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 1Stats:
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, TouchsightNoteworthy Skills:
Ranks in Alchemy; unlocked all Knowledge skills, Autohypnosis, Decipher ScriptThe 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
- 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
- So far, spells used have been blasting first, with a smattering of utility such as Identify
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:
Other Ways In Which I've Been Shot Down
- 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.
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.