PDA

View Full Version : Nerfing Tier 1 classes



Soranar
2010-02-28, 12:41 PM
I fully understand that some spells/feats (craft contingency I'm looking at you) are simply gamebreakers regardless of class. But if you wanted to nerf Tier 1 into Tier 2, what would you do?

This is what I have so far (I realize I'm missing 3 classes, Artificer, Archivist and Erudite, but I've never had to deal with them as a DM or a player so I lack experience with them to have an informed opinion)

Wizard: Lose scribe scroll and free feats. You're basically a Sorcerer without bonus feats and with a better casting stat and spell access.

I realize many prestige classes could fix this but that's another thread.

Cleric: d6 hitpoints, Wizard's BAB (obvioulsy cloistered cleric is just banned, some spells still turn you into a fighter but not all the time and it still takes a spell slot), Low Fort Saves.

Druid: d6 hitpoints, Wizard's BAB, natural spell is banned

opinions?

EDIT:

Spells that are problematic are banned (my list is short, it'll get longer with input)

-Timestop
-Shapechange
-Polymorph
-Any rope trick variation
-Mind Blank
-Heroes' Feast

Spells that need nerfing but are required to survive (IMO)
-death ward

EDIT:

Scrolls and wands are not a problem in my campaigns as they are rare and 2 or 3 times the cost with limited WBL.

EDIT:

New Spell Progression for Full Casters

1st 0 0 - - - - - - - -
2nd 1 0 - - - - - - - -
3rd 1 0 - - - - - - - -
4th 2 1 0 - - - - - - -
5th 2 1 0 - - - - - - -
6th 3 2 1 0 - - - - - -
7th 3 2 1 0 - - - - - -
8th 4 3 2 1 0 - - - - -
9th 4 3 2 1 0 - - - - -
10th 4 4 3 2 1 0 - - - -
11th 4 4 3 2 1 0 - - - -
12th 4 4 4 3 2 1 0 - - -
13th 4 4 4 3 2 1 0 - - -
14th 4 4 4 4 3 2 1 0 - -
15th 4 4 4 4 3 2 1 0 - -
16th 4 4 4 4 4 3 2 1 0 -
17th 4 4 4 4 4 3 2 1 0 -
18th 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 2 1 0
19th 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 2 1 0
20th 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 2 1

Kylarra
2010-02-28, 12:44 PM
You're doing effectively nothing to the wizard, nothing to the cleric and slightly weakening the druid since now they're just a fullcaster and a meatshield instead of two meatshields and a fullcaster.

Eloel
2010-02-28, 12:46 PM
Spells above 5th level don't exist.

2nd level spells are now called 3rd level spells.
3nd level spells are now called 5rd level spells.
4nd level spells are now called 7rd level spells.
5nd level spells are now called 9rd level spells.

Everything else stays the same - even-numbered slots are now only good for metamagic.

Heighten Spell is no longer a feat, but an option while casting a spell.

Pretty easy to grasp, balances tier1 to around tier3, kills all casters below tier2.

Sloppy, but works.

Soranar
2010-02-28, 12:47 PM
You're doing effectively nothing to the wizard, nothing to the cleric and slightly weakening the druid since now they're just a fullcaster and a meatshield instead of two meatshields and a fullcaster.

So you think I should concentrate on nerfing spells directly instead?

Dienekes
2010-02-28, 12:48 PM
A little secret about the tier 1 classes. It's not the classes, it's the spells (except Druid).

So far you've done nothing to alleviate the problem

Soranar
2010-02-28, 12:49 PM
Spells above 5th level don't exist.

2nd level spells are now called 3rd level spells.
3nd level spells are now called 5rd level spells.
4nd level spells are now called 7rd level spells.
5nd level spells are now called 9rd level spells.

Everything else stays the same - even-numbered slots are now only good for metamagic.

Heighten Spell is no longer a feat, but an option while casting a spell.

Pretty easy to grasp, balances tier1 to around tier3, kills all casters below tier2.

Sloppy, but works.

I want to drop them a tier, not 2.

Kylarra
2010-02-28, 12:50 PM
So you think I should concentrate on nerfing spells directly instead?I think you're best off just removing tier 1-2 classes from the game and playing with the very limited fullcasters and halfcasters and pseudocasters that remain, rather than trying to arbitrarily throw a nerfbat around.

Apropos
2010-02-28, 12:51 PM
I want to drop them a tier, not 2.

Why not 2? Most people agree that tier 3 is where wizards intended the power level to be at.

Soranar
2010-02-28, 12:52 PM
I think you're best off just removing tier 1-2 classes from the game and playing with the very limited fullcasters and halfcasters and pseudocasters that remain, rather than trying to arbitrarily throw a nerfbat around.

Mostly for roleplay considerations: my players would still want to play a nerfed mage or druid, even if they didn't completely break the game.

Artanis
2010-02-28, 12:53 PM
Mostly for roleplay considerations: my players would still want to play a nerfed mage or druid, even if they didn't completely break the game.

Uh...the definition of Tier 2 is that they DO still break the game, just not as easily as Tier 1.

Draz74
2010-02-28, 12:54 PM
Your Wizard is still Tier 1. And I'm not sure how to fix that. Really, it's just having an unlimited spell list that separates Tier 1 from Tier 2 (mostly), and the unlimited book-based spell list is kind of an important fluff point for the Wizzie.

However, the good news is that Cleric and Druid are pretty easy to nerf to Tier 2 by just using the Spontaneous Divine Casting Variant (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/spontaneousDivineCasters.htm). I like it anyway, because it makes Clerics of different gods feel more distinct.

Note that, with just that variant, Cleric and Druid will both still be very very strong Tier 2's. So I also recommend the following changes:

Druid

PHB2 Shapeshift variant


Cleric

Free martial weapon proficiency with deity's favored weapon
4+Int skill points/level
d6 Hit Die
poor Fort save
no heavy armor proficiency
remove Divine Power from spell list
don't allow Nightsticks to be used to power Divine Feats


War Domain (changes to complement the changes to the Cleric):

Grants heavy armor proficiency
still includes Divine Power


Also consider:

Making spellcasting slightly MAD for both classes?
Giving the Druid an animal companion of some sort still (but not so strong at low levels); perhaps Wild Cohort (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/re/20031118a) as a bonus feat or something.

Godskook
2010-02-28, 12:54 PM
Wizard: Lose scribe scroll and free feats. You're basically a Sorcerer without bonus feats and with a better casting stat and spell access.

So wizards stop taking improved initiative. That's the extent of the damage.


Cleric: d6 hitpoints, Wizard's BAB (obvioulsy cloistered cleric is just banned, some spells still turn you into a fighter but not all the time and it still takes a spell slot), Low Fort Saves.

Still the same tier.


Druid: d6 hitpoints, Wizard's BAB, natural spell is banned

On the one hand, banning natural spell is a good way to nerf the Druid, but on the other, you've otherwise missed what makes him powerful to begin with.


opinions?

Full-casters don't need rogue-BAB to be powerful, and they don't need d8 HD. You're focusing on all the wrong things to nerf them, which means they're just as powerful as ever.

Soranar
2010-02-28, 12:54 PM
Why not 2? Most people agree that tier 3 is where wizards intended the power level to be at.

Tier 2 is manageable, and sometimes/often I need my players to be that powerful (I'm a rather evil DM).

Kylarra
2010-02-28, 12:58 PM
Tier 2 is manageable, and sometimes/often I need my players to be that powerful (I'm a rather evil DM).Tier 2 is just tier 1 with a limited array of tricks instead of unlimited though. It's still gamebreaking compared to "lesser" tiers. Anyway you've got easy fixes without trying if you want tier 1->2

Ban: Archivist, Artificer, Erudite, these don't seem to be considerations for you anyway.

Shapeshift variant druid, ban natural spell.

Cleric-> favored soul
Wizard -> Sorcerer

Done.

oxybe
2010-02-28, 12:59 PM
A little secret about the tier 1 classes. It's not the classes, it's the spells (except Druid).

So far you've done nothing to alleviate the problem

this: a thousand times this. even if he does have the wizard's BAB, how often will the cleric need the Fighter's BAB? twice per day? three? and how many slots does he have to use?

mind blank still destroys an entire school of magic.

hero's feast + death ward stops a lot of situations that could pop up and accidentally kill you (oops, debilitating con poison or finger of death. roll up a new PC jim).

scrolls of "solve situational problem" and wands of "fix problem happens often enough" are still around to let the caster prep his list with more versatile/multiple use spells (polymorph for example can be used offensively, defensively, for scouting, ect...) that day instead of various situational ones he may/may not use (like knock, stone to flesh, ect...).

the druid has the legitimate issue of having a mini-fighter that he can buff up to full fighter+++ potential, in addition to full casting & shapeshifting. his abilities need to be dropped a bit or at his casting to bring him down a notch.

lsfreak
2010-02-28, 12:59 PM
Tier 2 is manageable, and sometimes/often I need my players to be that powerful (I'm a rather evil DM).

In that case, make them like the T2 classes - they all have limited and much more permanent spell selection as the primary difference between them and T1. T1's strength is knowing lots of spells and being able to switch them out on the fly, unlike T2 that have a limited number of spells that are essentially fixed.

Artanis
2010-02-28, 01:00 PM
Tier 2 is manageable, and sometimes/often I need my players to be that powerful (I'm a rather evil DM).

Just because a class is Tier 3 does not mean it's weak. Tier 1 and Tier 2 are NOT separated from the other tiers by power, they're separated by the fact that they have the potential to absolutely obliterate a game. All Tier 3 means is that the class doesn't get the campaign-obliterating stuff.

Kurald Galain
2010-02-28, 01:01 PM
I want to drop them a tier, not 2.

Okay, so tweak what he said a bit more.

Gain second level spells at level 3, third level spells at 6, fourth level spells at 9, fifth level spells at 12, sixth level spells at 15, 7th level spells at 18.

Ernir
2010-02-28, 01:38 PM
Wizards and Clerics suck. The Wizard and Cleric spell lists, however, are beyond powerful.
So yes, I agree with the chorus, forget about nerfing the classes, nerf the spells (except in the case of the Druid, that one actually has a strong casting chassis in addition to a strong spell list). And to prevent you from going mad due to the workload (you would have to go over literally thousands of spells), focus on the ones that have been problematic in your games. No reason to make up the 20000th Polymorph fix if all your players have been doing with it is to occasionally turn the Wizard into a bear to help break down a door.


EDIT: One way to get what I think should disqualify Clerics and Druid from tier 1 (down to strong tier 2): Spontaneous Divine Casters. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/spontaneousDivineCasters.htm) Or just the Favored Soul and Spirit Shaman.

sofawall
2010-02-28, 01:42 PM
Wizards and Clerics suck. The Wizard and Cleric spell lists, however, are beyond powerful.
So yes, I agree with the chorus, forget about nerfing the classes, nerf the spells (except in the case of the Druid, that one actually has a strong casting chassis in addition to a strong spell list). And to prevent you from going mad due to the workload (you would have to go over literally thousands of spells), focus on the ones that have been problematic in your games. No reason to make up the 20000th Polymorph fix if all your players have been doing with it is to occasionally turn the Wizard into a bear to help break down a door.


EDIT: One way to get what I think should disqualify Clerics and Druid from tier 1 (down to strong tier 2): Spontaneous Divine Casters. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/spontaneousDivineCasters.htm) Or just the Favored Soul and Spirit Shaman.

Actually, clerics have a decent chassis. Fort/Will as strong saves, d8 HD, 3/4 BAB, Armour and Turning.

PinkysBrain
2010-02-28, 01:49 PM
Clerics in core don't get that many great spells at low level ... also no one ever wants to play one.

ShneekeyTheLost
2010-02-28, 01:59 PM
Well, I completely replaced the core Tier 1 classes with classes that used the Warlock Invocation system, and it seems to have worked fairly well

The Arcanist (successor to Wiz/Sorc) and the Priest (successor to the Cleric) have 1/2 BAB, One invocation every level, and d4 HD. The Wilder (successor to the Druid) has 3/4 BAB and Warlock invocation progression. Instead of Wildshape, they have Aspect Invocations (pretty much all-day buffs). Can still become a beefy melee guy, but it'll require you to focus pretty heavily on Aspects.

Then I also did an Invocation version of the Bard, which seemed to work out quite well

Pluto
2010-02-28, 02:19 PM
I fully understand that some spells/feats (craft contingency I'm looking at you) are simply gamebreakers regardless of class. But if you wanted to nerf Tier 1 into Tier 2, what would you do?

It looks like you've missed the feature that makes thee classes ridiculous to begin with.
If you've missed that, it is probably a non-issue in your games.
If it it a non-issue, why change?

Also, what Draz said. And limit the hell out of the Wizard's spell access.
(But I would skip the built-in companion entirely. Druids have Handle Animal and Wild Empathy.)

Gnaeus
2010-02-28, 02:30 PM
Banning polymorph and requiring shapeshift druid are both bad fixes.

Druids and wizards SHOULD be able to turn themselves into almost anything. It is a thematic, signature ability found throughout fantasy...

What they SHOULDN'T be able to do is to turn themselves into something that is better than a fighter.

Pathfinder (and others) came up with the answer. Wildshape and polymorph should give stat bonuses based on the spell/form. They should not replace the physical stats. So a Druid or a Wizard with a 6 strength which turned into a tiger would not get the strength of a tiger, but they would get some kind of strength +, either level dependent or static based on creature type/size. Polymorph is still a versatile spell, it just isn't the one stop gish in a bottle spell.

You can then keep or ban natural spell depending on your preference.

Aldizog
2010-02-28, 02:48 PM
What really makes the druid a Tier-1 class and not Tier-2?

It is outstanding at dealing HP damage (does one thing exceptionally well) and very good at battlefield control. But versatility is the hallmark of Tier 1 classes. At higher levels, the druid lacks the utility options of the wizard or the cleric (no Lim Wish, Wish, Miracle, planar travel, or certain crucial status-fixing spells, and very limited teleport). It indirectly gains some utility effects through summoning, but it still has more gaps than the wizard or cleric.

IMO, nerfing the versatility just a *bit* more would give it Tier-2 status. Obviously limit Shapechange forms known (do NOT just allow a Knowledge check to be familiar with an obscure creature that the DM hasn't actively included in the game world), and maybe revise the SNA list to remove some of the monsters with utility SLAs that the druid is lacking.

Mark Hall
2010-02-28, 03:22 PM
Simplest and most direct: Use Bard spellcasting tables. Give spontaneous casters (except the bard) double the spells per day (and, IMO, double the bonus spells) to make up for their lesser selections.

Once you do this, most of the problem spells are delayed to far later levels, and low-level casters have need of their steel-suited friends.

Evard
2010-02-28, 03:44 PM
I would vote for the Unearthed Arcana variant for the druid. Get rid of the spells (or maybe give them very limited spells per day or spells known). The UA may need tweeked but I like the aspect of nature druid :p The warden from 4e actually reminds me of this variant :p

wizards.... make arcane magic hurt to use? With their low hit points they would have to really think about what they wanted to use :p With great power comes a huge headache like always XD

ScionoftheVoid
2010-02-28, 03:49 PM
Simplest and most direct: Use Bard spellcasting tables. Give spontaneous casters (except the bard) double the spells per day (and, IMO, double the bonus spells) to make up for their lesser selections.

Once you do this, most of the problem spells are delayed to far later levels, and low-level casters have need of their steel-suited friends.

They still get the low-level encounter enders just a level later, the fix still requires a fair bit of work to make high levels playable and at higher levels their spell DCs are very low unless optimised. So spells like Evard's Black Tentacles, Solid Fog and company become better than they were already. That doesn't fix anything, it just delays it and different spells become awesome. Try finding someone who doesn't take Enervation who hasn't banned Necromancy under these rules for example. And higher levels become far more deadly because you have less defences and less offensive options.

PlzBreakMyCmpAn
2010-02-28, 03:49 PM
I think you're best off just removing tier 1-2 classes from the game and playing with the very limited fullcasters and halfcasters and pseudocasters that remain, rather than trying to arbitrarily throw a nerfbat around.Kylarra wins the thread.

Because as mentioned, its the casting that does it. Simply ban all casting and manifesting classes. Look how many are left? Just the cheesy online vestige. Kill that and your done.

That was easy.

cfalcon
2010-02-28, 03:49 PM
So if you want to ban stuff, you have one or more of a few motivations:

1- You like the idea of your game being fair, and all classes having a good role to play in a fight.
2- Your players don't want to feel like they are "failing" for not taking a super powerful class- OR- You don't want to essentially write off the weaker fellows, making them unworkable by allowing broken stuff.
3- You have some players that will "go for the gold" and others that don't want to feel like they need to- by removing the "gold", all your players end up closer together, and happier.
4- Your game is not superflexible and able to accomodate the ramifications of some of the more bizarre things.
5- You have some bone to pick with some playstyle.

I'm answering on the assumption that you have some number of 1-4, and 5 isn't on your list.

First, I'm going to agree with the idea that the spells are your problem. Spells are super powerful, especially at high levels. Remember that a high level caster is clearly designed to be something like a demigod, and to change that you'll be working against a lot of spells. The first thing you listed was Time Stop, a 9th level spell! I'd say that you *might* want to consider a level cap in your game.

If that's not something you like the sound of, then you should look at the spells that do stuff that's designed to be broken-ish, and address those. If your goal is something like 1 or 2, then you need to be proactive, but google will help you- type the spell name into google with some modifiers like "wizard", and see if there's a bunch of forums chatting about it. Polymorph is an easy spell to have problems with, for instance, but everything that breaks physics hardcore, like invisibility and flight, can be a problem in your game, depending on what your enemies are like.

When it comes to clerics, you should consider if you, like Wizards, wants to "bait" people into playing a healer by offering a powerful class, or if you want the class to be brought more in line. The spontaneous casting variant for all divine guys will certainly help, and it will also reduce the skill cap on these classes so that more players can play them (being able to play a good cleric or wizard is pretty much a tradeskill- not just anyone can pick one up, and you may like or dislike this flavor).

You can also approach the situation by simply having magic be a lot less powerful in terms of where it functions, and how it works. Maybe copper stops it. Maybe any number of rituals available to peasants can ward it away. If you go *this* route, make sure your players are aware of it, and actually put the legwork into getting all the restrictions drawn up ahead of time.

Anyway, good luck!

Tyndmyr
2010-02-28, 05:57 PM
It's easier to balance upward than downward.

So, I take the opposite approach. What do other classes need to compete with tier 1 classes?

Artanis
2010-02-28, 06:02 PM
It's easier to balance upward than downward.

So, I take the opposite approach. What do other classes need to compete with tier 1 classes?

The ability to utterly obliterate a campaign more or less on a whim.



Edit: Addendum

Seriously, here's the definition of a Tier 1 class:


Tier 1: Capable of doing absolutely everything, often better than classes that specialize in that thing. Often capable of solving encounters with a single mechanical ability and little thought from the player. Has world changing powers at high levels. These guys, if played well, can break a campaign and can be very hard to challenge without extreme DM fiat,

DarkEternal
2010-02-28, 06:03 PM
Honestly, for casting classes I would ban spells...Like Briar's web. And Web while we are at it.

Druids as a class should be banned entirely for good balance.

Tyndmyr
2010-02-28, 06:04 PM
The ability to utterly obliterate a campaign more or less on a whim.

So, IHS, then?

Artanis
2010-02-28, 06:04 PM
So, IHS, then?

What does IHS stand for?

lsfreak
2010-02-28, 06:15 PM
What does IHS stand for?

Iron Heart Surge.

"Your existence has a negative effect on me!"
*poof*

erikun
2010-02-28, 08:03 PM
I fully understand that some spells/feats (craft contingency I'm looking at you) are simply gamebreakers regardless of class. But if you wanted to nerf Tier 1 into Tier 2, what would you do?
Well, the "problem" with Tier 1 classes is that they can do almost anything with their abilities, and can change their abilities (spells, typically) to deal with the current situation. Tier 2 classes can do almost anything with their abilities, but they do not have the option to change their abilities into something else if needed.

Thus, if you want the Tier 1 classes (all prepared casters) to drop to Tier 2 (spontaneous casters), they your best bet is to make all the Tier 1 classes into spontaneous casters - forcing them into memorized spell lists that they cannot swap out as desired.

The Wizard becomes the Sorcerer.

The Cleric becomes the Favored Soul.

The Druid becomes a spontaneous spellcaster, and Natural Spell gets banned. They also lose their Animal Companion, which is given to the Ranger.

The Archivist is banned. It's basically a cleric/druid/wizard pure spellcaster anyways.

The Artificer is banned. You won't be able to balance "make magical items for free" at all. If desired, you can try to make an Artificer prestige class which makes item creation quick, cheap, and easy.

The Erudite becomes the Psion, and Psychic Reformation is banned (or limited to how far back it will go, possibly just one level). The Erudite is supposed to be a variant Psion anyways.

In some cases, you might want to buff the resulting changes to make them more attractive. Giving the Sorcerer the Scribe Scroll feat, bonus feats every 5 levels, and removing the delay on spell levels won't push it up to Tier 1, although it will be more attractive than the current Sorcerer. The Favored Soul is also stuck with a spell level delay, and would probably benefit from domain abilities more than what they get now. The Druid already has too many abilities, and is in need of pruning.

Drolyt
2010-02-28, 09:04 PM
I fully understand that some spells/feats (craft contingency I'm looking at you) are simply gamebreakers regardless of class. But if you wanted to nerf Tier 1 into Tier 2, what would you do?

This is what I have so far (I realize I'm missing 3 classes, Artificer, Archivist and Erudite, but I've never had to deal with them as a DM or a player so I lack experience with them to have an informed opinion)

Wizard: Lose scribe scroll and free feats. You're basically a Sorcerer without bonus feats and with a better casting stat and spell access.

I realize many prestige classes could fix this but that's another thread.

Cleric: d6 hitpoints, Wizard's BAB (obvioulsy cloistered cleric is just banned, some spells still turn you into a fighter but not all the time and it still takes a spell slot), Low Fort Saves.

Druid: d6 hitpoints, Wizard's BAB, natural spell is banned

opinions?

EDIT:

Spells that are problematic are banned (my list is short, it'll get longer with input)

-Timestop
-Shapechange
-Polymorph
-Any rope trick variation
-Mind Blank
-Heroes' Feast

Spells that need nerfing but are required to survive (IMO)
-death ward

EDIT:

Scrolls and wands are not a problem in my campaigns as they are rare and 2 or 3 times the cost with limited WBL.

EDIT:

New Spell Progression for Full Casters

1st 0 0 - - - - - - - -
2nd 1 0 - - - - - - - -
3rd 1 0 - - - - - - - -
4th 2 1 0 - - - - - - -
5th 2 1 0 - - - - - - -
6th 3 2 1 0 - - - - - -
7th 3 2 1 0 - - - - - -
8th 4 3 2 1 0 - - - - -
9th 4 3 2 1 0 - - - - -
10th 4 4 3 2 1 0 - - - -
11th 4 4 3 2 1 0 - - - -
12th 4 4 4 3 2 1 0 - - -
13th 4 4 4 3 2 1 0 - - -
14th 4 4 4 4 3 2 1 0 - -
15th 4 4 4 4 3 2 1 0 - -
16th 4 4 4 4 4 3 2 1 0 -
17th 4 4 4 4 4 3 2 1 0 -
18th 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 2 1 0
19th 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 2 1 0
20th 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 2 1

What is it you are aiming for specifically? The above suggestions to make Cleric and Druid Spontaneous, drop Wizard in Favor of Sorcerer and Erudite in favor of Psion, and replace wild shape with either the Aspect of Nature variant in Unearthed Arcana or that variant in PHB II would indeed bring them down to tier 2, but what is your goal?

More to the point, contrary to popular belief Tier 2 classes usually = Tier 3 classes. The problem is a few specific overpowered spells, feats, and prestige classes. If you as a DM can deal with those problems (eg nerf polymorph, ban DMM cheese, ban Incantatrix) there shouldn't be much of a problem having tier 2 and tier 3 in the same game. In fact if you handle it well you can have tier 1 in there as well, but it becomes harder because a well played tier 1, even if it is not breaking the game, can basically change its build 1/day to deal with whatever situations happen to arise.

Other than that look around the net for some of the attempts to fix broken spells. The Giant has a Polymorph fix, look under gaming to the right. I'd give more links but I don't have any at hand.

Hope I helped. :smallsmile:

redlock
2010-02-28, 10:16 PM
While you're at it, ban Genesis, which is the source of unlimited Stupid Caster Tricks.

Drolyt
2010-02-28, 10:29 PM
While you're at it, ban Genesis, which is the source of unlimited Stupid Caster Tricks.

Genesis is fine as a spell, but instead of following rules it should just be up to the DM to decide what it does. I know that WotC couldn't well print a spell like that, but if you are allowing this spell that's how it should work.

sonofzeal
2010-02-28, 10:44 PM
Genesis is fine as a spell, but instead of following rules it should just be up to the DM to decide what it does. I know that WotC couldn't well print a spell like that, but if you are allowing this spell that's how it should work.
It's fine as long as you rule that Planar Traits aren't a "desire the spellcaster can visualize", and restrain the flexibility more to things along the lines of the actual examples given of things you can change.

Drolyt
2010-02-28, 11:01 PM
It's fine as long as you rule that Planar Traits aren't a "desire the spellcaster can visualize", and restrain the flexibility more to things along the lines of the actual examples given of things you can change.

As a DM I would allow you to do whatever you want with a Genesis spell, as long as I decide that it is "within your power". Basically I would prevent obvious abuse and limit it based on power- you'd have to be at least around level 50 or 60 to create a infinite plane for example (which the original spell doesn't even allow, but whatever). I also sometimes do this with spells like Polymorph if I think they will be problematic. Instead of following the PHB rules I just tell the players that it does what I say it does. This usually works.

I also sometimes allow more powerful (or simply very creative) uses of particular spells as long as I feel it won't unbalance anything.

Tyndmyr
2010-03-01, 10:35 AM
While you're at it, ban Genesis, which is the source of unlimited Stupid Caster Tricks.

It's level 9. Its hardly the most worrying of campaign breakers. Also, it costs xp. Compare to other level 9 spells....retarded levels of power are commonplace. You might as well say that Time Stop is a source of stupid caster tricks...of course it is. Thats the point of it.

Drolyt
2010-03-01, 10:39 AM
It's level 9. Its hardly the most worrying of campaign breakers. Also, it costs xp. Compare to other level 9 spells....retarded levels of power are commonplace. You might as well say that Time Stop is a source of stupid caster tricks...of course it is. Thats the point of it.

I've never really had problems with Time Stop. Yes it is very possible but my players have never abused it beyond a few obvious uses like stacking Delayed Blast Fireballs, healing, and running away. Powerful, but not nearly the broken Time Stop tends to get associated with.

Optimystik
2010-03-01, 10:42 AM
I've never really had problems with Time Stop. Yes it is very possible but my players have never abused it beyond a few obvious uses like stacking Delayed Blast Fireballs, healing, and running away. Powerful, but not nearly the broken Time Stop tends to get associated with.

That just makes it slightly less stupid than the rest. Shapechange, Gate, Miracle, Wish, Astral Projection, Apocalypse from the Sky, Sanctify the Wicked... all of them reinforce Tyndmyr's point.

BenTheJester
2010-03-01, 10:44 AM
A good rule we used in one of our game was making the spellcasting time of a caster's 3 highest level spells a Full-Round action

All spells are also resolved at the beginning of the caster's next round, leaving time for a target to possibly escape the range of a spell(but he doesn't know what the caster is gonna cast or at who unless he makes a spellcraft check)

So a 9th level wizard would cast 0, 1st and 2nd level spells as normal, but 3rd, 4th and 5th as a full round action.

(Of course, spells with a casting time of longer than a full-round action retain their original casting times)

Tyndmyr
2010-03-01, 10:48 AM
Let's not forget Mindrape. =)

Yeah, in practice, my players don't abuse these either. I've never actually seen someone try to chain gate, or try to create planes like "The Plane of Gold". But hey, 9th level spells are pretty much all nuts, except for the ones that focus on single target blasting.

It's just hard to make ten distinct levels of spells, with each better than the last, without getting into some pretty powerful stuff. This isn't necessarily bad, but it's something to be aware of.

If this were something I wanted to avoid, Id probably stick with one of the E# variants. It's the easiest solution. You can do quite a bit to minimize the difference between melee and casters, but since the discrepancy is mostly because of spells, which exist in hundreds or thousands of forms, and have a ridiculous amount of possible combos, balancing them all is....very hard.

Drolyt
2010-03-01, 10:51 AM
That just makes it slightly less stupid than the rest. Shapechange, Gate, Miracle, Wish, Astral Projection, Apocalypse from the Sky, Sanctify the Wicked... all of them reinforce Tyndmyr's point.

My point is well those spells are broken in the hands of experienced players, most of the groups I've DM'd for didn't know how to break the game. Combined with a little rule 0 most of the time those spells provided no problem.

So yes by RAW they are powerful, I'm just pointing out that not every group has problems with it. That's why I wanted to know explicitly what the OP was aiming for. Was he finding that Wizards and Clerics overshadowed the party in his campaigns? That would be a different issue than if this were a purely theoretical exercise.

Telonius
2010-03-01, 11:07 AM
For Wizards: ban the truly egregious spells and combinations (Polymorph line, Celerity, contingency & co), nerf some of the others (Reflex save on Forcecage, no automatic "you lose" buttons).

For Druids: Use the shapeshift variant and call it a day.

For Clerics: Divine Power is domain only, Nightsticks are banned, DMM can only use up to half your total turning attempts per casting.

Miscellaneous: Called, Summoned, Gated, etc. creatures will not perform XP-consuming spells for you for free. Feats and abilities that grant extra domains or spells will be closely looked at before approval.

Kurald Galain
2010-03-01, 11:43 AM
I wouldn't worry about 9th level spells. They don't come up in most campaigns anyway.

It mostly comes down to banning some overpowered spells (or items like nightsticks) that most players wouldn't even think of using in the first place. It's not a bad idea to e.g. raise the level at which spells become available, or reduce the saving throw DCs, but that's really treating symptoms rather than causes.

RagnaroksChosen
2010-03-01, 11:51 AM
Couple of questions seeing as we are talking about some of the more broken spells.

Polymorph: would adding the clause you need to of seen the creature to polymorph into it help? Or add some mechanical knowledge check into the spell?

Contingency: is there any hope for this spell? what about setting level limits to the spell used (like contingency can only use spells 3rd or lower)


I thought for genesis you had to use the planar traits from the DMG?

Tyndmyr
2010-03-01, 11:57 AM
Couple of questions seeing as we are talking about some of the more broken spells.

Polymorph: would adding the clause you need to of seen the creature to polymorph into it help? Or add some mechanical knowledge check into the spell?

Probably not. Knowledge is too easily pumpable. Thus, you either make this useless for the regular players, or trivial for the sort of players that will abuse this.

Having seen it is reasonable, though.


Contingency: is there any hope for this spell? what about setting level limits to the spell used (like contingency can only use spells 3rd or lower)

It's already limited to 1/3rd CL(max level 6). So, everyone talking about contingent time stops and the like hasn't bothered to actually read the spell.


I thought for genesis you had to use the planar traits from the DMG?

It's fuzzy. It lists a bunch of examples and says "stuff like this". Which leads people to try to use all sorts of different definitions of "like". It's sufficiently vague that it'll likely end up as a DM judgement call for anything other than the listed traits.

Human Paragon 3
2010-03-01, 11:57 AM
Well, I completely replaced the core Tier 1 classes with classes that used the Warlock Invocation system, and it seems to have worked fairly well

The Arcanist (successor to Wiz/Sorc) and the Priest (successor to the Cleric) have 1/2 BAB, One invocation every level, and d4 HD. The Wilder (successor to the Druid) has 3/4 BAB and Warlock invocation progression. Instead of Wildshape, they have Aspect Invocations (pretty much all-day buffs). Can still become a beefy melee guy, but it'll require you to focus pretty heavily on Aspects.

Then I also did an Invocation version of the Bard, which seemed to work out quite well

Did you post this stuff somewhere? I'd be interested in taking a look. The bard sounds really interesting, especially.

Rauthiss
2010-03-01, 12:02 PM
It's already limited to 1/3rd CL(max level 6). So, everyone talking about contingent time stops and the like hasn't bothered to actually read the spell.

Contingency the spell is, but Craft contingent spell (from complete arcane) is not, IIRC.

Fishy
2010-03-01, 12:04 PM
Well, I completely replaced the core Tier 1 classes with classes that used the Warlock Invocation system, and it seems to have worked fairly well

The Arcanist (successor to Wiz/Sorc) and the Priest (successor to the Cleric) have 1/2 BAB, One invocation every level, and d4 HD. The Wilder (successor to the Druid) has 3/4 BAB and Warlock invocation progression. Instead of Wildshape, they have Aspect Invocations (pretty much all-day buffs). Can still become a beefy melee guy, but it'll require you to focus pretty heavily on Aspects.

Then I also did an Invocation version of the Bard, which seemed to work out quite well

... And then you gave everyone the Martial Study feat and some homebrew maneuvers so that people can do cool things 1/encounter, and then you were playing 4E?

RagnaroksChosen
2010-03-01, 12:05 PM
Probably not. Knowledge is too easily pumpable. Thus, you either make this useless for the regular players, or trivial for the sort of players that will abuse this.

Having seen it is reasonable, though.
We use a house rule of dc 10 + CRx2 which seems to work.
Though i don't typicaly have alot of transmuters in my group so...



It's already limited to 1/3rd CL(max level 6). So, everyone talking about contingent time stops and the like hasn't bothered to actually read the spell.

I didn't read that.. lol that is true and i think that makes it alot better... i think capping it at 4th level spells may reduce its awsomeness to a respectable measure.



It's fuzzy. It lists a bunch of examples and says "stuff like this". Which leads people to try to use all sorts of different definitions of "like". It's sufficiently vague that it'll likely end up as a DM judgement call for anything other than the listed traits.
hu thats interesting. actualy after re-reading the spell all it says is :

The spellcaster determines the environment within the demiplane when he or she first casts genesis, reflecting most any desire the spellcaster can visualize. The spellcaster determines factors such as atmosphere, water, temperature, and the general shape of the terrain. This spell cannot create life (including vegetation), nor can it create construction (such as buildings, roads, wells, dungeons, and so forth). The spellcaster must add these things in some other fashion if he or she desires. Once the basic demiplane reaches its maximum size, the spellcaster can continue to cast this spell to enlarge the demiplane, adding another 180 feet of radius to the demiplane each time.

atleast thats what the srd says

Tyndmyr
2010-03-01, 12:07 PM
Contingency the spell is, but Craft contingent spell (from complete arcane) is not, IIRC.

True, but does it not reference Contingency?

Rag, the important bit is here:

The spellcaster determines factors such as atmosphere, water, temperature, and the general shape of the terrain

Clearly, it's not an exaustive list, it's an example of those factors. Some say that time is such a factor, some say it is not. Results may vary by game.

RagnaroksChosen
2010-03-01, 12:14 PM
True, but does it not reference Contingency?

Rag, the important bit is here:


Clearly, it's not an exaustive list, it's an example of those factors. Some say that time is such a factor, some say it is not. Results may vary by game.

Ic what you are saying, mabye a better list of what they can modify would fix this issue.

Optimystik
2010-03-01, 12:23 PM
True, but does it not reference Contingency?

It does, but not in the way you're thinking. It says the effect is similar to Contingency (i.e. remains inactive until triggered), but nothing about the requirements.

The wording of the feat has no limitations, save prohibitive expense:


You can make contingent any spell that you know.

Amphetryon
2010-03-01, 12:34 PM
ul.

The Druid becomes a spontaneous spellcaster, and Natural Spell gets banned. They also lose their Animal Companion, which is given to the Ranger Spirit Shaman.

FTFY. :smallsmile:

Tyndmyr
2010-03-01, 12:41 PM
It does, but not in the way you're thinking. It says the effect is similar to Contingency (i.e. remains inactive until triggered), but nothing about the requirements.

The wording of the feat has no limitations, save prohibitive expense:

Lovely. Yeah, making that subject to the same limitations that exist on the normal contingency would probably be a good idea.

I prefer to avoid the reflexive "ban it" to anything powerful, but some things could use an adjustment. For example, prohibiting or limiting the range of planar traits chosen is reasonable. Double time or half time is probably fine. 10,000times faster is probably not.

Drolyt
2010-03-01, 12:46 PM
On Druid: I forgot, give the wild cohort feat instead of animal companion, as well as banning natural spell, using one of the wild shape variants, and making them spontaneous.

On Polymorph: Seriously, Polymorph isn't that bad most of the time. The important thing is not to allow specific broken options (such as Choker). Not allowing spells while Polymorphed might be warranted as well.

Curmudgeon
2010-03-01, 12:47 PM
Polymorph: would adding the clause you need to of seen the creature to polymorph into it help? Or add some mechanical knowledge check into the spell?
Actually, both. There are 6 different Knowledge skills that apply to creatures, so requiring an appropriate skill check to know what a creature is after seeing it is useful. And of course you need to apply this to the flexible Summon spells, as well -- otherwise casters will just Summon Monster with all the variants to have "seen" those creatures.

But yes, the answer to all the Tier 1 problems is the spells -- the hundreds and hundreds of spells that need to be individually checked. :smallsigh:

Drolyt
2010-03-01, 12:56 PM
But yes, the answer to all the Tier 1 problems is the spells -- the hundreds and hundreds of spells that need to be individually checked. :smallsigh:

I disagree. The option to make Druid and Cleric spontaneous, ban Wizard in favor of Sorcerer (possibly giving the Sorcerer the Wizard's bonus feats to compensate), using a Wild Shape Variant and giving the Druid (and hell, the Ranger too) Wild Cohort for free instead of an animal companion brings everything down to tier 2.

At tier 2 you can still break things, but it's manageable. The casters only have so many tricks so you only have to have a few houserules to deal with it (eg maybe polymorphing into a Choker doesn't get their speed ability, creatures summoned by gate can't cast wishes etc.).

Edit: That's not to say classes like Wizard can't be balanced. But going through all those spells and trying to fix them one by one... it's just very difficult. A few projects, including one of my own exist on the net to do just that, but so far as I know none are complete.

RagnaroksChosen
2010-03-01, 01:41 PM
Actually, both. There are 6 different Knowledge skills that apply to creatures, so requiring an appropriate skill check to know what a creature is after seeing it is useful. And of course you need to apply this to the flexible Summon spells, as well -- otherwise casters will just Summon Monster with all the variants to have "seen" those creatures.


I guess though to be honest there's really nothing on the summon spell list (that i can remember) that's really broken and that i would worry about some one polymorphing into... IF they want to do that it wouldn't bother me much.
Or mabye you could add a clause saying that they have to engange it some how which would disclude summons.

Actualy on that note i would say modify it for the knowledge checks as i said before, and put in a clause saying that Summoned or called creatures don't allow you to make the knowledge checks.

That way we don't nerf summon x spells. As i don't consider them to be broken.

Drolyt
2010-03-01, 02:07 PM
I guess though to be honest there's really nothing on the summon spell list (that i can remember) that's really broken and that i would worry about some one polymorphing into... IF they want to do that it wouldn't bother me much.
Or mabye you could add a clause saying that they have to engange it some how which would disclude summons.

Actualy on that note i would say modify it for the knowledge checks as i said before, and put in a clause saying that Summoned or called creatures don't allow you to make the knowledge checks.

That way we don't nerf summon x spells. As i don't consider them to be broken.

Summon Monster spells are weak as hell. Having to nerf them in order to get at Polymorph is proof you are going about it wrong.

faceroll
2010-03-01, 02:08 PM
I want to drop them a tier, not 2.

So then you bring in prestige classes, feats, and poorly designed spells. Teleport, celerity, orbs, arcane thesis, and incantatrix are all there, for however you want the players to derail your campaign.

Drolyt
2010-03-01, 02:18 PM
So then you bring in prestige classes, feats, and poorly designed spells. Teleport, celerity, orbs, arcane thesis, and incantatrix are all there, for however you want the players to derail your campaign.

Okay, Incantatrix, Celerity, and Arcane Thesis were stupid, poorly designed, should never have seen the light of day etc. etc. Seriously, what the hell were they thinking? That doesn't really bare on the tier 1 vs tier 2 divide though. Simply ban such overpowered options (I'm not usually a fan of banning, but these are both non-core and serve no useful purpose outside of power gaming. Polymorph and its ilk form a central part in mythology; turn stealing does not).

RagnaroksChosen
2010-03-01, 02:20 PM
Summon Monster spells are weak as hell. Having to nerf them in order to get at Polymorph is proof you are going about it wrong.

I agree nerfing them would be bad.. thats what i was saying.

faceroll
2010-03-01, 02:30 PM
Okay, Incantatrix, Celerity, and Arcane Thesis were stupid, poorly designed, should never have seen the light of day etc. etc. Seriously, what the hell were they thinking? That doesn't really bare on the tier 1 vs tier 2 divide though. Simply ban such overpowered options (I'm not usually a fan of banning, but these are both non-core and serve no useful purpose outside of power gaming. Polymorph and its ilk form a central part in mythology; turn stealing does not).

I'm just saying, moving anything up a tier (casters especially) is relatively trivial given the amount of material out there.

Tier 1 is tier 1 because they get the likes of teleport, plane shift, solid fog, gate, time stop, shapechange and polymorph (note that those are all core spells). T2 is only T2 because they have to pick half of those, and carry scrolls of the other half. The only difference between t2 and t1 is that t1 can do ALL the tricks, given a 24hour period of preparation, and t2 requires a lot more finesse to perform all the tricks. Stuff like astral projection, phase wall, dominate spam, etc, are the real campaign breakers. Dealing with high damage out put is often easier for a DM than dealing with a scry & die party, or a party that decides to just plane shift to asguard and power level for a month. Smart use of magic after level 5 totally changes the assumptions of the game world. Unless the DM meticulously planned how a world with high level casters behaves, once the wizard gets phantom steed, teleport, dimension door, astral projection, planar binding, etc etc etc, everything changes. You are no longer in any sort of "mythology." You'd a god in a world of mundanes.

With that said, limiting T1 to 5th level spells puts a HUGE damper on what they can do. It's awesome. They can still bust out some really cool stuff, but teleport is now something a level 17th party does, not a level 10 party. Arguably, this pushes T1 to T3, with all the other half casters. But if you want to move up a tier, it's fairly trivial, given the abundance of prestige classes, spells, and feats available. Seeing as how this thread is a discussion of power and mechanics, invoking stormwind-esque fallacies isn't really relevant.

Optimystik
2010-03-01, 02:33 PM
Summon Monster spells are weak as hell. Having to nerf them in order to get at Polymorph is proof you are going about it wrong.

Did you read the last sentence of the passage you quoted?

Tyndmyr
2010-03-01, 02:41 PM
Okay, Incantatrix, Celerity, and Arcane Thesis were stupid, poorly designed, should never have seen the light of day etc. etc. Seriously, what the hell were they thinking? That doesn't really bare on the tier 1 vs tier 2 divide though. Simply ban such overpowered options (I'm not usually a fan of banning, but these are both non-core and serve no useful purpose outside of power gaming. Polymorph and its ilk form a central part in mythology; turn stealing does not).

Incantations and abjuration specializing aren't a useful option? Personally, I think all specializations should have fun, flavorful options available, including those who love metamagic. Yes, balance may be skewed here, but if you ban everything in D&D that isn't balanced, you'll be playing rock, paper, scissors.

I also disagree with the idea that mythology is important here. Turn stealing isn't part of mythology because real life doesn't involve turns. However, the idea of magical acceleration or someone acting first due to being magically enhanced is...pretty commonplace. Furthermore, even if it isn't part of existing mythology, this has little to do with if it's useful to the game.

All three of those can be used in a perfectly reasonable fashion.

Drolyt
2010-03-01, 02:41 PM
Did you read the last sentence of the passage you quoted?

Yes, but... fair point. I still don't like his solution, its been thrown around for years by different people and I see no evidence of it actually making too much of a difference. It's basically what my suggestion to just use DM fiat with a misguided attempt to add rules to it.

Drolyt
2010-03-01, 02:45 PM
Incantations and abjuration specializing aren't a useful option? Personally, I think all specializations should have fun, flavorful options available, including those who love metamagic. Yes, balance may be skewed here, but if you ban everything in D&D that isn't balanced, you'll be playing rock, paper, scissors.

I also disagree with the idea that mythology is important here. Turn stealing isn't part of mythology because real life doesn't involve turns. However, the idea of magical acceleration or someone acting first due to being magically enhanced is...pretty commonplace. Furthermore, even if it isn't part of existing mythology, this has little to do with if it's useful to the game.

All three of those can be used in a perfectly reasonable fashion.

I said I don't usually like to ban things. What I mean with the mythology thing is that players like to play certain characters. When you play a wizard you typically have an expectation that transformation is an option. Super speed is already supplied by haste. So what does Celerity really add to the game other than mechanics? I just don't see any flavor. I think the same thing with Incantatrix. Arcane Thesis on the other hand could be easily rewritten to be useful but not overpowered.

faceroll
2010-03-01, 02:48 PM
I said I don't usually like to ban things. What I mean with the mythology thing is that players like to play certain characters. When you play a wizard you typically have an expectation that transformation is an option. Super speed is already supplied by haste. So what does Celerity really add to the game other than mechanics? I just don't see any flavor. I think the same thing with Incantatrix. Arcane Thesis on the other hand could be easily rewritten to be useful but not overpowered.

I always described Celerity as borrowing time from the future to pwn in the now. I think the the idea of a caster who can go in the blink of an eye by siphoning future time for himself is pretty neat, if you're into that kind of game.

Having your lawful good war cleric be cloistered and picking planning & undeath as his domains is too meta for me, though. You can certainly justify why the cleric has those domains and a piss poor BAB, but then you're just making up stories to play the mechanics you want to. But that's another thread.

RagnaroksChosen
2010-03-01, 02:49 PM
Yes, but... fair point. I still don't like his solution, its been thrown around for years by different people and I see no evidence of it actually making too much of a difference. It's basically what my suggestion to just use DM fiat with a misguided attempt to add rules to it.

I guess but as a player i'd rather have a mechanic to it then just GM fiat. especialy one that makes sense and that works.

This puts a damper on any one just picking up polymorph and powning face... Though it doesn't hurt people who are looking to specialise in it.

Want to be able to change into what ever you want... sweet go ahead and max out the appropriate skills. And then in game you need to go find one.

It allows for gm's to limit (mechanicaly) what players can polymorph into.

Do you have a more guided way to do it? Besides DM fiat.

Tyndmyr
2010-03-01, 02:51 PM
My biggest problem with that form of limitation is it's like the same limitation when applied to the druid. It makes people go looking for animals to change into.

Day #3 of "find stuff for the nature hugging hippies to look at" is a damn boring adventure.

Asta Kask
2010-03-01, 02:52 PM
How much grief do we lose when we say "nothing that's not core."?

Optimystik
2010-03-01, 02:53 PM
How much grief do we lose when we say "nothing that's not core."?

Usually the answer is "less than you think." Core is broken.

Drolyt
2010-03-01, 02:54 PM
I guess but as a player i'd rather have a mechanic to it then just GM fiat. especialy one that makes sense and that works.

This puts a damper on any one just picking up polymorph and powning face... Though it doesn't hurt people who are looking to specialise in it.

Want to be able to change into what ever you want... sweet go ahead and max out the appropriate skills. And then in game you need to go find one.

It allows for gm's to limit (mechanicaly) what players can polymorph into.

Do you have a more guided way to do it? Besides DM fiat.

You could try the Giant's fix to the left. Other than that no I don't have any real good advice for making it into actual rules, sorry. 95% of the time the problems I've seen were from specific abilities granted by certain monsters (my mind keeps going back to the Choker for some reason). I just allow Polymorphing into any creature but certain overpowered abilities I either ban or weaken when used by players (for example the Choker's ability could be reduced to a Haste effect). Other than that I usually rule that you can't get around the items merging into your new form thing (otherwise uber AC is too easy) and no spellcasting unless the form you transform into can cast spells.


How much grief do we lose when we say "nothing that's not core."?

Some of the most broken things, like Pun Pun, DMM Cheese, and metamagic reducers. Basically it becomes harder to completely break the game but being way overpowered is still pretty easy for the top 4. You can still pull crap like using a single gate to call two genies and demand six wishes.

faceroll
2010-03-01, 03:01 PM
My biggest problem with that form of limitation is it's like the same limitation when applied to the druid. It makes people go looking for animals to change into.

Day #3 of "find stuff for the nature hugging hippies to look at" is a damn boring adventure.

I think polymorph as astral construct and/or shape of the... would work better. Gain enchancement bonuses and generic menu abilities. You look like an ogre, troll, hill giant, whatever, but you still only got powerful build, +8 str, -4 dex, and some natural armor.

lsfreak
2010-03-01, 03:02 PM
How much grief do we lose when we say "nothing that's not core."?

For T1, Core is broken enough. Most of the favored save-or-x's and the most abusive spells (gate, time stop) are Core. Going outside of core offers a little more stuff, and often offers more flavorful, less powerful alternatives. Banning core nerfs them a little, but cuts heavily into the classes flavor-wise.

For lower tiers, Core just isn't enough. Going outside of core offers a ton of new options that the lower tiers really need in order to keep up longer with the T1/T2 classes. Some of the options are even good enough to bring classes up a tier.

So if you limited T1 (and likely T2) classes to core-only, but allow everyone else access to all sources, it's a little harder for them to dominate. But really it just delays the problem a level or two rather than taking care of it.

sonofzeal
2010-03-01, 03:02 PM
How much grief do we lose when we say "nothing that's not core."?
Your best way to lose grief is to flip that. "Nothing that is core" is actually a fairly fun and much more balanced way to run a game. Limiting the ban to just classes/spells (allowing feats/races/equipment) is the easy way, but trying to do it with an absolute ban is pretty fun too and an extra little challenge for the optimizers.

Drolyt
2010-03-01, 03:06 PM
Your best way to lose grief is to flip that. "Nothing that is core" is actually a fairly fun and much more balanced way to run a game. Limiting the ban to just classes/spells (allowing feats/races/equipment) is the easy way, but trying to do it with an absolute ban is pretty fun too and an extra little challenge for the optimizers.

That's just... I mean, you don't need core for pun-pun, what the hell's the points? I can still do Incantatrix cheese, it's just a little harder. Same with IotSV. Seriously, as long as spell compendium is available it doesn't hamper optimizers too much. There's always Archivist.

lsfreak
2010-03-01, 03:23 PM
That's just... I mean, you don't need core for pun-pun, what the hell's the points? I can still do Incantatrix cheese, it's just a little harder. Same with IotSV. Seriously, as long as spell compendium is available it doesn't hamper optimizers too much. There's always Archivist.

What are you going to do with your IotSV or Incantatrix? Wizard and sorcerers no longer exist, Wu Jen have potentially been gutted. That leave you with... what exactly to even enter either of the classes?

And an Archivist with zero Core spells isn't nearly as threatening. Most of the brokenness is getting Core wizard spells into the list via domains... but as clerics no longer exist, neither do domains (and even if they do exist, have fun finding someone who actually has domain spells; there's a few prestige classes that get them but not much).

Though to be fair, I'd be inclined to ban Core classes + the remainder of T1. I'd also be reluctant to outright ban all Core spells, though maybe all spells above 6th level plus a few others, and some psion powers.

Drolyt
2010-03-01, 03:27 PM
What are you going to do with your IotSV or Incantatrix? Wizard and sorcerers no longer exist, Wu Jen have potentially been gutted. That leave you with... what exactly to even enter either of the classes?

And an Archivist with zero Core spells isn't nearly as threatening. Most of the brokenness is getting Core wizard spells into the list via domains... but as clerics no longer exist, neither do domains (and even if they do exist, have fun finding someone who actually has domain spells; there's a few prestige classes that get them but not much).

Though to be fair, I'd be inclined to ban Core classes + the remainder of T1. I'd also be reluctant to outright ban all Core spells, though maybe all spells above 6th level plus a few others, and some psion powers.

For Incantatrix I was thinking Warmage + Orb Spells, but now that I think about I don't remember what the Incantatrix's prereqs are, so that might be impossible. Pun-pun is still doable outside of core, even if you ban all tier 1 classes.

faceroll
2010-03-01, 03:28 PM
For Incantatrix I was thinking Warmage + Orb Spells, but now that I think about I don't remember what the Incantatrix's prereqs are, so that might be impossible. Pun-pun is still doable outside of core, even if you ban all tier 1 classes.

Doing over 9000 damage isn't what makes you a T1 class.

Gnaeus
2010-03-01, 03:32 PM
Pun-pun is still doable outside of core, even if you ban all tier 1 classes.

I'm not sure how you reach pun-pun without tier 1 classes or the relevant spells. But I'll assume you are right.

Pun-pun actually does not slow the game down long.

I mean, someone tries it, you either have a deity smite them on step 1, or you let them become an uberdeity, congratulate them for "winning D&D" take their character sheet away into NPC status and go on with your game. Not really a problem.

Drolyt
2010-03-01, 03:37 PM
I'm not sure how you reach pun-pun without tier 1 classes or the relevant spells. But I'll assume you are right.

Pun-pun actually does not slow the game down long.

I mean, someone tries it, you either have a deity smite them on step 1, or you let them become an uberdeity, congratulate them for "winning D&D" take their character sheet away into NPC status and go on with your game. Not really a problem.

True. As for how you do it, the accepted fastest way to reach pun-pun without calling that one demon is to take some template that gives you wildshape then go master of many forms. No spellcasting needed.

Edit: This is off the top of my head though. I might be wrong.

Gnaeus
2010-03-01, 03:45 PM
True. As for how you do it, the accepted fastest way to reach pun-pun without calling that one demon is to take some template that gives you wildshape then go master of many forms. No spellcasting needed.

Edit: This is off the top of my head though. I might be wrong.

The demon grants wishes, so that doesn't help.

Can you get to MoMF without core? Wildshape might be banned along with druid. Even if not you can't enter MoMF without core feats.

sonofzeal
2010-03-01, 03:46 PM
That's just... I mean, you don't need core for pun-pun, what the hell's the points? I can still do Incantatrix cheese, it's just a little harder. Same with IotSV. Seriously, as long as spell compendium is available it doesn't hamper optimizers too much. There's always Archivist.
The current Pun-Pun requires "Wish", "Gate", and "Candles of Invocation", all from Core. Also, Kobolds are Core. There is a non-core Pun-Pun, but at much higher level and with much more difficulty.

(edit) Also, if your measure of balance is whether Pun-Pun exists, I should remind you that Wish-Ascension is possible in a pure Core setting. And neither has anything to do with actual gameplay


IotSV and Incantatrix are both available, but full-casters in general have to work a lot harder. I've put together 100% non-core spell lists, and it's difficult. You can still cover all the bases, but it takes some creativity and limits you away from most of the really powerful or useful stuff (no Grease, Sleep, Glitterdust, Polymorph, Mage Armor, Solid Fog... and no Gate, Wish, Time Stop, Shades, Disjunction, Astral Projection, Shapechange, etc). The result is playable certainly, but even using an awesome PrC doesn't mean as much if there's less you can actually do with it.

I mean, think about it this way - how powerful with an Incantatrix be without any spells at all? Really, the power of almost any full-caster is directly based on what spells they can cast, and cutting out Core removes 90% of the really overpowered ones, thus bringing them down a heavy notch. It won't suddenly make CW Samurai look like Chuck Norris by comparison, but it'll help.

IotSV is still broken but eh, it's always been good, most people know about it, and it can be worked around. And the main useful thing (walking around in an AMF that only affects enemies) isn't an issue since AMF doesn't even "exist" anymore.

Drolyt
2010-03-01, 04:23 PM
The current Pun-Pun requires "Wish", "Gate", and "Candles of Invocation", all from Core. Also, Kobolds are Core. There is a non-core Pun-Pun, but at much higher level and with much more difficulty.

(edit) Also, if your measure of balance is whether Pun-Pun exists, I should remind you that Wish-Ascension is possible in a pure Core setting. And neither has anything to do with actual gameplay


IotSV and Incantatrix are both available, but full-casters in general have to work a lot harder. I've put together 100% non-core spell lists, and it's difficult. You can still cover all the bases, but it takes some creativity and limits you away from most of the really powerful or useful stuff (no Grease, Sleep, Glitterdust, Polymorph, Mage Armor, Solid Fog... and no Gate, Wish, Time Stop, Shades, Disjunction, Astral Projection, Shapechange, etc). The result is playable certainly, but even using an awesome PrC doesn't mean as much if there's less you can actually do with it.

I mean, think about it this way - how powerful with an Incantatrix be without any spells at all? Really, the power of almost any full-caster is directly based on what spells they can cast, and cutting out Core removes 90% of the really overpowered ones, thus bringing them down a heavy notch. It won't suddenly make CW Samurai look like Chuck Norris by comparison, but it'll help.

IotSV is still broken but eh, it's always been good, most people know about it, and it can be worked around. And the main useful thing (walking around in an AMF that only affects enemies) isn't an issue since AMF doesn't even "exist" anymore.

Fair enough, but my point was that trying to fix the spells was a huge undertaking and many people don't like huge bannings.

sonofzeal
2010-03-01, 04:36 PM
Fair enough, but my point was that trying to fix the spells was a huge undertaking and many people don't like huge bannings.
Fixing them is indeed a huge undertaking. Tossing them a Spell Compendium and saying "choose from this book" is far easier. Allowing them to then expand that from every non-PHB book in the game keeps the flexibility and wide-open feel that are the first casualties in a Core-only game.

I don't even really think of it as a banning anyway. Removing Core is almost like making it a different game, and every player is going to have to get creative. Assumptions go out the window, every character is going to end up rather more exotic, and the result should be memorable and fun. And really, that's what it's all about.

Drolyt
2010-03-01, 04:39 PM
Fixing them is indeed a huge undertaking. Tossing them a Spell Compendium and saying "choose from this book" is far easier. Allowing them to then expand that from every non-PHB book in the game keeps the flexibility and wide-open feel that are the first casualties in a Core-only game.

I don't even really think of it as a banning anyway. Removing Core is almost like making it a different game, and every player is going to have to get creative. Assumptions go out the window, every character is going to end up rather more exotic, and the result should be memorable and fun. And really, that's what it's all about.

Well, if your group has fun with it go wild, I just don't think I'd like that option.

sonofzeal
2010-03-01, 04:43 PM
Well, if your group has fun with it go wild, I just don't think I'd like that option.
Even if it was a choice between "Core only", or "non-Core only"? Assuming you had good access to a wide range of books?

Curmudgeon
2010-03-01, 04:54 PM
You could also try a mix: Tier 1 classes can't use any spells or feats from core; Tier 2 classes can't use any spells from core. Everybody else has full access. (Yes, this means Wizards lose Scribe Scroll and Summon Familiar; ACFs that trade these feats for something else aren't available, because the class never has them.)