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Making Epic Workable

 
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Josh_Kablack
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2005 10:02 pm    Post subject: Making Epic Workable Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Initial Thoughts:

1. BAB and Saves continue to scale as is forever. The needed tweaks here are to make ressurection cheap and plentiful and to make some abiltiies availble where characters can just auto-succeed on a given save X times/day.
Reasoning: No longer punishes people for taking the same levels in different order; saves vary by +/- 20 at 4th level anyway; classes are "balanced" based on the BAB and saves they grant; monster HD grant BAB and saves as normal forever.

2. Totally remove epic items and all item purchase/creation. Instead all characters get a goody list where they can choose x magic items of each type at a given level, with x going up by one for each PC with a relevant item creation feat. Either run a short, fast-paced game, or have items lists "reset" at the beginning of each new arc.
Reasoning:Removes the price rewards for collecting obscure bonus types. Greatly simplifies bookkeeping.

3. Replace Epic Spellcasting with 10th-14th level spells. Have new epic spell levels gained every 4th level instead of every 2 levels.
Reasoning: Seriously, D&D works better on a prewritten grimoire and better-than/worse-than spell research guidelines than it does on vague pseduo-point style spell building system. Slowling the gain of new spell levels down means that 5 more levels of spells will last until 40th level and also means that there's no discrepency as to why 19th level Wiz+Clr+Drd don't get 10th level spells.

4. Use Epic Monsters out of the box, aside from conveting their DR ito 3.5 standard.
Reasoning: Makes my life much simpler if I can use plug and play monsters, especially if I am doing other adaptations.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2005 11:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Making Epic Workable Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

1. This will cause a Wizard/Fighter to become increasinly shitty forever. The RNG looms large at low levels, it is completely dominant at high levels. While this is a needed change to keep Fighters even a little bit viable at high level - it ensures that Fighters who take a seconadry non-combat schtick are even more screwed.Just something to worry about.

2. Absolutley required. Players should in fact have an extremely limited set of magic items each adventure arc. I'm not sure how to justify that in Epic Play when people can just plane shift back home, rummage through their closet, and phase back into the battle all condensed into a single free action. But however you justify it, it has to happen. If you go this route, Item Creation Feats should probably be ditched and turned into flavor text on Craft Skills or something.

3. That's a better way of doing things. But remember that 7th level spells already exceed anything you are allowed to do with non-spell activities, so every time you introduce a "better than" mechanism for spellcasters of this level you are inherently kicking the Fighters where it hurts. Also note that Save DCs are already running into some pretty severe problems keeping up with multiclassed save bonuses (which go up by +1 or more every level) - lowering the base save DC progression down to 1/4 is going to pretty much force wizards to cheese out if they want their spells to matter. That means that people will be abusing the DC exploits like PAO or bypassing saves entirely by embracing the broktastic conjurations. In either case, by extending that part of the system - that already breaks down before getting here - you are really going to see things unravel at both ends.

4. That's nota bad idea. Except that the fvcking Fire Wraith Fvckers are Fvckers. God damn. There are certain Gygaxian legacy mechanics that never ever should have been converted to 3e, and permanent incurable hit point damage is certainly among them.

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Murtak
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 1:43 am    Post subject: Re: Making Epic Workable Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List



BAB
Problem 1: having the fighter roll 19 attacks at different bonuses stinks.
Problem 2: Fighter 20, wizard 20 being better then wizard 20 fighter 20 stinks.
Problem 3: Fighter 40 not being better then fighter 20, wizard 20 stinks.

I need to think this over but how about this: Add up your BAB as normal. Up to 20 BAB it works as it should. Anything past 20 gets added to the to-hit of your iterative attacks somehow instead of giving you more attacks. I am not quite sure how exactly, but a fighter 20 at 20/15/10/5, a fighter 30 at 30/30/30/15 and a fighter 40 at 40/40/40/40 could be how the result might look.

When you run out of iterative attacks to raise you gain a new attack - so fighter 50 might look like this: 50/50/50/50/35

Saves
Problem 1: epic saves. the entire idea is crap. sure, lets give everyone full saves, because casters need the extra boost over monks!
Problem 2: bad saves rapidly disappear from the RNG range entirely.

Auto successes per day could smooth this over a little I guess ... well, I can't think of a good solution right now.

Items
I like your idea, I don't see why it should not work.

Monsters
Yep

Spellcasting
Well, epic spellcasting can't be salvaged anyways. half progression speed as far as spellcasting goes doesn't seem unworkable either. You might want to take some of the "ultimate in their category" level 9 spells out of the game or somehow restrict them or implement higher level counters - say timestop or disjunction. Even energy immunity may pose problems.

Also I take it as a given that you have a plan on how to make high level casters not totally dominate the table? Between game altering stuff like polymorph, shapechange and gate you also have all the combat buffs that get too good when you are essentially casting them for free. For epic that will be anything up to 7th level spells I guess. That is a ton of stuff the cleric will simply have running every encounter - divine power, divine favor, righteous might, energy immunity and so on.

That aside scaling up from 9th to 15th level spells sounds ok to me.

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Josh_Kablack
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 2:16 am    Post subject: Re: Making Epic Workable Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Murtak wrote:


BAB
Problem 1: having the fighter roll 19 attacks at different bonuses stinks.


Totally Irrellevant. There's a cap of 4 iterative attacks from high BAB already in place in any version of Epic.

Quote:

Problem 2: Fighter 20, wizard 20 being better then wizard 20 fighter 20 stinks.
Problem 3: Fighter 40 not being better then fighter 20, wizard 20 stinks.


Allowing BAB scaling infinitely fixes both of these.

It does open up a the issue of punishing diversification even more somewhat, and that is a cause for concern, but not a concern which I feel I can address without also rewriting the rules for levels 1-20, so I'm going to have to live with it.


Quote:

Saves
Problem 1: epic saves. the entire idea is crap. sure, lets give everyone full saves, because casters need the extra boost over monks!
Problem 2: bad saves rapidly disappear from the RNG range entirely.

Auto successes per day could smooth this over a little I guess ... well, I can't think of a good solution right now.


The good solution is to rewrite the enitre save mechanics as they apply to 4th level characters. If I accept 4th level characters as is, then the best I can do for 21st+ level characters is offer the band-aid solutions of save-substitution, easy rez, and auto-save abilities.

As for casters having trouble overcoming the saves of characters of the same level, it's a problem I honestly don't give a shit about. There are enough no save, save for half, or spells which reduce the target's saves out there that 21st+ level casters will still be able to function just fine. The bigger hose for casters is Epic creature SR, as SR is an asstastic mechanic to begin with.


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Maj
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 4:03 am    Post subject: Re: Making Epic Workable Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

If you allow BAB to scale, Josh, then I'd probably implement some sort of scaling AC bonus for all characters. I don't know how epic you plan on going, but the game gets horribly stupid when your BAB is bigger than your AC (or anyone else's).
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Josh_Kablack
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 5:11 am    Post subject: Re: Making Epic Workable Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'm not planning on going past 40, ever, so that really shouldn't be a problem.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 6:16 am    Post subject: Re: Making Epic Workable Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I don't actually care if people have bigger BABs than ACs - since we are assuming that people have to Power Attack if they want to get anywhere in life, BAB had better be at east comparable to AC.

What does hack me off is the -10 and -15 attack. Those are shit. If you use the iterative attack mechanism at all, the teriary and later attacks should be at no worse than -5 total. I would way rather see attacks at +20/+15/+15/+15 than +20/+15/+10/+5. Those -15 attacks are a god damned insult.

And do something about the Shape of Fire. It's so not playable it's silly.

-Frank
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RandomCasualty
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 11:56 am    Post subject: Re: Making Epic Workable Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

For saves/BaB, I like to generally stick with the epic progressions, but I allow people to use thier 20 best levels for determining non-epic stuff. So if you've got 20 fighter levels, you get to have +20 BaB, regardless of what order you took your levels.

Now BaB you could keep advancing normally though as Maj said, I think you'll run into problems with AC versus attack.

Saves are really a big problem at epic. I really don't recommend keeping the normal progression beacuse it hoses people with bad saves badly. I mean you're outright screwed.

The other problem with saves comes from epic monsters, who have saves so incredibly high that nothing can beat them. The only real great solution I've found for this is to totally base epic monster saves off of CR. Create a table, and maybe have 4-5 catagories of save bonuses and go from there. Ignore the hit dice and ridiculous save bonuses that come from enormous ability scores and just base everything off of CR.

For epic items, I don't really get as elaborate as you are. I just simply say that variant bonus items don't exist. There are a finite defined number of bonus types, and you cannot make items of other types.

Your solution to epic spellcasting sounds pretty good. I really can't think of anything better anyway. The epic spellcasting system isn't really salvageable at all. Basing casting off of skills sucks, basing all spells off of ridiculous feedback cheese sucks and having low amounts of epic spell slots sucks.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 7:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Making Epic Workable Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

RC wrote:
Now BaB you could keep advancing normally though as Maj said, I think you'll run into problems with AC versus attack.


Um.... hit points continue to scale up automatically every level. The number of attacks does not.

If the bulge enjoyed by a Fighter over the AC of her enemies does not continue to rise over time, her Power Attacking cannot continue to rise, and the amount of time it will take an Epic Fighter to hack through an enemy will go up and up and up.

That's Bad. Fighters suck. Hard. Having a high-level mechanic wherein Fighters take longer and longer to kill enemies is a complete non-starter if you want to fix that.

If we both gain a level, we both gain hit points. If I gain a point of strength mod I might do as much as 4 extra points on all four attacks (+1 to-hit goes to Power Attack at the inane x2 rate for 2 handed weapons, and the increased damage modifier hits a breakpoint and is another +2) - for an impressive total of up to 16 points of damage. Which is great and all, but at epic levels, a +1 Con modifier is way honkin massively bigger than that - giving out 21+ extra hit points.

This rubric, where Fighters take longer and longer to chop down enemies, and the Wizards get attack spells that are speciifclaly superior to Wail of the Banshee is a complete fvcking fiasco waiting to happen. If Epic Fighters are supposed to matter they should be chopping through dragons and demons at the rate of several powerful enemies per round - because damnit, that's how Wizards function at this level.

So don't give me shit about how Fighters are supposed to "not hit" - that's crap. The question is not how often Fighters should hit but how hard.

-Frank
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 9:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Making Epic Workable Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:

So don't give me shit about how Fighters are supposed to "not hit" - that's crap. The question is not how often Fighters should hit but how hard.


Well, yeah helping fighters hit harder should also be another concern.

As for wizards blasting through tons of stuff in a round, I'm not really sure where you get that impression. If anything at epic, wizards can touch jack shit. You cast a wail of the banshee and pretty much every single epic monster in the book is going to save, many of them automatically. Unless you're one of those uber direct damage artificer builds, I don't really find there's much a wizard can do at epic levels at all short of just summoning stuff with gate, or utterly abusing the epic spell system and gaining +200 int bonuses and crap.

But assuming you cut out most of the cheese, I don't really find fighters lagging behind that much at epic. Though that could be in part due to that I don't allow the multispell feat in my epic games, whcih keeps casters back in power quite a bit.



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MrWaeseL
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2005 12:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Making Epic Workable Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The problems fighters have pre epic are still there in epic.

Plus, any epic monster that has melee as its schtick tears you up in hand to hand.
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RandomCasualty
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2005 8:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Making Epic Workable Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

MrWaeseL wrote:
The problems fighters have pre epic are still there in epic.

Plus, any epic monster that has melee as its schtick tears you up in hand to hand.


Yeah, this all goes back to that problem we all have with giving the fighter a definitive role in combat. We know what kinds of creatures he sucks against, but nobody is quite sure what kinds of creatures he's supposed to beat.
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Josh_Kablack
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 7:37 am    Post subject: Re: Making Epic Workable Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Josh_Kablack wrote:
Murtak wrote:


BAB
Problem 1: having the fighter roll 19 attacks at different bonuses stinks.


Totally Irrellevant. There's a cap of 4 iterative attacks from high BAB already in place in any version of Epic.


I keep going back and forth on this one.

On the one hand, keeping # of attacks to a manageable number greatly speeds things up.

On the other hand, there's going to be nothing stopping a druid from casting Summon Nature's Ally IIX (1d4+1 Giant Octopi) for the first 3 rounds of combat, and then using Share Spells: Shapechange to have both herself and her animal companion also change into something with a lot of tentacles. If she has a cohort with 3.5 Haste, that adds up to one player rolling somewhere between 80 and 200 attacks in one round - and that's just using pre-epic core rules stuff in a silly, but not particularily cheesey way.

It is beyond hypocritical to argue that going beyond four attacks per round is problematic in the same book that gives us Perfect Multiweapon Fighting and the Hecatoncheires.

Either everybody needs to be capped at X number of attacks per round, or the iterative attack cap should be removed.

The problem with capping everybody is that it has to apply per player, not per character, and therefore has to limit the actions of summoned minions and cohorts and such in a way that will lack in-game justification.

The problem with letting iterative attacks continue forever is that attacks at -15 are just there to make your Power Attack optimization calculations harder, and giving -20 or -25 attacks would become and exercise in rolling for nat 20s. So if I let iterative attacks continue, they have to iterate differently at epic level than at non epic.

Here are some ideas I'm considering, maybe implementing:

1. Leaving it as is. Kinda unfair, but at least it's simple.

2. Iterative attacks at -5 per forever. Sure, most of them will miss, but it's also really simple. As an added side effect, power attacking for everything will become an optimum tactic more often, since when you need a nat 20 to hit already, PA for all is the best option.

3. You still keep your -5/-10/-15 attacks, but At 21 BAB, and every 5 full points thereafter you get another attack at your full bonus. Effectively, the attacks you would get at -20, -25 and so forth become attacks at -0 instead. Thus at BAB 26 you'd attack at +26/+26/+26/+21/+16/+11

4. As #3 above, but you get the additional attacks at -5 (or some other constant) off your primary. Thus at BAB 26, you'd attack at +26/+21/+21/+21/+16/+11.

5. You don't get extra attacks after +16 BAB, but each 5 points above 16 lessens the deductions for your iterative attacks. Thus at 26 BAB, you'd attack at +26/+23/+20/+17. The drawbacks here are that it's mildly confusing to explain and that there's nowhere else to go after BAB 41, when all iteratives are as good as the first attack (fortunately, staying below level 40 means I don't have to worry about that happening).

5A. Combine #5 with #2 so that while you keep getting more iterative attacks, they also keep getting better.

6. BAB over 21 gives you extra attacks independant of the Full attack sequence. There's no reason that each 5 points of epic BAB couldn't give you extra attacks when taking the "attack action" and/or extra AoOs and/or karmic strike style countarattacks.

7. Instead of additional attacks, BAB over 21 gives you auto-hits on your previous iterative attacks. In this scheme, a 26 bab would give you a full attack of hit/hit/+16/+11 or possibly +26/+21/hit/hit. This seems a little odd, but the precedent is there in Limited Wish, which is significantly pre-epic.

8. Even wackier, BAB above 20 gives your enemies auto-misses. In this scheme you only get four attacks, but each additional attack you would have gotten negates one hit against you each round. (This absolutely stops working if levels get so high that everybody can negate more attacks than they can make, but it could work up to level 40)
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 4:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Making Epic Workable Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

If one person is lance charging and the other guy is standing there taking a full-attack, the game just can't support auto-misses or auto-hits. You know and I know that one attack at a damage multiplier is in no way equal to a pile of increasingly shitty attacks with none. But it's quite another thing to go all the way over into crazy town where one or the other of those is so crushingly dominant that the remaining one may as well not show up.

The multiple attacks paradigm is craptastical, especially at high levels. It's dumb for monsters, it's dumb for players. You should just get an attack, extra tentacles or BAB should make your attack better, not pluralize it.

-Frank
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Maj
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 5:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Making Epic Workable Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Don't know if you care, Josh, but since there's a feat that lets casters have an extra Quickened spell a round, Ess decided that there should be a feat that allowed fighting characters to have an extra attack. It's at no penalty.

As long as you limit it somehow (like you can't take it every time you get a bonus feat), it's worked out passably.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 5:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Making Epic Workable Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:

The multiple attacks paradigm is craptastical, especially at high levels. It's dumb for monsters, it's dumb for players. You should just get an attack, extra tentacles or BAB should make your attack better, not pluralize it.


Yes, but

once again I come up against the problem that BAB and extra hands have been granting extra attacks for a number of levels well before Epic. My goal is to write some houserules for a fully compatible system and not to rewrite an entirely new system from the ground up. I'm stuck with some pre-existing design choices and attempting to make the best of them, even when they were not great design choices to begin with.



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 9:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Making Epic Workable Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

If you want to stick to most of the created rules, you've pretty much got to accept that PCs and monsters are based around a different paradigm of balance. Extra attacks are ok when you don't get any extra bonuses. So if you have a closed system monster that doesn't get buffed or anything, then things are ok.

Now, what I would recommend is limiting the number of attacks you can apply damage bonuses to.

Namely the following:

1) Charge multipliers and damage bonuses due to charging apply only on the first attack on a charge, regardless of how many charge attacks you normally get.

2) Flat (not including strength and weapon enhancement) damage bonuses, like divine favor, apply only to a number of attacks equal to the normal amount of iterative attacks you'd have. They apply to iterative attacks normally (whether normal or TWF iterative), starting wtih the highest bonuses. If you aren't using iterative attacks, then they can apply to natural weapon attacks. In the case of two weapon fighting this helps TWFers get the most out of their style (though it still sucks).

Those two fixes tend to keep number of attacks more or less in check without overhauling the entire system.

Granted I agree wtih Frank about not having more attacks, but if you want to stick wtih the current system go wtih those two .
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