Author Topic: Getting into Min-Maxing  (Read 143 times)

Offline Melli

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Getting into Min-Maxing
« on: April 08, 2021, 04:41:51 PM »

I've recently started to get into D&D, and while optimizing my character's combat abilities is not the most important thing to be, I'd like to have a general to decent bit of knowledge in it.

I was wondering if someone could give me advice or resources on how to start min-maxing (Specific things they keep note of, guidelines and process they use, etc), whether it be D&D or general to any other game.

Thanks for reading! :)

Offline Theaitetos

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Re: Getting into Min-Maxing
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2021, 02:46:52 PM »
Step 1: Know all the rules.  :lol

I'm not sure if there is a specific method to it apart from reading all the rules like a Lawful Evil Deity of Devils' Advocates. And since most rule-systems are pretty huge, you'll want to start in an area of the rules, that you want to play in a lot.
For example, I am most interested in (spontaneous) magic, so I'll read up on all the rules concerning this area, before I even go into other things: e.g. I know next to nothing about sneak attacks and little about melee combat (in 5E).

Make sure to read all the guides, that others have written, on the relevant subjects. If you use computer/online resources (like a rules wiki), make a bookmark folder just for that purpose, make bookmarks on all the important rules stuff (e.g. conditions, combat calculations, lighting/environment effects, certain feats, ...)  and organize those bookmarks if necessary.
For example, I have a bookmark folder full of interesting (sorcerer) spells, arranged according to necessary components (V only, S only, S+M only), a huge exclamation mark for all concentration spells, and base info about the spell in the bookmark name: e.g. [0] Mind Sliver [Ench; INT save] in the "V only" folder, letting me know it's a 0-level enchantment spell (i.e. cantrip) against an INT save, that I can cast without somatic components. That way I always have a quick overview of options that go along with a Silence spell (S only or S+M only), with the War Caster feat (S+M only) and while my hands are tied (V only).

You can also build a strong character around utilizing a specific ability or spell. Then you will look for ways to enhance or broaden its application. And then make sure you subject yourself to the hive mind, i.e. you post your build, strategy, idea along with a thematic picture to capture the attention of others on a relevant forum and ask for advice/criticism.
For example, the user "bendking" over on the 5E area in the GitP (Order of the Stick) forum posted his "God of Lightning" build, after which others (i.e.: me!  :P ) engaged in a lively discussion on how to improve it.

Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: Getting into Min-Maxing
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2021, 04:50:03 PM »
I maybe tend to focus on defenses more than I should, but it’s generally worked pretty well. This thread can help a lot with that, and also does a decent job of outlining how to think about it indirectly.

Other than that, I’d say just come up with a concept and build around being as good at it as possible.
I don't pee messages into the snow often , but when I do , it's in Cyrillic with Fake Viagra.  Stay frosty my friends.

Offline Surreal

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Re: Getting into Min-Maxing
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2021, 01:08:40 AM »
A very important skill to keep in mind for combat is also making use of your action economy and maintaining options as the situations develop. You have a move/action/bonus every turn, sometimes more depending on class abilities or buffs. Using each of those, even if minor, adds something that wasn't there before. Keep in mind things like buffs vs output. Sometimes spending a turn to power up (spells, potions, whatever) is going to be less effective than straight up attacking from the first turn.

Mobility is also often neglected. If you're a melee grunt, having options that get you into the thick of it on the first turn is crucial. Using a bonus action to misty step next to an enemy so you can unload your attack action is not a bad use of resources.

Ultimately, this is a game of resource management when it comes to combat. Your (and your team's) time and actions are arguably more important than your hp. If you're a support character, then all your resources are spent to elevate your team and deplete the opponent's resources faster than they can reduce yours. A fireball sure does a lot of damage, but if the enemy mooks don't actually die from that fireball then they are unloading their full resources on you their next turn unless you've coordinated that blast with your teammates to actually down a few of them. Hit them with a slow or hypnotic pattern instead, they're still at full hp, but their output is now reduced to less than half and their threat level drops significantly, and now your teammates have a wider range of options which means their output has actually increased. Chopping down enemy hp is almost academic at that point.

A lot of people get overly focused on the min/max of cool moves, and they miss the forest for the trees.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2021, 01:10:29 AM by Surreal »

Offline Nanashi

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Re: Getting into Min-Maxing
« Reply #4 on: Yesterday at 03:35:03 AM »
First step is, if you're playing 5E, is to play a race/class with actual options. It sounds simple, and something that really should be impossible to not do from a game design prospective, but this creates the biggest power disparity in 5E and several (sub)classes are just auto-pilot.

After that, use spells to make sure you always have (dis)advantage working for you and against your opponents. It's easy enough to do at level 1, and is critical with 5E's bad math: Unless you're a maxed out character, the variance of a d20 is more than your modifiers, so you need to ensure the one way to control luck is always on your side.