Author Topic: A crazy idea. 10x WBL table campaign. [Discussion on Relative Power]  (Read 9299 times)

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brujon

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So i just had this crazy, insane, madness filled idea when i was coming back from college today. I thought about a game where *every* PC has 10x wealth, BBEG's 20X Wealth, but NPC classes and Cohorts & Followers have normal WBL. Other houserule, for sanity reasons, is that *any* cost reduction on item creation is duly banned.

The problem then struck me: How would character classes/archetypes be affected by the change? Specifically, what changes could this bring about in the relative tiers in the 1-6  7-13 and 13 - 20 level ranges?

I've always operated in the assumption that fullcasters start as a high tier 4, while melee* classes start at a high tier 3 or low tier 2(Fighters and "normal"(Those who aren't Tier 5 or below for starters) classes, and "special"(Mainly those who can do the Gish well, but Martial Adepts and special cases fit here to) melee* classes start at maybe a tier 1. Then melee classes drop a tier at every level "range" and special meleer's drop a tier at the 7-13 and 13-20 ranges.

*Physical or Ranged


I've always regarded that as a valid assumption for basically every class listed on the tier system. Except that 10x WBL takes that and throw it into a cannister with a sphere of annihilation tacked in the bottom of it. Mainly, the Artificer, i think, loses most of it's advantages because they can no longer cheat WBL, though with all the other abilities i don't think how much they'll drop in the tier system. PC crafting continues to be a valid option, thoroughly expanded by the vast amounts of gold you'll be accumulating. (At level 20, i think something like the WBL of a major deity that isn't tricked out on SDA's tailored to creation) It's also a very known fact that melee'rs and gishes in general are *very* equipment dependent, though gishes less so. But, wizards & archivist and specially STP Erudites are much, much more likely to snag every spell they possibly can.

So i'm at a loss on how much more balanced or unbalanced this would make the system. Caster's have many ways already to snag spell slots at minimal gold cost, or negate it entirely. (Sharing spellbooks, diplomacing spellbooks out of every indifferent or friendly mage they encounter, on libraries, etc...) But meleer's have *ZERO* ability to increase their effectiveness without either a friendly caster buffing/making items at cost for them, smart feat chaining, smart prestiging,  smart templating, and smart feat choices. *BUT* this system makes it so that they have a much higher melee capability at the start of the game, above and beyond the damage output a caster is able to dish out even if fully tricked out until (I'm guessing pretty hard here, i told you i thought this out for like 30 minutes) about level 10.

How would you build a character in such terms for each level range, and how would that effect the relative power in the party? I'm fully aware this makes the game a super-high fantasy, and that it also weakens mindless/unequippable monsters/animals to nigh laughable levels of challenges, so i'm thinking a wide and wild reduction of CR, but how much for each eludes me. I'd wager a party like that could take on encounters 8 above their CR and still have a 50/50 chance of getting out alive. And, finally, the big question: How this affects the relative tiers in each level range, and, most important, the "final" tier rating for each class?

*And the other final and also big question: How would a game like this appeal to any CO'er? I'm guessing HELL YEAH's from everyone :D

weenog

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Re: A crazy idea. 10x WBL table campaign. [Discussion on Relative Power]
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2011, 03:14:33 AM »
You've been drinking, huh?

I took Int damage reading the third paragraph + footnote and gave up on the rest.
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brujon

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Re: A crazy idea. 10x WBL table campaign. [Discussion on Relative Power]
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2011, 03:24:58 AM »
You've been drinking, huh?

I took Int damage reading the third paragraph + footnote and gave up on the rest.

i brainfarted and forgot to add the bit that spellcasters go up 2 tiers on the second level range and 1 tier final, when they master all the nastiest spells of all. Other stuff i think it's pretty solid assumptions, no?

brujon

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Re: A crazy idea. 10x WBL table campaign. [Discussion on Relative Power]
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2011, 03:26:10 AM »
So i just had this crazy, insane, madness filled idea when i was coming back from college today. I thought about a game where *every* PC has 10x wealth, BBEG's 20X Wealth, but NPC classes and Cohorts & Followers have normal WBL. Other houserule, for sanity reasons, is that *any* cost reduction on item creation is duly banned.

The problem then struck me: How would character classes/archetypes be affected by the change? Specifically, what changes could this bring about in the relative tiers in the 1-6  7-13 and 13 - 20 level ranges?

I've always operated in the assumption that fullcasters start as a high tier 4 and go up 3 tiers through 1-20 (Some advancing 2 tiers on the second level range, others 2 tiers with the final range), while melee* classes start at a high tier 3 or low tier 2(Fighters and "normal"(Those who aren't Tier 5 or below for starters) classes, and "special"(Mainly those who can do the Gish well, but Martial Adepts and special cases fit here to) melee* classes start at maybe a tier 1. Then melee classes drop a tier at every level "range" and special meleer's drop a tier at the 7-13 and 13-20 ranges.

*Physical or Ranged


I've always regarded that as a valid assumption for basically every class listed on the tier system. Except that 10x WBL takes that and throw it into a cannister with a sphere of annihilation tacked in the bottom of it. Mainly, the Artificer, i think, loses most of it's advantages because they can no longer cheat WBL, though with all the other abilities i don't think how much they'll drop in the tier system. PC crafting continues to be a valid option, thoroughly expanded by the vast amounts of gold you'll be accumulating. (At level 20, i think something like the WBL of a major deity that isn't tricked out on SDA's tailored to creation) It's also a very known fact that melee'rs and gishes in general are *very* equipment dependent, though gishes less so. But, wizards & archivist and specially STP Erudites are much, much more likely to snag every spell they possibly can.

So i'm at a loss on how much more balanced or unbalanced this would make the system. Caster's have many ways already to snag spell slots at minimal gold cost, or negate it entirely. (Sharing spellbooks, diplomacing spellbooks out of every indifferent or friendly mage they encounter, on libraries, etc...) But meleer's have *ZERO* ability to increase their effectiveness without either a friendly caster buffing/making items at cost for them, smart feat chaining, smart prestiging,  smart templating, and smart feat choices. *BUT* this system makes it so that they have a much higher melee capability at the start of the game, above and beyond the damage output a caster is able to dish out even if fully tricked out until (I'm guessing pretty hard here, i told you i thought this out for like 30 minutes) about level 10.

How would you build a character in such terms for each level range, and how would that effect the relative power in the party? I'm fully aware this makes the game a super-high fantasy, and that it also weakens mindless/unequippable monsters/animals to nigh laughable levels of challenges, so i'm thinking a wide and wild reduction of CR, but how much for each eludes me. I'd wager a party like that could take on encounters 8 above their CR and still have a 50/50 chance of getting out alive. And, finally, the big question: How this affects the relative tiers in each level range, and, most important, the "final" tier rating for each class?

*And the other final and also big question: How would a game like this appeal to any CO'er? I'm guessing HELL YEAH's from everyone :D

weenog

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Re: A crazy idea. 10x WBL table campaign. [Discussion on Relative Power]
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2011, 03:29:59 AM »
No.  Among other issues, melee != ranged, physical is not the opposite of ranged, and you have zero understanding of what Tier 1 means.
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bearsarebrown

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Re: A crazy idea. 10x WBL table campaign. [Discussion on Relative Power]
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2011, 03:34:03 AM »
Balance aside I don't want to try it because it sounds like a logistical clusterfuck. High level characters already have literally 100s of different items they're carrying around to keep track of.

Bester

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Re: A crazy idea. 10x WBL table campaign. [Discussion on Relative Power]
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2011, 03:38:04 AM »
No.  Among other issues, melee != ranged, physical is not the opposite of ranged, and you have zero understanding of what Tier 1 means.

Tier 1 means chicken infested infinite loop combos.  Commoner is a tier 1.  Am I right or what?(kidding)

Bard

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Re: A crazy idea. 10x WBL table campaign. [Discussion on Relative Power]
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2011, 03:44:16 AM »
I'm unsure about that...
(Assuming that there isn't much abuse of custom crafted items AND the maximum price allowed for an item remains at 200k)
Tier 1 classes would benefit for it for sure, but they wouldn't improve that much (they're already tier 1 after all).
On the other hand builds that NEED a good weapon/gear to work properly would benefit more from it and get more powerful earlier (you basically give a swift hunter/random archer a +3 Force Splitting Collision Composite Longbow at level 8) by level 12 even dualwielders manage to get double "+10" weapons.
Classes with UMD will have enough money to burn to be basically Tier 1 themselves...

At the end of the day I think it will make almost every class closer to Tier 1 (some more, some less) and increase by 10 times the book-keeping ;D

PS: Chicken Infested Commoner Infinite Loop Combos is Tier 2 since it can do it only one thing in a really awesome way, but sucks for everything else ghghgh
[Spoiler]
His old DM was on crack. He could take levels in freaking Dread Necromancer if he wanted to and no rule in the universe would keep him from doing so.
Rule 0?
Which, I guess, would be 'no rule,' since none = 0.
What's funny is he always brings up Rule 0. I actually had to ask him what that was, and without blinking an eye he gave me the most detailed explanation I'd ever heard for a rule. It was like he was in a trance when he spoke. Looking it up, it just said "The unspoken DM gets final say/veto anything he wants rule."
You're such a kind man, for taking in abused unfortunates and rehabilitating them.
[/spoiler]

weenog

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Re: A crazy idea. 10x WBL table campaign. [Discussion on Relative Power]
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2011, 03:48:41 AM »
If you can do infinite damage from level 1, but you can't force the DM to hand you his notes when you need them to solve a mystery, you aren't Tier 1.  If there is any situation in which you cannot meaningfully contribute, you aren't Tier 1, no matter how effective you are when you do contribute.
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Bester

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Re: A crazy idea. 10x WBL table campaign. [Discussion on Relative Power]
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2011, 03:51:33 AM »
I am sensing this thread will turn into a UMD debate thread.  I think a commoner with chicken infested can be tier 1 if he abuses the crap out of UMD with feats and wizards make magical items and sell them.

weenog

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Re: A crazy idea. 10x WBL table campaign. [Discussion on Relative Power]
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2011, 03:52:36 AM »
I am sensing this thread will turn into a UMD debate thread.  I think a commoner with chicken infested can be tier 1 if he abuses the crap out of UMD with feats and wizards make magical items and sell them.

Being Guacamole is not a meaningful contribution.  :P
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Endarire

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Re: A crazy idea. 10x WBL table campaign. [Discussion on Relative Power]
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2011, 04:44:06 AM »
This exercise makes non-full casters more self-sufficient, assuming they can buy or obtain the items they need.  (Flight, mind blank, freedom of movement, death ward, true seeing, crit immunity, spiffy weapons & armor...)

Plot characters like BBEGs already get arbitrary amounts of wealth.
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Speaking of which:
Don't even need TO for this.  Any decent Hood build, especially one with Celerity, one-rounds [Azathoth, the most powerful greater deity from d20 Cthulu].
Does it bug anyone else that we've reached the point where characters who can obliterate a greater deity in one round are considered "decent?"

Bauglir

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Re: A crazy idea. 10x WBL table campaign. [Discussion on Relative Power]
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2011, 04:57:23 AM »
It also makes casters a little to a lot more versatile, because they'll just be spending 9/10ths or so of their wealth on scrolls.

Or nightsticks.
So you end up stuck in an endless loop, unable to act, forever.

In retrospect, much like Keanu Reeves.

brujon

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Re: A crazy idea. 10x WBL table campaign. [Discussion on Relative Power]
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2011, 05:21:01 AM »
I think people are misjudging my musings on tier levels across level ranges. I understand tiers to mean as a general ability to resolve arbitrary encounters, meaning, general ability to solve any problem presented to them at their level or slightly above it, or very much above it in some specific cases.

It stands as a fact that casters are very much weaker than meleers in solving encounters until after level 5 or 7, where most good PRC's start kicking in, and full casters get access to 4th level spells and start rocking out on immunities and utility galore. It's also the level where it's starting to pay off using more expensive metamegic, as empower and maximize.

It's also a fact that in general, non-spellcasters (i should've used that generic term on the OP), don't contribute as much for the party after that level as they did before. Because before that, most enemies were nonmagical, had laughable AC and meaningful HP, where the Wizard was limited in spells and couldn't afford to help overcome too much encounters in a meaningful way due to a lack of spells/day and damage, where a dedicated DPS damage-monkey could already be dishing out consistent 30~40 damage nonstop. At that level, not many enemies had meaningful defenses that needed to be pierced or circumvented with magic, and the most meaningful contribution a spellcaster could give is a AC Boost, some SoD's in the form of sleep (which many creatures are immune to), or color spray, limited times per day at a low DC since many monsters have much more HD than CR.

This is how i've always felt the tier system is. The way i see it, it judges the class potential over a 20 level span. Yes, in the long run, the fullcasters will always win the race, just because they have all the options a nonspellcaster has, and then some, but they do start out as turtles(As in the rabbit vs turtle fable, only in this case, after the rabbit starts the nap, the turtle hops in a Mach 10 scramjet experimental airplane and finishes the race and the rabbit awakes to the sound of it and thinks WTF?).

I didn't claim it would reduce a wizard's tier, i just claimed it could maybe increase them for the fighter types, and maybe modify their tier earlier than they would modify a wizard's, thus allowing for non-spellcasters to feel special for longer, all the while making the game a different power level, as the party will certainly be able to withstand encounters far above their EPL, making this a appealing option. But not one without unforeseen consequences. That's why i turned to this board for discussion on such a wildcard variant game.

Yes, nightstick stacking could possibly turn the thing upside down, so it has to be limited in some way, otherwise clerics would just kill off all the wizards and dominate everything with free metamagic up the wazoo. The UMD thing is interesting, and certainly massive checks can be attained easily with competence items of UMD and Cha-Boosting, making Wandmancers more of a threat, and multiple armed wandmancers even more so. So maybe some kind of hard-wired limitation on wands should be applied, lest everyone and their mother becomes a wizard and start rocking out with every spell in the game in the form of Eternal Wands with MAX CL. These are the kind of things that i missed because i stopped to think for 30 minutes on this before posting, but were brainstorming here, brainfarts happen lol. But what about the other, positive, side effects? Could a game with this variant be a fun game for everyone involved?

JaronK

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Re: A crazy idea. 10x WBL table campaign. [Discussion on Relative Power]
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2011, 05:40:18 AM »
It stands as a fact that casters are very much weaker than meleers in solving encounters until after level 5 or 7, where most good PRC's start kicking in, and full casters get access to 4th level spells and start rocking out on immunities and utility galore. It's also the level where it's starting to pay off using more expensive metamegic, as empower and maximize.

May I suggest you try out Glitterdust, Color Spray, Grease, and Alter Self?  Heck, at level 3 a Death Master can start his army of the dead (5 for a Cleric or Archivist).  I've made Wizards that dominated whole encounters easily (far better than the melees in the group) at level 1... I was even clever enough to quickly get a pair of riding dogs for protection at this level to avoid the glass cannon thing.  Color Spray is really good.  And Druids?  Do they even have to cast anything to be terrifying at level 1?  Their puppy is a serious threat by itself!

So no, your fact is not a fact.

Quote
It's also a fact that in general, non-spellcasters (i should've used that generic term on the OP), don't contribute as much for the party after that level as they did before.

This is true for most non casters, but Binders can still definitely contribute, and the ToB folks do reasonably as well. 

Quote
Because before that, most enemies were nonmagical, had laughable AC and meaningful HP, where the Wizard was limited in spells and couldn't afford to help overcome too much encounters in a meaningful way due to a lack of spells/day and damage, where a dedicated DPS damage-monkey could already be dishing out consistent 30~40 damage nonstop.

Color Spray = Encounter Over.  Clean up time only.  And that's not an optimized Wizard (while I'd say you're optimized as a melee if you're doing a consistent 30-40 damage a round before level 5-7, for certain).

Quote
At that level, not many enemies had meaningful defenses that needed to be pierced or circumvented with magic,

Other than mirror image of course.

Quote
and the most meaningful contribution a spellcaster could give is a AC Boost,

Alter Self = +8 AC for a humanoid, +15 for an Outsider... that's pretty meaningful.

Quote
some SoD's in the form of sleep (which many creatures are immune to), or color spray, limited times per day at a low DC since many monsters have much more HD than CR.

Sleep takes too long to cast, but Color Spray gets the job done just fine.  I find it's more likely to hit at low levels than melee attacks for the most part.  And Grease basically can't be resisted if you wanted them flat footed, because pretty much nothing has the needed 5 ranks of Balance.

Quote
This is how i've always felt the tier system is. The way i see it, it judges the class potential over a 20 level span.

It focuses on 6-15 most of all, 1-5 being the next priority, and 16-20 being the least important.

Quote
Yes, in the long run, the fullcasters will always win the race, just because they have all the options a nonspellcaster has, and then some, but they do start out as turtles(As in the rabbit vs turtle fable, only in this case, after the rabbit starts the nap, the turtle hops in a Mach 10 scramjet experimental airplane and finishes the race and the rabbit awakes to the sound of it and thinks WTF?).

I'm just not seeing how a Druid starts out behind the Fighter.  Or a Wizard.  Or a Cleric.

As to your overall idea of crazy wealth... I think the game is designed with too much wealth anyway and not enough native abilities of the PCs.  People like to say "my character can do X" not "my character's items do X."  One magic sword is special.  30 of them in a golf bag is boring.  So I think it won't be that much fun.  It WILL shrink the tiers just because you're going to give everyone such a crazy big boost that the power of classes at all is significantly diminished... but then again, since everyone has enough gear to be a melee powerhouse, the only classes that matter will be the ones that do something the gear can't do as easily (probably spellcasting, trapfinding, a few other things).

I think it would be a bookkeeping nightmare, really.  I don't think it would improve the game.

JaronK

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Re: A crazy idea. 10x WBL table campaign. [Discussion on Relative Power]
« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2011, 06:03:05 AM »
If you want to modify item acquisition to boost physical relative to magic, maybe you should make the specific items physical characters need easier to acquire.  Just find items physical characters typically get that casters don't tend to bother with and slash the prices.  For example you could divide magic weapon costs by 10. 

weenog

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Re: A crazy idea. 10x WBL table campaign. [Discussion on Relative Power]
« Reply #16 on: October 25, 2011, 06:35:47 AM »
If you want to modify item acquisition to boost physical relative to magic, maybe you should make the specific items physical characters need easier to acquire.  Just find items physical characters typically get that casters don't tend to bother with and slash the prices.  For example you could divide magic weapon costs by 10. 

Good start.

Also, I've often thought that TWF as a combat style would be significantly more viable if improvements for double weapons applied to both heads.  Would open up the list of exotic weapons conditionally worth spending a feat on, too.
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Mixster

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Re: A crazy idea. 10x WBL table campaign. [Discussion on Relative Power]
« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2011, 07:07:27 AM »
Druid.
Monks are pretty much the best designed class ever.

JaronK

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Re: A crazy idea. 10x WBL table campaign. [Discussion on Relative Power]
« Reply #18 on: October 25, 2011, 06:56:59 PM »
I've seen someone do the calculations of an item that granted spellcasting as a level 20 sorcerer using the spell point variant. With 10x wealth, it should even be possible for fighters to keep such an item at-level from a fairly early point.

Mixster

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Re: A crazy idea. 10x WBL table campaign. [Discussion on Relative Power]
« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2011, 09:39:51 PM »
I've seen someone do the calculations of an item that granted spellcasting as a level 20 sorcerer using the spell point variant. With 10x wealth, it should even be possible for fighters to keep such an item at-level from a fairly early point.
I think the item in question costed around 80% of normal level 20 WBL, so about 8% with this change.
Monks are pretty much the best designed class ever.

JaronK

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