Author Topic: WLD: Most balanced campaign?  (Read 25416 times)

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JaronK

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Re: WLD: Most balanced campaign?
« Reply #120 on: July 27, 2009, 08:02:53 AM »
Yes, and like I said the Tier 1s are still very powerful.  It's just that the house rules of WLD are all intended to power down the casters and remove their "I win" buttons as best they can, so Tier 1s get a bigger negative hit than a lot of pure melees (especially chargers, who can be made very effectively without worrying about magic items at all).  It's not that Wizards become weak, it's that they're hit harder by the special rules than some other classes, because the rules are trying to remove as many of their nasty tricks as the dungeon designers could think of.

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Kaelik

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Re: WLD: Most balanced campaign?
« Reply #121 on: July 27, 2009, 08:08:43 AM »
Yes, and like I said the Tier 1s are still very powerful.  It's just that the house rules of WLD are all intended to power down the casters and remove their "I win" buttons as best they can, so Tier 1s get a bigger negative hit than a lot of pure melees (especially chargers, who can be made very effectively without worrying about magic items at all).  It's not that Wizards become weak, it's that they're hit harder by the special rules than some other classes, because the rules are trying to remove as many of their nasty tricks as the dungeon designers could think of.

Yes, and like I said, they aren't removing any of their nasty tricks so it's completely meaningless. The nerfed leaving the dungeon in a really ham handed way that does nothing to characters that use spells to kill people.

Midnight_v

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Re: WLD: Most balanced campaign?
« Reply #122 on: July 27, 2009, 03:08:34 PM »
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There is nothing in that explaining how smacking in the face worse is better, or how this magically deprives Wizards of the ability to cast spells that are just plane better than face smacking. I've played tonnes of games with no summoning or Rope Tricking and I still remember Wizards winning at combat better than Fighters.
I just wanted to pipe in and agree with this statment, especially the bolded part. Thats the relavant part of (the other Kaelik I can't believe it came to that at one point  :lmao) kaelik's argument in my book. Plus... if you really think about it he's right.
Although I'm inclined to think about the rules as being kinda silly not because of the implementation (i.e. you shouldn't use druids) but because of the reasoning (druids would suck in this dungeon... WTF?) and its chok full of things like that. Then there's Ban summoning, restrict *weak? battlefield control, I mean what the fuck,  its not "balance" it saying these things aren't allowed to exist because we failed to account for them in the dungeon.
It sets up the rubric... Waitaminute... Jaronk wan't it you that said somethign like "If all you have is a fighter trying to tank, a rogue flanking, a cleric that specializeds in healing and a blaster evoker, then D&D works as advertised" they're basically trying to set up that rubric without spelling it out as well as you did. It maybe be balanced with the players "staying in line" but not balanced vs. the Monster Manual or the dungeon itself.

Speaking of which...
Gygaxian dungeons: Okay this is going to sound odd but gygaxian dungeons fucked off more fighters and rogues that anyone because they were forced to "go first" mostly under the old gygaxian rubric Wizards and Clerics were definately not walking into the room-o-death what with thier low hit points and party value.
  Secondly... anything that reads "fuck you; no save" is equal parts bullshit and bad news for all character classes and (dare I say) players. All due respect to the man, he was most notorious for that shit and it wasn't very fair so ymmv. Though the point being is that "fuck you; no save" isn't harder for casters to deal with they're most likely to be the ones finding ways to be immune to shit cause well they have those options.
  In brief this dungeon isn't anymore balanced than anything else. Saying a bunch of class abilities don't work, like your summons going insane or not fuctioning at all is not balanced its just a head in the sand approach to D&D "i.e. we dont' know how to deal with it, therefore it does not exist."
  Though that maybe some people interpretation of balance... Imko its a poor one.
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JaronK

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Re: WLD: Most balanced campaign?
« Reply #123 on: July 27, 2009, 04:22:01 PM »
It sets up the rubric... Waitaminute... Jaronk wan't it you that said somethign like "If all you have is a fighter trying to tank, a rogue flanking, a cleric that specializeds in healing and a blaster evoker, then D&D works as advertised" they're basically trying to set up that rubric without spelling it out as well as you did. It maybe be balanced with the players "staying in line" but not balanced vs. the Monster Manual or the dungeon itself.

Yup, and you're right that that's basically what WLD is trying to do, by removing as many tricks as possible that fall outside the Tank, Flanker, Healer, Blaster idea.  Unfortunately, there's just too many tricks available for them to actually do that, and their method of doing it feels very heavy handed.  Some things are hit, but at the end of the day the arcanists can still have fun with Colorspray and Glitterdust and such anyway, so it's not enough to fully close the gap.  But it does hit a decent number of the T1 tricks.

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Speaking of which...
Gygaxian dungeons: Okay this is going to sound odd but gygaxian dungeons fucked off more fighters and rogues that anyone because they were forced to "go first" mostly under the old gygaxian rubric Wizards and Clerics were definately not walking into the room-o-death what with thier low hit points and party value.

If you play it that way, yeah.  If the Rogue checks for traps and then the Fighter kicks in the door, those two often take the brunt of the "nya nya this trap just screws you" stuff.  With that said, the throne room example from earlier doesn't care who goes in first, as it's about who tries to pry off the gemstones.

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  Secondly... anything that reads "fuck you; no save" is equal parts bullshit and bad news for all character classes and (dare I say) players. All due respect to the man, he was most notorious for that shit and it wasn't very fair so ymmv. Though the point being is that "fuck you; no save" isn't harder for casters to deal with they're most likely to be the ones finding ways to be immune to shit cause well they have those options.

Oh yeah, it sucks, and it's bad DMing.  I was just pointing out that good saves wasn't going to help.

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  In brief this dungeon isn't anymore balanced than anything else. Saying a bunch of class abilities don't work, like your summons going insane or not fuctioning at all is not balanced its just a head in the sand approach to D&D "i.e. we dont' know how to deal with it, therefore it does not exist."
  Though that maybe some people interpretation of balance... Imko its a poor one.

I think it is slightly more balanced, but not enough so to really matter, and a lot of the heavy handed nerfing feels WAY too clunky.  They tried to delete the worst abuses wholesale, and got some of them, but there are just too many that slipped through the cracks.  Basically, instead of Wizards having 1000 ways to break the dungeon, suddenly they're down to 500... which still means they can break the dungeon, they just have to think a little harder before they do, and maybe can't break it quite as hard. 

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Midnight_v

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Re: WLD: Most balanced campaign?
« Reply #124 on: July 27, 2009, 04:41:09 PM »
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I think it is slightly more balanced, but not enough so to really matter, and a lot of the heavy handed nerfing feels WAY too clunky.  They tried to delete the worst abuses wholesale, and got some of them, but there are just too many that slipped through the cracks.  Basically, instead of Wizards having 1000 ways to break the dungeon, suddenly they're down to 500... which still means they can break the dungeon, they just have to think a little harder before they do, and maybe can't break it quite as hard. 

JaronK
Right okay I just wanted to get some people away from the Idea that this is "the most balanced dungeon".
Really because you have to sit and have a good long talk about what balance means in 3.5.
Also I stated earlier just what your infering to, because you just limit my options and I'll use whatevers left. Be it "Master of the save or die" or an "Uttercold assault evoker/necro" or whatever.

 Thing is really they didn't know what the fuck they were doing, I think and hit some points but not all of them, nor can you hit all of them. Further if you do ... you end up with something very much like 4th was at the first couple books not 3.anything.

 Thats what's kinda describe by that whole "Healers heal, and wizards only evoke" that just sucks frankly.
 
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removing as many tricks as possible that fall outside the Tank, Flanker, Healer, Blaster idea Unfortunately,
That is unfortunate only if you wish to play a game like that instead of 3.5. . . because of the inherent balance issues in 3.5 you can remove all the "caster tricks" (whatever that means) and have a party of fighter or whatever for the sake of balance and you'll still get fucking pwned, if you're forced to melee and have to fight all of the monsters in the MM1.

You can't have balance unless you can challenge all the characters equally, you can't challenge all the charcters equally if they don't have equal AND LEVEL APPROPRIATE abilities. Which means the base good bab melee classes will fail still at thier jobs, but you can create scenarios in which everybody else fails too.
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The_Mad_Linguist

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Re: WLD: Most balanced campaign?
« Reply #125 on: July 27, 2009, 05:19:19 PM »
A gygaxian dungeon is like the world's most messed up game show.

Behind door number one: INSTANT DEATH!

Behind door number 2: A magic crown!

Behind door number 3: 4d6 giant bees, and THREE HUNDRED POUNDS OF HONEY!
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Alastar

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Re: WLD: Most balanced campaign?
« Reply #126 on: July 27, 2009, 06:00:04 PM »
A gygaxian dungeon is like the world's most messed up game show.

Behind door number one: INSTANT DEATH!

Behind door number 2: A magic crown!

Behind door number 3: 4d6 giant bees, and THREE HUNDRED POUNDS OF HONEY!

I LOLLED! :D:D:D

Midnight_v

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Re: WLD: Most balanced campaign?
« Reply #127 on: July 27, 2009, 06:03:07 PM »
A gygaxian dungeon is like the world's most messed up game show.

Behind door number one: INSTANT DEATH!

Behind door number 2: A magic crown!

Behind door number 3: 4d6 giant bees, and THREE HUNDRED POUNDS OF HONEY!

I LOLLED! :D:D:D
s' sooo funny too, cause today on the way home from work the local convience store, spilled syrup a box of syrup out front and like 300 bees just showed up buzzing the area.
Fuck that was a lot of bees. No one got stung though.
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JaronK

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Re: WLD: Most balanced campaign?
« Reply #128 on: July 28, 2009, 02:21:34 AM »
A gygaxian dungeon is like the world's most messed up game show.

Behind door number one: INSTANT DEATH!

Behind door number 2: A magic crown!

Behind door number 3: 4d6 giant bees, and THREE HUNDRED POUNDS OF HONEY!

I messed up so many of those dungeons by just closing the door after I opened it.

JaronK

The_Mad_Linguist

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Re: WLD: Most balanced campaign?
« Reply #129 on: July 28, 2009, 02:22:48 AM »
I messed up so many of those dungeons by just closing the door after I opened it.

JaronK

Can't be true.  Those parasitic door leech things would have torn you to shreds.
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Alkaru

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Re: WLD: Most balanced campaign?
« Reply #130 on: August 28, 2009, 01:46:32 AM »
I was actually thinking of running this campaign soon, but with all due respect to Gygax I really dislike the excessively random screwing around tactics he sometimes used(i.e. save and lose anyway effects).  So I was looking to compile a full list of the houserules used in this campaign along with their intended purpose, and then see which of those are both useful and acceptable, and then look at what other houserules are needed to create the desired effect.

The basic premise of this is a self contained dungeon and you are meant to have very limited access to the outisde - I can work with that as a starting point.  The justification of the celestial backstory - well I'm not so convinced by that - something along the lines of the crazy dude from Undermountain (Halaster?) makes more sense to me.  And it being a an actively maintained magical prison might help with some later justifications - I'm not sure about this change yet  - I'm just leaving it open.

So here's a list of the houserules I find in order from the book and what I think of them.

1. No baby monsters, cos heroes don't kill babies. Hmm, well first off I don't assume the party is necessarily 'heroes', but even a relatively neutral party could be heavily slowed down by a more 'realistic' eco-system, assuming they weren't using the controversial logic of evil baby monsters are evil.  "A wizard did it" covers a lot of things, but I think it would be more interesting if there were some baby creatures in some places and not others - could lead to some good roleplaying without creating an instant moral deadlock.

2. Ecology - the food issue - not really a houserule as such, more just a list of options and pick one.  Tbh large underground comminities always need to resolve this issue anyway, although the closed environment creates some extra problems.  Magically created food of some sort seems best - maybe food appears next to anyone in the dungeon when they wake - or to promote more fighting it always appears in certain areas.

3. Darkness - Because I'm starting at the beginning of the book I don't know how common the areas of light are, but although I would normally have more magic lamps, glowing lichen etc, I think large areas of darkness are fine - but some of the creatures living there may have added more lights if it seemed benefiicial to them - darkvision in most cases has a really short range - and it could aid them against things sneaking up on them.

4. Sound - sound travels as far as the GM wants it to basically.  This actually seems a handy tool and is easy to rationalize so this seems fine as is.

5. Traps - again not really a houserule for the campaign because it basically says put them where you want - hardly needs said really.

6. Lockpicks - Hmm - basically it's saying these break easily and when some of the tools are broken you get a penalty - and of course it's difficult to get replacements.  I can see that been an interesting problem for the early character levels - up to about 5 say, but it would get pretty tedious after that - especially since lack of tools would be keeping you out of interesting areas to explore.   Arranging for the PCs to get a more sturdy magical set would seem to be a good solution here - because otherwise you are really just encourging the PCs to arrange a more permanent magical solution (e.g. Warlock) or using the fighter lockpick - no reason to solely pick on the rogue.

7. Teleportation and extradimensional space - it's a null field that negates all extradimensional travel and teleportation within the dungeon - although you can use such effects to enter the dungeon. Some areas don't have this effect and some have random teleportation traps instead. There is an option for giving certain creatures a limited range of motion on the ethereal or shadow planes (basically to allow blink effects etc), and also an option for LOS teleportation.  I can certainly see why they want to heavily limit teleportation and access to other planes.  I think a neat to solution to blink etc might be to have the prison fully enclose it's equivalent areas on the ethereal and shadow plane - basically you can go there to pick fights with stuff and can use spell effects that rely on those planes, but since those areas are part of the dungeon too it doesn't let you out or aid with finding a space to rest etc.  Extradimensional space I'm not so sure about - I really like my rope trick and bags of holding.  Maybe an alternative would be that people can access those spaces even if they normally couldn't - so people can break into your rope trick so it's not completely safe.  It still removes a lot of danger though, so I'm not sure.

8. Treasure.  WBL is so strongly built into character's power level that I'm really not convinced they thought throught the limited loot properly.  It should certainly be much more difficult to get the items you want, but since there are surely a significant number of tool using creatures in the dungeon with an equal need for the tools for survival I do not think getting hold of reasonable options should be too tricky.

9. Experiance - capped to twice per map.  I never use the standard level anyway after reading Frank and K's stuff.  3 months to 20th level or whatever is just silly.  I usually try to aim to level the PCs before they get bored of their current abilities, but after they've had a good chance to play with them - twice per map will probably fine, unless they spend too much time wandering in circles(maybe becuase of problems with locked doors and scary monsrters perhaps *cough* *cough*), They also mention some other options for other ways to reduce xp.  People in this thread have suggested using the other xp that would otherwise be lost as a pool for items and stuff - maybe could use that Ritual of Transferance to give it to an NPC artificer if the PCs don't have one of their own.

10. Bardic lore - cos no-ones heard of this dungeon until now. Hmm - given some of the really obscure shit bards can know that's just blatant fiat.  I think it should be possible to have heard it but no-one escaped from it before - so without significant interaction with the natives you takes a penalty on rolls - and that penalty reduces gradually based on how much they talk to npcs. Their idea of useless skills is pretty laughable too. Sure some of them would be reduced in usefulness compared to a normal campaign, but it's still not going to be a pure combat fest - so the social skills will come in handy - and bards always need perform - duh.

11. Wizards and their spellbooks.  - I'm not really keen on taking away a class feature.  It's going to be much more difficult to get individual spells you want - but you should still get some.  There will be NPC wizards - and some of those would be quite keen if not desparate to trade surely.  The bizarre option for basically having your mentor's spellbook (so you pick them all ahead of time), was a bit out there - but could be very interesting. The option to allow wizards to learn from divine scrolls is also interesting, even at a penalty to Spellcraft.  Entangle and web - too devastating to be allowed in a dungeon apparently.  Bugger that.  I'm not forcing people to go back to playing AD&D with blaster wizards and healbot clerics.  Spell per limits will work fine - it's no worse than a standard campaign with hefty amounts of underdark exploration or whatever - standard D&D games spend a fair bit of time in dungeons anyway.

12. Random encounters - hmmm - I've never actually used random encounters before.  I can certainly see they fit well with this campaign, but I can also see them bogging things down immensely.  I can see me rolling some dice pretending to check for random encounters - but I think I'll stick to my usual policy of picking them to advance the plot and action.

13. Summon monsters - because they can't leave something has to be done to discourage PCs (and NPCs for that matter) from summoning an army.  Oh and the rationale for demons not summoning an army is too flimsy to be accepted.  So either summons don't work or they have some sort of downside - that affects all types of summons.  Since teleporting into the dungeon works it would be inconsistent to deny summoning entirely.  The going mad or berzerk option also seems inconsistent - as does them dying at the end of the duration.  I'm not really sure how to resolve this one.

14. Druids - wtf?  Are the designers completely unaware of subterrainean druids?  Druids normally adventure in dungeons just fine and there's nothing in this book to change that.  The odds of finding an animal companion underground?  About the same as aboveground dumbass.  The large number of creatures in the dungeon should surely provide some options for learning of appropriate forms to take, Druids should all have maxed K(nature) anyway, and they get a small nerf because of whatever is done to the summon spells.  Other than that they are their usual kick-ass self.  I think Druids would be quite interested in this unique eco-system.

15. Skill use - this is the bit on p19 that has some really arbitary crap to muck about with skill DCs.  It sounds like they have a general issue with take 10 and take 20 and are using this sidebar as a forum for bitching.  I don't agree with their points or like their tone - if I was a player and a DM was using these arguments I'd would only be playing if I was desperate for RP - mostly I'd just tell him to shove it and go elsewhere.  I don't really see any reason to change the standard dynamics here, other than maybe to occaisonally point out to the PCs just how much time this is taking, and that maybe their characters would be getting a little bored by now.

And then it delves into the huge emcounter list and I didn't spot any more rule sidebars.  Please let me know if I missed anything.

So basically aside from developer insanity the basic issues are the lack of access to the outside world and the equipment shortage - and the summon thing.  I'm not really convinced it's that different from a standard campaign to be honest. I've always found time limits within plots to be a handy tool for keeping things moving, so the PCs are usually fairly limited in what they can pick up extra to help them with a particular task.  It's more the lack of the post mission shopping trip, that will increasingly hamper them as they level up.  Basically I'd rather fix the problem with PCs being dependent on gear for their power than just using this campaign as an excuse to take away their stuff.  The developers seem to want to play AD&D - and are bitter that fighters were really dull in AD&D and that wizards were the coolest.  I played AD&D but honestly 3.5 is much more interesting.  If it's going to be a combat heavy campaign, I'd much rather do it as a fantasy SWAT team with tactics and battlefield control to keep things interesting.  Getting rid of the dice-rolling slugfest of yesteryear was one of the big improvements in 3.5 and I do not share the developers rose-tinted vision of the past in any way.

Also, could someone's who's read the whole thing point towards the bit with the more plot stuff please?  I get the impression there's meant to be some interactions between the areas that's relevant, although not exactly a plot as such.

I'm currently leaning towards some really badass wizards wanting reagents (magical components), and basically the PCs are being sent on a hunting mission, and will get regular messages on what to hunt next.  I'm not really sure I'll stick with the PCs being affected by prison side of things so much, I might give them a limited immunity of some sort  - with of course interesting reactions from the natives if they find out.  But I have other options - and it certainly needs some of plot to keep my players interested.

Sorry about the mega-post - but please give me any suggestions you have for making in more interesting.

The_Mad_Linguist

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Re: WLD: Most balanced campaign?
« Reply #131 on: August 28, 2009, 02:12:27 AM »
Yeah, here is the "advice" of what to do if you're taking 10/20
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1)increase DC by 10. 
2)Increase time taken and increase random encounters so they get ambushed five or six times. 
Yeah, that's mature
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3) Have a -1 to -10 penalty in a haunted/distracting/echoes/negative energy room. 
That actually would be a decent rule if the penalty maxed out at -5 and wasn't a punishment for not repeatedly rolling
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4) Require a concentration check to take 10 or 20. 
Great, I take 10 on my concentration check.  So, I need to make a concentration check for that?  Repeat.
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Limit the number of take 10 and take 20 to three and one per region per pc respectively.  This is a "fair compromise"
And I'm going to be rolling a d100 for all my saves now.  This is a fair compromise.
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If the PCs do find every trap, make the ones they don't find very deadly
Um, if they're finding every trap, wouldn't that mean you'd have to be arbitrarily making up incredibly deadly unfindable tra- oh, right.
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If the PCs can take 10 and 20, the monsters can carry around weapons with better crit ranges and multipliers
Yeah, that's mature.
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Just say "no"
To your ill-thought-out houserules?  Certainly.

Seriously, do they want you to keep rolling until you get a 20?  'cause that's what they're pushing for.  As is. taking 10 is slightly suboptimal.
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Alkaru

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Re: WLD: Most balanced campaign?
« Reply #132 on: August 28, 2009, 02:39:55 AM »
Yes - I'll say no to that ;)  Also - that throne trap - how common is that kind of save and lose trap?  And why would you wanting the jewels anyway? With nowhere to spend them and shortage of storage due to no bags of holding (or rather Heward's Handy Haversacks) - why would you care about the gems anyway?

Akalsaris

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Re: WLD: Most balanced campaign?
« Reply #133 on: August 28, 2009, 02:53:46 AM »
For what it's worth, gygaxian dungeons are a ton of fun to run.  I just finished up running a 2-yr Tomb of horrors campaign that was a real blast for me and the PCs.  By the end it was pretty uncanny how well they had figured out the gygax mindset. 

Alkaru

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Re: WLD: Most balanced campaign?
« Reply #134 on: August 28, 2009, 03:08:56 AM »
Don't get me wrong  - I like interesting and creative traps that require more than just a dice roll to deal with, and some of the Gygax traps are great for that - but I like traps it's possible for the pcs to deal with - even if it not necessarily at the time they encounter it. It's purely the arbitary - nothing you can do - poke it and you're affected however the GM decides traps I don't like.

The_Mad_Linguist

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Re: WLD: Most balanced campaign?
« Reply #135 on: August 28, 2009, 03:10:57 AM »
Yes - I'll say no to that ;)  Also - that throne trap - how common is that kind of save and lose trap?  And why would you wanting the jewels anyway? With nowhere to spend them and shortage of storage due to no bags of holding (or rather Heward's Handy Haversacks) - why would you care about the gems anyway?
The Hand of the Mage item becomes invaluable in dungeons like this.
A hammer weighs less than five pounds, and you don't have to be within twenty feet of the trap.  
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Alkaru

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Re: WLD: Most balanced campaign?
« Reply #136 on: August 28, 2009, 05:43:41 AM »
But given the premise of the dungeon it's pretty unlikely you would get one.  Which one of the reasons I don't like the treasure limits - I like encouraging cool use of magic items.

The_Mad_Linguist

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Re: WLD: Most balanced campaign?
« Reply #137 on: August 28, 2009, 05:46:28 AM »
It's like the easiest magic item to craft ever.  
First, you get a party member to multiclass sorcerer/wizard
Second, point out that ultimate magus is the only thing that can redeem his build
Third, after he's done that, point out that he's still worthless, and needs to create a new guy
Fourth, after his old character slits his wrists, finish the cut

You are now the proud owner of a hand of the mage.  



Or, you know, you could just cast mage hand.  It's got duration: concentration.
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Alkaru

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Re: WLD: Most balanced campaign?
« Reply #138 on: August 28, 2009, 06:24:22 AM »
lol

I was about to say maybe you wouldn't get a scroll of mage hand - but I don't think even these designers would take away your starting cantrips surely.....

The_Mad_Linguist

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Re: WLD: Most balanced campaign?
« Reply #139 on: August 28, 2009, 06:34:56 AM »
I can see it now... making a list of everything that looks interesting in the dungeon, the wizard screwing up his brow concentrating, as they carry the same hammer to each one and start hitting them.
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