Author Topic: How accurate are CRs if people lack spells, powers, and the like?  (Read 2187 times)

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Endarire

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Preface
The CR system assumes a tanky Fighter, sneaky Rogue, blasty Wizard, and combat healy Cleric using a 25 point buy and only mild optimization.  (How mild is your judgment call.)

I know the CR system is wonky.  Crabber has torn apart unwary parties, but was trivialized in a game I DMed by a Wizard's web spell he just happened to prepare.

As an optimized Psion, I've soloed a fight meant to kill my party.  It was 10 level 8 characters in energy missile formation vs. our level 7 party.  I was nearly out of PP after that.  (Go go Kalashtar Psion with a buncha Power Link shards from Magic of Eberron 115!)

As an optimized Wizard, I probably could've soloed The Red Hand of Doom.  Having my Hood cohort helped immensely, though.  (Assume for a moment that cohorts aren't part of the main character in this case.)

The Questions
Assume for a moment all classes and 3.5 material is allowed, but spells, spell-like abilities, powers, and psi-like abilities can't be used.  Supernatural abilities are OK so long as they don't duplicate other forbidden material.  Thus, Inspire Courage, Wild Shape, and supernatural martial maneuvers & stances are OK, but spells made into supernatural abilities via Dweomerkeeper are banned.

Psionic creatures can still become psionically focused, but can't use their psionic abilities.  They can still use supernatural abilities requiring the maintaining or spending of psionic focus, like the feats Up the Walls and Deep Impact.

Magic and psionic item creation are allowed so long as these items don't duplicate banned material.  Maneuver-granting items are OK.  +1 Keen Kukris and +5 Mithril Full Plate are OK.  A Ring of freedom of movement or a Wand of cure light wounds are banned.

Alchemical items are generally OK since they don't duplicate banned effects.  Assume all officail alchemical items are mundane (not magical nor psionic).

1: Assume the ban is only on player character races and templates; specifically, anything with no level adjustment.  Also assume races & templates with a level adjustment or racial HD are banned.

2: Now assume the ban is on everyone.  (Beings with divine rank 1 or higher are unaffected.)  What changes?

Combat Style Changes
-On the PC side, combat relies more on hitting things hard instead of forcing saves vs. Fail.  There are fewer crowd control effects in general.  If only the PCs are hindered, I expect a need for a lot more character sheets and I expect characters to reach a max level far lower than 20, after which Team Monstar simply wins.
-Combat is debatably more lethal.  If Team Monstar can use spells and SLAs as normal, things get even more deadly.
-Crusaders in Martial Stance whacking the ground or their foes provide the best healing.  Debatably, this hasn't changed.
-There's probably less rocket tag.  Uberchargers like Hood are the new rockets.
-Alchemy is a viable investment.  Tanglefoot bags are still uber.
-Devotion feats (Travel Devotion, etc.) can't be used due to them being spell-like abilities.  Reserve feats would work if you had the ability to fuel them.
-Martial adepts are still uber.
-Factotums are less uber, but still have everything but Arcane Diletttante.
-Clerics still have Rebuke Undead.  It's possibly more uber because of fewer counters.
-Druids still Wild Shape, but Natural Spell is useless.

Likely World Changes
-The game in general becomes more lethal.  If the only way to get revived is to appease a deity, more people will do so.
-Martial adepts are still uber.
-Factotums still get Cunning Surge.  (Imagine Cunning Surge can be used any number of times per round, limited to your Inspiration Points.  They'll probably set high jump records and movement records in general.)
-Crusaders become the game's best healers.  Just use Martial Spirit and beat up the ground or some ants and your party returns to full health.
-Tanglefoot bags are uber for entangling people.
-Alchemy in general is a weak replacement for what was lost.
-Rebuking Undead is still uber.
-Teleporation and planar travel become a lot rarer, even more so if not even typical Outsiders can greater teleport at will.  Portals and spelljammers seems the only non-deific ways of reliable planar travel.
Hood - My first answer to all your build questions; past, present, and future.

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?"

Midnight_v

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Re: How accurate are CRs if people lack spells, powers, and the like?
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2011, 08:48:43 PM »
...
Reserved...

In my opinion this sounds like a horror game. I mean not just horror as in horrible design
but horror as in "If Team Monstar can use spells and SLAs as normal, things get even more deadly."
Then you get a world where its literally a horror movie. One of the ones where the bad guys win.
"Pulse" comes to mind but there are others. Its a world where the power discrepancy is terrifying.

Team monster still has thinks that can scry, and monsters that are immune to everything physical at low levels even.
As someone who's played in games that approximate this like Midnight and 3.5 Rokugan. . . it's a game where the heroes' lives are cheap and no on really cares about the pc they just made because its going to die horribly.
There are people who'd play something like this, but there are people who liked that two girls one cup video as well.
The cr system would still be out of wack because of the variables in power of monsters in the same CR! Or dragons at any Cr.

Even if you have a scenario where team monster is magicless as well... the cr system still doesn't work it was created to assume certain things and that just means that things in the same vein as a mind flayer doesn't work not just at its Cr but at all. That means the monsters are just bags of hp right? So no spell slinging critters? Spells/ Sp an Su abilities account for like half of how monsters are rated.
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Shiki

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Re: How accurate are CRs if people lack spells, powers, and the like?
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2011, 09:14:14 PM »
Bards? Hmm... :p

This amount "ungiven" resources looks like a Shadowrun DM's style I know. /swt
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PlzBreakMyCampaign

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Re: How accurate are CRs if people lack spells, powers, and the like?
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2011, 12:05:53 AM »
Rescued from the very bottom of the page. It appears endaire is using his noggin again.

My opinion is that simply banning spells is too fiat-ish too me. It just doesn't feel like DnD anymore. I prefer curb-stomp nerfs that send wizards into t3 instead. But I want more opinions.
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An interesting read, nice to see a civil discussion
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The_Mad_Linguist

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Re: How accurate are CRs if people lack spells, powers, and the like?
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2011, 04:39:48 AM »
Rescued from the very bottom of the page. It appears endaire is using his noggin again.

My opinion is that simply banning spells is too fiat-ish too me. It just doesn't feel like DnD anymore. I prefer curb-stomp nerfs that send wizards into t3 instead. But I want more opinions.

I've talked about that before. 
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X-Codes

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Re: How accurate are CRs if people lack spells, powers, and the like?
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2011, 09:11:43 AM »
Without a caster, that Brine Naga becomes very, VERY scary to a 14th-level party.  It abuses the action economy like no other critter I've seen of that level.  It can easily lock down a 14th-level party of mundanes with Black Tentacles and Acid Fog and summon minions while the party struggles to escape.  It has to look out for the Shadow Hand teleportation maneuvers, but if the party comes within range to threaten the Naga then it can hit them with an AoE save-or-lose as a MOVE ACTION.

That said, the monstrous crab is about right for a CR 3 encounter.  It can do a lot of damage outside of a grapple, and if it grapples an opponent then it can do even more damage to that one person, but once it grabs hold of someone it becomes a sitting duck for the rest of the party.

lans

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Re: How accurate are CRs if people lack spells, powers, and the like?
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2011, 11:48:07 AM »
Does the ban also apply to the monsters?

How does it work with abilities that work like Spell X? Like the Totemist's blink shirt or some truenaming  for example.
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Endarire

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Re: How accurate are CRs if people lack spells, powers, and the like?
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2011, 02:41:52 AM »
lans: Abilities which act like spells (or are effectively spells) are out.
Hood - My first answer to all your build questions; past, present, and future.

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?"

Daniel678

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Re: How accurate are CRs if people lack spells, powers, and the like?
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2011, 04:01:32 AM »
Which of these questions are you really asking?
Would the CR system be able to measure monster difficulty better if if people lacked spells, powers, and the like?
How accurate would the current CR measurements be if people lacked spells, powers, and the like?
What would the implications be if people lacked spells, powers, and the like?
All of the above?

To give my opinion on the 1st, anything that removes randomness would improve the theoretical ability of CR to measure the difficulty of a creature. Spells and powers certainly provide options which depending on how they are used can cause an encounter's difficulty to increase dramatically. However at the same time good tactics can provide the same advantage to an entirely mundane group. Crabber for instance could be killed safely by any number of tactics which limit his movement and ability to attack. Your web spell certainly allowed that encounter to be safely won however a tree, ditch, earthworks or a horse archer could easily have had the same effect.

Anyway, removing spells and powers could allow the CR system to be more accurate. The biggest flaw is with how the CR system measures CR and not that spells and powers exist.

Ed-Zero

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Re: How accurate are CRs if people lack spells, powers, and the like?
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2011, 02:56:05 PM »
My love for that monstrous crab is undying  :)

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Re: How accurate are CRs if people lack spells, powers, and the like?
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2011, 03:04:50 PM »
Looking at it the CRs fall in to several categories:
Accuracy improved - Monsters that are primarily melee or ranged threats become more likely to have correct CRs. Monsters with a few SLAs but nothing game-dominating join here as well, I think a number of fey fall under this banner.
Accuracy worsened - Mixed threats and save or lose monsters become massively deadly, and much more likely to TPK, especially at the levels where some immunities are expected.
Becomes impossible - Swarms for one largely become invulnerable, outsiders with at will teleportation basically can't be defeated if played with any intellect, puzzle monsters with immunity to most physical attack forms or enough DR/fast heal/regeneration.
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PlzBreakMyCampaign

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Re: How accurate are CRs if people lack spells, powers, and the like?
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2011, 05:22:00 PM »
I've talked about that before.
Yours was different. Care to boil down those seven pages to something useful and then compare that to the differences here?
[Spoiler]
Quote
An interesting read, nice to see a civil discussion
The point of Spell Resistance is to make it harder to get buffed.
And healed. Don't forget that.
Huge amounts of people are fuckwits. That doesn't mean that fuckwit is a valid lifestyle.
[/Spoiler]

Old Geezer's Law of Hobby Taste: The more objectively inconsequential a hobby is, the more disagreements within the community will be expressed in outrageously insulting, overblown, and ludicrously emotionally laden terms.

More Funny than Humble[Spoiler]
Quote from: PlzBreakMyCampaign
Your a shifter... you have all you ever need.
It blows MoMF out of the water

But if your greedy for more [Wish] for something that only effects you, like another class level or two that doesn't count against your ECL.
Quote from: hungryhungryhippo987
Yes, I'm the 3.0 "Masters of the Wild" shifter, the awesome kind. My favorite form to take is Force Dragon. Yes, I am immortal ... My character is hands down the coolest guy in the campaign and there is nothing I could possibly want.
PBMC gets a cookie for DotA r