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taltamir
2009-12-12, 01:25 AM
I am trying to make a comprehensive list of spells (and abilities) that break the game and thus need modifying or banning outright.

For example:
Gate, Planer Binding (and lesser, and greater): simply summons a creature to your plane, you have no power (From the spell) to compel them to do anything. you need another spell (say, dominate) or diplomacy to convince them to do anything.

Polymorph (and other spells like it), only allowed as specific form... that is. you can have a "troll shape" or "polymorph into a troll" spell, but no "polymorph into anything in the MM" spell.

In addition to specific spells, I think there should be one and only one rule nerf:
Simply ban metamagic as a whole (regular, divine, any kind). Metamagic is either not worth it, or abused to ridiculous extend. It is just too unpredictable. It is hard enough to balance spells against each other without giving a set of "modify spells as you wish" tools.
If you need a metamagic like effect you are free to RESEARCH a modified version of the spell..

For example, if you wish to have a stilled teleport, you can attempt to research a "stilled teleport" spell (Which will be a level 6 spell if allowed at all; in this case, it would be allowed).

An alternative not so stringent rule would be "only one metamagic allowed per spell". So no stacking metamagics.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-12-12, 01:37 AM
Test of Spite ruleset is a pretty good place to start, they seem to be banning the most obviously broken stuff, leaving the just powerful/awesome behind.

jmbrown
2009-12-12, 01:41 AM
Oh boy, is it that time of the week again :smallwink:

You're not the first person to attempt this and I guarantee you can find a topic on this subject at least every other page. Still...


Gate, Planer Binding (and lesser, and greater): simply summons a creature to your plane, you have no power (From the spell) to compel them to do anything. you need another spell (say, dominate) or diplomacy to convince them to do anything.

The problem isn't convincing a creature, the problem is that the spell mixes roleplay with hard mechanics which you should never do. There needs to be a clear list of what you can and cannot demand from a bound creature followed by the DC and modifiers. For example

Creature must perform a dangerous task +5
Creature is expected to use their abilities to benefit you instead of themselves +5
Creature is offered 1,000gp per hit dice -5
Creature is expected to fight against opposing alignment -3
Task is open ended or lasts more than a day +1 per day estimated or each additional assigned service

The problem with high level spells is that they're vague which goes against the point of a Vancian system. Magic is supposed to have specific, irrefutable results. If the results can be questioned or the wording isn't specific, you leave things open for player interpretation.


Polymorph (and other spells like it), only allowed as specific form... that is. you can have a "troll shape" or "polymorph into a troll" spell, but no "polymorph into anything in the MM" spell.

Pathfinder does something like this but even they screwed up. Personally, I'd rule that the target is always You, never someone else, and you don't gain hit points from polymorphing. I'd also require a constitution roll or you take a penalty because the new form is alien to you. Magic shouldn't circumvent the fact that you're suddenly no longer human.

I like using AD&D as examples for "balance" because magic was a lot more dangerous. Polymorph self essentially worked as 3E's polymorph but only on the caster and you retained your original hit points and saving throws so wizards were still weak unlike 3E. Polymorph other let you turn your fighter friend into what you wished (white dragon even) but there was a 100% chance (-1 for every point of intelligence and -1 for every point difference in hit die) that the person polymorphed would assume the mindset of the creature he became.

In other words, a wizard polymorphed into a dragon could breath fire and fly but he was physically no tougher than a wizard. A fighter polymorphed into a dragon could very well become a dragon. Oh, yeah. Polymorph other had a permanent duration. If it was dispelled, the character had to roll a polymorph survival check or die from the shock.


An alternative not so stringent rule would be "only one metamagic allowed per spell". So no stacking metamagics.

I agree with this for divine metamagic at least. That feat is pure cheese especially to people with extra turning.


In addition to specific spells, I think there should be one and only one rule nerf:
Simply ban metamagic as a whole (regular, divine, any kind). Metamagic is either not worth it, or abused to ridiculous extend. It is just too unpredictable. It is hard enough to balance spells against each other without giving a set of "modify spells as you wish" tools.
If you need a metamagic like effect you are free to RESEARCH a modified version of the spell..

The game doesn't have to be balanced, but what it does need are hard rules. Spells should not be open to interpretation. Fabricate only creates a single, complete product requiring a single craft check and should have a line in there specifically stating "Fabricate can not be used to replicate multiple products in tandem."

As for research, it was a staple in AD&D but 3E killed it. You don't gain experience from researching or creating magic items and it's assumed that magic stores exist for you to buy, cheaply, whatever you need. Simply having a scroll of teleport on hand to cast in an instant isn't rare or difficult to do.

sonofzeal
2009-12-12, 01:55 AM
Metamagic isn't a problem. Metamagic reducers, are. Ban them, not the metamagic (which is useful and fun and moderately suboptimal).

Lycanthromancer
2009-12-12, 02:16 AM
Creature must perform a dangerous task +5
Creature is expected to use their abilities to benefit you instead of themselves +5
Creature is offered 1,000gp per hit dice -5
Creature is expected to fight against opposing alignment -3
Task is open ended or lasts more than a day +1 per day estimated or each additional assigned serviceThreaten to torment its essence for the rest of eternity (via trap the soul) if it doesn't do something for you that might inconvenience it for a day - Priceless.

jmbrown
2009-12-12, 02:26 AM
Threaten to torment its essence for the rest of eternity (via trap the soul) if it doesn't do something for you that might inconvenience it for a day - Priceless.

There should also be a greater focus on the "creature may seek retribution" part of the spell. Using the "bind a nightmare" example argued into the ground in the "wizards overpowered" topic, the first thing I'd do when set free is find the nearest balor and say "Hey, there's a puny wizard with butt tons of treasure. Touch me and I'll astrally project you and your subjects to him."

Lycanthromancer
2009-12-12, 02:31 AM
There should also be a greater focus on the "creature may seek retribution" part of the spell. Using the "bind a nightmare" example argued into the ground in the "wizards overpowered" topic, the first thing I'd do when set free is find the nearest balor and say "Hey, there's a puny wizard with butt tons of treasure. Touch me and I'll astrally project you and your subjects to him.""Sorry, but you can't do that. For one, astral projection doesn't work that way. Two, the dimension lock prevents you from teleporting. Three, you can't cross the magic circle against evil (but I can throw this here soul gem at you over and over and over, using my handy-dandy mage hand to bring it back to me. And if you try to snatch it up to prevent me throwing it at you...? Well, let's just say I get what I want either way."

Seriously, it's that bad.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-12-12, 02:32 AM
There should also be a greater focus on the "creature may seek retribution" part of the spell. Using the "bind a nightmare" example argued into the ground in the "wizards overpowered" topic, the first thing I'd do when set free is find the nearest balor and say "Hey, there's a puny wizard with butt tons of treasure. Touch me and I'll astrally project you and your subjects to him."Who says you let him go? Once whatever you summoned him for is done, Dominate/Trap the Soul/Metamagic'd orb of death.

Sendal
2009-12-12, 02:40 AM
If its so obvious that thats what a wizard would do, then what incentive does your bound creature have to do anything for you? After the 500th time this happens to some demon or other, word will get around.

If it was the threat of death before, thats just lost all meaning. I'm sure that given the choice, it would rather die laughing at you than being stabbed in the back.

I would fix it by making the spell summon the creature to you for a short time (say a day) and then you can negotiate with it to perform a service for you. The fact that the diplomacy rules are broken is a seperate issue.

I would make the creature safe from you, and you safe from it during the negotiation period, so you have to offer something to it other than threats. At the end of the duration you decide whether to send it home or release it from the circle.

jmbrown
2009-12-12, 02:41 AM
"Sorry, but you can't do that. For one, astral projection doesn't work that way. Two, the dimension lock prevents you from teleporting. Three, you can't cross the magic circle against evil (but I can throw this here soul gem at you over and over and over, using my handy-dandy mage hand to bring it back to me. And if you try to snatch it up to prevent me throwing it at you...? Well, let's just say I get what I want either way."

Seriously, it's that bad.

No, what I'm saying is that after the spell is over the creature is instantly released from service and can seek retribution on you. I'd agree to your terms... but you better watch your back because I know where you live and as an outsider I don't need to sleep or eat. Binding outsiders isn't the safest thing in the world and in Conan or most classic pulp fantasy the evil sorcerer usually dies because his bound demon finds a loophole and kills him.

That's the kind of unpredictability higher level spells should have in 3E. You shouldn't know whether or not your spell is successful. You shouldn't be given days to constantly retry a charisma check. I'd also rule that the penalty to have the spell instantly broken is increased by 1 per day. On the 2nd day the creature attacks you on a 1-2. On the third day he attacks on a 1-3 and so on.


Who says you let him go? Once whatever you summoned him for is done, Dominate/Trap the Soul/Metamagic'd orb of death.

You'd have to kill him instantly and before he spoke to you because by RAW, the moment he tells you the service is done he's immediately sent back to his own plane.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-12-12, 02:44 AM
You'd have to kill him instantly and before he spoke to you because by RAW, the moment he tells you the service is done he's immediately sent back to his own plane."Return to me only when the service is done or if a king born on the second day of February gives you his first daughter's hand in marriage."

Then blow him up before he says anything.

Draz74
2009-12-12, 03:07 AM
From Core:

Acid Fog
Alter Self
Antimagic Field
Astral Projection
Blasphemy
Clone
Deathwatch
Dictum
Divine Power
Explosive Runes
Gate
Glitterdust
Holy Word
Knock
Mage's Disjunction
Magic Circle vs. Chaos
Magic Circle vs. Evil
Magic Circle vs. Good
Magic Circle vs. Law
Mind Blank
Planar Ally
Greater Planar Ally
Lesser Planar Ally
Planar Binding
Greater Planar Binding
Lesser Planar Binding
Polymorph
Polymorph Any Object
Protection from Chaos
Protection from Evil
Protection from Good
Protection from Law
Reverse Gravity
Righteous Might
Greater Shadow Evocation
Shapechange
Shrink Item
Solid Fog
Teleport
Greater Teleport
Time Stop
True Seeing
Wall of Iron
Wish
Word of Chaos

... and that's a conservative list, really. That still leaves spellcasters with a number of options that are powerful enough to scare me.

Really, the shorter list would be the Core spells that I don't have some kind of gripe with, even a minor one. (Many are too weak.)

And that's only Core.

Lycanthromancer
2009-12-12, 03:10 AM
Remember, even if you change planar binding so that you have to bargain with the creature, and you cannot harm the creature in any way, you can still get at least two wishes out of an efreeti by offering to make your last wish on its behalf.

You can then get a simulacrum of the efreeti, and one of a nightmare, then use the wishes granted by the efreeti simulacrum to get more simulacra.

Sendal
2009-12-12, 03:38 AM
thats a weakness in the design of the Efreeti rather than the binding spell.

And I'm pretty sure simulacrum is a spell that could do with a look at as well. I'm not sure how to make it do what it was supposed to reliably though.

Clearly the idea is to be able to make a copy aproximatly 50% as powerful as a creature that you have been able to obtain a part of. Firstly, it must be made clear that you don't have a small part of every creature in existance in your component pouch. Thats just silly for starters. The hard part is how to nerf your copy in a consistant way that works for all creatures. Halfing the HD just doesn't cut it.

PinkysBrain
2009-12-12, 05:17 AM
From Core:

Acid Fog
Meh, this and solid fog can contextually be encounter winning ... I don't think it's a huge problem, Evard's Black Tentacles is far worse.

Divine Power/Righteous Might
No one ever wants to play clerics ... without metamagic reducers I don't think making a big deal about buffed clerics is good for the game. Uber buffing in general is a problem, but that's not so much a problem with these spells and should be solved differently.

Protection from X
You can meet stuff like vampires at pretty low level ... these are powerful defenses, but I don't have a huge problem with powerful defenses against SoDs.

and that's a conservative list, really.
Don't even see telekinesis, so easy to break the damage cap on spells with this.

Draz74
2009-12-12, 04:11 PM
Meh, this and solid fog can contextually be encounter winning ... I don't think it's a huge problem, Evard's Black Tentacles is far worse.
Black Tentacles starts off more powerful but doesn't scale as well to high levels. I still considered putting it on the list, though.


No one ever wants to play clerics ... without metamagic reducers I don't think making a big deal about buffed clerics is good for the game. Uber buffing in general is a problem, but that's not so much a problem with these spells and should be solved differently.
Righteous Might, you may be correct. Divine Power, though, is definitely a mechanic (changing your actual BAB) that the game does not need.

And while there's a lot of things I don't like about the 4e Cleric, they got one thing right: the way to make the Cleric more appealing to play isn't to make it super-good in melee, it's to make him able to do his mediocre melee fighting and his healing/buffing stuff at the same time.


You can meet stuff like vampires at pretty low level ... these are powerful defenses, but I don't have a huge problem with powerful defenses against SoDs.
Powerful defenses and absolute defenses aren't the same thing. Shutting off half of the school of Enchantment with one spell, Protection from X (or shutting all of Enchantment off with Mind Blank), means things need some kind of re-design. I won't deny that Vampiric abilities and the like either need very powerful counters, or just need to be nerfed themselves; but Protection from X isn't the ideal way to design the counters to them. (For one thing, it makes parties who don't have access to these specific spells too un-viable.)


Don't even see telekinesis, so easy to break the damage cap on spells with this.
Yeah, there's lots of spells that aren't broken if used as intended, but can be broken with enough rules-lawyering. I put some on the list (e.g. Shrink Item), but you're right, Telekinesis proves I wasn't very thorough.

Tiktakkat
2009-12-12, 04:38 PM
Metamagic isn't a problem. Metamagic reducers, are. Ban them, not the metamagic (which is useful and fun and moderately suboptimal).

I think all reducers just need the same text as Metamagic Song in Races of Stone. That being, the feat cannot be used to add metamagic that would make the spell of a higher level than you could normally cast. No quickened DMM at 1st level, and no 25th level spells reduced to 9th level without burning way too many epic feats.

PinkysBrain
2009-12-12, 04:38 PM
And while there's a lot of things I don't like about the 4e Cleric, they got one thing right: the way to make the Cleric more appealing to play isn't to make it super-good in melee, it's to make him able to do his mediocre melee fighting and his healing/buffing stuff at the same time.
I don't think being able to effectively healbot will endear the class to 3e players ... quite the opposite actually.

lesser_minion
2009-12-12, 05:35 PM
Protection from Evil doesn't shut off half of the enchantment school at all - it doesn't stop you being dominated, it lets you follow your own orders for a short time.

Dominate effects need work anyway - Being able to guarantee the effect for all eternity feels like a loophole (in fact, it should be as hard to compel a creature magically to relent on a save as it is to compel it to suicide. You're actually trying to suppress the same thing in both cases).

Suggestion also needs work. V's little trick on the dragon shouldn't have been legal at all.

Reinboom
2009-12-12, 05:42 PM
My old banned/modified list for 3.5:
If a spell is banned that is in your domain, an alternative option is acceptable to be worked out with the GM.

Banned Spells/Powers/Maneuvers:
1
Ray of Enfeeblement
Protection from [Alignment]
Locate City**
Detect Secret Doors**
Synchronicity (p)

2
Alterself
Glibness
Glitterdust*
Knock**
Rope Trick
Ray of Stupidity
Bestow Power (p)
Knock, Psionic (p)**
Share Pain (p)

3
Bands of Steel
Shivering Touch
Stinking Cloud
Wind Wall
Ray of Exhaustion
Fly*
Unluck
Wraithstrike
Phantom Steed
Share Pain, Forced (p)
White Raven Tactics (m)

4
Black Tentacles
Polymorph
Celerity
Confusion
Dimension Door*
Fear
Solid Fog
Shadow Conjuration**
Charm Monster
Geas, Lesser
Enervation (for its metamagic potential, not for the spell itself).
Consumptive Field (d)
Divine Power (d)
Glory of the Martyr (d)
Psychic Reformation (p)
Fabricate, Psionic (p)

5
Baleful Polymorph
Cloudkill
Teleport*
Dominate Person
Feeblemind
Hold Monster
Flesh to Stone
Private Sanctum
Overland Flight
Shadow Evocation
Fly, Mass
Fabricate
Righteous Might (d)
Owl's Insight (d)

6
Acid Fog
Contingency
Overland Flight, Psionic (p)
Mind Switch (p)
Fabricate, Psionic Greater (p)

7
Transfix
Stun Ray
Avasculate
Bite of the Werebear
Brilliant Aura
Forcecage
Teleport, Greater
Magnificent Mansion
Shadow Conjuration, Greater
Banishment
Finger of Death
Planar Bubble
Reverse Gravity
Arcane Spellsurge
Energy Transformation Field
Hiss of Sleep
Simulacrum
Geas/Quest
Consumptive Field, Greater (d)
Holy Word (d)
Blasphemy (d)
Dictum (d)
Word of Chaos (d)

8
Polymorph Any Object
Avascular, Mass
Embrace the Dark Chaos
Wrathful Castigation
Celerity, Greater
Maddening Whispers
Bestow Curse, Greater
Irresistible Dance
Shadow Evocation, Greater
Power Word: Stun
Shun the Dark Chaos
Superior Invisibility

9
Maw of Chaos
Shapechange
Gate
Time Stop*
Mage's Disjunction
Programmed Amnesia
Weird
Dominate Monster
Teleportation Circle
Power Word: Kill
Ice Assassin
Astral Projection
Shades
Affinity Field (p)
Mind Switch, True (p)

Notes:
(d) = Only Found on Divine List
(p) = Psionic
(m) = Martial Maneuver
* = Modified version instead, on/based on: http://wiki.faxcelestis.net/index.php?title=Core_Tweaks
** = My fiat specific. I just don't like the spell.

Banned Feats:
Divine Metamagic
Natural Spell
Fell Drain
Fell Weaken
Metamagic School Focus
Easy Metamagic
Leadership
Leap Attack
Persistent Spell
Explosive Spell
Sculpt Spell
Sanctum Spell
Dragonwrought
Assume Supernatural Ability
Dark Speech
Mercantile Background
Epic Spellcasting
Epic Manifesting

Banned Items:
Admirals Bicorne
Belt of Battle
Blindfold of True Darkness
Boots of Temporal Acceleration
Candle of Invocation
Dust of Sneezing and Choking
Flesh Ring of Scorn
Headband of Conscious Effort (Concentration for a Fort Save)
Heward's Fortifying Bedroll (Sleep)
Ioun Stone, Orange
Nightsticks
Rod of Metamagic
Rod of Metamagic, Greater
Thought Bottle

Banned Item Enhancements:
Splitting
Soulfire

Banned Prestige Classes:
Hulking Hurler
Frenzied Berserker
Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil
Ur-Priest
Dweomerkeeper
Illithid Slayer
Shadowcraft Mage
Thrallherd
Telflammar Shadowlord

Banned Classes:
Wizard
Cleric
Druid
Archivist

Banned Races and Templates:
Mineral Warrior
Lolth Touched
Feral
Dark
Half-Ogre
Jermlaine
Neraphim
Anthropomorphic
Whisper Gnome
Evolved Undead
Illumian

Banned/Changed Other:
Mastery of Shaping (Archmage High Arcana)
Hivemind (Anything that can produce a hivemind, as by Book of Vile Darkness)
Effigies (The strange construct template that can be produced)
Symbiots (Tentacled strangeness from the Fiend Folio)
Lion Totem Barbarian (Alternative class feature in complete champion)
Prestige Class spell lists for anything other than that PrC (including items) (So, if an artificer was allowed, it could not use Arcane Eye right off due to Trapsmith having it at level 1)
Dinosaurs, and anything to become one or get one.



9th Level Spells Added to the Poor Poor Beguiler:
Reaving Dispel (Spell Compendium, 169)
Replicate Casting (Spell Compendium, 173)

:edit: Note: This is an older list, and my opinions and ideas are not necessarily the same. However, this was the product of quite a bit of research. There are also clearly things missing, like Mind Rape.

Some of the things on this list are also a product of other rules, such as the fact that I don't play with alignments having a significant mechanical effect. Detect/Smite/etc. only works against things with the [Alignment] tag.
And as I recall, ** is a changed spell I have somewhere.

lesser_minion
2009-12-12, 06:06 PM
There are quite a few spells which can be fixed by using the old version - even Polymorph (3.0 Polymorph Other had exactly one problem, which can be fixed pretty easily. I'd suggest making disorientation actually relevant as well).

Alter Self is possibly the single biggest example. The designers took something that worked fine and made it into something ridiculously, absurdly unbalanced by comparison.

Monster XP is a really large issue, and one which would be much better resolved by a rules patch than by changes to a whole pile of spells - Sp and Ps abilities should have all the same XP, focus and material components as everything else (Sp abilities should actually be treated exactly like spells, and be vulnerable to counterspelling. They don't make sense as anything other than "this creature has the ability to cast these spells as a consequence of what it is")

Called monsters should lose any calling or summoning abilities they have for the duration of the effect, in the same way that summoned monsters do. That stops any Chain-Gating idiocy.

Starsinger
2009-12-12, 06:58 PM
I don't think being able to effectively healbot will endear the class to 3e players ... quite the opposite actually.

And here we have the reason why nobody ever actually gets around to "fixing" the spells on lists like these. For every person who is disgusted with an aspect of 3.5, there is another person who thinks that this is the way the game should be.

erikun
2009-12-12, 07:29 PM
What is the point of the bannings?

If it is to prevent the spellcaster from breaking the world in unreasonable ways, then perhaps it is best to simply make a list of what is broken and fix that. Gate isn't broken by itself - it's basically a summon or a mode of transportation - it's broken when you Gate in something and have it cast Wish. And Gate isn't the only think which can do so. A better fix would be to prevent summoned creatures from using abilities which would have a gold/XP cost, or remove the summoning part of Gate, or even make the character enter a "summoning contract" before they can summon anything. It solves the same problems with other spells (Planar Binding) without needing to ban the whole group.

If the bannings are to get wizards in line with fighters... well, that's not happening. Look over the Tier system (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=1002.0) and ban Tier 1, Tier 5, and Tier 6. That should put everyone in roughly the same ballpark.

Optimystik
2009-12-12, 07:39 PM
Test of Spite ruleset is a pretty good place to start, they seem to be banning the most obviously broken stuff, leaving the just powerful/awesome behind.

This. Why reinvent the wheel?

Pigkappa
2009-12-12, 08:10 PM
then perhaps it is best to simply make a list of what is broken and fix that

IMO, the simpliest and most effective way of balancing the game is speaking with players. There are an incredible amount of ways a wizard (or a cleric) can be overpowered. I think the DM should ask in advance to the members of his party if they plan to use some combo in the future, and speak about it with them.

If a player spends a lot of money to convince a wizard to let him copy the Gate spell, and then the DM nerfs Gate, he will most likely be disappointed. If he knows in advance what he can do and what he can't do, he won't be too angry.

Doomboy911
2009-12-12, 08:13 PM
Shouldn't the DM be able to come up with better challenges mindflayers are murder on a party.

PinkysBrain
2009-12-13, 07:11 AM
And here we have the reason why nobody ever actually gets around to "fixing" the spells on lists like these. For every person who is disgusted with an aspect of 3.5, there is another person who thinks that this is the way the game should be.
This is only true up to a point, the 4e exodus has homogenized the player base a bit.

PinkysBrain
2009-12-13, 07:12 AM
This. Why reinvent the wheel?
The high tier matches in ToS are still insane ...

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 10:31 AM
One question - how do you call a nightmare? Do you happen to know its truename?

If you want to call a specific creature, you have to name it. Your ability to name something is complete DM fiat. IIRC, there are no rules listed anywhere outside of the BoED, BoVD, and Tome of Magic for finding the name of something, and none of the relevant material from any of those books is likely to be in play.

So how do you call a nightmare with anything less than Gate?

Being able to trade astrally-projected copies of things is also up to DM fiat, IMO - there is nothing in the rules to suggest that an AP'd copy of something is worth anything at all. It disappears irrevocably once the spell ends, and if the high level merchant doesn't have true seeing up (meaning that he knows that you are astrally projecting) then he deserves whatever he gets. But your DM is under no obligation to allow you to actually find such a person.

Astral Projection should probably be nerfed or banned anyway, and Genesis apparently needs it spelled out that Munchkin logic does not apply as well.

Gate probably needs some limitations - being able to get one of the most powerful creatures in the multiverse to help you out for a short time is very powerful, and I don't particularly mind it, as long as you can convince the creature.

The wording of the Candle of Invocation is that a creature with the same alignment as the candle 'responds' to the spell. That implies to me that the creature that appears, by RAW, is not determined using the normal rules for Gate. Instead, the DM picks an appropriate creature.

Major and Minor creation need a footnote that there is no way to cast the spell without the material component, no matter what feats, spells, or other abilities you have (this stops anti-iridium cheese).

deuxhero
2009-12-13, 11:32 AM
My old banned/modified list for 3.5:


Wait wait wait. What is wrong with Illithid Slayer/Slayer?

Reinboom
2009-12-13, 12:14 PM
Wait wait wait. What is wrong with Illithid Slayer/Slayer?

That is a very good question with an answer that I do not recall exactly.
Once again, I must iterate, that my opinion no longer matches that list. :smalltongue:
This taken into account, I believe the ban was caused by a rather specific build choice. Looking the slayer back over, I do not see why now, however.

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 12:29 PM
The SRD slayer is a bit of a waste of time, I think. They changed a class specifically focused on killing something that doesn't exist in the SRD for trademark reasons into... a class specifically focused on killing the same thing.

There are quite a few people who think the class gets too much in exchange for what it loses (which, I have to admit, seems difficult) though.

The only big ability is a permanent, unbreakable mind blank, which doesn't seem to add enough compared with normal Mind Blank to make it worthwhile (although there are far fewer things with Psionic Hole than Dispel Magic).

Admittedly, it can pick and choose what affects it, which I don't think you can do with Mind Blank.

Tyndmyr
2009-12-13, 12:33 PM
Metamagic isn't a problem. Metamagic reducers, are. Ban them, not the metamagic (which is useful and fun and moderately suboptimal).

Even metamagic reducers aren't generally an issue unless you stack them...quite a bit.

If you took arcane thesis just so that you could quicken a specific spell for a lower cost, it's not unbalancing. Just avoid mailman style builds, and it all works out fine. Those are rare anyhow, because they are so feat intensive.

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 12:45 PM
Does anyone actually try to apply metamagic reducers to free metamagic feats in game?

Just rule that the cost of any given metamagic feat is an unsigned integer. 0 - 1 = 65,535. Problem solved.

Divine Metamagic needs a note that the adjusted level of the spell must still be something you can cast.

lord_khaine
2009-12-13, 01:03 PM
The only big ability is a permanent, unbreakable mind blank, which doesn't seem to add enough compared with normal Mind Blank to make it worthwhile (although there are far fewer things with Psionic Hole than Dispel Magic).


The drawback of this ability is that it only works while you are focused, meaning that it wont be up all of the time, and unlike so many wizard prestice classes you actualy sacrifice a manifester level to get in.

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 01:14 PM
The drawback of this ability is that it only works while you are focused, meaning that it wont be up all of the time, and unlike so many wizard prestice classes you actualy sacrifice a manifester level to get in.

I'm pretty sure I noted that it isn't worthwhile, but yes, if you want to use metamagic or most other psionic feats, you have to drop your Mind Blank. Ouch.

PlzBreakMyCmpAn
2009-12-13, 01:34 PM
I have a massive Dirty Handbook Fixes thread on BG. If you want comprehensiveness, its a darn good try.

Starscream
2009-12-13, 01:43 PM
One that I've always found useful: Ban Shivering Touch! That spell can basically defeat any dragon in the MM with one hit (two max). Don't let your players stoop to such cheese.

ericgrau
2009-12-13, 01:46 PM
FWIW here's my list:
1. Divine favor banned not b/c it's that OP but b/c I don't like players being stronger merely from obscure tricks. That's a minor tiff though.
2. Polymorph: Players must prepare stats on all forms to be used ahead of time, to avoid slowing down the game. Check splatbook forms to make sure their HD isn't low for their CR, allowing much stronger forms.
3. Check all splatbook spells as they come. A few common offenders include shivering touch, orb of X spells and wraithstrike. Anything char OP PCs love and DMs hate, not just b/c a spell is strong but if it has a no failure chance, no way around it auto-win.

Checking rules and spell descriptions for weaknesses helps too. The blindness/invisibility/darkness rules are good for mundane ways to deal with blindness and invisibility, for example. The really big offenders like gate-chaining are so obvious you don't even need to write down a house rule ahead of time.

jokey665
2009-12-13, 01:48 PM
One that I've always found useful: Ban Shivering Touch! That spell can basically defeat any dragon in the MM with one hit (two max). Don't let your players stoop to such cheese.

I build dragons with a 32 point buy instead of 10,10,10,11,11,11. I also like to template my dragons, often increasing their dex score. It's not as big an issue for me. :smallamused:

ericgrau
2009-12-13, 01:51 PM
Yes, there are that and other ways around it. You can overcome a nuke with a hydrogen bomb. But IMO the simplest way is to not allow automatic wins just b/c you forgot to include a counter for cheesy trick #27.

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 01:52 PM
FWIW here's my list:
1. Divine favor banned not b/c it's that OP but b/c I don't like players being stronger merely from obscure tricks. That's a minor tiff though.


Hmm... I'm not particularly great with char-op. What can you actually do with that spell?

It seems innocent enough to me.

erikun
2009-12-13, 01:56 PM
Perhaps he meant Divine Power?

Either way, Divine Power isn't overpowered either. You gain full BAB and +6 STR, which is rarely over +5 to attacks as the STR bonus is an enchantment, thus doesn't combine with equipment. Perhaps the largest issue is that it only works on the cleric, and largely renders the fighter useless. (moreso than usual)

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 01:59 PM
Perhaps he meant Divine Power?

Either way, Divine Power isn't overpowered either. You gain full BAB and +6 STR, which is rarely over +5 to attacks as the STR bonus is an enchantment, thus doesn't combine with equipment. Perhaps the largest issue is that it only works on the cleric, and largely renders the fighter useless. (moreso than usual)

I know about Divine Power.

Divine Favour crops up a lot in the standard ClericZilla setup though, and I'm trying to figure out why.

It's a +3 to attack and damage rolls, and stacks with most other attack and damage increases, but I don't really find that cheesy or obscure. And since +3 is the maximum, it isn't OP at low levels - at least, used innocently, anyway.

Unfortunately, I have no idea what the tricky use is.

Boci
2009-12-13, 02:00 PM
I build dragons with a 32 point buy instead of 10,10,10,11,11,11. I also like to template my dragons, often increasing their dex score. It's not as big an issue for me. :smallamused:

Arcane thesis (shivering touch), maximixed twined reach shivering touch as a 9th level spell. Alternativly use quicken spectral hand to cast it as an 8th level spell. Throw in a couple of easy metamagic feat and you've quickly got a problem. Change it to inflict a dex penalty and you no longer have a problem.

ericgrau
2009-12-13, 02:09 PM
Hmm... I'm not particularly great with char-op. What can you actually do with that spell?

It seems innocent enough to me.

Like I said it's not that OP, just a trick (quickening it) for a free bonus that's too obscure. Casting it as a standard action is too weak, if anything.

Likewise divine power is balanced out by action economy. It only becomes a problem when persisted.

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 02:11 PM
Like I said it's not that OP, just a trick (quickening it) that's too obscure.

In all honesty, that seems like a reasonable trick that should just be made clear to players - similar to the Sleight of Hand quick draw thing.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-12-13, 02:13 PM
Like I said it's not that OP, just a trick (quickening it) for a free bonus that's too obscure. Casting it as a standard action is too weak, if anything.Yes, combining a core spell and a core feat is an obviously abusive trick and too obscure for most games.

[/sarcasm]

ericgrau
2009-12-13, 02:13 PM
Not many common players outside of char op pay much attention to divine favor, so they never even reach the point of thinking to quicken it. It's not like bull's strength or magic weapon.


In all honesty, that seems like a reasonable trick that should just be made clear to players - similar to the Sleight of Hand quick draw thing.

>_< You can't quick draw with sleight of hand, rules technicalities be darned. If you want to give out free quick draw then fine, but if you think silliness is normal then you're gonna need a very long banlist indeed to stop all that will result from that.

erikun
2009-12-13, 02:17 PM
I have to say that giving up a 5th level spell slot for a quickened +3, or losing 4 turning attempts, certainly doesn't look overpowered to me. Just toss another encounter or two at them, to make them wish they'd kept that 5th level spot for something more useful.

I mean, you're giving up Break Enchantment or Righteous Might for it.

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 02:17 PM
Not many common players pay much attention to divine favor. It's not like bull's strength or magic weapon.

>_< You can't quick draw with sleight of hand. If you want to give out free quick draw then fine, but if you think silliness is normal then you're gonna need a very long banlist indeed to stop all that will result from that.

Meh. Someone posted a little bit of cheese that lets characters draw light weapons as a free action. In reality, I'm pretty sure it doesn't work at all, but I actually liked part of it enough to make it official in my games.

It doesn't represent the model being pushed into giving nonsensical results, and it doesn't seem unbalanced. I have no patience whatsoever for any particularly silly cheese.

ericgrau
2009-12-13, 02:17 PM
Like I said if you want to give out free stuff go for it, just keep it equal and public. Not b/c someone pulled a trick most don't know about (not an issue when you make it clear to everyone).


I have to say that giving up a 5th level spell slot for a quickened +3, or losing 4 turning attempts, certainly doesn't look overpowered to me. Just toss another encounter or two at them, to make them wish they'd kept that 5th level spot for something more useful.

I mean, you're giving up Break Enchantment or Righteous Might for it.

A +3 for a spell isn't beyond the norm. A +3 that stacks with anything and requires no action to activate is. Only +3 beyond the norm, so not game-breaking, but still beyond the norm. Likewise righteous might isn't so bad b/c it takes an action, whereas quickened righteous might fits nicely in its 9th level slot.

EDIT: Oic how a 9th level cleric would have issues spending a high level spell on a buff. I mean for a 15th+ cleric.

Oslecamo
2009-12-13, 02:24 PM
You have the right to play fair.
You have the right to use what you want.
Every cheese you use can and will be turned against you.*
English raping will not be tolerated. Circles don't have volumes, teleport doesn't work to areas of great power, a single knowledge check won't give you the ADN of any creature, etc, etc.

*Except for diplomacy, since players are autoimune to it. I use the gitp rules on that.

erikun
2009-12-13, 02:24 PM
A +3 for a spell isn't beyond the norm. A +3 that stacks with anything and requires no action to activate is. Only +3 beyond the norm, so not game-breaking, but still beyond the norm.
Fair enough. But banning Divine Favor because it stacks and because other options are better known feels like banning Scorching Ray because most players use Fireball or banning Improved Disarm because it doesn't get much use.

Yes, the system has a problem when the obvious options are bad (Weapon Focus, Fireball) while the optimal choices are harder to notice. However, I don't restrict players from picking the better choices should they discover them. Heck, I try to point them out if the players ask for help.

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 02:25 PM
Like I said if you want to give out free stuff go for it, just keep it equal and public. Not b/c someone pulled a trick most don't know about (not an issue when you make it clear to everyone).

That's basically my exact reasoning.

It's also why I think Pathfinder made the right call when banning INA for monks, even if it was for all the wrong reasons (they claimed that it was too strong a benefit).

If it isn't clear that you can do something, the only place you can fix that is in the next printing. I don't think errata or FAQs really cut it for that sort of thing.

ericgrau
2009-12-13, 02:34 PM
Yeah I think the issue in regard to both erikun's and lesser_minion's responses is clarity. And making it a choice, not something that's pure gravy for almost nothing but only if you're one of the few that know about it.

Like if you think every monk needs INA, the place to put it is not in another book where it seems to have no relation to monks.

Munchkin-Masher
2009-12-13, 03:24 PM
There should also be a greater focus on the "creature may seek retribution" part of the spell. Using the "bind a nightmare" example argued into the ground in the "wizards overpowered" topic, the first thing I'd do when set free is find the nearest balor and say "Hey, there's a puny wizard with butt tons of treasure. Touch me and I'll astrally project you and your subjects to him."

1. The Balor Most likely wouldn't give a sh*t.
2. Balors and Nightmares don't live on the same plane.
3. Even if a Nightmare found a Balor, the Balor would kill it faster than you can say "Roll a fortitude save".


One question - how do you call a nightmare? Do you happen to know its truename?

The Description of "lesser Planar Binding states,
"To create the trap, you must use a magic circle spell, focused inward. The kind of creature to be bound must be known and stated. If you wish to call a specific individual, you must use that individual’s proper name in casting the spell.

So if you don't specify a certain creature it just gives you a random one. Also it states nothing about truenames.

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 04:42 PM
1. The Balor Most likely wouldn't give a sh*t.
2. Balors and Nightmares don't live on the same plane.
3. Even if a Nightmare found a Balor, the Balor would kill it faster than you can say "Roll a fortitude save".



The Description of "lesser Planar Binding states,
"To create the trap, you must use a magic circle spell, focused inward. The kind of creature to be bound must be known and stated. If you wish to call a specific individual, you must use that individual’s proper name in casting the spell.

So if you don't specify a certain creature it just gives you a random one. Also it states nothing about truenames.

OK, thanks. I missed the sentence saying that you could specify the kind of creature - as for Truenames, it's pretty strongly implied that that is exactly what they assume by "Proper Name". Remember that this was written before Truenames were introduced into the game.

Sir Giacomo
2009-12-13, 05:05 PM
Hi all,

it will come as quite unsurprising for some posters that I do not think any of the core spells need to be banned. There are so many ways within the existing rules to avoid them to have unbalancing effects it is not necessary imo.
For fluff reasons, of course a lot of spells could be removed (like the strange force hand spells).

In another thread and here occasionaly the idea comes up to use some planar binding or gate (or any of the calling spells) to get extremely powerful beings to do the wizard's every whim. A good, and highly atmospheric way to provide a first line of defense for this is to demand knowledge-planes checks whether the coveted special ability of those creature is even known to the pc wizard. As such, everything remains nicely in the DM's hands.

Calling this DM fiat is the same as arguing a player playing a fighter would get rightfully very upset not to be able to kill an arbitrarily high number with his greatsword, because theoretically he might be able to (say, all opponents helpless in a row...).

Overall, I'd problably ban all immediate and swift action spells of the non-core sources since those REALLY are unbalancing the game (since no other classes I know of excepting the ToB classes get similar class features that allow extra combat actions). Or guarantee the non-caster classes have access to items that have such powers.

- Giacomo

Eldariel
2009-12-13, 05:10 PM
In another thread and here occasionaly the idea comes up to use some planar binding or gate (or any of the calling spells) to get extremely powerful beings to do the wizard's every whim. A good, and highly atmospheric way to provide a first line of defense for this is to demand knowledge-planes checks whether the coveted special ability of those creature is even known to the pc wizard. As such, everything remains nicely in the DM's hands.

What does this help? There are rules for those checks. It's 10+HD check to know of a creature. Wizards have Int as their main skill and all Knowledges in class and most likely at least Arcane, The Planes and Religion maxed. The check is trivial.

Also, your comparison is flailing; nothing in the books suggests Fighter should be able to kill an arbitrary high number of anything with his greatsword. Books specifically say what the Planar Bindings can do. Require the checks or don't, it doesn't make one ounce of difference. That check might as well not exist; all it guarantees is that you can't UMD scrolls which while helpful, doesn't address Wizard's power in any way.

Sir Giacomo
2009-12-13, 05:19 PM
What does this help? There are rules for those checks. It's 10+HD check to know of a creature. Wizards have Int as their main skill and all Knowledges in class and most likely at least Arcane, The Planes and Religion maxed. The check is trivial.

No, it is not, since it is entirely up to the DM what you learn with a check. I admit that an archmage with knowledge-planes +50 or even higher will know some major things. But this is in line with his role. And the dangers of calling a powerful creature (=endangering its life) will be known to him.


Also, your comparison is flailing; nothing in the books suggests Fighter should be able to kill an arbitrary high number of anything with his greatsword. Books specifically say what the Planar Bindings can do. Require the checks or don't, it doesn't make one ounce of difference. That check might as well not exist; all it guarantees is that you can't UMD scrolls which while helpful, doesn't address Wizard's power in any way.

No. In that other thread over here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=134724) and even up here (see jmbrown's entries, for instance) it is highly controversial what this spell allows and what not. (Lesser) planar binding even opens with the sentence "Casting this spell attempts a dangerous act:..."
What more do you need here?
A player bending the rules in such a way to command a DM, so to speak, to play the npcs the way HE likes it, is not a basis to ban the spell, but rather the basis for a prolonged talk between DM and that player - just as if this player were a fighter asking for 1000 kills per day since it IS theoretically possible to do with his greatsword (only that many, many other factors in the game will prevent it).:smallsmile:

In any way- the planar binding spells are very atmospheric and interesting to have in the game. So rather than ban it, the easier way is to - when in doubt about the spell's power - choose the non-broken interpretation.

- Giacomo

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-13, 05:21 PM
Hi all,

it will come as quite unsurprising for some posters that I do not think any of the core spells need to be banned. There are so many ways within the existing rules to avoid them to have unbalancing effects it is not necessary imo.
Ok. Please show how one wins initiative against an opponent with Extended Foresight and Moment of Prescience active on him, assuming one is not a spellcaster.


What more do you need here?
Someone who has read both the spell and the description of the Nightmare thoroughly, as jmbrown has not.

Sir Giacomo
2009-12-13, 05:46 PM
Ok. Please show how one wins initiative against an opponent with Extended Foresight and Moment of Prescience active on him, assuming one is not a spellcaster.

foresight does not help you to win initiative, and moment of prescience only helps with opposed ability checks - and initiative is not among those.


Someone who has read both the spell and the description of the Nightmare thoroughly, as jmbrown has not.

I think it is a bit more complicated than that ... as the discussions have shown.:smallwink:

- Giacomo

Eldariel
2009-12-13, 05:47 PM
No, it is not, since it is entirely up to the DM what you learn with a check. I admit that an archmage with knowledge-planes +50 or even higher will know some major things. But this is in line with his role. And the dangers of calling a powerful creature (=endangering its life) will be known to him.

You only need to know of a creature to call it. That's DC 10+HD. For a Nightmare, that's DC 16. You get the Lesser Planar Binding as a level 5 spell, so level 9. Your Knowledge will be 12 ranks + ~5-8 Int at that point, trivially above DC 16. Take 10 for 27+. That's at least 10 above the minimum DC to have info of the creature.

Even the greatest creatures you can bind, like Pit Fiends, command a DC of mere 28. By level 15, you'll easily have 18 ranks and ~+9-+10 from your Int, meaning your mere bonuses are enough to make the check.


No. In that other thread over here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=134724) and even up here (see jmbrown's entries, for instance) it is highly controversial what this spell allows and what not. (Lesser) planar binding even opens with the sentence "Casting this spell attempts a dangerous act:..."
What more do you need here?
A player bending the rules in such a way to command a DM, so to speak, to play the npcs the way HE likes it, is not a basis to ban the spell, but rather the basis for a prolonged talk between DM and that player - just as if this player were a fighter asking for 1000 kills per day since it IS theoretically possible to do with his greatsword (only that many, many other factors in the game will prevent it).:smallsmile:

In any way- the planar binding spells are very atmospheric and interesting to have in the game. So rather than ban it, the easier way is to - when in doubt about the spell's power - choose the non-broken interpretation.

- Giacomo

Or just rewrite the spell so it lacks the statement that you can compel a creature into your service with a Charisma-check. That's the problem. You can buff the Charisma-check so high that you won't fail, ever. You can debuff the creature so that it's called. The problem in the whole spell is the Charisma-check.

Same with Gate; the problem is that the creature (up to TWICE your CL in HD; that's just stupid) is compelled to serve you for a short task. If the spell lacked that line, it'd be just fine.


This doesn't have anything in common with Fighter asking for 1000 kills per day. The Fighter doesn't have a class features saying "KILL 1000 THINGS A DAY! RAWR!" Spells, on the other hand, spell out that a Charisma-check can compel the creature to your service, even though that's not a logical part of the spell. It's right there in the PHB.

Same with Gate; the creature is compelled to serve you. And that, right there, is the issue. If your DM doesn't allow you to compel the creature to your service with a Cha-check, or doesn't allow you to command the Gated creature for a short duration, he's rewriting the spells. 'cause that's what the spells do. And the spells as written are broken. The simple fix makes them not-broken, but as written they are broken. You can still Dominate the Bound creatures, of course, but that's more work and requires a level 9 spell.


Know why they say casting this spell is a dangerous act? Well, look at how many ways the creature has of escaping and such. And the whole revenge thing. Of course it's a dangerous act if you don't account for those factors.

But if you ensure the creature can't escape by improving the diagram, and then ensure that the creature loses the opposed Charisma-check and then make sure it doesn't carry a memory of the service/kill it/whatever before the service ends to pre-empt the whole "revenge"-part?

That's not dangerous, because you've prepared for the dangers in the spell and used your tools to negate said dangers. Wizards know the spell's dangers so they know they better bypass said dangers.


And know what? I fully support those changes. Conjuration is not a mind control school; a conjuration-spell should not be able to grant you control of a creature. That's what enchantment is for. And yet, all those spells have built-in mind control.

Of course, this doesn't address other ridiculous spells like Simulacrum, Shapechange, Polymorph and company, but it's a start. I'm just curious; what makes you so convinced that Core is balanced? It seems to me like you want to believe it even though deep down you know it isn't true and then you go ahead and apply a bunch of stealth nerfs to the spells instead of just sitting down and saying "This spells is broken as written, so we use this slightly modified version". I don't know about you, but I much prefer the frank approach of admitting the problem and dealing with it.

EDIT: To be clear, I'm not trying to offend you with the last paragraph. Rather, I'm constantly surprised how much you abandon the conventional wisdom and how strongly you disagree with just about everyone else knowledgable I've talked with on the subject.

I'm trying to understand where you're coming from and why you hold the opinions you do; whether it's of conviction, thick-headedness or some knowledge I'm lacking. Do not take that statement as "you're screwed up, get over yourself"; it's merely my observation on the matter and should carry no more weight than that. It is truly what this seems like to me.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-13, 05:53 PM
You only need to know of a creature to call it. That's DC 10+HD. For a Nightmare, that's DC 16. You get the Lesser Planar Binding as a level 5 spell, so level 9. Your Knowledge will be 12 ranks + ~5-8 Int at that point, trivially above DC 16. Take 10 for 27+. That's at least 10 above the minimum DC to have info of the creature.


You cannot take 10 with knowledge checks.


foresight does not help you to win initiative, and moment of prescience only helps with opposed ability checks - and initiative is not among those.
Foresight: Once foresight is cast, you receive instantaneous warnings of impending danger or harm to the subject of the spell. You are never surprised or flat-footed.

This means that the enemy never gets a surprise round.

MoP: This spell grants you an insight bonus equal to your caster level (maximum +25) on any single attack roll, opposed ability or skill check, or saving throw.

Initaitive:


At the start of a battle, each combatant makes an initiative check. An initiative check is a Dexterity check. Each character applies his or her Dexterity modifier to the roll. Characters act in order, counting down from highest result to lowest. In every round that follows, the characters act in the same order (unless a character takes an action that results in his or her initiative changing; see Special Initiative Actions).


I think it is a bit more complicated than that ... as the discussions have shown.:smallwink:

- Giacomo
You seem to be greatly mistaken. :smallsmile:

Eldariel
2009-12-13, 05:55 PM
You cannot take 10 with knowledge checks.

Hm, on what account? Knowledge-skill (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/knowledge.htm) doesn't mention such a limitation, nor does taking 10 (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/usingSkills.htm#taking10).

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-13, 05:58 PM
Perhaps I am mistaken.

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 06:04 PM
Ok. Please show how one wins initiative against an opponent with Extended Foresight and Moment of Prescience active on him, assuming one is not a spellcaster.


Someone who has read both the spell and the description of the Nightmare thoroughly, as jmbrown has not.

The spell does nothing about something else intervening (which, for abuse, is a given - whoever gave the nightmare astral projection is certainly going to want words). And there is no way selling astral copies of your equipment could ever fly - I already pointed out that there is no way that one could happen, and the thread mentioned it at least twice as well. Anyone who might buy the item also knows that you are trying to defraud them.

Neither is DM fiat, they're both just the DM being sensible. And managing to stay within RAW as he does so.

(The DM could also break out munchkin logic, be a jerk, and give you a dead nightmare that you can't resurrect)

However, the spell does need a lot of work. It should work without deities intervening because you are screwing around with their couriers.

Note that dimensional anchor must either be cast on the creature as it appears, or you must make use of a Calling Diagram. The spellcraft check is pretty trivial, but you don't know if you succeeded or not.

Curmudgeon
2009-12-13, 06:05 PM
You don't need to ban Shivering Touch. Just make it a penalty instead of damage. Penalties from the same source don't stack, and you've already banned metamagic so no Maximize Spell is available.

While it's easy enough to also ban the whole Alter Self line of form changing, I like the following fix:

You can only assume forms you've personally seen. (And you can only summon creatures of a type you've personally seen, so no workarounds that way.)
You don't know that you've seen a new form until you make the requisite Knowledge check of 10 + HD for a particular creature. Since there are 6 different Knowledge skills to cover all the D&D creature types, it'll take a while to create a portfolio of known new forms.

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 06:11 PM
You don't need to ban Shivering Touch. Just make it a penalty instead of damage. Penalties from the same source don't stack, and you've already banned metamagic so no Maximize Spell is available.

While it's easy enough to also ban the whole Alter Self line of form changing, I like the following fix:

You can only assume forms you've personally seen. (And you can only summon creatures of a type you've personally seen, so no workarounds that way.)
You don't know that you've seen a new form until you make the requisite Knowledge check of 10 + HD for a particular creature. Since there are 6 different Knowledge skills to cover all the D&D creature types, it'll take a while to create a portfolio of known new forms.


Alter Self is easy, because a balanced version exists already. 3.0 Polymorph Self and Polymorph Other are also more balanced than their 3.5 equivalents, as long as you remove the permanent duration from Polymorph Other - however, while it actually wouldn't be an issue, they are more complicated, and aren't a perfect solution.

It wasn't broken until 3.5 was released, and the 3.5 designers decided that it should be part of the polymorph line of spells (among many other utterly worthless and pointless changes like the wholesale renaming of some spells.)

Shivering Touch is broken and adds nothing whatsoever to the game. I see no reason to bother with it, frankly.

Boci
2009-12-13, 06:25 PM
Shivering Touch is broken and adds nothing whatsoever to the game. I see no reason to bother with it, frankly.

A 3d6 dex penalty is a nice debuff. Doesn't take any effort to fix.

Eldariel
2009-12-13, 06:30 PM
I...don't recall 3.0 Polymorph being any more fair than 3.5 version; in fact, I recall it being used in every damn Char Ops build ever then because it was so ridiculously good. It still granted you natural weapons, natural armor, physical stats, natural attacks, movement speeds and every other thing worth going for in Polymorph.

And Polymorph Other was permanent, Polymorph Self 1 hour/level; so the whole adventuring party was always Polymorphed from level 7 onwards since no reason not to. Just pick the best form you know of and go for it. Sure, there was the DC 19 Will-save to pass, but given infinite tries, you eventually got it.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-13, 06:35 PM
The spell does nothing about something else intervening (which, for abuse, is a given - whoever gave the nightmare astral projection is certainly going to want words).

The example given was of the nightmare's brother and his nightmare friends coming to teach me a lesson.

That would be quite a feat considering nightmares do not get Plane Shift.


And there is no way selling astral copies of your equipment could ever fly - I already pointed out that there is no way that one could happen, and the thread mentioned it at least twice as well. Anyone who might buy the item also knows that you are trying to defraud them.
In 3.0, yes. But that rule is not present in 3.5, is it?

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 07:08 PM
yes. But that rule is not present in 3.5, is it?

What? No. I call it True Seeing. It works very well against tricks like this, because it reveals the cord that connects all astral copies to their originals.

As for something else turning up, evidently it does get Plane Shift.

Also, bear in mind that a nightmare's buddy coming after you with Astral Projection is a lot worse than it coming after you with Plane Shift. Just pointing that out...

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-13, 07:09 PM
No. I call it True Seeing. It works very well against tricks like this, because it reveals that something is an astral projection.

So sell it to lower level parties.

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 07:21 PM
So sell it to lower level parties.

Who can't afford it, hire someone to verify the authenticity of the items, or are unwilling to buy because they don't have the means to verify the authenticity of the items.

Anybody stupid enough to deal in the absolute most valuable thing in the entire game without putting a half-decent amount of effort into making sure that it's the real deal deserved everything they got. Past tense, because all of those people either learned, or went out of business.

There are plenty of other things you could do to rich idiots, which is why most DMs try to avoid including any.

Note also that using astral projection to swindle people will also have the exact same consequences as using astral projection to mug them. You might have killed the marilith, but this certainly isn't a practical way to do it.

The Planar Binding line certainly needs work, but that specific exploit won't fly.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-13, 07:22 PM
Who can't afford it, hire someone to verify the authenticity of the items, or are unwilling to buy because they don't have the means to verify the authenticity of the items.

So, you're telling me a party of adventurers, or a lower level shopkeeper, will hire someone with True Seeing to verify that, say, Gloves of Dexterity +2 aren't Astral Projections, even though said projections don't vanish after the spell is gone in DnD 3.5 edition?

Good day, sir.

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 07:28 PM
So, you're telling me a party of adventurers, or a lower level shopkeeper, will hire someone with True Seeing to verify that, say, Gloves of Dexterity +2 aren't Astral Projections, even though said projections don't vanish after the spell is gone in DnD 3.5 edition?

No, I'm saying that they are willing and able to make sure that the item is authentic before they buy it.

Dispel Magic also works. If the item pops, it's fake.

And are you honestly now trying to clone items?

The astral copies of your equipment disappear when the spell ends, because they were created by the spell. They follow the normal rules as written, which say that things that don't disappear when a non-instantaneous effect ends are noted as not disappearing when a non-instantaneous effect ends, not the bizarro ones which say that absolutely every detail of how the spell works is spelled out within the spell, or you are free to make them up to your own advantage.

If anything persisted after the spell ended, it would be explicitly stated in the spell's text. You have nothing to base your argument on here.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-13, 07:40 PM
No, I'm saying that they are willing and able to make sure that the item is authentic before they buy it.
How expensive is hiring someone to cast True Seeing?


The astral copies of your equipment disappear when the spell ends, because they were created by the spell.
A valid interpretation. Now we just have to figure out how many low level parties are going to be able to find a level 13 caster and be able to afford hiring him to evaluate a 4,000 gp item.

I said good day.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-13, 07:42 PM
Incidentally, good sir, you will find it interesting to note that the nightmare's CL for Astral Projection is 20. Good luck with your low level party's effort to dispel it.

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 07:43 PM
How expensive is hiring someone to cast True Seeing?


A valid interpretation. Now we just have to figure out how many low level parties are going to be able to find a level 13 caster and be able to afford hiring him to evaluate a 4,000 gp item.

I said good day.

Well, True Seeing isn't all they could do. They are either fully equipped to deal with people swindling them, or they are out of business.

See Invisibility works fine, and they will almost certainly cast Dispel Magic on it as well (and the DM should allow them to take 20 on the check given the circumstances).

Both would also reveal the item to be a fake.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-13, 07:45 PM
By freeing your spirit from your physical body, this spell allows you to project an astral body onto another plane altogether.

You can bring the astral forms of other willing creatures with you, provided that these subjects are linked in a circle with you at the time of the casting. These fellow travelers are dependent upon you and must accompany you at all times. If something happens to you during the journey, your companions are stranded wherever you left them.

You project your astral self onto the Astral Plane, leaving your physical body behind on the Material Plane in a state of suspended animation. The spell projects an astral copy of you and all you wear or carry onto the Astral Plane. Since the Astral Plane touches upon other planes, you can travel astrally to any of these other planes as you will. To enter one, you leave the Astral Plane, forming a new physical body (and equipment) on the plane of existence you have chosen to enter.

While you are on the Astral Plane, your astral body is connected at all times to your physical body by a silvery cord. If the cord is broken, you are killed, astrally and physically. Luckily, very few things can destroy a silver cord. When a second body is formed on a different plane, the incorporeal silvery cord remains invisibly attached to the new body. If the second body or the astral form is slain, the cord simply returns to your body where it rests on the Material Plane, thereby reviving it from its state of suspended animation. Although astral projections are able to function on the Astral Plane, their actions affect only creatures existing on the Astral Plane; a physical body must be materialized on other planes.

You and your companions may travel through the Astral Plane indefinitely. Your bodies simply wait behind in a state of suspended animation until you choose to return your spirits to them. The spell lasts until you desire to end it, or until it is terminated by some outside means, such as dispel magic cast upon either the physical body or the astral form, the breaking of the silver cord, or the destruction of your body back on the Material Plane (which kills you).

What leads you to believe True Seeing or See Invisiblity would work? Please highlight the relevant portions.

Incidentally, what is the Nightmare's CL for the purpose of Astral Projection, and what are the odds that a low level party will be able to overcome it?

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 08:02 PM
the incorporeal silvery cord remains invisibly attached to the new body

Visible to both See Invisibility and True Seeing, by definition.

Dispel Magic would reveal it as a fake even without knowing that it was an astral projection.


Incidentally, what is the Nightmare's CL for the purpose of Astral Projection, and what are the odds that a low level party will be able to overcome it?

CL 20; DC 31. Irrelevant, because that arouses suspicions on its own.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-13, 08:07 PM
Visible to both See Invisibility and True Seeing, by definition.
You proposed using See Invisibility on the objects. The cord could be hidden, perhaps with a pointy hat.

You still have not revealed to me how a low level party affords a caster who can cast True Seeing. Please do so.


Dispel Magic would reveal it as a fake even without knowing that it was an astral projection.

If only a low level party was able to dispel a CL 20 spell.


CL 20; DC 31. Irrelevant, because that arouses suspicions on its own.

So, the fact that a Dispel Magic can't dispel something is suspicious?

Or are you talking about how the item registers as a CL 20 item? In which case I must ask how the party knows the caster level of the spell?

Ormagoden
2009-12-13, 08:11 PM
Use the living greyhawk list.

[/thread]

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 08:14 PM
You proposed using See Invisibility on the objects. The cord could be hidden, perhaps with a pointy hat.

You still have not revealed to me how a low level party affords a caster who can cast True Seeing. Please do so.

I also pointed out that they have other ways to see that the object is fake.

Although nobody buys magic items casually. You're dealing with a shopkeeper who is prepared to deal in magic items. Ergo, he can stop you swindling him unless you are extremely smart. That does mean access to True Seeing, because only adventurers have to follow WBL.

I also want to know how you hide a cord long enough to extend through three planes.


If only a low level party was able to dispel a CL 20 spell.

So, the fact that a Dispel Magic can't dispel something is suspicious?

Or are you talking about how the item registers as a CL 20 item? In which case I must ask how the party knows the caster level of the spell?

Both. A strong magic aura is suspicious, and a fake one arouses suspicions when the item cannot be dispelled, despite supposedly being a weak effect.

The bottom line is that the Astral Projection trick doesn't work, because you'd have to do everything you'd have to do in order to swindle the guy anyway.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-13, 08:19 PM
I also pointed out that they have other ways to see that the object is fake.

Although nobody buys magic items casually. You're dealing with a shopkeeper who is prepared to deal in magic items. Ergo, he can stop you swindling him unless you are extremely smart.
Wizard. High Int.


That does mean access to True Seeing, because only adventurers have to follow WBL.
Allow me to introduce you to the phrase "NPC WBL".


I also want to know how you hide a cord long enough to extend through three planes.
Good point. Perhaps we should have in intermediary carry out the actual transaction, such as the party rogue.

How does your merchant or the party prevent someone who isn't the caster from selling them an astral copy of a magical item?

Don't wait for the translation, answer me now!


Both. A strong magic aura is suspicious, and a fake one arouses suspicions when the item cannot be dispelled, despite supposedly only having a faint aura.
So now the low level party has as many dispel magics as they need to determine that the CL of the item is 20.

Fascinating.



The bottom line is that the Astral Projection trick doesn't work, because it fails against all of the measures that a reseller of magic items would use.
Such as having a level 13 wizard at his beck and call. Or an 75,000 gp item of True Seeing.

Fascinating.


Any adventuring party that buys magic items casually has no money because they lost it all through cons.
Instead, your adventuring parties all have infinite Dispel Magic attempts (A warlock, Binder, or DFA must be present, I guess) and thoroughly scan the merchants who sell them items with See Invisibility and/or True Seeing.

Fascinating.

Yukitsu
2009-12-13, 08:20 PM
In another thread and here occasionaly the idea comes up to use some planar binding or gate (or any of the calling spells) to get extremely powerful beings to do the wizard's every whim. A good, and highly atmospheric way to provide a first line of defense for this is to demand knowledge-planes checks whether the coveted special ability of those creature is even known to the pc wizard. As such, everything remains nicely in the DM's hands.

Calling this DM fiat is the same as arguing a player playing a fighter would get rightfully very upset not to be able to kill an arbitrarily high number with his greatsword, because theoretically he might be able to (say, all opponents helpless in a row...).

I believe this is in reference to me, as I'm the one who typically argues for the spam use of that spell. I'd just like to remind everyone here that I advocate the binding of creatures several levels lower than I am, not extremely powerful beings. Things that I could personally solo with little difficulty.

Second of all, since my opinion on the matter was to use weak monsters with disproportionate abilities, knowledge should be a comparatively small problem, as a caster who actually does use binding should have enough knowledge to get past the useless abilities and into the key one that they are looking for (or, as in the first time I argued this, simply picks a generally useful non-combatant, like Succubi.)

olentu
2009-12-13, 08:22 PM
Don't nightmares get astral projection as a supernatural ability thus making it undispellable.

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 08:37 PM
Wizard. High Int.

In which case, you've just started a new adventure. Have fun, and the noble who wanted you to kill that marilith now wants your head.


Allow me to introduce you to the phrase "NPC WBL". Also, a shopkeeper with a level 13 wizard at his beck and call? Fascinating.



The length is not stated, nor the point attached, so without further information speculation in this field cannot continue.


It connects your body to your projection. Thus, it extends from your projection to where you appeared on the material plane.



So now the low level party has as many dispel magics as they need to determine that the CL of the item is 20.

Fascinating.

Not so. They have enough dispel magics to determine that they can't dispel it.

Why it would be otherwise, you have yet to explain. They aren't under any time pressure (or they refuse to buy), so they can rest up for as long as they need.



Such as having a level 13 wizard at his beck and call. Or an 75,000 gp item of True Seeing. How very reasonable a thing for a shopkeeper.

The guy running the magic shop is about as wealthy as anyone gets. He either has the resources to determine that the item is fake (he doesn't need true seeing, for the fourth time), or he isn't buying magic items.

You seem to think that selling magic items in a fantasy world, where they are specifically called out as being one of the most expensive things there is, is treated differently to selling priceless works of art in the real world.


Instead, your adventuring parties all have infinite Dispel Magic attempts (A warlock, Binder, or DFA must be present, I guess) and thoroughly scan the merchants who sell them items with See Invisibility, True Seeing, and force strip searches for silvery cords.

Fascinating.

They aren't looking for silver cords. They are looking for anything suspicious, and if they find anything, they aren't buying, because they have a wisdom score of at least 1.

You would have to be incredibly lucky to find a party that won't take basic precautions (which would reveal the scam) to stop you scamming them (or, at least, one that has anything to offer save bottles of coloured water, a burnt out wand, a bit of string, and so on).

The biggest point is that the things they are expecting to deal with are all far cheaper than the lesser planar binding you're pulling to get all of these astral projections.

Yet all of the precautions they would take against basic scams also see through this one. So what's the point? If you're 9th level and want to run a scam, come up with something that works.


Don't nightmares get astral projection as a supernatural ability thus making it undispellable.

Which is true. I already answered the fact that it would have been well out of reach for the wizard's mark anyway.

I've also pointed out that this is far too much effort for a scam, because if these precautions aren't taken, you can just use Nystul's magic aura and clean every merchant you find out.

Pharoah is trying, and failing, to explain why this somehow completely fails to arouse suspicion.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-13, 08:40 PM
In which case, you've just started a new adventure. Have fun, and the noble who wanted you to kill that marilith now wants your head.
This is not a valid counter argument at all. Do you want me to list the reasons why, or do you already know why?

Incidentally, that noble who now wants my wizard dead? Died of heartburn.

If you get to muck around with the life of the hypothetical wizard, I get to muck around with your noble.



Evidently, I edited my post while you came up with this new one. Please address the new post if you have the time.

If not, let me sum it up for you here?

You are right about the cord. A Wizard cannot use Astral Projection and then sell his equipment himself without giving it away.

Fortunately, an intermediary on the ground has no such cord projecting from his arse and can sell the items freely. Unless the person/party the items are going to have a large number of dispel attempts available, they will not be able to determine that the item has a dispel check the same as that of a CL 20 caster.


If you're 9th level and want to run a scam, come up with something that works.

:smallsmile:

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-13, 08:43 PM
Incidentally, Lesser Minion, do your parties (low level and high) vet the magical items they buy with such vigor as you propose all parties (even low level ones) are going to do?

Doc Roc
2009-12-13, 08:44 PM
So why don't you just start with the freaking ToS ban list? Seriously, we've spent 8 months doing this, maybe you could be be advantaged by examining our work?

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 08:54 PM
Incidentally, Lesser Minion, do your parties (low level and high) vet the magical items they buy with such vigor as you propose all parties (even low level ones) are going to do?

If they're going to be successful, magic item merchants have to be reputable. These items are being examined because the guy buying them doesn't know you and doesn't have any reason to assume that you are trustworthy (which already worries him, because he can usually spot trustworthy people).

A magic item merchant wouldn't get very far if he swindled people, in the same way as he wouldn't get very far if he didn't vet items sold to him by random strangers off the street.

In reality, though, it falls under the "considering the effects a lot of magic that works will have on your world" mentioned in the DMG.


This is not a valid counter argument at all. Do you want me to list the reasons why, or do you already know why?

Well, no. Basic scams don't work. If you want to scam the guy so badly, then it's clearly an adventure in its own right.

Generally, how 'smart' you are for the purposes of scamming people is a function of your charisma, and how much training you have. Intelligence doesn't actually come into play by RAW.


Fortunately, an intermediary on the ground has no such cord projecting from his arse and can sell the items freely. Unless the person/party the items are going to have a large number of dispel attempts available, they will not be able to determine that the item has a dispel check the same as that of a CL 20 caster.

That's true, but the items would still come up as dodgy. Because they won't buy if pressured, they will be able to rest up and take 20 on their dispel checks (this will take 10-20 days for a low-level party).

They can't actually dispel the Astral Projection, but they can still see it on the item (it is, itself, an active spell effect).

And what they are seeing is a 12th level or higher magic item. There aren't many of those that they can afford.

Boci
2009-12-13, 08:59 PM
If they're going to be successful, magic item merchants have to be reputable. These items are being examined because the guy buying them doesn't know you and doesn't have any reason to assume that you are trustworthy (which already worries him, because he can usually spot trustworthy people).

So how much money are they going to spend on checking to see if an item with a value of 4k is real? If they spend too much they risk being undercut by other merchants.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-13, 09:02 PM
If they're going to be successful, magic item merchants have to be reputable.

Ooookkkk..... but since the part you quoted asked about the actions of adventuring parties... how is any of that, or the following text that I have chosen to omit for the sake of brevity, relevant?



Well, no. Basic scams don't work. If you want to scam the guy so badly, then it's clearly an adventure in its own right.
Remember the part where you said "and the noble who wanted you to kill a marilith now wants you dead"?

That was the part I was referring to with the "invalid argument" statement. I believe you know why.



Generally, how 'smart' you are for the purposes of scamming people is a function of your charisma, and how much training you have. Intelligence doesn't actually come into play by RAW.
Devising a plan is Int based, or so I hear.


That's true, but the items would still come up as dodgy. Because they won't buy if pressured, they will be able to rest up and take 20 on their dispel checks (this will take 10-20 days for a low-level party).
This strikes you as a common thing for adventuring parties to do, does it?

Is this something the adventuring parties that you've been a part of do?

Even if, they know that the CL is in a range, not that it's exactly CL 20, but that it's fairly high.


They can't actually dispel the Astral Projection, but they can still see it on the item (it is, itself, an active spell effect).

And what they are seeing is a 12th level or higher magic item. There aren't many of those that they can afford.

But how are they seeing the CL of the item? What spell allows them to do it?

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 09:04 PM
So how much money are they going to spend on checking to see if an item with a value of 4k is real? If they spend too much they risk being undercut by other merchants.

100gp, assuming that they can cast the spells themselves.

Note that said 100gp is exactly what any merchant would spend.


But how are they seeing the CL of the item? What spell allows them to do it?

It has a strong magical aura, which can be found using Arcane Sight or Detect Magic.

Yes, that's a cantrip.


This strikes you as a common thing for adventuring parties to do, does it?

Is this something the adventuring parties that you've been a part of do?

Even if, they know that the CL is in a range, not that it's exactly CL 20, but that it's fairly high.

They're a successful adventuring party who are currently in downtime.

When I DM, I assume that if the players can buy magic items, they know a reputable source. I'd expect them to be suspicious of a guy coming out of nowhere and offering them discount magic items.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-13, 09:05 PM
100gp, assuming that they can cast the spells themselves.

Note that said 100gp is exactly what any merchant would spend.

Hiring the services of a spellcaster to check on an item in the manner you have previously suggested (dispel checks) will cost more than 100 gp.

Using True Seeing or See Invisiblity will not work if the transaction is handled through an intermediary.

PhoenixRivers
2009-12-13, 09:06 PM
If only a low level party was able to dispel a CL 20 spell.

So, the fact that a Dispel Magic can't dispel something is suspicious?

Or are you talking about how the item registers as a CL 20 item? In which case I must ask how the party knows the caster level of the spell?

Well, depending on how low... I can do just that.

A couple magic items, a couple feats, a couple spells, and I can Dispel CL 20 spells with a level 3 Dispel Magic as early at level 10 or 11, reliably.

Nothing even needs to be too expensive.

Spellcaster's Bane (spell) +2
Dispelling Cord (MIC) +2
Inquisition Domain (SpC, CompDiv) +4

Spellcaster's Bane is available divine through the Divine Magician Feat.
Inquisition domain is available arcane through Planar Touchstone (Catalogues of Enlightenment) Feat.

Arcane Mastery is available divine through a single level of Church inquisitor (for a SLA).

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-13, 09:10 PM
I doubt the average adventuring party will go to such lengths. But I may be wrong. Perhaps the world is filled with DnD parties that optimize dispelling and thoroughly verifying the CL of their items and that it is not an astral projection via repeated and continuous dispellings for weeks.

PhoenixRivers
2009-12-13, 09:13 PM
I doubt the average adventuring party will go to such lengths. But I may be wrong. Perhaps the world is filled with DnD parties that optimize dispelling and thoroughly verifying the CL of their items and that it is not an astral projection via repeated and continuous dispellings for weeks.

Eh, most of my casters do, because it's a large return for a relatively minor investment.

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 09:15 PM
I doubt the average adventuring party will go to such lengths. But I may be wrong. Perhaps the world is filled with DnD parties that optimize dispelling and thoroughly verifying the CL of their items and that it is not an astral projection via repeated and continuous dispellings for weeks.

They can tell that they can't dispel it. That's all that matters really. Or, if they have a dispelling specialist, they might find that it pops.

Although "Supernatural Ability that works just like a spell" is in the same vein as "Supernatural Ability that is a vorpal sword". Although interestingly, supernatural abilities that work exactly like spells actually have all of the material components of those spells.

I don't see there being magic item merchants who can't either cast the important three spells themselves, or employ someone who can.

It would also probably take three weeks for a party to satisfy itself that it wasn't a temporary magical effect in any event, whether they were trying to dispel it or not.

Also, for a nightmare-abuse astral projection, you could also just notice the huge flaming horse...

Boci
2009-12-13, 09:20 PM
I don't see there being magic item merchants who can't either cast the important three spells themselves, or employ someone who can.

I think an actual caster would persue another choice of career, but sure, the odd magic item trader could be a wizard. So that means most will have to hire others, paying them money. What does the 100gp proceedure to tell if an items fake consist of exactly?


It would also probably take three weeks for a party to satisfy itself that it wasn't a temporary magical effect in any event, whether they were trying to dispel it or not.

A merchant who waits 3 weeks before buying something is going to be undercut by rivals. You have to risk to gain.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-13, 09:24 PM
Also, for a nightmare-abuse astral projection, you could also just notice the huge flaming horse...

It follows the intermediary, does it?

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 09:25 PM
I think an actual caster would persue another choice of career, but sure, the odd magic item trader could be a wizard. So that means most will have to hire others, paying them money. What does the 100gp proceedure to tell if an items fake consist of exactly?

The 100gp is the cost to cast identify, assuming that you have a 5th level caster on retainer/are a 5th level caster, and don't have to pay normal service costs.

That's reasonable, because a magic item trading business cannot operate without access to a caster or someone else who can actually work with magic items. Occasionally they might have to fix things, and they would probably do things like recharge wands and so on.

If you're willing to deal in the most valuable commodity in the world, you make sure you're able to do so.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-13, 09:25 PM
The 100gp is the cost to cast identify, assuming that you have a 5th level caster on retainer/are a 5th level caster, and don't have to pay normal service costs.
It identifies as a magical item just fine.

Boci
2009-12-13, 09:28 PM
The 100gp is the cost to cast identify, assuming that you have a 5th level caster on retainer/are a 5th level caster, and don't have to pay normal service costs.

And will identify tell you if the item is an astral projection?

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 09:28 PM
It identifies as a magical item just fine.

Identify is one of the things you'd be casting by definition, because you are a magic item trader. There is something handy it does, IIRC, but it hasn't been brought up.

You're now assuming the existence of magic item traders who cannot even tell what they are buying...

A wizard might go for the 60gp service cost for Identify, however - it's also available as a 2nd level Magic domain Cleric spell.

Boci
2009-12-13, 09:31 PM
Identify is one of the things you'd be casting by definition, because you are a magic item trader. There is something handy it does, IIRC, but it hasn't been brought up.

You're now assuming the existence of magic item traders who cannot even tell what they are buying...

Unless youe arguing that selling astral projections will automatically make the shopkeeper more suspicious, by your own argument they will be willing to spend 100gp on verifying an item worth 4k. So astral projection works.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-13, 09:31 PM
Identify is one of the things you'd be casting by definition, because you are a magic item trader. There is something handy it does, IIRC, but it hasn't been brought up.

You're now assuming the existence of magic item traders who cannot even tell what they are buying...
But it doesn't identify things as astral projections.

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 09:36 PM
Unless youe arguing that selling astral projections will automatically make the shopkeeper more suspicious, by your own argument they will be willing to spend 100gp on verifying an item worth 4k. So astral projection works.

Erm... what? That is not my argument at all. And it isn't even crucial to my argument. My argument is that basic precautions against basic cons would trip up an Astral Projected copy. I also assumed that there are no successful merchants who don't take those precautions.

Talk about strawmanning...

They are able to obtain the spells they need without paying service costs, because they cannot operate otherwise (simple day-to-day functions that would be expected of a magic item trader require access to all three of the spells I mentioned). Identify has to be on that list, regardless of its relevance to the scam.

And people don't actually buy things if they can't make a profit after making sure that they are valid, funnily enough.

PhoenixRivers
2009-12-13, 09:40 PM
TBH, it'd be faster and more profitable to just sell your spellcasting services daily, at the listed costs in the PHB.

Boci
2009-12-13, 09:44 PM
Erm... what? That is not my argument at all. And it isn't even crucial to my argument. My argument is that basic precautions against basic cons would trip up an Astral Projected copy. I also assumed that there are no successful merchants who don't take those precautions.

You said that a merchant would spend 100gp on verifying an item worth 4k. He cannot determine whether or not it is an astral projection with so much money so he then has to either spend more or make a discisn on whether he buys it or not.



So how much money are they going to spend on checking to see if an item with a value of 4k is real? If they spend too much they risk being undercut by other merchants.

To which you responded:


100gp, assuming that they can cast the spells themselves.

Note that said 100gp is exactly what any merchant would spend.



Talk about strawmanning...

If quoting your words in context counts as straw manning then yes I'm guilty.


They are able to obtain the spells they need without paying service costs, because they cannot operate otherwise (simple day-to-day functions that would be expected of a magic item trader require access to all three of the spells I mentioned). Identify has to be on that list, regardless of its relevance to the scam.

So what exactly are merchants? Warlocks? Wizards?


And people don't actually buy things if they can't make a profit after making sure that they are valid, funnily enough.

Yes I know, which Iis why I find your method of verification, involving simply 3 weeks and a lot of spells, to be a bit dubious.


So I ask again, since last time it seemed to be misunderstood: What is the exact proceedure of a magical items merchant for verifying an item before he buys it?

So far we've agreed on cast identify, but you seem to think there are more.

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 10:03 PM
You said that a merchant would spend 100gp on verifying an item worth 4k. He cannot determine whether or not it is an astral projection with so much money so he then has to either spend more or make a discisn on whether he buys it or not.

"Note that that is exactly what any merchant would spend" meaning "what it would cost any merchant". A merchant who couldn't afford all that would be frequently defrauded using a 2nd-level spell.


If quoting your words in context counts as straw manning then yes I'm guilty.

Finding a typo and assuming that it derails an entire argument does.


So what exactly are merchants? Warlocks? Wizards?

Generally, more than one person. Aside from that, there would almost certainly be a wizard, artificer, or cleric present.


Yes I know, which Iis why I find your method of verification, involving simply 3 weeks and a lot of spells, to be a bit dubious.

The spell they're testing for is actually Nystul's Magic Aura, which is a 2nd level spell, and something of an issue. It costs them no more than 100gp to do so, because there is a wizard, cleric or artificer as part of the business and raking in a quarter of every single sale.

Anyone coming into contact with magic items may have seen Nystul's Magic Aura, and anyone who isn't equipped to deal with it.

My point is that any setup good enough to guarantee that they aren't buying coloured water would be suspicious of an astral projection.

The exact procedure, by the way, is:

- Use Arcane Sight and Dispel Magic together, until there are no magical effects visible on the item. This will take up to three weeks (take 20, one check per day).

* If this fails, refuse the sale. The item is being massively undersold, which is an instant red flag.

- Cast identify.

* If the item had Nystul's Magic Aura on it, that should now be gone.

A more upmarket outfit would only take ten hours or so, and would use more extensive divinations once the item was sanitised.

Boci
2009-12-13, 10:09 PM
"Note that that is exactly what any merchant would spend" meaning "what it would cost any merchant". A merchant who couldn't afford all that would be frequently defrauded using a 2nd-level spell.

I don't disagree with that.


"Finding a typo and assuming that it derails an entire argument does.

Huh?


"Generally, more than one person. Aside from that, there would almost certainly be a wizard, artificer, or cleric present.

Aren't PC classes who give their services for free in short supply? The merchant is going to be paying whoever casts those spells, whether its through shares in his company or a flat fee.


"The spell they're testing for is actually Nystul's Magic Aura, which is a 2nd level spell, and something of an issue. It costs them no more than 100gp to do so, because there is a wizard, cleric or artificer as part of the business and raking in a quarter of every single sale.

But astral projection has been the main point so far.


My point is that any setup good enough to guarantee that they aren't buying coloured water would be suspicious of an astral projection.

How exactly? Identify doesn't work, so merchants are already up to their 100gp budget. What else are they doing?

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 10:11 PM
See revised post, which has a summary.

The Arcane Sight would pick up a strong magical aura, which would be a red flag. If the aura is masked, the procedure I suggested would generally reveal that fact.


But astral projection has been the main point so far.

But it isn't reasonable for a low level merchant to check whether or not the item is an astral projection.

My argument was that an astral projection would show up as a probable scam.

Boci
2009-12-13, 10:13 PM
See revised post, which has a summary.

The Arcane Sight would pick up a strong magical aura, which would be a red flag. If the aura is masked, the procedure I suggested would generally reveal that fact.

No one gives spells for free. They may very well be cheaper than hiering a mage to cast them, but they must be coming from some where and they will have a cost.

Aditionally, how often will the merchant have three weeks?

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 10:15 PM
No one gives spells for free. They may very well be cheaper than hiering a mage to cast them, but they must be coming from some where and they will have a cost.

Aditionally, how often will the merchant have three weeks?

As often as he has to buy something so rare it can only be obtained in a city.

The guy casting the spells will always be part of the outfit buying the item - his fee is a pretty fat profit share. The only part of his cost that is actually relevant is the 100gp per purchase he spends on material components.

Boci
2009-12-13, 10:19 PM
As often as he has to buy something so rare it can only be obtained in a city.

Wouldn't a merchant who analyzes an item for 3 weeks loose out on a lot of customers, like most adventurers? Additionly, they would be in danger from being undercut by someone who only takes a week or something.


The guy casting the spells will always be part of the outfit buying the item - the cost is irrelevant - that guy is doing exactly what is expected of him, and his fee is a pretty fat profit share.

Are there enough such people? An ability to cast 3rd level spells is hardly common.

lesser_minion
2009-12-13, 10:21 PM
Wouldn't a merchant who analyzes an item for 3 weeks loose out on a lot of customers, like most adventurers? Additionly, they would be in danger from being undercut by someone who only takes a week or something.

The other guy is more successful already, and probably higher level. The solution is to move to a smaller settlement.

Or, the other 'guy', is a college, museum, university, etc...


Are there enough such people? An ability to cast 3rd level spells is hardly common.

Any settlement big enough to deal in 4000gp items has at least one 6th level sorcerer, IIRC. Wizards are even more common.

The 'merchant' could also be an academic institution or a military, both of which have more spellcasters than normal.

Boci
2009-12-13, 10:27 PM
The other guy is more successful already, and probably higher level. The solution is to move to a smaller settlement.

Not neccissarily. He might just be willing to risk more. And wouldn't adventurers account for a pretty significant %-tage of magical items sale?


Any settlement big enough to deal in 4000gp items has at least one 6th level sorcerer, IIRC. Wizards are even more common.

But what makes you think they want to help the merchant? I can think of quite a few other options they have. In the case of the sorceror they might not even have the spell. Also, is there only one shop in the city?

PhoenixRivers
2009-12-13, 10:30 PM
But what makes you think they want to help the merchant? I can think of quite a few other options they have. In the case of the sorceror they might not even have the spell. Also, is there only one shop in the city?

A diplomacy check?

Gametime
2009-12-13, 10:54 PM
I find it highly improbable that merchants would go take these precautions every time they bought magic items. If every single merchant in the world always take these precautions, who is going to bother to try and sell them false Astrally-projected items? At that point, each merchant is losing money on each and every purchase with unnecessary security measures. Even IF some people try the scam, the potential loss on the purchase would have to be truly enormous to counterbalance the vast amounts of capital sunk in to testing every item you ever find.

If some merchants decide the risk is worth the reward (and I have to assume at least a few would, since it is highly improbable that any given merchant is going to encounter a wizard attempting this shenanigans), well, then there are valid targets for the scam.

I could see merchants testing a big purchase, but you seem convinced that they'd scrutinize even a lowly 4,000 gold item. That's ridiculous.

lesser_minion
2009-12-14, 06:38 AM
I find it highly improbable that merchants would go take these precautions every time they bought magic items. If every single merchant in the world always take these precautions, who is going to bother to try and sell them false Astrally-projected items? At that point, each merchant is losing money on each and every purchase with unnecessary security measures. Even IF some people try the scam, the potential loss on the purchase would have to be truly enormous to counterbalance the vast amounts of capital sunk in to testing every item you ever find.

If some merchants decide the risk is worth the reward (and I have to assume at least a few would, since it is highly improbable that any given merchant is going to encounter a wizard attempting this shenanigans), well, then there are valid targets for the scam.

I could see merchants testing a big purchase, but you seem convinced that they'd scrutinize even a lowly 4,000 gold item. That's ridiculous.

The total cost to you is 100gp that you had to spend anyway.

You either are a wizard, or your best friend is one, or you cannot effectively participate in this field, regardless of your willingness to take risks

And 'more risk-taking' basically means not accepting anything you can't dispel on the fifth try.

Magic items are not a normal commodity. They are valuable enough, and easy enough to fake, that anyone who wants to buy one will take these precautions. See: Nystul's magic aura. Identify doesn't cut it.

Worse, if they were successfully scammed, they would never find out until one of their customers comes back and burned their workshop down after finding that the magic item they were sold is in fact a bottle of coloured water. At best, they might end up being taken to court.

Why would people bother scamming magic item merchants? Because there is little risk, they only need one minor spell, and the rewards are potentially incredible. Unless proper precautions are in place.

And yes, if you want to sell an example of the single most valuable good conceivable in character, you would have to be willing to accept those kinds of precautions.

A 4,000 gold item is still a lot of money - these aren't adventurers, these are craftsmen. Mundane craftsmen work solidly for 20 years to make 4,000gp.

The smallest cities (where the kind of outfit that would have to spend three weeks to check an item exists) generally have around 25 million gp floating around in their economy. That's little enough that the city as a whole would care about a 4,000gp scam, and the individual merchants would be a lot smaller than that (although they are willing to buy and sell magic items worth up to 10k, IIRC, which simply means that they are more likely to be around 7th level, and therefore able to check the item out in under a week - making it even more likely that they would.)

Nobody has explained why these merchants actually need astral projection to run a scam like this. It doesn't get through the same precautions you would use to avoid being sold something with a Nystul's Magic Aura cast on it.

So why bother?

Why not just use Nystul's Magic Aura, if you're so convinced that magic item merchants aren't taking precautions against it?

Even if the merchants aren't taking these precautions (which cost them nothing and which a customer wouldn't find unreasonable) in your campaign world, Astral Projection is still totally and utterly useless for scamming magic item merchants. Either it fails, or you're using a 5th level spell to do something that could be done equally well with a 2nd level one. Unless you forget that the astral copies disappear when the spell ends (in which case, you could clone the items), which Pharoah did.

Depending on the setting, it's also quite likely that the magic item merchant simply disenchants the item and harvests it for resources which they either sell on or use themselves (even though this isn't 4e). Your fake magic items wouldn't be much good in that situation either.

PhoenixRivers
2009-12-14, 07:20 AM
You either are a wizard, or your best friend is one, or you cannot effectively participate in this field, regardless of your willingness to take risksAlternatively: Assume 90% of magic item transactions are legitimate. Assume 10% are fraudulent.

For a 4000gp item? I'd rather hire a group of people to track down the party that sold the fraudulent item, and kill them dead. Shopkeeper gets 4000gp, bounty hunter gets the rest.

Alternatively, if said court exists, I'd rather have that scam artist effectively unable to show his face in major cities.

100gp every transaction adds up.


And 'more risk-taking' basically means not accepting anything you can't dispel on the fifth try.Interesting. Were the item legitimate, you couldn't dispel it on the 5th try. Never mind that, at minimum, 5 Dispel Magics is worth 750gp.


Magic items are not a normal commodity. They are valuable enough, and easy enough to fake, that anyone who wants to buy one will take these precautions. See: Nystul's magic aura. Identify doesn't cut it.Correction. They're not a normal commodity in some worlds.

Not to mention that there are other ways. Know why a bookie doesn't have strict standards on who he lends to? Because if you don't pay, he kills you. Such things tend to be deterrants, and privately organized methods like this are generally effective.


Worse, if they were successfully scammed, they would never find out until one of their customers comes back and burned their workshop down after finding that the magic item they were sold is in fact a bottle of coloured water. At best, they might end up being taken to court.So, someone else kills them for scamming, but the same can't apply to them, when they're scammed?


Why would people bother scamming magic item merchants? Because there is little risk, they only need one minor spell, and the rewards are potentially incredible. Unless proper precautions are in place.
Yes. Like an effective promise of stabbity death. Effective punishment is a good deterrant.


And yes, if you want to sell an example of the single most valuable good conceivable in character, you would have to be willing to accept those kinds of precautions.In your opinion.


A 4,000 gold item is still a lot of money - these aren't adventurers, these are craftsmen. Mundane craftsmen work solidly for 20 years to make 4,000gp.Incorrect. Assuming Mundane craftsmen level, they, as NPCs, will have 4000gp when they become level 5. Given the appropriate challenges for level 1-4 craftsmen (they are many), I'd wager it, on average, takes less than 20 years.


The smallest cities (where the kind of outfit that would have to spend three weeks to check an item exists) generally have around 25 million gp floating around in their economy. That's little enough that the city as a whole would care about a 4,000gp scam, and the individual merchants would be a lot smaller than that (although they are willing to buy and sell magic items worth up to 10k, IIRC, which simply means that they are more likely to be around 7th level, and therefore able to check the item out in under a week - making it even more likely that they would.)Unless they get more than one request to purchase in a week, or, in a fit of competitiveness, the merchant across the street states that he'll pay that price, with only a 3 day check. Free market competition ruins your model.


Even if the merchants aren't taking these precautions (which cost them nothing and which a customer wouldn't find unreasonable) in your campaign world, Astral Projection is still totally and utterly useless for scamming magic item merchants. Either it fails, or you're using a 5th level spell to do something that could be done equally well with a 2nd level one. Unless you forget that the astral copies disappear when the spell ends (in which case, you could clone the items), which Pharoah did.5 Dispel attempts has a value of 750 gp. With those resources, a level 5 caster could make 750gp in a day. Lost opportunity is a business cost.


Depending on the setting, it's also quite likely that the magic item merchant simply disenchants the item and harvests it for resources which they either sell on or use themselves (even though this isn't 4e). Your fake magic items wouldn't be much good there either.Doesn't really matter whether he fills it with flowers and puts it on his mantle. Value is value. Intended use is irrelevant.

lesser_minion
2009-12-14, 07:42 AM
Alternatively: Assume 90% of magic item transactions are legitimate. Assume 10% are fraudulent.

For a 4000gp item? I'd rather hire a group of people to track down the party that sold the fraudulent item, and kill them dead. Shopkeeper gets 4000gp, bounty hunter gets the rest.

How? With Nystul's Magic Aura, they can be long gone before the spell wears off. The bounty hunters are going to be away for a long time, and that's easily a hundred grand he's just given away for the 9th level party that's pulling this scam.

Unless you happen to have a lot of inevitables running around, in which case the party might be in trouble.


Alternatively, if said court exists, I'd rather have that scam artist effectively unable to show his face in major cities.

That works. Asking for the players' character sheets and some percentile dice is also effective. You haven't demonstrated that Nystul's magic aura wouldn't be effective in the same scam, and Nystul's magic aura does also mean that the merchant may, in good faith, sell someone a fake magic item. And it's very cheap.


100gp every transaction adds up.

So, they don't bother to actually find out what the item is when they buy it? Interesting. And, as it amounts to 5% of their profits (and I'm assuming that the spell is obtained as inefficiently as possible when there are two different character classes who can do the same thing for free).

Potions and scrolls obviously don't need identify anyway - they use Read Magic or Craft(Alchemy).


Interesting. Were the item legitimate, you couldn't dispel it on the 5th try. Never mind that, at minimum, 5 Dispel Magics is worth 750gp.

Correction. They're not a normal commodity in some worlds.

The character is getting a profit share. Most people don't buy spells, which is why they are so expensive. That character can't earn 750gp a day because he can't cast five dispel magics a day, or find people willing to pay for that service.



Not to mention that there are other ways. Know why a bookie doesn't have strict standards on who he lends to? Because if you don't pay, he kills you. Such things tend to be deterrants, and privately organized methods like this are generally effective.

So, someone else kills them for scamming, but the same can't apply to them, when they're scammed?

Yes. Like an effective promise of stabbity death. Effective punishment is a good deterrant.

Not when it can't be delivered. A party capable of pulling this scam with Nystul's Magic Aura can get away from any bounty hunters within the reach of this hypothetical merchant. And yes, it's been done before. Merchants are a lot more wary now.


In your opinion.

As stated in the DMG and substantiated repeatedly by the price lists in the same book.


Incorrect. Assuming Mundane craftsmen level, they, as NPCs, will have 4000gp when they become level 5. Given the appropriate challenges for level 1-4 craftsmen (they are many), I'd wager it, on average, takes less than 20 years.

OK, cool. It doesn't actually change the fact that this merchant considers 4,000gp to be a lot of money.


Unless they get more than one request to purchase in a week, or, in a fit of competitiveness, the merchant across the street states that he'll pay that price, with only a 3 day check. Free market competition ruins your model.
5 Dispel attempts has a value of 750 gp. With those resources, a level 5 caster could make 750gp in a day. Lost opportunity is a business cost.
Doesn't really matter whether he fills it with flowers and puts it on his mantle. Value is value. Intended use is irrelevant.

Bottles of coloured water ruin yours. 5 Dispel attempts have a value of 750gp assuming a very low demand. If a business needs a magic user, they can retain one, and they certainly aren't paying 150gp per spell. Ergo... no service costs (plus, the wizard makes more money from his share of profits).

And, yet again, Astral Projection cannot be used to do anything Nystul's Magic Aura can't (except that it is slightly easier to be far away after scamming the merchant - but, on the flip side, the merchant finds out straight away that he's been had).

So, if a PC tries this scam and it works, the DM is quite free to ask for his character sheet and break out the percentile dice.

Which is another good reason not to try to scam merchants with basic spells.

PhoenixRivers
2009-12-14, 09:04 AM
How? With Nystul's Magic Aura, they can be long gone before the spell wears off. The bounty hunters are going to be away for a long time, and that's easily a hundred grand he's just given away for the 9th level party that's pulling this scam.So, state-sponsored bounty hunters can't have casters?


Unless you happen to have a lot of inevitables running around, in which case the party might be in trouble.Or, other effective adventuring parties.


That works. Asking for the players' character sheets and some percentile dice is also effective. You haven't demonstrated that Nystul's magic aura wouldn't be effective in the same scam, and Nystul's magic aura does also mean that the merchant may, in good faith, sell someone a fake magic item. And it's very cheap.And you haven't demonstrated that killing the party for aurascam abuse isn't an effective deterrant.



So, they don't bother to actually find out what the item is when they buy it? Interesting. And, as it amounts to 5% of their profits (and I'm assuming that the spell is obtained as inefficiently as possible when there are two different character classes who can do the same thing for free).SPELLS ARE NOT FREE. They have a value.


The character is getting a profit share. Most people don't buy spells, which is why they are so expensive. That character can't earn 750gp a day because he can't cast five dispel magics a day, or find people willing to pay for that service.I believe that the other chump merchants would. After all, in your idea of a world, every merchant needs access to it to be successful.


Not when it can't be delivered. A party capable of pulling this scam with Nystul's Magic Aura can get away from any bounty hunters within the reach of this hypothetical merchant. And yes, it's been done before. Merchants are a lot more wary now.I'd say that state-sponsored recovery is not only an interesting mechanic (the governments can pay more for law-enforcement, after all), but it ALSO allows the party to be on the flip side, tracking the scammers down. Instant plot hook, yay!


As stated in the DMG and substantiated repeatedly by the price lists in the same book.Spell costs are stated in the PHB. Yet, you keep calling those free.


Bottles of coloured water ruin yours. 5 Dispel attempts have a value of 750gp assuming a very low demand. If a business needs a magic user, they can retain one, and they certainly aren't paying 150gp per spell. Ergo... no service costs (plus, the wizard makes more money from his share of profits).So, if the party retains a weaponsmith, they can get +5 vorpal weapons for less than the listed cost?

On one side, you are all about the value of the sold item. On the other, you write off other services as obviously being reduced. Book values are book values. The value of a 3rd level spell, cast by a 5th level caster, is 150gp. The value of 5 such spells is 750gp. The value of the 4000gp item is 4000gp. See the pattern? When you say that the 4000gp item is 4000gp, but the 750gp of spells is certainly less? Then you are enforcing a double standard.

So, if a PC tries this scam and it works, the DM is quite free to ask for his character sheet and break out the percentile dice.

Which is another good reason not to try to scam merchants with basic spells.
I suppose you could just roll a couple dice, rather than use the opportunity to develop the plot.

Not my style, though.

Oslecamo
2009-12-14, 09:27 AM
I don't see what the problem is with merchants having the resources to identify items.

If they have the resources to protect thousands of GP in easily stealable stuff, they surely have the resources to tell the reall stuff from the fake stuff.

Doc Roc
2009-12-14, 09:27 AM
Actually, it's not clear that astral-projection gear dissipates on your death. In fact, it looks like it does not. Which means that while this is a distasteful trick, it's actually not really a scam.

PhoenixRivers
2009-12-14, 09:28 AM
I don't see what the problem is with merchants having the resources to identify items.

If they have the resources to protect thousands of GP in easily stealable stuff, they surely have the resources to tell the reall stuff from the fake stuff.

Wait... That's right. The best deal is obviously to sell them REAL stuff, then steal it back later.

Doc Roc
2009-12-14, 09:31 AM
A while ago we worked out a scheme for identifying items cleanly and elegantly. It's called casting analyze dweomer with an initiate of mystra inside an anti-magic field.

Tyndmyr
2009-12-14, 09:37 AM
So, the magic item vendor buys an eternal wand of dispel magic. That one time investment gives him 2/day dispells for...forever. Not the greatest CL, sure, but enough for the vast majority of stuff.

Ignoring the fitting and flavorful option of Loremaster, presumably they do the same for other spells they need on a day to day basis.

PhoenixRivers
2009-12-14, 09:40 AM
A while ago we worked out a scheme for identifying items cleanly and elegantly. It's called casting analyze dweomer with an initiate of mystra inside an anti-magic field.

Or a 14th level Inquisition domain wizard dispel specialist that dispels CL 24 spells, doing so.

Doc Roc
2009-12-14, 09:43 AM
So riddle me this:
In a mage-driven world, who is likely to be buying and selling magic items crafted by mages for the mage-loving or mage-hating?
Probably weeezards.

lesser_minion
2009-12-14, 10:39 AM
So, state-sponsored bounty hunters can't have casters?
Or, other effective adventuring parties.
And you haven't demonstrated that killing the party for aurascam abuse isn't an effective deterrant.

Hmm... If you can find an unoptimised 5th level NPC party who can take on an optimised party four levels above them, I'd be surprised.

I'm also pretty certain that there isn't much a 5th level party can do about someone who is already miles away. Especially when the party pulling this scam is 9th level, and has access to teleport.

It's also quite conceivable that the magic shop has already sold the item on before the ruse is discovered, unless they take steps to prevent it (admittedly, they could actually just keep the item for three weeks before paying for it. There is also the possibility that they just strip it for magical components somehow and pay for what they get out of it).



SPELLS ARE NOT FREE.
On one side, you are all about the value of the sold item. On the other, you write off other services as obviously being reduced. Book values are book values. The value of a 3rd level spell, cast by a 5th level caster, is 150gp. The value of 5 such spells is 750gp. The value of the 4000gp item is 4000gp. See the pattern? When you say that the 4000gp item is 4000gp, but the 750gp of spells is certainly less? Then you are enforcing a double standard.

No, I'm not. 750gp worth of spells is less than the 950gp share the wizard takes when he sells the item. Additionally, it's guaranteed business for those few days, whereas casting dispel magic for various members of the Bloggs family probably isn't.

Just for reference, this is what I'm assuming the weakest possible magic item business would have access to:

One 5th level rogue, bard, or expert. Basically the guy who knows how to haggle One 5th level wizard, cleric, or artificer. Item maintenance is considered too much to worry about from a rules perspective, but it's worth pointing out that items need maintenance. One or more 5th-level experts. Mundane craftsmen are useful, and making an item by mundane means often involves two or more people. Possibly a few mercenaries, guards, and so on.


Magic item trading and other magical services aren't mutually exclusive - they would have to offer quite a few different services, otherwise it would be hard for such a small outfit to make a profit from magical services.

That's the other reason why the wizard feels comfortable casting dispel magic repeatedly on an item instead of casting it for a customer - as long as he is casting it fewer than 12 times on an item (I'll admit that he can't actually afford to take 20), he still could be making more money that way.

It also doesn't stop him teaching the spell, which rakes in approximately 1800gp a week (Assuming that NPCs follow the training rules) without actually requiring him to have available castings of the spell.

Also, bear in mind that accepting a sale is really a courtesy - it doesn't cost that much more to create a brand-new item.

There are other possible magic item businesses. A temple, college, university, school, museum, military, or noble, might all be interested in buying magic items, but all of them would have far more resources than the 'Ye Olde Magic Shoppe' I described.


Also, the point about whether or not items vanish after astral projection is a pretty good one. As far as I'm concerned, they clearly do - the spell creates them, and so they follow the normal rules. If you interpret it otherwise, then you can just clone the items and sell the clones without anyone caring. I don't see how that interpretation could hold water by RAW, however, and it certainly doesn't work by RAI, RAP, or RAMS.

[/derail].

Hopefully, anyway

Roderick_BR
2009-12-14, 02:34 PM
"Return to me only when the service is done or if a king born on the second day of February gives you his first daughter's hand in marriage."

Then blow him up before he says anything.
You do realize that "or" means that either needs to be done, not both. Meaning that once the service is done, he is free, without having to find said king.
Plus, the creature can consider you are asking TWO services, therefore being able to nullify one.

cZak
2009-12-14, 02:40 PM
Any player attempting to 'lawyer' a spell by RAW in my games for the purpose of unreasonable benefit is immediately told no.:smallannoyed:

Luckily, I don't believe I have ever had a player attempt this.

Sir Giacomo
2009-12-14, 05:40 PM
I'm just curious; what makes you so convinced that Core is balanced? It seems to me like you want to believe it even though deep down you know it isn't true and then you go ahead and apply a bunch of stealth nerfs to the spells instead of just sitting down and saying "This spells is broken as written, so we use this slightly modified version". I don't know about you, but I much prefer the frank approach of admitting the problem and dealing with it.

EDIT: To be clear, I'm not trying to offend you with the last paragraph. Rather, I'm constantly surprised how much you abandon the conventional wisdom and how strongly you disagree with just about everyone else knowledgable I've talked with on the subject.

I'm trying to understand where you're coming from and why you hold the opinions you do; whether it's of conviction, thick-headedness or some knowledge I'm lacking. Do not take that statement as "you're screwed up, get over yourself"; it's merely my observation on the matter and should carry no more weight than that. It is truly what this seems like to me.

OK, I'll try to explain it.
To sum it up simply, I am not convinced by your arguments - or that of the "casters are more powerful than non-casters in the core 3.5 system" mainstream (or, to be more precise, the mainstream that post more often on these boards).
A typical example can be seen with the way you argued and Pharao's Fist just after your post.

Pharao's Fist, in replying to my correction of his statement that wizards always are ahead in initiative due to foresight and moment of prescience (leaving aside what happens to lower level wizards for a moment) was using exactly the rule quotes that make my point:
1) foresight has nothing to do with initiative at all, but only with the surprise round and
2) moment of prescience does not apply to ability checks (like initiative), but only to OPPOSED checks.
Taking a step back for a moment it MAY be possible to interpret it, with generosity, that indeed the wizard could add a huge amount to his initiative roll. But why choose this broken interpretation? Why?

The same goes for the knowledge checks made to even know as a wizard (not the player, the wizard! An important distinction) about what a creature from beyond could do. Sure. The wizard will know that nightmares and balors etc. exist on a 10+monster's HD. But knowing that such creatures exist is a far cry from knowing it can do that great astral projection ability for you at will or wish or whatever (or at a price? or with a drawback? who knows?).
Such knowledge comes at an extra higher DC, as described in the skill section. And even then only the DM decides what is known and what not.

There. Without any houseruling or "DM fiat" a limit is set to the calling spells. And additionally, delving more deeply into these spells a DM will find many rules that show what can go wrong with this; powerful outsiders (or those having powerful allies) seeking revenge when a player gets too greedy, for instance. These spells deal with (powerful) npcs. And npcs are completely the realm of the DM.

Why then, as a player, go with an interpretation that would lead to clearly overpowered results (as we both would agree) and demand a rules change from the DM?

My motivation for my peseverence in defending my point of view?
Overall, I feel that my approach to the core rules offers more enjoyment from the game, since:
- you can limit houseruling to fluff (and the consequences it carries)
- you can use the (freely available) core rules and already have a comprehensive rulesset without needing to buy more rules because you feel that non-casters need more feats, items etc.
- it is definitely easier to play than open a can of worms by adding houserule and non-core rules on top of other houserules and non-core rules, ending up with complete imbalances and more necessary rules to learn.
- most importantly, it is fun and more challenging to play all classes.

I have to ask in return: why is it so difficult for you and others to accept evidence when it is presented to you? RAW quotes, FAQ quotes, builds, theoretical excecises all the way to duel and playtest results.
Of course, also from my side no offense here - I am truly curious and at a loss.
You may answer as I did (and which in part is what this whole forum is about): that you are not convinced.

Still, I cannot explain that every hoop I jump through (set by, for instance, those who think monks and fighters are weak) to make my point for the core rules is met with denial.
Various examples
- monk can never do more than 300 damage / round in core? Done.
- fighter is weaker than an animal companion in core? Disproven (since the animal companion side uses non-core material and/or houserules to make their point. And otherwise use mount, ranged weapons and/or tower shield)
- monk not able to be a better grappler than sorcerer or cleric devoted to grappling? Done.
- wizard always safe due to contingency? Disproven.
- wizards only needing flying and invisbility to be safe from most of the CR1-10 monsters? Disproven.
- casters hardly ever running out of spells in the four encounters/day? Disproven.
- fighter unable to escape a solid fog or forcecage with (quickened) dimensional anchor? Done.
- monk unable to defeat a minotaur in single combat at level 4 by himself? Done.
- fighter unable to beat a balor at level 20? Done in one round.

The list goes on and on.

But I'll continue to pile up the evidence. I am patient. At one point or another, more and more will see the light ...:smallsmile:
Currently, though, we probably agree to disagree.

- Giacomo

edit: as an aside, I appreciate the discussion on whether astrally projected magic items can be sold, detected, or whatever.
Still, it does not matter. The wbl of the DMG holds, no matter, whether a player character got the wealth by a nice spell combo, by being an heir to some fortune, taxes from his barony, performing for 50 years (say, a starting elf bard character), killing the dragon and taking his treasure, or simple stealing (sleight of hand).

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-14, 05:42 PM
The 3.5e designers admitted that core isn't balanced. Apparently they are incorrect in their assessment of the situation.

Sir Giacomo
2009-12-14, 05:46 PM
The 3.5e designers admitted that core isn't balanced. Apparently they are incorrect in their assessment of the situation.

This is a good point. Can you point me to the orginal source and/or article?
If it is indeed the official WoTC viewpoint one can wonder about the motivation ...:smallwink:

- Giacomo

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-14, 05:51 PM
Most immediate example I can think of: They gave up on fixing Polymorph and instead went with the specific polymorph into form spells.

Incidentally, Giacomo, you still haven't responded to my point about how wizards can always go first with the Foresight + Moment of Prescience combo

Tehnar
2009-12-14, 06:03 PM
I believe Giacomo said that combo doesn't work since MoP gives its bonus only to opposed skill and ability checks. As a initiative check is not a opposed ability check, MoP does not apply to it.

The same way MoP doesn't apply to jump checks, but applies to your move silently roll.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-14, 06:07 PM
I believe Giacomo said that combo doesn't work since MoP gives its bonus only to opposed skill and ability checks. As a initiative check is not a opposed ability check, MoP does not apply to it.
At the start of a battle, each combatant makes an initiative check. An initiative check is a Dexterity check. Each character applies his or her Dexterity modifier to the roll. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/initiative.htm)

If that isn't an opposed ability check, then what is?

Oslecamo
2009-12-14, 06:10 PM
Most immediate example I can think of: They gave up on fixing Polymorph and instead went with the specific polymorph into form spells.


Says who? Look more carefull at those line of spells. They all grant special abilities that you couldn't get with the regular polymorph.

Similarly, polymorph received a major buff from 3.0 to 3.5, since players were always complaining that they wanted the monster ex abilities before 17th level (and by 17th level they wanted the su abilities).

It's not that they were trying to fix anything.

They were just giving players what they wanted. Now you can turn into a dragon that breathes fire, or a warforged titan. Happy? No? Then fine, here's 4e.

EDIT: Also, opposed checks are always called opposed. Like most base combat maneuver as grapple, trip, bullrush and friends. Iniative doesn't say opposed, so it isn't an opposed check. It's english raping like this that spawns most of the problems with 3.X.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-14, 06:16 PM
Also, opposed checks are always called opposed. Like most base combat maneuver as grapple, trip, bullrush and friends. Iniative doesn't say opposed, so it isn't an opposed check. It's english raping like this that spawns most of the problems with 3.X.

So, opposed checks based on abilities that are used to determine who grapples whom are opposed ability checks, while opposed checks based on abilities which determine the order in which combat occurs are not opposed ability checks.

At which point I shall conclude my post with "lolololol:smallsmile:l"

Good day, sir.

OracleofWuffing
2009-12-14, 06:25 PM
An opposed check is a check whose success or failure is determined by comparing the check result to another characterís check result. In an opposed check, the higher result succeeds, while the lower result fails. In case of a tie, the higher skill modifier wins. If these scores are the same, roll again to break the tie.
There isn't a "success" or "failure" to rolling initiative, no matter what you roll or what your enemy rolls, you just get added to the initiative list. Sure, the order varies, but as far as I can tell, there isn't a way to lose an initiative roll.

...

On the other hand, you do get penalized for going later than other guys in initiative, so, yeah, that is kinda a "failure." Hooray!

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-14, 06:34 PM
On the other hand, you do get penalized for going later than other guys in initiative, so, yeah, that is kinda a "failure." Hooray!

*Krok limps into the bar*

"Krok think going last a kind of failure too."

Oslecamo
2009-12-14, 06:41 PM
So, opposed checks based on abilities that are used to determine who grapples whom are opposed ability checks, while opposed checks based on abilities which determine the order in which combat occurs are not opposed ability checks.


One roll is specificaly called opposed by the rules, the other isn't. What's the hard part to grasp? Why do you only follow the rules when they suit you?



At which point I shall conclude my post with "lolololololololololololololol"


I guess this explains everything about your reasoning capacity. Good night sir!

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-14, 06:46 PM
Note the similarities:

Opposed Checks
An opposed check is a check whose success or failure is determined by comparing the check result to another characterís check result. In an opposed check, the higher result succeeds, while the lower result fails. In case of a tie, the higher skill modifier wins. If these scores are the same, roll again to break the tie.

Initiative Checks
At the start of a battle, each combatant makes an initiative check. An initiative check is a Dexterity check. Each character applies his or her Dexterity modifier to the roll. Characters act in order, counting down from highest result to lowest. In every round that follows, the characters act in the same order (unless a character takes an action that results in his or her initiative changing; see Special Initiative Actions).

If two or more combatants have the same initiative check result, the combatants who are tied act in order of total initiative modifier (highest first). If there is still a tie, the tied characters should roll again to determine which one of them goes before the other.

lesser_minion
2009-12-14, 07:15 PM
It is not written in the rules that an initiative check is an opposed ability check.

While an initiative check does have similarities to an opposed ability check, the fact that it isn't called out as one is quite intentional. It has its own rules written out, which are not word-for-word identical to those for an opposed check. Ergo, nowhere in the rules can it be inferred directly that an initiative check should be considered eligible for Moment of Prescience.

Your interpretation is nothing more than RAYITAWCPYWTYSN (Rules As You Interpret Them And We Can't Prove You Wrong To Your Satisfaction, Nyeh).

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-14, 07:18 PM
It is not written in the rules that an initiative check is an opposed ability check.

While an initiative check does have similarities to an opposed ability check, the fact that it isn't called out as one is quite intentional.


How are opposed ability checks called out?

lesser_minion
2009-12-14, 07:23 PM
How are opposed ability checks called out?


An initiative check is a dexterity check.

As opposed to:


An initiative check is a special kind of opposed dexterity check

Which is how the rule would have read if they expected you to treat it as one.

Or: your interpretation is only supported by Rules As Not Actually Written, as opposed to Rules As Actually Written.


Also, success and failure are undefined for an initiative check. Where in the rules as written is it stated that a low initiative result is a failure? Oh, wait, no, it's just a low initiative result. You could try claiming that coming last in initiative is 'failure', but that 'failure' is very different to the 'failure' you can get on a skill check.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-14, 07:24 PM
I notice you did not actually answer the question, which was "How are opposed ability checks actually defined?"

lesser_minion
2009-12-14, 07:27 PM
I notice you did not actually answer the question, which was "How are opposed ability checks actually defined?"

Differently to initiative checks.

See your own post.

The question was actually "how are opposed ability checks called out?" however, and the answer is "This is an opposed (ability) check".

tyckspoon
2009-12-14, 07:28 PM
If you want to call a specific creature, you have to name it. Your ability to name something is complete DM fiat. IIRC, there are no rules listed anywhere outside of the BoED, BoVD, and Tome of Magic for finding the name of something, and none of the relevant material from any of those books is likely to be in play.

So how do you call a nightmare with anything less than Gate?


You call for.. uh.. "a nightmare." Planar Binding provides for summoning a particular kind of creature; it only needs a specific name if you want to summon a given individual.

lesser_minion
2009-12-14, 07:29 PM
You call for.. uh.. "a nightmare." Planar Binding provides for summoning a particular kind of creature; it only needs a specific name if you want to summon a given individual.

Erm... yes. I misread the spell. That was many posts ago and I've already admitted to the mistake.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-14, 07:31 PM
Differently to initiative checks.

See your own post.

The question was actually "how are opposed ability checks called out?" however, and the answer is "This is an opposed (ability) check".

But you've yet to provide an example of how an actual opposed ability check is noted in the rules.

Let me make it clearer.

What is an actual opposed ability check, and how is it noted as such in the textual description of said opposed ability check?

tyckspoon
2009-12-14, 07:33 PM
Erm... yes. I misread the spell. That was many posts ago and I've already admitted to the mistake.

Yeah, this is why I don't usually respond to it when people get into these counter-quote wars. Too easy to miss a relevant edit. Apologies.

OracleofWuffing
2009-12-14, 07:33 PM
"Krok think going last a kind of failure too."
You, you, you. You think the whole world revolves around Krok. Krok head hurt. Krok lose arm to dragon breath. Krok no like be used as battering ram. Krok not think using king throne as target practice good idea. Krok only want give homeless five copper. I've had it up to here with your selfish Krokiness. You know what? D&D is supposed to be a team game, so get your bloodied torso into the cannon so the team can find out if we can make it to the next continent or not, before Krok get skewered so many times Krok think he's a Paladin of Swiss Cheese. I said move it!

:smallsigh: Meatshields!

That said, seeing as how the thread has moved past brokenly-powered spells and into issues of town economies and opposed ability checks, I'd like to mention Prismatic Ray as a broken spell, in that it's quite weak for a wiz/sorc 5 spell. As written, it does nothing to targets with 7 Hit Dice. I believe the idea was that such targets would receive the randomly determined effect, like Prismatic Spray does, but the... Well, what was that term Oslecamo used? English raping? That gets in the way.

lesser_minion
2009-12-14, 07:38 PM
But you've yet to provide an example of how an actual opposed ability check is noted in the rules.

Let me make it clearer.

What is an actual opposed ability check, and how is it noted as such in the textual description of said opposed ability check?

Here's one:


You make a Charisma check opposed by the creature’s Charisma check.

Used to determine whether or not a creature bound by lesser planar binding agrees to serve you.

Note that the combat rules do not say "You make a dexterity check opposed by the dexterity checks of everyone else present" either.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-14, 07:38 PM
So it must have the word "opposed" in there to qualify?

lesser_minion
2009-12-14, 07:40 PM
So it must have the word "opposed" in there to qualify?

Yes, although it should always be written in the form "(person)'s (check) opposed by (other person)'s (other check)"

Boci
2009-12-14, 07:44 PM
"Opposed by", but yes.

Doesn't really seem to be one of those crystal clear RAW issues.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-14, 07:45 PM
When you consider the phrase "opposed ability check" is not defined, and "opposed check" seems to include Initiative. (Failure in the case of Initiative is the failure to go first.)

Eldariel
2009-12-14, 07:45 PM
OK, I'll try to explain it.
To sum it up simply, I am not convinced by your arguments - or that of the "casters are more powerful than non-casters in the core 3.5 system" mainstream (or, to be more precise, the mainstream that post more often on these boards).
A typical example can be seen with the way you argued and Pharao's Fist just after your post.

Pharao's Fist, in replying to my correction of his statement that wizards always are ahead in initiative due to foresight and moment of prescience (leaving aside what happens to lower level wizards for a moment) was using exactly the rule quotes that make my point:
1) foresight has nothing to do with initiative at all, but only with the surprise round and
2) moment of prescience does not apply to ability checks (like initiative), but only to OPPOSED checks.
Taking a step back for a moment it MAY be possible to interpret it, with generosity, that indeed the wizard could add a huge amount to his initiative roll. But why choose this broken interpretation? Why?

The same goes for the knowledge checks made to even know as a wizard (not the player, the wizard! An important distinction) about what a creature from beyond could do. Sure. The wizard will know that nightmares and balors etc. exist on a 10+monster's HD. But knowing that such creatures exist is a far cry from knowing it can do that great astral projection ability for you at will or wish or whatever (or at a price? or with a drawback? who knows?).
Such knowledge comes at an extra higher DC, as described in the skill section. And even then only the DM decides what is known and what not.

There. Without any houseruling or "DM fiat" a limit is set to the calling spells. And additionally, delving more deeply into these spells a DM will find many rules that show what can go wrong with this; powerful outsiders (or those having powerful allies) seeking revenge when a player gets too greedy, for instance. These spells deal with (powerful) npcs. And npcs are completely the realm of the DM.

Why then, as a player, go with an interpretation that would lead to clearly overpowered results (as we both would agree) and demand a rules change from the DM?

See, this is where I disagree with you. I don't think, the DM can within reasonable bounds make limits harsh enough that the Wizard will fail his knowledges. If he does, players suddenly pretty much never get useful info of creatures they face meaning they'll pretty much have to fight blind. I don't think it's within DM's rights to vary the amount of info he provides of creatures depending on the purpose the info will be used.

And ultimately, there's always the issue that information denial isn't a longstanding solution to a problem; with sufficient studying/information gathering, the Wizard IS going to find out that a relatively easy-to-bind creature capable of using extremely powerful magic exists. This is unavoidable through anything but DM fiat. And sometimes the players will encounter said creature and find out about the ability that way. And sometimes players will simply start away knowing that piece of information.


In short, I don't think the solution you're proposing is any good. I don't think it's a good idea to skirt the problem and apply nerfs in other places instead of just addressing the problem itself. I don't like weakening things that don't need weakening in order to keep an overpowered ability in check. I don't want overpowered abilities in my game at all; if something can go wrong and some ability can break the game, it eventually will especially if the players don't focus on restricting their characters into using only fair abilities (which isn't their job; the game engine itself should be able to handle whatever the players throw at it with minimal DM modifications - at the point where the players have to moderate their own power, you need a very particular sort of players to keep things in check).

Moment of Prescience is arguable, I agree, but it just makes too damn much sense for someone with...precognitive sense to be able to react faster to a situation than one without for me to rule against allowing to add it to Initiative-checks.


My motivation for my peseverence in defending my point of view?
Overall, I feel that my approach to the core rules offers more enjoyment from the game, since:
- you can limit houseruling to fluff (and the consequences it carries)
- you can use the (freely available) core rules and already have a comprehensive rulesset without needing to buy more rules because you feel that non-casters need more feats, items etc.
- it is definitely easier to play than open a can of worms by adding houserule and non-core rules on top of other houserules and non-core rules, ending up with complete imbalances and more necessary rules to learn.
- most importantly, it is fun and more challenging to play all classes.

My own viewpoint here differs greatly. I feel it's the DM's responsibility to offer the players the most enjoyable play experience they can have and as such, heavy homebrewing and houseruling isn't only an option, I consider it a practical necessity.

As such, I also find using all the good WoTC-published extra sources a greatly game-enriching addition. There are a lot of character concepts I simply cannot play in Core. There are practically none I can think of that I couldn't realize with Core + Splats. This is a huge issue for me. When playing a fantasy game, I want to play the character I choose. I don't want the rules restricting what kind of a character I can create. In Core, the ropes are too tight.

Not only that, but I want all my characters to have a wide array of options, and I feel too many of the Core classes lack in terms of options (Fighter, Monk, even Barbarian and Paladin) to really enjoy playing them. Since I've found classes that fill the same role with a thousand more in-combat and out-of-combat options (mostly just extra skill points with a few abilities that can have out-of-combat impact) outside Core, of course I rather play them since I find them so much more fun.

Also, I hate the inherent imbalanceness inside Core.
- Why does Two-Weapon Fighting cost 3 feats while Two-Handed Fighting only costs one?
- Why does Sword & Board get practically entirely replaced by a simple +2 shield enhancement?
- Why aren't there enough feats for a level 20 Fighter to actually profittably use all his feats to improve his combat abilities?
- Why doesn't Monk get useful class features on most of his levels?
- Why don't martial characters' abilities and options grow exponentially as they level?
- Why the hell are all martial characters magic/magic item dependent?
- Why don't Fighters get any class features on half their levels?
- Why don't Fighters get the skill points to do something outside combat?
- Why was Two-Weapon Fighting designed so that only Rogues get good bonuses in their off-hand damage?
- Why do the Improved and Greater Two-Weapon Fighting actually give you worse bonuses than the first one?
- Why the hell are casters so gimped by multiclassing that they need ****ing PrCs just to progress two ability sets approximately near the rate needed to not fall horribly behind?

And so on. Simply put, I find the rules so full of internal imbalance and inconsistency, and so unrewarding for martial high-level play that I feel a compulsive need to fix said things.

I'm strongly of the opinion that the effort it takes to learn the fixed rules is well worth the enjoyment of playing a game where you aren't automatically penalized for making certain character choices or having certain character concept in your mind. That and getting to play whatever you want without having to worry about mechanical efficiency. I find that the biggest thing of them all.


I have to ask in return: why is it so difficult for you and others to accept evidence when it is presented to you? RAW quotes, FAQ quotes, builds, theoretical excecises all the way to duel and playtest results.
Of course, also from my side no offense here - I am truly curious and at a loss.
You may answer as I did (and which in part is what this whole forum is about): that you are not convinced.

Still, I cannot explain that every hoop I jump through (set by, for instance, those who think monks and fighters are weak) to make my point for the core rules is met with denial.
Various examples
- monk can never do more than 300 damage / round in core? Done.
- fighter is weaker than an animal companion in core? Disproven (since the animal companion side uses non-core material and/or houserules to make their point. And otherwise use mount, ranged weapons and/or tower shield)
- monk not able to be a better grappler than sorcerer or cleric devoted to grappling? Done.
- wizard always safe due to contingency? Disproven.
- wizards only needing flying and invisbility to be safe from most of the CR1-10 monsters? Disproven.
- casters hardly ever running out of spells in the four encounters/day? Disproven.
- fighter unable to escape a solid fog or forcecage with (quickened) dimensional anchor? Done.
- monk unable to defeat a minotaur in single combat at level 4 by himself? Done.
- fighter unable to beat a balor at level 20? Done in one round.

The list goes on and on.

But I'll continue to pile up the evidence. I am patient. At one point or another, more and more will see the light ...:smallsmile:
Currently, though, we probably agree to disagree.

Those tests? I don't think they mean anything. I think the whole test methodology is flawed. Why do you think I never take part in them? In a campaign, PvP abilities rarely matter. Players' abilities to solve various problems matters, as does their ability to fill certain role in combat.

Not only that, but most of the "tests" run are one-shot games using die rolls and other random elements meaning they're scientifically completely useless. That, and both sides build a character meaning it generally comes down to players' skill at building said character and mechanical playing rather than to any inherent difference in class abilities.

In short, I think there's so much wrong in all this evidence that it's completely meaningless. Many of the encounters also assume stuff that may or may not happen in real game, like chance to buff pre-combat, access to any magic items, being anywhere near WBL, being the hunter and not the hunted, etc.

I don't think methodology exists to objectively assess and test these comparisons, especially not with a sufficient sample size to generate relevant data. As such, I don't waste my energy and instead just focus on analysis on the classes and their abilities; what's written in black and white on the paper.

That allows me to conclude that they wrote some ridiculous lines in some abilities that should not be there. That also allows me to conclude that for some reason, the abilities Fighter gets as he levels get weaker and weaker after level 12 and most non-casters don't get any relevant improvements outside that of HD on many levels; in other words, the class design sucks.

I also can find multiple spells that have benefits completely disproportionate compared to other spells of the same level. Same with feats; there's Toughness and then there's Natural Spell. The designers stated that this was intentional; they wanted to add some bonus to having "rules mastery" for building characters in the spirit of competitive games like MtG. In other words, they made newbie traps. That doesn't sit well for me.

The black-and-white causes me to conclude that you either are ignoring some things or are wrong on some issues; either way, they cause me to conclude that your arguments don't hold water. This is why I'm not least bit convinced; whatever you do, not one word in the books changes. Honestly, if you can kill a Balor with a single Fighter on level 20 easily (and you can; you can do it with a ****ing level 20 Commoner using PC WBL if allowed buff spells), all that proves is that the Monster Manual is horribly written and the CRs really don't hold water.


Still, it does not matter. The wbl of the DMG holds, no matter, whether a player character got the wealth by a nice spell combo, by being an heir to some fortune, taxes from his barony, performing for 50 years (say, a starting elf bard character), killing the dragon and taking his treasure, or simple stealing (sleight of hand).

Wealth By Level is a guideline, not a hard and fast rule. No campaign ever has went exactly by WBL for the entire group. It's merely a table for DMs to figure out whether their party has as much money as the designers expected them to and adjust CRs (if only they worked) and such accordingly.

As a guideline, it's not even a rule. It "doesn't hold". If someone comes up with a scheme to make money and has the time to pull it off, good for him. He now has more money than the rest unless he shares it, in which case all have more money. If someone breaks a weapon, sucks to be him. He now has less wealth than the rest.

There's no magical correction to that; DM can either give them more wealth if he feels sorry for the guy, or he can just continue. DMG doesn't tell you to go one way or the other; all it tells you is that he's now under WBL and thus less powerful than WoTC expected and can't take as great challenges. Which you already knew. DMG doesn't say there's anything wrong with a level 20 character having all his equipment Disjoined. Sucks to be him.

Maybe he'll happen upon a Dragon's hoard or maybe he'll see what his class features really are good for. Or maybe he'll just die and roll a new character and hope his DM allows him to start with a bit more wealth.

lesser_minion
2009-12-14, 07:53 PM
Doesn't really seem to be one of those crystal clear RAW issues.

An initiative check does not fit exactly into the rules given for opposed checks, and is not described as a 'special' kind of opposed check in the rules.

It might not be 100% clear (you could think of it as a 'special' opposed check), but to my mind, the MoP initiative trick certainly isn't substantiated well by RAW.

The next level happens to be 'RAWI' - Rules As Well-Implemented, which doesn't exactly bode well for the trick's survival.


(Failure in the case of Initiative is the failure to go first.)

No initiative result is defined in the RAW as failure.

Boci
2009-12-14, 07:54 PM
If it is indeed the official WoTC viewpoint one can wonder about the motivation ...:smallwink:

- Giacomo

Following that logic surely they would have deliberatly inbalanced core to sell us supplament books to fix it?

lesser_minion
2009-12-14, 07:55 PM
Following that logic surely they would have deliberatly inbalanced core to sell us supplament books to fix it? I.E. what happened IMO, except the "deliberate" bit.

They might have deliberately imbalanced the game as a whole in order to guarantee demand for a new edition in the future.

However, this wasn't deliberate. Supplement creep is already fatal enough. That was the intentional "planned obsolescence", if there was any.

Boci
2009-12-14, 07:58 PM
They deliberately imbalanced the game as a whole in order to leave space for improvement.

Can't prove intent. Balancing a game as complex as 3rd Ed D&D cannot be easy. But the comment was addressed at Sir Giacomo who thinks that core is balanced and implied that WoTC claiming core was unbalanced was just them trying to sell supplaments.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-12-14, 07:58 PM
Still, I cannot explain that every hoop I jump through (set by, for instance, those who think monks and fighters are weak) to make my point for the core rules is met with denial.
Oh really now?

Various examples:


- monk can never do more than 300 damage / round in core? Done.
Never seen anyone say that, though I don't see why it's impossible. Probably involved Polymorph at some point though.


- fighter is weaker than an animal companion in core? Disproven (since the animal companion side uses non-core material and/or houserules to make their point. And otherwise use mount, ranged weapons and/or tower shield)
Actually, you never finished the combat because of massive infighting with the other person (me) so that the DM told both of us to cool for a week before resuming.

Incidentally, using your logic about level 13 fighters vs wizards, the fact that we drawed means that the fighter and the AC are equal.


- monk not able to be a better grappler than sorcerer or cleric devoted to grappling? Done.
Ok, I can see the sorcerer failing for obvious reasons, but when did you disprove a cleric devoted to grappling? If the cleric is of 7th level or higher, Freedom of Movement pretty much makes him immune to your grapple attempts.


- wizard always safe due to contingency? Disproven.
I'd like an actual link to this one, since I've noticed your memory of events can be a tad inaccurate when key details are involved.

But on a theoretical note, how do you counter a contingency involving teleporting away from an enemy when a rude gesture is made?


- wizards only needing flying and invisbility to be safe from most of the CR1-10 monsters? Disproven.
No one to my knowledge has ever said that.


- casters hardly ever running out of spells in the four encounters/day? Disproven.
When was this? If you're referring to the ToS dungeoncrawl with me, Jaya still has several spells left.


- fighter unable to escape a solid fog or forcecage with (quickened) dimensional anchor? Done.
And this was achieved with a Rod of Cancellation, I imagine?

Note that buying those gets expensive. Moreso than casting Forcecage+Dimension Anchor


- monk unable to defeat a minotaur in single combat at level 4 by himself? Done.
This really isn't a widespread monk myth. I've never heard it said before, at the least, and I've been around quite a while.


- fighter unable to beat a balor at level 20? Done in one round.
I'm pretty sure people found a way to do that early on in 3.5e, probably involving spirited charge and lances.

lesser_minion
2009-12-14, 08:02 PM
Can't prove intent. Balancing a game as complex as 3rd Ed D&D cannot be easy. But the comment was addressed at Sir Giacomo who thinks that core is balanced and implied that WoTC claiming core was unbalanced was just them trying to sell supplaments.

Well, I revised the post so that I wasn't flying in the face of Hanlon's Razor.

Or possibly Grey's Law.

Of course, Giacomo still is flying in the face of the razor.

Firefingers
2009-12-15, 03:49 AM
3 more opposed checks from the SRD note that each clearly states its an opposed check, I think you need to prove your interpretation for MoP as being an opposed check, as currently this doesnt seem to be supported by RAW thus making going first with MoP RAI possibly but once again thats arguable as if they intended it to be so why not simply put in FAQ or errata that Intiative checks are opposed checks.


Making a Trip Attack
Make an unarmed melee touch attack against your target. This provokes an attack of opportunity from your target as normal for unarmed attacks.

If your attack succeeds, make a Strength check opposed by the defenderís Dexterity or Strength check (whichever ability score has the higher modifier). A combatant gets a +4 bonus for every size category he is larger than Medium or a -4 penalty for every size category he is smaller than Medium. The defender gets a +4 bonus on his check if he has more than two legs or is otherwise more stable than a normal humanoid. If you win, you trip the defender. If you lose, the defender may immediately react and make a Strength check opposed by your Dexterity or Strength check to try to trip you.

Grappling Rules
Step 3
Hold. Make an opposed grapple check as a free action.

If you succeed, you and your target are now grappling, and you deal damage to the target as if with an unarmed strike.

If you lose, you fail to start the grapple. You automatically lose an attempt to hold if the target is two or more size categories larger than you are.

In case of a tie, the combatant with the higher grapple check modifier wins. If this is a tie, roll again to break the tie.

Bull Rushing

Second, you and the defender make opposed Strength checks. You each add a +4 bonus for each size category you are larger than Medium or a -4 penalty for each size category you are smaller than Medium. You get a +2 bonus if you are charging. The defender gets a +4 bonus if he has more than two legs or is otherwise exceptionally stable.

Sir Giacomo
2009-12-15, 12:02 PM
Eldariel, Pharao's Fist, you raised some interesting points and questions. I think I'll address those more comprehensively in a separate thread some time over the next weeks.

It would derail the thread (further) to do it here and I provided ideas/opinion to taltamir on what spells could be banned.

- Giacomo

Tehnar
2009-12-15, 12:47 PM
To get back on topic, here is a list of edited core spells I use in my campaigns. The carat value is how I value gems (with 1 carat = 1000 gp), and I use the appraise skill to identify magic items.


General note: spells of level 3 and below, that deal ability damage, instead deal a ability penalty.

Air Walk:
When the spell ends, the caster falls like a stone. See fly spell for details.

Alarm:
The effect of this spell is considered a trap and can be searched for and disabled.

Analyze Dweomer:
In the case of indentifying items see the appraise skill for details.

Animate dead:
Material component: You need to place one onyx gem of at least 1/40th of a carat in value per hit dice of the undead.

Arcane eye:
The created eye is the size of a normal human eye (fine). Spells that improve visual sense (such as see invisibility) do not function through the eye. It is
a magical sensor and can be detected as such.

Arcane lock:
An arcane lock spell cast upon a door, chest, or portal magically locks it. You can freely pass your own arcane lock without affecting it; otherwise, a door or object secured with this spell can be opened only by breaking in, picking its lock, or using dispel magic.The DC to lockpick the door increases by your caster level, or if the door previously did not have a lock the DC=10+CL.
Material Component: Gold dust worth 25
gp.

Astral projection:
This spell must be cast from the material plane, and you cannot use it to form a new body on the material plane. The new body formed is a exact duplicate of your current body. Any items you create are nonmagical, and the total worth of all items is 25g per person.

Blade barrier:
Note: This spell harms only creatures, not projectiles, weapons limbs and so forth that pass through it.

Blasphemy:
For this spell (and Holy word, and Dictum, and Word of Chaos) you cannot increase your caster level so that it is greater then your HD.

Blindness/deafness:
range: close

Contingecy:
Note: The act of the contingency triggering is a immediate reaction (it happens right after the triggering condition occurs). Valid triggers are such that are also valid for Magic Mouth or Symbol of X spells in addition to any effects to the caster.

Cloudkill:
Creatures over 6 HD that make their fortitude save take no CON dmg.

Create food and water:
The caster may safely cast this spell once per day. Any more then that and it may cause their deity to refuse to grant the spell.

Cure X wounds:
This is a evocation[healing] insted of conjuration[healing] spell. Also note that spells such as heal, and so forth also are evocation[healing]

Deathwatch:
This spell no longer has the [evil] descriptor.

Dispell magic (greater):
No known spell, item or power increases the efficency of this spell beyond its maximum bonus. Thus a lvl 9 caster with a dispelling chord would have a +10 bonus on dispel, not +11. Additionally magic items suppressed by this spell remain magical for the purpose of making saves (such as against a shatter spell). For greater dispel magic change the maximum bonus to +25 (instead of +20).

Entangle:
Just to point out if you make your strength or escape artist check, you can move half your speed. Also The DC is the spell DC (11+wis modifier typically).

Evard's black tentacles:
The material component (a piece of tentacle from a giant squid or giant octopus) should be available only in coastal towns or areas, and cost at least 5gp. Also some method of preservation should be applied to it.

Fly:
Should the duration expire while the caster is still aloft, the caster drops like a stone. Smarter caster are known to prepare feather fall before flying.

Gate:
The maximum HD of a single creature called is equal to your CL. Creatures called using this spell cannot use their wish or limited wish spell like abilities. You cannot command a creature to perform immediate tasks; all creatures must be negotiated with. Also called creatures remain behind on the material plane after their task is completed. Being called creatures, they are careful how they perform their given tasks. Generally they avoid situations that lead to their deaths, and take any steps to avoid such a fate.

Glitterdust
SR: Yes
Subjects affected by the blinded component of this spell can take a move action every round (which does not provoke attacks of opportunity) to wipe the dust from their eyes. Doing this allows them another save vs the original DC to remove the effect.

Heart of Earth:
Added a M component equal to 250g of diamond dust. This material component is only used up if the stoneskin function of the spell is used.

Identify:
You do not automatically identify a magic item, but gain a +20 bonus on appraise checks made to identify one item.
See appraise skill for more details.

Knock:
Target: One door, chest or box.
This spell unlocks the target. The caster must have a line of sight to the lock and makes a disable device check to open locks
with a bonus equal to his CL. So a lvl 9 caster would get +9 concerning disable device checks for the target lock. If the target
is barred, or stuck this spell has no effect. Each casting of the spell can unlock two locks on one target (make a single check
per lock).

Magic fang, greater:
Duration: 10 min/CL

Magic jar:
Focus: a gem or crystal of at least 1 carat in value.

Magic Vestment:
Duration: 1 hour/CL.
This spell replaces the magical properties of the target armor or shield. The user of this item can dismiss this spell as a free action.

Magic weapon, greater:
Duration: 1 hour/CL
This spell replaces the magical properties of the target weapon. The user of this item can dismiss this spell as a free action.

Mirror image:
Note: Images do not automatically merge and randomize, you must move for that effect to happen. See spell description in the PHB
for more details.

Mordekain's disjunction:
Area: All creatures, magic effects, magic items in a 40 ft radius burst (excluding you and your items and spells).
Each spell (excluding your own, unless you wish it) are dispelled (you still need to win the CL check), each creature is subject to a targeted dispel, and all magic items need to make a will save (carried items use their owners save) or be suppressed for 1d4 min. The dispel attempts are made as normal except the maximum bonus on dispel is equal to 5+CL (maximum +30). There is also a chance to affect artifacts or antimagic fields, see PHB for details.
Note: This spell can attempt to dispel things that are not normally dispellable, such as a prismatic wall and so on. Some effects that are
dispellable only by a wish or miracle spell cannot be dispelled by this spell.

Mordekain's magnificent mansion:
Note: While the doorway is invisible, and cannot be entered from the material plane, a dispel (on the doorway) can end the spell. If the spell is dispelled or ends while there are still people inside, they all end prone nearest to the doorway as possible.

Orb of X / lesser orb of X
Change SR=Yes
Change: This is now a conjuration and evocation spell (dual school)

Overland flight:
See fly spell for what happens when the spell ends.

Phantom steed:
It gains speed of 10ft/level, up to a maximum of 120 ft. Other similar spells (such as phantom stag from SC also have this maximum speed limit)

Plane shift:
Note: this spell does not work in Midkemia.

Polymorph:
Note: see rules compendium for details.

Power word, X
Note: Except power word, death, other power words have a duration and can be dispelled.

Raise dead:
Material components: Diamonds in value of no less the 5 carats.

Resurrection:
Material components: Diamonds in value of no less the 10 carats.

Rope trick:
This extradimensional space has room only for one person.

Scrying
The magical sensor that is used for scrying comes in place at the beginning of casting the spell. As normal with scrying any creature with a INT greater then 12 can detect the sensor by making a DC 20 INT check. Making it fairly obvious that a creature with a INT >= 12 will detect your scrying attempt before you complete it (even before the subject makes a will save).

Shapechange:
Anyone who uses this spell is instantly smiten by a giant hand appearing from the heavens, dealing 10^10 dmg. No known ability,
magic power or spell is able to counteract or avoid this display of the universe's malcontent.


Simulucrum
All numerical bonuses of the created creature are halfed. Such things include caster level, natural armor, enhancement, base attack bonus, hit points, etc. Supernatural abilities will also be reduced by 50% where appropriate. If a caster level is reduced so a creature does not meet a minimum caster level of spells or spell like abilities, it cannot use those abilities.

Soul bind:
Focus: A black sapphire gem of at least 1 carat per HD of the target in value.

Symbol of X
Of symbols and their activation: A symbol is a rune about the size of a human hand or larger. It glows faintly (gives of light as candle). The symbol has to be crafted on a surface that can support it, usually a stone column or wall. The trigger "looking" at the symbol functions as if the symbol makes a gaze attack against the "looker".


Trap the soul:
Focus: Same as for Soul bind, but can be any kind of gem.

Tree Stride
Edit: The maximum jump distance is increased by a factor of 10. That is, a jump between two oak trees is now limited to 30,000 feet instead of 3,000 feet.

True resurrection:
Material component: One diamond of at least 25 carats in value or any other gem of at least 30 carats in value.

Web:
Once free to move in the web, as part of a move action make a strength or escape artist check. If you beat DC 15, you move 5 ft
DC 20, you move 10 ft, DC 25 15 ft, and so on. You can only move up to your speed as a single move action.