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nonsi
2016-06-06, 06:35 AM
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Now that my 3.5 overhaul project is done (or just about), I was thinking of addressing 3.5 fix from the opposite direction.
I want to see if a reasonable fix could be achieved with a few restrictions and banning, and a relatively small set of houserules and homebrew materials.
The goal is to "level the playing field", taking away as little as possible from the entire set of official 3.5 materials, and to change as little as possible.






Base classes:
- Martial Characters: Use ToB modified as detailed here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?531686-A-relatively-simple-fix-for-martials-%96-using-ToB).
- Bard: take the PF Bard
- Cleric: Use Cloistered Cleric. Clerics are spontaneous casters and use the CDiv Favored Soul's Spells Known table.
- Druid: The PHB2 Shapeshfit ACF for the Druid helps toning it down a notch. Druids are spontaneous spellcasters (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/spontaneousDivineCasters.htm). Animal Companion feature follows all the rules given for Wild Cohort (http://archive.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/re/20031118a).
- Paladin: take the PF Paladin. Replace Channel Positive Energy with Turn Undead (for 3.5e consistency). The benefits detailed for Battle Blessing feat are inherently a characteristic of Paladin spellcasting.
- Ranger: take the PF Ranger; combine the Wild Shape (UA) and Trap Expert (Ds) variants. Add Tumble as class skill (Legolas, duh). Trap Expert says that you gain Trapfinding and Disable Device as class skills instead of Track and Swift Tracker.
- Rogue: take the PF Unchained Rogue

Note: Classes always gain at least 4 skill points per level. Elevate for any class that gains less. The only exception is Int-based fullcasters (e.g. Wizard and Wu-Jen)

Using Official Classes to 'Cook' Balanced Classes:


Psychic Blade: Soulknife – Psychic Warrior Mesh:

Good Saving Throws: All.
Class Skills: take from both classes.
Psionics: As the official Psychic Warrior.
The class' "Special" Column: take all the Soulknife's class abilities with 3 changes:
1. Lower Multiple Throws from 17th to 9th.
2. At 17th, grant Ranged Blade Wind.
3. Add bonus feats at levels 1, 4, 8, 12, 16 and 20 (spreads more evenly with the Soulknife features than according to the Psychic Warrior's 8 feats, and is enough, given all the above).


Bladeweaver: Duskblade upgrade:

Specified here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?560895-Bladeweaver-Duskblade-Upgrade-(P-E-A-C-H)).





Banned/Tweaked PrCs:
- Apostle of Peace
- Blighter: this PrC is nonfunctional for PCs. Suggestion: use this one (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?281134-D-amp-D-PrC-A-better-Blighter-PEACH), or anything similar.
- Dweomerkeeper
- Earth Dreamer: to make this PrC acceptable, Earth Sight and Earth Glide each have a daily duration of 3 + Con-bonus minutes, usable in increments of one minute. Earth Sight may be activated using the same action taken to activate Earth Glide, allowing an earth dreamer to activate them both simultaneously.
- Frenzied Berserker
- Incantatrix: Incantatrix is acceptable, given the following changes: Instant Metamagic does not allow you to modify a spell if the total SL shift results in a SL that's higher than the highest SL you could normally cast. Improved Metamagic alleviates Instant Metamagic (e.g. you could insta-maximize Ball Lightning SC upon gaining this class ability).
- Initiate of the Seventh Fold Veil
- Hathran
- Planar Shepherd
- Shadowcraft Mage: this PrC is ok, provided that Shadow Illusion is applicable only to figment spells in their unmodified level (e.g. heighten Programmed Image cannot be used in conjunction with Shadow Illusion), and metamagic cannot be applied to effects generated by Shadow Illusion.
- Ur-Priest


Modified Feats & Feat Clarifications:
- Divine Metamagic: May be applied to metamagic feats of up to +3 SL modifier.
- Metamagic Reductions: Metamagic reductions are applied to the final adjustment total instead of per feat, and can never result in a negative modifier.


Banned Feats:
- Craft Contingent Spell
- Leadership - this feat is acceptable, provided that only NPC classes are used for cohorts.
- Linked Power
- Natural Spell
- Persistent Spell
- Precocious Apprentice
- Uncanny Forethought


Banned Psionic Powers:
- Synchronicity
- Bestow Power


Banned Items:
- Candles of Invocation
- Nightsticks - nightsticks are allowed if used for no other purpose than to actually turn undead.
- Thought Bottles
- All items that grant feats, skill ranks, skill tricks or class abilities (e.g. Ring of Evasion and Metamagic Rod).


Banned Spells:
- Celerity and derivatives
- Divine Power, Transformation: either ban both or deny spellcasting while Divine Power is in effect.
- Friendly Fire
- Glibness: somebody went a bit overboard on that one.
- Genesis: The game can do just fine w/o mortals being able to create realities.
- Love's Pain
- Rope Trick: Tearing a sustainable hole in the fabric of space to another dimension via a 2nd level spell. C'mon. 5th SL maybe. Maybe.
- Shivering Touch FB: Clerics can wreak havoc with it.
- All spells that grant/deprive feats, skill ranks, skill tricks or class abilities: spells don’t grant training of any sort.


Modified Spells:
- Explosive Runes: Only one set of runes explodes at a given time. The ambient smoke and flashes prevent the option of reading anything in the area for 1 round.
- Forcecage: This spell is modified so that it allows a Ref save to negate, but you must be able move out of the area of effect as an immediate action (you basically "ride the effect" just before the forcecage fully materializes around you).
- Gate: The option of "Calling Creatures" to fight for you is cancelled.
- Limited Wish is an 8th level spell.
- Minor/Major/True Creation: Can't create material costing more than [10gp * spell level * CL] with a single casting of the spell. Also, Acid, Alchemist's Fire, Poisons and similar materials (alchemical or otherwise) cannot be created via this spell.
- Miracle may only be cast by level-20 clerics w/ 23+ Wis.
- Polymorph: Use the PF version.
- Polymorph Any Object: You may polymorph living creatures into other living creatures, plants into other plants or objects into other objects. You cannot polymorph a target from one category into another. (Writer's note: not every Disney movie scene has to be a possibility in RPG). Maximum durations equal to 1 month / CL. The spell cannot increase a target creature's mental ability scores. If HD increase is intended, they cannot exceed the target's HD by more than 10, nor can they exceed the caster's CL by more than 5. If no HD increase is attempted, the caster's CL is not taken into account.
- Power Word _________: If your "Healthy" HP are above the spell's threshold but your injuries put your current HP below the threshold, you're entitled to a save to resist the effect.
- Protection From Arrows: This spell grants the caster a deflection bonus to AC vs. range weapons. This bonus is equal to the caster level for projectile weapons (sling stones, bows, crossbows), and 1/2 this value (round down) against thrown weapons such as spears. Giant-thrown rocks and siege weaponry are not affected by this spell.
- Shapechange: The ability to change into objects (including Constructs) is omitted. Furthermore, HD and CR cap = CL. Furthermore, you explicitly do not retain abilities of forms you shapechange out of.
- Solid Fog: Any creature attempting to move through it must make a DC 20 strength check. If successful, the creature can move up to half its speed in a straight line; if it moves less than its allowed distance, it may make another strength check to move in another direction. If unsuccessful, the creature can move 5' in any direction, ending its move action.
- Time Stop: Instead of hasting the Mage to ridiculous speed, this spell has an AoE of 40' radius sphere centered on the caster with no save (the effect doesn't move with the caster). This makes sense of some creatures (especially divine entities) being immune to TimeStop. While the effect is active, only personal range spells can be cast. This prevents abuse such as dropping a forcecage on someone and then filling their cell with lava.
- Transmute Rock to Mud: Any creature attempting to move through it must make a strength-check. For every 5 points by which the check result exceeds 10, the creature can move 5’ (up to a maximum of half its speed).
- Wail of the Banshee: This spell needs a massive trim. The AoE is modified to 15' cone that emanates from your mouth. Wail of the Banshee affects friend and foe alike
- Wall of Iron: As written, this spell will single-handedly make you rich and ruin local economies. Therefore, any part of the wall that's removed disappears.
- Waves of Exhaustion: Allows Fort save for Fatigues status rather than exhausted (unless a target is already fatigued, in which case no save is allowed).
- Wind Wall: Imposes only a -4 penalty to ranged attacks that go through it, like severe wind.
- Wish may only be studied and cast by level-20 wizards w/ 23+ Int.



Houserules:


5'-Step:
5'-Step can be taken either as a swift action or a move action.


Ability-Score Progression:
Characters add 1 point to one ability score at each level (including 1st).
You cannot increase the same ability twice in 2 consecutive levels, and you cannot push your racial ability-score limits (18 + racial ability-score-adjustment) faster than +1 per 4 class levels via level-progression alone.
This adheres to the notion that practice makes perfect, and serves as a decent compensation for a bad start and/or MAD. It also puts yet a greater impact on level progression vs. gear.
Special: Once per 6 character levels, a general feat can be used to raise one's ability score and ability limits by +1.


Caster-Level Boost:
No matter how, why, where, when or who - CL boosting is never ever cumulative. All CL boosting factors of all kinds overlap.
This rule takes care of many cases where exceedingly high CL breaks the game (e.g. Blasphemy spell)


Diplomacy:
Redefinition: http://www.thealexandrian.net/creati...diplomacy.html (http://www.thealexandrian.net/creations/advanced-rules/diplomacy.html)
Motivation: http://www.thealexandrian.net/creati...cy-design.html (http://www.thealexandrian.net/creations/advanced-rules/diplomacy-design.html)
Note: Diplomacy is ineffective in combat, unless you actually know something of relevance to your target that would make it pause and think.


Feats turned into combat options available for all:
PA: As per PF (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/power-attack-combat---final)
Weapon Finesse: Applicable automatically to all light & finesseable weapons you're proficient with.
Combat Expertise: As per PF (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/combat-expertise-combat). You may also do the exact opposite – which is to fight recklessly and trade AC for better hit chances.
Cleave: Whenever you fell an opponent and another opponent is within melee reach, you may follow-through your attack to the second opponent, using the same attack roll.


Favored Classes and Multiclassing:
There are no favored classes and no multiclassing XP penalties of any sort and for any reason!
It is long since time to throw away this extra baggage carried over to 3e from BECMI & AD&D.


Full Attack:
Full attack is a standard action (so, yes, move then full attack).


Gaze Attacks (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#gazeAttacks) and On-Sight influences:
Gaze attacks are once-per-round free actions that target a single creature. Gaze attacks are free actions that may be taken out-of-turn.
Some creatures passively influence creatures upon sight. When the effect is a negative morale-related condition, if multiple creatures are encountered at the same time, the check to resist is made only once, with a cumulative -1 penalty for each individual beyond the first.


High-Level Play and Magical Transportation:
Dungeons have an actual magical purpose (http://www.tgdmb.com/viewtopic.php?t=28547). By putting anything behind at least 40’ of solid, continuous material (like solid walls of dirt, stone, ice, or whatever, but not a forest of trees or rooms of furniture), the area is immune to unlimited-range or "longer than Long Range" spells like scry and transportation magic like teleport, greater teleport, the travel version of gate, and other effects. You can use these magics inside a dungeon, but you are also stopped by a 40’ solid, continuous material in a Line of Effect; this means you can use these effects inside a dungeon to bypass doors and walls, but entering and leaving the dungeon is a problem, and parts of the dungeon that have more than 40’ of material in the way between your position and the target of your effect will be effectively isolated from your position.
3' of lead or silver have the same effect.


Int Increment:
Apply extra skills from Int bonuses retroactively. It's only reasonable that someone who becomes more intelligent can learn new things, and otherwise, if you're making a character above first level, you'd have to go through all his levels to nail the end result.


Massive Damage:
Massive Damage is redefined as 50% of maximum health HP.
When subject to massive damage, a target needs to make a Fort save vs. DC = 10 +1/2 damage dealt.
- If the Save fails, the target is nauseated from the pain for 1d4 rounds.
- If the save succeeds, the target is sickened for 1d4 rounds.


PrCs and Spellcasting:
PrCs NEVER EVER advance spellcasting levels of other PrCs.


PrCs Improvements:
Use the following rules for condensing PrCs' dead levels (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?539572-Decreasing-Prestige-Class-Dead-Levels), then apply the rules mentioned above regarding Banned/Tweaked PrCs.


Spell Durations:
Apply the following changes when figuring the duration of a spell effect.
- Durations of [X] minutes/level now last [X] minutes.
- Durations of [X] hours/level now last [X] hours.
- Durations of [X] days/level now last [X] days.


Spell Ranges:
- Close: 30'
- Medium: 60'
- Long: 120'


Spell Targets & AoE:
- Target or Targets: All spells that affect one or more targets, no two of which can be more than a set distance from one another, have this set distance halved.
- Area: All bursts, cylinders, emanations, spheres, and spreads with a radius of 20 feet or more have their radius halved. All cones, cylinders, and lines with a length or height of 20 feet or more have their length or height halved. All shapeable spells, or spells that affect a number of squares or cubes, provide half as much shapeable area or affect half as many squares or cubes.


Summoning, Calling, Animation & Domination:
You cannot simultaneously maintain multiple effects that force creatures or objects to act against their will or nature - be they from calling, summoning, animating, possessing, telekinesis or whatever similar effect. This applies to spells, SLAs and innate powers.
Spawns work differently in 2 ways:
1. Spawns may have spawns.
2. Spawns w/ spells are each counted separately for this rule.

Jormengand
2016-06-06, 07:02 AM
Apostle of Peace is arguably broken, as it advances fast enough that Wiz 7/AoP 1/MT 9/Wiz 3 can get double-ninths. Then again, you need to take vow of peace, so there's that. Metaphysical Spellshaper is also hilarious, giving you -1 to all your metamagic adjustments.

Also you missed an S ("Druids are pontaneous casters").

DarkSoul
2016-06-06, 07:20 AM
Ban the Shivering Touch spell, from Frostburn.

I disagree with a lot of your fixes, simply because I feel like they're not problems with proper communication between the DM and the players regarding what's acceptable.

Incidentally, your massive damage house rule pretty much guarantees no adventuring wizard will make it past about 4th level, if they make it out of level 1 at all.

nonsi
2016-06-06, 11:08 AM
Apostle of Peace is arguably broken, as it advances fast enough that Wiz 7/AoP 1/MT 9/Wiz 3 can get double-ninths. Then again, you need to take vow of peace, so there's that. Metaphysical Spellshaper is also hilarious, giving you -1 to all your metamagic adjustments.

Also you missed an S ("Druids are pontaneous casters").

Thanks. Fixed.

Indeed, the Metaphysical Spellshaper is ludicrous. But I don't concern myself too much about it, since BoEF is not an official 3.5 document. Anything in it should be examined on a case-by-case basis. I drew some ideas from it in my codex, but you could count them on one hand and nothing was taken as is.

nonsi
2016-06-06, 11:15 AM
Ban the Shivering Touch spell, from Frostburn.


Absolutely.





I disagree with a lot of your fixes, simply because I feel like they're not problems with proper communication between the DM and the players regarding what's acceptable.


Everything works great with DM-player agreements for any issue that comes up. The whole point of game fixing is to circumvent the need for DM-player agreements.





Incidentally, your massive damage house rule pretty much guarantees no adventuring wizard will make it past about 4th level, if they make it out of level 1 at all.


If that wizard travels alone - absolutely. But what kind of idiot low-level wizard travels alone?

tsj
2016-06-06, 11:05 PM
I absolutely love this quickfix, but ...

Shouldn't Wish, Miracle and derivatives also be banned completely? Even if you limit the spells usefulness, those are still pretty nasty from a DM point of view.
Monsters that can only be killed by said spells should also be removed... AFAIK only the tarrasque requires wish or miracle, is that correct?

nonsi
2016-06-07, 12:22 AM
Monsters that can only be killed by said spells should also be removed... AFAIK only the tarrasque requires wish or miracle, is that correct?


AFAIK, yes. And yes - the Wish-to-kill was a stupid notion.





Shouldn't Wish, Miracle and derivatives also be banned completely? Even if you limit the spells usefulness, those are still pretty nasty from a DM point of view.


If Psyonics replaces arcane magic, then Wish and Limited Wish are not an issue as it is.
If you'd choose to keep arcane spellcasting, then I'd handle things as follows:
- Wish may only be studied and cast by level-20 wizards w/ 30+ Int.
- Limited Wish - given the spell's description - is an 8th level spell.

I believe that all the other proposed modifications should keep arcane spellcasters at bay, so the Psyonics instead of arcane magic proposal can be dropped, under the motivation that it would require a lot of adaptation to PrCs, and all of a sudden this is no longer a minimalistic fix.

Miracle will follow the formula for Wish - may only be cast by level-20 priests w/ 30+ Wis.


I'm choosing to preserve the above spells because there's plenty of folklore that revolves around wishes and miracles.



This reminds me of another important houserule . . . . .
PrC NEVER EVER advance spellcasting levels of other PrCs.

DeAnno
2016-06-07, 06:31 AM
Things you should absolutely ban:
Craft Contingent Spell (Feat)
Love's Pain (Spell)
Precocious Apprentice (Feat)
Synchronicity (Power)
Bestow Power (Power)
Linked Power (Feat) (These last three together should be enough to stop all the infinite PP/infinite actions abuses in Psionics, I think)
Dust of Sneezing and Choking (seriously)


Things you should probably ban:
Uncanny Forethought (Feat) Since Wizards don't deserve to basically get to be Sorcs on the side for one fight a day
Friendly Fire (Spell) Since you seem to be a of a mind to punish Direct Spell Damage it definitely doesn't deserve to be dealing with this garbage anymore. This is a much less fair spell than Ray Deflection.
Frostfell (Spell) If you have a problem with Wail of the Banshee of all things you're not going to like the text of this spell. I personally think it's sort of fine but it's definitely a step above that.
Power Word Pain (Spell) Argument against banning it is casters can be kind of weak at low levels sometimes. Argument for is that it's Power Word Pain. Even with the swift action Will save rework this is still really... itself.
Shock Trooper (Feat). You don't have to ban it but it's kind of silly and centralizing. Surprised you banned Frenzied Berserker and not this.
Craftable Magic Spell Traps (Tippyverse issues)
Teleportation Circle (Spell) (Tippyverse issues)


Things you should nerf:
Mind Blank (Spell) needs to be less absolute, and definitely needs to not block things like True Seeing
Metamorphosis and Greater Metamorphosis (Powers) are technically not covered by your changes to their arcane versions and also need reworking. Some other Psionics might be like this too, unsure.
Astral Projection (Spell) Maybe something is workable with this but something needs to be done. You could just ban it.


Personally I wouldn't call these changes minimalistic. Minimalistic would be like, Shapechange/Ice Assassin/Astral Projection/Craft Contingent Spell/Gate bans, get rid of all the easy ways to get Wishes, probably close the infinite action/PP loops in psionics, MAYBE ban Celerity (or just ban the ways out of daze), and do something about some of the dumber abuses of Planar Shepard. And probably ban crafting those silly spell traps, just in case.

I'm probably missing some really terrible game ruining things. If I think of more I'll come back later.

nonsi
2016-06-07, 08:20 AM
Things you should absolutely ban:
Craft Contingent Spell (Feat)
Love's Pain (Spell)
Precocious Apprentice (Feat)
Synchronicity (Power)
Bestow Power (Power)
Linked Power (Feat) (These last three together should be enough to stop all the infinite PP/infinite actions abuses in Psionics, I think)
Dust of Sneezing and Choking (seriously)



Why is Craft Contingent Spell problematic?






Things you should probably ban:
Uncanny Forethought (Feat) Since Wizards don't deserve to basically get to be Sorcs on the side for one fight a day
Friendly Fire (Spell) Since you seem to be a of a mind to punish Direct Spell Damage it definitely doesn't deserve to be dealing with this garbage anymore. This is a much less fair spell than Ray Deflection.
Frostfell (Spell) If you have a problem with Wail of the Banshee of all things you're not going to like the text of this spell. I personally think it's sort of fine but it's definitely a step above that.
Power Word Pain (Spell) Argument against banning it is casters can be kind of weak at low levels sometimes. Argument for is that it's Power Word Pain. Even with the swift action Will save rework this is still really... itself.
Shock Trooper (Feat). You don't have to ban it but it's kind of silly and centralizing. Surprised you banned Frenzied Berserker and not this.
Craftable Magic Spell Traps (Tippyverse issues)
Teleportation Circle (Spell) (Tippyverse issues)



1. My problem with Wail of the Banshee is not balance-related, but more of a common sense thing. It allows you to selectively pick the victims of a shout. It just doesn't slide for me that one could do that with an instantaneous sonic effect.
2. See how I propose to alter all Power Word spells.
3. I see nothing particularly problematic with Shock Trooper.
4. What exactly is your issue with the last two? No RoI? Who cares. No one's forcing players to make the investment.




Things you should nerf:
Mind Blank (Spell) needs to be less absolute, and definitely needs to not block things like True Seeing
Metamorphosis and Greater Metamorphosis (Powers) are technically not covered by your changes to their arcane versions and also need reworking. Some other Psionics might be like this too, unsure.
Astral Projection (Spell) Maybe something is workable with this but something needs to be done. You could just ban it.



1. What do you propose should be done about Metamorphosis and Greater Metamorphosis?
2. Astral Projection - 'workable' in what sense? In what way does it exceed the reasonable boundaries of 9th level spells?





Personally I wouldn't call these changes minimalistic. Minimalistic would be like, Shapechange/Ice Assassin/Astral Projection/Craft Contingent Spell/Gate bans, get rid of all the easy ways to get Wishes, probably close the infinite action/PP loops in psionics, MAYBE ban Celerity (or just ban the ways out of daze), and do something about some of the dumber abuses of Planar Shepard. And probably ban crafting those silly spell traps, just in case.


My 3.5 Overhaul project spans over 30 posts.
In that project I:
1. Reinvented all classes.
2. Replaced the Vancian spellcasting system.
3. Changed a lot of the game mechanics (post #3). I consider all of them an improvement, but those are changes nonetheless.
4. Redefined magic item creation.
5. Changed and added tons of feats.
6. Made significant changes to skills.
7. Redefined multiclassing.
8. Threw away PrCs out the window.

Since I have no intentions of exceeding a single post here (it's not even 50% used up yet), I definitely think the title 'minimalistic' is appropriate when the goal is fixing the game in its entirety.
All I did so far is:
1. Toned down several classes.
2. Meshed two classes into one - something I strongly feel that should've been done from the get go. Now the archetype is finally complete.
3. Made a combat priest that's not CoDZilla anymore, but OTOH really feels like a combat priest out of the box (and w/o Divine Power). 2 additions are still on the way: Holy Sword as a class feature at 14th and Battle Blessing as a feature (not a feat) at 9th.
4. Took care of the major spell brokenness issues.
5. Offered but 9 houserules to level the playing field and simplify things.
All these combined don't amount to any of the big 8 mentioned above.






I'm probably missing some really terrible game ruining things. If I think of more I'll come back later.


Glad to hear that :smallsmile:

DeAnno
2016-06-07, 05:48 PM
Why is Craft Contingent Spell problematic?

Part of the balance of Contingency is that you can only have one active at once. Craft Contingent Spell lets you have HIT DICE Contingencies at once, which means in practice battles are just explosions of said Contingencies, obliterating the action economy and making it impossible to compete without them. Craft Contingent Spell even gets you around the normal 6th level limit on Contingency. It's terrible for the game all around.


1. My problem with Wail of the Banshee is not balance-related, but more of a common sense thing. It allows you to selectively pick the victims of a shout. It just doesn't slide for me that one could do that with an instantaneous sonic effect.

I wouldn't consider a thematics concern like this a minimalistic change, but if the balance doesn't concern you then Frostfell shouldn't be problematic.


2. See how I propose to alter all Power Word spells.

Power Word Pain is sort of a swift action save-or-eventually-die at 1st level then? Also, how do you propose to adjudicate Power Word spells with multiple tiers of effect based on hp?


3. I see nothing particularly problematic with Shock Trooper.

That's fine. I don't see anything more problematic with Frenzied Berserker though, which is why I brought it up.


4. What exactly is your issue with the last two? No RoI? Who cares. No one's forcing players to make the investment.

The traps cause way more problems. You can (relatively) cheaply make a spell trap that will go off indefinitely to recast arbitrary instances of specific spells. It can get very silly. This is a short discussion: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?257189-Traps-are-overpowered-3-5

Teleportation Circle in general encourages a sort of schizophrenic economic behavior where it takes over all transportation and D&D foom-urbanizes. This and traps and possibly some other dangerous stuff are discussed here: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?222007-The-Definitive-Guide-to-the-Tippyverse-By-Emperor-Tippy


1. What do you propose should be done about Metamorphosis and Greater Metamorphosis?

Probably just treat them like you treated Polymorph and Shapechange. I think they have some extra dangerous functions which you could handle in various ways; probably just banning using Powers as an inanimate object would fix it, though you might want to be more subtle.


2. Astral Projection - 'workable' in what sense? In what way does it exceed the reasonable boundaries of 9th level spells?

You essentially sit on the Material plane, Astral Project, and then move from the Astral Plane to some other plane, and then adventure on that plane with no possible consequences. You can't lose your gear (which you get fake copies of), you can't die except in very unusual circumstances, you can attack others and cause trouble as normal.


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

I would actually classify Astral Projection as more broken than Gate in a lot of circumstances, at least Gate costs XP.

Here's a fun thread on Astral Projection. http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?241936-Astral-Projection

Another thing you should ban is Shun/Embrace the Dark Chaos, if only to stop Elves from getting like 4 free feats from it.

Cosi
2016-06-07, 06:20 PM
- The Rogue – starting at 10th level – gains a special ability once every 2 levels instead of 3.

Should clarify your ruling on bonus feats.


Banned PrCs:

Needs Shadowcraft Mage. Should probably have Sublime Chord. Frenzied Berserker has no business on this list, especially considering you aren't hitting most of the other DPS tools. Also, the Earth Dreamer looks fine at a glance. What am I missing? Maybe there's another version of the class somewhere?


Banned Feats:

Could ban DMM instead of Persist. Should ban Versatile Spellcaster. Should ban various Leadership-lite feats.


Creatures that in core are able to grant Wish, are toned down to be able to grant Limited Wish.

No reason to do this if wish can't create magic items.


Power Word Pain (Spell) Argument against banning it is casters can be kind of weak at low levels sometimes. Argument for is that it's Power Word Pain. Even with the swift action Will save rework this is still really... itself.

power word pain is weird. It kills basically anything up to 3rd or 5th level. But it does so after several rounds. In the hands of PCs, it's basically pointless because you could kill those enemies in that time anyway, and you don't have the tools to disengage easily. But in the hands of NPCs, it's insanely lethal because there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop it.


Teleportation Circle (Spell) (Tippyverse issues)

I don't see any reason to ban teleportation circle for that reason. The idea that you could convince a guy who can cast fabricate, major creation, and planar binding and has been able to do so for almost ten levels to take time out of his day to build what amounts to a highway is basically insane.


Astral Projection (Spell) Maybe something is workable with this but something needs to be done. You could just ban it.

There needs to be some reason to do things without using astral projection. Maybe a cap on spell level? If you could only cast up to fifth level spells through a projection, you would need to actually show up in person to deal with anything important. Also gives you a way to have the end boss show up early in the campaign without wiping the party.


Personally I wouldn't call these changes minimalistic.

No set of nerfs is going to be minimalistic. If you want to make minimalistic changes, you need to accept that PCs are going to turn into superheroes with crazy magic powers. Something like the following:

1. All PCs are Gestalt. One half is a caster with 9ths (not Healer or Warmage) or Artificer. The other half is any other class. Possible: all PCs get good saves/BAB/skills (in some combination) to avoid focusing too much on chassis.
2. All PCs get Leadership as a bonus feat at 6th level, and may flavor their cohort and followers however they want (i.e. the Necromancer can have a Vampire cohort and zombie followers). No other form of minions which last more than 24 hours are allowed.
3. All PrCs which progress casting offer full casting.
4. shapechange is exactly polymorph, but you can assume a new form (exactly as casting polymorph) as a swift action.
5. wish cannot produce magic items over 15k GP. Only special materials which cannot be produced by wish can be used to buy items worth more than 15k GP.

You can play basically anything you want, but hopefully the fact that you have full casting will drag you up to the point that no one is doing terribly and there aren't any ways for people to really run away with the game.

nonsi
2016-06-08, 04:12 AM
Part of the balance of Contingency is that you can only have one active at once. Craft Contingent Spell lets you have HIT DICE Contingencies at once, which means in practice battles are just explosions of said Contingencies, obliterating the action economy and making it impossible to compete without them. Craft Contingent Spell even gets you around the normal 6th level limit on Contingency. It's terrible for the game all around.


Say no more.
Added.





I wouldn't consider a thematics concern like this a minimalistic change, but if the balance doesn't concern you then Frostfell shouldn't be problematic.

Ditto.
Removed.





Power Word Pain is sort of a swift action save-or-eventually-die at 1st level then? Also, how do you propose to adjudicate Power Word spells with multiple tiers of effect based on hp?


So are Sleep, Charm Person and Hold Person.





That's fine. I don't see anything more problematic with Frenzied Berserker though, which is why I brought it up.


FB = PAx4 + attacks allies. Messy management.





The traps cause way more problems. You can (relatively) cheaply make a spell trap that will go off indefinitely to recast arbitrary instances of specific spells. It can get very silly. This is a short discussion: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?257189-Traps-are-overpowered-3-5


I don't know how to take care of this one elegantly with a few simple and coherent sentences, so for now I'll leave that to campaign management rather than game fixing.





Teleportation Circle in general encourages a sort of schizophrenic economic behavior where it takes over all transportation and D&D foom-urbanizes. This and traps and possibly some other dangerous stuff are discussed here: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?222007-The-Definitive-Guide-to-the-Tippyverse-By-Emperor-Tippy


A campaign world shouldn't have more than a handful of wizards capable of casting 9th level spells, and they're probably not working for any government or economic powers.





Probably just treat them like you treated Polymorph and Shapechange. I think they have some extra dangerous functions which you could handle in various ways; probably just banning using Powers as an inanimate object would fix it, though you might want to be more subtle.


I see what you mean regarding inanimate objects, but what do you have in mind when you say "more subtle"?





Another thing you should ban is Shun/Embrace the Dark Chaos, if only to stop Elves from getting like 4 free feats from it.


Already covered.

nonsi
2016-06-08, 04:32 AM
Should clarify your ruling on bonus feats.


What's there to clarify?
You have a total of 6 abilities instead of 4. Wanna replace some of them with feats - go knock yourself out.





Needs Shadowcraft Mage. Should probably have Sublime Chord. Frenzied Berserker has no business on this list, especially considering you aren't hitting most of the other DPS tools. Also, the Earth Dreamer looks fine at a glance. What am I missing? Maybe there's another version of the class somewhere?


Shadowcraft Mage - what's the problem with this one?
Sublime Chord is only problematic w/ Ur-Priest. The latter is banned anyway, and not being able to progress PrC spellcasting should cover the remaining issues.
Earth Dreamer consistently ignores the majority of structural interference of all sorts (unless you start producing metal structures on a regular basis).





Could ban DMM instead of Persist. Should ban Versatile Spellcaster. Should ban various Leadership-lite feats.


I'll keep Persist banned.
The problem w/ DMM is that it offers no restrictions. I solved this problem in my codex with a new feat called "Automatic Metamagic" (check it out if you're interested).
In the spirit of simplicity, I've just decided to ban DMM.





No reason to do this if wish can't create magic items.


The problem w/ Wish is that its impact is far too great (provokes too much paperwork) to be a tool in the hands of Genie-grade monsters.





There needs to be some reason to do things without using astral projection. Maybe a cap on spell level? If you could only cast up to fifth level spells through a projection, you would need to actually show up in person to deal with anything important. Also gives you a way to have the end boss show up early in the campaign without wiping the party.


I'd just cut down the astral forms' effective HD by half. This should practically take care of all problems.

Cosi
2016-06-08, 07:36 AM
What's there to clarify?
You have a total of 6 abilities instead of 4. Wanna replace some of them with feats - go knock yourself out.

RAW is that bonus feats do not require prerequisites to use or select. As such, Rogues can select Epic feats (or other weird feats) with their bonus feats. Normally, this is not a serious issue, because you mostly don't care about Epic feats (Perfect Two-Weapon Fighting is just not that big of a deal), but it doesn't seem like something you'd want.


Shadowcraft Mage - what's the problem with this one?

Shadow Illusion lets you bypass casting time, turning major creation into a horribly effective combat spell. Also Earth Spell cheese lets you spontaneously cast from all of Evocation and the relevant parts of conjuration.


Earth Dreamer consistently ignores the majority of structural interference of all sorts (unless you start producing metal structures on a regular basis).

For the guy who is an Earth Dreamer. It makes you a good scout, but it's nothing you couldn't do with pet Earth Elemental.


The problem w/ Wish is that its impact is far too great (provokes too much paperwork) to be a tool in the hands of Genie-grade monsters.

There are two tricks with wish that are broken: unlimited item creation, and Chain Binding. You've banned both of those, so all it really does is give people utility at a low level and inherent boosts to stats.


I'd just cut down the astral forms' effective HD by half. This should practically take care of all problems.

So you send a simulacrum when using astral projection? That seems basically reasonable.

tsj
2016-06-08, 03:19 PM
Maybe limit wish, miracle and derivatives
to deities and/or monsters and/or npcs

Ie. Geniee in a bottle granting 3 wishes
But no ring of 3 wishes

nonsi
2016-06-09, 12:09 AM
RAW is that bonus feats do not require prerequisites to use or select. As such, Rogues can select Epic feats (or other weird feats) with their bonus feats. Normally, this is not a serious issue, because you mostly don't care about Epic feats (Perfect Two-Weapon Fighting is just not that big of a deal), but it doesn't seem like something you'd want.


Never encountered such a rule.
All I know about ignoring feat prereqs is that it applies when specific feats are detailed for specific classes, such as the Monk.
All that's written for the rogue is: "Feat: A rogue may gain a bonus feat in place of a special ability.". All I get from that is that the character may choose any feat to which she qualifies.





Shadow Illusion lets you bypass casting time, turning major creation into a horribly effective combat spell. Also Earth Spell cheese lets you spontaneously cast from all of Evocation and the relevant parts of conjuration.


Earth SpellRoS doesn't do that. All it does is boost Heighten Spell a bit.
As for Shadow Illusion - max strength = 60%, with 1 SL decrease. That's a lot of versatility, but w/o a lot of punch. I can live with that.





For the guy who is an Earth Dreamer. It makes you a good scout, but it's nothing you couldn't do with pet Earth Elemental.


It's not just scouting - it's bypassing obstacles, ambushing, espionage, assassination, easily finding that treasure room you want them to find months into the future, etc.
And it's a lot more persistent than a pet Earth Elemental . . . and you're a fullcaster.





There are two tricks with wish that are broken: unlimited item creation, and Chain Binding. You've banned both of those, so all it really does is give people utility at a low level and inherent boosts to stats.



Duplicate any wizard or sorcerer spell of 8th level or lower, provided the spell is not of a school prohibited to you.
Duplicate any wizard or sorcerer spell of 7th level or lower even if it’s of a prohibited school.
Duplicate any other spell of 6th level or lower, provided the spell is not of a school prohibited to you.
Duplicate any other spell of 5th level or lower even if it’s of a prohibited school.
. . .

DeAnno
2016-06-09, 06:13 AM
Did you ever come to a conclusion about Mind Blank? I think it's kind of overcentralizing. Long duration, no sells all enchantment and maybe no sells all divination depending on readings of the rules. If it counters True Seeing Mind Blank + Superior Invisibility is a little stupid. (Superior Invisibility is already kind of problematic at times in medium-long ranges, but it's a lot less obnoxious without Mind Blank being itself)

nonsi
2016-06-09, 11:14 AM
Did you ever come to a conclusion about Mind Blank? I think it's kind of overcentralizing. Long duration, no sells all enchantment and maybe no sells all divination depending on readings of the rules. If it counters True Seeing Mind Blank + Superior Invisibility is a little stupid. (Superior Invisibility is already kind of problematic at times in medium-long ranges, but it's a lot less obnoxious without Mind Blank being itself)

I just read both spells (twice). I see nothing that relates them in any way. One blocks mental intrusion; the other grants visual penetration. AFAICT, Mind Blank does nothing to True Seeing.

DeAnno
2016-06-09, 03:11 PM
I just read both spells (twice). I see nothing that relates them in any way. One blocks mental intrusion; the other grants visual penetration. AFAICT, Mind Blank does nothing to True Seeing.

http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/mindBlank.htm


This spell protects against all mind-affecting spells and effects as well as information gathering by divination spells or effects.

True Seeing is a divination spell which many construe to "gather information". It's a hotly debated topic, so you should probably make it clear what you think Mind Blank does and doesn't block. An example thread: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?73524-What-does-Mindblank-beat

Cosi
2016-06-09, 07:03 PM
All I get from that is that the character may choose any feat to which she qualifies.

And you get that from the literally never it says that? The default for bonus feats (per the MM, applies to class bonus feats as demonstrated by Half-Fiend using superscript notation) is no prerequisites. That's why Weapon Focus from the War domain works, and why the Fighter says you have to me prerequisites.


As for Shadow Illusion - max strength = 60%, with 1 SL decrease. That's a lot of versatility, but w/o a lot of punch. I can live with that.

Still reduces casting time, and still 100% real if you fail your save. Also, what is 60% of a wall of fire? A contingency? A major creation?


And it's a lot more persistent than a pet Earth Elemental . . . and you're a fullcaster.

Who could learn scrying and teleport.



Duplicate any wizard or sorcerer spell of 8th level or lower, provided the spell is not of a school prohibited to you.
Duplicate any wizard or sorcerer spell of 7th level or lower even if it’s of a prohibited school.
Duplicate any other spell of 6th level or lower, provided the spell is not of a school prohibited to you.
Duplicate any other spell of 5th level or lower even if it’s of a prohibited school.
. . .


All of those are things you can literally buy.

Fizban
2016-06-09, 08:54 PM
I think there has now been enough discussion that my pointing out the impossibility doesn't seem too sensational. You can't make a "minimalist" ban list because there's just too much material, then bans aren't granular enough so you have to start making other partial changes, and at that point you've lost all claims of keeping things minimal.

The only minimalist fix I've ever seen that actually fits the name is jiriku's Philosopher's Stone (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?210623-3-5-Magic-Remix-The-Philosopher-s-Stone) (fanciful name but no special meaning). High handed introduction aside, it's actually short and has a tangible effect. Slashing range, duration, and spells per day actually hits spellcasting where it matters. The merits of individually broken spells don't matter, everybody has a different opinion on which are the worst and you can just deal with them as they come up, there's no need to make some universal ban list even if it were possible. But if you refuse to alter the base spell system it doesn't matter how many spells you ban because those remaining will still just be too much for too little.

And that's what people won't admit, if they even realize it: they want to ban some specific things that annoy them while keeping all the rest at full power and thus avoiding any hit to their preferred style. Any "fix" that focuses on a ban list (or an exhaustive list of tiny tweaks) is just setting the power curve at a slightly different plateau wherever the bans stop, usually coinciding with whatever the writer likes. It won't fix the underlying problems because it's not targeting the underlying problems.

nonsi
2016-06-10, 01:20 AM
I think there has now been enough discussion that my pointing out the impossibility doesn't seem too sensational. You can't make a "minimalist" ban list because there's just too much material, then bans aren't granular enough so you have to start making other partial changes, and at that point you've lost all claims of keeping things minimal.


I didn't claim that this mini-project will solve everything (that's what my 3.5 Overhaul project is for), just that it will touch the major known issues.
After 17 years of 3e game experience, enough knowledge has accumulated to finger those major issues.





The only minimalist fix I've ever seen that actually fits the name is jiriku's Philosopher's Stone (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?210623-3-5-Magic-Remix-The-Philosopher-s-Stone) (fanciful name but no special meaning). High handed introduction aside, it's actually short and has a tangible effect. Slashing range, duration, and spells per day actually hits spellcasting where it matters. The merits of individually broken spells don't matter, everybody has a different opinion on which are the worst and you can just deal with them as they come up, there's no need to make some universal ban list even if it were possible. But if you refuse to alter the base spell system it doesn't matter how many spells you ban because those remaining will still just be too much for too little.


Some of the ideas in "Philosopher's Stone" (namely ranges and durations) are also expressed in my overhaul codex, but they require adjustments for practically any spell anyone's using around the gaming table. That's definitely not minimalistic.
The metamagic clause is irrelevant for PHB, since PHB doesn't contain tools/mechanisms for metamagic price reduction.
The rules for choosing a spell, aiming and SR just make things less fun (for me at least). That's crippling, not toning down. At some point, a player wants to feel that his spellcaster PC can do more than one thing per round. The purpose, from my PoV, is to make sure that this doesn't make spellcasters own the game - contrary to removing that option from the gaming table altogether.





And that's what people won't admit, if they even realize it: they want to ban some specific things that annoy them while keeping all the rest at full power and thus avoiding any hit to their preferred style. Any "fix" that focuses on a ban list (or an exhaustive list of tiny tweaks) is just setting the power curve at a slightly different plateau wherever the bans stop, usually coinciding with whatever the writer likes. It won't fix the underlying problems because it's not targeting the underlying problems.


It's ban lists of poorly thought out stuff + class modifications/omissions + fixing the outrageously broken spells + a small collection of houserules.
It's how they mesh together that makes the difference.
I'm not saying that it is absolutely impossible any more to abuse anything with my proposed changes. What I am saying, is that now it would be significantly harder, and that characters .

nonsi
2016-06-10, 01:31 AM
.
A thought that just came up.........
How would the PF Bard, Ranger and Unchained Rogue fit into this equation? Will they own the ToB Warblade or my proposed Psychic Blade class for instance?
I tend to think not, but I'd like to hear others' opinions.

nonsi
2016-06-11, 12:11 AM
And you get that from the literally never it says that? The default for bonus feats (per the MM, applies to class bonus feats as demonstrated by Half-Fiend using superscript notation) is no prerequisites. That's why Weapon Focus from the War domain works, and why the Fighter says you have to me prerequisites.


Fair enough.
Added clarification.





Still reduces casting time, and still 100% real if you fail your save. Also, what is 60% of a wall of fire? A contingency? A major creation?


Unless I missed something, the class states specific spells that may be used. 6th SL is the highest on the list.
wall of fire - 60% damage.
contingency - inapplicable ("at least one level lower than the illusion spell")
major creation - 60% chance for success.





Who could learn scrying and teleport.


Summoning and scrying and teleporting wastes daily resources. Being an Earth Dreamer wastes none.




All of those are things you can literally buy.


Again - time and money. And every once in a while you lose some of your gear.

Fizban
2016-06-11, 04:10 AM
Some of the ideas in "Philosopher's Stone" (namely ranges and durations) are also expressed in my overhaul codex, but they require adjustments for practically any spell anyone's using around the gaming table. That's definitely not minimalistic.
I don't follow. You're saying that reducing range and long durations makes the majority of spells unusable? That is simply false. A few spells lose their function, but not a majority.

The metamagic clause is irrelevant for PHB, since PHB doesn't contain tools/mechanisms for metamagic price reduction.
It's not a PHB only ruleset, the point is you have to make your changes at the PHB level in order for them to matter. The anti-reduction clauses are specifically there because obviously you're not playing PHB only, most core-only people seem to think nothing needs fixing anyway.

The rules for choosing a spell, aiming and SR just make things less fun (for me at least). That's crippling, not toning down. At some point, a player wants to feel that his spellcaster PC can do more than one thing per round. The purpose, from my PoV, is to make sure that this doesn't make spellcasters own the game - contrary to removing that option from the gaming table altogether.
Discussion in the thread points out that while you're prevented from casting more than one spell or scroll per round, there's no clause against wands or other magic items. Considering how most of the natively swift/immediate action spells are 4th level or lower and are best spammed from wands anyway, there's still plenty of room to do more than one thing per round. You just have to invest a little effort instead of doing it nearly for free, make some preparations, be a Wizard in the proper sense. Reduction in area/targets doesn't change the fact that you're still hitting multiple targets, and actually increases the value of existing wide area spells which barely see use when the standard 20' radius is so huge you don't need them (more than Colossal in fact). As for spell resistance: there are multiple spells, feats, classes, and magic items which give bonuses to beat that, as well as plenty of spells that don't have direct effects on targets and plenty (a majority?) of monsters that don't even have spell resistance. Almost every single SR:no spell should be on the ban/nerf list to begin with. The Stone does nothing to reduce the raw cosmic power of magically kicking someone out of the fight: it just forces you to do so from a slightly more dangerous range and with slightly less room for error.

I'm not saying that it is absolutely impossible any more to abuse anything with my proposed changes. What I am saying, is that now it would be significantly harder,
We probably disagree on the implications of the word "fix." A list of all the worst stuff to ban doesn't fix it, it just bans it. Removing Fighters and Barbarians and using Warblade instead doesn't fix the former either. The word "fix" itself is singular, a fix can only fix one thing at a time. And a page long list of top-down fixes is no longer minimalist. But clogging up a thread with arguments about what it should be called usually annoys people so that's all.

I made my point with my link and it seems that you are aware of the points it raised. I don't think ignoring spell ranges and durations is a good idea when it's such a root problem and is so easily addressed, but it doesn't match a ban/substitution list very well. Forcing all non-casters into classes that have extra action economy and/or supernatural effects shifts the gap a bit. I just look at the list and see it could easily be 3x the length without breaking a sweat. A few years ago the thread would have been hopping and you'd have arguments all over about stuff people'd want on the list that you don't, but most of that discussion's dead nowadays, since most people have either made their own lists or decided they don't need a hard list. I'm obviously in the latter camp of course, while I like the Stone changes I haven't had a group that needed it-hardly anyone I've played with can be bothered to run a caster let alone push it to the point they need nerfing.

Beheld
2016-06-11, 09:05 AM
Unless I missed something, the class states specific spells that may be used. 6th SL is the highest on the list.

Heightened Silent Image can be 9th level. 10th level with Earth Spell.

Cosi
2016-06-11, 02:27 PM
wall of fire - 60% damage.

Reasonable.


contingency - inapplicable ("at least one level lower than the illusion spell")

Heighten Spell. Also, greater shadow evocation is just straight high enough level.


major creation - 60% chance for success.

What? shadow evocation does not ever work like that. The spell happens, then the effects are partially real if you make a Will save.


Summoning and scrying and teleporting wastes daily resources. Being an Earth Dreamer wastes none.

But it costs a bunch of class levels, and only works for you. They're different abilities with different costs, but Earth Dreamer is not radically better.

nonsi
2016-06-11, 06:57 PM
Heightened Silent Image can be 9th level. 10th level with Earth Spell.

Ok, I've added Shadowcraft Mage to the list... with a clause.

nonsi
2016-06-11, 07:12 PM
Heighten Spell. Also, greater shadow evocation is just straight high enough level.


Greater Shadow Evocation is not on the list of Shadow Illusion candidate spells.





What? shadow evocation does not ever work like that. The spell happens, then the effects are partially real if you make a Will save.


I know, but it's either that or disqualifying Major Creation for not having a valid application for percentages.





But it costs a bunch of class levels, and only works for you. They're different abilities with different costs, but Earth Dreamer is not radically better.


1. Class levels for the class you wish to continuate anyway. That's not exactly a trade-off.
2. Earth Glide doesn't state that you can't carry someone on your back. A goliath could easily carry 2 other characters at a time.
3. Just imagine what it means as a DM to have Earth Sight ability around. Now go ahead and plan a dungeon.

nonsi
2016-06-11, 07:53 PM
I don't follow. You're saying that reducing range and long durations makes the majority of spells unusable? That is simply false. A few spells lose their function, but not a majority.


I'm saying that addressing ranges and durations means that you'd have to adjust them for almost every spell you deal with from now till anytime in the future.
A quick fix (/improvement) doesn't make you work hard, that's all.





Discussion in the thread points out that while you're prevented from casting more than one spell or scroll per round, there's no clause against wands or other magic items. Considering how most of the natively swift/immediate action spells are 4th level or lower and are best spammed from wands anyway, there's still plenty of room to do more than one thing per round. You just have to invest a little effort instead of doing it nearly for free, make some preparations, be a Wizard in the proper sense.


1. Then in what way would a high level wizard be superior to a mid-level bard on this particular aspect?
2. One of the things I don't like about the Vancian system is that there's too much preparation at the expense of game flow. I don't want the game to shift even further down that line.





Reduction in area/targets doesn't change the fact that you're still hitting multiple targets, and actually increases the value of existing wide area spells which barely see use when the standard 20' radius is so huge you don't need them (more than Colossal in fact).


This would mean that encounters with mooks now become long a tedious, because you no longer have widespread effects to deal with them. You don't even have combat tactics on your side anymore. You'd just have to continue hacking them one at a time. Yay.





As for spell resistance: there are multiple spells, feats, classes, and magic items which give bonuses to beat that, as well as plenty of spells that don't have direct effects on targets and plenty (a majority?) of monsters that don't even have spell resistance. Almost every single SR:no spell should be on the ban/nerf list to begin with.


This removes the motivation to use certain ranged-touch effects instead of auto-hit effects.
Some effects also have no sense of allowing SR (e.g. any effect that deals bludgeoning/piercing/slashing damage).





The Stone does nothing to reduce the raw cosmic power of magically kicking someone out of the fight: it just forces you to do so from a slightly more dangerous range and with slightly less room for error.


T.P.K.!!





while I like the Stone changes I haven't had a group that needed it-hardly anyone I've played with can be bothered to run a caster let alone push it to the point they need nerfing.


YMMV.
1. One of my groups was disbanded because of TPK. Another was never the same after. In both cases it was not because of me, but in the end result I had no way on the matter.
2. Did you see Clash of the Titans (2010)? That's how a fight with a Medusa should look like. The creature employed tactics and the environment to her advantage, contrary to appearing in front of the group and stoning them all at once. Yes, she probably had Improved Initiative, but that's all part of a legitimate strategy.

Beheld
2016-06-11, 08:44 PM
3. Just imagine what it means as a DM to have Earth Sight ability around. Now go ahead and plan a dungeon.

Since he would have to be an 11th level Wizard to even be capable of having that ability, you are long past the point at which you can reasonably expect "a dungeon" to be a meaningful limitation. He could literally the flood the dungeon with an infinite number of imps that scout the entire thing and then report back.

Personally I already play with Tome teleport rules, so the ability to see through 30ft of stone would hardly effect my dungeon designs at all.

nonsi
2016-06-11, 11:33 PM
Since he would have to be an 11th level Wizard to even be capable of having that ability, you are long past the point at which you can reasonably expect "a dungeon" to be a meaningful limitation.


"Dungeon" could stand for a castle or an entire city for than matter.
What do you do in your campaign, if "Dungeon" is no longer a challenge? Does everything in your games amount to open places where all you do is seek out the next big monster to fight?





He could literally the flood the dungeon with an infinite number of imps that scout the entire thing and then report back.


No can do with these rules, according to the Summoning, Calling, Animation & Domination houserule.





Personally I already play with Tome teleport rules, so the ability to see through 30ft of stone would hardly effect my dungeon designs at all.


What are those?

Beheld
2016-06-12, 01:12 AM
"Dungeon" could stand for a castle or an entire city for than matter.
What do you do in your campaign, if "Dungeon" is no longer a challenge? Does everything in your games amount to open places where all you do is seek out the next big monster to fight?

The point is that 11th level casters can find their way to and around things so substantially that a simple series of 1ft thick walls are going to be meaningless to them anyway. They could Divine everything they want to know about the dungeon, scout it with Prying Eyes or Bound Imps or Locational Scrying, Teleport to the exact location they want to be, and accomplish their goal, whatever it is, by skipping the dungeon.

Whatever you expect 11th level PCs to do, it has to be the thing they do after halting an invasion, genociding an entire race of humanoids and also their Dragon masters, and then killing an incarnation of a god, because that's what they do at 10th level before completing Red Hand of Doom and moving on to bigger things. "Oh no, they can see through 30ft of stone, so the badguys have to line the walls with metal or make 40ft thick walls" is not a particularly worrisome problem.


What are those?

Well the Tomes are a collection of D&D rules and fluff fixes that were started at the end of 3.5 that were never officially finished because the authors decided that fixing 3.5 completely was actually more work than just designing a new game. You can find the the four "completed" Tomes here (http://www.tgdmb.com/viewtopic.php?t=34248), here (http://www.tgdmb.com/viewtopic.php?t=28828), here (http://www.tgdmb.com/viewtopic.php?t=28547), and here (http://www.tgdmb.com/viewtopic.php?t=33294).

There are various other added materials by people on that forum, including the original authors, and various collections of descriptions of what else was planned.

But as for the Tome Teleport Rules specifically, the Dungeonomicon has a specific section addressing why Dungeon's even exist in the first place, which proposes a modification to how teleport (and other spells, like Scrying, or Travel Gate) work, to whit:


Alright, we know that you love dungeons. We love them too, despite the fact that we’re pretty sure there is no good reason for the silly things. The average D&D game world is frankly incapable of the technology or manpower needed to build vast underground complexes. I mean, look at our own world history: aside from a single underground city in Turkey and a couple of pyramids and tombs, the ancient world took a pass on underground life. Even the old excuse of "Wizards can magic it up and they do it because it's defensible" is a bit lame, considering that we are talking about a world with teleport and burrowing and ethereal travel; being underground is actually a liability since it's harder to escape and people can drop the roof onto you, not to mention the incredible costs involved in doing it even if magic is available.

So here is what we suggest: dungeons have an actual magical purpose. By putting anything behind at least 40’ of solid, continuous material (like solid walls of dirt, stone, ice, or whatever, but not a forest of trees or rooms of furniture), the area is immune to unlimited-range or "longer than Long Range" spells like scry and transportation magic like teleport, greater teleport, the travel version of gate, and other effects. You can use these magics inside a dungeon, but you are also stopped by a 40’ solid, continuous material in a Line of Effect; this means you can use these effects inside a dungeon to bypass doors and walls, but entering and leaving the dungeon is a problem, and parts of the dungeon that have more than 40’ of material in the way between your position and the target of your effect will be effectively isolated from your position.

In summary, in a best-case scenario, you can transport yourself to a dungeon, then bust in the entrance and enter the dungeon, then transport yourself to the place you want to be inside the dungeon. In a worse-case scenario, the dungeon designer will have built the dungeon in such a way that only someone aware of the layout can take full advantage of unlimited range or transportation spells like teleports and scry, or even that most or all areas of the dungeon are inaccessible to these effects.

Of course, there are exceptions. The idea of permanent portals, gates, or teleport circles are just too common in DnD and too fun to just abandon. Permanent effects will continue to regardless of materials in the way, and will be the premier way to enter and leave dungeons, as well as the best way to move inside a dungeon.

By incorporating these changes in your DnD world, you are ensuring that players actually explore rooms in your dungeons that you have painstakingly built, you avoid all the problems with Scry-and-Die tactics, and you'll find that players actually care about dungeon geography. It also adds a bit to suspension of disbelief in your setting, which is only good for a cooperative storytelling game.

So yes, lots of dungeons under these rules are designed with large chunks of 40ft walls to prevent teleportation, so Earthsight ain't doing much. It might however, flag the teleport back passages the evil Wizard was planning to use to escape, which is cool, and useful, but not going to end the world.

Fizban
2016-06-12, 04:48 AM
I'm saying that addressing ranges and durations means that you'd have to adjust them for almost every spell you deal with from now till anytime in the future.
A quick fix (/improvement) doesn't make you work hard, that's all.
How is a global root change harder to implement than a list of individualized alterations? Remembering that close/medium/long is now 20'/50'/100' and minute/hour per level durations are now just 1 is not work, let alone hard.

1. Then in what way would a high level wizard be superior to a mid-level bard on this particular aspect?
2. One of the things I don't like about the Vancian system is that there's too much preparation at the expense of game flow. I don't want the game to shift even further down that line.

A high level anything an afford better stuff. But the question you actually want on how a wizard is better, well they have bonus feats usable to craft the items on their own, bards lack a number of those swift/immediate spells (and UMD is not infallible), and most obviously the wizard has better spells on their main action to combine with whatever they can muster for their swift action. As for preparation, well mostly I was trying to channel some Dresden Files, but let us say that if your wizard is taking too much time to prepare then he needs to git gud. Any player who won't do prep work outside of the table shouldn't be playing a class that requires prep work (the DM's doing it too). If you've prepared then it doesn't take nearly as much time to prepare.

This would mean that encounters with mooks now become long a tedious, because you no longer have widespread effects to deal with them. You don't even have combat tactics on your side anymore. You'd just have to continue hacking them one at a time. Yay.
You do realize it only cuts them in half, right? How many mooks are you fighting that a 10' radius fireball will hit so few as to drag out the fight? And if you need more area so bad then get spells with more area, dig up Ice Burst from Tome and Blood or use a Vortex of Teeth. The spells that this really hits are the Confusions and Slows, the spells that used to be single-target and shouldn't have such massive areas to begin with. Spells that require lengthy mop-up as part of their design.

This removes the motivation to use certain ranged-touch effects instead of auto-hit effects.
Some effects also have no sense of allowing SR (e.g. any effect that deals bludgeoning/piercing/slashing damage).
The motivation to use ranged touch spells is that they do twice as much damage as auto-hit spells, with no save. You can exempt some spells from global SR if they really annoy your sense of realistic magic, but there are fewer of those than there are spells that need to be re-SR'd. The slashing damage from Spiritual Weapon and Blade Barrier is from magical force, most spells that deal piercing or slashing are force actually and should obviously have SR, meanwhile good old Force Orb of non-magical magical force says hi.

T.P.K.!!
YMMV.
1. One of my groups was disbanded because of TPK. Another was never the same after. In both cases it was not because of me, but in the end result I had no way on the matter.
You're chanting TPK because nerfing range/duration/SR no without actually changing any of the spell effects is so crippling the game becomes unplayable? Because one party member is so important they can't ever be in danger buffs must last literally all day else everyone dies? See, I've been reading you as someone who just likes their piles of caster power too much to admit that it's actually too much, but this is an alternate explanation. It sounds like you've had games where the casters had to carry the party, which usually results in an escalation race with the DM trying to hurt the caster until it ends with a TPK, due to the simple fact that once they succeed the rest of the party is screwed by definition. And that's. . . mostly their fault.

If the rest of the party sucks and the caster has to be overpowered to compensate, that party needs to be fixed, the DM should be paying enough attention to notice it, and the other players should make themselves less useless. In an ideal world anyway, more likely it's easier to lowball your power so hard that the "serious" threats which null you/require effort won't kill the rest. Casters are absolutely supposed to be necessary, bringing required buffs and AoEs and status removal and such that the basic MM expects you to use for solving problems, but if you have to lean on one caster's unbalanced offense so much that reigning them in is a TPK then the party clearly isn't balanced. Nerfing casters has nothing to do with people getting TPK'd.

That said, if you're the guy who's been playing savior all the time then I can see why nerfing your tools would cause such a reaction. Saph's campaign journal Seven Kingdoms, while awesome, fails this test: all characters were needed to win in the end, but losing the super-sorcerer at any time long before the end would have made it flat impossible without toning it down. Unbalanced caster, foes scaled so that caster must run at full power, rest of party can't cut it. I'd love to be the guy saving the world with my castery awesomeness like in that game, but I don't think that's how the game should be. Unless your group actually explicitly wants that, then just go to town on it, but in my experience people really don't like relying on the caster to win battles by just being too huge: they want the caster to play on the same field. The Stone drags them out on the grass, if you need it.

2. Did you see Clash of the Titans (2010)? That's how a fight with a Medusa should look like. The creature employed tactics and the environment to her advantage, contrary to appearing in front of the group and stoning them all at once. Yes, she probably had Improved Initiative, but that's all part of a legitimate strategy.
Nope, didn't pull enough interest to get me to watch it (few movies do, too much effort). Medusa-in-a-box tactics are a way of challenging powerful groups, but obviously shouldn't be pulled on groups that can't handle it. Note that gaze attacks affect the target at the start of their turn. I'm pretty sure the way it's written you're allowed to close your eyes before making the first save on your turn, though invoking the focused gaze on someone may bypass that if you win initiative, but that only works on one person at a time. Now a box full of Mummies on the other hand, that's death (save vs paralysis on sight for every mummy in the box for everyone in line of sight, not a gaze and no time to close your eyes).

-But I think you're saying that's the opposite of what happened? Regardless of what the medusa does, if the party just stares her down it's a countdown to failed saves. Whatever happened in the movie fight, surely it was predicated on the the non-medusas having already taken measures to avoid the gaze. Unless the point was that she kept on gaze-n-running which, eh, also valid but still a defensive tactic that's more likely to get party members petrified and thus should be reserved for groups that can actually handle it. You've said yourself that you're concerned about TPKs, I wouldn't suggest more lethal tactics for monsters when that's a concern.

nonsi
2016-06-12, 08:32 AM
The point is that 11th level casters can find their way to and around things so substantially that a simple series of 1ft thick walls are going to be meaningless to them anyway. They could Divine everything they want to know about the dungeon, scout it with Prying Eyes or Bound Imps or Locational Scrying, Teleport to the exact location they want to be, and accomplish their goal, whatever it is, by skipping the dungeon.


Still, those burn resources that the party just cannot spam limitlessly.
That I'm perfectly ok with.





Whatever you expect 11th level PCs to do, it has to be the thing they do after halting an invasion, genociding an entire race of humanoids and also their Dragon masters, and then killing an incarnation of a god, because that's what they do at 10th level before completing Red Hand of Doom and moving on to bigger things.


In my view, 11th level is still too early for killing gods (even if "Xena" and "Hercules" say otherwise).





But as for the Tome Teleport Rules specifically, the Dungeonomicon has a specific section addressing why Dungeon's even exist in the first place, which proposes a modification to how teleport (and other spells, like Scrying, or Travel Gate) work, to whit:

"dungeons have an actual magical purpose. By putting anything behind at least 40’ of solid, continuous material (like solid walls of dirt, stone, ice, or whatever, but not a forest of trees or rooms of furniture), the area is immune to unlimited-range or "longer than Long Range" spells like scry and transportation magic like teleport, greater teleport, the travel version of gate, and other effects. You can use these magics inside a dungeon, but you are also stopped by a 40’ solid, continuous material in a Line of Effect; this means you can use these effects inside a dungeon to bypass doors and walls, but entering and leaving the dungeon is a problem, and parts of the dungeon that have more than 40’ of material in the way between your position and the target of your effect will be effectively isolated from your position."


That's actually a very good idea. I'm adopting it :smallcool:





So yes, lots of dungeons under these rules are designed with large chunks of 40ft walls to prevent teleportation, so Earthsight ain't doing much. It might however, flag the teleport back passages the evil Wizard was planning to use to escape, which is cool, and useful, but not going to end the world.


It needn't. You could just design the dungeon with a 1-way escape route at its far end.

Beheld
2016-06-12, 08:38 AM
Still, those burn resources that the party just cannot spam limitlessly.
That I'm perfectly ok with.

No they don't, they burn spell slots cast from a pool you aren't using for fighting in exchange for knowledge of the place at the time you are fighting. If you just have a map of the entire dungeon before you ever even enter it, that costs zero spell slots when you actually go in.

nonsi
2016-06-12, 02:14 PM
How is a global root change harder to implement than a list of individualized alterations? Remembering that close/medium/long is now 20'/50'/100' and minute/hour per level durations are now just 1 is not work, let alone hard.


If I'm to add range and duration tweaks, it'll be from my overhaul codex – for a more complete picture.






A high level anything an afford better stuff. But the question you actually want on how a wizard is better, well they have bonus feats usable to craft the items on their own, bards lack a number of those swift/immediate spells (and UMD is not infallible), and most obviously the wizard has better spells on their main action to combine with whatever they can muster for their swift action. As for preparation, well mostly I was trying to channel some Dresden Files, but let us say that if your wizard is taking too much time to prepare then he needs to git gud. Any player who won't do prep work outside of the table shouldn't be playing a class that requires prep work (the DM's doing it too). If you've prepared then it doesn't take nearly as much time to prepare.


From my stand point, there's only one thing that merits out-of-table work for a player – character-build.
I sat on the DM's chair more than once and I fully understand the need for doing homework as DM, but the DM is the one who tells the story – the rest should arrive and experience it.





You do realize it only cuts them in half, right? How many mooks are you fighting that a 10' radius fireball will hit so few as to drag out the fight? And if you need more area so bad then get spells with more area, dig up Ice Burst from Tome and Blood or use a Vortex of Teeth. The spells that this really hits are the Confusions and Slows, the spells that used to be single-target and shouldn't have such massive areas to begin with. Spells that require lengthy mop-up as part of their design.


1. There were cases that had 30 or more. Not a lot, but it does happen. When fighting a flock of stirges, you might find yourself having to handle a lot of space.
2. What's so problematic with a fireball covering 20'r? it's far from the best damage spell.
3. Slow is indeed nasty and merit a clause that a new save is allowed each round anew, but Confusion could turn out to be a 2-edged-sword.





The motivation to use ranged touch spells is that they do twice as much damage as auto-hit spells, with no save. You can exempt some spells from global SR if they really annoy your sense of realistic magic, but there are fewer of those than there are spells that need to be re-SR'd. The slashing damage from Spiritual Weapon and Blade Barrier is from magical force, most spells that deal piercing or slashing are force actually and should obviously have SR, meanwhile good old Force Orb of non-magical magical force says hi.


A spiritual weapon attacks on its own. It's the magic that does the aiming, so SR makes sense.
Blade Barrier affects the AoE, not creatures that choose to enter it. No justification for SR.





You're chanting TPK because nerfing range/duration/SR no without actually changing any of the spell effects is so crippling the game becomes unplayable?


I think that in this case you're barking at the wrong tree.
I made no connection between TPK and nerfing range/duration/SR.
All I said is that an encounter with a medusa might end up in TPK in the first round – for no other reason than bad luck in the dice rolls. That's unfair, not fun and non-replicable by any spell I've ever seen.





Nope, didn't pull enough interest to get me to watch it (few movies do, too much effort). Medusa-in-a-box tactics are a way of challenging powerful groups, but obviously shouldn't be pulled on groups that can't handle it.


You do remember that 3.5 Medusa is CR 6, right?





Note that gaze attacks affect the target at the start of their turn. I'm pretty sure the way it's written you're allowed to close your eyes before making the first save on your turn, though invoking the focused gaze on someone may bypass that if you win initiative, but that only works on one person at a time.


As a player, how exactly do you justify averting your eyes when encountering a medusa for the first time? What instinct drives you to do that?





Now a box full of Mummies on the other hand, that's death (save vs paralysis on sight for every mummy in the box for everyone in line of sight, not a gaze and no time to close your eyes).


That's a matter of interpretation. When encountering multiple mummies, I'd rule out that only one save is required, under the rationale that you don't get spooked multiple times at a given instance.
At the very worst, I'd rule that each additional mummy raises the DC by +1.

nonsi
2016-06-12, 02:19 PM
No they don't, they burn spell slots cast from a pool you aren't using for fighting in exchange for knowledge of the place at the time you are fighting.


Whatever they choose to reserve up front - that's less fire power and less utility.





If you just have a map of the entire dungeon before you ever even enter it, that costs zero spell slots when you actually go in.


That pretty much invalidates the reason to assemble around the gaming table.

Beheld
2016-06-12, 02:43 PM
Whatever they choose to reserve up front - that's less fire power and less utility.

Again, these are spell slots that they cast, before they regain spell slots. So they have exactly the same amount of firepower whether they do this or not.


That pretty much invalidates the reason to assemble around the gaming table.

No it doesn't, that's the point. If you can't imagine circumstances which allow for the game to matter when you can scout in advance, then you shouldn't be playing with level 11+ Wizards.

Fizban
2016-06-12, 08:43 PM
Time to start chunking things up:

If I'm to add range and duration tweaks, it'll be from my overhaul codex – for a more complete picture.
Nothing wrong with preferring your own work, but that's even more references.

From my stand point, there's only one thing that merits out-of-table work for a player – character-build.
I sat on the DM's chair more than once and I fully understand the need for doing homework as DM, but the DM is the one who tells the story – the rest should arrive and experience it.
Managing your wizardry is part of your character build. If you expect all classes to be playable without prep work outside the table, or wasting time at the table, then you're just gonna need to cut every single prepared caster. The DM has to do more than just tell a story, if they don't have the mechanical chops to keep the game moving the way their story requires it's not gonna work. We'll probably just have to disagree here though: I find the idea that the players just get to show up extremely insulting and the worst sort of "player privilege." I don't really care how simple your build is, if you're not putting in any effort then why should I take the effort to run things? If you don't have spells and equipment to manage then you'd better show up with cool plans and roleplaying ideas.

1. There were cases that had 30 or more. Not a lot, but it does happen. When fighting a flock of stirges, you might find yourself having to handle a lot of space.
2. What's so problematic with a fireball covering 20'r? it's far from the best damage spell.
3. Slow is indeed nasty and merit a clause that a new save is allowed each round anew, but Confusion could turn out to be a 2-edged-sword.
1. A flock of 27 stirges flying in formation is only 15' cube, and that's assuming they aren't attacking anyone: as tiny creatures they have to enter your space to attack, so multiple stirges will be in the same space with their target. A 10' radius sphere should cover nearly the entire cube. If they're spread all over the place then you don't have to rush to kill them.
2. Try being a non-magical person who can only hit one guy at a time and then ask yourself why casters get literally unblockable attacks that strike from outside of charging range or even reasonable bowshot, even if you have a wall in the way, and which can kill entire rooms full of people. Magic only seems fair if you're a magic person, to the entire rest of the world it's complete bs.
3. I find it amusing that you'd nerf Slow harder than Confusion, though from the perspective of a brute Confusion's "attack last attacker" clause isn't so bad. Except it means you can perfectly control their aggro so they can't attack anyone but the tank or a useless summoned creature.

A spiritual weapon attacks on its own. It's the magic that does the aiming, so SR makes sense.
Blade Barrier affects the AoE, not creatures that choose to enter it. No justification for SR.
Blades of magical force. Made of magic. Which ignore magic immunity and resistance? That's what you're going with? This would be the first time I've ever seen someone actually taking the same side as Force Orb's non-magical magical force nonsense.

I think that in this case you're barking at the wrong tree.
I made no connection between TPK and nerfing range/duration/SR.
Uh. . .


The Stone does nothing to reduce the raw cosmic power of magically kicking someone out of the fight: it just forces you to do so from a slightly more dangerous range and with slightly less room for error.
T.P.K.!!
I'm talking about the minimalist changes from jiriku's Philosopher's Stone, primarily the range, area, duration, SR:yes everything, which you've been generally arguing against even though your other balance project says it uses something similar. I point out that it does nothing to actually nerf the gonzo effects of those spells once you're in range, and you respond with TPK. This directly implies that you think that those changes will lead to a TPK. Then you start talking about Medusas, which I never brought up.

All I said is that an encounter with a medusa might end up in TPK in the first round – for no other reason than bad luck in the dice rolls. That's unfair, not fun and non-replicable by any spell I've ever seen.
What? Have you even read spells? You've got Solid Fog on your nerf list which does nothing but slow people down while actually protecting them from quite a bit of the PCs. Meanwhile Sleep, Web, Glitterdust, Deep Slumber, Stinking Cloud, and Confusion are all completely absent even though every single one of those can functionally end the encounter on the first round thanks to bad luck in the dice rolls, they call it mop-up instead of interesting combat for a reason. No one actually uses Circle of Death from what I hear (it costs money), but it literally kills multiple people on the first round of combat with bad dice rolls. Gaze attacks have short 30'-60' ranges that ensure the players are close enough to fight back, and give you plenty of room to close your eyes, while none of the spells I listed has less than Medium (100'+10'/level) range and you can't just close your eyes to block them. The only thing "unfair" about a Medusa is that it's petrification forces the party to go home and buy a Stone to Flesh if they fail a save and win anyway, meanwhile the monsters that get screwed and mopped up by those spells are still dead.

You do remember that 3.5 Medusa is CR 6, right?
You do realize that there's more to power than just number of class levels, right?

As a player, how exactly do you justify averting your eyes when encountering a medusa for the first time? What instinct drives you to do that?
Oh, let me count the ways: I rolled a knowledge check, a party member rolled a knowledge check, my employer warned me, I saw statutes and made an educated guess because petrifying gaze is a common legend, I saw it use the narrowed gaze action on another party member and realized what was up, the DM decided to just warn me that my eyes hurt because he'd prefer an informed fight rather than a crap shoot, or I could be metagaming my ass off if it's that sort of campaign. Probably more than that but it should suffice.

That's a matter of interpretation. When encountering multiple mummies, I'd rule out that only one save is required, under the rationale that you don't get spooked multiple times at a given instance.
At the very worst, I'd rule that each additional mummy raises the DC by +1.
It's not a matter of interpretation in the slightest:

Whether or not the save is successful, that creature cannot be affected again by the same mummy’s despair ability for 24 hours. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Mummy's despair is not some general effect that occurs when one or more are around, each mummy has it's own despair effect independent of the others and you have to eat the save from each of them. Your ruling that it's only one save is a reasonable way of not murdering the party, but it's all on you. My whole point was that a box of mummies is not something you should normally do, just as you shouldn't play a Medusa hardcore defensively, because most parties are not built to handle it. This a prime example of the DM needing do more than just tell a story: it doesn't matter if you want a sneaky badass medusa in your story if it's going to result in a TPK, and it's up to the DM to know the game well enough to figure that out. The players can help out significantly by making characters that are in fact badass enough to handle that encounter, giving the DM more room for awesome, but that requires them to do some actual work on their builds and yes preparation outside of the table.

nonsi
2016-06-13, 09:19 AM
Nothing wrong with preferring your own work, but that's even more references.


No referencing, just a simple matter of copy-paste.





From my stand point, there's only one thing that merits out-of-table work for a player – character-build.
I sat on the DM's chair more than once and I fully understand the need for doing homework as DM, but the DM is the one who tells the story – the rest should arrive and experience it.
Managing your wizardry is part of your character build. If you expect all classes to be playable without prep work outside the table, or wasting time at the table, then you're just gonna need to cut every single prepared caster. The DM has to do more than just tell a story, if they don't have the mechanical chops to keep the game moving the way their story requires it's not gonna work. We'll probably just have to disagree here though: I find the idea that the players just get to show up extremely insulting and the worst sort of "player privilege." I don't really care how simple your build is, if you're not putting in any effort then why should I take the effort to run things? If you don't have spells and equipment to manage then you'd better show up with cool plans and roleplaying ideas.


I don't find it insulting at all. People have lives y'know.
As DM I took the need to work outside game sessions into account. When you don't have time to write up an adventure, you run one from a published module.
As a player, I'd want to cut down the time I have to invest just to function to bare minimum. We all spend enough out-of-table time w/o having to as it is.





1. A flock of 27 stirges flying in formation is only 15' cube, and that's assuming they aren't attacking anyone: as tiny creatures they have to enter your space to attack, so multiple stirges will be in the same space with their target. A 10' radius sphere should cover nearly the entire cube. If they're spread all over the place then you don't have to rush to kill them.


Assuming they fly in formation.





2. Try being a non-magical person who can only hit one guy at a time and then ask yourself why casters get literally unblockable attacks that strike from outside of charging range or even reasonable bowshot, even if you have a wall in the way, and which can kill entire rooms full of people. Magic only seems fair if you're a magic person, to the entire rest of the world it's complete bs.


This makes me contemplate general cleaving rules. It won't cover large areas, but at least it'll give partial answer to mooks within reach.




3. I find it amusing that you'd nerf Slow harder than Confusion, though from the perspective of a brute Confusion's "attack last attacker" clause isn't so bad. Except it means you can perfectly control their aggro so they can't attack anyone but the tank or a useless summoned creature.


1. In the case of Slow, allies in the AoE are not affected.
2. Confusion is a higher level spell.
3. The AoE of Confusion is 1/2 that of Slow.





I'm talking about the minimalist changes from jiriku's Philosopher's Stone, primarily the range, area, duration, SR:yes everything, which you've been generally arguing against even though your other balance project says it uses something similar. I point out that it does nothing to actually nerf the gonzo effects of those spells once you're in range, and you respond with TPK. This directly implies that you think that those changes will lead to a TPK.


That was a misunderstanding on my part. I didn't relate "Stone" to the Philosopher's Stone project. I had my mind set of petrifaction.





Sleep, Web, Glitterdust, Deep Slumber, Stinking Cloud, and Confusion are all completely absent even though every single one of those can functionally end the encounter on the first round thanks to bad luck in the dice rolls, they call it mop-up instead of interesting combat for a reason. No one actually uses Circle of Death from what I hear (it costs money), but it literally kills multiple people on the first round of combat with bad dice rolls. Gaze attacks have short 30'-60' ranges that ensure the players are close enough to fight back, and give you plenty of room to close your eyes, while none of the spells I listed has less than Medium (100'+10'/level) range and you can't just close your eyes to block them.


Sleep is useless vs. 5+ HD opponents. Deep Slumber is useless vs. 11+ HD opponents.
Web can be easily overcome w/ Str-check, Escape Artist, Fire, Freedom of Movement etc.
Glitterdust imposes no damage and no negative conditions.
Stinking Cloud is indeed nasty, but the DC is relatively low, the effect quickly passes and the cloud itself grants concealment. It's great for ambushes, but not so great in the middle of combat.
Unlike the spells you listed, petrifaction is permanent in and on itself





The only thing "unfair" about a Medusa is that it's petrification forces the party to go home and buy a Stone to Flesh if they fail a save and win anyway, meanwhile the monsters that get screwed and mopped up by those spells are still dead.


Assuming any of them survives, and that the surviving members have the required resources, and that the time and place allow them to put their resources to use.





Mummy's despair is not some general effect that occurs when one or more are around, each mummy has it's own despair effect independent of the others and you have to eat the save from each of them. Your ruling that it's only one save is a reasonable way of not murdering the party, but it's all on you. My whole point was that a box of mummies is not something you should normally do, just as you shouldn't play a Medusa hardcore defensively, because most parties are not built to handle it. This a prime example of the DM needing do more than just tell a story: it doesn't matter if you want a sneaky badass medusa in your story if it's going to result in a TPK, and it's up to the DM to know the game well enough to figure that out. The players can help out significantly by making characters that are in fact badass enough to handle that encounter, giving the DM more room for awesome, but that requires them to do some actual work on their builds and yes preparation outside of the table.


This makes me seriously consider a general rule for handling all sorts of effects related to monsters' mere presence.
It's just that IDK if medusas, basilisks and mummies are the only problematic monsters out there.

Fizban
2016-06-13, 07:53 PM
When you don't have time to write up an adventure, you run one from a published module.
Running a module doesn't significantly reduce prep work, it just shifts it to a different kind. Assuming you're actually making sure you understand it and that it will work for your party.

Sleep is useless vs. 5+ HD opponents. Deep Slumber is useless vs. 11+ HD opponents.
Web can be easily overcome w/ Str-check, Escape Artist, Fire, Freedom of Movement etc.
Glitterdust imposes no damage and no negative conditions.
Stinking Cloud is indeed nasty, but the DC is relatively low, the effect quickly passes and the cloud itself grants concealment. It's great for ambushes, but not so great in the middle of combat.
I think you have a woeful misunderstanding of how these spells work. Notice how all your "counters" have nothing to do with the levels when those spells show up. Sleep and Deep Slumber are used when you first get them, before the HD limit kicks in, duh they're not supposed to be used at higher level. Freedom of Movement is a 4th level spell to Web's 2nd, and it's not common on monsters or even on PCs who didn't know to expect it. Making the strength or escape artist check to get moving will likely take more than one try, and you have to make a check every round to progress through what is once again a massive 20' radius (that's a save/check to be unstuck, then up to 40' of diameter to cross, and the action for the check isn't even specified so who knows?). Web is easily worth 3-4 rounds lost no-save, the only exception being if they burn their way out. And Glitterdust has "no negative conditions?" It blinds on a failed save. Blind, as in you can't see where anything is and have a 50% miss chance even if you somehow do know. I feel compelled to ask again, do you even read spells?

Indeed, often the safest move when failing a Stinking Cloud save is to hide in it, but "the DC is low" is bs: spell DCs go as high as the player can push them (it will almost certainly by higher than the Medusa's DC 15), and the spell forces a new save every round until you fail if you can't get out after making the first, such as because the PCs are in the way. Good encounters involve multiple foes, which vastly increases the likelihood that someone will fail a save, leaving those who "succeeded" outnumbered and outgunned. The players can use all sorts of simple precautions and combos to deal with people hiding in the cloud, if those foes are even clever enough to do so, otherwise it's just 1d4+1 (or more) rounds of waiting to die. The only situation that makes it hard to use is fighting in small areas thanks to the 20' radius, but your previous assumptions all seem to have been outdoors where losing any of that area is too terrible to contemplate. So which is it?

Unlike the spells you listed, petrifaction is permanent in and on itself
Assuming any of them survives, and that the surviving members have the required resources, and that the time and place allow them to put their resources to use.
You don't get it. Every single disabling spell in the game results in death for the monsters and treasure for the PCs, while disabling the PCs results in either death (with a badly built encounter or bad luck), or nothing. Petrification on the PCs results in a trip back to town, for a spell that costs 1/10 the price of a Raise Dead with no level loss, a time sink but still effectively nothing . Just because it's annoying to deal with doesn't make it any more unbalanced than spells which kick people out of the fight with the same effectiveness, at the same level or lower. Am I saying Medusas are a good idea? No, actually I think it's a terrible idea to have mass save or lose this early. But when the players have spells that are just as lethal at 5th level, bringing in a Medusa at CR 6 to give them a challenge is perfectly valid. And that's the problem: if you're running high-op characters vs high-op monsters, 3.5 devolves into rocket tag as early as 4th or 5th level. Except the player's rockets have Medium range.

So if even one party member falls then they will all die, highly dangerous monsters like Medusas should use tactics that make them even more dangerous, and said areas will prevent the players from retreating. Sure, if the DM doesn't know how to build and balance encounters or is just trying to kill you, then you're gonna need all the excess power of standard spells. And if I may tie it back again, well that's what happens when you think you can get away without preparing, on either side of the screen. Taking your party into account and making sure they can actually succeed takes time, even more time as you increase the complexity of the fights, and being prepared to face enemies that have actual tactics also takes time. Your ideal of people showing up without preparation is in direct conflict with the idea that you can run monsters at full power and tactical ability. And at that point the only thing left is leaning on the overpowered magic system. In short, your gamestyle doesn't need a balance fix because it's relying on imbalance to function (if I've pieced the scraps together correctly). Which explains why the list at the start of the thread is a combination of the tip of the top cheese most people don't actually use, and stylistic changes. The way I hear it told this is actually pretty common, most groups get along just fine with a couple bruisers and one guy working the magic to keep it all together no matter what the DM throws at them. So that's okay.

This makes me seriously consider a general rule for handling all sorts of effects related to monsters' mere presence.
It's just that IDK if medusas, basilisks and mummies are the only problematic monsters out there.
There are tons of monsters with on-sight effects. Regardless of what sort of rule you might want for similar Despair abilities, Gaze attacks have their own (extremely forgiving) rules which you'd have to completely override. Though I see you've already done so. I thought this was a minimalist balance fix? Nerfing gaze attacks makes basically every gaze monster useless, when they were some of the only things that could match the mass save or lose available to players aside from spellcasting NPCs (terribly unbalanced) and monsters with tons of SLAs (mostly high level).

nonsi
2016-06-14, 01:12 AM
And Glitterdust has "no negative conditions?" It blinds on a failed save. Blind, as in you can't see where anything is and have a 50% miss chance even if you somehow do know.


Was very tiered when I wrote that reply (struggling with time lately)





Freedom of Movement is a 4th level spell to Web's 2nd, and it's not common on monsters or even on PCs who didn't know to expect it. Making the strength or escape artist check to get moving will likely take more than one try, and you have to make a check every round to progress through what is once again a massive 20' radius (that's a save/check to be unstuck, then up to 40' of diameter to cross, and the action for the check isn't even specified so who knows?). Web is easily worth 3-4 rounds lost no-save, the only exception being if they burn their way out.

Indeed, often the safest move when failing a Stinking Cloud save is to hide in it, but "the DC is low" is bs: spell DCs go as high as the player can push them (it will almost certainly by higher than the Medusa's DC 15), and the spell forces a new save every round until you fail if you can't get out after making the first, such as because the PCs are in the way. Good encounters involve multiple foes, which vastly increases the likelihood that someone will fail a save, leaving those who "succeeded" outnumbered and outgunned. The players can use all sorts of simple precautions and combos to deal with people hiding in the cloud, if those foes are even clever enough to do so, otherwise it's just 1d4+1 (or more) rounds of waiting to die. The only situation that makes it hard to use is fighting in small areas thanks to the 20' radius, but your previous assumptions all seem to have been outdoors where losing any of that area is too terrible to contemplate. So which is it?


Ok, I found what I believe would be a reasonable mid ground between your approach and mine: all battlefield control spells with AoE of 20'r or more have their AoE cut by half.





You don't get it. Every single disabling spell in the game results in death for the monsters and treasure for the PCs, while disabling the PCs results in either death (with a badly built encounter or bad luck), or nothing. Petrification on the PCs results in a trip back to town, for a spell that costs 1/10 the price of a Raise Dead with no level loss, a time sink but still effectively nothing . Just because it's annoying to deal with doesn't make it any more unbalanced than spells which kick people out of the fight with the same effectiveness, at the same level or lower. Am I saying Medusas are a good idea? No, actually I think it's a terrible idea to have mass save or lose this early. But when the players have spells that are just as lethal at 5th level, bringing in a Medusa at CR 6 to give them a challenge is perfectly valid. And that's the problem: if you're running high-op characters vs high-op monsters, 3.5 devolves into rocket tag as early as 4th or 5th level. Except the player's rockets have Medium range.


Petrifaction and death are more than that at 4th/5th level. At those levels, they often lead to character permanent departure.
Have you never had characters in your party buried or abandoned due to lack of funds, absence of someone who'd take those funds to provide an "antidote", or the campaign not allowing such "time sinks"?





So if even one party member falls then they will all die, highly dangerous monsters like Medusas should use tactics that make them even more dangerous, and said areas will prevent the players from retreating. Sure, if the DM doesn't know how to build and balance encounters or is just trying to kill you, then you're gonna need all the excess power of standard spells. And if I may tie it back again, well that's what happens when you think you can get away without preparing, on either side of the screen. Taking your party into account and making sure they can actually succeed takes time, even more time as you increase the complexity of the fights, and being prepared to face enemies that have actual tactics also takes time. Your ideal of people showing up without preparation is in direct conflict with the idea that you can run monsters at full power and tactical ability. And at that point the only thing left is leaning on the overpowered magic system.


Ok, I see the problem now. I should've made a clear separation between two distinct cases:
1. Pre-adventure prep-time
2. Pre-session prep-time.

I was referring to the latter.
It's perfectly expected of characters to "gear-up" when going out on an adventure, and work out their contingencies. Even more so – it would be absolutely idiotic not to do so.
At the same time, it is absolutely unreasonable to build adventures in expectation that the party would have to run back to town and the local temple/magic mart on an average of once every 4 days to lick their wounds. Think of what such a thing would've done to all the great fantasy stories you’ve ever heard.





There are tons of monsters with on-sight effects. Regardless of what sort of rule you might want for similar Despair abilities, Gaze attacks have their own (extremely forgiving) rules which you'd have to completely override. Though I see you've already done so. I thought this was a minimalist balance fix? Nerfing gaze attacks makes basically every gaze monster useless, when they were some of the only things that could match the mass save or lose available to players aside from spellcasting NPCs (terribly unbalanced) and monsters with tons of SLAs (mostly high level).


It's not just them being high-challenge at appropriate levels. Far from it.
10 mummies (max No. Appearing) could prove lethal even to a 15th-level-average high-powered party… and that's way passed the point where they award you XP at all.

Fizban
2016-06-15, 04:56 AM
Was very tiered when I wrote that reply (struggling with time lately)
Fair.

Ok, I found what I believe would be a reasonable mid ground between your approach and mine: all battlefield control spells with AoE of 20'r or more have their AoE cut by half.
And what is battlefield control? Unless you mean literally all save or X effects, and no saves, and. . . pretty much everything. Since I'm arguing the Philosopher's Stone here I still wouldn't accept it as there's no reason for damage spells to have areas that large either. If the premise of spell range/area/duration being too large is accepted then there's no reason to exempt damage spells, because they're just as invalidating to anyone who's not a spellcaster. In order to match even a 10' radius fireball you need to be able to hit. . . a 10' radius. With a sword.

Exempting fireball just because it's damage instead of save or lose continues to ignore that all spells are allowed a huge value just because they're spells. Obviously that's not a problem you wish to address here, but it is a problem. We accept that magic is overpowered because it's supposed to be overpowered because magic, and that's fine. But you can't address class balance without revisiting that fact and doing something about it, and since the entire game is built on this law no amount of substitutions or class tweaks will change the fact magic is OP because magic.

Petrifaction and death are more than that at 4th/5th level. At those levels, they often lead to character permanent departure.
Have you never had characters in your party buried or abandoned due to lack of funds, absence of someone who'd take those funds to provide an "antidote", or the campaign not allowing such "time sinks"?
Uh, my whole point was that death should not be happening at this level, and is a result of screwing up. Petrification is far more preferable. And no, I have not had such difficulties, though I've also not played much at that level. Regardless and yet again, this is a DM problem: the game assumes that you can drag someone back to town and get them de-petrified, Medusa are fair because of that, and if you have structured the scenario to make this impossible then it is obviously unfair. I would not do so myself, neither of the DMs I've played under did so either, and if they had I would have called them on it. If the players are forced to fight a Medusa where they cannot possibly survive failing a save, then the fight had best be either optional or winnable blindfolded, else you're setting your players up to fail.

Ok, I see the problem now. I should've made a clear separation between two distinct cases:
1. Pre-adventure prep-time
2. Pre-session prep-time.

I was referring to the latter.
It's perfectly expected of characters to "gear-up" when going out on an adventure, and work out their contingencies. Even more so – it would be absolutely idiotic not to do so.
At the same time, it is absolutely unreasonable to build adventures in expectation that the party would have to run back to town and the local temple/magic mart on an average of once every 4 days to lick their wounds. Think of what such a thing would've done to all the great fantasy stories you’ve ever heard.
No, we are both referring to pre-session prep-time. I am saying that players of prepared casters should be taking the time between sessions to read and understand their spells, planning what to prepare and how to use them, so that when I say "you finish resting" they say "let's go." It is not a good use of my or the other players' time if we have to sit around while you figure out how to play your class. Be prepared. Cast your divinations at the end of the session so you have a week to guess at the meaning and figure out what to do about it. Look up magic items before you get back to town so we don't spend a whole session "shopping." If you're not a prepared caster then you have even less excuse for not knowing how your constant always-available class features work. And all players can think ahead about NPCs and plot and stuff their characters want to do.

None of that is unreasonable.

I don't know where you're getting the "once every 4 days" idea, but if the DM is throwing things at the party that they cannot personally deal with then yeah, they're gonna have to keep pulling back. That's why there are prices for hiring spells in the PHB, because that is the default response if they encounter a problem that requires a spell they can't cast. Back to the time frame: that also depends highly on how much adventuring you do, since 4 full days of encounters is a full level and you should probably be taking a break anyway. As for the great fantasy stories: they rarely if ever actually use monsters that hit the characters with permanent debilitating effects, and when they do it usually results in yes a big long trip somewhere to lick their wounds. If it was something they took care of themselves then it wasn't very permanent or debilitating was it?

This is why the Cleric is a nigh-mandatory party member, so much that they beefed it up so people wouldn't feel like it was a punishment. Once your Cleric is high enough level to remove a certain status problem, you can use monsters with that status problem. Mummy Rot is certain death without Remove Disease: Clerics get Remove Disease at 5th, Mummies are CR 5. A Mummy is a terrifying boss fight at lower levels which sends you running back to the temple, and an annoying bruiser/resource sink at higher levels. Bodaks have Death Gaze at CR8, Death Ward is available at level 7. Petrifying creatures are oddly under CR'd for their effects, but unlike Mummy Rot or Death Gaze it won't kill you outright, and if Break Enchantment works a Cleric can start dealing with it at level 9. They are absolutely meant to be used as annoyances, heck, a nice introduction to the idea of save or "die" without actually killing out.

So for an example, let us take Lord of the Rings: Frodo gets stabbed by a morgul knife and the party has to stop because he's dying. Aragorn can fix, so the story goes on. Throwing a Medusa at the PCs when they can't de-petrify on their own and can't get to someone who can is the same as sending a ringwraith against a hobbit party without a Ranger. It makes for a pretty bad story.

It's not just them being high-challenge at appropriate levels. Far from it.
10 mummies (max No. Appearing) could prove lethal even to a 15th-level-average high-powered party… and that's way passed the point where they award you XP at all.
Indeed, and the Test of Spite run I read had the party getting kicked around constantly by basic CR3 Shadows spawned after a Summon Undead. They were so optimized they didn't have any magic weapons, and thus couldn't fight Shadows. A 15th level party that doesn't have countermeasures in place can be suprised by a box of Mummies, that's why I said they're useful. But there's a common 6th level spell (Hero's Feast) that gives fear (and poison) immunity for 12 hours and completely negates it-many arguments I've seen assume that high level parties use it at all times, because those immunities are crazy good.

But I was focusing on your gaze attack nerf: if you're attempting a class balance fix, with the apparent primary aim being more overall PC power with only the loss of a few specific spell effects, why are your nerfing one of the only monster abilities that can match PC power?

nonsi
2016-06-16, 03:00 AM
And what is battlefield control? Unless you mean literally all save or X effects, and no saves, and. . . pretty much everything. Since I'm arguing the Philosopher's Stone here I still wouldn't accept it as there's no reason for damage spells to have areas that large either. If the premise of spell range/area/duration being too large is accepted then there's no reason to exempt damage spells, because they're just as invalidating to anyone who's not a spellcaster. In order to match even a 10' radius fireball you need to be able to hit. . . a 10' radius. With a sword.

Exempting fireball just because it's damage instead of save or lose continues to ignore that all spells are allowed a huge value just because they're spells. Obviously that's not a problem you wish to address here, but it is a problem. We accept that magic is overpowered because it's supposed to be overpowered because magic, and that's fine. But you can't address class balance without revisiting that fact and doing something about it, and since the entire game is built on this law no amount of substitutions or class tweaks will change the fact magic is OP because magic.


Magic is OP? Well, let's do away with magic then.
No, even after cutting AoE radius of battlefield control spells in half, they're still superior to blasting spells. Vs. opponents of your proportional caliber, preferring battlefield control spells over damage spells is the more sensible strategy.
In a mage vs. martial adept damage contest, the mage would probably lose. I'm fine with leaving damage spells as they are. Their forte is vs. hordes of low-level inconveniences and they save precious game time. If a specific spell proves problematic, I'll handle it specifically.





Uh, my whole point was that death should not be happening at this level, and is a result of screwing up. Petrification is far more preferable. And no, I have not had such difficulties, though I've also not played much at that level. Regardless and yet again, this is a DM problem: the game assumes that you can drag someone back to town and get them de-petrified, Medusa are fair because of that, and if you have structured the scenario to make this impossible then it is obviously unfair. I would not do so myself, neither of the DMs I've played under did so either, and if they had I would have called them on it. If the players are forced to fight a Medusa where they cannot possibly survive failing a save, then the fight had best be either optional or winnable blindfolded, else you're setting your players up to fail.


1. You haven't played much at those levels, I have. Those are good levels as far as suspense goes.
2. Death could happen at any level. It's ok that the thread of death floats above your head as something tangible. It's just that the odds should depend on sound strategy more than pure luck.
3. I have no problem with a medusa being able to petrify. I have a problem with a single medusa being able to petrify the entire party in a single round of bad luck (e.g. surprise). A medusa gains petrifaction 5 HD earlier than characters gain access to Flesh to Stone, no reason for it to do what no 9th level spell can replicate.





No, we are both referring to pre-session prep-time. I am saying that players of prepared casters should be taking the time between sessions to read and understand their spells, planning what to prepare and how to use them, so that when I say "you finish resting" they say "let's go." It is not a good use of my or the other players' time if we have to sit around while you figure out how to play your class.


That's acceptable. Players do that anyway. I never encountered players that needed a push on that one.





Be prepared. Cast your divinations at the end of the session so you have a week to guess at the meaning and figure out what to do about it.


Regardless of the time of day in-game and the situation the characters are in? Not very reliable story-wise.





Look up magic items before you get back to town so we don't spend a whole session "shopping." If you're not a prepared caster then you have even less excuse for not knowing how your constant always-available class features work. And all players can think ahead about NPCs and plot and stuff their characters want to do.


1. That's assuming the party doesn't unexpectantly finishes an adventure after one hour of session (I'm assuming that your DM – and you as DM – don't inform the players of such possibility ahead of time).
2. Again – no argument about downtime management.





None of that is unreasonable.

I don't know where you're getting the "once every 4 days" idea, but if the DM is throwing things at the party that they cannot personally deal with then yeah, they're gonna have to keep pulling back. That's why there are prices for hiring spells in the PHB, because that is the default response if they encounter a problem that requires a spell they can't cast.


CR-appropriate encounters are something that a party should be able to handle w/ in-adventure recovery and w/o routinely running back home to have others patch them up. Otherwise, what's the whole point of the CR system?





Back to the time frame: that also depends highly on how much adventuring you do, since 4 full days of encounters is a full level and you should probably be taking a break anyway.


I was talking about 4 days when thing happen other than just fighting. Roughly 6 encounters.
Not in all campaigns, but I have tasted it in one campaign, and the DM routinely pulled the CR card on us.





As for the great fantasy stories: they rarely if ever actually use monsters that hit the characters with permanent debilitating effects, and when they do it usually results in yes a big long trip somewhere to lick their wounds. If it was something they took care of themselves then it wasn't very permanent or debilitating was it?


Other than when it was permanent, but a fair point in general.





This is why the Cleric is a nigh-mandatory party member, so much that they beefed it up so people wouldn't feel like it was a punishment. Once your Cleric is high enough level to remove a certain status problem, you can use monsters with that status problem.


Assuming the cleric doesn't get nailed himself and you haven't already used up your pre-adventure contingencies.





Mummy Rot is certain death without Remove Disease: Clerics get Remove Disease at 5th, Mummies are CR 5. A Mummy is a terrifying boss fight at lower levels which sends you running back to the temple, and an annoying bruiser/resource sink at higher levels. Bodaks have Death Gaze at CR8, Death Ward is available at level 7.


Both are reasonable in my view.





Petrifying creatures are oddly under CR'd for their effects, but unlike Mummy Rot or Death Gaze it won't kill you outright, and if Break Enchantment works a Cleric can start dealing with it at level 9.


Again – the problem is not the ability to petrify on its own, but the 1st-round TPK possibility.





They are absolutely meant to be used as annoyances, heck, a nice introduction to the idea of save or "die" without actually killing out.

So for an example, let us take Lord of the Rings: Frodo gets stabbed by a morgul knife and the party has to stop because he's dying. Aragorn can fix, so the story goes on. Throwing a Medusa at the PCs when they can't de-petrify on their own and can't get to someone who can is the same as sending a ringwraith against a hobbit party without a Ranger. It makes for a pretty bad story.


No argument there.





Indeed, and the Test of Spite run I read had the party getting kicked around constantly by basic CR3 Shadows spawned after a Summon Undead. They were so optimized they didn't have any magic weapons, and thus couldn't fight Shadows. A 15th level party that doesn't have countermeasures in place can be suprised by a box of Mummies, that's why I said they're useful. But there's a common 6th level spell (Hero's Feast) that gives fear (and poison) immunity for 12 hours and completely negates it-many arguments I've seen assume that high level parties use it at all times, because those immunities are crazy good.


It is unacceptable to me that an encounter with a CR that's supposed to be a walk in the park could, in any and all situations, ever end up with TPK. A fatality here and there due to being careless, yes. TPK, no.
It is equally unacceptable to expect a party to always have to rely on a certain spell effect (even more so when it consumes an hour of your work day – each day anew) just to function reasonably in such case.
I intend to figure out something regarding fear effects. ATM, what I'm thinking of is the following solution:
Known Monsters and fear effects: when encountering a monster w/ inherent fear-related abilities that you have triumphed over in the past and has up to 5 monster-HD less than your ECL, you completely ignore those inherent abilities. (a mummy lord is no more scarier than a regular mummy on the account of possessing Cleric levels).





But I was focusing on your gaze attack nerf: if you're attempting a class balance fix, with the apparent primary aim being more overall PC power with only the loss of a few specific spell effects, why are your nerfing one of the onlymonster abilities that can match PC power?


The above issue has absolutely nothing to do with class balance.

Fizban
2016-06-19, 11:27 PM
3. I have no problem with a medusa being able to petrify. I have a problem with a single medusa being able to petrify the entire party in a single round of bad luck (e.g. surprise). A medusa gains petrifaction 5 HD earlier than characters gain access to Flesh to Stone, no reason for it to do what no 9th level spell can replicate.
Once again, the gaze rules allow you to close your eyes before you make a save and even with the most liberal reading a gazer can only focus on two people on the turn before you get to act. A Medusa cannot petrify the entire party on turn one unless the entire party is dumb enough to stare it down, followed by the assumed bad luck.

1. That's assuming the party doesn't unexpectantly finishes an adventure after one hour of session (I'm assuming that your DM – and you as DM – don't inform the players of such possibility ahead of time).
Considering the glacial pace at which half the gamers I've played with move, that would be highly unlikely. If you're close enough to the end of a dungeon to finish with significant time to spare next session it should be fairly obvious and yeah if they players haven't figured it out sure I'd tell them. I loathe and despise the idea that players should be kept in the dark about everything. Someone put up a Red Hand of Doom campaign journal where they didn't tell the players anything about the module and sure enough they failed miserably since everyone decided to be all grim and unheroic. It got better later when their complete inability to form a coherent party even after making new characters knowing the stakes turned into hilarious failure instead of sad failure, but anyway. Why on earth would you run a game where you let half a session go to waste on purpose?

CR-appropriate encounters are something that a party should be able to handle w/ in-adventure recovery and w/o routinely running back home to have others patch them up. Otherwise, what's the whole point of the CR system?
And every system has outliers, such as petrify, incorporeal undead, and the raw strength of dragons and that damn crab. Those are part of the DM's tookit and removing them has no purpose.

Not in all campaigns, but I have tasted it in one campaign, and the DM routinely pulled the CR card on us.
DM pulled a "card." Adversarial DM only reinforces my previous conclusions that you're playing games where the DM doesn't know how to build encounters and is more interested in killing you than working with the party he's got.

Assuming the cleric doesn't get nailed himself and you haven't already used up your pre-adventure contingencies.
Which is another reason that it is 100% assumed you can drag them back to town to fix it. Both that and having a Cleric in-party are part of the standard game and CR assumptions, ignore them at your own peril.

It is unacceptable to me that an encounter with a CR that's supposed to be a walk in the park could, in any and all situations, ever end up with TPK. A fatality here and there due to being careless, yes. TPK, no.
It is equally unacceptable to expect a party to always have to rely on a certain spell effect (even more so when it consumes an hour of your work day – each day anew) just to function reasonably in such case.
I intend to figure out something regarding fear effects. ATM, what I'm thinking of is the following solution:
Known Monsters and fear effects: when encountering a monster w/ inherent fear-related abilities that you have triumphed over in the past and has up to 5 monster-HD less than your ECL, you completely ignore those inherent abilities. (a mummy lord is no more scarier than a regular mummy on the account of possessing Cleric levels).
Then you're going to have to remove probably half the monsters in existence, because high level DnD is built on a bed of immunities and counters you're supposed to be bringing in either magic item or spell form, and lacking those counters make plenty of low-CR enemies a potential TPK. Anything with mind control or insanity, anything with create spawn, anything with an on-sight disable, and as you've seen those all exist by CR 5. Carelessness+bad luck= TPK, if you want that to be flat impossible then your kid gloves are softer than mine. The thing that stops that from happening is the DM, if the players want zero risk then you don't use monsters with risks they can't handle, it's not rocket science.

The above issue has absolutely nothing to do with class balance.
From your first post:

The goal is to "level the playing field", taking away as little as possible from the entire set of official 3.5 materials, and to change as little as possible.

Which is followed by a long list of bans/alterations and substitutions all clearly aimed at class balance. And one odd line about nerfing gaze attacks into oblivion. Which is apparently motivated by some desire to, while still allowing magic to be grossly overpowered compared to non-magic, remove any sort of monster ability that can suddenly end in a TPK, even though that is exactly what magic does. I can accept that you're making a list of houserules that fails to address problems that don't bother you, but it rather annoys me that you'll ignore those problems while nerfing monsters that don't need to be nerfed. No monster exists in a vaccuum: they are placed by the DM and it's the DM's job to use them properly. If your ideas about monster balance are only informed by a DM who uses the CR system as an excuse for party abuse rather than a helpful tool then it's just going to be restrictions that were unneeded by good DMs and encourage further arms race abuse from the bad.

The whole point of 3.5 dnd is that there's tons of stuff. It's impossible to anticipate all balance problems with that stuff. You can't build encounters by plugging in random monsters and expecting it to work because the CRs line up any more than you can build a party by plugging in random classes and random builds and expect it to work out. Attempts to balance out the classes make building the party easier, but every party is still 3+ different characters with their own strengths and weaknesses which can match up better or worse against any given monster. Trying to add "monster fixes" to a class fix is not going to help, all it does is take away tools the DM might end up needing.

nonsi
2016-06-20, 03:26 AM
Once again, the gaze rules allow you to close your eyes before you make a save and even with the most liberal reading a gazer can only focus on two people on the turn before you get to act. A Medusa cannot petrify the entire party on turn one unless the entire party is dumb enough to stare it down, followed by the assumed bad luck.


Where did you encounter that?
I don't remember anything in WotC published materials that says that.





Considering the glacial pace at which half the gamers I've played with move, that would be highly unlikely. If you're close enough to the end of a dungeon to finish with significant time to spare next session it should be fairly obvious and yeah if they players haven't figured it out sure I'd tell them. I loathe and despise the idea that players should be kept in the dark about everything.


The best stories told are those where the players' knowledge of things is as close to that of the characters as possible. Be in the moment.
You said you expect players to do their homework.
"Doing their homework" is about their plans for their characters in the long run, while prioritizing. Players should exploit their post-adventure resources according to their priorities and post-adventure wound-licking. If they indeed do their HW, then there's no justification for spending an entire session shopping – especially if the DM is not an ass that insists on haggling any and all traded items (yes, had one of those as well).





Someone put up a Red Hand of Doom campaign journal where they didn't tell the players anything about the module and sure enough they failed miserably since everyone decided to be all grim and unheroic. It got better later when their complete inability to form a coherent party even after making new characters knowing the stakes turned into hilarious failure instead of sad failure, but anyway. Why on earth would you run a game where you let half a session go to waste on purpose?


The whole point of going out on an adventure is that while you know your own goals, you don't know what's to come ahead.
If the game's not working because you're in the moment, then the game has issues.
Guess what – the game has issues. That's why people homebrew and houserule.
Furthermore, one of the tools at hand for DMs, is the liberty of administering changes to an officially published module.





And every system has outliers, such as petrify, incorporeal undead, and the raw strength of dragons and that damn crab. Those are part of the DM's tookit and removing them has no purpose.


I fail to see how anything I suggest in the OP takes away or ruins something in the DM's toolkit.
What's to stop a DM from bringing in a second medusa if one proves too easy a challenge?





DM pulled a "card." Adversarial DM only reinforces my previous conclusions that you're playing games where the DM doesn't know how to build encounters and is more interested in killing you than working with the party he's got.


"Not in all campaigns, but I have tasted…"
And yes, no DM is interested in killing the party, otherwise they simply don't play.





Which is another reason that it is 100% assumed you can drag them back to town to fix it.


All the time? Well, there goes sotoryline credibility out the window.
"Routinely dragging them back to town to fix it" is something that's supposed to be over with starting at 5th level, otherwise where's that feeling of awesomeness that mid-level adventurers are supposed to feel like?





Then you're going to have to remove probably half the monsters in existence, because high level DnD is built on a bed of immunities and counters…


Then why didn't they hand out immunities based on character-class levels more and less on spells and gear?





…you're supposed to be bringing in either magic item or spell form, and lacking those counters make plenty of low-CR enemies a potential TPK.


You just said that magic is OP and now you protest my effort to reduce magic dependency.
Sorry, I really don’t understand this angle.





Anything with mind control or insanity, anything with create spawn, anything with an on-sight disable, and as you've seen those all exist by CR 5.


- Mind control is per individual or has HD-total restrictions.
- Insanity diminishes you, not takes you permanently out of the equation altogether.
- The OP addresses spawns already.
- The OP also addresses on-sight disable.
The latter two don't remove those CR 5 monsters.





Carelessness+bad luck= TPK, if you want that to be flat impossible then your kid gloves are softer than mine.


Repeat after me:
TPK Ruins The Game!
TPK Ruins The Game!!
TPK Ruins The Game!!!

Good.

I've tasted TPK 3 times. Twice it disbanded the group, when people had to put an effort to keep coming to sessions and that morale blow blew away their motivation to try.





The thing that stops that from happening is the DM, if the players want zero risk then you don't use monsters with risks they can't handle, it's not rocket science.


And what if the only one that's able to take the DM seat is not the most capable of the group?
So, w/o a "worthy enough" DM, let there be no game?!





From your first post:

[*Snip*]
"Level the playing field" addresses the game as a whole, not just class balance.






…remove any sort of monster ability that can suddenly end in a TPK, even though that is exactly what magic does.


Yes!
When dealing with CR-appropriate encounters – absolutely.





I can accept that you're making a list of houserules that fails to address problems that don't bother you, but it rather annoys me that you'll ignore those problems while nerfing monsters that don't need to be nerfed.


I just explained what makes me think that they do – actual practical game experience. In all cases, more than once.





No monster exists in a vaccuum: they are placed by the DM and it's the DM's job to use them properly.


No argument there.





If your ideas about monster balance are only informed by a DM who uses the CR system as an excuse for party abuse rather than a helpful tool…


"Not in all campaigns, but I have tasted…"





…then it's just going to be restrictions that were unneeded by good DMs and encourage further arms race abuse from the bad.


Again – the "worthy enough DM" issue. A "worthy enough DM" is not always around when a group of people wants to sit down and enjoy an adventure.





The whole point of 3.5 dnd is that there's tons of stuff.


One of them. Absolutely.





It's impossible to anticipate all balance problems with that stuff.


I said I'm aiming for addressing the major issues. I never expected to cover everything in a single post. That would be an unreasonable goal.





You can't build encounters by plugging in random monsters and expecting it to work because the CRs line up any more than you can build a party by plugging in random classes and random builds and expect it to work out.


So, what you're basically saying, is that such a project as this one is doomed to fail even before the first word in it is written. Right?





Trying to add "monster fixes" to a class fix is not going to help, all it does is take away tools the DM might end up needing.


Again, look at the OP and tell me what you see in it that takes away from you as DM.
Describe to me the scenarios that adhering to the OP's suggestions would deprive you of.

Fizban
2016-06-21, 09:55 AM
Where did you encounter that?
I don't remember anything in WotC published materials that says that.

Each character within range of a gaze attack must attempt a saving throw (which can be a Fortitude or Will save) each round at the beginning of his turn.

An opponent can avert his eyes from the creature’s face, looking at the creature’s body, watching its shadow, or tracking the creature in a reflective surface. Each round, the opponent has a 50% chance of not having to make a saving throw. The creature with the gaze attack gains concealment relative to the opponent. An opponent can shut his eyes, turn his back on the creature, or wear a blindfold. In these cases, the opponent does not need to make a saving throw. The creature with the gaze attack gains total concealment relative to the opponent.
You make a save at the start of your turn, unless you choose to avert or close your eyes, in which case it's a 50% chance or you just don't have to make a save period.

The whole point of going out on an adventure is that while you know your own goals, you don't know what's to come ahead.
Furthermore, one of the tools at hand for DMs, is the liberty of administering changes to an officially published module.
If you're playing a pre-made module, it is assumed that the players are on board with playing the module. If you don't tell them what the module's about, or worse, lead them in the opposite direction by using a different tone, then how can you expect them to actually play the module? If you have to completely rebuild it to match what they've done instead then why are you even bothering with a module?

I fail to see how anything I suggest in the OP takes away or ruins something in the DM's toolkit.
What's to stop a DM from bringing in a second medusa if one proves too easy a challenge?
By your own words, reducing the number of targets for spells cripples them and makes them unfun. You have reduced all gaze attacks from gaze to single target. All gaze monsters are now crippled. By definition, removing any tool from the box reduces the remaining number of tools.

"Routinely dragging them back to town to fix it" is something that's supposed to be over with starting at 5th level, otherwise where's that feeling of awesomeness that mid-level adventurers are supposed to feel like?
You're the one who seems to think every monster should be useable in any circumstance, which is the stance that leads to routinely dragging people back to town. All you have to do is not do that.

Then why didn't they hand out immunities based on character-class levels more and less on spells and gear?
The same reason they deliberately left bad feats in: to reward system mastery and preparedness. You can brute force and luck your way through high levels, rolling new characters every time one dies. Or you can learn and prepare and get through by using the correct spells and magic items.

You just said that magic is OP and now you protest my effort to reduce magic dependency.
Sorry, I really don’t understand this angle.
What effort to reduce magic dependency? You've nerfed gaze attacks because you don't want people having to deal with petrification, possibly also "fear on sight" so they don't have to consider fear effects. What about everything else on the list?

- Mind control is per individual or has HD-total restrictions.
- Insanity diminishes you, not takes you permanently out of the equation altogether.
- The OP addresses spawns already.
- The OP also addresses on-sight disable.
The latter two don't remove those CR 5 monsters.
You only need to mind control one person to shift from 4-1 to 3-2, and that's assuming you're using a lone monster. A pair of monsters can land two mind controls and now it's 2-4 with the players outnumbered. Insanity gives you a 60-90% chance of wasted action, depending on build and positioning, and allows the perfect aggro control I've already brought up where a foe you can't harm or don't care about attacking can force you to 100% waste your action. There is no instance of the word "spawn" in the OP, unless you mean to say it falls under your "summon/mind control" clause, in which case you've broken the existence of every spawning monster and also see previous statement re: mind control and how one is enough. I also see nothing there about on-sight disabling.

Repeat after me:
TPK Ruins The Game!
Repeat after me: then don't do it! Stop trying to pretend that rules alone can fix that problem because it's absurd. The game is run by a person, not a computer, and all that person has to do to prevent TPK is not build encounters that can result in TPK. It's pretty easy.

And what if the only one that's able to take the DM seat is not the most capable of the group?
So, w/o a "worthy enough" DM, let there be no game?!
That does seem to be the prevailing opinion, yes. If that's not suitable then maybe take advantage of the fact that the DM is a person instead of a computer and consider other options besides "welp I guess the rules say game over." Or loosen up and accept that characters gonna die and make the best of it. Don't get attached to characters when you know the DM's lacks the system mastery to spin the game so death is always a threat but only happens when it matters.

"Level the playing field" addresses the game as a whole, not just class balance.
And clearly I disagree, since the only thing you need to do to fix monsters is use them correctly. And you've not addressed the inherent excesses of magic.

I said I'm aiming for addressing the major issues. I never expected to cover everything in a single post. That would be an unreasonable goal.
My pedantry demands that I object to the label of minimalist because dat ain't minimalist.

So, what you're basically saying, is that such a project as this one is doomed to fail even before the first word in it is written. Right?
Essentially, yes. It is not achievable in 3.5 without discarding so much of the game it ceases to be 3.5. This is why I called it a list of houserules rather than a fix. If you're concerned about plug-n-play classes for players who won't build proper builds or parties and plug-n-play monsters for DMs that can't step to the job, them I'd suggest a change of edition. 5e is much more suited for that, still with room for error (low level modules throwing tons of foes at you ensures the good ol' russian roulette right from the beginning), but actually built with that idea in mind. Most save or lose effects have been exchanged for hit point based effects, all buffs, debuffs, control, magic items, everything has been stripped down. It lacks many of the core mechanics that allow the versatility that makes 3.5 great*, but with less versatility comes greater control making it actually within some realm of feasible to do things without thinking. The tradeoff of course is that from what I hear, high level play is ridiculously easy since it's weighted so heavily in the player's favor the most basic of tactics will crush anything. Predictable monsters make for a predictable game.

Again, look at the OP and tell me what you see in it that takes away from you as DM.
Describe to me the scenarios that adhering to the OP's suggestions would deprive you of.
I doubt you'll appreciate my opening conceit, but any option lost to players is lost to the DM:
-Any NPC build that would have involved Monk, Fighter, or Paladin, classic Druidic Wild Shape, prepared Druid casting, or Clerics that start with heavy armor as a rule.
-Any build involving Arcane Thesis or Divine Metamagic
-Any build/plot involving Mage's Transformation (a terrible spell but apparently in heavy use in War of the Burning Sky), Genesis, Clone, Simulacrum, or spells that interact with skills/feats/abilities.
-Any build/plot involving an NPC's use of Gate to call an ally, normal use of Power Word spells, caster movement through Prismatic Wall/Sphere, all monsters with True Seeing effects, Waves of Fatigue as a way to tax charging, and of course Wish giving a means to actually create magic items before the world has ended.

The 5' step change is unclear and seems most likely to have nerfed it, harming players and monsters alike. Gaze attacks have been nerfed into oblivion. The first part of the Metamagic line doesn't harm anything because it doesn't actually do anything, but the second of course mashes any NPC build that wants to use a unique and interesting metamagic instead of just cycling through Maximize/Empower/Twin/Whatever.

But what you're really asking about is what monster changes have done, to which I reiterate that gaze and Despair like monsters are no longer available to alpha strike parties in a manner comparable to their own. Limiting the ability of monsters to charm multiple people removes the classic brainwashed town plot. Necromancers cannot raise armies. Interpreting that section to limit Create Spawn ruins the ecology of more monsters. Not wishing for magic items also ruins the standard for doling out permanent rewards via Wish granting creatures, usually by far the easiest method of doing the job.

The DM does not need limits. They are the one who defines those limits. Thus it is somewhat paradoxical to argue about weather or not a fix should include limits on monsters and DM choices. While I don't see them as necessary or practical, there is some sense in ban/alteration lists for character building, as there are multiple players who can end up at all sorts of places without guidance. Some general changes like Full Attack as standard action apply as much or more to players and have obvious results, for good or ill, but the DM is only one person. The DM inherits the limitations of the party, players, what the group wants to do, and slapping more on there is either pointless because the group already asked for it, or pointless because it's not a needed restriction. Part of those inherited limitations is "we don't want to be TPK'd without a good reason," or even, "we don't want characters dying without our permission."

*The multiple parallel advancement paths. People go "oh it has feats and prestige classes!" No: it has larger ability score boosts which can be traded for feats, instead of getting both. It has no skill points, skill tricks you can rely on regardless of class (or reliable DCs for that matter). Multiclassing delays "iterative" attacks and caster level doesn't boost all spell variables. Prestige classes without BAB/skill points/casting progression/class features/choosable class features all mixed together, just take X instead of Y. A 3.5 character can have a dozen different tracks running in parallel as they advance, bringing all sorts of interesting complexity, while 5e does not. It's a solid set of rules but unless they do some crazy feature creep it's incapable of comparing to 3.5 in the ways that I care about.

Grod_The_Giant
2016-06-21, 08:27 PM
So I haven't gone through all the arguments, but... I'm inclined to agree with DeAnno's point on the first page: this isn't really that minimalist-- it's a lot of little fiddly bits, which seem like they're randomly scattered across a huge swathe of material. I don't think you can call it a minimalistic fix if it's this big a list. More minimalist, sure, but... c'mon.

The goal for an exercise like this-- and let's be honest, it is an exercise; most real groups get by fine on gentleman's agreements-- is to hit the most problems with the fewest rules. So for example, rather than go spell-by-spell, look at this for a spell-focused fix:

Ban any spell that requires the player to reference another book, unless the spell has a discreet list of options (say, Summon Monster)
You can only have one ongoing spell in effect per four caster levels
Spells like Mind Blank or Wind Wall that provide absolute defenses have a (50%-5*spell level) chance of allowing a given effect to leak through.
Running water or a solid layer of silver blocks all magic, including spells with no real line of effect like scrying and teleport.
You cannot cast more than one spell in a round or (total spell slots) spells in a day.

Simple, easy enough, and cuts out huge swathes of problem spells.

Similar rules apply for classes (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?472142-3-5e-Quickfix-5-simple-rules-to-balance-your-game). Basically, for a good "minimalist" fix you want broad rules, not a long list of specific alterations. (A ban list is still a good idea)

nonsi
2016-06-22, 11:53 AM
You make a save at the start of your turn, unless you choose to avert or close your eyes, in which case it's a 50% chance or you just don't have to make a save period.


That's acceptable after a member of your group has been petrified.
The fact that Mr. Fizban knows about medusas says nothing about Fizban's Warblade character Joe knowing anything about medusas. If no previous knowledge is disclosed during campaigning, Joe has no justification of using such tactic on round 1.
Moreover, today it's a medusa, tomorrow a basilisk, and the day after a gorgon. Different strategy for the latter, I know, but still, w/o foreknowledge, you're hosed.





If you're playing a pre-made module, it is assumed that the players are on board with playing the module.


Assumed by whom?
Not in any of the groups I ever took part of. Half of the times the players didn't even know what module the DM was running. Enough info was spread to lead the party on the right track, but nothing regarding what's to come ahead. I never had anything against that philosophy. It kept a high level of interest and curiosity.





If you don't tell them what the module's about, or worse, lead them in the opposite direction by using a different tone, then how can you expect them to actually play the module? If you have to completely rebuild it to match what they've done instead then why are you even bothering with a module?


I'd expect the module not to lead the group into a dead-end street based on an unlucky guess. If such a thing is possible, then the module needs tweaking ahead of time.





By your own words, reducing the number of targets for spells cripples them and makes them unfun.


And yet, I did go along with your angle where battlefield control and condition inducing spells go. I just didn't go the full distance w/ blasting, which remains inferior even after toning down battlefield control.





You have reduced all gaze attacks from gaze to single target. All gaze monsters are now crippled. By definition, removing any tool from the box reduces the remaining number of tools.


No. Since the monster knows how its own gaze weapon functions, it may choose to direct its gaze vs. a target that takes no counter measures.





You're the one who seems to think every monster should be useable in any circumstance, which is the stance that leads to routinely dragging people back to town. All you have to do is not do that.


It doesn't matter when TPK occurs – it always sucks mammoth.
I'm perfectly ok w/ the risk of TPK floating over the party's head, just not from hero to zero in 1-round regardless of how well and credible you role your character.





The same reason they deliberately left bad feats in: to reward system mastery and preparedness. You can brute force and luck your way through high levels, rolling new characters every time one dies. Or you can learn and prepare and get through by using the correct spells and magic items.


I believe deliberately leaving bad feats in is not an argument you could really build on.
WotC – just like STR – practice a policy of leaving core untouched (excluding errata for typos). That's why they mention swift/immediate action in non-core printed materials instead of publishing a fixed PHB.

As for the need for system-mastery – I'm wholeheartedly against it. Dependence on game mastery just for functioning on a reasonable level is ok for a competitive game. RPGs are cooperative games. One of the big problems I've encountered repeatedly is that every time a novice player joins the team, everybody suffers for the next 3-5 sessions (and 1/2 the times it doesn't even go that far to transcend the difficulties).





What effort to reduce magic dependency? You've nerfed gaze attacks because you don't want people having to deal with petrification, possibly also "fear on sight" so they don't have to consider fear effects. What about everything else on the list?


Removing the risk of 1st-round TPK is in no way shape or form "don't want people having to deal with petrification". It's just like saying that Flesh to Stone shouldn't exist because it's worthless.
In your view, it isn't reasonable that a party of 12th level characters wouldn't get excited over 2 mummies. In my view it is… and makes a lot of sense (in the spirit of "been there, done that – plenty of times already").





You only need to mind control one person to shift from 4-1 to 3-2, and that's assuming you're using a lone monster. A pair of monsters can land two mind controls and now it's 2-4 with the players outnumbered. Insanity gives you a 60-90% chance of wasted action, depending on build and positioning, and allows the perfect aggro control I've already brought up where a foe you can't harm or don't care about attacking can force you to 100% waste your action. There is no instance of the word "spawn" in the OP, unless you mean to say it falls under your "summon/mind control" clause, in which case you've broken the existence of every spawning monster and also see previous statement re: mind control and how one is enough. I also see nothing there about on-sight disabling.


Spawns definitely fall under that category (I'll specify) – putting spawn-hierarchy aside, given that spawn + spawn's spawns < 2 spawns. So you could build yourself an army. It's just that not all soldiers are gonna by bunker busters.
Maybe it's also ok if spawns are counted separately. Not sure ATM.





Repeat after me: then don't do it! Stop trying to pretend that rules alone can fix that problem because it's absurd. The game is run by a person, not a computer, and all that person has to do to prevent TPK is not build encounters that can result in TPK. It's pretty easy.


Where I'm coming from there's a say: 1 stone thrown into the lake by an idiot – a 100 wise men won't take out.
If there's no stone, there's no problem. Otherwise, the idiot (DM, in our discussion) makes everybody suffer needlessly.
I played under a DM that was a wonderful storyteller. He just made errors here and there. So many times, instead of having a blast, we (including the DM) suffered because he failed to "don't do it!".





That does seem to be the prevailing opinion, yes. If that's not suitable then maybe take advantage of the fact that the DM is a person instead of a computer and consider other options besides "welp I guess the rules say game over."


That's definitely something to aspire for.





Or loosen up and accept that characters gonna die and make the best of it. Don't get attached to characters when you know the DM's lacks the system mastery to spin the game so death is always a threat but only happens when it matters.


1. For some people, getting attached to their character is half of the fun.
2. "Death is always a threat" is good. TPK on an oops is bad. The latter reminds me of "Fighting Fantasy series", where after dying 2/3 times due to guessing wrong, you start noting previous junction points and rewind until you finish the book (there goes the sense of adventure out the window). And that's exactly the problem with rerolling characters again and again instead of having decent chances for your character to survive a bad call or bad luck here and there. If you're detached from your character, you're also detached from the campaign.





And clearly I disagree, since the only thing you need to do to fix monsters is use them correctly.


Mummy's max No. appearing is 10. How do you use 10 mummies correctly w/o the party members spending an hour in advance on Hereos' Feast? And isn't that metagaming to some extent?
And prepping before each and every boss fight is getting old already.





And you've not addressed the inherent excesses of magic.


What do you mean by excesses?





My pedantry demands that I object to the label of minimalist because dat ain't minimalist.


A nitpick then. Why didn't you say so earlier? I have nothing against nitpicks. I have them myself from time to time.





Essentially, yes. It is not achievable in 3.5 without discarding so much of the game it ceases to be 3.5. This is why I called it a list of houserules rather than a fix.


Ok, then let's replace "Fix" with "Improvement". I'm ok with this.





If you're concerned about plug-n-play classes for players who won't build proper builds or parties and plug-n-play monsters for DMs that can't step to the job, them I'd suggest a change of edition. 5e is much more suited for that, still with room for error (low level modules throwing tons of foes at you ensures the good ol' russian roulette right from the beginning), but actually built with that idea in mind.


Read 5e PHB. Didn't like it.





Most save or lose effects have been exchanged for hit point based effects, all buffs, debuffs, control, magic items, everything has been stripped down.


None of which is desirable to me.





It lacks many of the core mechanics that allow the versatility that makes 3.5 great*, but with less versatility comes greater control making it actually within some realm of feasible to do things without thinking.


Contrary to you, I don't find any mutual exclusion between versatility and preventing the game from going out of control.
TPK might come if 2 or more players screw up badly. It shouldn't happen otherwise.





The tradeoff of course is that from what I hear, high level play is ridiculously easy since it's weighted so heavily in the player's favor the most basic of tactics will crush anything. Predictable monsters make for a predictable game.


I see no correlation between my changes and predictable monsters.





I doubt you'll appreciate my opening conceit, but any option lost to players is lost to the DM:
-Any NPC build that would have involved Monk, Fighter, or Paladin, classic Druidic Wild Shape, prepared Druid casting, or Clerics that start with heavy armor as a rule.


Monk – Swordsage
Fighter – Warblade
Paladin – Crusader
Druidic Wild Shape – just give it Polymorph at 4th and call it Wild Shape. The difference: Polymorph is significantly inferior to the core Wild Shape (in duration, versatility and #uses).
Prepared Druid casting – Among the top 5 idiotic 3e decisions ever made theme-wise. A druid is a force of nature, not a bookworm.





-Any build involving Arcane Thesis or Divine Metamagic


Little naïve me though that there's consensus that Arcane Thesis and Divine Metamagic were a mistake.





-Any build/plot involving Mage's Transformation (a terrible spell but apparently in heavy use in War of the Burning Sky), Genesis, Clone, Simulacrum, or spells that interact with skills/feats/abilities.


1. I'm having second thoughts regarding Simulacrum.
2. Spells that interact with skills/feats/abilities walk over classes that are designed to have them as their forte.
3. Ditto on Mage's Transformation.
4. Genesis and Clone – I have no intentions of apologizing for those.





-Any build/plot involving an NPC's use of Gate to call an ally


Demigod on a leash. Right.





, normal use of Power Word spells,


As far as scenario goes, my modifications change nothing. My modifications just throw away the need to track HP – which is dumb twice over, since HP are an abstraction.





caster movement through Prismatic Wall/Sphere,


Blatant power abuse.





all monsters with True Seeing effects, Waves of Fatigue as a way to tax charging, and of course Wish giving a means to actually create magic items before the world has ended.


1. I said nothing about True Seeing.
2. Waves of Fatigue vs. all enemies w/ save is not enough for you?
3. Poor adventurers, can't pluck magic items out of thin air. They're sure doomed now. For 16 levels things worked more or less ok and then suddenly the characters are doomed w/o a wildcard up their sleeve?





The 5' step change is unclear and seems most likely to have nerfed it, harming players and monsters alike.


Think again. It benefits melees and it prevents spellcasters from taking 5-step and launching 2 spells during their turn.





Gaze attacks have been nerfed into oblivion.


No more than Flesh to Stone that comes 5 HD later down the line.





The first part of the Metamagic line doesn't harm anything because it doesn't actually do anything,


It just means that you don’t get a rider heighten for using Silent Spell. It's more of a clarification than a fix.





but the second of course mashes any NPC build that wants to use a unique and interesting metamagic instead of just cycling through Maximize/Empower/Twin/Whatever.


If you have only one – wait out the cooldown. Otherwise, what's to stop someone from just spamming the heaviest gun available?
Metamagic feats are obvious power-boosters. Magic is already > nonmagic, so if one wishes to boost it even further and enjoy that boost continuously, one should be ready to put significant character resources into it. I see nothing negative in this approach and a lot of positive.





But what you're really asking about is what monster changes have done, to which I reiterate that gaze and Despair like monsters are no longer available to alpha strike parties in a manner comparable to their own.


1. 2 medusas are still a terrifying encounter vs. a 10th level party. It's enough that the cleric and the wizard are petrified.
2. 4 mummies are still a terrifying encounter vs. a 9th level party – way below the power standards of those levels.





Limiting the ability of monsters to charm multiple people removes the classic brainwashed town plot.


And here's where Diplomacy/Bluff/Intimidate can top magic. A big upside in my view.





Necromancers cannot raise armies. Interpreting that section to limit Create Spawn ruins the ecology of more monsters.


See "spawns" above.





Not wishing for magic items also ruins the standard for doling out permanent rewards via Wish granting creatures, usually by far the easiest method of doing the job.


Why do you need Wish for rationalizing permanent rewards?





The DM does not need limits. They are the one who defines those limits. Thus it is somewhat paradoxical to argue about weather or not a fix should include limits on monsters and DM choices.


The DM – contrary to the characters – has a multiniverse of scenarios at hand. S/he doesn't need to break any rules to portray whatever desirable scenario.





Part of those inherited limitations is "we don't want to be TPK'd without a good reason,"


A valid and reasonable expectation.





or even, "we don't want characters dying without our permission."


Correction: "we don't want our party obliterated unless we badly **** up".
Another valid and reasonable expectation.

nonsi
2016-06-22, 11:55 AM
So I haven't gone through all the arguments, but... I'm inclined to agree with DeAnno's point on the first page: this isn't really that minimalist-- it's a lot of little fiddly bits, which seem like they're randomly scattered across a huge swathe of material. I don't think you can call it a minimalistic fix if it's this big a list. More minimalist, sure, but... c'mon.


It's 1:75 the amount of text of my overhaul codex. So yes – in comparison it's quite minimalistic.
And it's not random at all. Took me a very long time to agree between me and me what would constitute a decent small collection of bans and tweaks.





The goal for an exercise like this-- and let's be honest, it is an exercise; most real groups get by fine on gentleman's agreements-- is to hit the most problems with the fewestrules.


That's partially the agenda.
An intrinsic part of the agenda is to take away as little as possible from the players in specific and the game in general.





So for example, rather than go spell-by-spell,


11 bans and 19 tweaks… how much is that, no more than 2 percent of all spells. That's hardly "go spell-by-spell".





look at this for a spell-focused fix:

• Ban any spell that requires the player to reference another book, unless the spell has a discreet list of options (say, Summon Monster)


I'm not sure what you're banning here.





• You can only have one ongoing spell in effect per four caster levels


So, this basically means that a spell knows whether or not it is allowed to affect you. Curious.
And what if you already used up your slots w/ buffs? Does that make you impervious to negative effects as well?
Problematic.





• Spells like Mind Blank or Wind Wall that provide absolute defenses have a (50%-5*spell level) chance of allowing a given effect to leak through.


That's an interesting angle worth examining.





• Running water or a solid layer of silver blocks all magic, including spells with no real line of effect like scrying and teleport.


Definitely worth considering.





• You cannot cast more than one spell in a round or (total spell slots) spells in a day.


The former is fine (though a high level caster would probably wanna feel like s/he counts for more than a single spell per round), but what about magical gear abuse?





Similar rules apply for classes. Basically, for a good "minimalist" fix you want broad rules, not a long list of specific alterations. (A ban list is still a good idea)


1. I now notice that "Classes always grant at least 4+Int skill points per level" somehow slipped my notice. Will be fixed.
2. Won't prevent symptoms like Gate's demigod on a leash, multiple explosive runes, Forcecage being the ultimate shutdown switch, creation spells destroying national economies etc.

Just to Browse
2016-06-22, 01:08 PM
Basically, for a good "minimalist" fix you want broad rules, not a long list of specific alterations. (A ban list is still a good idea)

Well said. I think breadth of rules is important because minimalistic houserules should also be easy to remember and apply. It's not just about the number of lines you write, it's also about the amount of extra mindshare a player has to use before they start rolling up their character. In theory, I'd take a slightly less effective but more elegant fix.

But even if you embrace the use of nitpicky fixes and agree with the specific choices here (and I disagree with at least half of those too), a double-digit numbers of tweaks is beyond the realm of a "minimalist" fix.

Fizban
2016-06-23, 12:15 AM
These are getting long again. No fancy titles, just broken up.

That's acceptable after a member of your group has been petrified.
The fact that Mr. Fizban knows about medusas says nothing about Fizban's Warblade character Joe knowing anything about medusas. If no previous knowledge is disclosed during campaigning, Joe has no justification of using such tactic on round 1.
Moreover, today it's a medusa, tomorrow a basilisk, and the day after a gorgon. Different strategy for the latter, I know, but still, w/o foreknowledge, you're hosed.
Each person makes a save on their turn. One person fails the save and is petrified. All further people know they should close their eyes to avoid the save or, if you're refusing to give any useful description, at least know that something bad is happening. While specific monster knowledge has higher DCs, knowing about the existence of gaze attacks should be effectively common knowledge with DC10 at best, if not flat out 0 in a world where such monsters actually exist. Obtuse DMing is the problem here, now throwing multiple themed creatures with an obvious theme and yet no hints whatsoever about that theme? And come on, if a new player came to the table and said "wait snake hair that's a medusa I close my eyes!" You'd be ecstatic, not complaining about their metagaming.

Assumed by whom?
Not in any of the groups I ever took part of. Half of the times the players didn't even know what module the DM was running. Enough info was spread to lead the party on the right track, but nothing regarding what's to come ahead. I never had anything against that philosophy. It kept a high level of interest and curiosity.
Assumed by a group that actually works together to have a good time. If the players are following the leads then all is well, if they're not then is is perfectly reasonable to go "hey guys, it's the Red Hand of Doom, maybe you should try do do something about it?" If the players don't want to deal with the RHoD then you aren't running RHoD anymore, you're just using it as setting backdrop. If you told the players beforehand that the module is RHoD, maybe to gauge their interest and make sure they'll like the campaign so you don't waste everyone's time, then they shouldn't need nudging to get on with it. If it turns out they don't like RHoD then oh well, what should we do now?

And yet, I did go along with your angle where battlefield control and condition inducing spells go. I just didn't go the full distance w/ blasting, which remains inferior even after toning down battlefield control.
I'm perfectly ok w/ the risk of TPK floating over the party's head, just not from hero to zero in 1-round regardless of how well and credible you role your character.
Since the monster knows how its own gaze weapon functions, it may choose to direct its gaze vs. a target that takes no counter measures.
There is a difference between halving the area and reducing the area to single target. Gaze monsters are weaker in physical combat than most others of their level because they are supposed to have a passive threat that forces some foes to close their eyes, blinding them, or knocking them out of the fight completely with some luck. You have removed this threat, forcing them to waste actions to do what they're supposed to have for free, making it a choice between threatening one person at range with gaze, or threatening one person in melee with a full attack. The entire monster design is compromised. Or it would be without full attack as standard action-instead it's merely 3/4 compromised.

If you have a problem with save or lose then once again you need to get rid of all save or lose, not just the effects of some small subset of monsters. That includes spells and class abilities since anything a player has a DM can use. Getting nauseated by Stinking Cloud is just as hero to zero as being petrified is except without the relative guarantee you won't be killed while disabled. And at that point you'd be better of switching systems.

In your view, it isn't reasonable that a party of 12th level characters wouldn't get excited over 2 mummies. In my view it is… and makes a lot of sense (in the spirit of "been there, done that – plenty of times already").
Not sure if that double negative is intentional so I don't know what you're saying. How are the mummies presented? What's the party makeup? What about the rest of the dungeon? At 12th, mummies are a good speedbump thanks to their DR/-, annoying to fight thanks to the risk of wasting resources curing mummy rot, but easy to burn through if you have fire magic ready. They present real risk only if jack-in-the-boxed, but for an intelligent foe that's a fine sort of trap to lay when the stakes are high.

Otherwise, the idiot (DM, in our discussion) makes everybody suffer needlessly.
I played under a DM that was a wonderful storyteller. He just made errors here and there. So many times, instead of having a blast, we (including the DM) suffered because he failed to "don't do it!".
Then stop adhering to an obviously destructive philosophy where the DM must do everything on their own and the players aren't supposed to have information. Have someone with better system mastery vet the dungeon first, then they can take a backseat in decision making and just enjoy their role on whatever route the others choose since people with more system mastery will likely enjoy the challenge even if they know what's coming. Retcon things if you have to, it's not like the roleplaying police are gonna break down your door. Be a group of people.

That's definitely something to aspire for.
Having the DM act like a person is something to "aspire" for? That is some bleak gaming.

2. "Death is always a threat" is good. TPK on an oops is bad.
Unfortunately it takes an extremely good DM to keep those two things separate, and since you've got idiot DMs. . . Furthermore, there is the chaos of four players that most people fail to consider. There are four players at the table: how many have brought their A-game and how many are tired or distracted? All it takes is one day where everyone or even a couple people are off their game to inflate oops into TPK, when if everyone's fully aware they'd have survived even a pile of bad luck. This goes doubly when so much of the game is in the hands of caster players, since they're worth so much more than anyone else. All the mundanes can screw up and a caster can pull it back together, but if the caster screws up it's highly possible that no amount of good luck from the mundanes will salvage anything.

So let's see, you've got a system is simply too rooted in variety and chaos to regulate itself, multiplied by 5 people with varying levels of competence or incompetence, multiplied by 5 people who can all be in different states of mood or preparedness, yeah no. If death is going to always be a threat then oops will always be a threat of TPK. This is why death is not always supposed to be a threat: while 50% of encounters are supposed to be "challenging," that only requires it "seriously threaten at least one member of the group in some way." Threaten one party member, maybe even two, but they're not actually expected to die and even if things go bad the rest should be fine. "Very difficult" or higher encounters where someone is actually likely to die are 20%, the boss fights that everyone brings their A-game for to avoid just that. That leaves 30%: 10% so weak most people skip them, and 20% that are only easy if you do them right. If you're trying to seriously threaten everyone with death in every fight then your encounters are too difficult and of course oops is going to lead to TPK.

Mummy's max No. appearing is 10. How do you use 10 mummies correctly w/o the party members spending an hour in advance on Hereos' Feast?
And prepping before each and every boss fight is getting old already.
You are assuming all the mummies appear in sight on round 1, obviously the first rule of using 10 mummies is not doing that unless you want someone to die. Hero's Feast is used in the morning so it doesn't take any more time than saying "we eat breakfast," and if you're trying to hit the party with 10 mummies literally as they wake up then they've got all sorts of other checks and defenses to prevent that. There are also other ways to ignore fear such as having a Paladin around or just being immune to mind-affecting stuff for a while from whatever your favorite source is. And of course you could just close your eyes, since if you're high enough level to fight 10 of something you don't need to worry much about being hit and can take your time flailing them to death. You did use some of that high level magic to scout, right?

If you don't want to buff before boss fights then don't play a class that needs to buff. If you want buffing out of the game then you should once again probably find a different game.

And isn't that metagaming to some extent?
Are you accusing the DM of metagaming? That's literally impossible. The DM's whole job is metagaming. Unless you're adhering to some sort of archaic principle where the DM doesn't talk to the players or vice versa and just throws whatever strikes their fancy in there without thinking. Unless you're saying that eating Hero's Feat every day is metagaming. As an absurdly long duration source of immunity to two common save or lose sources, the metagaming would come in when you don't use it because you know the enemy is incapable of such attacks. Otherwise it's never a bad idea.

What do you mean by excesses? [of magic]
Once again, the root principle behind the Philosopher's Stone magic tweak is that magic always gets too much. Too much base effect, targets affected, duration on those targets, distance from which they can be affected, affects them too reliably, and even too many extra slots to spam it out with. The whole reason I initially posted here was to show an example of a truly minimalist fix, Grod seems to have done the same just now (though I find his a little rambling). The Stone makes sweeping changes to the magic system with just a few lines of text by attacking the root of the problem and leaving further fiddly details up to taste for the reader. While changing the individual effects of problem spells would take a massive effort and remove a lot of why people want to use magic in the first place, making root changes to all the other excesses is easy and makes good use of more powerful spells feel even more meaningful.

A nitpick then. Why didn't you say so earlier? I have nothing against nitpicks. I have them myself from time to time.
Ok, then let's replace "Fix" with "Improvement". I'm ok with this.
I kindof did? The second sentence of my first post: "You can't make a "minimalist" ban list because there's just too much material." Anything more direct and most people seem to be enraged by it and refuse to listen. And It seems like a bit of a bummer to point out the project is doomed to fail right at the start, that's why I waited a few posts in the first place.

Contrary to you, I don't find any mutual exclusion between versatility and preventing the game from going out of control.
TPK might come if 2 or more players screw up badly. It shouldn't happen otherwise.
I expect the DM (and the players) to keep the game under control. I do not expect a system spread across dozens of books written in their own vaccums by people who often didn't understand the nuances of their own game to control itself. If you want an idiot proof system for idiot DMs that works without cooperation, then 3.5 is not the right system.

I see no correlation between my changes and predictable monsters.
That was a comment on 5e. Your changes aren't nearly sweeping enough to keep all monsters under control, as you've hardly made any monster changes. Standard action full attack helps a lot more monsters than it does PCs in fact, and plenty of monsters use enough magic that they can just fall back on all the power you've left in the spell system.

Monk – Swordsage
Fighter – Warblade
Paladin – Crusader
Druidic Wild Shape – just give it Polymorph at 4th and call it Wild Shape. The difference: Polymorph is significantly inferior to the core Wild Shape (in duration, versatility and #uses).
Prepared Druid casting – Among the top 5 idiotic 3e decisions ever made theme-wise. A druid is a force of nature, not a bookworm.
You have missed the point. Monk and Fighter bonus feat progressions are an incredibly powerful tool for putting together character builds, removing them to protect idiots punishes people that know how to use them, including the DM if they needed it. Paladin has similar foundation abilities, which are inextricably linked to the identity of the class as people percieve it: a Crusader doesn't have Divine Grace, Lay on Hands, Divine Health, Aura of Courage, Turn Undead, Special Mount, or paladin spells, and maneuvers don't replace them no matter how much you might pretend they can. Wild Shape has a massive duration and particular limits which again define the Druid in ways that people expect, prepared casting doesn't make sense for any class but Druids have always had it and losing it makes them stop functioning as many people will expect. All of this includes the DM: if I want a "force of nature" at 11th level who can do more than one thing defined by a 6th level spell, your "improvement" has made that impossible by removing that option.

Little naïve me though that there's consensus that Arcane Thesis and Divine Metamagic were a mistake.
This has been a longstanding peeve of mine: people keep trying to fix these on the optimizer's terms rather than addressing the real issue. Metamagic reducers apply to all feats used on a single spell, multiplying the savings, and optimizers love this. It's mind numbingly obvious this should not be the case, but no one ever uses the fix I would use, "metamagic reductions are applied to the final adjustment total instead of per feat," with the usual "cannot reduce the final below normal clause. That plus removing the top tier Incantatrix garbage and duplicate dragon magazine feat Easy Metamagic does pretty much all the work. Arcane Thesis is an amazingly good idea for a feat, it's the only way to actually have a caster specialize in a specific spell the way they should rather than just being good at every spell all at once, and removing it takes that away again.

As for Divine Metamagic, maybe just take a chill pill and look at the actual problems. Does anyone care about DMM: twin, quicken, or maximize, let alone empower or extend? No, it's always DMM: persist. Does anyone care if you can do it once or twice per day? No, it's the Nightsticks (which no reasonable person even allows). DMM only applies to one feat you already have, and gives you some number of free uses. No one cares about Sudden Maximize, which does the same thing 1/day. With some investment it's easy to get DMM: Maximize up to 2/day, but 3/day gets pretty expensive, at which point you could just buy a metamagic rod (don't even get me started on those things, banned so hard). So DMM: Maximize is worth more than Sudden Maximize, but has more specific requirements so you jump through some hoops. It's a high powered feat but it doesn't do anything new, if you're fine with Sudden Max (and maybe allow people to take Sudden Max extra for more uses same as Extra Turning) you should be fine with this, otherwise not. DMM: Quicken could be more dangerous. Plenty of prestige classes give free Extend Spell on stuff and if you don't actually care about the already ridiculous spell durations then who cares if you can extend for cheap? DMM: Searing Spell is a nice riff of Arcane Thesis, more widely applicable but still specialized.

The actual fix for Divine Metamagic is pretty obvious: it can only be used on feats up to a certain level adjustment, with the recommended cap being +4 or +3 depending on taste.

2. Spells that interact with skills/feats/abilities walk over classes that are designed to have them as their forte.
Be honest, what you really mean is Heroics. Do you even know any other spells that do that? I don't. Wait, there's one for weapon or shield proficiency? Yeah no one cares. Heroics is ridiculous, ban it and move on. High level cursey or ritualy spells that seal spellcasting or divine powers have the same player/DM compact limitations of any other powerful curse or loss of class features: you don't do it unless you've given them a mile to avoid it or they asked you to, otherwise you're a butt.

3. Ditto on Mage's Transformation.
No one has ever complained about a caster suddenly having full BAB while losing spellcasting. Gish PrCs got enough power creep that there's no reason to bother with it, and non-gish builds are asking to die in melee. The only time I've ever heard of it mattering is in the Cattle Driving Necromancers campaign journal, which is under unique circumstances to say the leas (the party is covered in monstrous templates and the caster using Mage's Transformation is a Vampire). Ban Divine Power? Sure, great idea. Mage's Transformation isn't worth the effort.

4. Genesis and Clone – I have no intentions of apologizing for those.
Well then goodbye to any plot that involves a non-lich wizard reappearing after death (and every magic item/ritual/whatever that mentions it), and goodbye to any rational reason to use demiplanes.

[re: gate] Demigod on a leash. Right.
Continued assumption that the DM must abuse the rules to the same extent that a player would if they had no limits. Just a few weeks ago someone was asking how to have his BBEG summon a Nighwalker, guess what the easiest answer is? It's a perfectly reasonable monster but he wanted a rules-legal way to make it happen so he could maintain verisimilitude by not using DM fiat.

As far as scenario goes, my modifications change nothing. My modifications just throw away the need to track HP – which is dumb twice over, since HP are an abstraction.
First: "hp is an abstraction" is not a free pass to ignore it whenever you want. Power Word spells are supposed to automatically work on creatures that are weaker. Hp are the first measure of strength/weakness, the standard measure of how hard it is to kill you, more important than the hit dice that go into determining them. You've completely changed the use of power word spells: where once they were terrifying because it meant any caster of sufficient power could hit you without fail, now they're. . . free quickened spells you can spam out every round in addition to your normal spells. That's not terrifying, it's just more caster overpoweredness. Just more reason you need to have immunity to compulsion/mind affecting at high levels, since where you might block normal power words with your hp total, now you have to worry about a pile of quickened save or lose with full save DC available to people that don't even have the feat. In fact, since you have a cooldown on quicken but refuse to limit other swift action spells, swift action power words is actually even more ridiculously powerful.

[casters moving through personal prismatic wall/sphere] Blatant power abuse.
What? Are you saying that the DM using spells they way they're designed is an abuse of power, even though by your own arguments the DM should be able to do whatever they want within the rules? The whole point of Prismatic Wall/Sphere is the effect you want to remove. It's a wall spell you can't just break through (or even see through) which the caster can pass, allowing them to have it already covering their escape or using it to pop in and out of immediate danger. It lets you try to make a single caster threatening. It's basically the only upgrade you can make to wall spells once Wall of Force exists, and that's only 5th level. I haven't even read that many modules and I've still seen it multiple times because it's a classic staple, high level wizards can block passage with prismatic effects they're immune to but you must avoid via teleportation or other means. So yeah, get rid of that and a tool is lost.

1. I said nothing about True Seeing.
2. Waves of Fatigue vs. all enemies w/ save is not enough for you?
3. Poor adventurers, can't pluck magic items out of thin air. They're sure doomed now. For 16 levels things worked more or less ok and then suddenly the characters are doomed w/o a wildcard up their sleeve?

True Seeing: Make opposed CL checks when trying to see through any spell from the Illusion school of equal or higher level (you receive a +4 to you check). A successful check reveals the illusion for what it is, whereas a failed check fails to penetrate the illusion for the duration of True Seeing.
1. Many high level monsters have continuous True Seeing specifically to prevent illusions from being a constant win-button for the players. You have removed that.

2. Fatigue is a laughably weak debuff, only useful for preventing charges, which is not good enough to demand a save at that level. Just look at the spells you're allowing: Stinking Cloud completely disables someone and forces a save every round until they escape the cloud, at 3rd level. Waves of Fatigue can target more than one person so it must allow a save, even though fatigue barely does anything, and is 5th level. You want to know what other spell applies fatigue with a save to negate? It's Touch of Fatigue, which is a cantrip.

3. Have fun fighting high level foes without the gear you need when the DM refuses to take party composition into account and says you have to kill this thing right now or the world ends, wouldn't it be nice if you could have burned a pile of xp to get an item that would let you actually succeed? Also, you seem to have forgotten this response was about DM losses. The xp cost on item creation via Wish is so huge that most people balk at it, but removing the item creation clause is absolutely a loss for what the DM can do with Wishes.

Think again. It benefits melees and it prevents spellcasters from taking 5-step and launching 2 spells during their turn.
You've just forced half the melee builds to switch to martial adepts who have class features competing for use of that swift action. Most of the cheap magic items that benefit melee characters and non-casters also use swift actions. You have now made their standard method of adjusting position in combat compete for that swift action. Have fun. Meanwhile the caster who can launch their spells from over 100' away doesn't care about 5' steps, not that they did in the first place thanks to the basic function of the Concentration skill.

If you have only one – wait out the cooldown. Otherwise, what's to stop someone from just spamming the heaviest gun available?
Metamagic feats are obvious power-boosters. Magic is already > nonmagic, so if one wishes to boost it even further and enjoy that boost continuously, one should be ready to put significant character resources into it. I see nothing negative in this approach and a lot of positive.
Sure, if all you care about is player character class balance. If you're a DM who wants to have a guy using the same effect every round it kinda sucks when the players have more than enough time to kill him before the cooldown is up. Ever used a dragon with Maximize Breath? One round of scary and that's it. Not that I think metamagic needs a cooldown if you nerf it correctly in the first place, and nerfing metamagic as a response to magic being overpowered in general is missing the point.

1. 2 medusas are still a terrifying encounter vs. a 10th level party. It's enough that the cleric and the wizard are petrified.
2. 4 mummies are still a terrifying encounter vs. a 9th level party – way below the power standards of those levels.
1. No, they aren't. You're applying the rules wrong and assuming maximum incompetence. I'd give reasonable odds a 10th level fighter with weapon focus line could take them both blindfolded while the rest of the party runs away. Also, that's EL 9 vs 10th.
2. Maybe, 4 mummies are a pretty tough brawl and mummy rot will be a problem. That's also EL 9 vs 9th, which is a tougher fight than the last. With a monster that's just straight up better. Mummies are tougher and more deadly than Medusae in every way, with a synergistic effect from using more at once. The only thing that makes a Medusa "higher" CR is the fact that it forces saves (on everyone with eyes open) every round instead of just the first round, and you want to remove that.

What exactly is your point there? Mummies are a strong all around monster, good for boss fights at low levels, groups at higher levels, and as a jack-in-the-box death trap even at higher levels than that. Medusae and most gaze monsters are actually pretty weak and are only useful in their intended capacity, forcing people to eat saves or close their eyes and fight blind, making reasonable boss monsters but dropping in usefullness quickly due to their sub-par physical ability simply not being enough to threaten in groups. Your expectation of the CR/EL system applying to all monsters equally is simply too high, it's a starting suggestion and nothing more.

And here's where Diplomacy/Bluff/Intimidate can top magic. A big upside in my view.
There is a world of difference between a Mind Flayer or Succubus mind controlling the village, and thus them being grateful when released, and the same monster Diplomancing the entire village, making them turn into an enraged mob once you've killed their Diplomaster. It is not the same plot in the slightest.

[re: necromancer armies] See "spawns" above.
Who said anything about spawns? Piles of skeletons and zombies, you have completely removed. There was little reason to not animate the single biggest corpse you could find with Animate Dead, but mass slaughter/controlling territory/only having humanoid bodies/traditional tropes made it work. You have flat banned the control of more than one creature by any means, so a necromancer gets one skeleton. Instead of the traditional methods of raising piles of skeletons or zombies without dabbling in the world-destroying effects of spawn creation, they now have to rely on spawn chains to build an army that will crumble the moment anyone in the middle of the chain dies. Goodby verisimilitude.

Why do you need Wish for rationalizing permanent rewards?
Why do you keep forgetting we're talking about lost options? Duh, I don't need Wish to place a magic item or pile of cash. But if I want to have a quest where the players free a Genie so they can ask for a wish and one of them wishes for a better sword or the ability to turn into a fish, welp I guess I'm just screwed then aren't I?

The DM – contrary to the characters – has a multiniverse of scenarios at hand. S/he doesn't need to break any rules to portray whatever desirable scenario.
You are contradicting yourself, presenting rules for the DM to follow and then claiming that they can still do everything within those rules, while said rules have explicitly removed scenarios from the realm of possibility. If I want a Genie to grant a wish by using it to create a magic item on the spot like some sort of Genie, I can't do it because you've decided it's impossible. If I want to have the wizard return from death because he made a Clone backup, that's not allowed either. I can route around some things, say instead of using a jack-in-the-box mummy pile to paralyze and capture the party I have to use a bunch of magic traps,, but then I can't do it with mummies and a guy casting Create Undead. If the changes provide no benefit and force me to do more work rather than relying on things I already know how to set up, they're a detriment. If I have to use DM fiat to do things that were previously justified by simple rules the players were familiar with (and know were banned), verisimilitude is lost as I'm basically cheating.


or even, "we don't want characters dying without our permission." Correction: "we don't want our party obliterated unless we badly **** up".
Another valid and reasonable expectation.
No correction necessary. If the players don't want their characters dying (or more accurately, removed from play) without their permission that is a 100% reasonable request (as is re-negotiation of standard death penalties). A DM who is willing to accommodate this has plenty of options for doing so: foes/plots that capture instead of kill or don't even target the PCs, build and ability suggestions to help prevent PCs from dying, NPC support or retrieval teams, all sorts of templates or plots for sticking around or returning from the dead, or just plain fiat. Obviously a game where the players have asked that their characters stick around no matter what will have less tension on the threat of death. That means that if a DM wishes to accept the challenge they'll need to actually know what they're doing in order to make it work, keeping narrative tension on the outcome even though the PCs will be fine in the end. It'd be pretty nonstandard. Personally I'd prefer a middle approach: the standard threat level is that death is possible in some 30% or so of encounters, with another 30% or more if you're being careless and unlucky, but if any player loses a character they didn't want to lose I'm plenty open to suggestions.

Well, not counting the fact that some people just like the combat for fun. There's another nice campaign journal going on, The Curse of Artaith, a Dark Souls inspired game. It's medium optimized and the PCs die and come back all the time, with only a somewhat nebulous threat keeping them from zerg rushing everything (an example of good use of restriction on player information). Combat is still fun because it's combat and that's what you're here for, not worrying about dying only makes it more fun.

nonsi
2016-06-23, 02:50 AM
Well said. I think breadth of rules is important because minimalistic houserules should also be easy to remember and apply. It's not just about the number of lines you write, it's also about the amount of extra mindshare a player has to use before they start rolling up their character. In theory, I'd take a slightly less effective but more elegant fix.

But even if you embrace the use of nitpicky fixes and agree with the specific choices here (and I disagree with at least half of those too), a double-digit numbers of tweaks is beyond the realm of a "minimalist" fix.

1. In practice, during actual gametime, the OP currently amounts to 19 tweaked spells and 11 house rules. Everything else revolves around character-build.
2. If you encounter stuff you disagree with and wasn't brought up already, do share your thoughts.



@Fizban: I owe you a reply, but it's gonna take more than the next 48 hours to arrive (life happens).
In general I'll say that I accept some of your claims and reject some of them - most due to the "YMMV" factor (which you seem vigilantly reluctant to agree to accept as a valid factor). In some cases it seems we had bad communication.
Till next time then.......

Just to Browse
2016-06-23, 08:09 AM
1. In practice, during actual gametime, the OP currently amounts to 19 tweaked spells and 11 house rules. Everything else revolves around character-build.
2. If you encounter stuff you disagree with and wasn't brought up already, do share your thoughts.

1. Yes, and that is too many.

2. Historically that has not been a worthwhile exercise.

Grod_The_Giant
2016-06-23, 08:18 AM
It's 1:75 the amount of text of my overhaul codex. So yes – in comparison it's quite minimalistic.
And it's not random at all. Took me a very long time to agree between me and me what would constitute a decent small collection of bans and tweaks.
But standing on its own? It's not bad, but it's a fairly standard sized list of houserules and bans.


11 bans and 19 tweaks… how much is that, no more than 2 percent of all spells. That's hardly "go spell-by-spell".
You're picking specific spells and changing them on a case-by-case basis. That's exactly "going spell-by-spelling."


I'm not sure what you're banning here.
Planar Ally. Polymorph. Gate. Heroism. Anything with a really long, non-discrete list of options, really.


So, this basically means that a spell knows whether or not it is allowed to affect you. Curious.
And what if you already used up your slots w/ buffs? Does that make you impervious to negative effects as well?
Problematic.
You misinterpret, possibly because I was posting quickly-- the idea is that a caster can have a limited number of spells in effect at once. If ten guys cast spells on you they'll all work, because of course that's how things should work, but a given caster only has enough will and magics to power a few spells at once.


Definitely worth considering.
Mundane answers to magic are I think very important because they help mitigate the "only magic can counter magic" issue, and open more potential for clever play. Makes it easier for GMs, too-- you don't have to figure out how Baron Von Evil got the services of a bunch of high-level casters to cast... um, what were the right wards again?... when you can have the whole thing built under a waterfall and isolated that way.


The former is fine (though a high level caster would probably wanna feel like s/he counts for more than a single spell per round), but what about magical gear abuse?
I'm not sure what you're referring to, but the fact that you specify "abuse" seems like a good reason not to allow it.


1. I now notice that "Classes always grant at least 4+Int skill points per level" somehow slipped my notice. Will be fixed.
2. Won't prevent symptoms like Gate's demigod on a leash, multiple explosive runes, Forcecage being the ultimate shutdown switch, creation spells destroying national economies etc.[/QUOTE]
1) It's a start, I suppose. Here are my class-based quickfixes (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?472142-3-5e-Quickfix-5-simple-rules-to-balance-your-game). In short,


Limit full casters to a slower progression that maxes out at 7th level
4th level casters get way more spells/day
Noncasters get their classes souped up in a few simple ways-- double static bonuses, change daily uses to hourly ones, stuff like that-- and are required to get Ancestral Relics somehow.
More skill points and an effectively reduced list to make them go farther


2) Gate is fixed by rule 1, Explosive Runes by rule 2, Forcecage... hmm, a "spells must have saves or attack rolls" rule might be worth adding, though the wording needs to be carefully written, and Creation seems like the thing that would be most justifiably countered by in-game consequences-- angry trade cartels, supply-and-demand leading to drops in price, that sort of thing.

Fizban
2016-06-23, 08:54 AM
@Fizban: I owe you a reply, but it's gonna take more than the next 48 hours to arrive (life happens).
In general I'll say that I accept some of your claims and reject some of them - most due to the "YMMV" factor (which you seem vigilantly reluctant to agree to accept as a valid factor). In some cases it seems we had bad communication.
Till next time then.......
Well technically you don't owe me anything. I did spend far too much time crafting the post though so I would disappointed if you chose this exact moment to cut me off. No rush.

I'm interested to see which parts you would call "YMMV" on: I'm quite certain of my grasp on the mechanics and balance of the game (barring inevitable slip-ups), but that's the only part where one could really claim a mileage difference. I did engage in some hyperbole in places and I acknowledge that some people don't give a fig about mechanical verisimilitude, but that's a significant part of the advantages of 3.5. My DMing philosophy is based on being open which only increases mileage. I've been getting the feeling you and/or your DMs run a bit more "old school," which I tend to refer to as "destructive DM vs player school," but even for people that prefer the game that way you must admit full 3.5 is not suited to the task.

tsj
2016-06-24, 08:09 AM
I am running a game where 2 players are considered to be equal to a full team of 4 players... in this game they have gestalt builds that are put together by tier 1 and tier 4 classes

I am considering that this could create enough versatility to (in conjunction with banning broken feats + spells) balance the game .... though the players would be truly heroic...

The list is as follows

Tier 1+4:
Warmage+wizard [warwizard]
Cleric+fighter(dungeoncrasher) [warpriest]
Rogue+wizard [roguemage]
Warlock+wizard [warlock]
Barbarian+druid [ragedruid]
Scout+druid [scoutdruid]
Ranger+druid [rangerdruid]
Hexblade+cleric [hexpriest]
Adept+druid [adeptdruid]
Spellthief+wizard [spellthief]
Marshal+cleric [priestcommander]
Cleric+scout [holyscout]
Erudite+hexblade [hexpsion]
Erudite+scout [scoutpsion]
Erudite+adept [psionadept]
Erudite+fighter (dungeoncrasher) [psiwarrior]
Wizard+fighter [meleewizard]
Druid+warlock [wardruid]
Cleric+warlock [mysticpriest]
Erudite+warlock [warpsion]

All monk class features and feats may be taken as feats by
Fighter and Barbarian

Players must choose 1 of the above combinations and stick with it for all 20 levels... multiclassing and prc are not allowed.

nonsi
2016-06-24, 09:20 AM
.
@Fizban: Whaddya know, I did manage to get back at you within 48 hours :smallsmile:






Each person makes a save on their turn. One person fails the save and is petrified. All further people know they should close their eyes to avoid the save or, if you're refusing to give any useful description, at least know that something bad is happening.


No. just no. things don't work that way. On the medusa's turn, everybody attempts a save at the same time. You just make the check around the gaming table one by one.
Think about any RL situation where you'd go anywhere w/ a bunch of people and encounter something unfamiliar. Your attention will be fully turned toward that something, not for checking if one of your buddies had turned to stone or melted or something.





gaze attacks should be effectively common knowledge with DC10 at best, if not flat out 0 in a world where such monsters actually exist.


Suppose you, Mr. Fizban, found yourself wondering somewhere in a totally alien environment a week from now…
You know what a medusa is, don't you?
Can you honestly say that you'll stay vigilant, ready at all times to shut your eyes at the first signs of physical characteristics of a medusa or basilisk?
No. At the very minimum, it'll take you 5 or 6 seconds to make that decision to give up you eyesight and risk blundering around blindly.




Gaze monsters are weaker in physical combat than most others of their level because they are supposed to have a passive threat that forces some foes to close their eyes, blinding them, or knocking them out of the fight completely with some luck. You have removed this threat, forcing them to waste actions to do what they're supposed to have for free, making it a choice between threatening one person at range with gaze, or threatening one person in melee with a full attack.


I never said that using gaze attacks consumes an action in and on itself, just that it can't be applied to more than 1 target per round.
Medusas have nothing going for them as a swift action. Gaze attacks could be it with no problem.





If you have a problem with save or lose


I have a problem w/ mass save or die.
This reminds me that Wail of the Banshee needs a massive trim (but not removal – it is a 9th level spell after all). 15' cone seems a lot more down to earth than the ridiculous AoE given.





Not sure if that double negative is intentional so I don't know what you're saying.


I'll rephrase to clarify:
In my view, it is expected that someone doesn't get excited over a monster that he'd already killed 7 levels ago. Seven levels ago!
In your view, it is acceptable that even after killing a given monster 7 levels ago, that monster could still scare the living daylights out of you. Just because the monster description doesn't regard cases where the CR is so low that it no longer awards XP.
We're probably not gonna meet down the middle here.





How are the mummies presented? What's the party makeup? What about the rest of the dungeon?


Why should I give a damn? I couldn't care less.





At 12th, mummies are a good speedbump thanks to their DR/-, annoying to fight thanks to the risk of wasting resources curing mummy rot, but easy to burn through if you have fire magic ready. They present real risk only if jack-in-the-boxed, but for an intelligent foe that's a fine sort of trap to lay when the stakes are high.


I could accept poison/disease/petrifaction/curses to always pose a risk, but a familiar 5HD monster shattering a 12th level character's moral (into paralysis) – no frigging chance in hell.





Have someone with better system mastery vet the dungeon first, then they can take a backseat in decision making and just enjoy their role on whatever route the others choose since people with more system mastery will likely enjoy the challenge even if they know what's coming.


That's always a good strategy, regardless of whatever issue raised.





If death is going to always be a threat then oops will always be a threat of TPK.


The party could lose a fight and perish. Sure, nothing wrong with that threat floating above their heads.
When I talk about TPK, I specifically refer to cases where a single round could bring the party from perfect condition to everyone's dead – regardless of players' choices/actions.





If you don't want to buff before boss fights then don't play a class that needs to buff. If you want buffing out of the game then you should once again probably find a different game.


I'm perfectly fine with buffing. I just don't want it to be a must-have routine.





Are you accusing the DM of metagaming? That's literally impossible. The DM's whole job is metagaming. Unless you're adhering to some sort of archaic principle where the DM doesn't talk to the players or vice versa and just throws whatever strikes their fancy in there without thinking. Unless you're saying that eating Hero's Feat every day is metagaming.


The DM tells a story. That's perfectly fine.
When the DM frequently says something in the spirit of "there's poison/fear ahead, prep your Heroes' Feast tomorrow" – that's metagaming.





As an absurdly long duration source of immunity to two common save or lose sources, the metagaming would come in when you don't use it because you know the enemy is incapable of such attacks. Otherwise it's never a bad idea.



Just one 6th level spell less. That's 100% of your 6th SL arsenal at worst and 25% at best.





the root principle behind the Philosopher's Stone magic tweak is that magic always gets too much. Too much base effect, targets affected, duration on those targets, distance from which they can be affected … The Stone makes sweeping changes to the magic system with just a few lines of text by attacking the root of the problem


And still leaves too much unhandled.






While changing the individual effects of problem spells would take a massive effort and remove a lot of why people want to use magic in the first place


The effort has already been made and insights were already collected during game time. But read ahead.





I do not expect a system spread across dozens of books written in their own vaccums by people who often didn't understand the nuances of their own game to control itself.


That's why houserules and homebrews keep popping up.





Monk and Fighter bonus feat progressions are an incredibly powerful tool for putting together character builds, removing them to protect idiots punishes people that know how to use them


It has been stated from here to kingdom come that martial feats fall back behind badly. Even if you could find a combination that could be half way decent when combined w/ a certain combat strategy, it's not enough for relying on them.





a Crusader doesn't have Divine Grace, Lay on Hands, Divine Health, Aura of Courage, Turn Undead, Special Mount, or paladin spells, and maneuvers don't replace them no matter how much you might pretend they can.


Ok. Now that is a compelling argument.
PF Paladin it is then. All it needs for 3.5 consistency is to replace Channel Positive Energy with Turn Undead.
The only thing that's bothering me is that Battle Blessing is a no-brainer "wouldn't leave home without it" tool that's not in the class' features already.





"metamagic reductions are applied to the final adjustment total instead of per feat," with the usual "cannot reduce the final below normal clause


Ok. I'm fine with this coming instead of banning Arcane Thesis.





No, it's always DMM: persist.


Actually, now that the subject's raised, DMM does seem relatively tamed. Most sudden are way more problematic, because they have no prereqs (or the prereqs are so easy it's laughable).





at which point you could just buy a metamagic rod (don't even get me started on those things, banned so hard).


Can't believe I missed that one :0
Will be added.





[DMM] it can only be used on feats up to a certain level adjustment, with the recommended cap being +4 or +3 depending on taste.


+3 it is then. No DMM: Quicken.





2. Spells that interact with skills/feats/abilities walk over classes that are designed to have them as their forte.
Be honest, what you really mean is Heroics. Do you even know any other spells that do that?


No, but a lot of magic items do (e.g metamagic rod and ring of evasion) – and those are based upon spells, so this restriction should be more encompassing.





High level cursey or ritualy spells that seal spellcasting or divine powers have the same player/DM compact limitations of any other powerful curse or loss of class features: you don't do it unless you've given them a mile to avoid it or they asked you to, otherwise you're a butt.


My English is considered at least half way decent, still I haven't the faintest clue what you're trying to say here.





Ban Divine Power? Sure, great idea. Mage's Transformation isn't worth the effort.


1. Those are too similar for me to ban one but not the other.
2. First you protest that I go into specific spells, next when I generalize, you suggest for me to get specific.





Well then goodbye to any plot that involves a non-lich wizard reappearing after death


1. Goodbye then. Not a big loss on any measurable parameter.
2. That wizard could've taken other measures, such as a divine caster ally/cohort/partner in crime/...





goodbye to any rational reason to use demiplanes.


One word: deities.
Mortal magic doesn't have to explain everything, y'know.





Hp are the first measure of strength/weakness, the standard measure of how hard it is to kill you


When power words enter the equation, saves, DR, SR and ER all play a significant role in how hard it is to kill you. (well, maybe except Power Word Cry or something :smallbiggrin:)





You've completely changed the use of power word spells: where once they were terrifying because it meant any caster of sufficient power could hit you without fail, now they're. . . free quickened spells you can spam out every round in addition to your normal spells. That's not terrifying, it's just more caster overpoweredness. Just more reason you need to have immunity to compulsion/mind affecting at high levels


At least half your opponents are already, at those levels.





The whole point of Prismatic Wall/Sphere is the effect you want to remove. It's a wall spell you can't just break through (or even see through) which the caster can pass, allowing them to have it already covering their escape or using it to pop in and out of immediate danger. It lets you try to make a single caster threatening. It's basically the only upgrade you can make to wall spells once Wall of Force exists, and that's only 5th level.


Having to put 7 different effects (in a specific order) to overcome those otherwise impregnable layers, plus a rider negative effect to each layer – that’s anything but "only".





I haven't even read that many modules and I've still seen it multiple times because it's a classic staple, high level wizards can block passage with prismatic effects they're immune to but you must avoid via teleportation or other means.


If there's an obvious "I win" card, you can damn be sure it's gonna see frequent use.





Many high level monsters have continuous True Seeing specifically to prevent illusions from being a constant win-button for the players.


I forgot I already added it. Plus, it's pointlessly cumbersome.
Ok, the True Seeing clause will be dropped.





Just look at the spells you're allowing: Stinking Cloud completely disables someone and forces a save every round until they escape the cloud, at 3rd level.


Ok. Stinking Cloud definitely needs reevaluation. I don't have an answer for it ATM.





3. Have fun fighting high level foes without the gear you need when the DM refuses to take party composition into account and says you have to kill this thing right now or the world ends, wouldn't it be nice if you could have burned a pile of xp to get an item that would let you actually succeed? Also, you seem to have forgotten this response was about DM losses. The xp cost on item creation via Wish is so huge that most people balk at it, but removing the item creation clause is absolutely a loss for what the DM can do with Wishes.


Pulling the incompetent DM card on me are we now :smallbiggrin:





You've just forced half the melee builds to switch to martial adepts who have class features competing for use of that swift action.


"as a swift action or a move action"





Meanwhile the caster who can launch their spells from over 100' away doesn't care about 5' steps


For an encounter w/ a caster to start 100' away, one of you has to recognize the other as an enemy 100' away.
Why should that happen on a regular basis?





and nerfing metamagic as a response to magic being overpowered in general is missing the point.


Which is....... what?





Your expectation of the CR/EL system applying to all monsters equally is simply too high, it's a starting suggestion and nothing more.


My expectation from the CR/EL system is that it would serve a credible measuring tool to some sane level.





There is a world of difference between a Mind Flayer or Succubus mind controlling the village, and thus them being grateful when released, and the same monster Diplomancing the entire village, making them turn into an enraged mob once you've killed their Diplomaster. It is not the same plot in the slightest.


1. Mind controlling the mayor of the town.
2. Manipulating the town's guards via Bluff / Intimidate / bribe.
3. Ordering them to push the town's folks.
Since the DM is telling the story and not testifying in court, s/he doesn't need to explain how the big bad evil monster managed to do that exactly. Many times in history, a chain of terror has originated in a single person that had the right strategy, timing and luck to pull off what they did – w/o any help from magic at all.





[re: necromancer armies] See "spawns" above.
Who said anything about spawns? Piles of skeletons and zombies, you have completely removed. There was little reason to not animate the single biggest corpse you could find with Animate Dead, but mass slaughter/controlling territory/only having humanoid bodies/traditional tropes made it work. You have flat banned the control of more than one creature by any means, so a necromancer gets one skeleton.


"You cannot simultaneously maintain multiple effects that…".
Animate Dead is still measured in total HD, not headcount.





Instead of the traditional methods of raising piles of skeletons or zombies without dabbling in the world-destroying effects of spawn creation, they now have to rely on spawn chains to build an army that will crumble the moment anyone in the middle of the chain dies


1. No. just that branch.
2. What happens when A dominates B and A is removed?... you guessed it: B's no longer dominated. With undead it won’t matter a lot, because undead usually ignore other undead and go for the living anyway.





Why do you keep forgetting we're talking about lost options? Duh, I don't need Wish to place a magic item or pile of cash. But if I want to have a quest where the players free a Genie so they can ask for a wish and one of them wishes for a better sword or the ability to turn into a fish, welp I guess I'm just screwed then aren't I?
. . .
If I want a Genie to grant a wish by using it to create a magic item on the spot like some sort of Genie, I can't do it because you've decided it's impossible.


Say no more. The Wish clause will be removed.





If I want to have the wizard return from death because he made a Clone backup, that's not allowed either.


No, but there are plenty of other means.





I can route around some things, say instead of using a jack-in-the-box mummy pile to paralyze and capture the party I have to use a bunch of magic traps,, but then I can't do it with mummies and a guy casting Create Undead.


At high levels – no.
At mid-low levels – why not.





I'm interested to see which parts you would call "YMMV"...


My use of YMMV: You and I have had different gaming experiences, based on the players/DMs we played with, influenced by different RL situations. My experiences and conclusions are no less valid than yours. But I have enough experience to tell the difference between single instances of problems that can be relatively easily circumvented and recurring problems. I'm aiming to resolving those recurring problems with as little as possible negative implications to the game. I make bad choices here and there and that's ok - we're human afterall. That's the whole point of PEACH - several minds work better than one. When the arguments are compelling, I adjust (5 intended changes due to your last reply).

nonsi
2016-06-24, 09:49 AM
You're picking specific spells and changing them on a case-by-case basis. That's exactly "going spell-by-spelling."


Ok, just don't tell anyone :smallbiggrin:






Planar Ally. Polymorph. Gate. Heroism. Anything with a really long, non-discrete list of options, really.


I'm trying to find a solution that will not involve taking out so many elements.





You misinterpret, possibly because I was posting quickly-- the idea is that a caster can have a limited number of spells in effect at once. If ten guys cast spells on you they'll all work, because of course that's how things should work, but a given caster only has enough will and magics to power a few spells at once.


Oh, that makes a lot more sense.
Worth considering, but I'm not making any promises ATM.





Mundane answers to magic are I think very important because they help mitigate the "only magic can counter magic" issue, and open more potential for clever play. Makes it easier for GMs, too-- you don't have to figure out how Baron Von Evil got the services of a bunch of high-level casters to cast... um, what were the right wards again?... when you can have the whole thing built under a waterfall and isolated that way.


I'm bought.





I'm not sure what you're referring to, but the fact that you specify "abuse" seems like a good reason not to allow it.


I mean that you can still circumvent action economy limits via features with the help of magical gear.
I'd prefer handling gear abuse and let a high-powered fullcaster feel awesome w/o breaking the game.





Limit full casters to a slower progression that maxes out at 7th level


This would take away too much of the game as we know it and I'm trying to solve things w/o resorting to that strategy.





4th level casters get way more spells/day


IDK if way more, but definitely more.





Noncasters get their classes souped up in a few simple ways-- double static bonuses, change daily uses to hourly ones, stuff like that-- and are required to get Ancestral Relics somehow.


Double what... everything? I'm not sure if this wouldn't just push the entire game to higher numbers and then we're back in square one.
As far as my experience goes, what noncasters need more are options.





More skill points and an effectively reduced list to make them go farther


I'm not a fan of skill convergence, because it gets in the way of more tightly defining your character.
More skill points, OTOH, are always a good call.





2) Gate is fixed by rule 1, Explosive Runes by rule 2, Forcecage... hmm, a "spells must have saves or attack rolls" rule might be worth adding, though the wording needs to be carefully written, and Creation seems like the thing that would be most justifiably countered by in-game consequences-- angry trade cartels, supply-and-demand leading to drops in price, that sort of thing.


I don't see how rule #2 fixes Explosive Runes.
"spells must have saves or attack rolls" is good. I'll leave the wording to you, because you're better than me at it. I tend to miss out on edge-cases where wording goes.
Economy – I guess you're right.

nonsi
2016-06-24, 09:57 AM
2. Historically that has not been a worthwhile exercise.


I couldn't possibly imagine anyone surprising me more with that kind of a reply than you, for 2 reasons:
1. Usually, your replies are outstandingly inspiring, helpful and hit the nail dead on the head.
2. The exercise is far from over and ideas are still being exchanged.

nonsi
2016-06-24, 10:05 AM
I am running a game where 2 players are considered to be equal to a full team of 4 players... in this game they have gestalt builds that are put together by tier 1 and tier 4 classes

I am considering that this could create enough versatility to (in conjunction with banning broken feats + spells) balance the game .... though the players would be truly heroic...

The list is as follows

Tier 1+4:
Warmage+wizard [warwizard]
Cleric+fighter(dungeoncrasher) [warpriest]
Rogue+wizard [roguemage]
Warlock+wizard [warlock]
Barbarian+druid [ragedruid]
Scout+druid [scoutdruid]
Ranger+druid [rangerdruid]
Hexblade+cleric [hexpriest]
Adept+druid [adeptdruid]
Spellthief+wizard [spellthief]
Marshal+cleric [priestcommander]
Cleric+scout [holyscout]
Erudite+hexblade [hexpsion]
Erudite+scout [scoutpsion]
Erudite+adept [psionadept]
Erudite+fighter (dungeoncrasher) [psiwarrior]
Wizard+fighter [meleewizard]
Druid+warlock [wardruid]
Cleric+warlock [mysticpriest]
Erudite+warlock [warpsion]

All monk class features and feats may be taken as feats by
Fighter and Barbarian

Players must choose 1 of the above combinations and stick with it for all 20 levels... multiclassing and prc are not allowed.

I must be missing something here.
If the intent was just sharing, then fine. Otherwise, since 2-char parties are not on the agenda of this project, I fail to see what I can incorporate from your game strategy into the OP.


Btw, Gestalt < 2-chars due to action economy (unless every character also possesses continuous split personality).

tsj
2016-06-24, 01:59 PM
I must be missing something here.
If the intent was just sharing, then fine. Otherwise, since 2-char parties are not on the agenda of this project, I fail to see what I can incorporate from your game strategy into the OP.


Btw, Gestalt < 2-chars due to action economy (unless every character also possesses continuous split personality).

I mean to address an issue that could come up with playing classes at tier 3 and below...
the feeling that the PC is too close to NPCs, ie. not a "super hero"...

But yes, the intent was sharing. But also to put a different spin on the whole quick balance fix being achieved.
Something similar could be useful in this system or the 3.5 overhaul, you could "double" the power and versatily of 2 charecters:
if both players play gestalt builds where they select
a caster class like the mage (tier 3?) and combine with one of the non-caster classes (tier 4?)

the 2 players gain the benefits as if they were 4 players (minus the hit points and actions per round,
unless they perhaps got a lot of actions points and hitpoints from both classes) and could
more or less be okay facing challenges that assumes a 4 player scenario ?

I wanted to suggest this as an optional rule. :-)

this way, 2 players + 1 dm could play a game with the minimalist fix (and be maximum tier 3)
but still feel like they were playing tier 1 or tier 0 classes

tsj
2016-06-25, 12:21 AM
Also I think a good way to get quick balance would be to...

1) ensure that all players have pc's at the same tier or same combination of tiers (ie.1+4) -> a system like the one I suggested to cover all options (for paladin... this could be done with some vows or something) with classes that are all the same tier (yes they would need extra action points or something if 2 gestalt should be similar to 4 players)

2) ensure that game breaking stuff is removed -> minimalist 3.5 fix

Tier 1 classes should not be a problem if the minimalist fix is applied to them.

But classes at different tiers could still be problematic.

Fizban
2016-06-25, 05:11 AM
Eh, too lazy to break up spoilers today. Wall of text inside.

.
No. just no. things don't work that way. On the medusa's turn, everybody attempts a save at the same time. You just make the check around the gaming table one by one.
Think about any RL situation where you'd go anywhere w/ a bunch of people and encounter something unfamiliar. Your attention will be fully turned toward that something, not for checking if one of your buddies had turned to stone or melted or something.
Allow me to quote the gaze attack rules for you, again:

Each character within range of a gaze attack must attempt a saving throw (which can be a Fortitude or Will save) each round at the beginning of his turn.

An opponent can avert his eyes from the creature’s face, looking at the creature’s body, watching its shadow, or tracking the creature in a reflective surface. Each round, the opponent has a 50% chance of not having to make a saving throw. The creature with the gaze attack gains concealment relative to the opponent. An opponent can shut his eyes, turn his back on the creature, or wear a blindfold. In these cases, the opponent does not need to make a saving throw. The creature with the gaze attack gains total concealment relative to the opponent.
You are wrong sir, 100% incorrect.

Suppose you, Mr. Fizban, found yourself wondering somewhere in a totally alien environment a week from now…
I'm pretty sure this falls under the strawman fallacy but I'll bite anyway. You've gone with the vague "alien environment" line because you know full well that if you'd said "found yourself in a world where magic was real and saw a person with actual snakes growing out of their head" then you'd have no leg to stand on. Let's try an actual real-world example: I see someone carrying what looks like a weird prototype weapon, not a normal gun but something you read about in magazines or the internet, something that intelligent people believe exists but is far outside my experience. It looks like a P.H.A.S.E.R or that picture that claimed to be an industrial grade laser rigged to be portable for shooting stuff. And it's pointed at me. Uh, yeah, I get the hell out of there.

I never said that using gaze attacks consumes an action in and on itself, just that it can't be applied to more than 1 target per round.
Medusas have nothing going for them as a swift action. Gaze attacks could be it with no problem.
My mistake, but it's still laughably nerfed, and making focused gaze a swift action is actually a buff. Instead of accepting the monster design you've actually increased it's danger against people who are willing to risk the save.

I have a problem w/ mass save or die.
This reminds me that Wail of the Banshee needs a massive trim (but not removal – it is a 9th level spell after all). 15' cone seems a lot more down to earth than the ridiculous AoE given.
Continued dissonance: petrification is not death, you assume that bad luck can suddenly cause TPKs, but you refuse to acknowledge how spells that deny actions lead to death just as surely. It's called save or lose for a reason, players losing en masse usually results in death. Stinking Cloud is ten times worse than Wail of the Banshee by being available for 12 levels before the Wail shows up.

I'll rephrase to clarify:
In my view, it is expected that someone doesn't get excited over a monster that he'd already killed 7 levels ago. Seven levels ago!
In your view, it is acceptable that even after killing a given monster 7 levels ago, that monster could still scare the living daylights out of you. Just because the monster description doesn't regard cases where the CR is so low that it no longer awards XP.
We're probably not gonna meet down the middle here.
There is a world of difference between fighting a single mummy as a boss fight, and then fighting down a horde of them 7 levels later. If that horde can't actually damage you then the fight has no meaning. The best monsters are those that can be used at multiple stages of play, because they give the players concrete evidence that while their old foes are still dangerous, they can now beat them with ease. The reason I think we can't agree here is that I don't actually find the mummy scary at high levels at all-just appropriately dangerous. When in doubt, make a Dark Souls reference: the mooks at the beginning of the game will absolutely take off 1/2 your health even at the end of the game if you let them. Which is why the fact that you are so capable of not letting them is awesome.

[re: how are the mummies presented compared to the party] Why should I give a damn? I couldn't care less.
And that's where I revoke your DM card, full stop. If you can't understand why those factors are important, if you can't understand why different 12th level characters would react differently to a mummy, then you're never going to learn how to use your monsters properly.

I could accept poison/disease/petrifaction/curses to always pose a risk, but a familiar 5HD (5 CR) monster shattering a 12th level character's moral (into paralysis) – no frigging chance in hell.
You have a stylistic bias against fear effects, too bad fear effects are just as mechanically powerful as everything else. What about charms? Does the fact that a 1st level wizard can force the same DC16 will save against a 12th level adventurer and mind control them into best friends bug you in the slightest? Even when said adventurer is perfectly familiar with charm spells? I'm fairly certain I could find a creature around CR 5 with a Fear SLA if I went looking, just about as bad. Oh but it's the paralysis that bugs you, well change it to stun or daze or whatever you want, it'll weaken the jack in the box but still "shatter a 12th level character's morale."

The DM tells a story. That's perfectly fine.
When the DM frequently says something in the spirit of "there's poison/fear ahead, prep your Heroes' Feast tomorrow" – that's metagaming.
Ah, you seem to be assuming that the DM has decided there will be mummies and is telling the players what to do to survive them. Which is obviously dumb. In order to use 10 mummies in a situation where the players will hit Despair all at once, the players must be immune to fear. This means you don't use mummies if your players aren't going to be immune to fear. If they use Hero's Feast all the time you can use piles of mummies. If they don't then you don't.

And still leaves too much unhandled.
Handles countless spells not addressed here and is actually minimalist.

It has been stated from here to kingdom come that martial feats fall back behind badly. Even if you could find a combination that could be half way decent when combined w/ a certain combat strategy, it's not enough for relying on them.
Pardon my elitism, but if you don't know enough char-op to make use of those bonus feats then you don't know the system well enough to balance it. Regardless of that, the subject here is DM tools, and you know what's a lot easier for a DM to run? Simple builds with a few constant bonus feats which don't require tracking maneuvers for every combatant. Builds made universally easier by Fighter and Monk, and variants.

No, but a lot of magic items do (e.g metamagic rod and ring of evasion) – and those are based upon spells, so this restriction should be more encompassing.
No, they aren't, take a look at the items in question. Metamagic rods use only the feats, Ring of Evasion requires the Jump spell which is a skill bonus. Spells that grant feats or feature are far rarer than items, those items are almost universally based on simply having the same feat or feature.

My English is considered at least half way decent, still I haven't the faintest clue what you're trying to say here.
You mention spells that grant or deprive feats, skill ranks, and class abilities. Spells that deprive class abilities are exceedingly rare, I only know a couple that seal away either arcane spellcasting or divine spellcasting+turning. There is no problem with these spells existing, because they are equal in or lesser in power compared to other spells of their level (such as Greater Bestow Curse or just killing them), and usually aren't useable in combat anyway. The only time one of these spells will be used on the PC is because the DM has made an intentional, conscious effort to do so. Such a violation of player agency, taking away their class features while still forcing them to continue playing the character, can only be done in one of two ways: you make it part of a longstanding plot which the player has ample time and ability to evade, thus failing to do so and losing their powers is effectively failing an adventure and getting a game over and they may choose to retire the character. Or, the player may have asked you to do so, because they would like to play out a plot where they have their powers sealed and then fight to get them back.

1. Those are too similar for me to ban one but not the other.
2. First you protest that I go into specific spells, next when I generalize, you suggest for me to get specific.
If you can't see the difference between "full armored character with good hp and healing reserves gets more combat power," and "no armored character with low hp and no ability to heal gets more combat power," then I can't help you. There are two spells which affect BAB (to the best of my knowledge), you can hardly claim you're making a general rule when describing the rule takes longer than naming the only two spells it affects. Actually, this does axe the polymorph subschool line of spells, since they replace your statblock, which includes a change in BAB-I don't think anyone was calling those overpowered though.

[re: clone]1. Goodbye then. Not a big loss on any measurable parameter.
2. That wizard could've taken other measures, such as a divine caster ally/cohort/partner in crime/...
[re: genesis] One word: deities.
Mortal magic doesn't have to explain everything, y'know.
Considering how individually oriented you seem to be, refusing to take away caster toys and expecting old monsters to be literally powerless, you've got a lot of hate for letting actual high level stuff happen without deities. Anyway, you tried to claim all plots were doable and have admitted that was untrue. The independence of a foe increases their percieved power, if you know they guy's relying on some cleric to raise him he's not nearly as badass. When I said rational reason to use demiplanes regarding the Genesis spell I'd have assumed it was obvious I was talking about mortals, who cares about deities? But now if you want the bad guy to have a pocket plane for something awesome, the answer to how it happened isn't "a wizard did it," the answer is "blah blah gods blah blah."

When power words enter the equation, saves, DR, SR and ER all play a significant role in how hard it is to kill you. (well, maybe except Power Word Cry or something :smallbiggrin:)
At least half your opponents are already, at those levels.
Take another read at that, I'm talking about players. Players do not have significant access to DR, SR, or ER, except via buff routines you seem to dislike. Saves depend highly on build and investment, and of course plain luck. You may also find that more foes are vulnerable to power words than you realize, once splatbooks and DM choice come in. Unless you're deliberately hosing your PC's choices of spells.

Having to put 7 different effects (in a specific order) to overcome those otherwise impregnable layers, plus a rider negative effect to each layer – that’s anything but "only".
If there's an obvious "I win" card, you can damn be sure it's gonna see frequent use.
Do you even wizard? Dim Door/Teleport/Anklets of Borked past it, Disintegrate/Passwall/Phase Door the wall around it, grab a cleric and boost cl on a Spell Resistance or go for Greater Spell Immunity, Mage's Disjunction it, buy a scroll with all the spells to tear it down in order, buy a Rod of Cancellation, counterspell it before they finish casting, have enough saving throws and resistances to just walk through it like a boss. It takes magic to beat magic and fools don't survive to 15th level, if you can't find a way past then go home before you're eaten by a grue.

Ok. Stinking Cloud definitely needs reevaluation. I don't have an answer for it ATM.
I'm surprised. Now I just need to list out the other dozens or hundreds of spells that were written using Stinking Cloud as their point of balance and spend two pages hammering on each of them. Shall we start with Web and Glitterdust, or something more exotic like Cloud of Bewilderment or Nauseating Breath? :smallamused:

Pulling the incompetent DM card on me are we now :smallbiggrin:
You've been pulling the incompetent DM card on yourself, or rather your own DMs. If the DM is competent they don't need a list of houserules telling them how to nerf their monsters in order to avoid accidental TPK due to gaze or Despair attacks.

"as a swift action or a move action"
Goodbye full attack. 5' step, swift action boost, full attack, standard round for martial adept no longer possible.

For an encounter w/ a caster to start 100' away, one of you has to recognize the other as an enemy 100' away.
Why should that happen on a regular basis?
Have you read the wilderness encounter distances for outdoor settings? Regardless, they can just you know, teleport or move away on their first turn after combat begins at a shorter range. The answer to long range spells can only be forced closeness via indoor settings, like dungeons, which is why these ranges were never actually considered in the first place-they hardly matter in dungeons. But when applying the rules to the greater world or trying to have a game that doesn't take place entirely underground, it's kindof important.

Which is....... what?
The point of magic being overpowered to begin with. Take the scope off my rifle (or rocket launcher, or attack drone) and it's still a rifle against a man with a pointy stick (or a medusa with a 30' gaze). If the rifle is instead a pistol that's bad at long range and only holds 4 shots instead of 6, well it's still a gun but sword guy's got a better chance of rushing me.

My expectation from the CR/EL system is that it would serve a credible measuring tool to some sane level.
It's a perfectly credible measuring tool. Monsters have monster stats and CRs assigned which for the most part (barring some books and a few extra outliers) are good. For the eras they were written in (later monsters are all around better, matching power creep), against standard parties will full access to whatever resources they need, when used as intended. What you're expecting is that it be accurate even for parties that aren't well composed, or don't have access to proper resources, regardless of how the monsters are being used. That's what's too much.

1. Mind controlling the mayor of the town.
2. Manipulating the town's guards via Bluff / Intimidate / bribe.
3. Ordering them to push the town's folks.
Since the DM is telling the story and not testifying in court, s/he doesn't need to explain how the big bad evil monster managed to do that exactly. Many times in history, a chain of terror has originated in a single person that had the right strategy, timing and luck to pull off what they did – w/o any help from magic at all.
Not the same plot. See also: verisimilitude, confidence in the world due to it's internal consistency. The world is more believable if the DM is following the rules, the more bs you use the less anything matters. You can't have the entire town mind controlled by a single monster if the DM explicitly said nothing can mind control more than one thing at a time. Houserules you've specifically added are the rules you have to avoid breaking at all cost.

"You cannot simultaneously maintain multiple effects that…".
Animate Dead is still measured in total HD, not headcount.
Animate Dead is also instantaneous and not a maintained effect at all. The only way that restriction made sense was one creature animated.

1. No. just that branch.
2. What happens when A dominates B and A is removed?... you guessed it: B's no longer dominated. With undead it won’t matter a lot, because undead usually ignore other undead and go for the living anyway.
You can only control one undead (even if Animate Dead gives you more than one, those don't create spawn), which only has one spawn, which only has one spawn, there are no branches. It's one chain which breaks, spawn are usually intelligent, intelligent creatures tend to resent being controlled. If you're using fiat to keep them from immediately eating the necromancer then you might as well use fiat to create them and hey who needs a necromancer?

Say no more. The Wish clause will be removed.
Cool. In before someone else says wishing for magic items is OP.

No, but there are plenty of other means.
Name them. Not a lich, not a mystic theruge contingency, not a custom magic item, not having some cleric raise him after. The point is an independent living wizard coming back when they should be dead. That is exactly why Clone exists and no other spell does it because Clone already exists.

At high levels – no.
At mid-low levels – why not.
The whole point is that the box of mummies is useful at high levels, when those things are harder? If I want to capture a low level party I don't need a box of mummies, and low level party shouldn't be confronting anyone capable of creating mummies in the first place.

My use of YMMV: You and I have had different gaming experiences, based on the players/DMs we played with, influenced by different RL situations. My experiences and conclusions are no less valid than yours. But I have enough experience to tell the difference between single instances of problems that can be relatively easily circumvented and recurring problems. I'm aiming to resolving those recurring problems with as little as possible negative implications to the game. I make bad choices here and there and that's ok - we're human afterall. That's the whole point of PEACH - several minds work better than one. When the arguments are compelling, I adjust (5 intended changes due to your last reply).
Ah, I thought you meant something more specific. Your Mileage May Vary isn't really right for differences of opinion but I do see it thrown around a lot. It's somewhat accurate in that different groups would get different results with the same houserules, but that's true of the base game as well so there's no need to state it.
Oh, and incidentally, regarding the topic of "what spells do I need to make the bad guy's plot work?": I don't know why I've never heard of someone putting together a list of spells for just that. I have my own notes I filled off and on but they're not complete.

nonsi
2016-06-25, 02:27 PM
I'm pretty sure this falls under the strawman fallacy but I'll bite anyway. You've gone with the vague "alien environment" line because you know full well that if you'd said "found yourself in a world where magic was real and saw a person with actual snakes growing out of their head" then you'd have no leg to stand on.


Ok, on your turn, not the medusa's. But that's completely beside the point.
I used the term "totally alien environment" just to emphasize that even in an obviously hostile place, where your vigilance is at maximum, you still need that bit of time to grasp what the actual threats are and react accordingly. You still need to see that "rifle" blasting at least once before you start running in panic.
And what if instead of a rifle it's a bracelet?
And what if it's scorpion tails instead of snake heads?
And what if the characters simply didn't hear about it? I mean, in hundreds of years of ancient Greek literature, the subject of the gorgon sisters and petrifaction came up 2 or 3 times. That's not something that people talk about on a daily basis. If the DM is not "kind enough" to give the players a decent heads up, low level characters are not supposed to be particularly alert for petrifying monsters if the've never encountered one. When that is the case, 1st round is extremely dangerous.





I never said that using gaze attacks consumes an action in and on itself, just that it can't be applied to more than 1 target per round.
Medusas have nothing going for them as a swift action. Gaze attacks could be it with no problem.
My mistake, but it's still laughably nerfed, and making focused gaze a swift action is actually a buff. Instead of accepting the monster design you've actually increased it's danger against people who are willing to risk the save.


1. How exactly having a bonus action that doesn't provoke and petrifies can ever be regarded to as laughable? And let's not forget that a single snake bite can potentially kill you in 1 minute if you don't have Str 19+, not to mention multiple hits.
2. Care to explain the bold part?





There is a world of difference between fighting a single mummy as a boss fight, and then fighting down a horde of them 7 levels later. If that horde can't actually damage you then the fight has no meaning. The best monsters are those that can be used at multiple stages of play, because they give the players concrete evidence that while their old foes are still dangerous, they can now beat them with ease. The reason I think we can't agree here is that I don't actually find the mummy scary at high levels at all-just appropriately dangerous. When in doubt, make a Dark Souls reference: the mooks at the beginning of the game will absolutely take off 1/2 your health even at the end of the game if you let them. Which is why the fact that you are so capable of not letting them is awesome.


I see what you mean. It would be a lot easier for me to accept this if there was a formula for still receiving XP from such encounters.





You have a stylistic bias against fear effects, too bad fear effects are just as mechanically powerful as everything else.


I'm bias against a hypothetical adult Hercules crapping his pants over something he'd killed as a teenager. That's the opposite of being heroic.





What about charms? Does the fact that a 1st level wizard can force the same DC16 will save against a 12th level adventurer and mind control them into best friends bug you in the slightest? Even when said adventurer is perfectly familiar with charm spells? I'm fairly certain I could find a creature around CR 5 with a Fear SLA if I went looking, just about as bad. Oh but it's the paralysis that bugs you, well change it to stun or daze or whatever you want, it'll weaken the jack in the box but still "shatter a 12th level character's morale."


Could be worth considering. The problem is that the moment I go for such strategy, the next card pulled on me would be the "you handle them 1-by-1 instead of generalizing" card.





Ah, you seem to be assuming that the DM has decided there will be mummies and is telling the players what to do to survive them. Which is obviously dumb. In order to use 10 mummies in a situation where the players will hit Despair all at once, the players must be immune to fear. This means you don't use mummies if your players aren't going to be immune to fear. If they use Hero's Feast all the time you can use piles of mummies. If they don't then you don't.


Theoretically, an experienced DM could handle any scenario, including a party where there's a radical difference of power, by declaring favorable results and granting better equipment and better outcomes to the weaker characters, to the point of DM cuddling.
I'm aiming for something that would minimize the need for DM fiat.





And still leaves too much unhandled.
Handles countless spells not addressed here and is actually minimalist.


And still leave obviously problematic spall untouched.




Pardon my elitism, but if you don't know enough char-op to make use of those bonus feats then you don't know the system well enough to balance it. Regardless of that, the subject here is DM tools, and you know what's a lot easier for a DM to run? Simple builds with a few constant bonus feats which don't require tracking maneuvers for every combatant. Builds made universally easier by Fighter and Monk, and variants.


I know of Dictum Mortuum's Fighter Handbbok (http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/Fighters'_Handbook_By_Dictum_Mortuum_(3.5e_Optimiz ed_Character_Build)).
Problem is that in all this time, that's the only half way decent feat guide I've encountered… and fighters & monks are still lacking so badly. There are just too many areas where they're totally helpless, based on their own class resources and options.
My point is that if someone wishes to play a fighter or monk, he has to be a participant/lurker in a char-op forum just to make his character barely functional.
This, in one word = FAIL.





No, they aren't, take a look at the items in question. Metamagic rods use only the feats, Ring of Evasion requires the Jump spell which is a skill bonus. Spells that grant feats or feature are far rarer than items, those items are almost universally based on simply having the same feat or feature.


Maybe on the creator. The user could be anyone.





You mention spells that grant or deprive feats, skill ranks, and class abilities. Spells that deprive class abilities are exceedingly rare, I only know a couple that seal away either arcane spellcasting or divine spellcasting+turning. There is no problem with these spells existing, because they are equal in or lesser in power compared to other spells of their level (such as Greater Bestow Curse or just killing them), and usually aren't useable in combat anyway.


Ok. Let's put deprive aside. It's the granting that's a bigger issue for me.





If you can't see the difference between "full armored character with good hp and healing reserves gets more combat power," and "no armored character with low hp and no ability to heal gets more combat power," then I can't help you. There are two spells which affect BAB (to the best of my knowledge), you can hardly claim you're making a general rule when describing the rule takes longer than naming the only two spells it affects. Actually, this does axe the polymorph subschool line of spells, since they replace your statblock, which includes a change in BAB-I don't think anyone was calling those overpowered though.


Y'know what, what if Divine Power just worked like Transformation, depriving the cleric of spellcasting?




Considering how individually oriented you seem to be, refusing to take away caster toys and expecting old monsters to be literally powerless, you've got a lot of hate for letting actual high level stuff happen without deities. Anyway, you tried to claim all plots were doable and have admitted that was untrue. The independence of a foe increases their percieved power, if you know they guy's relying on some cleric to raise him he's not nearly as badass. When I said rational reason to use demiplanes regarding the Genesis spell I'd have assumed it was obvious I was talking about mortals, who cares about deities? But now if you want the bad guy to have a pocket plane for something awesome, the answer to how it happened isn't "a wizard did it," the answer is "blah blah gods blah blah."


1. I do not agree with the bolded claim. Everybody's got their forte. Returning from the dead is divine-oriented. I see no problem there.
2. Maybe there's another explanation (e.g. a pact w/ a powerful outsider, a used up wish etc.)
3. Do you really explain everything to the players in the aftermath? I mean, there was a chain of events that had led to an adventure. Why is it crucial that they always have all the correct answers? IRL, there are a lot of situations where you're left w/ question marks.





Take another read at that, I'm talking about players. Players do not have significant access to DR, SR, or ER,


I thought PvP was not on the discussion table ATM.





except via buff routines you seem to dislike.


What I'm against is having buffs as a must-have scenario, where things break down w/o it.





You may also find that more foes are vulnerable to power words than you realize, once splatbooks and DM choice come in. Unless you're deliberately hosing your PC's choices of spells.


I know that undead, construcs, plant creatures and many outsiders are immune out of the box. There are other factors that make creatures immune.





Do you even wizard? Dim Door/Teleport/Anklets of Borked past it, Disintegrate/Passwall/Phase Door the wall around it, grab a cleric and boost cl on a Spell Resistance or go for Greater Spell Immunity, Mage's Disjunction it, buy a scroll with all the spells to tear it down in order, buy a Rod of Cancellation, counterspell it before they finish casting, have enough saving throws and resistances to just walk through it like a boss. It takes magic to beat magic and fools don't survive to 15th level, if you can't find a way past then go home before you're eaten by a grue.


Teleportation: Dimentional Lock
Now that bypassing the wall is out of the picture, you have to spend seven effects to overcome it. In the meantime, the wizard is free to blast you from the other side for at least 4 full rounds (assuming you counter in the right order). This blows Time Stop out of the water. And attempting to cross 7 layers is plain simple suicide.





I'm surprised. Now I just need to list out the other dozens or hundreds of spells that were written using Stinking Cloud as their point of balance and spend two pages hammering on each of them. Shall we start with Web and Glitterdust, or something more exotic like Cloud of Bewilderment or Nauseating Breath?


The problem I see specifically w/ Stinking Cloud is that it forces a new save each round – and when you fail you lose. That's why it deserves more attention than the other SoL spells.





You've been pulling the incompetent DM card on yourself, or rather your own DMs. If the DM is competent they don't need a list of houserules telling them how to nerf their monsters in order to avoid accidental TPK due to gaze or Despair attacks.


With the combination of a powerful strategist DM, cooperative minmax players and a basket full of gentleman's agreements, 3.5 doesn't need fixing at all.
Problem is that this is rarely the case.





Goodbye full attack. 5' step, swift action boost, full attack, standard round for martial adept no longer possible.


You're forgetting full attack as a standard action.





Have you read the wilderness encounter distances for outdoor settings? Regardless, they can just you know, teleport or move away on their first turn after combat begins at a shorter range. The answer to long range spells can only be forced closeness via indoor settings, like dungeons, which is why these ranges were never actually considered in the first place-they hardly matter in dungeons. But when applying the rules to the greater world or trying to have a game that doesn't take place entirely underground, it's kindof important.


Let me just ask you this: on an incidental outdoors encounter with a spellcaster, why would any of you start attacking each other?
("hey guys, here's this man with "mage" written on his face… let's kill him")





The point of magic being overpowered to begin with. Take the scope off my rifle (or rocket launcher, or attack drone) and it's still a rifle against a man with a pointy stick (or a medusa with a 30' gaze). If the rifle is instead a pistol that's bad at long range and only holds 4 shots instead of 6, well it's still a gun but sword guy's got a better chance of rushing me.


My mistake. I was under the impression that we're attempting to narrow that gap.





It's a perfectly credible measuring tool. Monsters have monster stats and CRs assigned which for the most part (barring some books and a few extra outliers) are good. For the eras they were written in (later monsters are all around better, matching power creep), against standard parties will full access to whatever resources they need, when used as intended. What you're expecting is that it be accurate even for parties that aren't well composed, or don't have access to proper resources, regardless of how the monsters are being used. That's what's too much.


Ok, but the issue I raised persists regardless of just party's composition. I.e. the 1-roung TPK problem is valid no matter their classes and races. The only exception is if there's specifically a paladin in the party.



[ Mind controlling the mayor of the town...]


Not the same plot. See also: verisimilitude, confidence in the world due to it's internal consistency. The world is more believable if the DM is following the rules, the more bs you use the less anything matters. You can't have the entire town mind controlled by a single monster if the DM explicitly said nothing can mind control more than one thing at a time. Houserules you've specifically added are the rules you have to avoid breaking at all cost.


The scenario I portrayed was no BS in any way.
I don't see why them being wide-eyed mindless puppets would serve the plot better than my proposed scenario.





Animate Dead is also instantaneous and not a maintained effect at all.


Are they under your control – yes or not?





The only way that restriction made sense was one creature animated.


Care to explain that rationale?





Name them. Not a lich, not a mystic theruge contingency, not a custom magic item, not having some cleric raise him after. The point is an independent living wizard coming back when they should be dead. That is exactly why Clone exists and no other spell does it because Clone already exists.


My point is that it can be any of many scenarios, which the players need not obtain the full details of.
If you insist on a very specific means – that no one needs to know about – that's the point where I pull back and declare that it's pointless to continue discussing the given issue (Clone spell in this case).

Fizban
2016-06-26, 06:24 AM
Back to divisions today.

You still need to see that "rifle" blasting at least once before you start running in panic.
The hell I do. Would I run in a panic? Probably not, but I'd certainly be looking for cover and not staring at what I expect is a weapon capable of blinding me. Assuming I still had my wits about me, but adventurers don't lose their wits without failing a save.

And what if the characters simply didn't hear about it? I mean, in hundreds of years of ancient Greek literature, the subject of the gorgon sisters and petrifaction came up 2 or 3 times. That's not something that people talk about on a daily basis. If the DM is not "kind enough" to give the players a decent heads up, low level characters are not supposed to be particularly alert for petrifying monsters if the've never encountered one. When that is the case, 1st round is extremely dangerous.
Medusae do not exist in real life. A better comparison would be if you know what a bear or an elephant is. Though you could invoke medieval age information to say that most people shouldn't know about animals or dangers from outside their locality, but I prefer the base assumption of low level info being fairly widespread. The old 3.0 book Tome and Blood has the only definition of "common knowledge" rules I've seen. The example starts with using silver against lycanthropes at DC10, though it notes that you shouldn't make heavy use of the option. I'd say "don't look at people with snake hair" is comparable. I can't really make any more arguments here though, it's a simple question of if your DM is trying to medusa gank you or not. If they're not then there are ample justifications for why you might know about their gaze, otherwise you're not getting anything without a high enough knowledge check to force the issue.

1. How exactly having a bonus action that doesn't provoke and petrifies can ever be regarded to as laughable? And let's not forget that a single snake bite can potentially kill you in 1 minute if you don't have Str 19+, not to mention multiple hits.
2. Care to explain the bold part?
Because, as I have already said, the whole point of the medusa and other gaze monsters is that they threaten everyone who has their eyes open, no exceptions. With your single target nerf, there is no benefit to the party unless everyone closes their eyes. If even a single person has their eyes open, everyone else might as well do it too because there's no extra risk, just go full throttle. Gaze monsters are supposed to produce a tense atmosphere with each person making an individual choice to close, avert, or stare down, which is gone if you limit them to one target at a time. It's weak because it's gone from hitting all targets to only one, plain and simple. It's laughable because the special tension is gone.

As for the poison, one attack with a separate lower fort save that doesn't deal it's full damage for a whole minute with a bell curve averaging 10 points even on two failed saves, no not that bad. Also it's not a kill, it's a disable that recovers with 2nd level spells or bed rest, PCs are captured unless the DM wants them dead and recover more easily than the petrify. The poison is why I say the fighter takes them solo blindfolded maybe, but 30hp is death in two hits with any amount of optimization.

The bold part: normally the focused gaze is a move action, thus the gazer must give up their move action in order to force an extra save. Making it a swift action means two saves every round because why not? The one target the medusa is allowed is in twice as much danger, for everyone else no threat whatsoever. Instead of a terrifying party wide threat (which is quite survivable), it's a single target doom machine.

I see what you mean. It would be a lot easier for me to accept this if there was a formula for still receiving XP from such encounters.
The DMG doesn't actually cut you off until 8th, at which point you're supposed to use ad hoc xp based on what threat the monsters actually posed. If 8 mummies (EL11) are used in a way that threatens a 13th+ parry, just use the xp for a CR 11 (the formulas all loop back, it's the same amount).

I'm bias against a hypothetical adult Hercules crapping his pants over something he'd killed as a teenager. That's the opposite of being heroic.
That's magic (and supernatural and even extraordinary fear abilities) brah. Doesn't matter how many times you've seen it, unless you spend part of your build on an immunity all you get is your standard will save. Even a fighter gets +2 will save over 6 levels.

Could be worth considering. The problem is that the moment I go for such strategy, the next card pulled on me would be the "you handle them 1-by-1 instead of generalizing" card.
That ship has sailed, but you're ignoring the connection: if a 12th level hercules shouldn't crap his pants against something he killed as a child, why would he fall for a (mind) trick he already figured out when he was a kid? The answer is because he didn't actually take anything to give him that ability. He gets a will save, probably higher than it was before thanks to the levels, but otherwise it doesn't matter because magic is a a deliberate weapon. Doesn't matter if it's flame or fear, the same way you can't brush off a sword in the face because it can still kill you, you can't brush off a mummy's Despair because it's a magical attack that stabs your brain right in the run away spot.

Theoretically, an experienced DM could handle any scenario, including a party where there's a radical difference of power, by declaring favorable results and granting better equipment and better outcomes to the weaker characters, to the point of DM cuddling.
I'm aiming for something that would minimize the need for DM fiat.
That's either a false equivalence or reducto ad absurdum. I would not expect an experienced DM to manage a radically unbalanced party by fiat, there's no reason to bother using rules at that point, nor did I suggest that (I would expect the DM to help the party balance themselves, naturally). What I suggested, is that a competent DM will not build encounters that they damn well know are going to TPK their party. There is no fiat involved in choosing to use a different monster, you keep acting like the DM is forced to do things that are dumb and not choosing to do them would be fiat, which is absurd.

And still leave obviously problematic spall untouched.
Not in the way you want it to, but it does. Let's use Charm Person as an example since I brought it up earlier: it's a 1st level spell, by 8th level it lasts effectively all day, and you have more than enough slots to own a couple people if that's what you want to do. Or with the Stone, it lasts 1 hour, period. That spell, which at mid-high levels makes any prisoner into day long ally for pennies worth of spellcasting, has been nerfed into providing information or small favors only. Or Stinking Cloud, which is cut to a 10' radius and 50' max range, leaving you quite possibly in their kill zone if they make their save, actually has some risk. And so on.


The Stone also never claimed it was addressing everything. It reduces the gap between martial and magic by simply dragging magic down in raw numbers in the simplest ways possible. Individual spells can still be put on their own list and most assuredly will be by any DM who cares- but many problem spells stop being nearly so much of a problem with their area/range/duration slashed, becoming specialized tools instead of widely applicable win buttons and that's already a win.

I know of Dictum Mortuum's Fighter Handbbok (http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/Fighters'_Handbook_By_Dictum_Mortuum_(3.5e_Optimiz ed_Character_Build)).
Problem is that in all this time, that's the only half way decent feat guide I've encountered… and fighters & monks are still lacking so badly. There are just too many areas where they're totally helpless, based on their own class resources and options.
My point is that if someone wishes to play a fighter or monk, he has to be a participant/lurker in a char-op forum just to make his character barely functional.
This, in one word = FAIL.
Banning weaker classes doesn't change this, it just covers up the issue and removes options for people who know what they're doing. The problem with char-op handbooks is that they want maximum power and act like not having everything under the sun (as a wizard does) mean you're crap. The standard for damage output is Ubercharger and you what's the root of that? Power Attack, Improved Bull Rush, Shock Trooper. You don't need spirit lion totem barbarian (also removed by your ban, I hate it myself), you don't need Leap Attack, or anything else. That's three feats, easy if you can dip Fighter 2, much harder if you can't, and everything else can actually be based on the character rather than basic competence. Monk lets you get a number of feats ignoring their prerequisites, giving you even more room to build. For a DM trying to make interesting NPCs on a level budget these tools are a huge value. Now sure, obviously the point of a "fix" is to make things more idiot proof, but it should be obvious by now I don't agree with removing options when you can just communicate instead of making up extra rules. How about instead of banning the basics, you just tell people without char-op skills to try this other thing instead? And if they don't like that you can, you know, teach them instead of just saying no.

[re: prerequisites of items that grant feats/abilities]Maybe on the creator. The user could be anyone.
I was referring to how banning spells that do those things doesn't get rid of the items because the items don't care, but either you just added a line to ban the items separately or I'd missed it being there before. I don't on principle have a problem with items granting feats or abilities, but in practice very few of them that exist are actually appropriate, except when they're stealth fixing a bad feat by letting you pay for it.

Y'know what, what if Divine Power just worked like Transformation, depriving the cleric of spellcasting?
Another obvious fix that people usually don't mention in my experience, because two cakes and all that. It's still far more powerful with temp hp and d8's and heavy armor and better buffs, and a lower level, but yeah. Being locked out of spellcasting guaranteed for 1 round/level (non-dismissable, both spells) is a serious penalty and risk.

1. I do not agree with the bolded claim. Everybody's got their forte. Returning from the dead is divine-oriented. I see no problem there.
2. Maybe there's another explanation (e.g. a pact w/ a powerful outsider, a used up wish etc.)
3. Do you really explain everything to the players in the aftermath? I mean, there was a chain of events that had led to an adventure. Why is it crucial that they always have all the correct answers? IRL, there are a lot of situations where you're left w/ question marks.
1. Well it's not like I have a textbook to point at but I'm fairly sure that it's a known trope of sorts that people have been using since ever. You can emphasize their strength by the fact that they have a badass posse, or the fact that they don't even need a badass posse to return from the dead. Just because you prefer the former doesn't mean the latter is not a valid narrative option, which is removed by the loss of Clone.
2. An outsider is someone else, not the same trope. Wish does not have any ability to give you contingent resurrection unless the DM says so, you can't put Limited Wish (Raise Dead) in a Contingency because it's too high level.
3. Who says I need to explain anything? If you have savvy players who are actually investigating, they can find it all out on their own and not having answers is what damages the immersion. An adventure is not real life: as you keep saying yourself, the DM has some sort of a story in mind, and good stories don't leave important facts like how the bad guy came back to life unexplained.

I thought PvP was not on the discussion table ATM.
I'm not talking about PvP, I'm talking about NPCs. High level spellcaster antagonists, because it's always a high level spellcaster antagonist. Power Words are once again more of a DM tool, a worldbuilding tool, than anything else: spells that high level antagonist NPCs can use against their mid-level characters without fail. The threat of knowing that high level spells exist which will hit them unfailingly mean even mid level PCs are afraid of high level spellcasters. Who cares about Finger of Death or Insanity when you have high saves? But Power Words still exist and until you level up you just don't have the hp to resist, even more reason you need to be prepared with immunity or back off until you're strong enough. Back to DR/ER/SR/whatever, those are not a universal measure of toughness but hp is. Every character gains significant amount of hp at every level up and will eventually be strong enough to resist some or all of the dread Power Words, regardless of saves.

Then if people actually decide to use them in combat, the hp based mechanic is far more dramatic than saving throws since it gets stronger as the fight goes on, and it actually takes into account previous turns worth of effort including the non-magical character's attacks. But you've made them into cheesy swift action save or lose that ignores your only restriction on quickened spells (metamagic cooldown). They're not a dramatic piece of worldbuilding, they're just OP.

Remember when you were complaining about Hercules crapping his pants? This is the mechanic you're looking for, a value check that eventually means you're immune just thanks to leveling up. Except HD or level checks are terrible because you can't boost your HD and thus can't be used for powerful stuff (see Blasphemy actual instant TPK), only for cutting off weak spells like Sleep (mummy Despair is not a weak spell like Sleep). You could institute some sort of root mechanic where high hp makes you flat immune to some things, but it would be incredibly arbitrary. Arbitrary cutoffs for Power Words work because it's a special mechanic just for them, but applying it to everything means hit die sizes and methods of hp boosting become way more important, which means you need to set those limits extremely carefully and they introduce a whole new axis of optimizing that inexperienced players won't know about.

I know that undead, construcs, plant creatures and many outsiders are immune out of the box. There are other factors that make creatures immune.
Yeah, everyone does, that's why I said you might be surprised. The players won't take Power Word spells if they already know the DM favors foes that are immune to them. If DM is any good, he won't start doing so just because they took Power Words, and will indeed make sure some foes are suceptible while important foes must be damaged first. In actual play, if you take a Power Word you can probably find plenty of good use for it.

[re: list of ways to bypass Prismatic Wall/Sphere] Teleportation: Dimentional Lock
Yes thank you, now what about all the other methods I mentioned specifically because I knew that would be your first response, most of which cost 0 or 1 action? Dim Lock may also be dispel-able if hastily or poorly placed. And if we're comparing fixes, the Philosopher's Stone would force them to re-cast the Lock every day burning two 8th+ level spell slots on this tactic, and cuts off their bonus slots so that this tactic leaves them with maybe a couple high level spells to actually fight with.

The problem I see specifically w/ Stinking Cloud is that it forces a new save each round – and when you fail you lose. That's why it deserves more attention than the other SoL spells.
Web wastes multiple turns even if you make the save, at a lower level. Glitterdust is still mass save or lose at ECL 3 and a crippling debuff on most foes (multiple foes) until the end of time, for a 2nd level slot. Cloud of Bewilderment is the exact same spell with a slightly smaller area (including the save every round until failed), but for a 2nd level slot. Nauseating Breath is the tamest of the lot and still limited mostly by the random duration (random durations are secret), as the lack of a cloud means you don't hinder your allies in the slightest. It's true that not many spells use the Stinking Cloud model, but that doesn't change the fact that mass save or lose is far too undercosted.

With the combination of a powerful strategist DM, cooperative minmax players and a basket full of gentleman's agreements, 3.5 doesn't need fixing at all.
Problem is that this is rarely the case.
I'm not even going to respond to this in witty parrot fashion. You don't need to be some perfect strategist to DM, you just need to read the freaking monsters and compare them to your PCs. It's all right there on the page and the sheet. You don't need minmaxing players, just people who communicate and work together, weather that means the top end backs off or the bottom end steps up. You don't even need "gentleman's agreements" since people apply those instinctively as long as they actually care about the group.

I will agree that it is rare to actually get 5 people to communicate and work together. The difficulty is nothing to do with skill or specialized houserules, just the same difficulty as everywhere else in life: people suck.

You're forgetting full attack as a standard action.
Indeed, but you can replace full attack with a full round action maneuver, charge, or some other full round action. You've added an action cost to something that did not have one before, by definition you have removed options. All in the name of nerfing. . . who? Because once again, casters didn't care.

Have you read the wilderness encounter distances for outdoor settings? Regardless, they can just you know, teleport or move away on their first turn after combat begins at a shorter range. The answer to long range spells can only be forced closeness via indoor settings, like dungeons, which is why these ranges were never actually considered in the first place-they hardly matter in dungeons. But when applying the rules to the greater world or trying to have a game that doesn't take place entirely underground, it's kindof important.

Let me just ask you this: on an incidental outdoors encounter with a spellcaster, why would any of you start attacking each other?
("hey guys, here's this man with "mage" written on his face… let's kill him")
I'm not sure what your point is. Are you saying that no foe would attack the PCs because they have an obvious looking mage? Or that the PCs won't attack people that have obvious mages? Or that the PCs won't attack people for no reason? (they totally will). And what kind of an idiot walks around looking like an obvious mage, that's dumber than wearing a target on your head. Someone can use magic and wants to kill someone who can't use magic, that person can do so from a ridiculously long range, far enough that they're quite likely to disable or kill the non-magical person before they can even make an attack. The designers didn't think about what effect this had on the world because they didn't care, only adventurers and special NPCs ever had spells, adventures happened in dungeons where AoEs could mess you up more than help you and long ranges were specifically baked in so that the players could slaughter groups of mooks from a safe distance. That's great for a DM vs player game where the world is all made by fiat.

3.5 is not that game anymore. The DMG clearly defines the amount of risk PCs are meant to encounter, tells us how many higher level NPCs are kicking around even without the DM specially placing them, and makes it clear that magic items should be purchaseable. The CR system is meant to give a rough estimate of combat. Spells with ridiculously ranges and areas that can trivialize encounters or TPK parties stick out like a sore thumb, changing the way the world works and bucking the CR system wildly simply because they were written for a different world.

My mistake. I was under the impression that we're attempting to narrow that gap.
:smallsigh: From the top again. Magic is overpowered at the roots. Metamagic is extra power on top of that. Nerfing metamagic is nice but does not address the root problem. You narrow the gap by taking off the scope, I say that you should also hack off the barrel and ditch the extended magazines.

Ok, but the issue I raised persists regardless of just party's composition. I.e. the 1-roung TPK problem is valid no matter their classes and races. The only exception is if there's specifically a paladin in the party.
Now we're back to "any mass save or lose=TPK due to luck." Either it's a box of mummies which is a special case for higher levels, or it's a smaller number. A single or small group of mummies is not guaranteed TPK, it's only TPK with both bad luck and no preparation, as is any other encounter. And really? You're claiming Paladin Aura of Courage is the only anti-fear effect in the entire game, the only thing that could possibly help them? Inspire Courage, Bless, Remove Fear, Resurgence, Mass Resurgence, literally any other spell which boosts saves, Necropolitans, undead minions, vermin minions, Animal Companions/Special Mounts/Familiars all get their own saves, and any other class or feat that grants fear resistance or immunity. And if your party has absolutely none of those, if you know that a group of mummies is a TPK for them, then you don't freaking do it because you've clearly run into a case where CR isn't enough. CR will never be the final determination of anything, it is always accompanied by use of brain. Even if you're running status-quo only game you have no excuse for not knowing that a given fight was impossible.

The scenario I portrayed was no BS in any way.
I don't see why them being wide-eyed mindless puppets would serve the plot better than my proposed scenario.
It would be bs if used to justify the scenario I portrayed, which is the entire town being mind controlled. Earlier you seemed to assume that the players won't investigate and you don't need a reason for things to be true, but you twist yourself in knots to make a plot that will never be the equivalent of something as simple as "creature with at-will mind control used it." The plot is served better because maybe I don't want intrigue or investigation, I just want them to walk in and eventually succeed on a sense motive check or pop a Detect Magic and realize there's badness afoot. I want a simple adventure where the PCs kill a horrible monster and the villagers are instantaneously freed with no lingering problems. Can't do that if monsters are prevented from using the abilities they're meant to use.

Are they under your control – yes or not?
Care to explain that rationale?
Just the immediate instinctive response. The simplified version is that you can't have more than one minion at a time, so Animate Dead would only give you one minion. Reading the text intentionally looking for loopholes will show that this is not the case, but the spirit seems clearly against it. I noted the instantaneous discrepancy later but since you're calling out how it's "maintain one effect" I figured I'd point out that you don't have to "maintain" it at all.

My point is that it can be any of many scenarios, which the players need not obtain the full details of.
If you insist on a very specific means – that no one needs to know about – that's the point where I pull back and declare that it's pointless to continue discussing the given issue (Clone spell in this case).
See above: the players have every right and ability to investigate, at which point you need to pony up the details. They're going to want a specific answer. It does seem clear that continued discussion is pointless: I've long since proved my point that if applied to the DM these restrictions are in fact restrictions. The root of this thread of argument was:

Trying to add "monster fixes" to a class fix is not going to help, all it does is take away tools the DM might end up needing.

Again, look at the OP and tell me what you see in it that takes away from you as DM.
Describe to me the scenarios that adhering to the OP's suggestions would deprive you of.
At which point I simply listed uses for all the banned things, because banning things from DM use is by definition an unneeded restriction: the DM can just not use things they don't think should be used. Not just being contrary either: I like figuring out how to build cool NPCs on a budget, which requires Fighter/Monk/Barbarian, I like the "everyone is mind controlled directly by magic" plot, I like Clone specifically because it requires no outside help or lich baggage, and of course I like Mummies as a solid monster at multiple levels. This was all predicated on nerfing gaze/Despair attacks because they're too strong: if the DM thinks they're too strong they can just not use them, or only use them if the party is ready, or nerf them on their own. Putting hard rules down nerfing monsters only forewarns the players that those monsters may be appearing, and if so will be weaker than expected, while limiting the DM's options for players that could have handled the monsters without the nerf, or even players that couldn't handle it but maybe had some help from another plot.

Neoxenok
2016-06-27, 02:41 AM
Having looked over your changes, you seem to have already violated the following precept:
I want to see if a reasonable fix could be achieved with a few restrictions and banning, and a relatively small set of houserules and homebrew materials.

So I don't really have the time for an item-by-item lookthrough at the moment, but your minimalist approach essentially requires a huge investment of books.
This isn't a problem for someone that has been a gamer for a long time and has most if not all of the 3.5e books either as a printed or PDF copy, but I have to think about just how much of an investment is required to run what you think is a balanced 3.5e game.

You'd have to replace more than half of all the core classes with multiple classes and rulesets across several other books, notably the PHB 2 for the druid's wildshape replacement, the Tome of Battle to replace barbarians, monks, and fighters, the pathfinder core rulebook to replace the bard, paladin, and ranger, pathfinder unchained for the rogue, and unearthed arcana for the cleric.

Granted the pathfinder OGC, D&D SRD, and such are free as are some illegitimate sources of PDFs, but look at how much work I'm doing just as a DM just to "balance" the core 11 classes.

Why am I doing this? How and why is this a minimal change?

More importantly, barring some irrational hatred of pathfinder, why isn't all these problems solved by simply switching to Pathfinder wholesale given that doing that alone solves 95% of these problems with less than 1/100th the effort?

I might recommend a different approach and attempt to "solve" only the most game-breaking issues.

The reason being that most players either don't know about or don't care about whether the fighter "should" be tier 5 or tier 3 or whatever. Regardless of the what the online groupspeak states, 99.5% of people playing 3.5 don't actually see themselves as lagging severely enough behind the dreaded "tier one" and "tier two" classes enough to worry about whether they're playing a fighter or a martial adept and many of them might not even have the tome of battle. Hell, I don't even have the tome of battle and I've been playing/running D&D games for over sixteen years.

So I'd like to officially make a recommendation.
Look over your list on the first page again and try again with an eye to making fixes that don't require more books than where that particular bit of source material came from and perhaps worry less about whether the fighter is up to snuff and concentrate more on the things that will much more assuredly break a campaign or otherwise become more seriously problematic.

Perhaps you could separate the fixes into "quick and easy", "more complicated," and/or if you have X sourcebook, it is recommended you use Y because [insert reason, because I might have come to this thread not being fully up to speed on why you or most people think this needs to be replaced].

nonsi
2016-06-27, 10:13 AM
Because, as I have already said, the whole point of the medusa and other gaze monsters is that they threaten everyone who has their eyes open, no exceptions. With your single target nerf, there is no benefit to the party unless everyone closes their eyes. If even a single person has their eyes open, everyone else might as well do it too because there's no extra risk


Suppose you travelled with a group of people and you've encountered a medusa... what you're saying is that, under the single-target –gaze constraint, knowing that some of them open their eyes, would you open them? And what if, in the aftermath, you turn out to be the one that finds himself on the wrong side of a bad staredown?





The bold part: normally the focused gaze is a move action, thus the gazer must give up their move action in order to force an extra save. Making it a swift action means two saves every round because why not? The one target the medusa is allowed is in twice as much danger, for everyone else no threat whatsoever. Instead of a terrifying party wide threat (which is quite survivable), it's a single target doom machine.


I don't see how you made this deduction.
If it takes 1 round to recharge, you don't get action abuse free ride.





Doesn't matter if it's flame or fear, the same way you can't brush off a sword in the face because it can still kill you, you can't brush off a mummy's Despair because it's a magical attack that stabs your brain right in the run away spot.


With one significant difference – in practice, a CR 5 that uses a sword poses no real danger for you to lose the fight. The odds are so far below practical threat that you might as well ignore them... which is why you don't deserve XP for such confrontation.





As for the poison, one attack with a separate lower fort save that doesn't deal it's full damage for a whole minute with a bell curve averaging 10 points even on two failed saves, no not that bad. Also it's not a kill, it's a disable that recovers with 2nd level spells or bed rest, PCs are captured unless the DM wants them dead and recover more easily than the petrify. The poison is why I say the fighter takes them solo blindfolded maybe, but 30hp is death in two hits with any amount of optimization.
. . .
That's magic (and supernatural and even extraordinary fear abilities) brah. Doesn't matter how many times you've seen it, unless you spend part of your build on an immunity all you get is your standard will save. Even a fighter gets +2 will save over 6 levels.


Ok. I see what you mean.





The old 3.0 book Tome and Blood has the only definition of "common knowledge" rules I've seen. The example starts with using silver against lycanthropes at DC10, though it notes that you shouldn't make heavy use of the option. I'd say "don't look at people with snake hair" is comparable.


Fair enough.
What about 8-legged lizards, scaly bulls and really ugly chickens? Those are a bit tougher to nail down, methinks. (the 1st also possesses petrifying gaze)





The DMG doesn't actually cut you off until 8th, at which point you're supposed to use ad hoc xp based on what threat the monsters actually posed. If 8 mummies (EL11) are used in a way that threatens a 13th+ parry, just use the xp for a CR 11 (the formulas all loop back, it's the same amount).


8 mummies vs. 4 lvl-13 party = zero XP (http://www.d20srd.org/extras/d20encountercalculator/)





Not in the way you want it to, but it does. Let's use Charm Person as an example since I brought it up earlier: it's a 1st level spell, by 8th level it lasts effectively all day, and you have more than enough slots to own a couple people if that's what you want to do. Or with the Stone, it lasts 1 hour, period. That spell, which at mid-high levels makes any prisoner into day long ally for pennies worth of spellcasting, has been nerfed into providing information or small favors only. Or Stinking Cloud, which is cut to a 10' radius and 50' max range, leaving you quite possibly in their kill zone if they make their save, actually has some risk. And so on.


Ok, I'll think of what to do regarding ranges and durations. I'll work out some mesh between the Stone and the overhaul codex.



[ Dictum Mortuum's Fighter Handbbok ]


Banning weaker classes doesn't change this, it just covers up the issue and removes options for people who know what they're doing. The problem with char-op handbooks is that they want maximum power and act like not having everything under the sun (as a wizard does) mean you're crap. The standard for damage output is Ubercharger and you what's the root of that? Power Attack, Improved Bull Rush, Shock Trooper. You don't need spirit lion totem barbarian (also removed by your ban, I hate it myself), you don't needLeap Attack, or anything else. That's three feats, easy if you can dip Fighter 2, much harder if you can't, and everything else can actually be based on the character rather than basic competence. Monk lets you get a number of feats ignoring their prerequisites, giving you even more room to build. For a DM trying to make interesting NPCs on a level budget these tools are a huge value. Now sure, obviously the point of a "fix" is to make things more idiot proof, but it should be obvious by now I don't agree with removing options when you can just communicate instead of making up extra rules. How about instead of banning the basics, you just tell people without char-op skills to try this other thing instead? And if they don't like that you can, you know, teach them instead of just saying no.


I get what you're saying, but from the above, all I see is that you need the Fighter & Monk for 2-level cherry picking.
They don't really serve any other purpose with ToB allowed. The Weapon Focus line is not really essential for character build.



[items that grant feats/abilities]


I was referring to how banning spells that do those things doesn't get rid of the items because the items don't care, but either you just added a line to ban the items separately or I'd missed it being there before. I don't on principle have a problem with items granting feats or abilities, but in practice very few of them that exist are actually appropriate, except when they're stealth fixing a bad feat by letting you pay for it.


Yes, it was a later addition that was intended to be there from the start.





Another obvious fix that people usually don't mention in my experience, because two cakes and all that. It's still far more powerful with temp hp and d8's and heavy armor and better buffs, and a lower level, but yeah. Being locked out of spellcasting guaranteed for 1 round/level (non-dismissable, both spells) is a serious penalty and risk.


This one's settled then.
You mentioned buffs, so this brings me back to seriously considering GtG's solution of restricting the number of active effects a spellcaster can maintain simultaneously. That's a serious nerf bat that actually makes a lot of sense – and would also serve to differentiate the men from the boys. One thing that's missing here is how to apply this rule for monsters with SLAs.





1. I do not agree with the bolded claim. Everybody's got their forte. Returning from the dead is divine-oriented. I see no problem there.
2. Maybe there's another explanation (e.g. a pact w/ a powerful outsider, a used up wish etc.)
3. Do you really explain everything to the players in the aftermath? I mean, there was a chain of events that had led to an adventure. Why is it crucial that they always have all the correct answers? IRL, there are a lot of situations where you're left w/ question marks.
1. Well it's not like I have a textbook to point at but I'm fairly sure that it's a known trope of sorts that people have been using since ever. You can emphasize their strength by the fact that they have a badass posse, or the fact that they don't even need a badass posse to return from the dead. Just because you prefer the former doesn't mean the latter is not a valid narrative option, which is removed by the loss of Clone.


If he's that badass, let him use Chain Contingency + Raise Dead + Teleport





2. An outsider is someone else, not the same trope. Wish does not have any ability to give you contingent resurrection unless the DM says so, you can't put Limited Wish (Raise Dead) in a Contingency because it's too high level.


So the BBEG wizard just got killed and somehow survived it (e.g. the above suggestion). Managing things on his own, it'd be a lot more credible if he retreated and went somewhere to lick his wounds before returning to execute his revenge for costing him a level. Definitely more credible than some rolly polly wizard scenario.





3. Who says I need to explain anything? If you have savvy players who are actually investigating, they can find it all out on their own and not having answers is what damages the immersion. An adventure is not real life: as you keep saying yourself, the DM has some sort of a story in mind, and good stories don't leave important facts like how the bad guy came back to life unexplained.


As experienced as players might be, sometimes all they have to go on are speculations – and that has to be good enough sometimes.



[Power Words]


But you've made them into cheesy swift action save or lose that ignores your only restriction on quickened spells (metamagic cooldown).


Fair enough.





Remember when you were complaining about Hercules crapping his pants? This is the mechanic you're looking for, a value check that eventually means you're immune just thanks to leveling up. Except HD or level checks are terrible because you can't boost your HD and thus can't be used for powerful stuff (see Blasphemy actual instant TPK), only for cutting off weak spells like Sleep (mummy Despair is not a weak spell like Sleep).


Blasphemy and its siblings should definitely be on the tweak list. Nice catch.





You could institute some sort of root mechanic where high hp makes you flat immune to some things, but it would be incredibly arbitrary. Arbitrary cutoffs for Power Words work because it's a special mechanic just for them, but applying it to everything means hit die sizes and methods of hp boosting become way more important, which means you need to set those limits extremely carefully and they introduce a whole new axis of optimizing that inexperienced players won't know about.
. . .
If DM is any good, he won't start doing so just because they took Power Words, and will indeed make sure some foes are suceptible while important foes must be damaged first. In actual play, if you take a Power Word you can probably find plenty of good use for it.


1. Or, if your healthy HP are higher than the spell's threshold, you're entitled to a save. That way, your "awesome" factor is taken into account, but you're wounded, so you're not that awesome to ignore the effect altogether.
2. At current, HD sizes don't matter enough. Each size can be offsetted by +1 Con modifier. This would at least give them something back.


[Prismatic Wall & Dim. Lock]


Yes thank you, now what about all the other methods I mentioned specifically because I knew that would be your first response, most of which cost 0 or 1 action? Dim Lock may also be dispel-able if hastily or poorly placed. And if we're comparing fixes, the Philosopher's Stone would force them to re-cast the Lock every day burning two 8th+ level spell slots on this tactic, and cuts off their bonus slots so that this tactic leaves them with maybe a couple high level spells to actually fight with.


True, but you still haven't used up any 6th level spells (or 9th, if your level's high enough) and you still have gear.
Those 2 spells sure use up your resources, but are far from rendering you shooting blanks.





Web... Glitterdust... Cloud of Bewilderment... Nauseating Breath... Stinking Cloud...


Spare your breath on this one. I'm already bought.





I'm not sure what your point is. Are you saying that no foe would attack the PCs because they have an obvious looking mage? Or that the PCs won't attack people that have obvious mages? Or that the PCs won't attack people for no reason? (they totally will). And what kind of an idiot walks around looking like an obvious mage, that's dumber than wearing a target on your head. Someone can use magic and wants to kill someone who can't use magic, that person can do so from a ridiculously long range, far enough that they're quite likely to disable or kill the non-magical person before they can even make an attack.


"Mage written on his face" was sarcasm : )
Two groups that know absolutely nothing about one another – why would thay start a conflict?
... Unless Fizban is playing Fizban w/ spells in a video game, or as far as the DM cares everybody's out to kill you....... but then it's not RPG, just DM vs. players hack'n'slash.





Magic is overpowered at the roots. Metamagic is extra power on top of that. Nerfing metamagic is nice but does not address the root problem. You narrow the gap by taking off the scope, I say that you should also hack off the barrel and ditch the extended magazines.


If I get you correct, what you're saying is that with cutting magic down to size, metamagic cooldown is no longer necessary, right?





You're claiming Paladin Aura of Courage is the only anti-fear effect in the entire game, the only thing that could possibly help them?


I'm saying it's the only one I know of that's inherent and is there without even taking special measures.





It would be bs if used to justify the scenario I portrayed, which is the entire town being mind controlled. Earlier you seemed to assume that the players won't investigate and you don't need a reason for things to be true, but you twist yourself in knots to make a plot that will never be the equivalent of something as simple as "creature with at-will mind control used it." The plot is served better because maybe I don't want intrigue or investigation, I just want them to walk in and eventually succeed on a sense motive check or pop a Detect Magic and realize there's badness afoot. I want a simple adventure where the PCs kill a horrible monster and the villagers are instantaneously freed with no lingering problems. Can't do that if monsters are prevented from using the abilities they're meant to use.


If you wanna tell a credible story, then w/o my proposed restrictions, a succubus may theoretically take over a small city and have them attack you all at once while she finds somewhere safe to wait for you to die. With Int 16 and Wis 14, there's no real reason why you'd ever find her.





See above: the players have every right and ability to investigate, at which point you need to pony up the details. They're going to want a specific answer.


And it's the DM's prerogative not to give one.





It does seem clear that continued discussion is pointless: I've long since proved my point that if applied to the DM these restrictions are in fact restrictions. The root of this thread of argument was:


You metaphorically wacked me on the head for not wanting to try hard enough. Well, and I believe that in this case the door spins both ways and it goes down to a matter of personal taste where I'm willing to put an effort and where not.





At which point I simply listed uses for all the banned things, because banning things from DM use is by definition an unneeded restriction: the DM can just not use things they don't think should be used. Not just being contrary either: I like figuring out how to build cool NPCs on a budget, which requires Fighter/Monk/Barbarian, I like the "everyone is mind controlled directly by magic" plot, I like Clone specifically because it requires no outside help or lich baggage, and of course I like Mummies as a solid monster at multiple levels. This was all predicated on nerfing gaze/Despair attacks because they're too strong: if the DM thinks they're too strong they can just not use them, or only use them if the party is ready, or nerf them on their own.


Building cool NPCs on a budget – if that's the only real reason for objecting removing them, then their only practical purpose is for cherry picking.
Clone – yes, you have to work a bit harder, but you're not deprived of options for losing that spell.
Gaze/Despair being too strong for too long – I simply suggested a nerf for DMs looking for one.





Putting hard rules down nerfing monsters only forewarns the players that those monsters may be appearing,


... or may not appear ever. As DM, whether I adopt certain rules or not, I'm not obligated to specific scenarios.





and if so will be weaker than expected,


So bring two or three more, instead of having that single CR 5 monster remain potentially lethal vs. a small army of high-level heroes.





while limiting the DM's options for players that could have handled the monsters without the nerf, or even players that couldn't handle it but maybe had some help from another plot.


Remember that in the end even the core books are a collection of suggestions. Take what you want – discard what you don’t want. Same goes for houserules and homebrews.

nonsi
2016-06-27, 11:42 AM
Having looked over your changes, you seem to have already violated the following precept:
I want to see if a reasonable fix could be achieved with a few restrictions and banning, and a relatively small set of houserules and homebrew materials.

So I don't really have the time for an item-by-item lookthrough at the moment, but your minimalist approach essentially requires a huge investment of books.


Other than what's already available online – that amounts to 2 books: PHB-II and ToB.
I'm not a fan of ToB myself, but keeping things as close as possible to official WotC materials, they're the next best thing.





This isn't a problem for someone that has been a gamer for a long time and has most if not all of the 3.5e books either as a printed or PDF copy, but I have to think about just how much of an investment is required to run what you think is a balanced 3.5e game.

You'd have to replace more than half of all the core classes with multiple classes and rulesets across several other books, notably the PHB 2 for the druid's wildshape replacement, the Tome of Battle to replace barbarians, monks, and fighters,...


As I said – 2 books.
The Shapeshift's full details span over a bit more than 1 full page.
ToB is really the only place where you have to put an effort and learn something – but that's the result of the inherent gap between magic and mundane. Bringing mundane closer to magic is an incredibly tough challenge.





... the pathfinder core rulebook to replace the bard, paladin, and ranger, pathfinder unchained for the rogue, and unearthed arcana for the cleric.


All online – a few keyboard clicks away.





Why am I doing this? How and why is this a minimal change?


It's a minimal-sized collection of rules, not an effortless solution. Even playing w/ core only if far away from effortless.





More importantly, barring some irrational hatred of pathfinder, why isn't all these problems solved by simply switching to Pathfinder wholesale given that doing that alone solves 95% of these problems with less than 1/100th the effort?


I'm no PF expert, but I've seen dozens of discussions regarding PF roughly breaking just as much as it came to fix.





I might recommend a different approach and attempt to "solve" only the most game-breaking issues.

The reason being that most players either don't know about or don't care about whether the fighter "should" be tier 5 or tier 3 or whatever. Regardless of the what the online groupspeak states, 99.5% of people playing 3.5 don't actually see themselves as lagging severely enough behind the dreaded "tier one" and "tier two" classes enough to worry about whether they're playing a fighter or a martial adept...


To such people I can only say "Go away. This thread is not for you. Keep doing what you're doing and have a blast".
This thread is meant for those that fall into the remaining percentage (btw, I believe that the estimation of 99.5% is grossly exaggerated).





...and many of them might not even have the tome of battle. Hell, I don't even have the tome of battle and I've been playing/running D&D games for over sixteen years.


Not an excuse in the online era.





So I'd like to officially make a recommendation.
Look over your list on the first page again and try again with an eye to making fixes that don't require more books than where that particular bit of source material came from and perhaps worry less about whether the fighter is up to snuff and concentrate more on the things that will much more assuredly break a campaign or otherwise become more seriously problematic.


Again. This is just a set of suggestions. If you find something that's not required for you – simply don't use it.





Perhaps you could separate the fixes into "quick and easy", "more complicated," and/or if you have X sourcebook, it is recommended you use Y because [insert reason, because I might have come to this thread not being fully up to speed on why you or most people think this needs to be replaced].


I value this suggestion. I really do. However, I feel that making a noteworthy work here is a task that's too big an undertaking for me at current times to take upon myself.
If someone else is willing to put some effort, I'll be glad to incorporate their work into this project.

Fizban
2016-06-27, 07:05 PM
Suppose you travelled with a group of people and you've encountered a medusa... what you're saying is that, under the single-target –gaze constraint, knowing that some of them open their eyes, would you open them? And what if, in the aftermath, you turn out to be the one that finds himself on the wrong side of a bad staredown?
If I'm playing a tactically minded character (as I always do) then sure. Unless my main attack vector is already useable blinded, but that's unlikely.

I don't see how you made this deduction.
If it takes 1 round to recharge, you don't get action abuse free ride.
You've changed your tune, first it was free gaze against single target only, then it was free but also swift action to focus gaze, now it's swift action to use at all.

With one significant difference – in practice, a CR 5 that uses a sword poses no real danger for you to lose the fight. The odds are so far below practical threat that you might as well ignore them... which is why you don't deserve XP for such confrontation.
Sure it does, if you have low AC and aren't fighting back properly, or if it has a special attack that you are completely unequipped to deal with. Like a high level party not having anything to deal with fear.

What about 8-legged lizards, scaly bulls and really ugly chickens? Those are a bit tougher to nail down, methinks.
Less iconic, still up to the DM. You've still been forced to back off on the Medusa, and none of that was neccesary in the first place if the DM gave you a proper description. It's also not exactly a difficult logical leap when gaze attacks are just about the only thing that does stuff that drastic to everyone at once. The second one your your party members petrifies or drops dead without the foe doing anything the obvious answer (aside from hidden foes) is gaze attack.

8 mummies vs. 4 lvl-13 party = zero XP (http://www.d20srd.org/extras/d20encountercalculator/)
Yes thank you, automatic xp calculators do not account for ad hoc xp, that's not what I said to do now is it?

I get what you're saying, but from the above, all I see is that you need the Fighter & Monk for 2-level cherry picking.
They don't really serve any other purpose with ToB allowed. The Weapon Focus line is not really essential for character build.
Of course they serve a purpose, it's just one that you don't respect. ToB is not essential for character build either (nothing is "essential"). Weapon Focus line is better than most people give it credit for and continues to have the obvious advantage of simplicity for DMs and players alike.

You mentioned buffs, so this brings me back to seriously considering GtG's solution of restricting the number of active effects a spellcaster can maintain simultaneously. That's a serious nerf bat that actually makes a lot of sense – and would also serve to differentiate the men from the boys. One thing that's missing here is how to apply this rule for monsters with SLAs.
Most monsters do not rely on SLA buffs, instead having their continuous buffs simply being innate. Those that do have plenty of hit dice.

If he's that badass, let him use Chain Contingency + Raise Dead + Teleport
Wizards do not cast Raise Dead. A quick googling seems to indicate Chain Contingency was a 2e spell and does not exist, this is literally the first time I've ever heard of it. Try again.

So the BBEG wizard just got killed and somehow survived it (e.g. the above suggestion). Managing things on his own, it'd be a lot more credible if he retreated and went somewhere to lick his wounds before returning to execute his revenge for costing him a level. Definitely more credible than some rolly polly wizard scenario.
As experienced as players might be, sometimes all they have to go on are speculations – and that has to be good enough sometimes.
So your answers are "you can't do that plot because I don't think it makes sense" and "no the players don't figure it out." Not good enough, you've presented no mechanical complaints about Clone other than it offends your sense of style.

1. Or, if your healthy HP are higher than the spell's threshold, you're entitled to a save. That way, your "awesome" factor is taken into account, but you're wounded, so you're not that awesome to ignore the effect altogether.
2. At current, HD sizes don't matter enough. Each size can be offsetted by +1 Con modifier. This would at least give them something back.
1. Unclear. You're saying that high hp is immune, lower hp has a save, and lowest hp gets no save? More layers of arbitrary cutoffs to balance but not inherently a bad idea.
2. They still matter quite a bit when the DM isn't giving out ability scores like candy. Try making a character on the elite array, the standard that the game is built on, and see what happens. I think it's all fine where it is, being able to push con on characters with lower HD than you'd like is very important. You're saying that large HD don't matter, whereas the direction I'm pointing out are all the classes that throw d10's and d12's for free thanks to power creep and char-op tunnel vision convincing people those die sizes don't actually mean anything.

[Prismatic Wall & Dim. Lock]
True, but you still haven't used up any 6th level spells (or 9th, if your level's high enough) and you still have gear.
Those 2 spells sure use up your resources, but are far from rendering you shooting blanks.
You purport that Prismatic Wall is OP and yet have failed to address any of the methods I suggested for bypassing it save the most obvious. Why so OP? It's even easier to buff someone to walk through the wall: tank the damage, immune to poison (Hero's Feast?), immune to compulsion (many options), immune to planar travel (Dimensional Anchor). The only sticky one is the petrification, but there are items and/or you could save an immediate action something to help with that save. A good set of gear has most of those already.

Two groups that know absolutely nothing about one another – why would thay start a conflict?
So your response to "spell ranges are overpowered" is "people that don't know each other have no reason to start a fight," that's uh, not a response.

If I get you correct, what you're saying is that with cutting magic down to size, metamagic cooldown is no longer necessary, right?
Maybe yes, maybe no. Some people think metamagic feats are broken in any amount. What all can you really do with metamagic? Either you're boosting damage, which char-op seems to think is worthless, quickening which is easily fixed with a 1 spell/round limit, or you're. . . getting duration? Once again, no one cares about extend, enlarge, widen, still, silent, sculpt (I do, that feat is borked), etc. The most broken metamagic feats are those that already have 0 level adjustment, like Invisible Spell and Born of the Three Thunders. Instituting a global cooldown discourages themed builds without significantly de-powering mailman builds or the problem feats. If you look at metamagicked damage spells and freak about because that's so much damage coming from a spell, consider how you'd feel if that was a martial character charging-because with properly reduced ranges they're the same thing.

I'm saying it's the only one I know of that's inherent and is there without even taking special measures.
Taking special measures is part of adventuring. This box of mummies in a complete vaccum with a party that has absolutely no possible foreknowledge or native ability to resist is what's weird. I haven't even got to the part where most people send one person to do dangerous stuff and will literally hide their own characters around a corner if they think something's trapped: hey look, now part of the party is seeing the mummies at a different time.

If you wanna tell a credible story, then w/o my proposed restrictions, a succubus may theoretically take over a small city and have them attack you all at once while she finds somewhere safe to wait for you to die. With Int 16 and Wis 14, there's no real reason why you'd ever find her.
I thought that people who don't know each other have no reason to start a fight? She'd also have to know you were there first, and making your way through hostile territory is a perfectly interesting adventure.

And it's the DM's prerogative not to give one.
Yeah no, I'm gonna have to revoke your card again. Your players have built characters with investigative ability, chosen to investigate, and you deny them because it's too much of a bother? Because you changed the rules to remove an obvious answer and don't have a good replacement? The only thing stopping this from happening is the obvious fact that no one who's chosen to use these rules would run a plot that is made impossible by them. Well hopefully, at least until someone runs a module and gets halfway through before realizing the main plot is relying on something that's been removed (the idiot DM, turns out this wasn't idiot proof enough).

You metaphorically wacked me on the head for not wanting to try hard enough. Well, and I believe that in this case the door spins both ways and it goes down to a matter of personal taste where I'm willing to put an effort and where not.
You can try to put your good DMing effort into a set of rules rather than continuous judgement, but it is inevitable that those rules will fail eventually. Just like working from the root of the magic system, it's best to deal with DMing problems at the root of the system by getting the DM to pay attention.

Building cool NPCs on a budget – if that's the only real reason for objecting removing them, then their only practical purpose is for cherry picking.
Clone – yes, you have to work a bit harder, but you're not deprived of options for losing that spell.
Gaze/Despair being too strong for too long – I simply suggested a nerf for DMs looking for one.
Your choice of phrase in "cherry picking" reveals your bias against the very idea of "interesting builds." What more practical purpose does any class need? No one plays straight sorcerer, wizard, or cleric if the can help it either.
Clone -no, you have failed to present any options which actually take the place of Clone. I'm fairly sure it's impossible since that's the whole point of the spell, and being a core spell that already worked just fine, no one printed any alternate versions.
I've been assuming that the entire OP is intended to be in use, the ban/alteration list and the houserules spoiler. Otherwise you have two separate lists of changes which can't even be evaluated properly because they're incomplete without the other.

... or may not appear ever. As DM, whether I adopt certain rules or not, I'm not obligated to specific scenarios.
So bring two or three more, instead of having that single CR 5 monster remain potentially lethal vs. a small army of high-level heroes.
Rules that aren't even used are the worst rules. Nerf the monster and then use more of them to compensate? That doesn't make any sense.

Remember that in the end even the core books are a collection of suggestions. Take what you want – discard what you don’t want. Same goes for houserules and homebrews.
And yet you want the CR system to work as a hard rule rather than the suggestion it is, and are trying to write more rules to force it into that because you see some monsters as overpowered.

I'm no PF expert, but I've seen dozens of discussions regarding PF roughly breaking just as much as it came to fix.
True statement.

Not an excuse in the online era.
Yeah no, that's not gonna fly. Shaming and punishing people for not having a certain book, no. The obvious assumption if one is making all martials ToB would be that the DM at the very least has the book and will share it out as needed, but no one needs an "excuse" to not own something.

Neoxenok
2016-06-27, 11:56 PM
Other than what's already available online – that amounts to 2 books: PHB-II and ToB.
I'm not a fan of ToB myself, but keeping things as close as possible to official WotC materials, they're the next best thing.
Maybe, but I'm thinking about this from a DM's perspective in terms of running this kind of game and there was another point I hinted at but never fully explained.
It's certainly easier to play this way from a player's perspective, because running a warblade instead of a fighter or barbarian is easy because you just swapping one thing for another. As a DM, however, having to have a library of books and windows open is a royal pain. In addition, this also does require learning new game mechanics as well.

Sadly, this is also the reason why many don't bother with psionics. (It's also interesting to me how many of those people are the same ones that prefer using a point system for magic instead of the "vancian" style that casters typically use, but that's neither here nor there.)

I mean, this would be one thing if we're talking about broken mechanics that can actually halt gameplay or result in one or a few players (whomever picked cleric, druid, or wizard) become gods or effectively grind a campaign to a halt whereas whomever picked anyone that doesn't use magic or uses magic in a relatively minimal fashion (fighter or rogue) but I don't believe that this has ever been the case, at least in my experience or even in theory, barring a few specific problem rules or spells, many of which you've already addressed. However, I've noticed that many don't seem to separate those magic users as a class to be separate from the spells they cast. I know you've recognized this based on following your more comprehensive fixes but most of the problem is largely due to a (relatively) few problem spells and abilities.

On that same note, I also consider how some people have stated, under no pretense of jokes or trolling, that even if the fighter received every available feat and the ability to take the paragon template and a half-dozen artifacts of his choice, a standard wizard would still trump anything that fighter could do.
I've seen this on threads here by people starting threads asking how to make a "tier one fighter" or "tier one mundane". From what I remember, those threads devolved into back-and-forths about how overpowered wizards are because no one could come up with a way to put fighters on par with wizards, even when they could custom-make abilities. I can't even begin to tell you how patently absurd that is - not because wizards are actually that broken, but it showed the absurdity of the logic people use and their various biases.

It's difficult to conclude that the actual answer is that there is severe bias in thinking about the magic vs mundane arguments. It's particularly disconcerting because I believe that most of all those broken 3.5e builds are a result of rather open interpretations of the rules that are there are filling in gaps where there isn't. I've always believed Pun Pun to be a result of this but regardless it's difficult to take the tier system seriously. Keep in mind that I don't think the rankings and the reasoning is wrong, but overstated and sometimes grossly so. That is just my take on that however.

That being said, I think that if one were to approach the 3.5e game in a minimal fashion, that fixing problems you only (or mostly) see online by people using theory and assumptions is the wrong way to approach it. Instead, I would focus on the game rules that indisputably produce broken results and in minimal fashion. It also tends to be my preference to try to tweak rather than ban but that's just my preference. For example, instead of just saying "don't use the fighter", perhaps make a section that makes recommendations - using tome of battle for the new classes or the PHB2 to expand the fighter and rogue's option and make specific houserules (stated on the page instead of pointing to a new book) for small tweaks to maximize playing experiences.

Don't underestimate what a small tweak can do. After all, look at what the dungeoncrasher does for the fighter without needing to be a book of new feats or ... what was that one ability... the one that lets the rogue do 1/2 sneak attack damage to creatures normally immune to crits? I forget what it was, but things like that elevate the usefulness of the rogue in-combat rather tremendously.

Oh, perhaps you should also point out either Rich Burlew's or Justin Alexanders' diplomacy fixes, since that's a rather... vehemently broken game mechanic and just remove all synergy bonuses, or at least two of the three adding to diplomacy.

So, in summation, the unbeatable combos, more than a few no-save spells, just about everything that breaks the action economy, and so on should receive priority and try to think of the smallest way to fix it instead of just trying to do a lazier method of doing the same thing as your more comprehensive fixes.

On a separate note, having waves of exhaustion offer a saving throw (fatigue on a successful save that never graduates to exhausted on multiple castings until a save is failed) is something I would do. Shivering touch could just be save or 1d6+1/2 level (maximum 5) dexterity penalty instead of damage or drain or whatever.

Although it's not broken in any sense aside from "fruity" mechanics, you and I are of the same mind with regard to the power word spells.

I don't think leadership needs to be banned. Getting followers isn't terribly broken barring shinnanigans involving the aid another option. Allow someone to get a cohort, but perhaps only one that uses the non-elite array and can only be from an NPC class (the adept, expert, or warrior) with maybe some added goodies or perhaps with the elite array and a couple of goodies thrown in sort of like the druid's animal companion but with an intelligent humanoid instead of a housetrained wolf or three-faced pachycephalosaurus/walrus half-golem or whatever.

One DM of mine a long time ago didn't ban nightsticks, but he specified that you could only use them to turn undead, which was their purpose to begin with.

By the by, have you looked at the Avasculate spell from the spell compendium? You make a ranged touch attack and on a failed save, the opponent is reduced to half their current hit points and stunned for one round. On a successful save, the opponent is not stunned. How gracious. The player that attempted to use this spell tried to assure me that it worked off current hit points instead of their maximum and couldn't understand why I would houserule it to work differently. It was the first spell I ever banned. This was before we discovered shivering touch but I still allowed the celerity spells since a workaround to the daze effect wasn't discovered at the time. Nowadays, I'd probably just rule that does 3d6+your level (maximum 1/4 of your current hit points) on a successful save and 2d6/level (maximum half your current hit points) on a failed save (in addition to the stun effect), not entirely different from finger of death or harm.


All online – a few keyboard clicks away.
I'm going to assume that you have experience as a dungeon master.

How much fun do you have designing creatures or NPCs in a manner to challenge your PCs when you need to use multiple open books and multiple websites and/or PDFs to do so?
Hell, it's much easier to use print copies to do this instead of PDFs or the OGC/SRD websites also but unless you're using one or two of these exclusively with only help from one (MAYBE two) more, I would say that it's rather nightmarish.

The fact that we're already using five sources for the core 11 (the OGC for pathfinder, 3.5e SRD instead of Unearthed Arcana) plus the tome of battle and PHB2 (and the PHB, of course) is already a headache. My point wasn't the investment of money (although that is a factor considering that everything not pathfinder is out of print... I don't know if WotC is still making those premium 3.5e PHBs anymore) but also an investment of time and energy. This isn't as awful as a player but only if I have access to those sources because I would only need two of them if one of them isn't the PHB.


It's a minimal-sized collection of rules, not an effortless solution. Even playing w/ core only if far away from effortless.

I'm no PF expert, but I've seen dozens of discussions regarding PF roughly breaking just as much as it came to fix.
I've seen those threads too but saying and it and proving it are two different things. I've no doubt that if one looked hard enough and interpreted the rules to work a certain way (the reason for most of the "broken" 3.5e combinations) to favor a particular outcome, such results could happen, but as things stand of this writing, I've seen people say that PF is just as broken but it seems to be a result of hersey and casual glances through the books instead of actual playtesting or even just laying out broken combinations, like the mailman or cheater of mystra. The synthesist summoner I think came up to being something to that level of broken.

Pathfinder addressed nearly everything on this thread. The spells and feats were either changed to work a different way (like persistent spell), the problem spells don't exist in PF (like celerity), or where changed (polymorph). I think they went too far in some ways even (forcecage seems to have gone from "broken" to "useless"... or at least only a slightly better version of resilient sphere instead of one several spell levels better.

I think a few people believe that because PF made many small and seemingly insignificant tweaks instead of a grander overhaul and achieved many of the "fix 3.5e" goals without needing to change nearly as much as what may have been believed. That may very well be my own bias showing, however, as I'm not going to pretend it to be the perfect solution for you. The unchained classes proved that even the PF designers didn't believe it either.

After all, there are still some people who believe that magic is broken period and nothing short of eliminated all spells above 6th level and banning 3/4s of all of the available spells or replacing all casters with warlocks and custom variants of warlocks will create a balanced system. That's just the way people are.


This thread is meant for those that fall into the remaining percentage (btw, I believe that the estimation of 99.5% is grossly exaggerated).
It is an exaggeration. For better or worse, I tend to use hyperbole to emphasize a point.


Not an excuse in the online era.
You are technically correct, but I'm speaking less to what people could do but rather what the noticeable trend tends to be regardless.
After all, the kindle didn't catch on nearly as well as it should have and there are a number of reasons why that's true. It's also why we gamers can own every PDF for 3.5e and beyond but still end up using (even subconsciously) using the physical prints over those PDFs.
I don't understand it either, but I'm no different in this regard. This is why I've been trolling amazon for PF and AD&D forgotten realms sourcebooks despite the fact that I frequently use the OGC and I actually have just about everything forgotten realms from 1st and 2nd edition on PDF. Maybe that's just me.


Again. This is just a set of suggestions.
As is what I'm suggesting to you. If what I'm suggesting runs counter to what you're doing, then that's just the way things are. I'm making suggestions based off of what I think is needed vs what you think is needed.


I value this suggestion. I really do. However, I feel that making a noteworthy work here is a task that's too big an undertaking for me at current times to take upon myself.
If someone else is willing to put some effort, I'll be glad to incorporate their work into this project.
Actually, perhaps the most important distinction should be a section of "this is what you need to do to avoid the worst game-breaking things" (where a lot of those no-save/no-SR and other redonkulus spells, feats, and such would go), a section for "major, but not broken problems" (where some of the more overpowered things, like wildshape and natural spell and the power word stuff), a section for "use this, not that" (where the warblade/barbarian type of thing would go) and then your section of personal preferences and houserules for a better experience or something to that effect.

nonsi
2016-06-28, 12:52 AM
If I'm playing a tactically minded character (as I always do) then sure. Unless my main attack vector is already useable blinded, but that's unlikely.


Now tell me what the decision was if it were your life that's on the line instead of your character's. Would you rely on statistics to come to your rescue as well?





You've changed your tune, first it was free gaze against single target only, then it was free but also swift action to focus gaze, now it's swift action to use at all.


I changed nothing.
1/round was the starting point. Free action, swift action – matters nothing to gaze creatures.





Sure it does, if you have low AC and aren't fighting back properly, or if it has a special attack that you are completely unequipped to deal with. Like a high level party not having anything to deal with fear.


I was talking specifically about "a sword to the face".





Less iconic, still up to the DM. You've still been forced to back off on the Medusa, and none of that was neccesary in the first place if the DM gave you a proper description. It's also not exactly a difficult logical leap when gaze attacks are just about the only thing that does stuff that drastic to everyone at once.


Thank you Stanley.
That's exactly what I'm trying to solve at the root, while your suggestions revolve around means for circumventing the problem by DMing strategies. No thanks.





The second one your your party members petrifies or drops dead without the foe doing anything the obvious answer (aside from hidden foes) is gaze attack.


Sure, but that could be the very same second when you're also petrified. Game over before it even started.



8 mummies vs. 4 lvl-13 party = zero XP (http://www.d20srd.org/extras/d20encountercalculator/)


Yes thank you, automatic xp calculators do not account for ad hoc xp, that's not what I said to do now is it?


How much ad-hoc XP?
500
1000
2000
5000
?





Of course they serve a purpose, it's just one that you don't respect. ToB is not essential for character build either (nothing is "essential"). Weapon Focus line is better than most people give it credit for and continues to have the obvious advantage of simplicity for DMs and players alike.


Among the more common criticism against homebrew classes is that they encourage cherry picking for being frontloaded while offering very little later on.





Wizards do not cast Raise Dead.


No, but Contingency doesn't restrict you to arcane spells.




A quick googling seems to indicate Chain Contingency was a 2e spell and does not exist, this is literally the first time I've ever heard of it. Try again.


Tome And Blood, p. 84.





So your answers are "you can't do that plot because I don't think it makes sense" and "no the players don't figure it out." Not good enough, you've presented no mechanical complaints about Clone other than it offends your sense of style.


Ok, backing away on Clone.





1. Unclear. You're saying that high hp is immune, lower hp has a save, and lowest hp gets no save? More layers of arbitrary cutoffs to balance but not inherently a bad idea.
2. They still matter quite a bit when the DM isn't giving out ability scores like candy. Try making a character on the elite array, the standard that the game is built on, and see what happens. I think it's all fine where it is, being able to push con on characters with lower HD than you'd like is very important. You're saying that large HD don't matter, whereas the direction I'm pointing out are all the classes that throw d10's and d12's for free thanks to power creep and char-op tunnel vision convincing people those die sizes don't actually mean anything.


Let me rephrase:
If your healthy HP are below the spell's threshold – you're affected automatically. No save.
If your current HP are above the spell's threshold – you're immune.
If your healthy HP are above the spell's threshold, but your current HP are below – you're affected if you fail to save.





You purport that Prismatic Wall is OP and yet have failed to address any of the methods I suggested for bypassing it save the most obvious. Why so OP? It's even easier to buff someone to walk through the wall: tank the damage, immune to poison (Hero's Feast?), immune to compulsion (many options), immune to planar travel (Dimensional Anchor). The only sticky one is the petrification, but there are items and/or you could save an immediate action something to help with that save. A good set of gear has most of those already.


Just look how much work is necessary (players' time, action economy, character resources) to cope with a given spell. In the meantime, the wizard's having a party.





So your response to "spell ranges are overpowered" is "people that don't know each other have no reason to start a fight," that's uh, not a response.


No.
What I'm saying that those ranges are usually not an issue. With monsters that attack on sight or have malicious intentions, sure. With NPCs that don't know you in advance, not really.





Maybe yes, maybe no. Some people think metamagic feats are broken in any amount. What all can you really do with metamagic? Either you're boosting damage, which char-op seems to think is worthless, quickening which is easily fixed with a 1 spell/round limit, or you're. . . getting duration? Once again, no one cares about extend, enlarge, widen, still, silent, sculpt (I do, that feat is borked), etc. The most broken metamagic feats are those that already have 0 level adjustment, like Invisible Spell and Born of the Three Thunders. Instituting a global cooldown discourages themed builds without significantly de-powering mailman builds or the problem feats. If you look at metamagicked damage spells and freak about because that's so much damage coming from a spell, consider how you'd feel if that was a martial character charging-because with properly reduced ranges they're the same thing.


Ok. Metamagic cooldown will be dropped. Nothing to get emotional about.





I thought that people who don't know each other have no reason to start a fight? She'd also have to know you were there first, and making your way through hostile territory is a perfectly interesting adventure.


If I took over a town, I'd tell them to keep a constant watch and routinely report back to me... and not to get into unnecessary conflicts until I tell them to, taking the fights to my comfort zones.





You can try to put your good DMing effort into a set of rules rather than continuous judgement, but it is inevitable that those rules will fail eventually.


If houseruling and homebrewing is doomed to fail, then what are you doing here? (unless I misread you on this one)





Your choice of phrase in "cherry picking" reveals your bias against the very idea of "interesting builds." What more practical purpose does any class need? No one plays straight sorcerer, wizard, or cleric if the can help it either.


If you find your game lacking for not having fighters and monks, simply ignore the "Tome of Battle fixes monks and fighters" proposal. It's not like the OP had a "Banned Classes" list.





Rules that aren't even used are the worst rules. Nerf the monster and then use more of them to compensate? That doesn't make any sense.


Fizban: "Putting hard rules down nerfing monsters only forewarns the players that those monsters may be appearing"

Make up your mind already.





Yeah no, that's not gonna fly. Shaming and punishing people for not having a certain book, no. The obvious assumption if one is making all martials ToB would be that the DM at the very least has the book and will share it out as needed, but no one needs an "excuse" to not own something.


What shaming?!
Nowadays, acquiring D&D stuff is laughably easy. Don't have them – get them. Don't wanna get them – skip this thread. Problem solved.

Fizban
2016-06-28, 04:38 AM
Now tell me what the decision was if it were your life that's on the line instead of your character's. Would you rely on statistics to come to your rescue as well?
You can try to attack my "real life" responses as much as you want, we both know such responses are only ever guesswork at best. So, I see a weird object that may be a weapon, but I'm fairly certain that it only fires in one direction at once, and I have multiple allies with me against it. Oh, what's that proper phrase? The one where people fear confronting an attacker even with a massive numbers advantage because they might personally get shot. Well I can say that I'm aware of that phenomenon and have resolved not to make such a foolish mistake if I encounter it myself, but who knows what would really happen? And obviously you refuse to take my answer so why bother? And I'm not an adventurer, I have not literally survived multiple life or death battles, the kind of which that would teach you to act rather than sitting scared for your personal safety. So do I face them and fire my weapon, knowing that some or all of my allies will be firing and the more of us do so the better our chances of winning? Apparently you know me better than I do so. . .

I changed nothing.
1/round was the starting point. Free action, swift action – matters nothing to gaze creatures.
There were no such specifics originally, and you did not contradict my reading of your piecemeal suggestions until now.

I was talking specifically about "a sword to the face".
You haven't made a point. A "sword to the face" is dangerous at all levels, keep taking them and you will suffer hp damage and die. Returning once again to the point, monsters of abnormally low CR compared to the party level are worth XP if they threaten the party, regardless of weather they do it with magic or supernatural or physical attacks. If the DM uses them in a threatening way then the DM will assign xp or fail at their job.

Thank you Stanley.
That's exactly what I'm trying to solve at the root, while your suggestions revolve around means for circumventing the problem by DMing strategies. No thanks.
The fact that you can't see the difference between technically threatening everyone in a way that raises tension while actually giving the players multiple layers of safety in their choice of response, and instant zomg TPK, is becoming irritating. Yes, petrifying gaze threatens everyone, it's the kind of thing that sticks out when the adventurers are telling stories in the bar for your budding adventurer to hear. And the actual mechanics don't force a save until your turn, after you've chosen weather or not to avoid the gaze, while the very fact that there is an option implies that the DM must inform you about it (I've been ignoring that so far in favor of other facts, but it's always been there, even more reason your expectations of them are wrong). But you have it stuck in your head that gaze attacks instantly hit everyone as soon as the creature appears and are still reacting that way even after it has been shown that is not how they work, because even knowing admitting the mechanical difference you haven't actually processed what that means.

Sure, but that could be the very same second when you're also petrified. Game over before it even started.
One, more time!

Each character within range of a gaze attack must attempt a saving throw (which can be a Fortitude or Will save) each round at the beginning of his turn.
It is literally impossible to petrify multiple characters at the same time, every character gets to observe the first failed save and use that to inform decisions for their own turn.

How much ad-hoc XP?

The DMG doesn't actually cut you off until 8th, at which point you're supposed to use ad hoc xp based on what threat the monsters actually posed. If 8 mummies (EL11) are used in a way that threatens a 13th+ parry, just use the xp for a CR 11 (the formulas all loop back, it's the same amount).
I already answered that question.

Among the more common criticism against homebrew classes is that they encourage cherry picking for being frontloaded while offering very little later on.
And? There is a difference between adding something that is poorly designed, and keeping something that is poorly designed but still has a purpose.

No, but Contingency doesn't restrict you to arcane spells.
Congratulations, you have failed to grasp the fact that not being able to cast Raise Dead means you can't case Raise Dead. Which means you can't put it in a Contingency.

Tome And Blood, p. 84.
Huh, you'd think with that being the first DnD book I ever owned, I might have noticed it. Still has no bearing whatsoever on replacing Clone.

Just look how much work is necessary (players' time, action economy, character resources) to cope with a given spell. In the meantime, the wizard's having a party.
What work!? You continue, on every single point, to assume some magical vacuum where the party has literally nothing that could possibly contradict your assumption. There are multiple spells and items which do the job in a single standard action, even at a lower level than the wall itself, and are perfectly worth having in your pocket at all times. There are buffs that you can cast before the fight even begins that will let you walk through the wall with zero action cost at all. Oh it takes resources to overcome this effect which cost resources to create, waddya know? It is you sir who are refusing to actually examine the situation. Things work when used against people who are forced to have literally nothing to counter them, and that is your default assumption. I'm surprised more things aren't so obviously overpowered. And none of that changes the fact that even if for some bizzare reason your group has managed to make a party which has absolutely no response, it is your job as DM to recognize that and not do it.

No.
What I'm saying that those ranges are usually not an issue. With monsters that attack on sight or have malicious intentions, sure. With NPCs that don't know you in advance, not really.
You just repeated what I said in your own words. "Those ranges are usually not an issue," "With NPCs that don't know you in advance," is literally the same meaning as 'spell ranges are [not] overpowered," for "people that don't know each other." So yes, my interpretation was accurate, and you simply can't recognize the problem. Probably haven't had much outdoor combat with long range spellcasters alongside melee characters.

If houseruling and homebrewing is doomed to fail, then what are you doing here? (unless I misread you on this one)
Arguing on the internet, what does it look like? When you asked me if that was my stance I already agreed that it was. No massive list of houserules can make 3.5 idiot proof, nor homebrew fix it, without making it cease to be recognizable as 3.5. What I'm still trying to do then, is make you understand the nuances of monsters like Mummies and Medusae, as well as the other logical fallacies and biases that motivate some of your choices, why they are wrong and do not actually improve the game.

If you find your game lacking for not having fighters and monks, simply ignore the "Tome of Battle fixes monks and fighters" proposal. It's not like the OP had a "Banned Classes" list.
Then why mention them at all? Either it's a soft ban or there's no point in mentioning it.

Rules that aren't even used are the worst rules. Nerf the monster and then use more of them to compensate? That doesn't make any sense.

Fizban: "Putting hard rules down nerfing monsters only forewarns the players that those monsters may be appearing"

Make up your mind already.
I already did: don't make a rule and use the monster correctly. All these "fixes" when there should be "guides to DMing," but I guess people only like their advice in list format for minimum informational content.

What shaming?!
Nowadays, acquiring D&D stuff is laughably easy. Don't have them – get them. Don't wanna get them – skip this thread. Problem solved.
"Not an excuse in the online era." Read that sentence out loud. "Not an excuse," the word excuse implies that whoever is not doing what you want them to is bad and wrong, they've screwed up and it's inexcusable because we're in the online era. Go ahead and point that attitude at your players, give them that line and see how long they stick around. Doesn't matter how "laughably easy" it is, books cost money and some people don't have money to spare for books no matter the format. Computers cost money and shocker, yes there are in fact still people who don't have computers. I don't have a problem with suggesting material from multiple books, that was Neoxenok, but I absolutely have a problem with that attitude.

nonsi
2016-06-29, 01:35 AM
It's certainly easier to play this way from a player's perspective, because running a warblade instead of a fighter or barbarian is easy because you just swapping one thing for another. As a DM, however, having to have a library of books and windows open is a royal pain. In addition, this also does require learning new game mechanics as well.


Sadly, I don't know how to fix martial classes with a few sentences. They need too many additions and enhancements. The only other option I have at my disposal is referencing (hence the choice to go for ToB).





Sadly, this is also the reason why many don't bother with psionics. (It's also interesting to me how many of those people are the same ones that prefer using a point system for magic instead of the "vancian" style that casters typically use, but that's neither here nor there.)


My main problem with psionics is that it has the extra part of effects that you can boost w/ extra PP investment... and there's no uniformity or guidelines how this is supposed to work – each effect that has such option is a separate story on its own.
Add to it the fact that in the division to 6 disciplines – contrary to the 9 schools of magic – there are some things you can't do because they wouldn't properly fit into any of them.
Also, it seems like WotC had abandoned psionics midway, before it was fully cooked.




barring a few specific problem rules or spells, many of which you've already addressed. However, I've noticed that many don't seem to separate those magic users as a class to be separate from the spells they cast. I know you've recognized this based on following your more comprehensive fixes but most of the problem is largely due to a (relatively) few problem spells and abilities.


There is no way to separate arcane spellcasters from their spells, because that's practically all they do. The rest is item creation (and items are based upon spells). Divine magic falls behind the power curve just a bit, with divine casters having other goodies.





I've seen this on threads here by people starting threads asking how to make a "tier one fighter" or "tier one mundane". From what I remember, those threads devolved into back-and-forths about how overpowered wizards are because no one could come up with a way to put fighters on par with wizards, even when they could custom-make abilities.


We all know that the gap can never be fully bridged, but by elevating noncasters and towning down casters, it can be significantly narrowed down.





I believe that most of all those broken 3.5e builds are a result of rather open interpretations of the rules that are there are filling in gaps where there isn't. I've always believed Pun Pun to be a result of this but regardless it's difficult to take the tier system seriously.


Pun pun and War Hulk - Hulking Hurler combo, yes. Absolutely. AFAIK, those first appeared in a Theoretical Optimization forum (I think it was BrilliantGameologists or TheGamingDen... or maybe even Gleemax). However, AFAIK, everything in here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=19800942&postcount=71) is perfectly legit (w/ additional specifications here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=19805796&postcount=75)).





instead of just saying "don't use the fighter", perhaps make a section that makes recommendations - using tome of battle for the new classes or the PHB2 to expand the fighter and rogue's option and make specific houserules (stated on the page instead of pointing to a new book) for small tweaks to maximize playing experiences.
. . .
Don't underestimate what a small tweak can do. After all, look at what the dungeoncrasher does for the fighter without needing to be a book of new feats or ... what was that one ability... the one that lets the rogue do 1/2 sneak attack damage to creatures normally immune to crits? I forget what it was, but things like that elevate the usefulness of the rogue in-combat rather tremendously.


Problem is that in a high-level game, the Fighter is lacking so badly (mobility, action economy, virtual blindness, not being able to reach or affect opponents at all, being a frontliner w/ low Ref & Will, etc.) that even adding Uncanny Dodge, Mettle, Dungeon Crasher, Elusive/Counter/Overpowering Attack, and the Zhentarim Soldier line w/o trading feats at all is not enough to overcome the multitude of off-switches it has. I admit that even with everything I put into my preferred Fighter fix, you'd still have to compromise a lot on whet you could and could not ever hope to be able to achieve on your own.





Oh, perhaps you should also point out either Rich Burlew's or Justin Alexanders' diplomacy fixes, since that's a rather... vehemently broken game

mechanic and just remove all synergy bonuses, or at least two of the three adding to diplomacy.


Yes. The Diplomacy fix is an absolute must.
They're almost identical, btw.





On a separate note, having waves of exhaustion offer a saving throw (fatigue on a successful save that never graduates to exhausted on multiple castings until a save is failed) is something I would do. Shivering touch could just be save or 1d6+1/2 level (maximum 5) dexterity penalty instead of damage or drain or whatever.


I'm all in favor of this solution, leaving Waves of Fatigue untouched I guess.






Although it's not broken in any sense aside from "fruity" mechanics, you and I are of the same mind with regard to the power word spells.


Yes. I also elaborated on this one in my most recent reply to Fizban (above).






I don't think leadership needs to be banned. Getting followers isn't terribly broken barring shinnanigans involving the aid another option. Allow someone to get a cohort, but perhaps only one that uses the non-elite array and can only be from an NPC class (the adept, expert, or warrior)


I see Leadership as a tool to get people to run your non-adventuring business, not to be an equal-leveled spellcaster slave to your paladin, so the level of your cohorts needs to drop. I just don't think that rewriting it as I did in the codex is a reasonable solution for a minimalistic fix, I'd appreciate any suggestion for a sensible conversion formula to tone down cohort level.





One DM of mine a long time ago didn't ban nightsticks, but he specified that you could only use them to turn undead, which was their purpose to begin with.


That could definitely be a reasonable alternative to banning them altogether.





Avasculate spell
. . .
Nowadays, I'd probably just rule that does 3d6+your level (maximum 1/4 of your current hit points) on a successful save and 2d6/level (maximum half your current hit points) on a failed save (in addition to the stun effect)


It's a 7th level spell that affects a single target and requires an attack roll by a low-BAB character.
I'd say 1d10 / level + Stunned on failure and 1/2 damage and no Stun on success.
But there are bigger fish to fry out there, so I won't get into it ATM.






How much fun do you have designing creatures or NPCs in a manner to challenge your PCs when you need to use multiple open books and multiple websites and/or PDFs to do so?
Hell, it's much easier to use print copies to do this instead of PDFs or the OGC/SRD websites also but unless you're using one or two of these exclusively with only help from one (MAYBE two) more, I would say that it's rather nightmarish.
. . .
My point wasn't the investment of money (although that is a factor considering that everything not pathfinder is out of print... I don't know if WotC is still making those premium 3.5e PHBs anymore) but also an investment of time and energy.


Thanks for the clarification.
Look, your laptop is your friend – now more than ever.
1. Acrobat reader now opens multiple documents in tabs.
2. The SRD search engine is quite powerful and accurate.
3. When you need something from PFd20SRD, if you google it instead of relying on their search engine, you're golden.
4. GiantITP forum threads now allow you to expand/collapse all spoilers, so both quick-search and easy-navigation are at your disposal.





I've seen people say that PF is just as broken but it seems to be a result of hersey and casual glances through the books instead of actual playtesting or even just laying out broken combinations, like the mailman or cheater of mystra. The synthesist summoner I think came up to being something to that level of broken.
. . .
Pathfinder addressed nearly everything on this thread. The spells and feats were either changed to work a different way (like persistent spell), the problem spells don't exist in PF (like celerity), or where changed (polymorph).


PF has a lot of inherent problems.
- Martial classes were not taken far enough as far as options and features go.
- Spellcasters are now inherently more powerful than before.
- It adds a huge pile of new classes to get familiarized with – a lot more work than going over ToB, which AFAIK is not abuseable via broken class-combos.
- A lot of the changes were plain simple not necessary
- The CMB-CMD don't let you model your character with the resolution that 3.5 lets you (this one's a personal feeling of mine, so it's last on the list).
That being said, there is also a lot to draw from the accumulated PF materials, but I've found nothing that can be taken as is w/o modifications (except PF's interpretation of PA and Combat expertise).
They did go in the right direction with:
- Heal skill (they didn't finish the job though).
- Fly skill
- "Steal" mechanics
- Time Thief class is a wonderful approach for a Chronomancer. Pity they made it so weak.






As is what I'm suggesting to you. If what I'm suggesting runs counter to what you're doing, then that's just the way things are. I'm making suggestions based off of what I think is needed vs what you think is needed.


Whatever comes to mind – don’t hold back. I'm figuring things with other people, not on my own.





Actually, perhaps the most important distinction should be a section of "this is what you need to do to avoid the worst game-breaking things" (where a lot of those no-save/no-SR and other redonkulus spells, feats, and such would go), a section for "major, but not broken problems" (where some of the more overpowered things, like wildshape and natural spell and the power word stuff), a section for "use this, not that" (where the warblade/barbarian type of thing would go) and then your section of personal preferences and houserules for a better experience or something to that effect.


Ok, that seems to be a solid suggestion. I believe I'll get to it once I make up my mind that the OP contains everything it should and nothing it shouldn't

nonsi
2016-06-29, 01:54 AM
You can try to attack my "real life" responses as much as you want, we both know such responses are only ever guesswork at best. So, I see a weird object that may be a weapon, but I'm fairly certain that it only fires in one direction at once, and I have multiple allies with me against it. Oh, what's that proper phrase? The one where people fear confronting an attacker even with a massive numbers advantage because they might personally get shot. Well I can say that I'm aware of that phenomenon and have resolved not to make such a foolish mistake if I encounter it myself, but who knows what would really happen? And obviously you refuse to take my answer so why bother? And I'm not an adventurer, I have not literally survived multiple life or death battles, the kind of which that would teach you to act rather than sitting scared for your personal safety. So do I face them and fire my weapon, knowing that some or all of my allies will be firing and the more of us do so the better our chances of winning? Apparently you know me better than I do so. . .


Ok, speculations aside. Agreed.





There were no such specifics originally, and you did not contradict my reading of your piecemeal suggestions until now.


Ok, but it all revolved around 1 / round from the get go. It just needed refinement (read on before you jump the gun).





You haven't made a point. A "sword to the face" is dangerous at all levels, keep taking them and you will suffer hp damage and die. Returning once again to the point, monsters of abnormally low CR compared to the party level are worth XP if they threaten the party, regardless of weather they do it with magic or supernatural or physical attacks. If the DM uses them in a threatening way then the DM will assign xp or fail at their job.


Sure. If you sit down and close your eyes, waiting for your opponent to coup-de-grace you and give up your save – of course (Disclosure: sarcasm).





The fact that you can't see the difference between technically threatening everyone in a way that raises tension while actually giving the players multiple layers of safety in their choice of response, and instant zomg TPK, is becoming irritating. Yes, petrifying gaze threatens everyone, it's the kind of thing that sticks out when the adventurers are telling stories in the bar for your budding adventurer to hear. And the actual mechanics don't force a save until your turn, after you've chosen weather or not to avoid the gaze, while the very fact that there is an option implies that the DM must inform you about it (I've been ignoring that so far in favor of other facts, but it's always been there, even more reason your expectations of them are wrong). But you have it stuck in your head that gaze attacks instantly hit everyone as soon as the creature appears and are still reacting that way even after it has been shown that is not how they work, because even knowing admitting the mechanical difference you haven't actually processed what that means.
. . .
It is literally impossible to petrify multiple characters at the same time, every character gets to observe the first failed save and use that to inform decisions for their own turn.


Ok then, answer me the following two question, and then we can take this forward:
1. How many seconds does 1 combat round take (one full cycle of initiatives)?
2. On average, you being an experienced player/DM, how long does it take you to run a single combat round around the gaming table?
Please bear with me on this one.





I already answered that question.


Then why does that calculator produce zero XP? I'm sure that by now its totally accurate.





And? There is a difference between adding something that is poorly designed, and keeping something that is poorly designed but still has a purpose.


When someone takes the time to make a homebrew class – for them it has plenty of purpose.
Sorry mate, you don't have special authority to claim what's purposeful for people and what's not.





What work!? You continue, on every single point, to assume some magical vacuum where the party has literally nothing that could possibly contradict your assumption. There are multiple spells and items which do the job in a single standard action, even at a lower level than the wall itself, and are perfectly worth having in your pocket at all times. There are buffs that you can cast before the fight even begins that will let you walk through the wall with zero action cost at all. Oh it takes resources to overcome this effect which cost resources to create, waddya know? It is you sir who are refusing to actually examine the situation. Things work when used against people who are forced to have literally nothing to counter them, and that is your default assumption. I'm surprised more things aren't so obviously overpowered. And none of that changes the fact that even if for some bizzare reason your group has managed to make a party which has absolutely no response, it is your job as DM to recognize that and not do it.


So far, you specified rod of cancellation and Disjunction for handling the spell in one round. The first is very specific; the second requires a 9th level spell. Both are easy to come by if your campaign has magic marts all over, difficult otherwise.
And buffing vs. Prismatic Wall in advance is weird at the very least.





You just repeated what I said in your own words. "Those ranges are usually not an issue," "With NPCs that don't know you in advance," is literally the same meaning as 'spell ranges are [not] overpowered," for "people that don't know each other." So yes, my interpretation was accurate, and you simply can't recognize the problem. Probably haven't had much outdoor combat with long range spellcasters alongside melee characters.


I have, just not with spellcasters that automatically bombard groups they know nothing about.





Arguing on the internet, what does it look like? When you asked me if that was my stance I already agreed that it was. No massive list of houserules can make 3.5 idiot proof, nor homebrew fix it, without making it cease to be recognizable as 3.5.


Something tells me that if somebody had decided to use the OP, they wouldn't feel like they're not playing D&D anymore.
Sure, it wouldn't be formal 3.5e, but it'd still feel like they're playing the same game, because the overall mechanics are left unchanged as far as the game routine goes – all except 5'-Step, Full attack as standard action, Massive Damage and domination-associated spells.





What I'm still trying to do then, is make you understand the nuances of monsters like Mummies and Medusae, as well as the other logical fallacies and biases that motivate some of your choices, why they are wrong and do not actually improve the game.


No complaint on my side, your heart seems to be in the right place.





Then why mention them at all? Either it's a soft ban or there's no point in mentioning it.


For the simple fact that as single classed characters, ToB classes do their job a lot better than the PHB Barbarian, Fighter and Monk.





"Not an excuse in the online era." Read that sentence out loud. "Not an excuse," the word excuse implies that whoever is not doing what you want them to is bad and wrong, they've screwed up and it's inexcusable because we're in the online era. Go ahead and point that attitude at your players, give them that line and see how long they stick around. Doesn't matter how "laughably easy" it is, books cost money and some people don't have money to spare for books no matter the format. Computers cost money and shocker, yes there are in fact still people who don't have computers. I don't have a problem with suggesting material from multiple books, that was Neoxenok, but I absolutely have a problem with that attitude.


1. People that don't use computers don't come here, so there's no problem there.
2. Neoxenok didn't seem to get offended, and there was no offense intended. You're digging too deep on this one.

Neoxenok
2016-06-29, 03:36 AM
Sadly, I don't know how to fix martial classes with a few sentences. They need too many additions and enhancements. The only other option I have at my disposal is referencing (hence the choice to go for ToB).
From my understanding, the 'group consensus' of the people on this and other similar 3.5e boards seem to be under the impression that the fighter can and will never match the wizard short of gaining actual omnipotence. Trying to win over those people is an exercise in futility.

It's those opinions that Wizards of the Coast took to heart when they made 4th edition. Magic vs. mundane is part and parcel as to why the edition was made to begin with and that's because the "consensus" was that nothing short of destructing the entire magic system of D&D can people get that balance or anything resembling it because they felt that picking the cleric, wizard, and druid was the game equivalent to hitting the "win" button.

The fact that that list was made at all was to enforce a divide that's far less ... divided in actual gameplay than it is from the armchair. That isn't to say that there aren't actual problems, but it's important to keep in mind to keep a realistic idea of how the game actually works in practice instead of in theory.


My main problem with psionics is that it has the extra part of effects that you can boost w/ extra PP investment... and there's no uniformity or guidelines how this is supposed to work – each effect that has such option is a separate story on its own.
Add to it the fact that in the division to 6 disciplines – contrary to the 9 schools of magic – there are some things you can't do because they wouldn't properly fit into any of them.
Also, it seems like WotC had abandoned psionics midway, before it was fully cooked.
Psionics was always the red-headed stepchild of the game's game mechanics. It doesn't help that psionics has changed far more from version to version and edition to edition than any other aspect of D&D. The 3rd edition incarnation is far more different from 3.5e's expanded psionics handbook than any other "conversion" in the game.

You might be thinking of power augmentation. Psionics doesn't auto-scale its spells with caster level. You have to invest the extra power points to get the added effect, so the drawback with psionics is the added cost but the benefit is that the psionic power is more powerful (the DC might also increase with the added investment) though the power is still the same "spell level", so it would get reflected by spell turning as a lower level spell no matter how many power points you spend.

Psionics also requires you gain "psionic focus", which you expend to use the psionic equivalent of metamagic feats so unlike with spells, you can't go haywire with meta-psionic feats without investing in feats and abilities to do so (and those meta-psionic feats also cost power points to use).

5 of the 6 disciplines do also have a magical equivalent (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/psionicPowersOverview.htm)-
Clairsentience is equivalent to Divination
Metacreativity is equivalent to Conjuration
Psychometabolism is equivalent to Transmutation
Telepathy - Enchantment
Psychokinesis - Evocation

Psychoportation is its own thing, though you could probably fold it into either transmutation or conjuration if you really wanted to.

Overall the mechanics are quite different, but not nearly as much as you might expect.
All that's just an aside though.


There is no way to separate arcane spellcasters from their spells, because that's practically all they do. The rest is item creation (and items are based upon spells). Divine magic falls behind the power curve just a bit, with divine casters having other goodies.
Right.


Pun pun and War Hulk - Hulking Hurler combo, yes. Absolutely. AFAIK, those first appeared in a Theoretical Optimization forum (I think it was BrilliantGameologists or TheGamingDen... or maybe even Gleemax). However, AFAIK, everything in here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=19800942&postcount=71) is perfectly legit (w/ additional specifications here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=19805796&postcount=75)).
Sure! There are definitely legit problems, I understand.

Though your list seems to look at the wrong problems.

Namely, the Ur-Priest and Sublime Chord and any other prestige class or classes that grant 9 spell levels (1-9) over 10 levels.

I've heard of the the planar shepherd but I know little about it. I think it's an eberron druid prestige class? I know why the incantrix is there (even if I don't agree with it. I can see issues regarding free metamagic benefits through cooperative magic, but barring a small tweak to that ability, I don't think it's overpowered otherwise. My readings on the subject seems to suggest that cooperative magic is indeed the issue.)
I don't know why the earth dreamer or the Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil are there outside of giving you things that don't take away caster levels/spell level advancement, but that's a design flaw of the wizard and sorcerer for granting them crappy/non-existent class features while also making it necessary for you to keep your SL advancement in top form to not die from CR-appropriate challenges.

Also, I don't see why this:
Bard 4 / Druid 3 / Arcane Hierophant 3 / Sublime Chord 1 / Arcane Hierophant 7 / Mystic Theurge 2
is preferable to this:
Wizard 3/ Druid 3/Mystic Theurge 2/Arcane Hierophant 10/Mystic Theurge +2

Use the unearthed arcana option to replace the familiar with an animal companion (and stack with the druid's companion for effectiveness) and take the obtain familiar feat to maximize the companion familiar and that's a working piece of awesome. Plus that feat that counts your companion as being 4 levels better, up to your HD.


Problem is that in a high-level game, the Fighter is lacking so badly (mobility, action economy, virtual blindness, not being able to reach or affect opponents at all, being a frontliner w/ low Ref & Will, etc.) that even adding Uncanny Dodge, Mettle, Dungeon Crasher, Elusive/Counter/Overpowering Attack, and the Zhentarim Soldier line w/o trading feats at all is not enough to overcome the multitude of off-switches it has. I admit that even with everything I put into my preferred Fighter fix, you'd still have to compromise a lot on whet you could and could not ever hope to be able to achieve on your own.
My problem (with the core fighter, at least) is the fact that the feats the fighter has access to in the PHB is like having a wizard that only has access to 1st level spells and a few 2nd level spells they can pick up at 9th level or higher.

My vision of what the fighter should be at high levels is a nigh-invulnerable demigod not unlike Kratos or Hercules or even goku or kurilian from Dragonball (classic).

It takes five feats (of the fighter's bonus 11 and 7~8 base) to get a +2 to attack, a +4 to damage, and the equivalent of a keen edge spell permanently on your one (type of) weapon.

What the wizard can do to the fighter doesn't bother me. A proper "fighter fix" would grant the fighter feats or abilities that provide some measure of that "quadratic" advancement the wizard is famous for having, perhaps balanced for being able to do it at-will. The ToB classes do this, I understand, but I think it should be done without needing to understand and work the extra mechanics.

That being said, the fighter does have those options and many more for overcoming the gulf between him and a wizard and it ignores many of the flaws and weaknesses a wizard has. I don't wish to get into a whole thing about this, but if you go into a discussion assuming the wizard has everything to counter everything, then you're already stacking the deck to favor one side and that's not representative of actual gameplay.

Look, I'm with you on the fighter. I agree with the tier list in principle. I'd agree with you even more if we were just talking about the PHB because, like I said, the 9th level spellcasters get 9th level spells and the fighter gets to spend five feats to hit 10% more often, an extra 4 damage per hit, and a 5~15% chance to crit on any given attack. Pathfinder did so much better in this respect with just the core rulebook, even if it still wasn't where it needed to be.

... bleh. This is getting off-topic. I only brought all this up because I would have expected a minimal fix to focus more on making sure a DM wouldn't find his campaign in shambles because a player asked to shapechange into a Sarrukh rather than "cleanup" for what is effectively side issues. There's certainly plenty of innocuous things to bring up in that regard without worrying that someone chose to play a fighter instead of a ToB class.


I see Leadership as a tool to get people to run your non-adventuring business, not to be an equal-leveled spellcaster slave to your paladin, so the level of your cohorts needs to drop. I just don't think that rewriting it as I did in the codex is a reasonable solution for a minimalistic fix, I'd appreciate any suggestion for a sensible conversion formula to tone down cohort level.
My solution to leadership is just to disallow someone to basically make a 2nd character - to use the NPC classes instead of the PC classes with maybe some extra goodies they can select - like bonus feats in which they can select from the "feats" available to the generic classes. This way, you don't really have to change anything else and the companion should be around the same power as an animal companion (though not nearly so overpowered as some companion options can be.)


It's a 7th level spell that affects a single target and requires an attack roll by a low-BAB character.
I'd say 1d10 / level + Stunned on failure and 1/2 damage and no Stun on success.
But there are bigger fish to fry out there, so I won't get into it ATM.
I brought it up because it does 1/2 your hit points on a connect with a ranged touch attack regardless of the save. Regardless, that's as fine as any fix.


Thanks for the clarification.
Look, your laptop is your friend – now more than ever.
1. Acrobat reader now opens multiple documents in tabs.
2. The SRD search engine is quite powerful and accurate.
3. When you need something from PFd20SRD, if you google it instead of relying on their search engine, you're golden.
4. GiantITP forum threads now allow you to expand/collapse all spoilers, so both quick-search and easy-navigation are at your disposal.
The pathfinder OGC is superior to the SRD's search engine and has all of the pathfinder material and not just the SRD content, but other than that, I understand, though it doesn't change my response. Not everyone wants to go through a half-dozen different sources just to avoid sub-optimal choices that are only sub-optimal to the armchair theorists on the internet, nor would I as a DM feel as though I need own or otherwise access these sources just to run a balanced game. Again, this (is part of the reason) why people switched to 4th edition or Pathfinder to begin with.

Fizban
2016-06-29, 05:22 AM
Spoilered so my Neoxenok comments are more visible:

Sure. If you sit down and close your eyes, waiting for your opponent to coup-de-grace you and give up your save – of course (Disclosure: sarcasm).
Reducto ad absurdum, or in this case, sarcasm. Address the point: if a monster poses a threat, it is worth xp regardless of listed CR. Witholding xp for monsters past a certain threshold is based on the assumption that they no longer pose a threat. If this assumption is not true, then they are worth xp. If they are worth xp, the DM is meant to determine it on their own.

Ok then, answer me the following two question, and then we can take this forward:
1. How many seconds does 1 combat round take (one full cycle of initiatives)?
2. On average, you being an experienced player/DM, how long does it take you to run a single combat round around the gaming table?
Please bear with me on this one.
Stop me if I'm wrong: I tell you it's 6 seconds vs the 5-30 minutes a round could take depending on circumstances, you say that the 1-3 seconds at most that you have out of those six to make up your mind isn't enough to justify making decisions in that way. To which I respond: first, yes even 1/2 a second is enough time for a trained combatant or adventurer to make a snap decision, and second, it doesn't matter even if they're playing a dumb farmer. This is an instance where the mechanics are running the show, the game part of the role-playing game is at the forefront. Gaze attack monsters play with turn by turn mechanical choices and effects to create tension and are pretty well perfectly set up to do so. If they're mysteriously limited to one target at a time (however it's done), it's a lottery with an opt-out instead of a required personal choice for every player at the table. If you're forced to pretend you don't know what just happened, your choice is meaningless.

The other tack I could see you going for is that the time it takes to go around the table makes the feel I'm talking about not actually happen, to which I say. . . maybe not for you? That brings up the other half: the suspense from seeing obvious petrified creatures. My group freaked out upon seeing those, as expected, and they were just a fake-out. If you're running petrifiers without leaving any statues around then you're doing it wrong to begin with, that's the whole other half of the scene. If there are statues around then the party has plenty of time to put their heads together, figure it out, and turn back.

Then why does that calculator produce zero XP? I'm sure that by now its totally accurate.
This is where I think you're not reading what I'm writing, because I already gave my reasoning. Here it is in excruciating detail: The calculator is programmed to ignore anything past the minimum CR threshold, which you must not have figured out by now since you're still asking this question. The calculator does not return a value because the DM is supposed to assign those numbers based primarily on judgement rather than formula. That is why I answered the question, by pointing out that the xp for 8 mummies (EL 11) is equivalent to the xp for one CR 11 (minus 4 xp or so due to rounding) when faced by an 11th level party: the formulas don't break. The total xp for 8 mummies vs a 13th level party, if CR 5 vs 13th was filled in on the table, would be the same as the xp for one CR 11 vs a 13th level party. So, if your 13th level party is threatened by combat with 8 mummies, either due to their build or your own encounter design, you can simply award them xp for one CR 11 if you want a fomulaic result.

When someone takes the time to make a homebrew class – for them it has plenty of purpose.
Sorry mate, you don't have special authority to claim what's purposeful for people and what's not.
You're flying rather far afield of the point here, homebrew classes had nothing to do with it until you brought them in. The topic is the core combat classes which your ruleset soft bans by designating them as "fixed" by martial adepts, not banning them in name but if used as an actual ruleset then it is abundantly clear they are removed. Any change to the rules must be properly justified, weather you're adding homebrew or removing something. I have demonstrated that those classes have ample value, and I say that you have failed to demonstrate any reason why they must be removed, since I do not take "idiot-proofing" as a realistic goal and indeed for some purposes these classes are still more idiot-proof than a martial adept would be.

[prismatic] So far, you specified rod of cancellation and Disjunction for handling the spell in one round. The first is very specific; the second requires a 9th level spell. Both are easy to come by if your campaign has magic marts all over, difficult otherwise.
And buffing vs. Prismatic Wall in advance is weird at the very least.

Dim Door/Teleport/Anklets of Borked past it, Disintegrate/Passwall/Phase Door the wall around it, grab a cleric and boost cl on a Spell Resistance or go for Greater Spell Immunity, Mage's Disjunction it, buy a scroll with all the spells to tear it down in order, buy a Rod of Cancellation, counterspell it before they finish casting, have enough saving throws and resistances to just walk through it like a boss. It takes magic to beat magic and fools don't survive to 15th level, if you can't find a way past then go home before you're eaten by a grue.
Disintegrate, Passwall, Phase Door, Spell Resistance, Greater Spell Immunity, and throw in Stone Shape, all standard action spells, your claim that I suggested only the Rod and Disjunction is false. Phase Door is interesting since one could rule that appearing on the other side is planar travel blocked by Dim Lock, but it's not on the main list and since the ethereal passage only happens within the rock where Dim Lock doesn't reach it should actually be quite viable. Those are 3rd-4th, 5th, 5th, 6th, 6th, and 8th.

"Magic Item Marts" are in fact part of the default rules so difficulty of purchase is on the DM's shoulders and has nothing to do with individual spell balance (though it makes many other spells quite overpowered). Carrying a Rod of Cancellation is an amazingly good idea, since as a classic item in core it's listed as a counter to many specific effects that are otherwise extremely hard to deal with, like a Sphere of Annihilation, or in this case, Prismatic Wall/Sphere. A scroll of Limited Wish is even cheaper and can whistle up many of the above spells on command. Buffing to bypass a Prismatic is a perfectly reasonable tactic for any situation where you have the spells, either because you were expecting it (thanks to divinations, espionage, or otherwise actually being prepared), or because you simply happened to have the spells on hand for other/general purposes.

Following my last post, here's the easiest of all: cast Dimensional Anchor on the Rogue (or anyone else who has Evasion), who then activates their Talisman of Undying Fortitude (an all-star defensive item useable 2/day costing less than the Rod of Cancelleation) and walks through with their standard action still ready. Or replace Evasion with lots of hp. Note to self: do not use Prismatic Wall, it's incredibly easy to bypass (actually from a player standpoint it's never been that great).

In short, your problem with Prismatic Wall/Sphere has nothing to do with the actual spell itself: it is the fact that you want to assume high level parties can walk into fights completely unprepared. Hence my line, "It takes magic to beat magic and fools don't survive to 15th level, if you can't find a way past then go home before you're eaten by a grue." High level monsters and high level spells both require certain tools, abilities, or preparation to deal with, and if you have made it to or even just built a character at 15th level, then either they or their party members have solutions. No, those solutions are not always immediate, nor was that ever a guarantee. High level DnD has lots of cool stuff, it can only have that cool stuff because the players also have cool stuff, and vice versa. Changing things without understanding that only damages the game. And no, obviously I don't think nerfing that particular spell has collapsed all of DnD, it is the principle I am arguing. The only question you should ever ask is, "what have I gained?" What does nerfing Prismatic Wall/Sphere gain? Banning Celerity regains a normal flow of actions. Nerfing low-level mass save or lose creates a smoother power curve giving non-casters more time to get their own toys online. Preventing caster movement through Prismatics gains you. . . ? All I can see is "assurance casters are slightly less overpowered in this one way."

You want a spell for guaranteed safety? Ghostform, or discount Xorn Movement. Being literally inside a mass of matter is far safer than having some flimsy wall between you and them, since the thousands of hp and blocked line of effect prevent them from doing anything unless they have the same ability. Those are 8th and 5th level by the way. If your goal is to gain a system where defenses that let you stay physically nearby are limited to walls capping at Wall of Force, you're gonna need more bans. But those spells are still countered by casting the same spell yourself, using an incorporeal or burrowing minon/summon, countering or dispelling it before it matters, etc. It's easier to get immunities to walk through the Prismatics from items than it is to get burrowing or incorporeality, but Limited Wish still covers Xorn Movement.

I have, just not with spellcasters that automatically bombard groups they know nothing about.
Again, that one's all on you. You said the range of spells doesn't matter. I, assuming that all of your combats take place at rather short range as seems to be the norm for those unaware of it, pointed out the standard encounter distances from the DMG, at which point you suddenly decided we were talking about nobodies and the possibility of combat rather than the open distance outdoor combat should begin at. I do not believe you have had "outdoor combat with long range spellcasters alongside melee characters," rather it seems obvious that if the encounter resulted in combat, the DM made sure to set it up explicitly to avoid actual long range spellcasting having an effect. They did their job and made sure the non-spellcasters could contribute by building the encounter right. If it was actually run as a by-the-book outdoor encounter, there could be roughly 50% odds (I haven't averaged all the terrains, sue me) that the hostiles would appear hostile (such as by being monsters?) at such a long range that the spellcasters could annihilate them long before the other characters had a chance to participate, or the monsters had a chance to participate. This is why spell ranges are overpowered: any fight where those ranges actually matter is completely one-sided. You could replace them with Range: Yes and it'd be the same thing.

Something tells me that if somebody had decided to use the OP, they wouldn't feel like they're not playing D&D anymore.
Sure, it wouldn't be formal 3.5e, but it'd still feel like they're playing the same game, because the overall mechanics are left unchanged as far as the game routine goes – all except 5'-Step, Full attack as standard action, Massive Damage and domination-associated spells.
That is because the OP does not go nearly far enough to make things idiot-proof. There quickly reaches a point where in attempting to "fix" 3.5 the only thing left untouched will be the monsters, the rest of the system all having been modified until it's not 3.5 any more and then why even bother? It may be a d20 game heavy based on DnD, but it's not DnD 3.5. That's why I usually don't bother reading any sort of actual "overhaul," it's obvious at first glance and not something I'm interested in. I first commented here since it was a ban/alteration list and while interesting enough since we hardly see those cropping up anymore, I felt the desire to point out they can't really do the job. I have been the one putting "idot-proof" in your mouth of course, but you've yet to disagree, most likely because doing so would admit more culpability on the DM side that you've been resisting so far.

No complaint on my side, your heart seems to be in the right place.
Good response by the way, though it should be expected as you've actually kept responding rather than dropping out like most people. While it's just basic probability, I still go "Fizban! Slayer of Threads!" in my head every time I post and the thread immediately dies.

For the simple fact that as single classed characters, ToB classes do their job a lot better than the PHB Barbarian, Fighter and Monk.
I actually phrased that last one poorly and went opposite my endgame. The point remains: why the soft ban? Claiming that those have "fixed" the original classes, especially in that format, doesn't actually fix anything. If you have character building suggestions then make character building suggestions: "Martial characters are encouraged to focus on Tome of Battle classes, as they are considered sufficient to play alongside the other modified classes listed here." I absolutely agree with banning and altering lots of little things, but the strength of 3.5 is in the content and removing large swaths defeats the purpose. Like I said last post, I think games would be much better served by just teaching DMs and players what to do rather than throwing rules changes at them.

1. People that don't use computers don't come here, so there's no problem there.
Irreleveant, the hypothetical DM who chooses to use your fix as-is may have players who do not.

2. Neoxenok didn't seem to get offended, and there was no offense intended. You're digging too deep on this one.
If I had to dig the response would not be so immediate. Claiming there is no excuse for not owning something is offensive to anyone who's ever had money troubles, simple as that. I have heard many tales of "old-school DnD" that sound to me more like barbaric hazing rituals, garbage that damaged the game at it's core and still has yet to wear off in many places-I react strongly to anything similar. Though there was no offense intended you still made a poor choice of phrase.

My vision of what the fighter should be at high levels is a nigh-invulnerable demigod not unlike Kratos or Hercules or even goku or kurilian from Dragonball (classic).
Have you considered Mythos? :smallbiggrin: I kid, while they have less "system" than ToB, they require far more reading to break into and are basically defined by fiddly little bonus systems that just turtle all the way down.

My solution to leadership is just to disallow someone to basically make a 2nd character - to use the NPC classes instead of the PC classes with maybe some extra goodies they can select - like bonus feats in which they can select from the "feats" available to the generic classes.
That's actually the same exact fix I've pretty much settled on, right down to the "hmm, maybe allow some stuff as feats." Except I was also gonna bump the cohort level cap to equal your own, more hp/attack bonus to keep them relevant while Adept is so stunted it's no problem. Ooh, and I just figured out a fix to the problem I had with level adjustment on a fairy healer (Adept) cohort: make a Fey Cohort feat that works like Dragon Cohort to mark off the LA.

nonsi
2016-06-30, 12:51 AM
Though your list seems to look at the wrong problems.
Namely, the Ur-Priest and Sublime Chord and any other prestige class or classes that grant 9 spell levels (1-9) over 10 levels.


Same goes for Sublime Chord then, which grants access to no less than 2 spell levels at first class level.





I've heard of the the planar shepherd but I know little about it. I think it's an eberron druid prestige class?


Planar Bubble and time manipulation (https://www.reddit.com/r/DnD/comments/31d52q/35_the_most_broken_class/) more than anything else.
And if that's not enough, you get Wild Shape (magical beast)
Not sure what Intensify Manifest Zone spell does (don't have the time and energy to investigate the book right now), but it's another 7th level spell for free.





I know why the incantrix is there (even if I don't agree with it. I can see issues regarding free metamagic benefits through cooperative magic, but barring a small tweak to that ability, I don't think it's overpowered otherwise. My readings on the subject seems to suggest that cooperative magic is indeed the issue.)


Improved Metamagic + Instant Metamagic.





I don't know why the earth dreamer or the Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil are there outside of giving you things that don't take away caster levels/spell level advancement, but that's a design flaw of the wizard and sorcerer for granting them crappy/non-existent class features while also making it necessary for you to keep your SL advancement in top form to not die from CR-appropriate challenges.


Earth Dreamer is discussed on page #1 (just search "dreamer" and go from top to bottom).





Also, I don't see why this:
Bard 4 / Druid 3 / Arcane Hierophant 3 / Sublime Chord 1 / Arcane Hierophant 7 / Mystic Theurge 2
is preferable to this:
Wizard 3/ Druid 3/Mystic Theurge 2/Arcane Hierophant 10/Mystic Theurge +2
[*snip*]


Actually, it isn't. your build is superior.





That being said, the fighter does have those options and many more for overcoming the gulf between him and a wizard and it ignores many of the flaws and weaknesses a wizard has. I don't wish to get into a whole thing about this, but if you go into a discussion assuming the wizard has everything to counter everything, then you're already stacking the deck to favor one side and that's not representative of actual gameplay.


Yes, but the Fighter's self-sufficient options amount to the Mage Slayer line of feats. Everything else is really gear dependent.





Look, I'm with you on the fighter. I agree with the tier list in principle. I'd agree with you even more if we were just talking about the PHB because, like I said, the 9th level spellcasters get 9th level spells and the fighter gets to spend five feats to hit 10% more often, an extra 4 damage per hit, and a 5~15% chance to crit on any given attack. Pathfinder did so much better in this respect with just the core rulebook, even if it still wasn't where it needed to be.


Not really. All the core PF Fighter gets are some elevated stats – more AC, elevated attack rolls w/ certain weapons, and unimpressive advanced training options.






My solution to leadership is just to disallow someone to basically make a 2nd character - to use the NPC classes instead of the PC classes with maybe some extra goodies they can select - like bonus feats in which they can select from the "feats" available to the generic classes. This way, you don't really have to change anything else and the companion should be around the same power as an animal companion (though not nearly so overpowered as some companion options can be.)


I'd also add a clause that says cohorts take away from the party's XP, because unlike familiars/companions/mounts they're not part of an inherent class feature.

Neoxenok
2016-06-30, 02:15 AM
Improved Metamagic + Instant Metamagic.

When I have time, I'll respond to everything else, but I feel the need to prioritize my response to the incantrix.
That response being, so what? For a prestige class that is stated to supposed to be "best at metamagic", those abilities seem like they would be standard for any prestige class that has "best at metamagic" as a stated goal.

1/day apply a MM feat to one spell without time or spell slot modification. Given that the errata states you can't modify a spell if the total benefit would normally require a spell slot higher than the highest spell level you could normally cast, it doesn't let you cast that one spell with a half-dozen MM feats if the spell slot you'd need to use is higher than what you'd normally cast anyway.

Keep in mind that MM rods don't have that limitation. With that in mind, I actually like instant metamagic better than MM rods, granted only if the errata is considered. In fact, given that I'll likely be writing up a new version of the incantrix (again), I'd probably let it get to use instant metamagic more often... like up to 3/day, but I'd probably write it up as a wizard specialty like I did before (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=12903472&postcount=14).

Also, improved metamagic has, at least in every 3.5e incarnation, has worked per spell and not per MM feat, so applying three MM feats to a single spell results in a -1 to the modified spell slot (minimum +1) and not a -3. I think it only worked the old way in the Epic Level Handbook and I think was errata'd shortly thereafter because duh.

So I'm not exactly sure what the big deal is here.

Fizban
2016-06-30, 02:25 AM
Also, improved metamagic has, at least in every 3.5e incarnation, has worked per spell and not per MM feat, so applying three MM feats to a single spell results in a -1 to the modified spell slot (minimum +1) and not a -3. I think it only worked the old way in the Epic Level Handbook and I think was errata'd shortly thereafter because duh.
Can you point me to this errata (preferably with a link)? Because years of char-op builds disagree with you quite strongly. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a sage advice ruling about it, but those are usually disregarded for being notoriously inconsistent/refusing to admit mistakes/just plain wrong. It would indeed be vindicating to find out that there was official errata to use the most obvious metamagic problem fix.

Neoxenok
2016-06-30, 03:40 AM
Can you point me to this errata (preferably with a link)? Because years of char-op builds disagree with you quite strongly. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a sage advice ruling about it, but those are usually disregarded for being notoriously inconsistent/refusing to admit mistakes/just plain wrong. It would indeed be vindicating to find out that there was official errata to use the most obvious metamagic problem fix.

Yeah, things like this is why I don't have a high opinion of what many of those people say, particularly when people flout about how intensely they apparently think they know the rules because the change to instant metamagic has been around since 2004 and has been publicly available at the wizard's (archived now) and others.
Link (http://archive.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/errata).
Page 3.

Page 63: Incantatrix Prestige Class
Please add the following sentence to the end of the
Instant Metamagic class feature description:
The incantatrix cannot use this ability if the
metamagicked spell would normally use a spell slot of a
higher level than she can cast.

With regard to improved metamagic, the reference to metamagic spell instead of each metamagic feat is from the 3.5 edition dungeon master's guide page 210. I didn't check the ELH errata, so it may or may not be there though I'm certain that I was aware of this change even before 3.5e's release. It's just one of those rules I'm so used to using that I might be assuming it's been around longer than I thought it was.

I've noticed that most of those SRD sites seem to be in error and using the 3.0 non-errata's version of Improved Metamagic, however, and sadly, so does the Incantrix's use of Improved Metamagic according to the PGtF, but that's an easy fix as it's just a matter of applying the errata the DMG made for the ELH version of IM to the incantrix. I would imagine that it was just an oversight that the change hadn't trickled down like it should.

The incantrix was probably mostly (mostly) copy-pasted from Magic of Faerun, so I don't think it would be incredulous to assume that the Incantrix should be using the DMG's version of Improved Metamagic.

I'll check the errata for the ELH and the Magic of Faerun to see if this is more clear-cut than this when I get home.

EDIT:
I got home and found nothing in Magic of Faerun or the ELH errata with regard to improved metamagic, but aside from the oversight in the PGtF, the DMG 3.5e update to Improved Metamagic seems to be the most up-to-date version of the feat, which addresses this issue.

I still believe that the PGtF's update to the Incantrix should have had this update as well and the fact that it doesn't is an oversight on the developer's part and likely the result of a copy-paste.

Anyway, my response to the rest of the response.


Planar Bubble and time manipulation (https://www.reddit.com/r/DnD/comments/31d52q/35_the_most_broken_class/) more than anything else.
And if that's not enough, you get Wild Shape (magical beast)
Not sure what Intensify Manifest Zone spell does (don't have the time and energy to investigate the book right now), but it's another 7th level spell for free.
Wow... it's like they didn't even read the manual of the planes. I'll take time stop forever please with none of that nasty time stop drawbacks business. Thank you.


Earth Dreamer is discussed on page #1 (just search "dreamer" and go from top to bottom).
Reading through the first page, I'm reminded of power word pain. I would ban that or at least alter it to only do 1d6 nonlethal per round (maximum 1d6/caster level). Otherwise, at level one, the duration is effectively 4d4 x 1d6 nonlethal. Either that or, just like the other power word houserules, make it a swift action that does 1d6 NL/round with a save each round to negate, much like a poison from PF.

With regards to the Earth Dreamer, I don't see any reason at all not to allow it.
In short, I don't agree with your assessment with regards as to how troublesome you believe it to be with regards to dungeon design.


Actually, it isn't. your build is superior.
As an aside, I've attempted to play this character twice and the poor sucker died both times before hitting that first mystic theurge level.


Yes, but the Fighter's self-sufficient options amount to the Mage Slayer line of feats. Everything else is really gear dependent.
I don't really recall self-sufficiency being a balancing point in dungeons and dragons or pathfinder, given the team-oriented nature of playing these games.
The casters, particularly the wizard due to getting bonus feats for item crafting, is definitively self-sufficient with this regard and the druid, due to having no real weaknesses overall as a character class outside of being rather feat-poor and the class skill and spell lists is tailor-made for self-sufficiency.
Still, gear-dependency is not really a weakness in either game.


Not really. All the core PF Fighter gets are some elevated stats – more AC, elevated attack rolls w/ certain weapons, and unimpressive advanced training options.
... that's like saying the wizard's power in pathfinder core is the same or worse because you're looking at the class features instead of the things that actually define the class - spells in the wizard's case and feats in the fighter's case.
There's more than twice as many feats in PF core than 3.5e's PHB, including many that they couldn't do before.

They can do status effects on a crit, can make a mage's life more difficult with disruptive and spellbreaker, and boost their reach by 5ft by taking a -2 to AC. Those options aren't even the optimized options.

Also, given how people say AC is irrelevant at high levels in 3.5e, the fact that fighters can boost their AC more easily seems to counter that notion as well.


I'd also add a clause that says cohorts take away from the party's XP, because unlike familiars/companions/mounts they're not part of an inherent class feature.
Honestly, that seems a little much when combined with making them an NPC class, even with the power ups in the form of bonus feats to select generic class feats from unearthed arcana unless you plan to apply this XP penalty to all such companions, including animal companions and familiars (and eidolons.)

nonsi
2016-06-30, 02:19 PM
Stop me if I'm wrong: I tell you it's 6 seconds vs the 5-30 minutes a round could take depending on circumstances, you say that the 1-3 seconds at most that you have out of those six to make up your mind isn't enough to justify making decisions in that way. To which I respond: first, yes even 1/2 a second is enough time for a trained combatant or adventurer to make a snap decision, and second, it doesn't matter even if they're playing a dumb farmer. This is an instance where the mechanics are running the show, the game part of the role-playing game is at the forefront. Gaze attack monsters play with turn by turn mechanical choices and effects to create tension and are pretty well perfectly set up to do so. If they're mysteriously limited to one target at a time (however it's done), it's a lottery with an opt-out instead of a required personal choice for every player at the table. If you're forced to pretend you don't know what just happened, your choice is meaningless.


Yes. And no.
Try to distinguish between two completely different scenarios where encounter starts.
In both cases, party encounters a monster... they go at it and it goes at them. Initiative rolls just say who gets to execute their actions first – in fractions of a second resolution.
Scenario #1: Monster attacks . . . ally drops / catches fire / disappears / runs away in panic / . . . of course you'll take it into account. You've just witnessed it.
Scenario #2: Monster does nothing. I don't actually know that my ally's been petrified, because as far as I'm concerned, I got to act first. That's the credible scenario of round #1 from the characters' PoV. To me, any other interpretation for round #1 is a lie.






If you're running petrifiers without leaving any statues around then you're doing it wrong to begin with, that's the whole other half of the scene. If there are statues around then the party has plenty of time to put their heads together, figure it out, and turn back.


That's relying on DM judgement.
Relying on DM judgement doesn't count.
When relying on DM judgement, rules don't matter, because everything can be circumvented via DM's decision/scenarios. Behind the DM-screen, the DM can also cheat on dice rolls, or invent monster special attacks on the fly and who knows what else.
What I'm saying is that this is the fair and productive way of handling the settings if you're a DM that uses the Medusa and Basilisk as given in MM1. Not all of them are fair. Not all of them are smart enough to think of it beforehand.





This is where I think you're not reading what I'm writing, because I already gave my reasoning. Here it is in excruciating detail: The calculator is programmed to ignore anything past the minimum CR threshold, which you must not have figured out by now since you're still asking this question. The calculator does not return a value because the DM is supposed to assign those numbers based primarily on judgement rather than formula. That is why I answered the question, by pointing out that the xp for 8 mummies (EL 11) is equivalent to the xp for one CR 11 (minus 4 xp or so due to rounding) when faced by an 11th level party: the formulas don't break. The total xp for 8 mummies vs a 13th level party, if CR 5 vs 13th was filled in on the table, would be the same as the xp for one CR 11 vs a 13th level party. So, if your 13th level party is threatened by combat with 8 mummies, either due to their build or your own encounter design, you can simply award them xp for one CR 11 if you want a fomulaic result.


I'm not arguing your stated motivation. I'm trying to understand how you propose to implement it.
What I'm missing here is how you determine that [8 x CR 5] = [1 x CR 11]. Next time I'll have [6 x CR 7] vs. a party of 5 14th-level characters. What then?
And when do you propose to apply such conversions and when not to apply?





You're flying rather far afield of the point here, homebrew classes had nothing to do with it until you brought them in. The topic is the core combat classes which your ruleset soft bans by designating them as "fixed" by martial adepts, not banning them in name but if used as an actual ruleset then it is abundantly clear they are removed. Any change to the rules must be properly justified, weather you're adding homebrew or removing something. I have demonstrated that those classes have ample value, and I say that you have failed to demonstrate any reason why they must be removed, since I do not take "idiot-proofing" as a realistic goal and indeed for some purposes these classes are still more idiot-proof than a martial adept would be.


Sorry. All I can say is that I'm powerless against you seeing bans where bans are not stated.
I'll think of better wording later on. You're welcome to suggest one yourself.



[Prismatic Wall/Sphere]


[*snip*]


I'm sensing that it'd be best to hit the brakes now, before things get out of proportions.
Prismatic Wall/Sphere are in the tweak list, not the ban list.
I'm not arguing against the existence of Prismatic Wall/Sphere, just against the caster not being affected.
A wizard casts them at his/her convenience. The wizard takes care of setting the environment and auxiliary spells and effects to his/her benefit.
All I'm saying is:
1. Being unaffected by the wall is an unfair advantage.
2. There's no rational explanation why the caster would be unaffected by his own wall and yet be susceptible to another caster's wall (please say something more meaningful than "it's magic" and save it to when you've ran out of other things to say).





Preventing caster movement through Prismatics gains you. . . ? All I can see is "assurance casters are slightly less overpowered in this one way."


This is always the case when toning down a specific spell.





There quickly reaches a point where in attempting to "fix" 3.5 the only thing left untouched will be the monsters, the rest of the system all having been modified until it's not 3.5 any more and then why even bother? It may be a d20 game heavy based on DnD, but it's not DnD 3.5.


That's a good question…
1. Because I can.
2. For the mental exercise.
3. Hoping to improve the existing.
4. Having tons of good ideas I just gotta get out of my system.
. . .





I first commented here since it was a ban/alteration list and while interesting enough since we hardly see those cropping up anymore, I felt the desire to point out they can't really do the job.


Maybe not for you, but people usually publish house rules after experiencing problems around the gaming table and hoping to fix them. Sometimes they aim wrong. Sometimes they implement wrong. Sometimes they get it right.





Good response by the way, though it should be expected as you've actually kept responding rather than dropping out like most people. While it's just basic probability, I still go "Fizban! Slayer of Threads!" in my head every time I post and the thread immediately dies.


What can I say, I'm the proverbial rolly polly :smallbiggrin:
Your critique is a mild breeze compared to some criticism I took on my overhaul's first incarnation (justly, I must admit, but that was way back and I'm still here :smallsmile: ).





If you have character building suggestions then make character building suggestions: "Martial characters are encouraged to focus on Tome of Battle classes, as they are considered sufficient to play alongside the other modified classes listed here."


Subscribed :smallsmile: :smallcool:





If I had to dig the response would not be so immediate. Claiming there is no excuse for not owning something is offensive to anyone who's ever had money troubles, simple as that.


That would be relevant if we were all naïve goody two shoes... and we're not, are we? ('nuff said)





I have heard many tales of "old-school DnD" that sound to me more like barbaric hazing rituals, garbage that damaged the game at it's core and still has yet to wear off in many places-I react strongly to anything similar. Though there was no offense intended you still made a poor choice of phrase.


No foul no crime, right :smallbiggrin:

nonsi
2016-06-30, 02:43 PM
... Given that the errata states you can't modify a spell if the total benefit would normally require a spell slot higher than the highest spell level you could normally cast, it doesn't let you cast that one spell with a half-dozen MM feats if the spell slot you'd need to use is higher than what you'd normally cast anyway.


That's one major errata. How would it mesh w/ Improved Metamagic?





With regards to the Earth Dreamer, I don't see any reason at all not to allow it.


No reason, if you're ok with the party ignoring stone barriers and bypassing secret doors and traps.





In short, I don't agree with your assessment with regards as to how troublesome you believe it to be with regards to dungeon design.


I've experienced it. I once played an arcane caster that had a similar ability w/ a 5th level spell. It ruined the fun for both sides.





As an aside, I've attempted to play this character twice and the poor sucker died both times before hitting that first mystic theurge level.


Nobody said getting there is easy. Try to role a craven character next time. If you survive, you'll eventually turn from hunted to hunter.





Still, gear-dependency is not really a weakness in either game.


No, it just registers poorly on the "Badass Hero/Villain" meter.






They can do status effects on a crit, can make a mage's life more difficult with disruptive and spellbreaker, and boost their reach by 5ft by taking a -2 to AC. Those options aren't even the optimized options.


Ok, but can they do all those (and then some) in a single build?






Honestly, that seems a little much when combined with making them an NPC class, even with the power ups in the form of bonus feats to select generic class feats from unearthed arcana unless you plan to apply this XP penalty to all such companions, including animal companions and familiars (and eidolons.)


What about a druid with a cohort?
What if everybody in the group got a cohort?
Would that still count for nothing?
When does it start mattering?

Neoxenok
2016-06-30, 03:16 PM
That's one major errata. How would it mesh w/ Improved Metamagic?
Easy. Same as a metamagic'd spell with an adjustment one smaller (minimum +1).


No reason, if you're ok with the party ignoring stone barriers and bypassing secret doors and traps.
I am fine with that. I expect characters of 10th level and higher to be able to do things like that.
It's not even as strong as ethereal jaunt or some of the better divinations characters have access to. I've DM'd characters of up to 40th level before where their final levels involved a massive and intense dungeon crawl.
The first of the 13 layers of that dungeon had these: Magi Golems (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=12915382&postcount=15), or at least 3.5e variations of that. The 12th layer involved a fight with an actual Divine Rank 1 god. The party's (pure level) paladin did rather amazingly well in this dungeon. In fact, his presence continued to be rather necessary in some cases. He was a rather strong charger build with a flying mount and a lance made entirely of force.

The earth dreamer is peanuts. Granted, as a DM I am rather... brutal. The god ended up murdering the then-36th level party rather hard though that was more because they tried to beat her with brute force. Thankfully, she was quite lawful good and true-rezz'd the party afterwards and banished them from the dungeon (she was subtly helping them for the benefit of her mortal husband (the far more powerful and final boss of the campaign), so this wasn't an act of mercy on my part so much as something she would have done anyway.)

There is a long and complicated story involved here and no the party wasn't evil. The dungeon itself didn't have walls. Each layer was it's own demi-plane. Something scaled to pre-epic levels would likely have powerful magics and more steel and non-stone materials is more likely in a dungeon meant to mean something to adventurers that have the power to meaningfully affect a person's soul, translocate across space and time instantaneously, or jump into parallel dimensions in less time than it takes to toast pop-tarts.


Nobody said getting there is easy. Try to role a craven character next time. If you survive, you'll eventually turn from hunted to hunter.
Sure. I played a persistent spell DMM cloistered cleric of lolth that performed far better. The team saved the earth from evil, but it was generally assumed that she murdered the party (except the vow of poverty monk, whom she couldn't possibly murder) and took over the earth in the epilogue after the ultimate evil was destroyed and the game was already effectively over.

The DM was rather annoyed with me.


No, it just registers poorly on the "Badass Hero/Villain" meter.
Batman and iron man respectfully disagree.


Ok, but can they do all those (and then some) in a single build?
In about 6~7 feats or so, so sure. Like I said, it's hardly an optimized way to go, particularly if you dig into the ultimate combat, advanced player's guide, and some of the more colorful archetypes out there.


What about a druid with a cohort?
What if everybody in the group got a cohort?
Would that still count for nothing?
When does it start mattering?
When the cohort or companion contributes as well or better than PCs, but at that point, I'd rather just ban leadership again and rework it later. I had this issue at one point because one game I ran everyone apparently decided to play summoners and a companion-oriented ranger and one in particular was an archetype that specialized in the summon monster aspect of it over the eidolon, which got reduced to 2nd banana. This is less a balance thing and more a "punishing players for using character options" thing. Like how the DMG warns against using fire resistant enemies just because the party sorcerer is suddenly spamming fireballs.

I might decide to intervene if everyone decided to have companions and leadership and eidolons and so on like in the aforementioned game, but that's more due to how so many moving parts on a battlefield will just slow things down to a grinding halt than any issue with the party balance. This is also why I prefer to avoid games with more than six players and I informally ban players from individually having more than one major companion, so our druid and summoner examples would have either companions, eidolons, OR cohorts but not two or even somehow all three.

Fizban
2016-06-30, 08:01 PM
Scenario #1: Monster attacks . . . ally drops / catches fire / disappears / runs away in panic / . . . of course you'll take it into account. You've just witnessed it.
Scenario #2: Monster does nothing. I don't actually know that my ally's been petrified, because as far as I'm concerned, I got to act first. That's the credible scenario of round #1 from the characters' PoV. To me, any other interpretation for round #1 is a lie.
You haven't actually used initiative in this example, it is unspecified. If you rolled highest initiative then obviously you have no evidence that anything bad could happen unless the DM gives you a warning, which is still strongly implied in the rules. I doubt we disagree on the former.

If you rolled lower initiative then you did not act first, someone else did. If someone else on your team rolls higher, acts, and is suddenly petrified without the foe doing anything (not even a SLA since those are obvious enough to provoke AoOS), then you can reasonably assume gaze attack. If you need a description it's quite simple: "Joe was always the fastest of us, while I was gathering my wits he leveled his bow-and turned to stone before firing a shot! So first thing I did was turn around and run."

That's relying on DM judgement.
Relying on DM judgement doesn't count.
When relying on DM judgement, rules don't matter, because everything can be circumvented via DM's decision/scenarios. Behind the DM-screen, the DM can also cheat on dice rolls, or invent monster special attacks on the fly and who knows what else.
DM judgement always counts, otherwise there wouldn't be pages and pages dedicated to telling the DM where they should use their judgement and advice on how to do so. That argument is dead in the water.

What I'm saying is that this is the fair and productive way of handling the settings if you're a DM that uses the Medusa and Basilisk as given in MM1. Not all of them are fair. Not all of them are smart enough to think of it beforehand.
Medusae are not characterized as having a racial tendency to keep statues around, true, but I believe they have done so every time I've seen one used in an example encounter or module (don't ask for specifics I don't remember where). They disguise their true nature until foes are within range, but this can also be accomplished simply by setting an encounter indoors/underground. Basilisks on the other hand: "The entrance to a basilisk lair is sometimes distinguished by lifelike stone statues or carvings." The fact that it is mentioned is an automatic suggestion. If all you know is that you want to use a basilisk, this is the only bit of interesting description given for the lair, the obvious default.

What I'm missing here is how you determine that [8 x CR 5] = [1 x CR 11]. Next time I'll have [6 x CR 7] vs. a party of 5 14th-level characters. What then?
And when do you propose to apply such conversions and when not to apply?
The same way it's always been done? DMG pg 48-49, Encounter Levels. Doubling the number of monsters increases EL by +2. CR 5*2= EL7, CR 5*4= EL9, CR 5*8= EL11. I've already said multiple times that you do this when the monsters still present a threat, which must be determined by the DM. See also: Assigning Ad Hoc Xp Awards on pg 39, and every single instance where the phrase "in general" is used. DM judgement is underwritten into the entire system because of course it is, you can't ignore it.

To review: the xp table ignores CRs much lower than party level, but the xp gained for multiple creatures by CR is the same as if you used their combined EL to award one lump of xp. For groups of monsters that are extremely low CR but still threaten your group in combat, you can use the combined EL to get an xp result from the table and use that. As always it is up to the DM to determine if an encounter of any sort is worth xp.

Sorry. All I can say is that I'm powerless against you seeing bans where bans are not stated.
I'll think of better wording later on. You're welcome to suggest one yourself.
I would expect it's because you're thinking of it as a list of suggestions, while the format makes me read it as a list of hard rules. Also, see below.

Prismatic Wall/Sphere are in the tweak list, not the ban list.
I'm not arguing against the existence of Prismatic Wall/Sphere, just against the caster not being affected.
A wizard casts them at his/her convenience. The wizard takes care of setting the environment and auxiliary spells and effects to his/her benefit.
All I'm saying is:
1. Being unaffected by the wall is an unfair advantage.
2. There's no rational explanation why the caster would be unaffected by his own wall and yet be susceptible to another caster's wall (please say something more meaningful than "it's magic" and save it to when you've ran out of other things to say).
1. Being unaffected by the wall is not an unfair advantage. It is an advantage paid for by the fact that Prismatic Wall is an 8th level spell, the second most powerful wall spell in existence, designed specifically to gain that advantage. Prismatic Sphere is the 9th level defensive spell, one of the most powerful Abjurations in existence being compared to such effects as literally killing everyone in the room, killing someone without allowing a save, automatically ending all magical effects within an area, projecting an unkillable version of yourself from safety, transporting your entire party to a parallel plane (and back) with perfect accuracy, transporting an unlimited number of people within the next 2 hours anywhere on the same plane, or stopping time.
2. Every single monster that is listed as immune to it's own special attack or poison.
3. Every single spell which can be bypassed by it's own caster. This includes many magical traps/locks such as Fire Trap and Arcane Lock, which are Abjurations
4. Also an extension of other Abjuration spells such as Globe of Invulnerability, or the non-wizard Repel Metal or Stone and Antilife Shell effects.
5. And I shall reiterate what I said last post, which you have chosen not to do: Address the actual problem. You are modifying core spells which by their nature set the balance point for all other spells that follow. You have stated no objective for this modification other than "because I think this specific spell is too strong," which is not good enough. What is it you actually object to? You've hinted at it but still refuse to make it a main design goal: you don't like wizards being able to pop in and out of safety on the battlefield. Either take this objective and actually work towards fulfilling it by targeting out other spells that do the same thing for modification, or admit that your beef with Prismatics is just personal taste and drop the charges.

This is always the case when toning down a specific spell.
No, there are plenty of individual spells where one modification fixes an entire group of problems. Celerity and Rope Trick on your very own list are just that. The ability you want to remove from Prismatic Wall/Sphere will only affect those two specific spells, meanwhile the actual game effect can still be achieved through spells as low as 2nd level. Banning Celerity or Rope Trick has a significant effect because those are the only spells that do what they do. Your change to Prismatic Wall/Sphere has little effect because there are plenty of other spells that can do the same thing, in short, it only makes sure spellcasters are slightly less overpowered in this one very specific way. When using this one spell that has caught your attention.

Subscribed :smallsmile: :smallcool:
That was already my suggestion on how to word it by the way: "Martial characters are encouraged to focus on Tome of Battle classes, as they are considered sufficient to play alongside the modified classes listed here." Change the classes that you feel need changing, suggest which classes can be used alongside them without modification, and leave the rest for people that know what they're doing. The word "fix" is the sticking point that when read as a set of hard rules makes it look like a ban instead of a suggestion.

I see also that you dropped out of the line on spell ranges, don't think I didn't notice :smallamused:

nonsi
2016-07-01, 02:05 AM
Easy. Same as a metamagic'd spell with an adjustment one smaller (minimum +1).


So, given that at 8th Incantatrix level I'm CL 13 already, does that mean I can maximize a Ball Lightning spell then?





I am fine with that. I expect characters of 10th level and higher to be able to do things like that.
It's not even as strong as ethereal jaunt or some of the better divinations characters have access to.


1. Ethereal Jaunt is a 7th level spell ==> 13th Wiz level minimum.
2. While the duration of Ethereal Jaunt is 1r / level, the Earth Dreamer's abilities are always in effect.




I've DM'd characters of up to 40th level before where their final levels involved a massive and intense dungeon crawl.


Ehemm… quite a leap from 10th, don't you think?
What you're describing is wedged so deep in the epic stage, that you no longer see any pre-epic remnants in the distant horizon behind you.
And who'd go that far, when you could just layer the entire dungeon with iron? Takes a few weeks, but costs little.





Batman and iron man respectfully disagree.


1. Putting Batman vs. Superman aside for a moment, Batman's enemies are not that impressive.
2. And what is Tony Stark worth w/o his suits? Not a lot really.






In about 6~7 feats or so, so sure. Like I said, it's hardly an optimized way to go, particularly if you dig into the ultimate combat, advanced player's guide, and some of the more colorful archetypes out there.


Then how come this was never brought up in all the "Fighter Sucks" discussions? (not that I've seen at least)





When the cohort or companion contributes as well or better than PCs, but at that point, I'd rather just ban leadership again and rework it later.
. . .
I might decide to intervene if everyone decided to have companions and leadership and eidolons and so on like in the aforementioned game, but that's more due to how so many moving parts on a battlefield will just slow things down to a grinding halt than any issue with the party balance.


Ok, I'll settle for NPC classes only for now.

nonsi
2016-07-01, 02:49 AM
[Petrifying Gaze]


[*snip*]


We're at odds her... accelerating to a deadlock methinks. That's ok, but I think we should let this one rest, because it seems to me like neither of us is budging anywhere.





The same way it's always been done? DMG pg 48-49, Encounter Levels. Doubling the number of monsters increases EL by +2. CR 5*2= EL7, CR 5*4= EL9, CR 5*8= EL11. I've already said multiple times that you do this when the monsters still present a threat, which must be determined by the DM. See also: Assigning Ad Hoc Xp Awards on pg 39, and every single instance where the phrase "in general" is used. DM judgement is underwritten into the entire system because of course it is, you can't ignore it.

To review: the xp table ignores CRs much lower than party level, but the xp gained for multiple creatures by CR is the same as if you used their combined EL to award one lump of xp. For groups of monsters that are extremely low CR but still threaten your group in combat, you can use the combined EL to get an xp result from the table and use that. As always it is up to the DM to determine if an encounter of any sort is worth xp.


Ok, gotcha.



[Prismatic Barriers]


you don't like wizards being able to pop in and out of safety on the battlefield.


Right. I don't like such overwhelming insurance policies.
My problem is so many effective effects in a single spell, while at the same time, the caster says "count me out".
Btw, Indigo blocks all spells – wouldn't it count vs. D.Door as well? Also, Violet destroys all objects - no clause regarding attended vs. unattended items.





Either take this objective and actually work towards fulfilling it by targeting out other spells that do the same thing for modification


I don't know of any other multi-purpose spells at both being deadly and serving as an obstruction that also don't hinder the caster. Do you? Do share.





I see also that you dropped out of the line on spell ranges, don't think I didn't notice


Correction. I didn't have time to put it in. I'm currently in the accumulation stage.

Neoxenok
2016-07-01, 04:43 AM
So, given that at 8th Incantatrix level I'm CL 13 already, does that mean I can maximize a Ball Lightning spell then?
I don't remember what spell level lightning ball is off-hand, but an incantrix with access to spells of up to 8th level with instant metamagic can, for example, cast empowered chain lightning spell with a 6th level spell slot a standard action or a maximized chain lightning spell under the same circumstances with the benefit of improved metamagic.
This same incantrix can not, under the same circumstance, cast an 8th level spell with any MM feat using either instant metamagic or improved metamagic.


1. Ethereal Jaunt is a 7th level spell ==> 13th Wiz level minimum.
2. While the duration of Ethereal Jaunt is 1r / level, the Earth Dreamer's abilities are always in effect.
Yes. Ethereal Jaunt is also strictly superior in every sense of the word with uses for scouting, combat, spying, and probably far more that I'm forgetting at the moment. The fact that it isn't available until three levels later is largely irrelevant. The earth dreamer's abilities are far more limited and fairly in line with the relative power of the spells an earth-dreaming wizard would nominally have access to at that level because the Earth dreamer's utility is largely with scouting (something mages are terrible at, barring the use of several more spells that need to be active to avoid being severely murdered), of which there are several divination spells available well before the earth dreamer's abilities kick in and have utility outside of being able to "see" on the other side of stone walls in situations outside of dungeon crawling.

So yeah, the ability is good, but far and away from game-breaking and even dungeon-breaking at that level unless your idea of a dungeon for characters of 10th level and higher is the same a dungeon for characters of 9th level and lower with tougher traps, higher CR monsters, and higher disable device/lock pick DCs.


Ehemm… quite a leap from 10th, don't you think?
What you're describing is wedged so deep in the epic stage, that you no longer see any pre-epic remnants in the distant horizon behind you.
And who'd go that far, when you could just layer the entire dungeon with iron? Takes a few weeks, but costs little.
That campaign started at 1st level and played until 40th level.
I didn't even use the DMG's xp progression, I used my own system that basically gave xp at 1/3rd the rate. That dungeon in particular started when the PCs just hit epic but you're missing the forest for the trees.
I brought up that dungeon to point out that if you're trying to challenge higher level PCs like you would lower level PCs but with traps, monsters, and disable device DCs that are 10~20 points higher, then yeah, it wouldn't surprise me if that DM thought wizards were overpowered in general or the Dreamer's abilities in particular.


1. Putting Batman vs. Superman aside for a moment, Batman's enemies are not that impressive.
2. And what is Tony Stark worth w/o his suits? Not a lot really.
1) There is so much wrong with your #1 I don't even know where to begin, but getting into an argument over DC superheroes is off-topic.
2) Billionaire genius playboy philanthropist is what Stark is without his suit.

With regards to fighters and their toys, by all game rules, fighters are designed to work in part due to their ability to have their toys according to their wealth by level chart with some leeway for less (which favors the more "self-sufficient classes) or more (which does not.) Proving that the fighter is worth less sans equipment proves nothing except that if you intentionally remove game rules that benefit one class more than the other, then yes, you've proven an imbalance you've essentially caused to yourself to prove a point about the classes that the game was never designed to support.


Then how come this was never brought up in all the "Fighter Sucks" discussions? (not that I've seen at least)
I only gave you a smattering of feats from the PF Core Rulebook.
Beyond that, I don't know what to tell you.

Fizban
2016-07-01, 08:35 AM
[Petrifying Gaze]We're at odds her... accelerating to a deadlock methinks. That's ok, but I think we should let this one rest, because it seems to me like neither of us is budging anywhere.
I wouldn't call it a deadlock so much as a stonewall. You've put in rules changes for a monster based on assumptions that go against the rules. You will need to put those assumptions into the post to explain it if you wish to maintain credibility. It remains true that such changes drastically weaken the monster, to the point where I'd expect it must heavily optimized or otherwise given favorable treatment by the DM to function.

The given rule also contradicts your own assumptions: you said earlier that the medusa's gaze should provoke saves as soon as it's seen, but a single target effect initiated by the medusa itself is by definition not functioning in that way. Someone who was outside of gaze range/sight on the medusa's turn can move into range or open their eyes at absolutely no risk in order to unload their full power. They start seeing the medusa and are completely safe because it's not the medusa's turn. That's the most hilariously effective tactic: everyone closes their eyes for a few seconds, the medusa gets one round of ineffectual attacks, then boom full round of adventurers kill it's 30-odd hp to death (well, it could ready the gaze and give up everything else, making it the equivalent of a one-shot magic trap). So no, I will not let it rest until I believe you fully understand the ramifications of completely changing the design of gaze attacks.

Right. I don't like such overwhelming insurance policies.
My problem is so many effective effects in a single spell, while at the same time, the caster says "count me out".
Btw, Indigo blocks all spells – wouldn't it count vs. D.Door as well? Also, Violet destroys all objects - no clause regarding attended vs. unattended items.
I don't know of any other multi-purpose spells at both being deadly and serving as an obstruction that also don't hinder the caster. Do you? Do share.
What effective effects? In what way does a stationary wall threaten anything? Walking into the wall is obviously stupid. Throwing someone through the wall requires further combos which can be resisted in their own right, while monsters are far more resistant to prismatics than PCs are, and if anything only proves that forced movement is a bad idea. It also leaves the foe on the other side of the wall, safe from further attacks unless you follow them. No spell has ever needed a clause stating that attended objects are unaffected because it is a base rule of the system, suggesting otherwise is willful cheesmongering ignorance. Reading "blocks spells" as anything more than blocking line of effect, like you know, a wall, is again attempting to twist words into mechanics they aren't, and the whole point of teleportation is that it doesn't care about line of effect or sight or anything. Seems to me you're making up reasons for this spell to be a bigger deal than it is, same as with gaze attacks.

nonsi
2016-07-02, 12:13 AM
I don't remember what spell level lightning ball is off-hand, but an incantrix with access to spells of up to 8th level with instant metamagic can, for example, cast empowered chain lightning spell with a 6th level spell slot a standard action or a maximized chain lightning spell under the same circumstances with the benefit of improved metamagic.



Ball Lightning is a 5th level Spell Compendium spell that resembles Fireball.
Anyway, that answered my question.





So yeah, the ability is good, but far and away from game-breaking and even dungeon-breaking at that level unless your idea of a dungeon for characters of 10th level and higher is the same a dungeon for characters of 9th level and lower with tougher traps, higher CR monsters, and higher disable device/lock pick DCs.
. . .
I brought up that dungeon to point out that if you're trying to challenge higher level PCs like you would lower level PCs but with traps, monsters, and disable device DCs that are 10~20 points higher, then yeah, it wouldn't surprise me if that DM thought wizards were overpowered in general or the Dreamer's abilities in particular.


I'd appreciate clarifications what are your expectations regarding the environment that level 10-13 characters are supposed to routinely operate in that would invalidate the Earth Dreamer's ability to bypass almost all obstacles all the time.





1) There is so much wrong with your #1 I don't even know where to begin, but getting into an argument over DC superheroes is off-topic.
2) Billionaire genius playboy philanthropist is what Stark is without his suit.

With regards to fighters and their toys, by all game rules, fighters are designed to work in part due to their ability to have their toys according to their wealth by level chart with some leeway for less (which favors the more "self-sufficient classes) or more (which does not.) Proving that the fighter is worth less sans equipment proves nothing except that if you intentionally remove game rules that benefit one class more than the other, then yes, you've proven an imbalance you've essentially caused to yourself to prove a point about the classes that the game was never designed to support.


Ok, keeping things close to home, I believe I could let the issue of gear dependency rest.





I only gave you a smattering of feats from the PF Core Rulebook.
Beyond that, I don't know what to tell you.


Ok, since I'm no expert on PF Fighter strategies and tactics, I'll retire on this one. (informative references would be appreciated)

nonsi
2016-07-02, 01:57 AM
I wouldn't call it a deadlock so much as a stonewall. You've put in rules changes for a monster based on assumptions that go against the rules. You will need to put those assumptions into the post to explain it if you wish to maintain credibility. It remains true that such changes drastically weaken the monster, to the point where I'd expect it must heavily optimized or otherwise given favorable treatment by the DM to function.

The given rule also contradicts your own assumptions: you said earlier that the medusa's gaze should provoke saves as soon as it's seen, but a single target effect initiated by the medusa itself is by definition not functioning in that way. Someone who was outside of gaze range/sight on the medusa's turn can move into range or open their eyes at absolutely no risk in order to unload their full power. They start seeing the medusa and are completely safe because it's not the medusa's turn. That's the most hilariously effective tactic: everyone closes their eyes for a few seconds, the medusa gets one round of ineffectual attacks, then boom full round of adventurers kill it's 30-odd hp to death (well, it could ready the gaze and give up everything else, making it the equivalent of a one-shot magic trap). So no, I will not let it rest until I believe you fully understand the ramifications of completely changing the design of gaze attacks.


A character cannot enjoy both benefits of opening and closing his eyes mid-turn. If you choose not to be susceptible to the gaze attack, you take the penalties until the beginning of your next turn.
The medusa can then decide who to target with her gaze. If no candidates are within range when her turn comes, then at least she gets 3 melee attacks w/ significant hit bonuses or 2 range attacks, both of which not very far off a fighter of equal level, with double standard treasure that could contain useful gear to fight with.
Now, given that the standard No. Appearing is up to 4, and given that you usually meet medusas at their home turf, as a DM I could easily make such encounter challenging – even vs. 10th level characters.
To increase effectiveness, since there's no info regarding how long a medusa's snake poison endures when extracted, you could decide that it lasts for several minutes – enough to give prepared medusas the option of dipping their weapons in poison for a single use w/ each dagger and multiple uses (8 maybe) w/ arrows (and medusas are famous for favoring gunning down their opponents with ranged ambushes). I know it's a stretch, but a reasonable one from my PoV.

Also, who said that medusas always have to be boss fights? I could easily imagine medusas also serving as minions. My interpretation can explain how you make a medusa fear you enough not to use its gaze attack on you and become your minion, by using Gaze Screen spell (Tome and Blood / Dragons of Faerûn). If you have Break Enchantment you could easily employ such tactic.

To ease your mind regarding a medusa not being able to execute her gaze if she loses initiative, I'm OK with making it swift or immediate action. that way, at least one target would not have the time to close its eye if encountered within range.





What effective effects? In what way does a stationary wall threaten anything?


Unlike Wall of Stone (that contains a specific clause), Prismatic Wall can be cast on top of someone (nothing says otherwise).





No spell has ever needed a clause stating that attended objects are unaffected because it is a base rule of the system, suggesting otherwise is willful cheesmongering ignorance.


I accept the possibility of ignorance, since I don't remember seeing such base rule of the system. Can you reference me to the book and page number where that rule is written per-se?





Reading "blocks spells" as anything more than blocking line of effect, like you know, a wall, is again attempting to twist words into mechanics they aren't, and the whole point of teleportation is that it doesn't care about line of effect or sight or anything.


Ok, acceptable. Just wanted to sync with you regarding expectations.

Neoxenok
2016-07-02, 02:08 AM
I'd appreciate clarifications what are your expectations regarding the environment that level 10-13 characters are supposed to routinely operate in that would invalidate the Earth Dreamer's ability to bypass almost all obstacles all the time.
Okay, first, let's address a few things about the Earth Dreamer Prestige Class itself.

EARTH SENSE [GENERAL]
You are in tune with the earth beneath you.
Prerequisites: Con 13, Wis 13.
Benefit: As long as you are touching the ground, you can
take a move action to sense the number of creatures within
20 feet that are also touching the ground and the direction
to each one. You cannot pinpoint the location of any creature
with this feat.
Special: Creatures with the air or aquatic subtype may
not select this feat.

Requirements (For the Earth Dreamer)
To qualify to become an earth dreamer, a character must
fulfi ll all the following criteria.
Skills: Knowledge (nature) 5 ranks, Spellcraft 10 ranks.
Feats: Earth Sense*.
Special: Able to cast 1st-level spells.

So the earliest that any full-on caster is qualifying for this prestige class is level 7, so those level 4 and 5 abilities are coming online at 11th and 12th level and not 9th and 10th.

Let's look at Tremorsense, Lesser.
Beginning at 3rd level, an earth dreamer is so in tune with the earth that she gains the tremorsense ability (see page 316 of the Monster Manual) with a range of 10 feet. Her Earth Sense feat (see Chapter 6: Character Options) still functions beyond that range, but she can now sense and pinpoint foes within 10 feet without an action.

This appears to be the strongest of the Earth Dreamer's abilities, in my opinion. Earth sense is pretty good, though not particularly great. Though mostly because it is effective against invisible foes.

According to Tremorsense:

Tremorsense (Ex)

A creature with tremorsense is sensitive to vibrations in the ground and can automatically pinpoint the location of anything that is in contact with the ground and within range. If no straight path exists through the ground from the creature to those that it’s sensing, then the range defines the maximum distance of the shortest indirect path. It must itself be in contact with the ground, and the creatures must be moving. As long as the other creatures are taking physical actions, including casting spells with somatic components, they’re considered moving; they don’t have to move from place to place for a creature with tremorsense to detect them. Aquatic creatures with tremorsense can also sense the location of creatures moving through water. The ability’s range is specified in the creature’s descriptive text.

I'm suddenly reminded of the Tremors movie. I need to give that a watch. So Tremorsense lesser is only effective against creatures on the ground that are also moving or doing things that make noise, so it seems as though things like sneaking or moving silently would be as effective against a creature with tremorsense as it would against any other creature.

So let's look at the other abilities.

Earth Sight (Su): An earth dreamer of 4th level or higher can see through stone, dirt, or almost any other sort of earth except metal to a range of 30 feet, as easily as if the substance weren’t there. The earth dreamer can still see the stone or earth as a ghostly outline, so she can avoid walking into walls and can otherwise function normally. This ability does not give an earth dreamer any special ability to see in darkness or into unlit areas.
Using this ability is a standard action. Each use lasts for a number of rounds equal to 3 + the earth dreamer’s Con modifier.

This ability is useful for seeing on the other side of stone or dirt walls but not materials made from anything else, such as iron.

For the effort of purely looking on the other side of walls or seeing into them, there are many such effects that can replicate this benefit and let's pretend for a moment that our aspiring dreamer wants to do this a subtle way instead of the fun way, like using acid fog to simply eat through a stone wall.
6th Level Arcane Options: True Seeing (for illusions)
5th Level Arcane Options: Prying Eyes (for scouting), Dominate Person (to get an enemy to do your work for you), Magic Jar (one of my favorite spells, honestly, but it's infiltration at its best), Passwall (see below)

You create a passage through wooden, plaster, or stone walls, but not through metal or other harder materials. The passage is 10 feet deep plus an additional 5 feet deep per three caster levels above 9th (15 feet at 12th, 20 feet at 15th, and a maximum of 25 feet deep at 18th level). If the wall’s thickness is more than the depth of the passage created, then a single passwall simply makes a niche or short tunnel. Several passwall spells can then form a continuing passage to breach very thick walls. When passwall ends, creatures within the passage are ejected out the nearest exit. If someone dispels the passwall or you dismiss it, creatures in the passage are ejected out the far exit, if there is one, or out the sole exit if there is only one.

So it's not as thick, but the spell lasts 1 hour/level, can be chained to increase the distance, but if you want discretion, you'd have to combine it with an image spell, like persistent image at the same spell level, which can do other things as well. (I could have sworn that this one made the entrance and exit invisible... oh well.

4th Level Arcane Options: Arcane Eye (same as prying eyes, but it feeds you information and visuals live instead of after-the-fact but it's larger and easier to see and there's only one)

I'll round this point out with a mention of Clairaudience/Clairvoyance - of which one casting grants the same benefit (seeing on the other side of a wall) while two also lets you hear what's going on.

In summation with our level 4 ED ability, it seems perfectly in line with what I expect for characters at this level and more if they wanted to put actual effort into it. So let's move on to our next ability.

Earth Glide (Su): A 5th-level earth dreamer can move through earth like an earth elemental, gliding through
stone, dirt, or almost any other sort of earth except metal as easily as a fish swims through water. This burrowing leaves behind no tunnel or hole, nor does it create any ripple or other signs of its presence. A move earth spell cast on an area containing an earth gliding earth dreamer flings the dreamer back 30 feet, stunning her for 1 round unless she succeeds on a DC 15 Fortitude save.
Using this ability is a standard action. Each use lasts for a number of rounds equal to 3 + the earth dreamer’s Con modifier.

If it were possible to polymorph into an earth elemental, this would have been possible much earlier than 12th level. It probably is if you include non-core spells but I'm not going to do that.

So now let's move on to dungeons that can work to challenge adventurers of 10th to 13th level given things like this.

Let's start by letting me tell you what not to do. Let's look at your statement again.


I'd appreciate clarifications what are your expectations regarding the environment that level 10-13 characters are supposed to routinely operate in that would invalidate the Earth Dreamer's ability to bypass almost all obstacles all the time.

Yeah, looking to invalidate a player's abilities is already putting yourself into a DM versus player mentality before we even start looking into working on or looking for an adventure to run for such players. It runs right into the DMG's suggestion to avoid fire resistant enemies just because the player is getting traction out of spamming fireball.

So we're not looking to invalidate the earth dreamer's abilities, we're looking to make them useful. It's not going to be useful in a village where most of the huts and houses aren't made of stone. Even a lot of the larger cities in most fantasy settings aren't made out of slabs of stone outside of major palaces or castles and even then a particularly douche-y DM might require the material to be continuous which would rule out many constructed buildings, leaving only natural caverns and places carved out of stone, but we don't have to assume the strictest interpretation.

So where would our d4 HD and most likely 0 ranks in trapspotting/percepting/sneaking earth dreaming mage going to get the most traction out of these powers?

Dungeons, where, barring excessive spell use, is still where the trapspotting/disabling/percepting rogue - outside of excessive spell use - is still going to be the star, but hey, you have useful abilities that now help foil ambushes (earth sense more than tremorsense, but you might still get the drop on an invisible foe as to not suffer a sneak attack) and you can help the rogue identify threats in other rooms (the rogue would listen first and if he hears something, you would use your ability to identify the threats instead of guessing based on the rogue's listen check).

Note that I'm intentionally avoiding mentioning about stone-embedded traps because - again - d4 HD and if you're the party mage, that's not the best place for you to be given your skillset and utter lack of a good search modifier, even if you instant-perceive obvious stone traps, the rogue is still the best one around to disable the trap.

Earth glide is also excellent to have in any earth-based environment due to the added mobility and the ability to be immune to certain stone traps can be helpful, though many of those have enough metal parts for that to be hit-or-miss as well.

So in short, it's a group of powerful abiltiies with limited use that isn't necessarily going to out-shine the other party members outside of spending a lot of money and time crafting items to still keep putting yourself in danger (like a wand of summon monster 1 or 2 to set off traps, which won't help for auto-resetting traps or ones that release or otherwise involve powerful creatures). If you wish to understand my perspective a little better, I rate these abilities in terms of usefulness to be in the same ball park as the pathfinder ranger's favored terrain ability. I mean, these are clearly better, but not so much that I have to design the whole game around containing these abilities.

So outside of a specifically stone-based adventure in a dungeon made largely of stone or carved into the ground, dirt, mountain or whatever, what use is it? Earth glide is the most useful ability outside of such circumstances due to aspects involving battlefield control but it's not much more useful than fly and invisibility or polymorphing into a burrowing creature, like a white dragon or ankheg.

Now, keep in mind that adventures that aren't specifically dungeon crawls are much more rarely going to have stone structures or walls where the Earth Dreamer would be able to make the most of these abilities. Therefore, these abilities are "useful" but far and away from "game breaking" and that's mostly due to the ability to see through walls. So the "City of the Spider Queen" or any adventure in undermountain would likely have a great deal of use for an earth dreamer but not so much for political intrigue, swashbuckling adventures, and others.
By the way, a ring of X-Ray vision does exactly this at will (though it does tire you out if you use it too much).

So honestly, if these abilities still bother you, limiting the abilities to work for one minute per earth dreamer level (the ED can use each ability in increments of one minute). Banning is unnecessary.


Ok, since I'm no expert on PF Fighter strategies and tactics, I'll retire on this one. (informative references would be appreciated)
I think you've also proven my point with regards to my complaint regarding the requirement of using many different online/PDF sources considering you could have paged through the pathfinder combat feats filter or a suitable PF RPG CRB PDF and found several of those.

Cleave (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/cleave-combat) works differently in pathfinder - you get a 2nd attack against an adjacent foe if the first hits instead of dies.
Blinding Critical (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/blinding-critical-combat-critical) blinds you on a failed fort save DC 10 + BAB or dazzles you on a successful save. You do have to successfully crit though but the one prerequisite feat, critical focus, gives you a +4 to attack rolls for that purpose. There are 11 such critical feats and two more feats can allow you to do two such effects at once any time you crit.
Deadly Aim (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/deadly-aim-combat) or power attack for ranged weapons.
Deadly Stroke (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/deadly-stroke-combat) allows you to make a single attack as a standard action with a weapon with which you have greater weapon focus with against a stunned or flat-footed opponent. If you hit, you deal double damage and one constitution bleed.
Lunge (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/lunge-combat---final) - the one that lets you take a -2 to AC for +5ft to your reach. Combine that with "stand still" and combat reflexes, then you have yourself a bonified melee battlefield controller, to some extent.
Shatter Defenses (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/deadly-stroke-combat) is a fun one for rogues that prefer intimidation to feinting. Shaken, frightened, or panicked opponents are flat-footed to you until the end of your next turn. There are feats that let you intimidate more than a single opponent and if you overkill that intimidate check to demoralize, it can last for longer than one round. Just sayin'.
Stand Still (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/stand-still-combat---final) or "you can just stay right there" from opponents that provoke an attack and you successfully combat maneuver attack their combat maneuver defense to combat maneuver you sit where I tell you to sit.
Wind Stance (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/wind-stance-combat---final) or gain 20% concealment if you move more than 5ft on any given round.

So there's another smattering of (specifically) combat feats. Oh, I almost forgot Step Up (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/step-up-combat---final) for all those raging murder beasts (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/core-classes/barbarian) (perhaps combined with the Lunge feat) that like to remind those spellcasters that I take a five foot step backward to both avoid the need to make a concentration check to cast defensively and to avoid being super-murdered in the face should that check fail is not always a reliably effective tactic.

Fizban
2016-07-02, 02:38 AM
A character cannot enjoy both benefits of opening and closing his eyes mid-turn. If you choose not to be susceptible to the gaze attack, you take the penalties until the beginning of your next turn.
Which hardly matters when the gaze only hits you on the medusa's turn. That's why the save is supposed to be at the start of your turn, right after you choose weather or not to use your eyes. The only significant effect in the medusa's attack routine is one instance of poison with a lower DC and less threatening effect than the gaze.

To increase effectiveness, since there's no info regarding how long a medusa's snake poison endures when extracted, you could decide that it lasts for several minutes – enough to give prepared medusas the option of dipping their weapons in poison for a single use w/ each dagger and multiple uses (8 maybe) w/ arrows (and medusas are famous for favoring gunning down their opponents with ranged ambushes). I know it's a stretch, but a reasonable one from my PoV.
8 doses of what should be a poison worth hundreds of gold pieces isn't quite what I'd call reasonable, but DMs have been dropping poison on people for ages, a pile of consumables of any sort will do the trick. It might make sense, but it's not part of the standard monster entry.

To ease your mind regarding a medusa not being able to execute her gaze if she loses initiative, I'm OK with making it swift or immediate action. that way, at least one target would not have the time to close its eye if encountered within range.
You can't use immediate actions when you're flat footed, such as after losing initiative. It's already listed as a swift action. An immediate action does bring it closer to the original design space by allowing it to threaten as soon as your eyes open and is probably the closest compromise we could reach.

Unlike Wall of Stone (that contains a specific clause), Prismatic Wall can be cast on top of someone (nothing says otherwise).
Uh, yeah it does:

A prismatic wall spell cast to materialize in a space occupied by a creature is disrupted, and the spell is wasted.

I accept the possibility of ignorance, since I don't remember seeing such base rule of the system. Can you reference me to the book and page number where that rule is written per-se?
Here's a link (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicOverview/spellDescriptions.htm#itemsSurvivingafteraSavingTh row) to the srd entry, should be in the same place in the PHB.

nonsi
2016-07-02, 08:05 AM
Okay, first, let's address a few things about the Earth Dreamer Prestige Class itself.
. . .
Spellcraft 10 ranks.
. . .
So the earliest that any full-on caster is qualifying for this prestige class is level 7, so those level 4 and 5 abilities are coming online at 11th and 12th level and not 9th and 10th.


I am aware of that, which is why I specifically regarded 10-13 range (you're the one that brought up expectations regarding 10th level, so I played along)





Let's look at Tremorsense, Lesser.
. . .
It must itself be in contact with the ground, and the creatures must be moving.


1. That's usually the case in a fight where you're standing on your two feet, isn't it?
2. Lesser Tremorsense doesn't concern me in this class. Moving on.





Earth Sight (Su): . . . Each use lasts for a number of rounds equal to 3 + the earth dreamer’s Con modifier.
Earth Glide (Su): . . . ditto.


Agreed, but other than costing you a standard action here and there, it's useful indefinitely.
So, if we'll take a modest +2 Con-bonus (the very least, with buffs, gear and levelling), then within a 5-round cycle, you spend a standard action to activate Earth Sight and another standard action to activate Earth Glide and you get 3 consecutive rounds of movement within stone + 2 move actions. And out of combat that translates to total freedom within stone and visually treating stone like mild fog.
And I'll go for the more lenient interpretation of stone, since the mortar is just as much earth matter as the bricks and stones.





If it were possible to polymorph into an earth elemental, this would have been possible much earlier than 12th level. It probably is if you include non-core spells but I'm not going to do that.


I'm willing to go for the lenient approach here as well.
I found 2 relevant spells for our issue in Spell Compendium:
- ELEMENTAL BODY; 7th ==> CL 13 min. I'd find it extremely hard to extrapolate Earth Glide from this spell, because: 1) It's not stated; 2) The "Your creature type remains unchanged" clause; 3) Earth doesn't specify such an option.
- SUMMON GREATER ELEMENTAL; 6th ==> CL 11 min, but you're not it, and an elemental can hardly count as an extension of your person.





Yeah, looking to invalidate a player's abilities is already putting yourself into a DM versus player mentality before we even start looking into working on or looking for an adventure to run for such players. It runs right into the DMG's suggestion to avoid fire resistant enemies just because the player is getting traction out of spamming fireball.


In case of fiery attacks – you attack and your opponents attack back.
Fiery attacks don't ruin your story line and make a character own the dungeon. Nothing fights back vs. Earth Glide to hinder your options.





So we're not looking to invalidate the earth dreamer's abilities, we're looking to make them useful. It's not going to be useful in a village where most of the huts and houses aren't made of stone.


True, but the floor usually is, and even if not, wood yields much easier than stone.





So where would our d4 HD and most likely 0 ranks in trapspotting/percepting/sneaking earth dreaming mage going to get the most traction out of these powers?

Dungeons, where, barring excessive spell use, is still where the trapspotting/disabling/percepting rogue - outside of excessive spell use - is still going to be the star, but hey, you have useful abilities that now help foil ambushes (earth sense more than tremorsense, but you might still get the drop on an invisible foe as to not suffer a sneak attack) and you can help the rogue identify threats in other rooms (the rogue would listen first and if he hears something, you would use your ability to identify the threats instead of guessing based on the rogue's listen check).


What I have is the means to make a DM cry for all his hard work flying out the window, because usually whatever his plannings are – they're all foiled in a few minutes of unhindered scouting/ambushing/thievery.





Note that I'm intentionally avoiding mentioning about stone-embedded traps because - again - d4 HD and if you're the party mage, that's not the best place for you to be given your skillset and utter lack of a good search modifier, even if you instant-perceive obvious stone traps, the rogue is still the best one around to disable the trap.

Earth glide is also excellent to have in any earth-based environment due to the added mobility and the ability to be immune to certain stone traps can be helpful, though many of those have enough metal parts for that to be hit-or-miss as well.

So in short, it's a group of powerful abiltiies with limited use that isn't necessarily going to out-shine the other party members outside of spending a lot of money and time crafting items to still keep putting yourself in danger (like a wand of summon monster 1 or 2 to set off traps, which won't help for auto-resetting traps or ones that release or otherwise involve powerful creatures).


Personally, if I went for Earth Dreamer, I'd gladly sacrifice 1 CL in favor of starting as 1st level Rogue and take my 6th char-level as Unseen Seer. That way, by the time I get Earth Glide, I'm already armed to the teeth with all the skills I need to own the dungeon.





I think you've also proven my point with regards to my complaint regarding the requirement of using many different online/PDF sources considering you could have paged through the pathfinder combat feats filter and found several of those.

Cleave (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/cleave-combat) works differently in pathfinder - you get a 2nd attack against an adjacent foe if the first hits instead of dies.


I'm puzzled why you chose a PF feat that's inferior to its 3.5 counterpart.





Blinding Critical (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/blinding-critical-combat-critical) blinds you on a failed fort save DC 10 + BAB or dazzles you on a successful save. You do have to successfully crit though but the one prerequisite feat, critical focus, gives you a +4 to attack rolls for that purpose. There are 11 such critical feats and two more feats can allow you to do two such effects at once any time you crit.


Still, you need to crit first and the target gets a save. Hardly what you could call overwhelming.




Deadly Aim (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/deadly-aim-combat) or power attack for ranged weapons.


Not bad actually.





Deadly Stroke (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/deadly-stroke-combat) allows you to make a single attack as a standard action with a weapon with which you have greater weapon focus with against a stunned or flat-footed opponent. If you hit, you deal double damage and one constitution bleed.


Again, quite situational and requires 4 feats and an exceedingly high BAB.





Lunge (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/lunge-combat---final) - the one that lets you take a -2 to AC for +5ft to your reach. Combine that with "stand still" and combat reflexes, then you have yourself a bonified melee battlefield controller, to some extent.


That one's actually good. Some actual battlefield control. Yes please.





Shatter Defenses (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/deadly-stroke-combat) is a fun one for rogues that prefer intimidation to feinting. Shaken, frightened, or panicked opponents are flat-footed to you until the end of your next turn. There are feats that let you intimidate more than a single opponent and if you overkill that intimidate check to demoralize, it can last for longer than one round. Just sayin'.


Nice, but requires 3 feats, a condition and your most effective attack.





Stand Still (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/stand-still-combat---final) or "you can just stay right there" from opponents that provoke an attack and you successfully combat maneuver attack their combat maneuver defense to combat maneuver stay right there.


So, on average, roughly a situational 25%-30% useful feat.





Wind Stance (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/wind-stance-combat---final) or gain 20% concealment if you move more than 5ft on any given round.


For having a lousy prereq feat, and given my proposed full-attack as a standard action houserule, it's decent.





So there's another smattering of (specifically) combat feats. Oh, I almost forgot Step Up (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/step-up-combat---final) for all those raging murder beasts (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/core-classes/barbarian) (perhaps combined with the Lunge feat) that like to remind those spellcasters that I take a five foot step backward to both avoid the need to make a concentration check to cast defensively and to avoid being super-murdered in the face should that check fail is reliable tactic any longer.


1. Step Up is a specific case of my interpretation of 5'-Step.
2. I guess I could suggest the PF Barbarian over its 3.5 counterpart.
3. Fizban would argue that spellcasters don't care, because they've already killed you before you got that close.

nonsi
2016-07-02, 08:18 AM
Which hardly matters when the gaze only hits you on the medusa's turn. That's why the save is supposed to be at the start of your turn, right after you choose weather or not to use your eyes. The only significant effect in the medusa's attack routine is one instance of poison with a lower DC and less threatening effect than the gaze.

8 doses of what should be a poison worth hundreds of gold pieces isn't quite what I'd call reasonable, but DMs have been dropping poison on people for ages, a pile of consumables of any sort will do the trick. It might make sense, but it's not part of the standard monster entry.

You can't use immediate actions when you're flat footed, such as after losing initiative. It's already listed as a swift action. An immediate action does bring it closer to the original design space by allowing it to threaten as soon as your eyes open and is probably the closest compromise we could reach.


Ok, then Gaze as a free action 1 / round seems a reasonable midway landing (since free actions can be taken w/o restrictions as long as you're physically able to take them)... w/ a clause to allow creatures that use both natural poison and edged weapons to make poisonous weapon attacks if they know you're coming with minutes' warning.





Uh, yeah it does:


Here's a link (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicOverview/spellDescriptions.htm#itemsSurvivingafteraSavingTh row) to the srd entry, should be in the same place in the PHB.


Agreed. Withdrawing Prismatic Wall.

Neoxenok
2016-07-02, 10:03 AM
In case of fiery attacks – you attack and your opponents attack back.
Fiery attacks don't ruin your story line and make a character own the dungeon. Nothing fights back vs. Earth Glide to hinder your options.
I'm sorry, but if your DM can't figure out how to design encounters or challenges between 10th and 15th level to factor in earth glide so badly that it'll ruin an entire module, then D&D is the wrong game to play. The difference between level 5 and 15 involves far more nuance than higher DCs and more damaging spells.

EDIT: If you look at the things that earth glide is most useful for doing - it's not too different than what a number of different arcane and divine spells do (such as the ones I brought up in a previous post) and many of those have been a part of the D&D lexicon for decades and by the time you're 10th level, even your magic-phobic classes that have no ability to independently use magic at all are now past the point to which they're gaining magic items and magic and alchemic items that can replicate the benefits that actual spells provide whether it's just a potion of cure light wounds or a ring of elemental command (http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Ring_of_Elemental_Command). So I'm not saying this applies to all magical effect as some are clearly problematic and game-breaking in their own way (such as the celerity line of spells and many different creatures with broken supernatural powers to gain through the shapechange spell or polymorph with the assume supernatural ability feat but earth glide is nowhere near that level of broken.


True, but the floor usually is, and even if not, wood yields much easier than stone.
Earth glide glides through earth and stone, not wood, despite the fact that wood has a lower hardness than stone. Wood also blocks earthsight and there aren't too many spells that I'm aware of that can activate on the other side of solid barriers. EDIT: I realize now that for some reason I was confusing D&D's magic with that of shadowrun, which requires line of sight, basically, but you still have to watch which spells allow you to designate a place from which the spell effect is created from spells, like haste, that actually require you to target someone that won't work through a barrier.

Most importantly something I've just thought of is that Earth Glide doesn't give you the ability to breathe while encased in stone. It's not like burrowing, where you create a tunnel. You're also still subject to lighting effects, so if you go further than 30ft from the surface or if it's blocked (such as by grass or wood), then you're effectively blinded.

EDIT 2: Also, being encased in stone makes it particularly difficult to use spells with verbal components.
EDIT 3: I've been looking around in the 3.5e SRD and I'm starting to wonder if it's even possible to cast spells underwater even? There's a statement under the aquatic environment section about spell effects but nothing about actually casting spells underwater. Pathfinder rules require a concentration check DC 15 + Spell level if you can't breathe water but none if you do. I don't know if that would apply underground or not but if it was me, I'd rule no because it doesn't make sense for that to work but a silence spell borks spellcasting.


What I have is the means to make a DM cry for all his hard work flying out the window, because usually whatever his plannings are – they're all foiled in a few minutes of unhindered scouting/ambushing/thievery.
Then it sounds like this DM needs to ban everything outside of the DMG's NPC classes and that overpowered adept and expert classes because Earthglide isn't that powerful. The only thing that makes it even a blip on the combat radar is the ability to use spells at surfacedwellers, which requires the caster to be close enough to the surface anyway to be hit and even that stick-wielding fighter knows how to hold an action and stab downward the moment a mage appears. That's not even approaching what can be done with appropriate NPC equipment and enemy mages.


Personally, if I went for Earth Dreamer, I'd gladly sacrifice 1 CL in favor of starting as 1st level Rogue and take my 6th char-level as Unseen Seer. That way, by the time I get Earth Glide, I'm already armed to the teeth with all the skills I need to own the dungeon.
That sounds like something I would do, though it's not the most optimal choice considering the hit to non-divination caster level you take every time you gain your 'divination spell power" ability but you could make up for that with practiced spellcaster.
I think there's also a metamagic feat somewhere that lets a spell skip barriers also by briefly skimming into the ethereal plane so this hypothetical "arcane trickster" could actually cast with some distance underground (and also guarantee hitting touch/FF AC and always gain sneak attack. See, that would actually make me care about this ability. I can't find it but I'm sure I've heard it somewhere but even so, the number of spells that work through a wall or thick enough earth is exceedingly limited.
Whatever. Worst case scenario, this problem is solved through not being on the ground, burrowing/earth gliding yourself, summoning a friend that can burrow/earth glide, or just going where there's grass to block the dreamer's earth sight. Persistent image also works where there isn't grass.

EDIT: Enemy mages with transmutations could outright kill this mage with a well-placed transmute rock to mud as given that our ED can only see and glide through one and not the other, that's an easy way to get that ED player to familiarize himself with the drowning rules. A more showy method would be polymorph any object and greater stone shape to completely control the ground and therefore the gliding mage within it to shape the ground up and then PaO the stone portion into any material that'll last long enough to suffocate the mage.
If you could antimagic field the area where the mage is, that'd deal damage automatically (the ground would spit him out) and then you could put an enemy rage monster with lunge, step up, and probably stand still in front of that mage and let him plant his greataxe into the ED's face.
I mean, this really isn't that hard and I've not even gone into talking about how SOL this mage is against a white dragon considering our earth glider really isn't going to be casting spells while gliding... at least none with verbal components.


I'm puzzled why you chose a PF feat that's inferior to its 3.5 counterpart.
Because I generally consider hitting two adjacent creatures simultaneously every hit to be a better investment than maybe getting that second attack off against a foe within reach when I kill the first.
By the time you can take advantage of cleave classic, your opponents are probably already too irrelevant for cleave to really affect the outcome.
This can also couple well with bull rush and reposition.


Still, you need to crit first and the target gets a save. Hardly what you could call overwhelming.
I never made these feats out to be impressive displays of awesome on their own. I only pointed out what was available in core only and an example that pathfinder did take some steps in the right direction in this regard and certainly better than the PHB's available fighter bonus feats, which I compared to being like a wizard that only had 1st level spell options and a few 2nd level spells that he could take at mid-high levels.
Again - I'm not even especially impressed by the PF Core RPG selection of feats, but I could work with this in designing a fighter. Hell, I didn't even see the battlefield control thing until I just showed it to you. In 3.5e, non core feat access is virtually mandatory to do much other than hit things or sometimes push/pull/grapple/disarm/sunder or whatever.

The crit feats never grabbed me that strongly, but there are things that can be done with it impressively. They'd certainly be good for a TWFer using high-crit weapons that gives the fighter or other noncasters the ability to deal status effects, like some high level drizzt build that forces a save against blindness and exhaustion (individually) on each crit. That's not nothing and it's certainly better than what the PHB offers. Lukewarm levels of actual power, I'm sure, but it's interesting and can be fun, unlike Greater Weapon Specialization, which is useful and practical but people have great stories about crits that do interesting things.
No one has stories about doing an extra 4 damage that isn't sad or hilarious due to ineptitude.

Come to think of it, the TWF unchained monk can actually manage more attacks now than ever. TWF + 2 bonus from flurry +1 from haste. ... nah. You could probably still crit more often dual-wielding kukris w/ improved crit or keen.


Again, quite situational and requires 4 feats and an exceedingly high BAB.
Everyone in pathfinder gets feats at every odd level and fighters get 11 more on top of that and have the BAB (though this was clearly made for monks and actually quite decent for brawlers.
The reason why I pointed it out is because giving a fighter-type the ability to do con bleed as a standard action was just something you wouldn't find in 3.5e. It seemed as though it was taboo for some reason. 3.5e's feats just seem to be 101 different variation of perform X action, do Y additional damage.


Nice, but requires 3 feats, a condition and your most effective attack.
Yes, all easily obtainable, even for a rogue.


1. Step Up is a specific case of my interpretation of 5'-Step.
2. I guess I could suggest the PF Barbarian over its 3.5 counterpart.
3. Fizban would argue that spellcasters don't care, because they've already killed you before you got that close.

I find it adorable that Fizban would think that. The DM must be mighty lenient and the barbarian's player must be a child and that child's first attempt at role playing games, no less.

Fizban
2016-07-03, 02:25 AM
Will add other responses later but wanted to grab on this real quick because obviously. Edit: added.

3. Fizban would argue that spellcasters don't care, because they've already killed you before you got that close.

I find it adorable that Fizban would think that. The DM must be mighty lenient and the barbarian's player must be a child and that child's first attempt at role playing games, no less.

So we're talking about Step Up right? In what way does that feat threaten spellcasters? Let's be clear, defensive casting checks only fail either at low levels or on characters built by similarly childlike players. 5' stepping away does nothing to stop being full attack super murdered next turn, so Step Up only matters in two cases: you were relying on some sort of BC effect to prevent your foe's 5' step and thus full attack, or they have Mage Slayer. Mage Slayer is a fine feat but by no means fits in every build and they're warned of it as soon as you threaten them. I've never seen much of any point in Step Up or it's predecessors, unless you are in fact combining it with Mage Slayer. It's not on the list you gave but you may have been assuming it anyway.

If we're talking about optimized melee builds of barbarian or other stripe, well I've already identified that you play at a higher power/cheese level than I do based on your defense of the Incantatrix, so there is a reasonable chance that something you're taking for granted is on my ban list. The most (and pretty much only) significant offender for melee being Spirit Lion Totem, though of course there are plenty of spells I've got chewing foam for casters.

Ok, then Gaze as a free action 1 / round seems a reasonable midway landing (since free actions can be taken w/o restrictions as long as you're physically able to take them)... w/ a clause to allow creatures that use both natural poison and edged weapons to make poisonous weapon attacks if they know you're coming with minutes' warning.
No, free actions are still actions and default to being usable only on your turn. This is a common misconception because speaking is useable outside your turn, but speaking is an exception. If you want gaze to be useable on someone else's turn it needs to be Immediate or specify both free and usable outside your turn.

I disagree with allowing free use of natural venom on weapons because once again it has far, far, far wider reaching effects than just this one monster. You can justify giving creatures Craft: Poisonmaking and carrying around prepared vials of their own venom for bladework, and that carries a potential reward to go with the risk as players can loot it, but just squirting your fang juice on a sword is not guaranteed to work out (in fact it specifically does not work at all). This is covered in Book of Vile Darkness with the poisonmaking rules.

Neoxenok
2016-07-03, 04:10 AM
So we're talking about Step Up right? In what way does that feat threaten spellcasters? Let's be clear, defensive casting checks only fail either at low levels or on characters built by similarly childlike players.
Quite. In pathfinder concentration is based off of your level + your primary casting stat + any bonuses from traits or feats, so in the best case scenario, a level 1 caster is most likely rocking a +6 (minimum) and a 20th level caster is most likely rocking a ... say +43.
This assumes a level 20 character +13 (36 main stat) and a +10 for giggles. We can round up that level one to +11.5 and round down +43 to 40 just to make the math easy and say that we're gaining about +1.5 to this number every level, rounded down.

Casting defensively in pathfinder requires a DC 15 + twice the spell level in a check, so the DC is
17 at level 1 with a +1 bonus every level until 20th level, when we hit the DC to defensively cast a 9th level spell at DC 33.
So level one I +11 vs DC 17, level 3 is +14 vs DC 19, Level 5 is +17 vs DC 21, Level 7 is +20 vs DC 23, Level 9 is +23 vs DC 25, Level 11 is +26 vs DC 27.
Percentage-wise, each casting attempt starts at a 25% chance of failure and decreases by about 2.5% every level afterward and at level 11, hits 0% assuming we're casting our most powerful spells, so a -10% chance of failure with each spell level lower.

So level 11 is, in our best case scenario for the mage, the point in which the casts defensively stage becomes trivial, which is more than half the game and most likely only just before most game campaigns end and far more likely is that that concentration check is going to be lower outside of our casters optimizing concentration, which is actually more difficult now that it isn't a skill that can be improved as easily (though there are feats and magic items that do but now there isn't a "I just make a custom item of +30 to my concentration skill check" like in 3.5 edition) but I'm sure it would be far from impossible to push my "best case scenario" somewhere north of +50 even without breaking into ridiculous custom items but even so, my barbarian required nothing more than a sturdy stick and one feat and even that is arguable.

Of course, that's not even the best tactic, which is having the barbarian say "I hold my action to attack when the caster starts casting and then our plucky caster has to contend with concentration checks DC 10 + damage dealt + spell level, which anyone with working eyes and some form of attack can do with or without step-up. Step up just means a caster can't 5ft step away from this either.

Also keep in mind that this is the best case scenario for the mage and not the barbarian. I did not account for mage slayer (a 3.5e feat) nor any of the pathfinder feats or traits or magic items that can make life more difficult for the mage. Further, just as how we could beef up the barbarian further and assume a more optimized build, we can also assume the opposite for the mage because not every mage wants to take feats and traits that boost concentration in lieu of metamagic, item creation, or any number of other fun things.


If we're talking about optimized melee builds of barbarian or other stripe, well I've already identified that you play at a higher power/cheese level than I do based on your defense of the Incantatrix, so there is a reasonable chance that something you're taking for granted is on my ban list. The most (and pretty much only) significant offender for melee being Spirit Lion Totem, though of course there are plenty of spells I've got chewing foam for casters.
I treat banning as a last resort so I tend to have a higher tolerance for optimization and smart gameplay than others, yes, both with regard to character-building and in-game tactics. If something needs changing badly enough, I'll alter it in the smallest way possible before resorting to a full ban.
But no, I did not have a particular "build" in mind for our example barbarian and my example didn't even need a barbarian. We could substitute the barbarian with any full BAB class or really anyone that doesn't suck at hitting opponents with melee or ranged weapons and can take at a least a few feats.

The only thing remarkable (that I can recall without referencing the barbarian's rage powers) about the core barbarian with respect to casters is the superstitious barbarian rage power, but that's nothing much more noteworthy than the paladin's divine grace in that respect in that it gives the barbarian a stackable bonus to saves vs. spells, but a mage's best disabling spells will hit anything but that, usually touch AC and/or SR.

nonsi
2016-07-03, 05:37 AM
I'm sorry, but if your DM can't figure out how to design encounters or challenges between 10th and 15th level to factor in earth glide so badly that it'll ruin an entire module, then D&D is the wrong game to play. The difference between level 5 and 15 involves far more nuance than higher DCs and more damaging spells.


I couldn't care less about Earth Glide's combat benefits. Greathorn Minotaur is not that impressive.
I don't even mind what you could do with it in non-combat encounters.
I do mind what you could do with it out of encounters altogether.





ring of elemental command (http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Ring_of_Elemental_Command)


None of the benefits comes anywhere near Earth Glide in terms of movement, scouting etc.
The only thing that beats the Earth Dreamer is a 16th level druid that can actually turn into an earth elemental. However, in a campaign that bans Natural Spell, Earth Dreamer still wins by magnitudes.





EDIT: . . .
Most importantly something I've just thought of is that Earth Glide doesn't give you the ability to breathe while encased in stone. It's not like burrowing, where you create a tunnel.


I'm not sure about this assumption. Meld Into Stone also doesn't state to sustain your breath, and yet its duration is 10 min/level – more than enough to choke the average land creature to death.





You're also still subject to lighting effects, so if you go further than 30ft from the surface or if it's blocked (such as by grass or wood), then you're effectively blinded.


1. True, but how often do you need to go further into a wall than 30'?
2. In practice, to truly render you blind, the block of stone needs to be at least 60' wide on every direction.





EDIT 2: Also, being encased in stone makes it particularly difficult to use spells with verbal components.


Depends on how you interpret "as easily as a fish swims through water".





EDIT 3: . . . I don't know if that would apply underground or not but if it was me, I'd rule no because it doesn't make sense for that to work but a silence spell borks spellcasting.


Not sure what "bork" means, but Silent Spell does solve that problem.






Then it sounds like this DM needs to ban everything outside of the DMG's NPC classes and that overpowered adept and expert classes because Earthglide isn't that powerful.


Again, how do you, as DM, plan on dealing with this ability when running the campaign – let's focus on non-encounters.





That sounds like something I would do, though it's not the most optimal choice considering the hit to non-divination caster level you take every time you gain your 'divination spell power" ability but you could make up for that with practiced spellcaster.
I think there's also a metamagic feat somewhere that lets a spell skip barriers also by briefly skimming into the ethereal plane so this hypothetical "arcane trickster" could actually cast with some distance underground (and also guarantee hitting touch/FF AC and always gain sneak attack. See, that would actually make me care about this ability. I can't find it but I'm sure I've heard it somewhere but even so, the number of spells that work through a wall or thick enough earth is exceedingly limited.


The thing with all spells is that they're exhaustible. You can't spam them all day long.





Whatever. Worst case scenario, this problem is solved through not being on the ground, burrowing/earth gliding yourself, summoning a friend that can burrow/earth glide, or just going where there's grass to block the dreamer's earth sight. Persistent image also works where there isn't grass.

EDIT: Enemy mages with transmutations could outright kill this mage with a well-placed transmute rock to mud as given that our ED can only see and glide through one and not the other, that's an easy way to get that ED player to familiarize himself with the drowning rules.


If combat was the thing that worries me, then there was a point to dig deeper into this. But it's not.





Again - I'm not even especially impressed by the PF Core RPG selection of feats, but I could work with this in designing a fighter. Hell, I didn't even see the battlefield control thing until I just showed it to you. In 3.5e, non core feat access is virtuallymandatory to do much other than hit things or sometimes push/pull/grapple/disarm/sunder or whatever.


Sure. No news there.





The crit feats never grabbed me that strongly, but there are things that can be done with it impressively. They'd certainly be good for a TWFer using high-crit weapons that gives the fighter or other noncasters the ability to deal status effects, like some high level drizzt build that forces a save against blindness and exhaustion (individually) on each crit. That's not nothing and it's certainly better than what the PHB offers. Lukewarm levels of actual power, I'm sure, but it's interesting and can be fun, unlike Greater Weapon Specialization, which is useful and practical but people have great stories about crits that do interesting things.
No one has stories about doing an extra 4 damage that isn't sad or hilarious due to ineptitude.


I see what you mean. Myself, I was never a fan of the Weapon Focus line. I always thought those should be expressed as secondary class features rather than something that requires expenditure of feats.





Come to think of it, the TWF unchained monk can actually manage more attacks now than ever. TWF + 2 bonus from flurry +1 from haste. ... nah. You could probably still crit more often dual-wielding kukris w/ improved crit or keen.


Too many dice rolls slow down your game.





Everyone in pathfinder gets feats at every odd level and fighters get 11 more on top of that and have the BAB (though this was clearly made for monks and actually quite decent for brawlers.


Problem with that approach is that it further widens the gap between casters and noncasters.





The reason why I pointed it out is because giving a fighter-type the ability to do con bleed as a standard action was just something you wouldn't find in 3.5e. It seemed as though it was taboo for some reason. 3.5e's feats just seem to be 101 different variation of perform X action, do Y additional damage.


No argument there.

Neoxenok
2016-07-03, 07:38 AM
I couldn't care less about Earth Glide's combat benefits. Greathorn Minotaur is not that impressive.
I don't even mind what you could do with it in non-combat encounters.
I do mind what you could do with it out of encounters altogether.
I wasn't just referring to encounters, I was referring to challenging players in general through a combination of both encounters and challenges. Phrased differently, I would say a DM's ability to allow players to use their character skills and abilities in such a manner as to not hijack any one game or the module or campaign altogether.


None of the benefits comes anywhere near Earth Glide in terms of movement, scouting etc.
The only thing that beats the Earth Dreamer is a 16th level druid that can actually turn into an earth elemental. However, in a campaign that bans Natural Spell, Earth Dreamer still wins by magnitudes.
If a druid was really that desperate, there are other feats that get around that as well, not the least of which is silent and still spell though I'm sure there are easier methods.

The multitude of wizard/sorcerer spells I mentioned earlier achieve a similar level of all of those things.


I'm not sure about this assumption. Meld Into Stone also doesn't state to sustain your breath, and yet its duration is 10 min/level – more than enough to choke the average land creature to death.
Sigh... okay. Below is the description for 3.5e's Meld into Stone. I did us both the favor of highlighting things that meld into stone does that is not also written in Earth Glide.


Meld into stone enables you to meld your body and possessions into a single block of stone. The stone must be large enough to accommodate your body in all three dimensions. When the casting is complete, you and not more than 100 pounds of nonliving gear merge with the stone. If either condition is violated, the spell fails and is wasted.

While in the stone, you remain in contact, however tenuous, with the face of the stone through which you melded. You remain aware of the passage of time and can cast spells on yourself while hiding in the stone. Nothing that goes on outside the stone can be seen, but you can still hear what happens around you. Minor physical damage to the stone does not harm you, but its partial destruction (to the extent that you no longer fit within it) expels you and deals you 5d6 points of damage. The stone’s complete destruction expels you and slays you instantly unless you make a DC 18 Fortitude save.

Any time before the duration expires, you can step out of the stone through the surface that you entered. If the spell’s duration expires or the effect is dispelled before you voluntarily exit the stone, you are violently expelled and take 5d6 points of damage.

The following spells harm you if cast upon the stone that you are occupying: Stone to flesh expels you and deals you 5d6 points of damage. Stone shape deals you 3d6 points of damage but does not expel you. Transmute rock to mud expels you and then slays you instantly unless you make a DC 18 Fortitude save, in which case you are merely expelled. Finally, passwall expels you without damage.

This spell, as you'll see above, tells us that you merge with the stone, not merely pass through it and you can cast spells when within it. This spell specifically tells you these things. Earth glide does not.


1. True, but how often do you need to go further into a wall than 30'?
2. In practice, to truly render you blind, the block of stone needs to be at least 60' wide on every direction.
Who said anything about going below 30ft? The ability lets you see through stone and (I presume) dirt. Not grass. Not wood. Not illusions. Not the tapestries. Not the wall paint. Not the furniture. Not a rug. Not a carpet. Not mud. Not hay. Nothing other than stone.


Depends on how you interpret "as easily as a fish swims through water".
I interpret it to refer to movement.


Not sure what "bork" means, but Silent Spell does solve that problem.
Yes. With a +1 to the spell level per spell used.


Again, how do you, as DM, plan on dealing with this ability when running the campaign – let's focus on non-encounters.
I don't know how to explain this to you because I don't even know how your experience told you to ban them to begin with and I could tell you what I would have done differently. Naturally, the basis of this discussion rests on the fact that I don't think it's powerful enough seriously affect games I run.
I've heard people have the same issues with divinations but this is even less useful than that because I don't know what obstacles this removes that could ruin an adventure, let alone a module or campaign because from the way this discussion is going, I have no idea how you would have handled rogues. Like a regular rogue character or a prying eyes spell, scrying, clairvoyance, invisibility, flying (flying AND invisibility), silence and invisibility, and so on.

So my best answer at the moment is that I would make having the ability and the player using it to make it useful and let the player use it to gather information (assuming he could pass the listen check through the amount of stone or dirt) between him and whomever is speaking and having a working understanding of the powers benefits and limitations. What this means is that the ability can and should be used to progress the adventure by simply making it an alternative to more traditional methods in a manner not terribly different from the more powerful magical spells available at later levels (which is why I bothered to mention things like ethereal jaunt earlier.)
I mean, this spell becomes accessible only one level later (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/etherealJaunt.htm) than the soonest moment that earth glide comes online so if earth glide ruined your game at that level, then how in the 7 peaks of Celestia is earth glide so ruinous to your games because it's not like it would take much for a wizard punch up a few bonus scrolls to eliminate any "but it's not at will" as a viable counterargument and frankly, ethereal jaunt's ability to surpass earth glide is only the most obvious example and I've pointed out several lower-level spells that can also achieve similar results using different methods.
Even if they're all resource-based, the fact that they're altogether spread across all levels and have other uses means a mage can prepare them and effectively eliminate the need for earth glide or earth sight and possess several powers and abilities that earth glide/sight does not have. Clairvoyance/Clairaudience effectively does a lot of what earth sight does but also lets you hear on the other side of a barrier and it works on any barrier, not just ones made of stone and can't be blocked by a tapestry, for example. Fly and invisibility (or a ring of invisibility) effectively covers a lot of what the worst of earth glide does and those come online at level five in terms of non-combat usefulness.

Some of my higher level (read: above 10th level) campaigns literally required the player sometimes use their magic and high-DC gather information or diplomacy checks to gain certain bits of sometimes necessary information. The hindsight spell became useful a number of times to give my PCs information and was part of the reason why my newly epic characters found the big dungeon I was talking about earlier.


The thing with all spells is that they're exhaustible. You can't spam them all day long.
That's true, but it also doesn't matter unless said spell or other ability is useful all the time. Earth glide could qualify about as well as fly but that's partly why I concentrated as much as I did on how useful it is in combat.
Outside of combat, you only need an ability as long as it is useful and outside of combat, there is no way earth glide competes with a lot of the other spells I've been talking about.


I see what you mean. Myself, I was never a fan of the Weapon Focus line. I always thought those should be expressed as secondary class features rather than something that requires expenditure of feats.
Like the weapon training feature?


Starting at 5th level, a fighter can select one group of weapons, as noted below. Whenever he attacks with a weapon from this group, he gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls.

Every four levels thereafter (9th*, 13th, and 17th), a fighter becomes further trained in another group of weapons. He gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls when using a weapon from this group. In addition, the bonuses granted by previous weapon groups increase by +1 each. For example, when a fighter reaches 9th level, he receives a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls with one weapon group and a +2 bonus on attack and damage rolls with the weapon group selected at 5th level. Bonuses granted from overlapping groups do not stack. Take the highest bonus granted for a weapon if it resides in two or more groups.


Problem with that approach is that it further widens the gap between casters and noncasters.
So.... fixing four of the 11 core martial classes are all pathfinder classes.
The shapeshifter ACS is basically a prototype to how all polymorphing works in pathfinder.
None of your banned prestige classes exist in pathfinder and indeed pathfinder overall has a fraction of the total number of prestige classes.
Divine metamagic doesn't exist in pathfinder.

Most of the problem core spells, especially polymorphing, which you pointed to the PF system to use in place of 3.5e's, have been nerfed, sometimes severely so (I think they went too far with forcecage).

Diplomacy actually works and isn't too different from Rich's.

So I suppose if your definition of "widens the gap between casters and non-casters" is broad enough to mean that "giving casters ANYTHING, even if you're giving the non-casters exactly the same thing" then yes. It widened the gap that, by all accounts, is far more narrow than in 3.5 edition considering the feats for melees is also substantially better where the feats and spells for casters is either the same or nerfed.

Fizban
2016-07-03, 07:42 PM
In pathfinder concentration. . .
Casting defensively in pathfinder requires a DC 15 + twice the spell level in a check, so the DC is. . .
If you're grafting just the combat classes onto what is otherwise 3.5 then you're not using pathfinder's skills or concentration rules unless you pull more stuff.

The only thing remarkable (that I can recall without referencing the barbarian's rage powers) about the core [pathfinder] barbarian. . .
I only intended to weigh in on Step Up, I have little experience with or interest in the core pathfinder classes, but I will say that if you're going to replace whole categories of base classes with pathfinder material it's probably a better idea to just use pathfinder.

Because I generally consider hitting two adjacent creatures simultaneously every hit to be a better investment than maybe getting that second attack off against a foe within reach when I kill the first.
By the time you can take advantage of cleave classic, your opponents are probably already too irrelevant for cleave to really affect the outcome.
This can also couple well with bull rush and reposition.
That said, I would point out the point of 3.5 Cleave is not to "hit two people at once." The complaint you're leveling should be directed at Great Cleave, which is indeed pretty useless. Cleave by itself is a bonus attack that gets thrown in when you drop a foe, costing you no actions. It only works if you're fighting multiple foes who are both in your threatened area and personally drop one, but if your party and DM fight in that sort of style then it can trigger pretty often for free attacks. So like most fighter feats it does it's job, but is situational.

Most importantly something I've just thought of is that Earth Glide doesn't give you the ability to breathe while encased in stone. It's not like burrowing, where you create a tunnel. You're also still subject to lighting effects, so if you go further than 30ft from the surface or if it's blocked (such as by grass or wood), then you're effectively blinded.

EDIT 2: Also, being encased in stone makes it particularly difficult to use spells with verbal components.
EDIT 3: I've been looking around in the 3.5e SRD and I'm starting to wonder if it's even possible to cast spells underwater even? There's a statement under the aquatic environment section about spell effects but nothing about actually casting spells underwater. Pathfinder rules require a concentration check DC 15 + Spell level if you can't breathe water but none if you do. I don't know if that would apply underground or not but if it was me, I'd rule no because it doesn't make sense for that to work but a silence spell borks spellcasting.
Verbal components require a firm clear voice, nothing prevents you from speaking underwater until you run out of breath in your lungs, or with water you're breathing through some effect. It won't be very intelligible to others, but there's no clause like being deafened where you receive a failure chance. In any case I'd say it's abundantly clear from fire spells being the only mention of trouble that yes, you're meant to cast underwater without significant issues aside from the whole not breathing water problem.

As for casting in stone while earth gliding: again, you have breath in your lungs and nothing is officially preventing you from exhaling. Your hands are clearly free to move about. The usual descriptor for earth glide is "move through stone like a fish swims through water," implying about as heavily as you possibly could that there should be no restrictions on your actions at all. If you're being permissive then there's no reason to prevent it, but if you're looking for a way to nerf it then your only avenue is saying exhalation and thus speech is impossible. You still don't have line of effect to anything but yourself of course.

While we're talking about earth glide, I will point out once again (for nonsi) that the Xorn Movement spell lets you do this for a 5th level slot. As for Earth Dreamer, it's a full casting PrC with extra at-will abilities, the most significant of which being the x-ray vision through 30' of stone. The standard action overhead on them is annoying but it still gains all it's abilities in only 5 levels. It should lose a casting level but one is enough, 4th would be the appropriate level though it's a bit awkward.

And I do agree fully with Neoxenok that if the DM can't build a dungeon for their party then they need to git gud. At 11th level every character is counted as Legendary by the Legend Lore spell, and that descriptor extends to the places where they do their adventuring. Parties of that level do not adventure in boring caves you can just earth glide through: they go to intelligently built fortresses warded by piles of magic made by people stronger than they are who have anticipated every obvious trick and a bunch more, span multiple locations across the plane and planes with Teleport and interconnected portals, or similar.


Not sure what "bork" means, but Silent Spell does solve that problem.
"Bork" is a corruption of "broke," as in "this feat is totally borked" in reference to a broken feat. I think the point he was going for is that Silence makes it impossible to cast, but that's a completely different effect. Contrary to popular belief solid objects do in fact conduct sound, and if you can speak then you can verbal component.

Myself, I was never a fan of the Weapon Focus line. I always thought those should be expressed as secondary class features rather than something that requires expenditure of feats.
Just cause I feel like it, I'm gonna point out that Pathfinder's first big fix for the Fighter, universally regarded as not needing any more feats or flat bonuses. . . was to increase the feats for all characters and add some flat bonuses onto Fighter. Yeah they've got plenty of good feats and ACFs that are even more feats, but that's the changes they made to the class itself (I don't disagree either). And as I said above, I'm always amused by how people dump on the Weapon Focus line when it actually provides more attack and damage than Rage by the end. I've been considering a Fighter tweak of throwing in a free line of Weapon focus, a sort of split between Pathfinder's admission that flat bonuses are nice but without piling on even more feat options. Once they have the bonus people will be quite leery of giving it up.

Neoxenok
2016-07-03, 08:25 PM
If you're grafting just the combat classes onto what is otherwise 3.5 then you're not using pathfinder's skills or concentration rules unless you pull more stuff.

I only intended to weigh in on Step Up, I have little experience with or interest in the core pathfinder classes, but I will say that if you're going to replace whole categories of base classes with pathfinder material it's probably a better idea to just use pathfinder.
I don't know where you're getting that I'm "grafting the combat classes from PF to what is otherwise 3.5" because I've literally only taken pathfinder into consideration into my explanations with regard to concentration versus an attacker with step up. Keep in mind that nonsi is basing many of his fixes for 3.5 by lifting a lot of PF's fixes, which appears to be increasing the longer these discussions go to the point to where I think it'll eventually mean that playing 3.5e with minimalistic fixes is just Pathfinder with Nonsi's houserules.

FYI, casting defensively in 3.5e is this:


Casting Defensively: If you want to cast a spell without provoking any attacks of opportunity, you must make a Concentration check (DC 15 + the level of the spell you’re casting) to succeed. You lose the spell if you fail.

So casting defensively is more difficult for casters in pathfinder than it is in 3.5e. (Spell level vs twice spell level) and boosting concentration is more difficult given that concentration is no longer a skill.


That said, I would point out the point of 3.5 Cleave is not to "hit two people at once." The complaint you're leveling should be directed at Great Cleave, which is indeed pretty useless. Cleave by itself is a bonus attack that gets thrown in when you drop a foe, costing you no actions. It only works if you're fighting multiple foes who are both in your threatened area and personally drop one, but if your party and DM fight in that sort of style then it can trigger pretty often for free attacks. So like most fighter feats it does it's job, but is situational.
Pathfinder cleave gives you a free attack as long as you hit your opponent. The only stipulation is that your second opponent has to be adjacent to the first.

3.5e cleave gives you your free attack to anyone you threaten but only if you land the killing blow to the opponent you hit.

Both are situational to me, but my assessment is that PF cleave would apply more often, particularly considering that adjacent foes can be created through various combat maneuvers as well or just plain enemies trying to attack you en-masse.

I don't know. This isn't a point so strongly in my favor that I can prove this undeniably but it doesn't seem to be worse than 3.5e cleave either. Perhaps we could all agree this is a sideways movement? I know I've read that classic cleave was brought back as another non-core feat also, so it's not like that option was lost. Point being that is just definitively isn't worse.


Verbal components require a firm clear voice, nothing prevents you from speaking underwater until you run out of breath in your lungs, or with water you're breathing through some effect. It won't be very intelligible to others, but there's no clause like being deafened where you receive a failure chance. In any case I'd say it's abundantly clear from fire spells being the only mention of trouble that yes, you're meant to cast underwater without significant issues aside from the whole not breathing water problem.

As for casting in stone while earth gliding: again, you have breath in your lungs and nothing is officially preventing you from exhaling. Your hands are clearly free to move about. The usual descriptor for earth glide is "move through stone like a fish swims through water," implying about as heavily as you possibly could that there should be no restrictions on your actions at all. If you're being permissive then there's no reason to prevent it, but if you're looking for a way to nerf it then your only avenue is saying exhalation and thus speech is impossible. You still don't have line of effect to anything but yourself of course.
About verbal components, or a spoken incantation.


To provide a verbal component, you must be able to speak in a strong voice. A silence spell or a gag spoils the incantation (and thus the spell). A spellcaster who has been deafened has a 20% chance to spoil any spell with a verbal component that he or she tries to cast.

I'm well aware that sound can travel through both water and stone (better than air, in fact, as any seismologist can tell you) but that isn't the same thing as being able to speak in a strong voice in either case. Further, although water lets you expel the air out from your lungs and nothing is stopping you from doing everything you normally do when casting a verbal component, Pathfinder still forces you to make a concentration check (there are no equivalent 3.5e rules) and a silence spell is even easier but it utterly stops any sound from being created. Earth glide lets you move through stone as easily as a fish through water but that's not the same thing as letting you breathe, treat stone like water or air for the purpose of inhaling or exhaling, or being able to speak in a strong voice.

Think about it this way - casting spells with verbal components fails if you're a chimpanzee, even if that chimp is intelligent enough to use magic himself (as opposed to being a polymorphed wizard or wildshaped druid.)

EDIT: The emphasis is equal on both speaking in a strong voice and the ability to speak. Casting a spell with a verbal component requires more than just the ability to yell nonsense words. You need to speak an incantation, which is why being gagged or polymorphed is effective in ruining your ability to cast spells with verbal components - even though you can make sound travel out of your voicebox as easily as a human can. "Able to create sound" is not the sole requirement for a verbal component and that's a good reason for earth gliders to be unable to produce spells with verbal components whilst earth gliding or at least considerably more difficult than underwater casting.

Fizban
2016-07-04, 01:05 AM
I don't know where you're getting that I'm "grafting the combat classes from PF to what is otherwise 3.5" because I've literally only taken pathfinder into consideration into my explanations with regard to concentration versus an attacker with step up. Keep in mind that nonsi is basing many of his fixes for 3.5 by lifting a lot of PF's fixes, which appears to be increasing the longer these discussions go to the point to where I think it'll eventually mean that playing 3.5e with minimalistic fixes is just Pathfinder with Nonsi's houserules.
The basic premise of the thread? There was very little pathfinder until you started pushing it so don't go trying to deflect that to nonsi. Considering you're only the second person to stick around it's not surprising that would start happening, but that's on you.

FYI, casting defensively in 3.5e is this:
Extraneous explanation is extraneous.

So casting defensively is more difficult for casters in pathfinder than it is in 3.5e. (Spell level vs twice spell level) and boosting concentration is more difficult given that concentration is no longer a skill.
It's a good thing I didn't say or imply otherwise in any way then. I pointed out that you were assuming more pathfinder material in your comparisons than was being used in nonsi's OP, which you just repeated yourself.

Pathfinder cleave gives you a free attack as long as you hit your opponent. The only stipulation is that your second opponent has to be adjacent to the first.
Pathfinder cleave also prevents you from using a full attack, unless I'm missing some buried allowance. And if there was a golden rule for melee it would be "thou shalt not sacrifice full attacks."

Pathfinder still forces you to make a concentration check (there are no equivalent 3.5e rules)
Shame this is a 3.5 fix then.

casting spells with verbal components fails if you're a chimpanzee
You are aware that chimpanzees lack vocal chords capable of producing human speech, right? That's why (and even if they actually do and I've just never heard about it, as far as DnD is concerned they don't). This comparison has nothing to do with anything.

Earth glide lets you move through stone as easily as a fish through water but that's not the same thing as letting you breathe, treat stone like water or air for the purpose of inhaling or exhaling, or being able to speak in a strong voice.
Unless it is the same thing. The most obvious natural reading is that fish are perfectly at home in water and have no restrictions. Earth glide does not impose any restrictions (because it's not written from a perspective that expects players to get it, but still). Even if you say the user can swim but not breathe, the water comparison maintains your ability to exhale. The only way to prevent verbal components when earth gliding is to say they can't exhale because there's nowhere for the air to go, nothing you've said here has changed that and I don't see why you'd need to anyway since this is the most airtight (pun!) defense.

You need to speak an incantation
Which is no different than speaking normally.

which is why being gagged or polymorphed is effective in ruining your ability to cast spells with verbal components - even though you can make sound travel out of your voicebox as easily as a human can. "Able to create sound" is not the sole requirement for a verbal component and that's a good reason for earth gliders to be unable to produce spells with verbal components whilst earth gliding or at least considerably more difficult than underwater casting.
For claiming to be a more permissive DM you sure are stretching for reasons to disallow something here, since none of these have anything to do with anything. Polymorph doesn't harm your ability to speak at all as long as the target form is also capable of speech (weather or not the Pathfinder form of Polymorph can do that is irrelevant). Earth glide is magically phasing your body through a solid material, your jaw doesn't care what it's superimposed on and you're not gagged in any way. It doesn't matter how far your voice carries as long as you, personally, are speaking in a clear voice and avoid garbling your words: there is a difference between magical Silence and having difficulty hearing someone, the universe (game mechanics) doesn't care.

All I see here is a pile of false equivalencies drawn backwards from the goal of preventing speech while earthgliding in a way other than what I proposed. I said that stone doesn't prevent the travel of sound and suddenly you're implying I think chimpanzees can cast spells.

nonsi
2016-07-04, 01:16 AM
While we're talking about earth glide, I will point out once again (for nonsi) that the Xorn Movement spell lets you do this for a 5th level slot. As for Earth Dreamer, it's a full casting PrC with extra at-will abilities, the most significant of which being the x-ray vision through 30' of stone. The standard action overhead on them is annoying but it still gains all it's abilities in only 5 levels. It should lose a casting level but one is enough, 4th would be the appropriate level though it's a bit awkward.


And still, when I compare Xorn Movement to Earth Glide, this is what I see:
1. The target cannot move through worked stone, brick, or metal.
2. Xorn Movement consumes a spell - a limited resource under the vancian system.
3. lasts 1 round/level... and then ends the instant you fully exit to an open space.





And I do agree fully with Neoxenok that if the DM can't build a dungeon for their party then they need to git gud. At 11th level every character is counted as Legendary by the Legend Lore spell, and that descriptor extends to the places where they do their adventuring. Parties of that level do not adventure in boring caves you can just earth glide through: they go to intelligently built fortresses warded by piles of magic made by people stronger than they are who have anticipated every obvious trick and a bunch more, span multiple locations across the plane and planes with Teleport and interconnected portals, or similar.


I totally accept this approach, but again - how do you prevent the party from bypassing months worth of gametime settings in two days worth of gametime via Earth Glide every time they reach stone-based locations?
I could come up with strategies to narrow their options (e.g. the interior of all/most walls is a combination of wood and iron), but how do you do that without it being analogous to putting a flowerpot in a dungeon and calling it "jungle settings" (I mean, how many 5th level earth dreamers are there in the world for most BBEGs to take them into account)?

Neoxenok
2016-07-04, 01:40 AM
And still, when I compare Xorn Movement to Earth Glide, this is what I see:
1. The target cannot move through worked stone, brick, or metal.
2. Xorn Movement consumes a spell - a limited resource under the vancian system.
3. lasts 1 round/level... and then ends the instant you fully exit to an open space.
Two things - 1) spells exist to be used.
2) The other limitations are irrelevant
An ability that's only useful a few times a day isn't going to benefit much if you can use it more often.


I totally accept this approach, but again - how do you prevent the party from bypassing months worth of gametime settings in two days worth of gametime via Earth Glide every time they reach stone-based locations?
I could come up with strategies to narrow their options (e.g. the interior of all/most walls is a combination of wood and iron), but how do you do that without it being analogous to putting a flowerpot in a dungeon and calling it "jungle settings" (I mean, how many 5th level earth dreamers are there in the world for most BBEGs to take them into account)?

I've answered this twice now and counting fizbin's answer, that makes thrice. I've also included numerous ways in which this ability can be countered in combat and out of combat considering that earthsight can be blocked by literally any material other than more stone or dirt.

If your goal in this discussion is to learn some manner to just shut this power down completely and with minimal effort, then you're not going to find it. Your earth-dreaming player ran this prestige class to five levels to gain these abilities and there's no reason it shouldn't be useful just because your CR 10 or higher enemies can't somehow come up with a building material other than non-magical stone. I have yet to see a retort to any point made so far that isn't just "but it'll break the game!"

How?

Outside of generalizing, I don't consider this ability broken but you obviously do and you've mentioned experience in how this broke your game. If you're not going to digest what we've given you based on our generalized answers, then we'll either have to move on to answer how things applied to your specific situation or we'll just have to drop the discussion altogether.

There is absolutely no reason why the Earth Dreamer should be giving you more difficulty than literally anything else a mage can do between 10th and 15th.

nonsi
2016-07-04, 02:23 AM
Who said anything about going below 30ft? The ability lets you see through stone and (I presume) dirt. Not grass. Not wood. Not illusions. Not the tapestries. Not the wall paint. Not the furniture. Not a rug. Not a carpet. Not mud. Not hay. Nothing other than stone.


- Grass – 1) Partial. 2) You can go to the surface and use it to hide.
- Wood – Anything built to last is made out of stone stuff. Anyone that has the resources would choose stone over wood. Why on earth would anyone layer stone walls/floors with wood?
- Illusions – Who'd place illusions adjacent to sturdy walls?
- Tapestries – 1) Can be moved aside. By the time the enemy notices, either you're long gone or they're dead. 2) Tapestries never cover all walls (not even in the Louvre – and I've been there to know).
- Wall paint – Relevant only if the entire location is fully covered with wall paint and it's vital that no one ever finds out that there was an invasion for years to come. Otherwise you could effortlessly break the paint from the other side.
- Furniture – 1) Partial visual obstruction only. 2) Can be physically moved.
- Rug/Carpet – same as tapestries.
- Mud – sure, if the owner of the place consistently maintains mud pockets inside the walls. Never heard of such strategy.
- Hay – Same as furniture.

I'm assuming that the answer to some of the above would be: "but you're gonna get caught".
My reply would be: "not if I operate by night, armed w/ Invisibility, Nondetection, sensory aids and probably some homemade sound-dimming effect".







scrying, clairvoyance, invisibility, flying (flying AND invisibility), silence and invisibility, and so on.


Scrying – you need to know what you're looking for.
Clairvoyance – if you guessed wrong, you've wasted a spell for nothing.
Flying – doesn't get you passed multisided barriers.





ethereal jaunt


How much can you accomplish via a 1rd / level effect (and once you phase back, it's over)... compared to an "eat all you can free bouffette" power?





I mean, this spell becomes accessible only one level later (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/etherealJaunt.htm) than the soonest moment that earth glide comes online so if earth glide ruined your game at that level, then how in the 7 peaks of Celestia is earth glide so ruinous to your games because it's not like it would take much for a wizard punch up a few bonus scrolls to eliminate any "but it's not at will" as a viable counterargument and frankly, ethereal jaunt's ability to surpass earth glide is only the most obvious example and I've pointed out several lower-level spells that can also achieve similar results using different methods.


The wizard has to know you're coming to do anything about it. I doubt scrying allows you to see into the inside of stone.





Even if they're all resource-based, the fact that they're altogether spread across all levels and have other uses means a mage can prepare them and effectively eliminate the need for earth glide or earth sight and possess several powers and abilities that earth glide/sight does not have. Clairvoyance/Clairaudience effectively does a lot of what earth sight does but also lets you hear on the other side of a barrier and it works on any barrier, not just ones made of stone and can't be blocked by a tapestry, for example. Fly and invisibility (or a ring of invisibility) effectively covers a lot of what the worst of earth glide does and those come online at level five in terms of non-combat usefulness.


Given all the above, I'd say this is a good time to pause for a minute and contemplate this argument.
In a nutshell: you're wasting resources – "spread across all levels" as you stated!! At the same time, a 5th level earth dreamer just goes on a stroll and wastes (almost) nothing.
You're probably gonna say that my ED build also uses additional effects, but since they'd work all the time – this is where I'll invest to get permanent items to serve all my needs all the time.





hindsight


1. Ninth Level Spell
2. I don't see how this spell would help you deal w/ things to come.






That's true, but it also doesn't matter unless said spell or other ability is useful all the time. Earth glide could qualify about as well as fly but that's partly why I concentrated as much as I did on how useful it is in combat.
Outside of combat, you only need an ability as long as it is useful and outside of combat, there is no way earth glide competes with a lot of the other spells I've been talking about.


Care to reconsider now?

nonsi
2016-07-04, 02:28 AM
No, free actions are still actions and default to being usable only on your turn. This is a common misconception because speaking is useable outside your turn, but speaking is an exception. If you want gaze to be useable on someone else's turn it needs to be Immediate or specify both free and usable outside your turn.


Thanks. Fixed.





I disagree with allowing free use of natural venom on weapons because once again it has far, far, far wider reaching effects than just this one monster. You can justify giving creatures Craft: Poisonmaking and carrying around prepared vials of their own venom for bladework, and that carries a potential reward to go with the risk as players can loot it, but just squirting your fang juice on a sword is not guaranteed to work out (in fact it specifically does not work at all). This is covered in Book of Vile Darkness with the poisonmaking rules.


I'll think about what to do here. Maybe grant medusas Poisonmaking as a bonus feat.

Neoxenok
2016-07-04, 02:30 AM
The basic premise of the thread? There was very little pathfinder until you started pushing it so don't go trying to deflect that to nonsi. Considering you're only the second person to stick around it's not surprising that would start happening, but that's on you.
I'm not pushing him toward PF, I'm trying to push him away from it. What changes he chooses to accept based on what I say is entirely of his own volition regardless of my success or failure in this regard.


It's a good thing I didn't say or imply otherwise in any way then. I pointed out that you were assuming more pathfinder material in your comparisons than was being used in nonsi's OP, which you just repeated yourself.
Okay, let's review for a moment.


Fizban would argue that spellcasters don't care, because they've already killed you before you got that close.


I find it adorable that Fizban would think that.


So we're talking about Step Up right? In what way does that feat threaten spellcasters? Let's be clear, defensive casting checks only fail either at low levels or on characters built by similarly childlike players.

Following this was an explanation of "how this threatens spellcasters" with the broader point that spellcasters are more threatened in general in PF with the feat, with just defensive casting, and other non-spell tactics that can be employed considering that this was a discussion of a pathfinder feat which came up in a different unrelated conversation.

Then,


If you're grafting just the combat classes onto what is otherwise 3.5 then you're not using pathfinder's skills or concentration rules unless you pull more stuff.
... which has nothing to do with anything with regard to what you asked or what I answered.


Pathfinder cleave also prevents you from using a full attack, unless I'm missing some buried allowance. And if there was a golden rule for melee it would be "thou shalt not sacrifice full attacks."
I suppose choosing to do a standard action instead of a full round action will do that.
So yes, doing two attacks as a standard action is inferior to doing three or more attacks as a full-round action or +1 beyond that if someone dies.
I don't disagree but that doesn't really change my assessment. The tactical advantage is different given the different action involved.


Shame this is a 3.5 fix then.
Right. So given the obvious, gaping hole in the game rules, what would someone do about this situation given that we're attempting to fix 3.5 edition rules where such rules are inadequate or broken?

So there are no 3.5e rules for casting spells underwater or inside stone, so why not do what we came here to do and fill in that gap?
Either by saying "you can't cast spells in these conditions"
or "You can cast spells in water with a concentration check but not in stone at all" (because the OP wants to limit how awesome earth glide is) without outright banning it since there are higher level spells that can replicate it anyway.
or "Concentration checks for both and one is tougher than the other or both the same".


You are aware that chimpanzees lack vocal chords capable of producing human speech, right? That's why (and even if they actually do and I've just never heard about it, as far as DnD is concerned they don't). This comparison has nothing to do with anything.
I am fully aware of that as that was, in fact, my entire point.
Using earth glide does should not allow someone to cast spells given how stone impedes human speech.
A gag was also mentioned as an example as something that can prevent verbal components.


Unless it is the same thing. The most obvious natural reading is that fish are perfectly at home in water and have no restrictions. Earth glide does not impose any restrictions (because it's not written from a perspective that expects players to get it, but still). Even if you say the user can swim but not breathe, the water comparison maintains your ability to exhale. The only way to prevent verbal components when earth gliding is to say they can't exhale because there's nowhere for the air to go, nothing you've said here has changed that and I don't see why you'd need to anyway since this is the most airtight (pun!) defense.
You're right - because the reference was to movement.
The exact quote is as easily as a fish swims through water.
Not breathes water. Not "casts spells" in water. Not can make words in water.
Swims through water.


Earth glide is magically phasing your body through a solid material, your jaw doesn't care what it's superimposed on and you're not gagged in any way. It doesn't matter how far your voice carries as long as you, personally, are speaking in a clear voice and avoid garbling your words: there is a difference between magical Silence and having difficulty hearing someone, the universe (game mechanics) doesn't care.

All I see here is a pile of false equivalencies drawn backwards from the goal of preventing speech while earthgliding in a way other than what I proposed. I said that stone doesn't prevent the travel of sound and suddenly you're implying I think chimpanzees can cast spells.

Earth glide magically allows your body to move through stone very easily.
Not speak any more easily than you could through stone.
Not breathe any more easily than you could through stone.
Verbal components require the recitation of incantations and speaking words strongly - only one of which can be done in stone (speak strongly given that sound can transmit through stone) as I said before.
I actually posted earlier both the earth glide ability from the PrC and the general ability and the rule about verbal components and several examples that display where casters can and cannot cast their spells from both 3.5e and pathfinder.

What you call "false equivalencies" I call showing you the relevant rules and examples of those rules in action.


I'm assuming that the answer to some of the above would be: "but you're gonna get caught".
My reply would be: "not if I operate by night, armed w/ Invisibility, Nondetection, sensory aids and probably some homemade sound-dimming effect".
My response to this player is: "This is what you learned" and then proceed to give exposition.
It was never my purpose to defeat this ability any more than any of the other spells you mentioned.

As I keep telling you, if a stone wall is the difference between failure and overkilling the campaign against characters with powers that already make them super heroes, then that's the DM's failure.


Scrying – you need to know what you're looking for.
Clairvoyance – if you guessed wrong, you've wasted a spell for nothing.
Flying – doesn't get you passed multisided barriers.
Scrying's save just takes a bigger penalty the less you know about a target. There are other divinations (like legend lore) that can help fix that.
Flying is far more useful in general. Bypassing barriers can be done with other spells with greater efficacy.
Clairvoyance has a higher chance of working properly if you know what you're looking for which can often happen by paying attention to what's going on in the campaign and participating with your skills and other magic. If you don't, it's not that hard to craft a wand with a cost of 375 gp x Caster Level 5 x Spell Level 3 = 5625 gp + 450 xp to craft and by the time that runs out, you'll have far more powerful options available.


How much can you accomplish via a 1rd / level effect (and once you phase back, it's over)... compared to an "eat all you can free bouffette" power?
I've been playing casters for years. They're my preferred character class - particularly sorcerers.
It's not that hard to find something useful in 13 rounds. Further, the two powers are not equivalent. Ethereal jaunt is a far more powerful spell, so we're really just arguing about a weaker, limited magical effect more often or a much more powerful magical effect less often because literally every limitation I brought up doesn't apply to ethereal jaunt (though the spells you cast can only affect ethereal targets, except force effects, but one metamagic feat bypasses that as well.)


The wizard has to know you're coming to do anything about it. I doubt scrying allows you to see into the inside of stone.
I don't know what this has to do with the statement I made that this responds to.


1. Ninth Level Spell
2. I don't see how this spell would help you deal w/ things to come.
I never said it did. This response is also disparate from anything I've been talking about.


Care to reconsider now?
You haven't addressed any of my points or counterpoints or answered my most important question.
I don't even know if you're reading what I'm writing.

nonsi
2016-07-04, 05:36 AM
It's not that hard to find something useful in 13 rounds.


There's a whole world of difference between "find something useful" and having an entire day to scout an entire castle or a large dungeon floor unhindered.





You haven't addressed any of my points or counterpoints or answered my most important question.
I don't even know if you're reading what I'm writing.


1. You brought up several points to counter/diminish the effectiveness of Earth Glide - all points countered... all except the part regarding casting inside stone. Regarding the latter, the very fact that both you and Fizban - most definitely two mentally capable dudes - are at odds with one another, that very fact says that casting inside stone is an issue that's open for interpretation.
2. You brought up several means which you claim to be superior to Earth Glide at what it does - I explained why it seems to me that they all lose the race on the aspect I find problematic.

So yes, I tend to respond when I believe I got what people are saying figured out. That's the best anybody can do.

Fizban
2016-07-04, 07:07 AM
And still, when I compare Xorn Movement to Earth Glide, this is what I see:
K, just wanted to make sure you'd taken note of it. The unworked stone only is an annoying restriction given that it's not on the actual Xorn's version of the ability.

I totally accept this approach, but again - how do you prevent the party from bypassing months worth of gametime settings in two days worth of gametime via Earth Glide every time they reach stone-based locations?
By not putting months worth of gametime directly on the other side of a stone wall they can earth glide through. You're way, way to focused on the idea of a single stone building. Entire building is made of metal, boom, done. Each room is built 100 miles apart and connected by portal, boom, done. The dungeon is a Magnificent Mansion or demiplane and thus the "walls" are indestructible. The dungeon walls are embedded with traps to catch earth gliders because why wouldn't they be? There are earth gliding monsters on patrol to catch earth gliders. The dungeon walls are filled with magma because it looks cool. The dungeon walls have natural veins of ore that block your movement by sheer coincidence. The dungeon is made of solid clouds or a giant tree.

But more importantly: The dungeon is not a dungeon because the adventure is not a dungeon delve because the players are tracking down information and pieces of the plot across the world so there's only one or two rooms at each location. High level adventurers have the ability to make their own adventures, or rather, can be relied upon to track down hooks wherever they originate from. At low levels you tell them where to go, at high levels you mention a name then they track down everything related to it, kill it and take it's stuff.

I'll think about what to do here. Maybe grant medusas Poisonmaking as a bonus feat.
No feat needed, it's just a skill use so all they need is proficiency. All you need to do to give monster HD a skill proficiency is list their bonus in the statblock.

I'm not pushing him toward PF, I'm trying to push him away from it. What changes he chooses to accept based on what I say is entirely of his own volition regardless of my success or failure in this regard.
My mistake then, it seemed to me the other way around.

Following this was an explanation of "how this threatens spellcasters" with the broader point that spellcasters are more threatened in general in PF with the feat. . .
And as such I was thinking in terms of the feats on their own rather than the whole pathfinder paradigm that you intended.

The tactical advantage is different given the different action involved.
Certainly.

Right. So given the obvious, gaping hole in the game rules, what would someone do about this situation given that we're attempting to fix 3.5 edition rules where such rules are inadequate or broken?
I don't see an obvious gaping hole there: spellcasters are allowed to cast spells underwater and this is not a significant problem that needs to be solved. I would rather not add extra rules to increase the deadliness of being underwater when it's already one of the worst enviornments to fight in without protection, and with proper protection you shouldn't need to make any checks.

Using earth glide does should not allow someone to cast spells given how stone impedes human speech.
In what way does stone impede human speech? If you could show me a rule that says speaking from within stone was impossible then we wouldn't be here. The only rule I'm aware of would be that walls increase listen DCs, but as before the universe doesn't care how hard it is to hear you. There is no definition of how loud you have to be to cast spells while there are rules for using Sleight of Hand to whisper spells without being noticed at all (which I disagree with). Stone impeding speech is only true because you say it is.

Earth glide magically allows your body to move through stone very easily.
Not speak any more easily than you could through stone.
Not a valid comparison, "speaking through stone" is normally impossible because you can't be in stone in the first place. The only thing you have to do physically to speak is move your mouth/lungs, those are part of your body, your body can move through stone if you have earth glide. Thus the only thing preventing your speech is the fact that there's no room for the air to leave your body, if the DM chooses to make a point of it.

Verbal components require the recitation of incantations and speaking words strongly - only one of which can be done in stone (speak strongly given that sound can transmit through stone) as I said before.
There is no difference between those two things, you're defining "speaking strongly" as making a loud noise that's not intelligible enough to cast a spell. If it's not intelligible then it's not speaking. If it is speaking then it can cast a spell.

What you call "false equivalencies" I call showing you the relevant rules and examples of those rules in action.

So there are no 3.5e rules for casting spells underwater or inside stone, so why not do what we came here to do and fill in that gap?
There are no relevant rules, you even just said it yourself. There are rules for things that do explicitly foul up spellcasting, but earth gliding is not one of them, and the only reasonable comparison of water does not have any restrictions.

Regarding the latter, the very fact that both you and Fizban - most definitely two mentally capable dudes - are at odds with one another, that very fact says that casting inside stone is an issue that's open for interpretation.
To be clear I do agree that it's incredibly easy to shut down casting while earth gliding (and you should if you want to crack down on easy hit and runs), I'm just saying that there's nothing in the rules that actually supports it by default. Breathing while earth gliding is not explicitly allowed, and it is perfectly reasonable to rule that breathing out and thus speaking is impossible because the air can't escape, but there is nothing to imply that doing so is barred by the rules.

Bonus round: can you cast spells in a vaccuum? I've checked what few instances I can find and none of them prohibit spellcasting. The kicker is that skeletal undead don't have lungs but can still often speak. Elementals also lack lungs or the need to breathe, but can still speak. And none of the instances of vaccum conditions I checked prohibit spellcasting.

Neoxenok
2016-07-04, 02:39 PM
There's a whole world of difference between "find something useful" and having an entire day to scout an entire castle or a large dungeon floor unhindered.
Etherealness makes you invisible to anyone on the material plane and lets you fly. It doesn't take 13 rounds. It's not even the best use of etherealness.


1. You brought up several points to counter/diminish the effectiveness of Earth Glide - all points countered... all except the part regarding casting inside stone. Regarding the latter, the very fact that both you and Fizban - most definitely two mentally capable dudes - are at odds with one another, that very fact says that casting inside stone is an issue that's open for interpretation.
2. You brought up several means which you claim to be superior to Earth Glide at what it does - I explained why it seems to me that they all lose the race on the aspect I find problematic.

So yes, I tend to respond when I believe I got what people are saying figured out. That's the best anybody can do.
You didn't counter all of my points and I've also made it clear a number of times that it was never my intention to make earth glide useless for your purposes because I don't consider it broken or overpowered.

I've explained why and requested information from you but you don't seem to notice anything I post that isn't strictly nerfing earth glide. The things I have been posting that work to diminish its effectiveness you've certainly dismissed outright and despite the fact that there are obviously far more powerful or equally effective spells and magical abilities, you've laser-focused on EG's advantages over those abilities that doesn't necessarily prove anything about it being a more powerful effect than them or more effective in terms of breaking a campaign.

So let's go back to what you said earlier:


having an entire day to scout an entire castle or a large dungeon floor unhindered.
Okay? You bring up this scenario like it's supposed to be absolute evidence of something the earth glider can do that you believe to be obviously broken despite the fact that

A) The characters involved are, at minimum, 12th level and have access to a multitude of spells that can do the same job that the characters have had access to since around level 3, minimum, including invisibility and easily have enough resources to spam that makes the at will nature of earth glide and earth sight irrelevant.

B) This scenario only works on largely stone buildings in places designed for far less powerful or capable people. I can't imagine any level of success in a place like Undermountain (http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Undermountain) that can murder 15th level and higher people if they're not careful.

C) Castles are not built purely of stone (http://history.howstuffworks.com/historical-figures/castle5.htm) but a mixture of things that can include wooden support beams that doesn't make the construction continuous or able to support the additional weight of a gliding mage at every point.

EDIT: Even if these castles were made completely of stone, the walls and floors aren't going to be several feet thick - you know, to completely hide an entire human being. At least, not in most areas of a castle.

In summation, this "broken" scenario only works for specific types of building with specific types of adventures that both do and doesn't specifically do a lot of different things to give earth gliders an advantage that clearly doesn't supercede that of spells and magic they'd have whether they were an earth glider or not.

So I don't see the problem.


And as such I was thinking in terms of the feats on their own rather than the whole pathfinder paradigm that you intended.
Fair enough. We've been going over it more than was necessary or warrented anyway, so moving on is good.


I don't see an obvious gaping hole there: spellcasters are allowed to cast spells underwater and this is not a significant problem that needs to be solved. I would rather not add extra rules to increase the deadliness of being underwater when it's already one of the worst enviornments to fight in without protection, and with proper protection you shouldn't need to make any checks.
The only rule that expressly allows casting underwater exists in pathfinder and not D&D 3.5e and even that requires a concentration check to succeed. In 3.5e, there is a sentence that spells out the rules for how spells work underwater, but not casting spells.

So if you want to make it easier, then that's something accomplishable in a 3.5e rules fix thread that can do but it's still a hole in the rules.


In what way does stone impede human speech? If you could show me a rule that says speaking from within stone was impossible then we wouldn't be here. The only rule I'm aware of would be that walls increase listen DCs, but as before the universe doesn't care how hard it is to hear you. There is no definition of how loud you have to be to cast spells while there are rules for using Sleight of Hand to whisper spells without being noticed at all (which I disagree with). Stone impeding speech is only true because you say it is.
Apparently, the universe is offended by gags and the inability to properly form words in general. In other words, even slight alterations in the word-forming environment prohibit the ability to use verbal components in spells.
Stone impeding speech is only true because human voices were designed to transmit words through air which requires a particular kind of interaction (http://www.entnet.org/content/how-voice-works) between said air and all the parts in your head that make words and my examples prove that point.

Heh. As an aside, there's an idea for a campaign world's magic system. Verbal components that involve exacting words that involves literally asking the universe for permission to use the spell. The universe is finicky if the words don't possess the precise level of politeness in the precise language used. Wild magic zones is where the universe is moody and gets offended easily.


Not a valid comparison, "speaking through stone" is normally impossible because you can't be in stone in the first place. The only thing you have to do physically to speak is move your mouth/lungs, those are part of your body, your body can move through stone if you have earth glide. Thus the only thing preventing your speech is the fact that there's no room for the air to leave your body, if the DM chooses to make a point of it.

There is no difference between those two things, you're defining "speaking strongly" as making a loud noise that's not intelligible enough to cast a spell. If it's not intelligible then it's not speaking. If it is speaking then it can cast a spell.
Forming verbal components requires that you strongly speak an incantation.
The fact that you can make noise loudly and that the moving parts in your head is not restricted from going through the motions of word formation is irrelevant if you can not speak the incantation due to, say, the medium not being conductive to human speech, particularly given that the stone is not directly interacting with the word forming parts inside the mage's head.


To be clear I do agree that it's incredibly easy to shut down casting while earth gliding (and you should if you want to crack down on easy hit and runs), I'm just saying that there's nothing in the rules that actually supports it by default. Breathing while earth gliding is not explicitly allowed, and it is perfectly reasonable to rule that breathing out and thus speaking is impossible because the air can't escape, but there is nothing to imply that doing so is barred by the rules.
It's not spelled out in the rules but there is enough there to make the conclusion forgone, I think.


Bonus round: can you cast spells in a vaccuum? I've checked what few instances I can find and none of them prohibit spellcasting. The kicker is that skeletal undead don't have lungs but can still often speak. Elementals also lack lungs or the need to breathe, but can still speak. And none of the instances of vaccum conditions I checked prohibit spellcasting.
There are a lot of things not explicitly spelled out by the rules.

There are a lot of things that you can extrapolate based on other rules and other things with no clear guidance one way or another but excusing things because the rules don't prohibit it is a dangerous road to travel. I can't tell you how many times I've read horror stories by DMs that explain how broken magic is because they let things slide for that exact reason. That's how you get houserules that ban all magic above 5th level and half the remaining spell list because that DM confuses it's not prohibited with the rules allow it. Same goes for those character optimization builds that is the basis of why many people view magic as being overpowered essentially by default as opposed to the result of a few outliers.

To answer your question, no, I don't believe it is or should be possible for casters to cast in a vacuum. Even with silent spell, that seems like an environment that should force a concentration check due to the extreme forces on your body but there are no clear rules regarding vacuum forces on your body, to my knowledge.... at least in D&D. Maybe there's something in d20 future, but I'm not going to look it up right now. Elementals and skeletons (I presume we're talking about skeletons that can speak, like Liches) can meet the requirement for verbal components because they are written as able to speak a language.

This makes me wonder if an illusion spell could be used to substitute a person's verbal component but I imagine that even if it the verbal component is perfectly replicated in an illusion, that it would still have to be spoken by the caster.

As an aside... a living intelligent illusion spell... that's an interesting idea.

nonsi
2016-07-05, 12:50 AM
Entire building is made of metal, boom, done. Each room is built 100 miles apart and connected by portal, boom, done. The dungeon is a Magnificent Mansion or demiplane and thus the "walls" are indestructible. The dungeon walls are embedded with traps to catch earth gliders because why wouldn't they be? There are earth gliding monsters on patrol to catch earth gliders. The dungeon walls are filled with magma because it looks cool. The dungeon walls have natural veins of ore that block your movement by sheer coincidence. The dungeon is made of solid clouds or a giant tree.


There was a reason why I asked how do you do that without it being analogous to putting a flowerpot in a dungeon and calling it "jungle settings" in post #105.
Long ago, I once read an article titles "The Ecological Dungeon" that discussed arranging your game world and encounters in a manner that would feel credible.
Your suggestions don't make sense to me on the Ecological level. Let's go over them:

- Entire building is made of metal: a building made entirely out of metal would be literally uninhabitable. 1) The temp-shifts would be unbearable. 2) The sound conductivity of metal would make your stay in such structures excruciating. 3) The building is literally a giant lightning rod.

- Each room is built 100 miles apart and connected by portal: huge investment of time, money and XP. Suppose you're an 18th level wizard – would you make that investment? This one fails the Return-on-Investment test.

- The dungeon is a Magnificent Mansion or demiplane and thus the "walls" are indestructible: Magnificent Mansion doesn't last 48 hours and cannot be made permanent. Demiplanes are created lifeless (assuming you're talking about Genesis). You have to also invent its ecology. How does a non-epic character do that? This one also fails the Return-on-Investment test.

- The dungeon walls are embedded with traps: Earth Sight renders this effort fruitless.

- There are earth gliding monsters on patrol to catch earth gliders: 1) This can work only assuming that earth gliders also possess Earth Sight out to 30'. 2) If they spend their time within the walls, then their operator would probably not be able to keep track of their activities, plus nothing's to stop them from wondering out of the "dungeon" altogether.

- The dungeon walls are filled with magma because it looks cool: you'd have to explain how the owner of the dungeon continuously maintains the magma in its liquid state and protect the wall exteriors from the intense heat – again the Return-on-Investment test fail.

- The dungeon walls have natural veins of ore that block your movement by sheer coincidence: this would be extremely coerced. Natural veins of ore are never a factor for earth elementals, Xorn, Greathorm Minotaur or any other earth gliding monster I've ever seen.





No feat needed, it's just a skill use so all they need is proficiency. All you need to do to give monster HD a skill proficiency is list their bonus in the statblock.


Ok, but which poison would you make it analogous to, in terms of crafting?
The only candidate I see is Burning Angel Wing Fumes, but I assume a medusa should have check bonuses and decreased prices working her own poison.
In core, Purple Worm Poison has the same effect as medusa poison, but w/ significantly lower prices and higher save DC, and w/o craft DC attached.

nonsi
2016-07-05, 02:31 AM
A) The characters involved are, at minimum, 12th level and have access to a multitude of spells that can do the same job that the characters have had access to since around level 3, minimum, including invisibility and easily have enough resources to spam that makes the at will nature of earth glide and earth sight irrelevant.


Invisibility and Fly don't bypass walls and locked doors.





B) This scenario only works on largely stone buildings in places designed for far less powerful or capable people. I can't imagine any level of success in a place like Undermountain (http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Undermountain) that can murder 15th level and higher people if they're not careful.


Given that 16th level druids can become earth elementals, and given that Etherealness does render Earth Glide somewhat obsolete starting at 17th, I'm willing to assume that by level 16 Earth Glide is ok, but not before that.





C) Castles are not built purely of stone (http://history.howstuffworks.com/historical-figures/castle5.htm) but a mixture of things that can include wooden support beams that doesn't make the construction continuous or able to support the additional weight of a gliding mage at every point.


Yes. Go to that image and zoom in. The vast majority of that structure (and of any castle for that matter (https://www.google.co.il/search?q=castle&espv=2&biw=1280&bih=643&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiR1pLk1tvNAhVJmBoKHQqJD2QQ_AUIBigB), including interior (https://www.google.co.il/search?q=castle&espv=2&biw=1280&bih=643&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiR1pLk1tvNAhVJmBoKHQqJD2QQ_AUIBigB#tbm= isch&q=castle+interior)) is made of continuous stone that would not even slow down earth gliders.





EDIT: Even if these castles were made completely of stone, the walls and floors aren't going to be several feet thick - you know, to completely hide an entire human being. At least, not in most areas of a castle.


That's a plus for an earth dreamer, not a minus, thanks to Earth Sight. In such cases, s/he doesn't even need Earth Glide for espionage and basic info gathering. An earth dreamer could then decide when to apply Earth Glide to his best advantage and time his arrival onto cavities to his convenience.





In summation, this "broken" scenario only works for specific types of building with specific types of adventures that both do and doesn't specifically do a lot of different things to give earth gliders an advantage that clearly doesn't supercede that of spells and magic they'd have whether they were an earth glider or not.


I wish I could see things that way and put this issue to rest.

Now that I think of it, the Earth Dreamer could easily be made viable if #uses constraint is applied to Earth Sight and Earth Glide.
How about 3 + Con-bonus times per day?

Neoxenok
2016-07-05, 03:17 AM
Invisibility and Fly don't bypass walls and locked doors.
knock, blink, dimension door, teleport, passwall, and stone shape all do or are you going to argue now that all castle walls are suddenly several hundred miles thicker to prevent those spells and only the game breaking power of earth glide works now?

It amazes me how far you're willing to stretch to prove how overpowered the earth dreamer is despite all this crap that completely borks how useful it is (oh no! the main villain isn't holed up in a castle or dungeon!) or guarantees nothing (sorry, I can't see up from the floor into the master's lair because he has a carpet) or other magical spell or spells that can easily achieve the same result and sometimes with significantly less risk.

You've provided no examples or even anecdotal evidence from your own experience to explain why you think this is broken outside of the fact that it makes espionage a bit easier, which in and of itself is far from game-breaking.


Given that 16th level druids can become earth elementals, and given that Etherealness does render Earth Glide somewhat obsolete starting at 17th, I'm willing to assume that by level 16 Earth Glide is ok, but not before that.
Seriously? 12th level access to earth glide breaks all campaigns because all games use castles and dungeons is all-access to penultimate game-breaking power but 16th is fine now?

You realize that legend lore (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/legendLore.htm) is better at information-gathering, right?


Yes. Go to that image and zoom in. The vast majority of that structure (and of any castle for that matter (https://www.google.co.il/search?q=castle&espv=2&biw=1280&bih=643&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiR1pLk1tvNAhVJmBoKHQqJD2QQ_AUIBigB), including interior (https://www.google.co.il/search?q=castle&espv=2&biw=1280&bih=643&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiR1pLk1tvNAhVJmBoKHQqJD2QQ_AUIBigB#tbm= isch&q=castle+interior)) is made of continuous stone that would not even slow down earth gliders.
These are just pictures of castles. I understand that stone is used in their construction, but unless your browser allows X-Ray vision, you're not showing me how the walls were constructed internally. Ehh. Whatever.
I'll let this pass if it'll help us move past these ED-based discussions.


That's a plus for an earth dreamer, not a minus, thanks to Earth Sight. In such cases, s/he doesn't even need Earth Glide for espionage and basic info gathering. An earth dreamer could then decide when to apply Earth Glide to his best advantage and time his arrival onto cavities to his convenience.
I am amazed how you would think to do this for earth glide but ethereal jaunt needs to be usable 24/7 like earth glide to break the game despite it having literally none of the disadvantages.


I wish I could see things that way and put this issue to rest.
I wish I could help you understand better, but you won't address any point I make that isn't about nerfing earth glide or proving that earth glide is as good as you think it is without actually explaining anything.


Now that I think of it, the Earth Dreamer could easily be made viable if #uses constraint is applied to Earth Sight and Earth Glide.
How about 3 + Con-bonus times per day?
I brought up a limitation to this several pages ago (even though I still disagree with the basic premise) to have both earth sight and earth glide have a duration of one minute/ED level, usable in increments of one minute. This means you could use each ability up to five times a day at one minute each or once for five minutes at level five.

nonsi
2016-07-05, 05:27 AM
knock, blink, dimension door, teleport, passwall, and stone shape all do or are you going to argue now that all castle walls are suddenly several hundred miles thicker to prevent those spells and only the game breaking power of earth glide works now?

It amazes me how far you're willing to stretch to prove how overpowered the earth dreamer is despite all this crap that completely borks how useful it is (oh no! the main villain isn't holed up in a castle or dungeon!) or guarantees nothing (sorry, I can't see up from the floor into the master's lair because he has a carpet) or other magical spell or spells that can easily achieve the same result and sometimes with significantly less risk.


You really don't see the difference? Really?!

"less risk" you say.......
Ok. You cast knock/d.door/teleport/passwall/stone shape... Now what?
I'll tell you what happens now:
1. You've exhausted your resource.
2. The bad guys on the other side now see you just as easily as you see them (or at least have a decent chance of detecting you every round you're there) - now you have to either fight them or find some way to runaway – and now they're informed of your presence.

As for Blink:
1. You're not exactly in full control. Greater Blink mitigates this one, but...
2. Again, 1r / level. There's only so much you can do in that amount of time w/o getting into trouble.





Seriously? 12th level access to earth glide breaks all campaigns because all games use castles and dungeons is all-access to penultimate game-breaking power but 16th is fine now?


1. IDK. Where I'm coming from, the difference between levels 12 and 16 is ginormous.
2. Etherealness invalidates Earth Glide – on the merit of lasting 10 times more than Ethereal Jaunt.





You realize that legend lore (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/legendLore.htm) is better at information-gathering, right?


Sure thing.
- Ask a question...
- Wait 1d10 days for the answer.
If you're lucky, you have your answer. If not – try again and wait some more. Yay. In the meantime, the world is waiting for your convenience and nothing happens, right?





I am amazed how you would think to do this for earth glide but ethereal jaunt needs to be usable 24/7 like earth glide to break the game despite it having literally none of the disadvantages.


1. I don't argue that within the timeframe of 1r / level, Ethereal Jaunt is superior on most aspects.
2. When you're inside stone, observing the outside world, the overwhelming majority of opponents have no means of ever becoming aware that you're there.





I brought up a limitation to this several pages ago (even though I still disagree with the basic premise) to have both earth sight and earth glide have a duration of one minute/ED level, usable in increments of one minute. This means you could use each ability up to five times a day at one minute each or once for five minutes at level five.


Yeah, this one fell through the cracks for me.

Ok, this actually sounds reasonable. This I could work with.
I'm thinking of 3 + Con-bonus minutes daily.

Fizban
2016-07-05, 06:47 AM
Your suggestions don't make sense to me on the Ecological level.
Adventuring and magic don't make sense on any level.

- Entire building is made of metal: a building made entirely out of metal would be literally uninhabitable. 1) The temp-shifts would be unbearable. 2) The sound conductivity of metal would make your stay in such structures excruciating. 3) The building is literally a giant lightning rod.
The building is in an area where the temperature is constant, the inhabitants don't care about temperature, the inhabitants don't care about sound, the building is insulated by other materials or magic against either or both, and I don't think you understand how lightning rods work (the lightning goes through the metal instead of you, it's safer inside a metal cage or box). You are looking for reasons to object rather than reasons why someone would do it.

- Each room is built 100 miles apart and connected by portal: huge investment of time, money and XP. Suppose you're an 18th level wizard – would you make that investment? This one fails the Return-on-Investment test.
And yet there are countless adventures that have been written with this premise. Even if NPCs did always care about cost there are ways to mitigate or remove it, and doing every single room separately is obviously the overkill version. You are looking for reasons to object rather than reasons why someone would do it.

- The dungeon is a Magnificent Mansion or demiplane and thus the "walls" are indestructible: Magnificent Mansion doesn't last 48 hours and cannot be made permanent. Demiplanes are created lifeless (assuming you're talking about Genesis). You have to also invent its ecology. How does a non-epic character do that? This one also fails the Return-on-Investment test.
The source eludes me at the moment, but I know there's a precedent somewhere in case you needed at least one WotC designer to okay it and the Wondrous Architecture price would clearly follow the standard formula based on the others. Who said anything about "ecology?" You want a wall that can't be Earth Glided through, the wall of a demiplane is impervious, that's half your walls done.

- The dungeon walls are embedded with traps: Earth Sight renders this effort fruitless.
Your tunnel vision is spectacular, who said the traps were in any way avoidable? Also, magic traps.

- There are earth gliding monsters on patrol to catch earth gliders: 1) This can work only assuming that earth gliders also possess Earth Sight out to 30'. 2) If they spend their time within the walls, then their operator would probably not be able to keep track of their activities, plus nothing's to stop them from wondering out of the "dungeon" altogether.
That's your excuse? "Monsters can leave the dungeon?" There are infinity ways you can come up with for why the monsters stay there and do their job. Such as the fact that it's their job.

- The dungeon walls are filled with magma because it looks cool: you'd have to explain how the owner of the dungeon continuously maintains the magma in its liquid state and protect the wall exteriors from the intense heat – again the Return-on-Investment test fail.
Really? What's the investment and how do you know the return isn't worth it? You keep claiming there's not enough return on investment but clearly you have no ideas on how to stop Earth Gliders. Guess what, the return is being impervious to Earth Gliders. That is worth a significant investment. How are you even determining their budgets? The answer is you're not, you're just looking for reasons to object rather than reasons why someone would do it. As for how you'd do walls of magma, the easiest way would be with Wall of Magma, but you could also run it through the non-magical trap rules or something. Or use acid, or poisonous gas, or Wall of Fire, or. . .

- The dungeon walls have natural veins of ore that block your movement by sheer coincidence: this would be extremely coerced. Natural veins of ore are never a factor for earth elementals, Xorn, Greathorm Minotaur or any other earth gliding monster I've ever seen.
Bull, they're not a problem because no one's ever mentioned it as a possible block and thus never addressed it, same as the casting in stone problem. Iron is iron (or mithril, or adamantine, or uranium) weather it's refined or naturally occurring and if the DM wants to use this to block movement they're perfectly able to. The only thing to complain about is the coincidence but surprise! That's not a coincidence either, obviously the dungeon was built on the site in order to take advantage of the natural defenses, a pretty obvious idea considering there are naturally occurring creatures with earth glide and any underground fortress should be prepared to deal with them.

Seriously, what kind of boring lame adventures are your high level characters doing where the locations they visit aren't worth protecting? What kind of weak sauce treasure are they finding that is not worth a few more coins protecting? What kind of morons do they fight who build fortresses without protections against magical intrusion? And you didn't even address the actual problem there, which is completely focusing on specific dungeons for long periods of game-time when the most obvious fix is using a different sort of plot.

Oh, and as more proof you haven't even tried that hard: Reinforced Masonry walls cost only 1.5x that of normal masonry and come full of iron bars that can block earth gliding, you don't even have to think of combining iron bars with rock because it's already standard. Been right there in the DMG the whole time (price from SBG).

Ok, but which poison would you make it analogous to, in terms of crafting?
The only candidate I see is Burning Angel Wing Fumes, but I assume a medusa should have check bonuses and decreased prices working her own poison.
In core, Purple Worm Poison has the same effect as medusa poison, but w/ significantly lower prices and higher save DC, and w/o craft DC attached.
Having a poison doesn't make you any more knowledgeable about how to refine it. There is no price but if the DM was planning on throwing it in there anyway I wouldn't expect them to need one, the Medusa only pays 1/6 the price anyway. It would go somewhere between Large Scorpion and Purple Worm, but the poison prices are all completely arbitrary anyway.

Stone impeding speech is only true because human voices were designed to transmit words through air which requires a particular kind of interaction between said air and all the parts in your head that make words and my examples prove that point.
So what you're saying is that you agree with me in that the only thing possibly stopping you from casting while earth gliding is the fact that you might not be able to exhale.

There are a lot of things that you can extrapolate based on other rules and other things with no clear guidance one way or another but excusing things because the rules don't prohibit it is a dangerous road to travel.
This is the crux of the issue then, you're saying it's not possible by default because anything it's not clear you're explicitly allowed to do should impossible by default, and I'm disagreeing. Characters are supposed to be able to use their abilities and the default stance should always be that they can unless there's a mechanical reason to make a new rule so you can refuse. I would expect people to want the ability to cast while earth gliding as it's an obvious power move and I don't find it particularly unbalancing, so I see no reason to add a rule just to make physics feel better. Speaking while earth gliding can go sit with falling damage in the corner.


Also,

2. In practice, to truly render you blind, the block of stone needs to be at least 60' wide on every direction.
Aside from the fact that tapestries, tasteful wood paneling, or paint are all perfectly fine ways to block Earth Sight, you also put the Dungeonomicon's teleportation blocking clause in a while back. If dungeons are all using 40'+ thick walls to block teleportation, why not 60'?

nonsi
2016-07-05, 08:39 AM
Bull, they're not a problem because no one's ever mentioned it as a possible block and thus never addressed it, same as the casting in stone problem. Iron is iron (or mithril, or adamantine, or uranium) weather it's refined or naturally occurring and if the DM wants to use this to block movement they're perfectly able to. The only thing to complain about is the coincidence but surprise! That's not a coincidence either, obviously the dungeon was built on the site in order to take advantage of the natural defenses, a pretty obvious idea considering there are naturally occurring creatures with earth glide and any underground fortress should be prepared to deal with them.

Seriously, what kind of boring lame adventures are your high level characters doing where the locations they visit aren't worth protecting? What kind of weak sauce treasure are they finding that is not worth a few more coins protecting? What kind of morons do they fight who build fortresses without protections against magical intrusion? And you didn't even address the actual problem there, which is completely focusing on specific dungeons for long periods of game-time when the most obvious fix is using a different sort of plot.

Oh, and as more proof you haven't even tried that hard: Reinforced Masonry walls cost only 1.5x that of normal masonry and come full of iron bars that can block earth gliding, you don't even have to think of combining iron bars with rock because it's already standard. Been right there in the DMG the whole time (price from SBG).


Very well. Between the above and limiting usage of Earth Sight/Glide (post #116), I'm fine with concluding this issue resolved.

Neoxenok
2016-07-06, 12:05 AM
So what you're saying is that you agree with me in that the only thing possibly stopping you from casting while earth gliding is the fact that you might not be able to exhale.
... I would say that's definitely a major part of it. The other being that while rock transmits sound just fine, rock is not the medium in which a person can speak. The voice works by vibrating air and those vibrations can travel from air through other mediums, including rock and water, but I would say that the quality of the words is lost enough to make casting difficult if not impossible.

I don't know if earth gliding is like phasing through rock like that one cloaking device from that rogue Captain in Star Trek the Next Generation or the Flash's ability to vibrate through matter but I tend to take it like you have an air pocket that follows with you that extends out to the end of your hose and just to the front of your mouth as you easily move through rock as though it almost wasn't there, so you still have your air in your lungs but the rock is still rock. Your voice vibrates the air in your lungs and throat but once it hits rock, it gets diminished enough to make casting either difficult or impossible.

Running a game with an Earth Dreamer, I can see easy reason to either just say "it doesn't work" or at least make a more difficult concentration check than pathfinder's for being submerged in water.


This is the crux of the issue then, you're saying it's not possible by default because anything it's not clear you're explicitly allowed to do should impossible by default, and I'm disagreeing. Characters are supposed to be able to use their abilities and the default stance should always be that they can unless there's a mechanical reason to make a new rule so you can refuse. I would expect people to want the ability to cast while earth gliding as it's an obvious power move and I don't find it particularly unbalancing, so I see no reason to add a rule just to make physics feel better. Speaking while earth gliding can go sit with falling damage in the corner.
I'm not trying to make a blanket statement of saying if the rules don't say it, then it's not allowed period or by default but it does seem logical to me to rule in this way. It's not like it's difficult to get a rod of silent spells or two to overcome this difficulty and that ioun stone that makes it so you don't need to breathe. Warforged can also get around the breathing difficulty as can some spells or psionic powers. I am fine with allowing those workarounds so it's not like I'm trying to intentionally destroy this ability - otherwise I would have just ruled that it doesn't work for the same reason that the transformation spell doesn't let you use magic because reasons or I'd limit the duration like Nonsi ultimately decided to do because apparently his campaigns are filled with enough stone structures that guard his important plot devices to make it impossible to play a balanced game with one if the ability was accessible for an unlimited duration.

On the other hand, I'm totally with him with regards to the planar shepherd and I'm sure there's a few other spells and prestige classes that need to be altered or banned.

One of the most important ways I balance my games is by making sure I understand and apply the rules where I think it is necessary and at least have a working and understandable logic behind it. This is how I can run games despite having a list of houserules for 3.5e that's far less than what Nonsi believes is the minimum required to run a balanced 3.5e game based on this thread and his variation of the 3.5e ruleset.

I can guarantee that most of those "overpowered builds" are a result of fast and loose readings of the rules or a result of the rules don't say I can't and that results in the fact that I've made rulings that more often than not prevents most such shinnanigans, though I've still had to ban things. For example, despite making my DM's life difficult with my own persistent spell cleric, I still wouldn't ban it in my own games. 99% of that work seems to have been accomplished by banning night sticks or just restricting them to working to activate turn undead only. (My DM rapidly leveled us up to 40th level and my character basically only took feats to gain additional spell levels above ninth, most of which was used to prepare persistent spells or extended 10 minutes/level spells and hours/level spells.) Actually enforcing the costs of metamagic more often than not solves these issues. As an example of something I've had to ban (that's not something only accessible at epic levels) is the celerity chain of spells and believe me when I tried to do everything to avoid it and it didn't help that we found a paladin spell that made the party's resident wizard and sorcerer immune to the dazed condition. The wizard didn't have as much interest in it but the sorcerer (who was effectively built like a rogue/sorcerer) immediately commissioned a wand of it. Things didn't go well from there.

Compare that to epic spells, which was a mess to deal with, but it was manageable if only because I made sure that everyone understood that epic spells needed to be okayed before it was allowed. Given that my current project is to update forgotten realms 3rd and 3.5e for pathfinder, my experience here is going to inform a lot of things that will have to be updated from Forgotten Realms, including epic spells.

The only houserule I didn't have that I wish I did during my last major campaign is the Alexandrian's and Rich's fix for diplomacy and Pathfinder's rules for "social combat" which I still need to analyze more closely but my pathfinder DM has already made use of those rules to good effect, so it's left a good impression on me.
I'm playing the party's fey-blooded sorcerer and one of the party's three diplomancers.

... anyway, I'm rambling. My need to study for my college courses is catching up to me, so I'll try to respond whenever I get a break and go over the front-page list more thoroughly when I have time to contribute and make further recommendations since this Earth Dreamer issue seems to be concluded isofar as Nonsi is concerned.

Also, Nonsi,

I would recommend the following durations:

3+Con times/day at 1 rnd/your total HD

1 minute/ED level, usable in 1 minute increments

3 minutes + Con Mod Minutes, usable in 1 minute increments

nonsi
2016-07-08, 06:16 AM
Also, Nonsi,

I would recommend the following durations:

3+Con times/day at 1 rnd/your total HD

1 minute/ED level, usable in 1 minute increments

3 minutes + Con Mod Minutes, usable in 1 minute increments


Thanks.
Those are all quite similar when it comes to the end result. I chose the last because it's simpler than the first and because it rewards for investing in Con, which indirectly serves as prereq for this PrC.

tsj
2016-07-08, 11:35 PM
Are both the minimalist fix and
the overhaul available as PDF files?

nonsi
2016-07-09, 01:17 AM
Are both the minimalist fix and
the overhaul available as PDF files?

No they're not - for three primary reasons:
1. I'm terrible at visual formatting. It'll take me forever and I won't be satisfied with the end result. I just don't have the spare time to invest in the creation of half decent looking PDFs.
2. GiantITP pages - given the ability to expand/collapse all spoiler blocks in 2 clicks - serve both for easy navigation and deep text search. The encapsulation is quite convenient to me - you can't have that in a hard-printed copy.
3. These two threads are essentially two baskets where I throw my ideas. They continue to evolve all the time (converging to an asymptote by now, but still). I'd have to maintain two document versions simultaneously and I'm really not up to it.


[EDIT]:

If by some chance you happen to feel properly motivated and have the time and formatting skills for making PDF versions for these two projects (or just this one), go right ahead. Just make them available for the GiantITP public.
Also, given all the time and hard work that went into these projects, I'd appreciate mentioning me as the author-editor of the forum versions.