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rockdeworld
2009-11-18, 08:26 PM
4 Druids?

I'm thinking of making a gish build for a high-level campaign, and I'd like to know what kind of party would complement it well. I'm thinking Cleric, Druid, Wizard.

Maybe a Cleric with leadership.

Thurbane
2009-11-18, 08:39 PM
Most of the replies will be Druid/Druid/Druid/Druid, Wizard/Wizard/Wizard/Wizard or some combination of the two.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-11-18, 08:41 PM
Wizard, Rogue, Cleric, Druid.

drengnikrafe
2009-11-18, 08:44 PM
AMF? That'd be a bit funny...

ravenkith
2009-11-18, 08:46 PM
I'd put money on Cleric/Wizard/Sorceror/Rogue

-OR-

Cleric/Cleric/Rogue/Wizard

being dominant.

UglyPanda
2009-11-18, 09:22 PM
It's harder to get away with not having a rogue in core. Outside of core, you can easily get away with just setting off every trap ahead of time.

Probably Rogue/Druid/Cleric/Wizard.

Tackyhillbillu
2009-11-18, 09:24 PM
Cleric/Druid/Wizard... something else.

Innis Cabal
2009-11-18, 09:25 PM
AMF? That'd be a bit funny...

Funnier still when they use conjuration spells with SR: No to kick your butt.

Emmerask
2009-11-18, 09:25 PM
depends on:
-the setting (low magic, high magic?)
-for what purpose (mostly fighting, or nearly none but lots of skill checks?)
-party level (4 level one core wizards are not that impressive if there is more then one encounter / day(especially if they donīt have the funds for some wands ^^)

I would go with
cleric, druid, rogue, wizard for most purposes

drengnikrafe
2009-11-18, 09:29 PM
Funnier still when they use conjuration spells with SR: No to kick your butt.

I stand defeated.

HamHam
2009-11-18, 09:30 PM
Druid/Cleric/Wizard/Arcane Trickster.

Does everything the Rogue would skill wise but also casts spells.

tyckspoon
2009-11-18, 09:32 PM
It's pretty hard to get away with not having a trap-finder in core.

Probably Rogue/Druid/Cleric/Wizard.

Not really (an all-caster party has a *lot* of disposable minions, plus the resources to get around the effects of almost any trap they trigger), but it is handy. Saves a lot of resources that can go to more efficient and effective things for the casters (same thing for social skills- get a Rogue to diplomacy/bluff/gather information, and you save yourself a lot of charming and divining.) If the party makes sure to buy or craft enough Magic for him to Use, you might not even notice he's not another Wizard.

'course, he could be another Wizard anyway- Arcane Trickster is a core PrC. Or if you're only really concerned about Trapfinding multiclass one or two levels of Rogue and then keep up your Search/Disable Device at the cross-class cost.

Lord of Syntax
2009-11-18, 09:40 PM
Druid/Rogue/Wizard/Barbarian

Kallisti
2009-11-18, 09:44 PM
Druid/Cleric/Wizard/Bard. Let the Bard handle the social skills, the trap skills...let him handle the skills. That frees up your three casters to handle everything else, and the bard helps out conjured minions and gets some relatively decent casting of his own.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-11-18, 09:44 PM
Druid/Cleric/Wizard/Bard. Let the Bard handle the social skills, the trap skills...let him handle the skills. That frees up your three casters to handle everything else, and the bard helps out conjured minions and gets some relatively decent casting of his own.

Bards do not get trapfinding.

Moff Chumley
2009-11-18, 09:50 PM
They're BARDS. What else are you supposed to do with 'em? I mean, seeing as there's no henchman (http://nodwick.humor.gamespy.com/) class in 3.5...

Tackyhillbillu
2009-11-18, 09:57 PM
Bards do not get trapfinding.

They do however have the ability to encourage random Commoners to walk in front of the party...

erikun
2009-11-18, 10:03 PM
Druid, Cleric, Wizard, Rogue 1/Bard X?

Actually, I'm not sure the cleric will be needed beyond the first few levels. Barbarian is also a nice choice if we're not optimizing very much.

Defiant
2009-11-18, 10:28 PM
Druid/Druid/Wizard/Cleric

If you really want some other class as well, get the leadership feat.

aje8
2009-11-18, 10:41 PM
Druid, Cleric, Wizard and I guess Rogue...... but perhaps a Rogue Gish build.

At levels starting from one and ending somewhere in the 4-7 range, then I like all druid party with a rogue better than this one, however after that the party with Wizard and Cleric better.

Though maybe even then you want Duid/Druid/Wizard/Rogue...... what key spells do clerics get in core...... not that many.

Solean
2009-11-18, 10:45 PM
4 clerics. ( Just walk into every trap and heal up after. )

4 wizards are probably better tho.

Another note on traps - a corpse tied to a rope and thrown down a hallway and then dragged back will spring most traps. Making a summoned creature or slave or captured enemy walk down a hallway or open/break doors will get all but the strangest traps.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-18, 10:45 PM
Druid, Cleric, Wizard, Wizard.

Social skills are for those who can't kill everything.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-11-18, 10:45 PM
Though maybe even then you want Duid/Druid/Wizard/Rogue...... what key spells do clerics get in core...... not that many.
Just Divine Power, Righteous Might, Divine Favor, Shield of Faith, Deathward, Bestow Curse, Plane Shift, True Seeing, Freedom of Movement, Magic Vestment, Greater Magic Weapon, Heal....

Amphetryon
2009-11-18, 10:46 PM
Druid (summons focused), Druid (wildshape focused), Wizard (BFC), Rogue/Wizard/Arcane Trickster (Mobility expert).

Temet Nosce
2009-11-18, 10:48 PM
Druid/Cleric/Wizard/Arcane Trickster.

Does everything the Rogue would skill wise but also casts spells.

This pretty much. I might drop the Rogue anyways though, and just smack in another caster (probably a Wizard, with both specializing in different areas) and abuse summons to deal with traps.

TheThan
2009-11-18, 10:51 PM
How about this:

Cleric: divine support, striker
Sorcerer: dps
Druid: tank, dps
Wizard: battlefield control
Bard: support

There you have all the bases covered.

tyckspoon
2009-11-18, 10:54 PM
Though maybe even then you want Duid/Druid/Wizard/Rogue...... what key spells do clerics get in core...... not that many.

Miracle, True Res, Greater Restoration, Mass Heal, Slay Living, Commune, the Planar Ally line, the alignment Word group, Spell Immunity, Remove Blindness/Deafness, Divination, Speak With Dead, Magic Vestment, Silence, Find Traps, Bless, Bane, Doom, Shield of Faith. In an all full-casters group, those are some of the spells you will only get from a Cleric. Useful enough?

Edit: And not counting the spells that also appear on the Wizard or Druid lists.

Eldariel
2009-11-18, 10:55 PM
Druid/Druid/Wizard/Wizard (with 1 level Rogue or Rogue/Assassin-dip going either Arcane Trickster or Loremaster depending on the size of the dip) with Wizards picking up Improved Familiars for a solid 8-person party. Though Clerics have quite a few buffs you kinda really like, like Magic Vestment, Heroes' Feast and company. So you could possibly replace one Druid with a Cleric; it's close.


So yeah, to be more specific:
1. Human/Dwarf/Gnome Druid 20
2. Human/Dwarf/Gnome Druid 20
3. Gray Elf/Gnome Wizard 7/Loremaster 8/Archmage 5
4. Gray Elf Rogue 1/Wizard 6/Loremaster 10/Archmage 3 OR Rogue 1/Wizard 5/Assassin 1/Arcane Trickster 10/LoremasterORArchmage 3 (latter loses extra level of casting for better class skills)

With possible Human/Dwarf Cleric thrown in. The Divine Casters do the tanking and...well, divine casting and the arcanists do the rest.


Regarding traps: If you can't disarm them, you're very limited in which ancient tombs and Kobold settlements you can invade. Triggering traps can be a horrible plan in some scenarios (Alarms/Callings/DestroyMcGuffins/CaveIns/etc.), and useless in others (Resetting/LongRange/Delayed/Doesn'tTriggerForCertainTypes/etc.).

As such, I'd strongly suggest not neglecting the character with Trapfinding and Rogue 1 is the only way to get that in Core (Find Traps doesn't bestow the caster with the ability to actually disable them). Also, Rogue abilities synergise great with a Wizard and Gray Elf-base so it all comes together really nicely in either of the builds, although the Loremaster build is far more limited as it has to brute force a large number of skills cross-class on his immense Int-modifier alone.

Moff Chumley
2009-11-18, 10:57 PM
Ninja'd, or did you just ignore PF? :smalltongue:

EDIT: Well, the breadth of my ninja reveals the silliness of my comment. :smallyuk::smallwink:

aje8
2009-11-18, 10:57 PM
Divine Power, Righteous Might, Divine Favor, Shield of Faith, Deathward, Bestow Curse, Plane Shift, True Seeing, Freedom of Movement, Magic Vestment, Greater Magic Weapon, Heal....

Hum.... I guess I've been owned.

Ok, Druid/Cleric/Wizard/Rogue (Gish?) is definatley better.

Vizzerdrix
2009-11-18, 10:57 PM
The best party would be four people playing what they want.

The most powerful would be druid/druid/Cleric/Wizard

Draz74
2009-11-18, 10:58 PM
I concur with most others: either Cleric/Druid/Wizard/Arcane Trickster, or Cleric/Druid/Wizard/Bard-with-a-Rogue-dip.

Variety does have a strength of its own. I think it's stronger to have four different classes rather than, e.g., Druid/Druid/Wizard/Wizard.

The question gets a lot more complicated if you allow at least the SRD. At least you can argue about Cleric vs. Cloistered Cleric, or whether Psychic Warrior/Slayer or Psion can possibly wedge their way into the party somewhere, or whether Rogue/Psion/Elocator is the best skillmonkey.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-18, 11:01 PM
Cleric/Druid/Wizard seems to be an easy pick for three of them(tier 1 classes, why not?)....

What does a bard offer to an all caster party in comparison to another primary caster?

Draz74
2009-11-18, 11:02 PM
What does a bard offer to an all caster party in comparison to another primary caster?

Skill points. And Glibness.

Berserk Monk
2009-11-18, 11:02 PM
Barbarian, Cleric, Druid, Bard

tyckspoon
2009-11-18, 11:05 PM
I don't think there'd really be much debate about Cleric against Cloistered Cleric- regular Cleric if you really need somebody to wear armor and stand in front of you. Otherwise, Cloistered Cleric all the way; it helps fill in for a caster-party's otherwise limited skill points.

A psion gish build could do well- Ranger 2/Psion 8/Slayer 10 is the classic and simplest, for an OGL-only plan. Just barely makes it to 9th level powers, but those are fairly underwhelming IMO anyway.. and you only need 7th level powers to yoink Form of Doom from the PsyWar list with Expanded Knowledge anyway.

sonofzeal
2009-11-18, 11:07 PM
Why Cleric? A core-only Cleric generally spends too much time buffing and doesn't have enough other things he can do, I'd almost invariably have another Druid (better melee, more utility, enough healing to get us by). Outside of Core there's more of a space for them, but inside I'd go heavily for Druid.

My ideal core party......


Pure Specialist Conjurer
Pure Specialist Transmuter
Rogue 1 / Druid X
Monk 1 / Druid X


To use 4e terms, the first is a Controller, the second's a Leader, the third's a Striker, and the fourth's a Defender. All can cover eachother's roles to a good extent, but should aim to excel within that sort of role. The Conjurer handles BC/debuff/AoE, the Transmuter buffs the Druids or the various summons and blasts, the Rogue/Druid handles traps and rips things apart (I recommend Deinonychus form for Pounce and a whole series of natural attacks, each of which can gain Sneak Attack), and the Monk/Druid should have high AC and melee combat ability. Both druids could probably be alright, if a little underpowered, if they never cast a single spell... but both solidly get 9th level casting with only a single level delay.


Three of the four (and possibly all four) can spam summons for trap-dealing, BC, and damage. Two of the four get pretty decent healing, including the Heal spell. All four get a free ally for extra fun. The Transmuter gets "Animal Growth" at the same level the Druids do (or one earlier since they're delayed), and this lends itself to some nasty combos with them summoning and him buffing. Three of the four (and possibly all four) gain Shapechange. All four get 9th level casting. All four get some nasty nasty blasting, all four get BC, all four get no-save-just-suck, all four get utility out the wazoo.

Eldariel
2009-11-18, 11:17 PM
Son: Don't you think a Wizard would be better equipped for the Rogue-job? Int-focus means Wizards get ****tons of skillpoints and hit insane DCs in Disable Device & Search, better than actual Rogues. Druid is at most almost-a-Rogue, and the loss of level sucks either way.

As for Clerics, it's worth noting that with Magic Vestment, you suddenly can reach relevant AC levels for everyone (even Wizards with Mage Armor + Magic Vestment + Mithril Buckler + Magic Vestment) without actual GP investment outside using a ****ton of level 3 slots, and stuff like Heroes' Feast is only accessible through the Cleric-list.


Restorations you can UMD, I suppose, and Resurrections should be done through summons/bought anyways, but there's a bunch of daily buffs you miss out on without a Cleric and buying them is economically weak. Access to Heal on 11 instead of 13 is also nice. Most of the offensive potential of a Cleric you can replicate with any other caster, of course. Also, Clerics get Plane Shift on level 5, which is a notable perk.

Arguments can certainly be made on the benefits of having a Cleric around. Whether they hold water is another question entirely.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-18, 11:35 PM
Honestly, you can replace half a rogue's abilities with spells. Things like knock are great.

And who needs to pick pockets when you can get the gold/items via magical means? The massive amount of int a wizard will have is definitely a factor too. A rogue won't actually have that much advantage in raw skill points, most of the time, they simply get a lot more class skills, many of which can be circumvented with ease.

For the few that are necessary, +skill items are pretty reasonably priced. No, skillmonkeys are definitely replaceable.

The cleric is not. Sure, the healing aspect is, with ease...but the cleric means that you have one less fragile character in the party, and those buffs you mention, son, can be quite useful. As already mentioned, replicating the higher level cleric spells is financially painful. Much more so than replicating the rogue.

I honestly think the party face job is pretty easy to replace as well. Synergy bonuses help diplomacy quite a bit, again, +skill items are vastly cheaper than items to replicate casting, and having a strong party in the first place reducing the need for diplomacy.

The biggest question is which primary caster is best to double up on. I like wizard, but I recognize that druid or cleric are sufficiently strong options that it's mostly a preference issue as to what style of party you like.

Gametime
2009-11-18, 11:39 PM
Druid (summons focused), Druid (wildshape focused)

In core? Take Natural Spell, Spell Focus: Conjuration, and Augment Summoning. Pump wisdom to high hell. You're now as Wildshape-focused AND as summoning-focused as you're going to get. Go nuts.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-11-18, 11:41 PM
Rogue/Wizard/AT
Wizard
Druid
Cloistered Cleric

Asbestos
2009-11-18, 11:54 PM
Monk/Paladin/Ranger/Bard=WIN

Toliudar
2009-11-19, 12:01 AM
I'd go with:

Rogue 1/Cloistered Cleric X for stealth/buffing/healing
Druid for tanking
Specialist Conjuror for battlefield control
Sorcerer for blasting/face work

Eldariel
2009-11-19, 12:01 AM
Honestly, you can replace half a rogue's abilities with spells. Things like knock are great.

And who needs to pick pockets when you can get the gold/items via magical means? The massive amount of int a wizard will have is definitely a factor too. A rogue won't actually have that much advantage in raw skill points, most of the time, they simply get a lot more class skills, many of which can be circumvented with ease.

For the few that are necessary, +skill items are pretty reasonably priced. No, skillmonkeys are definitely replaceable.

The clutch is that +skill items aren't available in core for the most relevant skills, and without Trapfinding it doesn't matter what your Search & Disable Device is 'cause they'll be useless. Hence the one level. Find Traps is available, but it'll only get you so far; you'll be looking at custom items soon enough if you try to keep up and custom items...OH HELL NO. And honestly, you've still got an almost full Wizard out of your skillmonkey so it's not like he'd be horribly gimped or anything.

As for replacing higher level Cleric stuff, that's not the problem. Greater Restoration has an XP component; you'll more than likely not prepare it ever and you'll just scroll it when necessary. Resurrection-line...well, don't plan on dying a lot helps. The materials are so expensive that Cleric or no Cleric, dying is gonna suck hard. Druids have Heal and so on.


However, replacing all the midrange buffs Clerics can provide with the party is a lot harder. That's not financially viable. So you'll have to compare the extra Druid's (and the automatic AC's) combat prowess to the benefits the Cleric's buffs grant. Now, the extra Druid wins out early on obviously, but around ~9-10, it'll be a more interesting question.


Monk/Paladin/Ranger/Bard=WIN

Ranger over Fighter? BLASPHEMY!


I'd go with:

Rogue 1/Cloistered Cleric X for stealth/buffing/healing
Druid for tanking
Specialist Conjuror for battlefield control
Sorcerer for blasting/face work

Sorcerer isn't really any good as a face 'cause they don't have any relevant skills in class (which undoes the natural Cha benefit they've got) nor do they have enough skillpoints to pull it off. And honestly, you're building the best core party, whatdaya need a blaster for?

Honestly, Druid or Cleric is a fine face. Diplomacy in class, especially in Druid's case ability to focus on mental ability scores (and thus Cha as well), Cleric gets access to some other diplomatic skills through Domains, etc. Monk 1/Druid 19 even gets Sense Motive.

ericgrau
2009-11-19, 12:23 AM
Why do you need a rogue for traps when you can just have a barbarian walk through them all and a cleric heal him? Okay, it might be nice, but think of the possibilities with other classes.

Asbestos
2009-11-19, 12:28 AM
Why do you need a rogue for traps when you can just have a barbarian walk through them all and a cleric heal him? Okay, it might be nice, but think of the possibilities with other classes.
Because not all traps do damage. What happens when your Barb hits a CR 8 Prismatic Spray trap and is sent to another plane or sent permanently insane?

Eldariel
2009-11-19, 12:30 AM
Why do you need a rogue for traps when you can just have a barbarian walk through them all and a cleric heal him? Okay, it might be nice, but think of the possibilities with other classes.

Not every trap is one you wanna trigger. E.g.:
Alarms
Callings
DestroyMcGuffins
CaveIns
etc.

And some you can't effectively trigger to disable them:
Resetting Traps
Long-Range Traps (unless you always walk in some REALLY awkward party formations)
Delayed Effect Traps
Traps made to trigger for certain creature types only
etc.

Really, there are just too damn many things that can go wrong with the plan of "just survive the damn traps" for me to be comfortable without someone capable of finding 'em.

Hawk7915
2009-11-19, 12:38 AM
Cleric (heavy armor, healing spells, awesome late-game power, random undead squashing) and Wizard (GOD powers) are the core of every party, really. I find it hard to believe that a squad without these guys (or a reasonable but slightly nerfed equivalent, like Archivist with a sane DM and Sorcerer) is really good, let alone best.

After that, level and setting matters. If there is even a 10% chance traps will be a factor, you really have to have a Rogue, and he sadly needs to probably be Rogue 10~ (to have 13 ranks in search and disable device, then Skill Mastery them with his 10th level special power). After 10th level he can class around a bit if you really, really want Bardic Music, or bonus feats, or crummy spell casting, or whatever (I'd go for 13th and 2d6 more sneak attack and another special ability, though).

If you are starting at 5+, Druid is easily the 4th man. Wildshape, full casting, and a pet mountain lion or riding dog = win. If you are starting at 10+, I may take double wizard or double cleric. Spellcasting rules all, and they just have better spell lists. Two wizards can cover all bases and honestly win a lot of encounters with no help (or at least be unkillable) around the level they get teleport and polymorph. If you are stuck at 1st and have a slow-leveling, melee-heavy campaign I'd actually take Barbarian with his higher HD and better attack, damage, and survivability until level 5 (and probably at least for a few levels after that). The Barbarian (especially core only, so no delicious shock trooper or leap attack :smallfrown: ) will get out-paced around 6th level even with 2 attacks/round, but early on he's just a beast.

DementedFellow
2009-11-19, 12:44 AM
4 Sorcerers with the Toad Familiar.

Pew Pew Pew



Serious Answer:

4 Bards with maxed diplomacy.

sonofzeal
2009-11-19, 12:44 AM
Son: Don't you think a Wizard would be better equipped for the Rogue-job? Int-focus means Wizards get ****tons of skillpoints and hit insane DCs in Disable Device & Search, better than actual Rogues. Druid is at most almost-a-Rogue, and the loss of level sucks either way.
Comparing Wizards to Rogues - Int-focus means Wizards get +int items, which don't add to skillpoints. Your average Wizard should be getting maybe 5-7 skillpoints a level, while your average Rogue should be getting 9-12. Big difference. Also a big difference is the class skill list. Neither Search nor Disable Device nor Open Lock are on the Wizard list, and since the primary source of high skill checks is ranks (and custom items, which we can't count on for this), Wizards will end up sucking here. Also, they lack Trapfinding, and don't get enough castings of Detect Magic to compensate.

The loss of a level doesn't actually hurt the Druid all that much though. Druids, especially melee-druids, depend a whole heck of a lot less on their spells than most other full-casters. There's not that many high-HD animals in Core that are really worth turning into, and while you still want to keep pretty close to the line, you honestly don't lose all that much for a 1 or 2 level dip somewhere. I'd take the Rogue level at level 6 or later, when you're already Wildshaping into Deinonychi, and then dumping every single skillpoint into Search. That'll keep you ahead of the game for a while, especially since there's a whole slew of Search-boosting items in Core. Actual disarmings can be left to summons.


As for Clerics, it's worth noting that with Magic Vestment, you suddenly can reach relevant AC levels for everyone (even Wizards with Mage Armor + Magic Vestment + Mithril Buckler + Magic Vestment) without actual GP investment outside using a ****ton of level 3 slots, and stuff like Heroes' Feast is only accessible through the Cleric-list.

Restorations you can UMD, I suppose, and Resurrections should be done through summons/bought anyways, but there's a bunch of daily buffs you miss out on without a Cleric and buying them is economically weak. Access to Heal on 11 instead of 13 is also nice. Most of the offensive potential of a Cleric you can replicate with any other caster, of course. Also, Clerics get Plane Shift on level 5, which is a notable perk.

Arguments can certainly be made on the benefits of having a Cleric around. Whether they hold water is another question entirely.
Oh, Clerics are by no means weak! They're a valuable addition to most parties, and can do some great stuff. Thing is, most of their real strength is outside Core. Wizards do just great in Core, Druids do just great , Clerics kinda lose out on the whole ClericZilla thing. Their best buffs can't be Persisted (since Persist isn't core), so if they want to fight they have to waste half the encounter getting their buffs up first and lose out on most of the action.

The other thing is, a Cleric in this party would primarily be providing buffs. But with a Transmuter and three Druids, this party should already have tones of tones going around. A Cleric would add some nice new ones, but it would have a lot of competition and there really isn't much need. Subbing in a Cleric would involve removing one of the others, for a small increase in buffing and a big drop in whatever else that character was providing. Sounds like a bad trade to me.

Eldariel
2009-11-19, 12:56 AM
Comparing Wizards to Rogues - Int-focus means Wizards get +int items, which don't add to skillpoints. Your average Wizard should be getting maybe 5-7 skillpoints a level, while your average Rogue should be getting 9-12. Big difference. Also a big difference is the class skill list. Neither Search nor Disable Device nor Open Lock are on the Wizard list, and since the primary source of high skill checks is ranks (and custom items, which we can't count on for this), Wizards will end up sucking here. Also, they lack Trapfinding, and don't get enough castings of Detect Magic to compensate.

The loss of a level doesn't actually hurt the Druid all that much though. Druids, especially melee-druids, depend a whole heck of a lot less on their spells than most other full-casters. There's not that many high-HD animals in Core that are really worth turning into, and while you still want to keep pretty close to the line, you honestly don't lose all that much for a 1 or 2 level dip somewhere. I'd take the Rogue level at level 6 or later, when you're already Wildshaping into Deinonychi, and then dumping every single skillpoint into Search. That'll keep you ahead of the game for a while, especially since there's a whole slew of Search-boosting items in Core. Actual disarmings can be left to summons.

Wizards with a level of Rogue, potentially taking a level of Assassin to go into Arcane Trickster seems superior. And disarming with summons? What of the traps you don't wanna set off, or hell, just instant reset traps?


Oh, Clerics are by no means weak! They're a valuable addition to most parties, and can do some great stuff. Thing is, most of their real strength is outside Core. Wizards do just great in Core, Druids do just great , Clerics kinda lose out on the whole ClericZilla thing. Their best buffs can't be Persisted (since Persist isn't core), so if they want to fight they have to waste half the encounter getting their buffs up first and lose out on most of the action.

The other thing is, a Cleric in this party would primarily be providing buffs. But with a Transmuter and three Druids, this party should already have tones of tones going around. A Cleric would add some nice new ones, but it would have a lot of competition and there really isn't much need. Subbing in a Cleric would involve removing one of the others, for a small increase in buffing and a big drop in whatever else that character was providing. Sounds like a bad trade to me.

Eh, it depends. Of course Core-only Cleric is weaker than splatted Cleric and indeed, loses much of what you'd want from him over a Wizard or a Druid. Still, the Cleric-list contains many exclusive buffs some of which are all day. Magic Vestment alone is a big factor; with access to it, you can keep your AC for all characters at relevant levels from 10 onwards without making huge monetary investment towards it (everyone can use shields with Mithril Bucklers for Wizards and Animated Whatevers for the rest).

Knowing how expensive boosting AC to relevant levels is otherwise, that's pretty useful. It's like a free extra defense against a subset of attacks. Also, the fear immunity of Heroes' Feast is quite useful. Stacked fear effects can really ruin anyone's day. And of course in addition to that, Cleric is still a capable frontliner + full caster, so he isn't a weak addition by any means. Cleric adds a few buffs you'd otherwise miss out on, earlier access to Heal and holds his own both, casting- and combat-wise.


I'm not saying Cleric is an autoinclude given how much casting power extra Wizard, and how much casting + melee prowess an extra Druid would provide, but I do think Cleric is a viable consideration given the unique set of tools he has access to outside the Wizard & Druid-lists, while also being able to do a good bunch of Wizard/Druid casting (particularly with careful domain choices).

Blind Io
2009-11-19, 12:58 AM
4 Initiate of Mystra Clerics. Simple as.

Eldariel
2009-11-19, 01:00 AM
4 Initiate of Mystra Clerics. Simple as.

How is that Core?

sonofzeal
2009-11-19, 01:04 AM
Wizards with a level of Rogue, potentially taking a level of Assassin to go into Arcane Trickster seems superior. And disarming with summons? What of the traps you don't wanna set off, or hell, just instant reset traps?
Wizards suffer hard from lost caster levels, way more than Druids do. Arcane Trickster is generally considered a trap.

As for traps you don't want to set off, there's always various short-range teleports, burrowing, flying, or just plain avoiding the trigger.


Eh, it depends. Of course Core-only Cleric is weaker than splatted Cleric and indeed, loses much of what you'd want from him over a Wizard or a Druid. Still, the Cleric-list contains many exclusive buffs some of which are all day. Magic Vestment alone is a big factor; with access to it, you can keep your AC for all characters at relevant levels from 10 onwards without making huge monetary investment towards it (everyone can use shields with Mithril Bucklers for Wizards and Animated Whatevers for the rest).

Knowing how expensive boosting AC to relevant levels is otherwise, that's pretty useful. It's like a free extra defense against a subset of attacks. Also, the fear immunity of Heroes' Feast is quite useful. Stacked fear effects can really ruin anyone's day. And of course in addition to that, Cleric is still a capable frontliner + full caster, so he isn't a weak addition by any means. Cleric adds a few buffs you'd otherwise miss out on, earlier access to Heal and holds his own both, casting- and combat-wise.


I'm not saying Cleric is an autoinclude given how much casting power extra Wizard, and how much casting + melee prowess an extra Druid would provide, but I do think Cleric is a viable consideration given the unique set of tools he has access to outside the Wizard & Druid-lists, while also being able to do a good bunch of Wizard/Druid casting (particularly with careful domain choices).
I suppose it's a matter of personal opinion. I certainly think a Core-only Cleric in that party would be substantially less fun to play than the others, even if he was pulling his weight... and even that's not guaranteed. I'd rather leave it, pack a few scrolls/potions of Remove Fear, and use Summons and miss chance to protect from dangerous AC-targetting attacks.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-19, 01:10 AM
Comparing Wizards to Rogues - Int-focus means Wizards get +int items, which don't add to skillpoints. Your average Wizard should be getting maybe 5-7 skillpoints a level, while your average Rogue should be getting 9-12. Big difference.

If you're playing in core, human is not that unlikely of a race pick for a caster. Sure, it's mostly for the feat, but the side effect of extra skill points isn't to be sniffed at.

And inherent bonuses count towards skill points. A wizzie is gonna grab that asap. Together with the racial bonus and ability boosts going to int, it's not that unreasonable for a higher level wizard to be pulling down 10-11 skill points a level.

Also, a rogue that's getting 12 skillpoints a level(unless human) has an 18 int. Seriously? You assumed the rogue gets 18 int? That's not likely to happen until inherent bonuses come around either unless you have a very generous point buy, or the rogue is worthless at other tasks.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-19, 01:17 AM
The clutch is that +skill items aren't available in core for the most relevant skills, and without Trapfinding it doesn't matter what your Search & Disable Device is 'cause they'll be useless. Hence the one level. Find Traps is available, but it'll only get you so far; you'll be looking at custom items soon enough if you try to keep up and custom items...OH HELL NO. And honestly, you've still got an almost full Wizard out of your skillmonkey so it's not like he'd be horribly gimped or anything.

Ah, good point on the skill items.

Still, there are plenty of core ways of dealing with locks and traps. Overwhelming amounts of damage can generally break physical things. If you don't need to be subtle for any particular reason, traps can be solved by either sending ahead summons/enchanted types/henchmen or by applications of massive amounts of force.

Once you get overland flight & Fly, physical triggers become pretty easy to bypass, too. Skills should get you by most things until then.

Detect Magic can locate magic traps. They can be dispelled.

Contact poisons are easily bypassed by things such as open/close, mage hand, and unseen servant.

And of course, plenty of traps can just be avoided, once you know they exist.

sonofzeal
2009-11-19, 01:17 AM
If you're playing in core, human is not that unlikely of a race pick for a caster. Sure, it's mostly for the feat, but the side effect of extra skill points isn't to be sniffed at.

And inherent bonuses count towards skill points. A wizzie is gonna grab that asap. Together with the racial bonus and ability boosts going to int, it's not that unreasonable for a higher level wizard to be pulling down 10-11 skill points a level.

Also, a rogue that's getting 12 skillpoints a level(unless human) has an 18 int. Seriously? You assumed the rogue gets 18 int? That's not likely to happen until inherent bonuses come around either unless you have a very generous point buy, or the rogue is worthless at other tasks.
Human is a wash, as it applies equally to both.

Inherent bonuses only kick in at the really high levels, and since it isn't retroactive then it really won't give you all that much in the long run. It's certainly never going to overcome the gap the Rogue openned up at lvl1 with that tasty tasty 4*(8+int) bundle of joy.

Also, you'll notice that my assumptions for Rogue Int were generally lower than my assumptions for Wizard Int, and I've known Rogues to have 18 starting Int. Also, even if it's just 9-11 (certainly not outside the realm of credibility), that's still a sizeable gap over what the Wizard gets at all but the top levels.



Oh, and my point on class skills still stands. The Wizard's going to be getting only half the mileage out of the points he does get, on the skills we're talking about here.

Eldariel
2009-11-19, 01:22 AM
Wizards suffer hard from lost caster levels, way more than Druids do. Arcane Trickster is generally considered a trap.

As for traps you don't want to set off, there's always various short-range teleports, burrowing, flying, or just plain avoiding the trigger.

I don't know, Druid loses a level of AC, Wildshape AND Casting; I find that much harsher than Wizard losing a CL. Arcane Trickster is indeed meh, but with Assassin, you at least only lose two levels to enter and it means you'll have full Rogue skill access with 4+Int per level (which is around what a Rogue can get around 8+ where you've had +2 Int level-ups). Note that as you took the Rogue-dip on 1 ('cause frankly, if you're gonna skillmonkey, it's pure madness to skip those skillpoints up), you'll be ahead in skill points for a couple of levels.

You'll still be behind, but I find it a far stronger character than a Rogue 20 and I have serious doubts of a Druid's capability to consistently make the checks necessary for a trapfinder. And yeah, there are ways around traps, but it's not too hard to imagine scenarios where you're out of options. You'd certainly imagine crypts designed to keep the artifact in there have safeguards against simple "teleport/burrow into the main chamber, pick up the artifact and get out", such as Forbiddance, unburrowable matter, and so on. There's also something to be said about being able to bypass any number of traps without expending a single spell slot.


I suppose it's a matter of personal opinion. I certainly think a Core-only Cleric in that party would be substantially less fun to play than the others, even if he was pulling his weight... and even that's not guaranteed. I'd rather leave it, pack a few scrolls/potions of Remove Fear, and use Summons and miss chance to protect from dangerous AC-targetting attacks.

Fair enough. Though of course, spending actions to get the disabled characters back tends to be worse to just being immune in the first place, and having miss chances + AC + mirror images is generally even safer than just having two of the three, especially when dealing with creatures capable of bypassing the most common sources of miss chance (e.g. Outsiders with inherent True Seeing).

But then again, you'll have less beef and raw power with Cleric over Druid/Wizard. So yeah, I think there's no general "right answer" here but rather a spread of choices with advantages in a number of specific circumstances ultimately leaving the superiority up to the campaign at hands.

sonofzeal
2009-11-19, 01:43 AM
I don't know, Druid loses a level of AC, Wildshape AND Casting; I find that much harsher than Wizard losing a CL. Arcane Trickster is indeed meh, but with Assassin, you at least only lose two levels to enter and it means you'll have full Rogue skill access with 4+Int per level (which is around what a Rogue can get around 8+ where you've had +2 Int level-ups). Note that as you took the Rogue-dip on 1 ('cause frankly, if you're gonna skillmonkey, it's pure madness to skip those skillpoints up), you'll be ahead in skill points for a couple of levels.
You know, I hadn't actually thought about using Assassin as a fast track into Arcane Trickster, but in hindsight it makes perfect sense. That does help a bit.

As to Druid - a lost level of Wildshape is fairly meaningless, especially for the guy I described who really doesn't care about new forms. For him, the difference in the long run is just an extra hour of duration, and that's hardly a major concern. AC's are starting to fall behind by level 6-7, and again aren't a significant balance concern end-game. And, as previously stated, Druids don't need their spells nearly as much as Wizards do.

A Wizard who isn't casting spells is a commoner with an extra little xp-liability perched on his shoulder. A Druid who isn't casting spells is still biting your face off. Now, their spells are still good, but they're generally not nearly as necessary, and losing a single level isn't nearly as painful. I wouldn't want to lose more than one though; being a full spell level behind kind of sucks.




You'll still be behind, but I find it a far stronger character than a Rogue 20 and I have serious doubts of a Druid's capability to consistently make the checks necessary for a trapfinder. And yeah, there are ways around traps, but it's not too hard to imagine scenarios where you're out of options. You'd certainly imagine crypts designed to keep the artifact in there have safeguards against simple "teleport/burrow into the main chamber, pick up the artifact and get out", such as Forbiddance, unburrowable matter, and so on. There's also something to be said about being able to bypass any number of traps without expending a single spell slot.
There's something to be said... but I don't really think it's vital, and a party of four utility-casters should always be able to cobble something together or they aren't trying hard enough.

As for Druids making the check, let's say his a Human (because almost anything else would be silly for a Wildshaper) Druid with 14 Int. Since Int is #3 priority for Druids, that's not unreasonable and could possibly be even higher, but let's say 14. That means that when the Rogue-dump into Search takes place, we'll get 11 ranks to work with. Depending on the timing then, he's going to be missing it at low levels, tied for a ways, and gradually slip down to -2/-3 off the Rogue at level 12, and -6/-7 at level 20. Hardly crippling. Throw in a Lens of Detection and Goggles of Minute Seeing for a total +10, both easily affordable by level 8 or so, and you should be hitting most of the DCs at most of the levels.

Yukitsu
2009-11-19, 01:57 AM
IMO, this varies by how good the players are.

Naff players: Barbarian, rogue, cleric, druid

Average players: Druid, druid, cleric, wizard

Good players: Druid, cleric, cleric, wizard

Optimizers: Cleric, wizard, wizard, sorcerer.

Rainbownaga
2009-11-19, 02:02 AM
Optimizers: Cleric, wizard, wizard, sorcerer.

2 months later they emerge from their first dungeon crawl.

BobVosh
2009-11-19, 02:02 AM
Wizard, Wizard, 2 rogue/X Druid, Cleric.

Or if you are evil,

Wizard, Wizard, Wizard, Cleric. Buy hirelings. Send them in front of you by 65 feet always(the traps you will worry most about are probably going to be symbols of X). Stack the rest of the hirelings in a couple portable holes with a bottle of air.

horseboy
2009-11-19, 02:57 AM
And disarming with summons? What of the traps you don't wanna set off, or hell, just instant reset traps?
And how common are those? The closest thing to an instant reset trap I've ever encountered was a human bug zapper where you had to make a "will" save each round or else walk over there and touch it.

I'd probably go with something llike:
Gnome Illusionist (Phantasmal Killers for everyone!)
Cleric of Wee Jas, possible Mystic Thruege. Their pet undead can set off any traps.
Cleric of Kelanen for CoDzilla
Druid with tracking.

Eldariel
2009-11-19, 03:01 AM
And how common are those? The closest thing to an instant reset trap I've ever encountered was a human bug zapper where you had to make a "will" save each round or else walk over there and touch it.

Depends on the individual DM, the campaign, and the types of environments you face. In some dungeons, they are almost obvious while in others, they'd make no sense and thus don't exist. That said, if going for the "best" party, I find having some obvious major weaknesses being too big a drawback to let fly.

Zen Master
2009-11-19, 04:46 AM
Hm, the best possible combination would likely be along the lines of fighter, wizard, rogue, cleric. Failing that, my current group seems to be barbarian, psion, rogue, ranger.

Actually, tho it's completely off-topic, I'm fairly proud of my barbarian/warmind.

dsmiles
2009-11-19, 05:44 AM
Not really (an all-caster party has a *lot* of disposable minions, plus the resources to get around the effects of almost any trap they trigger), but it is handy. Saves a lot of resources that can go to more efficient and effective things for the casters (same thing for social skills- get a Rogue to diplomacy/bluff/gather information, and you save yourself a lot of charming and divining.) If the party makes sure to buy or craft enough Magic for him to Use, you might not even notice he's not another Wizard.

'course, he could be another Wizard anyway- Arcane Trickster is a core PrC. Or if you're only really concerned about Trapfinding multiclass one or two levels of Rogue and then keep up your Search/Disable Device at the cross-class cost.

Also see, Detect Traps.

horseboy
2009-11-19, 12:47 PM
Depends on the individual DM, the campaign, and the types of environments you face. In some dungeons, they are almost obvious while in others, they'd make no sense and thus don't exist. That said, if going for the "best" party, I find having some obvious major weaknesses being too big a drawback to let fly.
With tracking you can notice that all the dungeon denizens seem to bypass this area. Hmm, send in a zombie. *Kachunk* Okay, there's a trap.

There's more than one way around a bad rule.

HamHam
2009-11-19, 01:06 PM
Not including someone with trapfinding and Disable Device is just dumb.

A pure Rogue is probably not the best build that has these things, but rogue will be in the build to some extent.

Ormagoden
2009-11-19, 01:19 PM
4 white mages

Draz74
2009-11-19, 01:22 PM
Question, Eldariel: How are you qualifying for Assassin? Spending 16 skill points to buy Hide and Move Silently ranks cross-class while you take Wizard levels? If so, then that's arguably worse than blowing 12 skill points cross-class (on Disable Device, Escape Artist) to qualify for Arcane Trickster directly.

Anonymouswizard
2009-11-19, 01:43 PM
Depends what sort of thing you want. Here are what I think are the "best" for a few purposes (level 20):
Power
Wizard 7/loremaster 10/archmage 3
Druid 20
Rogue 1/Assassin 1/wizard 8/arcane trickster 10 (or, if not evil, rogue 3/wizard 7/arcane trickster 10)
Cleric 20

No magic
Fighter 20
Rogue 20
Ranger 20
Paladin 20

Iconic roles
Wizard 7/loremaster 10/archmage 3
Cleric 20
Fighter (as many levels in PrCs as your DM will allow)
rogue 19/something else 1

Weak
Commoner 20
Commoner 20
Commoner 20
Commoner 20

Decent NPC
Adept 20
Adept 19/expert 1
Aristocrat 1/adept 19
Adept 20

Base class only, power
Wizard 20
Wizard 20
Druid 20
Cleric 20

Fun
Wizard 7/rogue 3/arcane trickster 10
Sorcerer 20 (blaster)
Druid 20
Barbarian 1/bard 1/cleric 7/druid 1/fighter 1/ranger 1/rogue 1/wizard 7 :smallbiggrin:

Yukitsu
2009-11-19, 01:46 PM
2 months later they emerge from their first dungeon crawl.

No. That's if it's newb players trying to use the pro party.

Chrono22
2009-11-19, 01:49 PM
Fighter
Wizard
Cleric
Rogue

My reasoning: while this combination is less immediately powerful, it does cover all your bases, and it is the only combination that was playtested comprehensively for use with the 3.5 rules. The majority of combats over the course of a campaign (levels 1-20) will be more balanced against this combination- ergo, there are going to be less tpks.

ericgrau
2009-11-19, 02:27 PM
Because not all traps do damage. What happens when your Barb hits a CR 8 Prismatic Spray trap and is sent to another plane or sent permanently insane?

Take a gamble on the 1 in 400 chance (and a 1 in >8 even if the DM is out to get you with this) of that happening. If it does after playing D&D for 10 years you plane shift, scry, teleport and bring him back. As for Macguffin traps, they tend to have the advantage of DMs rarely actually killing the party.

The real question is what do you do for the dozen other times when a rogue fails to disable a trap and must face it with his poor fort, will and HP? Yeah, safest option is to send someone else in after the rogue does his best. Assuming you have other uses for both classes, b/c there's no way it's worth it to dedicate 2 members purely to trap finding. I'm just saying your options are wide open and you don't necessarily need a rogue or barbarian as long as you find something that works best overall. Sure we could just pick the classic party and be done, but that doesn't seem to be in the spirit of the thread.

This question kind of reminds me of final fantasy I. Everyone wants to play Fighter, thief, white magic, black mage, and it's the default option IIRC. But healing during a fight is largely unnecessary since massive damage (short fights) and/or massive tanking are easily available. And the single target fighter and thief 1 hit killers combine poorly with the multi-target partly damage but not kill casters. So you're better of with either all melee or all casters, while Red Mage can fulfill either role depending on his spell selection. A couple of my favorite parties were fighter, fighter, red mage, black belt or red mage, white mage, black mage, black mage. In the first case fighter is the only one who can tank and use the best weapons, so he must take both the top 2 slots to be optimum. Red mage buffs the fighters and black belt does more bare-handed damage than w/e your 4th best weapon would be. In the second case you kill everything in 1-2 rounds with 3 mages doing multi-target damage at any stage of the game (red mage early, white mage later). But unlike a party with 3-4 BM's, red mage and white mage can tank alright as long as it's only 1-2 rounds. Um... whoops, tangent.

Sir Giacomo
2009-11-19, 03:03 PM
At all levels, a stealthy archery-focused group of a ranger, a bard, a trickery cleric and a rogue could be quite tough. The rogue could multiclass later to wizard/arcane trickster, the bard to arcane archer and the cleric to loremaster.

- Giacomo

sonofzeal
2009-11-19, 03:25 PM
At all levels, a stealthy archery-focused group of a ranger, a bard, a trickery cleric and a rogue could be quite tough. The rogue could multiclass later to wizard/arcane trickster, the bard to arcane archer and the cleric to loremaster.

- Giacomo
- Archery is pretty "nerf" in Core. Too many ways to negate it, no ways to make it scale well later on. Ranger doesn't get Precision Damage, and can't Power Attack with it, and can't do anything useful with it besides the piddly little damage he's tossing out.

- Bard is pretty "nerf" in Core too. Bardic Music doesn't do enough, and there's absolutely no ways to improve it. They also seriously suffer from a critical lack of spell slots, and can't really take melee combat.

- Arcane Archer is massively nerf, since it relies on the spells you can cast but doesn't advance them.

- Cleric's good, but accessing Loremaster is significantly harder for them than it is for Wizards since they lack bonus crafting/metamagic feats.

- Arcane Trickster has been discussed above, and is generally seen as moderately underpowered unless you have a fast entry trick (which do exist in Core)

Indon
2009-11-19, 03:38 PM
Clerics get a spell that grants them trapfinding. Find Traps (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/findTraps.htm).

So, Cleric/Wizard/Druid/Caster As Necessary is the most powerful Core party.

MichielHagen
2009-11-19, 04:13 PM
Finding traps is one thing, disabling them another...

Optimystik
2009-11-19, 04:23 PM
Finding traps is one thing, disabling them another...

Right, that's what Summon Monster I is for.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-11-19, 04:24 PM
Right, that's what Summon Monster I is for.

Warning. Intruder in premises. Alarm triggered in section B3.

Optimystik
2009-11-19, 04:31 PM
Warning. Intruder in premises. Alarm triggered in section B3.

If the guards are smart, they'll run in the opposite direction from the parties in this thread...

Asbestos
2009-11-19, 04:33 PM
No. That's if it's newb players trying to use the pro party.

Depends on the level. At lower levels that party is going to need to 8hr rest damn often.

Leper Master
2009-11-19, 04:38 PM
4 horizon walkers

wait, you mean the best core party?

fighter/cleric/wizard/rouge

Sir Giacomo
2009-11-19, 05:17 PM
- Archery is pretty "nerf" in Core. Too many ways to negate it, no ways to make it scale well later on. Ranger doesn't get Precision Damage, and can't Power Attack with it, and can't do anything useful with it besides the piddly little damage he's tossing out.


Well, the idea is to make great use of quite often full attack opportunities, concealment, stealth, seeking arrows, manyshot, spc (anti-DR) ammunition, good movement etc.
That takes care of a lot of "archery nerfs".

Think of it as a special unit which fits dungeon play quite well.

And at first level, they can be way better for the job than 4 wizards.

- Giacomo

Asbestos
2009-11-19, 05:19 PM
4 horizon walkers

wait, you mean the best core party?

fighter/cleric/wizard/rouge

Is the fighter there to carry stuff?

I can see a lot of threads like this..

"What's the Best PHB2 only party?"
"What's the Best Complete series only party?"
"What's the Best MoI, ToM, and ToB only party?"
"What's the best XPH only party?"

Edit: Actually, I think a 'Complete series only' party might be pretty cool.

Draz74
2009-11-19, 06:02 PM
Right, that's what Summon Monster I is for.

This has already been proposed and countered, like, three times in this thread.


4 horizon walkers
Actually, that could be a lot of fun. Not very powerful, but a lot of fun.


Edit: Actually, I think a 'Complete series only' party might be pretty cool.

Hmmm. Tough, since all the noncasters suck.

I'll say Ardent, Spellthief/Wu Jen with Master Spellthief, Spirit Shaman, and Favored Soul. Maybe Hexbade tricked out with a bunch of PrCs could fit in there somewhere.

Asbestos
2009-11-19, 06:05 PM
Hmmm. Tough, since all the noncasters suck.

I'll say Ardent, Spellthief/Wu Jen with Master Spellthief, Spirit Shaman, and Favored Soul. Maybe Hexbade tricked out with a bunch of PrCs could fit in there somewhere.

Well, the casters are certainly more powerful, but I wouldn't go and say Scouts 'suck' (Samurai though... they're like Dysons)

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-11-19, 06:09 PM
Fighter
Wizard
Cleric
Rogue

My reasoning: while this combination is less immediately powerful, it does cover all your bases, and it is the only combination that was playtested comprehensively for use with the 3.5 rules. The majority of combats over the course of a campaign (levels 1-20) will be more balanced against this combination- ergo, there are going to be less tpks.

Logically, then, if you use a combination that is in every way more powerful, you will have even less tpks.

Ashiel
2009-11-19, 06:14 PM
I would suggest druid, druid, negative energy cleric (magic domain), and rogue 1/wizard 19, and here's a few thoughts behind it.


3/4ths of the party benefit from a solid d8 HD, average BAB, and excellent saving throws, and have the potential to wear a variety of armors without much restriction (though much of it would need to be ironwood armor).
The two druids are both capable spellcasters in their own right, possessing the potential for healing, buffing, debuffing, and come with powerful spontaneous summons. After level 5 they also have the ability to wildshape into various high-powered (large bears or dinosaurs for grappling) or situational (turning into tiny animals for stealth) forms, as well as eventually elementals (providing immunities and resistances to many things).
The druid's spontaneous summoning allows them to comfortably prepare debuffs, buffs, and healing spells and drop them for more summoning as needed. This means they can always adapt to a situation by summoning.
The two druids both come with free cohorts who at low levels can fill in for fighters. Riding dogs with even modest amounts of barding they can rival or exceed the armor classes of equivalent level fighters, deal effective damage (1d6+3), and come with improved trip build in. They are also relatively expendable (if they go up in flames you get a replacement in 1 week).
The cleric is the druid in reverse. The cleric will prepare summoning spells, buff spells, and miscellaneous spells, with the option to spontaneously cast inflict spells (not very useful, but can do in a pinch for some direct damage).
At 6th level, the cleric can begin using rebuke undead to command incredibly useful indead such as Shadows (3HD) which will serve the party incredibly well (incorporeal undead who deal strength damage and create even more minions under your control via pyramid order), and wights at 8th level (stealthful, intelligent, and deal negative levels with their attacks). At 10th level, this power can take control over a wraith (as shadow but deals constitution damage) to kill things outright. Such creatures make excellent scouts as often they can completely ignore traps due to their incorporeality. Exceptionally vicious when combined with Solid Fog.
The cleric's magic domain lets it pretend to be an extra wizard. With access to spell-trigger items (wands, staves, or anything with the same mechanic), he can serve as an excellent backup arcanist. This is especially true for spells that don't allow saving throws or spell resistance (such as solid fog).
The wizard is here to round out the party with everything they don't have. With one level of rogue for trapfinding, the wizard stocks up on a good bonus of skill ranks at 1st level, the progress as a wizard afterwards. Missing one caster level out of 20 can be easily overcome by a smart player, and the wizard can eventually craft an ioun stone to kick it back to CL 20.
The wizard should always craft +search and +disable device items for himself, which are cheap at 100*bonus^, allowing the wizard to keep his trap-handling skills capable regardless of level.
All characters in the party can function exceptionally well without deep feat trees. The druids will only need augmented summoning and natural spell, the cleric may want improved turning for controlling undead sooner, and the wizard may likely only want spell focus in a few schools and maybe spell mastery (if your DM likes stealing class features). You should have extra feats by level 20 without fail.
All character in the party should take item crafting feats, period. Each should take craft wonderous item, craft wand, craft staff, and craft arms & armor. At least one character should take craft rod, and forge ring. One character should have brew potion if nothing better exists (cleric probably). Anything else, fill with Iron Will, Great Fortitude, and Lightening Reflexes for better saving throws.


This party can be exceptionally capable of handling many situations with vast amounts options. The druids, their companions, and their summons can make for impressive meat shields and additional healing (unicorn summons), and use long lasting low-level buffs like barkskin on themselves, their animals, and the cleric and druid. A good 3/4ths of the party are capable healers so recovering between encounters should be trivial, especially with wands of cure light wounds and the like.

The cleric is the "red mage" of the party, providing buffs and unusual minions, potentially animated undead, as well as backup arcane magic. The cleric can function as a backup warrior if the druids are in need of assistance, as well as throw down some debuffs with the wizard through clever use of spell-triggered glitterdust, solid fog, resilient spheres, stonewall, and so forth for control and party-wide assistance.

The wizard does everythings wizards already do. They can control the battlefield and bring yet more summoning the the table. The wizard can disable any traps the party comes across with a large search check + cleric's find traps when in doubt, then bypass the trap with disable device. Everything else he will do as a wizard normally does with spells such as Black Tentacles and other nasty things.

Since all party members can craft items they can all go into downtime at the same time to mass produce magical items when needed. You can craft a magic item with someone else available to cast the spell for you, so you can have the entire party craft wands, staves, or other magic items using any member's spell list to quickly stock up in rapid succession. Experience points you burn will be returned to you by the game's self-correcting XP system, and even if you didn't magic items equate to more power through options.

The group can craft +hide/move silently magic items for themselves to allow them to get around in stealthy missions without rogues. Eventually, the wizard can planar bind specific creatures for use as spies and cohorts.

====

This party has tanking and offense in abundance, excellent methods for bypassing traps, and many of them can effectively do what the others do in a pinch, and everyone is capable of full-spellcasting and its uses. Options are abound, and it's difficult to pidgeon hole them into a situation they can't overcome better than a standard Fighter/Rogue/Cleric/Wizard party.

Any thoughts? :smallsmile:

ericgrau
2009-11-19, 06:21 PM
- Archery is pretty "nerf" in Core. Too many ways to negate it, no ways to make it scale well later on. Ranger doesn't get Precision Damage, and can't Power Attack with it, and can't do anything useful with it besides the piddly little damage he's tossing out.

Tactical uses like sniping are the opposite. Enemies can be hard pressed to do much about it, or by the time they do they are severely weakened. Or an enemy tries to cast protection from arrows or wind wall but

A) Maybe it happens once in a blue moon, but I've never, ever seen a spell list posted with either spell on it. Heck, people talk about wind wall more than anything yet most builds start with "ban evocation". The monster simply didn't prepare the spell, whoops.

B) The monster miraculously has the spell prepared and tries to cast it, but gets disrupted by readied actions over and over again because, guess what, the snipers 125+ feet away get the surprise round and thus go first.

The actual response that isn't pure theory is to take cover and fire back, or otherwise work with the terrain with fogs and what not (or w/e battlefield control spells people actually prepare) so you can get closer and figure out where those arrows are coming from without such a crazy high penalty to your spot checks.

Unfortunately most parties don't have the coordination to take full advantage of the various stealth rules, but at the very least the DM (or PCs that aren't being railroaded) can easily set up a fire fight with little more than some cover and more than a charge's worth of distance or the equivalent via rough terrain. This isn't 4e, so a round spent moving without any cover is painful.


4 white mages

I never could pull this off so I googled some tips. Interesting. Now I gotta play FF1 again.

sonofzeal
2009-11-19, 08:29 PM
Well, the idea is to make great use of quite often full attack opportunities, concealment, stealth, seeking arrows, manyshot, spc (anti-DR) ammunition, good movement etc.
That takes care of a lot of "archery nerfs".

Think of it as a special unit which fits dungeon play quite well.

And at first level, they can be way better for the job than 4 wizards.

- Giacomo
Not dungeon play, because in dungeon play you're often in cramped situations with little room to move back and avoid AoOs, and where the advantage of range is utterly negated. None of the group has Summons or minions worth a darn (Ranger companion hardly counts), so there'll be nothing between you and whatever's trying to kill you. Ranged Pin doesn't exist yet, so you're completely lacking BC, which you'll need if you want an archery party to work. Giving the Ranger a Wand of Entangle could help here, but you've still got your work cut out for you.

I wouldn't call a full-archer party "hopeless", but it'd be a difficult challenge to make work and I'd hardly call it "optimal".


Tactical uses like sniping are the opposite.
Sniping imposes a -20 on your Hide check afterwards. If all four teammates are relying on sniping, somebody's going to be failing their Hide checks hard... and even if they don't, enemies above Int 5 can hunt you down and find you pretty quickly. Remember that no concealment = no hiding (without HiPS, which is in short supply in Core), so you really have to pray for a good position if you expect to use Sniping as a major tactic.


Enemies can be hard pressed to do much about it, or by the time they do they are severely weakened. Or an enemy tries to cast protection from arrows or wind wall but

A) Maybe it happens once in a blue moon, but I've never, ever seen a spell list posted with either spell on it. Heck, people talk about wind wall more than anything yet most builds start with "ban evocation". The monster simply didn't prepare the spell, whoops.

B) The monster miraculously has the spell prepared and tries to cast it, but gets disrupted by readied actions over and over again because, guess what, the snipers 125+ feet away get the surprise round and thus go first.
Snipers can't snipe if you break LoS. And they generally can't approach to regain LoS without breaking cover. And if they break cover, well, there goes Hiding.

Alternatively, drop prone (free action) behind cover (no action) while Fighting Defensively (free action) for a +10 to AC against them before casting the spell.


The actual response that isn't pure theory is to take cover and fire back, or otherwise work with the terrain with fogs and what not (or w/e battlefield control spells people actually prepare) so you can get closer and figure out where those arrows are coming from without such a crazy high penalty to your spot checks.

Unfortunately most parties don't have the coordination to take full advantage of the various stealth rules, but at the very least the DM (or PCs that aren't being railroaded) can easily set up a fire fight with little more than some cover and more than a charge's worth of distance or the equivalent via rough terrain. This isn't 4e, so a round spent moving without any cover is painful.
Or drop prone (free action) behind cover (no action) while Fighting Defensively (free action) for a +10 to AC against them. Or just charge them to change your LoS and break their cover. Or nuke them from orbit with large AoE spells. Or wander around a corner, and wait for them to come find you. Or wait for one of them to flub their horribly massively penalized Hide checks for Sniping. Or have Tremorsense or Blindsight or any of the other ways to find people who are hiding and lack the non-Core Darkstalker feat. Or take their single 1d8+str arrow a turn, laugh, and go find someone who can actually threaten you.

Or, hey, the PCs win that particular encounter where they had massive open battlefield with perfect ideal cover on their end and none on the enemy's end, and wait until they're in a dungeon, turn a corner, and BAM a pack of bugbears or something.



My point - an archery party can potentially do well in certain situations, and a full-Sniper party can be nasty in the right situation, but is pretty easy to negate as well in the right situations, and will seriously lack damage output. It'll work some times, but it's hardly an optimal strategy for all situations.

ericgrau
2009-11-19, 08:56 PM
Sniping imposes a -20 on your Hide check afterwards. If all four teammates are relying on sniping, somebody's going to be failing their Hide checks hard... and even if they don't, enemies above Int 5 can hunt you down and find you pretty quickly. Remember that no concealment = no hiding (without HiPS, which is in short supply in Core), so you really have to pray for a good position if you expect to use Sniping as a major tactic.

Snipers can't snipe if you break LoS. And they generally can't approach to regain LoS without breaking cover. And if they break cover, well, there goes Hiding.
Distance penalties to spot dwarf the -20 and then some. Get 300 or 400 feet of distance and you're virtually undetectable. Take far shot and you'll only have a -2 to hit. Your targets can't drop behind cover unless they're standing next to it. Generally they walk to it. Depending on the terrain there may be nothing large enough to provide total cover, and by the rules you can't hide behind partial cover after you've already been seen. Heading towards the snipers (in their general direction, since you can't actually see them yet) without fog or some trick like I said is suicide; by the time you cross that much distance you'll be dead.

Stealth in general tends to work this way. Making sure everyone is stealthy, taking 10's so no one botches a roll, optionally adding the right spells (like silence not on yourselves, but on a rock brought up to that suspicious door), etc. can let you get in and out of a challenge without a hitch, trumping a potentially dangerous dungeon without ever swinging a weapon. But like I said unfortunately most parties don't have this kind of coordination.

Schylerwalker
2009-11-19, 08:56 PM
Party Member Number One: Druid, with one level dip into barbarian (For rage and fast movement). Wild Shape and then proceed to %$*# that %^&* up. Occasionally heal, summon, and toss around that delicious 4th level flame strike.

Party Member Number Two: Cleric. Buff here, heal there, smack that #$%hole with your mace (Popping Strength and/or Destruction domain in the process). By ninth level you can heal the entire party a decent amount with one spell, or do a buttload of damage to that punk in the corner.

Party Member Number Three: In all honesty, I kinda despise wizards (Because they're usually uppity, power-hunger bastards), and they SUCK at first - third level. So if you have a DM who likes to start campaigns at first level...you're hosed. However, once you get to say, sixth level, you start to quickly get ahead of everyone else. So, I SUPPOSE wizard, though in all honesty I'd prefer another melee support, like a ranger or a paladin.

Party Member Four: Bard with a dip into rogue for trapfinding. Diplomacy, support spells, relatively decent at combat, inspire courage and competence for the druid/barbarian and cleric. Possibly, just go straight rogue (Some of those special abilities are pretty freakin' coo), or just go straight bard to save that one level of spellcasting and negotiate with your DM to take Find Traps as a bard spell (Makes since to me).

Other good classes in core (In my humble opinion) are paladins and rangers. Monks...cool abilities, but just not as solid in combat. Perhaps if they got bonus feats as a fighter? Fighter just doesn't cut it. Woo, you have a bunch of feats, and you can easily pound the wizard at low-level (Provided he doesn't have sleep, color spray...okay, nevermind.

The sorcerer is a viable option (Magic Missile! Magic Missile! Magic Missile! Oh, and did I forget...Magic Missile!), though, as the age-old argument goes, not as versatile as the wizard. If this wasn't core, I'd say sorcerer just for the sake of Arcane Spellsurge (OMG 2 spells per round gaah death). Alas.

The wizard MIGHT want to specialize...but I just hate giving up a school of magic. Necromancy and illusion are the two most common to be dropped, but necromancy has some of the best EVIL, offensive spells out there, and illusion is really versatile. So if you do specialize, go with diviner, so you only have to give up one school.

As for Prestige Classes? Shadowdancer, maybe, for our Bard/Rogue. Maybe Archmage for the wizard, though, again, I hate giving up my delicious arcane POWAH. Not much for the Barbarian/Druid, sadly enough. Loremaster for the Wizard, if you go with the diviner option. Perhaps Thaumaturgist for the Cleric?

Those are my two cents. Feel free to blast at will.

sonofzeal
2009-11-19, 09:51 PM
Distance penalties to spot dwarf the -20 and then some. Get 300 or 400 feet of distance and you're virtually undetectable. Take far shot and you'll only have a -2 to hit. Your targets can't drop behind cover unless they're standing next to it. Generally they walk to it. Depending on the terrain there may be nothing large enough to provide total cover, and by the rules you can't hide behind partial cover after you've already been seen. Heading towards the snipers (in their general direction, since you can't actually see them yet) without fog or some trick like I said is suicide; by the time you cross that much distance you'll be dead.
SRD: "To determine whether your target has cover from your ranged attack, choose a corner of your square. If any line from this corner to any corner of the target’s square passes through a square or border that blocks line of effect or provides cover, or through a square occupied by a creature, the target has cover (+4 to AC)."

Cover works any time there's something partially interrupting LoS and it's nearer to you than to them. You don't need to be adjacent for it or for Total Cover (which just requires Line of Effect to be blocked; a silk curtain apparently provides Total Cover, which is silly, but that's how the rules parse it).

Anyway, you seem to be assuming a 500' battlefield (rare, in my experience), where you see them long before they see you (rare, in my experience; most DMs like to surprise the party, as letting the PCs ambush usually doesn't provide them with a challenge), where you have great cover on your side (not uncommon, but not guaranteed), and where the enemies don't (not uncommon, but not guaranteed).


Stealth in general tends to work this way. Making sure everyone is stealthy, taking 10's so no one botches a roll, optionally adding the right spells (like silence not on yourselves, but on a rock brought up to that suspicious door), etc. can let you get in and out of a challenge without a hitch, trumping a potentially dangerous dungeon without ever swinging a weapon. But like I said unfortunately most parties don't have this kind of coordination.
I agree, it can let you get in and out without a hitch. But it won't, not always, not reliably, not in a campaign where the DM mixes things up and has a variety of encounters. It's a good thing to have for your arsenal, but if your entire team's a One Trick Pony then you're doing something wrong. There are still encounters that will rip you appart, and even at the best of times you've got four guys doing just about 1d8+str damage a round. The Rogue can't get SA past 30 feet, and if he's that close, just about anything can find him. Everyone else lacks ways to boost their ranged damage beyond the occasional +1/+2. This means that, past the first few levels, just about any enemy you fight is going to have all the time he needs to work out a counterstrategy, or just charge your butts. And anything with DR 10/- (or /alignment, at many levels) will be pretty much eat you for lunch.


I'll believe in Stealth-sniping as a viably long-term consistent tactic if you can give me Core-only ways to {a} defeat Scent, Tremoursense, and Blindsight, {b} get anywhere near the sort of damage output a normal melee character could get, using only the "one ranged attack" allowed by sniping, {c} deal effectively with burrowing, phasing, 'porting, or invisible enemies that can approach in safety, and {d} reliably detect enemies before they detect you, in environments other than a featureless plane with sporadic cover, and do all that with a party that all has Hide/Move.Silently as class skills.

tyckspoon
2009-11-20, 12:26 AM
Depends on the level. At lower levels that party is going to need to 8hr rest damn often.

If you assume they can't restrain themselves from throwing spells at everything, perhaps, but that's the noob behavior that was referred to. Good use of mundane items can get you around a lot of problems even if they are easier to solve with spells, and four crossbows attached to good Initiative checks can end or defang many low-level encounters before they really begin.