Starting With a Powerful Race {Spoilers}


Jade Regent


I have a player who really wants to play a half dragon (one of the good oriental dragons) when we start the Brinewall Legacy.

So he would be way above the power level of the other PC's even if I start them at 2nd. {We usually start at 2nd just to help survivability and just give half xps until caught up.}

What I was think is having him inflicted with a bestow curse, the -4 to rolls variety. He doesn't know where it is from, but he has been told he has to help Ameiko to get rid of it. It has a high caster level check so no one local has a decent chance of getting rid of it.

When he gets to the swamp it drops to a -3.
When he heads off with the caravan it drops to a -2.
When he enters the castle it becomes a -1.
The spirit thing in with the seal removes the last of it when recovered.

Does this seem reasonable?


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I understand the desire to make your players happy but, having been down a similar road, I would say "No, do not allow it".

Let's make sure we're all on the same page here. A half-dragon gets:

Quote:

CR is +2 the base creature's

+4 to Natural Armor
Darkvision 60'
Low-light vision
Immunities
Flying
Three natural attacks (totaling 2d4 and 1d6)
a breath weapon
Str +8 (+4 on attacks and damage, so you're curse will just put him back at where he should be with the rest of the party)
Con +6 (+3 hitpoints every level, unaffected by the curse)
Int +2
Cha +2

And how are you going to handle progression? Does the PC take racial HD, or level up as a class? Will the class-based HD count for the breath weapon's advancement? While the curse wears away, is the PC advancing by level? Will his level be equal to the other PCs? If so, he'll always be more powerful than the other PCs. If not, despite all of this, he may just be a glass cannon with too few HD and hit points to survive the fights at levels 2 through 4.

It's a real can of worms you're opening up if you allow this, and you may wind up alienating your other players just to make this one happy. So, again, I would say "no, absolutely not". JMO; YMMV.


Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:

I have a player who really wants to play a half dragon (one of the good oriental dragons) when we start the Brinewall Legacy.

Well, no. I wouldn't allow it. Perhaps suggest a draconic sorcerer as a compromise or the sorcerous bloodline feats that allow other classes to benefit from draconic bloodlines.

Scarab Sages

Another option to just saying no would be to sit down with the player and the Ultimate Race playtest doc (or the actual book when its avalable) and build a custom dragokin race at a standard power level.


Alternatively, aren't there other Tien PC races due for release soon? In the Dragon Empires primer/gazzeteer maybe?


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Gang and Matthew both have good suggestions there. Think about those as an alternative in order to "work with" your player rather than my suggestion of simply saying "no".


SnowHeart wrote:
Gang and Matthew both have good suggestions there. Think about those as an alternative in order to "work with" your player rather than my suggestion of simply saying "no".

You're SO Lawful Evil.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
gang wrote:


You're SO Lawful Evil.

LOL! =D (Thank you, I think.) ;-)

Liberty's Edge

I second Draconic Sorcerer, leading into Dragon Disciple. If the player wants more spell casting tell him stick with sorcerer the whole way. If he was intending to be more melee then add in another class.

Human Sorcerer(Draconic) 1/Samurai 4/Dragon Disciple 10 could really be roleplayed up as an eastern half dragon and still not blow away the other party members in power level.

If your player doesnt like the Samurai 4 then use any other full bab class and add in some eastern theme. Could use some some 3/4 bab classes as well and net you a higher bab than straight sorcerer.

Charismatic Spellcaster with Dragon flavor? Sorc 5/DD10
Noble gold? Sorc 1/Paladin 4/DD10
Raging red? Sorc 1/Barbarian4/DD10
Any Theme? Sorc 1/Fighter4/DD10
Eastern Martial Artist? Sorc 1/Flowing Monk 4/DD10
Sneaky Dragon? Sorc 1/Ninja 4/DD10

Just tossing out a few ideas. Dragon Disciple is a really good prestige class to add in some half dragon flavor to a PC without breaking the campaign or balance between players with the actual template.


Ask him why he want it and what part of it he want... get rid of (almost) everything else; if he want too many things, just say no.

Or give a boost to the other PC?


I doubt this player will ever play a sorcerer, but I will mention it.

i will suggest the UR doc and see how that goes.


Ugh... I don't think anything makes me wince as hard as someone saying he wants to play a half dragon (it even tops the 'I wanna be a male dark elf assassin that never talks, or can I be a vampire?')

My first, and most contemptuous reaction would be to use that curse idea. Except, the curse is he's actually a human, he just thinks he's a dragon.

Okay, now for something more serious. I'm going to assume your player is at the lowest common denominator. He wants to be a big super tough guy that hits things with a sword, and looks like a dragon. Actually taking a level dip in draconic bloodline sorcery isn't a terrible idea, for even a martial centric character. Gives him a few tricks.

That or he can just fight, but team up with someone playing a crafter to build him his dragon-esc power imbuing armor.

If you're game, and this guy isn't as lame as I fear, you could try house ruling and making a 'totemic DRAGON druid.' Use the eagle one as a base. Drop the totemic summons for a breath weapon... some more modding to get it where you want. Let's you take natural weapon feats so he can slowly start looking more draconic most of the time...


What about a Synthesist Summoner who 'wears' an oriental dragon-like eidolon?


Just saying no isn't only lazy DMing, but also mean-spirited in my opinion, and hell, I've been a DM myself and seen players suggest stupid things like "Dwarf Rapist". Anyway, putting things aside, why not just house-rule him as a Dragonborn (pick up the 3.5e book Races of the Dragon and you're good to go) or make a weakened version of the Half-dragon template. If he wants the template only for the stats, THEN there might be a little more trouble with how to approach the problem.


Kobolds proclaim themselves to be the scions of dragonkind - why not Tien dragonkind? Perhaps use the Classic Monsters Revisited content to adapt him to a white- or green-scaled kobold and claim to have pearlescent or jade scales..


You're kidding, right? Telling a player that they could play a KOBOLD instead of a freaking Half-Dragon is a spit in their face.
If the player gets mad at you for insulting him and/or decides to leave your group, don't you dare blame anyone else except yourself.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Icyshadow wrote:
Just saying no isn't only lazy DMing, but also mean-spirited in my opinion, and hell, I've been a DM myself and seen players suggest stupid things like "Dwarf Rapist". Anyway, putting things aside, why not just house-rule him as a Dragonborn (pick up the 3.5e book Races of the Dragon and you're good to go) or make a weakened version of the Half-dragon template. If he wants the template only for the stats, THEN there might be a little more trouble with how to approach the problem.

As this would seem to be directed at me, I think the response of "no" is about what the request deserves (I give back to my players as much or more than they put in to my game and no less, and this request deserves little more consideration than the host of factors I provided and a succinct response), but I also endorsed the suggestions others offered. I'm not going to insult the OP's player as I don't know him, but if someone I had invited to my gaming table asked to play a character like that, I'd tell them "no" and, if they pressed it, to find another table. IMO and experience, requests like thees are a sign of other issues that same player will be bringing for the rest of the campaign. Dwarf Rapist is moronic, but it's a background concept that is easily addressed. Wanting to play a half-dragon really just boils down to, "I want to be incredibly powerful and overshadow the rest of the party," and that's not an element I want at my table and it deserves and needs to be nipped in the bud for the kind of inappropriate request it is. There's a more detailed answer than "no". If you want to entertain munchkinism, go right ahead. YMMV.


And what if the player doesn't give a damn about the racial bonuses and wants the template for fluff reasons? I myself would like to play a Half-Fiend Elf, but I even asked the DMs I know to personally make the template weaker if I ever do get a chance to play Pathfinder or 3.5e as a player again. YOU seem to be the kind of superstitious DM who thinks ALL homebrews and houserules are spawns of Hell. I am not meaning to offend, but your attitude seriously makes my blood boil.

PS. I do not support munchkinism in any way, but I am equally intolerant of letting players cripple themselves with "trap options", if you know what I mean.
Just saying since I am cynical enough to expect finger-pointing and false accusations from people by this part.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Icyshadow wrote:
And what if the player doesn't give a damn about the racial bonuses and wants the template for fluff reasons?

If you really think that's all this request is... The player is either very young, very inexperienced, and/or I have a bridge to sell you.

Quote:
I myself would like to play a Half-Fiend Elf..

And if you were playing in a high-powered, mid-to-high-level campaign, that would be fine. As would, possibly, a half-dragon PC. But that's not what the Jade Regent campaign is. And I make a point of explaining to my players before we begin a campaign of what to expect and what kind of characters will be enjoyable and appropriately challenging for them in the campaign. Call me crazy.

Quote:
...YOU seem to be the kind of superstitious DM who thinks ALL homebrews and houserules are spawns of Hell.

And where the heck did you get that impression? Holy leaps of logic, batman.

Quote:
I am not meaning to offend...

No offense taken. I have little patience for munchkins. I was polite to the OP because he was trying to make a player happy, which I sympathize with. But that's about the extent of my patience on this topic.

Quote:
but your attitude is the kind of thing that makes my blood boil

Boil away. Doesn't bother me.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Fair enough. As I said, "JMO;YMMV", because different people do enjoy different aspects of RPGs such as Pathfinder. Peace.

Edit/PS: I am aware that I can come accross as curt and abrasive at times. It's not personal. I'm an equal-opportunity a%&~%!!. :-) Sorry about that.


Good point. Now, I guess we just need to see what kind of decision the OP is going to make concerning this issue.

And no need to worry, all's good now.


Hmmm.... Really wasn't planning to start a fight.

The player is kinda of an odd ADHD manic with a touch of manchkin in him. It is not so much to show up the other players as it is, "This would be so cool!!!" He tends to make a lot of 'glass cannons' and not realize how fragile they are until he has played them for a while.

I have a feeling that if I give hem enough penalties or put him enough levels behind everyone else that he doesn't dominate, he won't enjoy it. I was playing some 1/2drag charters out against some of the creatures at the end of Brinewall Legacy. If I put him the recommended levels behind other PC's he wouldn't contribute too much, but 1 or 2 lucky hits and he is dead because he would have so few hitpoints.

I'll try to talk him into giving the Dragonborn or the Ultimate Races playtest doc a try.

Silver Crusade

As a DM I try to make all my players happey even if it takes a litttle work on my part. If you player wants to play a half dragon let him.
when figureing out the encounter CR add +3 to the encounter CR. This might just mean adding some more mooks to each encounter or a med BBG like an NPC that is 2 to 4 levels high than the party. Throw in a reoccuring bad guy that escapes the party to fight them another day.

To the other posters there is nothing worng with a player wanting to run a powerful race you as a DM just have to balance the encouters to
match the party strength. Remember power attracts power.

The only real problem that I have with Pathfinder as a whole is that far to many people IMO reley on printed AP's and if it does not fit in to the low powered world that Pazio presents they scream that the players/DMare munchkins and that is just not the case.

Pazio has chaosen to publish a fine setting that is low powered compared to the Realms and IMO Pazio sometimes stifles the creativity
of its Game masters and players by trying to shoehorn them in to a lowpowerred setting when there is so much cool stuff that Pazio has published or is in their world that can be played at a higher power level then the AP's and PFS.

Kydeem let him play his Dragonborn type character or half dragon at the same level as the rest of the party but beef up the bad guys. the party will have to expend more expendable healing resources and other casting resources that should balance out any precived power issues
with his character.


Lou Diamond wrote:


Rant

I'm not fully against your Idea but, Powering up the enemies could be bad for the rest of the party, if you chose such an option, you should give a boost to the rest of the party so they don't fall behind.


Any recomendations for an easy way to buff baddies on the fly?

I'm having the problem of my PCs being a little overpowered based on their attributes. We've always used 4d6 drop the low die, and the night we rolled stats it seemed like everyone was on fire. Multiple 18s, nothing below 10 or 12...they pretty much roll over any baddie (at least at these low levels) who was built using 15 point buy in mind...and I think the lack of challenge is making things a little dullish for them.


PhineasGage wrote:

Any recomendations for an easy way to buff baddies on the fly?

I'm having the problem of my PCs being a little overpowered based on their attributes. We've always used 4d6 drop the low die, and the night we rolled stats it seemed like everyone was on fire. Multiple 18s, nothing below 10 or 12...they pretty much roll over any baddie (at least at these low levels) who was built using 15 point buy in mind...and I think the lack of challenge is making things a little dullish for them.

A simple way is to use the "+2" golden rule to your bad guys. Assuming your players stats are way above average they probably have ability that are 4 to 6 points (if not more) higher than average. This means that their ability modifiers give at least a “+2” bonus more than the average monster or bad guy. (E.g. a strong fighter NPC with average stats has Str 14 (+2 to hit and damage), while your PC has 18 (+4 to hit and damage)) So a quick and simple way is to simply add +2 to your bad guys’ rolls (and perhaps an extra 2 hp per hit die). That should allow them to last a little longer in a fight and deal a little more damage. You need not to that will all the bad guys, maybe just the lead or main guy in a fight. Of course you can increase this bonus to +3 or +4 for really tough guys or reduce it to +1 for others. The same thing bonus can be used for everything, including spell DCs, save DCs etc. the nice thing about this is that if you see it suddenly going out of whack and punishing the PCs you simply drop it, or (even have the next blow drop the bad guy). Quick, simple, no wasted hours restating bad guys.


Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:

I have a player who really wants to play a half dragon (one of the good oriental dragons) when we start the Brinewall Legacy.

So he would be way above the power level of the other PC's even if I start them at 2nd. {We usually start at 2nd just to help survivability and just give half xps until caught up.}

What I was think is having him inflicted with a bestow curse, the -4 to rolls variety. He doesn't know where it is from, but he has been told he has to help Ameiko to get rid of it. It has a high caster level check so no one local has a decent chance of getting rid of it.

When he gets to the swamp it drops to a -3.
When he heads off with the caravan it drops to a -2.
When he enters the castle it becomes a -1.
The spirit thing in with the seal removes the last of it when recovered.

Does this seem reasonable?

I just started a new campaign where a player really wanted to play a powerful race. So what I did to keep things simple, was identify all the unbalancing powers and split them off into racial feats that the player could select instead of normal feats. So she started her character with more or less the same types of racial abilities as the other players, but then added her special powers by spending her feats on them instead. So you could do something like make natural attacks, and breath weapon a feat. You can also create feat trees, so perhaps improved natural attacks as another feat if the original attacks were too powerful, or energy resistance and improved energy resistance, etc. – thus allowing him or her to grow into her power as your characters all level up.

This allows the racial powers to weighed up in a choice between choosing the cool combat feat vs. the racial power. Does she choose it this level, or wait a few more levels, or ignore it all together? She is 3rd level now and has found that she does not really want all the powers of the race, so she simply did not choose them. Sometimes the cool factor of playing a “half dragon” is more important than all the powers they get.

Silver Crusade

Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:

I have a player who really wants to play a half dragon (one of the good oriental dragons) when we start the Brinewall Legacy.

So he would be way above the power level of the other PC's even if I start them at 2nd. {We usually start at 2nd just to help survivability and just give half xps until caught up.}

What I was think is having him inflicted with a bestow curse, the -4 to rolls variety. He doesn't know where it is from, but he has been told he has to help Ameiko to get rid of it. It has a high caster level check so no one local has a decent chance of getting rid of it.

When he gets to the swamp it drops to a -3.
When he heads off with the caravan it drops to a -2.
When he enters the castle it becomes a -1.
The spirit thing in with the seal removes the last of it when recovered.

Does this seem reasonable?

I'll tell you the same thing. I tell my player that asked me the same thing. NO.

1:There is no way to balance him with the party.
2:This type of thing will make the other players want to do the same or make them upset that he was allowed to do something they where not.

Now after you tell him NO. Tell him you will work with him to come up with some race that will fit the type of RP character he wants to play. Pathfinderdb.com is a good place to start. There are allot of hombre races on the sight and ratings for them to give you a good starting point. On there sight the Dragonborn race is a good player race. And close to what your player is looking for RP wise.


Some good suggestions above.

Bottom Line- I'd say a big, fat "NO!" before dealing with a gamebreaker. Call me a "lazy" or "mean" GM, but Alot of us have been there with the game breaking situations. Ymmv of course.

Grand Lodge

Lou Diamond wrote:

As a DM I try to make all my players happey even if it takes a litttle work on my part. If you player wants to play a half dragon let him.

when figureing out the encounter CR add +3 to the encounter CR. This might just mean adding some more mooks to each encounter or a med BBG like an NPC that is 2 to 4 levels high than the party. Throw in a reoccuring bad guy that escapes the party to fight them another day.

Letting him play a more powerful race and beefing up the encounters accordingly is unfair to the other party members. They are going to be outshined or killed by the foes required to challenge the munchkin. At some point, you will end up with a party full of half-dragons, half-celestials, half-fiends etc or you will end up with a half-dragon and everyone else will leave.

It is possible to let people play races of different powers, but it requires maturity on the part of the players so the less powerful ones still feel like they are contributing. It does not sound like the OP's player is sufficiently mature for this.

You basically have three choices: 1) disallow the half dragon entirely; 2) allow the half-dragon and beef up the rest of the party - better point buy, improved starting wealth, bonus traits or feats; or 3) use something like UR, Dragon Shaman, etc. to give him the "cool" factor of a dragon which is still balanced versus the other characters.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I removed a post and the replies to it. Be civil, please.


Just in case anyone was interested...

We decided he could use the Ultimate Race playtest doc to build a race that he liked as long as it didn't have more than a 1 level penalty. (20 racial points max.)
He seems to be happy with that. But he is picking some wierd racial abilities.


Icyshadow wrote:
And what if the player doesn't give a damn about the racial bonuses and wants the template for fluff reasons?

If the bonuses didn't matter, then the issue wouldn't even come up - the player can look like whatever he/she wants and have whatever background he/she wants. There would be no problem.


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Icyshadow wrote:
You're kidding, right? Telling a player that they could play a KOBOLD instead of a freaking Half-Dragon is a spit in their face.

Wow. I think I knew what thin-skinned meant. I was wrong.

Icyshadow wrote:


If the player gets mad at you for insulting him and/or decides to leave your group, don't you dare blame anyone else except yourself.

Yeah, he only has himself to blame for getting rid of a crybaby :P

I can see someone leaving the group because someone else calls him a (insert c word, followed by n word, followed by j word), or going into detail how much he'd like to rape a family member of his. Something like that. Or, of course, physical violence, damaged property, etc.

Leaving because the GM says "Half-dragon is not in the cards, but kobold is"?

Icyshadow wrote:
Just saying no isn't only lazy DMing, but also mean-spirited in my opinion

That's weapons grade balonium. Sticking to the standard races - like the core rules assume the GM does - is a perfectly valid choice. And even if you allow more than just that, he's perfectly justified disallowing half-dragons.

In fact, calling the GM lazy and mean-spirited because he won't fulfil power gamers' wet dreams is grounds to either dismissal or be called a kobold player!

Icyshadow wrote:


Anyway, putting things aside, why not just house-rule him as a Dragonborn (pick up the 3.5e book Races of the Dragon and you're good to go) or make a weakened version of the Half-dragon template.

Why no ??

Keeping things close to the core is a valid choice even if power concerns don't enter the considerations.


Did you just ignore all the posts after that one? The issue has been resolved and there's no real problem to discuss anymore, since the player in question reached an agreement with the DM about what he's allowed to play (and the DM himself said the player's choice was both for fluff and for stats). So instead of attacking me, maybe you could instead do something a bit more constructive?

Horribly ironic to see this just as I made a friend of a guy who seemed rather antagonistic towards me in the start.


Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
Hmmm.... Really wasn't planning to start a fight.

Apparently, you're a prodigy ;-P

Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:


The player is kinda of an odd ADHD manic with a touch of manchkin in him.

[...]

I'll try to talk him into giving [...] the Ultimate Races playtest doc a try.

These things don't belong together. You can't call someone a munchkin and then give him a big toolbox. O_o

The race building toolbox isn't really for players. It's for the GM.

Take said toolbox, create a "dragonspawn" race with it, making sure it's balanced by your estimation (I suggest making them humanoid, not dragon, with only some dragon-like traits, since the dragon type gets a cartload of nice resistances and immunities), and present that to him.


I think this thread shouldn't continue on, but I have to make a thing clear. This player is a power-gamer, not a munchkin. Munchkins are the type of guys who use loopholes like Pun-Pun to make their character into a god, while a power-gamer simply picks strong abilities and racials to suit their needs. There's a difference on their perspective despite their goal being similar.

This player in question is being insulted in my opinion, and I don't feel like I am doing anything wrong defending his case, even though I myself usually frown upon people who see a pile of stats on a character sheet instead of an actual character.


Lou Diamond wrote:


when figureing out the encounter CR add +3 to the encounter CR.

Ah, so you're against telling people their concept is not good. Instead, you slaughter the non-munchkin characters in the party and rely on group dynamic to correct the deviant's behaviour. Code Red for the win! ;-)

Lou Diamond wrote:


The only real problem that I have with Pathfinder as a whole is that far to many people IMO reley on printed AP's

Yeah, how does the s&@*ty game dare to cater to people who don't have 40+ hours worth of spare time each day to create their own worlds and characters????

(And no, I'm not using hyperbole to humorously point out why people rely on those APs or how that is not the game's fault in any way)


Icyshadow wrote:
Did you just ignore all the posts after that one?

What other posts???


Icyshadow wrote:
This player is a power-gamer, not a munchkin. Munchkins are the type of guys who use loopholes like Pun-Pun to make their character into a god, while a power-gamer simply picks strong abilities and racials to suit their needs.

Just gonna throw this out there... Pathfinder is a role playing game... not a table top power game. The difference between munchkin'ing and powergaming are semantic at best. Personally, it's just whenever the player neglects the actual role playing aspect to focus purely on ... well, power.

People don't ask to play half dragons for the story potential- they do it be innately stronger and tougher than everyone else. Regardless of balancing, I think this is a bad foot to set out on.


Icyshadow wrote:
... This player is a power-gamer, not a munchkin...

Well I wouldn't call him a full bore munchkin.

First off, everyone seems to define the term differently.

But I worded it as I did because he definitely has tendencies in that direction (as I define it). For example: He reads the new gunslinger carefully enough to see all the advantages, but he sometimes (purely coincidentally) doesn't read it close enough to catch all disadvantages. Even when he does catch them he rarely takes them into account in his planning.


Sekret_One wrote:
The difference between munchkin'ing and powergaming are semantic at best.

The definition of munchkin is so muddied that it doesn't deserve the term "definition". Ask ten people what it means and you'll get 1d10+10 answers.

If I have to make a distinction between power gamer and munchkin (or, rather, between power gaming that is acceptable, and power gaming that is just ruining the game for everyone at the table), it's the stuff you do (or don't) besides power gaming.

Optimising/min-maxing/powergaming is not a bad thing per se (or several different, also not clearly defined things). It becomes bad when you overdo it (wizard who starts with int 20 in a higher-powered campaign: Perfectly OK. Wizard with 7's in strength and charisma since neither really helps the character's power: questionable!), when you forget to create a character that is not only powerful, but also a character (rather than a set of stats), and, of course, when you cheat (i.e. "forget" some rules etc.).

It's not a 0/1 switch. But, then again, few things really are.


I'll second the option of playing a Draconic Sorcerer 1/warrior type 4/DD X. Seems like the best option here, and it lets the PC grow into his draconic powers naturally.

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