I think that taking away sneak attack is an excellent move. They can add some ability to rebuff the damage loss. What about Investigator says sneak attack? I can see giving them a slower progression that starts at first level, or possibly just using d4s and the standard progression, but I definitely do not think they need to sneak attack as well as a rogue!
I agree, NO trapfinding or Disable Device in the base class!
Please do NOT add disable device to this class! But bluff SHOULD be added to the skill list. I think basing the Slayer's abilities off of Intelligence and giving him some ability to make monster checks untrained would make up for having less skill ranks. It would be cool if the Slayer had to identify his target's weaknesses as a swift action in order to utilize his favored target ability, also like the idea of having to split the bonuses between targets later on.
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Ahhh, now that soothes the ache I was having. I will now playtest this for sure.
I agree fully. I think the extra mercy/loh is the route I'll go. Need to find a sub for aura of justice though at 11th level...
I try to be flexible for character concepts, a sorcerer should be able to get a familiar no matter their bloodline, so I allow them to swap the equivalent power out, if a ranger doesn't want spells, I allow them to take a animal companion at 1st level in exchange, etc. It's not about power-gaming, and it is not about keeping perfect balance (which isn't their to begin with) it's about building unique characters.
I've recently begun SCAP with 3 Gestalt PCs. I have a witch/rogue, a ranger/fighter, and a paladin/fighter. We haven't got to Jzadirune quite yet, so I don't quite know what I'm in for with this group in alot of combats, but so far the roleplaying has been excellent.
I am adjusting everything as I go along, and updating it all to PF, which means tougher NPCs. But, I am down-scaling the largest dungeons, because my PCs would kill me if I threw them in a dungeon with over 60 rooms!
I started the PCs with some intro adventures to compensate for the xp trimmed from Jzadirune, and help tie them to the setting better.
I am trying to retain alot of the difficulty, but adjusting the scale to fit three PCs. I converted the Skulks and gave them a level of warrior, which pushed them into the CR1 range for pf (no where near a CR2 monster!).
I am also using medium xp progression, but will make sure PCs are at appropriate levels along the way. Will scale-back the amount of magic items as needed throughout.
Basically, I am doing alot of work editing the AP for my group, but it has been worth it, and I can still get-in 2, 4-6 hour, sessions a week!
Also my PCs notice the little details I throw in for them (like things I know they like, or things tailored to their character), and then they know I pay attention to their characters.
Hmmm, don't have the setting book, but this is interesting...
Yes, some great Ideas folks!
Doubling LOH might be a good solution, something like Level+cha, starting it at first (with channel still coming at 4th, or move to second level?). Not sure how I feel about double mercies though...
Seems a little weak for giving up smite... but you know, have your cake and what not.
The Paladin in question is the primary healer. The party is composed of a Witch a Rogue a Ranger and a fighter. He's not interested in the smite mechanic or being a Cleric. I guess, being an ultimate evil-smasher is a little extreme for his character, he is more of a soldier/hospitaler. I want to find a suitable substitute, some ideas:
Ranger favored enemy (already mentioned)
Of these, the most likely is number two, extra LOH... but how much extra?
Well, I'm using this AP so I don't have to homebrew everything myself, I don't have the time for that, but I do have time to re-write and adjust as I go. Anything that is just to "difficult" to run as is, and too complex to make adjustments to (like large dungeons with many interconnected events) I will simply re-write. Even if I don't use some of the AP, it still saves me alot of time (and creative energy), and I am sure there is alot of material to work off of.
Considering starting AP at level 2, or including a level worth of prologue, my PC's have high stats already, but I'll just have to wait and see the AP before I know what I need to do.
Still waiting for book (expect it by early next week)
Thanks everyone for your input.
P.S. Not interested in Gestalt!
Instead of thinning out the encounters, you might instead break them up a little bit. Give the smaller party more opportunities to avoid encounters or run away or use smart tactics. Make sure there are plenty of friendly NPCs around to help with things (in that AP, I recall that there are plenty). Maybe Nidrama helps out mysteriously from time to time, using magic to appear as a wise old woman who tends their wounds or feeds them information. The Striders make an excellent information source and could easily serve at need as reinforcements if the PCs get into trouble.
I think these are great ideas, and once I get the AP I will look to implement them. She is not very fond of super long dungeon crawls, so I see myself trimming things in places for that reason at least.
These are all valid suggestions and I appreciate it, but note that I am not looking to alter the rules or anything at this point. I'd like to avoid playing an additional character as GM, unless my player picks-up an NPC's help momentarily during an adventure or such. Also, we are playing core-only.
I tend to control and limit what magic items are available for sale, but am not afraid to drop a wand of CLW as treasure or on an NPC, as long as it seems somewhat "organic" to do so (not that the heal-stick isn't full-of cheese as it is). Not really looking to force things too much.
What I do intend to do though is adjust encounters, thin-out the herds a little, adjust the bad-guys if necessary, and make sure the PCs have what they need for any situation they need to overcome. It seems there is a bit of dungeon-crawling in the Shackled City AP from what I've read on the boards, and that is something I will probably tone-down a bit, I do not expect my group to be able to endure as many encounters as normal, and my player can't stand to be in a single dungeon for 12 sessions.
I may have my work cut-out for me, but it is still less than creating my own homebrew campaign, and we are looking for something long-term. I will tailor things to the party.
Here's our rolled stats and tentative builds:
Ezme: Human, str14 dex15 con14 int17 wis11 cha12 (+2/race-int)
Uulmec: Half-Orc, str17 dex15 con15 int10 wis11 cha16 (+2/race-con)
Idunnr: Elf, Rolled stats: 16, 15, 14, 14, 12, 10.
Shouldn't be to hard to adjust the AP, right? I think we rolled high enough (yep, we rolled high! 4d6 drop the lowest, only Idunnr got any fudging and was allowed to re-roll two low stats) that we will survive most anything level appropriate. The Paladin gets ridiculous saves and becomes immune to nearly everything, and has really high survivability for front-line, plus decent enough healing, I think. We will be lacking certain Cleric goodies at times though, like restoration/remove disease, etc., most of which the Paladin can handle much later on than the Cleric, so it is a gamble.
I will consider going Cleric with Uulmec deeply, but it really is a stretch for the character, he would have to be built more melee/tank-like, and not seem so...priestly, and come-off more soldiery and Orc-y in battle, and still needs his iconic greatsword. He needs to be tough!
Well, I have to convert the AP to PF anyway, so I can adjust it to fit our characters as we go. I probably will use the AP more as a backbone, than a play-as-written, I can use the setting and the story elements as are, and adjust the flow and focus to fit as we play along, depending on how awesome the book is when I finally receive it.
Man, i drank too much wine last-night when I started this thread, I barely remembered it this morning until I saw the little dot next to it... uhh, got to go to work with fuzzy-head
Not knowing how much characters would actually develop playing solo, I feel I've let us down with a shotty attempt.
Seeing as though I just ordered the Shackled City hardcover (still in the mail), and she is just getting back from vacation, we have agreed to start fresh, and play through the campaign.
Not ever playing a "solo" campaign before, I've made some mistakes, but more importantly- there have been some triumphs. My "main" character, and hers have developed a rich relationship, we would like to retain those characters, and re-tell their story.
I thought about going Paladin for my GMPC, but Smite-evil+GM+metagame is hard to avoid and clunky, but niche-wise is perfect. Barbarian also fits, but will be doomed without a cleric. Fighter works, but not very versatile. Inquisitor works, but more mechanically than thematically.
So what I would like advice on, are:
Possible issues with Homebrew Campaign Set up
Besides being awesome, damage would be the main issue.
Remember that halfling rogues rock, with the +4 stealth, and +2 dex, and a sneak attack that relies not on size.
Assuming that there will be a cleric, his/her buffs will really help, bull's strength for the fighter, etc. The travel domain would be enjoyed by a little guy (my dwarf-cleric loves it)it gives you +10' speed, and the first level bonus spell is longstrider, plus a bunch of movement abilities and movement focused bonus spells.
Someone should try to optimize for damage, a two-hand fighting barbarian would do well for this, with enhanced movement and str increase during rage. (Especially enlarged via the spell).
Halflings make good casters due to size, and won't rely on puny weapons for damage.
I like this concept party, I think their strongpoints will be sneakieness, agility, and little-guy coolness. I wouldn't worry about damage too much, sure you won't be able to max-out DPS, or whatever, but you will have a lot of fun roleplaying!
What I would watch out for as GM, is throwing a bunch of big grappling/swallowing/choking monsters at them, other than that I would not adjust CRs or anything.
Remember that they can fit into small places big monsters cannot, and add terrain accordingly to difficult encounters if need be. There are a lot of benefits to being small, sneakieness, high AC, etc. Large monsters or tough NPCs may not even recognize them as a threat right away, never underestimate a halfling's courage!
The small die weapons are not as big of a problem as it seems, it's the -2 strength that hurts the most. If the PCs play into the strengths of being small, they should be able to handle just about anything you throw at them.
Haven't explored naval combat too much yet, but halflings get +2climb and acrobatics, which should help...
Cryohydra/Pyrohydra (+2 CR): Variants of the standard hydra, the cryohydra lives in cold marshes or on glaciers, while the pyrohydra prefers deserts or volcanic mountains. A cryohydra gains the Cold subtype, while a pyrohydra gains the Fire subtype. Each of its heads has a breath weapon (15-ft. cone, 3d6 cold damage [cryohydra] or 3d6 fire damage [pyrohydra], Reflex half) useable every 1d4 rounds. The save DC is 10 + 1/2 the hydra's HD + the hydra's Con modifier. Although fire attacks cannot prevent a pyrohydra's neck stump from growing new heads (since it is immune to fire), 5 points of cold damage does. Acid works normally on both hydra variants.
...every head. So on a full attack, that's alota breath.
It's funny, shortly after reading this thread yesterday, I had a four hour session in which I used my Bestiary. When I went to open it at the beginning of the session the binding separated from the spine, only the green first and last pages are saving the cover from falling-off.
I store my bestiary in my desk, lying flat. It has left my house once in a book bag, in the dry cold Michigan winter for a ten minute drive to somewhere else and back. The thing is brand new, and treated like a baby, but who knows what conditions it has suffered before falling in my hands!
I rarely use monsters straight out of the thing, so it gets alot less flipping than my rulebook (whose only problem is easily rip-able pages).
Scott Betts wrote:
Now I have to come out of lurking... This thread was fine, and no one was actively participating in any warring. Then you show up, quote every reference to 4e out of context. This thread had a friendly tone, with little bashing of 4e.... But now you've done it, YOU brought the edition wars. I hope this thread doesn't crash and burn now!
That's the way I've always done it. Also, if you have a 30% chance of failing, you want to roll above 30. If you have a 30% chance of success, you want to roll 30 or below.
I think it is saying, a single attack cannot inflict more than one dose at a time. As in, you cannot load your dagger with 2 doses of poison, and then deliver those on an attack, but if you were to be attacked by two assailants with a dose of the same poison on their blades, and they both hit you, you would have two doses to contend with.
Edit: Now that I go back and read that section, I kinda get what you are saying, but look at the example further down the page with the spiders, it should help clarify.
I have a player in my group who has never played this type of game before, and she built a cleric. Now, access to your whole spell list at any given level can be daunting, and she does sigh from time to time, but she LOVES it.
You just have to be very patient with a new player, and expect your first several sessions to focus on teaching this player how to play. When I have a new player, the campaign always starts off like a tutorial, I introduce the basics, then build on them, in an organic "in-story" way. You really have to glaze-over alot of the more "advanced" mechanics to make the game flow, until the player(s) are ready.
You also have to throw some fun stuff down for the more experienced players to have fun with, and use some complex bits on their chars first to give the newbie an example, and give the other players a chance to explain what they are doing. Of course, this has to be minimal enough as to not interrupt the feel of the game, but D&D is always a balancing act. If I hear groans from the more experienced players, when I'm trying to explain a rule or mechanic to a newbie, then I just throw that rule or whatever out the window and tell them I'll explain it later, but here is how it works for now.
If a new player builds a really crappy character on accident, then they most likely don't understand the mechanics of the class. If the other players don't want to help this person be more effective, then the DM needs to sit-down with them, and help them, there is no excuse for not doing this, D&D is not a fraternity, and we do not need to haze new players or make them uncomfortable before they even learn the game!
I always take time to sit-down with a new player before we play to make sure they are ready, I will even help them build their whole character, if they need me to. I'm in no way saying you need to hold your players hand, but you don't want to come off as arrogant, or turn someone off to the game for no reason. I find that given time anyone will become proficient enough to play an effective character, they just might need help at first.
I've found that if the players are jerks to the newbies, then those new players either become timid, or jerkish in return. No one needs to walk on eggshells, afraid of saying the wrong then, using the wrong spell, or taking the wrong feats, just 'cause they are new, it ruins their fun. Some people grasp the mechanics right-away with little intervention, and to some people it's like learning a new language. Give new players time to get their feat wet, and be forgiving in letting them retrain and give them an "undo" button for a while.
Now, don't take this out of context please, this is a general vent, and not aimed at anyone, and if the person who was offended by me earlier is reading this, don't bother to respond if this somehow pisses you off, please.
Paul Worthen wrote:
I agree that the learning curve for 3e/PF is a little steep, and new players need to be helped-out alot at first. If you wanted to pull-off a combo like rogue/bard, you have to know what you're doing. It's funny that the Druid was the weak-link in the party, being arguably the most powerful class around. PF did knock the Druid more in line with everything else.
Viletta Vadim wrote:
A CR 10 creature vs. a party of four PCs is an "average" encounter, according to pp.397 of the core-rulebook. A level 10 party member is considered a CR9 creature, according to the same book, PC levels=level-1, and NPC levels=level-2. So the example with the Bard is technically an "easy" (APL-1) encounter.
Everything else you say is true though.
Michael Brock wrote:
It seems to me that the GM shouldn't be giving super specific info. that would be better covered by gather info (dip), or a higher DC. It's like the skill assumes that your character takes time to familiarize with his surroundings wherever he goes, at all times. Mechanically the skill works really well, you just have to find a good way to rationalize it in game. For campaigns with alot of travel, this skill is invaluable, and making the PC pick specific regions to be trained in would nerf it to death.
Just compare it to the other knowledge skills, nature is extremely useful and of comparative power, if you made the PC pick a particular terrain or region, then the skill is hardly worth the points. Would you make a player pick a specific plane for knowledge (planar)? Or a specific deity or sect for knowledge (religion)?
Skills should be really useful so that the classes that get alot of skills get their time to shine.
Matthew Koelbl wrote:
Well for one, intent and tone is notoriously hard to convey in plain text. I think part of the problem is that you are taking what I said too literal, I am in no way attempting to discredit anyone's opinions or experiences, nor am I meaning to polarize, or create an argument.
I actually enjoyed playing 4e, and understand the draw to it, and why people play it. I respect that choice, and if Pathfinder didn't come along, I may possibly be playing 4e right now. As for game balance though, I just don't think it is the most important thing in my system, which is why 3e works fine for me and my group.
I was simply trying to state earlier, that often people make assumptions about 3e which simply seem exaggerated, or unfounded. I wasn't accusing anyone here of this, specifically. I know that if I were to generalize, or to accuse your favorite system of being "broken" or "not-balanced", you too would also have a similar reaction. By "You either love-it, or hate-it", I meant to say, weather you like a particular system or not is not important to the discussion of game balance.
This is my concluding statement on this argument.
I thought opposed grapple checks are completely gone, all being rolled into CMD.
And, for further detail:
I made a monk that was grapple-master, and he rocks against anything his size, casters beware!
Is that better?
Matthew Koelbl wrote:
Lots of stuff, some of it a little hostile.
Nothing I said was meant as an attack on anyone. I did not say anything that attacked you personally, or was overtly offensive. Nowhere did I say 4e is crap, on the contrary I made some points for and against. Or at least that was my intent. If you feel I said something personal, than I apologize, but asking me not to attack you or 4e, by attacking me and quoting me out of context is hypocritical.
If you don't understand where I'm coming from, then read some of my earlier posts in this thread, you'll notice that I am in no way targeting people who play 4e, and in no way trying to put anyone down. I played 4e faithfully for a full year, that is 1-2 times a week, about 6 hours to a session, when it first came out. I am just trying to make a point on balance, which 4e has in spades, then I offered my opinion, which no one should ever feel threatened by.
So, please cool it a little.
PS: If I could go back and edit my last post to remove generalizations and things that could be misinterpreted, I would.
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
I'm guessing it was the power that got nerfed later, I have not checked the errata, but it was ridiculous. My players aren't power-gamers, they are role-players, the power itself must have been broken. That said, the goal is to create a concept for a character that has meaning and depth, that you can relate to and bring to life. So, in my opinion, more options is better.
What's wrong with specialization? In order to be exceptional at one thing, you risk being deficient at another. You may choose to be good at a couple of things in place of raw, one sided power, and gain more flexibility. If all classes could do everything equally well, then why would we need so many?
Strengths and weakness's represent hard-lined roleplaying criteria that represent a more realistic balance then the be-all, do-all, mish-mash that everyone seems to want. If I want to smash things better than everyone else, than yeah, I'll pay for it somewhere, most likely in versatility. The moral is, if you want to be the greatest at something, then you will always have to sacrifice something else.
Matthew Koelbl wrote:
A DM can mitigate the problems of the system. They shouldn't have to, of course, but they can. Sometimes. But when there is power disparity within the party itself, it gets really hard. How do you challenge a group where one player can hit on a 2+ what everyone else needs 20s to hit? Or where one character isn't threatened except by spells that would wipe out the rest of the party?
This type of disparity NEVER will happen. Your example is way too extreme. What do you do when the party includes an Invoker who can lock all enemies into uselessness? How do challenge the group? How do you challenge a group of players that you can't ever kill?
Seriously, I found it very hard to challenge my players in 4e. They nearly never died, and throwing really tough monsters at them just meant the battles took extra long, which they already do anyway. I had to make the Invoker player switch classes, because he could shut-down anything, making it useless, I had them fight a much higher level dragon, and he just shut it down, and the dragon just shut them down, and the thing ended in a drawn-out stalemate that was exhausting.
Matthew Koelbl wrote:
I don't think it's like that, I think that everyone who dislikes 3e* tends to exaggerate certain qualities, and it shows either a lack of experience with the system, or an unfair bias. 3e isn't crap, you either like it or you don't, but many, many, many people still play it and love it. Alot of the complaints about balance, just aren't true, especially in play, and I think tend to come from misunderstanding, or vacuous number crunching.
The problem with number-crunching 3e is, the balance of multi-faceted systems and subsystems is hard to quantify, and any mathematical conclusions drawn can only be true on paper, and fall apart totally during play...there are just too many factors, and relationships. The GM and the human element in 3e kills number experiments by the time they hit actual play. So, while true on paper, not so much in play.
I can say that people who dislike 4e do the same thing. 4e's math is mostly simple and obvious, it is not complex to crunch, and is hard to break. What you see is what you get, and player choices are all relatively the same power, save for a few broken powers here and there. The options players get to choose though, can lack real impact, feats are subtle little tweaks and there is not much danger of accidentally miss-choosing something, powers are all scaled to each-other closely, so everyone and everything has equal opportunity.
The problem with this, though, is that while a very forgiving system, 4e lacks the depth of 3e's labyrinthine options and builds. In 3e you can really build a character EXACTLY how you want them, while in 4e you are really pigeon-holed with very limited options. Both good and bad, on the one hand, in 4e you nearly never have to worry about balance, on the other hand, you just don't have as much control of things. One axe- wielding fighter is pretty much the same as another mechanically.
4e, great game that plays well with little effort right out of the box, but lacks that familiar depth of D&D. 3e, great game that keeps the tradition alive with tons of options, and complex mechanics that make for a believable and in-depth experience.
To each his own...
*Note: All instances of "3e" refer mainly to 3.5 and Pathfinder.