I'm in a Pathfinder campaign where we are allowed to use homebrew classes our group has made. I am playing a true-namer.

For every cast I must make a skill check, Linguistics, and I've optimized this check to only fail on a natural one. The class has a feature that rolling a natural one makes me cast a random spell. Mid-game, the GM changed it so 1's and 2's both do this. (19's and 20's have better effects).

Last session this was again changed to 3-1 and 20-18 respectively. I'm afraid to cast a spell because there's a 15% chance it just won't do what I want it to. It could actively hurt my group as well. I've complained every time he shifted the range that things change. No other homebrew class has been altered so far.

My GM's stated issue with my class isn't my class. He wants magic to always have a chance to do strange things. My class had an opportunity for that to happen.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you expressed your concerns regarding this change to the DM? IF you did, what was the response? What comments did your fellow players have regarding this change? (Has anyone ever uttered the old adage "he who lives by the home brew dies by the home brew" in your hearing?) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast May 22 '17 at 18:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ I can't parse the new sentences you just added to the end of the question. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil May 22 '17 at 21:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @McPeepersonSmith If I understand the last paragraph ("My GM's stated issue with my class isn't my class. He wants magic to always have a chance to do strange things. My class had an opportunity for that to happen."), then the GM isn't changing the rules to rebalance your character specifically, he's changing the rules because he wants more "wild magic" in the setting and he found that a 5% chance of a wild magic event wasn't enough for him, so he made it 15% instead. Is that correct? And does your group have other casters who are being subjected to the same rules change? \$\endgroup\$ – Ben S. May 22 '17 at 22:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @McPeepersonSmith Either I'm not following, or it sounds like there's a conflict between what your GM says he wants and what he's actually doing. If he wants all magic to have a chance to go wild, why is he only changing your class? Are no other casters being changed because your group doesn't have any other casters? Are NPC casters being affected? \$\endgroup\$ – Ben S. May 22 '17 at 23:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ Well, kinda buried in the question is the fact that the character's been optimized to where it'll only fail casting on a natural one, so the GM (who agreed to this homebrew class with the assumption that casting isn't reliable) seems to be responding to that by expanding the crit fail area instead of making him not optimize his Linguistics. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil May 23 '17 at 12:51

It seems that for the DM when you accepted this class with its wild magic feature you accepted his vision about the class, not the class as it was written at the moment. Obviously the intended way the class works for the DM is that wild magic occurs, and more regularly than what happens now.

Of course, you have to speak with your DM with this problem, but "complaining" is not enough. You have to offer suggestions on what you like in this class, why the direction of the different alterations is not going in the right way. In your case, you don't like the fact that each time you are using a basic class feature you have a big chance of causing a disaster.

Show him the math! Assuming you cast 10 spells a day it means you have something like 20% chance not to roll under 3 (when you have 60% not to roll under 1). Then you can agree on a final version of the class that should be both playable and sometimes trigger strange things. It probably won't be as simple as agreeing on how much you have to score on the dice not to trigger them, but hopefully both of you will be satisfied.

If you can't agree, just ask your DM to retrain in a regular wizard/sorcerer. Yes, it is a sad solution, but that's better than playing a full caster who is afraid of casting.

  • \$\begingroup\$ examples of how to fix the class were not added since it's not the place to give them, but if you need ideas you can follow BenS's website recommendation. \$\endgroup\$ – Anne Aunyme May 23 '17 at 8:57

Talk to Your GM

Basically, you need to talk to your GM and figure out a solution that works for both of you. That might be a difficult conversation, depending on your group dynamic and your relationship with the GM, but I think it's by far your best chance at getting a good long-term solution. Here are some thoughts on how to make things easier...

What's the Concern?

First off, do you understand why your GM is pushing these changes? If not, your first goal should be to find out - you can't work together to find solutions until you're in agreement on that.

Your GM is probably doing this because he or she sees a problem with how the game is currently working. Maybe one of your character's abilities is making it difficult to design certain kinds of encounters. Maybe one of the other players feels your character is outshining theirs too often (whether or not that's actually true).

Whatever the case may be, there's a good chance the game isn't working for someone right now. Now, it's not unreasonable for you to feel upset at being asked to change your character - the GM did agree to the homebrew, after all - but if the game isn't working for everyone and you want to keep playing with this group of people, then you may need to take some steps to help fix that.

What Changes Will You Accept?

It's possible that this situation can be resolved without changing anything about your character. If another player is feeling underappreciated, maybe their character can be strengthened instead. If the GM is having a hard time challenging you, maybe there are certain monster types you're less effective against, similar to the way a rogue sometimes needs to deal with enemies who aren't vulnerable to sneak attacks.

However, let's assume that your character does need to change. In that case, you need to think about what changes you'd be willing to accept. Would it be okay if rolling a 1 had a diminished effect, as long as it wasn't a possibly-harmful effect? Would you be willing to give up improved effects on high rolls? If it turned out to be absolutely necessary, would you be willing to play an entirely different character?

Remember, this compromise needs to work for you, too - there's a fine line between accepting that you can't have everything exactly the way you want and feeling like you have to sacrifice your happiness in the game for someone else's.

For Specific Change Suggestions

If you're having a hard time coming up with specific changes to suggest that might address the problem in your case, I suggest taking this to a forum - you're going to want the ability to comment on different suggestions, clarify abilities, etc., and that's a bit beyond what the StackExchange format is really designed for. I'm active on the Paizo forums, so send me a private message if you want to get into more specifics there.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for explaining to the GM that having your character change under you without warning is not good for your sense of fun. (Especially when it's for his personal preference and not for balance reasons.) \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe May 22 '17 at 22:04

I think that the main failing of the GM is poor communication.

Homebrews are notorious for being unbalanced or only balanced for certain levels. I don't know your situation. Is it possible that the GM found certain aspects of the character unbalanced? The fact that he is making multiple changes to the same feature tells me that he is trying to get the balance right.

Ideally, he should have told you that he has a problem with that feature and that he would like you to work with him modifying it to fit his campaign. It sounds like that didn't happen. So, it might be up to you to ask him if that's what's going on and what he is trying to accomplish.


Playtesting vs. Playing

This sounds like the GM is still attempting to tweak the design of the class you're playing. As a GM, I've often faced situations where a homebrew rule / class / spell / monster / thing didn't work out the way I'd hoped or envisioned it. If your class is too powerful relative to the others in your party, for example, s/he may feel a need to tone your PC down a notch.

It sounds like the GM isn't really communicating that well, though. I'd start by having an discussion about the class outside of the game session. This is pure metagame talk, so no need to make the other players sit around waiting during the session as you talk this out. For example, if you've overpowered your Linguistics check relative to what the GM had expected, he may be trying to balance against that.

I'm not saying that's the right (or wrong) decision, but I would start by exploring that motivation. Why isn't the class right? What would make it better for his definition of better? What would make it better for your definition of better.

Accept that this will require give and take from both of you.

Fix the issues

Negotiate to resolve the underlying issue he sees with the class, but in a non-confrontational way, and not in the middle of the session. Explain that constantly taking away the power you thought you had is really messing with your enjoyment of the game.

But accept that you may have to accept changes anyway, if you keep the homebrew class.

If things need to be changed, ask for warning before they happen. It isn't unreasonable to ask for him to give you a week or two between him redrawing the rules and the new rules going into affect.

Also, express your concern that you're being targeted unfairly. For example, if his beef is really that magic needs to be more chaotic, then express a desire to see that play out for all magic classes -- including NPCs and monsters. Not just you.

Ask for some give on his part, too. If he's intrinsically weakening your character, what's the trade-off? Maybe your character gains an additional spell slot per day or learns some additional true names / spells or something to help offset the higher chance of failure. Or maybe have the failure check roll on a fail table that has a 50-50 chance of failing in your benefit so the spell doesn't do what it should, but it somehow can still help you out in other ways. (AD&D 2e's Wild Mage rules had this.)

If the GM's rule changes are too drastic for you or he refuses to give anything back despite the weakening of your class, ask the GM if you can ret-con the PC into a different class. Maybe go with a stock wizard or sorcerer, but try to pick spells with similar look-and-feel to how you play the PC? (If you cast magic missile, but explain it as using a true name from an in-character-perspective, the result is close, right?) This is the "nuclear option," but may stop the conflict, at least.


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