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Min/Max It! / Re: Frenzied Berserker Handbook
« Last post by Jackinthegreen on October 30, 2011, 10:06:34 AM »
There is a search bar on the top right of each page here on BG, but it's quite possible there isn't a handbook for it.

Of course, with the class not much is needed.  Essentially it's "Hit stuff.  It dies."
Handbooks / Re: The Speed Handbook
« Last post by Jackinthegreen on October 30, 2011, 10:03:43 AM »
Factotum might deserve a mention for the 8th level ability to churn out extra Standard actions.  A character can use a move action instead of a standard, so effectively this can grant an extra move action once per round.  Sane DM's would limit the Cunning Surge ability to one per round, otherwise it gets out of hand.
GM Gameology / Re: Spoony: Stealing the Spotlight, Game Logic, and Burnt Wookies
« Last post by veekie on October 30, 2011, 09:42:50 AM »
Yeah, there is more than winning at stake(which does not excuse bad game design but eh), its more placing each character where they can make an impact on the scenario. This is problematic with party based games, where a default assumption is the whole party moves as one unit, and with combat based games, where the default conflict is martial in nature(and thus, the best way of killing things and not being killed, in that order, wins).

What you need to deal with power and focus discrepancy is breaking the one cardinal rule of GMing, Don't Split The Party. Divide them up by role and strengths, and place appropriate conflict therein. The problem again with that, is when you have multiple characters specialized in the same field, and a power gap is highly apparent.

White Wolf games do it slightly better in that regard. The starting premise of their supernatural lines are basically 'ok you're a Jedi, what sort?', so everyone is on the same starting supernatural footing. The 'expected' party(in quotes because few people actually run it straight like that), would have one character of each specialty archetype: Bruiser, Diplomat, Handyman(lore, tools, etc), Sneak and Special, and due to the basic game mechanic, competence gap grows slowly.
The problem of course, arises when you have games where one type of challenge becomes more common, most often in Bruising and Diplomacy, where you can have entire sessions based on them. Some fields are just harder to provide for than others.
GM Gameology / Re: Need Help with Powerful PCs
« Last post by kevin_video on October 30, 2011, 09:40:32 AM »
Well they know that this will be the last time for the mercane for a while. I'm treating the mercane box like a bracelet of friends. If you're not on the same plane, you can't access him. If anything, you'll get an answering machine.

They're working their way up to defeat a god of the apocalypse. I saw a template for the apocalypse swarm from the 3rd party book, Advanced Bestiary, and am adding it to a raven swarm. It's going to be a very annoying CR 7 for them. I know it sounds low, but they're currently without much healing because of the last battle. The splitting ability that basically mimics that of a black pudding, and the fact that they only take half from slashing and piercing (which most of them have), is probably going to nickel and dime them more. Later that night they'll be taking on two goblin mobs. I figure that it's probably the best way to let them realize that it doesn't matter that they have an AC of 28 when you can get hit so easily anyways. The vampires should do the same thing with their rat swarms in the later adventure.

I should probably explain the last battle. They were fighting evolved soldier skeletons that had cones of cold, and blew up when you beat them. The reason why it was "annoying" was because the PCs kept getting nickeled and dimed by their foes. Slowing lowering them to almost 0 hp, but not quite. Then they'd fast heal, and nickel and dime them more. That was until they had them blow up for good.

Part of my problem is that not all of my players show up all of the time. Right now the cleric shows up once every fourth session, if he's not dealing with exams. Another guy's got two jobs, and a third's got two part time jobs (one's practicum) and full time school. We're only ever guaranteed to have three PCs, and an NPC at any given time. Most of the stuff I have planned is based on the fact that I'll only have four people that day. However, sometimes there's days when everyone shows up and we have all seven. So how this becomes a problem is when I see everyone, I immediately try to adjust for them, and add in more bad guys, but somehow it doesn't always seem to be enough. There was one time where it was way too much, and I nearly did a TPK, and ended up getting local NPCs to join in as if it was a bar room brawl. A little bit of divine intervention on that one. And it's not like I don't know the rules for what I should be adding. It goes into that whole realm of whether or not the CR is accurate for that particular party. One CR 6 might be as easy as a CR 3 if they've got the right kind of gear and spells, but another CR 6 might as well be a CR 10 to that same party.
1-Well at first level good luck geting a 20 on Str even with the racial modifier. So we're looking at more of a 18-19 Str with 3d4+9 vs 2d6+6. And if you need to move to get in melee, it's 1d4+4 (or 2d4+8 causing an aoo) vs 2d6+6. The troll gets ahead on full attacks but back in charges.
The starting strength score of an example seems pointless to argue. But okay. Let's not assume the Troll begins with a +2 to all stats given by the DM.
You forgot what Reckless Assault does. Extra attack on a fullattack and on a charge. The troll dominates in a fullround attack, and if it needs to move, it can charge.
Troll on a charge deals 2d4+8 (3d4+12 with a missed AoO) vs 2d6+6, with two tries against the DC to deal damage. At level 1, considering missing too often in a melee battle can mean death, having more than one try to deal anything, even if its less damage, is a good thing.

2-The monk and paladin healing aren't that good of a comparison point. Those guys aren't low tiers by chance. Also the troll won't get to heal both nonlethal and normal damage at the same time because it's natural healing, not a magic or spell effect.
There aren't many other comparisons of non-spell abilities giving self healing to compare it with. If there are, its probably still not better than Troll self-healing. It heals too much/too often/too fast.

3-Well it could be the troll twisting itself before jumping to create a basebal/boomerang-like effect where something turns in mid-air, or cartoon-style of flailing its arms to change direction mid-air, or anime-style of super kung-fu, take your pick. And as long as the whole movevement it's in a straight lineand whitin your speed you can get anywhere.
I'll go with the troll fart. Thank you very much.

5-Any self-respecting rogue will be tumbling trough the battlefield to avoid reprisal full attacks from monsters with lots of teeths and claws. Or can just hit the aoo to stop the full extra claw attacks. But good point on multiple rends, that was not intended. Will put a clause that the extra claw attacks can't trigger rend. was just an example of damage output in rebuttal to you stating a barbarian could 1 hit everything. The rogue could be a commoner, a fighter or whatever. Its not about what they can do to evade damage but what happens to them when they receive it. The point was: Troll damage potential is a whole lot bigger than a barbarian of its level with one of the best weapons.[/spoiler]

1-Hide In plain Sight  becomes irrelevant when enemies get blindsight and mindsight and tremorsense and whateversight. But I feel like waiting and see how the cat player that is sacrificing caster levels and our dear DM deal with this.
Is your definition of useless being something that can still be countered past a specific level? Hide in Plain Sight is ALWAYS useful if only because not everything got some supernatural sense. If something needs to cast a spell to gain such a sense, its probably in response to realizing the presence of an invisible creature at which point usefulness has already been acquired in going at least one round undetected to mess them up and in having the caster waste an action getting the special sense. If a character really wanted to improve its HiPS, it could just invest a feat in Darkstalker and acquire anti-detection magical items. Even the spell superior invisibility is vulnerable to True Seeing.

2-It's still a sorceror, whose main weakness is low level of spells known, for every illusion/enchantment it picks, is one less Polymorph/teleport/binding/hax dragon spell spell he knows.
A sorcerer doesn't need more than one spell per level to accomplish each of those kinds of effects. Worst case scenario, it uses its badass enchantments to take ownership of some wizards to cast all that stuff for him or purchase/scribe scrolls, rods, runestaves, staves or wands of those spells if it feels a need to cast them (if especially nasty, use dominated wizards with the craft feats to make it all that stuff). I don't see the weakness.

3-But on the other hand, it also means a player can be tempted to play a sorceror and "gasp" lose caster levels! What was the last time you saw someone pick sorceror and plan a build that only goes to 6th level spells until 20th level?
Oh yes. Probably a few but the one example that strikes me was a gish swiftblade. Could fight like a monster and fly as Ex abilities to waltz around the battlefield in an antimagic field. A real mofo.
But even on that other hand, what does it change? A sorcerer deciding to multiclass and advance with handicapped spellcasting that way would get more being a Cheshire Cat to do the same. Unless its to grab a single level of sorcerer.

6-It's still something I do for every monster with SLAs here, and you're the first one to complain about it. It being a basic rule is no problem, I'm freaking rewriting whole monsters here! And yes I do strive for the abilities to be synergetic. Now some base classes do offer multiple paths, and so do some of my monster classes, but that's lots of extra work on my side of the field. Making a "pretty tarrasque" a viable and interesting path is just something I don't have the free time to do.  Finally cha is the dump stat in D&D. It would feel bad if a 1st level tarrasque has to burn points in Cha that will only be useful when it actually starts geting Cha-based abilities.
I am not surprised. People rarely complain when its to their advantage.
You are rewriting monsters and they end up working differently, ignoring a rule applying to every monsters in the game. Being constant in bypassing that rule is not really an argument in how that is not shaking the balance. Specifically stating that SLAs do not use Cha takes more of your free time than just keeping it the way it is. The idea is not to make a Cha based Tarrasque, it just gives it a reason to have a base Cha score higher than 8. If a character feels like it prefers its monster abilities and do not really care about the DC of its SLAs, it can keep Cha as a dump stat without losing too much. I am actually a firm believer that Cha and Int are the best two stats in the game. Cha and Int can be applied to almost every mechanics. If you insist on keeping it so because that's just how you like it, Min/Maxing or not, well, its your homebrew and lets leave it at that.  :rollseyes
Though perhaps it wouldn't be so bad as a new Monster feat for your list. Gives the Min/Max what I think is the usual price.

7-Dispel and AMF are "dun-dun-DUN" spells themselves! No wonder the best grapplers are casters (usually with some polymorph/wildshape help). High dex dudes have escape artist, or at least a cheap anklet of translocation (dispel and AMF items are much harder to come by). Now I guess I could make freedom of movement grant a bonus... But I won't because I'm personally offended from that rule, in particular because it's a 3.5 rule, whereas in 3.0 FoM only worked against magic effects, as it's suposed to.
*Slams table* Objection! *taps a character sheet* The best grapplers are dedicated grapplers (often a psychic warrior, though) modified with a polymorph type spell cast by their caster buddy.
Being personally offended by an official correction to something playtesters decided needed a fix is a reason to leave it unfixed. An alternative would not be beyond reason.
If a DM feels a 3.5 rule not to his liking, nothing stops him to stick with 3.0 or make an hybrid to his liking. Fixing it would help the classes pass in games where the DM is not personally offended by Freedom of Movement.

8-There's more than one way to instil fear. Dragons scare you not only by being big but also by being shiny/colourful and very self-confident. There's a reason why ancient warriors liked to make themselves look as outrageous as possible before the whole "camouphlage" thing set in.
Self confidence = force of personality = charisma. That ancient warrior thing feels a lot like an intimidation check with some kind of make-up giving it a circumstance bonus. Intimidation is charisma based. My previous point stands; its based out of Frightful Presence, which is Cha fueled. Another use for Charisma that is being ignored to make the ability score worthless.

9-Ah yes it's indeed suposed to be most of an anti-magic effect. And do notice that the original blocked a much more limited selection of spells, meaning a caster could snipe it from a distance much easier. Plus this way it works as bait. If the caster aproaches enough to try to get trough your carapace, it's possibly in your natural weapons range!
I notice no difference. Your revised Carapace is doing the very exact same thing as the original. It doesn't block anything new and is only giving a gap for stuff sent at it within 30ft. Now the Tarrasque is a bait for moronic casters! Now they can just send their illusion selves within range and cast their spells through them instead going there themselves to make their spells land. How is having a flaw in something that didn't have any making it better? If it wants them in reach, it'll just Rush at them, attack and grapple.

10-But I wanted that effect whitout needing to resort to non-srd feats.
Make it at least cost an immediate action. Or just say that whenever they attack it they provoke an AoO, that way only one counter can be done without Combat Reflexes and it doesn't cheapen out everything.

1-Neither do energy drain or ability damage spell instant death, they just weaken you. And with mindblank, regeneration and carapace, giving it death ward as well would be kinda too much. You can still get it trough items and spellcaster allies as you sugested.
Or just remove some of the offensive abilities that are too much and replace them with that. Being hard to kill is the Tarrasque's main selling point, after all, and those debuffs can actually be quite deadly. Ability drain/damage is not covered by deathward either, by the way.
The monster actually has that as part of its original bungle. It would be like removing some of the abomination traits off a Xixecal, like maybe those same immunities, if you catch my drift.[/spoiler]

Wild Hunt
[spoiler]1-Hell no! The ranger's companion is renowed as one of the worst out there, and its main use being as a flying mount when you get the bat option. They won't be reliably grappling casters because they don't get to ignore freedom of movement (nyah!), and brute monsters like a Fire Giant (CR 10) has a +25 grapple modifier, which easily beats the +17 a 10 HD hound would have. Skirmish won't be triggering every round, and they'll basically be breaking their teeths in anything with DR. Now compare to a druid's fleshraker companion with venomfire or a plain dire bear (CR 7, obtainable by druid at lv13, 9 with that other feat). The hound is pretty tame compared to that.
The encounters are not all consisting of casters, and they don't actually all have Freedom of Movement...
It can use the druid's progression for animal companions. They would actually have +19 at level 10, so they do have a good chance to win the grapple. Especially considering their numbers.
Fleshraker with venomfire? Of course, let's always compare everything to the cheesiest version of anything it can be compared to. I don't recall direbears dealing skirmish damage, being able to sneak well on their own, having DR and SR and inflicting auto-dimensional anchors on their preys or any other particularly noteworthy goodies.
Skirmish give a lot of extra damage even if it hits but once and the Wild Hunt can equip his hounds with amulets of natural attacks to bypass DR if its that much of a problem. It still doesn't change that they are pretty much tanky rogue/scouts. And getting more than one as a class ability is too much.

6-Players screwing over the DM's plot is inevitable. But even then the wild hunt can't stop a lich from regenerating. It's not coming back to life, it's already dead! Some other monsters to prevent the lich, like the Tarrasque that stops them from coming back into existence, not just back to life. As for the DM side, it's expected he has some responsability and doesn't throw things the players cannot deal with. Several monsters out there could prevent ressurection as well (cough Barghest). Heck, below lv 7, good luck bringing dead players back to life!
That's arguable. Killing an undead creature puts it back to being dead. While unlike the working of Gather the Death, that ability specifically to returning to life (thus still allowing people to be raised back as undead creatures), I would say that a phylactery returns a dead lich to unlife, so only Gather the Dead stops it form coming back.
Maybe a reason why the Barghest isn't meant to be played by as a PC. Their anti-rez is forgiving though; only works on humanoids and 50% of failure.
The rarity of means to resurrect at low level is balanced by there being a lot less save-or-dies in your every day encounters, I think.
As I said, I don't have a problem with the ability itself. Just saying that its acquired a bit early and that its more of a level 20 thing. It can still be used against the players to their grief.

12-The Wild Hunt is a myth of life and death, destruction and renewal. And even if he comes back to life, if he runs for 1 hour, he's lost the battle. The evil wizard will finish his evil ritual, the dark general will butcher the capital, etc, etc
I'm not reading that in its MM entry. If you're basing that on folklore then pretty much all the Feys are invincible. It should have some kind of flaw, like that not happening when its killed by a cold iron weapon or something like that since the metal is anathema to feykind. Even a lich doesn't come back if you destroy the phylactery, or a vampire when you do the whole vampire death ritual thing. Like the anti-rez thing at level 14, it can be used against the players and stuff returning to life has a lot of frustration potential.

And yes, a DM needs to optimize monsters against well optimized players. Most things straight out from the MM will only really challenge newbie players. Even Catty commented she needed to start pimping up her monster, despite admiting the party being pretty much all tier 3.
I agree, if a DM actually wants to manage an optimized party. I'll note that Catty had to pimp our monsters in response to a party filled by your creatures. Will every DM need to do that to keep things remotely challenging if they accept your stuff into their campaign?[/spoiler]

1-Barbarian is tier 4. And altough DR never hurts, let's be honest, what does it matter DR 1 at 7th level?
You're dodging the issue. Its not about whether or not DR1 is cool at level 7th (and it is). The Xixecal gets it a level 2. It makes a much larger difference at that level.
Some poisons won't work because the damage of the weapon is negated, each time you are dealt damage has a chance to remind you every hit point counts (especially considering the rate of natural healing when you don't have cure magics). Then there is the awesomeness of not being bothered by normal insects, disease carrying rats, walking freely on caltrops you spread yourself around and so on.

6-Look, one of the things many people complain in D&D it's that you can use mental scores to enanche your martial capacity, but it seems like you can never use your physical scores for enanching mystical abilities. Well no more. Monsters should be allowed to use magic with their muscles and/or life force instead of needing to be pretty.
Its pretty much covered in the Tarrasque section.
Though I don't recall people making much of a fuss over it. I think it might be because Str and Dex covers almost everything battle oriented and giving those stats as a main spellcasting ability would allow gishes to fully own in both departments. Most X to Y effects of mental to combat affects a single aspect of combat at a time while an ability used for spellcasting pretty much only offers more spells or better DCs. Once you get both you have the entire mystical aspect covered, making physical to mystical more meaningful and powerful than the opposite.
There are actually a few rare ways to replace a typical mental stat usage with a physical ability score, but are indeed far and few and often very restricted.
I can picture some beast using its blood or lifeforce and losing life to generate magic; I have a hard time imagining a beast creating a prismatic wall with his muscles. Not without laughing, at least.
I will also note that not many spellcasters are getting their main casting stat increased every level either.

10-Yeah that's called synergy.
Which brings me back to the original problem: Now every attack slows and drains Con. It should be doing one or the other. It shouldn't bypass Con damage/drain immunity seeing how those kinds of attacks are way too dangerous to bypass some form of surefire protection. Even 1 or 2 at a time, especially considering all the synergy. Perhaps a swift action to make all its natural attacks inflict Slow or a swift action to make them deal Con damage/drain would be a balancing factor.

11-See the same argument with the Tarrasque. Also there's no such thing as too high main stats.
Not as valid now considering all the good stuff a healthy charisma score could do to a Xixecal if it was built more in line with the original monster.
The point was not about whether or not getting 2 unheavely high stats with everything else in the abyss was a good or bad idea; I am disputing the notion that such a creature not being able to "afford" the raise a third stat a bit higher than abyssal, considering its major increases elsewhere, might not be a blatant exaggeration.

12-I'm kinda lost here. If casters are the thing to watch out for, what's the problem with defensive measures against them?
Dimensional Lock: level 8th spell.
Dire Snowstorm: Dimensional Lock on crack at level 10. Massive range bigger than the Epic Spell its meant to emulate.
Still lost? :)

15-Because it's already over lv10 and there's much worse stuff out there by then.
Hearing you, there will always be worse, and that justifies every little injustices like a creature receiving a few uses of a spell inaccessible to any caster its level.

16-Ok, it's good at killing stuff. Adventurers are suposed to kill stuff.
Most are. But they don't all get an infinite number of Quicken Spell-like ability feats.

19-That's what you get for being two levels lower than your oponent.
Or two level higher, no doubt.

20-Because IRON HEART SURGE cannot be used if you're immobilized. All maneuvers need you able to physically act as base rule.
Exactly. I never said otherwise. Only that it cleanses the user of status effects.
This is ways better than iron heart surge and can be used as a mental action. Isn't that good enough? Does it really need to be done faster too?

22-You may not have the balls to deal with high power D&D, but I assure you it exists and can be quite a good experience.  My longest running PbP has no less than an abrupt jaunt wizard filled with prcs, a psionic archmage, and a rainbow mage servant war weaver, among others, and all I restrict are endless loops and minion combos.  Yes sometimes it breaks down in a player-DM duel, but competitive gaming is still gaming, and pretty good if you know what you're doing. Now I'm not making this classes to stand toe to toe with abrupt jaunt wizards and whatnot, but so that at least they won't fall to a simple quickened spell.
Woah there. Getting personal now?
I had my share of very high power epic and, yes, it is fun when properly managed. I am not anti-super-epic despite whatever impression I may have given you. Sorry if you felt offended by the comment. I forgot to also note the exception where a game without fairness is what a DM offers to his players. I'm saying this with the memory of too many such epics game that went nowhere after or before the first encounter when a DM realized that it was way over his abilities and preferred to abandon the game over asking his players to tone their characters down. What you consider epic gameplay is not the same for everyone else either.
I am saying that Perfect Freeze is a big thing, because it is, and I'll leave it at that.[/spoiler]
Min/Max It! / Re: Simple Q&A 29: The CR 5 Gargantuan Dragon of DOOM
« Last post by CantripN on October 30, 2011, 09:18:19 AM »
Q 212a: When you bull rush someone into another creature's space, what happens?  One of them has to fall prone, right?

Q 212b: When using the Domino Rush maneuver from Shock Trooper, what happens if you bull rush a target into another foe, and you then fail the trip check to trip one or both of them?

A212a: As far as I know, no. They just can't enter and STAY in that square, unless already prone.
A212b: They'd stop at adjacent squares, one/both/none of them prone. If the Bull Rush target was Prone to begin with, it can end that movement in the other's square, I think, but depends on the exact wording of Domino.
Okay, so in either case you bull rush the target into the second foe's space, and then the target gets to choose which (unoccupied) adjacent square to shift to?

I'd rule it as the same square it was trying to get in from. He can't enter the square in the first place, after all. The "being pushed into another's square" thing is an ATTEMPT to do that, which in effect causes one or both to fall, since they CAN'T share the space for any amount of time, unless one keeps moving.
GM Gameology / Re: DM Pragmatics: PC Sitting on the Sidelines (Death or Failed Save)
« Last post by veekie on October 30, 2011, 09:15:17 AM »
Well, generally, the NPC isn't quite that blatant, my lot likes to acquire tagalong NPCs who're significantly weaker than the party, but its something to do besides twiddling their thumbs. Even hostile NPCs can work fine.
GM Gameology / Re: Need Help with Powerful PCs
« Last post by veekie on October 30, 2011, 09:07:57 AM »
What caught my eye was that your players said something like that they found the battle they were almost killed in annoying. If some of your players have the pleasure of playing with your DM-from-hell I can imagine that they long for an easy going campaign. Lots of loot, low mortality. Monty Haul. If they're having fun and you are having fun, I say ride this train into Epic and let them replace your Pantheon.
Definitely a factor I think, its a pleasant change of pace to be riding herd all over the game, and thats fun too.

So solutions in terms of severity:
Least severe
-More equipment-less, magical foes. This lets their XP catch up with their wealth somewhat, and allows some of the monsters to actually go before the players. Outsiders do great for this, they work just fine naked.
-More foes, lots more foes. You need to match your PCs at least 1 to 1 to give them a challenge, and being able to oneshot enemies doesn't matter as much when theres more where they came from. A good bet is X enemies of your PCs level-1(you mentioned they all have some kind of templates etc).
-Buffed foes. Have intelligent enemies come prebuffed using potions. No need to vary it, fighting a mob is very different when the whole lot of them come Hasted.

-Equipment destruction. Given your former DM, this might have some backlash, but its one way to remove the loot.
-Cut them off. The mercane? Blow it up. Without contacts, they cannot trade favorably for goods.
-Capture/murder. See equipment destruction.
Min/Max It! / Re: Core only Melee build.
« Last post by Nachofan99 on October 30, 2011, 09:05:48 AM »
Yeah I was gonna say Psychic Warrior also.

If you're stuck with nothing else, I would suggest dipping Barbarian 1/Cleric 1 (Time/Travel) and then straight up Fighter 8. Get a permanent Enlarge effect.  Wield a reach weapon.  Take Standstill and Combat Reflexes, Deep Impact optional.  Should be good enough if he is sticking to Core Only.  See if you can be an Orc or something with LA like a Minotaur.  i think those will be some of your better options in a Core+SRD only environment if you HAVE to be "Non-caster."
Tabletop Talk-- Non RPGs / Re: [MtG] Tentacle Rape Deck
« Last post by Nachofan99 on October 30, 2011, 08:55:02 AM »
Where does the OP say this is for EDH?
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