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Is this domain power as good as it sounds?


Advice


Aura of Chaos (Su): At 8th level, you can surround yourself with a field wild energies. These energies manifest as a 30-foot aura of chaos for a number of rounds per day equal to your cleric level. All enemies within this aura must declare one type of action at the start of their turn (attack, cast a spell, move, use an item, or activate a special ability) and make a Will save. Creatures that fail the Will save must take an action other than their declared action. If they succeed, they must take the declared action. Creatures cannot select actions that they cannot perform.

What are peoples opinions on this domain power, not the sub-par spells that come with the domain, just simply this domain power. Is it as good as it sounds? Seems to be pretty strong if they fail there Will save, and with a scaling save like most Domain powers this might not be too shabby at all.


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Great against animals and other big dumb bruisers (usually their weak save too)! Worthless against anything else of CR 8 or higher! Well, not worthless, just not that valuable. Too many things have SLAs or special attacks and I'm pretty sure the percentage goes up the higher in CR you go. So even if it fails the save it'll have a backup. And the limited range means the ones you want to shut down most (pure spellcasters) are probably not in range.

So, great against animals and other melee bruisers, not so much against everything else.


Bob Bob Bob wrote:

Great against animals and other big dumb bruisers (usually their weak save too)! Worthless against anything else of CR 8 or higher! Well, not worthless, just not that valuable. Too many things have SLAs or special attacks and I'm pretty sure the percentage goes up the higher in CR you go. So even if it fails the save it'll have a backup. And the limited range means the ones you want to shut down most (pure spellcasters) are probably not in range.

So, great against animals and other melee bruisers, not so much against everything else.

Wouldn't it help taking out its best option (the option it selects)? If say the enemy has 5 attacks and you now take away that option, he is left with casting a spell (which hopefully is worse).


You can willingly fail a save, so wouldn't enemies select something they don't want to do, fail the save and act however they wish?


Gallant Armor wrote:
You can willingly fail a save, so wouldn't enemies select something they don't want to do, fail the save and act however they wish?

I read that you can't do that when facing a SU ability on an old thread?


If the GM is metagaming against you he could do what Gallant Armor suggest, but in that case you have other issues.

I also agree with the other poster about weak will saves. Casters will likely make the save and so will monsters with stronger saves unless you are a cleric who really maxes out charisma. Of course you could take ability focus to raise the DC by 2, but whether or not it's worth it depends on how high the DC is.

Also you can fail any save willingly.

SU's generally follow the same rules as spell except where otherwise stated. That is why SU's also need line of effect. Otherwise someone could do terrible things to you from the other side of a brick wall.


I don't think it would be metagaming as long as the enemies make a knowlege check to figure out the effect, or a Wis check if used more than once on the same enemies.

Metagaming would be to include enemies that are likely to make the checks in order to foil the ability.

Liberty's Edge

Could be powerful; would definitely be a pain for the GM to keep track of.


Gallant Armor wrote:

I don't think it would be metagaming as long as the enemies make a knowlege check to figure out the effect, or a Wis check if used more than once on the same enemies.

Metagaming would be to include enemies that are likely to make the checks in order to foil the ability.

If the monster really doesnt intend to <insert action> then that's not his real choice. It is the GM announcing that as a choice so he can do what he really wants. In game it is like lying to the spell so you can do what you want, however the intent of the spell is for you to not do what you really want to do.

If the spell was just made for you not do what you said you would do then saying "I will do X" would make sense in order to avoid the effects of the spell. However what you say, and what you actually intend can be to very different things.

They should have said that you must state your actual intention since players can also try to do the same thing.

Way to game the system: State an action you don't want to take, and fail the save on purpose just to game the system. Then you can do whatever you want if the idea is that you don't have to state your true intention.


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All it says is, "All enemies within this aura must declare one type of action at the start of their turn... and make a Will save."

It doesn't says anything about it being an action you want to take.

And the intent of the effect of an Aura of Chaos isn't entirely obvious.

And it's not obvious how easy it is for a victim to understand the nature of the effect.

Without the ability to fail the save on purpose, it would be a reasonable option that you could choose something you don't want to do and hope to fail. (The "If they succeed, they must take the declared action" clause suggests to me that this kind of gamble is intended. Why would they force you to do something after you've passed a Will save unless they were trying to account for the possibility of you selecting something you don't want to do?)

It's a bit of a mess, really.


This is just a crappy worded ability that messages too much open to interpretation. I would simply avoid this power.


Atalius wrote:
Bob Bob Bob wrote:

Great against animals and other big dumb bruisers (usually their weak save too)! Worthless against anything else of CR 8 or higher! Well, not worthless, just not that valuable. Too many things have SLAs or special attacks and I'm pretty sure the percentage goes up the higher in CR you go. So even if it fails the save it'll have a backup. And the limited range means the ones you want to shut down most (pure spellcasters) are probably not in range.

So, great against animals and other melee bruisers, not so much against everything else.

Wouldn't it help taking out its best option (the option it selects)? If say the enemy has 5 attacks and you now take away that option, he is left with casting a spell (which hopefully is worse).

The problem is that if it doesn't think it'll make the save it can always select that backup attack instead. Then if it fails the save it does what it really wants. If it succeeds it's forced to do its backup action. Which, if that backup is "cast a spell", lets it pick from half a dozen SLAs (seriously, @#$%ing everything above a certain CR gets multiple SLAs). What it would take to identify the effect or understand how it works is probably a GM call but hopefully we can all agree that the victim of said aura would know what's going on by the second round, at least. And as others have said, clearly some gaming of the system is intended (otherwise it wouldn't say you must take the action you pick and forbid you from picking actions you can't do).

Also I'm not sure how strict the "action" requirement is. Because if "move" just means to change squares then a 5-foot step would satisfy it. Since this is basically a melee range ability that would let a melee bruiser choose "move" and then either 5-foot step and full attack or just full attack.


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Claxon wrote:
This is just a crappy worded ability that messages too much open to interpretation. I would simply avoid this power.

I don't know what I was trying to say here exactly, but this is what I get for trying to type a response on my phone.

Anyways, the gist is that the wording of this ability is very poor but also the general design too. By metagaming you can definitely just say you will do something you don't want to do and then purposefully fail so you can do whatever you want besides that.

The ability should have been something more like:

Quote:

On a failed save the affected individual performs 1 of the following actions:

1) Attack with a weapon (either ranged or melee, including unarmed strikes, even if you would provoke an AoO for doing so)
2) Cast a spell
3) Use an item in hand (or attempt to retrieve one)
4) Activate a supernatural or SLA ability

Roll a d4 to decide. The target perform the specified action, or takes actions that would enable them to perform the action as needed during their turn. If a target isn't able to perform a type of action (cast a spell or use a SU or SLA) then reroll.


Ahh, would be nice to get this domain power reworded. Its a decent enough domain.


The easiest way to fix it would be to revise the clauses on which it functions.

The ability would kick in when an enemy performs an action, with them making a Will Save, failure resulting in the action being revoked and unable to be performed that round. This can cut out the metagaming and also provides the intended function of making enemies not in full control of their actions, without anything supremely powerful.


I'm not sure I get it. If your action is revoked, do you lose your standard action? If so, that would be pretty similar to "make a Will save every round or be nauseated".

And if not, what happens if you choose an action you don't care about and then fail your Will save on purpose?


Matthew Downie wrote:

I'm not sure I get it. If your action is revoked, do you lose your standard action? If so, that would be pretty similar to "make a Will save every round or be nauseated".

And if not, what happens if you choose an action you don't care about and then fail your Will save on purpose?

I think his idea was each action you try, so you want to move, failed your save, you still have your action but now can't move with it. Want to attack, well now you can't. Want to cast a spell, nope. want to do a SLA okay you passed that time. you cast the sla this turn.


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Matthew Downie wrote:

I'm not sure I get it. If your action is revoked, do you lose your standard action? If so, that would be pretty similar to "make a Will save every round or be nauseated".

And if not, what happens if you choose an action you don't care about and then fail your Will save on purpose?

The point behind the change is that there is no choice to be had. The first action an enemy takes requires a Will Save or they are unable to perform that action for that turn. (No actions are lost, just the action type is.)

This cuts out the metagaming, has useful ramifications, and isn't overbearingly powerful. Smart enemies might understand the effect and plan around it, which is fine. But it would take a round or two to calculate this, and if the Cleric can turn it on or off by his whim, it can still baffle even smart enemies.


Matthew Downie wrote:

I'm not sure I get it. If your action is revoked, do you lose your standard action? If so, that would be pretty similar to "make a Will save every round or be nauseated".

And if not, what happens if you choose an action you don't care about and then fail your Will save on purpose?

Yeah, that's the problem the rest of us are pointing out. you can metagame your way out of the effect by choosing an action you don't care about and choosing to fail.

The spell as written doesn't cause you to lose any of your action types (standard, move, swift, etc) it just says you must do X action (the one you chose) if you succeed at a will save, or you can't do X action if you fail and instead must do something else.


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The simplest way around that is to just house away the ability to choose to fail the saving throw.


Great idea Darksol


blahpers wrote:
The simplest way around that is to just house away the ability to choose to fail the saving throw.

This too. It really makes characters have to think about what they want to do.


Not in my opinion. The best way is for the ability to follow the format of most other abilities, in that if you save successfully you're unaffected, and if you're not then a penalty of some sort is applied.

Really, this should work like the confusion spell, but with a slightly different effects table.


Claxon wrote:

Not in my opinion. The best way is for the ability to follow the format of most other abilities, in that if you save successfully you're unaffected, and if you're not then a penalty of some sort is applied.

Really, this should work like the confusion spell, but with a slightly different effects table.

It does follow the format. If you're in the area and perform an action, you make a save, with consequences for failure.

As for Confusion, I believe that's covered in other domains, like Madness or Trickery.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Confusion is much more powerful than this effect, as with this you still get to choose what else you do even on a failed save.

A good way to cheesily defend against this, at least for a lot of classes and monsters, is to declare "activate a special ability" with the intent to use something that's a swift or free action. Even if you fail, you still get to attack/cast spells/do nearly your whole normal turn.


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ryric wrote:

Confusion is much more powerful than this effect, as with this you still get to choose what else you do even on a failed save.

A good way to cheesily defend against this, at least for a lot of classes and monsters, is to declare "activate a special ability" with the intent to use something that's a swift or free action. Even if you fail, you still get to attack/cast spells/do nearly your whole normal turn.

Denying an enemy one kind of action, even if only a Swift Action, is still pretty nice depending on the effect being potentially negated. This can range from Lay On Hands to Quickened Spells.

The only way you can cheese it is by taking an action that is purposefully useless, of which there aren't many, and if you try to fake the saving throw, you may end up taking an action you normally wouldn't make.

Also consider that this is merely one piece of a puzzle; I imagine a Cleric isn't just going to sit there and simply run the domain power, he will have other tools at his disposal that will effectively control what his enemies do on the battlefield.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
The point behind the change is that there is no choice to be had. The first action an enemy takes requires a Will Save or they are unable to perform that action for that turn. (No actions are lost, just the action type is.)

That's still a choice - the type of action you try to do first. And you can still try to do something you don't want and then fail the save on purpose. That seems mechanically identical to the ability as written, although it probably saves on explanations.

(Unless you also have to make a Will save against the second type of action you attempt, and so on, until you succeed at one.)


Matthew Downie wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
The point behind the change is that there is no choice to be had. The first action an enemy takes requires a Will Save or they are unable to perform that action for that turn. (No actions are lost, just the action type is.)

That's still a choice - the type of action you try to do first. And you can still try to do something you don't want and then fail the save on purpose. That seems mechanically identical to the ability as written, although it probably saves on explanations.

(Unless you also have to make a Will save against the second type of action you attempt, and so on, until you succeed at one.)

Like I said, denying the option to purposefully fail a saving throw would be the other component in making the ability function as intended (and is something that I would fully enforce as a GM). Chaotic Energies making you take actions you don't want to take, or being forced to take other, less desirable actions for some unfoundable reason, is precisely what the ability is meant to do, and I can easily say those Chaotic Energies obstruct your ability to choose to fail the saving throw.

When the mechanics don't match up with the ability's intended function, changes need to be made to reflect that.

(This would be better for a Fear domain of some kind, and would function as a Fear and Mind-affecting effect if that was the case.)

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
ryric wrote:

Confusion is much more powerful than this effect, as with this you still get to choose what else you do even on a failed save.

A good way to cheesily defend against this, at least for a lot of classes and monsters, is to declare "activate a special ability" with the intent to use something that's a swift or free action. Even if you fail, you still get to attack/cast spells/do nearly your whole normal turn.

Denying an enemy one kind of action, even if only a Swift Action, is still pretty nice depending on the effect being potentially negated. This can range from Lay On Hands to Quickened Spells.

The only way you can cheese it is by taking an action that is purposefully useless, of which there aren't many, and if you try to fake the saving throw, you may end up taking an action you normally wouldn't make.

Also consider that this is merely one piece of a puzzle; I imagine a Cleric isn't just going to sit there and simply run the domain power, he will have other tools at his disposal that will effectively control what his enemies do on the battlefield.

Oh, I absolutely agree that it's a nice ability. I'm just pointing out that there are ways to mitigate its effects without metagaming it and deliberately failing saves. The more things you plan to do with your turn, the better off you are, because you can always pick the least important thing to declare. An inquisitor who plans to full attack and switch judgments can choose which of those two things is least important and declare that one. An already raging barbarian who plans to just full attack is a little more stuck if they fail.


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You can willingly fail a save against a spell, but I’m not aware of a general rule. And in that case you’d need to see the spell being cast in order to accept it based on the caster (an ally) or what it is (because you used Spellcraft). This aura isn’t a spell and you can’t identify it to know what it is and accept the effect, even if you were to allow a voluntary failure.


Interesting I didn't know know an enemy can't identify what it is when its being cast. That certainly is a very good point.

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