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The situation

At my table we are 3 players and one GM. All are close friends of mine. We are currently playing a game of pathfinder 1e with the Path of war supplement and are lvl 8 and all play path of war initiators or T1.

  • There is Max, the min/maxer. Lvl 9
  • There is me, another min/maxer but enjoying the support side of the game.
  • There is Fred, the newer player.
  • Our GM is fairly knew to GMing and is also Max's girlfriend if that matters (I think not).

The problem(s)

Max is well known for being a power gamer and it's known yo have caused troubles before. I define his way of power gaming in this way, typically in every game I have played with him, as a player or as a GM his PC had achieved to get all of the following against monster of CR=Lvl:

  • One rounding damages
  • Accuracy so high it miss on natural one only
  • High AC
  • Near-to-immunity saves
  • Infinite and great amount of healing inside combat
  • Ways to negate negative conditions on himself

And that's the least.

Now, at the table we all enjoy optimizing and playing with capable characters. That's true for me, Max, Fred and even the GM. We all have powerful characters in some ways. But I've got the feeling that Max's character is too much.

Strong feeling of being useless : Recently we've been trough a dungeon and it was a disaster in my opinion. In all of the combat encounters, Fred's character and mine where struggling to stay alive, while waiting for Max to do all the job. After that, I retired my Arcanist not adapted to the way-higher-lvl-monsters-multiple-encounter-per-day-things the GM was throwing at us to challenge Max.I decided to build an initiator from Path of War to fit better. Fred decided to do the same after his character (a Path of war initiator) died in a solo quest.

Strong feeling of favoritism (in some way) : Max's character now alone, he decided to do solo-side quest. Not little solo side quest, in fact, he was so well built to be a solo-PC that he took an whole Lvl (81000xp) doing so. And manage to gain an incredible amount of money. While I do understand that doing things must be rewarded, this add to the, now obvious, difference of power between PCs.

Strong feeling of being cheated : On top of that, I discovered that 80% of what makes Max's character OP was homebrewed to the point of being basically "I pick that feature from this class, this one from that one archetype and that other from that incompatible archetype""... and so on.

What I've already done

After that discovery I bring it up to the group and I take the opportunity to explicitly state that, this level of disparity in our group is not something I like, and Fred agreed with me. The fact that it was caused by homebrew only encouraged me to bring it on with Max, Fred and the GM. This caused Max to correct all of the homebrew. But as I expected, his character is now even more powerful and is letting event less space for Fred's character's or mine to be remarquable at something, this lead me to a strong feeling of being ignored.

I feel that the only way we can actually matter/not-instantly-die in combat encounter is by having the same build as Max and that is not my cup of tea.

I also helped Fred build his new character and we've made a quite good duo. Tank-controller-dps for him and Healer/buffer/debuffer for me, we're both sharing the spotlight and enjoying this little breath of fresh air.

And now is the time to regroup with Max's character... and i dont want to feel useless, cheated or ignored anymore. I think I tried the out of character way to deal with it by telling it out loud with no/worst effects. Now I think I might as well leave the table or take the problems in character ( why would his character be with our's ? he's so powerful and his quest/interest are so dangerous to ours.).

So I'm here to ask if this is a good/terrible idea or if there are better things than just leave. Thank you for your time reading me.

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You should not try to solve out-of-game problems in game.

The problems that you describe are with how your fellow player behaves and how the GM handles this. Therefore you should resolve these problems outside of play. RPGs have the premise of bringing fun to everyone. For you, this clearly does not work, so you need to talk to the others involved. You already did that as you said, but retrying with a different focus in the discussion will be better than attempted in-game resolution.

It is the GM's task to make sure that everything runs smoothly.

The GM is responsible for the game foremost, which does not mean that the players should not make it easy on them. You suggest the fact that the GM is the problem player's girlfriend is irrelevant. But if that player is favored by the GM that fact is probably part of the problem. People have a tendency to favor their close ones. It is totally possible that she doesn't even notice and that it happens unconsciously. You should talk to the GM, preferably alone, and clearly but nicely communicate the problems. You should tell her it's normal that her games are not perfect as she has just started her GM career. And you should provide counsel or feedback. If you have GM experience, providing some counsel on what might work better might be very helpful for her. In any case you should make sure that your input is not perceived as a personal reproach. It is in the responsibility of the GM to know, look up and enforce rules. Although, ideally the player should make this easy for the GM as well by knowing or looking up and respecting the rules themselves that are associated to their character. If you think that the GM does not do this enough,you should tell them so while making sure that you do not sound accusatory. Looking up rules yourself is also a valid option. If you do not want to disrupt the gamebor to be perceived as a rules lawyer, you should tell the respective player and / or the GM about rules problems outside of the game. When I run a game, I try to know all necessary rules which mostly works but I also make it clear that players can and should indicate potential problems in the cases where it does not work. You should also tell your friend that you are not having much fun with his playstyle even if it is no longer a homebrewed built.

There is probably a problem of balance or similar.

If there is such a huge discrepancy in power level, that suggests that there a problem in the way the character generation features are combined or used. Especially so, if you yourself are a min-maxer. You could research this or ask another question here. It does seem strange that problems got worse as the Homebrew was removed. So you should thoroughly check if there is not still something off. One thing that is definitely problematic is giving different amounts of XP to the players. This can create problems of power level in the first place or aggravate them (the latter seems to be the case here). You should tell your GM this. I know there are different opinions on this, but I equally distribute all XP, even if someone misses a session, and it helps me avoid such problems.

Play another campaign. Finding another play group should be your last resort, but suggesting starting a new campaign seems like a good idea. Probably the power situation cannot be easily repaired. To make sure that the new campaign works better, you should a) give counsel to the GM (vide infra), b) talk to the problem player about the problems you perceive in his playstyle and c) potentially play without the supplement, since the problem built came from there. You could do all this without restarting the campaign, but a clear cut is good, especially for learning GMs, which I know from experience. You could also suggest playing a short campaign (a few sessions) so the GM can get more experience without a drastic long-term investment. She can even continue the old campaign as Single-Player campaign for your friend.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Should I ask if his solo playstyle could be less rewarded and rewarding teamwork ? This could be hard, considering Max's PC is a "team". I don't think the supplement is the problem because when it's not path of war, it's multiclassing, using well known RAW mistakes or not checking the rules until i do and RAW don't allow something he exploit (i turned into a rule lawer at some point and i'm ashamed of it). And if it all fail i will suggest starting all over (a parallel single-player campaign seems to be a very good fit for Max, so he can keep what they've built, very clever!) \$\endgroup\$ – some_random_dude Jun 10 '20 at 8:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ As stated, you should talk to the problem player and politely tell them that their playstyle is a problem for you. Multiclassing is another thing that can be removed if it creates more problems than it improves the game. Well-known mistakes can also be repaired if they are well-known as you say, although this needs a group consensus that they are infact mistakes. Knowing and checking up rules is the responsibility of the GM. \$\endgroup\$ – Anagkai Jun 10 '20 at 8:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the clarifications, but Max is well aware that his playstyle is a problem for me and i was thinking that maybe he keep doing that... Because it simply work for him...But only for him and we are 2 other players. But you made good point reminding me that rules and everything related are the GM territory. \$\endgroup\$ – some_random_dude Jun 10 '20 at 8:42
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It seems, that the amount of stuff, that Max is capable of doing, doesn't work within the rules. What build is he playing? Even if everything is right RAW (better double check some powerful choices on forums), he may be abusing some ambiguous parts of the rules to be interpreted in his favor. If that is the case - ask GM for the same treatment for you and Fred. Almost every class has some options, that let it shine, if GM is willing to cooperate.

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