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Optimal character with racial HD/LA

 
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cthulhu
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:05 am    Post subject: Optimal character with racial HD/LA Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Theoretical question - in a world in which you have to accept 3+ racial HD or LA - and a big str or dex bonus but no significant mental stats - are casters going to remain supreme? It seems me that being perpetually behind on caster level vs ECL makes a rogue or a 'fighter' potentially a better choice.

Any thoughts?
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Avoraciopoctules
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

4 casting levels behind is a significant problem, but not an insurmountable one. Noncasters will have better numbers, but casters will still eventually get magic that opens up access to new layers of play and allow them to bypass much of what muggles still have to deal with. You can get your caster levels back by expending a feat, and color spray still has some value at level 5. Most likely, casters will use buff and utility effects for the first few levels, then start taking a much more prominent role when they start throwing down Webs at level 7 or so.
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Red Archon
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

First of all, saying you have to accept RHD/LA leads to the question: WHAT race are we talking about? I'm fairly sure any player would happily play a Sharn or Sylph.

If we cut out the possibility for casting RHD and/or LA, just slapping on extra empty levels on casters, well, it's doing just that - slapping on extra empty levels on casters. This can also be shortened to: "All casters in my game are 4 levels behind warriors." It's a shitty rule and counterintuitive.

Continuing with the idea, though, at level 5 (wizard is 1, a warrior is fighter 5,) the warrior is going to ob-fucking-viously be a better character. However, the casters are indeed going to hop over to magicville when they reach spell level 2 and can fly, which the warrior won't still be doing for a while, and per class abilities, never. The wizard's horizontal advancement makes it reign supreme in just a few levels. But there IS a good side here. When the party encounters level-appropriate enemies (let's say, party level 7, with a warblade 7, acid flask rogue 7, a gnoll cloistered cleric 4 and a svirfneblin specialist wizard 4,) the casters will probably still dictate the direction of the battle, by being able to stun, web and blind the enemies, only this time, after doing so, the other team members will truely shine. I think it's still a stupid way of nerfing casters. Why?

Because in the game, casters ARE level appropriate characters and others are NOT. So everyone needs to fucking stop the endless and usually crappy attempts at toning down the casters when what needs to happen, is that the loser classes need to be boosted.
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Prak
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

there's also the fact that if EVERYONE has at least 3+ ECL, then 3 is the new 0 ECL, so casters will likely be just as prevalent.
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TOZ
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

And having that big Dex bonus in repayment for the LA is going to leave you able to put more into you casting stat without hurting your Dex bonus to AC.
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CatharzGodfoot
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Prak_Anima wrote:
there's also the fact that if EVERYONE has at least 3+ ECL, then 3 is the new 0 ECL, so casters will likely be just as prevalent.


The relative save boost could have a significant effect on the power of spells. +3 to one or two saves, plus an additional two or three to Reflex from the dexterity boost would probably be noticeable. They'll also have trouble with enemies that have SR.

Still, casters would almost certainly still be viable, if not better than non casters.
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cthulhu
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Red Archon wrote:
First of all, saying you have to accept RHD/LA leads to the question: WHAT race are we talking about? I'm fairly sure any player would happily play a Sharn or Sylph.


Bunch of options, none have caster levels - some have significant casting boost stats but those are overall not that appealing. Most of them are a closet troll chasis - but importantly some of them can fly. Game starts at level 5, realistically 3 RHD are unavoidable.

While it is a defacto steal nerf of casters, GM is thinking 'theme' not 'nerf casters'
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Prak
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

3 RHD or ECL or what?
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Crissa
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

There's also a 3.5 Feat that lets you have +4 caster level (but not exceeding your character's total HD).

-Crissa
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cthulhu
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

3 RHD, +0 LA, or 2 RHD +1 LA for a total 3 ECL... I think thats the equivelency.

In that enviroment what about the weird and wacky options like Warblades and Incarnum? Warblades in particular seem well positioned to exploit being able to fly and get a bonus from other levels.
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Prak
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

have you thought about telling the dm that ECL and LA are bullshit?

anyway... Practiced Spellcaster increases caster level, but doesn't give you bonus levels of spellcasting, so your spells will be those of your class level but you'll cast them up to 4 levels higher.

Assuming your DM wants everyone to be ECL 3, at least 2 RHD these are your options as far as I can tell:

Options from SS:
gnoll
lizardfolk
locathah

Seriously, that's it for MM creatures.

MM2: (pretty much all maybes, it depends on what LA your DM assigns them)
Bogun, maybe, depending on what LA your dm thinks it is...
Abyssal Maw (again, maybe)
Abyssal Skulker (should be fine)
Crested Felldrake
Spitting Felldrake
Myconid Average Worker (can't communicate with others)
Myconid Elder Worker
Needlefolk
Thri-Kreen, Non-Psionic

That's pretty much all I can find as far as the Monster Manuals go. I think your best option is Gnoll or Thri-kreen cleric, maybe warlock (their casting stat is cha, but it largely doesn't need to matter, you can comfortably stick to buffs and attack roll stuff).

On the other hand, I'd do ECL differently and you'd have a lot more options.


Last edited by Prak on Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:45 am; edited 1 time in total
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cthulhu
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Cannot be arsed, pointless fight for low value. I'm expecting to have to sandbag not matter what I do. He's providing the options - the melee chasis based on half gaints and a balant rip of PanzerBjorn and stuff that makes me think it's an anthroporphic dire bat but I haven't checked.

Anyway, thats why I was keeping it away from specifics - I was more intrested in a conceptual discuss, does a mage win the same game test STILL if you have to to take something with an ECL of 3, good bab and +10 str to start.
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Avoraciopoctules
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

cthulhu wrote:
Anyway, thats why I was keeping it away from specifics - I was more intrested in a conceptual discuss, does a mage win the same game test STILL if you have to to take something with an ECL of 3, good bab and +10 str to start.


Only later on. It should be considerably more difficult to one-shot encounters with Sleep now. Though I note that if a flying race is available, the party may feel incentivized to all play flyers with bows and kite the enemy.
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Akula
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Encounters are much harder for you, but things open up when you start to get spells that have no saving throws. So I think that you could be just fine at around level 6 or 8, Clerics with access to all 3.x books rock almost as hard without any power early reduction though (they would pay later on). If I wanted to use a caster in this I would just go Cloistered Cleric and hit up Knowledge Devotion, Law Devotion and an elemental domain in order to get more turning. With a little bit of buffing you could act like a more awesome fighter who gets some spells to boot. Thus reaping the rewards of these restrictions instead of beating my head against them.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The first couple of levels of Save or Dies have strict and painful Hit Die caps on them. So sleep will be pretty fucking useless if you're out a few levels of Lizardfolk. Later on, it's not much of a problem. In that if you stick to spells that don't allow saves you can usually find the right tool for the job out of lower level spells. There isn't any actual difference in power between 5th, 6th, and 7th level spells. I know what level Demand, Mass Suggestion, and Hold Monster are on, but there's no rhyme or reason to it.

But the big thing that puts spellmonkeys in the driver's seat is simply the fact that at high levels, warriors are incapable of mattering. Having large numbers and a weapon of some kind is always of some use, but it just isn't enough to even meaningfully participate in more than half of the encounters at 15th level. So really it doesn't even matter how much you hose the spellcasters. If you get to high level and you're still just a guy with a sword, you're doomed, because at that point Beholders come in tag teams.

That being said, have you considered going Rogue or Artificer? crap levels of "Humanoid" and shit still add to skill rank maximum, so a UMD-based character isn't losing as much as you might think.

-Frank
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