I don't know how, but we have to get back to great role playing. . .
Is it the system? Would playing 5E or AD&D change a damn thing? Is it Pathfinder is just too complex in it's rules? Is it the players fault who power builds, optimizes and or uses the rules as written to abuse the situation and always win, ending fights before they begin? If they had spells and abilities to do so, why would they hold them back just to let other players get a hit in, have a share of the spotlight or role play a situation? Is it that after all, we've only got to level 11 in Pathfinder once for the first time and didn't expect what we found?
I can't very well house rule "You have to not play as unstoppable, when your actually unstoppable". It just don't work that way. I can't tell a player to tone it down when they have abilities on their sheet that fit the situation to guarantee a win or quick end to a battle. I can make them re-roll and avoid mistakes of allowing everything from almost every book but the core. I can limit things and house rule the game to death if I had the time and energy.
I do blame a bit on Pathfinder itself, I have to. Their monster manual says CR 11, but it's killed in one hit. That's Pathfinder rules making the error there. If there are poisons to kill boss creatures in one hit, or spells to make demons bow to your will, that is a problem with the rules, plain and simple. There are hundreds of examples of the game being broken and things linked that allow this kinds of OP play within the rules of the game, but that is what players strive for, the edge to win and if it's there they will take it.
So do we go back to one book? Just core? Is that not even broken as well? Maybe yes, maybe no. Or just change editions all together? 5E so far works, but that is because we are only core, no other books, no "Sword Coast Legends" rules or such. Is that what is helping us stay balanced?
So were back to the "I'm out" where players drop off because the game is no fun. Do we let the happen until there is no game, then try to win back the players who left to make a group to play what is fun? Or do we stop out right now since it is no fun and re-tool the whole damn thing? So far nothing is working and I am thinking of once again calling it. Now some of it I will say is just out right complaining. I heard "No challenge". This is complete shit to me, for when I put in a challenge it was "To hard" to the dungeon under the mansion.
Again if it were up to just me, I would have the game be just running dungeons non-stop, no epic story line of betrayal, revenge, redemption, etc. Because it's easy, go in kill, loot, win or die. That is easy old school d&d and no one can complain . . . well yes they can, but you get a bit less when your focused on just slaying all the things in a dungeon and looting the place.
However that is not the way I or anyone else likes to play. We need epic story lines, and tie in's and such to tell a great story and have the PC's take control and twist it into a glorious adventure. We've run AD&D games woven in (which are number one in the world, but sometimes not a hit), we've tried space, we've tried everything. I can't seem to get anyone to have fun anymore, it seems to be just like playing Magic the Gathering, were out for each player and were intent on winning.
So what can be done to get back to good role playing? I have searched the piazo forums, I am in two to three D&D groups on Facebook with new DM's coming up daily, looking for advice. I just can't seem to get a good answer from the players as to what they want and why they think they are not getting it. If you are the player sculpting the story, why is the story not going the way you wish it to? If you have a problem with a player, why are you not speaking to him or her in game and if you are and they are not listening, why are we not telling them to explain themselves or find a new party to adventure with?
I think I may take the game down and focus on either just playing our 5E game for now OR even run a second 5E game, leaving Pathfinder behind and send out some polls to get players to respond to what they like and do not like.
I have ton's of adventures and ideas, but we keep starting and stopping and each adventure gets nixed and nixed over and over and story lines die and paragraphs and books get tossed. Waste of my time, and their time and good freaking stories along the way. I can't begin to tell the stories lost to quitting a game, long running epic idea tie in's that get scrapped when we quit or restart, stuff I want to explore and that takes weeks of thought and prep to create only to have to start with nothing and generate ideas on the spot.
Just thinking out loud here on our D&D blog, cause I want the game to go till the end of time for me. I love going each Sunday night and playing no matter what game it is or how it goes and I don't want to stop doing that. So if things become bogged, I guess it is best to try to stop it now before everyone leaves and fix it. I think it best to stop when trouble is about and here we will stop I think until we can get the excitement back into the game, why play if your miserable?