Author Topic: My DM Just Banned Psychic Reformation  (Read 42484 times)

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Saeomon

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My DM Just Banned Psychic Reformation
« on: March 16, 2011, 03:38:41 AM »
Here's the situation:

We're many sessions into a long-running campaign.

The party is about to reach level 7.

My character is the only Psionic character in the party.

This is my DM's first time running a campaign with a Psionic character.

I approached my DM with questions about how Psychic Reformation would work in this campaign.

My tone in approaching my DM was to say that Psychic Reformation is a power which can be abused, and that I'd like to work out a way in which to prevent abuse.

I suggested that usage of the power be limited to one time per level.

My DM responded by completely banning the power because of its potential to be abused.

I asked what potential abuses my DM saw.

My DM responded by saying that swapping out feats and skills is abuse.

I replied that this could not be abuse because such things were clearly spelled out in the ability of a power designed by the creators of the game, itself.

My DM said that if I was given a power which had the potential to be abused then I would abuse it, and made it clear that this accusation had to do with my specific style of play, adding that I was already skirting the line of abusing the system by making a character who didn't have any discernible weaknesses.

I responded that part of the fun to me is picking powers which are versatile, which does tend to minimize weakness, but which is a completely legitimate style of play.

My DM proceeded to list examples of when I had done "abusive" things, all of which had to do with my use of the Time Hop power to try to remove obstacles such as doors or prevent fellow PCs from reaching -10 HP in the middle of battle, saying these things stole the thunder of other players.

I replied that in case of the uses of Time Hop in battle, the uses made tactical sense, and that in the cases of using the power on doors I had always let the other players take the first crack at things.

My DM said that PR was nevertheless banned and that Psions would follow the Sorcerer system for trading powers (but not feats and skill points) and that I should be happy because I was getting something for free.

...

I'm quite pissed off by this whole exchange. My DM is a long-time friend and I thought I would be treated with more respect. This is the first complaint I've ever heard, and I feel like my DM attacked the essence of how I like to game, painting it as illegitimate. Yes, I like to make strong characters. I also like to figure out problems as a part of the group. I don't believe I, as a player, should have to intentionally gimp my character just so there's an obvious weakness for the DM to exploit. I also don't believe it's wrong that my character CAN solve numerous problems, even problems that other party members can solve, so long as I allow the other party members a shot at each problem.

I feel as if I'm being punished for playing smart and making smart choices with my character build. I also feel like my DM is singling me out. I ALSO feel like my DM, by shoehorning the Sorcerer system onto my character class this far into the campaign and calling it a freebie, is pissing on my leg and telling me that it's raining.

That is, in a nutshell, where things stand. Am I being too sensitive, here? I realize that Rule Zero is always in effect. I've abided by all of my DM's rulings up to this point, but this the latest in many rulings which have come out against me, and it's starting to put a damper on my enjoyment of the game. Like I said, I feel like I'm being singled out for special negative treatment, which I believe is especially unfair since in all instances I have approached my DM in the spirit of compromise.

Anyway, if you've read up to this point, thank you for reading my rant. Even if you don't reply, I appreciate it. I needed to vent. The only other gamers I know in real life are all involved in this game so I have nobody else to talk to who understands what I'm talking about.

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Re: My DM Just Banned Psychic Reformation
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2011, 03:46:54 AM »
Two things.
1. Your DM is a long standing acquaintance, not a friend.
2. Given that there are retraining feats in the PHB2 which allow for the exact same end result as Psychic Reformation (the former taking more time and gold, the latter taking less time but precious XP), you could make the argument that the basic concept of swapping about abilities is not broken. At all.

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The_Mad_Linguist

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Re: My DM Just Banned Psychic Reformation
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2011, 03:51:42 AM »
2. Given that there are retraining feats in the PHB2 which allow for the exact same end result as Psychic Reformation (the former taking more time and gold, the latter taking less time but precious XP), you could make the argument that the basic concept of swapping about abilities is not broken. At all.
Just say that it's an alternative to killing off your character and coming in with a new one.  You can't change as much about your character, but on the other hand instead of dropping you a whole level it only takes up some of your XP.
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Saeomon

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Re: My DM Just Banned Psychic Reformation
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2011, 03:53:35 AM »
Two things.
1. Your DM is a long standing acquaintance, not a friend.
2. Given that there are retraining feats in the PHB2 which allow for the exact same end result as Psychic Reformation (the former taking more time and gold, the latter taking less time but precious XP), you could make the argument that the basic concept of swapping about abilities is not broken. At all.

Regarding number one, yeah I'm starting to see that.

Regarding number two, I agree 100%.

IMO, my DM's being an authoritarian for the sake of being an authoritarian.

It's the disrespect that gets me. I feel very, very insulted.

Saeomon

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Re: My DM Just Banned Psychic Reformation
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2011, 03:58:52 AM »
2. Given that there are retraining feats in the PHB2 which allow for the exact same end result as Psychic Reformation (the former taking more time and gold, the latter taking less time but precious XP), you could make the argument that the basic concept of swapping about abilities is not broken. At all.
Just say that it's an alternative to killing off your character and coming in with a new one.  You can't change as much about your character, but on the other hand instead of dropping you a whole level it only takes up some of your XP.

I've offered to do just that, or to retcon my character as a Wizard. At this point, though, I don't know if that'd make a difference. This seems like more of a fundamental belief on the part of my DM that I'm playing the game wrong.

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Re: My DM Just Banned Psychic Reformation
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2011, 04:04:17 AM »
Yeah, stuff like that happens. I've had DMs who refused to let new characters (to be precise, old players whose characters had died) buy magic items with their WBL because they "[didn't] want to reward dying." It was odd.

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Re: My DM Just Banned Psychic Reformation
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2011, 04:05:46 AM »
Yeah, stuff like that happens. I've had DMs who refused to let new characters (to be precise, old players whose characters had died) buy magic items with their WBL because they "[didn't] want to reward dying." It was odd.
To be fair, it does make a bit of sense if you've got players who are using new characters as frei itenz plx.
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Re: My DM Just Banned Psychic Reformation
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2011, 04:07:45 AM »
Yeah, stuff like that happens. I've had DMs who refused to let new characters (to be precise, old players whose characters had died) buy magic items with their WBL because they "[didn't] want to reward dying." It was odd.
To be fair, it does make a bit of sense if you've got players who are using new characters as frei itenz plx.
True, but less so if the other party members had already stripped the dead character of his gear, none of which would have benefited the new character anyway. I could understand a reduced WBL which they could spend as they saw fit, but saying that someone's reached some arbitrary level without ever finding or buying magic items when the party trips over them every day...

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Re: My DM Just Banned Psychic Reformation
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2011, 04:08:56 AM »
Regarding number one, yeah I'm starting to see that.

Regarding number two, I agree 100%.

IMO, my DM's being an authoritarian for the sake of being an authoritarian.

It's the disrespect that gets me. I feel very, very insulted.
Suggest you politely withdraw.

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Re: My DM Just Banned Psychic Reformation
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2011, 04:46:56 AM »
I actually have had similar complaints from one of my own players who felt that he had been unfairly targeted. In my own case, it was largely coincidental, as well as the player coming from a very different gaming background from the rest of the group, where the relationship between PC and DM was more adversarial than at my table.

Like you, the PC felt he had been unfairly targeted by some rulings, and that those rulings were undeserved, since he didn't see himself as the strongest PC. He asked if he could change classes to something that was more powerful, and pointed out the uber-charger, the near-undetectable warlock, and the fiend of possession, who all had the potential to kill his character easily. I pointed out PC-vs-PC battles weren't relevant, that his character had been the primary PC to defeat the last 3 encounters, and that if party balance was important, than his crusader/wiz gish was still stronger than the party's fighter or swordsage. The conversation ended with the PC deciding to stick with the character, but it was a reminder to me that PCs and DMs often view issues from a very different viewpoint.

My advice is to try to see this from the DM's perspective - what you see as trying to reach a non-broken compromise, he probably sees as another attempt to increase your power for little cost, or he might simply not realize that the last several DM's calls have all been to your detriment, because he made those calls on the spot, probably with the intention of improving the overall balance of the game. It also sounds like he doesn't know psionics well, and is suspicious of them, like most DMs =P 

So yeah - I'd say take a step back and remember that you're playing for fun, and so is he.  If Time Hop is bothering him so much (and sometimes people get hung up over something they really shouldn't...), then I'd just swap it out next level -  there have to be other good powers for that level besides Time Hop.

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Re: My DM Just Banned Psychic Reformation
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2011, 05:03:00 AM »
My advice is to try to see this from the DM's perspective
I'd take that a step further and suggest that you offer to DM a game with the current group.  Let the current DM make a PC and run a random encounter or 4 without your character being there.  Get a feel for the hotseat.

I replied that this could not be abuse because such things were clearly spelled out in the ability of a power designed by the creators of the game, itself.
translation:  I told my dm that 3.5 cannot be broken with anything written by Wotc.
Then the bastard killed me with a level 1 kobold! :P

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Re: My DM Just Banned Psychic Reformation
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2011, 07:10:22 AM »

Sounds like your playstyles are incompatible. And I agree, sounds more like an acquintance, a friend should not disrespect you in such a manner.

If you can't enjoy the game by nerfing your playstyle, I'd suggest you withdraw. Your GM and the other players may have grievances over being overshadowed  :rollseyes

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Re: My DM Just Banned Psychic Reformation
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2011, 08:32:41 AM »
Psychic Reformation I can understand giving a headache. Time Hopping doors I suppose I can understand giving a headache, though there are certainly doors weighing more than 300 pounds and Knock is a level lower.

I ... I can't see how anyone could think the use of Time Hop to give party members from reaching -10 could give a headache.  ??? That's like ... less broken than Cure Minor Wounds.

Saeomon

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Re: My DM Just Banned Psychic Reformation
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2011, 09:25:14 AM »
Thank you for the input everyone. I've been leaning toward politely withdrawing and your responses show that my instincts were correct. It'll suck, but suck less than continuing to pursue a course that has resulted in primarily frustration.

I'll also take into consideration the suggestion that I take over DMing for awhile. That's a good idea. I just think a cooling off period is in order.

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Re: My DM Just Banned Psychic Reformation
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2011, 11:15:21 AM »
It really hard when he's someone reaches the point where they don't "trust" you. Especially, if they've sighted things that are "abuse" and you realize that his definition is different from your definition.

Further... this:
Quote
  It also sounds like he doesn't know psionics well, and is suspicious of them, like most DMs =P   
Reminds me of the origin of CoDzilla, but seriously... the psionics handbook came out. . what like 7 years ago. What the dm said and what your saying there don't connect exactly.
  This Dm's complaints of abuse indicates, a person who probabbly isn't exactly spun up on mechanics "in general" and doesn't get that the players are "supposed" to win at least for the sake of the narrative. Casting time hop to save someones life? Or as a Knock spell? Really?
No thats on a certain level just anti-innovation. Further, he's put a spotlight on how he really feels
"If there's a way to abuse something. Then you'll abuse it"...  :eh
Which is really something people who don't have a grasp of the system mechanics accuse those who do understand them of doing. Lastly... I imgine he's had these conversations about your abuse with the group sans you, so I'd really consider leaving. Why play with someone who doesn't trust you?
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Re: My DM Just Banned Psychic Reformation
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2011, 11:35:19 AM »
Bust out DCFS. Spells are more balanced, right?  :lmao
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An interesting read, nice to see a civil discussion
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Re: My DM Just Banned Psychic Reformation
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2011, 12:17:21 PM »
Wish chain+Thought Bottle+energy drain+DCFS for full reformat into (tm) Red Wizard from Hell and then break your Staff of the Seven Part Power Magus off in his ass.  And when he whines, tell him to be glad it wasn't Kell he insulted, because then he'd also be missing teeth.

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Saeomon

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Re: My DM Just Banned Psychic Reformation
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2011, 01:22:35 PM »
It really hard when he's someone reaches the point where they don't "trust" you.

Boy did you ever hit the nail on the head! It's the lack of trust that stings. I've known my DM for over 10 years. We went to college together. We've been in many, many gaming sessions together. You'd think that after such a long time I'd at least get the benefit of the doubt. Evidently not.

For the record, here's my build and the group composition:

Me:
Class Levels: Gnome Shaper 5/Anarchic Initiate 1
Stats: Str 10, Dex 14, Con 20, Int 19, Wis 14, Cha 14 (the DM chose to be generous with the stats)
Feats: Overchannel (1), Psicrystal Affinity (1B), Talented (3), Boost Construct (5B), Psionic Meditation (6)
Powers:
1 - Astral Construct, Entangling Ectoplasm, Matter Agitation, Minor Creation, Vigor
2 - Concussion Blast, Control Sound, Crystalstorm, Levitate
3 - Ectoplasmic Cocoon, Energy Wall, Time Hop, Touchsight
Noteworthy Skills: Ranks in Alchemy; unlocked all Knowledge skills, Autohypnosis, Decipher Script

The Rest of the Party:
Half-Orc Fighter 7
  • Two-Handed Power Attack focused
  • Tends to be the first to go down in a fight
Human Druid 7
  • Has a "dire coyote" animal companion (seems to use the dire wolf stats)
  • Mainly buffs himself and his animal companion then sends the companion into the fight, only wading in when needed
  • Secondarily, will stand back and blast with Call Lightning
  • Has only used Wild Shape as a scouting and disguise tool
  • Played by the DM's significant other
Gnome Cleric 3/Rogue 3
  • The party face; Diplomacy-focused
  • In combat, primarily a ranged attacker, and thus rarely gets in sneak attack damage
  • Secondarily a healer
  • Very rarely casts buffs
Half-Elf Ranger 4/Sorcerer 2
  • Archery-focused
  • Planning to go into Arcane Archer
  • Has a hawk as an animal companion; the hawk usually isn't around
Human Paladin 6
  • New to the campaign
  • Seems to be a stereotypical sword-and-board melee-type character
Elf Fighter 2/Wizard 4
  • New to the campaign
  • Archery-focused
  • So far, spells used have been blasting first, with a smattering of utility such as Identify

My Role(s)
In combat, my focus has been on Astral Construct summoning and battlefield control, the latter primarily through Energy Wall. BFC is important, as the DM really, really likes to have monsters surround us and/or surprise us. My character, as a result, tends to take out the majority of the low-level mooks. I also tend to stick to the "back row" and therefore don't take as much damage.

Out of combat, I have attempted to be the party "toolbox," a role which I informed the DM I intended to pursue even before character creation began. Thus I've selected powers with a lot of utility: Astral Constructs for odd jobs, Minor Creation for all of its myriad uses, Control Sound for the sheer joy of confusing the hell out of NPCs, Levitate for movement on the Y-axis, Energy Wall for its masonry-crumbling Sonic version, Time Hop for the bajillion-and-one things it can do, etc. Therefore, yeah, there's a lot that I can do. I made that clear to the DM from the get-go. But just because I CAN do something doesn't mean that I always do it. You only get a certain number of PP per day. It's much more resource-efficient to spread around the tasks.

Nevertheless, I'm the only full "caster" that plays like a full caster. The only other full caster in the group is a Druid and doesn't play that way, but Druids don't have to play like full casters in order to still be full of win.

The Roles of the Rest of the Party
The Half-Orc Fighter is the classic BDF. He runs in and hacks stuff up until he drops from HP damage. Alas, he rarely gets buffed appropriately. I can't buff him because none of my buffs work on anyone other than me. The Druid refuses to buff him because the two don't get along in-character. The Cleric doesn't buff him often enough because the Cleric is spread thin due to multiclassing. The Sorcerer doesn't buff him because the Sorcerer has no buffs. The Wizard is new. Maybe the poor guy will finally get some buffs from the Wizard. Out of combat, this character really struggles to make meaningful contributions. He pulls it off, though, because of creative thinking.

In combat, the Druid primarily buffs his animal companion and himself and then has the companion do all the work. Early on he did some BFC with Entangle, but not so much lately. His favorite tactic is the aforementioned companion buff followed by either setting himself up as flanker or stepping back and using Call Lightning. The Druid's animal companion takes out the vast majority of those mobs which have a respectable amount of HP (meaning enough to survive one round of contact with an Energy Wall). Out of combat, the Druid's primarily a healer. There are a ton of things which he COULD do, but he's portrayed as a recalcitrant type. I'll add that this character is played by the DM's significant other. Therefore there will be no complaints from the DM about anything the Druid does.

The Cleric/Rogue suffers from the affliction affecting most multiclass characters with equal levels in two or more classes: spreading himself too thin. He's a ranged attacker, so he had to drop a lot of feats into the style to be able to hit. As a consequence of the party being the ones typically ambushed as opposed to the ambushers, he rarely gets off a Sneak Attack. I can count on one hand the number of times he's gotten that extra damage in this entire campaign. Therefore, he's finding himself relegated to the role of doing 1d6 damage per round or tumbling across the battlefield to drop a cure spell. Out of combat he's a little better. He gets to play scout and act as the party face. The DM hasn't thrown many traps our way and tends to roleplay out social encounters without Diplomacy checks, though.

The Ranger/Sorcerer/Soon-To-Be Arcane Archer is (and I really hate to say this) the Waste of Space. But, when looked at in those famous Being GOD terms, that's his role. He plunks out a few HP of damage and soaks up a few hits in combat. Out of combat, he's...well, I can't actually say what he does because I can't recall him really doing anything outside of combat. He really doesn't bring anything new to the table.

The Paladin is new to the group. I predict he'll be just like the Ranger/Sorcerer. I.e. a Waste of Space. Maybe a little more useful because he can actually wear armor without penalty.

The Fighter/Wizard is also new, but has already proven to be what the Ranger/Sorcerer should have been. He's filled the party role of arcanist. Sure, he may only have acted as a blaster in combat, but outside of combat he's actually been useful. If nothing else, he can identify items.

Campaign-Specific Features
These are a few noteworthy things about the campaign:
  • The party's WAYYYYY behind on the wealth-by-level chart. To the tune of around 15K per character. The party had more treasure, but the DM ambushed the party with an encounter there was no way we could overcome and took 90% of our stuff. My character was the only one who wasn't knocked into the negatives, so I was able to bargain my way out. Thus I got to keep a few of my things.
  • As I believe I've mentioned, the DM likes to ambush the party, particularly while we're sleeping. I'm talking like 9 nights out of 10.
  • The DM has evaded all of my attempts to discern whether Psionics-Magic Transparency is in effect, both in and out of character. By observation alone, I've determined that it is, to a certain extent. Nevertheless, I avoided taking key powers like Dispel Psionics out of fear that I'd wind up with a worthless power. We have, so far, encountered zero psionics-using enemies.

Other Ways In Which I've Been Shot Down
I'll conclude with a short list of other things I've asked about or indicated a desire to do and to which my DM has responded negatively.
  • At character creation, I asked if I could play a Warforged, due to its well-known synergy with Shaper. I was told no. As for why I couldn't, the DM said they were overpowered because they were Eberron-specific.
  • I asked if I could play a Duergar from the XPH, for the poison immunity. I was told no, that's overpowered.
  • I asked if I could play an Elan. I was told no, they're overpowered because they're immortal.
  • I asked if I could play a Synad from CPsi. I was told no, because their racial origin made no sense. I suggested adapting the origin but was told no.
  • I asked if I could play any of the Psionic races. I was told no, because the DM didn't like any of their flavor.
  • I asked if I could play a Jungle Halfling, for the weapon proficiencies and poison use. I was told no, because Jungle Halflings are stupid.
  • I asked if I could play a Gray Elf and was told yes. The DM subsequently reneged on this, and told me to stick to the PHB races, and heavily indicated a preference that I play a Gnome.
  • When I indicated a desire to take buffs which were usable as Immediate Actions, the DM balked, saying this was unfair to the rest of the party as it introduced a new kind of action nobody else could use.
  • My DM said that Psychoportive Shelter is the kind of power which was more likely to increase sudden ambushes.
  • When planning for Prestige Classes, I was told that Crystal Master would not be available because all the immunities it offered made it overpowered. I was also told that I shouldn't take Constructor because it would make the party Fighter irrelevant. I was told that none of the PrCs from Hyperconscious were available because all of them are overpowered. However, I was told that Anarchic Initiate and Thrallherd were perfectly okay. So I went with AI. I'm starting to wish I'd gone with Thrallherd, just out of spite.
  • I've been told that the DM plans to narrowly interpret what counts as an "object" or a "creature" for the purposes of the Time Hop power. This may include, i.e., terming a chandelier and a chain a single object and terming a horse and rider a single creature.
  • My DM has indicated a belief that seeking poison immunity, a permanent light source, and the ability to not eat, breathe, or sleep in a single character is "abusive." All of the above are attainable with low- to mid-level magic items.

And one final note: my DM really seems to think that making a character without a glaringly obvious weakness for the DM to exploit is "abusive." My DM does not seem to believe that it is 100% the responsibility of the DM to present a challenge to the PCs. My DM, in this campaign, has not put us into direct combat with equal-leveled spellcasters. Were my DM to do so, there would be plenty of options for weakening my powers, such as Globe of Invulnerability, AMF, Spell/Power Resistance, etc. Instead, my DM insists on, e.g., tossing upwards of fifty troglodytes at the party and sending a Phantom Fungus over to target me specifically. There was genuine surprise on my DM's face when I manifested Touchsight and could suddenly SEE the thing. But, again, the DM's failure to understand what a player's powers can and can't do is never the fault of the player.

Ugh...just ugh.

Gods_Trick

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Re: My DM Just Banned Psychic Reformation
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2011, 01:35:17 PM »

Ovveh, how'd you miss all those warning signs dude? I'm a fairly conservative GM myself and like a Tier 2 to 3 game, but the only one I might ask a player not to do might be the immediate actions, if the rest of the party were optimisation-weak.

Unless this guy runs amazing games, who the hell wants to fight 50+ trogs? Sounds like you have GM with poor GM'ing skills if he'd rather nerf PC capability rather than step up his game.

Saeomon

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Re: My DM Just Banned Psychic Reformation
« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2011, 01:42:55 PM »
Ovveh, how'd you miss all those warning signs dude?

That's a fair question. Honestly, I saw the red flags but chose to ignore them. This was the first opportunity I'd had to play in years. I spent the last several in law school in another state and just recently returned. So when I reconnected with this friend/acquaintance I jumped at the chance, not only because of the gaming jones but because I saw it as an opportunity to get reacquainted with the DM and another mutual friend/acquaintance, and also to meet some new people with a shared interest. I also tend to be a very patient, tolerant person and usually it pays off. Sometimes it bites me in the ass. This is one of those times.