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Mongoose87
2009-08-06, 01:30 AM
Seriously, I know the Epic Level Handbook was 3.0, but even looking through the SRD, I find that I am seriously pressed to find anything particularly special about most Epic feats. I mean, how much is DR 3/- going to do me when I'm taking fifty damage from one attack?

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-08-06, 01:32 AM
Epic Spellcasting makes up for it.

Mongoose87
2009-08-06, 01:35 AM
Not an option for many classes.

Draz74
2009-08-06, 01:36 AM
Because the people who designed the Epic rules hadn't actually played high-level non-Epic games.

Nai_Calus
2009-08-06, 01:38 AM
Epic Spellcasting makes up for it.


...You're joking, right?

I mean yes I know 3.x is the god-awful edition of 'Fighters suck forever period and get no nice things ever', but seriously? Epic spellcasting for spellcasters makes up for everyone else getting garbage?

Lawl.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-08-06, 01:41 AM
...You're joking, right?

We have a winner.

Milskidasith
2009-08-06, 01:43 AM
Automatic Quicken Spell is a useful investment if you can spare three feats on it. But yeah, most epic feats seem to be pretty meh.

Tempest Fennac
2009-08-06, 01:44 AM
I'd say the problem is likely to be miscalculating things due to other Editions (eg: I remember reading somewhere that the Weapon Focus feat tree was meant to mimic Weapon Specializations in earlier editions, and WotC assumed everyone would use Blaster Arcanists due to that tactic being more practical in earlier editions thanks to lower HPs and other spells having more drawbacks). I'm not that familiar with Epic Levels but I think the main issue is with the that that the high DCs to use more powerful spells was possibly seen as a balancing factor, dispite things like items which can grant skill check bonuses.

Gorgondantess
2009-08-06, 01:45 AM
Yep. Once again, casters get the good stuff.:smallwink:

Doc Roc
2009-08-06, 01:46 AM
Uh. Take spell stowaway timestop unless you love dying.

Frosty
2009-08-06, 01:56 AM
Do any groups here actually USE epic rules as-is? I woul dmake up my OWN epic rules TBH.

Tempest Fennac
2009-08-06, 01:58 AM
I've never used them to be honest (looking over the Epic spells put me off the idea of using them).

Mongoose87
2009-08-06, 01:58 AM
Uh. Take spell stowaway timestop unless you love dying.

I'm not an arcane spellcaster?

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-08-06, 02:00 AM
Epic Feats suck because WotC hates non-prepared spellcasters.

PId6
2009-08-06, 02:01 AM
Well, if we're going to talk about what sucks, let me nominate Salient Divine Abilities. Most of them just seem completely pointless.

Divine Paladin: I get a slightly better anti-fear aura and a slightly more powerful smite, great. Divine Celerity: I can act as if hasted for 1 to 20 minutes a day, wow. Battlesense: I can't be flanked, as if that matters at all to a powerful deity like me. Free Move: I can move once per round as a free action... awesome, right? Speak with Creatures: ugh.

On the other hand, some abilities are just so obviously infinitely better. Alter Reality: free Greater Wish. Life and Death: instantly kill a mortal across all boundaries no save no resurrection. Divine Spellcasting: it's spellcasting. Why would any deity take any of the utter crap "I'm slightly better than a mortal (or not)" abilities when they have access to these?

Combine this with epic feats and there's a clear and obvious trend here.

ShneekeyTheLost
2009-08-06, 02:35 AM
Well, there are a couple that... aren't bad.

Dire Charge... it's Pounce... only epic. If Complete Champion hadn't made that a 1st level ACF, it would be pretty cool.

Distant Shot... can be abused with Hulking Hurler stuff, or as was mentioned in a previous thread, can be used in combination with Bloodstorm Blade to hit every start in line of sight... in six seconds.

Epic Dodge... get out of death free card?

Exceptional Deflection... good with Infinite Deflection to keep Orb-wizards from killing you. In fact, these two feats plus AMF make you surprisingly difficult to kill... until the wizard in question MDK's the AMF. With Reflect Arrow, you get to return the metamagic'd-from-hades Orb of Sound back to sender, postage due.

Spellcasting Harrier... if only a melee had a chance of being able to threaten an epic caster, it might do some good

but yea... mostly they suck

tyckspoon
2009-08-06, 02:40 AM
I'm not that familiar with Epic Levels but I think the main issue is with the that that the high DCs to use more powerful spells was possibly seen as a balancing factor, dispite things like items which can grant skill check bonuses.

I don't think the Epic Spell rules were written with any sort of balance in mind at all. Let's start from the generally-accepted premise that whoever wrote the books wanted Wizards to act as blasters with support and field control as secondary influences at best. The spell seed you would turn to for blasting would be Energy, right? And the sample Epic blast is Hellball. Now, if you look at Hellball, the only thing you should be thinking is "Why the hell would anybody ever want to develop and cast this?" It would be perfectly reasonable as a researched 9th level spell. It is pointless as an Epic spell; by the time you can reliably hit DC 90 to cast, nothing you seriously need to fight will care about being hit by a Hellball. Or take the Destroy seed, which makes you burn huge amounts of your Spellcraft budget just to get the same damage you can get from Disintegrate. And its benefit is.. longer range and not having to make that touch attack. And let's not forget that *every* combat application of an Epic spell is boned from the start, because it takes 25 extra Spellcraft just to make it a 1-action casting time. Yes, you now have to pay dearly for the ability to cast a spell in the same amount of time you have been casting spells all the rest of your career.

Epic buff spells, on the other hand, work wonderfully. Straightforward and inexpensive applications of the Fortify and Armor seeds can increase almost any relevant number on a character sheet by about a dozen points with a duration of around a week or more. Reflect can automatically defend you against the first ten or so melee or ranged attacks you experience each day, and as an extra benefit your attacker hits himself with them. Epic Spellcasting almost forces a character into entry-level Batmannery if he wasn't there before, simply because those are the only spells that can be developed and cast with any useful effect for an economically viable cost.

Tempest Fennac
2009-08-06, 03:15 AM
That could also suggest that the developers thought that blasting would be so powerful that it would need to be weaker at Epic level.

PId6
2009-08-06, 03:18 AM
Well, there are a couple that... aren't bad.

Dire Charge... it's Pounce... only epic. If Complete Champion hadn't made that a 1st level ACF, it would be pretty cool.

Distant Shot... can be abused with Hulking Hurler stuff, or as was mentioned in a previous thread, can be used in combination with Bloodstorm Blade to hit every start in line of sight... in six seconds.

Epic Dodge... get out of death free card?

Exceptional Deflection... good with Infinite Deflection to keep Orb-wizards from killing you. In fact, these two feats plus AMF make you surprisingly difficult to kill... until the wizard in question MDK's the AMF. With Reflect Arrow, you get to return the metamagic'd-from-hades Orb of Sound back to sender, postage due.

Spellcasting Harrier... if only a melee had a chance of being able to threaten an epic caster, it might do some good

but yea... mostly they suck
Spellcasting Harrier is almost exactly the same as the non-epic Mage Slayer feat from Complete Arcane. Dire Charge can be replicated by a 2nd level power from the psychic warrior, only without the limitation of first round of combat. Distant Shot is fairly useless depending on how you read it (and Hulking Hurler can be abused much easier without this). Epic Dodge only works for one attack (when enemies are making 5 or more in a full-attack) and sorcerers can do it better with a 2nd level spell Wings of Cover. Exceptional Deflection is just a more roundabout version of Ray Deflection, a 4th level sor/wiz spell.

Really, most epic feats for noncasters are just crappier versions of spells. The only epic feats I would ever even consider taking are:

Automatic Quicken Spell
Epic Leadership
Legendary Commander (maybe, only with Epic Spellcasting)
Enhance Spell (maybe, at very very high levels)
Epic Spellcasting (always)
Ignore Material Components (solves annoyances, usually not worth it though)
Improved Heightened Spell
Improved Metamagic (x2 or x3)
Improved Spell Capacity (x100)
Intensify Spell (maybe, at very very high levels)
Multispell (x1000)
Permanent Emanation
Spell Stowaway (just for Time Stop)

Yeah, so as you can obviously see, all of these but the leadership feats have to do with spellcasting, and the leadership feats are only for the sake of Epic Spellcasting anyway. Pretty much every other epic feat is not worth it.

Nai_Calus
2009-08-06, 03:29 AM
PF: Oh, good. I was hoping.

PId6: My favourite 'what the frak?!' moment in Deities and Demigods is that one of Corellon's frakkin' SDAs allows him to use his DEX modifier for attacking with a longsword. No seriously what.

Even more hilariously, other than Corellon's unique SDA, you couldn't get weapon finesse on a Longsword ever. Even the Champion of Corellon Larethian PrC still wouldn't let you use the quintessential elven melee weapon with Weapon Finesse. Time to bust out the Elven Thinblade or better yet the Elven Courtblade. *facepalm*

(I'm reminded of the worst PrC I've ever seen, from some Dragon issue or other. Mystic Keeper of Corellon Larethian. Cleric, 5/10 spellcasting advancement so it blows chunks. It has Weapon Finesse among other things as a pre-req, but all the class features require you to be holding a longsword(They also all suck). The class of course does not give you the ability to *use* your Weapon Finesse on your longsword. Deeeeerp.)

Kaiyanwang
2009-08-06, 03:42 AM
I speak for my personal experience (I DMed an epic campaing, 1-40 levels, 5 years of gaming 1-2 week).

As far as I can tell, yes, there are good and crappy Epic Feats, but there are more good than you can think.

The Devastating Critical - Overwhelming Critical line is good. Works wonderfully. Trust me, sometimes you surround the meleer with hordes of demons, and wipes them all with damages + criticals + epic weapons procs.

The exceptional deflection line is veeery good. An Epic Favored Soul, Warblade or Fighter can use it without IUS with the ELH web enhancement.

Monk ones are good. Can happen in epic you take 4 MDJ in a round an the monk has a vorpal weapon and infinite deflection anyway (assumin he hits :smallwink:)

Dire Charge was great when we havn't so many way to pounce.

Wildshape feats can be outrageously good. No 25 HD but druid level cap. And Magical Beast Wildshape is way too good.

Never seen automatic-something-spell. But spell capacity and improved metamagic are, again, way too good. I've seen used them with incantatrix. Ouch.

Armor Skin and DR one are not good. Never seen a player take them, but I guess that if one start to stack DR x/- from many stackable sources.. Dunno.

The rogue ones are veeery good. Reflexes for Fort and Will 1/round? Yes, Thanks. And the "avoid a blow 1/round" is veery good too.


Of course, there are crappy ones, and not only for the caster > melee thing: even feats of the same "category": Epic Weapon Rend is faar inferior to Epic TWF.

A lot of them (like the ones to penetrate DR) are good only for certain kind of campaing or if you want to save slot on the weapon.

The "Legendary" ones are like Endurance: not bad, but think twice before use a precious feat slot.

Epic spellcasting, you hav or to ban it, or to tweak it. I allowed special rules of XP reagents to allow my players the spells of their dreams. Another way to go around it is rituals.

What tickspoon said about buffs > nuke, true. SO true.

As a general rule, I've seen my player take few of them, and than "combo" with the non epic ones

Example: Rogue: Staggering Strike + Epic Dodge to keep at bay a Big Smashing Demon.


EDIT: I banned Spell Storaway and Permanent Emanation for campaign inherent combos. If you built a dragon, PLEASE at least consider the former.

Eldritch_Ent
2009-08-06, 04:01 AM
There's always fun to be had making a dragonwrought fighter Kobold, and then using your spare feats (since the fighter gets enough to spend on fighter-related feats from being, well, a fighter) on epic feats.

Sure you have to use small-class weapons, but it's so awesome it helps take the edge off of a fighter's naturally suckyness.

Flickerdart
2009-08-06, 04:07 AM
Small size, -6 STR, DEX and CON in exchange for Epic fighter feats? Sounds fair.

Fishy
2009-08-06, 04:19 AM
Would Epic Spellcasting be any good in a game where that was the spellcasting mechanic? As in, everyone has it, and knows a seed or two?

Flickerdart
2009-08-06, 04:29 AM
Would Epic Spellcasting be any good in a game where that was the spellcasting mechanic? As in, everyone has it, and knows a seed or two?
No, because then D&D would play out like an RTS free-for-all: the first person to chain-gate the most solars and develop the "I win" spell wins.

ZeroNumerous
2009-08-06, 04:34 AM
No, because then D&D would play out like an RTS free-for-all: the first person to chain-gate the most solars and develop the "I win" spell wins.

Actually, I think it has some merit. I mean, you'd have to do away with a large amount of crap but overall it would curb spellcaster power significantly(casting spells as standard actions would be ludicrously inefficient). After all, the only thing left to utilizing in combat would be buffs, and you can hand those out to everyone rather than horde them for yourself.

kamikasei
2009-08-06, 04:42 AM
Would Epic Spellcasting be any good in a game where that was the spellcasting mechanic? As in, everyone has it, and knows a seed or two?

I'm pretty sure there exist systems like that (= "you make spells up based on specific elements and modifying factors, then make a skill check to cast them") in other games, but adapting actual 3e epic casting into something similar would pretty much amount to designing an entirely new system with some shared elements.

(This may just be my brain throwing Slayers d20 and Mage into a blender together, though.)

T.G. Oskar
2009-08-06, 05:03 AM
Well, if we're going to talk about what sucks, let me nominate Salient Divine Abilities. Most of them just seem completely pointless.

Divine Celerity: I can act as if hasted for 1 to 20 minutes a day, wow.

Considering that was a 3.0 book, it's the rough equivalent of "act as if buffed with Celerity or its lesser version for 1 to 20 rounds, plus a free +4 untyped bonus...and the ability to Jump better.

No, seriously. You'd take Divine Celerity just for the partial action (which means either a move or a standard action, which means you could do a standard action and a full-round action, or a move action plus a full round action.

It's just that this new Haste made the divine ability change a bit. But if you notice the name of the spell.

Oh, did I forget that in such case, you wouldn't get dazed as a result? That would make a deity laugh at a Wizard who has to find a way to both cast Greater Celerity and find a way not to get dazed for that.

Then again, we all know what a Wizard does with that Greater Celerity spell...starts with "T" and ends with "ime Stop". With a side order of Extend Spell.


Free Move: I can move once per round as a free action... awesome, right?

Well, there's a race that would benefit from this at the very first level *coughcoughMonkcoughcough* So a deity that exemplifies such profession *coughcoughZuokenhackwheeze* may already have such an ability.

Of course, it's stupid when you can do something similar, just with a swift action rather than a free action, with 2nd level psionic powers and Hustle, so... In either case, any person crazy enough to level the already mentioned profession to 20 levels would quite enough choose this one. And perhaps...say, Alter Reality or something ;)

Though, you can find some uses for it. I mean...martial adepts that love the TSS routine will love it, as well as TWF rogues and basically TWFers.

PId6
2009-08-06, 05:24 AM
Considering that was a 3.0 book, it's the rough equivalent of "act as if buffed with Celerity or its lesser version for 1 to 20 rounds, plus a free +4 untyped bonus...and the ability to Jump better.

No, seriously. You'd take Divine Celerity just for the partial action (which means either a move or a standard action, which means you could do a standard action and a full-round action, or a move action plus a full round action.

It's just that this new Haste made the divine ability change a bit. But if you notice the name of the spell.
Wasn't 3.0 Haste still just a 3rd level spell? So a level 20 caster with Extended Extended Extended Extended Extended Extended Haste would have 14 or 128 minutes of Haste for a 9th level slot, depending on how you stack Extends. And I'm sure there were probably plenty of ways to get full-day Haste in 3.0 as well, so it really defeats the point of having limited Haste as a SDA. If it were permanent Haste, that'd be slightly different, but it's not.


Then again, we all know what a Wizard does with that Greater Celerity spell...starts with "T" and ends with "ime Stop". With a side order of Extend Spell.
Or better yet Maximize Spell. But who needs Greater Celerity? No point spending an 8th level slot when you can do just as well with 4th.


Though, you can find some uses for it. I mean...martial adepts that love the TSS routine will love it, as well as TWF rogues and basically TWFers.
It can be useful, possibly as an epic feat, but as a SDA... no. Hey, here's an idea, let's take all the crappy SDAs and convert them to epic feats! Most of them are bad for SDAs but as epic feats, they're much better.

Also, I believe if it were converted to 3.5, it might be changed to swift action instead of free. It is a free action to be used once per round, so it has all of the markings of a swift action.

Dhavaer
2009-08-06, 05:31 AM
Wasn't 3.0 Haste still just a 3rd level spell?

Yes, but a hugely overpowered 3rd level spell. It effectively let you spontaneously Quicken 1 spell/caster level, without using up the 1/round limit on Quickened spells or increasing the spell level, as well as giving you some other minor buffs.

peacenlove
2009-08-06, 05:42 AM
Yes, but a hugely overpowered 3rd level spell. It effectively let you spontaneously Quicken 1 spell/caster level, without using up the 1/round limit on Quickened spells or increasing the spell level, as well as giving you some other minor buffs.

Minor buffs such as 30 feet bonus to all speeds and a +4 STACKABLE bonus to AC
Not to mention the armor that was prized at +3 value while giving you permanently a haste effect (+1 partial action, +4 haste bonus to AC) >.>
Speed enchantment Defenders of the faith for the powerplayers out there

T.G. Oskar
2009-08-06, 06:00 AM
Wasn't 3.0 Haste still just a 3rd level spell? So a level 20 caster with Extended Extended Extended Extended Extended Extended Haste would have 14 or 128 minutes of Haste for a 9th level slot, depending on how you stack Extends. And I'm sure there were probably plenty of ways to get full-day Haste in 3.0 as well, so it really defeats the point of having limited Haste as a SDA. If it were permanent Haste, that'd be slightly different, but it's not.

Wait...since when does Extend stack? I had the distinct idea that you can only apply one instance of a Metamagic effect per feat applied to it.

Now, with 3.5 and the old 3.0 Haste mixed, and Permanent Spell...well, you have a winner there. Why worry for 20 minutes of Haste when you can have it for an entire day?

Just consider that, this is an effect any deity could get. Wizards could spend a spell on that, but they could be dispelled for it. Salient Divine Abilities can't be dispelled, and they work within an Antimagic Field, so that's two pluses.

What I find hilarious, though, is that there's no Salient Divine Ability that effectively works as an Antimagic Field...


It can be useful, possibly as an epic feat, but as a SDA... no. Hey, here's an idea, let's take all the crappy SDAs and convert them to epic feats! Most of them are bad for SDAs but as epic feats, they're much better.

Also, I believe if it were converted to 3.5, it might be changed to swift action instead of free. It is a free action to be used once per round, so it has all of the markings of a swift action.

Well, you're the owner of your own game, so if you wish to...I'd say give the ability to Monks anyways, and perhaps an Epic Feat as well for the rest of the people. That alone would make the Monk be a bit more useful.

As well, while it has the markings of a swift action, recall that this is the rules for deities and epic creatures. At that moment, thinking about swift actions can be suicidal. Free actions 1/round are exactly that; things that you can do once per round, but that still allow you to do swift actions. And specifically for martial adepts, they have better things to do with swift actions than move. Like, activating a boost or a counter, which they may desperately need. Ensuring that you can move as a free action makes a BIG difference...otherwise, a Belt of Battle works exactly for your needs. And...IIRC, there's a boost that allows you to move your move speed as a swift action, so it's pointless to make that a feat. So no; if you're thinking of an Epic feat, you're thinking on the degree of giving several things to do with those free actions you waste on talking and so forth.

Besides...Free Move means you can move outside your turn as well. It distinctively says "free" action... Then again, that depends on how you rule free actions, so... I'd see the Free Move epic feat as an immediate action, so that you have several awesome effects with it. It makes it infinitely more worthwhile, since you can pretty much move from the AoE of a spell or a cloud before the caster can even finish it.

As a final point...those books are distinctively 3.0, which means they don't know of Alternate Class Features, the new classes and books, and pretty much anything aside from the Core rulebooks (which are pretty broken on their own). The degree of power of 3.0 compared to 3.5 is really far from each other, at least one being a step further in power than the other. Notice just how most Epic feats have non-epic counterparts (Dire Charge is particularly hilarious, since you can do that much better as non-epic, and save the feat slot for something better and non epic!), and how the perception of Epic has changed, since most people simply put can't reach Epic levels on their basic campaigns for one reason or another. Were you looking at those as part of 3.0, you'd notice those abilities are pretty broken, aside from the Wizard who was broken from day one.

PId6
2009-08-06, 06:20 AM
Wait...since when does Extend stack? I had the distinct idea that you can only apply one instance of a Metamagic effect per feat applied to it.
That's true in 3.5, but I thought the explicit banning of stacking the same metamagic came only in the conversion. I'm sure it was never intended, but I don't think 3.0 actually banned doing it that way so people did it anyway.


Just consider that, this is an effect any deity could get. Wizards could spend a spell on that, but they could be dispelled for it. Salient Divine Abilities can't be dispelled, and they work within an Antimagic Field, so that's two pluses.
I'd much rather waste a spell for persistent Haste at the risk of dispelling than waste a SDA slot for that. And besides, Alter Reality allows you to cast Haste on yourself and then make it permanent. So yeeeaaaahhhh... :smalltongue:


What I find hilarious, though, is that there's no Salient Divine Ability that effectively works as an Antimagic Field...
Well if you count Alter Reality which lets you do nearly anything...


As well, while it has the markings of a swift action, recall that this is the rules for deities and epic creatures. At that moment, thinking about swift actions can be suicidal. Free actions 1/round are exactly that; things that you can do once per round, but that still allow you to do swift actions. And specifically for martial adepts, they have better things to do with swift actions than move. Like, activating a boost or a counter, which they may desperately need. Ensuring that you can move as a free action makes a BIG difference...otherwise, a Belt of Battle works exactly for your needs. And...IIRC, there's a boost that allows you to move your move speed as a swift action, so it's pointless to make that a feat. So no; if you're thinking of an Epic feat, you're thinking on the degree of giving several things to do with those free actions you waste on talking and so forth.
That's true. Hmm, a non-epic feat that lets you swap swift for move actions on a limited basis can actually be useful and balanced. I agree that such an epic feat should probably use actual free actions.


Besides...Free Move means you can move outside your turn as well. It distinctively says "free" action... Then again, that depends on how you rule free actions, so... I'd see the Free Move epic feat as an immediate action, so that you have several awesome effects with it. It makes it infinitely more worthwhile, since you can pretty much move from the AoE of a spell or a cloud before the caster can even finish it.
Not true. Free actions cannot be used outside your turn unless it is explicitly stated otherwise. Consider that Quickened spells in the PHB (before errata) were free actions, and I certainly hope nobody's allowing those outside of your turn. *shudders*


As a final point...those books are distinctively 3.0, which means they don't know of Alternate Class Features, the new classes and books, and pretty much anything aside from the Core rulebooks (which are pretty broken on their own). The degree of power of 3.0 compared to 3.5 is really far from each other, at least one being a step further in power than the other. Notice just how most Epic feats have non-epic counterparts (Dire Charge is particularly hilarious, since you can do that much better as non-epic, and save the feat slot for something better and non epic!), and how the perception of Epic has changed, since most people simply put can't reach Epic levels on their basic campaigns for one reason or another. Were you looking at those as part of 3.0, you'd notice those abilities are pretty broken, aside from the Wizard who was broken from day one.
I see your point, but even in the context of 3.0, some of the abilities are pretty laughable. I mean, just compare within itself. Would you ever take Great Intelligence over Epic Spellcasting? Or Armor Skin under any circumstances whatsoever?

Indon
2009-08-06, 06:28 AM
For the last twenty levels, casters gained power exponentially compared to non-casters. In epic levels, noncasters gain power faster and casters gain exponential power faster.

It's really no different than the rest of the game - the balance issues just become increasingly obvious to spellcasting optimizers. CR becomes continually less reliable just as it has the last 20 levels, too.

I feel the epic rules make for a fine continuation of the game - or at least, an appropriate one.

ZeroNumerous
2009-08-06, 08:09 AM
Wasn't 3.0 Haste still just a 3rd level spell?

Persist. All day haste.

PId6
2009-08-06, 08:12 AM
Persist. All day haste.
Was there Persistent Spell in 3.0?

Eldariel
2009-08-06, 08:34 AM
Was there Persistent Spell in 3.0?

Yes, and it only had +4 adjustment. It's actually printed in Deities & Demigods, among other places. It's also in Forgotten Realms Campaign Settings and Tome & Blood (3.0 Complete Arcane, effectively).

And yeah, there's a reason advice regarding epic tends towards "have 9th level spells or die a horrible death". Spellcasters are just so much better at anything and once you start stacking the ability to take as many actions as you want per round along with the ability to be immune to mundane attacks and 9th level and under magic and so on, along with the only way to acquire immunity to Time Stop being only available to characters capable of casting the spell...


The trio of feats in:
Epic Spellcasting
Multispell
Improved Spell Capacity

alone just beats everything any other class gains. Add to that Automatic Quicken, Improved Metamagic and so on and we can conclude that the rest of the classes can just go home and cry.

Most problematic is the fact that non-casters don't really gain any way to combat the constantly strengthening magic, so it's kinda like epic non-casters are balanced against each other (and have an array of interesting build options and abilities there) while casters play their own game of rocket launcher tag and Immunity To Everything with a dozen actions per round and the whole wealth of effects the game offers at their disposal.

PId6
2009-08-06, 08:43 AM
Yes, and it only had +4 adjustment.
Huh, that's... extremely awesome. Actually makes for a viable Persistent Ghostform if it were allowed in 3.5. I think Persistent Time Stop is also possible for a wizard with that, though it would take a bit of tinkering. Wow, what incredible potential for breakitude.

The Rose Dragon
2009-08-06, 08:45 AM
You can't Persist Time Stop since it's effectively Instantaneous.

I think.

DCironlich
2009-08-06, 08:49 AM
I have to admit that when I first read through the Epic Level Handbook, I wasn't impressed by the Epic Feats.

However, after three years of DMing a campaign, which entered into epic levels about four months ago, I'm no longer put off by the Epic Feats. The Epic Feats permit characters to do new things, but without making the game unwieldy.

I think it would have been more satisfying for epic level players though, if the designers had taken the approach used in creating Epic Destinies (from the WOTC website).

Eldariel
2009-08-06, 09:53 AM
You can't Persist Time Stop since it's effectively Instantaneous.

I think.

This is correct (or well, the conclusion Char Ops reached anyways). Note that Persistent Spell's cost is no issue - DMM Cleric with e.g. Time-domain is perfectly capable of applying Persistent Spell to Time Stop already; the good news is that technically it does nothing.

Navigator
2009-08-07, 08:47 AM
As someone that has actually played epic with a DM that knew what he was doing, epic feats are generally fine. Of course, if you assume that you have all the downtime you want and spend all your wealth on a single spell, you can win with Epic Spellcasting. In practice, a DM will never let you sit for the absurd amount of time needed to make an "I win" spell.

Also, in practice, wizards start scaling down in power dramatically as SR and saves start sky-rocketing. This is barring batman wizards, where epic is pointless. I mean, what are you going to do as a wizard when you're facing 4 monsters with over 1000 hp, won't fail a save, and need tricks to get passed their SR? I'll tell you exactly what you do: make sure your 500 damage/round fighter doesn't fall over.

Eldariel
2009-08-07, 08:54 AM
As someone that has actually played epic with a DM that knew what he was doing, epic feats are generally fine. Of course, if you assume that you have all the downtime you want and spend all your wealth on a single spell, you can win with Epic Spellcasting. In practice, a DM will never let you sit for the absurd amount of time needed to make an "I win" spell.

Uhm, that's what fast progression time planes are for. All you need is a day or so of apparent time.


Also, in practice, wizards start scaling down in power dramatically as SR and saves start sky-rocketing. This is barring batman wizards, where epic is pointless. I mean, what are you going to do as a wizard when you're facing 4 monsters with over 1000 hp, won't fail a save, and need tricks to get passed their SR? I'll tell you exactly what you do: make sure your 500 damage/round fighter doesn't fall over.

Aim them with Orbs (of Force)? Gate something in? Buff yourself into Str 100+ Fighter that can beat the holy hell out of the wannabe-Fighter in your party? Wipe out their Spell Resistance and blast them with few Maws of Chaos? Or maybe just imprison them in ground? Blast their defenses to yesterday with epic magic and end their sorry lives with Magic Missiles just to spite them while they inefficiently throw mortal magic and try to attack you? You're a Wizard, use your imagination.

Flickerdart
2009-08-07, 09:02 AM
As someone that has actually played epic with a DM that knew what he was doing, epic feats are generally fine. Of course, if you assume that you have all the downtime you want and spend all your wealth on a single spell, you can win with Epic Spellcasting. In practice, a DM will never let you sit for the absurd amount of time needed to make an "I win" spell.
Mitigate DC (and thus time) with chain-gated Solars, of course.

Talya
2009-08-07, 09:48 AM
Spellcasting Harrier is almost exactly the same as the non-epic Mage Slayer feat from Complete Arcane. Dire Charge can be replicated by a 2nd level power from the psychic warrior, only without the limitation of first round of combat. Distant Shot is fairly useless depending on how you read it (and Hulking Hurler can be abused much easier without this). Epic Dodge only works for one attack (when enemies are making 5 or more in a full-attack) and sorcerers can do it better with a 2nd level spell Wings of Cover. Exceptional Deflection is just a more roundabout version of Ray Deflection, a 4th level sor/wiz spell.

Obviously. You're comparing 3.0 epic feats with 3.5 splatbook abilities that were specifically designed to duplicate those epic feats (thus rendering them obsolete), and then saying epic feats suck?

Epic rules are 3.0, and were never truly updated for 3.5. At some point, the designers realized there just weren't enough options for many classes, featwise, and by making most "epic" feats available in some form pre-epic in various 3.5 splatbooks, they did help the balance...the most broken things in 3.5 are all in core, the splatbook additions do a lot (if not enough) to help that balance. If you're going to compare the usefulness of epic feats, you've really gotta do it with core SRD only. (although Epic Destinies -- which existed for 3.5 long before 4.0 was ever released, are awesome.) Very, very few 3.5 epic feats/rules have ever been released. If there were a few 3.5 epic level splatbooks, and the feats in them all sucked terribly, you could make that argument.

Doc Roc
2009-08-07, 09:53 AM
You can't Persist Time Stop since it's effectively Instantaneous.

I think.

Correct. You cannot persist or permanency it or technically even extend it, I think. I may be wrong about that last one.


@Talya, yes, that's exactly what we're saying, in fact. I guess we all just wish there was a 3.5 epic set. Mind, now that there are some 3.5 epic feats here and there in the Completes. And they also suck. :)

kamikasei
2009-08-07, 09:56 AM
Obviously. You're comparing 3.0 epic feats with 3.5 splatbook abilities that were specifically designed to duplicate those epic feats (thus rendering them obsolete), and then saying epic feats suck?

If those 3.5 feats aren't considered massively overpowered, then doesn't it indicate that the 3.0 feats didn't give you very much for the cost of an epic feat? Were those 3.0 feats so much better when only compared against 3.0 material, or is the fact that 3.5 found it balanced to make those abilities available at much lower levels an indication that they just weren't up to scratch to start with?

Fax Celestis
2009-08-07, 09:58 AM
I'm pretty sure there exist systems like that (= "you make spells up based on specific elements and modifying factors, then make a skill check to cast them") in other games, but adapting actual 3e epic casting into something similar would pretty much amount to designing an entirely new system with some shared elements.

Done and done.

Navigator
2009-08-07, 10:12 AM
Uhm, that's what fast progression time planes are for. All you need is a day or so of apparent time.
PC: "So, I go to _____ and spend a year of downtime in one day to craft the I win spell."
DM: *laugh* "No."
PC: "But, but, the books say I ca-"
DM: *hits PC with one of the four pointy corners of the DMG* "No."


Aim them with Orbs (of Force)? Gate something in? Buff yourself into Str 100+ ...

Wizards won't consistently deal as much damage as an epic Fighter. A functional spell list for a wizard won't include thousands upon thousands of hit point damage.
I wanna see this buff that gives +100 strength. And if you tell me to time stop and buff into a Fighter, I have better things to do in a time stop.
Imprisonment requires a will save. Unless you have really effective tricks, save DC spells are a waste of slots.
Even if I had something useful to call without strings attached, I don't want to spend 3000 XP every combat.


I know it may seem a little crazy, but solars don't and shouldn't come without strings attached. I mean really, if you were DMing and a PC started calling an absurd amount of solars (and asking them to burn XP for you), would you really just sit back and shrug your shoulders? And if you do, where do you live, because I want to play under you. :smallbiggrin:

While chain-gating solars is a great theoretical excercise, but if it were really allowed, every arcanist in the universe would have done it already. That and you'd have no need for epic.

All that being said, casters do get a better feat selection, but I think many people underestimate feats like Additional Magic Item Space and the crit line of feats. But, you have to consider that Fighters and Rogues continue advancing without a hitch. Casters are heavily dependent on their epic feats and what they can cook up with Epic Spellcasting; other than that, levels just mean more hit points, a caster level, and another rank in spellcraft.

Doc Roc
2009-08-07, 10:29 AM
Dear Navigator:

To put it politely, I'm not overwhelmingly interested in your view of how the rules absolutely must work. Here, unfortunately, we're constrained into discussing either existing and cogently articulated homebrew systems, or the rules as they are actually laid down. And those rules do in fact mean that Gate has functionally no strings attached unless they happen after the fact. Fighters are an interesting exercise, but I'm going to counter with:

I want to see your consistently damaging fighter.

RS14
2009-08-07, 10:39 AM
Dear Navigator:

To put it politely, I'm not overwhelmingly interested in your view of how the rules should work. Here, unfortunately, we're constrained into discussing either existing and cogently articulated homebrew systems, or the rules as they are actually laid down. And those rules do in fact mean that Gate has functionally no strings attached unless they happen after the fact. Fighters are an interesting exercise, but I'm going to counter with:

I want to see your consistently damaging fighter.

Pun-Pun is 100% RAW legal, but is left out of even RAW discussions simply because he is so thoroughly absurd and blatantly abusive that nobody seriously expects him to be played in any manner. I fail to see how chain-gate abuse is in any way different.

Flickerdart
2009-08-07, 10:50 AM
A Wizard could also build himself a Colossus at these hypothetical high levels, whose Antimagic Field and other goodies outweigh the Fighter's anything. Or just use a single Summon spell (not even Epic) to bring forth something vicious. Or Shapeshift into something like a Titan. Or Metamagic Orbs. The nice thing about all of this is you can be where these Epic enemies won't reach you, whereas the Fighter has to stand next to them and still hit their tremendous ACs. And then eat full attacks from them.

Jade_Tarem
2009-08-07, 10:58 AM
I've always found Deflect Arrows + Infinite Deflection + Reflect Arrows + Deflect Anything to be highly amsuing. Your monk becomes absolutley immune to any ranged attack forever. And then he dies from an epic spell anyway.

The epic stuff is bad because the DM's workload grows exponentially as the level increases, he has to do all of the balance work that WotC should have done. WotC threw in anything and everything that sounded cool and didn't so much as wink at trying to establish some kind of parity between any two aspects of it. Nor did they think about practicality, and as a result we ended up with the Hecatonchires making a zillion attacks a round, forcing average damage to be the rule, rather than the exception.

They made a spellcasting system where not abusing it is a gross underutilization of its power. It's not like Pun-Pun, where it's a nine step, very specific procedure to break the system - it's actually a very complicated thing to not become a diety. Most players are going to realize the potential to ratchet themselves up to godhood very easily (Make the spell do whatever you want, calculate the cost, aquire enough mitigating factors to make it doable, and cast. That wasn't so hard, was it?), forcing the DM or the players themselves to deliberately suck it up and go for epic spells that can best be described as "like [existing non-epic spell], but a little bigger." So ironically, the system that was designed to let players be original and creative can't be used to make anything original or creative, lest we hurt the tank's feelings.

And then they made the Doom Beetle, or whatever it's called, which has a CR well over twenty and can be killed by a Level 4 Warlock or a Lantern Archon and a little creativity. Epic stuff is just goofy.

Doc Roc
2009-08-07, 10:58 AM
Pun-Pun is 100% RAW legal, but is left out of even RAW discussions simply because he is so thoroughly absurd and blatantly abusive that nobody seriously expects him to be played in any manner. I fail to see how chain-gate abuse is in any way different.

I'm not even talking about chain-gating. Not seriously.
A three-solar-long gate chain is really sufficient to wipe out any fighter build I've ever seen at epic levels and that's well within the power levels of what you might expect post L20.

Goofy is exactly the right word.

Navigator
2009-08-07, 11:10 AM
Dear Navigator:

To put it politely, I'm not overwhelmingly interested in your view of how the rules should work. Here, unfortunately, we're constrained into discussing either existing and cogently articulated homebrew systems, or the rules as they are actually laid down. And those rules do in fact mean that Gate has functionally no strings attached unless they happen after the fact. Fighters are an interesting exercise, but I'm going to counter with:

I want to see your consistently damaging fighter.
You're absolutely right. If I came off as trying to impose my own view, that's not how I intended it to be. I was trying to put the game into a certain perspective where the value of the non-caster feats can be seen, and I clearly went about it in the wrong way.

However, I still say Fighters and Rogues continuing to advance at the same rate (hp, bab, saves, sneak attack, skills) is an important consideration, plus epic melee progressions tend to get feats faster than casters. Casters get a much better pool of feats to choose from, but very dependent on their epic feat choice. Feats are essentially the only "new" things you get advancing as a caster. For example, consider the Cleric that didn't take Epic Spellcasting, and gunned for stacking Automatic Quicken instead.

I'd be more than happy to share the Fighter's sheet, I just don't have immediate access to it.

Myrmex
2009-08-07, 11:43 AM
Small size, -6 STR, DEX and CON in exchange for Epic fighter feats? Sounds fair.

Eh? A dragonwrought desert kobold is -4 str, +2 dex, +3 int, +1 wis, +3 cha.


Speed enchantment Defenders of the faith for the powerplayers out there

I liked the one enhancement for armor that made all your strikes enervating (-1d4 levels, no save).



Wizards won't consistently deal as much damage as an epic Fighter. A functional spell list for a wizard won't include thousands upon thousands of hit point damage.

A twinned, maximized, empowered, repeated, energy admixtured, enhanced (x times) spell that does damage and has SR: No will do more damage than anything a fighter can do.


I wanna see this buff that gives +100 strength. And if you tell me to time stop and buff into a Fighter, I have better things to do in a time stop.

Epic spell + 50 str. The other 50 can come from bite of the werebear and shapechanging into something with 32 str, like, say, a Gloom (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/monsters/gloom.htm).


Even if I had something useful to call without strings attached, I don't want to spend 3000 XP every combat.

3000 xp is nothing at epic levels.


All that being said, casters do get a better feat selection, but I think many people underestimate feats like Additional Magic Item Space and the crit line of feats. But, you have to consider that Fighters and Rogues continue advancing without a hitch. Casters are heavily dependent on their epic feats and what they can cook up with Epic Spellcasting; other than that, levels just mean more hit points, a caster level, and another rank in spellcraft.

Crits are useless at high levels, since every humanoid should be wearing armor or a shield with heavy fortification, undead, plants, elementals, and constructs are still immune, and a crit that forces a save-or-die is no more useful than a wizard spell that forces a save-or-die.

GoC
2009-08-07, 11:43 AM
Wizards won't consistently deal as much damage as an epic Fighter. A functional spell list for a wizard won't include thousands upon thousands of hit point damage.
I wanna see this buff that gives +100 strength. And if you tell me to time stop and buff into a Fighter, I have better things to do in a time stop.
Imprisonment requires a will save. Unless you have really effective tricks, save DC spells are a waste of slots.
Even if I had something useful to call without strings attached, I don't want to spend 3000 XP every combat.

What level is this fighter? I'm rather bad at optimization but I think I could come up with a wizard with a decent damage output.
The let's pit your fighter+a solar (to represent the rest of the party, use an elder titan instead if high level) against some epic monsters and my wizard+a solar against the same. No epic spell abuse (I'll use only one day downtime per epic spell and only the solar helping with DC mitigation)

Glimbur
2009-08-07, 11:48 AM
However, I still say Fighters and Rogues continuing to advance at the same rate (hp, bab, saves, sneak attack, skills) is an important consideration, plus epic melee progressions tend to get feats faster than casters.

They don't advance BAB at the same rate in Epic. Everybody gets Epic BAB and Epic Saves at the same rate.

Jade_Tarem
2009-08-07, 11:53 AM
I think we've already hit the core of the epic problem. I'm willing to bet that everyone on this thread has a slightly different idea of what "epic spell abuse" is. The fact is, though, that the epic spellcasting ability is the single most powerful ability in DnD. You can do anything. Ultimately, by the time the wizard and the fighter meet in combat...

...well, they won't meet in combat. The wizard will shift himself to another plane and then take the fighter down from there with his custom tailored cross-planar, no save, no SR, no HD limit, untyped kill spell.

Don't tell me that that would take too long - the wizard actually cast this spell years ago, which gives him the ability to smite creatures on other planes as a standard action, and it's just been running ever since. That's the power of epic spellcasting - it isn't at all like non-epic casting, where the wizard still has to be in the same zip code and time frame as his target - you develop spells that you only cast once and make yourself into a godling like that.

In short, you don't seek out your enemies and then cast spells, you cast your spells and then seek out enemies. Saves and SR will never be an issue. For that matter, that wizard should be immune to anything a fighter could ever hope to do. It isn't that hard to make yourself immune to hostile magic, immune to physical damage, immune to elemental damage, and then make your spells un-dispellable. I'd like to see the fighter, or some random shmuck monster from the ELH, win after that. You really need a god to hurt the wizard at this point, because some of them have a nifty trick where they do "damage that isn't damage for the purposes of immunities, but is damage for the purposes of killing you."

And an epic caster can eventually become immune to that, too.

Is this epic spellcasting cheese? Probably, although I could make a hundred spells that are even cheesier than the one above and totally legal by RAW. My point is that this kind of arena-style showdown is silly. A prepared epic wizard is never going to be in that kind of situation, and there really is no such thing as an unprepared epic wizard.

KIDS
2009-08-07, 11:59 AM
Most Epic feats are quite good and bring huge improvements. They're well worth taking!

Oh wait, we're not talking 4th edition. :smallbiggrin:

The problem with Epic feats is that they lead further down the one-trick pony road, and they don't even do it that well. For example, Infinite Deflection? If you have Deflect Arrows, you're probably already quite protected from ranged attacks. Then there are things like Magical Beast Companion, which are flavorful but not actually helpful since most animals of that level are better with their heaps of advancement. Some feats end up quite good, such as the one to use Reflex for Will saves (or something like that), and then

Combine with the fact that there are so many awesome spellcasting epic feats and it really breaks down. Epic system is really not working well - I daresay it was never even intended to. Maybe the solution is that you just have to like big numbers flying and not think about why something sucks (it does) to enjoy it.

Flickerdart
2009-08-07, 12:03 PM
Eh? A dragonwrought desert kobold is -4 str, +2 dex, +3 int, +1 wis, +3 cha.
You've got to be Venerable to get Epic feats as a Dragonwrought kobold, I believe. So you'd have a -10 net STR? Haw.

Fax Celestis
2009-08-07, 12:04 PM
Something else wrong with Epic feats is that many of them aren't really all that worthy of being qualified as "epic". Take Legendary Leaper (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/feats.htm#legendaryLeaper), for instance, and compare it to the non-epic PHB-II Leap of the Heavens:


Legendary Leaper [Epic]
Prerequisite: Jump 24 ranks.
Benefit: You need only move 5 feet in a straight line to make a running jump.
Normal: Without this feat, you must move at least 20 feet in a straight line before attempting a running jump.


Leap Of The Heavens
Your excellent athletic ability and superior conditioning allow you to make near-superhuman leaps.
Prerequisite: Jump 4 ranks.
Benefit: When making a Jump check, the DC for the check doesn't double if you fail to move 20 feet in a straight line prior to jumping. If you do move 20 feet in a straight line before attempting a jump, you gain a +5 competence bonus on your check.
Normal: All Jump checks require a 20-foot running start to avoid doubling the DC of the check.

Leap of the Heavens is non-epic, is a better feat, and still isn't broken.

Myrmex
2009-08-07, 12:07 PM
You've got to be Venerable to get Epic feats as a Dragonwrought kobold, I believe. So you'd have a -10 net STR? Haw.

Where's the -6 str coming from? Dragonwrought means no aging penalties, only bonuses. The stats I gave were the full adjustments for being a venerable dragonwrought desert kobold.


Something else wrong with Epic feats is that many of them aren't really all that worthy of being qualified as "epic". Take Legendary Leaper (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/feats.htm#legendaryLeaper), for instance, and compare it to the non-epic PHB-II Leap of the Heavens:





Leap of the Heavens is non-epic, is a better feat, and still isn't broken.

If you look through 3.0 material, no one wanted to give non-casters nice things, because if it wasn't magic, you couldn't do it without 10 levels in a prestige class and a long chain of crapfeats.

AstralFire
2009-08-07, 12:07 PM
I actually think a lot of the epic feats are fine as they are.

I mean the ones with no real gameplay effect, like the added lifespan and Leap of the Clouds (before its original functionality was built into the Jump check.) When people at level 17 are making their own demiplanes, epic should have been more about becoming mythic and less about becoming Kryptonian/Saiyan beat 'em up or Jean Grey/Franklin Richards/Latest Marvel Psychic To Go Crazy reality-alteration-rocket-tag. The system models the former poorly and you can do the latter without subjugating a solar system of Solars for spells.

Doc Roc
2009-08-07, 12:07 PM
You're absolutely right. If I came off as trying to impose my own view, that's not how I intended it to be. I was trying to put the game into a certain perspective where the value of the non-caster feats can be seen, and I clearly went about it in the wrong way.
[..]

I'd be more than happy to share the Fighter's sheet, I just don't have immediate access to it.

I'd be delighted to see it. I didn't mean to come off as a grognard, it's just that recent events have left me slightly.... touchy. :) I've seen some really cool melee builds recently, but the issue is that the epic rules are monstrously inconsistent over-all. If I didn't think 20+ was sort of pointless, I'd be doing an epic revamp instead of a fighter revamp.

Flickerdart
2009-08-07, 12:09 PM
Where's the -6 str coming from? Dragonwrought means no aging penalties, only bonuses. The stats I gave were the full adjustments for being a venerable dragonwrought desert kobold.
Really? The more you know.

Talya
2009-08-07, 01:17 PM
epic spellcasting was just the designers getting lazy and putting the spell design options in the hands of the spellcasters. Of course, Spellcasters are going to cheese it out, given an opportunity.


I refuse to use epic spellcasting at all at epic levels. Just give epic spellcasters +1 to their spell DCs at every other level. they can get higher level spell slots/increased spell knowledge by the feats available to them.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-08-07, 01:23 PM
For anyone who thinks a non-caster can do anything in epic, I'd like to direct you to Talic's ToM and ToS matches. Shapechange:Troll+Energy Immunity:Acid+Energy Immunity:Fire+any method of immunity to nonlethal. Until dispelled, damage outright does nothing. Past 22 or so, most parties can have that on the entire group with regularity. Non-casters are useless in Epic.

Myrmex
2009-08-07, 01:25 PM
For anyone who thinks a non-caster can do anything in epic, I'd like to direct you to Talic's ToM and ToS matches. Shapechange:Troll+Energy Immunity:Acid+Energy Immunity:Fire+any method of immunity to nonlethal. Until dispelled, damage outright does nothing. Past 22 or so, most parties can have that on the entire group with regularity. Non-casters are useless in Epic.

What methods to nonlethal damage immunity are there?

Fax Celestis
2009-08-07, 01:27 PM
What methods to nonlethal damage are there?

Possessing regeneration makes you immune to nonlethal.

Doc Roc
2009-08-07, 01:29 PM
I've seen that on the whole group at 17. It's not so bad... Unless, you know, you aren't a caster. :|

Indon
2009-08-07, 01:32 PM
For anyone who thinks a non-caster can do anything in epic, I'd like to direct you to Talic's ToM and ToS matches. Shapechange:Troll+Energy Immunity:Acid+Energy Immunity:Fire+any method of immunity to nonlethal. Until dispelled, damage outright does nothing. Past 22 or so, most parties can have that on the entire group with regularity. Non-casters are useless in Epic.

For sufficiently high optimization values, noncasters are useless far earlier in the game than level 20.

So what?

Myrmex
2009-08-07, 01:34 PM
Possessing regeneration makes you immune to nonlethal.

No it doesn't. It just turns certain damage types into non-lethal damage. You could still bludgeon that creature so far into the negatives you could haul it around until you found someone to break the enchantments, then lop its head off. Alternatively, you just coup de grace it.

Lacking a con score or having 3 levels in warforged juggernaught makes you immune to non-lethal damage. However, creatures without a con score have some difficulty getting regeneration (usually turns to fast healing).

Only one spell I know of gives regeneration, and that's Monstrous Regeneration, a 5th level spell from Magic of Faerun. Combine that with Warforged Juggernaught, and you have damage immunity. However, if you take too many levels of WfJ, you become immune to the spell, since it's Conjuration (Healing).

NEO|Phyte
2009-08-07, 01:36 PM
No it doesn't. It just turns certain damage types into non-lethal damage. You could still bludgeon that creature so far into the negatives you could haul it around until you found someone to break the enchantments, then lop its head off. Alternatively, you just coup de grace it.

Have to be able to deal lethal damage to CdG.


A regenerating creature that has been rendered unconscious through nonlethal damage can be killed with a coup de grace. The attack cannot be of a type that automatically converts to nonlethal damage. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#regeneration)

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-08-07, 01:38 PM
What methods to nonlethal damage immunity are there?2 off the top of my head? Undead or Construct type, or the Favored of the Martyr spell. I know there's more, but I'm too lazy to go searching.

Myrmex
2009-08-07, 01:40 PM
Have to be able to deal lethal damage to CdG.

Ah, thought I read that somewhere, but couldn't find it in the CdG description. So you just take Mr. Wizard out of the sack every couple days and beat the snot out of him, then stick him back in.

Could being a ranger with favored enemy: arcanists & that one feat that lets you crit your favored enemy work?

Myrmex
2009-08-07, 01:42 PM
2 off the top of my head? Undead or Construct type, or the Favored of the Martyr spell. I know there's more, but I'm too lazy to go searching.

Undead and Construct cannot gain regenerate, since they lack a Con score.

Eldariel
2009-08-07, 01:43 PM
PC: "So, I go to _____ and spend a year of downtime in one day to craft the I win spell."
DM: *laugh* "No."
PC: "But, but, the books say I ca-"
DM: *hits PC with one of the four pointy corners of the DMG* "No."

Pretty arbitrary limitations you're speaking of here. "No" isn't a reason. Further, DM saying "No" doesn't make the rules any more fair. Last I checked we were talking about rules. And hell, what does this DM do, remove fast progression planes from his cosmology? Or maybe ban planar travel? Or just decide to be a bitch to his players?

Of course, you can still mitigate the costs to DC 0 making this "No" completely trivial as researching the spells suddenly doesn't take very long. But yeah, you don't research "I win"-spells, you research a bunch of Wards and Contingencies along with stat buffs and preferably an epic dispel. If the DM starts saying "No" regardless of which spells you're researching, you stand up and tell him to write a clear set of rules that tells you what you are and aren't allowed to do. It's DM's responsibility to communicate to players what is and isn't ok in his/her games, and if the DM wants to DM an epic game, he'd better be prepared for epic-level stuff of slaying deities and monsters from before the time.



Wizards won't consistently deal as much damage as an epic Fighter. A functional spell list for a wizard won't include thousands upon thousands of hit point damage.

Thanks to Improved Metamagic and Improved Spell Capacity, you'll be persisting spells relatively quickly. Girallon's Blessing, Fuse Arms, Giant Size, Shapechange, Draconic Polymorph, Consumptive Field, etc. persisted quickly means the Wizard will deal thousands upon thousands of points of hitpoints damage.

Sure, you have to acquire some Cleric-spells on your list, but Limited Wish's XP component is so trivial at this point that it's not really hard even without using Arcane Disciple or similars.


I wanna see this buff that gives +100 strength. And if you tell me to time stop and buff into a Fighter, I have better things to do in a time stop.

So persist them. Or Time Stop. I mean, the hell, better things to do? If you can't kill your opponent with offensive spells, buff into a better fighter than the fighter and accomplish the same, while maintaining your magical defenses and mobility.


Imprisonment requires a will save. Unless you have really effective tricks, save DC spells are a waste of slots.

Not Imprisonment The Spell, just use Move Earth or something to open a chasm and then raise the ground a bit or so and then slam it shut. Do it manually.


Even if I had something useful to call without strings attached, I don't want to spend 3000 XP every combat.

Eh, it's only 1000XP per Gate and that's if you're casting it yourself. With the amount of XP you receive on Epic, that's a nonissue soon enough.


I know it may seem a little crazy, but solars don't and shouldn't come without strings attached. I mean really, if you were DMing and a PC started calling an absurd amount of solars (and asking them to burn XP for you), would you really just sit back and shrug your shoulders? And if you do, where do you live, because I want to play under you. :smallbiggrin:

Gate states you have absolute control over the gated creature for rounds/level provided its HD isn't over twice your caster level. In that time, you can cast Programmed Amnesia or similar to make them your slaves forever. But even failing that, just Gating something in to fight for you is good enough.


All that being said, casters do get a better feat selection, but I think many people underestimate feats like Additional Magic Item Space and the crit line of feats. But, you have to consider that Fighters and Rogues continue advancing without a hitch. Casters are heavily dependent on their epic feats and what they can cook up with Epic Spellcasting; other than that, levels just mean more hit points, a caster level, and another rank in spellcraft.

The second Fighters gain immunity to all spells under level 10 and the ability to move ~1000 miles or switch planes with a swift action, I'll start to consider them playing the same game as casters. Until then, I just can't see why anyone would bother letting them hit anything.

Sure, Crits are nice as long as you can follow through with the attack through the contingencies and wards, but I frankly have a hard time seeing how a Fighter gets his attack through once opponent's contingent effects or immediate actions whisk them a mile away the second the sword would connect. Oh, and there's this clause:
"Creatures immune to critical hits canít be affected by this feat."

Even if you aren't an Undead, a Plant, an Elemental, an Ooze, a Construct or some other naturally-immune creature, critical immunity is a +5 armor enhancement; 25k isn't much on epic and I frankly don't see why anyone would risk being hit by a critical from a gish when they can just choose not to. Unless epic creatures are assumed to have no intellect and no items, which frankly seems more than a little unplausible.

Oh, and Devastating Critical gives a Fort-save. Guess how many creatures are going to fail a Fort-save on epic levels. And guess how many of those creatures aren't already dead to a mage getting trigger happy with Fort SoDs. Frankly, martialists are best off just dealing a lot of power attack damage and hoping arcanists make sure opponents can't run.

NEO|Phyte
2009-08-07, 01:44 PM
Ah, thought I read that somewhere, but couldn't find it in the CdG description. So you just take Mr. Wizard out of the sack every couple days and beat the snot out of him, then stick him back in.

Could being a ranger with favored enemy: arcanists & that one feat that lets you crit your favored enemy work?

Regeneration doesn't make you immune to crits, it just makes you not take lethal damage from most things.

If you're REALLY in a hurry to kill the guy, just find a psion (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/powers/empathicFeedback.htm) or psychic warrior (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/powers/empathicTransferHostile.htm).

Myrmex
2009-08-07, 01:47 PM
Regeneration doesn't make you immune to crits, it just makes you not take lethal damage from most things.

Right, but I'm not 100% on the wording of the feat. We're looking for a way to CdG a damage immune creature.

Indon
2009-08-07, 01:49 PM
Pretty arbitrary limitations you're speaking of here.
1.By RAW, all epic spells require DM approval.

2.I do agree on the "No" thing, to a degree - I think "GTFO of this game" would be more appropriate.

NEO|Phyte
2009-08-07, 01:52 PM
Right, but I'm not 100% on the wording of the feat. We're looking for a way to CdG a damage immune creature.

It's not immune to damage, it simply doesn't take LETHAL damage from it.

Though if Hostile Empathic Transfer counts as a weaponlike spell, it could theoretically be used to CdG, and would be able to deal lethal damage (to the Tarrasque, even!)

Navigator
2009-08-07, 01:56 PM
What level is this fighter? I'm rather bad at optimization but I think I could come up with a wizard with a decent damage output.
The let's pit your fighter+a solar (to represent the rest of the party, use an elder titan instead if high level) against some epic monsters and my wizard+a solar against the same. No epic spell abuse (I'll use only one day downtime per epic spell and only the solar helping with DC mitigation)
Well, the point of an exercise like this wouldn't be to see how big the Wizard can nova in a single combat, but over multiple combats. It's not hard to come up with a spell that can do several hundred damage, but how many times can you do it in a day? I'd be interested in talking more in depth about this when I can get my hands on a digital copy of his sheet. What I suspect is that the Fighter's overall output will be comparable to a Wizard's total output. At least, we will see that melee classes are capable of putting out respectable enough damage to justify helping them get full attacks in a party situation.

By the way, we don't necessarily have to be talking about a Fighter. We can also talk about a Rogue, especially since Penetrating Strike gives them the ability to (partially) sneak anything.

On the other hand, we are completely off topic at this point.


Frankly, martialists are best off just dealing a lot of power attack damage and hoping arcanists make sure opponents can't run.
Honestly, I'm really not suggesting anything more than that. It's more efficient to help the Fighter do the only thing he's good at, and save your spells for better things.

I'm not trying to say that Fighters can kill Wizards. I'm saying they're good at something, and if you help them do that as a Wizard, they are certainly not useless and it's more convenient for the Wizard.

Eldariel
2009-08-07, 02:06 PM
1.By RAW, all epic spells require DM approval.

2.I do agree on the "No" thing, to a degree - I think "GTFO of this game" would be more appropriate.

If you aren't going to allow using Epic Spellcasting to produce any spells of the strength their level indicates (in this case, level 10 spells - they all should be stronger than Time Stop, Gate, Prismatic Sphere, Disjunction, Shapechange, Miracle, Wish, True Resurrection, etc.), why did you allow picking it in the first place?

It's not fair to keep information regarding what they are and are not allowed to do from your players when they're making their characters. This is especially true with a feat such as Epic Spellcasting that's incredibly open-ended and potentially incredibly potent. Would a contingent true resurrection be fair in your book? What about immunity to spell levels 1-9? Immunity to Disjunction, Anti-Magic Field, Orbs & Time Stop? What about a buff that enhances your Con by +20? What about +50? All of those are possible epic spells and not very strong ones at that.


The players need to know what their feats do while building their characters and that kind of knowledge is all a part of what Epic Spellcasting does; whether he ignores the time constraints due to being on a fast progression plane, due to having a lot of assistance or due to burning a lot of XP is immaterial, it can be done and as such, the creation time of epic spells cannot be used as a balancing factor. You have to draw the line somewhere, but saying "you can't do anything with it" is pretty unfair if you don't say it before game, 'cause then the player knows not to waste a feat on something akin to Toughness.

Jade_Tarem
2009-08-07, 02:13 PM
If you aren't going to allow using Epic Spellcasting to produce any spells of the strength their level indicates (in this case, level 10 spells - they all should be stronger than Time Stop, Gate, Prismatic Sphere, Disjunction, Shapechange, Miracle, Wish, True Resurrection, etc.), why did you allow picking it in the first place?

It's not fair to keep information regarding what they are and are not allowed to do from your players when they're making their characters. This is especially true with a feat such as Epic Spellcasting that's incredibly open-ended and potentially incredibly potent. Would a contingent true resurrection be fair in your book? What about immunity to spell levels 1-9? Immunity to Disjunction, Anti-Magic Field, Orbs & Time Stop? What about a buff that enhances your Con by +20? What about +50? All of those are possible epic spells and not very strong ones at that.


The players need to know what their feats do while building their characters and that kind of knowledge is all a part of what Epic Spellcasting does; whether he ignores the time constraints due to being on a fast progression plane, due to having a lot of assistance or due to burning a lot of XP is immaterial, it can be done and as such, the creation time of epic spells cannot be used as a balancing factor. You have to draw the line somewhere, but saying "you can't do anything with it" is pretty unfair if you don't say it before game, 'cause then the player knows not to waste a feat on something akin to Toughness.

Agreed.

On top of that, such constraints invalidate a RAW legal argument in the first place. It's pretty commonly accepted that Rule Zero can't be used as a balancing factor - the Oberoni fallacy, I think it's called.

Basically, if the DM wants a fighter to be better than or equal to a wizard, then the fighter will be better than or equal to the wizard - the fighter has the game world's equivalent of God on his side. This has no bearing on a discussion of the rules as written. Yes, it's not fair, but fairness has no meaning at epic levels. It should, but it doesn't.

AstralFire
2009-08-07, 02:14 PM
Basically what the argument points to is that the Epic Spellcasting mechanic is (as someone said - Talya?) very lazy and just broken as a result.

Myrmex
2009-08-07, 02:18 PM
Well, the point of an exercise like this wouldn't be to see how big the Wizard can nova in a single combat, but over multiple combats. It's not hard to come up with a spell that can do several hundred damage, but how many times can you do it in a day? I'd be interested in talking more in depth about this when I can get my hands on a digital copy of his sheet. What I suspect is that the Fighter's overall output will be comparable to a Wizard's total output. At least, we will see that melee classes are capable of putting out respectable enough damage to justify helping them get full attacks in a party situation.

By the way, we don't necessarily have to be talking about a Fighter. We can also talk about a Rogue, especially since Penetrating Strike gives them the ability to (partially) sneak anything.

On the other hand, we are completely off topic at this point.

Give me a level to work with, so I know how many feats I get.

Off the top of my head, going with level 27, an elven wizard 27 gets 10 feats from levels, 6 bonus feats, and 7 feats from the Chaos Shuffle.

This is 23 feats total. Using the Chaos Shuffle, he can turn as many non-epic feats into epic feats as he wants.

1. Empower Spell
2. Maximize Spell
3. Twin Spell
4. Energy Substitution
5. Energy Admixture
6. Intensify Spell*
7. Enhance Spell
8. Enhance Spell
9. Improved Metamagic
10. Improved Metamagic
11. Improved Metamagic
12-16. Arcane Thesis: All Orb spells that deal elemental damage
17. Piercing Cold
18-23. Prereq feats.

Let's say we have, conservatively, a caster level of 30. This means our Orb does 30d6 damage, from a 4th level spell slot. Thanks to improved metamagic, all our metmagics cost only +1, which arcane thesis reduces to +0. So we may apply all those spells to our Orb.

So we have (30*6) from maximize, then *2 from Admixture, *2 again, from Twinned. Then we had 0.5*60d6 from an empowered admixture, *2 from twinning.

Damage:
720 + avg 210 for an average of 930 damage (half cold, half acid, fire, or electricity, as needed).

A couple things of note: this is elemental damage. Piercing Cold will allow us to break cold immunity, though. It requires two ranged touch attacks. This is easy, though, with quickened true strikes and 30+ dex. The only real risk is a monster that can deflect the orbs with the deflect spells feat.

*I dropped Intensify Spell, since it doesn't stack with Energy Admixture (I think). However, if using an orb of force or sound, it's best to go with Intensify Spell, since energy admixture won't work with them (I think).


It's pretty commonly accepted that Rule Zero can't be used as a balancing factor - the Oberoni fallacy, I think it's called.

:smallconfused:

There's nothing fallacious about homebrew.

RS14
2009-08-07, 02:20 PM
Pretty arbitrary limitations you're speaking of here. "No" isn't a reason. Further, DM saying "No" doesn't make the rules any more fair. Last I checked we were talking about rules. And hell, what does this DM do, remove fast progression planes from his cosmology? Or maybe ban planar travel? Or just decide to be a bitch to his players?

Sir. You seem to be arguing that people should actually go out and play a game consisting of the spellcasters rendering the rest of the party completely irrelevant using blatantly broken rules (namely mitigation factors obtained through leadership/chained-gate, and fast progression planes), and you think the DM is the bitch here?

AstralFire
2009-08-07, 02:20 PM
I think the Chaos Shuffle is the biggest splatbook rules fail in all of 3.5. Just as an aside.

This is counting ELH as core as it's in the SRD, otherwise the ELF itself as a whole gets this title.


Sir. You seem to be arguing that people should actually go out and play a game consisting of the spellcasters rendering the rest of the party completely irrelevant using blatantly broken rules (namely mitigation factors obtained through leadership/chained-gate, and fast progression planes), and you think the DM is the bitch here?

If I can try and presume to think what Eldariel is thinking, he's trying to prove the point that the system doesn't work because you have to extensively rely on arbitrary and unfair methods (simply because it is too hard to be proactive and weed out all of the issues with the existing system) to try and make things work for non-epic melee.

Eldariel has never struck me as a jerk or someone who advocates jerkplay, but if you're relying on heavy fiat to make something work, aren't you just freeforming it?

Eldariel
2009-08-07, 02:21 PM
Sir. You seem to be arguing that people should actually go out and play a game consisting of the spellcasters rendering the rest of the party completely irrelevant using blatantly broken rules (namely mitigation factors obtained through leadership/chained-gate, and fast progression planes), and you think the DM is the bitch here?

No, I'm saying the DM should not allow Epic Spellcasting if he's not going to allow using it. Really, if you're gonna ban something, say so. Then people will know it's banned. And frankly, even without Epic Spellcasting, the Fighters aren't playing the same game on epic.

Jade_Tarem
2009-08-07, 02:24 PM
Sir. You seem to be arguing that people should actually go out and play a game consisting of the spellcasters rendering the rest of the party completely irrelevant using blatantly broken rules (namely mitigation factors obtained through leadership/chained-gate, and fast progression planes), and you think the DM is the bitch here?

That's not what he's getting at.

Think carefully about what he's posted. He never once stated that this was something everyone should go out and actually do, he's just pointing out that the DM can't be brought in on RAW debates, even when the DM is an integral part of the process outlined in the RAW. Otherwise you end up with a hundred posters all saying, "Well *MY* DM says X, Y, and Z!"

All 100 of them will be correct, and every argument will be meaningless.

Myrmex
2009-08-07, 02:24 PM
I think the Chaos Shuffle is the biggest splatbook rules fail in all of 3.5. Just as an aside.

Yeah, it is really cheap. That particular build won't work without it, though with metamagic mitigation through arcane thesis and +0 level spells, and incantatrix, you can actually pull that off pretty close to level 20. I just went with level 27 because it was easiest. I forgot to put that in there.

Talya
2009-08-07, 02:35 PM
On top of that, such constraints invalidate a RAW legal argument in the first place. It's pretty commonly accepted that Rule Zero can't be used as a balancing factor - the Oberoni fallacy, I think it's called.


That's only true when the rules don't specify DM approval is required. Obviously, DM approval is needed for anything you do in the game. The Oberoni Fallacy is correct in stating that just because the DM can overrule RAW, doesn't mean RAW is balanced. However, if/when the rules specifically state that the DM is to rule on the balance of each individual spell players may create (I don't know that that is the case, I'm just going by what the previous poster said), then the Oberoni fallacy doesn't apply, because it's not a case of the DM overruling RAW, it's a case of the DM being included in RAW. The system in this case isn't meant to be limited by balance. They've just told the DM that that is her job.

AstralFire
2009-08-07, 02:38 PM
That's only true when the rules don't specify DM approval is required. Obviously, DM approval is needed for anything you do in the game. The Oberoni Fallacy is correct in stating that just because the DM can overrule RAW, doesn't mean RAW is balanced. However, if/when the rules specifically state that the DM is to rule on the balance of each individual spell players may create (I don't know that that is the case, I'm just going by what the previous poster said), then the Oberoni fallacy doesn't apply, because it's not a case of the DM overruling RAW, it's a case of the DM being included in RAW. The system in this case isn't meant to be limited by balance. They've just told the DM that that is her job.

I think this goes back to the earlier stated point of 'it doesn't work.' When you give people a giant tub of wood, some screws and a drill, you haven't given them an IKEA desk with illustrations on how to complete your newfound toy desk, you've given them a BOX OF SCRAP. IN A CAVE.

Jade_Tarem
2009-08-07, 02:46 PM
That's only true when the rules don't specify DM approval is required. Obviously, DM approval is needed for anything you do in the game. The Oberoni Fallacy is correct in stating that just because the DM can overrule RAW, doesn't mean RAW is balanced. However, if/when the rules specifically state that the DM is to rule on the balance of each individual spell players may create (I don't know that that is the case, I'm just going by what the previous poster said), then the Oberoni fallacy doesn't apply, because it's not a case of the DM overruling RAW, it's a case of the DM being included in RAW. The system in this case isn't meant to be limited by balance. They've just told the DM that that is her job.

Yes, and it is widely agreed that this policy is the greatest wad of garbage in the ELH, a book best known for being one big joke. It is lazy on the part of the game's designers, pure and simple. "Eh, we didn't really feel like balancing any of this - you do it."

It also - and I am stating this for the third time now - makes any argument about the rules, and about what's fair and what isn't, totally and completely pointless. It converts facts to opinions, and make's everyone's interpretation of the rules a part of the rules themselves. Eventually, no two people are on the same page anymore, and all discussion of the subject grinds to a halt. This may not be a bad thing at this point, but I find it irritating that the subject matter itself changes based on who's talking about it. In short, everyone's opinion is totally valid and completely correct even when all of them conflict. You can see why this might be a problem.

And whenever anyone points this out, they get called a munchkin powergaming troll. No, you didn't call me a munchkin powergaming troll, it's just a trend I see from time to time.

Myrmex
2009-08-07, 02:52 PM
Yes, and it is widely agreed that this policy is the greatest wad of garbage in the ELH, a book best known for being one big joke. It is lazy on the part of the game's designers, pure and simple. "Eh, we didn't really feel like balancing any of this - you do it."

That changes RAW... how?

RS14
2009-08-07, 02:53 PM
No, I'm saying the DM should not allow Epic Spellcasting if he's not going to allow using it. Really, if you're gonna ban something, say so. Then people will know it's banned. And frankly, even without Epic Spellcasting, the Fighters aren't playing the same game on epic.

Alright, I'm sorry then; I misunderstood.

I do ban outright anything that I understand to be abusive, but I'm frankly not a competent optimizer. If it weren't for this forum, I probably wouldn't know about any of the broken features of 3.5. It's entirely plausible that the DM may first encounter something like leadership-crushed mitigation factors in play, and it's unreasonable to expect him to roll with that, whatever the consequences.

I also know that there is stuff I've not bothered banning in the game I'm planning, not because it's not broken, but I simply don't expect the game to last that long, and I don't really want to waste my time writing up a list of houserules relevant only to super-high level play. But if the game persisted longer than expected, it is plausible that they could become relevant.


Instead of a Dark Lord, you would have a queen, not dark but beautiful and terrible as the dawn! Tempestuous as the sea, and stronger than the foundations of the earth! All shall love me and despair!
Sometimes you just need to recognize when the rules in play allow more power than you should reasonably have, and even then pass it up.


Think carefully about what he's posted. He never once stated that this was something everyone should go out and actually do, he's just pointing out that the DM can't be brought in on RAW debates, even when the DM is an integral part of the process outlined in the RAW. Otherwise you end up with a hundred posters all saying, "Well *MY* DM says X, Y, and Z!"
Eh, I don't know. I've never met anybody who allows Pun-Pun, for example--there's a certain level of cheese at which you can simply accept that it is unreasonable. If it later turns out that there isn't consensus, then yes, go revisit previous assumptions. I tend to assume that infinite solars fall into this category, but maybe people do otherwise, particularly for epic spellcasting.

So on that note, does anyone actually allow chain gate cheese? Is it just used for epic spellcasting?

Talya
2009-08-07, 02:54 PM
Yes, and it is widely agreed that this policy is the greatest wad of garbage in the ELH, a book best known for being one big joke. It is lazy on the part of the game's designers, pure and simple. "Eh, we didn't really feel like balancing any of this - you do it."

It also - and I am stating this for the third time now - makes any argument about the rules, and about what's fair and what isn't, totally and completely pointless. It converts facts to opinions, and make's everyone's interpretation of the rules a part of the rules themselves. Eventually, no two people are on the same page anymore, and all discussion of the subject grinds to a halt. This may not be a bad thing at this point, but I find it irritating that the subject matter itself changes based on who's talking about it. In short, everyone's opinion is totally valid and completely correct even when all of them conflict. You can see why this might be a problem.

And whenever anyone points this out, they get called a munchkin powergaming troll. No, you didn't call me a munchkin powergaming troll, it's just a trend I see from time to time.



Hey, I don't disagree with any of that (see my own quote from earlier, below). I'm saying in this case it's not the Oberoni fallacy.


epic spellcasting was just the designers getting lazy and putting the spell design options in the hands of the spellcasters. Of course, Spellcasters are going to cheese it out, given an opportunity.

I refuse to use epic spellcasting at all at epic levels. Just give epic spellcasters +1 to their spell DCs at every other level. they can get higher level spell slots/increased spell knowledge by the feats available to them.

AstralFire
2009-08-07, 02:55 PM
So on that note, does anyone actually allow chain gate cheese? Is it just used for epic spellcasting?

No; but I don't run games at that power. If I were... given the current epic system in place, with the only mechanical addition at all at those levels to spellcasting, you... might as well if you're running an epic game. Otherwise I think you'd have more fun back ten levels.

Jade_Tarem
2009-08-07, 02:57 PM
That changes RAW... how?

Unbelievable. Unbelievable.

Look, you can't have your cake and eat it too, as far as the DM is concerned. Either he's part of the RAW or he's not (he's not, by the way... not even in the ELH), and if he is, then we're done discussing it because nothing can be resolved.

Myrmex
2009-08-07, 03:00 PM
Unbelievable. Unbelievable.

Look, you can't have your cake and eat it too, as far as the DM is concerned. Either he's part of the RAW or he's not (he's not, by the way... not even in the ELH), and if he is, then we're done discussing it because nothing can be resolved.

If the RAW says: "The DM must approve this", how is that not RAW?

Fax Celestis
2009-08-07, 03:03 PM
a BOX OF SCRAP. IN A CAVE.

IT WORKED FOR TONY STARK.

AstralFire
2009-08-07, 03:04 PM
If the RAW says: "The DM must approve this", how is that not RAW?

It is RAW. I believe the term 'RAW' is a bit of a misnomer here; it would be more precise to call it 'Rules as Written, Sans DM Intervention', for all of the reasons Jade stated that you cannot include DM Intervention into a cross-group dialogue about the rules. You're both correct, and essentially I must point you to Talya's post about it not being Oberoni Fallacy but still failing terribly.


IT WORKED FOR TONY STARK.

Well, I'm sorry... but I'm not Tony Stark.

Jade_Tarem
2009-08-07, 03:07 PM
If the RAW says: "The DM must approve this", how is that not RAW?

Strictly speaking, it is. But you still can't use your DM in an argument. That thar's what we call cheatin' 'round these parts.

Talya, above, does have a solid point. But while it might not be the Oberoni Fallacy, but that doesn't make it balanced, nor is throwing the DM at your problems a good solution in any medium or situation concerning a RAW debate.

To answer your earlier question more completely, it doesn't change the RAW. Nothing changes the RAW, because RAW stands for Rules As Written - unless the erata comes out with alterations, then the ink on the page cannot be altered. Overridden, yes, but never altered.

There are essentially two ways to look at a debate about the rules in DnD. On one side, there are those who argue as I have in this thread: that the DM should be left out of the equation when determining the merits of the rules. The other side (and the way I usually see things) points out that the DM is never left out of the equation in practice, and that leaving him or her out of consideration is a goofy methodology usually practiced by math majors.

The thing I'm trying to clear up is the position of some posters that there is only one DM, their DM, and that their DM, being the One True Dungeon Master, will rule in the manner that they see fit, making them more right than the RAW and every other poster who wants to argue by RAW or points out that other DMs may rule differently.

Myrmex
2009-08-07, 03:12 PM
Strictly speaking, it is. But you still can't use your DM in an argument. That thar's what we call cheatin' 'round these parts.

Talya, above, does have a solid point. But while it might not be the Oberoni Fallacy, but that doesn't make it balanced, nor is throwing the DM at your problems a good solution in any medium or situation concerning a RAW debate.

To answer your earlier question more completely, it doesn't change the RAW. Nothing changes the RAW, because RAW stands for Rules As Written - unless the erata comes out with alterations, then the ink on the page cannot be altered. Overridden, yes, but never altered.

There are essentially two ways to look at a debate about the rules in DnD. On one side, there are those who argue as I have in this thread: that the DM should be left out of the equation when determining the merits of the rules. The other side (and the way I usually see things) points out that the DM is never left out of the equation in practice, and that leaving him or her out of consideration is a goofy methodology usually practiced by math majors.

The thing I'm trying to clear up is the position of some posters that there is only one DM, their DM, and that their DM, being the One True Dungeon Master, will rule in the manner that they see fit, making them more right than the RAW and every other poster who wants to argue by RAW or points out that other DMs may rule differently.

Then why not treat Epic Magic the same way custom Magic Items are treated?

AstralFire
2009-08-07, 03:14 PM
Then why not treat Epic Magic the same way custom Magic Items are treated?

Mostly because you can't.

You can say 'custom magic items are subject to DM approval" in a topic on magic items, because there are already a lot of pre-existing ones.

You have trouble saying that in an Epic Magic discussion as most of the pre-existing spells suck like a... I can't use my favorite profane phrase here, right. Okay. Anyway. They suck. So no one uses them. And there's not many of them at all to begin with. So you would have to have a discussion specifically about Custom Epic Magic to even make the discussion of Epic Magic worth it.

Myrmex
2009-08-07, 03:24 PM
Mostly because you can't.

You can say 'custom magic items are subject to DM approval" in a topic on magic items, because there are already a lot of pre-existing ones.

You have trouble saying that in an Epic Magic discussion as most of the pre-existing spells suck like a... I can't use my favorite profane phrase here, right. Okay. Anyway. They suck. So no one uses them. And there's not many of them at all to begin with. So you would have to have a discussion specifically about Custom Epic Magic to even make the discussion of Epic Magic worth it.

Plenty of things suck, yet no one says "Monk's aren't really that bad because the DM lets you have a Solar pal that gives you +50 to all your attacks".

Doc Roc
2009-08-07, 03:27 PM
I think the Chaos Shuffle is the biggest splatbook rules fail in all of 3.5. Just as an aside.

I... Actually thought that the restricted form of the chaos shuffle was absolutely bloody brilliant. :: shy grin :: That may in fact be a clear marker that it's a huge failure. :)

AstralFire
2009-08-07, 03:28 PM
Plenty of things suck, yet no one says "Monk's aren't really that bad because the DM lets you have a Solar pal that gives you +50 to all your attacks".

Yeah, but I made a compound statement there - there are both few epic spells and they suck, while it proceeds to give you rules for how to make your own. There is very little incentive or much at all to speak about for the premade ones. I know when I first opened up the ELH, I wasn't hoping to make Mummy Dust (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/spells/mummyDust.htm).

Basically, there is nothing to talk about with Epic Spellcasting except making your own rules for it.


I... Actually thought that the restricted form of the chaos shuffle was absolutely bloody brilliant. :: shy grin :: That may in fact be a clear marker that it's a huge failure. :)

The basic effects had a nice idea. It was the compound that just went crazy, and the compound's necessary parts are in the same book. Normally you should test things within the same book with each other. :smallconfused: Also should have had more drawbacks or be required to be used with San or Taint.

Navigator
2009-08-07, 03:31 PM
...Chaos Shuffle...
Actually, nevermind. This is just going to turn into more arguments about borked rules that any DM (that we aren't allowed to talk about) in their right mind would laugh at. I'm thinking reasonably playable, and you're looking for something completely different. Nothing can compete with all the infinite loops and abusable mechanics that the Wizard has access to. I concede and apologize if I wasted anyone's time.

Doc Roc
2009-08-07, 03:33 PM
The basic effects had a nice idea. It was the compound that just went crazy, and the compound's necessary parts are in the same book. Normally you should test things within the same book with each other. :smallconfused: Also should have had more drawbacks or be required to be used with San or Taint.

I always presumed that those books were written by what or who they were about. ;)

Jade_Tarem
2009-08-07, 03:35 PM
Plenty of things suck, yet no one says "Monks aren't really that bad because the DM lets you have a Solar pal that gives you +50 to all your attacks".

...

I think you've drifted off topic. I don't even know what you're trying to say here. It seems tautological.


Actually, nevermind. This is just going to turn into more arguments about borked rules that any DM (that we aren't allowed to talk about) in their right mind would laugh at. I'm thinking reasonably playable, and you're looking for something completely different. Nothing can compete with all the infinite loops and abusable mechanics that the Wizard has access to. I concede and apologize if I wasted anyone's time.

Not "looking for," discussing. If a system is crazy broken, it is *not* good debate strategy to go "I don't have time for your facts. God is on *my* side!"

You can talk about the DM all you want. It just has no bearing on rule quality.

Since people seem to have so much trouble with this, I'll give it one more go:

YES, the DM is an integral part of a DnD game. He can alter any rule, at any time, and his job is to do so in a way that will make the game enjoyable for all players involved.

YES, the vast majority of DMs will not tolerate massive abuses of the abstract rule sets formulated by WotC designers.

YES, the ELH specifies that the DM needs to approve spell creation efforts.

HOWEVER, every DM is different, and we quickly encounter the "mountain of sand" paradox. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, the question is "How much sand does it take to form a mountain?" Since mountain is a somewhat subjective term (I'm sure there's a height that it has to hit or something, but let's assume we can't measure it that accurately), different people will have different opinions on exactly how much sand is enough.

Flipping the analogy, different DMs will have different opinions on how much epic spell optimization is too much. Since every DM is different, the only way to have a meaningful discussion of the relative value of certain rules is to discuss them as though there are no DMs at all.

ADDITIONALLY, the ELH's statement that the DM needs to approve all spell creation efforts does not magically (har!) make the system awesome and balanced and wonderful. Quite the opposite: Once it becomes necessary that the DM take total control of such a large aspect of the game as spellcasting, the system is pretty much a failure - since the DM determines, entirely on his own, what is and isn't legal, there's no point in having a rule system in the first place. Since anything is possible using only the ELH (and no DM), then what we have is, in fact, freeform, with a facade of written rules that don't mean anything.

If you still can't grasp this concept, imagine how this would work out if the Player's Handbook had a line in it that said that all spells were subject to DM approval at the moment of casting. Think about what a lousy way to play that would be - it would actually make dice, the existing spells in the PHB, and the player playing the wizard obsolete, since the DM (and only the DM) determines whether or not a spell will work at any given time. Also, each spell would have a value that would be totally subjective to the DM in question - Time Stop might be awesome for me, but your DM might decide to "balance" it by giving it a 99% failure chance. That's kind of an extreme example, but hopefully you get my point by now.

Myrmex
2009-08-07, 03:41 PM
Yeah, but I made a compound statement there - there are both few epic spells and they suck, while it proceeds to give you rules for how to make your own. There is very little incentive or much at all to speak about for the premade ones. I know when I first opened up the ELH, I wasn't hoping to make Mummy Dust (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/spells/mummyDust.htm).

Basically, there is nothing to talk about with Epic Spellcasting except making your own rules for it.

Half the Core classes are largely held to be utter crap, and there are explicit rules in the DMG for making new ones.


Actually, nevermind. This is just going to turn into more arguments about borked rules that any DM (that we aren't allowed to talk about) in their right mind would laugh at. I'm thinking reasonably playable, and you're looking for something completely different. Nothing can compete with all the infinite loops and abusable mechanics that the Wizard has access to. I concede and apologize if I wasted anyone's time.

You can do the same thing without the Chaos Shuffle. It's just easier. You have to spend more feats on +0 metamagic. Either way, you're getting close to 1k damage from 4th level spell slots.


...

I think you've drifted off topic. I don't even know what you're trying to say here. It seems tautological.

No, I'm using your argument methodology to arrive at erroneous conclusions. That is how you test for a fallacy.

AstralFire
2009-08-07, 03:44 PM
Half the Core classes are largely held to be utter crap, and there are explicit rules in the DMG for making new ones.

There's a lot more than core, though. It's not the same level of scarcity. You don't switch between classes like you switch between spells. Also, I no longer have a DMG, but from what I recall of those rules they were less definite than even the Epic Spellcasting ones. They were also for the Dungeon Master to use primarily, as most of the DMG was, while the ELH was a DM and player sourcebook.

However you want to explain it, people seem to have no interest in discussing the default epic spells; I've seen them brought up once or twice, period.

Jade_Tarem
2009-08-07, 04:00 PM
No, I'm using your argument methodology to arrive at erroneous conclusions. That is how you test for a fallacy.

Yeah, except you have to actually use my argument methodology, not a nonsensical strawman that you made up. Try again.

Hint: You actually stated the exact opposite of what I've been saying all along, and then said that it was a fallacy, if that makes any sense. I don't argue that DMs make candy rain from the sky, I've been arguing that the fact that a DM has to come in and sort everything out makes the system bad.

Korivan
2009-08-07, 04:15 PM
Automatic Quicken Spell is a useful investment if you can spare three feats on it. But yeah, most epic feats seem to be pretty meh.

Multispell went along with that very nicely. Get more quicken spells per round...I'll take 3 please.

Milskidasith
2009-08-07, 04:39 PM
Multispell went along with that very nicely. Get more quicken spells per round...I'll take 3 please.

Yeah, it's nutty. It doesn't hurt that Automatic Quicken costs the same number of feats to always work as improved Metamagic but allows you to spontaneously cast it and doesn't cost a higher level spell slot. Improved Metamagic would be better if you used a good number of high cost metamagics, but if you generally stick to quickening and persisting, automatic of both would win out (is there an automatic persist feat?) And multispell just owns.

Indon
2009-08-07, 04:46 PM
If you aren't going to allow using Epic Spellcasting to produce any spells of the strength their level indicates (in this case, level 10 spells - they all should be stronger than Time Stop, Gate, Prismatic Sphere, Disjunction, Shapechange, Miracle, Wish, True Resurrection, etc.), why did you allow picking it in the first place?

Epic spellcasting's more potent usages seem to me pretty obviously intended for plot-oriented magic, rather than anything that you would use on the battlefield.

This doesn't mean Epic Spellcasting is useless, however. Every game would have a threshold for how potent Epic Spellcasting should be on a daily basis, and a DM and player should work together to work out spells that fall into that (and if that means "I win", then sure, why not?).

Even in low-power games, epic spellcasting isn't useless - epic spellcasting would simply be used sparingly, for large, plot-important points. If your epic party is facing a deity and your DM won't let you study the swift-action I Win spell, perhaps you can work out a spell that can allow you to strip the deity of his divine ranks - with, of course, a Spellcraft DC high enough that your entire party is likely to have a lengthy quest to secure your ability to cast it.

And I guess I should cite this: Each epic spell must be explicitly approved by the DM (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/developingEpicSpells.htm). Check the "Approval" section.

Frankly, Epic Spellcasting feels to me more something for NPC usage, to help determine stuff like, "How many cultists does the party have to kill to keep the big bad from casting the spell to end the world?" PC's get to partake, but the big epic spells would do the same kinds of things.

All in all, YMMV. As written, epic spellcasting is worthless, since the prewritten spells suck. As written, epic spellcasting is limitless cheese as you make a spell that makes you win at everything forever (TOP SCORE).


Yes, and it is widely agreed that this policy is the greatest wad of garbage in the ELH, a book best known for being one big joke. It is lazy on the part of the game's designers, pure and simple. "Eh, we didn't really feel like balancing any of this - you do it."

The epic levels are specifically outside of the game's intended scope. There's not going to be much support for it.


Since anything is possible using only the ELH (and no DM), then what we have is, in fact, freeform, with a facade of written rules that don't mean anything.
In case you weren't aware, all the DM does is approval. The DM doesn't strictly need to actually make anything.

Also, your 'when casting' thing? It's kind of obviously a strawman, since the problem there is that the game is being stopped during the action.

Non-epic spells can also be invented (See chapter 2, DMG, Creating New Spells). This system does not invalidate the existence of non-epic magic.

Navigator
2009-08-07, 04:50 PM
Flipping the analogy, different DMs will have different opinions on how much epic spell optimization is too much. Since every DM is different, the only way to have a meaningful discussion of the relative value of certain rules is to discuss them as though there are no DMs at all.
Well, I understand that, I just have a different perspective on it. Optimization is vital for the development a system, and in general it's fun, but shouldn't be put into practice one said abuse is uncovered.

Originally, I was talking about character is actually played and actually has a DM. I jumped in too quick before I realized that a character under (my DM's) judication doesn't stand a chance in this kind of exercise, which is why I withdrew. I'm not QQing or anything, that's just how it is, and that's fine, I just didn't realize how vindicated some of you were! :smallsmile:

In any case, I applaud optimizers for discovering things like Pun-pun, chaos shuffle, nanobots, etc., but I think we should seek out ways to balance them instead hold them against characters that cannot, or have no desire to use them.

Indon
2009-08-07, 05:03 PM
And for completeness, I guess it should be noted that there aren't any explicit rules for creating custom nonepic magic spells like there are for magic items or epic spells - there are just general guidelines.

And, frankly, those guidelines aren't bad - applied to the more potent nonepic spells, it indicates just about what you would expect (that you shouldn't allow them - or at least, you shouldn't allow players to create spells identical to them, heh).

Eldariel
2009-08-07, 05:06 PM
I'd just like to mention that one houserule that's worked incredibly on me is deriving Epic Spellcasting off Caster Level rather than Spellcraft (or just get rid of all the individual skill-boosting factors and keep it on Spellcraft, either works - Spellcraft Ranks is another option) and state you can't mitigate more than half of the total cost of the spell.

This sets a very specific limitation for how high DCs you can reach without actually making it useless. Of course, that still doesn't address the fact that only self-buffs and wards are really any good since all else is so damn expensive that you need to bend over backwards just to get an epic spell as strong as friggin' Fireball.


And really, Epic Spellcasting seems to be intended to enable casters to continue advance while they reach epic. It's really boring to stop getting new abilities even though you advance levels so the feat seems written to enable continual growth. Of course, since the mitigation is uncapped and Spellcraft is too easy to boost, the system as written has severe issues, but I dig the idea as it enables unlimited growth to level 600000000 if you so desire.

The higher your Spellcraft, the more potent spells you can devise; after you breach the mortal coil and reach epic, you basically are good enough to not be constrained by the normal limitations as to what can be done with magic beyond your own knowledge of magic. I think that's what epic should mean: As you take class levels, you are constrained by a certain set of skills and abilities that you pursue in order to perfect yourself.

Once you reach epic, you reach and breach the perfection and are only constrained by your present skill rather than by the path you've chosen. Fundamentally the reason I can't ever see myself banning Epic Spellcasting-type functionings outright in an epic game is that it creates monotonousness where level 30 doesn't really differ from level 50 in anything but numbers.

Indeed, I play with one for each skill set (Martial Adepts, Psions, Binders, Incarnum-wielders, etc.) and just hope people don't use classes with no skill sets on epic since continuing an advancement that doesn't exist is hard.

AstralFire
2009-08-07, 05:07 PM
The epic levels are specifically outside of the game's intended scope. There's not going to be much support for it.

This does not excuse the shoddy workmanship that went into it.

Adaptation sections on classes are nice bonus things about how to extend a class beyond its basic scope - Mystic Swordsage is a cool idea, and it's just an idea for a DM to take and play with.

A book which you pay for implies that it should have some quality.

Myrmex
2009-08-07, 05:08 PM
A book which you pay for implies that it should have some quality.


...Sucker.

Eldritch_Ent
2009-08-07, 05:10 PM
Well, I understand that, I just have a different perspective on it. Optimization is vital for the development a system, and in general it's fun, but shouldn't be put into practice one said abuse is uncovered.

Originally, I was talking about character is actually played and actually has a DM. I jumped in too quick before I realized that a character under (my DM's) judication doesn't stand a chance in this kind of exercise, which is why I withdrew.

I applaud optimizers for discovering things like Pun-pun, chaos shuffle, etc., but I think we should seek out ways to balance them instead hold them against characters that cannot, or have no desire to use them.

... But we're not talking perspective here, we're taking RAW, objective analysis of the rules as written, and not DM Fiat. Generally, the assumption is "If it follows the rules, the DM will approve it." and this applies to the horribly broken epic spell mechanics among other things.

And besides, any GM who would use physical violence to bend players to his will is an awful DM.

Part of the problem isn't that you don't have to go through Pun-Pun esque hoops to use epic spells, rather that if used as written it's inherently horribly broken, much like Wildshape + Natural Spell, or Divine Metamagic + nightsticks.

Indon
2009-08-07, 05:10 PM
This does not excuse the shoddy workmanship that went into it.

The epic level handbook includes more than the Epic Spellcasting feat.

And in fact, far more work went into the system for creating Epic spells than ever went into creating non-epic ones (Again, ch.2, DMG).

AstralFire
2009-08-07, 05:18 PM
The epic level handbook includes more than the Epic Spellcasting feat.

It includes such well thought out bits as:
Epic Mystic Theurge is less effective than alternating class levels. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/prestigeClassProgressions.htm#epicMysticTheurge)
Being a planar cop that gets knock as a spell-like per day. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/prestigeClasses/unionSentinel.htm) At level 5, you get to... cast Forcecage! HOORAY.
+1 Natural Armor as an Epic Feat (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/feats.htm#armorSkin).
Complete Immunity to All Arrows and Ranged Effects Ever With No Counter No Matter How Good An Archer You Are (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/feats.htm#infiniteDeflection) (when paired with the one feat that lets it apply to all Ranged Effects.)
+3d6 Fire Damage as a +6 Weapon Bonus (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/magicItems/weapons.htm#fieryBlast)

With the exception of the first one, I just went to a random section and starting clicking links in d20srd.org at full abandon. I can pull more.

Jade_Tarem
2009-08-07, 05:28 PM
In case you weren't aware, all the DM does is approval. The DM doesn't strictly need to actually make anything.

I could be pedantic and annoying here and point out that the DM actually has to make a lot of things, like a plot, NPCs, etc., but it's pretty clear that you meant "In the context of what we were already talking about," so I'll say that you're correct. Technically.

However, this doesn't address the point that I made - at least, not the one that you quoted. In fact, it more or less concurs with what I stated, but the way you wrote it makes me think that you disagree.


Also, your 'when casting' thing? It's kind of obviously a strawman, since the problem there is that the game is being stopped during the action.

It's not really a strawman so much as just a wild exaggeration, but for our purposes we'll modify the scenario to precisely mirror the situation with epic spellcasting. See below.


Non-epic spells can also be invented (See chapter 2, DMG, Creating New Spells). This system does not invalidate the existence of non-epic magic.

It would invalidate it if it worked the same way as epic spell creation.

Now, you might think that it does work the same way. It looks like it, on the surface, but in fact the spell creation rules in the DMG are not the same as those in the ELH.

The difference is that the spell creation rules in the DMG are set up to allow players to create custom spells based on existing spells. Acidball and Cold Bolt, for instance, can be compared to similar spells to determine what level those spells should be. It quickly becomes obvious that they should be at least level three (unless they do less damage) or perhaps a bit higher, to account for the fact that fewer creatures have resistances to cold and acid. If one of those bypasses SR, that could also be an indication that your player is up to something.

But you're still operating inside the Vancian system. Your players have to try to stick to spells that are of reasonable parity with existing spells, and the DM has a squillion spells to compare his players' creations to, representing existing playtesting done by people who aren't the DM. So while the DM still has to approve it, he doesn't have to run the show from square one.

What's more, the abuse of such a system is not institutionalized with a bunch of rules that allow players to cast a permanent, undispellable haste on themselves at level five if they can get thirteen sorcerers and a pixie to do it with them in the light of the full moon, while the wizard's familiar sacrifices a live hedgehog by drowning it in a bucket of blue dye.

Also, if the DM decides to scrap the entire system of custom sub-epic spells, there's still the main system for casters to fall back on. Epic casting doesn't have that, or anything like it. The DM makes it all up, or nothing happens. There is no middle ground. This is the true difference between the two - while DM approval might become necessary to the entire spellcasting process at level 1, it is necessary at level 21.