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Smoking Eye Template. Too Weak?


Shackled City Adventure Path

Andoran

My party is just now beginning Test of the Smoking Eye and I have been thinking that the template seems a little weak. I considered increasing it to reflect the power level displayed by other +1 templates. I was looking for some suggestions, or perhaps logic, for either making it a bit more powerful or why +1 is appropriate.

I downloaded the variant Smoking Eye template from theRPGenius.com but it is not quite what I would like. Input anyone?


EATERoftheDEAD wrote:

My party is just now beginning Test of the Smoking Eye and I have been thinking that the template seems a little weak. I considered increasing it to reflect the power level displayed by other +1 templates. I was looking for some suggestions, or perhaps logic, for either making it a bit more powerful or why +1 is appropriate.

I downloaded the variant Smoking Eye template from theRPGenius.com but it is not quite what I would like. Input anyone?

Is there anything wrong with leaving it as is and removing the +1?

Eric


Eric Campion wrote:
Is there anything wrong with leaving it as is and removing the +1?

That's exactly what i did in my game, used the template without a level adjustment. I wanted the character 'wearing' the Smoking Eye to think of it as a bit of a burden or taint, but not to actually burden or taint them with a mechanical game disadvantage.

Andoran

I hadn't considered removing the level adjust. I suppose I could do that but I would like to beef it up a bit and put it on par with other +1 templates so that there is some meat to it.

My logic is that the test not an easy thing to accomplish so the sign should be worth while somewhat. Why else would Sir Alek put such emphasis on acquiring it to save Cauldron? Besides backstory about Adimarchus the entire chapter doesn't do much. I'd like to make the template worth getting in some way.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Looking at the template description, I'd say it's +1 LA because it adds +1 to attack rolls, +1 to caster level, and +1 to saving throws, which is pretty much like gaining a level (without the additional hit points), anyway. Also, the character is treated as either Good or Evil, whichever is more advantageous, against Good or Evil spells. The Lie in State ability, while thematically appropriate, is a bit of a wash by the time a character will probably gain the template (11th-12th level) with raise dead having been available since 9th level and resurrection becoming available at 13th.


The power of the template is not that important. I think its power is fine as written. Don't forget that only one of the PCs receives it, so making it too powerful would be a little dishonest to the other players.

Of course, the real power of the template is its possible control over the plane of Occipitus. This control requires the character to be powerful enough, though, so it is something that can only manifest in the highest levels of the campaign. At that time you are free to do something with it, of course.

I'll tell you what I did in my campaign:

After the PCs defeat Dyr'ryd, Adimarchus appears on the Prime Material plane. He kills the PC with the template, while the others escape. The dead PC comes back to life on Occipitus, where he witnesses legions of demons trying to step through a magical portal to invade the Prime. Saureya, the fallen angel, approaches him and tells him that only the 'Lord' of this domain can stop them.

The 'invisible' symbol of the eye can now be seen clearly. With an extreme effort of concentration the PC succeeds in controling the plane. He can close the portal with the power of his mind and tears open the ground which swallows up all the demons.

Saureya, who helped Adimarchus build the original three tests, tells the PCs he secretly constructed a fourth test, one that even Adimarchus did not know about. It is the possibility to rescue the small spark of hope for redemption that still exists in Adimarchus' mind. To do that, the PCs will have to get into Adimarchus' head.

By turning the column of fire above the huge central skull (a feat that is again accomplished by the PC with the template), the PCs open the way into Adimarchus' twisted mind. There they complete the final test by confronting different aspects of the prince's persona. When they finally defeat the evil side of the Prince of Madness, the PCs are returned to Occipitus, where the PC with the template now realises he can lift this dimension back into Celestia.

Anyway, I felt that this 'power' of the Smoking Eye template was much more interesting storywise than any other stat influencing bonuses.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
MrVergee wrote:
a very cool end to this campaign

That's one hell of an idea. My only regret is that you haven't written it up a lot earlier. It would have been a great ending to my own campaign.

The template is pretty powerfull as written. +1 caster level, +1 on attacks, +1 on all saves and +1 AC? It's totaly worth the +1 level adjustment. If you want to make it even more accessible to spellcaster you could replace the +1 Caster level to +1 level in caster's class. However, for most of the martial and spellcasting classes it's ok as written.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Yeah; since the template essentially adds most of the effects you'd get from gaining a level, plus a few other bonuses, that's why we gave it a +1 LA. It might be boring because it doesn't do a lot, but I wouldn't call it too weak.

I didn't want to say it was +0 LA because that basically gives the one character who gets it a "free bonus" over the others, and by giving it a +1 LA you don't have the appearance of GM Favoritism.

That said... the higher level you get, the more heinous a +1 LA starts to feel. Honestly, I think that the Level Adjustment system gets more and more broken the higher level you get, especially in a case where the race or template that's giving the Level Adjustment doesn't increase in power as well. If you can get away with simply removing the LA and not making the other players jealous, go for it! One way you might be able to offset that jealousy is to start handing out magic items that are specifically awesome for the non-smoking eye characters, perhaps?


James Jacobs wrote:


That said... the higher level you get, the more heinous a +1 LA starts to feel. Honestly, I think that the Level Adjustment system gets more and more broken the higher level you get, especially in a case where the race or template that's giving the Level Adjustment doesn't increase in power as well.

This means that you guys fixed all of this with the new rules, right? Riiiight? *waves a sharpened stick menacingly*


Chef's Slaad wrote:
The template is pretty powerfull as written. +1 caster level, +1 on attacks, +1 on all saves and +1 AC? It's totaly worth the +1 level adjustment.

Suppose you had a prestige class that gave you +1 to stuff you'd probably get +1 in anyways, but with no hit points or spells or useful class features. That would be pretty much the worst prestige class of all time.

Qadira

I think the +1LA will seem a small price to pay, once the Blasphemies start flying...

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Jam412 wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:


That said... the higher level you get, the more heinous a +1 LA starts to feel. Honestly, I think that the Level Adjustment system gets more and more broken the higher level you get, especially in a case where the race or template that's giving the Level Adjustment doesn't increase in power as well.
This means that you guys fixed all of this with the new rules, right? Riiiight? *waves a sharpened stick menacingly*

Not really in the Core Rules, no. We provide some advice, but this isn't something that the core PF RPG rules should do anyway. These rules are about providing the baseline of play, not how to alter that baseline.

There'll still be some discussion of it, but hard and fast rules for how to play races who are more powerful than the core races as PCs will have to wait for another book. (Although that wait might not be that long at all...)


James Jacobs wrote:
(Although that wait might not be that long at all...)

Well, I've waited 9 years, I don't think that a little longer is gonna hurt.

Andoran

When I looked at the template it seemed a little flat to me. I compared it against other +1 LA templates and saw it offered comparatively little. Given the explanation, I completely understand why it is a +1 but I still think it's a tad weak when compared to other +1 templates. Of course, I'm running 3.5 and this module was written 3.0. I'm not sure if that factors into it or not.

To beef it up a teeny bit I'm considering all of the listed bonuses as well as a +1 Wis and +1 Cha. This could reflect the subtle nudge toward divinity that ruling a demiplane like Occipitus implies.


I'm running The Fiery Sanctum now, and there's another bonus in there. A room where the character with the template gets a free Wish.

That ain't just whistlin' Dixie, and it shows what's possible when you have a campaign-specific template or prestige class.

Andoran

dodo wrote:

I'm running The Fiery Sanctum now, and there's another bonus in there. A room where the character with the template gets a free Wish.

That ain't just whistlin' Dixie, and it shows what's possible when you have a campaign-specific template or prestige class.

Well cripes, I guess that is worth it after all.


Yeah, I am not too impressed with +1 to various things. It may add up to +1 LA, but it's boring.

I like the idea from the RP genius version where characters get additional bonuses while on Occipitus. I plan to give the character the ability to cast 0-level spells at will -- a hint of divinity.

I plan to change the bonuses for the template, but I'm going to wait to see which character gets the template (and whether by self- or other-sacrifice) before I design it.

Andoran

I gave it to my players today and ended up not changing it. I didn't apply the level adjustment and no one seemed to notice. The bonuses aren't anything massive so I kept it as is for the purposes of game balance, I have a party of gestalt so I didn't want anything that blew the power curve.


You could just give the person with the template enough XP to advance one level.

But that's not what I did. Occipitus is rooting for the PC. Occipitus is also rooting for anyone else with the template (namely, Nabthataron, who in Highlander Kurgan-style is killing off everyone else who has the template. "There can be only one!" [like there should have been only one movie; couldn't they have followed their own tag-line, but that's another rant])

ANYWAY, every so often Vanya (elf of the Smoking Eye) rolls a 20 to hit on some pud-knucker who isn't worth a crit. I say, "You have a sense of deja vu, roll again." It doesn't confirm a crit, it becomes a regular hit.

Later on, fighting someone worth it, a cohort as opposed to a minion or lackey, or even the BBEG him/herself, Vanya will roll a regular hit, to which I'll say, "You have a sense of deja vu, roll again." After she rolls, I reach over and change whatever she's rolled to a 20.

Occipitus has a will of its own and is exerting it in this way to help the PC. It only took this happening once to realize the connection, but they think its some blessing from Nidrama; they don't know it comes from Occipitus.

The other party members don't mind. For one thing, they don't know the mechanic so they're leary of getting jealous because it might, somehow, also be a bad thing. For another, it helps them out in big fights, too, so they're happy. It doesn't happen every time, it is a bit chaotic, just like Occipitus itself.

Andoran

I actually had written into my notes that if the party, as a whole, decided to sacrifice Alakast, whom I made a set of legacy items so everyone had a taste of his awesomeness, than the whole party would get it. This is precisely what they did so they all got the template.

I also had them talk to Sureya afterward he talked about some folks that came through recently and also got it. The Cagewrights. The only people who have passed it since it's creation. After they went through Sureya went out to find a suitable opposition power. He wants Occipitus to become good or at least neutral so allowing a group of evil people to be the only ones was unacceptable.

Now the party is geared up to become the arch nemesis of the BBEG group. The angels are backing them, and the demons, in the form of Nabtatoron and his host, are backing the Cagewrights. The stage is set for a climactic showdown now and the party is moving to tear apart the organization from the ground up. Thankfully the last few adventures are written with this approach in mind.

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