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Tyndmyr
2010-01-08, 11:25 PM
It's a common assumption...you need a "balanced party". In many groups, it's considered good manners to ask what others are playing in advance to achieve this goal. What exactly IS a balanced party though, and how do we know it's necessary?

The traditional balanced party is roughly as follows:
1. Healbot. Traditionally cleric.
2. Skillmonkey. Traditionally rogue.
3. Beatstick. Traditionally fighter.
4. Arcanist. Traditionally wizard.

That's right...it's the party as played by the playtesters! Now, I know what you're thinking at this point. You're thinking, "But Tyndmyr, those playtesters used ridiculous assumptions and horribly unoptimal builds in actual playtesting, and missed all sorts of obvious things."

Well, yes. Yes they did. And since playtesting was centered around such a group, the assumption that you need such a group wasn't really tested much. Such an assumption can be found in all sorts of books, though.

So, lets look at what happens when you take elements away.

Lose the healbot. -> In combat healing is inefficient and a drain on resources anyway. You're much better off having another combatant. Out of combat healing is replaceable by potions, inexpensive wands, or gear. Or rest, in theory, but everything else is so readily available that rest isn't often used.

Lose the skillmonkey. -> You tend not to have an easy way of dealing with locks and traps. Fortunately, both can be fixed with immense damage. You know massive damage does to locks and traps? The same thing it does to everything else. Also, the entire niche can be replicated by a few arcane spells.

Lose the beatstick. -> Beatsticks are vastly subpar in actual lethality anyway, so the only thing you really lose is a damage sponge. Of course, having more firepower tends to make damage sponges unnecessary. If you really want damage sponges, arcanists can summon stuff. Or you can hire doomed chumps valued hirelings to fill the damage sponge slot.

Lose the arcanist. -> Probably the toughest to replicate, it can nonetheless be done via UMD. By midlevel, even those with UMD as a crossclass skill can have a pretty reliable activation chance. You don't really need an arcanist at low level anyhow, since that's when they're weakest.


So, you have multiple ways to actually fill every niche without actually having characters choose classes in order to do so. In most cases, it's pretty easy, and has a trivial effect at most on character builds. Unless you have a party of say, four monks, it should be remarkably easy to start with whatever classes you want to play, and just roll with that. You may very well end up being MORE efficient than a normal party.

Crow
2010-01-08, 11:33 PM
There is no such thing as a balanced party. Our group has pretty much never done it, and it isn't really neccessary. You adapt and make due with what you have. 3.5 has so much material that this is really pretty trivial to do.

I agree with your analysis for the most part.

The only exception is the general assumption that in-combat healing is a waste. Sometimes, it is better to waste that one action healing a guy up, than to have him die, and waste even more resources on a raise dead spell after combat. Sometimes, that one action would not have been enough to save the guy by eliminating an enemy instead, depending on the tactical situation. This is more strategic thinking though, rather than tactical.

Tyndmyr
2010-01-08, 11:44 PM
Actually, for healing efficiency, Im relying on an earlier work someone else did. Now sure, someone in negatives and dropping...dumping a potion down his throat may be preferably to needing to rez him. But in nearly any other situation, stopping to heal ends up being a net loss, because a single heal/potion tends to fix less hp than a single attack takes away.

You're generally far better off reducing the number of attackers. In an ideal situation, you should never need in-combat healing at all, and rely entirely on wands of lesser vigor or CLW for out of combat healing. That's probably a bit much to expect from unoptimized parties, though.

GAThraawn
2010-01-08, 11:44 PM
My biggest problem with the idea of a balanced party is that what that even represents depends greatly on the adventure being played. My current party (Star Wars game) is made up of four characters, all primarily Scoundrels: two Scoundrel/Nobles, and Scoundrel/Tech Specialist and a Scoundrel/Soldier. They even have most of the same skills and abilities, but since it's a combat light, Ocean's 11 style con game, the party is perfectly balanced.

At the other end of the spectrum, a combat-heavy game that doesn't take place in a dungeon can easily end up focusing on different strengths than imagined by the original playtesters, with the Rogue having nothing to de-trap, or glory-gosh even a Monk being useful in a city or other location that doesn't allow weapons or spell components (Sorry sir, I'll have to check your...fists...).

So, yeah, the idea of a balanced party is way to subjective to have any real meaning, and as you point out even if taken in its original context the game has too much versatility to have one optimal solution to anything *coughcasterscough* (shut up).

Fishy
2010-01-08, 11:45 PM
The point of party balance isn't to fill in all the boxes on a chart, it's so that your DM can throw a variety of interesting challenges at you guys, and everybody feels like their character is doing stuff.

Gralamin
2010-01-08, 11:48 PM
This thread should be marked with a (3.5). In 4e, a balanced party is more important, since it is harder to replicate the lost jobs. Some are easier to do without then others though.

That said, in 3.5 it really isn't very important, unless no one in the group decides to pick up a niche (or someone doesn't pick up all the niches at once). All you have really proven, though, is that each role is replaceable somehow: Not that you can do without it.

Eldariel
2010-01-08, 11:48 PM
This is mostly thanks to 3.X's versatility. Every party should have:

- Some means to restore HP
- Some means to mitigate oppositions' effectiveness
- Some means to deal with traps
- Some means to deal with social issues
- Some means to neutralize creatures and objects
- As many means as possible to acquire information of any kind
- As many means to keep them from being surprised as possible

And while the classic classes can cover that stuff, just about any character can be constructed to cover that stuff and some of those roles can even be handled by few skills, or even just an item or two. In older editions, you weren't getting healed without a Cleric and you weren't dealing with traps without a Rogue. And that Fighter WAS pretty damn comfy in the front of you on low levels. Same applies to most other class-based systems; 3e is rather unique in the freedom and openness inside a class-based system, probably what draws so many people to it in the first place.

Hardest parts to cover are really information acquisition (Wizard/Cleric/Archivist/Druid/casters all have good resources for that, but classes without are reduced to bought Divinations, Gather Information/Knowledge-checks, Survival and various social skills) and avoiding being surprised by adversaries. For those purposes, spellcasters are usually ideal and they're hard to cover if you lack casters. GL finding the Lich's Phylactery without Divinations, for example...

Tengu_temp
2010-01-08, 11:49 PM
It's worth noting that what you're saying is very 3.5-oriented. In both AD&D and 4e, for example, having a healer in the party is crucial, and a meatshield is almost as important, and casters are not better than fighters in every possible way beyond third level.

Ninja'ed, of course. Ah well.

Thurbane
2010-01-08, 11:51 PM
My current party is Dragon Shaman 12 (me), Beguiler 12, Druid 12, Monk 12 and Fighter 11, so we generally don't fit the standard party role type arrangement.

With my Touch of Vitality, I can heal 120 points as a standard action. It has quite often meant the difference between life and death for myself and the others in combat. I also have an Amulet of Retributive Healing, so if I need to heal someone else, I can heal myself at the same time.

Of course I agree that low-level healing is suboptimal in combat, however.

It's worth noting that what you're saying is very 3.5-oriented. In both AD&D and 4e, for example, having a healer in the party is crucial, and a meatshield is almost as important, and casters are not better than fighters in every possible way beyond third level.

Ninja'ed, of course. Ah well.
Really? I've not played much 4E, but I thought healing surges made a healer less crucial than 3.5?

Crow
2010-01-08, 11:51 PM
The other issue with in-combat healing is that by preventing that one comrade from dying, he may very well account for many more enemies throughout the battle. You may end up losing a significant force-multiplier, depending on the comrade's class, in the name of "efficiency". That is the problem with this blanket idea that you should never "waste" actions on in-combat healing.

Gralamin
2010-01-08, 11:52 PM
The other issue with in-combat healing is that by preventing that one comrade from dying, he may very well account for many more enemies throughout the battle. You may end up losing a significant force-multiplier, depending on the comrade's class, in the name of "efficiency". That is the problem with this blanket idea that you should never "waste" actions on in-combat healing.

Thats why everyone in my groups buy healing belts. Cheap fast healing that renews everyday, for emergencies.

Fuzzie Fuzz
2010-01-08, 11:56 PM
My party right now is two strikers and a defender, (feylock, melee ranger, and pally) and they have enough damage output to smash through most encounters I throw at them with no problem. The pally is tough enough to act as a damage sponge and survive, and the feylock and the ranger just avoid getting hit. Plus, the pally can heal them all when necessary, so he's both Healbot and Beatstick. The warlock can act as the Arcanist when necessary, and they all have the skills of a rogue spread amongst them, so that fills the Skillmonkey category. So all in all, the three-person, irregularly made party fills all the gaps pretty well.

Anyways, I agree.

RebelRogue
2010-01-08, 11:57 PM
Really? I've not played much 4E, but I thought healing surges made a healer less crucial than 3.5?
Without a Leader, you can usually only spend one Healing Surge per encounter and then only as a Standard Action (unless you're a dwarf). Therefore Leader is (IMO) one of the most important roles to have in a 4E party. The other bonuses they provide are often very good as well.

JeminiZero
2010-01-08, 11:57 PM
Lose the skillmonkey. -> You tend not to have an easy way of dealing with locks and traps. Fortunately, both can be fixed with immense damage. You know massive damage does to locks and traps? The same thing it does to everything else. Also, the entire niche can be replicated by a few arcane spells.


I should point out that doing immense damage to traps in what is essentially a confined dunegeon environment might lead to potentially fatal cave-ins. Like Rocks Fall Everyone Dies, except that it was clearly the PCs that destroyed the pillar holding up said rocks.

Thurbane
2010-01-08, 11:59 PM
The easiest way to deal with traps for a party without a skillmonkey is summoning low level creatures and having them travel ahead to spring traps. This can be quite resource intensive, unless you are using a reserve feat or other renewable source.

Yukitsu
2010-01-09, 12:01 AM
The other issue with in-combat healing is that by preventing that one comrade from dying, he may very well account for many more enemies throughout the battle. You may end up losing a significant force-multiplier, depending on the comrade's class, in the name of "efficiency". That is the problem with this blanket idea that you should never "waste" actions on in-combat healing.

I've never really seen an encounter where the enemy is still at high strength, and the party has someone on low strength, and where healing him would somehow prevent party death, as opposed to a TPK regardless of the actions taken.

In all instances, when someone is on low HP in my group, they get a few more hits in and shuffle to the back row of the party, while the rest renew their efforts. It's not like even half prepared adventurers cannot contribute something relevant at multiple ranges.

I play high optimization though, so combat tends to be 4 rounds at most. If we're low on HP, and the enemy is going strong either because they caused that much damage in one or two rounds, or we failed to do any damage in 3-4 rounds, most of the time we'll retreat.

Tengu_temp
2010-01-09, 12:02 AM
Really? I've not played much 4E, but I thought healing surges made a healer less crucial than 3.5?

Between combats, yes - it takes at most 20 minutes of rest to get from 1 HP to max. In-combat healing, however, is an important aspect of 4e, unless your party has the devil's own luck and gets hit rarely and/or for very little damage. But usually, the party will get hit a lot, especially the defender - without a leader you can only stock up on healing potions and hope it's sufficient.

JaronK
2010-01-09, 12:02 AM
Lose the healbot. -> In combat healing is inefficient and a drain on resources anyway. You're much better off having another combatant. Out of combat healing is replaceable by potions, inexpensive wands, or gear. Or rest, in theory, but everything else is so readily available that rest isn't often used.

That assumes inexpensive gear is always available via magic marts. That's not true in many games (heck, most of the games I've played). As such, someone who can heal is very nice. However, downtime healing is far more important than the generally poor in combat healing, so classes like Crusaders, Dread Necromancers, Binders, and DMM Clerics do this job MUCH better. They are of course far more than just heal bots... the fact that they can downtime heal is a small aspect of their job.


Lose the skillmonkey. -> You tend not to have an easy way of dealing with locks and traps. Fortunately, both can be fixed with immense damage. You know massive damage does to locks and traps? The same thing it does to everything else. Also, the entire niche can be replicated by a few arcane spells.

You've never played WLD or any other similarly lethally trapped game, I take it. Many campaigns feature such traps as "take 6d6 damage at level 2 from a fireball" or "die instantly." Meanwhile, spells don't easily handle searching for traps or other continuous abilities. Some skills are easily duplicated by spells (usually divine, not arcane... Divine Insight for Diplomacy, for example), but others... not so much.


Lose the beatstick. -> Beatsticks are vastly subpar in actual lethality anyway, so the only thing you really lose is a damage sponge. Of course, having more firepower tends to make damage sponges unnecessary. If you really want damage sponges, arcanists can summon stuff. Or you can hire doomed chumps valued hirelings to fill the damage sponge slot.

This depends entirely on the overall power level of the party. A good charging Barbarian/Fighter can put out 4 digit damage numbers spread over a significant number of enemies by level 12, and if that's "subpar in actual lethality" you're playing VERY intense games. I doubt most people play that kind of difficulty. While I agree that "beatstick" is hardly a necessary role, having someone that can dish out massive damage numbers is awfully handy.


Lose the arcanist. -> Probably the toughest to replicate, it can nonetheless be done via UMD. By midlevel, even those with UMD as a crossclass skill can have a pretty reliable activation chance. You don't really need an arcanist at low level anyhow, since that's when they're weakest.

Again, the UMD route is only viable if the DM is handing you everything you want (magic marts or custom treasure).

Your conclusions seem viable only in very specific sorts of games, at least with the logic you're using.

Now, with that, I fully agree that the sort of balanced party you're talking about isn't necessary at all (I just disagree with parts of your logic). I'd want someone to heal, someone to handle spells, and someone on important skills... but a DMM Cleric can handle all that, ensuring that you can fill out the remaining slots with anything you want. A Factotum could handle most of it (including making any necessary magic items) and a Binder could handle a lot of it.

JaronK

Yukitsu
2010-01-09, 12:10 AM
I believe Tyndmyr is assuming the standard game, ergo, standard wealth by level, items sold based on standard availability charts for population, etc.

Amphetryon
2010-01-09, 12:13 AM
All that I tell parties that I'm DMing, as far as roles are concerned, is that they need someone who can deal with traps in some way, someone who can provide healing in some way, someone who can deal with an enemy arcanist in some way, and someone who has some use for the armor and weapons the various mooks will drop. This has often led to groups with nobody filling the traditional 'beatstick' role, or to groups who fill it by having an elven Wizard and a human Scout (for instance) along with Druidzilla to have someone in the group who might, possibly, use that magic longsword from the first level bossfight.

Kantolin
2010-01-09, 12:18 AM
Doesn't 'arcanist' mean 'blaster'? And thus is considerably more replacable than 'arcane spellcaster'?

Tyndmyr
2010-01-09, 12:22 AM
The other issue with in-combat healing is that by preventing that one comrade from dying, he may very well account for many more enemies throughout the battle. You may end up losing a significant force-multiplier, depending on the comrade's class, in the name of "efficiency". That is the problem with this blanket idea that you should never "waste" actions on in-combat healing.

If you have people at death's door this early in combat, you already have efficiency problems elsewhere.

But seriously, preventing someone from dying, unless they are bleeding out, is typically more doable by offensive action than by healing.

Soranar
2010-01-09, 12:28 AM
It's a common assumption...you need a "balanced party".

-depending on your DM, you do


In many groups, it's considered good manners to ask what others are playing in advance to achieve this goal. What exactly IS a balanced party though, and how do we know it's necessary?

-first time you try going around with 4 wizards at level 1 and see what kind of fun you have


The traditional balanced party is roughly as follows:
1. Healbot. Traditionally cleric.
2. Skillmonkey. Traditionally rogue.
3. Beatstick. Traditionally fighter.
4. Arcanist. Traditionally wizard.

-tradition ? those are extremely vague classes: a heal bot can easily dual as a bad Beatstick or an Arcanist or both (druid, cleric), a skillmonkey usually doubles as a beatstick (Rogue multiclassing, Factotum, etc) , a beatstick usually doubles as a healer/ arcanist (Bard, Paladin, etc)


So, lets look at what happens when you take elements away.

Lose the healbot. -> In combat healing is inefficient and a drain on resources anyway. You're much better off having another combatant.

-true and not true, preventing damage or effects (through buffs) can make many fights possible instead of suicidal , healbots don't just heal


Out of combat healing is replaceable by potions, inexpensive wands, or gear. Or rest, in theory, but everything else is so readily available that rest isn't often used.

-you assume your DM will play by your rules


Lose the skillmonkey. -> You tend not to have an easy way of dealing with locks and traps. Fortunately, both can be fixed with immense damage. You know massive damage does to locks and traps? The same thing it does to everything else. Also, the entire niche can be replicated by a few arcane spells.

-again you assume a DM is not out to get you


Lose the beatstick. -> Beatsticks are vastly subpar in actual lethality anyway, so the only thing you really lose is a damage sponge. Of course, having more firepower tends to make damage sponges unnecessary. If you really want damage sponges, arcanists can summon stuff. Or you can hire doomed chumps valued hirelings to fill the damage sponge slot.

-most DMs I know don't allow doomed chumps to survive their first fight, then you're surrounded by higher CR mooks with not meatshield


Lose the arcanist. -> Probably the toughest to replicate, it can nonetheless be done via UMD. By midlevel, even those with UMD as a crossclass skill can have a pretty reliable activation chance. You don't really need an arcanist at low level anyhow, since that's when they're weakest.

-then you assume you're only going to play a low level campaign? don't you keep playing the same characters for more than a session or two?


So, you have multiple ways to actually fill every niche without actually having characters choose classes in order to do so. In most cases, it's pretty easy, and has a trivial effect at most on character builds. Unless you have a party of say, four monks, it should be remarkably easy to start with whatever classes you want to play, and just roll with that. You may very well end up being MORE efficient than a normal party.

-the keyword you want to avoid is assume, everything campaign and DM is different: sure some DMs never bother to learn how to use traps properly (and not let summons trigger them, like having a doorknob trapped instead of a brick) and some spells let you know where traps are but I find putting an explosive trap on treasure (that gets destroyed by said explosion) is a sure way to encourage skill monkeys

at higher levels go for multiple antimagic fields and see if you don't miss your beatsticks: good DMs reward versatility and punish PCs that don't respect their ennemies (Tucker's Kobolds anyone?)

Yukitsu
2010-01-09, 12:31 AM
Nothing you've said would compel me to want a beatstick in my all wizard party, nor a rogue, nor a healer. Or the party of a healer and 3 beatsticks to include an arcanist and skill monkey. Or the skill monkey, 2 arcanist party. DM's attempts at enforcing the use of those roles be damned, they just aren't necessary with the proper application of creativity and cunning.

Tyndmyr
2010-01-09, 12:34 AM
That assumes inexpensive gear is always available via magic marts. That's not true in many games (heck, most of the games I've played). As such, someone who can heal is very nice. However, downtime healing is far more important than the generally poor in combat healing, so classes like Crusaders, Dread Necromancers, Binders, and DMM Clerics do this job MUCH better. They are of course far more than just heal bots... the fact that they can downtime heal is a small aspect of their job.

Well, balance assumptions are based mainly on stock levels of magic. If you go to extremely low magic settings, then casters are harder to replace. Primarily the arcanist niche.

On the flip side, there should be a lesser need for arcanist specific stuff in a low magic campaign.


You've never played WLD or any other similarly lethally trapped game, I take it. Many campaigns feature such traps as "take 6d6 damage at level 2 from a fireball" or "die instantly." Meanwhile, spells don't easily handle searching for traps or other continuous abilities. Some skills are easily duplicated by spells (usually divine, not arcane... Divine Insight for Diplomacy, for example), but others... not so much.

Heck, there's a CR1 trap with 4d6 damage. It can crit. That's an average of 14 damage, not counting crits...enough to put down a lot of characters.

The problem? It's a DC 20 disable device check. Failing that by 5 or more is quite possible at level 1, even by a decently built skillmonkey.

On the other hand, triggering the trap in such a way that nobody is in the kill zone is completely safe. Use a ten foot pole, a summon...a henchman if desired.

WLD isn't terribly standard(I do own it), but honestly, I'd still consider the skillmonkey slot replaceable in it.


This depends entirely on the overall power level of the party. A good charging Barbarian/Fighter can put out 4 digit damage numbers spread over a significant number of enemies by level 12, and if that's "subpar in actual lethality" you're playing VERY intense games. I doubt most people play that kind of difficulty. While I agree that "beatstick" is hardly a necessary role, having someone that can dish out massive damage numbers is awfully handy.

True...but you can do it as a cleric...or as a druid or....hey, there's a ridiculous number of ways to get rather respectable damage numbers. In terms of four digit damage numbers at level 12? Unnecessary. Nothing has that many hp. It requires a very unusual circumstance for that to be all useful.

Uberchargers are good for ridiculous damage numbers...it's just that ridiculous damage numbers aren't really needed in most games.

PhoenixRivers
2010-01-09, 12:36 AM
But in nearly any other situation, stopping to heal ends up being a net loss, because a single heal/potion tends to fix less hp than a single attack takes away.
Depends on the heal. It's quite possible to have a layered defense (miss chance, AC, distance from target) that lowers an enemy's accuracy to once every 2-3 rounds. In that case, a single large heal may be efficient. I'm not talking dropping a potion. I'm talking the big guns. Heal, and the like. Also factored in that healing includes ability damage, and removal of negative status effects (neg levels, paralysis, etc).

In the case of neg levels, an ally has a fight long penalty to everything he does. In the case of things like paralysis, exhaustion, and the like, they can render a character unable to act at all. In such cases, healing said character will replace the action that you use casting.

You're generally far better off reducing the number of attackers.1 action won't always do that. And you know what the difference is between the offensive ability of an opponent at full life and one at 1 hp? You guessed it.

In an ideal situation, you should never need in-combat healing at all, and rely entirely on wands of lesser vigor or CLW for out of combat healing.Bolded for emphasis. If fights are commonly under ideal conditions, your DM is likely being easy on you. Fights are messy, ugly affairs.

Healers are good, especially when, like a cleric, they don't need to prepare healing, and instead can convert as needed. Also good is a druid, who can prepare healing, and switch them to meatshields via SNA as needed.

But ideal conditions rarely occur, in my experience.


That's probably a bit much to expect from unoptimized parties, though.
Or even optimized parties, vs optimized enemies.

A good offense will get you far, but it by no means replaces the need for a defense.

Flickerdart
2010-01-09, 12:37 AM
The easiest way to deal with traps for a party without a skillmonkey is summoning low level creatures and having them travel ahead to spring traps. This can be quite resource intensive, unless you are using a reserve feat or other renewable source.
Resetting traps and Alarm, now serving.

PhoenixRivers
2010-01-09, 12:41 AM
Resetting traps and Alarm, now serving.

Not as big an issue, on the reset. The idea is to know its there. After you know that, it's much easier to deal with it/destroy it.

The alarm does notify, but no more than if the party walked into it. By mid levels, an Arcane Sight will see the Alarm in enough time to disable it.

JaronK
2010-01-09, 12:43 AM
-first time you try going around with 4 wizards at level 1 and see what kind of fun you have

Did that. We were horrendously overpowered. Colorspray Spam followed by Coup de Gras is basically unstoppable, especially once we could afford some riding dogs (i.e. level 2). Admittedly, the DM didn't throw traps at us.

JaronK

Optimystik
2010-01-09, 12:44 AM
Doesn't 'arcanist' mean 'blaster'? And thus is considerably more replacable than 'arcane spellcaster'?

"Arcanist" means "user of arcane magic," and covers blasters, beguilers and everything in between.

JaronK
2010-01-09, 12:47 AM
True...but you can do it as a cleric...or as a druid or....hey, there's a ridiculous number of ways to get rather respectable damage numbers.

Agreed. But if your point was that you don't need all the roles filled by different people, that's different from saying the roles don't need to be filled. I mean, in our WLD group the beatsticks are Crusaders and Cleric/PrC Paladins, so obviously healing is a non issue for us.


In terms of four digit damage numbers at level 12? Unnecessary. Nothing has that many hp. It requires a very unusual circumstance for that to be all useful. Uberchargers are good for ridiculous damage numbers...it's just that ridiculous damage numbers aren't really needed in most games.

Right, but you said beatsticks were "subpar in actual lethality." Now you're saying the damage they do is unnecessarily high (that latter I actually agree with).

At the end of the day, there's lots of ways to deal damage, and beatsticks are certainly not subpar at it if made well (and any other method of dealing damage can be subpar if made badly).

JaronK

Tyndmyr
2010-01-09, 12:49 AM
-first time you try going around with 4 wizards at level 1 and see what kind of fun you have

It's awesome. I'm currently playing in a pbp with seven casters at level 4. I think we average at least a kill per round per caster. Nobody's gone into negatives yet. The sheer lethality of things like color spray and sleep for downing waves of people is amazing.

By all casters, I mean all arcanists. Mostly wizards. No clerics or people with high hit die.


-tradition ? those are extremely vague classes: a heal bot can easily dual as a bad Beatstick or an Arcanist or both (druid, cleric), a skillmonkey usually doubles as a beatstick (Rogue multiclassing, Factotum, etc) , a beatstick usually doubles as a healer/ arcanist (Bard, Paladin, etc)

People have gotten away from the "standard" party somewhat, yes...but this is pretty much the steriotypical balanced party from the books.


-true and not true, preventing damage or effects (through buffs) can make many fights possible instead of suicidal , healbots don't just heal

Buffing is great, but strictly speaking, it's not really a healbot thing. It's also available, in varying forms, from a startling array of classes. Arcanists in particular have a wild variety of buffs. There's really no reason to consider this a reason to bring healbots with.


-you assume your DM will play by your rules

Not at all. I merely assume they play more or less by the book rules. Non class based healing is widely available in typical environments including core only.


-again you assume a DM is not out to get you

A DM who is "out to get you" is an entirely separate issue from niches, and is a DMing problem. This problem is entirely separate from party balance, and exact class makeup isn't really important to solving it.


-most DMs I know don't allow doomed chumps to survive their first fight, then you're surrounded by higher CR mooks with not meatshield

If it's an encounter you could have reasonably survived with the steriotypical "balanced party", it's an encounter you can survive with another party, presuming roughly equal tier classes.

If your DM is deciding to arbitrarily surround you with masses of over CRed mobs because he is unhappy over your class choices, he's a jerk. This problem is not solvable by changing classes.


-then you assume you're only going to play a low level campaign? don't you keep playing the same characters for more than a session or two?

Not at all. At low levels, arcanists are not nearly as important. Almost every enemy can be solved by hitting it repeatedly. This is also the level at which UMD checks are hard to make.

At high levels, you need arcane resources more, but UMD checks are easier to make. See how it doesn't require low level only campaigns?


-the keyword you want to avoid is assume, everything campaign and DM is different: sure some DMs never bother to learn how to use traps properly (and not let summons trigger them, like having a doorknob trapped instead of a brick) and some spells let you know where traps are but I find putting an explosive trap on treasure (that gets destroyed by said explosion) is a sure way to encourage skill monkeys

Variety in traps is great. Explosive runes on treasure? Yeah, thats a DC 28 to find and disable, with a chance to fail and blow the treasure anyway. Or you can just dispel it with very similar odds of success. Dispel Magic is a bog standard spell.

Or you could just, I dunno, avoid reading the strange looking runes on the unidentified treasure in the middle of the dungeon. Problem solved.


at higher levels go for multiple antimagic fields and see if you don't miss your beatsticks: good DMs reward versatility and punish PCs that don't respect their ennemies (Tucker's Kobolds anyone?)

Versatility and respect for your enemies are entirely different from the "balanced class" issue.

A full party of wizards, say, can still be immensely versatile, and do have counters for multiple antimagic fields.

Jack_Simth
2010-01-09, 12:49 AM
The easiest way to deal with traps for a party without a skillmonkey is summoning low level creatures and having them travel ahead to spring traps. This can be quite resource intensive, unless you are using a reserve feat or other renewable source.
Unseen Servant + mundane sack + method of getting rocks + Detect Magic + direct damage. Nothing over 1st level spells needed (fighter and Wizard can pull it off, but Sorcerer's better if you're going this route a lot).

graeylin
2010-01-09, 12:49 AM
while i totally agree with the OP that you don't NEED a balanced party, ie, one of each major class, i think the examples of "why" that were presented didn't really make the case for that.

I feel it less than effective to say "we don't really need a healer in the party. all we need is enough magic to replace the healer, and we are golden!" Taken to the extreme, we don't need fighters, healers, arcanists or rogues... a monk with enough magic can fill all those roles.

Do you need a balance of player characters to succeed? No, likely not. I think 4 fighters could have a great time playing, with some helpful magic here and there to make up the lack of diversity.

Do you need a blend (balance?) of the many skills, feats and traits that said diversity in PC's would normally bring? I believe so. If you don't think so, how well would a group of 2 fighters, a rogue and a mage do in a world with no healing magic, of any kind? No potions, no wands, no scrolls or temples with heals or restorations?

Tyndmyr
2010-01-09, 12:53 AM
Agreed. But if your point was that you don't need all the roles filled by different people, that's different from saying the roles don't need to be filled. I mean, in our WLD group the beatsticks are Crusaders and Cleric/PrC Paladins, so obviously healing is a non issue for us.

It's the conflation of class with the abilities that I'm protesting.

Even in the OP, I don't say that, for example, you can entirely ignore healing or arcane support...I point out that you don't need specific class choices to cover them, and that the needs can be adequately covered with nearly any class mix.

Yes, it's possible to design parties with an inability to do so(four VoP monks for example), but frankly, that almost requires work.


Right, but you said beatsticks were "subpar in actual lethality." Now you're saying the damage they do is unnecessarily high (that latter I actually agree with).

Lethality isn't just about damage.

Cindy is the perfect example. That build is extremely lethal....not because of the damage totals, which are decent, but not insane. No, it's lethal because it's nearly unstoppable. This is the main problem melee faces.

Alcopop
2010-01-09, 12:54 AM
Why do people keep saying that healing is a wasted act? yeah the cure line is horrible but drop a well placed heal on an injured/conditionscrewed party member and you can turn the tied for the entire combat. More so when your tricky with it (chain tricks, quicken jazz, that kinda thing). But I suppose before 6th level spells healing is a bit of a waste...

Hrm, I think I just answered my own question.

taltamir
2010-01-09, 12:54 AM
I always thought a balanced party was a form of role play...
when the army sends a small covert team to do something, they usually have a communication operator (who carries the radio), demolition expert, translator (local tongue), sniper, etc etc... Whatever is needed for that particular mission of course.

My logic is that the characters (not the players) will look for a group where their skills are needed and appreciated.
Of course, in a highly highly optimized DnD 3.5e game with magic marts TM and by the raw WBL, it is better to have a party made entirely of clerics, wizards, and druids; or nitch specialized units who use other broken rules to obscenely rape the game world (aka, the ubercharger; the multi attacker who can do an infinite loop of strikes against an enemy, etc).

But having a "balanced party" makes sense for the average group of plucky level 1 would be adventurers...

Now, what I Would argue against is the notion of adhering to roles that are not really fun for many, like "healbot McCleric", "Wizard McBuffMe", "Rogue McUslessInCombat" and "Fight McRetard who is only good at grunting, and at jumping in the path of enemy swords".
while you might play a role, that role might not be as good or even necessary as WOTC believes, and it might certainly not be fun... It is completely acceptable to get a hireling cleric NPC to be your healbot.

Tyndmyr
2010-01-09, 12:55 AM
Do you need a blend (balance?) of the many skills, feats and traits that said diversity in PC's would normally bring? I believe so. If you don't think so, how well would a group of 2 fighters, a rogue and a mage do in a world with no healing magic, of any kind? No potions, no wands, no scrolls or temples with heals or restorations?

Well, if there are clerics, then you can still hire one per the henchman rules, no? If there are no clerics, it's kind of pointless, because there's really no choice.

This is a dramatic setting change. No published setting lacks healing magic entirely. If you change the rules enough, you can arrive at any situation you want. However, in anything vaguely close to a normal setting, healing magic is available somewhere.

Typewriter
2010-01-09, 12:55 AM
Not at all. I merely assume they play more or less by the book rules. Non class based healing is widely available in typical environments including core only.



While, from a raw standpoint, I agree with pretty much everything you've said so far(nothing is necessary when you have everything available to you), I would like to point out that it's a DMs job to decide what exists in a gaming world, and there is nothing that says "Every item in this book is available in every city in infinite numbers", which is how a lot of RAW players tend to play it as.

Like I said I don't disagree with most of what you said, but it always bothers me when people refer to others as 'not playing by the book rules' when that's not exactly the case.

Tyndmyr
2010-01-09, 12:59 AM
None of these are dependant on the existance of specific items, though.

If your DM says "core only", you can't get belts of healing, sure...but you can find wands. Potions. If the exact one you want isn't available, you make do with what is. There are dozens of forms of healing available in core alone, some of which are quite cheap and common.

If you're ruling away all of them, you ARE changing the game very significantly.

taltamir
2010-01-09, 01:01 AM
BTW, I object to the whole "there is no point to in combat healing".

1. It assumes a cleric with access to broken spells and a very good build who can easily insta gib enemies.
2. It ignores the case where there is only one VERY dangerous opponent surrounded by a bunch of PCs.
3. It ignores the whole "dying" thing... (part of the suggestion was to use a 10gp blessed bandage from MiC to auto stabilize people)
4. It ignores cases where the only person in the group capable of harming the enemy has just been down by an extremely lucky shot (got double critted)... also, again it assumes the cleric is uber built with deadly spells and probably DMM persist and can easily wipe the floor with anything they might be fighting

Many times combat healing is an absolute must.
Yes, quite often there are better things to do then heal in combat. But that doesn't mean it is ALWAYS worthless.

Tavar
2010-01-09, 01:01 AM
Depends on the heal. It's quite possible to have a layered defense (miss chance, AC, distance from target) that lowers an enemy's accuracy to once every 2-3 rounds. In that case, a single large heal may be efficient. I'm not talking dropping a potion. I'm talking the big guns. Heal, and the like.So, assuming for a second that we aren't talking about Heal level spells, In combat healing is a waste of actions, yes? Because I think that's what the OP was talking about. Yes, Heal is good, but it's not available for most levels, and most groups that want a healbot are thinking about the cure line of spells.


Also factored in that healing includes ability damage, and removal of negative status effects (neg levels, paralysis, etc).

In the case of neg levels, an ally has a fight long penalty to everything he does. In the case of things like paralysis, exhaustion, and the like, they can render a character unable to act at all. In such cases, healing said character will replace the action that you use casting.
So, the need for non-healing spells means that healing spells are needed? Something doesn't follow here....

1 action won't always do that. And you know what the difference is between the offensive ability of an opponent at full life and one at 1 hp? You guessed it.
Perhaps, but, again baring heal, IC healing won't really help keep a teammate alive either. So it's a wash, except that at the least continuing to attack will reduce the enemies numbers faster, which should be your goal.


Bolded for emphasis. If fights are commonly under ideal conditions, your DM is likely being easy on you. Fights are messy, ugly affairs.

Healers are good, especially when, like a cleric, they don't need to prepare healing, and instead can convert as needed. Also good is a druid, who can prepare healing, and switch them to meatshields via SNA as needed.
I don't know. I'm not going to say that I've never needed healing: far from it, I often do. But in all of those situations IC healing(barring Heal) wouldn't have helped.



Right, but you said beatsticks were "subpar in actual lethality." Now you're saying the damage they do is unnecessarily high (that latter I actually agree with).

At the end of the day, there's lots of ways to deal damage, and beatsticks are certainly not subpar at it if made well (and any other method of dealing damage can be subpar if made badly).

Lethality is not simply measured by how big the numbers you can throw around are. It includes such things as ability to connect and ability to adapt to new situations. This last one is where non-casters have the biggest problem, and thus is the major factor in their sub-par lethality.

taltamir
2010-01-09, 01:02 AM
None of these are dependant on the existance of specific items, though.

If your DM says "core only", you can't get belts of healing, sure...but you can find wands. Potions. If the exact one you want isn't available, you make do with what is. There are dozens of forms of healing available in core alone, some of which are quite cheap and common.

If you're ruling away all of them, you ARE changing the game very significantly.

a lot of DMs say "you find very little money as reward, and magic markets don't exist, if you want an item, you have to custom order it"...
Oh, and core only.

So when the option is a wand of CLW for 750gp or some other MUCH needed item, the CLW might be cost prohibitive.

JaronK
2010-01-09, 01:04 AM
It's the conflation of class with the abilities that I'm protesting.

Even in the OP, I don't say that, for example, you can entirely ignore healing or arcane support...I point out that you don't need specific class choices to cover them, and that the needs can be adequately covered with nearly any class mix.

Yes, it's possible to design parties with an inability to do so(four VoP monks for example), but frankly, that almost requires work.

Oh, well that's fine then. No, you don't need to spread out the abilities over the whole party or have them in specific classes. If your party can cast utility spells, deal with traps and other important skill jobs, destroy enemies and heal during downtime you're golden, regardless of who can do that (a Cloistered Cleric with the Kobold Domain can do all of that, for example). That wasn't really clear from the OP, but I certainly agree with that claim.


Lethality isn't just about damage.

Yes, but if you can remove enemies from the board you're good, and a well made melee ought to be able to do that pretty effectively. If you're knocking out 2-3 enemies a round, then you're solid, and melee can certainly do that. That's not subpar at all.

JaronK

Coidzor
2010-01-09, 01:06 AM
a lot of DMs say "you find very little money as reward, and magic markets don't exist, if you want an item, you have to custom order it"...
Oh, and core only.

So when the option is a wand of CLW for 750gp or some other MUCH needed item, the CLW might be cost prohibitive.

Yeah, that's massively changing the nature of the game by making the characters that starved that they can consider giving up a basic resource.


So where's this "No healing in combat ever" coming from? All of the guides I've seen have said something more along the lines of "having to heal in combat is something that should be avoided rather than done as a matter of course." Due to "incombat healing being usually less optimal than the other options available to a healing-capable character."

Which is generally true, as a good cleric's cure spells should never be prepared as cure spells due to the fact that spontaneous curing means they can convert, say, a summon monster II spell into a cure moderate wounds if they need to, but that summon monster II, if it's possible to be applied early enough will be better to prevent the beatstick from needing the cure moderate wounds, in most cases.

Other healing-capable classes have other examples, most of them spell-related or just helping with the damage so that the heavy goes down faster so that no one has time to drop as low as otherwise.

Tavar
2010-01-09, 01:07 AM
Why does the easy availability of CLW wands mean "magic mart"? Do churches exist? Do clerics/adepts/FS/Divine casters? Do they need money? They why not craft items? If so, why not craft an obviously popular one such at the wand? In a non-uber low magic setting (at which point any normal DnD assumptions can be thrown out the window), I'd find it much more odd to not find such items.

Typewriter
2010-01-09, 01:08 AM
None of these are dependant on the existance of specific items, though.

If your DM says "core only", you can't get belts of healing, sure...but you can find wands. Potions. If the exact one you want isn't available, you make do with what is. There are dozens of forms of healing available in core alone, some of which are quite cheap and common.

If you're ruling away all of them, you ARE changing the game very significantly.

But the assumption that you can find whatever you need is what leads to such a lack of balance in most games. I've only ever played one character that was able to be created at WBL and it was probably around 4 times more powerful than any other character I'd ever played. Every other campaign I've played in the shops have limited numbers of supplies, and that makes the party trying to cover it's bases important. I DM for my group most of the time and I've only ever run one campaign in which the party had WBL to spend on whatever they wanted, and it was ridiculous compared to a normal group. I'm not saying that shops shouldn't have anything, but in all actuality what magic shop has a cleric powerful enough sitting in it to simply crap out dozens of healing potions and wands all day long? World economy, and the decision of what exists in any given city, is part of a DMs job. My groups tend to play things out in, what I consider to be, a somewhat more reasonable approach.

If that's not the way you play, then that's fine, but not doing so is, from everything I've read, not 'not playing by the game rules'.

taltamir
2010-01-09, 01:10 AM
Why does the easy availability of CLW wands mean "magic mart"? Do churches exist? Do clerics/adepts/FS/Divine casters? Do they need money? They why not craft items? If so, why not craft an obviously popular one such at the wand? In a non-uber low magic setting (at which point any normal DnD assumptions can be thrown out the window), I'd find it much more odd to not find such items.

oh sure, you will find them in churches. I wasn't saying that the magic marts don't exist = no cure light wounds items. Just pointing out the type of setting where that occurs. (also that means something much more exotic than CLW will not be readily available)

The issue was really the 750gp cost in such a setting.
When its the WBL of a 5th level character.

Tavar
2010-01-09, 01:13 AM
oh sure, you will find them in churches. I wasn't saying that the magic marts don't exist = no cure light wounds items. Just pointing out the type of setting where that occurs. (also that means something much more exotic than CLW will not be readily available)

The issue was really the 750gp cost in such a setting.
When its the WBL of a 5th level character.


Yeah, that's massively changing the nature of the game by making the characters that starved that they can consider giving up a basic resource.


..............

Tyndmyr
2010-01-09, 01:13 AM
a lot of DMs say "you find very little money as reward, and magic markets don't exist, if you want an item, you have to custom order it"...
Oh, and core only.

So when the option is a wand of CLW for 750gp or some other MUCH needed item, the CLW might be cost prohibitive.

Custom ordering isn't a real problem. It just means you need to plan ahead a little bit. Nothing wrong with that, and doesn't really stop the ability to get healing. That said, if anything is already available at your local magic crafter, it's probably some form of healing. It's something with a very wide market, and thus, it's most reasonable for them to keep around.

A wand of CLW heals a total of what, 275 hp? So, a single wand of CLW can cover your healing needs for...quite a while.

A 1/day CLW magic item is 400 gold. I'm not using any of the cheesy cost reducers to arrive at this, either.

A level 1 cleric hiring is what, a gold per week? My copy of SBG is in my car, but it's similar to that, and the DMG also has hireling rules, and it's pretty trivial.

Any game in which you are SO short on money that you can't afford that, you'll have significantly larger problems...like your wizard never, ever being able to afford to scribe new spells.

JaronK
2010-01-09, 01:16 AM
Why does the easy availability of CLW wands mean "magic mart"? Do churches exist? Do clerics/adepts/FS/Divine casters? Do they need money? They why not craft items?

Examples:

1: You're in the middle of a dungeon. They don't set up shop there, so you can't buy anything.

2: You've got a time limit. Perhaps you have to race to stop the maurading band of Orcs. You can't stop by civilization for a while.

3: Major magic users, being relatively rare, tend to congregate in cities. This is especially true for those who intend to sell wares. Since cities are relatively rare in this given setting, you won't be near one for many levels.

4: Casters make a TON more money using Fabricate, Wall of Stone, and similar spells to create mundane items than they ever would spending their life essence to create random items, so custom magic items are rarer, and thus somewhat hard to find. Think of how much money a Wizard would get by casting Magecraft and then Fabricate on a Wall of Iron to create a bunch of Dwarvencraft Quality Mechanicus Gear suits of armor. Considering time and resources spent, that's WAY better than magic item crafting. He could also cast spells for people, which again gets him a lot more loot.

Remember, the DMG assumes RANDOM loot distribution with the DM occasionally throwing you a bone, and that you can sell your loot (at half price) to purchase better stuff in large cities only (at full price). If you're not near such a large city, gear may not be available to you, and buying it will actually reduce your overall wealth (remember, WBL is the amount of wealth available to you... if you spend it all on consumables or sell cheap and buy expensive you may end up geared much worse than you wanted).

I should note that I'm currently involved in three D&D 3.5 games. In one, there are no available magic marts at all. In another, we've had chances to buy magic items twice since level 1 (we're up to 12), and the marts were extremely limited in selection. In the third, we're about to reach our first proper magic mart, two levels after we started.

JaronK

Tyndmyr
2010-01-09, 01:27 AM
Examples:

1: You're in the middle of a dungeon. They don't set up shop there, so you can't buy anything.

Not a problem. If your don't plan ahead for dungeons while in civilization...the problem isn't a well built team, it's a lack of planning.

I can't recall a single game I've ever played in where you could buy stuff at will in any dungeon. Im pretty sure that's not even well supported by RAW or RAI.


2: You've got a time limit. Perhaps you have to race to stop the maurading band of Orcs. You can't stop by civilization for a while.

Happens. So, you order your healing stuff in advance, pick up what they have in stock, and make do. This isn't unusual.

Fortunately, at lower levels, combat is mostly rocket tag. If the orc lands a hit, odds of death are high. Lacking healing is not actually that big of a deal, and won't matter for a bit.


3: Major magic users, being relatively rare, tend to congregate in cities. This is especially true for those who intend to sell wares. Since cities are relatively rare in this given setting, you won't be near one for many levels.

Possible. But why? What are you protecting from the orcs? Clearly, it has to be some level of civilization. Sure, it may be a small one, but no doubt they trade with the larger civilization. If you've got money, you can get the goods you want. It just takes longer.


4: Casters make a TON more money using Fabricate, Wall of Stone, and similar spells to create mundane items than they ever would spending their life essence to create random items, so custom magic items are rarer, and thus somewhat hard to find. Think of how much money a Wizard would get by casting Magecraft and then Fabricate on a Wall of Iron to create a bunch of Dwarvencraft Quality Mechanicus Gear suits of armor. Considering time and resources spent, that's WAY better than magic item crafting. He could also cast spells for people, which again gets him a lot more loot.

Look, if we're assuming money creation via fabricate and wall of stone, I can't see the justification of this as a low magic or low wealth world.


Remember, the DMG assumes RANDOM loot distribution with the DM occasionally throwing you a bone, and that you can sell your loot (at half price) to purchase better stuff in large cities only (at full price). If you're not near such a large city, gear may not be available to you, and buying it will actually reduce your overall wealth (remember, WBL is the amount of wealth available to you... if you spend it all on consumables or sell cheap and buy expensive you may end up geared much worse than you wanted).

JaronK

No, WBL is the amount of wealth you can be expected to have at a given level. It's expected that you'll get loot, sell it, use some, all that sort of thing.

This is why the Expected Wealth Gain chart on page 54 of the DMG outstrips WBL. Heck, it says that in a standard world, the average character should have picked up a total of 1000 GP by the time he reaches level 2. That's more than enough for a wand of CLW.

taltamir
2010-01-09, 01:44 AM
Not a problem. If your don't plan ahead for dungeons while in civilization...the problem isn't a well built team, it's a lack of planning.

I can't recall a single game I've ever played in where you could buy stuff at will in any dungeon. Im pretty sure that's not even well supported by RAW or RAI.
ok, it is a lack of planning in such a setting...
although, just one of CLW as a cleric replace is a problem. Without a cleric in the party, there is noone who can safely use it. You must use UMD. At low levels you will need a bunch of rerolls until it activates, and can roll a 1 and then it doesn't work for 24 hours. so you need several wands to take care of those 1 rolling.


Look, if we're assuming money creation via fabricate and wall of stone, I can't see the justification of this as a low magic or low wealth world.
That is a very good point...
Although, such a world should be obscenely high wealth, and very very low in magic items. With magic items only being produced by casters for personal use. As nobody in their right mind would bother crafting magic items for sale when you can just use wall of stone (to build), move earth (to build), wall of iron (for raw materials), fabricate (for wall of iron), wall of salt (to sell, to eat), etc.


No, WBL is the amount of wealth you can be expected to have at a given level. It's expected that you'll get loot, sell it, use some, all that sort of thing.

This is why the Expected Wealth Gain chart on page 54 of the DMG outstrips WBL. Heck, it says that in a standard world, the average character should have picked up a total of 1000 GP by the time he reaches level 2. That's more than enough for a wand of CLW.

Yes, the DM is expected to dynamically adjust your magic item rewards up or down to make you match the WBL, if you have too much WBL, make you lose some, if you have too little, give you a jackpot.

Fhaolan
2010-01-09, 01:55 AM
I rarely, if *ever* have to deal with players or DM wanting a 'balanced' party in a mechanical sense. What usually happens is that all the players want to have completely unique characters relative to each other with little or no overlap. Although I've had single-class games, the PCs tend to take on different roles with those classes just to make the characters distinct from each other. The University Wizards group, for example. One wizard is aiming for professorship (Loremaster), another goes alchemy-style, another is the footballer, and the final is the class clown. They've made the characters distinct, and that's all they're interested in.

Tyndmyr
2010-01-09, 02:01 AM
ok, it is a lack of planning in such a setting...
although, just one of CLW as a cleric replace is a problem. Without a cleric in the party, there is noone who can safely use it. You must use UMD. At low levels you will need a bunch of rerolls until it activates, and can roll a 1 and then it doesn't work for 24 hours. so you need several wands to take care of those 1 rolling.

It's a static DC. If you have really poor UMD, you may be better off making due with potions for a bit. Still, if you have a decent UMDer(say, +3 from stat, +4 from the skill, at level 1), you've got a pretty decent chance to activate it. This quickly gets easier with levels or skill focuses, or any effort put into it at all. In short, failing by rolling a 1 is fairly unlikely compared to it working.

There are multiple ways of getting CLW on non-cleric spell lists, too. Not every party will have this, but for those that do, awesome.



That is a very good point...
Although, such a world should be obscenely high wealth, and very very low in magic items. With magic items only being produced by casters for personal use. As nobody in their right mind would bother crafting magic items for sale when you can just use wall of stone (to build), move earth (to build), wall of iron (for raw materials), fabricate (for wall of iron), wall of salt (to sell, to eat), etc.

Why? CLW is divine, wall of iron is sorc/wizard only. So is fabricate.

Presumably divine casters want money too, and there's obviously a market.


Yes, the DM is expected to dynamically adjust your magic item rewards up or down to make you match the WBL, if you have too much WBL, make you lose some, if you have too little, give you a jackpot.

Honestly, if you just go by the randomization tables, it works out pretty well over the long haul. It might be a touch high, but it's not bad.

JaronK
2010-01-09, 02:15 AM
Not a problem. If your don't plan ahead for dungeons while in civilization...the problem isn't a well built team, it's a lack of planning.

I can't recall a single game I've ever played in where you could buy stuff at will in any dungeon. Im pretty sure that's not even well supported by RAW or RAI.

Right, now imagine you walked into the dungeon at level 1, and don't leave until level 5. Is it really a lack of planning that you have no wands? I'd say it's a lack of money at level 1 to buy the stuff you'll need through level 5.


Happens. So, you order your healing stuff in advance, pick up what they have in stock, and make do. This isn't unusual.

Again, you're assuming you actually CAN buy wands and such in advance. Ever started out at level 1? Or started in a small town trying to stop something dangerous, far from civilization?


Fortunately, at lower levels, combat is mostly rocket tag. If the orc lands a hit, odds of death are high. Lacking healing is not actually that big of a deal, and won't matter for a bit.

Actually, that's not true. One hit will rarely instant kill a 1st level character, it'll just put them negative. Now they need a heal to get functional again even after the combat. If a nasty critical hits you (for example, an enemy Warrior lands a crit on your tank with his longsword, doing 2d8+4 damage. Your Fighter probably has about 12 HP (d10+14 con) and won't die even from maximum damage... but he needs a heal to be useful again).


Possible. But why? What are you protecting from the orcs? Clearly, it has to be some level of civilization. Sure, it may be a small one, but no doubt they trade with the larger civilization. If you've got money, you can get the goods you want. It just takes longer.

That hasn't been my experience. Once you start making assumptions about the campaign world, you have to realize those assumptions don't apply to all campaign worlds. If you're starting in a small village running out to try and intercept an orc warband that's rampaging through the country side, the only civilization you'll find for a while might be destroyed settlements until you can get in front of them or dispatch them. Yes, I'm using scenarios I've seen for these examples.


Look, if we're assuming money creation via fabricate and wall of stone, I can't see the justification of this as a low magic or low wealth world.

Easy: the wealthiest 1% control 90% of the wealth, and the spellcasters would rather keep their wealth and power than give it out. Does that sound unrealistic to you? Because, you know, that's pretty freaking reasonable (and describes both modern and fuedal society). Not everyone starts out heroic with the backing of a king... sometimes you start as a peasant farmer on a mission who must triumph against the odds. Frankly, the latter seems more common from what I've seen.


No, WBL is the amount of wealth you can be expected to have at a given level. It's expected that you'll get loot, sell it, use some, all that sort of thing.

It's the wealth you can be expected to have access to, with a small allowance for consumables. Do you really think that if you spent all your money on consumables your DM is expected to give you back all that wealth?


This is why the Expected Wealth Gain chart on page 54 of the DMG outstrips WBL. Heck, it says that in a standard world, the average character should have picked up a total of 1000 GP by the time he reaches level 2. That's more than enough for a wand of CLW.

If he's willing to spend most of his wealth on it. You sure he doesn't want a suit of decent armor and a weapon? A Masterwork weapon and a Breastplate would be enough that you couldn't afford that wand. And again, you're assuming magic marts and a world where the mages nicely craft all sorts of magical gear for sale on open and free markets. Why are we even assuming a totally free capitalistic society? Wouldn't a feudal mageocratic or aristocratic society with a small middle class and restricted markets be much more likely in a world of dungeons and castles?

JaronK

taltamir
2010-01-09, 02:27 AM
Why? CLW is divine, wall of iron is sorc/wizard only. So is fabricate.

Presumably divine casters want money too, and there's obviously a market.

but clerics have a variety of ways to access arcane spells (the "spell" domain being the best)...
although, and crafting feats have minimum level requirements...
although, clerics interested in personal wealth gaining and who are not supported by their church could be motivated to craft such items...

doh, also clerics motivated by the whole "greater good" notion... it might not be the best way to make money, but it is important in the fight against the forced of evil TM.

Tyndmyr
2010-01-09, 02:29 AM
Right, now imagine you walked into the dungeon at level 1, and don't leave until level 5. Is it really a lack of planning that you have no wands? I'd say it's a lack of money at level 1 to buy the stuff you'll need through level 5.

So you buy a potion or three. Then play carefully.

If you get no equipment of any type until level five, you'll have to play carefully regardless.


Again, you're assuming you actually CAN buy wands and such in advance. Ever started out at level 1? Or started in a small town trying to stop something dangerous, far from civilization?

Absolutely. In fact, I'd say that starting at level 1 is standard.

Starting in a small town is not far from civilization. Even a small town IS civilization.


Actually, that's not true. One hit will rarely instant kill a 1st level character, it'll just put them negative. Now they need a heal to get functional again even after the combat. If a nasty critical hits you (for example, an enemy Warrior lands a crit on your tank with his longsword, doing 2d8+4 damage. Your Fighter probably has about 12 HP (d10+14 con) and won't die even from maximum damage... but he needs a heal to be useful again).

So, pour a potion down his throat and go.

But if your battle plan involves soaking 2d8+4 damage on any sort of frequent basis, you're going to have fatalities long before lack of healing is a worry. A crit'll get rolled, or someone other than the tank gets hit, and bam, dead.


That hasn't been my experience. Once you start making assumptions about the campaign world, you have to realize those assumptions don't apply to all campaign worlds. If you're starting in a small village running out to try and intercept an orc warband that's rampaging through the country side, the only civilization you'll find for a while might be destroyed settlements until you can get in front of them or dispatch them. Yes, I'm using scenarios I've seen for these examples.

You started out in a small village. Does nobody from the village know about or communicate with any outside place? This seems...unusual.


Easy: the wealthiest 1% control 90% of the wealth, and the spellcasters would rather keep their wealth and power than give it out. Does that sound unrealistic to you? Because, you know, that's pretty freaking reasonable (and describes both modern and fuedal society). Not everyone starts out heroic with the backing of a king... sometimes you start as a peasant farmer on a mission who must triumph against the odds. Frankly, the latter seems more common from what I've seen.

And if you have wealth, they will gladly trade power for wealth. I mean, if they're selling dwarvencrafted armor, that's pretty much what they ARE doing.


It's the wealth you can be expected to have access to, with a small allowance for consumables. Do you really think that if you spent all your money on consumables your DM is expected to give you back all that wealth?

You don't HAVE to replace things in a consumable way. It's just initially cheapest to do so. And yeah, a single wand of CLW doesn't make a dent in WBL overall, and lasts a long time. So yes, you can use consumables without wasting your WBL.


If he's willing to spend most of his wealth on it. You sure he doesn't want a suit of decent armor and a weapon? A Masterwork weapon and a Breastplate would be enough that you couldn't afford that wand. And again, you're assuming magic marts and a world where the mages nicely craft all sorts of magical gear for sale on open and free markets. Why are we even assuming a totally free capitalistic society? Wouldn't a feudal mageocratic or aristocratic society with a small middle class and restricted markets be much more likely in a world of dungeons and castles?

JaronK

huh? Totally free capitalistic society? That's unnecessary. There's no particular reason you should say that a masterwork weapon and breastplate is necessarily freely available when a potion of CLW is not.

If stuffs available, it's available unless you're explicitly designing a setting to prohibit magic.

taltamir
2010-01-09, 02:30 AM
aren't potions insanely expensive?

Samb
2010-01-09, 02:36 AM
I'd like to add
-lose party: who needs 'em? We can all just play make believe by ourselves.


The assumption that was wrong was that players would not optimize. I honestly don't think the people at WoTC thought of that concept when they first designed the d20 system. They just took the basic balanced party and added other stuff for it for more books/money.

By the time they were done all classes could basically do everything or render roles pointless, but the intent was always to fill one of key 6 roles.

Assuming the designers were optimizers was wrong in the first place, hence it isn't that a balanced party is a flawed, it is the game itself. And you know what? That why I love it.

Tyndmyr
2010-01-09, 02:40 AM
aren't potions insanely expensive?

50GP for a potion of CLW. Expensive enough that you want to upgrade to a wand asap, because it's more efficient, but cheap enough to be affordable at level one as starting gear.

taltamir
2010-01-09, 02:44 AM
50GP for a potion of CLW. Expensive enough that you want to upgrade to a wand asap, because it's more efficient, but cheap enough to be affordable at level one as starting gear.

eh. hardly affordable... when you need a 50gp to a 150gp for a good weapon. 50gp to 150gp for a decent starter armor, etc...

you could buy one, but it would be a huge chunk of your starting wealth

JaronK
2010-01-09, 02:46 AM
So you buy a potion or three. Then play carefully.

REALLY expensive. If your argument is that you don't need a healing class, claiming the alternative is to blow HUGE amounts of wealth by level doesn't support that assertion.


If you get no equipment of any type until level five, you'll have to play carefully regardless.

Random drop equipment. And no, with a solid healer and a solid melee hitter, as well as a solid arcanist, it's not a problem. Colorspray and melee cleanup is a devastating combo, and while some people will slip by once in a while (or get the drop on you) you can heal from that after.


Starting in a small town is not far from civilization. Even a small town IS civilization.

That doesn't mean they have everything you want. Not every farming village has a rack of wands and potions for sale.


So, pour a potion down his throat and go.

Again, that's pretty expensive.


But if your battle plan involves soaking 2d8+4 damage on any sort of frequent basis, you're going to have fatalities long before lack of healing is a worry. A crit'll get rolled, or someone other than the tank gets hit, and bam, dead.

The 2d8+4 WAS a critical (longsword crit from a standard Orc Warrior). Normal damage would be 1d8+2. Survivable, but you'd want healing after taking a hit like that.


You started out in a small village. Does nobody from the village know about or communicate with any outside place? This seems...unusual.

In a feudal land? It's really not if you're in a hurry. A bunch of commoners and experts won't have instant communication, nor would every farming village have rapid communication. Really, feudal villages in the era D&D simulates rarely had communication with the outside world except for the occasional tax man or traveling type.


And if you have wealth, they will gladly trade power for wealth. I mean, if they're selling dwarvencrafted armor, that's pretty much what they ARE doing.

But that costs them nothing, and I'd imagine they're selling it to the ruling king. I've studied feudal civilizations... I assure you, power is what they wanted. Wealth is a means to that end. The money you make selling armor to the king's army goes into improving your own castle, throwing lavish parties that impress your peers, currying favors, and so on.


huh? Totally free capitalistic society? That's unnecessary. There's no particular reason you should say that a masterwork weapon and breastplate is necessarily freely available when a potion of CLW is not.

What there IS a reason to say is that you can't assume every piece of gear you want is always available, which is the point. You're claiming that you simply don't need healers, I'm claiming that sometimes you might and that the alteratives can be hard or expensive to utilize. Trying to use potions to get the Fighter functional at low levels is a perfect example... it actually takes a chunk out of your WBL at that level, is inefficient, and might not be available.

To be clear, in one of our games magic items are supplied by the occasional traveling planar teleport caravan. They only show up in the big cities and only for short periods each year. Honestly, that makes perfect sense. The magic items are being created in planar cities that are wonderous and outside our range (we weren't allowed to have teleporters). That's not a game designed to remove magic items or anything, it's just not a free capitalist system where every village has a magic mart.

JaronK

Eldariel
2010-01-09, 02:56 AM
The 2d8+4 WAS a critical (longsword crit from a standard Orc Warrior). Normal damage would be 1d8+2. Survivable, but you'd want healing after taking a hit like that.

Standard Orc Warriors (note though, they're CR ―) are equipped with Falchions though, dealing 2d4+4 so 4d4+8 (avg. 18 with max of 24; even 18 can be extremely dangerous if you fail the initial stabilization check and take extra 1-2 bleeding before someone can spare the action to heal) on a crit, let alone if you took a hit at some point, or are not a Fighter-type.

Run of the mill Orc Barbarian 1 (CR 1), on the other hand, would have 19 Str and Rage for 23 likely with Greataxe (much more iconic Orc-weapon IMHO), meaning 1d12+9 STANDARD damage and 3d12+27 crit damage. Even the bonuses are lethal there.

I guess that's why Orc Warriors had their Greataxes traded out for Falchions in 3.5 though... Greataxe crit even from a sorry Orc Warrior is 3d12+12, avg. 29.5.

JaronK
2010-01-09, 03:02 AM
Standard Orc Warriors (note though, they're CR ―) are equipped with Falchions though, dealing 2d4+4 so 4d4+8 (avg. 18 with max of 24; even 18 can be extremely dangerous if you fail the initial stabilization check and take extra 1-2 bleeding before someone can spare the action to heal) on a crit, let alone if you took a hit at some point, or are not a Fighter-type.

Sure, but that's close enough. Point being, one crit can lead you desparately needing a proper heal.


Run of the mill Orc Barbarian 1 (CR 1), on the other hand, would have 19 Str and Rage for 23 likely with Greataxe (much more iconic Orc-weapon IMHO), meaning 1d12+9 STANDARD damage and 3d12+27 crit damage. Even the bonuses are lethal there.

Yeah, but at that point you're just screwed, whether you rely on a Cleric or a Wand. No need to really discuss that scenario.

JaronK

Tyndmyr
2010-01-09, 03:04 AM
REALLY expensive. If your argument is that you don't need a healing class, claiming the alternative is to blow HUGE amounts of wealth by level doesn't support that assertion.

It's one alternative. At level 1. 50GP is not a huge amount of WBL at any level after that.

A wand of CLW is affordable but expensive at level 2. At this point, you're pretty much done with buying healing stuff for...forever.

You know how many level 1 spells a level 1 cleric has? Two. It's not like it takes much in the way of potions to replace them.


Random drop equipment. And no, with a solid healer and a solid melee hitter, as well as a solid arcanist, it's not a problem. Colorspray and melee cleanup is a devastating combo, and while some people will slip by once in a while (or get the drop on you) you can heal from that after.

I love random drop equipment. But yeah, if you play smart and careful, you can definitely pull off some long dungeon dives.


That doesn't mean they have everything you want. Not every farming village has a rack of wands and potions for sale.

Any more than they have a rack of armor and swords available. If you're using anything more than pointy sticks, CLW pots should be easily justifable as starting gear.

Put in your order for a wand of CLW and have it delivered, if you can't make time to go to a city. Spend the extra couple gold for delivery.


The 2d8+4 WAS a critical (longsword crit from a standard Orc Warrior). Normal damage would be 1d8+2. Survivable, but you'd want healing after taking a hit like that.

A standard orc warrior has a falchion. That's 2d4+4 dmg. On a regular hit.

You're using non standard orcs with nonstandard gear. Not a terribly good argument.


In a feudal land? It's really not if you're in a hurry. A bunch of commoners and experts won't have instant communication, nor would every farming village have rapid communication. Really, feudal villages in the era D&D simulates rarely had communication with the outside world except for the occasional tax man or traveling type.

Let's look at the DMG. According to it, we can reliably find potions of CLW in a hamlet. 81-400 people. That's really not a big place.

For a wand of CLW, you need a small town. Woohoo.


But that costs them nothing, and I'd imagine they're selling it to the ruling king. I've studied feudal civilizations... I assure you, power is what they wanted. Wealth is a means to that end. The money you make selling armor to the king's army goes into improving your own castle, throwing lavish parties that impress your peers, currying favors, and so on.

It costs them spells, which, for a wizard, IS power. And if you're relying on making and selling endless wealth via spells, you really can't rely on real world examples.


What there IS a reason to say is that you can't assume every piece of gear you want is always available, which is the point. You're claiming that you simply don't need healers, I'm claiming that sometimes you might and that the alteratives can be hard or expensive to utilize. Trying to use potions to get the Fighter functional at low levels is a perfect example... it actually takes a chunk out of your WBL at that level, is inefficient, and might not be available.

So? A healbot isn't efficient at level 1 either. You're replacing that cleric with someone else.

Eldariel
2010-01-09, 03:04 AM
Sure, but that's close enough. Point being, one crit can lead you desparately needing a proper heal.

Yeah, but at that point you're just screwed, whether you rely on a Cleric or a Wand. No need to really discuss that scenario.

Yeah, I was more commenting the Rocket Launcher-tag aspect of level 1; I feel it's definitely there, especially with the stronger creatures.

Roderick_BR
2010-01-09, 03:33 AM
Actually, for healing efficiency, Im relying on an earlier work someone else did. Now sure, someone in negatives and dropping...dumping a potion down his throat may be preferably to needing to rez him. But in nearly any other situation, stopping to heal ends up being a net loss, because a single heal/potion tends to fix less hp than a single attack takes away.

You're generally far better off reducing the number of attackers. In an ideal situation, you should never need in-combat healing at all, and rely entirely on wands of lesser vigor or CLW for out of combat healing. That's probably a bit much to expect from unoptimized parties, though.
It's the old problem old turn based videogame rpgs had. What's the use of expending your turn healing or buffing, when you could just have done another attack?

4E kinda plays with it, by giving different types of characters. A "healbot" don't need to always be a cleric, for example, you could be a warlord or a paladin for it.

Ashtagon
2010-01-09, 03:48 AM
First of all, a little calibration for realistic medieval societies. For much of history, the average person (ir. peasant or burgher) would never travel more than a days journey from his birthplace. That's about 30 miles if you get an early start. Once a month there might be a pedlar or merchant caravan passing in or out, and someone alive in the village might have seen the capital (but probably not). Obviously, a typical D&D campaign is nowhere near this level of isolation, at least from the PCs' point of view. In a low-magic campaign, it's entirely reasonable that magic of any kind is simply not available for love or money in small villages, such as what a PC party might come from.

next, magic items. In a low-magic campaign, these will be so rare that a party can't count on gettinga specific item. But in a high-magic campaign?

Let's suppose I'm a 3rd level cleric with Craft Wand (or any other item creation feat for that matter). It will cost not only time and money, but part of my very lifeforce itself. otoh, casting clw for whoever has the gold is just as lucrative.

CLW wand costs 3 days, 1125 gp, and 90 XP to make. In that time, he could have cast 4/2+1/1+1 (0th/1st/2nd) spells per day. Those spells, sold according to the SRD prices, woudl yield him 15/30/60 gp each, for a total of 270 gp per day, or 810 gp profit over teh 3 days in whioch he would have been making the wand (which woudl yield him 1125 gp profit after expenses). Sure, the wand is slightly more money, but thanks to the XP cost, he can't do that indefinitely. The extra margin isn't really worth the marginal extra profit.

In other words, if I were an NPC caster, I'd make my money selling spellcasting services, not items.

JaronK
2010-01-09, 04:30 AM
It's one alternative. At level 1. 50GP is not a huge amount of WBL at any level after that.

A wand of CLW is affordable but expensive at level 2. At this point, you're pretty much done with buying healing stuff for...forever.

The point was, if you start at level 1 and go straight into an adventure where you can't shop (such as a dungeon) then purchasing wands is far too expensive and a potion costs a significant chunk while providing minimal returns. That's a pretty common scenario.

And a wand of CLW doesn't work at level 2 unless you've got a Cleric anyway. You're not making that UMD check often and you're liable to roll a 1.


You know how many level 1 spells a level 1 cleric has? Two. It's not like it takes much in the way of potions to replace them.

So he has Lesser Mass Vigor memorized once, providing one full shot of healing, and he can heal whoever's worst injured once in a while. That's much better than a single potion that might not even fully heal one guy once. Meanwhile, a Crusader or Dread Necromancer can heal all day long forever at level 1 (obviously the DN only works in a party tailored for his healing).


I love random drop equipment. But yeah, if you play smart and careful, you can definitely pull off some long dungeon dives.

Or, you know, you have someone who can throw out a heal once in a while.


Put in your order for a wand of CLW and have it delivered, if you can't make time to go to a city. Spend the extra couple gold for delivery.

Riiiight. That'll work on any sort of time limit. I've never seen that available.


A standard orc warrior has a falchion. That's 2d4+4 dmg. On a regular hit.

You're using non standard orcs with nonstandard gear. Not a terribly good argument.

It was a random example. With a falchion, the example didn't change (the point was that one good crit meant you absolutely needed healing, but it was unlikely to kill a tank in one hit).


Let's look at the DMG. According to it, we can reliably find potions of CLW in a hamlet. 81-400 people. That's really not a big place.

For a wand of CLW, you need a small town. Woohoo.

And money! That you don't have! And UMD ranks that you don't have!


So? A healbot isn't efficient at level 1 either. You're replacing that cleric with someone else.

Whoa there. I never said anything about heal bots. I said someone who can heal. A Crusader, for example, is an awesome damage dealer and healer. And a Cleric? If you can't do something useful with a Cleric besides heal, you're not even trying.

JaronK

PhoenixRivers
2010-01-09, 04:54 AM
Whoa there. I never said anything about heal bots. I said someone who can heal. A Crusader, for example, is an awesome damage dealer and healer. And a Cleric? If you can't do something useful with a Cleric besides heal, you're not even trying.

+1.

Even if you just memorize Bless, Divine Favor, Skield of Faith, and Command (which can command enemies to go prone, for fun), you're effective.

And when needed, you can spont out whatever you don't need for a Cure.

That level 1 cleric repays the investment in hundreds of gold per day, while retaining melee ability, and some offensive spell punch.

As you progress, the advantages become more and more marked, and, with the inclusion of cheap items, the reliance on cleric healing will drop, allowing for more effective cleric protective or offensive spells.

In other words? Cleric is far more versatile than "mobile band-aid".

JaronK
2010-01-09, 04:58 AM
Though of course by level 5 a Cleric can do the walking bandaid thing quite easily. DMM Persistant Lesser Mass Vigor alone will take one spell slot (and some Turn attempts) to keep the party up and running all day long... allowing said Cleric to use the remaining slots on all kinds of fun stuff.

There's no excuse to use a Cleric as a healbot. They can cover your healing, but they can do SO much more.

JaronK

PhoenixRivers
2010-01-09, 05:06 AM
A standard orc warrior has a falchion. That's 2d4+4 dmg. On a regular hit.

A standard orc warrior has a +4 to hit, also. So, versus, say:

Fighter 1: AC 18

Dex 14
Chain shirt and Large Steel Shield (to be replaced by level 3, just used for early level survivability)

That orc has a 35% hit chance. So, for every three rounds he whacks away, he'll hit on average once.

So, let's say he hits the fighter for an average 9 damage. (versus the fighter's 12 HP, from Con 14)

Cleric, seeing the fighter's pretty seriously wounded, casts CLW for an average of 5 hp. Fighter's now at 8hp. Fighter acts, and, on average, drops the orc. If a second one is there? Its odds of actually effectively hitting are down, and even if it does, the fighter's not in "insta-kill" range (12 damage, max roll for the orc). Effectively, the cleric hedged bets, and covered against the most likely worst case scenarios.

Yes, the orc does 2d4+4, on a normal hit. That does require he hit AC, which isn't so likely. Chance of a crit? 5.25%, in this instance (15% threat chance, followed by a 35% confirm chance)

So it isn't argued that it's fighter only?

Halfling wizard, 16 dex, Mage armor, small size (AC 18)
Human Cleric 14 Dex, Chain shirt, Large steel shield - (AC 18)
Halfling rogue (dex 18, small size, studded leather armor) - (AC 18)

It can be done reliably with any class, though the wizard, played carefully with party support, is less likely to be in a melee situation.

Foryn Gilnith
2010-01-09, 08:59 AM
Healbot: Somebody that can use wands of either Cure Light Wounds or Lesser Vigor. >_<

Utility Mage: Somebody for utility spells, like Resurrection, Remove Curse, Dominate Person, etc. Usually divided between two party members.

Face: Just what it sounds like. Diplomacy, Sense Motive, and Bluff.

Expert: Search, Disable Device. May encompass Hide/Move Silently/Escape Artist. May also encompass Knowledge skills.

Striker: He makes things fall down.

Support: Makes the striker's job easier. Buffs, battlefield control, etc. In a MMO this might be the tank drawing aggro from the DPS. In D&D this might be a Batman mage or a friendly chain-tripper for backup.

Emmerask
2010-01-09, 09:16 AM
And therein lies the problem of your assumptions.
Under ideal circumstances and a strictly raw game you are right under not so ideal circumstances and rap the balanced party is just more flexible then the other and will do better.

Foryn Gilnith
2010-01-09, 09:23 AM
Under RAP, party composition doesn't matter. Four wizards? Stereotypical party? Min/maxxed party? DM can provide fun anyway. Maybe the stereotypical party will do better than the min/maxxed party. That's good for the min/maxxed party - challenge and adversity drives plot and fun.

Runestar
2010-01-09, 09:32 AM
A standard orc warrior has a +4 to hit, also. So, versus, say:

Fighter 1: AC 18

Throw in +2 for charging, another +2 if he can get a flanking buddy, +1 if you replace that craptacular alertness feat with weapon focus or +2 if you give him the reckless offense feat (-4ac, +2attack). Hey, if he is going to get off just 1 attack before going down, might as well make it count. :smallamused:


What's the use of expending your turn healing or buffing, when you could just have done another attack?

4E kinda plays with it, by giving different types of characters. A "healbot" don't need to always be a cleric, for example, you could be a warlord or a paladin for it.

So in 4e, clerics heal as a swift action, and their powers can both deal damage to the enemies and buff the party simultaneously.

My 3e cleric is sooooo jealous...:smalleek:


Cleric, seeing the fighter's pretty seriously wounded, casts CLW for an average of 5 hp. Fighter's now at 8hp. Fighter acts, and, on average, drops the orc. If a second one is there? Its odds of actually effectively hitting are down, and even if it does, the fighter's not in "insta-kill" range (12 damage, max roll for the orc). Effectively, the cleric hedged bets, and covered against the most likely worst case scenarios.

Where are you getting 5 damage? Orcs deal an average of 2d4+4, or 9 damage per hit. The fighter is down to 3 hp. Even with 5hp healed from the cleric (now at 8hp), he is still potentially a goner if the second orc hits him.

So let me get this straight...

1) Fighter gets hit by orc
2) Cleric heals fighter
3) Fighter kills orc#1
4) Orc#2 moves in, swings, deals more damage on a hit
5) Fighter kills orc#2 (assuming he survived), else cleric whacks away
6) Cleric has to waste yet more resources healing fighter

vs

1) Fighter gets hit by orc
2) Cleric charges in battle, hits orc#1, killing it
3) Fighter charges at orc#2, killing it.
4) Heals fighter after battle.

I think that is the rationale why in-combat healing is generally considered an inefficient mode of action. The fast you kill the enemies, the fewer rounds they get to act, meaning they deal less damage to your party, in turn translating to fewer resources being spent patching everyone afterwards.

Heal (and later mass heal) is possibly the main exception, since it is the only spell capable of healing more damage than what your enemies are normally capable of dishing out in one round.:smallsmile:

vrellum
2010-01-09, 09:58 AM
In combat healing can be awesome.

Mass heal can definately be worth it...

Cyanic
2010-01-09, 10:36 AM
Its totally a myth, in terms of being a player the most balanced party I was ever a part of was 2 Druids, 1 Wizard, 1 Cleric. We could do anything and handle any type of situation with ease. Not surprisingly :smallamused:

From a DMing standpoint I would say in games I run, skillmonkeys are almost useless, since traps are infrequent (due to the lameness of constantly moving 5' at a time and poking everything with a 11' pole) and social events are RP'ed instead of rolled usually.

Jayabalard
2010-01-09, 11:08 AM
Well, balance assumptions are based mainly on stock levels of magic. If you go to extremely low magic settings, then casters are harder to replace. Primarily the arcanist niche. You don't need an extremely low magic setting, just ones without magic marts.


I think that is the rationale why in-combat healing is generally considered an inefficient mode of action. The fast you kill the enemies, the fewer rounds they get to act, meaning they deal less damage to your party, in turn translating to fewer resources being spent patching everyone afterwards.That works fine for the short term, but it doesn't necessarily say anything about the long term, which looks like the primary objection that's being brought up. Specifically: if you have a combat that is long enough, and lethal enough so that you will lose people without healing, then in combat healing is more efficient than just fighting and losing people during the fight.

The problem becomes: it's really hard to know when you're in that situation, so it's extremely easy to overheal in combat and be inefficient.

Emmerask
2010-01-09, 11:41 AM
Its totally a myth, in terms of being a player the most balanced party I was ever a part of was 2 Druids, 1 Wizard, 1 Cleric. We could do anything and handle any type of situation with ease. Not surprisingly :smallamused:

From a DMing standpoint I would say in games I run, skillmonkeys are almost useless, since traps are infrequent (due to the lameness of constantly moving 5' at a time and poking everything with a 11' pole) and social events are RP'ed instead of rolled usually.

Well in essence this is a balanced party (a balanced party does not necesserily mean you have the typical 4 characters in your group) but you have 2 meat shields,3 healers and an arcanist, what you are missing is the social and the skillmonkey but as you said your playstyle makes those two roles obsolet (nearly no traps and no rolls for social interaction) so you did cover every base for your playstyle.

If your playstyle would be different(ie using traps often and rolls for social interaction) you would presumably have substituted one of the druids for a roguetype leaving you with:

arcanist -> wizard
healbot -> cleric (a cleric is much more then that but anyway)
rogue -> skillmonkey, social stuff
meat shield -> the druid with his pet

The fighter is a mechanically weak class and you substituted it with a class that has basically a fighter pet. This is pretty close to the traditional d&d group :smallsmile:

Soranar
2010-01-09, 11:42 AM
humm, a druid is basically a meatstick, a healbot and a beatstick

2 druids is just more

4 druids is possibly the ultimate 4 man party

seriously, druids are broken or didn't you know?

I played 1 campaign with 4 druids going on a rampage and honestly our CR needed to be 2 or 3 levels ahead for mundane fights to be anything better than a speedbump

Ormur
2010-01-09, 11:46 AM
I'm creating a character for a high powered 16th level gestalt campaign and we split the four standard party roles between us just to have some charachter concepts to work with but in truth a single character could have performed them all. A non-gestalt druid could fill three or four of them by himself. I picked skill monkey but I'm also a bard gish. That said on such high levels a healer doesn't just replenish hit points, he brings back the dead, restores lost levels etc. It still doesn't have to be cleric healbot though. An arcanist is also pretty indispensable since they're so powerful.

MountainKing
2010-01-09, 12:18 PM
As a DM, I often vigorously request that the party try to cover its bases in some way (though they can certainly play what they want to). That being said, any DM who lets four wizards walk all over him is a fool; rule number one in any game *I* run is "Play what you want, but remember that *my* toybox is bigger than *your* toybox". I actively work to build encounters that will beat the stuffing out of my players, make them fight for their lives, and force victory through by will and force. I do it for two reasons: to keep the PCs on their toes, and to give them the feeling that at the end of the day, they accomplished something. My old tabletop group had two dedicated DMs (I was one of them), and we both worked along similar lines. Every game produced memorable moments for all four of us.

All that being said, I would say that party balance itself isn't a myth. It's that DMs are infallible that's the myth. Any DM worth his salt can provide a challenging game, regardless of what the party's composition is, and if that happens to involve prodding the party in their soft, unprotected underbelly because they didn't feel they needed a particular element, then woe be unto the players.

lsfreak
2010-01-09, 12:22 PM
So he has Lesser Mass Vigor memorized once, providing one full shot of healing, and he can heal whoever's worst injured once in a while. That's much better than a single potion that might not even fully heal one guy once. Meanwhile, a Crusader or Dread Necromancer can heal all day long forever at level 1 (obviously the DN only works in a party tailored for his healing).

I do believe you just made Tyndmyr's point for him by using Crusaders and Dread Necros as an example (we all just got wrapped up on the items argument). Neither of them are healbots, by a long shot, yet fill the role perfectly.

taltamir
2010-01-09, 12:39 PM
I do believe you just made Tyndmyr's point for him by using Crusaders and Dread Necros as an example (we all just got wrapped up on the items argument). Neither of them are healbots, by a long shot, yet fill the role perfectly.

Tyndmyr's a guy?

Yukitsu
2010-01-09, 01:15 PM
As a DM, I often vigorously request that the party try to cover its bases in some way (though they can certainly play what they want to). That being said, any DM who lets four wizards walk all over him is a fool; rule number one in any game *I* run is "Play what you want, but remember that *my* toybox is bigger than *your* toybox". I actively work to build encounters that will beat the stuffing out of my players, make them fight for their lives, and force victory through by will and force. I do it for two reasons: to keep the PCs on their toes, and to give them the feeling that at the end of the day, they accomplished something. My old tabletop group had two dedicated DMs (I was one of them), and we both worked along similar lines. Every game produced memorable moments for all four of us.

All that being said, I would say that party balance itself isn't a myth. It's that DMs are infallible that's the myth. Any DM worth his salt can provide a challenging game, regardless of what the party's composition is, and if that happens to involve prodding the party in their soft, unprotected underbelly because they didn't feel they needed a particular element, then woe be unto the players.

This style of thinking is eventually going to rely on some sort of fiat, simply because a non-standard party will be able to cope with any given situation without using the tools explicitly outlined as fulfilling for that role unless you specifically require that exactly one and only one skill will bypass that encounter. Which is foolish, because even a fully standard party can't have the explicit tools for every encounter.

Crow
2010-01-09, 01:31 PM
1) Fighter gets hit by orc
2) Cleric charges in battle, hits orc#1, killing it
3) Fighter charges at orc#2, killing it.
4) Heals fighter after battle.

Or...

1) Fighter gets hit by orc
2) Cleric charges in battle, misses orc #1
3) Fighter charges at orc#2, killing it.
4) Orc #1 hits cleric, kills him.

MountainKing
2010-01-09, 01:32 PM
This style of thinking is eventually going to rely on some sort of fiat, simply because a non-standard party will be able to cope with any given situation without using the tools explicitly outlined as fulfilling for that role unless you specifically require that exactly one and only one skill will bypass that encounter. Which is foolish, because even a fully standard party can't have the explicit tools for every encounter.

It takes about as much fiat as any style of DMing. D&D is a game of dice; eventually, no matter how much math and probability you've worked with, something will happen that was not planned for, and you have a couple choices to make: fudge it so that it does what it needed to, or fudge it so that it doesn't. Sometimes, it's hard to do that either way, but for the most part it stands. I personally only tweak the result when it's absolutely necessary; when my buddy's halfling rogue decided he was going to try to be a meatshield, to make up for the party's lack of one, I did absolutely nothing about it when the dice fell on two 20s and a 12. The party managed to salvage the situation, but if they had been a little more balanced, would his rogue have died? I say, no, he probably wouldn't have.

Jayabalard
2010-01-09, 01:40 PM
It's the old problem old turn based videogame rpgs had. What's the use of expending your turn healing or buffing, when you could just have done another attack?Because in some cases, it's safer (or even necessary... I seem to recall a couple of fights from Phantasy Star 1 where this was the case) to have someone healing/buffing/casting protective magic than it is to have them doing attacks.

Yukitsu
2010-01-09, 01:43 PM
It takes about as much fiat as any style of DMing. D&D is a game of dice; eventually, no matter how much math and probability you've worked with, something will happen that was not planned for, and you have a couple choices to make: fudge it so that it does what it needed to, or fudge it so that it doesn't. Sometimes, it's hard to do that either way, but for the most part it stands. I personally only tweak the result when it's absolutely necessary; when my buddy's halfling rogue decided he was going to try to be a meatshield, to make up for the party's lack of one, I did absolutely nothing about it when the dice fell on two 20s and a 12. The party managed to salvage the situation, but if they had been a little more balanced, would his rogue have died? I say, no, he probably wouldn't have.

Dice is not what I'm referring to, nor altering the rolls.

What I'm talking about, is how there is no such thing as a "soft underbelly" for a party of any composition so long as the party is willing to think and expend resources. (possibly spending more than if the role was filled.)

A group with no skill monkey can still bypass traps and still find things. A party with no arcanist can still lock people down, attack an area or whatever. A party with no healer can still regain health. A party with no tank can still avoid melee damage. In all cases, it simply requires the players be a bit more clever.

For example again, the mostly wizard+a cleric party I am in right now have enough expendable mooks (skeletons) and dimension doors that no trap set is going to stop us, despite not having a rogue. Even when we're ambushed, we have enough defensive buffs at any given time that we don't really feel we need a tank. Our cleric is evil and doesn't use heals, but the rest of the party knows how to self heal a little with vampiric touch, or to top themselves off with false life.

Soranar
2010-01-09, 02:57 PM
there is nothing a well prepared party of kobolds cannot handle , nuff said

MountainKing
2010-01-09, 02:57 PM
And how exactly would your party fair against intelligent undead spellcasters, able to dispel your false life spells, prevent you from healing yourselves via necromantic touch, and swamping your mooks with their own mooks? I'm assuming you're all living PCs, so a simple rogue or two from ambush could easily give you an actual threat.

My point is, the PCs, no matter what they are, can and will have something they can't cover. Not as adequately as if they actually had somebody taking care of that particular detail. As the DM, it's not terribly hard to figure out what would give the PCs difficulty; no matter how secretive they want to be in character or with each other, they still have to let you see their sheets... and knowing, like in anything else, is half the battle.

Emmerask
2010-01-09, 03:20 PM
For example again, the mostly wizard+a cleric party I am in right now have enough expendable mooks (skeletons) and dimension doors that no trap set is going to stop us

The normal and mostly boring traps yes they can easily bypassed with alternate methods the more nasty ones (take a look at the traps and treachery books 1 and 2 for example to find some) those are the ones that will kill your party without someone to disable traps :smallwink:

And really pray that your dm isnīt evil enough to put you in a dead magic zone or that he is nice enough to dm fiat it out of the campaign because you chose to have a caster only party :smallwink:

Yukitsu
2010-01-09, 03:22 PM
And how exactly would your party fair against intelligent undead spellcasters, able to dispel your false life spells, prevent you from healing yourselves via necromantic touch, and swamping your mooks with their own mooks? I'm assuming you're all living PCs, so a simple rogue or two from ambush could easily give you an actual threat.

My point is, the PCs, no matter what they are, can and will have something they can't cover. Not as adequately as if they actually had somebody taking care of that particular detail. As the DM, it's not terribly hard to figure out what would give the PCs difficulty; no matter how secretive they want to be in character or with each other, they still have to let you see their sheets... and knowing, like in anything else, is half the battle.

This is something I've been over several times, but any wizard is immune to ambushes beyond level 7, any cleric beyond 5 (and no party role specifically negates ambushes anyway). Intelligent undead casters get pwned by the evil cleric, and frankly, they can deal more damage to us by hitting us than they can by getting rid of false life, and clusters of wizards love fighting mook hordes. Heck, an encounter using all of those aspects at once won't even slow us down.

The problem with the game is, there is always several options available to everyone to get past an encounter. I don't need skills to pass skill based encounters, I don't need a healer to regain health, I don't need a wizard to blast and I don't need a tank to be in my way. I just need to think.

tyckspoon
2010-01-09, 03:24 PM
The normal and mostly boring traps yes they can easily bypassed with alternate methods the more nasty ones (take a look at the traps and treachery books 1 and 2 for example to find some) those are the ones that will kill your party without someone to disable traps :smallwink:


Funny thing about those traps? You can't just Search + Disable Device your way through most of them, either. They have specific triggers and specific ways to *not* trigger them.. if you scout carefully you can get through them the same way as a caster as you would as a rogue (which is to say.. *roll Spellcraft* "Oh, hey, that rod on the ceiling forms a lightning conduit with that circle on the floor. Let's not step on the circle." And then floor falls out from under everywhere *except* the circle, because it was some tricky buggers writing those books, but your rogue probably would have fallen for that too when he got distracted by the 'obvious trap'.)

Yukitsu
2010-01-09, 03:24 PM
The normal and mostly boring traps yes they can easily bypassed with alternate methods the more nasty ones (take a look at the traps and treachery books 1 and 2 for example to find some) those are the ones that will kill your party without someone to disable traps :smallwink:

Actually those traps still have problems with dimension dooring past them, or earthglide, or being ethereal.


And really pray that your dm isnīt evil enough to put you in a dead magic zone or that he is nice enough to dm fiat it out of the campaign because you chose to have a caster only party :smallwink:

We dealt with that section of the world by proxy, by which I mean undead and called creatures. This worked out fine, because the alternative was me grinding levels to get into initiate of Mystra.

Crow
2010-01-09, 04:42 PM
How are wizards immune to ambush at level 7?

Enlighten me please, because I'd like to know how to avoid flat-footedness for my Diviner at level 7.

Yukitsu
2010-01-09, 05:12 PM
How are wizards immune to ambush at level 7?

Enlighten me please, because I'd like to know how to avoid flat-footedness for my Diviner at level 7.

Undead mobs is the most direct and efficient way. Lame skeletons standing around you in a mob prevent anything from getting into melee range without punching through the skeletons quickly. Arrow ambushes have to deal with target selection (skeletons should not look like skeletons as much as cultists at a distance.) as well as protection from arrows. And even then, at level 7 a surprise round arrow won't automatically kill a wizard. Of course, a wizard ambush can get you, but that's just one of those things.

You can choose to not have screens of cheap mooks because it's "evil" to reanimate the dead corpse of the dinner your ranger freind shot down, but you can also choose to light your tonsils on fire.

Of course, you can also just travel on a phantom steed. A standard ECL 7 ambusher has spot +14 or so, and sees you at 240 feet, while you're double moving at 280 feet per round. He sees you just in time for you to walk well past him, gets a single standard from 40 feet away and watches as you keep heading off into the distance, disappearing before another 6 seconds are up.

Crow
2010-01-09, 05:17 PM
Yeah, ok. Just as I suspected, it is very situational and also very weak.

Yukitsu
2010-01-09, 05:20 PM
Yeah, ok. Just as I suspected, it is very situational and also very weak.

Yes, however ambushes themselves are very situational, unless your DM sees nothing wrong with a bunch of brigands attacking a group in the middle of a city in broad daylight for whatever reason. They generally happen on the beaten path near some limited terrain feature, where neither skeletons nor a phantom steed can be considered odd or of limited utility. And at that level, all you will need to get through any CR appropriate ambush.

Emmerask
2010-01-09, 05:22 PM
well the phantom steed has one weakness it carrys you but what about the rest of the party (if they are not all arcanists)

Yukitsu
2010-01-09, 05:26 PM
well the phantom steed has one weakness it carrys you but what about the rest of the party (if they are not all arcanists)

Since I was specifically discussing an all caster party, that's not so much an issue. There's that one extra cleric, but the steed can manage one extra passenger at that level.

When you're in a party of not wizards, in theory you'll have someone who deals with ambushes, even though there aren't any classes with great anti-ambush features.

Roupe
2010-01-09, 06:02 PM
Then there is the that paid deliciously smelling stew & victory toast made by the (not) friendly/honest inn keeper It makes a killing profit on battle-worn rich patrons returning from dungeons

IMHO The group members class effectiveness (or not) depends on the type of campaign that the DM runs.

The mythical balanced team is better at overall dealing with the unexpected.

The classes can have "roleplaying" & society advantages as well, since

The DM can have the world Fantasy society to have bureaucracy, Guild enforced monopoly, discrimination and laws. IRL Society are forced to have Gun control, admittance and restrictions.
Adding such factors & considerations would affect classes efficiency & attainability too.

-"Not a wizard of a approved guild? Not trusted member of society? (ie noble) No magic item permit for you!"
-"Only nobles or paladins allowed in the upper part of the capital"
-"Investigate the grave site? the catacombs? Its important that they arnt desecrated further. No, We here... Are not allowed down there, or let you in without a servant of the faith"

Soranar
2010-01-09, 06:24 PM
even rightfully paranoid/crazy prepared 4 wizard parties should have a very hard time in a campaign setting

unless your DM lacks imagination or likes to let you win easily

the more I read the arguments against balanced parties the more I notice campaigns that seem to cuddle their players and "play by the rules" with frequent resting, access to magic marts with everything and no problem finding reliable help and no time constraint

the weakness of wizards is that they need time to prepare and (unlike sorcerers) they don't always have access to the right spell at the right time

they need to know what they're up against to prepare the best spells, they need space to work with and they need reliable, safe , environments in which to rest

if those conditions are met , sure, they're the best but an entertaining campaign is not a video game, and should be nothing like that

if I ever saw guys trying to go around the healing problem by hiring a level 1 cleric, I'd probably have that cleric kill them in their sleep for their gold (or at least try)

or flat out refuse and be insulted at the idea of selling out his services to a bunch of greedy adventurers instead of serving the greater good

if you lack a "face" with proper sense motive checks and/or detect evil wild rumors can also have your party prepare to fight undead when you're really facing kobolds, goblins , or demons

and the whole point of a trap is putting it where you don't expect to have one (say in your room at the inn where a party of rogues ambush you as you're about to sleep)

if your party is that powerful (and rich) it should warrant that kind of attention and preparation

many trap effects shouldn't be obviously triggered or easy to dispel: slow acting poisons, antimagic fields, dungeon destroying giant rolling rocks that destroys anything that stumbles on his robe/beard as he flees for his life, magical entrapments that simply trap the PCs in said dungeons, doors that open to let ooze monsters fall from the ceiling

be creative you're a DM you can do anything!

we all know many rules of dnd make no sense (leadership anyone?) and we make a point of abusing those loopholes but that doesn't mean a DM can't just cheat or ignore bad rules

wizards become good by level 5, without a meatshield getting there should be insanely hard

and don't give me the 4 riding dogs bit, mounts (mounts that have bite attacks to boot) are supposed to be really expensive to get , not accessible at level 1 under a 100 gold

if you do get a mount (isn't riding a cross class skill for wizards? and casting from a mount has a pretty high DC) it shouldn't be the best type either (again no FACE or handle animal checks) possibly with multiple flaws

don't forget that casting a confusion on mounts is really really funny

a single rogue should be able to kill at least 1 wizard before getting nuked by his buddies

monkeys could jump from trees and grapple you to death

Yukitsu
2010-01-09, 06:32 PM
Having seen and survived all that malarky, I can say with open hostility that you're talking bull. No party role is necessary in any of those situations, and my DM certainly does not help along my party, nor hold its hand. You can kind of ascertain that when I got hit by a holy word when I was level 9, squaring off against a level 17 cleric. The only reason I couldn't apply a different ability to solve the problem from a different angle is if the DM were applying some fiat against me.

Soranar
2010-01-09, 06:37 PM
the point of playing different classes is that each class has a different set of skills, strengths and weaknesses

this combination makes it very hard to have a situation where everyone is useless while playing 4 of anything (druid excluded) should insure that everyone has the same weaknesses

Yukitsu
2010-01-09, 06:40 PM
the point of playing different classes is that each class has a different set of skills, strengths and weaknesses

this combination makes it very hard to have a situation where everyone is useless while playing 4 of anything (druid excluded) should insure that everyone has the same weaknesses

The problem is, no class archetype explicitly includes any particular weakness. A skill monkey is not necessarily weak against tough fightery things, nor do they necessarily rely on sneak attack. Not all tanks have a problem with long range combat. Not all arcanists are easy to kill. (despite atrition constantly killing several of my party mates, I'm rarely ever killed as a caster) And healers as a class won't always be poor when it comes to skills.

Crow
2010-01-09, 06:44 PM
Did you guys beat that level 17 cleric?

Yukitsu
2010-01-09, 06:47 PM
Did you guys beat that level 17 cleric?

If by "You guys" you mean "You", and if by "beat" you mean "succesfully run away despite being stunned, paralyzed, blind and otherwise screwed" then yes. Thank god dimension hopper spells don't require additional concentration or physical movements once cast.

Edit: And then we remembered that as an evil outsider, I was automatically banished back to my home plane.

Slayn82
2010-01-09, 07:05 PM
I can't recall a single game I've ever played in where you could buy stuff at will in any dungeon. Im pretty sure that's not even well supported by RAW or RAI.

Just as a curiosity, Planar Ally/Binding conceivably has some uses on this line. Salamanders, Djins, Githzerai, Yugoloths, Celestials. It's an old Planescape trick. Yes, i know teleporting could be way simpler, but lets supose you can't due to a curse on you.

As for the healing IC, well, thats more of a legacy from AD&D, the times when monsters had 90% spell resistance and only the fighter could conceivably fight them with his sword. So you used everything you had to keep those fighters alive, each turn. And usually you didnt have much.

Currently, the consensus is that anyone too hurt should try to retreat from imediate danger if possible, and keep attacking, but sometimes an unknow ambusher could very well strike at that moment and kill that party member, so its still better to play it safe, and throw a healing, and have both the wand and the priest around.

Because if in one combat more than one your party members are with few HPs, its clear that you probably will have to go to defense soon. And the enemy may receive reinforcements meanwhile.

Also, by point buy, a Priest with maxed wisdom may not have the strenght to kill that damaged orc discussed a few posts ago. Specially in lower levels, where the Orc Crit. is more dangerous, and there isnt Permaed Divine Power or similar. He may very well have Str8 and Dex 10.

Zen Master
2010-01-09, 08:19 PM
If you have people at death's door this early in combat, you already have efficiency problems elsewhere.

But seriously, preventing someone from dying, unless they are bleeding out, is typically more doable by offensive action than by healing.

Typically, perhaps - at a given level of optimization. It is rarely the case in my games.

What I think is the desirable aim of the game is a certain battle dynamic.

Think of how any great story can be disected and split up into parts. A hook, a point of no return, a confrontation (for a given type of story) and a conclusion. Same goes for great music.

Now, a great battle needs a tipping point. To build tension, which is what makes it exciting, you need a point at which it looks like the party is going to lose. At that point, one of the things that can give the impression is lack of hitpoints. For that reason alone, healing is desirable - to send the signal that 'we are now under pressure - we need to act, to survive.'

It seems to me there is a great deal of ... maybe detachment what you say. As I read you, you're saying that combats are reduced to damage tests - or, offensive action tests, which is much the same. And dying is ok, as long as someone remains alive to ressurect the remainder. And so on.

Personally, my characters never get ressurected. I fight ferociously to keep everyone in the group alive. The guys I play with don't mind being brought back to life the way I do - but still, if one of us dies, we 'lose'. And we aim to win.

I don't know if that makes sense. I hope it does.

JaronK
2010-01-09, 08:37 PM
On Riding Dogs: You can afford them quite easily at level 2 and they're incredibly good. They're also previously war trained, so no Handle Animal is required. If you want to actually ride them, it's only DC 5 to stay on... hardly a difficult challenge. Me, I'd just use them as attack dogs until you can afford masterwork saddles. The only real problem with the all Wizard party is the lack of trap detection (until you can start animating dread warrior Rogues and such).

But seriously, just memorize Colorspray, giggle madly, and shout RELEASE THE HOUNDS once in a while. But you can also get a Warhorse too if you want. I mean, why not?

JaronK

ScionoftheVoid
2010-01-09, 08:46 PM
the weakness of wizards is that they need time to prepare and (unlike sorcerers) they don't always have access to the right spell at the right time

they need to know what they're up against to prepare the best spells
UNlike Sorcerers? You're kidding, right? The Sorcerers' Spells Known are pitiful, they don't get Scribe Scroll for free to bypass that (like Wizards do) and Wizards don't normally prepare all their straight after rest, (at the level of optimisation where they cannot be ambushed effectively after level seven, which is basically just if they pay any attention to spells beyond *capped damage over a small area with multiple ways to bypass it, I'll take FIREBALL!*) because they can just fill in the empty slots in ~15 minutes later having prepared the basics.


they need space to work with and they need reliable, safe , environments in which to rest

if those conditions are met , sure, they're the best
Like an Extended Rope Trick? And other classes have requirements too. A rogue against Undead, Plants, Constructs, Elementals, Oozes or anything otherwise immune to sneak attack is going to do badly as well, as is a Fighter without magic gear or a Paladin without a Phylactery of Faithfulness (well, that last one is advised, but it is worth it for those big decisions).


but an entertaining campaign is not a video game, and should be nothing like that
Here's a tip, don't state something subjective as fact (particularly not on the internet) and please don't use the word "should", it often gets ugly.


if I ever saw guys trying to go around the healing problem by hiring a level 1 cleric, I'd probably have that cleric kill them in their sleep for their gold (or at least try)

or flat out refuse and be insulted at the idea of selling out his services to a bunch of greedy adventurers instead of serving the greater good
I'm going to assume two different clerics (because of the underlined parts). If these people are HIRING cleric A, then he should not be powerful enough to defeat them, or even have a chance (if you hire that kind of person they probably won't have Rope Trick priveleges) unless it is level one and maybe not even then (Grease, Sleep and such are staples for a reason).
Cleric B is helping people defeat monsters, that probably falls under at least one Cleric's definition of greater good (assuming, as we are, a standard campaign with enough combat to warrant a Cleric over an easily available magic item).
And the Neutral aligned but unmentioned Cleric C is probably willing to be hired, or is an adventurer who may want some allies anyway.


if you lack a "face" with proper sense motive checks and/or detect evil wild rumors can also have your party prepare to fight undead when you're really facing kobolds, goblins , or demons
Enchantment means friends don't let friends spread misleading rumors. At the levels where Charm effects are not relevant, Divinations more than pick up the slack.
Anyway, as mentioned above, the Wizard probably prepped some staple spells regardless of what they were facing, and then left at least one or two open per level after adding some appropriate spells for what they think they're up against. So, if they did not check the information, they have lost some versitality, they're still more versatile than a non-caster by a long, long way.
Also have you ever seen a misinformed non-caster melee, thinking they could out-grapple some gobbos when they actually went into a bear's cave (because they lack Sense Motive as a class skill too, have less skill points to spend on anything (much less cross-class stuff) and don't have relevant class features (unlike a Wizard with Enchantment and Divination spells)? It's probably amusing. Probably moreso than a Wizard prepping for Demons, finding Hobgoblins instead and still doing just as well.


and the whole point of a trap is putting it where you don't expect to have one (say in your room at the inn where a party of rogues ambush you as you're about to sleep)
Do your Rogues trump Rope Trick? Or do they lack magical equipment so Detect Magic doesn't find them even if the Wizard uses an inn? Or otherwise bypass the Wizard's ability to access multiple detection modes, Divining in general, Will-based Save-or-Loses against what are either A) equal level (way above CR, Will-based SoL should work though and they'll probably light up like a bulb under Detect Magic(a cantrip)), B) lower level (Will-based SoL will work) or C) higher level (see: Detect Magic. At lower levels Wizard may not survive, but then no non-caster would and the DM's job is to encourage fun not PC death, right?).


many trap effects shouldn't be obviously triggered or easy to dispel: slow acting poisons, antimagic fields, dungeon destroying giant rolling rocks that destroys anything that stumbles on his robe/beard as he flees for his life, magical entrapments that simply trap the PCs in said dungeons, doors that open to let ooze monsters fall from the ceiling
1. Poisons don't work that way. 2. Can be teleported past (if not into), undead and golems also work. 3. Being ethereal, teleportation, wall of [solid] and suchlike bypass it, non-magic people...don't. 4. See previous, no wall spell, though. 5. Fairly sure there's a Protection from Ooze spell in the SpC or something, but Resistance to Energy (Acid {or as appropriate}) will do. Just as lethal, if not more, for anyone else.


be creative you're a DM you can do anything!

we all know many rules of dnd make no sense (leadership anyone?) and we make a point of abusing those loopholes but that doesn't mean a DM can't just cheat or ignore bad rules
Can=/=should. Why do you think Leadership does not make sense, out of interest (I mean it is very powerful but it makes more sense than a lot of other things e.g. drown-healing and the heal check to stop drowning appearing only in a splatbook)? We make a point of exposing loopholes, they are often noted as theoretical only. I don't think that you should advocate cheating, the rules are for the DM too, that's why there is a Dungeon Master's Guide.


wizards become good by level 5, without a meatshield getting there should be insanely hard
Wizards can end encounters at level one. By level three its easy and yes level five makes it easier still. However they don't become good at level five. You have Scribe Scroll for a reason. Just make scrolls of things like Grease and Colour Spray, they're dirt cheap and saves are low then anyway.


and don't give me the 4 riding dogs bit, mounts (mounts that have bite attacks to boot) are supposed to be really expensive to get , not accessible at level 1 under a 100 gold

if you do get a mount (isn't riding a cross class skill for wizards? and casting from a mount has a pretty high DC) it shouldn't be the best type either (again no FACE or handle animal checks) possibly with multiple flaws

don't forget that casting a confusion on mounts is really really funny
They are not supposed to be ridden. They are supposed to be better, disposable meatshields/beatsticks. They succeed at being this. And whatever you say, RAW (what we are discussing) riding dogs are 150gp each. Which fits with a previous poster having to wait until level two to get one. Also not having a party face, which is unlikely because Charm Person is a first level spell, would normally mean you get an average specimen (like the one in the MM) not some malnourished puppy. Unless beatsticks in your campaign had supervision so they could buy a greatsword without the shopkeeper quicktalking them into a greatclub at the same price (which is on much the same scale).


a single rogue should be able to kill at least 1 wizard before getting nuked by his buddies

monkeys could jump from trees and grapple you to death
Improved Initiative is great for a Wizard, and a Rogue needs Weapon Finesse if his Dex is high enough to make the check one-sided. So advantage on Init is probably about 2 or 3 points to the Rogue. If the Rogue fails he gets hit with Sleep, DC 14-16 vs a Will save of -1 to +3 (I'm approximating figures. Wizard Dex 12, Int 16+, could be Human for Spell Focus:Ench. Rogue Dex 16+, Wis 8-12, could be Human for Iron Will), so it's Coup de gras time. If the Rogue succeeds he has to kill in one round. Assuming 14/15 Str and that he auto-hits for at least average damage (being generous here because this is the important bit) he'll do average 16 damage with a GREATSWORD. Max of 20. 5% chance of a crit for minimum of 9, average 28 damage. Assuming a Con score of 12-14, you kill him about half the time if you win Init and auto-hit him. That's using perfectly reasonable numbers, skewed slightly in your favour, and you are not managing your claim, unless you have numbers which prove me wrong?
And monkeys have a Grapple modifier of -12. If you've found a way to give a Wizard a negative Strength Score (presumably without in-game debuffing) please share it. It will be fun to know how to do that!:smalltongue:

Temotei
2010-01-09, 09:14 PM
I don't know if anyone has mentioned this yet.

The beatstick is there to set off the traps. Otherwise, the other roles are optional.

Not really. But I agree that a "balanced" party doesn't mean one of each type, or one of each type plus a bard. I've thrown around the idea of having a party of all clerics, or all wizards, or all sorcerers. It certainly would be cool to have each specialize in a certain area...

Eldariel
2010-01-09, 09:17 PM
If by "You guys" you mean "You", and if by "beat" you mean "succesfully run away despite being stunned, paralyzed, blind and otherwise screwed" then yes. Thank god dimension hopper spells don't require additional concentration or physical movements once cast.

Edit: And then we remembered that as an evil outsider, I was automatically banished back to my home plane.

Have you ever considered writing a campaign journal? Could be amusing.

Yukitsu
2010-01-09, 09:45 PM
Nah, I'm far too egocentric. I'd remember all the great moments for my character, but not for the others. If people wanted to read about that, I guess I could start one up from my character's point of view.

Eldariel
2010-01-09, 10:01 PM
Nah, I'm far too egocentric. I'd remember all the great moments for my character, but not for the others. If people wanted to read about that, I guess I could start one up from my character's point of view.

As a player, I think that's the only sensible way to write one.

Soranar
2010-01-09, 10:03 PM
UNlike Sorcerers? You're kidding, right? The Sorcerers' Spells Known are pitiful, they don't get Scribe Scroll for free to bypass that (like Wizards do) and Wizards don't normally prepare all their straight after rest, (at the level of optimisation where they cannot be ambushed effectively after level seven, which is basically just if they pay any attention to spells beyond *capped damage over a small area with multiple ways to bypass it, I'll take FIREBALL!*) because they can just fill in the empty slots in ~15 minutes later having prepared the basics.

matter of opinion, scribing scrolls is expensive early on (when wizards are particularly fragile) in XP, gold and time

in a setting with limited resources and a timeline (the bane of all wizards) a sorcerer comes out on top IMO


Like an Extended Rope Trick? And other classes have requirements too. A rogue against Undead, Plants, Constructs, Elementals, Oozes or anything otherwise immune to sneak attack is going to do badly as well, as is a Fighter without magic gear or a Paladin without a Phylactery of Faithfulness (well, that last one is advised, but it is worth it for those big decisions).

actually you're just proving my point that a balanced group requires diversity...


Here's a tip, don't state something subjective as fact (particularly not on the internet) and please don't use the word "should", it often gets ugly.

you're the one that seems to take it personally , to me this is just a discussion of opinion, as such it can go on forever


I'm going to assume two different clerics (because of the underlined parts). If these people are HIRING cleric A, then he should not be powerful enough to defeat them, or even have a chance (if you hire that kind of person they probably won't have Rope Trick priveleges) unless it is level one and maybe not even then (Grease, Sleep and such are staples for a reason).

an evil cleric could just bide his time and wound at a critical moment instead of heal, or simply rob them , poison them , set them on fire in their sleep, coup de grace them


Cleric B is helping people defeat monsters, that probably falls under at least one Cleric's definition of greater good (assuming, as we are, a standard campaign with enough combat to warrant a Cleric over an easily available magic item).

depends on your setting, a good cleric aligns himself with people of his faith / alignment first, adventuring groups of PCs are usually weird combinations caused by the infamous: you all meet in an inn trope


And the Neutral aligned but unmentioned Cleric C is probably willing to be hired, or is an adventurer who may want some allies anyway.

but then you're admitting you can actually use a healbot, even a low level one, and replacing an absent PC with an NPC which again proves my point that balance groups are better than imbalanced ones


Enchantment means friends don't let friends spread misleading rumors. At the levels where Charm effects are not relevant, Divinations more than pick up the slack.

throwing charm persons around is not exactly well seen by the local authorities, but in evil setting I can see that working

that requires the proper alignment though


Anyway, as mentioned above, the Wizard probably prepped some staple spells regardless of what they were facing, and then left at least one or two open per level after adding some appropriate spells for what they think they're up against. So, if they did not check the information, they have lost some versitality, they're still more versatile than a non-caster by a long, long way.

true, a spellcaster is usually more versatile than any other class , I'm just pointing out that a group consisting only of spellcasters can have problems with certain situations that would be handled better by having a normal group


Also have you ever seen a misinformed non-caster melee, thinking they could out-grapple some gobbos when they actually went into a bear's cave (because they lack Sense Motive as a class skill too, have less skill points to spend on anything (much less cross-class stuff) and don't have relevant class features (unlike a Wizard with Enchantment and Divination spells)? It's probably amusing. Probably moreso than a Wizard prepping for Demons, finding Hobgoblins instead and still doing just as well.

say you prep for creatures vulnerable to fire and you end up facing fire elementals, yeah I'm sure thats hilarious

Beatsticks don't have nearly as much options or optimization from preparing ahead (with the exception of trapmaking and UMD abuse)


Do your Rogues trump Rope Trick? Or do they lack magical equipment so Detect Magic doesn't find them even if the Wizard uses an inn?

non detection is a pretty easy magic item/ability to get, and simply not looking for magically (or not) hidden foes at the right time is a common problem


Or otherwise bypass the Wizard's ability to access multiple detection modes, Divining in general, Will-based Save-or-Loses against what are either A) equal level (way above CR, Will-based SoL should work though and they'll probably light up like a bulb under Detect Magic(a cantrip)), B) lower level (Will-based SoL will work) or C) higher level (see: Detect Magic. At lower levels Wizard may not survive, but then no non-caster would and the DM's job is to encourage fun not PC death, right?).

true but then you're just pointing out that if I use a standard adventure I've prepared, and the party my PCs have made are incapable of dealing with it, then I have to somehow DM them out of the problem and let them think they have an unstoppable party when a balanced one would survive said encounter easily

the rogues would put the weaker characters in negative hitpoints and hurt everyone else without killing them and normally they would lose the brawl afterwards (at which point you can heal the fallen wizard)

creating a TPK for the hell of it is a pointless exercise I agree


1. Poisons don't work that way. 2. Can be teleported past (if not into), undead and golems also work. 3. Being ethereal, teleportation, wall of [solid] and suchlike bypass it, non-magic people...don't. 4. See previous, no wall spell, though. 5. Fairly sure there's a Protection from Ooze spell in the SpC or something, but Resistance to Energy (Acid {or as appropriate}) will do. Just as lethal, if not more, for anyone else.

1. DM make their own rules, inventing a venom is hardly that complicated 2. Teleportation is a high level spell 3,4,5 again lots of high level magic solutions


Can=/=should. Why do you think Leadership does not make sense, out of interest (I mean it is very powerful but it makes more sense than a lot of other things e.g. drown-healing and the heal check to stop drowning appearing only in a splatbook)? We make a point of exposing loopholes, they are often noted as theoretical only. I don't think that you should advocate cheating, the rules are for the DM too, that's why there is a Dungeon Master's Guide.

I'm sorry to say I won't even try to explain why a feat that gives you a pet that can be stronger than you (and have his own pets) is overpowered

this forum has made that quite clear a number of times


Wizards can end encounters at level one. By level three its easy and yes level five makes it easier still. However they don't become good at level five. You have Scribe Scroll for a reason. Just make scrolls of things like Grease and Colour Spray, they're dirt cheap and saves are low then anyway.

scrolls are not cheap early own, everything is expensive at early levels


They are not supposed to be ridden. They are supposed to be better, disposable meatshields/beatsticks. They succeed at being this. And whatever you say, RAW (what we are discussing) riding dogs are 150gp each. Which fits with a previous poster having to wait until level two to get one. Also not having a party face, which is unlikely because Charm Person is a first level spell, would normally mean you get an average specimen (like the one in the MM) not some malnourished puppy. Unless beatsticks in your campaign had supervision so they could buy a greatsword without the shopkeeper quicktalking them into a greatclub at the same price (which is on much the same scale).

I'm starting to think 1 major difference in how we perceive DnD is how much gold is readily available to PCs and how cheaply you can buy what you need


Improved Initiative is great for a Wizard, and a Rogue needs Weapon Finesse if his Dex is high enough to make the check one-sided. So advantage on Init is probably about 2 or 3 points to the Rogue. If the Rogue fails he gets hit with Sleep, DC 14-16 vs a Will save of -1 to +3 (I'm approximating figures. Wizard Dex 12, Int 16+, could be Human for Spell Focus:Ench. Rogue Dex 16+, Wis 8-12, could be Human for Iron Will), so it's Coup de gras time. If the Rogue succeeds he has to kill in one round. Assuming 14/15 Str and that he auto-hits for at least average damage (being generous here because this is the important bit) he'll do average 16 damage with a GREATSWORD. Max of 20. 5% chance of a crit for minimum of 9, average 28 damage. Assuming a Con score of 12-14, you kill him about half the time if you win Init and auto-hit him. That's using perfectly reasonable numbers, skewed slightly in your favour, and you are not managing your claim, unless you have numbers which prove me wrong?
And monkeys have a Grapple modifier of -12. If you've found a way to give a Wizard a negative Strength Score (presumably without in-game debuffing) please share it. It will be fun to know how to do that!:smalltongue:

first, rolling ini assumes the rogue didn't manage to sneak up on you

but assuming he didn't , as you said, the average rogue has 16 dex while the average wizard has 12 , even with improved ini it can go for either

but say said human has a ranged weapon instead he has point blank shot + rapid shot and yields a shortbow or sling

resulting damage would be either 1d4 + str + 1 (pbs) + 1d6 twice or 1d6+1+1d6 twice = 4d6 +2 or say 14 damage on average ?

a level 1 rogue would have +3 to hit from DEX, +1 from point blank shot and - 2 from rapid shot but a flat-footed wizard isn't that hard to hit

if you're unlucky on damage or worse he crits well, have a nice death

alright that one was my mistake, I meant medium sized chimps or orangoutans , not 2 feet tall monkeys ( I blame english not being my first language)

JaronK
2010-01-09, 10:25 PM
matter of opinion, scribing scrolls is expensive early on (when wizards are particularly fragile) in XP, gold and time

in a setting with limited resources and a timeline (the bane of all wizards) a sorcerer comes out on top IMO

At low levels, Colorspray rules all, with VERY few exceptions (Sorcerers of course are just fine with that fact!). By the time you really need more variety, scrolls are cheap enough.


actually you're just proving my point that a balanced group requires diversity...

Well, those were Rogue difficulties. I'd hardly call Cleric, Wizard, Wizard, Factotum balanced in the sense of the OP but it gets the job done just fine.


but then you're admitting you can actually use a healbot, even a low level one, and replacing an absent PC with an NPC which again proves my point that balance groups are better than imbalanced ones

This is true. Saying "you don't need a healbot because you can hire one" doesn't make sense. That just says the PC doesn't need to be one. Though I'd still argue that healbotting itself is unwise... you just need an efficient way to heal between fights.


true, a spellcaster is usually more versatile than any other class , I'm just pointing out that a group consisting only of spellcasters can have problems with certain situations that would be handled better by having a normal group

I think that part is only true at low levels and if you can't handle traps somehow. After all, a Wizard, Wizard, Wizard, Beguiler party is all arcanists but should have very little trouble except occasionally needing to figure out a way to heal.


say you prep for creatures vulnerable to fire and you end up facing fire elementals, yeah I'm sure thats hilarious

Yeah, that's why I go with force damage. Manyjaws! Never prep all fire damage, too many enemies are immune.


Beatsticks don't have nearly as much options or optimization from preparing ahead (with the exception of trapmaking and UMD abuse)

Depends what you mean by beatsticks. ToB classes can handle themselves with shocking degrees of variety (even when otherwise useless they can fire off White Raven Tactics and make a more useful party member act).

JaronK

MountainKing
2010-01-09, 10:30 PM
*snip* A standard ECL 7 ambusher *snip again*

This. This right here, is the single word that, to me, strikes your argument dead where it stands. "Standard". Anyone can paste "standard" challenges, "standard" enemies, or "standard" DCs. That's why, in my games, I don't *ever* use "standard" anything. How else would my games survive at the table with two people who've been playing longer than I have (one of the two, by more than twice as long), and another player who, while not the most knowledgable D&D player, has a remarkable knack for doing exactly what you say works for you all the time (thinking)?

I seldom, if ever, use NPC classes. My monsters are *never* exactly what you'll find on the pages of a book. I feel that such things aren't fair to the players *shrugs*; they've already seen goblins and orcs... so, how about pseudonatural orcs, or goblins on skis? I feel that what I said stands; a good DM ought to be able to surprise his players, and by extension of that, he ought to be able to pierce their Named Character Shield now and again, because doing so can give them a sense of urgency or otherwise dramatically relevant emotion. It doesn't have to be by fiat; if you know your stuff, you can give your players a challenge, no matter what they're playing.

tyckspoon
2010-01-09, 10:38 PM
matter of opinion, scribing scrolls is expensive early on (when wizards are particularly fragile) in XP, gold and time


A 1st level scroll at CL 1 costs 12.5 gold and 1 xp to make. They're 25 gp to buy outright. A Wizard can buy a fair spares with his starting cash. He could start the game with some crafted if it weren't for the fact that a starting character definitionally has 0 XP.

JaronK
2010-01-09, 10:46 PM
Eh, I'd rather have animals at that level. A Magebreed Donkey is 16gp and just SO good. Plus a nice Goliath Greathammer for coup de gras moves on people Colorspray has hit (proficiency unneeded for that).

JaronK

Soranar
2010-01-09, 11:04 PM
any money you spend on consumables is money you don't have for long term investments like long-term magic items

even a couple hundred golds on scrolls instead of magic items or basic equipment can make a huge difference

Foryn Gilnith
2010-01-09, 11:11 PM
When did this thread change from

So, you have multiple ways to actually fill every niche without actually having characters choose classes in order to do so.
into

It doesn't have to be by fiat; if you know your stuff, you can give your players a challenge, no matter what they're playing.

They're strongly related topics, but the sides seem to have switched. In the beginning, the mechanically-minded were arguing that class composition doesn't matter when you meet challenges; now, it's the mechanically-minded arguing that class composition does matter when you meet challenges. Not the same people, obviously, but...

Yukitsu
2010-01-09, 11:40 PM
This. This right here, is the single word that, to me, strikes your argument dead where it stands. "Standard". Anyone can paste "standard" challenges, "standard" enemies, or "standard" DCs. That's why, in my games, I don't *ever* use "standard" anything. How else would my games survive at the table with two people who've been playing longer than I have (one of the two, by more than twice as long), and another player who, while not the most knowledgable D&D player, has a remarkable knack for doing exactly what you say works for you all the time (thinking)?

I seldom, if ever, use NPC classes. My monsters are *never* exactly what you'll find on the pages of a book. I feel that such things aren't fair to the players *shrugs*; they've already seen goblins and orcs... so, how about pseudonatural orcs, or goblins on skis? I feel that what I said stands; a good DM ought to be able to surprise his players, and by extension of that, he ought to be able to pierce their Named Character Shield now and again, because doing so can give them a sense of urgency or otherwise dramatically relevant emotion. It doesn't have to be by fiat; if you know your stuff, you can give your players a challenge, no matter what they're playing.

By "standard" I mean, is not a CR 20 Balor or a homebrewed equivalent. It doesn't matter what you add to a CR 7, if it is legitimately CR 7, you simply put cannot succeed if I am applying myself at all to avoiding being ambushed.

PhoenixRivers
2010-01-10, 12:49 AM
Throw in +2 for charging, another +2 if he can get a flanking buddy, +1 if you replace that craptacular alertness feat with weapon focus or +2 if you give him the reckless offense feat (-4ac, +2attack). Hey, if he is going to get off just 1 attack before going down, might as well make it count. :smallamused:I generally avoid giving monsters feats that lowers their survivability drastically. Darwinism in action.

Besides, the post I was replying to criticized the use of orc that wasn't in keeping with the SRD entry. I feel it's only fair to go under the same assumption for the other side as well. Reckless offense, out. Falchion's good, it stays. Alertness, bad, it stays too.

Flanking? Not so likely. 1 Orc is CR 1. Which means at level 1, it'd likely not have a flanking buddy, and, if it did, likely did not have it in flanking position. Such bonuses are a bit situational to rely on.

Charge, I'll grant you, which makes it a 45% hit chance (for 1 hit), and a 6.75% crit chance. Still under 1 in 2 chance of hitting.


Where are you getting 5 damage? Orcs deal an average of 2d4+4, or 9 damage per hit. The fighter is down to 3 hp. Even with 5hp healed from the cleric (now at 8hp), he is still potentially a goner if the second orc hits him.
No, he's not. 2d4+4 is a Max of 12 damage. That puts the fighter still alive, at -4 (from 8hp). Whereas, on the same hit, from 3 HP, he's at -9, and possibly dead at -10 before the party can even act.


So let me get this straight...

1) Fighter gets hit by orc
2) Cleric heals fighter
3) Fighter kills orc#1
4) Orc#2 moves in, swings, deals more damage on a hit
5) Fighter kills orc#2 (assuming he survived), else cleric whacks away
6) Cleric has to waste yet more resources healing fighter
You assume a 45% chance of hit, then another. Even on consecutive charges from advantageous position, the chance of this happening is 20%.

The more likely scenario would be:
1) Fighter gets hit by orc
2) Fighter kills orc 1
3) Cleric heals fighter
4) Orc 2 moves in, misses fighter
5) Rogue moves in, flanking, kills Orc 2 via sneak attack.

Or worst case scenario:
4) Orc 2 moves in, hits fighter
5) Rogue moves in, flanking, kills Orc 2 via sneak attack.

In either case, the fighter would need healing. Whether that's by healer or item, that fact doesn't change. Difference is? In my scenario, it factors in the party (likely) and a 1 round combat (likely).


vs

1) Fighter gets hit by orc
2) Cleric charges in battle, hits orc#1, killing it
3) Fighter charges at orc#2, killing it.
4) Heals fighter after battle.
Possible. However, assuming the cleric is str 14, wielding a mace, it's entirely likely he leaves the orc alive, via miss or not dealing enough damage. And we're back at the above scenario, except the fighter's on death's door.


I think that is the rationale why in-combat healing is generally considered an inefficient mode of action. The fast you kill the enemies, the fewer rounds they get to act, meaning they deal less damage to your party, in turn translating to fewer resources being spent patching everyone afterwards.Indeed. Much rationalization is based on unlikely scenarios, assuming the party's caught in a flanked position by 2 enemies with the stealth skills of a wounded dog, nonstandard feats, and a successful charge. In such situations, you're right. Fighting out of the disadvantage is preferable.

However, such situations are decidedly atypical.


Heal (and later mass heal) is possibly the main exception, since it is the only spell capable of healing more damage than what your enemies are normally capable of dishing out in one round.:smallsmile:
An orc warrior (SRD entry), vs AC 18, deals an average of 9 damage on a hit. That's an average of 3.15 damage per round. On a charge, it's 4.05 damage per round.

You can argue all you like, but those are the numbers. Those are the weighted damage figures. Without charge, 1 heal is equivalent to the attacks of 2 orcs.

Your "statistics" are based on the less likely scenario, involving less-than-likely particulars that are not assured (charge favorable terrain, flanking, etc). Mine are based on a typical distribution of averages.

The Glyphstone
2010-01-10, 12:52 AM
I thought MM-standard orcs were CR 1/2?

PhoenixRivers
2010-01-10, 01:26 AM
I thought MM-standard orcs were CR 1/2?

I'm AFB. If they are, then 1 group should be 2 Orcs. (for a balanced level 1 encounter)

That doesn't change that one should be down before it engages typically (poor perception abilities and all).

Yukitsu
2010-01-10, 01:32 AM
Then you still don't really need to heal the fighter. Fighter shuffles to the back, rogue flanks with the healer replacement, and kill it.

They also, at the least, have positive mods in spot and listen, meaning two of them making a total of 4 checks are pretty likely to pass against one of the four in the party.

Crow
2010-01-10, 01:33 AM
By "standard" I mean, is not a CR 20 Balor or a homebrewed equivalent. It doesn't matter what you add to a CR 7, if it is legitimately CR 7, you simply put cannot succeed if I am applying myself at all to avoiding being ambushed.

This reminds me of some athletes I know. They think they are the best because they are the best in their particular circle. Or a rider who is the fastest among his group of friends, and calls himself fast based upon that...until he goes out and meets riders who really are fast.

edit: No idea why that reminds me of this...it just does.

ScionoftheVoid
2010-01-10, 01:41 AM
First of all, I am sorry if I appear to be overly aggressive. I tend to be able to think something through or actually do it but most often not both. Again, my apologies.


matter of opinion, scribing scrolls is expensive early on (when wizards are particularly fragile) in XP, gold and time

in a setting with limited resources and a timeline (the bane of all wizards) a sorcerer comes out on top IMO
Personally I much prefer the Sorcerer but a Wizard can make up the for low natural slots far more easily can increase spells known. And if a Sorc has a spell that can be twisted to fit the circumstance, a Wizard has the same and more. To have more spells available than a Sorc a Wizard merely needs more of a spell level/day than a Sorc has known for that level. This happens naturally for higher level spells and bonus slots are common enough that a Wizard will be almost guaranteed to have the spell of choice now or in 15 mins. Also, Sorcs need as much time as Wizards do, at least.



actually you're just proving my point that a balanced group requires diversity...
How, exactly? I really don't see it, though the reason is likely staring me in the face.



you're the one that seems to take it personally , to me this is just a discussion of opinion, as such it can go on forever
Sorry but I've yet to see a mention of the word "should" in that kind of context go down well.




but then you're admitting you can actually use a healbot, even a low level one, and replacing an absent PC with an NPC which again proves my point that balance groups are better than imbalanced ones
I believe the OP calrified that the myth was not that all roles were needed ,but that they were needed to be filled by locking players' choices. An NPC giving the needed out of combat healing means that a player does not have to devote any of their character to the task, whereas even a wand would need a small investment (UMD ranks, making sure the cures are on your spell list, etc.) so an NPC was a better solution IMO. (This may not be clear, if it is not please tell me so that I may make it so)




throwing charm persons around is not exactly well seen by the local authorities, but in evil setting I can see that working

that requires the proper alignment though
How so? I was suggesting its use for not being ripped off by merchants (merchants trying to rip people off sounds evil in the first place anyway, partially because some players may not realise how much their money is worth in-game anyway myself included (think Twoflower and his Agatean Rhinu in Ankh-Morpork)) and for replacing the most base functions of a party face. Bards are apparently very well welcomed for people who use a non-magical, un-blockable form of brainwashing (though that is more the fault of Diplomacy being un-blockable in the first place). And if it could be "all-low-hit-die-magic-types" rather than "all-wizards" then a telepath Psion even has the skills for a face.




say you prep for creatures vulnerable to fire and you end up facing fire elementals, yeah I'm sure thats hilarious
That's why any Wizard using fire spells (the most commonly resisted energy there is) is going to use Searing Spell (bypasses resistance, affects immune creatures with reduced efficiency, fire only). It is also why (at the levels you need to worry about resistances and vulnerabilities much, why use direct damage anyway?) a Wizard will probably:
Have checked their information (ruled out here due to time restrictions I'll assume)
Have most of their spell list unaltered (daily buffs, any direct damage will probably be no-SR force or sonic, summon(s) in case of immergencies, basic things like Black Tentacles which hinder most any (CR +/- ~4) creature, etc.)
Alter any remaining slots for what they think they are facing (important for your example, essentially free empower on [fire] damage spells is not that impressive, certainly not worth prepping a whole day's spells around)




non detection is a pretty easy magic item/ability to get, and simply not looking for magically (or not) hidden foes at the right time is a common problem
I submit to the first. I haven't looked over Non-Detection in quite some time. Simply not looking for enemies is a problem before you get targetted enough (as in; before you get targetted) that you simply don't sleep in public places, or set up a routine before doing so so that you are safe (along the lines of: activate detect magic, see invis. or other vision modes, lock the entrances magically, put an explosive rune on each, probably much better than that though). By the time you have foes sending specially equipped assasins after you, you almost definitely have Extended Rope Trick.




true but then you're just pointing out that if I use a standard adventure I've prepared, and the party my PCs have made are incapable of dealing with it, then I have to somehow DM them out of the problem and let them think they have an unstoppable party when a balanced one would survive said encounter easily

the rogues would put the weaker characters in negative hitpoints and hurt everyone else without killing them and normally they would lose the brawl afterwards (at which point you can heal the fallen wizard)

creating a TPK for the hell of it is a pointless exercise I agree
How would a supposedly balanced party handle multiple assasins (not the Prestige Class, just in case someone gets confused) better than a party of Wizards? A Barbarian will go down under a Coup de gras just as easy as a Wizard if the assasins are using powerful melee weapons (they are apparently attacking the party in an inn, so ranged weapons are a no and why not use a powerful weapon if it is available?). If they use weaker weapons it becomes skewed towards the balanced party (meatshield may survive the first shot) but putting down a caster first is a good idea in either case.




1. DM make their own rules, inventing a venom is hardly that complicated 2. Teleportation is a high level spell 3,4,5 again lots of high level magic solutions
1. Fair enough, but threads are assumed to be RAW unless specified otherwise and, AFAIK, it has not been stated as being otherwise. 2. Dimension Door is only fourth level. Mercenaries are probably available and, in numbers, sufficient if golems or undead are not available. 3. Again fourth level spells, with Blink giving a 20% chance of survival from a second level slot. If a normal party could survive it then there is also presumably room to get around or, with Fly (third level), over it. 4. A party of Wizards can hangaround in that ever useful Rope Trick (as can the normal party). Besides which how would a normal party get out either? 5. Blink helps, so does Fly after the oozes had dropped. Resist Energy is only a second level spell (it is also touch range so it's not much help to the balanced party).




I'm sorry to say I won't even try to explain why a feat that gives you a pet that can be stronger than you (and have his own pets) is overpowered

this forum has made that quite clear a number of times
I thought you meant that it made no sense as in "arrows should not fly in a perfectly straight line"-type sense. From a game balance point of view D&D 3.5 defaults to a lack of sense.I did agree it was powerful, though I ought to have qualified it with "very". (On a side note, if your cohort is more powerful than you are the DM should probably let you have the feat or slap you silly. With all three core books. Or both)



I'm starting to think 1 major difference in how we perceive DnD is how much gold is readily available to PCs and how cheaply you can buy what you need
Technically I did agree that a riding dog could not be bought at first level. I just phrased the sentence before finding out how much one cost.:smallfrown: Oops.
Anyway I would have thought that the by-the-book prices and gp/settlement rules were made on the assumption that a shopkeeper would not argue when a reasonably powerful individual said they did not want to haggle. Of course if you can get the players haggling then you could over charge them, but sometimes they would manage for a lower price, too.




first, rolling ini assumes the rogue didn't manage to sneak up on you
It also assumes the Wizard did not manage to sneak up on you! Though you're right of course, there is a reasonable chance of a surprise round.


but assuming he didn't , as you said, the average rogue has 16 dex while the average wizard has 12 , even with improved ini it can go for either

but say said human has a ranged weapon instead he has point blank shot + rapid shot and yields a shortbow or sling

resulting damage would be either 1d4 + str + 1 (pbs) + 1d6 twice or 1d6+1+1d6 twice = 4d6 +2 or say 14 damage on average ?
Point Blank Shot + Rapid Shot loses Improved Init though giving the Wizard a bonus two higher. Sneaking up on the Wizard makes it less relevant, but removes full attack and therefore Rapid Shot. Hmmm... I'll see what I can counter that with, likely tommorow. (I think 4d6+2 rounds to 16 average damage, at least with d6 averaging to 3.5) Also thank you for providing numbers for me, I likely won't best this but I like a challenge and I hadn't considered a ranged attack at all.



a level 1 rogue would have +3 to hit from DEX, +1 from point blank shot and - 2 from rapid shot but a flat-footed wizard isn't that hard to hit

if you're unlucky on damage or worse he crits well, have a nice death

alright that one was my mistake, I meant medium sized chimps or orangoutans , not 2 feet tall monkeys ( I blame english not being my first language)
What about a flat-footed Wizard with Mage Armor up? 1d20+2 to hit AC 14 is still favourable, though. Shield as well would ruin the shots but it's infeasible as a min/level spell and you still get two chances to hit.

I will return to this at some point, but for now, sleep.
(People who have spoken English all their lives often forget the difference between apes and monkeys, so don't worry about it, I just nitpick things)

PhoenixRivers
2010-01-10, 01:53 AM
Then you still don't really need to heal the fighter. Fighter shuffles to the back, rogue flanks with the healer replacement, and kill it.

They also, at the least, have positive mods in spot and listen, meaning two of them making a total of 4 checks are pretty likely to pass against one of the four in the party.

Positive mods? From 30 feet? 40? 60? Those distance penalties really add up, y'know.

Compare to the party rogue, with a likely spot/listen mod of 6-8... Add that in to the likelihood of the party expecting trouble, and the orcs not necessarily on high alert.

The party typically has numerous advantages that help offset the "unfamiliar territory" disadvantage.

JaronK
2010-01-10, 02:50 AM
any money you spend on consumables is money you don't have for long term investments like long-term magic items

even a couple hundred golds on scrolls instead of magic items or basic equipment can make a huge difference

Except of course that a Wizard can then scribe said scroll into his spellbook, so Wizards actually get a long term benefit from getting scrolls (and remember, they can scribe their own scrolls using someone else's spells, thus enabling them to learn the spell).

JaronK

PhoenixRivers
2010-01-10, 02:52 AM
Except of course that a Wizard can then scribe said scroll into his spellbook, so Wizards actually get a long term benefit from getting scrolls (and remember, they can scribe their own scrolls using someone else's spells, thus enabling them to learn the spell).

JaronK

But scrolls used for scribing are used.

The idea that temporary resources detract from permanent wealth is a valid one. That said, I believe the treasure tables factor in some disposable wealth at every level.

JaronK
2010-01-10, 02:57 AM
But scrolls used for scribing are used.

The idea that temporary resources detract from permanent wealth is a valid one. That said, I believe the treasure tables factor in some disposable wealth at every level.

True enough... I wouldn't actually start using scrolls to augment spells per day until a level where the cost becomes insignificant.

JaronK

PhoenixRivers
2010-01-10, 02:59 AM
True enough... I wouldn't actually start using scrolls to augment spells per day until a level where the cost becomes insignificant.

JaronK

They're not typically for "spells per day". You use them to cover a specific, rare need, or an especially costly one, where Caster level isn't an issue.

Scrolls of Raise Dead/Wish, for example. Scrolls of Knock. That sorta thing.

Other useful ones are Telepathic Bond (for establishing permanent links for the party), and the like.

Tyndmyr
2010-01-11, 12:21 AM
They do boost spells per day...albeit indirectly. You can use them for all those fun specialized spells so you don't need to use spell slots on things that might not even come up, or memorizing semi-spont spells like Rary's Mnemonic thingie.

The amount of xp they cost is trivial, and for low level spells, the same is true for the gold.

Now, consider that wizards are also frequently specialists, focused specialists, or domain wizards, all of whom also have more spells. Thus, in spell volume, they're not far off from sorcs.


Now, of course, the higher the tier of the typical member, the more difficult it is to effectively replace that member with items. Arcanist is likely more expensive than healbot, healbot is more expensive than skillmonkey...and the beatstick is quite cheap to replace.

Kurald Galain
2010-01-11, 07:05 AM
This thread should be marked with a (3.5). In 4e, a balanced party is more important, since it is harder to replicate the lost jobs.
That is incorrect. With the exception of healer, you can do without any of the other roles in 4E. In other words, it's the very same myth as in earlier editions, based on assumptions that the designers made.

But yes, excepting healers.


Really? I've not played much 4E, but I thought healing surges made a healer less crucial than 3.5?
This is one of several design goals for 4E that didn't really materialize in practice.

Runestar
2010-01-11, 07:43 AM
That is incorrect. With the exception of healer, you can do without any of the other roles in 4E.

While the game probably won't come to a grinding halt due to the absence of any role, I had always thought 4e was designed with 1 leader in mind to hand out to-hit bonuses. If you can manage 2 leaders in the party, the players should never miss again. :smallbiggrin:

But that's also partly because much of the wizard's utility was reintroduced as rituals which can be made accessible to any class. :smallsmile:

Yukitsu
2010-01-11, 12:54 PM
Positive mods? From 30 feet? 40? 60? Those distance penalties really add up, y'know.

Compare to the party rogue, with a likely spot/listen mod of 6-8... Add that in to the likelihood of the party expecting trouble, and the orcs not necessarily on high alert.

The party typically has numerous advantages that help offset the "unfamiliar territory" disadvantage.

Well, 2 orcs standing around doing nothing present a pretty low DC challenge, but not as low as that guy in some description of medium or heavy armour in the PC group. It doesn't matter if you see the orcs, so long as the orcs see or hear you as well.

Fawsto
2010-01-11, 01:20 PM
Now, if you think about it, there is really a way to do almost everything by PrCsing, skills and feats.

It is possbible to cross-roles all over the party by just making the right choices.

Gnaeus
2010-01-11, 02:36 PM
Just to clarify, Wizard x4 very easily and with relatively little reduction in power can quickly become Wizard (with 1 level in rogue or factotum or beguiler), Wizard (with 1 level in cleric or druid), Wizard (with 1 level in Warblade or Fighter), Wizard. This is especially true with a little foresight at char gen, and can even lead to wider PRC options. All cleric, or all druid, or even all rogue parties all do great with a tiny sprinkle of dipping. There is no reason that you have to spend a character on a role when you can just take a 1 level hit, assuming that it is something that is even necessary in your game.

JaronK
2010-01-11, 04:29 PM
If you're going to go that route, you can do it a lot better than a random dip. Instead of a Wizard X/Rogue 1 for traps, you can go with Beguiler/Mindbender/Shadowcraft Mage. Instead of the random Wizard/Cleric, you can just go Archivist. There's no need for the one with a Fighter dip... the Archivist can be a tank if you really want (or any of them can generate their own tanks).

So Beguiler 9/Mindbender 1/Shadowcraft Mage 5/Earthdreamer 5, Archivist 3/Binder 1/Anima Mage 10/Tainted Sorcerer 1/Tenebrous Apostate 5, and two more Wizards of pretty much any type is an effectively all arcanist party (the Archivist isn't technically arcane but can cast the entire Wizard/Sorcerer list, and the Beguiler/SCM has a HUGE number of spells available from the W/S list). And it's basically unstoppable. The Archivist alone covers any healing need you might have (Binding Buer, Persistant Lesser Mass Vigor or Vigorous Circle).

Heck, if everyone goes Tomb Tainted or Necropolitan then by caster level 11 Wizards alone can do all day healing.

JaronK

Tyndmyr
2010-01-11, 06:10 PM
Alternative, low level option: Warforged. Thanks to repair spells being arcane, your arcanist IS your healer.

And anyhow, warforged is a pretty good race, so it's not as if you're sacrificing much.

Gnaeus
2010-01-12, 08:44 AM
If you're going to go that route, you can do it a lot better than a random dip. Instead of a Wizard X/Rogue 1 for traps, you can go with Beguiler/Mindbender/Shadowcraft Mage. Instead of the random Wizard/Cleric, you can just go Archivist. There's no need for the one with a Fighter dip... the Archivist can be a tank if you really want (or any of them can generate their own tanks).

Thank you Captain Obvious. You correctly point out that with a character playing a skillmonkey class and a divine class you can cover the skillmonkey and divine roles. There are about 1000 other possible combinations of classes that can cover all the roles. My point was that if you want an all wizard party, or an all druid party, or an all rogue party, a couple of dipped levels can cover all the roles for you, without forcing you to take a class that you don't want to take for whatever reason.

Foryn Gilnith
2010-01-12, 09:13 AM
Thank you Captain Obvious. You correctly point out that with a character playing a skillmonkey class and a divine class you can cover the skillmonkey and divine roles.
Thank you Captain Obvious. You correctly point out that with a character dipping into a skillmonkey class and a divine class you can cover the skillmonkey and divine roles.

Tyndmyr
2010-01-12, 11:34 AM
Well, you can cover roles without sacrificing any of that valuable resource, class levels. Sure, that's one way, but it's hardly the only one.

Grifthin
2010-01-12, 11:56 AM
We always play the "typical" party. Rogue (equivalent), Wizard (equivalent), Cleric (equivalent) and fighter (equivalent). It's just not fantasy without those classics in the party you know. Granted our party is 7 man now.

*the above is all opinion

lesser_minion
2010-01-12, 12:22 PM
Well, the 3.0 DMG paints a rather different picture of the balanced party. Here are the actual guidelines, which are horribly mixed up:


Tight quarters make things more difficult for rogues

Basically, it's harder to get a sneak attack.


A spread-out force makes things more difficult for spellcasters

Because you can't grease everyone in one go, basically.


Many lesser foes are harder for a character to engage in melee than one powerful foe

Yep, I can buy that.


Undead are much harder to fight without a cleric

More accurately, easier to fight with one, depending on the level.


Encounters involving animals or plants are much more difficult without a druid or a ranger

Again, it's more that they are easier with one.


Encounters involving evil outsiders are much more difficult to fight without a paladin or cleric (and perhaps a wizard or a sorcerer)

I can just about buy that, but yet again, it's more that it's easier with one.


A large force is much more difficult to fight without a wizard or a sorcerer

Well, a cleric might be able to help, but I can buy that as well. I see no implication here that wizards were supposed to be AOE blasters, just the assumption that blasters were on par with everyone else.


Multiple combat encounters are more difficult to win without a fighter, paladin, or ranger

Debunked.


Multiple combat encounters are more difficult to survive without a cleric.

You need healing, but not necessarily in combat - being beaten up is not a problem unless they have to go into the next fight like that.


The bard and the cleric make good group support characters. Their presence makes almost every encounter easier.

Support. Not 'healing'. Your cleric is supposed to be a buffbot, not a healbot.


The implication here is that the party should have someone who is useful in every situation they are likely to face, not that they have to have the "fighter, rogue, wizard, cleric" layout. Which is actually what the rules suggest every race needs in order to survive.

Tyndmyr
2010-01-12, 12:47 PM
The bard does not make "almost every encounter easier". At least, not compared to yknow, half the other core classes. I would trade a bard out for another wizard, cleric, druid, rogue, or even fighter in a heartbeat. Bard is great if you need a party face, and nobody else is good at it.

This brings up the idea that perhaps more actual roles need to be outlined...the roles a party actually needs filled. Party Face is a typical one. A leader of some sort is generally considered a need for the party to be coordinated. These are even more disconnected from class, tbh, but still, they're important roles.

lesser_minion
2010-01-12, 01:06 PM
The bard does not make "almost every encounter easier". At least, not compared to yknow, half the other core classes. I would trade a bard out for another wizard, cleric, druid, rogue, or even fighter in a heartbeat. Bard is great if you need a party face, and nobody else is good at it.

This brings up the idea that perhaps more actual roles need to be outlined...the roles a party actually needs filled. Party Face is a typical one. A leader of some sort is generally considered a need for the party to be coordinated. These are even more disconnected from class, tbh, but still, they're important roles.

I'm quoting the DMG here, and it was assumed that a bard was fairly good at buffing - making everyone better at their jobs. This was pre-glibness as well.

I think Pathfinder assumes that the roles are (as filled in core):


Face (guy who talks to things) - best filled by a bard, or possibly a rogue
Brains (guy who figures out things) - best filled by a bard or a wizard
Muscle (guy who clears things) - best filled by damned near anything, including wizard, fighter, paladin, and so on.


You can theoretically break muscle down into little bits, and it's worth noting that druids and rangers become your face against certain creatures.

grautry
2010-01-12, 03:46 PM
I think Pathfinder assumes that the roles are (as filled in core):


Face (guy who talks to things) - best filled by a bard, or possibly a rogue
Brains (guy who figures out things) - best filled by a bard or a wizard
Muscle (guy who clears things) - best filled by damned near anything, including wizard, fighter, paladin, and so on.


Playing a God guide had an IMO nice guide as to party roles.
Out of combat:
- The Face - Dealing with people
- The Corpse - Dealing with traps
- The Healbot- Dealing with wounds
- Utility - Generally arcane utility. Party taxi, divining etc.
- I'd add 'other'. Those would be the specialized uses like oh tracking by a ranger or some other situational OoC concerns that are less often encountered in D&D games.

Combat:
- Big Stupid Fighter - Soaks hp damage.
- The Glass Cannon - Dishes out hp damage.
- GOD - Buffing/Debuffing/BFC.
- The Waste of Space.
- Similarly to the above, I'd add 'other'. Sometimes the occasional healbotting will be very useful in combat, there are other specialized niches too.

Obviously there's a lot of overlap here. Say, a Druid can fill out the Healbot, Corpse, BSF, God and GC(the Face too if he's so inclined) roles if he's feels like it(often, he can do two or three at the same time).

There's plenty of classes who can fill several of these roles and therefore as long as you have some way of dealing with such problems, you'll be fine. D&D is simply an extremely customizable game - therefore, while you need some way to deal with the most common problems you'll find during a session, you don't need rigidly defined classes to do so.