Author Topic: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look  (Read 17828 times)

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Cagemarrow

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #60 on: October 03, 2011, 09:55:16 PM »
It's too bad you've restricted them so much. You've even restricted one of the Complete books specifically made for the type of characters factotums represent perfectly, Complete Scoundrel. That's like leaving complete warrior out for fighters.

Change up some of the encounters for a city based game and that's where you'll see the factotum shine. Combat isn't the only way to gain XP, just the easiest to grant from the chart. Haggling, seducing maidens, entertaining the king, locating the town thieves guilds, are all examples of encounters that should gain you XP based on their difficulty without having to resort to killing things, at least some of the time.


Another tactic I've thought of for dealing with the Basilisk, heck any monster, a large cook pot with the inside coated in sovereign glue. . . permanent blinding for mundanes :D Good luck getting close enough to put it on reliably, but I guess that's what unseen servant is for.

Kaelik

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #61 on: October 04, 2011, 02:48:17 AM »
Why is your factotum not using more alchemical items in at least the 5th level encounters?

Probably because most people instinctively shy away from tactics that wouldn't work in an actual game. In my experience, people will frown on a tactic that allows a Wizard to beat an encounter with no spells left, even though per SGT rules that's totally legal.

Likewise, any strategy that has you spend more money on a fight than treasure you are likely to return is going to be instinctively avoided despite technical legality. For example, the Factotum could almost certainly increase his level 10 success rate by declaring that he spent a bunch of money on a scroll of desecrate, some onyx, and paid tons of money for the right corpses, and then use his two Ettin skeletons in every fight to fight for him mostly, while he sneaks around and finishes off the enemies after they kill his skeletons. Now, that would cost more money per fight (and obviously, Ettin Corpses) than he gains back, so that's not a viable strategy at all for a real game, but it totally works in SGT.

And yet, in practice, SGT clerics or Wizards don't walk around with zombie minions either, even though they lack the one good reason the factotum might want to avoid that (stealth).

Mooncrow

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #62 on: October 04, 2011, 03:37:28 AM »

And yet, in practice, SGT clerics or Wizards don't walk around with zombie minions either, even though they lack the one good reason the factotum might want to avoid that (stealth).

To be fair, they rarely need to :p  (and yes, I went and tracked down some SGT runs - including a couple mini-attempts with factotums.  I've never seen such concentrated stupidity from every single person involved, ever.  bkdubs, I understand your opening rant a bit better now :p)

bkdubs123

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #63 on: October 04, 2011, 04:26:26 AM »
bkdubs, I understand your opening rant a bit better now :p)

Given your helpful contribution to the thread I had imagined you understood it well enough already. Very glad you have a better understand of it now. ;)

Mooncrow

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #64 on: October 04, 2011, 06:58:16 AM »
bkdubs, I understand your opening rant a bit better now :p)

Given your helpful contribution to the thread I had imagined you understood it well enough already. Very glad you have a better understand of it now. ;)

=)  Well, I read your OP, and went "well, that seems a little confrontational, but the idea is interesting", and now, I see where you were coming from^^

Overall, I have to say I really enjoyed playing my factotum in actual games, but it may be an edge case.  I played that character in a group of 8 where I was the dedicated skill monkey/scout and I ended up going factotum 8/chameleon 10, and it could be I mostly enjoyed the chameleon part.  /shrug

I do feel like a change though, and the group has been hinting that they want me to do skillmonkey again, so I guess it's time to see what another class can do in the same slot^^

Cagemarrow

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #65 on: October 04, 2011, 03:26:33 PM »
I personally love the skill monkey role that factotums and rogues fill but I wouldn't consider myself a typical gamer. I analyze and over prepare for every character I play and rarely play a charater with an intelligence less than 16. Mostly so I can justify any idea that I come up with my character is far smarter than I am so would be able to do as well.

I love unconventional tactics and setting up traps for the enemies to fall into. If you've seen any of my Red Hand of Doom writeups you'll see how effective such plans can be. Don't think that I always expect them to work as planned, but if they do the expense of resources will be far below what could be expected for a challenge of that level. I know most gamers don't face the same level of danger that my groups face on a regular basis. It's common for my groups to face CR 3-6 levels higher then the party as par for course, usually a few of them per adventuring day with our characters always expecting reinforcements for the enemy to show up so we conserve our resources as much as possible.

I love the factotum class but acknowledge that there are some things they just can't do well which you've discovered. These weaknesses need to be planned for and with such can be reduced to acceptable levels. While the same game test can be an interesting mental exercise very few of these situations would actually come up with the characters by themselves. It should show the value of teamwork more than emphasize the strength of classes to go it alone.

I have seen the hording mentality in game as was mentioned, and personally try to avoid doing it with my own characters. What good is a pile of gold if your characters don't survive. Looking at the expected fights a few alchemical items would be a cheap price to pay to survive and succeed at them. Are you taking into account that the treasure for each of these fights isn't going to be split among the party per the standard arangement. If your character is out doing these by themselves they pretty much have to have a motivation beyond the loot alone. With crafting and time to do it the costs for items drops drastically as well and factotums are great at being able to just pick up a rank and then rocking out masterwork items with minimal investment compared to traditional characters.

If your character isn't getting paid in addition to the loot recieved then they can't really be in it for the wealth. People forget that the monsters themselves can be treasure. Ranks in survival are well worth it to be able to preserve the bodies of the monsters for delivery into town to sell for magic item components, hide or leather, decorations, and items to improve village pride. Normally this would be the pervue of the ranger, but 1 rank and the knowledge inspiration ability  makes this trivial for a factotum to do as well. The locations can also be treasure. Hideouts, trade posts, reclaimed and cleaned temples can all prove to be valuable to the right organizations. Even caves can be useful for setting up camp grounds or starting points for mines or tunnel exploration and all such uses can be used to create further stories for the game in the future. Traps if disarmed and disassembled are stupidly valuable as parts. Most CR appropriate traps cost more than the things they are guarding. Being able to gather these assumes that you have time to do so. Games with deadlines will cut back on the additional treasure that you can pick up in these ways.

I would have had my factotum rolling Knowledge and gather info checks pior to the combats to be able to go into them expecting to fight the creatures in each. Without a chance to prepare with proper gear no factotum is going to do well in an ambush situation. I have difficulty coming at these as zero prior roleplay instances though so that may throw my perspective off. I assume that there is something that made my character be there and that he would have had time to get ready.

Cagemarrow

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #66 on: October 06, 2011, 06:40:45 PM »
Wow, I didn't mean to kill this thread. Now I feel kinda bad.

bkdubs123

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #67 on: October 18, 2011, 09:14:09 AM »
Wow, I didn't mean to kill this thread. Now I feel kinda bad.

No, worries, Cage, you didn't kill it. I kinda just lost interest, because I felt like the thread had served its purpose. We discovered (through the power of mathematics!) that a horribadly built Factotum in an extremely restricted source environment is actually not appreciably worse than Rogue-level classes. Which is what I had always expected to be the case. We also discovered, through the power of playtesting, that the Factotum is a design mess that is no fun to play at all.

Is there anything else anyone would like me to explore about the Factotum?

What do the teeming masses think of my Factotum Redux?

RobbyPants

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #68 on: October 18, 2011, 02:09:33 PM »
We also discovered, through the power of playtesting, that the Factotum is a design mess that is no fun to play at all.
Which I find sad. Dungeonscape was one of the two last 3.5 books I got (two or three years ago), and a third of the reason was for that class. I never got a chance to play one, and I've been somewhat turned off from them from everything I've been reading. Oh well. At least it was a gift! :p
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ImperatorK

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #69 on: October 18, 2011, 03:24:11 PM »
Quote
We also discovered, through the power of playtesting, that the Factotum is a design mess that is no fun to play at all.
JaronK would probably disagree.
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Kaelik

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #70 on: October 18, 2011, 04:08:14 PM »
Quote
We also discovered, through the power of playtesting, that the Factotum is a design mess that is no fun to play at all.
JaronK would probably disagree.

And I disagree with his first conclusion. fanboi's will be fanboi's though, and you can't stop us.

Mooncrow

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #71 on: October 18, 2011, 05:05:59 PM »
Well, my conclusion was more along the lines of "stripping away options from a class that's all about versatility makes it no fun to play", but that seemed pretty obvious from the start.  I've actually played the factotum in games and enjoyed the class quite a bit (and yeah, it was without any iajutsu focus or quickrazor tricks).  If you haven't ever played one in a real game, I wouldn't let this test discourage you from trying it out.

Kajhera

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #72 on: October 18, 2011, 05:37:07 PM »
I really like my mostly-Factotum character, but damned if she isn't often frustrating and tricky to play. She tends to find unconventional solutions and ruthlessly calculates and compromises to optimize these.

The ability to get -any- spell is curiously nice.

Unbeliever

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #73 on: October 18, 2011, 07:01:45 PM »
I really like my mostly-Factotum character, but damned if she isn't often frustrating and tricky to play. She tends to find unconventional solutions and ruthlessly calculates and compromises to optimize these.
This ^, I believe, is a fair assessment of the Factotum class.  If the goal was for the Factotum to pinch hit in any of the other character class roles with any degree of capability, then it is certainly a failure.  Although that class would probably be a total pain in the ass to play anyway.  I think Factotums are funky tool-box characters (no surprise there), that cater to unconventional gameplay tactics. 

And, +1 Mooncrow.

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #74 on: October 18, 2011, 07:06:40 PM »
So any fix would probably target the pain in the ass aspect alone.
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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #75 on: October 18, 2011, 08:09:24 PM »
Yeah, I've got a Warblade/Chameleon//Factotum and while he is fun and can pull all kinds of tricks he can certainly be a pain in the ass to keep up with his options and keep various bonuses added up. 
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bkdubs123

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #76 on: October 18, 2011, 08:57:00 PM »
Quote
We also discovered, through the power of playtesting, that the Factotum is a design mess that is no fun to play at all.
JaronK would probably disagree.

And I disagree with his first conclusion. fanboi's will be fanboi's though, and you can't stop us.

Well, since the point of this thread was to empirically show the Factotum's strengths and weaknesses once and for all, and since you have read the threads, I am, against my better judgement, going to try and argue the point.

I'm not sure how you can disagree. The Factotum I built was garbage, I'm not denying that, it was part of the point, and it still walks away with 40~45% success in SGT 5 and roughly 50% success in SGT 10. I thought running with a 50% success in the SGT was considered "Rogue-level" by Frank's standards. The fact that my build totally sucked and that other builds within the same limited source pool can be a lot better is just icing.

We also discovered, through the power of playtesting, that the Factotum is a design mess that is no fun to play at all.
Which I find sad. Dungeonscape was one of the two last 3.5 books I got (two or three years ago), and a third of the reason was for that class. I never got a chance to play one, and I've been somewhat turned off from them from everything I've been reading. Oh well. At least it was a gift! :p

Yeah, when I bought Dungeonscape I bought it because of the Factotum, because I loved the idea. When I first played it (only up to level 3 or something) I loved it. And I hadn't played it for a long time before I ran this thread.

I really like my mostly-Factotum character, but damned if she isn't often frustrating and tricky to play. She tends to find unconventional solutions and ruthlessly calculates and compromises to optimize these.

The ability to get -any- spell is curiously nice.

Well, I find myself wondering where her ability to find unconventional solutions comes from. Oh, her Wizard spells, yes. And that's the bulk of the Factotum's power, the ability to cast a few SLAs, once each per day. Yes, the versatility is astounding. The gameability leaves a lot to be desired.

I really like my mostly-Factotum character, but damned if she isn't often frustrating and tricky to play. She tends to find unconventional solutions and ruthlessly calculates and compromises to optimize these.
This ^, I believe, is a fair assessment of the Factotum class.  If the goal was for the Factotum to pinch hit in any of the other character class roles with any degree of capability, then it is certainly a failure.  Although that class would probably be a total pain in the ass to play anyway.  I think Factotums are funky tool-box characters (no surprise there), that cater to unconventional gameplay tactics.  

And, +1 Mooncrow.

It's not that the class can't be fun. You can have fun playing a CW Samurai. That doesn't mean that it's not a fucking pile of shit.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2011, 09:04:28 PM by bkdubs123 »

Kaelik

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #77 on: October 19, 2011, 12:29:17 AM »
I'm not sure how you can disagree. The Factotum I built was garbage, I'm not denying that, it was part of the point, and it still walks away with 40~45% success in SGT 5 and roughly 50% success in SGT 10. I thought running with a 50% success in the SGT was considered "Rogue-level" by Frank's standards. The fact that my build totally sucked and that other builds within the same limited source pool can be a lot better is just icing.

And as I made clear, you declared a lot of things wins that I think aren't wins. Several of them could go either way, and if I were really curious, I would run probabilities or actually do the math on a well run 1/5/6 of SGT5 in order to find out whether the Factotum is 20% (what you actually showed) or 50%, because you made many highly questionable assumptions on those tests. (Including "I declare that my bag of tricks beats an encounter" which doesn't actually work for a number of reasons, which we could argue about if you want).

And then for the SGT10, you didn't even run it at all, and just declared a ton of wins with no basis, and assumed all the monsters are complete idiots, and made some more questionable assumptions (including declaring yourself the victor of another set of traps by virtue of owning a bag of tricks and taking several fucking days to make it down a hallway. Fuck, by that logic, the Fighter could just power attack through the ground and carve a tunnel and beat you to the end of the hallway).

Mooncrow

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #78 on: October 19, 2011, 12:33:53 AM »
I'm not sure how you can disagree. The Factotum I built was garbage, I'm not denying that, it was part of the point, and it still walks away with 40~45% success in SGT 5 and roughly 50% success in SGT 10. I thought running with a 50% success in the SGT was considered "Rogue-level" by Frank's standards. The fact that my build totally sucked and that other builds within the same limited source pool can be a lot better is just icing.

And as I made clear, you declared a lot of things wins that I think aren't wins. Several of them could go either way, and if I were really curious, I would run probabilities or actually do the math on a well run 1/5/6 of SGT5 in order to find out whether the Factotum is 20% (what you actually showed) or 50%, because you made many highly questionable assumptions on those tests. (Including "I declare that my bag of tricks beats an encounter" which doesn't actually work for a number of reasons, which we could argue about if you want).

And then for the SGT10, you didn't even run it at all, and just declared a ton of wins with no basis, and assumed all the monsters are complete idiots, and made some more questionable assumptions (including declaring yourself the victor of another set of traps by virtue of owning a bag of tricks and taking several fucking days to make it down a hallway. Fuck, by that logic, the Fighter could just power attack through the ground and carve a tunnel and beat you to the end of the hallway).

Out of curiosity, what class does beat the trap hallway?  The rogue has lower disable device than the factotum, casters can't keep dispelling "an arbitrarily large number" of traps; is the only possibly win "scry and teleport"?

Kaelik

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Re: The Factotum and The Same Game Test: An Honest Look
« Reply #79 on: October 19, 2011, 01:13:16 AM »
CR 5 or CR 10?

CR 5, probably, anything with constant healing, even as much as I dislike to call anything that sets off a bunch of alarms a win. The Rogue has a much higher search than that Factotum, seeing as he puts ranks in it, and that helps on the CR 5 front significantly.

CR 10, teleport is something, the other thing is that if you were building a rogue or factotum, you might want to get an item of + to search, and then avoid it/bypass it/solve it, but I'm not going to give credit to a Factotum that doesn't even put ranks in search for beating it. But if you actually want to beat a hallway like this, you want to a) be able to detect the symbols before they trigger on you, because the first on could be a symbol of death, b) once you know the symbols are there you get into really tricky arguments about ways to disable them without going within 60ft, and if those ways can be done without a disable device check.