Author Topic: Monster Races, ECL and balance.  (Read 8689 times)

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cru

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Re: Monster Races, ECL and balance.
« Reply #40 on: January 21, 2010, 05:51:07 AM »
So, the goodies hafta be equal to real Levels of real classes, and then you have to play catch-up.
Same consideration for a Skill Monkey or a Front-liner or a Gish.
This is where I disagree. Front-liner or skill monkey could benefit more from playing a level-adjusted race that taking another Fighter / Rogue level. Even centaur with 4 HD and 2 LA is decent melee material. Or pixie with 4 LA for a skilled character. If you're a caster, LA is pain, but otherwise, a quality race can be worth it.

Brainpiercing

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Re: Monster Races, ECL and balance.
« Reply #41 on: January 22, 2010, 06:43:59 AM »
I have to say that any kind of "forgetting" of either RHD, LA, or both, can easily be broken clean in two when using fast-progression casting classes. My system is totally incompatible, I have to admit. (For example, you could get 60! points in ability boosts and then slap an Ur-priest on top of that, which is clearly the divine gish of doom. Or play a Beholder mage as a fricken beholder. Bad enough.)

The focus, I think, should be on the non-casters, though. Casters get all the fun and games, anyway. You don't want to give a full-caster a set of big ability boosts as well as 9th level spells, in my book. IF they want those nifty abilities, then they shouldn't also want to be a full caster. So the question of any system has to be: How can I help non-casters compete? And I think power races and templates could be the answer, while maintaining enough drawbacks that full-casters won't want to play them.

Look at it this way:
A cleric, while it clearly has some utility, will be strongest with its tone of buffs and then it can just slug it out with the bad guys. Clerics aren't finesse fighters, mostly brute force that works really really well.
A non-caster who could gain a batch of natural armour, immunities, ability boosts, good saves, and maybe an SLA or two can then at least keep up for a section of the relevant levels (I would say about 7-16, because ability boosts get really brutal at low levels.)

PlzBreakMyCampaign

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Re: Monster Races, ECL and balance.
« Reply #42 on: January 23, 2010, 05:10:51 PM »
[any LA at ECL20] causes a problem.
You lose 1 full level by level 20. That level is a violation of Caelic's commandments.
So, quite literally the LA +4 MUST be equal to a Full Casters' fun and games, to keep up.

So If LA's and Racial HD's are compared to Caelic's Commands ... where do they fit ?
I fixed the 3's to 4's but this is exactly right.

That's why it irks me a bit when I give a rather well-thought out ECL variant and people say "ZOMG 20 more HP and some saves or BAB! Like I'm imba now! I can take on a fighter of my level without class levels! Rofl Rofl" because we all know that doesn't count for jack.

I'm also all for nerfing casters. But hurting melee also isn't the answer (see WBL debates). The answer to the dilemna is in economics: price discrimination. Either ban casting or its problematic parts (yes I know its alot, I've done work there too on these boards) by tier (this fixes beholder mages and 999 builds) or allow casters in whilst hoping they don't break your campaign and give the non-casters a nice power boost from an ECL variant.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2010, 05:16:15 PM by PlzBreakMyCampaign »
[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]

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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.
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awaken DM golem

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Re: Monster Races, ECL and balance.
« Reply #43 on: January 24, 2010, 06:19:16 PM »
Cru - yeah, fair enough.

Snakeman 830 - yes, but ... while the buy-off occurs, the bounce back of exp happens much later.
9hd + 3la -1la = 11th level and usually takes about 7 levels to catch up
12hd + 2la - 1la = 13th level and usually takes about 8 levels to catch up
15hd + 1la - 1la = 15th level and is just about ~1.99 or 2 levels behind, and takes about 9 levels to catch up.
Of course, real game exp numbers are all over the map, so it's really just an educated guess.
So by my numbers, a +3la is still about 1/2 level behind around level 20. (and I'm being a level 20 weenie here)

Mind you, there are lots of builds that go down 1 caster level, inspite of Caelic's commandments; some that have to.

Tier 5?
Yeah, go ahead and be an LA+3.

Tier 3? hmm ...
PsyWar 17 with no buy-off LA+3, is trading away 3 6th level powers, 1 feat and some power points, and BAB.
.......................with buy-off of LA+3, is trading away 1 6th level power, 1 feat and less powerpoints, and 1 BAB.
I mean it's a lot to consider.

Brainpiercing

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Re: Monster Races, ECL and balance.
« Reply #44 on: January 25, 2010, 10:42:00 AM »
Cru - yeah, fair enough.

Snakeman 830 - yes, but ... while the buy-off occurs, the bounce back of exp happens much later.
9hd + 3la -1la = 11th level and usually takes about 7 levels to catch up
12hd + 2la - 1la = 13th level and usually takes about 8 levels to catch up
15hd + 1la - 1la = 15th level and is just about ~1.99 or 2 levels behind, and takes about 9 levels to catch up.
Of course, real game exp numbers are all over the map, so it's really just an educated guess.
So by my numbers, a +3la is still about 1/2 level behind around level 20. (and I'm being a level 20 weenie here)

Mind you, there are lots of builds that go down 1 caster level, inspite of Caelic's commandments; some that have to.

Tier 5?
Yeah, go ahead and be an LA+3.

Tier 3? hmm ...
PsyWar 17 with no buy-off LA+3, is trading away 3 6th level powers, 1 feat and some power points, and BAB.
.......................with buy-off of LA+3, is trading away 1 6th level power, 1 feat and less powerpoints, and 1 BAB.
I mean it's a lot to consider.
Oh, obviously buyback is a pretty terrible mechanic, all things considered. Maybe that's a point to attack, too: How would a GOOD buyback mechanic look like? Like one that doesn't trivialize low LA, and make high LA totally crippling?

I'd use a fixed level mechanic, perhaps, IF I were to use LA.
Like:
You can buy one LA off around 7 or 8. This is the point where the boosts from a slightly more powerful race starts to wear off, IMHO.
The second around 10 to 12
Any more in about three level steps. Or perhaps all in three-level steps starting at 7th level.

This could work in games who don't want to go crazy with the free stuff.

The_Mad_Linguist

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Re: Monster Races, ECL and balance.
« Reply #45 on: January 25, 2010, 04:11:56 PM »
How about this:
Buy off one point at sixth level, and one additional point at every third level after that.

BUT

you gain no increase in caster level for the level immediately after you buy off LA.  This is effectively a "negative hit die" for the purpose of calculation, so practiced spellcaster doesn't help.
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Brainpiercing

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Re: Monster Races, ECL and balance.
« Reply #46 on: January 25, 2010, 06:32:46 PM »
you gain no increase in caster level for the level immediately after you buy off LA.  This is effectively a "negative hit die" for the purpose of calculation, so practiced spellcaster doesn't help.
Hmm.... seems a bit forced. I guess it could work. But castER level isn't nearly the issue. You would have to deny casting progression, in which case you've gotten a wonderful dead HD, which you might have started out with in the first place. Granted, some PrCs and maybe even some casting base classes do get class features outside of casting.
Actually one game I played in gave a D4, poor BAB, one good save, and two skill points total per LA, which doesn't count as your first level. Which is, in my opinion, a cleaner mechanic, if you don't want to mess around with RHD. You don't get any good features, just some HP and saves. It's the low-power version of RHD, and you don't need to mess around with converting anything via CR, or any mathematical mechanism.

PlzBreakMyCampaign

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Re: Monster Races, ECL and balance.
« Reply #47 on: January 26, 2010, 03:09:58 AM »
seems a bit forced.
Most are. That's because 3.5 is based so heavily around magic.

There is one way to nerf casters that doesn't feel this way. It receives an occasional echo around here, most recently and loudly by me. 'Don't give casters time to sleep or prepare spells' is the gist of it and it requires only minor other magic-nerfing.

total per LA... any mathematical mechanism.
technically it is  :). But its minor: lowing 1 or 2 HD per LA is an easy concept which my variant takes advantage of. [/nitpick]
[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

The_Mad_Linguist

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Re: Monster Races, ECL and balance.
« Reply #48 on: January 26, 2010, 03:32:27 AM »
There is one way to nerf casters that doesn't feel this way. It receives an occasional echo around here, most recently and loudly by me. 'Don't give casters time to sleep or prepare spells' is the gist of it and it requires only minor other magic-nerfing.

That other nerfing being the complete and total elimination of all magical and nonmagical methods of assuring uninterrupted sleep.
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Havok4

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Re: Monster Races, ECL and balance.
« Reply #49 on: January 26, 2010, 12:57:06 PM »
There is one way to nerf casters that doesn't feel this way. It receives an occasional echo around here, most recently and loudly by me. 'Don't give casters time to sleep or prepare spells' is the gist of it and it requires only minor other magic-nerfing.

That other nerfing being the complete and total elimination of all magical and nonmagical methods of assuring uninterrupted sleep.

And that method just makes Clerics and Druids more powerful as they do not need a full 8 hours of sleep, just an hour to pray and it is much easier to find an uninterrupted hour than the 9 hours a wizard requires.

PlzBreakMyCampaign

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Re: Monster Races, ECL and balance.
« Reply #50 on: January 27, 2010, 04:27:06 AM »
That other nerfing being the complete and total elimination of all magical and nonmagical methods of assuring uninterrupted sleep.
It was already discussed as nerfing magic. About the nonmagical methods, just keep things very interesting and very fast-paced.

And that method just makes Clerics and Druids more powerful as they do not need a full 8 hours of sleep, just an hour to pray and it is much easier to find an uninterrupted hour than the 9 hours a wizard requires.
Wizards have ways to lessen their time needed too. Don't giv'em an hour
[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

The_Mad_Linguist

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Re: Monster Races, ECL and balance.
« Reply #51 on: January 27, 2010, 04:33:33 AM »
If your characters can't rest for a single hour, they'll all be dead anyway.
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Havok4

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Re: Monster Races, ECL and balance.
« Reply #52 on: January 27, 2010, 01:29:55 PM »
If your characters can't rest for a single hour, they'll all be dead anyway.
Exactly, even the fighter types need sleep and a party that has no time to rest would run out of HP incredibly quickly.

PlzBreakMyCampaign

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Re: Monster Races, ECL and balance.
« Reply #53 on: January 28, 2010, 03:48:50 PM »
the fighter types need sleep
They do?  ;)

and the only reason to curb-stomp nerf casters like this is assuming that the players optimize hard enough that if you don't they will (without fiating) curb stomp your BBEGs no problem. So assuming non casting infinite healing ... isn't much of a stretch. There is atleast one thread on the first page using one and mentioning a few other methods.
[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

The_Mad_Linguist

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Re: Monster Races, ECL and balance.
« Reply #54 on: January 28, 2010, 03:59:15 PM »
the fighter types need sleep
They do?  ;)

and the only reason to curb-stomp nerf casters like this is assuming that the players optimize hard enough that if you don't they will (without fiating) curb stomp your BBEGs no problem. So assuming non casting infinite healing ... isn't much of a stretch. There is atleast one thread on the first page using one and mentioning a few other methods.
Yes, they do.

I mean, unless your party is composed of a DFA, spellthief, warlock, and factotum, and they're all warforged, and someone has a mark of healing, and even then it's iffy.
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Brainpiercing

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Re: Monster Races, ECL and balance.
« Reply #55 on: January 28, 2010, 07:32:43 PM »
the fighter types need sleep
They do?  ;)

and the only reason to curb-stomp nerf casters like this is assuming that the players optimize hard enough that if you don't they will (without fiating) curb stomp your BBEGs no problem. So assuming non casting infinite healing ... isn't much of a stretch. There is atleast one thread on the first page using one and mentioning a few other methods.
Yes, they do.

I mean, unless your party is composed of a DFA, spellthief, warlock, and factotum, and they're all warforged, and someone has a mark of healing, and even then it's iffy.
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The_Mad_Linguist

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Re: Monster Races, ECL and balance.
« Reply #56 on: January 28, 2010, 07:48:19 PM »
Then you obviate the need for spellcasters to sleep as well.
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