But I think the truth is simply that WotC is no longer interested in such game elements. They say otherwise, but I consider their products a more convincing indicator of priorities than their PR releases.
I think WotC is interested in those sorts of elements, but I think they're interested in providing them in the Dragon magazine ecology articles, rather than straight in the Monster Manual. To some degree, that's a matter of having to buy more stuff to get what you used to get in the core books, but there's a little more to it than that. The ecologies are usually better quality and more detailed than what you used to get in the Monster Manual. They usually include extra goodies.
I'm pretty critical of most of the monster fluff in the 3e and even in the fairly entertaining 2e monster manual. There's entry after entry, and it all pretty much said the same kinds of stuff over and over. There's a physical description, which may or may not match the picture. The entry usually takes pains to point out that what is being described is, in fact, a monster and that it likes to attack nearby things, particularly adventurers. Then depending on what type of monster it is, you get a hodgepodge of other facts. Common allies can be useful, but you get the same sort of information in a more immediately useful form in 4e with the encounter suggestions. Habitat/society stuff drives me crazy, since if I'm already making up an adventure, I can make up that stuff in less time than it takes me to actually read it, and I know that it will fit my story. Even a lot of the other info, like habitat, number appearing, organization, etc I find more or less useless. Monsters appear when, where, and in the number I need for my story or encounter.
In other words, when I miss that stuff at all, it's just that I miss the entertainment value. The campaign setting or my own imagination changed all the other info so frequently that it's almost unhelpful to have it there.
Oh, but did I say hope for 4e stats for the Aurumvorax soon? Also the Catoblepas.
Russ Taylor wrote:
The line is clearly in trouble - I don't think the announcement can be taken any other way. This may save it, but I don't think so - huge price increases rarely save anything.
I don't think the trouble that the line was in had much to do with bad sales. Sales were probably still as good as they've always been. The trouble, I'm guessing, involved increasing costs.
They've pushed through two price increases in 5 years, as noted. When DDM first started, both labor and plastic were extremely cheap. First, about a year after launch, booster box prices went from $10 to $13. Then, a year or two later, they went to $15. Then, since the price was probably as high as it could get, they started decreasing quality in order to absorb cost increases. Of course, while that may have saved money, that hurt sales and brand perception.
So really, assuming that production costs are still going up, and I'd imagine they still are, this seems like an unfortunate, but necessary move.
Yeah, as a former skirmisher, I can say that the dragons and mind flayers, with only a few exceptions, had somewhat mediocre skirmish stats. The demand and the inflated prices for these were entirely a result of RPG demand and won't probably change.
But, Scott even mentions in his article that dragons will be some of the visible monsters, in the huge set at the least.
I play the D&D Miniatures skirmish game, so I have a fair number of the skirmish battlemaps laying around, but whenever they're even vaguely appropriate, I try to work them into my RPG game as well.
There's just something nice about having the pre-drawn battlemaps to make things nice and clear. When I draw stuff out, or even when I use the dungeon tiles, sometimes there's confusion about elevation changes, what's a wall, what part of a dungeon feature is dangerous, etc. The maps pretty much eliminate that.
So far my favorite feature has been how little I open the books to look up rules these days. It took a month or two to get the rules down, but now that we've got the hang of it, particularly with the DM screen, the encounters just fly by, with the rules intruding as little as possible. I think it's great.
At recent, small convention I played one Living Forgotten Realms (4e) game, one Pathfinder Chonicles game (still using straight 3.5 rules, not Pathfinder beta). I also GMed 3 LFR games.
I had more fun playing in the Pathfinder game than the LFR game, but I think that was mostly due to the player mix. I had the most fun GMing one of the LFR games, again mostly due to the players involved.
I have to say, I still consider myself a fan of 3rd edition, but actually going back and playing 3e after only 4 months of 4e was a bit of a shock. Now, keep in mind that since it was Pathfinder Chronicles, we were actually playing 3.5 and not 3.75, but here were the things that struck me about the experience:
Anyhow, despite those hang-ups, mostly having to do with combat, the adventure was fun, and I'm looking to play again soon. I know that some of my issues, like healing and weak 1st level characters are being worked on in the Pathfinder Beta.
So really, I guess my conclusion is that I prefer 4e at the moment. But also, that no matter what system you pick, it is going to have silly things that drive you crazy. You may not even notice them until you stop playing and then come back later, but they are going to be there.
WotC's Nightmare wrote:
Except, no one seems to be using level 1 creatures in all the current level 1 modules. They are pretty much all in the level 2-4 range. Maybe its because they don't give enough exp or enough "challenge". Maybe they are trying to cram too much exp into too few combats. It makes me wonder why they even have level 1 monsters if they aren't going to use them.
My bet is on your second theory. As far as published adventures, Paizo themselves is famous for making "difficult" encounter the norm. Page counts leave too little room for a truly appropriate number of encounters, so often published adventures pump up the XP in each encounter.
I hope that this is a point that gets addressed in the DMG2, or in a Dragon article or something. Too many "difficult" combats I think is a primary cause of too-many-hitpoints syndrome.
In 3E they changed the mechanics slightly but did not change the underlying defintion. The underlying defination of multiclassing has always been since 1978 to be the ability to function in more than one class at the same time.
You're trying to pass off your particular definition as a fact. Multiclassing didn't exist in Basic D&D, it had a certain definition in AD&D and 2nd edition, and then it was completely changed in 3rd. It changes again in 4th, to no great surprise.
Do I need to quote wikipedia here? In its page on the difference between editions, it says in regards to 3rd edition:
Multi-classing and dual-classing as per previous editions was removed. In the new multiclassing system, multi-classing functioned similar to dual-classing had previously, except that a character could gain a level of any character class upon gaining a level instead of only gaining levels in the second class. Multi-classing was made available to all races, although easier for humans, and characters with multiple classes of differing levels would be penalized.
And besides, 4e allows you to use one of the class features of your multiclass and one of the skills. Further feats allow you to use some of the powers. That's all a class is in 4th edition, aside from small stuff like armor and weapon proficiencies.
I can see some of your point, certainly. You can't use everything available to another class through 4e multiclassing the way that class does. At least in the core rules. In podcasts and other media, the designers say that there's no architectural problems with taking some or all of the powers and class features of another class. It's just not how the core rules have implemented it, for balance or other reasons.
What Wotc is calling "multiclassing" these days is not multiclassing. Multiclassing is the ability to be more than one class at once, and you can not do this in 4E. Multiclassing for thirty years of DnD had a very specific meaning, and 4E trashes it. Sorry, but that's the way it is.
Oh come on. Multiclassing has been handled differently in almost every edition to date. Demihuman multi-classing was very different from human dual-classing, which was in turn extremely different from 3e level-by-level multiclassing/prestige classing/gestalt multiclassing.
You can say that 4e "trashed" the 3e multiclassing system, but saying there was some sort of multiclassing tradition that is fundamentally different in 4th edition is a pretty obtuse viewpoint.
WotC's Nightmare wrote:
Well, unfamiliarity with the rules, may be some of it, but if the monsters have load of hit points compared to your damage output, and high defenses compared to your attack bonuses, that fight is going to take a long time to resovle, barring some pretty spectacular die rolls. I believe its more a factor of the underlying math not working right. It's way to skewed towards having monsters survive way too long.
I don't know... for fights where the monsters' level is the same as the players', the math seems to work out pretty well. One of the problems I see is that fights that are supposed to be more difficult can just end up as longer.
That is, the minor increase in damage doesn't overwhelm the defenders or leaders much, but it makes things harder for the weaker strikers and controllers. Thus, the party ends up doing less damage, which when combined with the higher ACs and more HPs of higher level monsters, makes the combat last significantly longer. But, since half the party isn't much more threatened, it just ends up as a longer combat for them without much other difference.
Really, I like the 4e math and I think it seems to be working very well. It could use some minor tweaks, which could even just take the form of better encounter building advice.
Samuel Weiss wrote:
Yes, of course. I was giving the cumulative odds. Maybe I didn't explain it well.
I'm missing how the math goes to get that, could you provide the formula?
He's referring to the cumulative change it recharges each round using the 3.x breath weapon mechanic: rolling a d4.
On the first round, the breath weapon is recharged if you roll a 1 on the d4 and not recharged if you roll a 2, 3 or 4, so it's a 1 in 4 chance. On the second round, we know that you didn't roll a 1. The breath weapon is recharged if you rolled a 2 and not recharged if you rolled a 3 or 4, so it's a 1-in-3 chance, 33%. Similarly, you get a 50% chance on the third round and 100% on the fourth.
Technically, this doesn't account in the later rounds for a dragon that rolled well early and then could be recharging a second time, but it's close enough.
I can see that. Plus, it again points to the spell design philosophy somewhat. In 3.x, I think I even saw a designer outright state that they had a rule that no 3rd-level spell could be better than fireball. So, with that rule in place, when you got 3rd levels spells, you picked fireball because it was generally the best.
In 4th edition, there's the general philosophy that no one spell should be better than others at that level. So fireball really isn't as special anymore. It still is the best spell for doing damage at that level, but it isn't quite the universal best that the 3.x and earlier versions are.
I think the points raised in the past few posts are what bugs me about 4E the most. In the name of 'balance' from a board-game perspective, we're not going to do fantasy anymore. Everything is mechanical, precise, fixed... it's a math game more than it's ever been.
Meh. D&D has always been a mediocre simulation of fantasy at best. D&D is a game, and games have rules. Most of what makes magic special in fantasy is that it has no rules, so there's an inherent contradiction in D&D magic.
In regards to polymorph, D&D has never even been able to simulate the transformation battle between Merlin and Mim in Disney's The Sword in the Stone. D&D has always had too many rules for something like that. In 3rd edition, D&D polymorph is more about wizards and druids making up for their physical shortcomings by adopting some hideously powerful physical form.
The main use of transformation magic in fantasy, shapechanging, is still explicitly in 4e. In fact, there's suggestions for doppleganger PCs in the Monster Manual. Unrestricted transformation is out, at least for PCs. DMs can always have their enemy wizard turn into a dragon or something for a climactic battle.
Really, if what made D&D special in the past was "wizards win because they do not play by the same rules as everyone else" then yeah, 4e does break that, and I really don't mind.
Probably true. But this is where the design of 4E falls quite a bit short in my opinion, and a major reason that while I enjoy 4E I'm keeping my 3.5E campaigns going as well. I have a sneaking suspicion I'm going to get bored with 4E at some point, where that has never happened with previous editions. I could be wrong, however.
I too chafe against the restrictions inherent in the system, but what I hope will happen is that it will stay interesting because the restrictions mean that 4e won't break where other systems do.
I had a great time in my last 3.5e campaign, but part of what I suspect made it so great is that we kept a tight lid on the save-or-die or action restricting spells at high levels. On the contrary, I GMed the high level Living Greyhawk finale at the Origins game fair, where my players and I had no such agreement and it underscored how "broken" high-level play can be in an unrestricted environment. Polymorph was generally not involved, but nevertheless some of the enemies (wizards and clerics) were well capable of demolishing whole parties before they even got to act. Some players had similar capabilities.
I've been playing a video game, Final Fantasy Tactics A2 recently, and I'm starting to notice a similar dynamic. At a certain level, he who can act first wins. My players are only at 7th level in my 4e campaign, but from my play experience, reading ahead, and reading the boards, I haven't seen the game break down like that.
My hope is that will continue. To the extent that it does, I'm willing to do away with spells like polymorph and wish.
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
It looks to me like we are actually talking about alternative ways to fix the 3.5 polymorph as opposed to good ways to use it in 4E.
Polymorph is sort of a terrible match for the 4E philosophy in general. It violates all kinds of explicitly or implicitly stated design goals.
It's possible, perhaps to make single-target spells that don't violate these goals, but not a general-purpose polymorph anymore. I miss wish too, but I don't expect it to show up in 4th edition.
I've DMed a 3.5 campaign with a player who was abusing the pre-errata polymorph (he was a monk/druid/master of many forms, who spent his whole adventuring life as a cave troll) so I wasn't particularly sad to see polymorph go. The freeform nature of the spell just doesn't work with all players.
I like the spell in concept, but I agree with Sebastian that it works better in a story than it does in a game.
Samuel Weiss wrote:
This is the last category, and it is of much greater significance than the first, and a different kind of major issue than the second.
Nothing yet has surpassed the 3.5e polymorph errata for changing a whole system of the game. All editions seen major changes since their first printing. It's just that the internet wasn't the vehicle to do it until around 3.5e, so previous editions just had splatbooks introducing the changes.
I don't recall specifics anymore but I seem to think both AD&D and 2nd edition had major revisions appear in various books, some optional, some more widely adopted. As for 3rd edition, not only did things get major overhauls in splatbooks--I distinctly remember that Masters of the Wild had a big effect on animal companions, but you could view the whole existence of 3.5e as a massive errata campaign.
I'm just glad that in 3.5e and 4e, we get our errata for free on the internet, instead of waiting for the first supplementary books to come out.
No, really it was always that you could only add the damage once per round. For rangers, it says on page 104 (emphasis mine), "Once per round, you deal extra damage to your quarry." For Rogues, it says "Once per round, when you have combat advantage against an enemy and are using a weapon from the light blade, the crossbow, or the sling weapon group, an attack you make against that enemy deals extra damage if the attack hits." Warlocks have similar text.
I think the errata just clarified the timing on when you could deal this extra damage. That is, it clarified that if you get an attack of opportunity, you can't deal extra damage if you've already done it in the main part of your turn.
Vance, I'm just a lurker chiming in, but seriously, stop it. I enjoy reading your posts on mechanics. They're insightful and intelligent. Which is why it's almost painful to see you go through this same routine again and again.
Nobody is here because they're a WoTC apologist or a liar or a lying WoTC apologist. Whenever you're about to accuse somebody of either of those things, just stop. You're wrong. It doesn't advance your argument, it doesn't make you look better. It just makes it clear that you'd rather resort to slander than engage with the person's argument.
An, to engage the thread here, what exactly is your argument? That game stores, in aggregate, failed because the owners were incompetent? That's not even an an argument. There's no question that game stores with incompetent owners fail. You don't even need to say it. But you can't justify the cause of a trend as mass incompetence.
Erik Mona wrote:
I'm not sure the dragonborn and an extra elf (but these ones wear _mauve_!) are worth what we lose in the race department.
You know, much as people complain about the way 4e was marketed, this constant petty, "zinger" sniping at 4e by the people behind paizo leaves the same bad taste in my mouth.
I reacted positively to the 20% rate when I read about it in the preview, and I still think it's a good idea. It's essentially a pawnshop rate, which I think is appropriate for most circumstances. After all, the PCs are mostly selling essentially stolen goods in cities that are small by modern standards. I know that most population figures in adventure supplements are suspect, but last I read, the City of Greyhawk has a population of just under 70,000. Waterdeep is 132,000 large. I live in not-so-large Toledo, Ohio, which is still 2-3 times the size of Waterdeep, and if I had to get rid of a laptop, electric guitar or piece of jewelry quickly, I don't flatter myself by thinking I'd get any more than 20% of the market rate for it.
Maybe my campaigns are abnormal, but in them, the PCs don't hang on to their magical items for weeks or months while they search for and negotiate with a buyer. Instead, they expect to get rid of the item in 1-4 hours. Thus, they're going to get pawnshop rates. It's just not worth it to hang on to the items, as long as there's adventures to be had. Adventuring pays off at much higher rates than being a merchant, and you gain experience, which allows you to go on even more lucrative adventures.
Plus, although this is addressed by other changes in 4th edition, I've developed a personal pet peeve about the PCs ghoulishly scraping all the equipment off their opponents. Hopefully the reduced sell rate will mean that they no longer bother stripping each dead kobold or orc of its filthy leather armor to sell.
I'd imagine that we'd see slaads, modrons, formians and inevitables as unaligned. Unaligned seems to be the place for creatures that follow their own philosophy, but don't necessarily do so in a good or evil way.
I'm pretty ambivalent towards the alignment change. But, while I'm talking about it, what's with slaads anyways? The PHB says that chaotic-aligned creatures are all about freedom, but I'm not really seeing that in the slaads. In fact, since a lot of their abilities are focused on killing, infecting and implanting other sentient beings, it's not really a stretch to say that, by the alignment definitions, they're actually evil.
It's a word that even the 3.5 DMG uses (when discussing single-monster encounters) and that I think came from discussions about Magic cards. It's generally a synonym for "unpredictable" or "variable". In the D&D encounter context, it means mechanics that can drastically change the outcome of a battle based on a single decision or die roll.
At low levels, a critical hit on a character can easily knock out or kill that character, even if the character otherwise has the battle in hand. At higher levels, certain attacks are devastating unless the character or monster has a spell that makes them completely immune. Those are all things I think of as "swingy".
And since when was fighting 3.5E swarms boring? (Unless "boring" is some hip new slang for "terrifyingly difficult".)
I'm enthusiastic about 4th edition, and even I felt that Mearls was laying the "OMG, 3E SUCKS, AMIRITE?" on a little thick.
But, after 4-5 years playing 3.5, I can see where he's coming from. Most swarms in 3.5 were immune to weapon damage. In fact, the Monster Manual is wrong when it says that the CR 2 Bat Swarm takes half damage from slashing and piercing damage, because clearly by the glossary definition, even that swarm and the CR 1 spider swarm are entirely immune to weapons. So right from the start, you're dealing with a monster immune to the vast majority of your attacks.
I guess I'm just not sure anymore where the line is between "terrifyingly difficult" and "not really fun" is. I mean, if the DM throws an orc at the party, but then refuses to write down any damage when you hit it, and further doesn't roll any dice, just announces that the orc hit, is that fun?
My players' groans when the fought the last few swarms told me all I needed to know. I think 3e swarms needed a revision, and I'm glad to see they're getting one.
I find really surprising that nobody pointed out the type of scripting of encounters this seems to suppose.
I think the problem you're seeing is that it's difficult to roleplay the results of a History check unless the player happens to be an expert on the in-game history.
I don't see where the gamemaster has to interrupt your roleplaying any more than rolling dice at all does. The example provided already gives the DM the information he needs to cue a History check in the description of the Diplomacy results. "First success with this skill opens up the use of the History skill (the NPC mentions an event from the past that has significance to him)."
But, in general, I think that this level of detail in a skill challenge will only occur in printed modules, and not in most instances in home play. Or rather, I think the level of detail in the printed example will happen as often a drawn-out map of an encounter, complete with monster locations occurs in the notes for my home campaign--only when I feel that the encounter is a critical one and when I have plenty of prep time. I expect that most of my skill challenges will be a little more free-form than the example.
Frank Trollman wrote:
This is why I support reducing the spell levels on Evocations rather than changing the damage.
To put a finer, more design-y point on why I don't like the proposal to lower spell levels, it's because it just scrambles up the spell damage caps. Basically, at each spell level, d6/level spells are only allowed to scale up a certain amount.
Shamelessly copy+pasted from someone's ENWorld thread (about Polar Ray, no less) here's the basic breakdown of the spell damage caps by level:
Wulf Ratbane on ENWorld wrote:
Spell damage caps were a deliberate design decision in 3rd edition, and they exist for a few reasons.
Now I understand that you're trying to address the first point because you see it as a problem. I disagree, of course. I think that first of all, the wizard doesn't need an essentially unlimited amount of blasting spells. Resource management is a key feature of the class. The current system already gives him 2-3 efficient spells in each encounter of a 4-encounter day. Sorcerers get more. Second, I don't think the wizard needs to do as much damage as narrowly focused damage classes. The wizard already has numerous advantages in range, variety and area of effect. Additionally, even a specialist wizard is still more of a generalist class than a frenzied berzerker, charge build, or even a halfling hurler. Focus your damage increases on classes like the warmage instead of on all casting classes.
But all that notwithstanding, messing around with spell levels also ends up messing around with the other feature that damage caps attempt to balance--metamagic feats. Basically, by setting something like Polar Ray at level 1, you're eliminating the cap for single-target entirely. That means that using metamagic feats each few spell levels gives a somewhat exponential increase in power, instead of the normal arithmetic increase. For example, at 13th level, a Wizard could cast a Split Ray Energy Admixture Polar Ray for 52d6, averaging 182 damage. Of the 12 CR 13 monsters in the Monster Manual, only one (the Storm Giant) has that many HP, though a few others, like the Iron Golem, will obviously survive via spell or energy resistance. Obviously, the system doesn't really support this kind of uncapped, exponential damage.
A third, personal reason I don't like it is because I think a legacy system like Pathfinder should actually support that legacy. Fireball as a 3rd level spell is an important part of the feel of Dungeons and Dragons to me.
So, I think that rather than messing around with the damage caps indirectly via changing spell levels in an apparently arbitrary fashion, if changing the damage caps is really your goal, you should go about it directly.
Frank Trollman wrote:
Moving on up. Let's go to everyone's favorite level for these comparisons: 10th. At this point the Wizard has lots of options available. But basically it comes down to doing 35 damage (save for half) or half that with no save (which is just like they automatically made their save, but whatever).
Right, Reckless already mentioned it, but I would add that at 10th level, the Wizard can also supplement his Maximized or Empowered spells with Quickened Magic Missiles if he really wants to go for burst damage. That's another 17-ish damage on top of the 45-55 damage you're already doing.
And defensively, it's very difficult to ever top the wizard. A spell like Improved Invisibility, or Fly or even Mirror Image will basically rule out the giant doing any significant damage.
Evokers can potentially use every other spell available to a wizard. That's an important point to consider. We're not talking about balancing the damaging abilities of a class that only does damage. We're talking about balancing the damaging abilities of a class that already does a lot of other things very well.
Orion Anderson wrote:
The problem is that a Wizard doesn't have 8 polar rays, or even 4 polar rays. A 15th level wizard has one 8th level spell, plus a spell-like ability, plus probably but not necessarily a bonus spell. So if it takes four shots to kill a demon, then the wizard can't even kill one. It isn't reasonable to aska wizard to spend more than one or two spells on a given enemy, because that's al the spells he has. Those spells, therefore, need to be about as a effective as whetevr anyone else is doing. The regrettable thing is that, if a wizard needs to kill things in two spells, he needs to kill thigns in two rounds, which is way faster than a fighter kills anything. Of course, chucking two SoDs with 50/50 success *also* kills something in 2 rounds with 2 spells.
Riiiight, but again, you're assuming that the 3 other members of the party aren't doing anything. Even in the worst case scenario, where the wizard needs 8 hits to kill something, if you assume that the other 3 members of the party are doing something just as useful, that means that the monster dies in 2 rounds. That means the wizard used 2 spells, not 8.
Plus, metamagic feats and other reasonable optimizations are going to push the damage far above 1/8th of an average monster's HP. Like up to around 1/3 or more, in my experience. For example, at 15th level, we're not talking about a 53 damage Polar Ray being the maximum damage output. Instead, it's more like a Maximized Cone of Cold for 90 damage, plus a Quickened Scorching Ray for 42ish more.
It's not difficult to push that even further, particularly if you use feats and spells from the Complete books or the Spell Compendium. For example, an 8th level spell slot can kick out an Empowered Split-rayed Orb of Acid/Cold/Fire/Electricity for 15d6 * 1.5 * 2, or 157.5 average damage, no save, no SR.
Even if you're satisfied with doing 15d6 damage, no feats, a 15th level wizard doesn't have have to use his two daily 8th level spells to make that happen. Cone of Cold (5th level), Chain Lightning (6th level) and Delayed Blast Fireball (7th level) all do 15d6 damage. The 15th level wizard, assuming one bonus spell at each level, has like 14 spell slots that are 5th level or higher.
These are the kinds of numbers I am talking about when I say that damage spells seem okay right now.
But... wow. OK. A third to an eighth is a huge variation. Even if something in that range is desirable, some spells have to be outright bad (or too good) to hit that kind of range. That should be fixed.
Well the range is largely due to the somewhat unconstrained nature of HP in 3rd edition. It's fairly common for one creature to have 2-3 times as many HP as another creature, both at the same CR and with similar defensive abilities. Then, when the creatures do have differing defensive abilities, it compounds the situation.
Second, and more importantly- that one shot issue? Wizards can do that now, without metamagic feats. So either damage spells are garbage and need to be fixed, or all other spells are too good and need to be fixed. Which do you suggest?
I don't suggest either of those. Those are false conclusions supporting a false dichotomy. Both damage spells and save-or-die spells can exist in a system without one overpowering the other.
And, as I said earlier, the argument that damage spells are garbage does not really lead to the conclusion that they'd be useful if they did a little bit more damage.
Robert Brambley wrote:
Well, as I understand it, the FAQ just clarifies the somewhat ambiguous wording in the PHB.
Acid and sonic attacks deal damage to most objects just as they do to creatures; roll damage and apply it normally after a successful hit. Electricity and fire attacks deal half damage to most objects; divide the damage dealt by 2 before applying the hardness. Cold attacks deal one-quarter damage to most objects; divide the damage dealt by 4 before applying the hardness.
The FAQ clarifies that "apply it normally" still means to subtract the hardness.
But yeah, if you're doing 1d6 + 1pt / 2 levels it's not that hard to eat through wood. Stone, with hardness 8 and iron/steel with hardness 10 is a little more resilient, but I could see how the ability could cause trouble.
Wait, doesn't hardness apply to even acid attacks? From the D&D FAQ:
D&D FAQ, page 74 wrote:
Hardness applies to acid and sonic attacks.
Hardness applies to all attacks against an object. The only thing acid (also sonic and force) do differently is that their damage isn't halved (or quartered) before applying hardness. So you'd still need to do more than 5 damage before you could eat through anything wooden.
Frank Trollman wrote:
Good luck hitting a Beholder with one. And for that matter, even if killing a Beholder in two hits was sufficient to keep it from killing you, your family, and your dog, we're still talking about a CR 13 monster vs. a 15th level character.
Oh come on. A beholder who constantly uses its anti-magic eye isn't in a fight, it's in a staring contest. Even if there were two Beholders, an EL 15 encounter, we're still talking about 4 hits--a 1-round fight. Besides, there are a grand total of 2 CR 15 monsters in the Monster Manual, both of which any halfway optimized wizard can kill in 3-4 spells.
Frank Trollman wrote:
But regardless, I vastly prefer the option of reducing Damage Spells in Spell Level rather than pumping up the damage die. It's less disruptive to the game and preserves a lot more backwards compatibility.
And as I mentioned in your original thread, that just has the effect of vastly increasing the power of metamagic feats to the point that wizards are one- or two-shotting an encounter that's meant to challenge the entire party.
And that's the whole premise here. If an appropriate encounter is meant to engage a 4-person party for even a round or two, then it stands to reason that the wizard's damage spells should do around a third to an eighth of the monster's HP in damage on average. That is what they do right now. No increase in damage is necessary.
Orion Anderson wrote:
15d6 is 53 points of damage. It's a single target spell. What do you think you're shooting with it?
You've picked a lot of the harder targets there. You're ignoring monsters like the Beholder, who would die in two hits. Any 15th level NPC targets who have 80-140 hp also go down quick.
Plus, as I mentioned in the thread about this on alpha 1, the wizard isn't just fighting his target alone in most cases. If it takes 4-8 hits for a target to go down, and there's 4 people fighting, that means that combat is over by the end of the second round. It's not like the wizard is just sitting there casting polar ray 6 times in a row. More like the wizard casts it once, and then maybe a second time if things are going badly.
Another problem with that logic is that you're looking at a 15th level wizard casting just one spell, with no feats, equipment or anything else. It's kind of like complaining that a 15th level fighter does only 1d8+7 damage. A 15th level wizard has 8 feats and 200,000 gp worth of equipment. Feats like Empower Spell, Spell Penetration and at 15th level, Quicken Spell are helpful in powering up the wizard's blasting spells. There isn't an overflowing amount of equipment, but things like the metamagic rods or an orange prism ioun stone are very affordable by 15th level.
But really, the main problem with this thread is people are spending a lot of time arguing against themselves. Damage spells suck and are useless, but an extra +1 damage per die would redeem them?
P.H. Dungeon wrote:
However, I do think monsters like Vampire Lords and abominations should have plenty of cool and devastating exceptional and supernatural abilities to put to use, so if 4E is taking many of these away from the critters I won't be overly excited about 4E monsters, and as the dm, monsters are my bread and butter.
Well, as I was saying on ENworld, I think it's more of the difference between 3e and 4e encounter design. In 4e as I understand it, essentially the ration of cool and devastating abilities for an encounter are all spread out between the 3-5 different types of monsters that go in the encounter.
That's what I think is going on anyways. I guess on June 6th, we'll know for sure.
And...monsters don't get FEATS?! That's plain lame. They talk about customization, but they took away one of the top mechanics to use when customizing a creature and that's feats.
Well from my perspective, what are the feats actually doing? A lot of what feats were meant to do is to let you break the rules in some minor way. In other words, a lot of feats just let you have permission to do something you normally couldn't, like wield an exotic weapon, wield two weapons at once, or make more attacks of opportunity than normal. Some of the other feats just added a few bonuses here or there, like +2 to Will saves.
The more monsters I customized over the course of 3rd edition (and I did a lot, usually 2-5 per game session), the more I came to wonder "why am I even using these? Monsters have such arbitrary abilities anyways. For example, natural armor is just a made-up number. Why am I giving my monster the Improved Natural Armor feat instead of just saying that these advanced monsters have 2 higher natural armor than normal versions?
Why does there have to be a specific number of feats? If I want to create a 30 HD elemental for my high-level party to fight, does it matter that it has exactly 11 feats?
If you want to customize a monster, just do that. You don't need feats for it.
Actually, once you figure in the made save, spell resistance, fire resistance, and all the other stuff, the damage from a fireball at 15th level is closer to 15 points. I don't think there's any monster at 15th level that has 90 hit points, is there?
Sure, an NPC wizard. But seriously, don't use fireballs against 15th level monsters. Use something that actually does 15d6, like Cone of Cold, or Chain Lightning, or even Polar Ray. There's no save for Polar Ray, and most non-dex-based monsters don't save against the others more than half the time, so you're going to get a good 40-50 damage out of it average. More if you use Empower Spell or something.
Frank Trollman wrote:
And if people who are playing the game correctly (that is, at the level that the game is supposedly balanced to encounter wise) want to be able to have characters who shoot fire out of their hands or run around stabbing things with a rapier, that those people are going to have to get their hobo characters pushed out of the pool altogether.
Frank, the game actually is balanced for wizards who do 15d6 at level 15. Your main complaint is that there are monsters out there that can take 6 times that much damage? If everybody's doing that much damage, those monsters go down in a round and a half. They probably don't even get off a full attack.
Besides, what's your solution? Make Polar Ray a level 1 spell, so that at 15th level the wizard casts Maximized Empowered Polar Ray for 116 damage followed by a Quickened Empowered for another 79. Great, you've reduced the Battlebriar to a monster that doesn't even last half a round. Replace Empower with Split Ray and we've almost got a one-shot.
I support the spirit of your efforts here, but I can't get behind this implementation.
Frank Trollman wrote:
No it doesn't. A maximized fireball already at the damage cap does only 60 damage and has a Save DC like unto a 3rd level spell. I'm not a huge circle of death fan (really more of a cloud kill person), but this math is horse pucky.
Oh yeah, it sure is. My mistake, fireball caps out at 10d6, so an empowered version would only do 52 damage even at 12th level. Geez, and I was so smug too. ;)
Old gamers don't really have this problem. The thing is that lots of gamers now playing learned gaming on 3.X in an environment of computer gaming.
Not much to add, but I liked your post here. I wouldn't personally phrase it in terms of young vs. old, but I thought on the whole it was very insightful.
Frank Trollman wrote:
The problem is that Wizards are very fragile. It's not enough to simply spend X spells and kill the enemy, because a Wizard won't survive the X attacks that the enemy will be throwing back. For a Wizard to win a combat at all, he has to slay or delay right from the start.
True. This is a pretty abstract exercise to begin with, but there is some room for that. For example, if the party of 4 wizards have 6 encounters worth of spells but only have to fight 5, then in 4 of those encounters, one of the wizards can spend his spell(s) mitigating damage while the other 3 blast.
For the fifth encounter, they're going to have to catch a break. The 1/4, 1/6, 1/8th numbers I threw out are conservative. In a lot of cases, such as the 4 level 3 wizards against a shadow, evokers can up to double those.
Assuming at least one 1 of the 5 daily encounters goes well for team evoker, such as when they can catch multiple enemies in a spell, or fight things that don't have quite the resistance levels they should, then the math still works out.
If the overall numbers for the class are off, and maybe they are, they're not off by that much. I think my overall point is still solid. In most cases, the wizard isn't responsible for more than 1/4 of the damage needed in an encounter. They can easily do that much with 20% of their resources.
At the most, damage spells could use a little boost, but I don't think a massive overhaul is warranted.
Frank Trollman wrote:
Really, honestly, the problem is not that Wizards don't get enough power. It's not that everyone who casts fireballs in the game is getting screwed. It's that Wizards are being asked to spend too large a percentage of their daily power allowance to hit things with evocations.
You keep saying that, Frank, and you usually support it with fairly good examples, but they still don't ring true to me.
Yeah, it takes a few Magic Missiles to take down a Shadow. Specifically, if the wizards are level 3, it takes around 3 of them. If there's a party of 4 level 3 wizards, then 3 Magic Missiles isn't a big resource investment. Instead, it's more like the level of resource use a standard encounter should take.
Heck, that scales through all the levels. I'll spare you the details, but let's say that a wizard typically deals 1/4 of an average encounter's HP with their highest level spell. Since evocations continue to scale for 5 or so levels let's say they can also deal something like 1/6 of the damage they need with their second-highest spell slot, or maybe 1/8 with their third-highest. For the sake of this example, let's assume the party consists of 4 wizards, all dealing this amount of damage.
Assuming a wizard keeps their Int high enough to get a bonus spell in their highest-level slot (not terribly hard to do with standard point-buy and equipment values) they have 2 of their highest, 3 of their second highest, and 4 of their third-highest spell slots available. That means that if they use either 1 of their highest level, 1.5 of their second-highest, or 2 of their third highest spell slots per encounter, they can blast their way through exactly 6 encounters.
If they only have bonuses in their second-highest level spell slots which is a pretty easy goal, then they can make it through 5.
The math works out. And that's ignoring the other equipment a Wizard could buy to boost their effective number of spell slots, like Pearls of Power at lower levels or Metamagic Rods at higher levels.
This is more based off the fact that damage really doesn't grow as characters improve. Some feats show the character being more effective but for the most part this is not something that gets better as the character gets better.
The damage does grow, only indirectly. As a character gains more levels, they get more iterative attacks and a higher base attack bonus. Both of those will contribute to a higher per-round damage, even with the same weapons and feats.
That said, most of the fighters I've seen that keep up in damage as they level do so by leveraging some of their increased attack bonus into Power Attack. I wouldn't mind Paizo knocking Power Attack down a peg in exchange for increased overall melee damage. In fact, I might like that. :)
And yet it will one-hit all those 9 HD creatures, unlike the mighty fireball, which will do all of fifty-some damage when boosted with metamagic.
No it won't. It'll kill 12d4 HD of them, so 2-4 in most cases. An empowered fireball at 12th level does 63 damage on average. So if they have less than 8 or 9 HD, fireball would have killed them anyways.
So if you manage to get a group of 2-4 creatures who have more than 63 HP, but not more than 9 hit dice, and you get them to all fail their saves, then congratulations, you've made Circle of Death less than a total waste.
I'm not seeing many facts or math, or much logic here. You're just scoffing at people who disagree with your premise, and not even doing that very convincingly.
Frank Trollman wrote:
Polar Ray is an insult to god and man. It's not a long legacy, it was introduced in 3.5 and before that it was merely one of several options for the much lower level Otiluke's Freezing Sphere.
I completely agree. Polar Ray is teh sux, as the kids say. But, as to the main body of your post, if the intent is to allow evokers to do more damage between rest periods, and spell slots is the limiting factor, why not just give evokers some bonus spell slots that can only be used for evocation spells?
It's purely an issue of personal taste, but Fireball at first level just feels weird. If the goal of Pathfinder is to keep on with the feel of 3.5, then this would be an unwelcome change.
The 8th Pagan wrote:
Level drain might not be fun for the players, but it great fun for the DM.
Not to gang up on you here, but personally the fun of threatening my players with level loss looks like it will be more than made up by the fun of playing with all the other toys GMs get. Did you see that the sample encounter for the War Devil had 16 individual devils in it?
The ability to use 3-5 times as many monsters in fights is a big plus. I don't like the looks of everything in 4e, but I do like that.
Hmm, that's great--too bad that the necromancer can snuff out the life of 12d4 HD of creatures in a 40' radius at the same level.
Wait, are you seriously saying that evocations suck compared to the mighty Circle of Death? Because Circle of Death is a spell that's useful oh.... never. You get it at 11th or 12th level and it doesn't work on anything with more than 9 HD. Fail.
But other casters need to spend feats to get high DCs! And evokers don't? Yeah, drop that fifty damage--hoo-boy, fitty whole damages!--by half and then apply fire resistance 10. Good game.
You're arguing against yourself here. If a creature can make a save against a fireball, it can make a save against a save-or-die spell too. And then you haven't even done 15 damage--you've done 0. Fail.
Are you literally incapable of seeing the difference between spending a feat on Quicken Spell and spending three feats to make fireball not suck?
What exactly are you quickening here? Your argument seems to be that evocations suck compared to save-or-die spells, but you have to use an 8th level spell slot to quicken even the first, mediocre save-or-die spell. Which is going to affect nothing.