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View Full Version : Someone help me balance some stuff



King of Nowere
2009-09-30, 04:47 AM
So, I'm running a campaign where I'm using a lot of homebrewed magic stuff, some of it I can't fit in the guidelines so I'm asking some opinions for balancement.
I'm running under a mix of 3.0 and 3.5 rules (I've got the old manuals and I don't want to spend a lot of money to buy the new ones, yet I apply some balancements made in the 3.5 I feel where really needed; plus a bit of houseruling).
So, let's start
Ring of superb alignemnt fooling - I need to put a price on this

A must have for an evil overlord who wants to pass as a good guy to better cheat people, but it can be useful for an hero infiltrating an evil organization. However their cost counter their usefulness, so they are very rare, and only few know of their existance.
This rings can appear in many forms: they are always disuised as some other, nonmagical ring. They may appear a ring with the seal of a noble, or a plain iron or silver band, or any kind of ring as long as it don't give the impression of a magic ring.

- the wearer of the ring chooses an alignment; the ring fools every attempt to divinate the alignment of the bearer into seeing the alignment the bearer choosed. It fools every known spell. The choosen alignment can be changed every round
- the ring is also protected against individuation of magic, so that it don't shows magical auras. However, more powerful spells may overcome this protection.
- The ring is made with a special enchantment that allows the bearer to wear an extra magic ring on the same hand. Basically, it don't fill space in your inventory
- the ring let the bearer know, by sligthly hotting itself, if any attempt of divinaton of the alignment is made against the bearer

to note that the fooling is only against detection of alignment, not against other related effects. If you're caotic evil and use the ring to pass as lawful good, detect evil won't trigger with you, detect law will trigger with you, true sight will see you as lawful good, but smite evil still smites you, an holy avenger still does extra damage to you, you can keep using an unholy weapon but can't use an holy weapon.

I've estimated this around 50000 gp but it don't satisfy me, some opinion? (also, on caster level and prerequisites for making)


adamantium covered, magically enanched skeletons

these skeletons were made to be used as body guards. They are fully covered in adamantium, and empowered with several spells. They are not powerful in attack, despite the magical twin electrified blades they have attacked to their hands, but are very hard to take down, thus giving the owner the time to run away

Medium Construct
Hit Dice: 8d12 (52 hp)
Initiative: +5
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)
Armor Class: 27 (+1 Dex , +4 natural, +12 armor), touch 11, flat-footed 26
Base Attack/Grapple: +6/+6
Attack: +1 electrified blades +8 melee (1d6+3 + 1d6 electric)
Full Attack: 2 +1 electrified blades +6 melee (1d6+3 + 1d6 electric)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: electroshock
Special Qualities: undead traits, damage resistance 20/+1, damage resistance 4/-, turning resistance +2, spell resistance 18, immunity to cold and electricity, fire, acid and sonic resistance 10
Saves: Fort +6, Ref +7, Will +3
Abilities: Str 15, Dex 13, Con , Int -, Wis 12, Cha 10
Skills:
Feats: improved initiative, two weapon fighting, weapon focus
Environment: Any
Organization: depends
Challenge Rating: ??
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: I haven't contemplated this

electroshock: when the skeleton hits with both his weapons the same target in one round, it releases a stream of electricity through the body of the opponent, dealing more damage and stunning.
Deals 2d6 extra lightning damage and the target is stunned for 2 rounds unless he makes an 18 fortitude save

I put to this a cr somewhere between 6 and 8, and a cost to make around ten thousands gp. Suggestions?


Amulet of undead control

The making of undead was considered an evil thing, until it was found that they can be very useful to make hard, debilitating, dangerous work instead of humans. Now undeads are a cornerstone of the world's economy, being used as untrained laborers (work 24/7, no need to pay them or even feed them, no need for safety) and soldiers (more effective than a recruited militia, can march hundreds of kilometers in a day, never disobeys orderds, don't feel cold or hunger or fear or stuff, the people don't get upset when their relatives die in battle).

Their main limitation was that it is require a cleric or wizard to control them, and there aren't enough of them. But this was changed when it was discovered how to make amulets to transfer the control of the undeads. Now a cleric or wizard animate the undead, tranffer the control to the amulet, and gives the amulet to someone else. The wearer of the amulet can command the undeads as if he were the ones who summoned them.

No idea how much something like this is supposed to cost, or hom much hd of undead it should be able to control, or the requirements for it


Thanks in advance for everyone willing to give advice, if I find the advice useful I'll probably post more stuff in the future

Pigkappa
2009-09-30, 04:54 AM
Ring of superb alignemnt fooling - I need to put a price on this

This is extremely powerful in my opinion. 150k or 200k gp would be a reasonable price.
About the prerequisites, I think you should also make a level 9 spell which has more or less that same effect (for a limited time), and that spell should be required to make the ring.

The Rose Dragon
2009-09-30, 05:04 AM
Just a nitpick, unless you're using these for an alternate universe, it's adamantine. Adamantium is from Marvel Universe and is famous for covering Wolverine's skeleton. Adamantine is from D&D and is famous for being really hard.

King of Nowere
2009-09-30, 05:11 AM
Ring of superb alignemnt fooling - I need to put a price on this

This is extremely powerful in my opinion. 150k or 200k gp would be a reasonable price.
About the prerequisites, I think you should also make a level 9 spell which has more or less that same effect (for a limited time), and that spell should be required to make the ring.
I tought about it; it IS extremely powerful, but also have a very limited range of use, and it is totally useless in 95% of the situations that normally happens. That's why I estimated a considerably lower price than that.


Just a nitpick, unless you're using these for an alternate universe, it's adamantine. Adamantium is from Marvel Universe and is famous for covering Wolverine's skeleton. Adamantine is from D&D and is famous for being really hard.
Ok, I'm not expert on this stuff. Adamantine is correct.

elliott20
2009-09-30, 05:12 AM
95% of the time? In a game of political intrigue, try useless 1% of the time.

Pigkappa
2009-09-30, 07:47 AM
I tought about it; it IS extremely powerful, but also have a very limited range of use, and it is totally useless in 95% of the situations that normally happens. That's why I estimated a considerably lower price than that.


That doesn't even fill space in the inventory; I can't really imagine a reason for not having that item. Everyone in the universe would like to have it.

King of Nowere
2009-09-30, 08:44 AM
That doesn't even fill space in the inventory; I can't really imagine a reason for not having that item. Everyone in the universe would like to have it.

The reason is that it costs a lot. Not everyone can afford the expense only to shield their duplicity. But you persuaded me, I'm going to increase my extimation of its value

Baron Corm
2009-09-30, 10:41 AM
You want to balance the ring? Easy. Use the Ring of Mind Shielding (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/rings.htm#mindShielding).

I really like your skeleton creature. The idea of a robot in the shape of a skeleton intrigues me, and I'm probably going to make something else with it, if you don't mind. I think the one you made has cool abilities too. I would agree that it is from CR 6-8, but it's a hard one to pin down. Its attack bonus is kind of low, but its other abilities are great. So it's one of those all-or-nothing creatures that will either miss or destroy. Consider that it needs a roll of 19 to hit its own AC. If you raise its attack bonus, you could set it at a solid CR 8.

Another note, DR/+1 doesn't exist any more. It's DR/magic. And DR 20/magic is way too large for a CR 8 creature. I think that DR 5/magic or DR 10/magic would be more appropriate.

Finally, your amulet is not very powerful, assuming all HD limits are still in effect. 500 or so gp might do the trick, if I'm not missing anything. You did say they were mass produced in your campaign world.

King of Nowere
2009-09-30, 11:57 AM
You want to balance the ring? Easy. Use the Ring of Mind Shielding (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/rings.htm#mindShielding).

I really like your skeleton creature. The idea of a robot in the shape of a skeleton intrigues me, and I'm probably going to make something else with it, if you don't mind. I think the one you made has cool abilities too. I would agree that it is from CR 6-8, but it's a hard one to pin down. Its attack bonus is kind of low, but its other abilities are great. So it's one of those all-or-nothing creatures that will either miss or destroy. Consider that it needs a roll of 19 to hit its own AC. If you raise its attack bonus, you could set it at a solid CR 8.

Another note, DR/+1 doesn't exist any more. It's DR/magic. And DR 20/magic is way too large for a CR 8 creature. I think that DR 5/magic or DR 10/magic would be more appropriate.

Finally, your amulet is not very powerful, assuming all HD limits are still in effect. 500 or so gp might do the trick, if I'm not missing anything. You did say they were mass produced in your campaign world.

I know, the problem with the skeletons is that they are powerful in defense but weak in attack, while for most creatures is the opposite. But I needed it that way, because 1) they were supposed to be bodyguards, not killers, and 2) I had planned to unleash them against the pcs while they were still low level (after making clear that they needed to escape) and I wanted a third level party to be alble to resist a few rounds without casualties, while at the same time I want those skeletons to make a decent fight when the pcs come back with more levels.
As for the damage reduction, as I said I'm still using 3.0 rules for the most, where damage reduction works that way.

For the amulet, my main concern is the HD limits; an army of zombies or skeletons is supposed to be controlled by a few generals, so those would need to control thousands of hd of undeads, which seems a bit too much. On the other hand, if every two or three undeads you need a person to control them, you lose most of the tactical advantage of using them (or the economical advantage if you use them as workers). So I was thinking about controlling a hundred hd of undeads with a single amulet, but that is more than any cleric can do...

DracoDei
2009-09-30, 01:20 PM
For the amulet:
I suggest a high limit on total HD controlled (100 is a nice, round number), but limit the individual undead to 2 or 3 HD each, with a more expensive one that goes up to 6 or 8 (or maybe some at each). This serves as a balancing factor, because once AoE's get involved, quantity can only go so far, but you can still have infantry and cavalry respectively being controlled by those amulets. Another good limitation is that any undead that gets more than 100-200 feet from the amulet goes uncontrolled. Whether "uncontrolled" means "stands still and takes no actions" or "rampages attacking anything that moves (or maybe just living things)" is a descision that needs to be made. Control is re-established simply by moving back in range.

Both of those are good midigating factors, especially when it comes to keeping the PCs from getting cheesey with it.

Baron Corm
2009-09-30, 01:55 PM
It's not really any different than buying magic items or rhinoceros mounts with your WBL and giving it all to one person. You can do that without any special amulet. Furthermore, NPC generals of armies gain followers just because of their position. It's not imbalanced for the general of an army to control an army. The only problem would be if a caster could raise undead up to his limit, transfer those away, and then raise more undead. That would be impossibly broken and would make the amulet a minor artifact at least.

King of Nowere
2009-09-30, 02:10 PM
The only problem would be if a caster could raise undead up to his limit, transfer those away, and then raise more undead. That would be impossibly broken and would make the amulet a minor artifact at least.

That was exactly my idea of how said amulet should work. I don't see it so broken, as long as they're undead of the weak type it's less powerful than the autority feat. Note that to raise a zombie or skeleton you need 50 gp of material component, and even an army of thousands of those can be held at bay by a not-too-great number of low level clerics and some guys with wands of fireballs.
For that reason the armies in the last century started to go for golems, wizards, and adventurers, even if the cost much more than the undeads or than a regular army, while the troops of skeletons and zombies are used as relatively cheap cannon fodder, or to raid the countryside avoiding contact with the enemy army.

Especially with the mitigating factors proposed by dracodei (limit to few hit dices to avoid someone having an army of vampires or mummies or such, limted range) I don't see how the PCs can abuse of it

EDIT a cleric or wizard can animate undeads, transfer them to the amulet, and then animate other undeads, but there is still the limit of one amulet per person. So a 20th level cleric could control no more than140 hd of undeads. They could still pass the amulets to a bunch of commoners, but the commoners would be weak and easily targeted if they are to stay near the undeads to make them work.

EDIT 2 Those amulets can be used only on mindless undeads; probably most of you already figured, but just to make sure

Baron Corm
2009-09-30, 03:24 PM
Here's the thing, then. You're essentially mass producing and selling less-expensive golems. Golems require XP costs to create, which balance the fact that you're creating entirely new creatures all by yourself.

So, extrapolating from that, modify the animate dead spell in your campaign to allow the user to transfer the undead he has created as long as he expends 10 XP (or your desired number) per 25 gp spent. That would be a good balancing factor which is based on existing rules and would likely never be used by your PCs.

I think Draco's suggestion of limiting the max HD would work as well in most cases, use whichever you prefer. With that method, it's easier for the PCs to use it, and it's easier in general to mass produce everything, but your undead will be weak, so your options are limited, and the fact that all you're expending is gp could lead to some obscenely high numbers of weak undead, which could lead to some form of abuse.

King of Nowere
2009-09-30, 03:57 PM
Even the xp cost to transfer is a good idea. So it may be

Lesser amulet of undead control
This amulet allows the creator and controller of a mindless undead to permanently transfer control of the undead to the amulet. The wearer of the amulet get control of all the undeads under the amulet's control. The creator of the undead is free to animate more undeads, because the undead transferred to the amulet don't count for the spellcaster's limit.
The amulet can control up to 100 hd of undeads, but no undead with more than 3 hd. Transferring an undead under the amulet's control cost 10 XP per hd of the undead.
The amulet works only in a range of 500 ft, if an undead controlled by the amulet goes outside this range it will not receive future orders, and will stay still or keep performing a give task (very simple, it is to be performed by a mindless creature). When the undead come back into range, the control is reestablished.
Price: 500 gp + 100 gp per hd controlled (if I recall correctly the gold to xp exchange rate).

Greater amulet of control undead
Like the lesser amulet, but with up to 8 hd, up to 200 hd of undeads total, up to 1000 ft range.
Price: 5000 gp + 100 gp per hd controlled

Note: In any legal sistem worth a crap, special autorization(s) are required to own these amulets, use them, or animate undead in the first place. This may eventually have an extra cost in papers/burocratic stuff/bribery

Yakk
2009-09-30, 04:16 PM
Ring of Honesty [Minor Artefact]

The wearer of a Ring of Honesty appears to be Lawful to all magical forms of detection, and all statements made by the wearer detect magically as true if the wearer wishes. In addition, the wearer can feel when a Divination spell that detects lies or alignment is used on the wearer.

While the Ring is worn, it cannot be detected as a magical item. Wearing the Ring does not take up a Ring item slot.

When the Ring of Honesty interacts with a magical item that behaves differently based on the alignment of the Ring wearer, the Ring of Honesty is considered Lawful unless the item is an Artefact or Minor Artefact.

Ring of Righteousness [Minor Artefact]
The wearer of a Ring of Righteousness appears to be Good to all magical forms of detection, and gains a +10 circumstance bonus to Bluff checks to lie and a +5 circumstance bonus to Diplomacy checks. In addition, the wearer can feel when a Divination spell that detects lies or alignment is used on the wearer.

While the Ring is worn, it cannot be detected as a magical item. Wearing the Ring does not take up a Ring item slot.

When the Ring of Honesty interacts with a magical item that behaves differently based on the alignment of the Ring wearer, the Ring of Honesty is considered Lawful unless the item is an Artefact or Minor Artefact.

... etc

Ie, stat them up as minor artefacts that have additional quirks. You can create 6 of them (good/evil/neutral on good or evil, lawful/chaotic/neutral on law vs chaos), or just 4.

Each ring then does one specific thing. Which should be sufficient to advance the plot. :)

King of Nowere
2009-09-30, 04:24 PM
Stat them as minor artifacts would be too much, I don't want the bad guy to have an artifact. It is to be said that my ring is considerably weaker than those artifacts; those artifacts protect from lies detection (which my ring does not), isn't detected as a magic item (while mine is simply immune to detect magic, but identify or other stuff would reveal it) and have you react to magic as if you were of the alignment of the ring (while mine didn't affect how non-divinative magic worked).
So probably I'm better taking away the condition "can change detected alignment every round" and say that it simply makes you register as lawful good. Or simply as good, since the bad guy is already lawful. It would still be coherent with the plot.
And I suppose a price in the order of 100000 gp is in order.

Yakk
2009-09-30, 06:38 PM
You do know that 'minor artefact' simply means 'you cannot make this', right?

DracoDei
2009-09-30, 06:57 PM
Between the cost of the amulet(both GP and XP) and the cost of the individual undead (GP) I don't think an XP cost to transfer the undead is needed. If it is, perhaps having the option of which of the two pays it (giver or receiver) would be good.

King of Nowere
2009-10-01, 07:10 AM
You do know that 'minor artefact' simply means 'you cannot make this', right?

As I said, my version is consistently underpowered, so no need for it to be an artifact.

Ok, two other questions.

1) Necklace of spell suppression

When talking to a king, or going into a bank, or in many social occurrence, it is custom that people leaves their weapons at the entrance. Yet it makes little sense to ask a fighter to put down his sword, and let in a wizard that can shatter reality with a mere tought. So these necklaces come into play.
They derived from cursed items [in the manual it says that among their effects cursed items may disable spellcasting], mistakes of crafting that were originally discarded, before it was realized their usefulness.

Basically, it is a necklace that, while worn, prevents you from casting spells of any kind. You have no problem at all taking it away, but even after you took it off you still can't cast spells for 1 minute, so you can't endanger the king/whoever else before they get time to react. Also, the spell disabling takes effect three rounds after the necklace is worn, so no use trying to put it on the enmies in a battle; they can still blast you into oblivion before the effect takes place.

For magic-wielding prisoners, it just need a lock so that it can't be taken off. The lock may be nonmagical, so no need for extra price.

I don't expect it to cost too much, especially because I already made clear with the players that those items are quite common in this world, to the point that every city prison has at least some of them. So I cannot afford to say they cost more than 3-4 thousands gp (I think less). If you say they should cost much more, try proposing some mitigating effect that avoids abuses.


2) How much would it cost to make a permanent nonmagical area like the prison the oots was locked in azure city before the trial?