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Remus of Rome
2007-07-22, 11:34 PM
In my group as dysfunctional as it is has another problem but this is a disagreement among co-DMs (not me) and they asked me to ask you about it

OK we are about to start an epic lvl game and a player is using a very over powered build to one DMs mind

but the other being the munchkin he always has been (the guy who I had the character interaction problem with) thinks that it's o.k.

The build is a 22nd lvl blackguard that he wants to make by trading in 21 lvls of paladin for 22 lvls of blackguard (while he "lvls") thus he thinks that it will grant him 4 epic feats (3 bonus epic 1 for lvl 21). Also his fiendish servants will gain an extra 4 hd because .All of this is fine from one the 2nd D
ms perspective because after lvl 10 of blackguard lvls the servants gain +2HD ever 5 lvls and a lvl 22 character having 22 blackguard lvls would count as having 20 lvls of character classes (nonepic fiendish servants bonus bases) giving the servant the normal +8 HD and then for having 10 more lvls of blackguard above the first 10 in (epic lvl fiendish servant base) his servants would get another +4 on top of that.

The other thinks that the character has to have 10 lvls of blackguard already and then trade in excess lvls of paladin in at this time (ex: a lvl 12 paladin becomes a lvl 10 blackguard lvl 2 paladin then from there takes fighter lvl or something like that then when he reaches lvl 22 he can become a lvl 12 blackguard, lvl 10 fighter)hence not giving him nearly as many epic bonus feets and an extra 4hd to his servants
Also as a note though this should not mater the person playing this character has made a good back story which both DMs like

again like last time I asked a question please give good and logical reasoning as to which you feel is right and feel free to ask if something isn't clear



edit: ok I changed it a bit so I think it makes a bit more sense now (hopefully

SadisticFishing
2007-07-22, 11:38 PM
You can't do it as he wasn't epic, and couldn't become an epic blackguard yet, and when you're going back in time (even if by the rules) it has to make sense.

He can become a Paladin 10/Blackguard 12 though.

Remus of Rome
2007-07-23, 07:44 AM
let me fix my post for a second because the character is trading in paladin lvls for blackguard and I kept accidentally putting 20 rather than 22

edit:done trying to fix it

mostlyharmful
2007-07-23, 11:11 AM
It works in terms of trading levels, if the paladin falls at epic levels then there is no limit to how many balckguard levels he can trade in in the DMG, that being said there is no way an epic blackguard can be considered powergaming or game wrecking at high levels let alone epic, any full caster should be able to blow them into next week without any sweat. Let him play it and have fun, just try not to let him get overshadowed by Batmen and CoDzillas

Bauglir
2007-07-23, 12:21 PM
I tend to believe that he can't do that. Once he's traded in enough Paladin levels to put his Paladin level below 10, he no longer qualifies for that particular benefit of being an ex-Paladin (and said ability says he loses those when he no longer has that many Paladin levels).

Besides that, it makes the build illegal, since he has to have been gaining Epic Blackguard levels when the character was non-epic, a flat impossibility according to the Epic Level Handbook.

Douglas
2007-07-23, 01:39 PM
Besides that, it makes the build illegal, since he has to have been gaining Epic Blackguard levels when the character was non-epic, a flat impossibility according to the Epic Level Handbook.
Except he didn't actually gain the Epic Blackguard levels until the trade-in, at which point he is epic.

Remus of Rome
2007-07-23, 01:44 PM
I tend to believe that he can't do that. Once he's traded in enough Paladin levels to put his Paladin level below 10, he no longer qualifies for that particular benefit of being an ex-Paladin (and said ability says he loses those when he no longer has that many Paladin levels).
.

true he would loose the abilities stated in the DMG for having x number of paladin lvls as he would no longer have any and either way even having 1 lvl of paladin and going non lawful good counts you as being a ex-paladin however he still would be epic and be getting bonus feats from the list.

Bauglir
2007-07-23, 11:03 PM
Oh, fine. It seems to make sense conceptually, but I suppose you're right about the technicality. Still, what I said about paladin trade-in still stands. Once he's only got 10 levels of Paladin, he no longer qualifies to trade in more levels (it's not all-at-once, it's one at a time that all happens to be at the same time, so it's slightly different). Being able to trade in Paladin levels is a benefit of having some number of ex-Paladin levels. Once you have fewer than the requisite number, you no longer qualify for a benefit of having ex-Paladin levels. So once he's traded in 12, he no longer qualifies for that particular benefit. Therefore, he may no longer trade in Paladin levels. So he must necessarily have at least 10 Paladin levels, or have become a Blackguard earlier in his career (in which case he has to hit level 20 before getting the feats, as per the normal epic prestige class rules).

Stephen_E
2007-07-24, 01:10 AM
As far as I can see it's all perfectly legal.

To clarify a few points from others posts.
If you have 11+ Paladin levels and become a Blackguard you can trade in as many levels as you like, upto the non-epic limit of 10, that been the max number of Blackguard levels you can have pre-epic. Thus the DMG example is a 12th lev Paladin who becomes a 10th level Blackguard/2nd lev Paladin.

The Paladin/Blaguard trade in doesn't involve time travel. If you're doing the trade is at 12th level then any feats you gained from the trade in would be as a 12th level character. Thus a 21st lev Paladin becoming a Blackguard could, as an Epic character, trade all 21 levels of Paladin in for Blackguard levels.

Just a note that hasn't been mentioned, but may or may not be relevant, the Blackguard advantages you get for having 1-10 Paladin levels only applies for Paladin levels you keep. Thus in the case of the 21 Paladin/1 Blackguard, if he trades all 21 Paladin levels in to become a 22nd lev Blackguard, he gains NONE of the extra abilities that Paladin/Blackguards are entitled to.

Is this broken? -
This isn't broken or even necessarily optimized IMO. The Blackguard class simply isn't that strong. In fact I'd go further and recommend that the DM's allow the player to take Leadership and have their fendish servant also be their cohort (see Paladin rules on this, DMG pg 200).

Is this cheese? -
Yes. He's bending the spirit of the rules to get the mechanic he wants. If non-broken cheese bothers your DM's, don't allow it. If he's got a good backstory and your DM's think he'll play the backstory well, go for it IMO. There's nothing inherently wrong with cheese. It's only bad if it has a detrimental effect on the game (I'm aware that others may disagree with me, as I'm also aware that there are people who would happily burn at the stake those who don't follow the "right" moral views. Not that I'd suggest the two groups might have considerable overlap:smalltongue: ).

Stephen

Dairun Cates
2007-07-24, 02:44 AM
You know. I honestly have to say. If you fall at level 22 as a paladin, and then IMMEDIATELY become a blackguard, I'd have to say that logically, your previous God would probably want you dead pretty fast, and would probably make actual attempts to kill you. After all, at epic level, you've probably become one of your God's chosen disciples. Otherwise, they're just being cheesy.

Remus of Rome
2007-07-24, 10:21 AM
You know. I honestly have to say. If you fall at level 22 as a paladin, and then IMMEDIATELY become a blackguard, I'd have to say that logically, your previous God would probably want you dead pretty fast, and would probably make actual attempts to kill you. After all, at epic level, you've probably become one of your God's chosen disciples. Otherwise, they're just being cheesy.

the 1 DM who said it was ok actually did want to work something along those lines into the plot somehow

also remember it isn't me this was a request by the DMs for me to post

Zeful
2007-07-24, 11:41 AM
As far as I can see it's all perfectly legal.

To clarify a few points from others posts.
If you have 11+ Paladin levels and become a Blackguard you can trade in as many levels as you like, upto the non-epic limit of 10, that been the max number of Blackguard levels you can have pre-epic. Thus the DMG example is a 12th lev Paladin who becomes a 10th level Blackguard/2nd lev Paladin.
They also give the example of a level 15 paladin changing into a level 10 blackguard/level 5 paladin so it's legal


The Paladin/Blaguard trade in doesn't involve time travel. If you're doing the trade is at 12th level then any feats you gained from the trade in would be as a 12th level character. Thus a 21st lev Paladin becoming a Blackguard could, as an Epic character, trade all 21 levels of Paladin in for Blackguard levels.

Just a note that hasn't been mentioned, but may or may not be relevant, the Blackguard advantages you get for having 1-10 Paladin levels only applies for Paladin levels you keep. Thus in the case of the 21 Paladin/1 Blackguard, if he trades all 21 Paladin levels in to become a 22nd lev Blackguard, he gains NONE of the extra abilities that Paladin/Blackguards are entitled to.
<SNIP>

Stephen

All correctwith what has been said in my DMG that is right infront of me. A character could trade in All his paladin levels to be an insanely high level Blackguard, but he wouldn't be near as good even if he kept five or six paladin levels for the following reasons.

Epic Attack Bonus: Epic level attack bonuses do not increase the number of attacks you get per round, so he only gets two from his +10/+5 non-epic attack bonus.

Epic Prestigue Class Features: Any Blackguard ability that uses his level to determine DC increases at half it's normal rate (once every two levels instead of every one) so his spells are half as effective as everybody elses.

Epic Patterned Bonuses: The Blackguard's Sneak Attack is the only thing that continue to advance normally, once every three levels.

Also because of the drop off of other abilities I doubt he'll qualify for that many Epic level feats.

In the end I'd let him do it.

Bauglir
2007-07-24, 11:48 AM
I'm still of the opinion that it's illegal. The example could easily be flawed, as so many of them are (though I suppose it is a fairly good proof of intent). However, the blackguard's ability to trade in Paladin levels is an extra ability for having 11 or more ex-Paladin levels. As the ability says, "With the loss of paladin levels, the character no longer gains as many extra abilities for being a fallen paladin." So as soon as the character is a 10th level Paladin, it no longer qualifies for that ability, and so can no longer trade in Paladin levels. What am I missing, because there must be something (since I seem to be the only one who sees it this way)?

Caelestion
2007-07-24, 12:09 PM
He also happens to be ignoring the rule that you cannot have 11 or more Blackguards before 20th-level - and this must still be true throughout his entire career. Paladin 10/Blk 12 is fine. Pal 1/Blk 21 is not.

Arbitrarity
2007-07-24, 12:16 PM
Paladin 21 Blackguard 1, converts to Blackguard 22. That's fine, as it instantaneously trades in the entire lot of paladin levels.

As shown in the example. Thereby being the intent of the rule.

Zeful
2007-07-24, 12:23 PM
@ Bauglir: It probably has to do with the line of thought that most trade-in mechanics are one level at a time, this trade in ability has no such restrictions and you are capable of trading in up to all your paladin levels for blackguard levels, this takes place all at once despite the ambiuous wording in the blackguard trade-in mechanics. Of course to prevent people from making a chessy attempt to get epic feats you could assert that it's not possible to trade those final ten levels but there is nothing in the rules stoping him from doing so. Except maybe the point Caelestion brings up about the no epic advancement unless you are legitimatly level twenty before epic advancement. But that's not clearly defined in the DMG and I don't own the ELH.

Caelestion
2007-07-24, 12:24 PM
Paladin 21 Blackguard 1, converts to Blackguard 22. That's fine, as it instantaneously trades in the entire lot of paladin levels.

As shown in the example. Thereby being the intent of the rule.
Can you quote the example?

Regardless of how many blackguard levels he has, he still cannot select any epic feats unless he has 21 hit dice or more. That rule cannot be superceded simply by claiming epic bonus feats from being the proposed Pal 1/Blk 21.

Remus of Rome
2007-07-24, 01:04 PM
They also give the example of a level 15 paladin changing into a level 10 blackguard/level 5 paladin so it's legal



All correctwith what has been said in my DMG that is right infront of me. A character could trade in All his paladin levels to be an insanely high level Blackguard, but he wouldn't be near as good even if he kept five or six paladin levels for the following reasons.

Epic Attack Bonus: Epic level attack bonuses do not increase the number of attacks you get per round, so he only gets two from his +10/+5 non-epic attack bonus.

Epic Prestigue Class Features: Any Blackguard ability that uses his level to determine DC increases at half it's normal rate (once every two levels instead of every one) so his spells are half as effective as everybody elses.

Epic Patterned Bonuses: The Blackguard's Sneak Attack is the only thing that continue to advance normally, once every three levels.

Also because of the drop off of other abilities I doubt he'll qualify for that many Epic level feats.

In the end I'd let him do it.

AB does not increase after lvl 20 so the player still may be entitled to the 20/15/10/5 though I think that would be up to the DMs to decide

ok and the quote from the DMG saying the trade is instantaneous in 3.0 rules table 2-12 on page 32 and page 183 in 3.5 rules "For example , a character who has twelve lvls of paladin can Immediately become a 10th lvl blackguard if he chooses to loose 10 lvls of paladin"

Arbitrarity
2007-07-24, 01:10 PM
Can you quote the example?

Regardless of how many blackguard levels he has, he still cannot select any epic feats unless he has 21 hit dice or more. That rule cannot be superceded simply by claiming epic bonus feats from being the proposed Pal 1/Blk 21.

Ah, I see. I was just using the basic example, not the epic bonus feats bit. So that's what he's going for. Duuuh!


Acquiring Epic Feats
Characters gain epic feats in the following ways:

At 21st level, and every three levels thereafter, the character may select an epic feat in place of a nonepic feat.

Each character class gains bonus epic feats according to the class description. These feats must be selected from the list of bonus epic feats for that class.



Bonus Feats
The epic blackguard gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic blackguard feats) every three levels after 10th.

Epic Blackguard Bonus Feat List
Armor Skin, Devastating Critical, Epic Leadership, Epic Prowess, Epic Reputation, Epic Toughness, Epic Weapon Focus, Great Smiting, Improved Aura of Despair, Improved Combat Casting, Improved Sneak Attack, Improved Spell Capacity, Legendary Commander, Legendary Rider, Lingering Damage, Negative Energy Burst, Overwhelming Critical, Perfect Health, Permanent Emanation, Planar Turning, Spontaneous Spell, Undead Mastery, Unholy Strike, Widen Aura of Despair, Zone of Animation.



Technically, unless I'm mistaken, nothing says you must be over level 20 to gain epic bonus feats. There is simply no way to get them, given that epic levels of a class cannot be taken before epic levels. (with some exceptions, clearly)

Caelestion
2007-07-24, 01:31 PM
Technically, unless I'm mistaken, nothing says you must be over level 20 to gain epic bonus feats. There is simply no way to get them, given that epic levels of a class cannot be taken before epic levels. (with some exceptions, clearly)
Well, I must be labouring under the misapprehension then that the [Epic] descriptor indicates that you must be epic-level to select the feat, which you categorically are not before level 21.

Arbitrarity
2007-07-24, 01:35 PM
Literally, yes you are.

Prerequisites
Most epic feats have prerequisites. A character must have the listed ability score, feat, skill, class feature, or base attack modifier in order to select or use that feat. A character can gain an epic feat at the same level at which he or she gains the prerequisite, just as with regular feats. A prerequisite expressed as a numerical value is a minimum; any value higher than the one given also meets the prerequisite. A character canít use an epic feat if he or she has lost a prerequisite.



I see nothing there about being over level 21, however, normally there is no way to get an epic feat below level 21. This would probably be a good area for a "book to the back of the head" though.

EDIT: Technically as well, when trading in the levels, and selecting the feats, the character is over level 21.

Sarcasm Noted.

mudbunny
2007-07-24, 01:44 PM
The build is a 22nd lvl blackguard that he wants to make by trading in 21 lvls of paladin for 22 lvls of blackguard (while he "lvls") thus he thinks that it will grant him 4 epic feats (3 bonus epic 1 for lvl 21).

I don't think that this part here works.

If he is a L21 Paladin, the character has already chosen all of his feats up to L21. Trading paladin levels for blackguard levels doesn't allow you to re-choose your feats.

Arbitrarity
2007-07-24, 01:44 PM
But you gain bonus Epic Blackguard feats which must be chosen.

EDIT: However, the feats already chosen cannot be replaced, as they are a function of your character level, not your class levels. I.e. you would lose fighter bonus feats, but not level 3, level 6, etc feats, as they are independant of fighter levels. Furthermore, only the epic bonus feats (4 of them) on the blackguard list can be chosen. However, that is likely not the intent. Smitage, or prodding everyone else to play full spellcasters, is a good way of laughing evilly here.

mudbunny
2007-07-24, 01:52 PM
But you gain bonus Epic Blackguard feats which must be chosen.

Hmmm, I just realized this.

The OPs labeling this player as a munchkin is very accurate.

I agree with your book to the head action.

Edit However, the epic feat prerequisites, and forcing the munchkinplayer to choose the feats as if he were leveling up his blackguard will minimize the munchkinism due to the necessity of him having to have the pre-requisite for the epic-feat.

Rejakor
2007-07-24, 01:58 PM
I'd have to say, by the RAW, he can do it. He's not trading in normal feats for Epic Feats, he's gaining bonus blackguard feats when he's above level 21, which allows him to take epic feats.

I'm all for a DM's right to simply say 'no', whatever the RAW says, but here it seems to not really be a big deal. Currently what he's trying to do is a lot less broken than epic spellcasting. If you want to be better than him, just play a level 22 wizard. And then make your own death spell, no save, no spell resistance. *point*. Oh, you're dead. No save. Ooops. My bad, dude. Oh, those balors? *point* Oh, they're dead. No save. Oooops. My bad. Did you want to hit them with your Epic Weapon Specialization? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. And so on.

And whats funny is that you can nano spellcraft ><

Arbitrarity
2007-07-24, 02:06 PM
Edit However, the epic feat prerequisites, and forcing the munchkinplayer to choose the feats as if he were leveling up his blackguard will minimize the munchkinism due to the necessity of him having to have the pre-requisite for the epic-feat.

Very true. Some prerequisites are a bit hard to attain at level 13. 25 in specific abilities, for example. However, many epic feats have no prerequisites, like epic reputation, or few/simple prerequisites, such as undead mastery, or unholy strike. Then again, most epic feats are of moderate power, in comparison to spellcasting.

mudbunny
2007-07-24, 02:10 PM
Very true. Some prerequisites are a bit hard to attain at level 13. 25 in specific abilities, for example. However, many epic feats have no prerequisites, like epic reputation, or few/simple prerequisites, such as undead mastery, or unholy strike. Then again, most epic feats are of moderate power, in comparison to spellcasting.

Not to mention all of those nifty extra powers you get *only if you keep* some paladin levels hanging around.


Fallen Paladins

Blackguards who have levels in the paladin class (that is to say, are now ex-paladins) gain extra abilities the more levels of paladin they have.

A fallen paladin who becomes a blackguard gains all of the following abilities that apply, according to the number of paladin levels the character has.

1-2
Smite good 1/day.

3-4
Lay on hands.

5-6
Sneak attack damage increased by +1d6. Smite good 2/day.

7-8
Fiendish summoning.

9-10
Undead companion. Smite good 3/day.

11 or more
A fallen paladin of this stature immediately gains a blackguard level for each level of paladin he trades in.

The character level of the character does not change. With the loss of paladin levels, the character no longer gains as many extra abilities for being a fallen paladin.

Emphasis mine, description of bonus feats snipped.

From http://www.d20srd.org/srd/prestigeClasses/blackguard.htm

Remus of Rome
2007-07-24, 02:15 PM
I don't think that this part here works.

If he is a L21 Paladin, the character has already chosen all of his feats up to L21. Trading paladin levels for blackguard levels doesn't allow you to re-choose your feats.

sorry mudbunny what I meant to say was he would have a total of 4 epic feats not that he could re choose the 21st lvl feat

edit: I don't know whether the player has noticed yet but if he is lvl 22 he will get 4 epic bonus feats

mudbunny
2007-07-24, 02:25 PM
sorry mudbunny what I meant to say was he would have a total of 4 epic feats not that he could re choose the 21st lvl feat

No, it was just me having a complete brain fart on what you were talking about.

Like others above have said, by RAW it is legal, but hammergun worthy.

What's a hammergun you ask??
http://student-iat.ubalt.edu/sde/students/tynes/hammergun.gif

Remus of Rome
2007-07-24, 09:23 PM
I just realized I forgot to tell you something about this campaign and all campaigns that the DM who agreed to this build runs

Though in almost every other game this character would be considered a munchkin he isn't in this because of how the DM runs thing if you want more examples look at the thread about forced love by me also

The way the DM runs thing it is completely overpowered one of my favorite examples is how he makes weapons in one campaign he made all the weapons deal one increment more dmg like dagger do 1d6 great swords 2d8 and so forth another example in another campaign he is running now but I'm not in characters have weapons that deal based dice time 1d20 so a longsword does 1d8x1d20 dmg up to 160dmg and the PC are lvl 11

on top of that most sessions have at least one time where we are surrounded by an army of monsters that have CRs equal to our party or higher and he also for non plot reasons play NPCs that are a much higher lvl than that of the group

Also he gave a player epic feats at lvl 10 and also approved what the character thought was a loophole to get hellball by lvl 20 of course I shot down that fast

edit: also the DM is the one doing the campaign making and the other one is doing things like secret saves and the such

edit2: I guess what I'm getting at is that to even survive in his games you have to muchkin

Stephen_E
2007-07-24, 10:11 PM
Well, I must be labouring under the misapprehension then that the [Epic] descriptor indicates that you must be epic-level to select the feat, which you categorically are not before level 21.

You do seem to be missing that the PC is level 22 when the exchange happens, so selecting Epic feats if he gains feats from the Paladin/Blackguard exchange is perfectly legal.

Re: The swapping of levels. From the DMG pg 183 para starts "11 or more"
"For example a character who has 12 levels of paladin can immediately become a 10th level Blackguard with all abilities if he chooses to lose 10 levels of Paladin. The character level of the character does not change."

It goes on to give another example of a 15th level Paladin which works exactly the same. So
1)Yes, if you're epic when you decide to trade your level is epic for the entire trade, and thus epic rules apply.
2) You aren't limited to trading the excess levels above 10. If you have more than 10 Paladin levels you can trade as many Paladin levels as you like to the maximum Blackguard levels that are allowable at current level. If that level is epic, then there is no limit (Don't be a 20th level character when you convert :smallwink: ).

Stephen

Caelestion
2007-07-25, 05:12 AM
Well, would you allow this obviously anti-spirit-of-the-game combination?

Also, when selecting bonus feats and so forth, even retroactively, you must always do it as if you were the level in question. You are not epic until 21st-level, therefore if you are selecting a feat as if you were, say 14th, from being a Pal 1/Blk 13, you are still not entitled to epic feats.

All character advancement choices much be legal at the level they are gained, no matter what level you actually are if you're doing retroactively.

Arbitrarity
2007-07-25, 07:21 AM
However, nothing states, in the Epic section of the SRD, that those are not legal choices. You come with this assumption that [epic] means the character must be of epic level to gain such feats, and that is not so, according to the text on gaining epic feats. Taking those choices retroactively is legal, given that they are bonus feats from the epic advancement of a class, which is one of the two ways to gain epic feats. There is nothing about epic feats requiring you to be level 21 to get them. At all. That is rather non-intuitive, I know.

In the literal sense of course. Also, all of the blackguard epic feats are epic, there are no other choices. I still recommend book-to-head, but the hammer-gun looks appealing.

Also. Take epic spellcasting, and break it. Break it bad. I like the fortify seed, for the insane intelligence boosting potential.

EDIT: I bet I have scarred someone's mind with the utter lack of sense this argument seems to make. Look carefully at the quotes I made from the SRD on page 1.

Remus of Rome
2007-07-25, 08:07 AM
ME personally if I was running the campaign would say no but personally just knowing the DM and the fact that players who play fair get killed I would have to say go right ahead to this person

Arbitrarity
2007-07-25, 08:16 AM
I would too. Then I'd hit him with a heavy book. Then I'd let him choose 3 feats from the fighter list, in place of the blackguard epic feats, or somesuch.