Intellect Devourer

Antioch's page

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If you are looking for fighter specific exploits with the Rattling keyword, prepare for disappointment: there are two, but only if you take avenging slayer (pg 24). Both attacks gained from this paragon path have the Rattling keyword.

Rattling seems to be the venue of the rogue, as a LOT of rogue exploits have Rattling. I figure its mentioned in the fighter section because by sheer technicality, a fighter can get a few such powers.

As for those Invigorating powers, thats not a class feature thingy: anyone can gain temp hit points by using an Invigorating exploit, but only the battlerager class feature lets you stack them.

The short answer is to go with a rogue if you want to use Rattling exploits, or multiclass into it and swap out a few.

Shroomy wrote:
I bought a yearly subscription, mainly for the Dragon content and the DDI Compendium. The first gladiator article, which includes 11 pages of pure, glorious crunch (with lots of nifty new concepts) reinforces the belief that I made the right choice.

I concur.

crosswiredmind wrote:
Antioch wrote:
Nondetection effects, which are apparently standard issue for villains.
That's fine for a single infiltrator but the evil guy will need to gather followers and there will not be enough non-detection mojo to go around.

I wasnt being serious, but it seems like anytime there is a long-term evil guy that they have some kind of alignment-concealing effect/item just to avoid "paladin pinging".

Without the ability to immediately detect everyone's morals and ethics, this is much easier to do.

crosswiredmind wrote:
Logos wrote:
Think less Joan of Arc, more a policer officer trusted by the state with a gun. Does the gun stop working because the police officer is doing bad things? No, but if the agency catches wind of it the officer is going to have a hard time keeping his gun.
This is one of the problems with alignment as a mechanic. If alignment is "detectable" then religions cannot rot from the inside. That removes a huge theme from the story telling arsenal. As a huge fan of WFRP I love witch hunters and inquisitors. I love the idea of secret societies and subterfuge. If every paladin can walk down the street and ping for evil then how would the insidious nature of evil ever drive a story arc.

Nondetection effects, which are apparently standard issue for villains.


The wererat in the Monster Manual is a good starting point, since its only level 3. You could port this guy over to the artillery role and build it from scratch, maintaining pretty much all of the wererat's existing abilities.
The big change is to give him a ranged weapon. If you wanted to make him more thematic, you could give him a power like Sniper (if he misses with a ranged attack while hiding, he is still considered to be hiding). If you want him to be more mobile, you could allow him to shift before or after making a ranged attack.

Thats about it for the "base" model. For an elite wererat "archer", I would really just go with the above wererat concept and add the ranger template to it.

We hit 14th-level in one of our bi-weekly campaigns.

Since one of my character concepts is a genasi swordmage, this works out nicely.

Thats not a bad idea, but I dont know if I wanna quite make it an entire feat. I just dont think being able to craft mundane items or work a day job is worth that much.
Perhaps limit players to one or two types of Craft skills (like, I know, in WoW) or even not limit them at all: if they know how to make it, they can make it.

I wouldnt even "charge" a character to work. If they wanna bust tables, they can bust tables. If they wanna move cargo around, they can do that.

Stuff that jumped out at me:

Alchemy requires the Alchemist feat. If you got Ritual Casting as a class feature (like wizards do), you can opt to take this instead.
Alchemy requires that you have formulas, like rituals, and after that you can make any alchemy item of your level or lower.
Alchemy items scale now, so they dont stop being useful. For example, level 1 alchemist's fire attacks an Area 1 burst within 10, gets +4 to attack (vs. Reflex), and deals 1d6 fire damage (half on a miss). At level 6, it instead gets a +9 to the attack and deals 2d6 fire damage. At level 11, +14 vs. Reflex and 3d6 damage (and so on).
Oh, and some of them can be modified as ammunition (you can make that flask of alchemist's fire a ranged weapon instead by adding one to its level).

This sounds great to me, as I was one of the people who would take ranks in Craft (alchemy) all the time, either to have it end up utterly obsolete early on or not have enough time to really get into it (and then have it become obsolete anyway).

The skeletal horse mount.

Dragonscale armor: They have one set for each of the currently existing dragons, and they all do something different (they arent just reskins of eachother). The downside is that they are all level 18 or higher magic items, so dont expect them until 14th-level.

Staff of missile mastery: this thing breaks magic missiles. First, you get a +1 to hit. Second, you essentially double the staff's damage bonus. Third, you can use a daily power as a free action to attack two creatures with one magic missile attack. At level 17, you can instead smack up to three creatures with it. Oh, and on a crit it deals +1d8 damage per plus if you hit them with magic missile (instead of the normal 1d6).

Bloodiron/fey/hellrod: get the pact-specific benefits of a warlock power, even if you dont have that pact.

I'm almost positive that shifter was cited as being in PH2, and since devas are mentioned in the Forgotten Realms Player's Guide its a pretty safe bet that they are the "de" race.

Matthew Koelbl wrote:
crosswiredmind wrote:
Antioch wrote:
The executioner's axe is a superior weapon, meaning that if you want that +2 to hit, that you'll need to spend a feat for it.
True. However, my LFR PC is a dwarf with the dwarven weapon feat thingy. He has proficiency with all axes and hammers. That makes my choice simple - I take the best axe or hammer available.

Yeah, that feat (and the Eladrin one as well) got a pretty hefty boost from the introduction of the superior weaponry.

On the other hand, both those races were slightly behind as standard fighter types due to not getting a strength boost, so I think the extra oomph from their racial feats helps them out in an entirely reasonable fashion.

Eladrin Soldier is what I used for a hide-wearing spear user. The AC is on-par to better than a "normal" fighter's AC. I primarily went with eladrin because the feat gives you an edge early on, but I guess elf is better in the long run because the +2 to Wisdom is better for your opportunity attacks. To me, eladrin just makes more sense!

crosswiredmind wrote:
Antioch wrote:
The executioner's axe is a superior weapon, meaning that if you want that +2 to hit, that you'll need to spend a feat for it.
True. However, my LFR PC is a dwarf with the dwarven weapon feat thingy. He has proficiency with all axes and hammers. That makes my choice simple - I take the best axe or hammer available.

Of course. I cant see a lot of dwarven fighters snagging Dwarven Soldier and deciding to wield a handaxe. For all my one-handed axe needs, I'm gonna go with the battleaxe for more damage. For a two-handed axe, I would have formerly gone with the greataxe. Now, I'd go with the executioner's axe...assuming I was a dwarf.

For anyone else? They still had to spend a feat. Frankly, so did the dwarf, but dwarves really dig their axes (just like eladrin love spears).
One thing to note is that as a dwarf fighter, you really only got proficiency with the executioner's axe: you were proficient with the other ones already, so that feat is only useful in the fact that you get Weapon Focus as it stands in paragon tier.
If a human fighter takes Weapon Proficiency and Weapon Focus, then in epic tier he's actually doing 1 point of damage more than you. You could also take Weapon Focus, in which case you both spent the same number of feats for the same benefit.
Still, its a pretty big deal throughout most of your career as long as you are playing a dwarf melee warrior of some sort.

I'm really happy with the way Wizards did that sort of thing. It makes racial weapons far more iconic and likely to be used. If I play an eladrin fighter, I'm gonna be hard-pressed to not want to use a spear.

Matthew Koelbl wrote:
crosswiredmind wrote:
Antioch wrote:
On the topic of weapons, none of the weapons in the book scream to me that they are superior to the rest of them.
For me there is one clearly superior weapon - the executioners axe. Why would I ever use a great axe again? The two are both prof +2, d12, high crit but the executioners axe adds brutal 2. (IIRC)

Yeah - I don't think he was saying that no weapon is better than another (as that is precisely what the Superior Weapons are), but that no specific weapon stood out as making all other choices meaningless.

I am very impressed with the book all around. The sheer amount of items they packed into there is impressive.

Precisely. Some are better, but not so blatantly better that its a no brainer to spend a feat on them to get them. Like, there is a reason to want to use a greatsword, and a reason to want to use a greataxe (neither is inherently superior to the other: they each have an advantage).

Even with the slew of superior weapons introduced, they dont provide benefits so great that people would call you stupid for not spending a feat on a bastard sword or fullblade instead of just using a greatsword.

crosswiredmind wrote:
Antioch wrote:
On the topic of weapons, none of the weapons in the book scream to me that they are superior to the rest of them.

For me there is one clearly superior weapon - the executioners axe. Why would I ever use a great axe again? The two are both prof +2, d12, high crit but the executioners axe adds brutal 2. (IIRC)

The executioner's axe is a superior weapon, meaning that if you want that +2 to hit, that you'll need to spend a feat for it.

On the topic of weapons, none of the weapons in the book scream to me that they are superior to the rest of them. They've done a good job of introducing new stuff without invalidating the old, or making any one type of weapon the "obvious" choice.

Playing a rogue, there are reasons to go after the dagger as opposed to a kukri: a dagger has a higher proficiency bonus, and doesnt require a feat. A kukri is a d6 weapon, which is a better average damage of one (the same thing you'd get from Weapon Focus), and has Brutal 1.

Even the greatsword/bastard sword/fullblade relationship hasnt been compromised: I can see reasons for taking all three (greatsword seems best for those not wanting to spend a feat for what really amounts to +1 damage).

I also browsed a lot of the magic items yesterday for stuff to purchase/trade out on my 14th-level fighter and for my level 13 guys in Age of Worms. Some of it was good, but there were still items in the PH (or even some of the Dragon articles) that I thought made a better fit.

I managed to get ahold of Adventurer’s Vault (yay). I know that one of the earliest 4th Edition gripes was a lack of gear: some people were apparently utterly unable to waive the costs of trivial items like buckets and hats. The bad news (for them) is that AV doesnt feature prices for those things, either. Its basically an expanded list of everything that already exists in the PH, kind of like an Arms & Equipment Guide that I would actually use.

This book can be broken down into like, barely three sections. The first one contains additional weapons and armor. Armor adds at least four new special armor types to each category (in some cases 5, but plate gets the lion’s share at a whopping SIX).
Some of the higher grade special armors grant you special properties, like a +1 to +2 bonus to a Defense, or in the case of tarrasque plate, resist ALL (ranging from 1 to 5).
The good news is that the new armors skip over the existing ones, so there is still a reason to get wyrmscale armor. The armor "materials" just transition more rapidly, now.

There arent as many new weapons as I had initially expected, but they did bring back double weapons along with two new weapon properties: Brutal and Defensive. A Brutal weapon lets you reroll damage dice from your weapon if you roll the number or less, while Defensive gives you a +1 bonus to your AC as long as you arent attacking with the weapon granting you the feature. All double-weapons are Defensive.
Some highlights are the kukri, which is a 1d6 superior dagger that has Brutal 1 (using with a minotaur rogue), and the fullblade, which is a 1d12 superior heavy blade that has High Crit (using with my paragon human fighter).

There are also a ton of new mounts, as well as vehicles that range from ships to chariots to wagons to the Apparatus of Kwalish.
Of the new mounts, the riding lizard sounds neat, as does the skeletal horse (grants rider resist 20 necrotic). The mount overview table has speeds listed in miles per hour and miles per day.
Oh yeah, there are now costs listed by the mounts, so people can stop whining about the presumed cost of a hippogriff (4,200 gp). The most expensive mount in there is the rimefire griffon, weighing it at 525,000 gp. The cheapest are camels and riding horses at a measly 75 gp.
There is also barding in there for people using mounts, which adds either +1 or +2 to its AC depending on if you went with the light or heavy versions. If your mount is a soldier, the armor gets chopped back by a point, since soldier animals already have some form of armor on them (meaning that you have to go with heavy and drop their speed by a point as well).

The first chapter wraps things up with alchemy. You can tamper with alchemy by burning a feat, and if your character gets Ritual Caster at the start, you can swap it out for Alchemist for free.
Making an alchemical item requires a formula beforehand, kind of like how rituals work. After that its just a matter of money and time, and as you level up you can make improved versions of EVERYTHING. This means that alchemist fire remains actually useful throughout the campaign, instead of petering off your radar after the first few levels.
Alchemist fire, frost, and acid is there. So are thunderstones, tanglefoot bags, flash bombs, a poultice that heals bonus HP during a short rest, and a crapload of other things.

The meat of the book is Chapter 2: Magic Lootz. This expands upon every category that we had in the PH, with the addition of two NEW categories: companions and mounts.
According to the sidebar on Companions and Mounts, companions are a feature of the beastmaster ranger build which will debut in Martial Power (teases). You can arm a companion or mount with one magic item (which fills the Companion/Mount "slot"), and activate it using your own actions. This isnt too much of a big deal, since all of the items are either properties or use minor/immediate actions.
If a creature is both a companion AND a mount (kinky), it can still only use one item at a time.

Otherwise, you’re looking at more of the same: new weapons, armor, implements, rings, belts, shoes, socks, underwear, etc.

At the back of the book is the Appendix, which adds a Transfer Enchantment ritual that allows you to port properties and powers from one magic item to another, so that if you find a suit of armor you cant wear, you can move the benefit to your own armor (assuming its not lower level and of the required type).
It also has some advice on introducing unique items, alignment, and history to magic items.

All in all, excellent buy.

Assuming you mean creating magical healing booze on the spot, I would say make a racial feat for dwarves that replaces an arcane or divine power and can spontaneously create a potion.
Perhaps make it an artificer paragon path, or even just one of many dwarven themed powers (like they did with eladrin in the Mithrendain article).

I've converted a few adventures in the latter half of Age of Worms to 4E already. The plot is basically sustainable without modification, its the challenges that require conversion.

Most of the stuff I mentioned was wizard-only mechanics. The staff of fiery might is something I found while I was making a wizard of every tier trying to see how characters differed.

I dont think that you'll see a lot of gear "erosion". Part of what they are trying to avoid doing is just filing the name off and inserting a new title to create something "new". For example, you could change the staff of fiery might into a frost staff and have it do the same thing. Would this be unbalanced? Probably not.
However, I dont think we're going to see a lot of rehashed stuff like a feat that lets a cleric regain a daily power, or a holy symbol that lets him reroll radiant damage on powers.

bugleyman wrote:
(3) The Cleric prayer Astral Storm (at least, I think that is what it is called) seems to be JUST BETTER(tm) than the Wizard spell Meteor Swarm. Am I missing something?

It seems better, at a glance, because many people like to compare to elements in a vacuum. Since neither power has been subjected to errata, my thinking was that there was obviously something people werent taking into account.

Astral storm deals 33 damage on average without accounting for stuff like ability modifiers or implements. Since both the cleric and wizard are likely to have the same modifier, I'm not going to take that into consideration.
You can sustain the power as a minor action to have it deal an average of 11 points of damage to everything in the zone. Now, you cannot move the zone, so creatures need to move out of it. How difficult this is depends on a LOT of factors: the DM planning the adventure, dungeon style, layout, type of monster, etc. It could be very difficult if you're using it in a room with one exit, or incredibly easy if its in an open area.

Meteor swarm deals 28 damage on average. Same size, but no zone.

On the surface, side-by-side, sure: astral storm has a lot going on. However, there are other things to take into consideration, such as...

A wizard can use a wand to boost his attack roll even further, which helps actually land his attack.

Assuming +6 implements, the wizard can easily get a staff of fiery might. This would allow the wizard to reroll up to six damage dice from his spell. This only works on wizard powers, since clerics cannot use staff implements.

Arcane Mastery is an epic tier feat that lets a wizard regain a spell by spending an action point.
Spell Accuracy is another epic feat that lets you omit squares from an attack, something that clerics cannot do.

The paragon path spellstorm mage lets you regain a daily attack once per day (Storm Spell, gained at 11th level). Since it specifies spells, clerics cannot multiclass into it to do this.

The archmage epic destiny lets you use a daily spell twice per day at 21st-level, and then lets you change a daily spell into an encounter spell at 30th-level. Shape Magic, gained at 26th level, lets you regain any spell you want as a daily utility.

These are all specific to wizards, so clerics dont really have the ability to regain a lot of their spend powers.

Oh, if anyone is interested, I've done some conversions for all of the Kyuss minions in Spire of Long Shadows (eviscerator beetle, sword of Kyuss, wormcaller, wormswarm, overworm, knight of Kyuss, worm naga, and spellweaver lich).
I should work on various spawn of Kyuss monsters...

This pertains to the knowledge worms that you can find in The Spire of Long Shadows.

Knowledge worms are found within jars filled with necrotic fluid, effectively trapping them in stasis. They are covered in runes. If you consume one, it does what a worm normally does, but you can make a Fortitude save. If you make the save, you actually kill the worm and retain various bits of knowledge. In game terms, this is a permanent +2 enhancement bonus to various Knowledge skills.
What I figured I would do instead is have the worms deal lots of ongoing necrotic and psychic damage. If you make a successful saving throw before you drop or die, you get to add +1 to a predetermined skill (the DM decides which skill the worm is keyed to: you could stick with Arcana, Religion, and other similar skills, or branch out into other areas).
I was considering allowing the worms to retain rituals, and "teach" you a ritual if you consume one (and have the Ritual Caster feat). Finally, you could develop arcane powers that can be learned by eating the worms.

Now, onto reagents. The one that I've done so far was one that added bonus necrotic damage when you use a power with the necrotic keyword. Basically, its a necromancy booster.

Dark Worm Level 10+
Lvl 10 200 gp
Lvl 20 5,000 gp
Lvl 30 125,000 gp
Power (Consumable): Free Action. Expend this reagent when you use a power with the necrotic keyword of up to 7th level. Each target takes ongoing 5 necrotic damage (save ends).
Level 20: Power up to 17th level, ongoing 10 necrotic damage (save ends).
Level 30: Power up to 27th level, ongoing 15 necrotic damage (save ends).

Another reagent would add the immobilization condition when you use the spell (causing several conjured worms to erupt out of the ground and bind a character into place).

Yet another might roll on the weakened condition, help you ignore necrotic resistance, impose radiant vulnerability (by inducing an "undead"-state), add a push effect due to fear, and other thematic thingies. I'm going to replace a lot of the arcane worms with various reagents to round out the treasure parcels and to see how the players react to fighting fire with fire.

Of course, I'm mad that I'm halfway done with the adventure path: there were plenty of opportunities to add these things into the game beforehand. Heck, the new Adventurer's Vault article has standards: I'd like to throw in a standard of the Worm in there that could let allies draw upon Kyuss's dread powers.

I read the excerpt last night, and went ahead and changed some of the worms in Age of Worms into reagents that can empower necrotic spells.

Well, Swordmage Warding is called out (the magical shield effect), as is aegis of assault (the immediate teleport-attack). I dont see anything that is really different from the FRPG preview that came out awhile ago.

Having playtested it, the marking ability was useful, but limited: having only one immediate action per round sucks when your daily is also an immediate action. :-(

I'm going to drop one of these in a treasure parcel, just to surprise my players (most of whom dont really frequent forums).

The particular table is small enough that a post-it will work perfectly fine, for people that dont want to tape something over it.

Whoooo, I think I'll swap out my 1st-level warlock stuff with those. For playtesting purposes, of course. <.<

I have MS Office tables for stat blocks, including the color codes to make them match up if you want them.

Also, the usual DM has decided to convert the Age of Worms campaign path to 4E - we were at 12th level. I recently converted my 12th level warblade to a 12th level fighter (swordmaster paragon path), and he's way more awesome. Looking forward to snuffing Kyuss.

Just a FYI, expect him to be a solo monster of a level 3 higher than your own.

I played FR in 2nd Edition, and very briefly in 3rd Edition: I actually sold all of my FR books long before 4E was announced because I had no plans to use them. That being said, I'm more interested in how they are handling it now, and pre-ordered both books and the adventure.
If nothing else, I'll use it for the swordmage, genasi, feats, magic items, etc.

Tatterdemalion wrote:
BTW I doubt the Sorceror will be an Arcane Controller -- the spot's already been taken. I think (and hope) that they'll put a different twist on it.

They had two martial strikers in the first run, so having two classes with the same source and role isnt anything new. I'm guessing its going to be a controller as well, but with a twist.

Most of what I saw in Deserts of Desolation was pretty good. Dungeons of Dread had more than a few really bad ones, but others were okay to pretty good. Against the Giants has a few bad ones, but the quality seems to be picking up again.

In 3rd Edition we would often refer to roles as well: tank, nuker, healer, etc. Someone would want to play a certain role, and then we'd start discussing the individual class that would work best for them and their concept.

In 4th Edition, its basically the same thing, except that now we just make sure to fill in the defender and leader roles (and we've been very successful in two-person games).

One character up to 4th-level (almost 5th), and two others at 3rd. I'm remaking an older fighter that started in 2E, migrated to 3E, and will now be going into 4E at 14th-level.

Yay! I rolled up a genasi swordmage, and I'll be playing that on Monday if not sooner. Good to see that they "fixed" the shielding "problem", that wasnt really a problem at all, but an assumption.

I've never read the adventure, but from the sounds of it the general consensus is trap. However, if you could elaborate on it I could pitch in my two cents/create a conversion for it.

I've always been the guy who plays a leader (especially since I'm playtesting the artificer), and I think that it would make battles more dangerous, but not technically impossible.
Healing potions would force characters to use their own minor actions to heal themselves (instead of the leader), so as long as a few of those were handy I think it would be okay.

The role we do without on one of our games is a controller (someone else plays a wizard in Keep on the Shadowfell and Age of Worms).

Lensman wrote:
The 4E MM mentions at least two more types of Dragons other than the Chromatic and Metalic ones. I don't have my books by me but I am pretty sure of that.

Catastrophe, planar, and scourge dragons are all mentioned, and making a volcanic dragon was something I was going to do. It would be fire-associated but as it walked it would create difficult terrain at the younger categories, but would later end up creating actual fissures in the ground (difficult terrain plus fire damage), until finally there would be lava flows (LOTS of fire damage).

It would be able to create a volcanic eruption, perhaps as a kind of zone, maybe able to breathe lava that does a secondary attack if you get knocked into the AoE, or start in it. Not sure if I'd want wings or just to make it a burrowing dragon.

I made a young amethyst dragon quite awhile back, just to see how well I could do it.
As I was going through the stats, I decided that it should be an artillery role because of its explosive gem thing that it can do, and started using the blue dragon as a basis for balance. In the end its close to the blue dragon, but differs in appearance, energy association, and its ranged attack has some differences as well.

Of course, this is a young dragon, and I cant think of any young dragons that had wildly different powers at the lower age categories.

I would say that if you dont want to buy the book and invent your own dragons that its a possibility. I plan on picking it up, because I'm curious about the new dragons as well as how they will differentiate them from the first five.

I have likewise had absolutely no problems accessing any DDI articles so far. I like the writeup, especially the crunchy bits. :-)

Its a lot like what you said about how the paladin feels like a defender with some leader added, and the fighter feels like a defender with some striker. Same role, same source, different feel and style.
Since the bard is also an arcane leader, I'm wondering how it'll play out.

I only got the warlord to 2nd level, and I feel its got more defender elements built-in. It didnt play like a cleric in the sense that I wasnt using divine power or rolling out lots of defensive buffs, but more like I was directing people around and granting attack bonuses: emphasis on placement, mobility, and offense. A cleric feels more like a mix, while an artificer feels more like defense.

All in all my experience is that the warlord is a bit lower on the healing totem than the cleric, but still capable of doing its job.

They're all great classes, but have their own style, which is exemplary of the fact that even with the 4th Edition power system that classes of the same role still feel and act differently than their relatives.

alleynbard wrote:
crosswiredmind wrote:
The Red Death wrote:
crosswiredmind wrote:
Oh, the irony - minus the relish.
LOL. This fact did NOT escape me.
Yes, I think you can now feel my pain.
At least you guys get to feel pain. I think he is just ignoring me entirely. :)

He wasnt ignoring me, but with all the dodging and deflecting, I kind of wish he did. :-(

David Marks wrote:
Antioch wrote:

Ideally I'd like to keep talking about the artificer...

Have you played with your Artificer anymore? Any plans to level him up some and test him at higher levels?

I think the biggest problem is the system is so new, its hard to really know what a higher level Cleric/Warlord should play like, much less an Artificer.

Okay, I've played all three leader classes, mostly because none of the other players want to. Thankfully, 4th Edition makes formerly "healer" classes a lot of fun to play. All of the leader classes get a power that triggers a healing surge with a boost, twice per encounter, so what really does it for me is the other powers.

The artificer thus far feels like the best class for keeping the gang alive. One at-will attack grants an ally an AC bonus while also attacking an adjacent bad guy (great for lumping on the defender in melee). You can basically do this every round, all the time, potentially boosting his AC by 1 while still helping out in the offensive category.

What I also like is the other healing ability: everyone gets temporary hit points, but it costs a healing surge. This is a pretty nifty opener for me, especially during a potentially difficult battle to give everyone a buffer. The downside is thats its keyed to YOUR Constitution score, but since Con is a key stat I have the ability to roll out 5 temporary hit points to anyone who wants them. Generally, I prefer to do that once and save the other one for a free healing surge.
Otherwise, shielding cube is another great way to help keep another character's AC up (which always includes you, so between this an thundering armor three people can get a +1 AC boost).

We are currently running sporadic semi-connected episodic games between people who want to run. This allows people to experiment, try out DMing, and broadly learn the system from both sides of the screen. Its a new experience for me, being the healer, and everyone appears to be having the most fun we've ever had before. Completely new DMs are doing an excellent job entertaining, and I plan to get my gnome artificer all the way up to 30, shooting Wizards feedback as time allows.

Otherwise, the cleric comes in second for me. My 3rd level human cleric (Antioch) is likewise a lot of fun, but for a different reason: I get to actually enter the combat, blasting and bolstering at the same time. It feels more like a leader with some striker-qualities, while the artificer feels like a leader with some controller sprinkled on.
Both work GREAT at keeping the party on their feet, since they grant a lot of kicker effects to the rest of the players.

David Marks wrote:
JoelF847 wrote:

Without diving headfirst into the lengthy back and forth going on here, I did want to point out two situations that merit having a system for "regular" people (be that a 1st level commoner or a 5th level expert, 3rd level aristocrat, etc.)

1) The PCs are talking with the NPC, get upset with them and attack. I want to be able to run that combat for a round or two to see if they kill the NPC before the guards and/or the NPCs buddies come to see what's going on. Using the minion rules of one hit = one kill is too simplistic in my opinion - if you can roll a 1 on damage, that shouldn't necessarily kill the guy - while he might not be a challenge or important, whether he lives or dies can be important in terms of the consequences - assault vs. murder charges in this case.

2) The PCs rescue one or more NPC prisoners, but have to keep them alive on the way out of the dungeon (or are escorting a mechant and his family through dangerous terrain, etc.) Knowing their combat stats might be important if some of the real opponents can slip past the PCs and start fighting the soft yummie easy targets. An example of this type of scenario can be found in Paizo's very own Rise of the Runelords very first scene, when protecting the town from a goblin attack.

I think one hit to kill a merchant or commoner is fine. If someone stuck a sword (or hell, a dagger) in me I'd definitely be down and out.

I think the real defense of helpless people isn't going to be their own toughness ... its going to be the monster's realization that they aren't a threat, but all those dangerous looking PCs are.

That said, I think a minion IS a good representation of a common person. Human Rabble is even in the MM, and would make a fine "generic guy".

What this has to do with Artificery though, I have no clue. :P

Ideally I'd like to keep talking about the artificer, but this thread seems to have been reduced to people disagreeing with vance's particularly narrow definition of the RPG genre.

David Marks wrote:
crosswiredmind wrote:
vance wrote:
Indeed, the playstyle, in terms of scenarios, for OE is nearly indentical to 4E.
So 4e is D&D after all.
Indeed. But that wasn't vance's point (I think). He seems to be saying that DnD isn't really a role playing game, that it is more properly defined a mini-based skirmish game. :)

The problem with that is defining what makes or breaks the role-playing game genre. According to the actual definition, most games can qualify as RPGs in some aspect. A game like, say, God of War could be defined as a RPG since you "adopt the role of a character that differs in appearance or personality from your own."

The term RPG, when applied to digital games however, seems to be any game that uses levels for advancement.

However, I consider D&D in all its incarnations to be a RPG. Just because there are no rules for talking, playing "in character", or whatever, doesnt make it any less so.

EDIT: There are rules for aspects of social interaction (Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, and a good old-fashioned Charisma check). Whoops.

JoelF847 wrote:
1) The PCs are talking with the NPC, get upset with them and attack. I want to be able to run that combat for a round or two to see if they kill the NPC before the guards and/or the NPCs buddies come to see what's going on. Using the minion rules of one hit = one kill is too simplistic in my opinion - if you can roll a 1 on damage, that shouldn't necessarily kill the guy - while he might not be a challenge or important, whether he lives or dies can be important in terms of the consequences - assault vs. murder charges in this case.

If you think the PCs are gonna get upset with a NPC, to the point where they are going to try and kill him, then you should determine the NPCs combat effectiveness ahead of time. You can easily do this by figuring out his level (do you want him to be easy, challenging, or perhaps overpowering) and stat him out from there. A king might be a soldier, especially if a war veteran, or perhaps he is a skirmisher that has practiced dueling techniques. Is he a wizard (controller)?

If they just decided to jump a merchant that is also an "average" person, I'd definitely use minion rules and give him just a basic attack (+4 vs. AC; 2 damage). His Defenses would likely be, 11 to 12. Its not really important.

The thing is, I can easily use an existing monster's stats and just add King Suchandsuch to the title if for some reason the NPCs just decide to slaughter a random NPC for a likewise random reason. Its not hard.

JoelF847 wrote:
2) The PCs rescue one or more NPC prisoners, but have to keep them alive on the way out of the dungeon (or are escorting a mechant and his family through dangerous terrain, etc.) Knowing their combat stats might be important if some of the real opponents can slip past the PCs and start fighting the soft yummie easy targets. An example of this type of scenario can be found in Paizo's very own Rise of the Runelords very first scene, when protecting the town from a goblin attack.

Again, pretty much the same as above. How tough do I want the NPCs? A couple adventures that I've kicked around include both battle hardened allies as well as defenseless peasants. I'm just using stat blocks for dwarves for the dwarves, and for the peasants I'll just make them minions that can pathetically fight back with a weak basic attack. What if some of them are a notch above the rest? Well, I'll figure that out ahead of time if I want a NPC to have merit. Otherwise, no, they arent. If I change my mind mid-session, its not gonna be hard to give them a meaningful attack, Defenses, and hit points.

I didnt think that the encounter with Irontooth was so much hard as drawn out. My experience ended with everyone surrounding him and beating him to death in a very 3E fashion: he couldnt really get away because of massive opportunity attacks and the fighter's mark, so he basically sat there using a double attack over and over again until he eventually died.

If things had started to look bad, the party could have pulled out with the defenders taking up the rear as the wizard just zapped him with ray of frost to keep him slowed.

From my understanding, the rules in the DMG are merely guidelines. Though I have generally followed them pretty darn closely (if not to the letter), I myself have "broken" them from time to time when I felt that a monster should have a slightly higher Defense, attack bonus, or damage output.

4th Edition characters are far more capable of potentially handling monsters above their level (by about four levels, I think). They are also not as prone to randomized, instant death, so they can even potentially flee from a difficult battle before they start hitting the floor.

Now, I think that you might be referring to Kalarel, who is the last encounter in the adventure. By that time, the players are supposed to be 3rd level, and if they've been to the kobold lair, burial site, and taken out the elf chick, they should be.
This means that he's only three levels higher, and well within the means to be stopped by them assuming that they take a short rest and heal up before heading in.

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