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Zincorium
2007-02-21, 05:42 PM
This is a continuation of a side argument first began in the bard mechanical usefulness thread, and since it was off topic I'm restarting it here.

Essentially, my argument is that the role of 'tanking', which in my mind involves dealing consistent, reasonably high damage and attempting to take the damage that would otherwise go towards other party members, is a valid and useful tactic in most combat situations.

Part of what I'm attempting to convey is that unless your game has no roleplaying aspects whatsoever, you do not need to rely specifically on special abilities to gain a monster's attention, such as the Knight class ability. Ordinary behavior and proper roleplaying should be able to accomplish this.

For unintelligent monsters, those with an intelligence of 8 or less, say, are going to have trouble formulating the strategem of 'attack the casters first no matter what', unless they are golems and the like which are specifically programmed to do so. While they may see unarmored characters as easy prey, this applies not only to wizards and sorcerors but to all lightly armored or unarmored characters, bard, monk, rogue, commoner, etc. Unless the characters are dressed in a completely obvious and stereotypical manner, you have to have some ability to deductively reason to recognize possible spellcasters before any actual casting commences, and if a monster is very stupid, even afterwards.

For intelligent monsters, or programmed ones, they have to be able to recognize based on behavior which characters are casters, have the knowledge to understand what a caster is, and the experience to realize that casters present a bigger threat than other characters. Remove even one of those aspects, and the monster simply does not have a good reason to focus on the casters, and it is metagaming on the DMs part to have them do so if they have better reason to attack another character.

A heavily armed and armored character presents a definite threat to any intelligent creature, one they can clearly see. Once combat is joined and the heavily armored character charges forward from the rest and begins swinging a sword/axe/mace and leaving wounds on the monster, even monsters with an intelligence of - will react instinctively to protect themselves. They are focusing heavily on that character now. Unless or until a caster deals damage to the creature in a way that it is clear the caster is the one who did so (rays would betray the caster as an aggressor, fireball would not unless they noticed the tiny ball of fire coming from the mage's hand and connected that with the resulting blast), or if intelligent they recognize spellcasting when they see it out of their peripheral vision or hear it, it makes far more sense to confront the immediate threat.

By presenting oneself clearly as a threat, causing significant injury, and being loud and visible so that a monster's attention is focused on you from the beginning, a character should have made the monster believe them to be the most immediate threat to their survival and thus retaliate solely against you.

Now, as a party role, a tank serves the valuable function of keeping monsters some distance away, giving the casters and support characters mobility and freedom from attacks of opportunity, and reducing the likelihood of attacks being directed towards those characters with low armor class and hit points who are affected more lethally by those attacks. This is a good thing, as a wizard without all their spells up is not going to be nearly as effective when surrounded in melee.

Additionally, the high constant damage output of the tank, as opposed to the extremely high bursts that the caster puts out, are good for softening up or finishing off enemies. It's less wasteful of resources to spend one fireball spell and let the great cleaving tank remove all the weakened enemies from the battlefield than have to spend two turns and two spells accomplishing the same goal. Thus, if the former is reasonable, it becomes the better option.

Anyway, this is gonna probably provoke a lot of both thoughtful and thoughtless responses, like it did in the other thread, so have at it.

Tell me why tanks are useless.

Tellah
2007-02-21, 06:14 PM
Now, as a party role, a tank serves the valuable function of keeping monsters some distance away, giving the casters and support characters mobility and freedom from attacks of opportunity, and reducing the likelihood of attacks being directed towards those characters with low armor class and hit points who are affected more lethally by those attacks. This is a good thing, as a wizard without all their spells up is not going to be nearly as effective when surrounded in melee.


The problem is that in DnD, tanking classes don't have the ability to keep monsters at bay. Crowd-control is the domain of the caster, not the melee fighter. The best a melee class can hope to do is to get in an attack of opportunity as the offending creature runs past--assuming, of course, that only a slender minority of battles occurs in 5-foot-wide tunnels.

oriong
2007-02-21, 06:16 PM
It seems like you pretty much ignored his arguements against what you're just talking about.

Also worth noting that you don't need 5' corridors, you just need a corridor whose width is 5' less than x2 the monster's spacing.

Zincorium
2007-02-21, 06:20 PM
The problem is that in DnD, tanking classes don't have the ability to keep monsters at bay. Crowd-control is the domain of the caster, not the melee fighter. The best a melee class can hope to do is to get in an attack of opportunity as the offending creature runs past--assuming, of course, that only a slender minority of battles occurs in 5-foot-wide tunnels.

Well, why is the monster running past? Everyone I've talked to assume that it constantly happens regardless of the situation. Also, the feat stand still from the XPH works wonders, and since it's non-psionic pretty much an tank can take it.

That the person designated as a tank is supposedly always ignored seems illogical, for the reasons above. I don't accept it unless you can prove that all monsters, all the time, have the special supernatural ability Ignore imminent and obvious threat listed in their stat blocks.

Person_Man
2007-02-21, 06:26 PM
I've played plenty of Tanks in my day. It's a fun and common role to play. But they are by no means a party critical niche. Why?

Summon Monster/Nature's Ally. On Round 1 (or sooner, with Quicken or Celerity) any full caster can create a reasonable tank (or group of mini-impedements) wherever they like, and then it gets to make a full attack. Summoned monsters are rarely as powerful as PC Tanks. But you really don't need a PC that deals a lot of melee damage. You just need something(s) to stand in the way until one of the full casters pulls out the right spell(s) to win combat. While its impractical to Summon something for a few rounds at low levels just to watch it disappear, at mid-levels most parties can reasonably go without a Tank, and most spellcasters will have left over spell slots at the end of the day.

Occasionally, your DM will throw marathon combat at you. And that's reasonable to expect. But that's why wands exist. So unless you're playing the World's Largest Dungeon, PC tanks are a lot like Bards or Trapfinders. Useful, but not really that important.

alchemy.freak
2007-02-21, 06:27 PM
As i play the tank in my party, i just want to add something

the tank does not have to hold every single one of the little goblins at bay, but his job is to hurl himself into the fray, not to just wait for the creatures to come and attack the mage.

quite frankly i would think my party would be at a severe disadvantage without me, (im a paladin by the way) a rogue, a sorcerer and a bard (the other members of my party, unfortunately our cleric had to quit playing) would have a hard time against a strong hardy meele type oponent, like Golems. maybe a tank will not hold off every little thing, but i can identify the hardest opponents and keep the heat from them off of our casters

also worth noting: while agreeing that battles do not frequently occur in narrow tunnels, there is a very narrow space that exists in many dungeons,
it's called a door

oriong
2007-02-21, 06:29 PM
I've played plenty of Tanks in my day. It's a fun and common role to play. But they are by no means a party critical niche. Why?

Summon Monster/Nature's Ally. On Round 1 (or sooner, with Quicken or Celerity) any full caster can create a reasonable tank (or group of mini-impedements) wherever they like.

You're forgetting both spells have a 1 full round casting time, meaning you can't pull them off on round one, and you certainly can't quicken them (not that you would want to, a quickened summon monster spell would be utterly worthless for your level)

Rigeld2
2007-02-21, 06:50 PM
Well, why is the monster running past? Everyone I've talked to assume that it constantly happens regardless of the situation. Also, the feat stand still from the XPH works wonders, and since it's non-psionic pretty much an tank can take it.

That the person designated as a tank is supposedly always ignored seems illogical, for the reasons above. I don't accept it unless you can prove that all monsters, all the time, have the special supernatural ability Ignore imminent and obvious threat listed in their stat blocks.
The tank isnt always ignored, but, and this is my main point, theres nothing the tank can do to keep the baddy from going around him. If the baddy decides that the softies in back are hurting/punishing him more than the tank is, there isnt one single thing that the tank can do to keep him from turning his attention away from the tank.

Tank: Ha! Take that vile fiend!
Vile Fiend: Hm. That smarted a bit. But the spell your friend just cast on made me more vulnerable to magic - I must stop him from exploiting that.
Tank: But... I'm attacking you! You cant ignore me! HIYAH!
Vile Fiend: Blarg. Die softie.
Softie: Hrrk-

The only real options tanks have for battlefield control (which is whats required for what you want them to do) are Trips and Grapples. Neither is that great if your build is optimized for damage, and if youre not optimized for damage, then youre not a "tank". Youre a battlefield controller.

greenknight
2007-02-21, 06:59 PM
You're forgetting both spells have a 1 full round casting time, meaning you can't pull them off on round one, and you certainly can't quicken them (not that you would want to, a quickened summon monster spell would be utterly worthless for your level)

From the SRD:

QUICKEN SPELL [METAMAGIC]
Benefit: Casting a quickened spell is a free action. You can perform another action, even casting another spell, in the same round as you cast a quickened spell. You may cast only one quickened spell per round. A spell whose casting time is more than 1 full round action cannot be quickened. A quickened spell uses up a spell slot four levels higher than the spell’s actual level. Casting a quickened spell doesn’t provoke an attack of opportunity.

Special: This feat can’t be applied to any spell cast spontaneously (including sorcerer spells, bard spells, and cleric or druid spells cast spontaneously), since applying a metamagic feat to a spontaneously cast spell automatically increases the casting time to a full-round action.

This means you certainly can quicken a Summon spell. And if you have a Rod of Metamagic: Quicken, it becomes both easy and practical to do so.

With regard to tanks, if you use Zincorium's initial description of someone who can both absorb and deal out significant damage, then they certainly have a useful role. However, it should be noted that particularly at higher levels, this kind of "tank" would usually be a Cleric or Druid, not the Fighter or Barbarian who would normally occupy this role at lower levels. The reason is that spells typically have greater damage output, and in many cases higher level spells effectively remove the foe entirely (and in some cases, like the Dominate spells, convert that foe to an ally). The problem for the non spellcasters is that higher level foes can bypass them relatively easily (through flight, magic or just plain long reach and fast movement), and most higher CR foes are intelligent enough to do just that. After all, the Fighter or Barbarian has high HP, relatively high AC (usually), and does relatively low damage compared to the spellcasters. Why waste time on them when there's a relatively high damage, low AC, low HP Wizard in the party as well?

oriong
2007-02-21, 07:01 PM
Okay, a change I didn't notice. Not really relevant though. Because if you're quickening your summon monster spells to make a 'tank' you're shooting yourself in the foot. It'll fail and miserably so.

Rigeld2
2007-02-21, 07:12 PM
Okay, a change I didn't notice. Not really relevant though. Because if you're quickening your summon monster spells to make a 'tank' you're shooting yourself in the foot. It'll fail and miserably so.
Why? Using a rod to do it gets you your max level summon, and summoned monsters really arent that bad at all.

Dervag
2007-02-21, 07:13 PM
Why would Quickened Summon Monster __ be a bad idea?

I think the "tanks are obsolete" crowd here is right- based on the way that 3rd Edition makes casters powerful, tanks have a serious problem confronting enemies and forcing them to attack the tank. The fighter's effectiveness is like the Maginot Line's effectiveness. A fighter is devastating against enemies that choose to attack it (either out of lack of imagination or out of lack of options), but vulnerable to being bypassed by powerful, versatile, or resourceful enemies.

As long as combat occurs in close quarters and indoors, the fighter can remain fairly effective, because close quarters make him hard to bypass. But 'close quarters and indoors' represents only a modest subset of all possible encounters.

oriong
2007-02-21, 07:14 PM
For the cost of the rod (and the opportunity cost of other spells) yes it is a lot worse than just having a fighter in the party. Even a Summon Nature's Ally 9 is a lot worse than a 17th level fighter, and unlike the summon you don't have to pop the fighter back in (and waste a 9th level spell slot) every combat you want a defender.

Dervag
2007-02-21, 07:19 PM
On the other hand, Rod of Metamagic: Quickening can be used to do a lot of other things (like quickening whatever spell the user wants to cast, and not just summoning spells). So it has value other than for enhancing a Summon Monster spell.

Moreover, from the high-level caster's perspective, the 'tank' doesn't necessarily have to last very long to have the desired effect. As long as the summoned monster can last more than a round or two, it will be sufficient for that battle. Of course, having to summon a monster every time would be something of a waste compared to having a fighter handy. But just as the 'tank' role is not useful in all combats, having a summoned monster to perform as a tank is not necessary in all combats.

NullAshton
2007-02-21, 07:20 PM
If tanks are obsolete, then how come nearly every party I've seen has a tank in some form or fashion?

martyboy74
2007-02-21, 07:36 PM
They're simple and fun, and more casters don't play well enough not to need one?

greenknight
2007-02-21, 07:39 PM
For the cost of the rod (and the opportunity cost of other spells) yes it is a lot worse than just having a fighter in the party. Even a Summon Nature's Ally 9 is a lot worse than a 17th level fighter, and unlike the summon you don't have to pop the fighter back in (and waste a 9th level spell slot) every combat you want a defender.

The rod is expensive, but it has it's uses. And remember, my argument is not that the Tank is useless, but that the role of the Tank at higher levels is much better served by a Cleric or Druid. Clerics have good hitpoints, can wear any armor and use most shields proficiently (any shield, provided they are willing to burn a Feat on Tower Shield proficiency). They don't really need any buffs to work in the Tank role, although there are a few good ones they could use if the going gets tough (Divine Power and Righteous Might get frequent mention, and they are that good).

In some ways, Druids are even better with their animal companion (useful for most things the Fighter / Barbarian types are used for), Wild Shape and summoning spells. They can attack their enemies from the rear with summoned creatures, or use those creatures as a wall if they need to. Likewise, their animal companion can hold off attackers or go on the attack depending on the situation. And they even get a little bit of healing when they Wild Shape (which usually comes with significant ability score boosts as well).

Neither the Druid nor the Cleric really needs to summon creatures to their aid to be an effective Tank, although doing so may well assist them in that role. On the other hand, single classed Fighters and Barbarians don't really have much in the way of options to summon allies (except for a few magical items), and at higher levels, their usefulness as a Tank is very limited.

The Great Skenardo
2007-02-21, 07:43 PM
And for foes that are immune to magic or have an incredibly high SR? (I.E high-level dragons, golems of all kinds, some fiends etc?)

greenknight
2007-02-21, 07:51 PM
And for foes that are immune to magic or have an incredibly high SR? (I.E high-level dragons, golems of all kinds, some fiends etc?)

Well, let's see. For foes who are immune to magic, the Cleric casts Divine Power + Righteous Might, and casts the occasional Cure spell when necessary. The Druid uses his or her Animal Companion, Summon Nature's Ally, and Wild Shapes.

Against high SR, the same tactics can work, but you also have a few spells (particularly in the splatbooks) which don't allow SR to come into play. For example, a Druid (and some Clerics) could use Fire Seeds (no SR, no Save for the main target).

alchemy.freak
2007-02-21, 08:02 PM
Another thing of note, Don't wizards, sorcerers, and indeed all spell casters need to sleep once in a while, for eight hours. but a fighter, or other such class does not need to sleep the full eight hours, yes there may be a penalty for exhaustion, but an exhausted fighter is 100 times more effective than a wizard with no or limited spells. a fighter can fight from sun up to sun down, but a wizard (or any other caster) will probably run out of effective spells long before a fighter will stop attacking the enemy.

Also about the inability to engage multiple opponents, have any of you read the PHB 2 there are a lot of things in there like bounding leap that can attack multiple enemies in one turn.

Further more, many tanks have Ride as a class skill, and Paladins get magical mounts, this serves the purpose of greatly magnifying the usefull ness of the character. it is not exactly a rule that the paladin must be mounted at all times with his special mount, and at higher levels he can ride more powerful beasts than a horse, and even if he is not mounted on it a dire lion makes a pretty effective combatant. Paladins can also take a feat to add the celestial template to their mount, further increasing their combat effectiveness.

to sum up, simple tanks are good, but tanks with the right feat choices, class skills and items are even better

Dausuul
2007-02-21, 08:04 PM
From the SRD:

QUICKEN SPELL [METAMAGIC]
Benefit: Casting a quickened spell is a free action. You can perform another action, even casting another spell, in the same round as you cast a quickened spell. You may cast only one quickened spell per round. A spell whose casting time is more than 1 full round action cannot be quickened. A quickened spell uses up a spell slot four levels higher than the spell’s actual level. Casting a quickened spell doesn’t provoke an attack of opportunity.

...

This means you certainly can quicken a Summon spell. And if you have a Rod of Metamagic: Quicken, it becomes both easy and practical to do so.

No, you can't. Summon spells have a casting time of 1 round. This is not the same as a full-round action. A full-round action starts and ends on your turn. An action that takes 1 round starts at the start of your turn, continues through an entire initiative cycle, and ends at the start of your next turn. This is one of the big weaknesses of summon spells; your enemies have a whole round to target you with their attacks and disrupt your concentration, where with a normal spell (or even a metamagicked sorceror spell) they would have to use a readied attack or an AoO.

A spell with a casting time of 1 round takes longer than a full-round action and therefore cannot be Quickened.

(Was it unbelievably dumb to use the terms "full-round action" and "action that takes 1 round" to mean two different things? Was it bound to lead to confusion? Yes, yes it was. But them's the Rules As Written.)

Wolf53226
2007-02-21, 08:06 PM
And for foes that are immune to magic or have an incredibly high SR? (I.E high-level dragons, golems of all kinds, some fiends etc?)

And what, would a fighter do against said dragon, since the dragon can EASILY go around the fighter, and has too high of a a combination in HP and AC to need to worry about the fighter?

Golems are best handled by Solid Fog, and then to be ignored.

Fiends, well it really depends on what fiend it is.

Bloodred
2007-02-21, 08:08 PM
As I always end-up pointing out:

Casters can do anything pretty much, but if you're dedicating spells to doing one thing, thats less spells to do other things.

In short:

Sure you can summon a creature to fight for you every combat, but that'll make you run out of spells VERY fast.

Also,

Unless you have just had experiences with very BADLY put-together fighter-types I would like to point out that many monsters and NPCs can tear through a summons in a few if not a single well-placed attack(I know alot of mine can).

A well put-together Fighter is harder to make then well put-together Caster IMHO.

Fighters require a good head for numbers: When to power attack, combat expertise, where to 5' step, who/why/where/when to cleave onto, when to charge/trip/grapple/bull rush. ETC.

Casters simply require imagination for good application because most of their spells have no real variables(A fire ball is still a 40' circle regardless of the situation and requires not math or mental planning to make it so).

Thats not to say that casters are EASY to play well, just easier then Fighters(Dispite common belief).

Oh, and if a Fighter is well built: He can stop nearly any baddy he wants to stop, although he might not be dealing alot of damage in the process... But hey, you have to make sacrifices right?? Cant do everything in one combat round.

TheOOB
2007-02-21, 08:12 PM
It's really hard to get past a well built fighter with improved trip, stand still, and combat reflexes.

One of the primary roles of tanks which is often ignored is damage. Arcane and Divine casters have better things to use their magic for them damage, skill monkeys damage comes in bursts and is not always reliable, but a good tank can provide a consistantly high amount of damage with little to no resource cost, in fact, in many parties I played in the tank character did more damage then both the next two characters combined on an average round.

Douglas
2007-02-21, 08:13 PM
Regarding using Quicken Spell with Summon Monster: A spell whose casting time is more than 1 full round action cannot be quickened. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/feats.htm#quickenSpell) All versions of Summon Monster (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/summonMonsterI.htm) have a casting time of one round. There is a difference, and one round is longer than one full round action, so Summon spells cannot be quickened.

The difference between a full round action and one round is this: a full round action consumes both your move and standard action for the round but is resolved immediately. A full attack is the most common example. Casting a spell that takes one round consumes both move and standard actions just as full round actions do, but is not resolved until the beginning of your next turn. It does not reduce your available actions for the next round, but it does not have any effect until then and your opponents have that entire round to potentially force you to lose the spell. For an attack to interrupt a spell cast as a full round action, the attack must be readied. A spell that takes one round to cast can be interrupted by any attack, readied or not, that hits the caster before his next turn.

Edit: The problem with typing up a full explanation - multiple people beat you to the punch.

greenknight
2007-02-21, 08:13 PM
Summon spells have a casting time of 1 round. This is not the same as a full-round action.

Again, from the SRD:

CASTING TIME
Most spells have a casting time of 1 standard action. Others take 1 round or more, while a few require only a free action.

A spell that takes 1 round to cast is a full-round action.

Emphasis mine.

Douglas
2007-02-21, 08:16 PM
That defines only the action used, not the casting time.

Dausuul
2007-02-21, 08:20 PM
Again, from the SRD:

CASTING TIME
Most spells have a casting time of 1 standard action. Others take 1 round or more, while a few require only a free action.

A spell that takes 1 round to cast is a full-round action.

Emphasis mine.

I'll see your Casting Time and raise you an Actions In Combat (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/actionsInCombat.htm):


CAST A SPELL

A spell that takes 1 round to cast is a full-round action. It comes into effect just before the beginning of your turn in the round after you began casting the spell. You then act normally after the spell is completed.

A spell that takes 1 minute to cast comes into effect just before your turn 1 minute later (and for each of those 10 rounds, you are casting a spell as a full-round action). These actions must be consecutive and uninterrupted, or the spell automatically fails.

When you begin a spell that takes 1 round or longer to cast, you must continue the invocations, gestures, and concentration from one round to just before your turn in the next round (at least). If you lose concentration after starting the spell and before it is complete, you lose the spell.

You only provoke attacks of opportunity (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/attacksOfOpportunity.htm) when you begin casting a spell, even though you might continue casting for at least one full round. While casting a spell, you don’t threaten any squares around you.
This action is otherwise identical to the cast a spell action described under Standard Actions (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/actionsInCombat.htm#standardActions).

CASTING A METAMAGIC SPELL

Sorcerers (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/classes/sorcererWizard.htm#sorcerer) and bards (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/classes/bard.htm) must take more time to cast a metamagic spell (one enhanced by a metamagic feat) than a regular spell. If a spell’s normal casting time is 1 standard action, casting a metamagic version of the spell is a full-round action for a sorcerer or bard. Note that this isn’t the same as a spell with a 1-round casting time—the spell takes effect in the same round that you begin casting, and you aren’t required to continue the invocations, gestures, and concentration until your next turn. For spells with a longer casting time, it takes an extra full-round action to cast the metamagic spell.

Raum
2007-02-21, 08:22 PM
Part of what I'm attempting to convey is that unless your game has no roleplaying aspects whatsoever, you do not need to rely specifically on special abilities to gain a monster's attention, such as the Knight class ability. Ordinary behavior and proper roleplaying should be able to accomplish this.Well...yes and no. One of the worst aspects of 3.x is simply that it's become too detailed. And, by implication (if not explicitly), the simple fact a feat or ability allows you to do something has the corrolary of not being able to do it without the feat or ability. Otherwise why ever take said feat / ability?! One of the worst examples is the Diplomacy skill...why did they feel the need to create mechanics for it at all?! We used to roleplay diplomacy instead of buying ranks in a skill. Enough ranting.

I do agree role playing games should allow (even require) role playing to affect gameplay. And as long as the DM reads the rules losely enugh to allow it, it will work...but only in limited situations.


For unintelligent monsters, those with an intelligence of 8 or less, <SNIP>Unintelligent opponents are probably the only situations this will work with...and (unless terrain can be leveraged) only against single opponents without extraneous goals. A rust monster will head straight towards the biggest pile of metal and the fighter can probably get a single dire wolf to concentrate on himself, but a bulette will attack the nearest edible PC choosing the easiest target first and a stirge will probably attack the least armored target. This doesn't even include flying creatures or those with area attacks - neither of which is more likely to target the fighter than another character.


For intelligent monsters, or programmed ones, they have to be able to recognize based on behavior which characters are casters, have the knowledge to understand what a caster is, and the experience to realize that casters present a bigger threat than other characters. If they aren't intelligent enough to make an educated guess of who the caster is, they may simply attack the first to cast a spell. Or the least armored. We are figuring average or better intelligence after all, why should it be difficult to evaluate potential threats?


Remove even one of those aspects, and the monster simply does not have a good reason to focus on the casters, and it is metagaming on the DMs part to have them do so if they have better reason to attack another character.In my experience, most DMs do a bit of metagaming...in the PCs favor. Otherwise any group of opponents intelligent enough and organized enough to use group tactics will concentrate attacks on a single target...probably resulting in said target's death. If your opponents are intelligent it usually takes a metagaming DM for them to either spread attacks around or concentrate attacks on "tanks".


A heavily armed and armored character presents a definite threat to any intelligent creature, one they can clearly see. Once combat is joined and the heavily armored character charges forward from the rest and begins swinging a sword/axe/mace and leaving wounds on the monster, even monsters with an intelligence of - will react instinctively to protect themselves. They are focusing heavily on that character now. Unless or until a caster deals damage to the creature in a way that it is clear the caster is the one who did so (rays would betray the caster as an aggressor, fireball would not unless they noticed the tiny ball of fire coming from the mage's hand and connected that with the resulting blast), or if intelligent they recognize spellcasting when they see it out of their peripheral vision or hear it, it makes far more sense to confront the immediate threat.Why does a slowly moving stack of metal become a threat? Any creature with even average mobility can stay out of his reach. If the creature flies or has other movement capabilities it's even worse, the tank can't keep the opponent to single attacks by forcing it to move. As for finding a caster, unless the caster is using both Silence Spell and Still Spell it's fairly obvious.

greenknight
2007-02-21, 08:26 PM
Casters can do anything pretty much, but if you're dedicating spells to doing one thing, thats less spells to do other things.

Sure. Unless the character is a Cleric or Druid, in which case they can spontaneously convert spells to another purpose. Bards and Sorcerers can do something similar, but that cuts down on their spells known.


Sure you can summon a creature to fight for you every combat, but that'll make you run out of spells VERY fast.

Why would it do that? Typically, a party will have no more than 4 or 5 combat encounters per day, and at mid to high levels they have far more than 4 or 5 spell slots per day. Granted, lower level summons do become pretty near useless at those levels (except as scouts/flankers etc), but still it's not likely casting one summoning spell per encounter is going to make much difference to the available spell slots.


I would like to point out that many monsters and NPCs can tear through a summons in a few if not a single well-placed attack(I know alot of mine can).

With the Augment Summoning feat, they do get tougher. And if you summon 1d4+1 (by going down a couple of levels) creatures, you can get a lot of value for money from a summons. And if you use the splatbooks, you can get some very powerful summons (eg Summon Elemental Monolith, from Complete Arcane, could get you an Earth Elemental with over 400 hp, an attack bonus of +40 and two slam attacks worth 6d8+16 each, not counting the bonus from Augment Summoning). That's not really likely to go down vs 1 or 2 attacks.


Casters simply require imagination for good application because most of their spells have no real variables(A fire ball is still a 40' circle regardless of the situation and requires not math or mental planning to make it so).

It's been said before - at higher levels, many casters will concentrate on spells which bypass hitpoints, and may even convert a foe to an ally. Fireball's a great mass damage spell, but often damage isn't the best way to deal with a foe.

greenknight
2007-02-21, 08:31 PM
I'll see your Casting Time and raise you an Actions In Combat (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/actionsInCombat.htm):

I'll see your Actions in Combat and once again quote the SRD. Two sections this time, since you don't seem to get the point:

CASTING TIME
Most spells have a casting time of 1 standard action. Others take 1 round or more, while a few require only a free action.

A spell that takes 1 round to cast is a full-round action.

Now tie that with:

QUICKEN SPELL [METAMAGIC]
Benefit: Casting a quickened spell is a free action. You can perform another action, even casting another spell, in the same round as you cast a quickened spell. You may cast only one quickened spell per round. A spell whose casting time is more than 1 full round action cannot be quickened. A quickened spell uses up a spell slot four levels higher than the spell’s actual level. Casting a quickened spell doesn’t provoke an attack of opportunity.

Again, emphasis mine. The question here is whether a FULL ROUND ACTION is MORE THAN A FULL ROUND ACTION. Obviously, the answer is no, which means summoning spells can be quickened.

Dausuul
2007-02-21, 08:38 PM
I'll see your Actions in Combat and once again quote the SRD. Two sections this time, since you don't seem to get the point:

CASTING TIME
Most spells have a casting time of 1 standard action. Others take 1 round or more, while a few require only a free action.

A spell that takes 1 round to cast is a full-round action.

Now tie that with:

QUICKEN SPELL [METAMAGIC]
Benefit: Casting a quickened spell is a free action. You can perform another action, even casting another spell, in the same round as you cast a quickened spell. You may cast only one quickened spell per round. A spell whose casting time is more than 1 full round action cannot be quickened. A quickened spell uses up a spell slot four levels higher than the spell’s actual level. Casting a quickened spell doesn’t provoke an attack of opportunity.

Again, emphasis mine. The question here is whether a FULL ROUND ACTION is MORE THAN A FULL ROUND ACTION. Obviously, the answer is no, which means summoning spells can be quickened.

No, I get your point, it's just that your point is wrong; you're quoting one sentence and ignoring the context.

The question is whether a casting time of 1 round is more than a full-round action. Which it is, because you're not done casting when you finish your full-round action--you have to keep going until the start of your next turn. If it were a full-round action, you'd finish the action and be done. That's why they go to some pains to point out that a metamagicked sorceror spell has a casting time of 1 full-round action, not 1 round.

The action to cast the spell is a full-round action because there is no such thing as a "1-round action." The casting time, however, is 1 round, not 1 full-round action. There's a difference.

As evidence that WotC shares this interpretation, I quote the Conjurer variants (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/specialistWizardVariants.htm):


RAPID SUMMONING (Ex)

Any time a conjurer using this variant casts a summon monster spell, its casting time is 1 standard action (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/actionsInCombat.htm#standardActions) rather than 1 full round. (Creatures so summoned can only take a standard action in the round they are summoned.) Conjurers using this variant gain the normal benefits from enhancing a summon monster spell with the Quicken Spell feat.

A conjurer using this variant permanently gives up the ability to obtain a familiar (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/classes/sorcererWizard.htm#familiars).Clearly, if conjurers using this variant gain "the normal benefits" from Quickening a summon spell, the implication is that those without this variant do not gain "the normal benefits"--i.e., the spell isn't Quickened.

Note also that they say "one full round," not "one full-round action."

greenknight
2007-02-21, 08:51 PM
No, I get your point, it's just that your point is wrong; you're quoting one sentence and ignoring the context.

In that last set of quotes, I quoted 9 sentences, not just one. I emphasised two, not one.


The question is whether a casting time of 1 round is more than a full-round action.

And the answer is:

A spell that takes 1 round to cast is a full-round action

Straight from the SRD. I've quoted that 3 times now.


Which it is, because you're not done casting when you finish your full-round action

Maybe the SRD can clear this up too:

FULL-ROUND ACTIONS

.....

Cast a Spell
A spell that takes 1 round to cast is a full-round action.

I skipped the bit about full attacks (that's where I put the dots), but there we see quite clearly that casting a 1 round spell is a FULL ROUND ACTION! Now what was the wording of Quicken Spell again?


QUICKEN SPELL [METAMAGIC]
Benefit: Casting a quickened spell is a free action. You can perform another action, even casting another spell, in the same round as you cast a quickened spell. You may cast only one quickened spell per round. A spell whose casting time is more than 1 full round action cannot be quickened.

Ah, that's right. So our question is, is a FULL ROUND ACTION more than 1 FULL ROUND ACTION?

Dausuul
2007-02-21, 09:13 PM
See my previous post, since you didn't actually say anything new or address any of my points.

Dr. Weasel
2007-02-21, 09:13 PM
But the whole summoning thing undermines the point the OP was making- the mage proves himself to be the threat to nearly any opponent with an intelligence over 2 or 3.

Typically I would think the tank would seem the bigger threat until the mage does something to prove otherwise. Most spells don't mention an indication of their source and the fighter is going to be a major distraction to any opponent. Unless an enemy has some reason to not give the guy who just hacked him with a big sword quite a bit of his attention, it would be the tank who seems the biggest threat.

Of course, if the mage is standing in the open casting ray spells and fireballs all over the place, any enemy would run by the tank to squash the squishy.

Flawless
2007-02-21, 09:16 PM
Summoning a elemental monolith requires you to concenttrare on the spell. Thus - unless you're a spirit shaman - it's not very usefull as a simple meat shield.

Dausuul
2007-02-21, 09:21 PM
But the whole summoning thing undermines the point the OP was making- the mage proves himself to be the threat to nearly any opponent with an intelligence over 2 or 3.

Typically I would think the tank would seem the bigger threat until the mage does something to prove otherwise. Most spells don't mention an indication of their source and the fighter is going to be a major distraction to any opponent. Unless an enemy has some reason to not give the guy who just hacked him with a big sword quite a bit of his attention, it would be the tank who seems the biggest threat.

Of course, if the mage is standing in the open casting ray spells and fireballs all over the place, any enemy would run by the tank to squash the squishy.

Opponents of animal intelligence will attack whoever's hitting them with a sword; they don't have the smarts to figure out "if I ignore the guy hitting me and kill the guy way over there, the nasty fire will stop."

Opponents of below-human-average intelligence might or might not recognize casters as threats, depending on whether they've encountered casters before. If they have, they may have learned that "people in robes doing chanty things need to die fast." On the other hand, if you don't dress like a stereotypical wizard, this opponent probably won't figure out what you are until you do something clearly magical.

Opponents of human-average intelligence or above who know anything about combat in the D&D world will know that you go for the caster first, if you can... and if you can identify him. Smart casters wear hats of disguise and look like a) fighters in full plate, b) archers, or c) terrified peasant spear-carriers.

Fawsto
2007-02-21, 09:47 PM
Well... I am kind of the Tanker of my group... Always... And I think I always did a great job! I always in the frontline stoping the enemies and never leting them reach the wizard/rogue... This is basicaly the job of teh Tank...

I believe that Tanking is something that must be done. Try fighting a dragon without someone to take the full attacks! It is very, very hard.

The problem comes when the enemy is FOCUSING on the weaker members of the group... That's when the Tanker must do everything possible to call the foe's attecntion... Can be very hard sometimes.

Raum
2007-02-21, 09:55 PM
Most spells don't mention an indication of their source...Why is spotting a caster difficult at all? Almost any creature above animal intelligence should understand cause and effect...and in magical worlds, hand waving and spouting nonsense syllables is a legitimate cause.

It take effort (Silent Spell and Still Spell) to make spells non-obvious. For verbal spells "you must be able to speak in a strong voice" and somatic spells require "a measured and precise movement of the hand.

Zincorium
2007-02-21, 10:40 PM
If they aren't intelligent enough to make an educated guess of who the caster is, they may simply attack the first to cast a spell. Or the least armored. We are figuring average or better intelligence after all, why should it be difficult to evaluate potential threats?

Well, does your wizard wear a sign on his back saying "Caster, destroy first"? Do they dress in a manner instantly recognizable as being a wizard? If not, then evaluating targets takes time and often requires seeing them use their abilities. Seeing a guy in a robe tells you a lot less than seeing that same guy either break someone's skull with his hand or cast a spell on himself. Before you have information, it's just guessing.


Why does a slowly moving stack of metal become a threat? Any creature with even average mobility can stay out of his reach. If the creature flies or has other movement capabilities it's even worse, the tank can't keep the opponent to single attacks by forcing it to move. As for finding a caster, unless the caster is using both Silence Spell and Still Spell it's fairly obvious.You're kind of missing the point. The point being, that a fighter should be the most obvious threat until information can be gleaned showing otherwise, and thus 'beasties' (Non-intelligent or simply unfamiliar with the pc races) don't have to be intercepted, because most of the time they'll be perfectly content to leap on whoever they feel is a threat and spend their energy destroying that person.

Also, reducing your mobility to nil is a bad strategy for anyone, especially a battlefield control type of fighter. Personally, my character enjoys a 50' move speed when raging, which goes a long ways towards keeping the battle away from the other guys.

Theodoxus
2007-02-21, 10:44 PM
Tanking, in the classical sense, means taking a beating while others (generally mages) do the damage. Somewhere along the way, the idea that the tank also deals a crapton of damage got added - much to the detriment of the classes that are typical tanks.

Fighters make great tanks - they get the beefiest armor and shields, tend to be strong so can get their armor made from material like Adamantium, and thus can withstand a lot of damage.

Barbarians make great tanks - they have the most HPs on average and damage reduction, which in essense increases their HPs even more. On top of that, they have great mobility, allowing them to avoid enemy fighters.

Clerics make great tanks - with only a few fewer HPs than fighters, able to use the same armor and shields and are generally nearly as strong, thus also able to use Adamantium; their ability to heal and repair themselves gives them a great advantage.

All that being said, the thing that boggles my mind is always the emphasis on the last 3 or 4 levels in a characters career, and even Epic levels! yes, it's fun to 'play pretend' - but I would assume, just based on the 20+ years I've played D&D, in 4 different states, that most games are dealing with characters between 1st and 9th levels. Levels where the characters dream of being the BBGG, and think about the cool spells or feats they're gonna have, but don't have access to yet. It's at these levels, not the mythical Elemental Monolith summoning, Gold Dragon Paladin Mounted, Rogue Sneak Attack of Doom, that people really play. It's definitely at these levels that 'Tanking' is very important. Heck, it's at these levels, unless you've managed to play a VERY high magic game, that the average Arcanist will end up either wading into melee, or at the vary least start throwing darts at the baddies.

Truth be told, I have yet to play an Epic game - I have the ELH, but have never cracked it open. The amount of min-maxing on these boards is rediculous. Sometimes it's good - Stand Still - never saw that feat before, though I've owned the EXP book since it came out... Most of the time it's downright silly (most damage threads being the King of Absurd). As a DM (and I apologize for killing the equally retarded catgirl thing), I try to keep some modicum of reality imposed in my games. The ToB maneuvers were hardly ever meant to be so broken as to allow nearly infinite attacks piled on top of each other - no matter what the RAW may be. Common Sense, while dying, is still existant. Even Jet Li on his best day couldn't pull those kinds of moves... with entire teams of special effects artists... and Magic doesn't even come into the equation, so just don't go there.

Also, there's a lot of Solid Fog discussion re: Golems. Please, elaborate, how does that help when the Golem is guarding the item you've been sent to steal? Your movement is also reduced to 5'. You can't exactly 'run around the Golem'... Plus whats to keep a mage from creating either a Golem with a permanent Gust of Wind ability, or Freedom of Movement? There are always ways to thwart the best laid plans...

People play tanks because they're fun, and they have a place. Heaven forbid your little party ever has to sleep... Mages get quite cranky when they don't get their full 8 hours of sleep. Yeah, best laid plans... your DMs should crank up their tactics - kill off a few of you complacent players.

Theo

Titanium Dragon
2007-02-21, 11:30 PM
Tanks are great in enclosed spaces, against monsters with equal or lower movement which cannot fly, and against monsters which don't know better. They're also good at eating damage in a way wizards are not - a couple of spells will kill the average wizard, but not the average fighter.
It depends on what you expect to be fighting against and how often you expect to be fighting. If a spellcaster can blow all their spells on a single combat, they're happy. If they need to ration out their spells though, tanks become important. There's also magic-resistant monsters and monsters which your spells are ineffective against, which also greatly aid tanks.

On the other hand, Rod of Metamagic: Quickening can be used to do a lot of other things (like quickening whatever spell the user wants to cast, and not just summoning spells). So it has value other than for enhancing a Summon Monster spell.
I've always disliked those rods for precisely that reason; they enable stupid shenanigans. That being said, it does have limited uses and cannot quicken summon spells as far as I know.
Are clerics and druids better tanks? Depending on the rules you're using, certainly. Druids are absolutely great in combat, and Clerics are like fighters who can cast spells and heal. They're very powerful classes, and straight up fighters (and rangers, and barbarians) obviously aren't comparable in power to them (paladins can have absolutely absurd saving throws, making them better anti-magic tanks).

In my experience, most DMs do a bit of metagaming...in the PCs favor. Otherwise any group of opponents intelligent enough and organized enough to use group tactics will concentrate attacks on a single target...probably resulting in said target's death. If your opponents are intelligent it usually takes a metagaming DM for them to either spread attacks around or concentrate attacks on "tanks".
Another reason tanks are important. If your DM is intentionally not attacking your mages with full force, rather than his enemies being forced not to do so, then you're getting off easy. If the monsters are intelligent enough to focus on that character, and can, a wizard is likely to die in a single round, whereas a tank is not, and a tank can stop that wizard from being eaten by preventing foes from getting to them.
One last thing worth noting, though, is that not all mages look the same. I've had a mage who wore armor at all times, and carried around a halberd. Enemies who didn't know about us assumed he (and later, she (stupid reincarnation)) was a fighter, not a spellcaster, until he fireballed them or blasted them with another spell (or made himself fly, which happened surprisingly often). Having your mage pose as something else is definitely a way to avoid being targeted.

Raum
2007-02-21, 11:37 PM
Well, does your wizard wear a sign on his back saying "Caster, destroy first"? Do they dress in a manner instantly recognizable as being a wizard? If not, then evaluating targets takes time and often requires seeing them use their abilities. Seeing a guy in a robe tells you a lot less than seeing that same guy either break someone's skull with his hand or cast a spell on himself. Before you have information, it's just guessing.A sign? I suppose in a way. The first spell cast is an obvious sign. Due to game mechanics, a caster's best defense is usually other spells...invisibility, etherealness, repulsion, etc. Those will allow a fighter type to "tank". RAW, tanking isn't something any melee class other than knight can do on their own.


You're kind of missing the point. The point being, that a fighter should be the most obvious threat until information can be gleaned showing otherwise, and thus 'beasties' (Non-intelligent or simply unfamiliar with the pc races) don't have to be intercepted, because most of the time they'll be perfectly content to leap on whoever they feel is a threat and spend their energy destroying that person.Actually I didn't miss that point...I stated creatures of below average intelligence could be distracted by the melee classes in most situations back in post # 29...the same post you quoted small sections from.


Also, reducing your mobility to nil is a bad strategy for anyone, especially a battlefield control type of fighter. Just curious, but are you saying heavy armor is a bad strategy? Not sure it really matters for the current discussion.


Personally, my character enjoys a 50' move speed when raging, which goes a long ways towards keeping the battle away from the other guys.Yes it does. As long as the terrain is favorable, you aren't fighting more than one opponent, your opponent can't fly, your opponent is corporeal (or you have a ghost touch weapon), or your opponent doesn't have area attacks.

In spite of the addition of the knight class, it's not an MMO. MMO style tanking shouldn't be expected to work. Frankly that's good! Evercamp bored me. :)

McBish
2007-02-21, 11:53 PM
Summoned monsters aren't as good as PC's. Oh boy you can summon up a CR 11 creature with a 9th level spell. A good fighter at that level will cut throught that in one round. There goes your sheild. If tanks are obselete I want to hear of one party without someone that had one.

ShadowYRM
2007-02-21, 11:58 PM
Tell me why tanks are useless.

They aren't useless.

As you said, there are many different types of "tanks".

Fighter types can spend feats that add to initiative, items that add to speed, and weapons that add to reach. An enemy may not be able to easily run past if they are tripped, disarmed, or otherwise engaged.

Just as there are counters for everything a melee warrior can do, there are counters to everything a spellcaster can do.

Grapple? - Freedom of Movement
Trip? - Flight
Disarm? - Locking guantlets

So sure, a caster can counter many things...

But the enemy casters won't always be caught with rounds of prep-spells or a full daily compliment of metagame chosen spells.

Enemies using Level Drain or Enervation can quickly strip your party spellcasters of top level spells... sure, if you knew it was coming, you could cast Death Ward.

Most PCs and most NPCs shouldn't know every threat that is coming on a given day.

That's where the tank shines. Various builds give the casters a chance to react to new and surprising situations.

Large & various battlefields with a wide variety of foes will ensure that casters aren't always operating at 100% effectiveness.

So yes, you're right, the tank is useful. I would say that MOVEMENT SPEED and INITIATIVE are going to be VERY important for most battlefield control specialists.

A Monk/Horizon Walker might combine Sun School with Dimension Door from the "shifting" plane sub school to get the jump on enemy casters.

Those casters, if they know of the threat, might prepare spells to shunt out living foes or put teleporting foes in stasis.

It'll go back and forth, but, in a mixture of threats, a tank should display a lot of usefulness in buying the party that much more time to react (and if the tank can win initiative and engage a key threat, more the better).

Another important party aspect of keeping tanks useful is awareness.

If the party is alert and detecting enough that they are not easily ambushed, it's much more likely that the tank will be able to tie up an enemy that hasn't been buffing for the last 20 rounds.

Good post, good points.

greenknight
2007-02-22, 02:58 AM
See my previous post, since you didn't actually say anything new or address any of my points.

Conjurers using this variant gain the normal benefits from enhancing a summon monster spell with the Quicken Spell feat.

Is that the "point" you are referring to? Ok. According to you, the NORMAL benefit from enhancing a summon monster spell with the Quicken Spell feat is NOTHING, because it can't be done. According to me, the NORMAL benefit from enhancing a summon monster spell with the Quicken Spell feat is that it can be cast as a free action. Personally, I think the second interpretation is the correct one.

So, we have:

* a statement under "Casting Time" saying casting a 1 round spell is a full round action.
* a statement under "Actions in Combat" saying casting a 1 round spell is a full round action.
* a statement under "Rapid Summoning" which leads us to conclude that the normal effect of quickening a 1 round spell (summon monster) is to cast it as a free action.
* A statement in the "Quicken Spell" feat which tells us a spell whose casting time is more than 1 full round action cannot be quickened, but leaves us to assume that spells which take a full round action or less can be quickened.

And you have:
* statements that the spellcasting action for a 1 round spell continues into the next round.

Which I agree with, but nevertheless casting a 1 round spell is still considered to be a full round action, and that's stated in more than one place.

Saph
2007-02-22, 04:28 AM
I'm pretty sure Dausuul's right, but the 'just use metamagic rods to quicken a summon spell!' idea is silly anyway.

Even the cheapest Quicken rod, a Lesser one, costs 35,000 gold. Going by standard WBL rules, the earliest a character can afford one of those will be level 12. He can then use Summon Monster III to summon . . . a celestial creature with a CR of 2, maybe 2.5. Yeah, that's going to be really effective against a CR 12 monster.

- Saph

Cybren
2007-02-22, 04:30 AM
tanking isn't really that useful because there's few ways to make sure a foe is attacking you and not anyone else, and the characters that can take lots of damage usually will fall to a failed save in an instant anyway.

greenknight
2007-02-22, 04:47 AM
I'm pretty sure Dausuul's right

Highly doubtful, since every reference to casting spells with a 1 round casting time places it as a full round action, which can be quickened.


Even the cheapest Quicken rod, a Lesser one, costs 35,000 gold. Going by standard WBL rules, the earliest a character can afford one of those will be level 12.

Using the Character Wealth By Level guidelines (DMG, p135) a standard character has 36,000gp by level 9. 12th level gives 88,000gp for PCs. NPCs use a different wealth standard, and would need to be 13th level before they have 35,000gp. And don't forget the other end of the scale, where a 20th level PC caster (760,000gp wealth by level) could easily afford the 170,000 rod of Greater Quicken Spell to instantly quicken those 9th level spells.


He can then use Summon Monster III to summon . . . a celestial creature with a CR of 2, maybe 2.5. Yeah, that's going to be really effective against a CR 12 monster.

If the intent is to summon a temporary "wall" to allow time for buffing spells (by both this character and other casters), even a 1 round delay can be useful. In that case, the summons would be best used to get a mob of creatures from the Summon Monster I list. Since it's a free action, the character could then begin working on what happens once that wall is destroyed. That could be very effective, in the right circumstances.

Zincorium
2007-02-22, 04:49 AM
Alright, I'm seeing a lot of things that I kind of expected to.

First, the entire problem of identifying casters prior to combat being joined is getting utterly ignored. The assumption of all monsters identifying wizards isn't a closed book, nor should it be. Just because a monster is intelligent doesn't mean it knows what PC casters are or what they can do, that takes knowledge specifically of wizards. Not being part of a larger society where wizards are commonplace means that it those kinds of tactics have to be specificially learned.

Second, the fact that summoning spells are used at all gives a real good argument for the tanking position, not against it. What is the monster that you just summoned there to do? Well, except in the case of gate cheese, it's usually along the lines of 'keep that guy over there busy and deal some damage to them'. Now, imagine you have a really good, knowledgable summoned creature with you the entire time you're in a dungeon, who is familiar with your tactics and can use special abilities intelligently. That's what you should be thinking of a tank as.

Tanks are a resource saver for casters. Yes, you can counter something directly with a spell, but those run out. In most adventuring situations, you can't be sure that you won't need as full a compliment of spells as possible for the next thing you face. Having a list of all the spells it would take to replace the tank is going to drop the rest of the list well below optimum levels.

Finally, Raum, not arguing with you just to argue, we're somewhat in agreement, I just disagree on the validity of some of your arguments as they've been stated. Most monsters will not be enemy casters, a quick look through the MM, MM3, and MM4 show that while a good portion of monsters are intelligent, only a much smaller percentage could reliably tell what a spellcaster is and have enough information to make the judgement that they need to be taken out.

Monsters in general do not read these boards, they do not know that the fighter and the monk and the soulblade that are pounding away at them are underpowered and do not pose a threat compared to the wizard, and they can't take a look at the player's handbook to decide for themselves. The DM can. That doesn't mean that all those opinions and knowledge should go straight to the simulated brains of the simulated monsters, a good DM should filter it and only use what it is reasonable to know, the same way a player should.

Saph
2007-02-22, 04:58 AM
Using the Character Wealth By Level guidelines (DMG, p135) a standard character has 36,000gp by level 9. 12th level gives 88,000gp for PCs. NPCs use a different wealth standard, and would need to be 13th level before they have 35,000gp. And don't forget the other end of the scale, where a 20th level PC caster (760,000gp wealth by level) could easily afford the 170,000 rod of Greater Quicken Spell to instantly quicken those 9th level spells.

How many 20th level games do you know of that are running? D&D balance is awful at the high levels. Most people play in the level 1-10 range. So a tactic that requires you to be 12th level minimum isn't much use.


If the intent is to summon a temporary "wall" to allow time for buffing spells (by both this character and other casters), even a 1 round delay can be useful. In that case, the summons would be best used to get a mob of creatures from the Summon Monster I list. Since it's a free action, the character could then begin working on what happens once that wall is destroyed. That could be very effective, in the right circumstances.

You're going to summon a bunch of Celestial Dogs against a CR 12 monster? The only way that's going to delay is if it loses its turn from laughing so hard.

- Saph

cupkeyk
2007-02-22, 05:03 AM
Uhh, I guess what i am saying is that what those goblins are doing is what the tank should be doing.

Kill any casters in one round, which is exactly what any self respecting tank should be able to do. If not ready to disrupt and kill him by the second round. Crowd control is definitely the caster's domain. Tank builds don't deal 300 damage a round to attack creatures that might possibly survive it. Tanks get cleave so they can hit the baddie tanks after downing a caster.

By order, tanks should attack the blaster, the crowd controller, the heal grunt. When they are all dead he can concentrate on killing the non-casters. No casters around? The battle shouldn't last more than two rounds for anyone to worry who to attack.

greenknight
2007-02-22, 05:57 AM
How many 20th level games do you know of that are running?

Since I'm talking about higher level games only, depending on your definition of higher level that could be 100% of them. All epic level games would certainly qualify.


Most people play in the level 1-10 range.

And in that range, the Fighter / Barbarian Tank might actually work, particularly at the lower end (1 - 5). But at higher levels, the Fighter / Barbarian loses out in the Tank role to Clerics and Druids. This should be obvious since I've been talking about Clerics casting Divine Favor and Righteous Might. Those spells aren't cast very much by 1st level Clerics, or even most Clerics in the 1 - 10 level range (although 9th and 10th level Clerics could manage it).


You're going to summon a bunch of Celestial Dogs against a CR 12 monster? The only way that's going to delay is if it loses its turn from laughing so hard.

Here are the CR12 creatures from the SRD:

Frost Worm. This has one attack per round, and doesn't have Cleave, so it would take it 1 round per summoned foe to get rid of them. Unless it used it's breath weapon, which can only be used once per hour, and in that case it's only a few summoned creatures which go down rather than PCs, so it's great value.

Kolyaru (Inevitable). This has two attacks per round, and no Cleave, so it would probably take a couple of rounds to get rid of a mob.

Kraken. Many attacks per round, excellent reach, no Cleave. This would get rid of a mob in less than 1 round, but at least a few attacks would be diverted.

Leonal. 3 attacks per round, and a Roar attack which works like Holy Word, no Cleave. A mob would delay this creature for one or two rounds, unless it used one of only 3 Roars per day.

Purple Worm. Two attacks per round, but it does have Cleave and it can Swallow Whole. This could probably remove a mob in 1 round, but a four or five creature mob might delay it slightly longer.

Roper. Multiple Strength draining attacks with good range. A mob would provide extra targets which would occupy the strands that catch them for a couple of rounds.

Remember, the purpose is to delay. These creatures won't last long, nor will they do much damage. But each attack spent on them is an attack wasted, and can give time for the PCs to do something more effective. And since these would be cast as a free action, there's also nothing to say the caster can't cast another spell in the same round. Oh, and since I'm talking Clerics and Druids as Tanks, rather than Celestial Dogs, it could be a group of Wolves with +4 Strength and Constitution (thanks to Augment Summoning). They still aren't much against a CR12 creature, but they might last just a little longer.

I should also mention that's it's possible that instead of one CR12 monster, the party faces a group of monsters, which would reduce the effectiveness of this tactic. Obviously, the spellcaster would need to determine whether it's worth doing on a case by case basis.

Saph
2007-02-22, 06:02 AM
Why are these CR 12 monsters attacking the Celestial Dogs in the first place? The dogs are no more threat than a mosquito. If you're in a fight to the death, would you stop to kill mosquitos? Ignore them and kill the PCs instead.

- Saph

Arlanthe
2007-02-22, 06:14 AM
"Tanking" is a meaningless term.

As the first post already mentioned- a low-INT monster will attack someone that is 1) the closest 2) has harmed it (or harmed it the most).

A mid to high INT creature will generally know to attack spellcasters first because they are 1) weaker and 2) they can disrupt spells 3) do disturbing things. It's true that in the first round or two of combat, an enemy will not identify a spell caster or major threat, but after that...

D&D isn't an MMO where fighters can "taunt" "mobs" for "aggro", or have "high aggro" abilities. The best a character that wants to divert punishment from his peers can do is try to get in an enemys way, provoke foes, and put his or herself between foes and friends so attacks of opportunity will result from an enemy going after other characters, or attempt to physically block them.

Many of these are useful tactics, but "meatshield" or "tank" is pretty much a narrow and clammy metaphor.

greenknight
2007-02-22, 06:29 AM
Why are these CR 12 monsters attacking the Celestial Dogs in the first place? The dogs are no more threat than a mosquito. If you're in a fight to the death, would you stop to kill mosquitos? Ignore them and kill the PCs instead.

Now there's an excellent summary of why at higher levels the Fighter / Barbarian style Tank doesn't work. But as to why this can work, think about it. Instead of a single character who might not be able to move very far, now we have a group of 2 - 5 creatures, which can be summoned anywhere 50 feet or more from the caster and who are able to move even further to make an attack. And the caster doesn't even need to worry about whether these creatures are going to die or not - they are just there purely to create a choke point, preferably as far away from the PCs as possible. Plus, the caster can tailor the creatures to be more useful in that role. For example, Celestial Dogs can often be flown over, but Celestial Owls and Eagles can still get in the way and divert attacks.

Saph
2007-02-22, 06:36 AM
Now there's an excellent summary of why at higher levels the Fighter / Barbarian style Tank doesn't work.

*sigh* I knew you were going to say that. The difference is that a 12th level Fighter/Barb does damage. A Celestial Dog or Celestial Owl doesn't.

To be honest, this whole summoning example seems really contrived. You buy an incredibly expensive magic item, convince the DM to allow you to use it on summoning spells (which is by no means a guarantee - my DM wouldn't allow it, and I don't think I would either), use a spell and expend your immediate action for the turn, and in exchange for all this you get . . . a really, really gimped version of a tank that will probably have no effect on the battle whatsoever. Why not just have a decent melee character in your party in the first place?

- Saph

greenknight
2007-02-22, 06:47 AM
*sigh* I knew you were going to say that. The difference is that a 12th level Fighter/Barb does damage. A Celestial Dog or Celestial Owl doesn't.

Yes, they can. But it's the "anything you can do, I can do better" syndrome. The Cleric can Divine Power / Righteous Might to easily outperform the damage potential of either character, and can do a lot of other things besides. The Druid has an animal companion, Wild Shape (between them, these two abilities generally outperform the damage potential of a single Fighter / Barbarian) and a lot of other things besides. The Fighter / Barbarian has good combat potential, but to get the best damage they generally need to melee (which can be very difficult for them against higher CR foes), and they've got very little else to contribute.


use a spell and expend your immediate action for the turn, and in exchange for all this you get . . . a really, really gimped version of a tank that will probably have no effect on the battle whatsoever.

And exactly what does the Fighter / Barbarian get for their immediate action?


Why not just have a decent melee character in your party in the first place?

You should have a decent melee character in the party. But at higher levels, the Cleric or Druid is the best person for that role, not the Fighter / Barbarian.

Rigeld2
2007-02-22, 06:59 AM
First, the entire problem of identifying casters prior to combat being joined is getting utterly ignored. The assumption of all monsters identifying wizards isn't a closed book, nor should it be. Just because a monster is intelligent doesn't mean it knows what PC casters are or what they can do, that takes knowledge specifically of wizards. Not being part of a larger society where wizards are commonplace means that it those kinds of tactics have to be specificially learned.
As high magic as the default setting is (and remember, we have to debate using the default setting) every creature of around average intelligence has to know what a spell is. They have to know that an enemy casting a spell on them is a BAD THING. I agree, walking in and not seeing anything happen, if the Wizard/Druid/Cleric arent dressed typically, they'll escape notice. But as soon as the first spell flies, theyre identified.


Second, the fact that summoning spells are used at all gives a real good argument for the tanking position, not against it. What is the monster that you just summoned there to do? Well, except in the case of gate cheese, it's usually along the lines of 'keep that guy over there busy and deal some damage to them'. Now, imagine you have a really good, knowledgable summoned creature with you the entire time you're in a dungeon, who is familiar with your tactics and can use special abilities intelligently. That's what you should be thinking of a tank as.
I think of summoned creatures as disposable walls. Theyre guaranteed to die, guaranteed to not destroy the opponent, and guaranteed to delay the bad guy some, since I can get more than one. None of those is a guarantee with a party tank.


Tanks are a resource saver for casters. Yes, you can counter something directly with a spell, but those run out. In most adventuring situations, you can't be sure that you won't need as full a compliment of spells as possible for the next thing you face. Having a list of all the spells it would take to replace the tank is going to drop the rest of the list well below optimum levels.
But you see - the spells I normally cast when there is a tank are the same spells I cast when there isnt. I've been in an all Wizard party, and while we had to rest more often than the DM liked sometimes (at lower levels) we never really got close to a TPK.


Finally, Raum, not arguing with you just to argue, we're somewhat in agreement, I just disagree on the validity of some of your arguments as they've been stated. Most monsters will not be enemy casters, a quick look through the MM, MM3, and MM4 show that while a good portion of monsters are intelligent, only a much smaller percentage could reliably tell what a spellcaster is and have enough information to make the judgement that they need to be taken out.
What more information do they need than spells == bad? And what is your judgement on what monster could "reliably tell what a spellcaster is"? Anyone who casts a spell == spellcaster.

Rigeld2
2007-02-22, 07:04 AM
*sigh* I knew you were going to say that. The difference is that a 12th level Fighter/Barb does damage. A Celestial Dog or Celestial Owl doesn't.
Celestial Dogs and Owls might not, but you dont get those with a Summon Monster 6. You get things like a Large Elemental, a Xill, a Chaos Beast...

Saph
2007-02-22, 07:20 AM
You should have a decent melee character in the party. But at higher levels, the Cleric or Druid is the best person for that role, not the Fighter / Barbarian.

Which is one of the reasons most people, me included, don't play at higher levels.

- Saph

Rigeld2
2007-02-22, 07:24 AM
Which is one of the reasons most people, me included, don't play at higher levels.

- Saph
I do, and I even play Fighters, and Barbarians, and Warlocks.

greenknight
2007-02-22, 07:36 AM
Which is one of the reasons most people, me included, don't play at higher levels.

That's fair enough. At lower levels, especially 1 - 4, the Fighter / Barbarian really is the best choice of Tank, and they can hold their own through levels 5 - 8 even staying only with Core rules. Although at 5 a Wild Shaping Druid can start cutting in on their action, especially with a combat minded animal companion. At level 9+ though, the Fighter and Barbarian are really starting to fall behind in the damage output, and there are more monsters around CR9 that can just pretty much ignore them. If you play with more than Core rules, you might get a little more life out of those classes, but unless you've really re-worked them, they'll still fall by the wayside at some point.

Raum
2007-02-22, 07:55 AM
First, the entire problem of identifying casters prior to combat being joined is getting utterly ignored. The assumption of all monsters identifying wizards isn't a closed book, nor should it be. Just because a monster is intelligent doesn't mean it knows what PC casters are or what they can do, that takes knowledge specifically of wizards. Not being part of a larger society where wizards are commonplace means that it those kinds of tactics have to be specificially learned.Actually, the idea of hiding the act of spellcasting from an intelligent observer has been debunked rather than ignored. We are talking opponents of at least average intelligence after all, how could they not know what spellcasting is? It's endemic to the world even if that particular creature isn't a caster.

On the summoning issue, I agree with you. I also think we're mostly in agreement regarding less intelligent creatures. Possibly it's just a different point of view when regarding intelligent societies...I don't think any society (or even individual) lives in a vacuum. They're going to interact with others...even if that interaction consists of being slaughtered by "evil" (the victims will certainly consider their killers evil) adventurers. In a world where that happens at least once a century, there will be stories and legends of the events. And while stories and legends often contain misinformation, they will also contain a kernel of truth.


Tanks are a resource saver for casters. Yes, you can counter something directly with a spell, but those run out. In most adventuring situations, you can't be sure that you won't need as full a compliment of spells as possible for the next thing you face. Having a list of all the spells it would take to replace the tank is going to drop the rest of the list well below optimum levels.I agree with you here also...to a point. I simply don't think there's any method a non-knight can be more than a momentary distraction to an intelligent opponent when the opponent is tactically better off attacking the caster.


Finally, Raum, not arguing with you just to argue, we're somewhat in agreement, I just disagree on the validity of some of your arguments as they've been stated. Most monsters will not be enemy casters, a quick look through the MM, MM3, and MM4 show that while a good portion of monsters are intelligent, only a much smaller percentage could reliably tell what a spellcaster is and have enough information to make the judgement that they need to be taken out. I do think we're at least partially in agreement. As for the potential monster opponents, when you limit it to intelligent adversaries which do you encounter more; monsters or evil races such as duergar, drow, humans, orcs, goblins, etc? It may also reflect a difference in playing style, but I don't remember the last long dungeon crawl I've played. Campaigns are usually built around an intelligent BBEG with resources and a "plan". That usually relegates monsters to what the PCs meet when traveling.

Fisker
2007-02-22, 08:36 AM
Personally I have played alot of fighters, all sorts but none epic. From our first babysteps we learn that the best defense is an attack. Most of my chars would run/jump/tumble past the enemy hordes and start wacking their casters. Then one of two things will happen. a) the minions will turn arround to save the casters or b) the casters will die rather fast. Both giving the party an edge. Since I didnt play 14+ level games the casters had limited save-or-die spells to stop me.
"Tanks" should simply be mageslayers, IMHO

cupkeyk
2007-02-22, 08:45 AM
ANd it makes no sense fortifying your defenses with monsters that can't get basic instructions like:
a) when the guy in the robes start taking, poke him so he gets distracted
b) when they halfling goes around you step aside 'cause he can hurt you really bad if you are distracted.
c) you can opt to ignore the big guy, he's all bark no bite; kill the guy in robes first, he's a twig but he can kill you with his juju.

I think when delegating your minions across your dungeon, it makes sense to give them a few pointers. That's what one of the B's in BBEG stand for: "Boss." A good boss informs his subordinates. A simple "attack skinny elf 'til he's dead or he'll kill you so bad your mom will feel it" is an order that an Int 3 creature can understand.

Once Again: I don't know bout the kind of games you play but enemy parties without casters do not last more than two rounds since median tank damage output per round is usually higher than maximum hitpoints of any creature of an equal CR.

Quickened summoning is a waste of effort, or buffing for that matter since the casters should save it for the opponents who will be a threat. It's almost like Cavalry and infantry in medieval wars. Since the nobles don't wanna get hurt, the nobles get on their horses and start chopping down peasants while the other sides nobles do the same. It's standard tactic that for casters to fight the tanks and the tanks to take on the casters. And the enemy casters die of massive damage while the enemy tanks die of evaporation or something.

I have a point somewhere: Tanks are still important, but they are better off as the guy you get through leadership. It's hella borig to tank. Tanking is still the most efficient single opponent smackdown. Not even a disintegrate should be able to match a frenzied berserker leaping power attack. But it's become the lamest job in the party because the other folks have more fun.

brian c
2007-02-22, 09:38 AM
I beg to disagree cupkeyk; an Int 3 monster can understand little of anything.

From PHB:

An animal has an Intelligence score of 1 or 2. A creature of humanlike intelligence has a score of at least 3

3 is the minimum intelligence score for something that is not an animal; functionally speaking someone with Intelligence of 3 is mentally retarded or worse, depending on interpretation- 3 means humanlike not human.

McBish
2007-02-22, 09:54 AM
Yes, they can. But it's the "anything you can do, I can do better" syndrome. The Cleric can Divine Power / Righteous Might to easily outperform the damage potential of either character, and can do a lot of other things besides.


Show me a Cleric that can deal over a hundered Damage a hit (At level 25) with 5 attacks and I will belive that. But those spells will make a cleric as good as a fighter or Barbarian most of the times. But it takes up spells and time. Oh and not to mention the fact that I am talking about will not die until 18 rounds are done. On the downside he may start to kill friends if he runs out of enemys. Whoops. Well I'm sure the casters can find a way around that.

Piccamo
2007-02-22, 11:06 AM
I beg to disagree cupkeyk; an Int 3 monster can understand little of anything.

From PHB:

An animal has an Intelligence score of 1 or 2. A creature of humanlike intelligence has a score of at least 3

3 is the minimum intelligence score for something that is not an animal; functionally speaking someone with Intelligence of 3 is mentally retarded or worse, depending on interpretation- 3 means humanlike not human.

That seems more like splitting hairs than anything.

Person_Man
2007-02-22, 11:51 AM
Show me a Cleric that can deal over a hundered Damage a hit (At level 25) with 5 attacks and I will belive that. But those spells will make a cleric as good as a fighter or Barbarian most of the times. But it takes up spells and time. Oh and not to mention the fact that I am talking about will not die until 18 rounds are done. On the downside he may start to kill friends if he runs out of enemys. Whoops. Well I'm sure the casters can find a way around that.

That's easy.

A regular Cleric with the animal Domain can cast Shapechange to turn into your favorite 20 HD creature, gaining all of its special attacks and abilities. Cast Divine Power for full BAB. Power Attack for full (your Str and To-Hit bonuses will probably be through the roof, so why not). Use the Divine Might feat to add your Cha bonus to damage for one full round.

If you're feeling really mean, take the Time domain and cast Haste before combat, and a Contingency Time Stop spell that goes off as soon as you say a command word.

Or you can use Divine Metamagic and Persistant Metamagic and just buff your way to godhood.

Or you can just be careful and/or use divination magic, and cast 3-4 buff spells before each combat. If you're 20th level, you have at least 50 spell slots to use, enough to cast 5 spells in 10 different combats.

Truwar
2007-02-22, 11:57 AM
Why would Quickened Summon Monster __ be a bad idea?

Well, anything a mage can summon with the actual metamagic feat is going to get sliced to ribbons in one round or (more appropriately) ignored. The Quicken Rods are so expensive for the levels of spells work with that by the time you could afford one, any Summon spell you could quicken with it would summon a creature in the same boat as the one summoned using the feat.


I think the "tanks are obsolete" crowd here is right- based on the way that 3rd Edition makes casters powerful, tanks have a serious problem confronting enemies and forcing them to attack the tank. The fighter's effectiveness is like the Maginot Line's effectiveness. A fighter is devastating against enemies that choose to attack it (either out of lack of imagination or out of lack of options), but vulnerable to being bypassed by powerful, versatile, or resourceful enemies.

Are you implying that earlier editions of D&D did NOT make the casters powerful? They have not become much more powerful than they were back then, whereas the fighter has gained QUITE a bit of ground (they could still use quite a few higher level combat feats but they are MUCH better than they were pre 3 ed.).


As long as combat occurs in close quarters and indoors, the fighter can remain fairly effective, because close quarters make him hard to bypass. But 'close quarters and indoors' represents only a modest subset of all possible encounters.

With the proper support the fighter can be a juggernaut in almost any conditions. A buffed up cleric is fairly impressive but if that cleric buffs a fighter, you can have a real nightmare on your hands. Besides it is hard to get around the fighter when he has knocked you on your back (imp trip), nauseated you (three mountains), dazed you (anvil of thunder), knocked you prone (hammerís edge & storm of flying strikes), or disarmed you (imp disarm). I am sure there are quite a few other tricks fighters could use as well. Suffice to say that a well designed fighter is MUCH more than high strength, a good attack bonus, and a heavy armor.

Raum
2007-02-22, 12:28 PM
Are you implying that earlier editions of D&D did NOT make the casters powerful? They have not become much more powerful than they were back then, whereas the fighter has gained QUITE a bit of ground (they could still use quite a few higher level combat feats but they are MUCH better than they were pre 3 ed.).It's a bit off subject, but casters have become far more powerful in 3.x. It doesn't matter if you're comparing to 2.x casters or to the relation between casters and fighters in each version. The changes in casting times alone have had a major effect. It used to be far easier to interrupt a spell. Add swift actions and... Well enough with the off subject rant. There are plenty of other threads covering the issue.

I do agree summoning spells aren't the best option. Even if you have a Quicken Rod (and are allowing it to work with summoning spells) you'd be better off using it on a different spell. And if a caster is deciding where to spend the cash, I'd usually rather spend the money on stat boosting items.

Quincunx
2007-02-22, 05:12 PM
Fighters Have No 'Taunt' Button (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20381)

When I asked a similar question earlier, these were the suggestions for how a meatshield can control the reactions of its enemies.

cupkeyk
2007-02-22, 05:26 PM
Brian C:
I can't see why the BBEG won't spend the few seconds of his life talking to the retard about how to hit the skinny elf. I imagine use of shock therapy. It MAKES SENSE to make your dungeon effective. A clan of kobolds is vastly better because they know how to crossbow through kill slits preventing line of effect from the mage. BBEG's are supposed to be at least smarter than the PC's. That's why it should be the PC's role to OUTsmart him.


To Fisker:
I would add within the first round to that. As I have mentioned, Cleric and Wizzies are wasting rounds buffing themselves(or summoning creatures before buffing), when combat should not take longer than two rounds, unless there are enemy casters or the opponent has surprise and battlefield control.

Orzel
2007-02-22, 05:49 PM
In my games, tanks had the job of annoying enemy rogues and archers. "I ready an attack against the next enemy who casts spell" kills/annos to few spellcasters and castertanks due to nice DMs.

The D&D tank's job is to go "I kill all you noncasty mens! Arrow to your cleric while he's casting a buff! AoO your druid!"

The problem is that this doesn't work at high levels (because of the very situational enemies) but high levels is silly and rarely played b the sane.

Thrawn183
2007-02-22, 06:01 PM
I'd like to throw in a little something: my 7th level sorceror. He's focusing on casting. Rapid spell (Complete Divine) combined with Metamagic School Focus (Complete Mage): a +0(net) to spell level to make a full round spell into a standard action. This means I can use my highest level summon on a surprise round. It is very possible to use summon monster in a way that's rediculously effective.

I just got finished playing a 6th level Barbarian that focused on high hp and dealing damage, though ludicrously low AC. He was great when fighting a single powerful enemy: there were encounters where no one else in the party did even a single point of damage. He was horrible when the party was attacked by multiple enemies. A tank, unfortunately, can only be in one place at a time. What happened to DM's that don't have monsters stand in a single big group?

The real question that applies to the OP of this thread, as I see it is this: if you can summon a huge monstrous fiendish centipede, since when is an enemy going to bother attacking your medium sized tank? Which is actaully going to look more threatening? If a tank can actually manage to look that threatening as you say, most summoned monsters will do the job tanking that much better.

Dr. Weasel
2007-02-22, 09:54 PM
The arguement for summoning monsters seems to be that they will delay enemies for one turn (the best you can really expect with their low CRs) provided that the caster uses a turn to summon them. This seems to be a net gain of zero for the spellcaster. More so because a summoning spell involves standing in one place for an entire round and can only be used once the spellcaster's turn comes.

Also don't start the "Druids and Clerics are better than fighters" arguement here. The OP did not once say anything excluding divine casters from the tank role.

The tanking role is important as well because of the simple visibility of the tank. A caster will be in the back, more than likely disguised as something else. To an enemy, not even neccessarily one of under human intelligence, the man with the sword (bear shooting lightning I guess too, if that's your thing (and by 'thing' I mean class)) is obviously a threat. Casters should not even become threats until they cast spells and then only if the enemy is able to spot its casting (while being beaten to death with a sword). Once a caster reveals itself and actually demonstrates itself as a threat (Disjunction, for instance would not be immediately evident to anyone not constanly detecting magic), an enemy might switch targets, but until then the tank would have to be its focus.

Including "immediately attack anyone unarmed and unarmored" in combat training for anyone, fighter and wizard alike, would only result in a slaughtering of peasants or low level non-threats and therefore should not be accepted in an unknowing NPC's actions.

Starbuck_II
2007-02-23, 09:27 AM
The arguement for summoning monsters seems to be that they will delay enemies for one turn (the best you can really expect with their low CRs) provided that the caster uses a turn to summon them. This seems to be a net gain of zero for the spellcaster. More so because a summoning spell involves standing in one place for an entire round and can only be used once the spellcaster's turn comes.

Also don't start the "Druids and Clerics are better than fighters" arguement here. The OP did not once say anything excluding divine casters from the tank role.

The tanking role is important as well because of the simple visibility of the tank. A caster will be in the back, more than likely disguised as something else. To an enemy, not even neccessarily one of under human intelligence, the man with the sword (bear shooting lightning I guess too, if that's your thing (and by 'thing' I mean class)) is obviously a threat. Casters should not even become threats until they cast spells and then only if the enemy is able to spot its casting (while being beaten to death with a sword). Once a caster reveals itself and actually demonstrates itself as a threat (Disjunction, for instance would not be immediately evident to anyone not constanly detecting magic), an enemy might switch targets, but until then the tank would have to be its focus.

Including "immediately attack anyone unarmed and unarmored" in combat training for anyone, fighter and wizard alike, would only result in a slaughtering of peasants or low level non-threats and therefore should not be accepted in an unknowing NPC's actions.

Maybe I have high an Int score, but I know to hit the non/lightly armored guys first.

I knew that before I learnt D&D. It makes sense. Hit the guy with less protection.
Sure the guy with te sword and heavy armor is scary, but all the more reason for me to avoid him and attacking the lights.

Cyborg Pirate
2007-02-23, 05:21 PM
Just wanted to make a little note, not sure if anyone's touched upon it yet:

Predatory animals of all kinds always take down the weakest in a group of prey, simply because the weakest is the easiest to get. Even if a whole group of prey were to be slaughtered, it are the weakest who get taken down first. The idea of "take the strong, dangerous looking one down first" is completely non-existant in the animal world.

So assuming any monsters in the game are of "animal intelligence"... why on earth would such a monster go for the guy in the hard metal shell first over avoiding him and slaughtering the guy in the soft looking clothes?


I'm sorry, but in a truly intelligently run game, a "tank" is useless. "Tanks" shouldn't need to exist anywhere else then computer RPG's (where all the monsters have the "animal intelligence" of a handicapped grapefruit).

NullAshton
2007-02-23, 05:28 PM
Have your fighter have glamored armor, then.

Cyborg Pirate
2007-02-23, 05:37 PM
Have your fighter have glamored armor, then.

He's still being the most overtly aggressive by running forward and poking baddies if he's really supposed to "tank"

Zincorium
2007-02-23, 05:41 PM
Maybe I have high an Int score, but I know to hit the non/lightly armored guys first.

I knew that before I learnt D&D. It makes sense. Hit the guy with less protection.
Sure the guy with te sword and heavy armor is scary, but all the more reason for me to avoid him and attacking the lights.

If you have a choice in the matter. But if the guy with the sword and the heavy armor is attacking you, right now, aren't you going to want to use that high intelligence and decide to do something about the person dedicated to putting a sharp length of steel somewhere vital?

Cast a spell to disable. Move around him, if you're fast enough that you can get away with it. Get your buddy to clothesline him. Something. Ignoring him will make that sharp piece of steel really hard to avoid.

Acting like a character on a battlemat is incorporeal unless spellcasting is illogical. A meatshield between you and the caster makes charging the caster flat out impossible (read the rules on it) and means that to avoid provoking attacks of opportunity they must move 10' or even 15' to either side of the obstacle, dramatically reducing their progress towards the caster. If you're in a dungeon corridor (this is dungeons and dragons, sometime, somehow, you will probably be in a dungeon), even ranged attackers will suffer because the caster behind the tank has soft cover (+4 to AC).

Kantolin
2007-02-23, 05:43 PM
Interestingly, if you have the wizard greater invisible'd, and have the fighter in glammered armour or possibly a dex-fighter or something without much / any armour, and have the spells look like the fighter is doing them... then that's awesome. Or at least present.

I'd then use displacement or something with displacement, though, so hey.

LotharBot
2007-02-23, 05:51 PM
Predatory animals of all kinds always take down the weakest in a group of prey, simply because the weakest is the easiest to get.

You don't see animals try to take a whole group down, weakest to strongest. They try to pick off the slowest/weakest because that's the lowest risk way for them to get food; they don't try to fight the next weakest after they've got their meal, though. And the way they usually accomplish this is by scaring the whole group and then ganking whatever runs the slowest or fails to run away at all.

In D&D, "whatever fails to run away" is going to be the big bad tank with the big bad stick, and the animals are going to very quickly be on the wrong end of the damage tradeoff. And I promise you, animals aren't going to be like "well, let's just run past this guy and try to pick off the weaker prey" -- they're either going to try to get the thing hurting them to run away, or they're going to run themselves.

Cyborg Pirate
2007-02-23, 06:01 PM
You don't see animals try to take a whole group down, weakest to strongest. They try to pick off the slowest/weakest because that's the lowest risk way for them to get food; they don't try to fight the next weakest after they've got their meal, though. And the way they usually accomplish this is by scaring the whole group and then ganking whatever runs the slowest or fails to run away at all.

Groups of predators do sometimes take down whole groups of prey animal and every time, it's always "gank the weakest ones and avoid the big ones till numbers are down a little".


In D&D, "whatever fails to run away" is going to be the big bad tank with the big bad stick, and the animals are going to very quickly be on the wrong end of the damage tradeoff. And I promise you, animals aren't going to be like "well, let's just run past this guy and try to pick off the weaker prey" -- they're either going to try to get the thing hurting them to run away, or they're going to run themselves.

If they're being hurt more by the "tank" then they can dish out themselves, then it's not really a hard encounter is it? The rest of the party isn't neccesary.

And if the animals run away, they run away. Still doesn't make the "tank" of any use.

But seriously, anyone and anything with even just a little predatory instinct knows almost instinctively: "If there's a group of targets out there and you're outnumbered, avoid the tough ones and take down the weak looking ones to even the odds."


The only times I would say creatures with "animal intelligence" would go for the tank first is when said creatures have great numerical superiority and can afford to try and take the toughest looking one down first.

Krellen
2007-02-23, 07:15 PM
When 3e first came out, I started running a campaign. I ran that campaign all the way from level 1 to level 20 (only one character remained constant throughout, a monk; the level 20 party wasn't established until level 7.) The three members were the monk, a fighter (weapon master) and a diviner (loremaster). In combat... the fighter did the damage. Almost all of it.

Enemies were never in good positions for burst spells, and only those rare times they were (the room of a dozen Storm Giants, for one) did the wizard outdamage the fighter. The fighter would rush the enemy and start chopping. He was always the biggest threat. A bonus of 34 damage to each and every strike was common - without Power Attack.

From a military standpoint, the tank serves a purpose. Because really, who is the bigger threat? The lightly armoured gun shooting shells at you from the top of that hill over there, or the armoured behemoth shooting shells at you and threatening to crush you beneath its treads any moment right in front of you?

cupkeyk
2007-02-23, 07:52 PM
It's not damage that outdoes the fighter, it's the fact that the wizzie can drop an opponent faster. EG: Storm Giant Str 39, Dex 14, Con 23, Int 16, Wis 20, Cha 15; Fort +17, Ref +8, Will +13; Armor Class: 27 (–2 size, +2 Dex, +12 natural, +5 breastplate) touch 10, flat-footed 25

He has more HP than abilities. Unless the Fighter can *poof* deal Dex damage(which is the storm Giant's lowest stat) the wizzie will be dropping giants one per round.


As for the 3 INT comment: Stupid people follow orders better.

Krellen
2007-02-23, 08:29 PM
He has more HP than abilities. Unless the Fighter can *poof* deal Dex damage(which is the storm Giant's lowest stat) the wizzie will be dropping giants one per round.
Yeah, I keep hearing about this "Shivering Touch" spell. Guess what?

Tanks aren't broken. That spell is.

Tanking classes aren't undervalued because there's an inherent flaw with the class or the system. They're undervalued because every new splatbook ups the ante on spell powers. Modulate your spell selections, rather than claiming tanks are pointless.

Raum
2007-02-23, 09:18 PM
That spell (and others) is definitely overpowered. But even the simple Hold Person can be more effective than dealing damage. And so can many other spells.

But IMO it shouldn't really matter what the casters can do...what matters is what the fighter (or other non-caster) can do. That's why many people consider both bards and warlocks fun in spite of being less powerful than a full caster. And the fighter needs some help to be fun. He's simply not versatile enough. More skills and skill points would help.

Counterpower
2007-02-23, 10:09 PM
The only times I would say creatures with "animal intelligence" would go for the tank first is when said creatures have great numerical superiority and can afford to try and take the toughest looking one down first.

I can only speak for myself, but I would never have a creature of Int 1 or 2 get attacked by the tank and then ignore it to go after the caster. Envision that: a bear, wolf, or other animal getting attacked by a large, beefy creature, then it turning away to attack a weaker-looking animal in the same group. That does assume that the tank gets the first strike, but then again, assuming that the animal-level Int creatures get the first strike isn't much more valid..... that would depend on the specific tank and monster involved.

With creatures of higher Int............ well, what's to stop casters, knowing that they will be targets, from taking preventative action? Say, illusion spells, Silent Spell, Still Spell? Then a wizard won't be as obvious, allowing a tank to do his job. Also, some people seem to be assuming that these higher Int enemies will automatically be able to recognize a spellcaster, thus making it impossible for the tank to prevent the enemy from massacring the caster. So, you're frantically fending off multiple blows from a massive sword, and you see a guy chanting. A bell immediately goes off in your head, and you IGNORE the massive sword to go kill the caster. I'm sorry, but if I was getting assaulted with a sword, my first priority would be to prevent that sword from hitting me.

NPCs do NOT know that that sword will only do 4d6+30 points of damage, compared to the 30d6 disentegrate. (I made those numbers up on the spot, they are not supposed to be accurate) They DO know that that sword will hurt like all get out sticking through their chest. They also do not know what, exactly, that spell is, unless they have Spellcraft. For all they know the wizard is casting prestidigation.

PaladinBoy
2007-02-23, 11:11 PM
I think that tanks are necessary, simply because, particularly at higher levels, a fighter has much more HP than a wizard. This makes fighters, barbarians, and anything else with a high Hit Die good, since the point is to absorb damage. The wizard can do damage faster, but he can't take that many hits. Having a fighter there to take the hits is much better; how you get the enemies to attack the fighter instead of the wizard is up to you.

Personally, I think firing off one or two spells, then using this one spell that caused you and the target to switch positions and appear as each other might work, for a round or two. And depending on the damaging spells you're using, that might be all you need.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-23, 11:18 PM
Yeah, I keep hearing about this "Shivering Touch" spell. Guess what?

Tanks aren't broken. That spell is.

Tanking classes aren't undervalued because there's an inherent flaw with the class or the system. They're undervalued because every new splatbook ups the ante on spell powers. Modulate your spell selections, rather than claiming tanks are pointless.

Yeah, you know what? Forget shivering touch. There's dozens of other ways Wizards can end fights by disabling all their enemies. Having a fighter for mop-up just means less spells are extended; other classes could do that just fine.

Tanking classes ARE undervalued because there are inherent flaws with the classes. Forget splatbooks. A core-only Fighter is incredibly limited; a core-only wizard can still do pretty much anything.

Edit: the wizard doesn't *need* to absorb damage--a wizard, after a certain point, just won't be taking damage regularly.

Counterpower
2007-02-23, 11:23 PM
Wasn't there a spell somewhere that switched the positions of the caster and one of his allies? Let the enemies run around, chasing the caster. If they have to run back and forth to get to him, they will die.

Of course, that only works if you have a strong ally to put in your place. Preferably someone with good AC, high HP, and a good melee attack that they can use in an AoO if the enemy decides to chase the caster. Read: a tank.

This is really where tanks can be valuable: in a group. Two people working together (or four in a standard group) are ALWAYS more effective than two people working alone. Tanks used to complement spells (Earthbind to shut down that dragon's Flyby Attack, anyone?) will often come out victorious. And, for me, it's definitely more fun if my group wins by skill and tactics, not by the caster spamming disintegrate.

Piccamo
2007-02-23, 11:25 PM
I can only speak for myself, but I would never have a creature of Int 1 or 2 get attacked by the tank and then ignore it to go after the caster. Envision that: a bear, wolf, or other animal getting attacked by a large, beefy creature, then it turning away to attack a weaker-looking animal in the same group. That does assume that the tank gets the first strike, but then again, assuming that the animal-level Int creatures get the first strike isn't much more valid..... that would depend on the specific tank and monster involved.

With creatures of higher Int............ well, what's to stop casters, knowing that they will be targets, from taking preventative action? Say, illusion spells, Silent Spell, Still Spell? Then a wizard won't be as obvious, allowing a tank to do his job. Also, some people seem to be assuming that these higher Int enemies will automatically be able to recognize a spellcaster, thus making it impossible for the tank to prevent the enemy from massacring the caster. So, you're frantically fending off multiple blows from a massive sword, and you see a guy chanting. A bell immediately goes off in your head, and you IGNORE the massive sword to go kill the caster. I'm sorry, but if I was getting assaulted with a sword, my first priority would be to prevent that sword from hitting me.

NPCs do NOT know that that sword will only do 4d6+30 points of damage, compared to the 30d6 disentegrate. (I made those numbers up on the spot, they are not supposed to be accurate) They DO know that that sword will hurt like all get out sticking through their chest. They also do not know what, exactly, that spell is, unless they have Spellcraft. For all they know the wizard is casting prestidigation.
Part of the problem is that its a world where magic is not only prevelant, but inherent in everything. Creatures are going to be more fearful of magicy things than mundane ones. Half the creatures were created by magic and half have magic of their own (spell-like abilities). While they may not be able to immediately recognize spellcasters, they would naturally be deemed more of a threat.

PaladinBoy
2007-02-23, 11:36 PM
Edit: the wizard doesn't *need* to absorb damage--a wizard, after a certain point, just won't be taking damage regularly.

No, he probably won't be taking damage regularly. And when he ends up in a situation where he is taking damage, you have the player cursing because he just lost a level from being raised from the dead. If you don't have a tank, SOMEBODY in your party will be in that position, possibly reasonably often. If you do have a tank, and you're good enough to keep said tank in between you and the enemies, it won't happen as often, because he can take that damage without dying.

Counterpower
2007-02-23, 11:40 PM
Edit: the wizard doesn't *need* to absorb damage--a wizard, after a certain point, just won't be taking damage regularly.

I, as a DM, can come up with numerous ways to use even lower-CR monsters to make anyone's day miserable. A wizard will end up taking damage eventually, unless the DM isn't doing his job. Since my goal as a DM is to provide a challenge for the player characters, I will gladly do whatever I must to make it a winnable challenge for the PCs. If your core-only, lvl 20 wizard can kill or disable a group of 4 CR 16 enemies in one round with no appreciable risk, then I will pit you against 4 CR 17 enemies, or 18, or however high I have to go to give you a challenge.

I will also endeavor to make my encounters balanced. What if that wizard runs into a group of enemy mages who start counterspelling you into the ground? Wouldn't it be nice to be able to kill or disable them without using a spell? And isn't that ability the province of tank and hybrid classes, like the fighter, monk, cleric, druid, or paladin?


Part of the problem is that its a world where magic is not only prevelant, but inherent in everything. Creatures are going to be more fearful of magicy things than mundane ones. Half the creatures were created by magic and half have magic of their own (spell-like abilities). While they may not be able to immediately recognize spellcasters, they would naturally be deemed more of a threat.

Very good point, but still. I can only imagine what I would do in an actual, D&D fight, as I have never been in one. But, I have to imagine that if I was fending off blows from a sword, my attention would be on that sword in front of me, not the mage way off to the side. Not all combat should be governed by "the greatest threat". This is something that the Giant commented on in one of the articles in the Gaming section: that the best, logical, course of action, the one that has the greatest chance of keeping you alive, isn't always the best course of action.

:haley: "It's a little something I like to call 'roleplaying'."

And it has a place in combat as well.

Roderick_BR
2007-02-23, 11:50 PM
No, he probably won't be taking damage regularly. And when he ends up in a situation where he is taking damage, you have the player cursing because he just lost a level from being raised from the dead. If you don't have a tank, SOMEBODY in your party will be in that position, possibly reasonably often. If you do have a tank, and you're good enough to keep said tank in between you and the enemies, it won't happen as often, because he can take that damage without dying.
Yeah. I had a wizard that died to kobolds because I freaking forgot to use Protection from Arrows :p
And I HAD that spell memorized. What about wizards that don't get it?
With all the talk about how wizards are high and might, I still can't see how a wizard can really be so powerful. Except by the TimeStop spell, wizards hardly have time to prepare themselves. I saw sessions where high level battles ended in 3 rounds. Yes, 3. Before the wizards could hardly think what happened, the warriors in the group powned all the monsters. Including damage resistant and magic resistant monsters.

As for the old "they'll just run around the fighter" line. I ask you, WHY would a monster "run around a fighter"? If it's not a inteligent monster, it'll attack the closest enemy. It'll not choose enemies based on looks. Now, inteligent creatures, yes, will try to take out the wizard. But I see only hasted characters or barbarians or monks doing it. Who else has enough movement to run around a fighter, out of his threat range? And if he takes 2 rounds to move, the fighter and the wizard/cleric/spellcaster will just move too. A lot of people forget about tactical movement in D&D.
As a last trick: A fighter can ready an action as "moving in front of any person charging the wizard, and hitting him". He'll both the readied attack and the AoO (the enemy is charging the wizard, not him, so he gets it). Add to it Bullrushs and Trips, and you get yourself a nice tank.

And smart wizards and clerics try to empower their fighters the best they can. A simple example. I was playing a cleric. Everyone was unarmed. The barbarian managed to kill an enemy and take his weapon. I was casting bless on the group. Next round the barbarian starts to rage. I said "I cast Bull's Strenght on him". The DM said "are you sure?" And I replied "yes. a warrior type with a Str +8 will mop the ground with these guys". Simple reasoning.

Krellen
2007-02-24, 01:30 AM
Part of the problem is that its a world where magic is not only prevelant, but inherent in everything. Creatures are going to be more fearful of magicy things than mundane ones. Why?

A high level wizard probably has one or two single-target spells that will outdamage the fighter's sword. But aside from those rare few spells - the Disintegrates, the Freezing Spheres, the Power Word Kills - the fighter's sword, doing 4d6+30, is doing more damage than the wizard's spells. +30 damage is effectively worth 9d6 damage, realise. Very few wizards are running around with spells that consistantly and constantly deal 12+d6 damage to a single target - and the multi-target spells are largely wasted on single targets, and impractical when the tank is present.

Quite simply, the big armoured fellow swinging a sword at your head is almost always going to be the biggest threat to you. If nothing else, he's blocking line of sight and making aiming a spell at you difficult for the wizard, thus affording you some protection already from the spell caster.

Oh, and those save-or-lose spells? Most high level monsters have very impressive saving throws, and you have to have a seriously twinked-out wizard to have DCs in the range of reliably beating them every time.

Kantolin
2007-02-24, 04:23 AM
Yeah. I had a wizard that died to kobolds because I freaking forgot to use Protection from Arrows :p
I suppose a comment is, would the existance of a tank interfered here? Nevermind flyinginvisiblewayoverthere.


Oh, and those save-or-lose spells? Most high level monsters have very impressive saving throws, and you have to have a seriously twinked-out wizard to have DCs in the range of reliably beating them every time.
Arguably. But either way, a fighter can't do a whole lot against a Balor compared to the wizard who can dimensional anchor him.

And there's always solid fog, walls, maybe some summons for your leisure. And let's not forget, flyinginvisiblewayoverthere

cupkeyk
2007-02-24, 04:47 AM
Hey, I am all for tanks here. I am playing a halfling outrider and I can drop them faster than anyone else. Other classes set-up but fighters are always ready to join the fray. But crowd control and battle field control is not the department that fighters should be competing with casters. Smackdown. Yeah.

Cyborg Pirate
2007-02-24, 08:00 AM
Very good point, but still. I can only imagine what I would do in an actual, D&D fight, as I have never been in one. But, I have to imagine that if I was fending off blows from a sword, my attention would be on that sword in front of me, not the mage way off to the side. Not all combat should be governed by "the greatest threat". This is something that the Giant commented on in one of the articles in the Gaming section: that the best, logical, course of action, the one that has the greatest chance of keeping you alive, isn't always the best course of action.

:haley: "It's a little something I like to call 'roleplaying'."

And it has a place in combat as well.

This I think, is one of the reasons most enemies are played unintelligently: The idea that you won't ignore the thing infront of you that's hitting to go for something else at the side.

The problem with this way of thinking, is that it does not work that way.

If there's a big guy with a sword swinging at you, sure ofcourse you focus on him... but why are you still standing there? You're outnumbered, better disengage, circle, and strike at a weak spot (a weaker looking character). Disengage, engage, disengage, engage. All animals know not to stay where you're gonna die hard. All animals know that if you're outnumbered, the only way to succeed or simply just survive is to ensure the fight occurs on its terms. Don't let em all get you, keep moving, dart in dart back out etc. Even a large slow ponderous monster will know that it's better to stand real still somewhere and hope all those guys with weapons don't notice you as they skulk past, and then barge into that group at it's weakest or weakest looking spot. If that monster doesn't know that, it would've been dead after it met it's first group of traveling misfits*.


I love fighters, I only ever play fighting classes, but to be perfectly honest, in any intelligently played game, I'm not really needed in any large combats. I'm the guy who does the sideline work. Fighters are just too limited, unless you're a trip-build ofcourse, in which case you can play battlefield control in the big fights, until you meet the flying creatures.

The idea of a "tank" being truly usefull in D&D is, for lack of a better word, laughable, and only applicable in simple-run games with enemies of movie-esque intelligence.







*just had a though: So that's why the adventuring group always wins - they always meet the stupid creatures, the ones of any given species who're just too dumb to survive.

"Adventuring parties: Helping evolution along since the beginning of time"

Dark
2007-02-24, 08:25 AM
That's where the D&D rules get you, though.

Disengage -- eat an attack of opportunity; forgo your full attack
Engage -- eat an attack of opportunity; forgo your full attack
Disengage -- eat an attack of opportunity; forgo your full attack
Engage -- eat an attack of opportunity; forgo your full attack

Et cetera. Running away is thoroughly discouraged by the combat rules.

Zincorium
2007-02-24, 08:26 AM
This I think, is one of the reasons most enemies are played unintelligently: The idea that you won't ignore the thing infront of you that's hitting to go for something else at the side.

The problem with this way of thinking, is that it does not work that way.

If there's a big guy with a sword swinging at you, sure ofcourse you focus on him... but why are you still standing there? You're outnumbered, better disengage, circle, and strike at a weak spot (a weaker looking character). Disengage, engage, disengage, engage. All animals know not to stay where you're gonna die hard. All animals know that if you're outnumbered, the only way to succeed or simply just survive is to ensure the fight occurs on its terms. Don't let em all get you, keep moving, dart in dart back out etc. Even a large slow ponderous monster will know that it's better to stand real still somewhere and hope all those guys with weapons don't notice you as they skulk past, and then barge into that group at it's weakest or weakest looking spot. If that monster doesn't know that, it would've been dead after it met it's first group of traveling misfits*.

Ever? Even, if, y'know, you're an animal who isn't hunting, just kinda surprised in it's lair like adventurers tend to do? Still no? I think you may need to expand your focus off of that specific encounter you have in mind. I've never claimed tanks are always useful or neccessary, only that there are a lot of times they are. If you're gonna try and disprove my assertion, you're going to have to do it by disproving each example, kicking the stuffing out of straw men, or in this case, straw animals lurking in the dark, won't cut it.



I love fighters, I only ever play fighting classes, but to be perfectly honest, in any intelligently played game, I'm not really needed in any large combats. I'm the guy who does the sideline work. Fighters are just too limited, unless you're a trip-build ofcourse, in which case you can play battlefield control in the big fights, until you meet the flying creatures.

The idea of a "tank" being truly usefull in D&D is, for lack of a better word, laughable, and only applicable in simple-run games with enemies of movie-esque intelligence.


Well, thank you for being insultingly dismissive.

I think the idea that monsters either think that casters seem so weak that they need to be attacked first, yet with a slightly higher intelligence, that casters are so strong that they again need to be attacked first, is the laughable claim.

But enough. Obviously it's not getting through to my intended audience that there are a lot of assumptions people are making and then simply not thinking about. Think about your assumptions. Defend them either on the board or in your head, and if they don't hold up to an honest inquiry (doing your best to find as much evidence as possible for both sides), then you need to give them up. I'm trying to do that, and I get better all the time. But all the arguments I've seen in this page I've seen a million times over, and they've gotten less convincing as time goes on.

Cyborg Pirate
2007-02-24, 08:28 AM
That's where the D&D rules get you, though.

Disengage -- eat an attack of opportunity; forgo your full attack
Engage -- eat an attack of opportunity; forgo your full attack
Disengage -- eat an attack of opportunity; forgo your full attack
Engage -- eat an attack of opportunity; forgo your full attack

Et cetera. Running away is thoroughly discouraged by the combat rules.

Yeah, that's one of the things that really bug me about D&D... Escaping combat is incredibly easy usually... it's so wierd that in most games (both roleplaying games and tabletop wargames) the rules always work against it.

Cyborg Pirate
2007-02-24, 08:40 AM
Ever? Even, if, y'know, you're an animal who isn't hunting, just kinda surprised in it's lair like adventurers tend to do? Still no? I think you may need to expand your focus off of that specific encounter you have in mind. I've never claimed tanks are always useful or neccessary, only that there are a lot of times they are. If you're gonna try and disprove my assertion, you're going to have to do it by disproving each example, kicking the stuffing out of straw men, or in this case, straw animals lurking in the dark, won't cut it.

Think about your assumptions. Defend them either on the board or in your head, and if they don't hold up to an honest inquiry (doing your best to find as much evidence as possible for both sides), then you need to give them up. I'm trying to do that, and I get better all the time. But all the arguments I've seen in this page I've seen a million times over, and they've gotten less convincing as time goes on.

...

You do realise that you're the one making an unfounded claim right? The burden of proof doesn't lay with me.

And I wasn't talking strictly about animals hunting. In the wild, in many cases, when an animal's home is 'compromised', the animal usually abandons it completely (just look at some birds, who refuse to return to their nests if someone even does as much as touch it... but they are an extreme case). If the creature in question really Must defend it's home... Why on earth would it jump the big guy then?? The same instincts still apply: Withdraw, abandon the home for a moment, return and strike at a weak spot, withdraw, return again, etc etc until whoever's at your home has left.



And as for what you think is a laughable claim... uh... ugh... grah... I don't want to be insulting, but it's real hard (I don't usually sugarcoat things... where I come from, people a thick-skinned).

Look at it this way, a wizard who neglects protective magic is a glass cannon. Glass cannons (I don't know if you're familiar with that term?) have a habit of screaming "shoot me" to both the dumb and the smart. To the dumb because they look weak, to the smart because they know it's both powerful and weak. It's basic logic for both!

I mean... jeez... that you think it's somehow a laughable claim is... argh... I'm sorry, I can't say anything that won't be taken as insulting about it.

cupkeyk
2007-02-24, 08:49 AM
Isn't disengaging basically withdrawing, a full round action double move that does not provoke an attack of opportunity? It's standard skirmish tactics particularly with a halfling monk/scout with the halfling monk substitution levels and improved skirmish.

meh, too late too little.

Counterpower
2007-02-24, 08:49 AM
There are rules for that: the withdraw action.

Withdrawing from melee combat is a full-round action. When you withdraw, you can move up to double your speed. The square you start out in is not considered threatened by any opponent you can see, and therefore visible enemies do not get attacks of opportunity against you when you move from that square. (Invisible enemies still get attacks of opportunity against you, and you canít withdraw from combat if youíre blinded.) You canít take a 5-foot step during the same round in which you withdraw.

If, during the process of withdrawing, you move out of a threatened square (other than the one you started in), enemies get attacks of opportunity as normal.

You may not withdraw using a form of movement for which you donít have a listed speed.

Note that despite the name of this action, you donít actually have to leave combat entirely.


So, it is possible to disengage from combat without taking an AoO. And if you're only using melee attacks and moving, then moving back into battle won't be an AoO unless you have to walk past someone to get there, since an AoO triggers when you leave a threatened square.


Escaping combat is incredibly easy usually

Really? I've practiced a little with some weapons, and I would say that I have a hard enough time protecting myself when my entire attention is on my friend. Granted, that may just be because I'm horrible with a sword or quarterstaff, but could you explain why that is?

Finally, one more point on the "animal intelligence" level, since that's where we seem to be right now: I ask you to envision a bear getting attacked by a fighter, then ignoring it to go kill the caster. For me, that just doesn't make sense. I emphasized getting attacked because I believe you're assuming that the animal in question gets the first strike. Which could happen. But then again, the fighter could win the initiative roll as well.

cupkeyk
2007-02-24, 08:57 AM
ARG!!!

That's insane. Why would a bear attack anyone unless it was provoked or its territory threatened? LOLz that's just funny. I am sorry. If a bear saw a big burly wizard that was obviously stronger than it was, it would run away.

As wolves, assuming wolves would even do it because they won't, would separate the wizard and kill it away from the big burly fighter. Animal intelligence creatures that are actually prey on humanoids would act similarly, I assume. Take down what you can and run away. If that big brute attacks, run away.

Zincorium
2007-02-24, 08:58 AM
...

You do realise that you're the one making an unfounded claim right? The burden of proof doesn't lay with me.

And I wasn't talking strictly about animals hunting. In the wild, in many cases, when an animal's home is 'compromised', the animal usually abandons it completely (just look at some birds, who refuse to return to their nests if someone even does as much as touch it... but they are an extreme case). If the creature in question really Must defend it's home... Why on earth would it jump the big guy then?? The same instincts still apply: Withdraw, abandon the home for a moment, return and strike at a weak spot, withdraw, return again, etc etc until whoever's at your home has left.

Having dealt with wild animals before, you're giving them too much credit. Either they'll try their damndest to maul the first person they can get at, or the one they have to get past to escape, or they'll spook and not bother anyone. Tactics are beyond animals. Those birds you mention? They're not attacking spellcasters in preference to tanks. They're fleeing and not coming back.



And as for what you think is a laughable claim... uh... ugh... grah... I don't want to be insulting, but it's real hard (I don't usually sugarcoat things... where I come from, people a thick-skinned).


Laughable in a 'who the heck tried to design the game to work this way?' kind of exasperated laughter. I'm not taking this too seriously, so imagine most of what I say with a hint of sarcasm if you want some clarification. Don't worry about being insulting, I'll defend my ideas to the bloody end but I don't take losing personally.



Look at it this way, a wizard who neglects protective magic is a glass cannon. Glass cannons (I don't know if you're familiar with that term?) have a habit of screaming "shoot me" to both the dumb and the smart. To the dumb because they look weak, to the smart because they know it's both powerful and weak. It's basic logic for both!

I mean... jeez... that you think it's somehow a laughable claim is... argh... I'm sorry, I can't say anything that won't be taken as insulting about it.

Yeah, familiar with it, it's still a bad idea regardless of how apparently vital it is to the game. Advertising that you are soft, squishy, and easily hurt, and at the same time that you can blow everyone to pieces if they'll leave you alone, cannot be a good idea. How any wizard's apprentice decides to join the typical adventuring party, since apparently no one can protect them, at all, is beyond me. You can't be ready 24/7 until you reach the higher levels of the game (7+). Until then, you are the equivalent of a commoner with a revolver, and according to most people in this discussion, you are going to get jumped and killed well before you get all those nifty spells which (as bears with lasers points out several times a day) make it flatly impossible.

Clerics, on the other hand, don't suffer from these problems. Of course, they don't need protection, now do they?

Cyborg Pirate
2007-02-24, 09:14 AM
Really? I've practiced a little with some weapons, and I would say that I have a hard enough time protecting myself when my entire attention is on my friend. Granted, that may just be because I'm horrible with a sword or quarterstaff, but could you explain why that is?

Thing with chasing someone is that the one doing the chasing will always be slightly slower (when comparing same species that is. A lion wil always be faster then a running man ofcourse), because the one chasing must be ready at all times incase he overtakes the one running, while the one running can just put his head down and run till his feet burn.

Basically, the only protecting you need to do is parry the first strike that comes at your head (provided, when looking in a fantasy setting, you didn't already run when you saw the armed people approaching), step back, turn tail and start running like mad.

Say you were in a dojo, you're sparring with your buddy, and your 'target' is someone else standing 20feet behind your buddy, parry your buddy's first hit, turn, run for the door, run out of the dojo, keep running, run back into the dojo through the back door, smack the target upside the head, run out again, run back in through the front door.. and if your buddy's looking at the 'target' or at the back door... smack him upside the head.

Running works real wel IRL. Hence why anything that fights absolutely Loves ambushes.


Finally, one more point on the "animal intelligence" level, since that's where we seem to be right now: I ask you to envision a bear getting attacked by a fighter, then ignoring it to go kill the caster. For me, that just doesn't make sense. I emphasized getting attacked because I believe you're assuming that the animal in question gets the first strike. Which could happen. But then again, the fighter could win the initiative roll as well.

Well, say the bear has been provoked by the fighter into attacking (say... the fighter got onto it's territory), I would say that the bear wouldn't keep attacking the fighter once it sees that the fighter hasn't come alone. The bear would most likely turn tail and run.

Cyborg Pirate
2007-02-24, 09:27 AM
Having dealt with wild animals before, you're giving them too much credit. Either they'll try their damndest to maul the first person they can get at, or the one they have to get past to escape, or they'll spook and not bother anyone. Tactics are beyond animals. Those birds you mention? They're not attacking spellcasters in preference to tanks. They're fleeing and not coming back.

Ofcourse, do understand that I'm not ascribing the tactics to all animals, just that fact that they wouldn't stay to fight when they're outnumbered. Something of animal intelligence being attacked by one big guy with a pointy stick while other people-thingy's are hurting him to isn't likely to stay around, hence why the "tank" can't do his job of absorbing damage and keeping the creature away from anyone else in the first place.

Some animals do use such tactics tho. Large lion prides have been filmed taking down multiple animals in a herd sometimes and doing it with similar methodology as what I described.


Laughable in a 'who the heck tried to design the game to work this way?' kind of exasperated laughter. I'm not taking this too seriously, so imagine most of what I say with a hint of sarcasm if you want some clarification. Don't worry about being insulting, I'll defend my ideas to the bloody end but I don't take losing personally.

Ah, gotcha, ignore my earlier frustration then.


Yeah, familiar with it, it's still a bad idea regardless of how apparently vital it is to the game. Advertising that you are soft, squishy, and easily hurt, and at the same time that you can blow everyone to pieces if they'll leave you alone, cannot be a good idea. How any wizard's apprentice decides to join the typical adventuring party, since apparently no one can protect them, at all, is beyond me. You can't be ready 24/7 until you reach the higher levels of the game (7+). Until then, you are the equivalent of a commoner with a revolver, and according to most people in this discussion, you are going to get jumped and killed well before you get all those nifty spells which (as bears with lasers points out several times a day) make it flatly impossible.

mmhmm, agreed. Technically, all the things we like to see (just look at so many fightscenes in heroic movies) require a lot of dumbness on the enemy's part to be possible. What people think is cool is often very unrealistic.


Clerics, on the other hand, don't suffer from these problems. Of course, they don't need protection, now do they?

Ahhh... the cleric. The Abrams of the D&D world :smallbiggrin:

Counterpower
2007-02-24, 09:43 AM
Thing with chasing someone is that the one doing the chasing will always be slightly slower (when comparing same species that is. A lion wil always be faster then a running man ofcourse), because the one chasing must be ready at all times incase he overtakes the one running, while the one running can just put his head down and run till his feet burn.

Basically, the only protecting you need to do is parry the first strike that comes at your head (provided, when looking in a fantasy setting, you didn't already run when you saw the armed people approaching), step back, turn tail and start running like mad.

Say you were in a dojo, you're sparring with your buddy, and your 'target' is someone else standing 20feet behind your buddy, parry your buddy's first hit, turn, run for the door, run out of the dojo, keep running, run back into the dojo through the back door, smack the target upside the head, run out again, run back in through the front door.. and if you're buddy's looking at the 'target' or at the back door... smack him upside the head.

Running works real wel IRL. Hence why anything that fights absolutely Loves ambushes.

See, what I think would happen in that case is:

I parry the first blow. I start to turn. I immediately regret it as his wooden sword bounces off my head. I can imagine some ways to escape his reach, but they aren't what I would call "easy." Besides, the moment I vanished out the front door, my friend would start preparing for anything and everything, including me coming through the back door.

And running has a slight problem in D&D. That is, if the caster and tank are working together, the enemy can disengage with the tank. How, exactly, does he get far enough away to not take some kind of attack? There are plenty of spells with a range of Long (400'+40'/caster lvl), which means that only the fastest enemies can get so far away that the caster won't be able to do something to them. Creatures with a speed below 100' per round can't escape at all, even at a full run. And, at a full run, he would take an AoO when he disengaged with the fighter. If he tries to circle around the tank, he might take up to 4 AoOs (if the tank had Combat Reflexes) or have to circle around the threatened squares. If the caster is far enough away, there should be no way for the enemy to get too close to the caster at all, especially since the caster can move every round to get away and the tank can move every round to block the enemy.

Running away will often cause you to die in D&D, since ranged attacking is so much easier. (Fireball!) And my point about roleplaying stands: all of your tactics are reasonably good ideas, and not every enemy knows them. That's why I consider it to be good RPing. When you say that's why enemies aren't played intelligently? That's why all monsters aren't superintelligent geniuses. The differences between a bunch of stupid, Int 6 orcs and the superintelligent Int 27 archmage are so much more obivous when the orcs just charge into battle, attacking the first threat (the tank) they see, while the mage teleports away after the tank starts attacking and amubshes the party later.

Edit: One more thing. If the tank causes the enemy to run, then they are not immediately going after the casters. If the enemy runs instead of fighting back, hasn't the tank done his primary job of keeping that enemy away from the casters?

Cyborg Pirate
2007-02-24, 10:01 AM
See, what I think would happen in that case is:

I parry the first blow. I start to turn. I immediately regret it as his wooden sword bounces off my head. I can imagine some ways to escape his reach, but they aren't what I would call "easy." Besides, the moment I vanished out the front door, my friend would start preparing for anything and everything, including me coming through the back door.

...unless you're Really slow, I do not see how turning tail and running will nab you a hit in the back. Your buddy still has to cross the distance to hit you in the first place, so that should me more then enough time to escape. Unless ofcourse your buddy is standing toe to toe with you, in which case I'd have to say "What on earth are you doing standing that close to him?".

For the basics, it's very easy when attacked to parry the attack, spring back while parrying (that should already give you enough distance), turn and run.

Once you really get into studying how to fight, you'll learn that there are also ways to attack someone infront of you and bypass that person completely so you're standing on the other side of the one you've attacked, which leaves you with the perfect oppertunity to attack someone hiding a small distance behind.

And as for your buddy knowing you'd come back: Sure, but he can't cover both doors at once right? You have the initiative now, so you can dictate the terms of engagement.


And running has a slight problem in D&D. That is, if the caster and tank are working together, the enemy can disengage with the tank. How, exactly, does he get far enough away to not take some kind of attack? There are plenty of spells with a range of Long (400'+40'/caster lvl), which means that only the fastest enemies can get so far away that the caster won't be able to do something to them. Creatures with a speed below 100' per round can't escape at all, even at a full run. And, at a full run, he would take an AoO when he disengaged with the fighter. If he tries to circle around the tank, he might take up to 4 AoOs (if the tank had Combat Reflexes) or have to circle around the threatened squares. If the caster is far enough away, there should be no way for the enemy to get too close to the caster at all, especially since the caster can move every round to get away and the tank can move every round to block the enemy.

...what you are saying is only applicable in wide open spaces, and in wide open spaces only. In just about every other kind of scenery, there should be more then ample ways to get out of sight.


(Fireball!) And my point about roleplaying stands: all of your tactics are reasonably good ideas, and not every enemy knows them. That's why I consider it to be good RPing. When you say that's why enemies aren't played intelligently?

What I'm trying to explain is that the tactics I've laid out are not the product of high-intelligence. The tactics should be common knowledge to anything living in a semi-dangerous world that has survived past childhood.

Those 6int orcs live in a dangerous enviroment, and should very well know a lot about it since they have survived thusfar. The 27int wizard however, might know nothing about it at all if he's lived in a clean safe city all his life.

Nomatter how dumb you are, if your enviroment is dangerous, you Will know certain things or you would've been dead quite a while ago.

Exceptions ofcourse to massively powerful creatures. If almost nothing can hurt you, you probably wouldn't have had to learn how to survive real danger in the first place.



[edit]

Edit: One more thing. If the tank causes the enemy to run, then they are not immediately going after the casters. If the enemy runs instead of fighting back, hasn't the tank done his primary job of keeping that enemy away from the casters?

A basic "tank" is there to absorb damage so that the others can deal damage without being taken out. If the creature runs away, the "tank" is only doing half his job.

Counterpower
2007-02-24, 10:18 AM
And as for your buddy knowing you'd come back: Sure, but he can't cover both doors at once right? You have the initiative now, so you can dictate the terms of engagement.

He can tell the "target" to move, so that he can react in time regardless of where I come in.



...what you are saying is only applicable in wide open spaces, and in wide open spaces only. In just about every other kind of scenery, there should be more then ample ways to get out of sight.

True. And in any other kind of scenery, the party can prepare for ambushes, like my friend can prepare for me coming back into the dojo. Or to avoid an AoO when leaving, many creatures are restricted to even less movement (double move withdraw instead of full 4x run), to the point where it would be difficult for them to get out of sight in more areas. Still possible, just harder to get out of sight.


What I'm trying to explain is that the tactics I've laid out are not the product of high-intelligence. The tactics should be common knowledge to anything living in a semi-dangerous world that has survived past childhood.

Those 6int orcs live in a dangerous enviroment, and should very well know a lot about it since they have survived thusfar. The 27int wizard however, might know nothing about it at all if he's lived in a clean safe city all his life.

Nomatter how dumb you are, if your enviroment is dangerous, you Will know certain things or you would've been dead quite a while ago.

Most NPCs don't have to defend themselves daily, or even often. It's not as much of a dangerous world as you're implying, really....... it would be impossible for most creatures to live if those orcs regularly ran into encounters that could kill them without intelligent tactics. Those orcs probably have survived this long charging wildly into battle, simply beacuse they have not run into something powerful enough to kill them when they do that. The wizard, on the other hand, is smart enough to realize that even if he's never actually been in a fight, it's much more of a better idea to ready ambushes and retreats and all of that other tactical information.


A basic "tank" is there to absorb damage so that the others can deal damage without being taken out. If the creature runs away, the "tank" is only doing half his job.

Yes, but it's the part that's most important. It's far more important to keep everyone alive (unless you like losing a level to raise dead) than it is to deal damage.

PaladinBoy
2007-02-24, 10:24 AM
[edit]


A basic "tank" is there to absorb damage so that the others can deal damage without being taken out. If the creature runs away, the "tank" is only doing half his job.

Wouldn't that put the responsibilities of the entire party on the tank? The tank is there to absorb damage and prevent enemies from getting to his allies. Damage dealing is the responsibility of the wizard, sorcerer, warmage, or whichever class you have that uses combat magic.

Keeping people from running away can be as much the duty of the wizard as it can be the duty of the tank. In fact, I would say wizards are better at it, because they can cast hold person or a variety of other spells. All tanks have is the threat of an AoO.

Piccamo
2007-02-24, 10:25 AM
Why?

A high level wizard probably has one or two single-target spells that will outdamage the fighter's sword. But aside from those rare few spells - the Disintegrates, the Freezing Spheres, the Power Word Kills - the fighter's sword, doing 4d6+30, is doing more damage than the wizard's spells. +30 damage is effectively worth 9d6 damage, realise. Very few wizards are running around with spells that consistantly and constantly deal 12+d6 damage to a single target - and the multi-target spells are largely wasted on single targets, and impractical when the tank is present.

Quite simply, the big armoured fellow swinging a sword at your head is almost always going to be the biggest threat to you. If nothing else, he's blocking line of sight and making aiming a spell at you difficult for the wizard, thus affording you some protection already from the spell caster.

Oh, and those save-or-lose spells? Most high level monsters have very impressive saving throws, and you have to have a seriously twinked-out wizard to have DCs in the range of reliably beating them every time.
Because the biggest damage isn't the biggest threat to the creature. You really don't have to "twink out" your caster to beat them. Assume you started with a 16 int and go from there...you will overcome their saves the majority of the time and those casters have access to spells that rely on the weak save, rather than the strong one.

Krellen
2007-02-24, 11:10 AM
Because the biggest damage isn't the biggest threat to the creature. You really don't have to "twink out" your caster to beat them. Assume you started with a 16 int and go from there...you will overcome their saves the majority of the time and those casters have access to spells that rely on the weak save, rather than the strong one.
I've had two campaigns get to 20th level. Only the dragon-slayers had access to wishes to increase their stats; those manuals of gainful exercise and so forth aren't sold in stores. And the wizard that did wish up his intelligence paid 2x market price for the wish scrolls (he was buying out the market, essentially), thus depriving himself of other useful magic he could have had.

If manuals and wish magic is easily available in your campaign, it's twinked out.

Starting at 16 and working up, the average wizard will have a 26-28 intelligence at 20th level, after enhancing items. Assuming he's casting spells he has Greater Spell Focus in, that's a DC 31 for 9th level spells. There are four 9th level spells that eliminate an enemy in one cast (wail of the banshee is unsafe to use regularly, as it does not discriminate.) Most of these are will saves; one is both a will and a fortitude save (either success rendering it ineffective). 3 non-dragon CR 20 creatures are listed in the MM; Balors save against these spells 55% of the time (75% of the time against weird), Pit Fiends 75% (87%) of the time, and the Tarrasque 72% (99%) of the time. Those aren't chances I'd be willing to risk my life on. If your wizard has Greater Spell Penetration, those chances increase slightly; if he doesn't have Spell Penetration, they decrease. Lacking Greater Spell Focus also reduces the chances; and casting lower level spells reduce the chances even more.

Have your tankless party. Me, I'm glad to have the metal man with me.

Rigeld2
2007-02-24, 11:27 AM
I've had two campaigns get to 20th level. Only the dragon-slayers had access to wishes to increase their stats; those manuals of gainful exercise and so forth aren't sold in stores. And the wizard that did wish up his intelligence paid 2x market price for the wish scrolls (he was buying out the market, essentially), thus depriving himself of other useful magic he could have had.

If manuals and wish magic is easily available in your campaign, it's twinked out.
They are sold in stores - the +3 versions and down anyway. (Metropolis GP cap is 100,000gp, the +3 version is 82,500gp). A scroll of Wish is worth 28,825gp. Any Large City should have one. This is by the rules. This is not twinking. Apologize for the insult. Page 137 of the DMG.


Starting at 16 and working up, the average wizard will have a 26-28 intelligence at 20th level, after enhancing items. Assuming he's casting spells he has Greater Spell Focus in, that's a DC 31 for 9th level spells. There are four 9th level spells that eliminate an enemy in one cast (wail of the banshee is unsafe to use regularly, as it does not discriminate.) Most of these are will saves; one is both a will and a fortitude save (either success rendering it ineffective). 3 non-dragon CR 20 creatures are listed in the MM; Balors save against these spells 55% of the time (75% of the time against weird), Pit Fiends 75% (87%) of the time, and the Tarrasque 72% (99%) of the time. Those aren't chances I'd be willing to risk my life on. If your wizard has Greater Spell Penetration, those chances increase slightly; if he doesn't have Spell Penetration, they decrease. Lacking Greater Spell Focus also reduces the chances; and casting lower level spells reduce the chances even more.
Why are you casting spells with saves again?


Have your tankless party. Me, I'm glad to have the metal man with me.
Okay. Obviously we arent going to sway you. All you need to do is apologize for insulting someone, and youre done with the thread.

Krellen
2007-02-24, 11:49 AM
They are sold in stores - the +3 versions and down anyway. (Metropolis GP cap is 100,000gp, the +3 version is 82,500gp). A scroll of Wish is worth 28,825gp. Any Large City should have one. This is by the rules. This is not twinking. Apologize for the insult. Page 137 of the DMG.
You know, there is an element of common sense required here. Given the 5000 XP cost, 17th level NPC wizards have more profitable things to do than scribing wish. And, even better... check page 139. No Metropolis has a 17th level wizard. By the "rules", the highest level NPC wizard in any city will be 16th, tops. No 17th level casters, no 9th level spells. No 9th level spells, no wish. Sorry.


Why are you casting spells with saves again?
What saveless spell are you using? Irresistible Dance? All that spell does is set up an enemy to be easily taken down by a tank. (For the record, Imprisonment allows a save (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/imprisonment.htm), contrary to popular opinion.)


Okay. Obviously we arent going to sway you. All you need to do is apologize for insulting someone, and youre done with the thread.
I didn't insult anyone. Easy access to wish magic is twinking. Where'd all your 17th level casters come from? Not from the rules.

PaladinBoy
2007-02-24, 12:30 PM
You know, there is an element of common sense required here. Given the 5000 XP cost, 17th level NPC wizards have more profitable things to do than scribing wish. And, even better... check page 139. No Metropolis has a 17th level wizard. By the "rules", the highest level NPC wizard in any city will be 16th, tops. No 17th level casters, no 9th level spells. No 9th level spells, no wish. Sorry.

It might be possible to find someone willing to sell wish scrolls or the manuals. While it would be impossible to assume that you can find one becasue you're in a big city, if your DM has created an NPC wizard of the appropriate level, you can always try to find him. For example, you could try to find Elminster if you're playing in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. Of course, it's entirely up to the DM to determine whether he helps you or not, no matter how much gold you pay him.

Krellen
2007-02-24, 12:33 PM
Yeah, but I wouldn't call knocking on the Hosttower and asking if they've got any spare scrolls (which is probably easier than hitting up Elminster, frankly) easy.

The point remains that these high-level spells and high-powered items aren't available off-the-shelf, no matter what your gp limit says.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-24, 12:40 PM
The point remains that these high-level spells and high-powered items aren't available off-the-shelf, no matter what your gp limit says.

Um... yes, they are. That's exactly what the GP limit is: a way to determine what magic items are availible.
If you play D&D with some kind of wacky house rule where magic items appropriate to your level become impossible to find, great, but that's not the D&D that's in the book and that a lot of people play. You're arguing like your houserule is the default.

And if you want something over the GP limit? Plane Shift to a planar metropolis.

(And, oh yeah, wizards can bind and bargain with efreeti for that stat-boosting wish. It's perfectly reasonable to assume that a level 20 wizard will have a +3 to +5 inherent bonus to INT, just like the same is true for the fighter's STR. This isn't twinking--it's the game as it's meant to be played. Item prices and GP limits are there for a reason.)

Matthew
2007-02-24, 01:37 PM
Bears is right, though I don't think that a House Rule would necessarily be 'wacky'. It is also worth remembering that the default campaign setting for D&D is Greyhawk.

Dr. Weasel
2007-02-24, 01:56 PM
The problem with tanks (not neccessarily fighters doing their bashing-ish thing) is that they really aren't needed beyond 7th or 8th level, when wizards can keep a few 'fly' type spells ready every day. This is not saying that fighters lose what efficiency they have at killing things, but when a wizard can just get out of the way the tank role becomes useless.

Before then, though, getting a big chunk of meat with a sword to stand between the wizard and opponents is quite useful (for visability if nothing else).

Krellen
2007-02-24, 01:59 PM
Um... yes, they are. That's exactly what the GP limit is: a way to determine what magic items are availible.
I fail to see how magic items requiring wish to create can be available anywhere there are no casters capable of casting wish. No one can cast the spell, thus no one can make the item, thus the item isn't available.

Care to explain to me, without resorting to "it's under the gp limit", where these items come from when no one is available to create them? Remember, the first rule of D&D is that the rules are guidelines, not walls.

I can't quote a relevant passage, because the town generating rules in the DMG aren't OGC (which means the gp limit doesn't exist as far as the SRD is concerned, for what it's worth.) However, if you'll check the second column on page 137, there's a key phrase: "most likely". Most likely doesn't mean "it's available, no matter what". It means "if reasonable". Personally, if no one in the community - or any other community, for that matter, aside from specifically created NPCs - can cast a spell, I don't think it's reasonable to assume availability of things relying on that spell.

I refuse to apologise for assuming wish is a rare spell when the source material backs me up.

Yvian
2007-02-24, 02:09 PM
I think this thread is a bit odd.

The right tool for the right job, right?

A wizard becomes a lot more effective when thier behind a tank.

Becase a good tank is not just to take damage or dish out damage. A tank will work in a anti-magic field or after being blasted with a dozen dispell magics. And if you are only using a tank to dish out damage, then you a missing a lot a tank can do.

A good tank should be able to dish out damage, disarm, sunder, trip, grapple. They are not one trick ponies. Heck, even Thog knows that Barbarians need to dip into fighter for two levels to get access to all of those nifty feats.

Fighters are beater than Clerics at this. Clerics almost have as a good BAB and almost as good HP - which if we are talking about just the damage part, is good enough for me. But all of those nifty feats, which you can use all day long - that is the real power of a tank.

Dr. Weasel
2007-02-24, 02:17 PM
Please Yvian... don't provoke another ten posts of "Clerics trump Fighters at everything and Here's Why..." This is about the role not the class.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-24, 03:17 PM
I fail to see how magic items requiring wish to create can be available anywhere there are no casters capable of casting wish. No one can cast the spell, thus no one can make the item, thus the item isn't available.

Care to explain to me, without resorting to "it's under the gp limit", where these items come from when no one is available to create them? Remember, the first rule of D&D is that the rules are guidelines, not walls.
Sure. As long as tere was a wizard of that level, ever, he could have made a bunch of scrolls. In fact, as long as there was a wizard (or Warlock, or Artificer) of an appropriate level on any plane, he could have made a lot of scrolls. Some of'em could've wound up here.


I can't quote a relevant passage, because the town generating rules in the DMG aren't OGC (which means the gp limit doesn't exist as far as the SRD is concerned, for what it's worth.) However, if you'll check the second column on page 137, there's a key phrase: "most likely". Most likely doesn't mean "it's available, no matter what". It means "if reasonable". Personally, if no one in the community - or any other community, for that matter, aside from specifically created NPCs - can cast a spell, I don't think it's reasonable to assume availability of things relying on that spell.

I refuse to apologise for assuming wish is a rare spell when the source material backs me up.
Sure, it's most likely availible. That would make it *not* being availible improbable. Now, consider that the PCs can teleport from city to city and Plane Shift from plane to plane--in each of which the spell will "most likely" be availible.
Acquiring a "rare" spell isn't twinky. We don't care that you think it's rare, but you were insulting people by calling them twinks for having common high-level items like stat-boosting tomes.

Rigeld2
2007-02-24, 04:04 PM
Care to explain to me, without resorting to "it's under the gp limit", where these items come from when no one is available to create them? Remember, the first rule of D&D is that the rules are guidelines, not walls.
Youre assuming that the items are created for you on the spot. Thats absolutely not true. The scroll of Wish you buy couldve been around for centuries, scribed by Googleblast the Evoker 900 years ago.

Does it matter? No. Is it under the GP limit for that town size? Yes.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-24, 04:09 PM
No one named Googleblast deserves to survive to level 17.

Leush
2007-02-24, 04:11 PM
I never liked that catgirl anyway...



For the basics, it's very easy when attacked to parry the attack, spring back while parrying (that should already give you enough distance), turn and run.


Hello Cyborg, hello person who has misconceptions! Allow me to enlighten you. (If someone hasn't already). A guy who is defending a target in a dojo will not provide openings for you to parry or what not (if you both have a scrap of experience). He will stand there with his wooden sword at the ready till you make a false move and then cut you to pieces. If you assume that one guy can "totally own", you are not making a fair example if the other guy is of a significantly lower level of ability now, are you?

I should also mention that if he has any observational skills he will notice you running through the door and yeah... It's not as easy as you make it out to be. Beside, if we apply this to d&d, your target is a little man with a traffic cone on his head and he will actively do his best to stay close enough to the 'tank' to get defense but not so close that you can easily reach him.

Now for the animals. They do go for the weakest target, usually. The lion attacks the buffalo's calves right, and not the big hulking bulls, right? Right! And what do the big hulking bulls do! They runa round making sure that the lions don't reach the calves. Sometimes the lions roll high and sometimes the buffalo do. I may also draw your attention to the fact that predators will give up on a hunt from time to time rather than all die. If you're a wolf busy mauling the spellcasting gnome and a fighter with a big stick rushes at you, you're going to drop this poor half eaten gnome and run like hell. It is what animals do. I can even provide you with examples if you want. Animals, unless they're protecting their young (in which case they will attack that which they judge to be the biggest threat, and hey presto, unless they're clever enough to know that the mage is the mage, and most mages should be smart or wise enough to hide that, they're attacking your tank once again.) I could go on- lets just say that big pointy sticks and bloodcurdling yells are incredibly good at getting an animal's attention. Having said that, as soon as the first spell with a major visible effect is cast, unless said animal lives on the balcony of a wizard's tower and hasn't been eaten by its familiar yet, it will run with its tail between its legs. They don't understand funny effects.

Also, for the thread starter: I don't think ftanks are essential- very useful but not essential. A party which consists of stealthy characters can still pretty much survive most scenarios, they'd have to use radically different tactics (as opposed to the standard "Thog Smash!") but they can make it. However, they'd be stretched due to low magickiness of the bard- although it would work if they were usig psionic rules and had a wilder for primary caster. A party of pure mages (excluding tanking mages) in the open, unless they've got to the level where they get foresight is toast. Period. Even if they do have foresight, a single mistake on their behalf can be deadly, as rare as it can be. Even with their summoned creatures, useful as they'd be- this is mainly because even a quickened teleport isn't failsafe and because even magnificent mansions can be hunted down. Having said that, it becomes a viable strategy if you're facing low-magic opponents.

Kantolin
2007-02-24, 04:16 PM
If you're a wolf busy mauling the spellcasting gnome and a fighter with a big stick rushes at you, you're going to drop this poor half eaten gnome and run like hell.

As a note, this may or may not be 'tanking' per se. If the wolf jumps out of the bushes, pounces on the mage, and then runs off when the rest of the party turns to notice... that doesn't in particular make the tank useful at tanking or sommat.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-24, 04:16 PM
What's wrong with a party of casters in the open? Where they can see enemies coming?

Leush
2007-02-24, 04:31 PM
It makes it more useful than if he wasn't there at all. Although I admit that optimally you want someone to spot the wolf before it pounces.

Bears, the only thing I don't like about a party of casters in the open is another party consisting of casters and buffed up tanks. I've never tried the encounter, but I always assumed that the party with variety (given that you repeat the battle till a point where variation in rolls becomes irrelevant) will win, once again this is conjecture rather than a given. Nor do I like rogues or roguish creatures with non-detection and the likes. I don't like assassins with hide in plain sight (although I think no party likes them). Nor do I like environmental hazards. Nor do I like anything that can happen without warning and do enough damage to down a mage and not a tank. I'm not sure, I think that a mage party can survive, I just think that lack of variability of hit dice makes a tpk due to little mistakes more probable.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-24, 04:34 PM
Leush: um, not really. The tanks will immediately be shut down by *four* casters throwing things like Solid Fog, Wall of X, et cetera, plus flying and invisible.

Or dominated. The tanks could be dominated.

Leush
2007-02-24, 04:49 PM
Well, I assumed that they'd be buffed by their fellow casters to prevent such things, and the debuffing could potentially take long enough for the enemy casters to do nasty things to the squishy 20d4 people who cannot stand up to the might of 40d6 (As in the tanks would do their job and die like the valiant distraction that they are- unless they had freedom or whatnot, but once again we're into what ifs here). Alternately if you focus on the enemy casters, the tanks may have enough time to do things. Also, I assumed that what works on a tank works on a caster. I suppose if you view casters as an 'I win button' the party who presses it first wins, and the party who is most likely to press it first is the one with the most casters.... In which case the four casters would win, but I don't view that way (not until you get into 9th level spell zone)

Swordguy
2007-02-24, 05:30 PM
When do tanks work? When the DM is roleplaying pain correctly.

Let me explain.

The vast majority of creatures/people out there do not enjoy the experience of pain. Pain is caused by a great many things, one of which is the application of a weapon at a given velocity to a creature's skin. When a creature experiences pain, the instinctive reaction is to stop the pain as quickly as possible. This is an instinctive reaction, and completely seperate from the intellect of the creature.

An analogy: You place you hand on the hot burner of a stove. It hurts. Intellectually, you are aware that you could turn off the stove and the burner would cool down. Game-wise, you're barely taking any "hp" damage compared to how much you have, and could in fact leave your hand on the burner for some time before the damage became serious, but it still hurts. The instinctive reaction is to pull your hand off the burner as quickly as possible. You will follow the instinctive reaction in the VAST majority of cases.

Now, consider the game. Subsititute the tank for the burner. The tank is doing some damage right now to his opponent (whether the tank should have been allowed to reach his opponent is an entirely different argument). In the vast majority of cases, again, the proper response for opposition should be to A) remove themselves from the immediate source that is causing them pain, or B) strike back against the immediate source of pain. When a monster or NPC chooses (instinctively) option B, the tank is doing thier job. In crappy, MMO terms, they are holding aggro against the opposition, because they are causing direct and immediate pain to the creature and the creatures reaction dictates a direct and innediate response against that.

VERY few creatures should be able to take a sword in the gut and not care, regardless of how many hp they have. Special abilities aside, It still hurts. Failure to acknowledge that, is, well, just playing the game wrong. Saying "well, I have umpteen billion hps and so can take a 1d8 sword to the gut" is metagaming in the purest form. Doing so uses an out-of-game mechanic for in-game advantage.

Yes, you can play the game wrong. As a DM (or hell, as a player ), play the pain. Failure to do so is what makes the frenzied berserker class (and so many others) really broken. Most people want to AVOID PAIN. Only in the context of a game, where the player never really feels the pain of thier PC, does offense become more important than defense. If you've got to feel the pain, you concentrate on NOT GETTING HIT, more than anything else.

I think I'm going to go wire electrodes to my PCs chairs now... :smallbiggrin:

Krellen
2007-02-24, 05:30 PM
[Y]ou were insulting people by calling them twinks for having common high-level items like stat-boosting tomes.
Actually, my example wizard did assume a +2 tome. But I don't think it's fair to assume everyone always has one. Calling them "common" is twinky. "Everyone at 20th level as seen at least ten wish spells in their career" sounds like a Monty Haul campaign to me. You want to play that, fine; but it's twinky.

If they were just sitting around all over the place - "common" - at least one of the high-level NPCs would have acquired a +1 tome at some point. But none of them do.

The point remains that wizards cannot as easily remove enemies - disable temporarily, perhaps, but not actually defeat - without the tank. The tank serves a vital party role throughout all levels of play.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-24, 05:39 PM
They're "common" *for twentieth-level characters*. Why? Because such characters can fairly easily afford them. Tomes, casting Wish, scrolls of Wish, Planar Binding + Efreeti... it's not hard for a high level character to get inherent stat bonuses.
I'm talking about a character with wealth according to the Wealth-by-level guidelines. That's not Monty Haul, that's the game exactly as it's designed.

The divine caster and rogue can generally remove enemies just fine. Even if that weren't the case--janitor is not a fun, viable party role. When coup-de-graceing immobilized enemies is the bulk of what you do, you're probably not feeling like a major contributor or having a lot of fun.

Swordguy
2007-02-24, 05:43 PM
Hey, here's a thought:

I we just removed melee classes from the game entirely (Pally, Fighter, Ranger, Rogue), would we really lose anything? I mean, all of these classes are completely circumvented by other classes with spellcasting. You think we can put a petition to WotC for it?

Renegade Paladin
2007-02-24, 05:45 PM
If tanks are obsolete, explain to me how the hell the wizards in the party of the game I actually play in would have survived the two enlarged ogres that attacked us last night without my barbarian to go nuts at them before they closed to melee range. Or the worg-mounted goblins before that. Or the goblin hexblade with a worg familiar and the Spirited Charge feat tree that attacked us after they ran out of spells. (Actually, I know how they could have inconvenienced it, but the wizard who still had caltrops prepared refused to take my advice and cast them in the middle of the road instead of readying an action to drop them in front of him when he charged. The goblin, of course, circled around.) Between my character and the party monk (yes, that's right), they survived. Without us, they would have done no such thing.

Krellen
2007-02-24, 05:49 PM
The divine caster and rogue can generally remove enemies just fine. Even if that weren't the case--janitor is not a fun, viable party role. When coup-de-graceing immobilized enemies is the bulk of what you do, you're probably not feeling like a major contributor or having a lot of fun.
I'm glad I don't play in your games, Bears, and that you don't play in mine. You're absolutely, 100% wrong about the ineffectiveness of non-spellcasting classes, and as a player or GM for you I'd be taking every chance available to prove it. And that wouldn't be very fun.

I've got to wonder if you've ever run a campaign from first to twentieth; it really gives a party - and the players - a chance to work out how they work together, and ways to make the most of their respective abilities. Even with a "twinked out" diviner loremaster wizard in the group, he far from dominated play. You armchair DM pretty well, but you don't seem to have a real grasp for real play. You seem to be out to make sure it's not fun for members of the group.

Swordguy, nice touch of irony.

Cybren
2007-02-24, 05:50 PM
Tanks are obsolete because there is no way for a 'tank' to make sure enemies are only attacking, aside from perhaps the Knight class. They're obsolete because they usually can only contribute during combat, whereas casters or skill-monkeys can do a lot more. They're not not obsolete just because some peoples groups have sub-par casters. That is not to say that all melee combatants are worthless. It's just that they are, paradoxally, worse at melee combat than other classes like divine spellcasters.

Anyway, rogues aren't even relevent to this thread considering they are not tanks, and they are useful and do contribute to a party.

Renegade Paladin
2007-02-24, 05:56 PM
Tanks are obsolete because there is no way for a 'tank' to make sure enemies are only attacking, aside from perhaps the Knight class. They're obsolete because they usually can only contribute during combat, whereas casters or skill-monkeys can do a lot more. They're not not obsolete just because some peoples groups have sub-par casters. That is not to say that all melee combatants are worthless. It's just that they are, paradoxally, worse at melee combat than other classes like divine spellcasters.
Let's say you're a monster. You see a group of people, three of which are either lightly armed or completely unarmed. When you decide to have a snack, the one carrying the greataxe hefts his weapon, goes absolutely nuts, and runs at you in a screaming blood frenzy. He then buries that gigantic chunk of sharpened steel into your shoulder. What do you do?

Come on, this isn't a very hard question.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-24, 06:12 PM
I'm glad I don't play in your games, Bears, and that you don't play in mine. You're absolutely, 100% wrong about the ineffectiveness of non-spellcasting classes, and as a player or GM for you I'd be taking every chance available to prove it. And that wouldn't be very fun.
Except, of course, I'm... not wrong. I'm talking about things that happen in play. Melee classes DO have mobility problems. They ARE easily disabled. They ARE often matched or outmatched at melee by monsters, barring highly optimized builds. Spellcasters are devastatingly effective if played "right". You can make an optimized melee character that will contribute for a long time, but around level 15, those contributions start dropping sharply. By the time you get to Balors, or whenever you're dealing with dragons, or othe such monsters... it's plenty noticeable.


I've got to wonder if you've ever run a campaign from first to twentieth; it really gives a party - and the players - a chance to work out how they work together, and ways to make the most of their respective abilities. Even with a "twinked out" diviner loremaster wizard in the group, he far from dominated play. You armchair DM pretty well, but you don't seem to have a real grasp for real play. You seem to be out to make sure it's not fun for members of the group.

Swordguy, nice touch of irony.I haven't run a campaign all the way from first to twentieth. I've played in a number (although usually not quite starting at *first*, because first level is such a pain.

I "don't seem to have a grasp from real play"? Why, because I don't with you? C'mon.
CurI'm running a Diviner in a Red Hand of Doom module. Originally, it was me and two thoroughly unoptimized characters (Aasimar monk, tiefling rogue with a greatsword), and basically, I was struggling--but managing--to take out the enemies (in a challenging module meant for a party of four) and keep them alive (even having to resort to Polymorph to keep the monk from feeling like he's not contributing anything). Currently, we have a much more solid party, including a melee cleric (the rogue's player, who died), a warforged PsyWar 2/Fighter 4/Warforged Juggernaut 3, a Swashbuckler 3/Bard 3/War Chanter with Song of the Heart, and... well, the monk's still around.

I'm not going to pretend that no one but me contributes, because that isn't true. You can damn well bet I contribute more than the others--yes, at this level melee damage is vital, but they'd be dead twice over without my debuffs. Meanwhile, I haven't taken a single point of damage for the past few sessions (ever since I hit level 9, basically, and since I stopped having to be up-close to save people). I avoid broken spells like Shivering Touch, Polymorph (now that we don't need it to survive), and the like, but I have ended encounters in one spell more than once (group of Greenspawn Razorfiends plus Confusion; Hydra plus scroll of Ray of Stupidity; Aranea spy plus Suggestion to surrender), and I've been basically toning myself down now that we have a viable party, rather than three people, two of whom are very, very poorly built.
Do I contribute more than anyone else? Yeah, I'd say so.

We're level 9. The Melee Guys are far from irrelevant. The monk is essentially irrelevant. But the wizard? The wizard makes or breaks the party. Losing the wizard would hurt the party more than losing anyone else. The class imbalance is already pretty clear at this level.

This has been the case in many games. Of course, the D&D game I had before this, I was a melee guy... and one of the spellcasters contributed more than I did, despite me being a very optimized Fighter. The other one... well, he was an Evoker, so he didn't contribute more.
This has been the case in games I've run, too, barring heavy house rules to -prevent- it from happening... which I've used, because I don't think it happening is a -good- thing.


Edit: Renegade, OF COURSE a two-person party will have more problems than a four-person party! Extra people are always better than not having extra people. You can bet your ass a fighter and a rogue would have a damn harder time of things than a cleric or druid and a wizard.
Without knowing the level you're talking, I can't tell you what your spellcasters could've done, but that sure seems like a prime place for save-or-suck and battlefield control spells.

Tor the Fallen
2007-02-24, 06:21 PM
Let's say you're a monster. You see a group of people, three of which are either lightly armed or completely unarmed. When you decide to have a snack, the one carrying the greataxe hefts his weapon, goes absolutely nuts, and runs at you in a screaming blood frenzy. He then buries that gigantic chunk of sharpened steel into your shoulder. What do you do?

Come on, this isn't a very hard question.

Run past him, snag the snack, and leave.

Swordguy
2007-02-24, 07:10 PM
Run past him, snag the snack, and leave.

Again, poor (more like nonexistent) roleplay on the part of the monster/DM. (Assumption: the creature being attacked is capable of experiencing pain). There is a way to roleplay wrong, and you've just demonstrated it.

Take a more logical and instinctive reaction to the pain of having a greataxe buried in bits of your anatomy. HPs are a metagame concept; thus saying that you can ignore the axe because you've got a lot of HP is ALSO a metagame concept.

Play the pain.

cupkeyk
2007-02-24, 07:19 PM
Again, poor (more like nonexistent) roleplay on the part of the monster/DM. (Assumption: the creature being attacked is capable of experiencing pain). There is a way to roleplay wrong, and you've just demonstrated it.

Take a more logical and instinctive reaction to the pain of having a greataxe buried in bits of your anatomy. HPs are a metagame concept; thus saying that you can ignore the axe because you've got a lot of HP is ALSO a metagame concept.

Play the pain.

That monster will run. If it was looking for a meal, it will attack when the wizzie is more vulnerable. Attack a tank is stupid, not even animals is that stupid.

Swordguy
2007-02-24, 07:21 PM
That monster will run. If it was looking for a meal, it will attack when the wizzie is more vulnerable. Attack a tank is stupid, not even animals is that stupid.

That's fine (assuming the monster doesn't go into a injured rage, like a badger or bear). But deliberately ignoring the guy who just stabbed you in favor of another target is nonexistent roleplay, and thus bad.

Raum
2007-02-24, 07:51 PM
When do tanks work? When the DM is roleplaying pain correctly.

Let me explain.

<snip>You bring up a good point regarding pain and support it fairly well. However the situation isn't as single dimensional as you imply. Fear is more important than pain, and fear of pain is a small fear compared to others.

Let me explain....no, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Fear of being crippled, reduced to idocy, being paralyzed, being driven insane, losing control of your own actions, and many of the other things spells can do to a victim are probably greater than fear of being stabbed or beaten. I know I fear being crippled more than I fear pain.

Mind, this is only going to matter to opponents intelligent enough to be imaginative. Less intelligent opponents probably will react to the immediate pain without considering other less immediate threats.


Yes, you can play the game wrong.Please, no need for condescension. The only way to "play the game wrong" is to not have fun. There certainly isn't a 'one true way' of playing.

cupkeyk
2007-02-24, 07:54 PM
There is so a way to play DnD wrong, but that's in the Nioghtmare players thread.

Swordguy
2007-02-24, 08:00 PM
You bring up a good point regarding pain and support it fairly well. However the situation isn't as single dimensional as you imply. Fear is more important than pain, and fear of pain is a small fear compared to others.

Let me explain....no, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Fear of being crippled, reduced to idocy, being paralyzed, being driven insane, losing control of your own actions, and many of the other things spells can do to a victim are probably greater than fear of being stabbed or beaten. I know I fear being crippled more than I fear pain.

Mind, this is only going to matter to opponents intelligent enough to be imaginative. Less intelligent opponents probably will react to the immediate pain without considering other less immediate threats.


I certainly concede those points. However, I have to mention that actual pain right now will tend to override thoughts to preventing greater pain later in short term scenarios (like typical D&D combat). Long-term scenarios (such as prolonged torture) are a whole different story.



Please, no need for condescension. The only way to "play the game wrong" is to not have fun. There certainly isn't a 'one true way' of playing.

I've found that when I make reasonable-sounding arguments people ignore them. So far, I'm trying the BWL Method of Crippling Bluntness. :smallwink:

I will point out that if a DM is ignoring the sword in the gut becuase whatever just got stabbed has lots of HP, they aren't actually roleplaying. They're just manipulating stats and numbers against the player's stats and numbers.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-24, 08:13 PM
Uh, having lots of HP left means that you probably DIDN'T get stabbed in the gut. HP reflect blow avoidance/luck/being worn down as well as actual wounds.

Krellen
2007-02-24, 08:28 PM
Uh, having lots of HP left means that you probably DIDN'T get stabbed in the gut. HP reflect blow avoidance/luck/being worn down as well as actual wounds.
Depends on the campaign. There's no hard and fast rule for what hit points actually represent, narratively.

Raum
2007-02-24, 08:30 PM
I certainly concede those points. However, I have to mention that actual pain right now will tend to override thoughts to preventing greater pain later in short term scenarios (like typical D&D combat). Long-term scenarios (such as prolonged torture) are a whole different story.You're avoiding the other fears to concentrate on pain. To reiterate, fear is a bigger driver than pain. And while fear of pain is one fear, it isn't always the greatest fear. Even in immediate combat. If it was, few fights would last past the first hit. :)


I've found that when I make reasonable-sounding arguments people ignore them. So far, I'm trying the BWL Method of Crippling Bluntness. :smallwink: Stating or implying that people are "playing the game wrong" isn't being blunt. It's just a logical fallacy. Which you've repeated in this quote.


I will point out that if a DM is ignoring the sword in the gut becuase whatever just got stabbed has lots of HP, they aren't actually roleplaying. They're just manipulating stats and numbers against the player's stats and numbers.I agree, few if any will be able to ignore a sword in the gut. Of course D&D abstracts combat to point it's hard to say when that gutstrike actually occurs.

Rigeld2
2007-02-24, 08:37 PM
I certainly concede those points. However, I have to mention that actual pain right now will tend to override thoughts to preventing greater pain later in short term scenarios (like typical D&D combat). Long-term scenarios (such as prolonged torture) are a whole different story.
No, sorry... I've suffered burns on my hand to prevent myself burning to death in 20-30 minutes. I've suffered through painful training to prevent loss of life/limb in combat. An intelligent creature will always be able to assess the scenario to his ability, and then act on the greatest threat. In many cases, the greatest threat isnt the frikkin tank. I dont care how much steel hes swinging at me, the threat of being paralyzed, deafened, blinded, disintegrated, whatever else is enough to scare me out of my mind.


I will point out that if a DM is ignoring the sword in the gut becuase whatever just got stabbed has lots of HP, they aren't actually roleplaying. They're just manipulating stats and numbers against the player's stats and numbers.
Hit Points are a measure of how hard you are to kill. That doesnt mean that every time you take damage, the weapon stabbed you in the gut.

Rigeld2
2007-02-24, 08:41 PM
Depends on the campaign. There's no hard and fast rule for what hit points actually represent, narratively.
Page 6 of the PHB - Hit Points are a measure of how hard your character is to kill. The glossary says that theyre a measure of a characters health. Combined, I would say that its not simply a physical thing, especially since its possible for a Commoner to hit a level 20 Barbarian over 200 times with a sword and still not kill him.

Orzel
2007-02-24, 08:42 PM
The only time you are actually touched by something in DnD is a after a touch attack, suffer an on hit effect, or when you get to 0 hp. Every other time can be roleplayed as a miss.

Matthew
2007-02-24, 09:07 PM
Page 6 of the PHB - Hit Points are a measure of how hard your character is to kill. The glossary says that theyre a measure of a characters health. Combined, I would say that its not simply a physical thing, especially since its possible for a Commoner to hit a level 20 Barbarian over 200 times with a sword and still not kill him.

The combat section is even clearer about what Hit Points represent (at least it is in the 3.0 PHB). The only question is to what degree do they represent these disperate elements. It's no different from the discussion of Hit Points in the 1.x (A)D&D PHB and DMG and no clearer.

Krellen
2007-02-24, 09:09 PM
Page 6 of the PHB - Hit Points are a measure of how hard your character is to kill. The glossary says that theyre a measure of a characters health. Combined, I would say that its not simply a physical thing, especially since its possible for a Commoner to hit a level 20 Barbarian over 200 times with a sword and still not kill him.
I dunno, it sounds like it is, actually, saying that things with lots of hit points can keep being stabbed over and over and over without dying. Hard to kill, measure of health - those are very much physical things.

Star Wars d20's Health and Vitality system specifically seperates them into physical hardiness and ability to avoid blows, but D&D doesn't use that system.

Matthew
2007-02-24, 09:13 PM
Which is why you should use the Hit Point description in the Combat Section of the PHB. Anyway, it's under Loss of Hit Points and What Hit Points Represent (p. 128 of the 3.0 PHB).

Rigeld2
2007-02-24, 09:15 PM
Page 145 in the 3.5 PHB. I skimmed the combat section and didnt see it the first time, thanks Matthew.

Matthew
2007-02-24, 09:17 PM
Glad to be of service.

Krellen
2007-02-24, 09:17 PM
Which is why you should use the Hit Point description in the Combat Section of the PHB. Anyway, it's under Loss of Hit Points and What Hit Points Represent (p. 128 of the 3.0 PHB).
Well, in the 3.5 PHB, that section says hit points represent two things, both of which are physical. Either way, a hit and reduction of hit points indicates an actual physical wound. You lose hit points, you felt pain. Period.

I'm not going to go bother to look up what 3.0 said. The description isn't OGC anyway, so it's less official that it could be.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-24, 09:20 PM
Um, you can lose "hardness to kill" and "health" without actually being cut. Getting winded, bruises due to armor (or natural armor) soaking the blow, etc.

Krellen
2007-02-24, 09:30 PM
No description of hit points is OGC - in the SRD they're just a definitionless number. But go read the referenced section of the PHB, Bears. Both representations outlined there indicate you have been cut/bruised/poked.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-24, 09:31 PM
Cut/Bruised/Poked could certainly be very minor. Bruise != gut-stab.

Krellen
2007-02-24, 09:38 PM
True. Still, tanks pose very real threats, while mages pose possible threats. For the most part, the magic user has to use his best spells to get even a 50% chance to affect a target; lesser spells are easier to resist. Barring a few no-save spells (and, really, aside from Irresistible Dance no one's mentioned a core example of one) magic is far less of a threat than folks are making it out to be.

Bears, if you have to pull that much weight in your group, something's wrong; either the DM, the monsters being put up against you, the way you play, or the way your teammates play, or the way you guys play as a team - or lack thereof. The game is designed for four basic roles - fighter, cleric, mage, rogue - and aside from spurious and unmathematically supported claims from forum posters, I've yet to see any evidence that it doesn't work that way.

Cybren
2007-02-24, 09:39 PM
"What Hitpoints Represent: Hitpoints mean two things in the game world: the ability to take physical punishment and keep going, and the ability to turn a serious blow into a less serious one. For some characters, hit points may represent divine favor or inner power. When a paladin survives a fireball, you'll be hard pressed to convince bystanders that she doesn't have the favor of some higher power."-PHB, 145 "Loss of Hitpoints"

MeklorIlavator
2007-02-24, 09:42 PM
If the mechanic was anything like that found in NWN, it was pretty screwy. I remember many times having an arrow sticking out of my head, and not dying(one time I had more like 5).

I support the view that not every hitpoint deduction is from a cut. I would say most are bruises and other such stuff, with the last 10 or any damage from critical hits being actual cuts. This preserves some realism in the games. If a guy has a sword in his gut, he is definatly in th negative, because at that point his guts will be spilling out soon. At that point, yes, I guess he would be more concerned about the sword rather than the wizard, because he is dying.

Otherwise, I would expect even creatures that pride themselves on physical strength to attack the spell caster, because some would no that a spell caster is a practicer of magic, which has always been feared. For example, look at primitive societies reaction to modern technology (it has been said that technology advanced past a certain point would appear like magic to more primitive peoples). The "magic" is regards as incredibly powerful, even if the people using it aren't powerful or numerous.

And while magic may seem a possible threat, what happens when the mage casts fireball. It is less damage than a fighter might inflict in a full attack, but only very intelligent/wise opponents would realize this. Most would only realize that the mage did some funny gestures/weird movements, and then they hurt alot more than from one swing of the tank's sword. Also, look at the awe factor. Someone swinging a sword= pretty cool if they do it well. Someone making hughe balls of fire appear= much, much cooler.

PS Krellen: BWL is is not using unsubstantiated results here. There have been many threads that show magic beats melee. HE doesn't need to repost all his data every time.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-24, 10:00 PM
True. Still, tanks pose very real threats, while mages pose possible threats. For the most part, the magic user has to use his best spells to get even a 50% chance to affect a target; lesser spells are easier to resist. Barring a few no-save spells (and, really, aside from Irresistible Dance no one's mentioned a core example of one) magic is far less of a threat than folks are making it out to be.
Scintillating Pattern has no save (but doesn't work against critters with more HD than your CL--at level 20, you could get a Balor with it, though). Solid Fog is an awesome battlefield control spell with no save. Ray of Enfeeblement has no save, and Ray of Exhaustion does something even on a successful save. The 50% thing is only for monsters with all good save: very, very many monsters have weak saves. For example, take the Hill Giant. It can do a whole lot of damage... unless it fails an important Will save. Its will save is... +4. The CR 12 Greater Abyssal Basilisk has a will save of +8. CR 11 Elder Air Elemental? Will +10, Fort +12 (and a not-really-beatable-at-that-level Ref of +25--now that's a good save). CR 11 Devourer? Fort +4, Ref +4. Mmm, Undead vs. Disintegrate. Eleven-Headed Cryohydra? CR 12, Will +5.
Giants? And so it goes.


Oh, and if we're talking core... core fighters are so VERY much worse than their non-core counterparts. A core-only fighter 20 is just... doomed.

Incidentally, in my last Red Hand of Doom session, my ECL 9 group mopped up four Hill Giants. Why? Because they were Slowed and Glitterdusted. By the party wizard.
On Monday, we're going to start the session by fighting a red dragon (we're defending a town that's being invaded). Its CR is definitely above our ECL. I could take it on alone (Ray of Clumsiness/Ray of Exhaustion from invisibility). I probably won't do that (like I said, I'm toning things down now that I'm not the *only* effective character in the party and we've got more than three people)... but I can bet you I'll contribute more than the meleers, who will be busy not getting full attacked.


Bears, if you have to pull that much weight in your group, something's wrong; either the DM, the monsters being put up against you, the way you play, or the way your teammates play, or the way you guys play as a team - or lack thereof. The game is designed for four basic roles - fighter, cleric, mage, rogue - and aside from spurious and unmathematically supported claims from forum posters, I've yet to see any evidence that it doesn't work that way.The monsters are straight from a published (and tough) module. We play as a team: I buff my party members (Haste, for example), and I've shown the cleric how to do so (Mass Resist Energy, Mass Conviction, and the like).

I don't *have* to pull this much weight. The group could get through the module without TPKs with a more poorly-played arcanist (although deaths would be more common, I'd bet). However, I do pull significantly more weight than others. Why? Because I'm playing a wizard effectively. Wizards are just that good. We're not playing wrong in any way; it's just that the things I can do contribute to victory far more than the things the others can do (namely, Whack Things) most of the time.

All the claims made have been supported. A melee cleric does as much or more damage than a fighter, and can do plenty of other things to boot; the math has been done on these forums repeatedly. Fighters run up to things and hit them. At high levels, just running up to them in order to hit them is a challenge in and of itself; landing a full attack, an even bigger one. And even if you do land one... a fighter trading full attacks with a Tarrasque or Wyrm black dragon or, I dunno, Marilith with a couple of class levels won't live too long without a highly optimized, way-non-core build.
The game is designed for four basic roles, but the "melee guy" role becomes less and less important the higher-level you are. It simultaneously becomes more and more fillable by the divine caster in the group (the higher level you are, the more clerics and druids outstrip fighters and barbarians in melee).
I'm frankly not sure how you can have played high-level games and still proclaim that the fighter contributes as much as anyone else.
I suspect this comes from wizards who are fond of throwing damage spells around and clerics who haven't discovered the joys of Quickened Divine Power/Righteous Might->Quickened Divine Favor+attacking.

Krellen
2007-02-24, 10:03 PM
You're right, Bears. [Scrubbed]

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-24, 10:08 PM
You're right, Bears. [Scrubbed]

And here it comes. Everybody who plays more effective characters than your group is a twink.
I have fun in my games just fine, thanks. The fact that my spell selection is better than an evoker's doesn't change that, nor does it make me a twink. I've already said I intentionally avoid the most powerful spells, specifically to let the rest of my party shine more often... god, what a munchkin I am! Oh, wait.
(Y'know, for the record, my favorite games are things like Nobilis, the Amber DRPG, Spirit of the Century... crunch-light, roleplay-heavy games. I've run more systemless games than I have D&D.)
There's nothing twinky about using Quickened Divine Power + Righteous Might. That's exactly the sort of thing high level clerics are -supposed- to be able to do. Quicken is core. Those spells are core. Buffing up and whacking things is part of What Clerics Do--that's why they have that heavy armor and d8 hit die, and why all their best spells are self-buffs.
There's nothing "twinky" about casting Glitterdust and Slow at hill giants, rather than Acid Arrow and Fireball, either. That's exactly the sort of thing a highly intelligent wizard would know he should do.

Are you suggesting that D&D only works "right" if you intentionally make mediocre-to-poor characters? If the spellcasters stay away from any of the good spells they can cast? That's pretty much like saying, "yeah, you guys are right",
(How does a poorly built fighter do anything at all against a balor or dragon, anyway?)


Your argument seems to be "if you disagree with me, you're playing wrong or are a munchkin". And you don't understand why people think you should apologize?
"You're having badwrongfun" IS NOT a viable fallback position for when your arguments fail. We all have fun playing, or we wouldn't do it. Balance issues never come up in some games--that doesn't mean they don't exist. (Player-versus-DM hostility hasn't come up in my games, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist in others.) Games in which they do exist are not populated by hack-and-slash twinks who can't roleplay.
Try and deal with being wrong without implying that everyone who disagrees with you is Bad in some way.

I'm really tempted to report your post, and probably would if I didn't have a policy against doing so.

cupkeyk
2007-02-24, 10:10 PM
That's really offensive of you, Krellen.

As far as I can see sucking does not equate to fun.


Being efficient at what you do should be everyone's goal. That's why Fighters get craft as a class skill, so they can knit everyone a sweater while the cleric the druid and the wizzie does everything. LOLz.

Technically we are talking about tanks, tanks are very important; it's just that they are better off as dr00ds or clerks.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-24, 10:19 PM
After a certain point, "tanks"--as in, Meatshield Guys--aren't particularily important. Being able to deal damage remains important, though.

MeklorIlavator
2007-02-24, 10:20 PM
You're right, Bears. The people I play with are far more interested in having fun and far less interesting in min/maxing and optimising everything. They're not twinks.

Wow, what a response.
Bears is not a "twink"(not sure of definition, but your tone and other words in passage provide the clues). He is playing a half-way intelligent caster(a fully intelligent caster=munchkin). You commit the Stormwind fallacy(rollplay does not exclude roleplay, vice versa). Also, why is playing a caster besides blaster/party buffer automatically make one a "munckin"(by the way, the term you were lookoing for is powergamer, munchkin is someone who distorts rules, a powergamer merely uses effective mechanics)?


bears said it better while I was typing

Krellen
2007-02-24, 11:22 PM
I don't get fun out of making sure my character can dominate everything - or from having to hold myself back just so others have things to do. It just doesn't sit right with me. [Scrubbed]

If all you ever face are things like Hill Giants and other creatures with low Will saves, sure, your wizard's going to shine. However, when a good mixture of adversaries are introduced, every class is going to have its moment to shine, not just the wizard. Creatures with high SR - or any SR, for that matter - cut down dramatically on a wizard's effectiveness (I've seen more than one fight start to go sour because the wizard rolled a 1 on his CL check, saved only because there was a fighter present.) Parties that rely greatly on buffing spells are crippled by anti-magic fields, disjunction, or even plain old dispel magic - an ability possessed by many creatures. And what, praytell, does your wizard do against a Rakshasa? Or the boulder hurled by that Stone Giant 500 feet away, for that matter?

Swordguy
2007-02-24, 11:27 PM
Let me ask again:

If we remove melee classes (Pal, Ranger, Fighter, Rogue, Barb) from the game, is anything meaningfully mechanically lost?

If no, then, regardless of D&D's branding and tradition, it's a bad (mechanically speaking) game.

Really, all this talk makes me want to do is go find a game where someone can play a "fighter-type" and feel useful. It depresses me.

MeklorIlavator
2007-02-24, 11:36 PM
Have you heard about his first party? The other characters couldn't do anything.

Have you played a Cleric/Wizard/Druid? Because you can't play those if you don't hold back, because a party could be made out of those classes. This is only stating that it is possible, I wouldn't want to be in a party where this occurred.

Also, even spell immunity can be overcome because not all spells allow it to be applied. And how does the entire party being crippled by anti magic fields prove that casters aren't powerful.

You mention that wizards are effective against things with weak will saves, but there are spells that target any of the three saves so it could be the same against any type of enemies(does glitterdust even effect will saves).

Krellen
2007-02-24, 11:40 PM
Will saves are the spells that disable opponents (and yes, glitterdust has a Will save). Reflex-save spells do hit point damage. Fortitude-save spells tend to impose a penalty, or, in a few cases, outright slay the target. Of course, most high level things (and the slaying spells are all high level) with lowish Fortitude saves tend to have SR, which affords them a bit of protection. And those spells are of limited usefulness - hit point damage, mostly - against things that make their saves.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-24, 11:46 PM
I don't get fun out of making sure my character can dominate everything - or from having to hold myself back just so others have things to do.
It just doesn't sit right with me. I never said you were a twink, Bears, though I did imply it; but obviously knowing next to nothing about your actual style, I can't really make a judgement.
You most certainly implied it. In fact, you implied that everyone who didn't agree with you or didn't have the same gaming experience as you was one.
I get some fun out of being effective (but not out of holding myself back). The debuff/battlefield control style of wizardry is fun for me. The problem si that it's so good that I *have* to hold myself back. My wizard is reasonably optimized, but I'm obviously not going all out.


However, your statements have sounded very much like a twink (which, at least as far as I'm concerned, is synonymous with powergamer.) "I'm doing everything. We'd all die without me. I have to hold back just so I don't solo this whole adventure." It sounds very conceited, and very much imposing on the fun of the rest of the group. The rest of the group is having fun. They probably wouldn't be having as much fun if I went "all-out", so I don't. I was illustrating the fact that I--*without* using anything broken--contribute more than anyone else to point out that, yes, in real play, casters are better.


If all you ever face are things like Hill Giants and other creatures with low Will saves, sure, your wizard's going to shine. However, when a good mixture of adversaries are introduced, every class is going to have its moment to shine, not just the wizard. Creatures with high SR - or any SR, for that matter - cut down dramatically on a wizard's effectiveness (I've seen more than one fight start to go sour because the wizard rolled a 1 on his CL check, saved only because there was a fighter present.)Maybe you missed the part where I pointed out that I contributed significantly more against the all-good-saves, SR-having dragons we fought, too. And the variety of other creatures.
Yes, creatures with SR are more of a challenge than creatures without. Wizards still contribute more; it just means they might not be able to end the fight in a single spell.
Spell Penetration and the fact that most SR just plain isn't that high means I don't worry much about it. I hit one dragon with a Ray of Enfeeblement for -8 STR, survived being breathed on thanks to Resist Energy, then threw two Suggestions at it. It made the first save, it failed the second one. If it had made the second one, I had more spells. And that was back before I even had fourth-level spells (level 7 is a significant sudden jump in wizard effectiveness).


Parties that rely greatly on buffing spells are crippled by anti-magic fields, disjunction, or even plain old dispel magic - an ability possessed by many creatures. And what, praytell, does your wizard do against a Rakshasa? Or the boulder hurled by that Stone Giant 500 feet away, for that matter?Antimagic fields... come from other casters. Who are then vulnerable to the party cleric and rogue and even fighter. Unless you can think of several (Ex)-flight-possessing monsters with AMFs, AMF isn't a threat--you can fly and pelt AMF Guy with instantaneous conjurations, which go through AMFs just fine. Meanwhile, he can't hurt you.
Disjunction isn't a worry. I've never seen the players or the DM use it. The players because if they do, the DM will, and the DM because it destroys the players' magic items. Still, the high-will-save spellcasters have a much better chance of living through AMF with their items intact.
Dispel Magic is "an ability possessed by many creatures"? Only the spellcasting ones. An equal-level caster has a 50%ish chance of dispelling each particular spell on you.
And if a spellcaster can cast Dispel Magic, he can cast a number of other things... and is therefore more dangerous to the fighter than he is to the caster. Whether it

Against a Rakshasa, in a core-only game, I'd use Black Tentacles (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/blackTentacles.htm). No SR. Or Solid Fog (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/solidFog.htm), no SR, to trap it for a few rounds. In those rounds, I'd slap Haste, Enlarge person, and/or other buffs on my party. In other words, a level 7 wizard functions just fine against a CR 10 Rakshasa. A level 10 wizard can use Orb of X spells (no SR) if it's not a core game, or drop both Black Tentacles AND Solid Fog, not to mention dispel the thing. What's the Rakshasa gonna do? Try to get a Suggestion past the caster's will save? No, it'll go for the fighter... who won't be doing too much damage, thanks to the Rakshasa's DR.
Note that this is *without* the Spell Compendium swift-action-casting spell Assay Resistance, which gives a +10 on checks to penetrate a single target creature's SR.
Also note that I'm not assuming the Rakshasa is just going to sit there and take it. Solid Fog and Black Tentacles have no save. At 20'-radius, it will take the Rakshasa at *least* three rounds to get out of the Fog (which it can't do anything through, since it can't see or target anything). Likewise, it can't cast while grappled, and the Black Tentacles have a grapple check of CL+8--for a level 10 wizard, that's 18 vs. the Rakshasa's 8.

Against a Hill Giant 500 feet away, I go invisible (mmm, scrolls). Then I fly on over and disable him easily, because of his low save.
Meanwhile, the Fighter, with a speed of 20'/round in heavy armor, can Run at x3 for 60 feet per round. He takes *eight rounds* to get within charging distance. He'll be the one taking those boulders. I hope he survives to fight the high-damage-output, high-HP hill giant. If he's not still doing what the Rakshasa suggested, that is. Meanwhile, the wizard with Overland Flight can Run at 40*4 = 160... and he can attack, thanks to the range on Medium-range spells, from farther away than the Fighter.

Now do you get why wizards have no problems contributing even against high-save or high-SR opponents? Meanwhile, a fighter has to try to hit the Flyby-Attack-with-breath-weapon dragon with a bow and hope he can survive until the wizard disables it.
And if the wizard likes to blow things up rather than disable them... things don't look good for the party.

MeklorIlavator
2007-02-24, 11:47 PM
Yes, the saves are thematic, but how does that effect that the wizard can target any save he choses(and usually he can target at least one of them), or just use spells that don't allow saves? And there have been a couple threads on ways to ignore SR, assay spell resistance + the feat that allow one to take 10 on any caster level check. Plus the amount that one can boost save DC is simply amazing. So things often fail saves. What then?

Again, bears says it better, faster

EvilElitest
2007-02-24, 11:53 PM
And here it comes. Everybody who plays more effective characters than your group is a twink.
I have fun in my games just fine, thanks. The fact that my spell selection is better than an evoker's doesn't change that, nor does it make me a twink. I've already said I intentionally avoid the most powerful spells, specifically to let the rest of my party shine more often... god, what a munchkin I am! Oh, wait.
(Y'know, for the record, my favorite games are things like Nobilis, the Amber DRPG, Spirit of the Century... crunch-light, roleplay-heavy games. I've run more systemless games than I have D&D.)
There's nothing twinky about using Quickened Divine Power + Righteous Might. That's exactly the sort of thing high level clerics are -supposed- to be able to do. Quicken is core. Those spells are core. Buffing up and whacking things is part of What Clerics Do--that's why they have that heavy armor and d8 hit die, and why all their best spells are self-buffs.
There's nothing "twinky" about casting Glitterdust and Slow at hill giants, rather than Acid Arrow and Fireball, either. That's exactly the sort of thing a highly intelligent wizard would know he should do.

Are you suggesting that D&D only works "right" if you intentionally make mediocre-to-poor characters? If the spellcasters stay away from any of the good spells they can cast? That's pretty much like saying, "yeah, you guys are right",
(How does a poorly built fighter do anything at all against a balor or dragon, anyway?)


Your argument seems to be "if you disagree with me, you're playing wrong or are a munchkin". And you don't understand why people think you should apologize?
"You're having badwrongfun" IS NOT a viable fallback position for when your arguments fail. We all have fun playing, or we wouldn't do it. Balance issues never come up in some games--that doesn't mean they don't exist. (Player-versus-DM hostility hasn't come up in my games, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist in others.) Games in which they do exist are not populated by hack-and-slash twinks who can't roleplay.
Try and deal with being wrong without implying that everyone who disagrees with you is Bad in some way.

I'm really tempted to report your post, and probably would if I didn't have a policy against doing so.

Ouch, i feel for you here bears, i really do. I may not agree with all you say but i have to say i feel for you. But why rise to the bait like that? You said you did not want to report it (though you hinted,) but why even reply? I know that it must make ones ego sting, but the comment was not even worth a responce

On topic, cleric may be able to mellea better than a fighter if he has buffed himself before hand. The problem then is that clerics can only buff themselves as much as they have spells. A fighter can keep it up as long as he has hitpoints. Tanking is good if the casters are being pressured. If you have a crowd of low level monsters, and they need to get past the fighter to get to hte mage, then as long as they don't get their he is tanking.
From,
EE

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-24, 11:57 PM
Ouch, i feel for you here bears, i really do. I may not agree with all you say but i have to say i feel for you. But why rise to the bait like that? You said you did not want to report it (though you hinted,) but why even reply? I know that it must make ones ego sting, but the comment was not even worth a responce
I reply because I hope he'll learn something.


On topic, cleric may be able to mellea better than a fighter if he has buffed himself before hand. The problem then is that clerics can only buff themselves as much as they have spells. A fighter can keep it up as long as he has hitpoints. Tanking is good if the casters are being pressured. If you have a crowd of low level monsters, and they need to get past the fighter to get to hte mage, then as long as they don't get their he is tanking.
From,
EEAgainst a crowd of low level monsters, bam!--Glitterdust from the wizard. Maybe a Grease, too. 90% of them are blind (and maybe prone). Mop up at your leisure. The cleric doesn't even need to cast any spells... although he casts Divine Favor anyway, getting +3 AB/damage. He'll save his three or four Divine Power+Quickened Divine Favor uses (at level 9, let's say) for tougher monsters.
A higher-level cleric definitely has enough buffs for four or five tough encounters a day--and likely doesn't need every buff in all of them.

EvilElitest
2007-02-25, 12:07 AM
I reply because I hope he'll learn something.

Against a crowd of low level monsters, bam!--Glitterdust from the wizard. Maybe a Grease, too. 90% of them are blind (and maybe prone). Mop up at your leisure. The cleric doesn't even need to cast any spells... although he casts Divine Favor anyway, getting +3 AB/damage. He'll save his three or four Divine Power+Quickened Divine Favor uses (at level 9, let's say) for tougher monsters.
A higher-level cleric definitely has enough buffs for four or five tough encounters a day--and likely doesn't need every buff in all of them.

On topic, the fighter can mop up our low level monsters without wasting anyspells, nope, none.
The cleric can't do it as well as the fighter without using spells.
sure hte fighter can't do as much, but he can keep doing it without wasting spells.

As for the comment you first point, i think you just proved taht your easily baitable, not changing his mind.
from,
EE

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-25, 12:15 AM
On topic, the fighter can mop up our low level monsters without wasting anyspells, nope, none.
The cleric can't do it as well as the fighter without using spells.
sure hte fighter can't do as much, but he can keep doing it without wasting spells.
...okay. But how many encounters are there in a day? There are "supposed" to be about four. Often, there are much fewer. Sometimes, there are more, but how many more? Six? Eight? Ten? I've never been in a game where there were ten encounters a day. Or even eight. In that sort of environment, yes, characters that expend resources per encounter.
It isn't, however, as though "lots of weak mooks" is ever a problem. The cleric can clean them up *nearly* as well as the fighter without using any spells, and the difference doesn't actually matter, because what are those mooks going to do?
The cleric *does* have enough spells to buff up, let's say, three times a day to the gills, another two moderately, and many more lightly (lots of first/second level slots).
"Clean up lots of low level mooks a bit faster" doesn't actually count as anything remotely approaching a significant advantage, in any case.


As for the comment you first point, i think you just proved taht your easily baitable, not changing his mind.
from,
EEHe seems to have toned down his argument from "fighters contribute as much, period" to "wizards have problems with some monsters".

Rigeld2
2007-02-25, 12:17 AM
On topic, the fighter can mop up our low level monsters without wasting anyspells, nope, none.
The cleric can't do it as well as the fighter without using spells.
sure hte fighter can't do as much, but he can keep doing it without wasting spells.
The fighter takes damage, right?

Damage has to get healed, right?

Does he just rest for damage/level days?

Krellen
2007-02-25, 12:17 AM
I'm still glad you're not in my game, Bears. Seriously, I don't see how you - or anyone else, for that matter - have any fun.

Not that I'm admitting your tactics are fool-proof, perfect, and always right (for instance, your solid fog is foiled by a gust of wind, or by simply going a different direction, and the slow movement doesn't defeat your opponents; and something as simply as being undead renders most of your "combat control" spells ineffective). But I can see games devolving into these arguments over what your spells can and can't accomplish and what things you can and can't destroy as a wizard because it's "overpowered".

And of course, I do wonder how you always manage to have the right spell prepared. That's the real beauty of the non-spellcasting classes; their ability doesn't rely on being properly prepared for X contengency. No matter the threat or encounter, regardless of the time of day or the sequence of combat or whether you've been attacked while resting or not, they're able to contribute the same. And that's not nothing.

Kantolin
2007-02-25, 12:20 AM
On topic, the fighter can mop up our low level monsters without wasting anyspells, nope, none.

If the value of a fighter is that the fighter can defeat enemies who are not a threat without wasting spells as it would be pointless to do so... that... that says something there.

And I don't know about you, but after the second or third encounter, if the wizard isn't ending the fights instantly... as a fighter, I tend to be running low on hit points. So sure, I can continue to power attack, but I'm kind of bleeding out of the ears, encouraging resting.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-25, 12:30 AM
The fighter takes damage, right?

Damage has to get healed, right?

Does he just rest for damage/level days?
Yeah, good point, the fighter does waste spells. Just not his own. If you have a second cleric instead of a cleric and a fighter, the melee cleric can heal himself.


I'm still glad you're not in my game, Bears. Seriously, I don't see how you - or anyone else, for that matter - have any fun.
I... don't particularily care that you're glad I'm not in your game or vice-versa. It's really your loss, as I'm a great RPer, and have run some damn fine systemless games (not planning on running D&D again any time soon--I just play D&D because it's usually the only option).


Not that I'm admitting your tactics are fool-proof, perfect, and always right (for instance, your solid fog is foiled by a gust of wind, or by simply going a different directio, and the slow movement doesn't defeat your opponents; and something as simply as being undead renders most of your "combat control" spells ineffective).First of all, "going a different direction" doesn't work, because the wizard drops the solid fog all around his target. The Rakshasa can't get out of the Fog in less than three or four rounds, depending on how you place the fog.
I think that you are admitting that most of the time, my tactics are very effective. I'm also not going to use the same tactics every time. You asked what a wizard would do against a Rakshasa (which doesn't, out of the book, come with gust of wind; if it does, it wasted a turn blowing away the fog and I'll just throw that Black Tentacles at it, or haste my party). I gave you two highly effective options which a debuff/control style wizard would almost certainly have prepared, and another, fallback option which minimizes spell expenditure and is still effective, given the fact that the Rakshasa has a crappy offense.
(Incidentally, a Rakshasa with spells set up to specifically counter the party could have Gust of Wind... and it could have Fly, putting it out of reach of the party fighter, who can't break its DR with his longbow. This illustrates, yet again, how melee types are weaker than casters.)
Would you like me to point out what such a wizard would do against undead opponents (Black Tentacles and Solid Fog work just fine against them, by the way)? Or would you like to take me at my word when I tell you that a wizard can be highly effective against them?


But I can see games devolving into these arguments over what your spells can and can't accomplish and what things you can and can't destroy as a wizard because it's "overpowered".Why would I talk about that sort of thing in game? I just prepare my spell selection from DM-approved sources, and if there's any question about what the spell's effects are, I accept the DM's ruling.
Why on earth would you assume that I spend my game time arguing about the efficacy of casters vs. melee types? That's what these boards are for, after all. ;) I play melee types as often as casters; it's not like I -want- casters to be more powerful.

You can name more monsters, and I can tell you how a caster would contribute more to its defeat than a fighter. Or you could, y'know, just accept that, yes, after low levels, casters do contribute more. And fighters do have problems contributing much, much less *as* much as casters, at high levels.

Edit:

And of course, I do wonder how you always manage to have the right spell prepared. That's the real beauty of the non-spellcasting classes; their ability doesn't rely on being properly prepared for X contengency. No matter the threat or encounter, regardless of the time of day or the sequence of combat or whether you've been attacked while resting or not, they're able to contribute the same. And that's not nothing.
I'll tell you how I always manage to have the right spell prepared: I prepare the right freakin' spells. It's really not that difficult to have a spell list that can deal with a wide variety of problems.
If I have fifth level slots, I dump an Overland Flight spell into one, every day. I memorize a Confusion or two and Black Tentacles as fourth-level spells, maybe an Orb of Force. A couple of Hastes, a Slow, three Glitterdusts, Rays of Enfeeblement, et cetera. As a result, I have spells to deal with pretty much anything that comes up.

Here's what that 9th-level Diviner in the Red Hand of Doom game I talked about has memorized, given the fact that we're defending a city from a superior invading force (with a few high-EL leaders, like that red dragon, probably a higher-level-than-us cleric or two, etc) :
1st level: 2x Ray of Enfeeblement, Ray of Clumsiness, Grease, Nerveskitter, Mage Armor, True Strike
2nd level: 3x Glitterdust (and I've got a wand of Web we found), Mirror Image, See Invisibility, Heart of Air
3rd level: 2x Slow (I scribed some scrolls of Haste), Dispel Magic, Heart of Water, Unluck
4th level: Orb of Force, Confusion, Black Tentacles, Extended Unluck (I've got two scrolls of Solid Fog made)
5th level: Telepathic Bond (to help the city's military leaders communicate with each other and with us), Overland Flight, Baleful Polymorph (in case of enemy rogue-types).

This is very similar to the spell set-up I use during more regular adventuring. Sometimes, we know what's ahead, and I set up my spells accordingly (for example, I didn't memorize glitterdusts or Confusion when we were going off to the lair of a lich). Overall, though, a spell list like that allows me to be useful in pretty much any situation.

Swordguy
2007-02-25, 12:35 AM
You can name more monsters, and I can tell you how a caster would contribute more to its defeat than a fighter. Or you could, y'know, just accept that, yes, after low levels, casters do contribute more. And fighters do have problems contributing much, much less *as* much as casters, at high levels.

Absolutely agreed. This is an inherent inbalance in the game system. The only rational response is to burn down WotC holdings until they re-balance the classes.

Krellen
2007-02-25, 12:37 AM
Neither solid fog nor black tentacles defeats the Rakshasa, you know. He can't move - and that's it. He's not taking any damage from the tentacles, and the fog is effectively protecting him from you as much as it is protecting you from him. You've completely failed to defeat the Rakshasa, unless your only goal is to bypass it altogether.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-25, 12:45 AM
Neither solid fog nor black tentacles defeats the Rakshasa, you know. He can't move - and that's it. He's not taking any damage from the tentacles, and the fog is effectively protecting him from you as much as it is protecting you from him. You've completely failed to defeat the Rakshasa, unless your only goal is to bypass it altogether.

They're not MEANT to kill or defeat the Rakshasa. The Black Tentacles disable him and make him not a threat (he's grappling, he can't cast or attack other creatures). The Solid Fog gives me time to Haste the party, slap a Protection from Evil on the fighter or rogue, a Bull's Strength on someone who needs it...

Those spells certainly do contribute to the Rakshasa's defeat. More than the fighter, who's whacking him just like the cleric and rogue are (in fact, the rogue will be the star of the melee part of the encounter). And they DO make the encounter easy instead of difficult.
And no, before you say it--at this level, melee isn't useless. We're talking level 7-10. The fighter does contribute. Just not as much. And in a group of four casters, the Rakshasa would be helpless as they pelted him with no-SR conjurations until those measly 52 HP went away. Essentially, after the Rakshasa's out of the fog, the fighter's just a vehicle for the wizard's buffs. He's on clean-up duty. He's a janitor, not a warrior. And this is against a monster specifically designed to challenge casters more than anyone else!

Are you even trying to make a point anymore? Because none of this is cheesy things that wouldn't happen in a real game.


Edit: indeed. After level five or so, the wizard who doesn't blow through like five, six spells a fight can have enough spells for four or five encounters--especially when you consider that some encounters only require a *single* spell (like Glitterdust or Confusion), or two (Slow plus Haste), from the wizard. Tougher ones may eat as many as four (ECL 7 party vs. CR 10 Rakshasa, for example--Solid Fog, Haste, Prot. from Evil, Bull's Strength) or five (vs. several non-hill giants, say--Greater Inivisibility, Slow, Haste, Glitterdust, Orb of Force). Overall, though, a wizard's spells/day become enough to last him, well, all day.

Kantolin
2007-02-25, 12:47 AM
Seriously, I don't see how you - or anyone else, for that matter - have any fun.

That sounds suspiciously like you're suggesting 'Well, wizards are better than fighters, so I don't see how fighters can have any fun'.


That's the real beauty of the non-spellcasting classes; their ability doesn't rely on being properly prepared for X contengency. No matter the threat or encounter, regardless of the time of day or the sequence of combat or whether you've been attacked while resting or not, they're able to contribute the same. And that's not nothing.

No matter what time of day it is, you can walk over and attempt to deal melee damage. With the significant clause that your hit points limit this - fighters use consumable resources, just not necessarily their own (To quote several MMORPGs, Heal plz). When you have two hit points remaining, the fighter cannot go fight as though he was undamaged (Or well, he can, but he'll die).

Then, most wizards can reasonably pace themselves for four fights. After level say 5ish, most casters stop running out of spells en masse.

And then, if the wizard is completely out of spells, the fighter is fully healed, and the party is fighting a Balor, the entire party is screwed as the Balor merrily remains comfortably out of range of the fighter at all times, teleporting willy-nilly and wrecking up things.

Krellen
2007-02-25, 12:53 AM
That sounds suspiciously like you're suggesting 'Well, wizards are better than fighters, so I don't see how fighters can have any fun'.
No, I'm saying blatantly min-maxing and abusing the spell system makes things no fun. Avoiding combat - which is what BWL's suggestions excel at doing - defeats the purpose of much of the game.

Maybe I as a GM just roll well, but I've never had a wizard dominate combat, no matter what spell selections he's made. The "tank" has always been a necessity.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-25, 01:03 AM
No, I'm saying blatantly min-maxing and abusing the spell system makes things no fun. Avoiding combat - which is what BWL's suggestions excel at doing - defeats the purpose of much of the game.
How are the spell selections I described *abusing* the spell system?
If not for effectiveness, how do you suggest I select spells? Why would I prepare, I don't know, Enthrall, or Hold Portal?

Please answer these questions, rather than just calling me a twink or making some comment about how min-maxers are evil.
-What makes my spell selection, or use the spells I mentioned, abusive?
-Would you be willing to make a list of "abusive" wizard spells (just core)? How many spells do you think will wind up on that list? How many spells have to wind up on that list before it becomes clear that spellcasters are siginificantly overpowered?
-How do you determine whether or not a spell is abusive?
-How are they about -avoiding- combat? Solid Fog just *delays* combat for four rounds or so. It gives you buff time. It makes combat easier. It makes your party take less damage, for which they are grateful. Black Tentacles controls the battlefield.

Incidentally, please note that avoiding combat fits in the purpose of the game just fine, and bypassing an encounter gives XP just like defeating it does. 3.5 is much better about this than previous editions, which had far, far more of a hack-and-slash focus (which 3.5 still very much shares--it's just less entirely focused on that).


Maybe I as a GM just roll well, but I've never had a wizard dominate combat, no matter what spell selections he's made. The "tank" has always been a necessity.Maybe you just have wizard players who don't play very effective wizards. If a wizard casts a lot of Fireballs, Magic Missiles, and Flaming Spheres, of course he won't dominate a combat, because that is the least effective kind of wizard barring one who memorizes spells like Hold Portal. Are you seriously suggesting that every kind of wizard except that kind is "absuing the spell system"? More to the point, if it's so easy to abuse the spell system--all it takes is memorizing debuffing and battlefield control spells, apparently, not even Polymorph!--then isn't there something wrong with the spell system? Couldn't one say that it, and the classes that use it, are, in fact, overpowered?

I think you need to understand that your games don't reflect D&D in general. If you have ineffective wizard players, wizards won't dominae your games. I've seen some completely ineffective characters of EVERY class. Just because someone plays a class ineffectively doesn't mean the class isn't overpowered.
How does one go from "this is how it is in my games" to "this is how it always is, period, and if it's different someone's being a twink"?

Krellen
2007-02-25, 01:20 AM
How does it go from "This is how it is in my games" to "this is how it always is, period, and it shows clearly the system is broken"?

MeklorIlavator
2007-02-25, 01:25 AM
How does it go from "This is how it is in my games" to "this is how it always is, period, and it shows clearly the system is broken"?
Because in other threads people compared experiences/mathematics over several games and realized that unless casters did very inefficient things, like direct damage, then they generally were controlling every battle. And this has been repeatably shown, over and over.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-25, 01:26 AM
I didn't say "this is how it always is". I clearly stated it's possible to play an ineffective wizard. It's not even that hard, you just have to like Evocation.
It does, however, happen. It doesn't just happen in one particular gaming group, something we can tell by the fact that lots of other people have said that, yeah, it happens. What's more, it's backed up by the numbers and by logic. "This is how it happens a lot, and here's how and why it happens; therefore, something's clearly not right". You, on the other hand, keep insisting that everyone in whose games it happens is doing something wrong. It's all of our faults, it's not a flaw in the system.

I notice that you've avoided answering my questions. Why is that?
In fact, you've been attempting to pick a single nit in my posts rather than actually addressing the numerous holes I point out in yours. That's... kind of a sign that you don't have much of an argument.

Dervag
2007-02-25, 01:28 AM
Those spells certainly do contribute to the Rakshasa's defeat. More than the fighter, who's whacking him just like the cleric and rogue are (in fact, the rogue will be the star of the melee part of the encounter). And they DO make the encounter easy instead of difficult.In fairness, melee noncasters (like the fighter and rogue) are useful in your strategy, because most of your plans revolve on having someone to do the melee work. If the wizard had to deal all his own damage in addition to doing the battlefield control work, he'd lose a lot of his edge in effectiveness.


Essentially, after the Rakshasa's out of the fog, the fighter's just a vehicle for the wizard's buffs. He's on clean-up duty. He's a janitor, not a warrior. And this is against a monster specifically designed to challenge casters more than anyone else!Well, the Rakshasa can still fight; probably rather hard. so the fighter is doing something important that the wizard can't readily do for himself. A cleric could do it for himself, but a cleric doesn't have quite as big an arsenal of battlefield control spells as a wizard.

Remember, the fighter can tell himself "the wizard's job is just to nail those guys down so I can get to them and fight them!" just as the wizard can tell himself "the fighter's job is purely mop-up after I have hopelessly crippled the foe!"

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-25, 01:31 AM
In fairness, melee noncasters (like the fighter and rogue) are useful in your strategy, because most of your plans revolve on having someone to do the melee work. If the wizard had to deal all his own damage in addition to doing the battlefield control work, he'd lose a lot of his edge in effectiveness.
Yes, they are. I never claimed that at level, say, 8 , the fighter isn't useful. However, a lot of "the fighter is useful!" claims compare a group with a fighter to a group *without a fighter*. Of course a group with an extra person is better off than one without! Replace that fighter with a cleric, however, or with another wizard, and you're just fine (and better off, in fact).


Well, the Rakshasa can still fight; probably rather hard. so the fighter is doing something important that the wizard can't readily do for himself. A cleric could do it for himself, but a cleric doesn't have quite as big an arsenal of battlefield control spells as a wizard.The Rakshasa's melee capabilities are... thoroughly lackluster.
The wizard isn't clearing up the Rakshasa alone, but he's the star of the show. At high levels, a wizard *could* take monsters on alone--he'd just expend more spells than he would in a party (and he can get his melee-damage-guys via Dominates and summons, too).

Krellen
2007-02-25, 01:33 AM
I think, perhaps, your mathematics might be matched to GMs that are ineffective GMs. Published adventures, for instance, tend to lack flexibility to allow them to be changed to challenge the actual characters playing.

I have no real interest in answering your questions, BWL, because our "debate" isn't accomplishing anything. We're sitting here calling each other stupid and abusive, and it's getting nowhere. Neither of us is going to convince the other; you'll continue to think that buying time to buff people up is the most effective style of play, and I'll continue to think that encounters where every caster is casting four or more spells are wastes of resources better spent by having an effective tank in the group.

I suppose I'll probably also continue to believe that a fellow that insists on the common availability of wish and considers binding and twisting wishes out of Effriti standard operating procedure misses the point altogether, and has an altogether far too accomodating DM.

Swordguy
2007-02-25, 01:35 AM
From the "Deck of Many Things" thread:



I'm really sorry Thomas, but I've got to do this. It's been that kind of day.


Yeah, using the Deck of Many Things Magic in a game is the worst mistake a DM can make. Say bye-bye to any balance in the game. Some of the PCs will be screwed beyond playability, and a few will be boosted so far it's ridiculous.

I think I ruined 2-3 AD&D campaigns with it before I got the hint. It looks fun, but it's not.

See? After substitution, it's still true.

/I now return you to your regularly-scheduled NON-magic-bashing thread. :smallbiggrin:

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-25, 01:49 AM
I think, perhaps, your mathematics might be matched up GMs that are ineffective GMs. Published adventures, for instance, tend to lack flexibility to allow them to be changed to challenge the actual characters playing.
Actually, that's complete nonsense. Many of us have very effective GMs. "You just need to throw the right challenges at the party!" is a sentiment that gets tossed around a lot. However, actual examples of challenges that a hypothetical effective, caster-and-melee-type-balancing are wanting... like the Rakshasa. The wizard has no problems in being highly effective against the Rakshasa, a monster specifically designed to challenge casters more than fighters. Meanwhile, the Fighter is likely to fall to its Suggestion (and god forbid the DM choose Fly or Alter Self as one of its spells).


I have no real interest in answering your questions, BWL, because our "debate" isn't accomplishing anything. We're sitting here calling each other stupid and abusive, and it's getting nowhere.No, you're calling me abusive. I haven't insulted you at all.
This could get somewhere, however, if you actually addressed the points. What makes a spell selection "abusive" rather than merely "good/effective" or "ordinary"? Which spells are "abusive"? How many "abusive" spells would there have to be for casters to be overpowered? It's not getting us anywhere because instead of responding to points I make, you just say, "no, I'm right because you're a twink."

You never seem to be able to back your points up. You casually toss out sweeping (and insulting) generalizations such as "you have a poor DM and/or are a twink" and "you're abusing the spell system" without ever trying to back that up in any way.
Meanwhile, I've been giving you actual, concrete examples and specific questions. If this is going nowhere, it just might be because you don't want to actually think about the issue.
If you could, you might convince me. I've certainly been convinced before. I mean, hell, I used to think that high-dex, Finesse-based fighters were the best kind, that clerics were weak, and that Warlocks were overpowered. I don't anymore.


Neither of us is going to convince the other; you'll continue to think that buying time to buff people up is the most effective style of play, and I'll continue to think that encounters where every caster is casting four or more spells are wastes of resources better spent by having an effective tank in the group.Except that tank contributes less than the caster does, as I showed. That tank would contribute far, far more if he himself were a spellcaster, especially one like a warrior/caster "gish" or a cleric. And at high levels, that tank has problems contributing at all--as people showed you with the Balor (for every Balor fought, the Fighter has a very high chance of being Dominated or insane without every getting close to the flying, teleporting enemy).


I suppose I'll probably also continue to believe that a fellow that insists on the common availability of wish and considers binding and twisting wishes out of Effriti standard operating procedure misses the point altogether, and has an altogether far too accomodating DM.Or maybe he's just a fellow that has read the rules. Scrolls of wish are "most likely" availible in any Metropolis. If one doesn't have any, a caster can Teleport to another, and another, and another, and even Plane Shift to a Planar Metropolis, which will. The rules are set up for players to acquire inherent bonuses.
Bargaining with Efreeti for Wishes--that is, offering them gold, spellcasting services, item-crafting services, or something else--is certainly not "twisting" wishes out of them. What, other than bargaining with outsiders, is the Planar Binding line of spells for? "Twisting" would be using a Candle of Invocation to make one give you the stat bonuses for free.
You keep on saying things without backing them up: how is this missing the point? Your "point" seems to ignore sweeping chunks of the game.... such as the fact that characters are supposed to have inherent stat bonuses availible by level 20. Example PCs Wizards publishes have them. There isn't just one way to get them--there's a lot (including just blowing 25,000 xp on Wish spells yourself, which is the worst of the lot).
People have made these points already. They've explained how and why it makes sense for both Tomes of Clear Thought and scrolls of Wish to be availible, and pointed out where the rules say that they *should* be availible.
And yet, you just wave a hand and go "nope, missing the point" without ever backing up your point of view.
Do you even have any backup? It sure looks like you're just avoiding any inconvenient questions and facts.

MeklorIlavator
2007-02-25, 01:51 AM
I think, perhaps, your mathematics might be matched to GMs that are ineffective GMs. Published adventures, for instance, tend to lack flexibility to allow them to be changed to challenge the actual characters playing.

I have no real interest in answering your questions, BWL, because our "debate" isn't accomplishing anything. We're sitting here calling each other stupid and abusive, and it's getting nowhere. Neither of us is going to convince the other; you'll continue to think that buying time to buff people up is the most effective style of play, and I'll continue to think that encounters where every caster is casting four or more spells are wastes of resources better spent by having an effective tank in the group.


Actually, you have been the most abusive person, he hasn't insulted you, but you have.

The questions are there so that you can come back with something other than "well you're wrong", so that this discussion can evolve. But here you admit that you don't want it to evolve. So I guess that hopes gone.

The math part was purely comparing spell damage vs. fighter damage and damage spells vs. Save or(die/suck/lose) spells. These were not done in a campaign, instead they were done by comparing it in fights with monsters at different CL, or purely by realizing that one could shut most things down better and faster by not using damage spells.

Krellen
2007-02-25, 01:57 AM
I posted a whole mathematical array of how resistant to magic high-CL creatures were, and everyone ignored it. There's very little give-and-take on both sides, and quite frankly I'm a bit disgusted that 1) I'm being ganged up on here and 2) I'm being expected to make concessions when no one else is.

And I'm done with this thread.

MeklorIlavator
2007-02-25, 02:01 AM
I posted a whole mathematical array of how resistant to magic high-CL creatures were, and everyone ignored it. There's very little give-and-take on both sides, and quite frankly I'm a bit disgusted that 1) I'm being ganged up on here and 2) I'm being expected to make concessions when no one else is.

And I'm done with this thread.

Where? On this Thread? I'm sorry but I didn't see it if it was here. Maybe if you posted a link?

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-25, 02:03 AM
I posted a whole mathematical array of how resistant to magic high-CL creatures were, and everyone ignored it. There's very little give-and-take on both sides, and quite frankly I'm a bit disgusted that 1) I'm being ganged up on here and 2) I'm being expected to make concessions when no one else is.

And I'm done with this thread.
Make concessions? You're expected to answer some freakin' questions. How is that a concession? I don't want you to "concede" anything--I just want you to stop making insulting generalizations instead of actually addressing concrete examples and questions. God, that must be horrible for you.

Your "look, creatures are resistant to magic" thing was immediately pointed out as, well, wrong: you were shown how targeting weak saves would let you beat the saves of even high-save creatures like outsiders and dragons on a very regular basis, and were told why, between various feats, spells, and abilities, beating SR wasn't an issue.

You're being ganged up on because you're being offensive and you're saying very wrong things. It's the "it's so in my game, therefore it must be so in all good games" mentality I mentioned: these are people saying "um, no, that's not how it is."

cupkeyk
2007-02-25, 03:36 AM
I took a three hour nap and this happened... awesome.

I can't remember what I said last. Hohohoho.

I would like to mention that wizzies get scribe scroll as a free feat and thereby lets them bring along contingent spells, just in case.

I would like to point out this idea that a poster had about the clerk or the wizzie wasting the first few rounds buffing. Shouldn't they be entering combat buffed? That's what Arcane Eye/ the monk/ the rogue is there for.

Ho-hum.

Saph
2007-02-25, 05:38 AM
I get some fun out of being effective (but not out of holding myself back). The debuff/battlefield control style of wizardry is fun for me. The problem si that it's so good that I *have* to hold myself back. My wizard is reasonably optimized, but I'm obviously not going all out.The rest of the group is having fun. They probably wouldn't be having as much fun if I went "all-out", so I don't.

Heh. Remember that thread I started a while back, suggesting something like this? At the time you didn't seem to like the idea much. Did I convince you after all? :P

- Saph

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-25, 05:41 AM
What? Not really. I'm just avoiding cheeseriffic spells like Polymorph, Shivering Touch, using Dominate Person to get NPCs to fight for me, et cetera.

Rigeld2
2007-02-25, 09:39 AM
I posted a whole mathematical array of how resistant to magic high-CL creatures were, and everyone ignored it. There's very little give-and-take on both sides, and quite frankly I'm a bit disgusted that 1) I'm being ganged up on here and 2) I'm being expected to make concessions when no one else is.

And I'm done with this thread.
Heres his analysis.
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2085608&postcount=117 When I asked why he was using spells with saves, he said,

What saveless spell are you using? Irresistible Dance? All that spell does is set up an enemy to be easily taken down by a tank. (For the record, Imprisonment allows a save (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/imprisonment.htm), contrary to popular opinion.)

Evidently hes patently unaware of all the other saveless that exist. Maze, Scintillating Pattern (although this one could backfire), Waves of Exhaustion, Forcecage, Cloudkill (plus Forcecage is a killer, as long as you drop a Dimensional Anchor first) and those are just core, and not all of them from there.

Krellen, it was only ignored because your assumption was wrong. What concessions have you been asked to make? To stop insulting people? Thats why youre being ganged up on.

Charity
2007-02-25, 10:28 AM
I thought bear baiting was illegal.

How do you let these guys wind you up so much?

Well I suppose it is all good clean family entertainment, if a wee bit one sided. WotC don't give anyone much ammo on the fighter side of this (relentless) debate.

Matthew
2007-02-25, 10:32 AM
What I find amusing is the sheer volume of newcomers who read what Bears has to say and go "No way!" It suggests to me that their playstyle may actually be the prevalent one.

Krellen
2007-02-25, 11:15 AM
Evidently hes patently unaware of all the other saveless that exist. Maze, Scintillating Pattern (although this one could backfire), Waves of Exhaustion, Forcecage, Cloudkill (plus Forcecage is a killer, as long as you drop a Dimensional Anchor first) and those are just core, and not all of them from there.
I'm aware of them. Not a one of them actually eliminates an opponent; temporary removes, perhaps, but when the spell expires, the enemy is still there able to act and damage you. And some of those aren't even that effective.

Against the CR 20 creatures listed, all three are immune to poison; that eliminates cloudkill. The Tarrasque is hampered by - but not defeated by - most of the others, sure. As far as the outsiders go, maze traps them for one or two rounds, and then you've got an annoyed outsider to deal with. Forcecage, even coupled with a dimensional anchor still allows them the use of their spell-like abilities, for both of whom which include greater dispel magic. One dispelling later, they can teleport free - and that's assuming the windowless cell; the barred cage allows them to simply lay into the party with their offensive abilities, safe from physical attack.

Scintillating Pattern might disable our Balor or Pit Fiend, assuming you beat their SR, if they hadn't summoned any reinforcements to eat up the HD of the spell. But still, you're left with the trouble of sealing the deal, and the hope their confusion actually hampers them.

And the infamous irresistible dance makes them act silly for a few rounds - but without someone with powerful melee ability to take advantage of it, you've still accomplished next to nothing. Sure, magic can inconvience foes, even remove them if they're obstacles, but most of these powerful creatures aren't obstacles, they're adversaries that must be defeated - and they don't get defeated without the tank.

And a rogue isn't a substitute. Even at 10d6 sneak attack, a fighter with a +35 bonus to damage is just as, if not more, effective at damaging things; and at 20th level, a +35 bonus to the fighter's damage isn't hard. Two-handed weapon, strength of 28 (he can pump it up just as far as the wizard can Intelligence, right?), +5 enchantment, greater weapon specialisation and a mere +5 power attack get him to +32; a +7 power attack, which should make his attack bonus approximately equal the rogue's (+5 for BAB difference and +2 for greater weapon focus) boosts that to +36. Not to mention his weapon's base damage is between 1d4 and 1d6 worth higher already, and he has double the chance to score a critical hit which, unlike the rogue, gives a huge bonus to damage: the fighter gets to add that +36 to damage again on a critical hit; the rogue doesn't get to add his sneak attack again.

Matthew
2007-02-25, 11:24 AM
Don't count his magical bonuses, as the Rogue will likely enjoy the same number. You need to build an actual Rogue and Fighter and compare them with and without Flanking to make this argument. It has been done a number of times and the Two Weapon Fighting Rogue 20 tends to make a mockery of the Fighter in Flanking situations..

Charity
2007-02-25, 11:28 AM
What I find amusing is the sheer volume of newcomers who read what Bears has to say and go "No way!" It suggests to me that their playstyle may actually be the prevalent one.
Those young inexperianced Wizards just love rolling those buckets of D6, no matter how ineffective they may be.

MeklorIlavator
2007-02-25, 11:52 AM
I'm aware of them. Not a one of them actually eliminates an opponent; temporary removes, perhaps, but when the spell expires, the enemy is still there able to act and damage you. And some of those aren't even that effective.



Well, maybe the point is that while the enemy is indisposed you, maybe, Kill It. I mean, usually you don't disable someone and then sit on your hands till he gets up again.

Oh, and bears, please post a spell list you would have for confronting a balor, so you just might make a point to him.

Starbuck_II
2007-02-25, 11:54 AM
If you have a choice in the matter. But if the guy with the sword and the heavy armor is attacking you, right now, aren't you going to want to use that high intelligence and decide to do something about the person dedicated to putting a sharp length of steel somewhere vital?

Cast a spell to disable. Move around him, if you're fast enough that you can get away with it. Get your buddy to clothesline him. Something. Ignoring him will make that sharp piece of steel really hard to avoid.

Well, I am not a spellcaster (okay maybe a level or 2 of Cleric :smallbiggrin: ).

But I would try to get as far away from that sword as possible so yes the lights first.



Acting like a character on a battlemat is incorporeal unless spellcasting is illogical. A meatshield between you and the caster makes charging the caster flat out impossible (read the rules on it) and means that to avoid provoking attacks of opportunity they must move 10' or even 15' to either side of the obstacle, dramatically reducing their progress towards the caster.

No charging, but look. If the guy with the big armor will hit me if I attack him or move past him than I lost nothing by running past him.
Plus, i could tumble over him too.



If you're in a dungeon corridor (this is dungeons and dragons, sometime, somehow, you will probably be in a dungeon), even ranged attackers will suffer because the caster behind the tank has soft cover (+4 to AC).
Except the archers can move to the side (assuming the fighter is only meduim size). Unless this is a 5 foot wide corridor.

cupkeyk
2007-02-25, 12:36 PM
Given the thread should we not assume that it is at least common knowledge to all adventurers that snuffing out the wizzie is the smartest thing you should do in the first round? If the enemies are practicing guerilla tactics they should kill the cleric first, let the party drop into confusion then kill the wizard before killing everyone else.

Why are there people insisting that the tank will get the brunt of the damage. It has been proven that meat shielding is not a viable tactic for tanks? Tactically speaking, the best meat shield would be a high hitpoint heal grunt since they will want to take you down asap.


Paladins should also be faces, rangers should also be trackers and scouts. barbarians should also be scouts. Fighters... uhh can knit since craft is a class skill. The role of meat shield and tank is now shared and pwned by the clerk and dr00d. Everyone else should be able to do something else to contribute.

Kantolin
2007-02-25, 03:02 PM
but without someone with powerful melee ability to take advantage of it, you've still accomplished next to nothing. Sure, magic can inconvience foes, even remove them if they're obstacles, but most of these powerful creatures aren't obstacles, they're adversaries that must be defeated - and they don't get defeated without the tank.

First of all, now you're saying that the purpose of the tank is to run around and play cleanup after the enemies have been rendered completely ineffective?

If that is the case, and 'tanks' have no purpose other than beating on an ineffective enemy... that, if nothing else, shows their general contribution level. The wizard has defeated the enemy, the fighter gets to play cleanup?

To be fair, that's frequently what I end up doing as a fighter, and also frequently what I end up utilizing a fighter for when a wizard. The whole "Okay, they've all been hit by Sleep. I walk forward and chop at them while they do not resist or anything" type of sequence tends to not be very interesting, and certainly don't suggest much contribution to the party.

Secondly, you're again assuming there's a party in it with nobody who can do damage. If you are comparing a Wizard + Fighter to a Wizard + nobody, then you are correct: A fighter is better than a blank spot on your roster (Unless dominate spells are being thrown around). Of course, if you're comparing solo wizard to solo fighter, the former can actually beat the Balor; the latter will just get the crap beaten out of him/her.

Personally, I'd go with Wizard + Cleric over Wizard + Fighter. Clerics can easily help with basic mopup, and meanwhile, actually do something - the fighter spends his/her time (before the Balor is pleasantly riverdancing) utilizing his Craft(Tea) checks to sip tea, as there's no way he's going to really do anything against the teleporting very fast fly speed unit without the caster incapacitating it.

Buuut as my third point, if your team is Wizard + Wizard, and that's it... then yeah, you'll need someone to contribute some form of damage. So you both can incapacitate the enemy, then start using some form of no-SR damage vs Mr. Balor - perhaps summons? I mean, the enemy is ineffective anyway, you just need some form of plugging at hit points, so the two of you will have to set up your spells such that you both have win spells, and then also have some damage on the side for afterwards. Even with this, two wizards incapacitates enemies faster, letting you begin the damaging while rather safe and comfortable.

Fourth this doesn't quite refer to a 'tank' insomuch as a 'direct damage dealer of any sort'. :P I mean, a rogue would do the job of 'finish off the incapacitated enemies' just nicely while still having skill points to play scout or something. Nevermind a cleric or druid simply doing it better.

EvilElitest
2007-02-25, 10:13 PM
All of situation where the tank is not useful only work if the wizards are completly ready for the enemy and the enemy acts in the most basic manner possible. The tank is useful becuase they can kill enemies all day long as long as their hit points last, and if you buff them right, they bring down most enimies pretty fast, or at least do tons of damage. Sure they are not quite as useful against somthing like a Balor or dragon, but they can keep any non magic creature focused on them if they do enough damage.
from,
EE

Rigeld2
2007-02-25, 10:17 PM
All of situation where the tank is not useful only work if the wizards are completly ready for the enemy and the enemy acts in the most basic manner possible. The tank is useful becuase they can kill enemies all day long as long as their hit points last, and if you buff them right, they bring down most enimies pretty fast, or at least do tons of damage. Sure they are not quite as useful against somthing like a Balor or dragon, but they can keep any non magic creature focused on them if they do enough damage.
from,
EE
So...
If the enemy is nonmagical, isnt powerful enough to just swat the Tank out of the way, and the casters are completely out of spells, the Tank has a use?

Okay. Thanks. You agree.

Renegade Paladin
2007-02-25, 10:42 PM
Well, it's fortunate that I can still sit here and say nobody's refuted my years of actual game experience with these theoretical ramblings. I have yet to see a wizard who would not have been eaten alive at some point without a "tank" of some variety or other standing between him and a charging monster. And if I hear one peep about poorly built, I'm just going to sit here and laugh. Well, except for one case, but that particular player's never built an effective character in his life. :smalltongue:

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-25, 10:45 PM
High-level wizards are flying, invisible, etc. They lay walls and fogs between themselves and monsters.

And if they need a tank, summons and Dominate spells get them one.

PaladinBoy
2007-02-25, 10:55 PM
First of all, now you're saying that the purpose of the tank is to run around and play cleanup after the enemies have been rendered completely ineffective?

If that is the case, and 'tanks' have no purpose other than beating on an ineffective enemy... that, if nothing else, shows their general contribution level. The wizard has defeated the enemy, the fighter gets to play cleanup?

I have one problem with your post. You assume that the wizard has defeasted the enemy. He hasn't, he's incapacitated it. Without someone to kill it, that enemy will be back eventually. Depending on the spells used, he may have to be killed fast. If the tank does this, particularly if he's the best non-magic damage dealer in the party, he's aided, a lot, in defeating him. Just as the tank would get ground into hamburger without the wizard, the wizard would probably have something similar happen to him if the fighter wasn't there to help mop up. It would just take a few rounds or a few minutes longer for the wizard to die.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-25, 10:57 PM
Except, of course, that the wizard *could* kill the incapacitated monster. He'd just need to go through a lot of spells. If you replace the tank with *another* wizard, all is well again.

PaladinBoy
2007-02-25, 11:07 PM
The number of spells, of course, would depend on the saves/SR of the incapacitated monster in question. If the DM tosses out monsters with varying weaknesses like weak Fort saves, weak Will saves, weak Reflex saves, and no SR (not all in the same monster, of course) two wizards might be fine, unless they prepared the wrong spells and can't deal with one of those. Of course, the two wizards would be burning a lot of spells that target a particular weakness like low Will on each monster that had that weakness, and if they encounter a lot of those......... well. A wizard/fighter combo could have the wizard incapacitating and the fighter mopping up. That would use a lot less spells. I think they'd last longer, even considering that two wizards have twice as many spells.

If somebody could run the math on that situation, that would be great. I'd do it, in fact I probably will, but I don't have the time to do it before I have to go to bed.

cupkeyk
2007-02-25, 11:46 PM
There is nothing stopping the wizard from carrying a scythe...

ShadowYRM
2007-02-26, 12:21 AM
Does anyone play D&D from levels one or two and slowly make their way into the more powerful levels?

The so-called "super-classes" (except Druids which are good from L1 to L20) have weak spots in the early levels and wizards SHOULD be struggling to pay for their spell book entries and space while maintaining enough of a share of gold to buy some items.

In any case, a simple spell like Mirror Image or Displacement allows even a slow moving tank to stay near a wizard and beat the crap out of anything that attacks the wizard.

In our campaigns, it may take a year or two of real-life time to break into the teen levels, and that's a long time of gaming without worrying about "unbeatable high-level spell combos". Epic level casters are generally rare, usually NPCs, and if a PC manages a supremely high level of abuse, an equally powerful enemy can prepare a variety of attacks to take the caster with his guard down (even getting past contingencies and the like).

But in the process of actually playing the game to reach high levels, the melee classes can have a lot of fun and usefulness.

There are many ways for a "tank" to increase speed and manueverability. A simple 750gp potion can grant flight and increase movement speed.

At high levels, Greater Dispel Magic and Anti Magic Field set up ways for the tank to have a greater role (though granted, at higher levels, the party needs a balance of strong magic). Wizards and Clerics can even counterspell each other to set up a tank to finish the job. It's unexpected at times, and good teamwork.

There are fewer and fewer new spells being written in new books that bypass all defenses. Worst case, a DM could consider banning a few spells at high levels or making them rare to learn if a person really feels that melee classes are useless. We don't feel that there is a useless class in the game... (well, except maybe the Samurai)

But seriously, what are people doing in the months and months and months of playing before their wizard gains a Dimensional Anchor + Forcecage combo that makes all the other melee players at their table useless?

Stevenson
2007-02-26, 12:24 AM
Okay, yes. Tanks are nice. Neccesary, no. Nothing is neccesary in any group. You can have a group of all tanks and it would work quite nicely, so long as everyone had a knife made of silver and cold iron and such.

However, there's something else. If an armored guy smacks you for, say, 1d6 damage, the monster gets angry, rears and attacks. It pays no heed to other things, it wants to attack the thing that crushed it's body with a mace.


Until.

A rather sillily dressed person standing farther away seems to have shot the monster with a lightning bolt. That hurts a tad bit more than a mace. It proceeds to ignore the measly threat, and rends the puny lightning thrower.

The tank proceeds to shred the monster.


Several GP later, the party is complete again.

Renegade Paladin
2007-02-26, 03:46 AM
I do actually start at low levels. I'm running a campaign right now and it's the first time any of my players have actually gotten from first all the way to 16th, and they'll probably make it to twenty.

Yami
2007-02-26, 07:22 AM
Honestly in my games, everyone tends to create thier characters with the need to 'tank' in mind, we just have a tendancy to work towards the offensive more than the defensive. Sure a fighter can have nice armour and a shiney axe, but the cleric grabs some heavy plate and a shield as well as his holy might, the thief works his ac high with dex and some potions while he gets ready for the backstabbidry, and the mage makes sure he's got his essentail buffs already up and the rest ready. Sure, his hp is low, but that's why he keeps the good buff for himself. And yes, should the party get ambushed, things can get bad, but that's true for everyone.

Well, I suppose my usual gaming group is not the best advocate for 'normal party interaction.' Getting nystal's magic aura as soon as possible just so you can seed the loot with false treasure is amusing, but not the sort of thing that thought out 'tactics' and 'teamwork' is made of.

But the idea of acting as meatshield, is indeed rather passe and not one enjoyed. It is in fact something generally unnessisary, in my experience. Sadly, my 'tanks' do not sit in front of the mage, making sure that nothing tries to grapple his mirror images, they chage in; the spell slinger can hold his own. But then I must admit I enjoy playing the barbarian types the most, full well knowing that I choose the underpowered classes. I even choose to play sorcerors with nearly half of thier spells being damage.

I have a bad habit of trying to roleplay too much, and I tend to let it seep into my D&D games. Fortuantely my regular group lets it slide. ^_^

Titanium Dragon
2007-02-28, 11:15 AM
Let's say you're a monster. You see a group of people, three of which are either lightly armed or completely unarmed. When you decide to have a snack, the one carrying the greataxe hefts his weapon, goes absolutely nuts, and runs at you in a screaming blood frenzy. He then buries that gigantic chunk of sharpened steel into your shoulder. What do you do?

If I was a random monster out for food, I’d either eat them all, or run away, depending on whether I thought I could kill them. If the Barbarian or whatever seems to be the most dangerous, I’ll eat him first; if not, I’ll eat the unarmored person (possibly grabbing them and running off with them, if I’m fast enough).

Depending on intelligence and threat-assessment capabilities, I may or may not go after the clothies first. If I think I can take them out in one round of combat, and assume that everyone in the group is a relatively equal threat, then I’m going to kill the person who is easiest to kill first. As this is almost invariably a spell-caster, if I can get to them, I’m going to kill them or at least render them incapable of casting spells. This is why tanks are important – they can eat this initial barrage the best of anyone. The problem is, of course, that the cloth people may just outright die, and only the tanks are left alive. This actually has happened at times – the mages and rogues all died, but the clerics and fighters survived, simply because whatever they were fighting was capable of dealing damage to the lower HP characters, be it via spells, explosives, projectiles, or just getting to them.

I would argue that a reasonably intelligent enemy with the capability to do so will always try and kill the mages first. However, there are many factors at play here:

1) Not all enemies are reasonably intelligent or know the magic-users are magic-users or dangerous (unlikely, even for less intelligent creatures; if you follow the wealth by level guidelines, everyone has seen a wizard. They have to pretty much be animals for this to apply, though disguises may fool some people).
2) The tanks may be capable of stopping them from getting through. Be it trips, grapples, or just dealing too much damage to ignore their AoOs, you can’t get there.
3) Projectiles nullify tanks admirably if you have flight capabilities (which can also mess with them) or the ability to ignore the body shields.

Now, one could possibly play in a campaign where the casters are constantly targeted as they should be, but I doubt this would be much fun. Pretty much every battle would boil down to the wizards coming close to or actually dying if you were slow on the draw. I doubt many people would enjoy that much.


Except, of course, I'm... not wrong. I'm talking about things that happen in play. Melee classes DO have mobility problems. They ARE easily disabled. They ARE often matched or outmatched at melee by monsters, barring highly optimized builds. Spellcasters are devastatingly effective if played "right". You can make an optimized melee character that will contribute for a long time, but around level 15, those contributions start dropping sharply. By the time you get to Balors, or whenever you're dealing with dragons, or othe such monsters... it's plenty noticeable.

It depends on how twinked your character is. I’d argue that up through 20th level, it is quite easy to twink a warrior-type character to be as or more effective than a spellcaster. You need to be able to fly, but that’s hardly a barrier – its not like it is harder to get a magic item capable of giving you this ability than it is to get a Wish spell. In fact, I’d say the most twinked-out character I’ve ever made had not a single caster level to him, and was the most devastating character in combat of my 15th level party, capable of basically acting as an AOE spell every single round. Admittedly he was a twink that was probably unworkable from level one – he had numerous effective character levels from being a half dragon half giant anthropomorphic boa constrictor, but between his paladin, monk, and fighter levels and numerous twinky magical items he was quite the devastating combat machine.

Once you go into epic levels you’re outside of the scope of the system, and the system doesn’t work right anymore.


I haven't run a campaign all the way from first to twentieth. I've played in a number (although usually not quite starting at *first*, because first level is such a pain.

The thing is that a lot of twinkiness can be prevented by having people start out at very low level, because a lot of “twink” builds require bizarre early levels that leave them vulnerable. A first level caster, for instance, is much weaker than a first level fighter, a trend that continues for some way.


Again, poor (more like nonexistent) roleplay on the part of the monster/DM. (Assumption: the creature being attacked is capable of experiencing pain). There is a way to roleplay wrong, and you've just demonstrated it.

An intelligent monster should do exactly that. Even a less intelligent monster will either immediately flee, or do the above. Unless they think they can eat the tin can, they’re going to go for the easiest meal possible.

Besides, we all know caster classes are the tastiest party members. Fighters are way too stringy.

In terms of feats for optimizing a tank, you can definitely take some feats to stop opponents from getting past you. Large and In Charge certainly can stop people in their tracks, though you have to be large to take it.


I certainly concede those points. However, I have to mention that actual pain right now will tend to override thoughts to preventing greater pain later in short term scenarios (like typical D&D combat). Long-term scenarios (such as prolonged torture) are a whole different story.

That’s not really true though, especially among trained combatants, who often deal with pain or some bad situation even though it sucks because they know they’re going to be in worse shape if they –don’t- do what is necessary.


On Monday, we're going to start the session by fighting a red dragon (we're defending a town that's being invaded). Its CR is definitely above our ECL. I could take it on alone (Ray of Clumsiness/Ray of Exhaustion from invisibility). I probably won't do that (like I said, I'm toning things down now that I'm not the *only* effective character in the party and we've got more than three people)... but I can bet you I'll contribute more than the meleers, who will be busy not getting full attacked.

This really indicates that the DM is not playing the dragon right more than anything else. Dragons are extremely good at dealing with wizards, and an intelligent dragon will use its breath weapon to pretty much waste you. It should not land and fight, it should just make strafing runs and roast you all with its AoE breath weapon. This is actually one of the major weaknesses of wizards, IMO: AoE effects capable of dealing large quantities of damage, particularly enacted by enemies capable of moving 300 feet per round, are just not something a caster is going to be happy about. If you can’t force a dragon onto the ground, and don’t have some way of moving 120 feet in a round, you’re going to have a really, really hard time beating a properly played dragon which is taking full advantage of the system. Their blindsense certainly doesn’t help, not to mention their spellcasting capabilities (though, given it is a young adult most likely, it isn’t –that- bad). Even a young adult red dragon deals 55 damage on average with its breath weapon per pass, and even assuming you make your saving throw (which, with its DC 24 Reflex save, is far from assured) you’re still taking a lot of damage and will go down after a couple passes.

Your ray spells have a range of 45 feet. A huge dragon has a cone breath weapon range of 50 feet. This is to say, by the time they’re in range of your ray spell, they can breath weapon you.

Not to mention that the dragon could simply crush you, pinning you and making it exceedingly difficult for you to cast spells, while dealing 2d8 + 1.5 strength/round to you. This isn’t always a good strategy, but it can be sometimes, particularly if you have the HP to eat the blows the other characters lay on you while you squish the wizard. Its not like you’re going to ever succeed on the grapple check. Worse, it might even be able to snatch you, grappling you and carrying you off while squeezing you to death with its claws. Even if it just uses one claw to grapple you, you still have pretty much no chance of escaping.

Of course, this isn’t just a weakness of the wizard class – most classes aren’t going to be exactly –happy- that they’re fighting a creature which they pretty much can never engage in close combat unless it is to that creature’s advantage. But wizards are much squishier, and thus more vulnerable to the strafing run strategy of doom.

A lot of the “strength” of wizards comes from the DM not running monsters properly. If the characters are fighting optimally under the rules, then the DM needs to have the monsters do the same or else they simply won’t be a challenge. Not only monsters, but entire adventures; if you have some annoying encounter early on which can be solved without any other party member using any resources, but the wizard has to use three AoE spells to solve, then that’s three less AoE spells the party can use later on. A mage able to get around the fact that he has limited uses of spells per day on a continual basis will be stronger than anyone else, simply because his spells are stronger. The more you have to manage your resources effectively, the more this strength becomes moderated.

Stealthy monsters are also vastly underrated. I swear, I’m the only DM I’ve ever played with who has as many monsters ambush the party. Jaguar? Its hiding. Spider? Its hiding. Gnolls? They’re on watch, hiding. If the enemies are after the characters, or on guard, or are just out hunting, they’re hiding. You’d be amazed how big a difference this makes.


(How does a poorly built fighter do anything at all against a balor or dragon, anyway?)

Mostly, they shoot arrows at them. Not that this is a terribly effective strategy.

Of course, a poorly built anything is going to be screwed against those if they’re played optimally, simply because the ability to fly hundreds of feet per round and use AOE spells to rip the party up is so powerful. If you can’t force them to fight on your terms, those enemies are pretty much unbeatable unless you have characters who are optimized ranged fighters.


Against a Rakshasa, in a core-only game, I'd use Black Tentacles (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/blackTentacles.htm). No SR. Or Solid Fog (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/solidFog.htm), no SR, to trap it for a few rounds. In those rounds, I'd slap Haste, Enlarge person, and/or other buffs on my party. In other words, a level 7 wizard functions just fine against a CR 10 Rakshasa. A level 10 wizard can use Orb of X spells (no SR) if it's not a core game, or drop both Black Tentacles AND Solid Fog, not to mention dispel the thing. What's the Rakshasa gonna do? Try to get a Suggestion past the caster's will save? No, it'll go for the fighter... who won't be doing too much damage, thanks to the Rakshasa's DR.

Well, the Rakshasa should be trying to sneak up on you, then get your tank to squish you via magic. Acid Arrow could be effective as well.

Though, in all honesty, a Rakshasa, like all spellcasters, if alone, is going to get owned by any party because they are clothies themselves, and without protection they’re going down fast. Even a high level lich is vulnerable to this; I remember one of the campaigns I was in last year we fought with an extremely powerful, high level lich who lasted all of three rounds because he was by himself and got overwhelmed. And he had time to use his buff spells on himself, and set up his room so we’d get nailed repeatedly. It just didn’t matter, though I almost died from one of his spells which took me from 50 hp to about 4.


...okay. But how many encounters are there in a day? There are "supposed" to be about four. Often, there are much fewer. Sometimes, there are more, but how many more? Six? Eight? Ten? I've never been in a game where there were ten encounters a day. Or even eight. In that sort of environment, yes, characters that expend resources per encounter.
It isn't, however, as though "lots of weak mooks" is ever a problem. The cleric can clean them up *nearly* as well as the fighter without using any spells, and the difference doesn't actually matter, because what are those mooks going to do?


Here’s the problem. The game assumes that, at low levels, you’re doing about 4-5 encounters between rests. At high levels, its more like 15. Does anyone actually do this? I don’t know. But I’ll tell you it makes a massive difference. Indeed, it is noted in the DMG that higher level characters level slower because they fight more encounters below their level.

One of the campaigns I was in was level 10+, and I was playing a sorcerer. I was not the most powerful character in the party, but I was extremely necessary. However, on a regular basis I’d be stuck casting a half dozen spells just so we could deal with a given encounter. For instance, at one point we got in an airship battle. I had to cast fly on half the characters in the party so we could go over and take out the enemy airship. I had to use fireballs to take out the stupid flying things which were owning our airship, then more AoE spells to clean out the enemy airship. I still had a handful of spells left after the battle, but the very nature of the battle was requiring me to burn up massive quantities of spells just so we didn’t get overwhelmed by swarms of enemies.

Another time we had to destroy an enemy encampment. We had to fight probably a hundred enemies, which meant that I almost ran out of spells. We could win these fights, but they were exhausting because they were designed correctly. Enemies with ranged weapons, enemies with AoE effects, enemies with SR, and enemies which simply sucked but were numerous were the rule of the day. I couldn’t spend my spells taking out the sucky enemies, which the meat could take out in a few rounds, and instead had to save them to try and deal with the more problematic foes, the big guys (or, lord forbid, the ones who were entirely immune to most spells, were mindless, and had lots of HP).

My AC was in the 30s and 40s, but it still wasn’t good enough against the nasty guys. I had to use spells to keep them off me, or to enable the tanks to skip the mooks and just kill the big bad guys. They would always make a beeline for the caster (me) or my fellow squishy, the marksman who had a higher average DPR than I did (he’d do 80+ damage every round on a regular basis at 13th level, though his ability to do so was definitely anything but core), once they figured out we were dangerous and trying to kill the tanks was fruitless (my sorcerer wore armor and had a halberd, so looked somewhat fighterish, though on the downside it didn’t take too long for my meager AC to keep me out of combat indefinitely). And when you have squads of demons bearing down on you, with maybe sixty demons coming after you, things start getting ugly, especially if they’re smart enough to spread out so its difficult for me to AoE them – and I don’t just mean fireballs, though my character did love his elemental damage.


1st level: 2x Ray of Enfeeblement, Ray of Clumsiness, Grease, Nerveskitter, Mage Armor, True Strike
2nd level: 3x Glitterdust (and I've got a wand of Web we found), Mirror Image, See Invisibility, Heart of Air
3rd level: 2x Slow (I scribed some scrolls of Haste), Dispel Magic, Heart of Water, Unluck
4th level: Orb of Force, Confusion, Black Tentacles, Extended Unluck (I've got two scrolls of Solid Fog made)
5th level: Telepathic Bond (to help the city's military leaders communicate with each other and with us), Overland Flight, Baleful Polymorph (in case of enemy rogue-types).

So what happens if you get snuck up on? Or does someone in the party have a very high spot check? It seems like a lot of your spells are optimized for you having time to set up.


How are the spell selections I described *abusing* the spell system?

I would argue that, to a greater or lesser degree, certain spells are abusive. Most no-save, no-SR spells, for instance, are probably in the end problematic. Not that every class can’t do something problematic, but I’d say in particular those are the ones which tend to cause the most trouble. Note that Polymorph falls into this category as well; the enemy cannot stop it outside of dispelling it.


More to the point, if it's so easy to abuse the spell system--all it takes is memorizing debuffing and battlefield control spells, apparently, not even Polymorph!--then isn't there something wrong with the spell system? Couldn't one say that it, and the classes that use it, are, in fact, overpowered?

The main issue is that of scaling. A fighter’s power is much more linear than a wizard’s. A wizard starts out much worse than a fighter, then rises exponentially in power; a fighter just rises steadily. Perhaps if there were more feats to enable getting around such things, and if a fighter got a bonus feat every level, it’d be a bit fairer, as then he could raise his saves massively and do all sorts of other shenanigans with longer skill chains. But they can’t because they don’t.

The secondary issue is, as I mentioned before, spells which have no save/SR. If your opponent cannot stop it, and it directly impacts them, that’s a problem because you can do something that they cannot stop (outside of preventing it in the first place, or a rare few things such as the Tempest Breath feat for dragons). The other issue is that only seldom are monsters given such powers; if, for instance, a lot of high level monsters could do the same to the party wizard, it would severely impair the wizard.


The wizard has no problems in being highly effective against the Rakshasa, a monster specifically designed to challenge casters more than fighters. Meanwhile, the Fighter is likely to fall to its Suggestion (and god forbid the DM choose Fly or Alter Self as one of its spells).

In general, I’ve found that magic-resistant foes (either via SR or elemental resistance or high saves or what have you) make for much more interesting parties. For instance, if most of your damage spells are ineffective, you do need a fighter or similar who can do the mundane whack them thing. Sure, you’re helping them…

But in reality, the classes best suited for “Oops, I’m just gonna do this by myself” are not wizards. They’re clerics and druids. They can melee, and they can throw spells around. Wizards are vulnerable to combat as much as a rashaka is, and for much the same reasons.


Evidently hes patently unaware of all the other saveless that exist. Maze, Scintillating Pattern (although this one could backfire), Waves of Exhaustion, Forcecage, Cloudkill (plus Forcecage is a killer, as long as you drop a Dimensional Anchor first) and those are just core, and not all of them from there.

Maze doesn’t allow a save per se, but a DC 20 intelligence check is a save of sorts, and in any event, it does allow SR (though, admittedly, SR is poor defense unless you’ve got an SR of wizard level +15 or so). It also keeps –them- safe, and they can choose just to hang out in extradimensional space for ten minutes if they want to and hope you spent your buff spells while they were gone, and then pop back in after half your spells have expired (though, obviously, this doesn’t work in a group). Its good for taking out a single problematic enemy from a group, but bad against a single enemy. Scintillating Pattern lets you nullify the weakest enemies, and is completely useless against any enemy who has more HD than you do, and worse still, if you don’t know they have more HD than you do, you can potentially screw up one of your allies. It also allows SR. IMO there are better spells at the same level which are far more effective. Waves of Exhaustion IS very powerful, though it only works against creatures which are capable of being exhausted and allows SR. Even so, it is nasty. Waves of Fatigue does much the same thing at 5th level, though obviously it is weaker. Cloudkill is good sometimes, but also can be nearly useless – a flying enemy, for instance, is not in any real danger from it. Its motion also doesn’t help, though it can be devastating in-doors. Forcecage is stupidly powerful against any enemy who cannot escape the cage and who doesn’t have the ability to deal large amounts of damage through it, though it isn’t always effective.


I'm aware of them. Not a one of them actually eliminates an opponent; temporary removes, perhaps, but when the spell expires, the enemy is still there able to act and damage you. And some of those aren't even that effective.

That’s not really true. Forcecage is pretty much “you’re gone”, though as I noted it isn’t effective against every enemy – enemies whose ranged attacks are what you have to worry about, for instance, you have to cage with the solid walls, which means you’re going to have a hard time hurting them.

And even Solid Fog is really, really annoying, though it is worth noting that anything under the influence of a Freedom of Movement spell is utterly immune to it, and many/most high level foes are going to have access and, if they expect to run into such, will be prepared, one of many reasons Solid Fog is not nearly as effective against dragons as it seems like it would be.


Don't count his magical bonuses, as the Rogue will likely enjoy the same number. You need to build an actual Rogue and Fighter and compare them with and without Flanking to make this argument. It has been done a number of times and the Two Weapon Fighting Rogue 20 tends to make a mockery of the Fighter in Flanking situations..

They do, though there is the minor issue that a rogue has a realistic chance to miss with his primary attack because his attack bonus is as much as 10 lower. Rogues are almost always better DPRs though, though on the downside they are much squishier and are at a severe disadvantage against constructs and undead, and are much more vulnerable to being grappled.


Those young inexperianced Wizards just love rolling those buckets of D6, no matter how ineffective they may be.

The point is that that is the way that most people play. If you aren’t used to utter optimization, there’s a huge difference in how things are in various people’s games. It also is somewhat GM dependent; some GMs reward using the fireball spell a lot more than others.


The so-called "super-classes" (except Druids which are good from L1 to L20) have weak spots in the early levels and wizards SHOULD be struggling to pay for their spell book entries and space while maintaining enough of a share of gold to buy some items.

That’s not really true. Both Clerics and Druids are strong from the get-go, and are pretty much the strongest classes due to their huge versatility and lack of weaknesses. However, it is true that Wizards and Sorcerers are horrid at low levels; a level 1 Wizard is the most useless party member 100% of the time, because he can’t get into combat, can’t heal, and can’t deal more than a marginal amount of damage.

However, beyond few people doing the 1-20 thing anymore, there’s also the issue that you generally don’t let the low level wizard bite it. If you let the enemies fight optimally from level one, forced characters to always start from level one, and the like, then yes, there’s going to be precious few high level wizards. However, very few DMs are that mean, and a lot of players simply would not play in such a campaign.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-28, 01:46 PM
It depends on how twinked your character is. I’d argue that up through 20th level, it is quite easy to twink a warrior-type character to be as or more effective than a spellcaster.
Than a poorly played spellcaster? Maybe. A well-played spellcaster? No. Just.. no. You'll still be limited to moving up to things and hitting them. The spellcaster... well, even if he's just a Wizard 20, his options are myriad and his defenses are nearly insurmountable.


You need to be able to fly, but that’s hardly a barrier – its not like it is harder to get a magic item capable of giving you this ability than it is to get a Wish spell. In fact, I’d say the most twinked-out character I’ve ever made had not a single caster level to him, and was the most devastating character in combat of my 15th level party, capable of basically acting as an AOE spell every single round. Admittedly he was a twink that was probably unworkable from level one – he had numerous effective character levels from being a half dragon half giant anthropomorphic boa constrictor, but between his paladin, monk, and fighter levels and numerous twinky magical items he was quite the devastating combat machine.That doesn't sound optimized, frankly. Anthropomorphic = cheese, but half-dragon isn't generally a good idea. It also doesn't sound like he'd have a lot of options. "Acting like an AoE spell every round" is all well and good, but there a reason good wizards don't drop AoE damage spells.


Once you go into epic levels you’re outside of the scope of the system, and the system doesn’t work right anymore.


The thing is that a lot of twinkiness can be prevented by having people start out at very low level, because a lot of “twink” builds require bizarre early levels that leave them vulnerable. A first level caster, for instance, is much weaker than a first level fighter, a trend that continues for some way.
Most twinky builds are workable. It miught be tough for a couple levels, but you'd survive.
And, c'mon. A first-level caster has two or three Sleeps and a Color Spray; that's far from useless. Druids r0x0r level 1; a war-trained riding dog with barding is tougher than the party fighter, and they've got Entangle. A cleric... at level 1, they're pretty much indispensible. They can fight almost as well as the fighter (they're just 1 AB and a feat down), and cast Bless and the like, not to mention keeping people from dying.


In terms of feats for optimizing a tank, you can definitely take some feats to stop opponents from getting past you. Large and In Charge certainly can stop people in their tracks, though you have to be large to take it.Yeah--Combat Reflexes plus Stand Still and Improved Trip, etc. Battlefield control fighters are the best fighters. It's still hard to keep people focused on you.



This really indicates that the DM is not playing the dragon right more than anything else. Dragons are extremely good at dealing with wizards, and an intelligent dragon will use its breath weapon to pretty much waste you. It should not land and fight, it should just make strafing runs and roast you all with its AoE breath weapon. This is actually one of the major weaknesses of wizards, IMO: AoE effects capable of dealing large quantities of damage, particularly enacted by enemies capable of moving 300 feet per round, are just not something a caster is going to be happy about. With Flyby Attack, a dragon can take one move action; it should have a 150' move speed. It won't start right next to us; that means it won't be THAT far away.
I'm not unprerpared for the breath weapon; we've got Mass Resist Energy(Fire) up.
(We skipped game this week, incidentally.) The dragon's Large, not Huge, so he can't be more than Juvenile; an 8d10 breath weapon is 44 average damage. It'll be painful, but I've got a high CON, and I can survive taking 14 damage for a few rounds (more on some, less on others).


If you can’t force a dragon onto the ground, and don’t have some way of moving 120 feet in a round, you’re going to have a really, really hard time beating a properly played dragon which is taking full advantage of the system. Their blindsense certainly doesn’t help, not to mention their spellcasting capabilities (though, given it is a young adult most likely, it isn’t –that- bad). Even a young adult red dragon deals 55 damage on average with its breath weapon per pass, and even assuming you make your saving throw (which, with its DC 24 Reflex save, is far from assured) you’re still taking a lot of damage and will go down after a couple passes.Blindsense doesn't help me, but Greater Invis will still make attacking me in melee 50% likely to miss. It's going to be a Juvenile, not a Huge young adult.


Your ray spells have a range of 45 feet. A huge dragon has a cone breath weapon range of 50 feet. This is to say, by the time they’re in range of your ray spell, they can breath weapon you.They certainly can. But I can take it for four rounds or so; meanwhile, I can disable a dragon with two rays, if I'm feeling cheesy. I've also got medium-range spells I can use.


Not to mention that the dragon could simply crush you, pinning you and making it exceedingly difficult for you to cast spells, while dealing 2d8 + 1.5 strength/round to you. This isn’t always a good strategy, but it can be sometimes, particularly if you have the HP to eat the blows the other characters lay on you while you squish the wizard. Its not like you’re going to ever succeed on the grapple check. Worse, it might even be able to snatch you, grappling you and carrying you off while squeezing you to death with its claws. Even if it just uses one claw to grapple you, you still have pretty much no chance of escaping.I've got Heart of Air cast; I can sacrifice it to produce a Freedom of Movement effect, which means he can't grapple me. If I didn't, I'd've asked the clerci for a Freedom of Movement, or bought him a scroll to use on me if necessary.


Of course, this isn’t just a weakness of the wizard class – most classes aren’t going to be exactly –happy- that they’re fighting a creature which they pretty much can never engage in close combat unless it is to that creature’s advantage. But wizards are much squishier, and thus more vulnerable to the strafing run strategy of doom.Wizards have the advantage of 1) being able to cover their bases, and 2) being able to strike back. I figure it'll have a 50%-or-so chance of failing saves vs. Slow, Unluck, that sort of thing. Slow alone will put a major crimp in its style; it won't be able to do anything but fly when it flies anymore.


A lot of the “strength” of wizards comes from the DM not running monsters properly. If the characters are fighting optimally under the rules, then the DM needs to have the monsters do the same or else they simply won’t be a challenge. Not only monsters, but entire adventures; if you have some annoying encounter early on which can be solved without any other party member using any resources, but the wizard has to use three AoE spells to solve, then that’s three less AoE spells the party can use later on. A mage able to get around the fact that he has limited uses of spells per day on a continual basis will be stronger than anyone else, simply because his spells are stronger. The more you have to manage your resources effectively, the more this strength becomes moderated.Wizards are better off about monsters fighting optimally than most other classes, I'd say. They cover their weaknesses and then debilitate and destroy.


Stealthy monsters are also vastly underrated. I swear, I’m the only DM I’ve ever played with who has as many monsters ambush the party. Jaguar? Its hiding. Spider? Its hiding. Gnolls? They’re on watch, hiding. If the enemies are after the characters, or on guard, or are just out hunting, they’re hiding. You’d be amazed how big a difference this makes.Well, that's what scouts are for. Not to mention that I'm probably invisible, and/or hiding (Whisper Gnome--I've got a very solid Hide/Move Silently check).


Mostly, they shoot arrows at them. Not that this is a terribly effective strategy.


Of course, a poorly built anything is going to be screwed against those if they’re played optimally, simply because the ability to fly hundreds of feet per round and use AOE spells to rip the party up is so powerful. If you can’t force them to fight on your terms, those enemies are pretty much unbeatable unless you have characters who are optimized ranged fighters.Exactly. Fighters can't force enemies to fight on their terms. Spellcasters can and do.


Well, the Rakshasa should be trying to sneak up on you, then get your tank to squish you via magic. Acid Arrow could be effective as well.And we should be keeping an eye out. Rakshasas aren't exactly optimized more speaking. Barring that, the tank can't squish me, Suggestion or not, because I'm flying.


Though, in all honesty, a Rakshasa, like all spellcasters, if alone, is going to get owned by any party because they are clothies themselves, and without protection they’re going down fast. Even a high level lich is vulnerable to this; I remember one of the campaigns I was in last year we fought with an extremely powerful, high level lich who lasted all of three rounds because he was by himself and got overwhelmed. And he had time to use his buff spells on himself, and set up his room so we’d get nailed repeatedly. It just didn’t matter, though I almost died from one of his spells which took me from 50 hp to about 4.Rakshasas DO have DR 15/not likely to counteract this. And the Outsider's full BAB and d8.


Here’s the problem. The game assumes that, at low levels, you’re doing about 4-5 encounters between rests. At high levels, its more like 15. Does anyone actually do this? I don’t know. But I’ll tell you it makes a massive difference. Indeed, it is noted in the DMG that higher level characters level slower because they fight more encounters below their level.Um, no. At low levels, you're doing about 4. At high levels... you're still doing about 4. Four Encounters a Day is the D&D Gold Standard. The "fight more encounters below their level" thing refers to the fact that you'll just plain have more EL < your ECL encounters, because your ECL is higher, so more enemies fall into that category. Nowhere does it suggest 15 encounters a day. Furthermore, at high levels, the PCs--well, the spellcasters--are very good at controlling who they fight and when, via a number of already-mentioned spells.


So what happens if you get snuck up on? Or does someone in the party have a very high spot check? It seems like a lot of your spells are optimized for you having time to set up.I have very few short-term buffs. Most of my spells are either cast in the morning or offensive/control spells ready to go. If we get snuck up on, I'm the safest person in the party thanks to Overland Fight; I can survive a few arrows without a problem, and I can react right away with something like Black Tentacles or Solid Fog.


I would argue that, to a greater or lesser degree, certain spells are abusive. Most no-save, no-SR spells, for instance, are probably in the end problematic. Not that every class can’t do something problematic, but I’d say in particular those are the ones which tend to cause the most trouble. Note that Polymorph falls into this category as well; the enemy cannot stop it outside of dispelling it.Yeah, but which spells? How do you determine that? If you put a list together, it's gonna be a mile long.


The main issue is that of scaling. A fighter’s power is much more linear than a wizard’s. A wizard starts out much worse than a fighter, then rises exponentially in power; a fighter just rises steadily. Perhaps if there were more feats to enable getting around such things, and if a fighter got a bonus feat every level, it’d be a bit fairer, as then he could raise his saves massively and do all sorts of other shenanigans with longer skill chains. But they can’t because they don’t.A feat every level wouldn't save the fighter. They can *already* take all the best feats in D&D, pretty much. They need to be able to do things they just can't, currently (and I like to think I addressed that with my fix).


The secondary issue is, as I mentioned before, spells which have no save/SR. If your opponent cannot stop it, and it directly impacts them, that’s a problem because you can do something that they cannot stop (outside of preventing it in the first place, or a rare few things such as the Tempest Breath feat for dragons). The other issue is that only seldom are monsters given such powers; if, for instance, a lot of high level monsters could do the same to the party wizard, it would severely impair the wizard.
Spells with save and SR targeting weak saves are still very, very effective.
The party wizard is likely to do better against monsters that can do that sort of stuff, though. He's got magic to defend against it. Krusk and Regdar don't.


That’s not really true. Both Clerics and Druids are strong from the get-go, and are pretty much the strongest classes due to their huge versatility and lack of weaknesses. However, it is true that Wizards and Sorcerers are horrid at low levels; a level 1 Wizard is the most useless party member 100% of the time, because he can’t get into combat, can’t heal, and can’t deal more than a marginal amount of damage.A level 1 wizard can KO enemies entirely with Sleep, turning otherwise-lethal encounters into cakewalks. Oh, he's no Batman yet, but he can be quite effective.
(Three or four times a day.)

Morty
2007-02-28, 02:10 PM
One question about Solid Fog:
how do you do anything to enemy while he's in Soild Fog? You can't see him, so the fog is hindering you just as it's hindering you. Not that I'm going to ever use that, as battlefield control spells make me sick and I don't care how useful they may be, I'm just curious. It's a matter of taste, but I think that using debuffs and damage is much more fun than using buffs and, especially battlefield control- so I don't use many buffs(only Bull's Strenght for ranger, I'm still wondering about Haste) and no battlefield control spells.
BTW, I think that all no-SR and no-save spells should be thrown away or altered so they allow save- with possible exceptions like maybe orb spells, but they should be conjuration instead.

Bears With Lasers
2007-02-28, 02:17 PM
M0rt: Solid Fog isn't about doing stuff to the enemy (although it's certainly possible: other AoEs can be tossed into the fog) as much as it is confining his movements, controlling the battlefield, and buying yourself time. The most straightforward use is to just toss it over one or two of the enemies when you're fighting two or several; it'll take them out of the fight for four rounds or so, by which point you'll have dealt with their friends and be ready to jump them as soon as they get out.

Morty
2007-02-28, 02:21 PM
Hm. Now I know, then, thanks. Again, I'm not going to use it, the whole idea of wizard defeating his opponents by walls and clouds may be fun to some people, but not for me.