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Feats that scale with level
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RandomCasualty
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 10:25 am    Post subject: Re: Feats that scale with level Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Absentminded_Wizard wrote:
I'm sure RC will have a heart attack at the idea of scaling spellcaster-specific feats, but does it really hurt for wizards to have Scaling Spell Focus if all the save-boosting feats scale too?


Yeah, indeed I would.

Scaling spellcaster feats are really a bad idea, because SR is balanced on the fact that it's CR +11 or somewhere around there. When spell penetration grants a scaling benefit, that throws off the curve, and that's a bad thing. Now the curve has to be CR+15 at higher levels and so forth.

As for spell focus scaling, DCs are generally high enough already for one, and save or dies are already awesome. A scaling bonus for pure direct damage might be ok, but for save or dies, that's just too powerful. Because you only need one spell focus feat and your opponents need 3 save enhancing feats to compensate.

Quote:

Maybe both the Cleric and the Fighter have Cool Dodge and Cool Weapon Focus. However, the Fighter has Cool Whirlwind Attack, Cool Save Bonus Increase, Cool Charge, and Cool Weapon Specialization.

Well, it depends on what these other feats do as well. Assuming you upgrade All feats, then maybe you could have scaling feats to keep the fighter on top of the cleric, but you'd still just be really inflating the game on the PC end, and you'd have to significantly boost a lot of the monsters too for them to keep up.

And then all you're really doing is inflating everytihng else, when it'd be easier just to deflate the caster's buffs. If divine favor/power/righteous mgiht granted fewer bonuses, then clerics wouldn't own and you could get back to a reasonable level of sanity.

Feats should be better, granted, but not +5 better... a +5 bonus is the Base attack difference between a 20th level fighter and a 20th level cleric. That's a lot...

I don't think the answer is to simply write off +5 as being a minor bonus. Just making the numbers bigger won't solve anything, it just devalues the d20 in the long run, and makes the game more predictable, because the percentages are changing by 25% now instead of 5%. It also devalues circumstantial modifiers like flanking, because a +2 is much more insignificant in the shadow of a +5.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 11:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Feats that scale with level Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
Scaling spellcaster feats are really a bad idea, because SR is balanced on the fact that it's CR +11 or somewhere around there. When spell penetration grants a scaling benefit, that throws off the curve, and that's a bad thing. Now the curve has to be CR+15 at higher levels and so forth.


That's not true on several levels. First of all, SR isn't "balanced" by any means. Secondly, SR varies wildly, from CR + 4 all the way up to CR + 20 (with outlying SRs that are more different still - that lame ass armor grants non-scaling SR which is usually less than CR, making it just sort of puzzling).

And most importantly of all, if someone takes the feat that makes them penetrate SR, why shouldn't they just be noticably more likely to penetrate SR? I'm honestly confused on this. The game already includes Spell Penetration feats that scale up to +6, and I am under the distinct impression that we were talking about a single feat that scales up to +5 or so.

SR penetration has not brought the game crashing down when people bust loose with Karma Beads, Death Knell, Archmage levels, or Orange Ioun Stones - all of which add a whole crap tonne more to SR penetration than we are talking about for a scaling Spell Penetration. You don't have to change a god damned thing, just take "Greater Spell Penetration" right off the list of feats, and have Spell Penetration scale by level, and you're fvcking well done.

This boogey man of "SR won't work exactly the same if you modestly alter the way in which SR roll modifiers accumulate" is just sort of puzzling. The two answers that spring immediately to mind are:

"No fvcking Shit!"

and

"So fvcking what?"

The fact that SR rolls will work slightly differently is blindingly obvious. And it also isn't a big deal. SR is not some kind of amazingly balanced sacred cow that keeps everything in line. It doesn't come up that often and quite frequently doesn't matter much. It's usually vaguely equivalent to the enemy monster having about a +2 to +3 to its saving throws, and altering the chance of success or failure on that roll by +/-3 works out to about +/-1 to saves on most monsters.

Quote:
As for spell focus scaling, DCs are generally high enough already for one,


Not against multiclassed characters they aren't - not by a long shot. But that's not even the point. The point is that this statement doesn't mean shit.

Save DCs aren't really "high enough" or "too high" or "too low" in a vaccuum. They only become too high or too low in respect to the save bonuses they are opposed by. And right now the save bonuses they are opposed by vary by more than +/-20, so any arbitrary Save DC is by definition both "too high" and "too low".

Once you fix Save Bonuses so there isn't such a tremendous disparity between them (or set it up so that immunity to some save types and/or complete vulnerability to save types is an assumed advantage/weakness of certain classes), then you can set Save DCs so that they are appropriate to whatever those Save Bonuses actually are.

Since changing save bonuses is already on the table, and is much much more important than whatever the hell you end up deciding on for the actual save DCs - your complaint about Save DCs is without context, and therefore without meaning.

Try again.

Quote:
Feats should be better, granted, but not +5 better... a +5 bonus is the Base attack difference between a 20th level fighter and a 20th level cleric. That's a lot...


If you've ever played high level anything, you know that the difference in BAB between a 20th level Fighter and a 20th level Cleric is zero, but you also know that the difference of +5 still wouldn't be nearly enough. The problem isn't that +5 is too big. +5 isn't big, the problem is that the Fighter does not have enough +5s.

-Frank
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Lago_AM3P
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 11:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Feats that scale with level Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

As an aside, why do the numbers in this game have to be so big?

Inflation of ACs, attack, hp, and damage (especially damage) have gone into crazy-land, and I think it's high time we took a stand for smaller numbers.
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Desdan_Mervolam
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 11:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Feats that scale with level Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'm cool with this. The nerfing that the casters get should come through spells, not through feats and other specal abilities.

-Des
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 12:09 am    Post subject: Re: Feats that scale with level Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
As an aside, why do the numbers in this game have to be so big?


Because like it or not, the game is supposed to be able to simulate a tug of war between an ant and an elephant. The numbers are, perhaps unfortunately not nearly big enough!

The game should be able to show the tremendous strength disparity of an ant and a cockroach. Of a cockroach and a shrew. Of a shrew and a rat. Of a Rat and a cat. Of a cat a dog. Of a dog and a wolf. Of a wolf and a man. Of a man and a horse. Of a horse and a moose. Of a moose and a bear. Of a bear and an elephant. Of an elphant and dragon. Of a dragon and a roc.

And it has to do it all at the same time, on the same scale, and often within the same combat. Just think of the tremendous differences that has to be - that should be almost the entire spread of a d20 thirteen fvcking times for one value - strength. The disparity in modifiers to these checks should be at least +/- 130 to be extremely conservative (and honestly, that's really not enough, do you think that a bear can beat an elephant in a pushing contest even one time in eight? those modifiers should be closer to +/- 260 in difference).

Most of the weird gorky moments in the game happen because of a slavish devotion to a 3-18 scale in principle (if clearly not in fact). While 3rd edition made a step in the right direction by defining Giant Strength in the thirties instead of "21" like it was in the bad old days - this still isn't nearly enough.

The disparity of modifiers is not sufficiently large, and as such the proliferation of larger bonuses is not a problem.

-Frank
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Lago_AM3P
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 12:17 am    Post subject: Re: Feats that scale with level Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I meant practically in a metagame sense, not in the real world sense.

Having huge numbers perfectly represents the difference in combat abilities between Superman and Hawkman, but also very nearly simulates the difference between Spiderman and Wolverine.

On the other hand, epic already pretty much has you do stuff (roll dice, tally numbers) on a computer or risk slowing down the game drastically.

Further, what is so sacred about the d20 being the basis for all success or failure, other than it's easy to use in-game?
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 3:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Feats that scale with level Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Lago wrote:
On the other hand, epic already pretty much has you do stuff (roll dice, tally numbers) on a computer or risk slowing down the game drastically.


Well, while the numbers have to be big, the number of bonuses does not. If you get +12 from 8 different sources of +1 or +2, that's a lot of work to add up. If you get +12 from three different sources of +4, that's not.

Lago wrote:
Further, what is so sacred about the d20 being the basis for all success or failure, other than it's easy to use in-game?


Nothing at all. But remember that the size of the random element is directly proportional to the size of the modifiers. If you use a d20, the difference in strength modifiers between a bear and an elephant should be somewhere between +/- 10 and +/- 20. If you use a d6, the difference should be somewhere between +/- 3 and +/- 6. If you use d100, the difference should be somewhere between +/- 50 and +/- 100.

So changing the die size doesn't actually help anything. All it really does, in fact, is make the odds harder to calculate. The d20 generates a decently distinct amount of probability, and it is a whole lot easier to add up bonuses which are about +3 than it is to add up bonuses which are about +15 (as would be the case on a d100, for example).

The d20 works about as well as a random determinant as you could want for the vast majority of things, and neatly allows the creation of a decent bellcurve with the opposed roll. (simply rolling a d20 twice and subtracting generates a 39 point bell curve)

-Frank
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RandomCasualty
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 8:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Feats that scale with level Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:

Because like it or not, the game is supposed to be able to simulate a tug of war between an ant and an elephant. The numbers are, perhaps unfortunately not nearly big enough!


That's true to some degree, but the problem is actually bigger than that. The fact is that because the system is linear, you have lots of trouble with big numbers.

Take a strength of 330 versus a strength of 300. All in all, percentage wise and lifting capacity wise, the 330 isn't all that much stronger than the 300. However, in combat because the combat system works on a linear bonus scale, the 330 has a +15 to hit over the 300, and that's a huge difference, because that right there is the difference between a hit or a miss. Assuming equal ACs on both sides, the guy with 330 is going to hit almost everytime and the 300 will miss almost every time.

The d20 system isn't made to handle especially large numbers, it's one of the reasons it breaks down at really high epic levels. To fix it you'd have to switch ability bonuses to an exponential scale, so that 330 is only +2 or +3 more in terms of bonus than 300. That way you get what you want, the 330 character has an edge over the 300, but because the relative difference between their strength really isn't that much, the edge is relatively small.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 9:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Feats that scale with level Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
All in all, percentage wise and lifting capacity wise, the 330 isn't all that much stronger than the 300.


Um... it's about eight times the strength in terms of raw lifting capacity, what the fvck are you talking about? The "linear" scale is in fact already exponential when it comes to raw lifting. The weird part is actually where those bonuses translate to only a +15 on a 20 sided die.

-Frank
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RandomCasualty
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 11:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Feats that scale with level Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
The weird part is actually where those bonuses translate to only a +15 on a 20 sided die.


They actually have to translate to less in terms of combat bonuses. Because when you get to epic levels, sometimes you have someone with relatively normal strength facing off against someone who is super strong, and you just can't do that in D&D. And this is the problem with most epic monsters, and high level stuff in general, like the collossal scorpion. You give it huge amounts of hit dice, and then lots of strength and now you've got this huge bonus to hit that looks unbeatable.

The point is that the gap between scores, whether ability, saves, or attack rolls, widens at epic levels, and that's a big problem for a d20 system. You simply can't afford to constantly inflate the bonuses, starting with a +1 bonus and then moving to +2, to +3, +4, and to +5 eventually, unless you're absolutely sure someone will have something to compensate for that bonus.

It's the innate problem with shifting dodge to a +5 bonus at higher levels. You're now saying that any bonus has to be +5 before you'll even consider it significant, and that's bad, because it only takes a few of these bonuses on either side to turn an easy win into a no win situation.

D&D is basicalyl a game of finding all the little bonuses you can and adding them up to make a big final bonus. If you change those little bonuses into big bonuses themselves, then you're now finding all the big bonuses and adding them up to make a huge bonus.

You want some kind of weighted curve, where the majority of your success numbers are within the 5-15 range on the d20. You just can't afford to have too many situations where you need a natural 20 or only a natural 1 misses, because it destroys the system. Either you have to employ some kind of weird mathematical curve to try to shape the existing system to that paradigm or you have to keep your bonus sizes small, even at epic levels.

A +1 bonus on a d20 roll is still just as valuable at any level so long as it stacks with the rest of your +1 bonuses. I honestly don't care what level we are talking, a +1 is a +1 bonus.

I just don't see what scaling feats is supposed to accomplish, beyond just making the numbers bigger, which as I've already shown is bad for the d20 system in general.

If you think feats are underpowered in general then you should just make them better at level 1, because the gap on the d20 doesn't get any bigger when you get higher in level. You don't need a +5 to be significant at epic levels anymore than you need it to be at low levels.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2004 12:30 am    Post subject: Re: Feats that scale with level Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
You simply can't afford to constantly inflate the bonuses, starting with a +1 bonus and then moving to +2, to +3, +4, and to +5 eventually, unless you're absolutely sure someone will have something to compensate for that bonus.


That's totally not true - especially at Epic Levels. At Epic Levels, it is totally OK for a monster to hit so hard and so often that getting into its reach is a death sentence. That's fine.

The entire d20 can and should be used. Just because you can show the difference between a 45% chance to hit and a 50% chance to hit doesn't mean you can't have creatures with a 5%, 95%, or even 0% or 100% chance to hit. The very idea is preposterous.

You yourself said that you were totally OK with Fighters being completely unable to hurt incorporeal monsters. A strange sentiment to be sure, but how is the 100% chance you are giving them to avoid damage different from allowing a monster to have a very large modifier that you know may be uncompensated for?

-Frank
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RandomCasualty
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2004 9:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Feats that scale with level Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:

You yourself said that you were totally OK with Fighters being completely unable to hurt incorporeal monsters. A strange sentiment to be sure, but how is the 100% chance you are giving them to avoid damage different from allowing a monster to have a very large modifier that you know may be uncompensated for?


Because a fighter can find a +1 sword and kill that same monster. It's more a plot device element than a numerical balancing tool. You've got this really tough monster that's near invulnerable at one point and the fighters run for their lives, then they go on this quest to get a +1 sword, and they beat the snot out of it. That's cool.

The shadow is an obstacle until you actually have a magic weapon, then it actually becomes a monster. Before then, it's something you avoid.

When you talk about a collosal scorpion, its ok if you want to make it an obstacle instead of a monster. But don't then base your combat stats on the assumption that people are going to fight one. You must make a decision whether the thing is supposed to be meleeable or not. If it is, then take down its attack bonuses, if not, then don't use it in balance discussions. Trying to establish your game balance based off fighters meleeing things specifically designed to nuke meleers seems really counterproductive. It's like trying to balance fireball against a creature with 30 fire resistance and calling it underpowered.

Quote:

The entire d20 can and should be used. Just because you can show the difference between a 45% chance to hit and a 50% chance to hit doesn't mean you can't have creatures with a 5%, 95%, or even 0% or 100% chance to hit. The very idea is preposterous.


This isn't even a chance at all when it's 5%. Tactically that's equivalent to impossible, because you know you'll be dead long before you can inflict enough hits at a 5% hit rate.

For a large monster having a huge bonus, there's really no reason to do that if inflation was handled properly. Why? Because you've got a CR system. A CR 20 creature has to be a moderate challenge for level 20s, a death sentence for level 15s and no problem for level 25s. If the numbers are super inflated, then it's going to still be a challenge for level 25s, and that's a problem.

You really don't want creatures to always hit or always miss. They can do huge amounts of damage, but the hit rate you want to remain a probability of some kind. People enjoy the luck factor. If your system uses dice, then you want to actually you know... use them. Players expect the dice to mean something. It's ok to have a near automatic hit if you have a creature with great offense attacking someone with poor AC, but a character should at least get a 50/50 shot of stopping something if he has great defense also. And a merely average defense at CR 25 should be sufficient to stop a great CR 20 offense 50% of the time.

You simply can't afford to widen the gap numerically between a good defense and a great one, or a good defense and an average one. That gap has to be constant at all levels, or your system falls apart. As soon as a great offense can always breach a merely good defense, or an average offense never beats a good defense, then you've made your system a pure arms race. Doesn't matter what you had before, if you don't pick up this new and improved +10 epic feat, you're hosed, cause your other stuff doesn't matter anymore. There's no point playing if you're not going to put everything you have into the arms race, so now you'll have people with a +150 to attack and 20 AC, and people wtih a 160 AC and +20 attack, and all sorts of stuff in between. But because you don't know exaclty where the AC will fall depending on what feats the guy chose you're screwed, because you're usually going to end up in a situation where one party can't hit or always hits and then it just turns into a question of who does more average damage.

It kills the random chance element of the game, and makes it a bitch to balance because you shift the balance of power dramatically every time you include a new bonus, because all your bonuses are +5 or greater.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2004 3:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Feats that scale with level Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

RC wrote:
You really don't want creatures to always hit or always miss.

RC wrote:
Why? Monsters tend to have achilles heels, they aren't as well balanced as a PC. It's possible they may have strengths making them invulnerable against certain PCs or classes that aren't properly equipped.


Until you make up your damned mind, I can't even argue with you. There isn't any difference between a monster "whose numbers are too large to be reasonably fought in that manner" and a creature "whose arbitrary list of immunities and vulnerabilities make it unreasonable to be fought in that manner".

The fact that you are supporting one and not the other is just peculiar. Also your contradictory statements on Immunities make talking to you on this subject difficult in the extreme:

RC wrote:
As for stuff like shadows and other creatures only hurt by magical weapons, I have no problem with wizards and clerics fighting this stuff off.

RC wrote:
As for immunities, I don't think that's the way to go. Immunities as a whole are bad for the game, because the more you hand out the more you risk screwing with someone's primary thing, the main one being critical hit immunity and sneak attack.


I mean, you're changing your reasoning here more often than Bush justifying a tax cut, either creatures requiring specific tactics to beat is OK or it's not. Either immunities are OK or they are not. Not both.

-Frank
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RandomCasualty
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2004 9:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Feats that scale with level Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:

Until you make up your damned mind, I can't even argue with you. There isn't any difference between a monster "whose numbers are too large to be reasonably fought in that manner" and a creature "whose arbitrary list of immunities and vulnerabilities make it unreasonable to be fought in that manner".

I'm not saying you can't have creatures like that, I'm just saying you can't use them as a balance point. In other words, don't say dodge is weak because it won't prevent a collossal scorpion from hitting you. A collossal scorpion is supposed to hit, every time. If you don't like that, then you can redesign the creature, but ACs aren't supposed to be high enough to beat that.

Quote:

I mean, you're changing your reasoning here more often than Bush justifying a tax cut, either creatures requiring specific tactics to beat is OK or it's not. Either immunities are OK or they are not. Not both.


Breachable immunities are ok, non-breachable ones aren't. And you really have to be careful handing immunities to PCs, because they can heavily muck up the CR system. Granting immunity for instance to compulsions and charms just totally hoses the enchanter, and you can't just go handing that out from first level spells.

Immunity to magic weapons is ok, because you've got ways of actually getting magic weapons and once you've got one, the immunity is gone. It's still not an immunity you'd want to give to PCs though, as it's more of a plot device thing than anything else.

Too many immunities are clearly bad for the game, because everytime you hand out an immunity, you are killing a game mechanic. Especially when that immunity is something general, like the Frenzied Berserker's immunity to physical damage, the system is being broken.

Basically immunities are sometimes ok for monsters, but rarely ok for PCs. This is because monsters are more specialized. A PC that has immunity to energy drain can kill 10,000 spectres, no problem. Because monsters are so specialized, granting immunities to PCs can literally make them totally immune to a monster. And once the monster is no longer a challenge, as the DM you're then forced to either give away free XP, or rule that the monster isn't worth any. This isn't a position you really want to be in, but it can happen often when you hand out a lot of immunities to PCs.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2004 10:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Feats that scale with level Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
And you really have to be careful handing immunities to PCs, because they can heavily muck up the CR system. Granting immunity for instance to compulsions and charms just totally hoses the enchanter, and you can't just go handing that out from first level spells.


What? Seriously, don't you have that completely backwards?

If a player character becomes completely immune to another player character, that means that he's almost certainly going to triumph in head-to-head confrontation. That means also that whenever you encounter a monster that's functionally identical to that character, your PC will almost certainly triumph over that monster.

But that by itself isn't a big deal, provided that there are other monsters of the same CR who will compensatorily kick your monkey ass.

Becoming immune to Enchanters with a first level spell isn't a big deal, because Enchanters aren't a very common monster. They are available as a monster, so it has some relevence, but not really that much. It's actually a much bigger deal that mindless creatures, and intelligent undead, and intelligent plants are all immune to enchanters, because collectively that's a much larger slice of available monsters to be encountered.

Get the Player/Monster paradigm right before you start going all chicken little about the game balance effects of something. Heck, Rangers could get an ability that let them automatically kill Rogues at 15th level and it wouldn't be especially unbalanced - just stupid.

-Frank
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RandomCasualty
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2004 11:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Feats that scale with level Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:


If a player character becomes completely immune to another player character, that means that he's almost certainly going to triumph in head-to-head confrontation. That means also that whenever you encounter a monster that's functionally identical to that character, your PC will almost certainly triumph over that monster.

But that by itself isn't a big deal, provided that there are other monsters of the same CR who will compensatorily kick your monkey ass.

It is a big deal when your CR system is based on amount of resources used. Having encounters that burn no resources basically shouldn't give you any XP, and immunities do that. They can actually reduce the average lost resources to 0, when you totally nullify a monster.

Quote:

Becoming immune to Enchanters with a first level spell isn't a big deal, because Enchanters aren't a very common monster. They are available as a monster, so it has some relevence, but not really that much. It's actually a much bigger deal that mindless creatures, and intelligent undead, and intelligent plants are all immune to enchanters, because collectively that's a much larger slice of available monsters to be encountered.

Well, sure, being immune to enchanters doesn't seem terribly bad, because they are a small fraction of monsters granted, but there are also some monsters based around charm, such as succubi. Even still it doesnt' seem to have that much of an effect. Now the problem is that those little problems add up. It's why I said that immunities need to be handed out sparingly. Hand out immunity to enchanters, immunity to energy drain/ability drain, and immunity to criticals and you've got a pretty big list of creatures that can't do much to you anymore.

And handing out immunities to PCs really doesn't help anything. You're basically just tearing pages out of the MM. If someone is immune to energy drain, then your level drainers are useless, because they're now CR 0.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2004 12:17 am    Post subject: Re: Feats that scale with level Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
It is a big deal when your CR system is based on amount of resources used. Having encounters that burn no resources basically shouldn't give you any XP, and immunities do that. They can actually reduce the average lost resources to 0, when you totally nullify a monster.


They are based on average resources used. If you have Favored Enemy: Goblins, one can expect a Goblin Encounter to be less draining of your resources. That doesn't mean that the Goblins are worth less XP, it means that you lucked out and faced one of the encounters you are good against instead of one of the encounters you are bad against.

Players aren't penalized for making good decisions, whether in character developement or in play. If you happen to have prepared exactly the right spell you don't get less XP than if you had to hodge podge some largely irrelevent spells into a strategy.

Quote:
And handing out immunities to PCs really doesn't help anything. You're basically just tearing pages out of the MM.


You are doing absolutely nothing of the kind. You are making various monsters in the book into monsters that will make your players feel good about their choices in character advancement. That's not a problem by any stretch of the imagination.

Favored Enemy: Goblin makes Goblin Encounters easier, and it makes your players feel good about their life choices when Goblins show up. It does not tear pages out of the monster manual.

Having encounters which would have been difficult except that the players came prepared with a killer application for dealing with the problem does not mean that you "lose" as DM - it just means that players feel smug for a while after they totally school the encounter.

It's dumb if that happened all the time, but if even 25% of the time the players go "nyoink!" that's not a problem. And a single character having immunity to a monster doesn't actually make the monster use up zero resources, it just means that one of the characters can shine while the other guys try not to get punched in the face.

-Frank
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canamrock
1st Level


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 48

PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2004 12:22 am    Post subject: Re: Feats that scale with level Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The problem really isn't with immunities, by themselves. It's if the immunities are being given out at a lesser cost than their power is truly worth. Kinda like old-school Superman... immunity to everything until you're exposed to Kryptonite isn't that great when every other person who wants to see you dead has Kryptonite on his person.
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RandomCasualty
Prince


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 3511

PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2004 4:59 am    Post subject: Re: Feats that scale with level Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:

They are based on average resources used. If you have Favored Enemy: Goblins, one can expect a Goblin Encounter to be less draining of your resources. That doesn't mean that the Goblins are worth less XP, it means that you lucked out and faced one of the encounters you are good against instead of one of the encounters you are bad against.

Well, good against is fine. Bad against is fine. Automatic win and automatic loss are generally not good. An automatic loss encounter is essentialy something you have to avoid, where an automatic win falls in the catagory of "why waste our time?" And really, why waste your PC's time with an encounter where they can't lose? It amounts to something just as bad as 20th level characters going and beating up 1st level commoners, only they're getting XP for it.

Quote:
You are doing absolutely nothing of the kind. You are making various monsters in the book into monsters that will make your players feel good about their choices in character advancement. That's not a problem by any stretch of the imagination.

Having players strong agaisnt something is ok, but having them be immune is bad. For a number of reasons.

First, D&D doesn't have power levels on its tags. In other words if you're immune to compulsions, you're immune to all effects of that type, whether its from the god of Compulsions or some 1st level enchanter. So by granting an immunity you're basically wiping away a game mechanic, and losing mechanics is bad. Not only that, but blanket immunities really don't make sense for the most part. Sure it's understandable for a golem to be immune to enchantments, but for something like a holy liberator, it's still a duel of wills, and that should be reflected by a big bonus, not an immunity. You're much better dealing with immunities merely as a big numerical bonus, that way you could still fail.

Second, as I said before, they just aren't very fun. Yeah, you're immune to something, so you know the enemy can't touch you. So the battle is just a dull pointless exercise to waste your time. Except for the free experience which leads into the third point.

Third, When your system is based around killing a monster of a given CR for experience, you can't ever have an ability that reduces that CR to effectively 0, because you're handing out free XP. The system is based around challenges overcome. If the monster is no challenge, then it shouldn't give any XP.

Granted, there are some points where you have to use immunities. Sneak attacking a wraith for instance wouldn't make much sense, nor would burning a fire elemental to death. But for the most part with PCs you can avoid making them immune to anything. I just don't see many situations at all where you can't just use a big bonus.

When you grant an immunity to something, like freedom of movement versus grapple, that game mechanic is gone. Doesn't matter how good you were at it, doesn't matter how badly the guy with the immunity sucked at it... because he's now immune, and as far as you're concerned grappling is now passing your turn.

Quote:

Favored Enemy: Goblin makes Goblin Encounters easier, and it makes your players feel good about their life choices when Goblins show up. It does not tear pages out of the monster manual.


Yeah, and favored enemy isn't an immunity either, so I'm not sure what you're proving. I never said favored enemy was bad... so um... yeah I agree with you completely on this one.
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Desdan_Mervolam
Knight-Baron


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 987

PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2004 6:40 am    Post subject: Re: Feats that scale with level Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

RC, you really should go have a look at the XP and CR rules again, because what you described doesn't really work the way XP does. XP is determined by the CR of the encounter, which is ultimately determined by the GM. Monsters have set CRs, but those are funcionally just suggestions. When the GM hands the party an encounter they are at a signifigant tactical advantage against (Like for example, an encounter that the entire party was built to defeat the tactics of), the GM is expected to tweak the CR down to compensate. If the abilities of the party shifts a CR 9 monster to CR0, how much XP do they get? The XP for a Zero-level encounter. And last time I checked, that was Zero XP at all levels.

That said, never, ever do this retroactivly. Seriously. If the party stumbles upon a strategy that decimates the encounter in the surprise round, then they still deserve full XP, otherwise you are punishing the party for being lucky and using strategy.

-Desdan
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Absentminded_Wizard
Duke


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 1125
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2004 10:22 am    Post subject: Re: Feats that scale with level Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Another point is that having one person in the party immune to the monster's special attack doesn't necessarily reduce it to a CR 0 encounter for the whole party. For example, if one character is immune to the succubus' enchantments, she can still use them to turn other party members on their allies. If one character is immune to a monster's high-damage attack, it can still take a lot of h.p. from other party members.

How many situations are there in which one character's immunity keeps the party from having to use a signifigant amount of resources to defeat a monster.
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Draco_Argentum
Duke


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 2435

PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2004 11:03 am    Post subject: Re: Feats that scale with level Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'm anti blanket immunities. Immunity to sneak attack sends a rogue from best balenced class in the game to dodgy in undead heavy games. Immunities can easily generate too great a swing in power. This makes balencing abilities harder.
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RandomCasualty
Prince


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 3511

PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2004 11:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Feats that scale with level Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Desdan_Mervolam wrote:
If the abilities of the party shifts a CR 9 monster to CR0, how much XP do they get? The XP for a Zero-level encounter. And last time I checked, that was Zero XP at all levels.


Problem is that this ends up being the equivalent of tearing pages out of the monster manual.

After all, if the encounter is trivial *and* gives no XP, then why bother with it at all? Part of game design should be striving to avoid trivial encounters.

Quote:

How many situations are there in which one character's immunity keeps the party from having to use a signifigant amount of resources to defeat a monster.


Possibly quite a few actually, but it only happens when the immunity is absolute and thus allows the rest of the party to say "you handle it."

Immunity to energy drain against spectres or immunity to ability drain against shadows is one such case. Immunity to sneak attacks can almost let you do this with a group of rogues, though not nearly to the case you can with undead. Fly spell of course (which can be interpreted as immunity to all non-flying melee) dominates a hell of a lot of encounters.
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FrankTrollman
Serious Badass


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 27147

PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2004 11:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Feats that scale with level Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Seriously, what the hell are you talking about?

If the party beats the monster without cost because they have immunities, then the fight required the expenditure of resources - the cost of gaining the immunities that won you the encounter.

It may not seem like it cost you anything now, but it costs every single adventure in every fight you ever have. It costs however much it cost to get the immunities.

If you cast Firestorm a couple of times on some distant Ice Elementals and never hear from them again - it cost you resources. If you invested an entire class level in gaining abilities that made you school the shadows - it still cost you resources.

---

Yes, you get full XP for killing Shadows after you've come up with some funky method to be immune to their strength drain. The "cost" is that you had to wear that funky immunity on your neck like an albatross during all the other encounters when you would have rather had an extra 10 feet of movement or something.

If you throw a DM temper tantrum every time the players' special abilities which they paid for actually pay off, you are only discouraging characters from getting interesting or conditional abilties. I mean, you don't give people a small proportional XP reduction in every single encounter when they take a strength buff instead, do you?

You're just going to have to accept the fact that sometimes characters who invest in conditional abilities should conditionally outshine everyone else in the game - even the monsters.

-Frank
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fbmf
The Great Fence Builder


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 2541

PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2004 4:35 am    Post subject: Re: Feats that scale with level Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Everybody try and play nice, please.

[/The Great Fence Builder Speaks]

Game On,
fbmf
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