. Not me, I didn't take any ranged weapons. I made my character one trick. They pick a single target, and they ruin that one target's day. Once they're done with that one target, they can look at maybe dealing with another target.
Pathfinder's got a serious weakness. This is the Feats section of the game. You get a Feat every other level, and sometimes to get what you want to get, you have to go through 4-5 Feats. In other words, you need to go through 10 levels to get to where you want. If you multiclass using this optional system, you lose every other Feat. Meaning that, in my case, it would be fifteen levels to get to where I want to go. That takes about two years of play, and it also means that I'm not doing anything else with my character, and by the time I get there the campaign's wrapped up.
An optional thing to do is take a Feat every level. When Pathfinder was being playtested, there was a big push for that. Why? Because Feats help define who you are, and there's hundreds of them. Whole reams of Feats get ignored because they.. don't do much, or it takes entirely too long to get where you want to go. So, anyway, the Pathfinder GM allowed us to get Feats every level.
So what did I take as my two extra Feats so far?
Weapon Focus. +1 to attack with my hair.
Animal Companion: My fox companion is a little bit bigger. Well, I had the companion already. It was basically a trained fox with a series of commands I'd trained into it, not much.
Anyway. So what happened..
We were doing an investigation, me and a cleric. We found out the guy responsible for killing a bunch of people, and it was time to throw down. So we did. And I was doing what I had built my character to do.
Lock down a single opponent. Grab, grapple, squeeze.
We were facing a single opponent.
He turned invisible. I had my fox track him.
He hid behind cover. I used acrobatics to get around cover.
Grab. Grapple. Squeeze.
Now, look. The GM worked hard on the character to be a viable threat. I get this. And I get that it's frustrating to see that work go down the toilet so quickly. But my character was designed to do one thing. To hunt down single opponents and make their life miserable. And I want her to be good at it.
And the GM got mad at me. He blamed the fact we're getting Feats every level. That +1 to hit, and the extra 1-2 points of damage my fox might inflict. And I felt like I was back online, watching people talk shit about me because I'm good at what I do.
And it hurts. This could have been a 'cool, my friend and I show we kick ass, and could have been a sort of team building thing'. But it wasn't. It was 'oh look, Samantha's ruining the game again'.
Even though I underpowered my character.
Like I've done a lot lately.
Not that it makes any difference. Even when I underpower my characters, I get shit. Or the people in charge try to nerf my characters more for... no real reason.
When my brother's plans get shot down, he gives kudos to the players. A few weeks ago, he set up a boss that the PCs weren't supposed to beat. They were completely outclassed, and nobody could hurt it. One player figured out what to do - he single handedly one-shotted the thing. Because he had a weapon which had a chance to instantly kill an opponent when fired at point blank range. And he got lucky. My brother said 'hey, good job! You weren't supposed to win this fight, but cool!' And the players laughed about it, and the guy who killed the boss you're not supposed to beat felt really good and they told stories about it.
You know, I have never, ever, in all my years of playing, got that kind of praise, from any game master I've been under? Never had a 'hey, that was creative, good thinking', or 'hey, you did a good job' or 'wow, that was kind of cool'. No, 'that was some interesting roleplay, I can see why you did that'.
No. I've only really had one character that was really... liked. But then, she was the 'sweet and innocent' type that people felt the need to protect, and guard. And when she did her 'awesome', she did it away from the group, far, far away, so she could protect them, but nobody got to see it. Oh, they knew kind of what she was up to, but it didn't involve the characters, so, yeah, there's that.
'Oh, look, we can be white knights for you, that's awesome'.
How about letting me be awesome?
And I don't know what to do.
I don't want to make non-threatening characters who have to stand on the side and let everyone else be cool. I don't want to have to continually hold back, because - heaven forbid - I might actually be really good at something.
But.. I don't want people to keep being pissed at me. I don't want to feel like I'm a burden.
I just want to be able to have friends, and do fun things, and feel like I'm needed, and that I'm actually accomplishing something.
I don't know what to do.