Judge Trabe

Asterclement Swarthington's page

68 posts. Alias of Haagan.


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Ask your GM to pick one for you and not tell you what it is, only what the powers do when you get them. Sure, you'll be able to deduce it quick enough if you try, but if you resist the urge then you can get some good "what am i?" RP out of it.

Talk to your GM about it. If he can't handle the occasional high damage round or figure out what works against a gunslinger then he's not up to the task. If you are still railroaded into a new character, I'd recommend a protest PC either ridiculous damage being the goal or completely ineffectual scatterbrain minor contributor. Sometimes they just have to be shown that it could be worse if telling them doesn't work.

Remco Sommeling wrote:
Petty Alchemy wrote:
I'd allow it. And I wouldn't force the player to take a negative version of Iron Will to do so either.

In retrospect requiring a feat seems a bit much, if the player wants eldritch heritage three times it will, at the bare minimum, require the investment of 10 feats to go all the way, IF they all have require the same skill focus.

1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19.. well that is all the feats from level 1 to 20 barring bonus feats.

That isn't necessarily true, many heritages require skill focus in the same skill.

I'd allow it. It's possible for people to have multiple notable ancestral lineages. There aren't any two cross-blood power combinations that break the game even if they slightly synergize.

I wrote up a PC once that had the serpentine fangs and the infernal constitution, but never got to play it.

shallowsoul wrote:

Find me something in the spell that that says anything to back you up then.

Unless otherwise noted, polymorph spells cannot be used to change into specific individuals. Although many of the fine details can be controlled, your appearance is always that of a generic member of that creature's type.

Generic members of most humanoid types are not missing limbs. Appearance is always that of a generic member of a creature's type.

If he was constructed from base materials then it sounds like a construct. If it was an living creature altered with magic it sounds like a magical beast. It doesn't sound like an aberration to me.

Since it's a homebrew monster you can do some fun stuff too. You don't have to necessarily make it just one creature. You could have a construct with a hollow cavity in it's chest that is containing another monster, say a ooze or a worm or whatnot so just when they think they have it defeated a new encounter begins.

In my opinion it was altered and buffed. The old way was an all or nothing gambit that required intensive ability, feat, and item investment to maintain it's usefulness as a cleric progressed in levels. Now it's moderately useful all the time and gives a free aoe healing option which is very beneficial in it's own right. I'd never go back to the 3.5 mess.

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shallowsoul wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
shallowsoul wrote:

Someone in another thread is claim that someone can just use "Alter Self" or a "Hat of Disguise" to regrow that lost limb for the duration of the spell or as long as they wear the hat and I think this is bogus. I see nothing in the spell that says a lost limb is replaced, even temporarily.

Hopefully a designer could shed some light on this.

A hat of disguise could make it appear the limb wasn't lost. That's an illusion. Alter self can in fact grow limbs to make you match the creature that you turn into, and doesn't have any special checks for what sorts of limbs the base creature has. A woman could turn into a man, a man into a lizardfolk, a lizardfolk into a strix, a strix into a merfolk. You gain the gross physical characteristics of the new form, complete with natural attacks and movement forms.

It doesn't matter what your base form is. A merfolk druid for example could transform into a polar bear (no legs to 4 legs) with beast shape I via Wildshape. A strix has wings, but can transform into a human (no wings). A man could transform into a woman, or vice versa (they have slightly different extremities). A human could transform into a lizardfolk and get 2 claws and 1 bite attack.

Show me where it says you can grow lost limbs with Alter Self. I have read the description for the spell and the Polymorph section and it's not there.

Perhaps you could show us where it implies the condition of the target's base form is relevant to the effect of the spell. That's typically untrue of polymorph-esque spells considering it changes the base form into something else entirely. Where do the considerations end, for example if the base form has burn scars all over it's body does the altered form as well?

Group A (Chaotic Good) has captured a slew of Evil short-lived race X, with the goal of slowly changing their ways to good through generations of exposure, teaching, and reward for good behavior.

Group B (Lawful Good) has sworn an oath to never suffer an evil to live. Therefore they would have to go be at odds with Group A to get to X. It doesn't even have to be openly hostile, they could try to kidnap members of X and give them an opportunity to show their true colors, upon which they judge their entire tribe. For the sooner they get Group A to abandon this fool's quest, the sooner they will go off and do some actual efficient good.

...and the players could be the group kidnapped and set loose inside an elaborate moral test to decide the fate of their race.

Find some finite resource each faction requires to sustain functioning in some way, then slash/ruin/diminish a large swath of it abruptly. When there's not enough vital stuff to go around even good forces will have to suss out who gets to live, probably violently after diplomacy breaks down.

How does the druid know the hobbies are evil, besides prejudging based upon racial reputation? If the druid is in the forest and a squad of knights are advancing to the hobgoblin camp are they off to go perform good based upon the average alignment of the nearby town? It's quite possible that both societies are evil, doing evil to each other as a matter of course. Both societies could likewise be good or neutral themselves, but have legitimate territorial and resource demands that cannot be solved with diplomacy.

His motivation counts just as much as the actions he takes. If he lets the humans get attacked, because the humans have an adverse and oppressive influence on the natural world he is sworn to protect, then that varies very much so than choosing not to act because of not wanting to spend the effort or resources, general apathy toward either race, or it not favoring his self-interest, etc.

But lets say sufficient evidence for an evil force intending to do evil to an unaware good population is the situation. By action or inaction, good will survive or evil will survive and it is up to the neutral character to decide. Decent examples of neutral actions would be warning the town to give them a sporting chance but not personally intervening and going to plunder the hobgoblin's camp for anything of relevant value to a druid, probably livestock. Likewise he could offer to help the hobgoblins (and threaten them if they refuse) in exchange for a pledge not to kill or significantly harm the humans, only steal from them, and a cut of the loot (all of their horses to be set free). It's pretty neutral if both good and evil survive the conflict, likewise it's pretty neutral if both are worse off because of it. He could go drive out the hobgoblin noncombatants while the combatants are away, and go drive out the hobgoblins and humans that lived after the attack's conclusion and claim the whole area as his own wildlife refuge.

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You could consistently act differently toward different things. Evil to Orcs, Good to Elves. If your interaction rate with each was moderately consistent you'd maintain a neutral alignment. If you dealt with one five or more times as much as the other you'd skew toward Good/Evil.

Dennis Baker wrote:

The cognatogen/ mutagen thing isn't really comparable because they are designed to be exclusive even if you have both. Having cognatogen as a discovery is pretty well balanced. You make the decision whether to prep a cognatogen or a mutagen and you are stuck with it until you spend an hour changing over.

Bombs plus sneak attack can easily mix. They nearly perfect complements to each other; one is great in melee and the other is great for ranged combat. It's a far more powerful combination and there is no deciding between the two, you use whichever is more appropriate at any given time. Much nastier.

As it is now, vivisectionist is a bit of a tough choice because you give up a fairly powerful ability, its still arguably over the top at that. If you took away the sacrifice, it becomes silly.

That's absolutely why it's imperative to set the damage low and never scale it up from vivisectionist levels. So you get the bomb discovery and can deal 1d6+int damage that doesn't go up from vivisectionist levels. Yeah with sneak attack you can do comparable primary (not splash) damage to a foe as a regular alchemist - give or take a d6. The single target damage is slightly higher and the splash is lower so the 11d6 (1d6 bomb/10d6 sneak) potential isn't game breaking.

If you go Master Chymist instead then your sneak attack progression stops but your bomb progression starts up, splitting the difference so you get again 11d6 primary damage potential (5d6 sneak/6d6 bomb).

Getting bomb back as a discovery would absolutely not enable 10d6 sneak/10d6 bomb combinations. Meanwhile, it would enable further bomb discoveries to be applied like smoke, entangling, blinding, etc. that could assist in getting the alchemist the sneak attack opportunities they crave in the first place. Win win.

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There should be a discovery to give bombs back in case you traded them out, but only (Int mod)/per day uses and 1d6 base damage. That way you could modify it with other bomb discoveries if you really want them and the damage would stack with Master Chymist if you went vivisectionist to start.

One thing I do with some of my neutral characters to spice it up is to play them as two alignments simultaneously. It generally shifts the neutrality away from a common sense rational pragmatist to a deeply torn character.

For example, I had a warlock in 3.5 that acted chaotic evil toward any extraplanar entity, and chaotic good to any mortal race, and labelled my alignment chaotic neutral on the sheet.

No amount of blood could sate his need to avenge his demon-possessed brother and he set himself up as a crusader against extraplanar meddling. He was sharply critical of angels and good outsiders, citing them as ineffectual and cowardly, and fortunately for them he was never alone with one to act more forcefully without consequence. His end-game goal was to churn civil wars in hell so these beings would waste their resources slaughtering each other and leaving the mortals alone. To mortals though, he was generous and kind, willing to sacrifice of himself for their benefit and was close allies with the party's paladin, whom only had disagreements with him on the utility of lawfulness and obedience in society.

I've also had a "LG to clergy members only/LE to members of other faiths" cleric and a "NG to the living, NE to the dead necromancer" that were pretty fun.

I'm curious if others do this too. Share your stories of characters that act differently enough in specific situations to warrant calling it out as an alignment shift.

Infernal Sorceror/Summoner - Warlock
Anti-paladin/alchemist (reanimator)- Death knight
Superstitious Barbarian/Witch Hunter Inquisitor - Occult Slayer
Gunslinger/Rogue - Pirate
Aquatic Druid/Waves Oracle - Ocean Lord

Vero wrote:
You guys are missing avengers like Wolverine, Spiderman, Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, and Black Panther.

Pretty easy batch there:

Wolverine - barbarian
Doc strange - Wizard
Iron Fist - Monk
Black Panther - Ninja
Spiderman - alchemist

Gunslinger(mysterious stranger)/Paladin (oath against undeath)- Zombie annihilator

Alchemist (vivisectionist)/Witch - Ultimate thematic buff/curse witch - tinkerer of life

Barbarian/Summoner (synthesist) - Totemic avatar

Druid/Magus (Staff Magus) - Geomancer

Cavalier/Ranger - Caravan captain

I don't see anything wrong with this, but horses can drink from bottles. I've heard of quite a few alcoholic horses raiding the beer stash.

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It all depends on what the definition of God is to the atheist. Gods in D&D are just extremely powerful entities, but lack the fun omni-traits like omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, omnibenevolence, etc.

If I made a sort of atheist character he'd be a magic user of some sort under the hypothesis that the planar landscapes and creatures and beings called Gods were created bottom up and not top down. If everyone manipulates magic subconsciously and enough got a unified idea of what an extraplanar person place or thing was like, they would conjure it into existence. Gods and devils and such exist because of the belief they do and the mind weaves the ambient magic of this plane to make it so. Sure, the wizard with his conscious control over magic can rain fiery death down, but the peasant farm-hand is the most dangerous magic user of all for he creates landscapes in other realms filled with the stuff of his nightmares, things that sometimes make it to the material plane.

Wow that would be a fun paladin to play, one who intends to destroy every evil outsider in existence by convincing people forge different, more noble, beliefs about the cosmos. Not that his hypothesis would be correct of course, but delusional characters are fun.

Summon monster I is great....for setting off traps.

Well both are temporary, but penalties will have far shorter durations than damage which can take days of rest to recuperate.

One important thing to note is that ability damage stacks and ability penalties do not. Penalties are like negative versions of enhancement bonuses, so subsequent castings of spells or effects that cause penalties do not multiply the penalty. Multiple castings of effects that cause ability damage do stack and can reduce an attribute to zero.

So you use a ray of enfeeblement and roll a 1+5 str damage for a -6 penalty. You cast it again and get a 6+5, resetting the duration and making it a -11 str penalty. For some reason you cast it again and get a 3+5 or -8 penalty, which has no effect since the existing effect of -11 is superior.

Well the benefit should only apply to the twin or when working with the twin, so for a PC with an NPC noncombatant townie twin it will be more limited. I think empathic link would still be advantageous in this situation as a damsel in distress plot driver though. A PC suddenly knows his twin is terrified of something and gets the party to go over there right away.

Here's what comes to mind, nothing too powerful.

Empathic Link (Su): The twin has an empathic link with his twin to a 1 mile distance. The twin can communicate empathically with the twin, but cannot see through its eyes. Because of the link's limited nature, only general emotions can be shared.

Share Spells: The twin may cast a spell with a target of “You” on his twin (as a touch spell) instead of on himself.

Well there's the guided weapon property that you could get your unarmed strikes enchanted for to switch +str to hit/damage to +wis to hit/damage that is a wimpy monk's best friend. That's not really in a level 2 character's budget though.

Well if you are attempting to convince your party that this is a ranger animal companion, I would recommend just being a regular Summoner, and trick out your guy in rangery looking stuff. It's not hard to look like one since you can wear light armor.

As far as the creature itself, yeah hat of disguise will help, or just wrap up the glowing rune with some leather straps, something resembling a horse's bridle. I'd throw them off by labelling it "just" an albino dire alligator or something. Those with good nature checks would realize something was off with that description, those with good planes checks would note the glintiness of some of the scales and know that's reminiscent of earth-planar creatures, and that's not albinism so much as chalky quartz skin (just to pick an earth plane as an example).

It can look like something, just not specific, and not mundane. They are attempting not ensure it doesn't look common, so give it some fantastical flair. Size can be a separating factor, sure, but the safest route would be to give it some off-colored racing striped scales, off-colored eyes for the species, teeth that don't look exactly right, two tails, six legs, etc. or something that distinctly sets it apart from the common alligator.

Think of it like an aasimar or tiefling version of an aligator, all the parts are there, but it's a planar creature and there's some extra stuff there to show for it.

You are going to have a big problem if you are a Synthesist Summoner though. It specifically states that the Eidolon looks translucent and ghostly and surrounds you like translucent living armor, so you can't hide the fact that you are merged at the time with this archetype.

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I reject the premise of the title. It's as though one is being asked which leg they'd rather have. I view this as a false dichotomy. Obviously, better mobility is preserved by using both legs well. One should try to do well with both concepts of role-play or roll-play, not pick one and condemn the other. They are not exclusive concepts. Sure, some might favor one of the other, but I tend to not respect characterless murder machines and ineffective drama seekers. It is in character for a person living in a fantastical setting that routinely encounters mortal peril to want to perfect their particular survival methods, but not so much to the point where they forget their origins or lack basic social interaction capabilities.

That said, I tend to be very creative with character concepts, then attempt to optimize them as much as possible while staying true to the concept. I will also deviate off of my mechanically envisioned path in terms of feats or levels in response to the events of the campaign.

Howie23 wrote:
Asterclement Swarthington wrote:
Howie, do you consider the +intelligence modifier to damage on bombs to also be precision damage? If not, what sort of damage is it?
Alchemists make bombs. Some make them better than others. This is reflected both in the intelligence modifier and the class based dice for the damage, both of which factor into the amount of splash. Both of them have to do with how big the boom is. Bigger boom...more damage...more splash.

So what happens when an alchemist makes a bomb, then drinks a potion of fox's cunning, then throws it? Would the extra intelligence not add to the bomb since it was not there at the time of constuction? Flip that around, would an alchemist who at one point in the day dropped a cognatogen, and some fox cunning, and anything else he could use to make his intelligence modifier increase then have superior bombs for the remainder of the day long after the effects of those temporary intelligence boosters wore off?

I don't see anything in the rules that supports that and think it's important enough to warrant a mention.

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I suppose one could give an intelligent item authoritative control over a non-intelligent golem then jam that item inside the golem's body and seal it up. Neat idea.

Howie, do you consider the +intelligence modifier to damage on bombs to also be precision damage? If not, what sort of damage is it?

Lamplighter wrote:

Think of it this way: Point-blank shot gives you a bonus to damage you do with a ranged weapon. Splash damage is not something you do, it's something the weapon does. The bomb doesn't have any feats, so the splash damage it throws out doesn't benefit from the feat.

I'm going to have to disagree with you here. An alchemist adds their intelligence bonus to damage from their Throw Anything extraordinary ability, which says nothing about building better bombs in the description. In fact, if an alchemist gets a temporary intelligence buff after they have made their bombs, their splash damage still goes up. The bomb doesn't get the fox's cunning spell, the alchemist does, and that spell enables them to do higher splash damage.

I would say that PBS does add to the minimum damage and thus to the splash damage.

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Asterclement Swarthington wrote:

It seems like Adamantine Dragon has started with the conclusion that such is overpowered and is finding rationale to make scrolls incompatible with these sheaths based upon this predetermined conclusion.

Sigh... you know, some people will reach a predetermined conclusion and then twist someone else's comment just to support that conclusion...

Aster, in case you don't realize it, balance is in fact a separate game issue than real world physics. And it is routinely treated that way in the game rules. I was just saying that to address spring sheaths from a pure balance perspective is a completely rational way to view it as a game mechanic.

That's all.

I didn't even say if I thought it SHOULD or SHOULD NOT work that way. Just that attention to balance was a legitimate game concern.

Understand now?

Oh heck, of course you don't. This is the interwebz after all.

Looks like I touched a nerve. I don't tend to prefer games with DMs that make arbitrary calls that, as you put it, ignore physics, logic, common sense, or imaginative creativity, but if that's your preference go for it. Those games must suck. Again, as noted, arrows of slaying are much more powerful than mundane arrows, would the device fail if one was inserted? I mean balance is a legitimate concern right?

You do realize that by the time game-breaking scrolls are readily available that gloves of storing are an affordable purchase right? Oh let me guess, they arbitrarily wouldn't work for them either. All the wrist sheath is is a poor man's glove of storing with restrictions on appropriate items, restrictions that do not prohibit scroll-sized items by the letter.

I'm sorry, but how does the relative superiority of scrolls to wands have any effect on how wrist sheaths work? The physics would be the same be it a scroll of create water or a scroll of meteor swarm. It fits the size dimensions cited, and there are simple things that can be done to give it a measure of rigidity and protection (a leather back and wrapped around a mundane arrow or metal rod). It states it works for arrows, but since arrows of slaying are much more powerful than mundane arrows does the wrist launcher mysteriously fail for them too?

It seems like Adamantine Dragon has started with the conclusion that such is overpowered and is finding rationale to make scrolls incompatible with these sheaths based upon this predetermined conclusion.

So if one chipped in an extra 1 gold to write the scroll on a strip of leather instead of leather-reinforced paper would that satisfy the fragility concerns of most people? I mean, it's not the paper itself that's the important part of a scroll, it's what's written on it. Even if magic paper is vital, you could attach a 8.5 by 11 strip of leather to the back of the scroll to protect it.

No save isn't the end of the world, but it is odd that there isn't one. The first thing a frightened character does is run away, so that 30' effect breaker will come up real fast. I am surprised it doesn't have a once affected you can't be affected again for 24 hours clause, which is usually the juggle-breaker of choice in abilities like this.

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Blistering invective from ultimate combat is a great low level inquisitor spell as well, aoe intimidate that sets opponents on fire.

Half-Orc inquisitor is the best at intimidating even more. +1/2 per level to intimidate from stern gaze AND +1/2 per level to intimidate from the alternate favored class option.

DM discretion. I'd say no. In does not equal on or near.

With alchemist I recommend mentioning giving yourself extra arms (and then a way to give them claws as well.)

It's all a matter of perspective. I can easily envision an alchemist with a very lawful bent, working in a pristine lab setting typically with stationary beakers and precise measurements being a disaster in a nautical or pirate campaign. Fortunately that is not the essential summation of alchemist. There are tons of different ways to go.

If I were making a character for such a campaign, I'd make a ship's cook and brewmaster. He would have slid into alchemy after getting a bizarre cookbook as part of his share of the treasure on a particular haul and through experimentation. After making a pint that put some real hair on the chest of the wounded captain, and the mother of all chicken soups that sped his recovery along nicely, he gained a bit more prominence than he once had. Now he spends his time searching for exotic spices or food sources to perfect his craft and discover more arcane recipes. He's every bit the crack shot with his trusty skillet (sneak attack) and given his extensive practice at butchering meat, knows a thing or two about bodies (vivisectionist). He's even mastered the fine art of brewing grey ooze booze (mutagen) that everyone else finds absolutely revolting, but he finds hits just the spot for his practiced palette.

Kelvar Silvermace wrote:

I'm no mathematician, but I think the technical answer is that they both do the same amount of damage, but the one with the larger crit range does a greater amount (a crit) more often. So for any *particular* attack, they are identical, it is just that one causes criticals more often, which, statistically speaking, over time, means more damage than the one with the smaller range.



The greatsword starts out better but gets worse the more extra crit multiplicable damage (from strength, power attack, feats, class abilities, etc) gets added. The exact point where one is better than the other is subject to change based upon the target's AC, Damage Reduction, and accuracy modifiers, critical hit confirmation bonuses, etc. Typically this break point will assert itself in the +15 range though it can be lower or higher based on combat factors.

Silent Saturn wrote:
Are there any other feats that add a damage bonus that doubles on a crit?

Power Attack

Devastating Strike (for vital strikers)
Double Slice (for two weapon fighters)

I'm sure there's others but that's all I saw with a quick glance.

Grizzly the Archer wrote:

Now i'm not sure if I should keep my earthbreaker for my sundering barbarian and just have him use his keen greatsword instead.

Btw do we know where the breaking point is for the greatsword and eleven curve blade? With the higher damage includes in of course. So that we can say (for example- at +12 damage is the break point. They are either equal or three curve blade just overtook the great sword. Not that it really matters because the numbers are close enough to just roleplay how you want.

The break point constantly moves based upon the target's AC, DR, etc. I would say +15 damage is a safe point to give the curve blade a clear advantage in most situations. Even then, extremely easy to hit targets might be worse on the curve blade, but those aren't really a huge thing to bank on typically.

Lastoth wrote:
Add in your bonus to damage guys, you'll see the higher crit range pull ahead.

This is true. If you get at least a base of +10 damage, it will adjust the totals as follows:

Greatsword: 136, Curve Blade: 139.5

Imp Crit Greatsword: 170, imp crit curve blade: 186

So the lower the additional modifiers to damage, the better the greatsword performs. The higher the modifiers to damage the better the curve blade performs. A large hit range (hits on 2+) favors greatsword by closing the gap by 19.5 damage. A damage modifier of +20 makes even this advantage go away and lends favor back to the Curve Blade.

2d6 average damage is 7, 14 on crit
1d10 average damage is 5.5, 11 on crit

Assuming hits on 15's and up, that puts the damage table for the greatsword as:

15 - 7
16 - 7
17 - 7
18 - 7
19 - 14
20 - 14

Total - 56

15 - 5.5
16 - 5.5
17 - 5.5
18 - 11
19 - 11
20 - 11

Total - 49.5

Improved Critical

15 - 7
16 - 7
17 - 14
18 - 14
19 - 14
20 - 14

Total - 70

15 - 11
16 - 11
17 - 11
18 - 11
19 - 11
20 - 11

Total - 66

Greatsword handily wins out, further spreading the gap by 1.5 damage per step for every registered hit at a die roll of 14 or below. The extra crit potential doesn't close this gap at the minimum range, average range, or maximum range.

I'd go Rage Chemist 10, Master Chymist 10 for Hulk. The separate personalities thing for Master Chymist is spot on.

Pete is probably best represented with some variants on alchemist. Alchemist covers the gist of what he does and even has rules for some of the wackier moments of Pete's past like extra arms, turning into a spider-monster, clones, blood transfusions to Aunt May to give her a healing factor (really..).

If I were making him I'd go with the Psychonaut archetype, with his bombs representing his webs (though they should really be subdual damage base, not fire). Blinding Bomb, Fast Bomb, Precise bomb, strafe bomb, tanglefoot bomb, explosive bomb, are all appropriate given the things he does with his web shooters. An upgraded form of smoke bomb to mimic solid fog would also be appropriate to mimic those times he catches falling people or debris with his webs (I'd recommend this in exchange for "subdual damage only" bomb downgrade). Moment of Prescience and Foresight extracts from pyschonaut cover spider sense fairly well. Greater, grand, and true mutagen give a nice representation to the boost to his physical stats that the spider bite gave him, though he has very good mental stats as well despite the penalty. Spider-man has a limited healing factor which the spontaneous healing discovery would represent fairly well.

Extract wise - Caging bomb admixture (webbing up goons), Overland Flight (swinging through town), Haste, Spider Climb, All of the Attribute enhancing spells, etc. would all be good choices.

Then on top of that I'd give him max duelist levels to shore up some of the things he does with his fighting style, improved unarmed and probably snake style feats to boot and you'd have a pretty good representation of Spidey as an Alch20/Duelist10. His damage is nowhere near optimized, but neither is Spidey's really compared to some of his peers.

I can relate to Sir Cirdan's point to some extent, but I made a sort of internally consistent peace with it long ago. To me the affront was HP damage and what the heck it was supposed to represent. A giant smashes you with a huge club and you take 56 damage which is ....the amount of effort it took to actually avoid it because the only hit that counts is the last one? I never liked that explanation, but then you are left with normal folk filling in as dragon chewing gum from time to time and you have a whole other suspension of disbelief problem. I settled on it this way: Everybody's magic.

Sure, the magic users like wizard and cleric are the most obvious examples, they take whatever ambient energy source is powering them and convert it into specific effects called spells, it's flashy and everyone knows something magic has just happened. For the melee guys I just figure that their conscious mind sucks at the whole magic thing, they are too grounded, they can't reach out and grasp it like the masters. Their unconscious primal mind is a different story however. Whenever they are reaching their physical limits of durability, strength, skill, etc. their body taps into some ambient energy to get a little more oomph out of it. The process is gradual and only begins to breach physical limitations in the mid to upper levels.

After laying it out that way monks didn't bother me one bit. We're dealing with superhumanoids. And compared to commoners or NPC classes, they most certainly are.

I'd throw another summoning-esque character at them: summoner, druid, wiz/sorc, or my favorite the alchemist (bottled ooze), etc. There are some great templates that can be added to oozes that add nothing or very little to the CR, and plenty of oozes that split up into multiples when hit. Pile on the debuffs, especially fear if you can to separate the party and build tension. Persistent damaging/debilitating zone effects that you encase someone in, be it by wall or by grappling disposable minion are a great way to make a PC feel like they're in some trouble, even if the effect is just a time waster.

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