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SmiloDan's page

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32. RPG Superstar 6 Season Dedicated Voter, 7 Season Star Voter, 8 Season Dedicated Voter, 9 Season Star Voter. 8,911 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I think Arcane Archer would work better as a ranger archetype, maybe adding some wizard spells to the ranger list and the ability to change the range of a spell to the range of the arrow.

I kind of wish some of those 3 per long/short rest abilities scaled with level, like usable a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus.

Vis-à-vis the Knight: Adding a level-based damage bonus is interesting, especially since it doesn't get multiplied on a crit.

I really like the Samurai Fighting Spirit ability. It seems like a great "crunch time" ability.

Sharpshooter seems like a weak fix for a fighter that should have played a ranger. Also, it's confusing that it has the same name as the Feat.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

The party does have a custom magic item that can cast Heroism--at 6th level if needed. But it also has other uses: Divine Favor and/or Magic Weapon.

I don't think they need a tank, but some party members do.

I never played 4th. I have the DMG, PH, MM, Volo, and Tome of Beasts. So I have lots of different monsters to use, and I'm not afraid to put homebrew monsters against the PCs.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

No existential threat per se. They just cleared out an abandoned mansion in the city, so they're working on cleaning it up. They also discovered an airship, so they're trying to get funds to fix it up so they can use it to use a treasure map they found.

It's a steampunk ex-colonial city on a Bronze Age/Stone Age post-apocalyptic continent of jungles and glaciers, the apocalypse dealing with Cthulu-like elder things from beyond the depths of the seas.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I want Legendary encounters to be special. Maybe once per session (we usually play for 6 hours once a month or so).

But maybe even the mini-bosses should be Legendary, especially against 6 PCs. Something to balance the action economy.

The 6th level wizard I put against the PCs was an enchantment specialist, so he had 3 different Reactions:

1. 6th level Enchantment ability (re-direct attack)
2. Shield
3. Counterspell

He used Counterspell against the 2nd of 6 PCs. He used Lucky in round 1 to undo a PC crit--with Guiding Bolt!

Maybe the big NPCs should get more Reactions? And definitely more hit points. I tried building him like a PC (which I now know is a Huge Mistake). Just now I realized I was putting 6 HD against 18 HD, and d6s at that!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Yeah, it sounds like I need to up my minion game.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I just ran my group through a haunted house-style "dungeon" to get the party from 1st to 3rd. At 1st level, making encounter XP add up to 1.5 what a party of 4 could handle worked out OK, but this deteriorated at levels 2 and 3. It got really swingy and inconsistent.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Hi!

I am DMing a

party of six:

Human rogue (swashbuckler, pistol and dagger)
Human cleric1 /sorcerer 2 (homebrew shadowmage)
Tiefling warlock (clockwork patron)
Halfling cleric (tempest, rapier and shield)
Wood Elf monk (4 elements)
Eladrin fighter 1/wizard 2 (homebrew brontomancer)

and they don't really have any tanks (no dedicated d10 or d12 melee types).

One player mentioned hiring a couple fighters to join the crew of their newly acquired airship (they're level 3).

6 vs. 1 is proving to be challenging when it comes to dealing with the action economy disparity. They took out a level 6 wizard in round (even though the wizard got a surprise round, but lost initiative).

I'm concerned about balancing encounters. 8 vs. 1 action economy is horrible. Also, using higher CR critters in 5th Edition can lead to lots of one-shot kills of PCs, which I want to avoid. I know several lower CR critters is the way to go, but what's the best way to do it?

One CR appropriate with a bunch of minions? A couple CR appropriates? A bunch of lower CRs? I know mixing up types of encounters is ideal.

I want to challenge my PCs without killing them. Using CR +1 or +2 can be really swingy.

Any guidance?

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I DO like the idea of less rolls. It really simplifies things and prevents the corner-cases where it doesn't recharge during a fight.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I like Pushing Assault. It lets you trade out the extra damage from Power Attack to move your opponent back 5 feet (10 feet on a crit). That, combined with Stand Still and a high-threat range weapon (fauchard or scimitar, etc.) and a five foot step, can keep opponents back 10 feet, which prevents them from 5-foot stepping and full attacking you. Lunge also helps with this.

If you just want to make 1 big attack instead of multiple smaller attacks, Vital Strike with a two-handed weapon is an option. With a greatsword, you could do 4d6+6 (4d6+12 with Power Attack) on a hit; but you could get 2d6+6 PLUS 2d6+6 (or 2d6+12 PLUS 2d6+12) if you hit with both iterative attacks...

Both Lunge and Vital Strike require +6 BAB, which you just got.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Instruments of the Bards and/or a unique staff would be nice for a bard. Lyre of building, horn of blasting, horn of berserker summoning (which can then benefit from bardic music!), etc.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Yeah, Lore Bards sound like a ton of fun!

A half-elf one can get 10 skill proficiencies, and an alternate human with the Skilled feat can get 12!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

It won't get Extra Attacks or Sneak Attack damage, so its damage output might not be up to snuff. But with a decent Con, Arcane Ward, and Toughness, it will have tank-like hit points. And with Medium Armor, a decent Dex, and access to the shield spell, AC should be OK.

But it should be able to "nova" by casting spells.

I think it might be a fun 5th or 6th member of a well-balanced party. Also, I've played in a "well-balanced group" where our blaster was a divination specialist, and it worked out OK.

I also want to try a Wood Elf Circle of the Moon Druid battlefield controller/wildshaper, a Drow or Tiefling Bard-Lock de-buffer, and a Wood Elf Monk speed freak.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I've pretty much switched all the way over to 5th Edition, so my PF rules knowledge is so-so nowadays.

I want to play a mountain dwarf abjurer gish. Starting out in Medium Armor and Axe, then relying on shocking grasp after 5th level, probably. I would primarily use shield, misty step, counterspell and want to take Toughness, War Caster, and maybe even Resilient (Con). It really depends on how well I roll. I had a PF dwarf barbarian 1/magus 6 that was fun.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

5th Edition has a counterspell spell that is cast as a reaction (PF immediate action) that is 3rd level and automatically cancels out a spell of 3rd level or lower. If the spell to be canceled is 4th or higher, you make a check, or use an appropriately higher spell slot to cancel it out. It's really fun and easy. High level abjuration wizards get a bonus on the check if they don't want to use a higher level slot.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Rapier, dagger, dart, or bow. Maybe spear or pike? Depends on which fey is their patron. Redcap, Wild Hunt, Pixie, Nymph?

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Arutema wrote:
SmiloDan wrote:

I think monk evasion only works if you are not wearing armor.

Rogue evasion works in light armor.

So, it really depends on whether or not if you plan on wearing armor.

Depending on your build, take the Scaled Fist archetype from Legacy of Dragons for your monk levels. You now have Cha instead of Wis to AC when unarmored.

If that's an option, choose that! +2 to Fort and Will for the win!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

We also finished at 13th level, not 16th or whatever the AP usually ends up at. But CRs and levels are really different in 5th Edition too.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Are you asking how to include narratives that the PCs can use to learn about the setting's past?

Journals, histories, and haunts might work.

If you want the PCs to have a mechanical reason to search them out, you might need to have puzzles that can only be solved using in-game information. Like the portal will only open if you type in the Black Knight's middle name.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I think monk evasion only works if you are not wearing armor.
Rogue evasion works in light armor.

So, it really depends on whether or not if you plan on wearing armor.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

5th Edition is a different system, but we had some pretty optimized PCs. The ranger archer was crazy powerful. The wizard was really powerful. The rogue was pretty good. The fighter (eldritch knight) originally tried to be a fighter/thief/magic-user of yore (fighter eldritch knight/rogue arcane trickster/wizard evoker), but got to be rebuilt as a fighter (eldritch knight) with the Criminal background. His first version just had way too many Bonus Action options, especially since he was a two weapon fighter. The barbarian was able to suck up a ton of damage, but wasn't a damage-dealing powerhouse, mostly because he got a sub-optimal greatclub of haste. My cleric was really good at what he did: buffing and healing and drawing attacks, but I think I kind of suffered a bit by taking the Standard Array (or at least distributing it wrong); I eventually got some good gear that helped, plus ability boosting "feats."

But even being able to heal twice a round sometimes, a lot of PCs ended up at 0 hp.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I just wish the PC minis were more colorful. For NPC/monsters, I use pawns from Clue and Master Detective Clue. It's easier to say "the red one" instead of the "the orc with the falchion in both hands."

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Dark Immortal wrote:
I will check Sela out when I am home. But I will say that I had an idea for a counterspeller who used their standard to counter but was able to participate in some other way despite that. Wish I could remember what I had up my sleeve.

Going druid and using your animal companion and/or summoned nature allies to fight while you ready an action to dispel using Improved Counterspell? ;-)

It's both a fun and powerful option AND makes your "table time" more efficient so everyone else gets their turn in a timely manner.

I once played a druid and fortunately I wrote down a separate character sheet for my animal companion and pre-statted both my common summons and wildshapes for efficiency.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

My group does theater of the mind for simple combats, but when I DM, there ARE NO simple combats! ;-)

Mapping is probably my favorite part of D&D. I like drawing them, I like looking at them, I like fighting and exploring on a map. I make continent maps, local maps, city maps, and dungeon maps (dungeon meaning any bounded interior space: haunted houses, actual dungeons, caves, topiary mazes, castles, clock towers, wizard towers, watch towers, ships, tombs, temples, etc. etc. But not yucky sewers!).

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

It just seemed lazy to me. It's a mapped-based game (even if it's supposedly "optional"), so their maps should at least be insightful if they're not going to be useable.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

In our 5th Ed. conversion of RotRL, we almost always had someone drop to 0 in every fight. My dward cleric died-died twice; once he got rezzed by scroll from a local church, the other time the PCs bargained with a balor-succubus to get me rezzed. Which is ironic, since my guy was the guy designed to heal and rez everyone.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Is there a way to learn shillelagh without being a caster? Is it worth taking 4 or 6 levels of ranger for those spell slots?

I think slayer would be fun. Use your Ranger Combat Style talents to get Two-Weapon Fighting stuff, and use your regular feats for Power Attack and other Two-Handed Fighting Stuff--maybe even Weapon Focus. And you can use Sneak Attack.

I once played a 3.5 monk (Vow of Poverty ridiculousness) that used 2-handed Power Attack with his quarterstaff to fight earth elementals with DR 5/- or 10/-. It can be a really important way to overcome DR, especially if your "simple piece of wood" is an actual simple piece of wood and not magical at all.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I played a 3.5 elf druid with the Improved Counterspell feat. It was fun. I could trade flamestrikes for enemy fireballs and lightning bolts.

Even more importantly, while your PC is standing around, twiddling your thumbs waiting for someone to cast a spell, your animal companion and summoned nature allies are doing the active thing, fighting crime and monsters whose lairs you've invaded. When not fighting spellchuckers, you can wildshape and do melee, chuck spells of your own, heal, buff, etc.

I'm sure there are lots of shiny new feats and classes and archetypes that also do the counterspell thing.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I've finally gotten around to reading the fluff bits.

The fluff is pretty good.

But the maps are horrible! Are they just filler? They're not very interesting. Pretty much all of the Superstar maps have been better, and supposedly WotC hired a professional cartographer for these. Or at least used some extra maps a professional cartographer had lying around.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Too bad you can't multiclass as a Champion/Battlemaster and get Improved Critical applied to those Battlemaster extra damage dice....

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Maybe an Evangelist cleric focusing on summoning? You summon, your druid friend summons, and then you buff--affecting you, the druid, his companion, the rogue and ranger, and all your summoned critters! :-D

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Tell him a good GM runs a campaign where everyone is having fun. If at least 2 players (plus the GM!) are not having fun, changes need to be made. A good GM is flexible and follows the players' leads.

Completing a Path shouldn't be a Feat of Strength. This isn't Festivus. If you all don't like the Path, you all don't like the Path and should play a different one.

It's supposed to be a fun hobby, not powering through mind-numbing paperwork.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

memorax wrote:
I too recommend the Parasdol Protecterate. Though at one point the author has the character act in such a way to either want to make you keep reading or give up on the series. It's sort of out of character imo.

The Parasol Protectorate is one of my all time favorite series. Definitely my favorite series from this decade. It's really fun, it's flippin' hilarious at times, but it's (usually) not too silly. There are also stakes and consequences. I really like the main characters.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

My Life cleric (in 5th Ed.) was often overwhelmed with healing. But I was the only healer in a party of 6 (the ranger helped a little....mostly healing me from 0 so I could heal everyone else....).

I know! I know! You're not supposed to do in-combat healing, but sometimes you really really have to! It really depends on encounter design and which version you're playing.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Oh yeah! Use Combat Maneuvers against them! Disarm, trip, bull rush, sunder, etc.!

Maybe play a game of keep away with the McGuffin?

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Those are some pretty cool Circles.

I think Hidden Paths should recharge (5-6) on a d6 like other intermittent abilities. No need to re-invent the wheel or use 3.5's version of breath weapon recharging.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Make it a madcap comedic action adventure. Make it fun and kind of silly.

Also, use non-lethal damage. Have them fall 10 feet into a pile of hay, for 1d4 non-lethal damage--and an opportunity to rest for an hour to regain hit points. Arm that skeleton I posted about before with a sap or a whip.

Your PCs are going to be very fragile, so you're going to have to be really smart about what you challenge them with.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Karse wrote:
SmiloDan : Is there a way to get enlarge with just a single bloodrager level? I mean Abyssal have an ability like that but its Level 4.

My bad. I forgot they don't get spells until level 4.

If you're willing to take the hit to BAB, maybe go Magus or Growth sub-domain Cleric?

Or just get potions. You're level 10, so you can afford them, or a wand for an ally to use on you, or maybe even take Leadership and get a crafting wizard cohort.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

avr wrote:
I don't think Prudence (and successors) match the liveliness of Soulless (etc.) The Laundry books get a lot more polished after the first one though.

I'm less than halfway through Prudence and it seems a lot like Soulless: The Next Generation. The characters are more tepid than the original series. Again, I'm only half-way through, but it seems like she gave the main character a special power, then immediately put her in an environment where she couldn't use it. It's like putting Aquaman in the middle of the Sahara or Magneto in a Stone Age society.

I like all the characters, but I'm not over the moon about any of them. I'm LOLing a lot less than during the Parasol Protectorate or the Finishing School series. None of the characters seem to be pumped up to 11.

So far, it's really good, but not perfect.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

With a 15-20 critical threat range, Critical Feats are probably something to invest in. They can add lots of fun de-buffing effects to your targets.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I think it's an excellent idea.

It's quick and easy and super fair and balanced.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Well, since a rat can kill a commoner, that's pretty much the reason why PCs usually start out as adventurers, not commoners. Remember, an all commoner party is only going to have characters that are differentiated from each other by their racial abilities and ability scores. They're going to all have the same BAB (+0), saving throws (all bad: +0, +0, +0), 6 hit points (possibly plus Con and/or Toughness), no class abilities, no spells, no skills of note, no weapons, and no armor.

Basically it's going to be a party full of Xanders, with no Buffies or Willows or even Ozes or Cordelias.

But if you insist on making your players play characters with no interesting character abilities maybe consider environmental encounters.

Maybe 1 rat is especially elusive, so they have to search an old haunted house, with creaky doors, weakened floors, firetraps, puzzles of some sort, sliding stair traps, etc.

Have REALLY low DCs for stuff. Like 5 or 8 or 10 or MAYBE 12.

Maybe a skeleton in the closet with a broken club (-1 to hit, 1d6-3 for damage).

Maybe lots of "Home Alone" style booby traps? Traps that don't cause damage but inflict minor conditions, like dazzled, fatigued, shaken, sickened, poison doing minor ability damage--and not Con!, etc. They're going to be significant since commoners suck enough already.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

We did it in a 5th Edition conversion, but we found tanks and blasters really useful.

It looks like your frontliners are the druid and animal companion. And you're lacking a bit of healing and condition removal.

Maybe go paladin?

Or maybe a version of shaman or oracle with an animal companion?

What our 5th Edition party was in RotRL:

My cleric of Life dwarf
A human divination wizard blaster
An elf rogue (arcane trickster) archer/skirmisher
A human ranger (hunter) archer
A half-orc barbarian (berserker)
A human two-weapon wielding fighter (eldritch knight)

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Produce flame can be fun, especially when combined with Rapid Shot.

I also like combining flamestrike with the Improved Counterspell feat. It knocks out fireballs and lightning bolts. And unlike other spellcasters, Improved Counterspell isn't as boring and passive as it can be because you'll have an animal companion and/or summoned beasties to do the more active stuff on your turn.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Pushing Assault can be really useful if you crit; you move the target 10 feet back, so they cannot 5 foot step back into place. This can reduce a Full Attack to a single attack. Especially with Lunge.

And you'll be critting on 15-20 with an Improved Critical Fauchard.

So you got that going for you. Which is nice.

Shield of Swings might be useful.

Iron Will and Improved Iron Will are always useful for fighter-types.

You can still use Stand Still with your spiked gauntlets.

Is at least 1 level of bloodrager worth it to get enlarger person?

Do you have the Charisma to get Eldritch Heritage?

Blind-Fight is really useful in the clutch. Especially if you don't have a way to see invisible.

Is your party set up in such a way you could benefit from Teamwork Feats?

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
The next Laundry book, The Jennifer Morgue, is the best of the lot, though the others are very enjoyable as well.

I'll definitely check it out. :-)

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I just finished The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross. It was about a hacker working for a secret branch of British Intelligence that deals with occult mathematics summoning eldritch horrors from other universes. But mostly it's about the bureaucracy and paperwork the agent has to deal with.

And there's a really great afterword comparing Cold War spy thrillers with Cthuluesque horror tales. Both types of stories are about seeking out knowledge about a huge, alien, and hostile Other. Both types of Other present existential threats: Cold War era nuclear obliteration and Elder Great One world-rending madness. The main difference is that literary spies often succeed at saving the world, and heroes of horror seldom succeed, and when they do, it's at great personal cost.

I'm about to start Prudence by Gail Carriger. More steampunk comedy of manners! :-D

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

The Guns of the South by Harry Turtledove.

(1992) science fiction/alternate history — The Confederate army is supplied with AK-47s by time travelling members of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging from the year 2014 and win the Civil War in 1864.

EDIT:

Aaron Bitman: Same author!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Is the cavalier going to have a flying mount? Their charges can be pretty devastating.

I would probably use some encounters that have 3 CR 16-19 critters. One to die in round 1 due to nova, one to die in round 2 when it gets full attacked by horse & rider, and one to die in round 3 after doing some cool things to the PCs.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Does your party have a bard or flutist? Or even a flute? Or a way to make a flute?

At level 16 to 18, PCs can just Quicken Dim Door across the room....

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Have them meet the inquisitor, have a short trial, get innocent.

Or do trial by combat.

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