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Rei_Jin
2008-09-08, 09:22 PM
Serious question, as per the thread title...

How do YOU decide if something is overpowered/broken for your style of play?

I'm curious as to how other people decide. For me, I look at something whether it be a class, feat, race, spell, item, whatever, and if I go "Why WOULDN'T I take it" then it's overpowered. Sometimes it's something in isolation (example: Belt of Healing), sometimes it's a combination (Whispergnome Ninja or a Warforged Warlock).

How do you make those decisions?

streakster
2008-09-08, 09:25 PM
Hmm? What's the Warforged Warlock deal?

Rei_Jin
2008-09-08, 09:28 PM
Well, for the playstyle that I and my friends use, a character that never sleeps, never stops, and just continues to operate at maximum power permanently is awesome and overpowered. Heck, he only needs to pick up wands of Repair Damage and he can UMD them to heck, thus giving him healing.

Note however, that I said that this is for the playstyle that we use. Everything is different for different parties.

Eldritch_Ent
2008-09-08, 09:29 PM
I... Really don't see how a Warforged Warlock is overpowered. Especially since Warforged get -2 to Charisma, which is a Warlock's casting stat. Could you please elucidate?

Rei_Jin
2008-09-08, 09:32 PM
A damage output/battlefield control Warlock doesn't need a high Charisma. He can function just fine with a mediocre one.

Stupendous_Man
2008-09-08, 09:33 PM
It is overpowered because YOU ARE IRON MAN!!!

streakster
2008-09-08, 09:33 PM
A damage output/battlefield control Warlock doesn't need a high Charisma. He can function just fine with a mediocre one.

Erm, Ok. Why is it overpowered?

Curmudgeon
2008-09-08, 09:35 PM
You're confusing "useful" with "overpowered". A Heward's Handy Haversack is useful, because it'll let you carry more stuff. It isn't overpowered, because it doesn't make you more skillful, a mightier warrior, or a better spellcaster. Plus items that hit "sweet spots" are just good choices rather than being overpowered. Dwarves fight with dwarven waraxes because those are one of their race's sweet spots. The same goes for Elves with (composite) longbows; and Rogues use rapiers.

There's no good line here. If you ban some item or combination, there'll probably be one next-best choice after that. Are you going to ban that, too?

Rei_Jin
2008-09-08, 09:36 PM
As I said, because of the way we play. Everyone else runs out of spells, or hitpoints, or even just gets tired.

He just goes on forever like the energizer bunny, and never has to stop. This can cause big balance problems for the DM and the rest of the party gets frustrated at the fact that he just ignores half of the things that they have to deal with. He can fly at will, he can go invisible at will, he doesn't need to eat or sleep or breathe, he can run forever...

Jayabalard
2008-09-08, 09:38 PM
You know, you could always stick to answering the question he asked instead of being so concerned that someone is wrong on the internet (http://xkcd.com/386/). It's up to you, though; if you think it's more important to correct him than to actually contribute something on topic, by all means, keep on making a big deal about how he's wrong. I just think it's rather silly.


Back to the topic at hand: Personally, I never worry about whether something is overpowered or not, and only consider it broken if it actually makes the game un-fun.

drengnikrafe
2008-09-08, 09:43 PM
If it's something we don't like, we write a new system for it, and PT it for awhile. We pull together the smartest PCs, and if we start abusing it, we fix it. Furthermore, if something can already be abused, it either get's fixed or removed (no more Elven Double Bow to us...).

Frosty
2008-09-08, 10:20 PM
At higher levels, Wizards *don't* run out of spells...ever. What're you going to do, throw 10 encounters at the party to make the wizard run out of spell slots? Warlocks only seem cool in the early levels.

Rei_Jin
2008-09-08, 10:23 PM
At higher levels, Wizards *don't* run out of spells...ever. What're you going to do, throw 10 encounters at the party to make the wizard run out of spell slots? Warlocks only seem cool in the early levels.

Ahem...

I didn't ask for everyone to argue with me about what I think, I asked for everyone to tell me how they decide if something is overpowered or broken for their playstyle.

As for the high level thing, we don't generally get past about level 12-14. It's how we play.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-09-08, 10:40 PM
I didn't ask for everyone to argue with me about what I think, I asked for everyone to tell me how they decide if something is overpowered or broken for their playstyle.

Well, the Warlock Warforged thing was kind of weird, but anyhow...

I've always defined "broken" as "something that destroys the game" which usually means "makes it no fun." Now, as a DM I usually pick things that make it really difficult to design challenging encounters, but as a Player I've always looked at things that make my character boring.

Examples
In 3e, I've played this Rogue-Fighter for the longest time. For me, things like flat DC Tumble checks (AoO just don't matter), Taking 20 (it results in DCs that you'll either never get or will calculate skill points to always get - see picking locks), traps (nothing targets a Reflex Save! Rogues are terrible at surviving traps!), immunity to Sneak Attacks (like, everything after level 5) and Save or Dies (it's always anticlimactic when you die because you rolled a 1, especially if it was the first round of combat).

Each of these remove something I enjoy about the game - mostly the influence of luck (flat DCs, Taking 20) or the neutering of supposed class features (immunity to Sneak Attacks, the fact that Rogues suck at surviving traps). Other things (like Save or Dies/Sucks) suck the fun out of a game because they just happen - there really wasn't much you, as a character or player, could do to avoid them.

Stuff on the DM side is much easier to identify. If my PCs spam something every encounter (like Improved Overrun at low levels) or if there is one specific option which is just better at every situation (such as Summoning Celestial Bisons - they're really, really good!) it gets a tag against it. While it may be fun for the players for awhile, whatever they're spamming is going to get boring eventually (because it makes all the encounters indistinguishable) if I can't figure out a way to neuter it. However, if I neuter this specific power, then I'm penalizing the player for using something they have "by right" which I know I hate as a player (see above). It's a Catch-22 situation that I usually try to avoid by outlawing such options before we start. Consequently, this is why I only DM Core 3e - and even there, I run into problems!

DoomedPaladin
2008-09-08, 10:40 PM
A Warforged Warlock isn't really overpowered unless you're unprepared for it. The glorious thing about 3.5 is that as a player you can build anything that you can imagine. Unfortunately, so can the DM. Warforged aren't ALL that. A druid with a warp wood or (Gods forbid!) a rust monster are at least twice as much a pain in their butts as anyone elses. They don't sleep? Send Quori (the dream monsters) after their teammates while they fight in the waking world by themselves. Warforged don't have eyelids, gaze attacks anyone?

A WhisperGnome Ninja? They make cursed items for a reason. A singing Gi (ninja suit) for instance *hide, hide, hide the sneaky ninja!*. Also, if they have powers that annoy you (blasts/points/slots) use things that drain them. I'm running my players through the "Rending of the Weave (FR)" modules. Filled with magic draining thingies. They wondered why all of their non-standard PC's were running into non-standard monsters in a standard module. Their opponents worship Shar the goddess of secrets, so she's told her worshipers what they're doing and who they are.

I agree with an earlier poster who said the only things neccesary to ban were things that stop the fun. I'd tell my players to use their aggravation with the Warforged in their roleplaying. It's part of the reason the race holds the status it does in it's home setting.

Personally, a Warforged Tattooed Monk with the Vow of Poverty (BoED) feat makes me cry a little inside. Of course, that's just because I don't currently own the Book of Vile Darkness yet.

Thurbane
2008-09-08, 10:46 PM
I... Really don't see how a Warforged Warlock is overpowered. Especially since Warforged get -2 to Charisma, which is a Warlock's casting stat. Could you please elucidate?

Well, for the playstyle that I and my friends use, a character that never sleeps, never stops, and just continues to operate at maximum power permanently is awesome and overpowered.
Bolding mine. Asked and answered. But by all means, lets keep debating this point instead of answering the larger question asked by the thread. :smallwink:

Ascension
2008-09-08, 10:47 PM
Oracle Hunter, you're right about the rogue thing. It always seemed like the traps required Fort saves, and my poor rogue would end up poisoned or worse half the time.

Also, though I wouldn't call them overpowered, per se, you're right about the celestial bison thing, too. I used to know a cleric who spammed bison and dire badger summonings Every. Single. Fight.

Not that I minded much. He usually gave me flanking for sneak attacks.

Rei_Jin
2008-09-08, 10:47 PM
Well, the Warlock Warforged thing was kind of weird, but anyhow... <SNIP>

*Sigh*

Fine, it seems like everyone wants some background information.


Warforged Warlock + Worlds Largest Dungeon = DM cries

After that event, I was told I could never build one again, and the rest of the party agrees. I wasn't expecting to have to justify myself to the internets when it was used as an example, as opposed to being the topic of conversation.

Can we please get back on topic?

Arakune
2008-09-08, 10:58 PM
*Sigh*

Fine, it seems like everyone wants some background information.


Warforged Warlock + Worlds Largest Dungeon = DM cries

After that event, I was told I could never build one again, and the rest of the party agrees. I wasn't expecting to have to justify myself to the internets when it was used as an example, as opposed to being the topic of conversation.

Can we please get back on topic?

It's still not much, since the party will simply rest when the casters run out of spells.

For me broken is something that can do insanely powerful effects without/too few drawbacks.

EvilElitest
2008-09-08, 11:00 PM
ironically enough, i normally use these boards as a way to deiced if things are broken or over powered.
from
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DoomedPaladin
2008-09-08, 11:04 PM
Back on topic? Fine. If it simply drives the other players away because it's not fun or just boring, ban it. If it just makes the DM or a minority of the group angry. Then it's likely just a failing on their part. Send 'em here. We'll let 'em vent, then set them straight.

Frosty
2008-09-08, 11:06 PM
things that make encounters too hard or too easy are not good for the campaign.

Mikeavelli
2008-09-08, 11:10 PM
OVERPOWERED!

It's overpowered if it outshines the rest of the party. This is sometimes determined by the intrinsic properties of the ability (Polymorph) - but mostly determined by the abilities of the rest of the party.

For example, I was playing in a group once with a Blaster Battle Sorceror who took burning hands as her only offensive spell, a ranger who couldn't decide if he wanted to be an archer or melee combatant, a sword & Board knight, a healbot cleric, and myself, the Half Orc Greatsword wielding Fighter\Barbarian killbot.

In a Campaign with, say, Batman, and DMM cheesebot, I'd have been on Par at best. In this one? I was one-shotting creatures that were supposed to be a challenge for our entire party. It was overpowered.

So I threw away the greatsword and went for improved unarmed strike, proceeded to beat the **** out of things with my fists, because the visual cool, and brought my down to where I wasn't outshining the rest of the party.

TheElfLord
2008-09-08, 11:14 PM
ironically enough, i normally use these boards as a way to deiced if things are broken or over powered.
from
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Indeed. Before I can here, overpowered and broken weren't even part of my rpg vocabulary. If I have a question about somethings brokenness, or more often its effectiveness, I toss it out on the forums and see what people say.

Douglas
2008-09-08, 11:19 PM
Broken, definition a:
So powerful it "breaks the game", and allows a character to do things far beyond what he is supposed to be capable of.

This is generally obvious at a glance. Infinite loops, instant kills that bypass all normal defenses, modifiers so far out of the usual range that comparison is meaningless, etc.

Broken, definition b:
Mechanics that do not function as intended, usually by not providing enough power for a character to actually perform his intended role. The Monk is a classic example of this.

This is rarely obvious and is usually revealed only by careful analysis and/or playtesting.

Overpowered:
Significantly more powerful than it should be, but not so much as to be broken.

Often obvious on first reading by comparison to my normal baseline. If it offers significant advantages over the usual without corresponding drawbacks, it is overpowered.

Specific note about the Warforged Warlock example: Whether this build is overpowered is highly dependent on the campaign. In the vast majority of campaigns, it will be severely underpowered. Long endurance challenges where opportunities to rest are few and combat is frequent is just about the only situation where this is overpowered, and it just so happens that the World's Largest Dungeon is such a campaign. In the more common case where rests are frequent enough relative to combat for casters to not have to worry too much about running out, the Warlock's inferior peak power is a major handicap.

Trizap
2008-09-08, 11:21 PM
how do you know?

you know when its a certain combination of race, class, feats, skills, and maybe (or probably) some spells or two that makes everything too easy and beatable,
then its overpowered/ broken.

in short, you know its overpowered when its optimized and/or played by a power gamer.

valadil
2008-09-08, 11:29 PM
I consider something overpowered if it's just straight up better than the alternatives.

Something has to fundamentally change the game for me to consider it broken.

Let's look at some examples. The 3.0 Incantatrix is overpowered. It gets 3 metamagic feats, improved metamagic, immunity to death effects, and some other coolness for the low, low price of one more prohibited school of magic. As long as you can spare the school, it's going to be a good choice.

The 3.5 version has another free feat, pushes back improved metamagic a level, and loses immunity to death effects. It also gains some sick abilities that I'd argue break the game. It can apply metamagic to spells that are already in effect with a spellcraft check. Why not make every buff persistent? I think it also has an ability to make a spellcraft check to steal a duration spell from another caster. I don't think the other caster could even take his spell back unless he also had incantatrix levels.

Frosty
2008-09-08, 11:45 PM
Well, Cindy and her kind of casters *do* persistor extend everything and become nigh invincible. The game world breaks down with that kind of power.

Gralamin
2008-09-09, 12:03 AM
If there is no reason not to take it, it may be to strong. If its power curve is approaching that of a wizard, its broken. Basically, I try to balance so that if I was to remove core and say use ToB + Psionics and Homebrew, everything should be about balanced (more or less).

Frosty
2008-09-09, 12:17 AM
If there is no reason not to take it, it may be to strong. If its power curve is approaching that of a wizard, its broken. Basically, I try to balance so that if I was to remove core and say use ToB + Psionics and Homebrew, everything should be about balanced (more or less).

Note quite. For example there's almost no reason not to take Power Attack as a melee character. This is an indication of how weak TWF is, and not Power Attack itself being overpowered.

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-09-09, 12:22 AM
Generally, I view ToB as the 'Optimal' power level for my characters, not playing anything better and trying not to play anything less. Multiple fun abilities that synergize well, leave me few weaknesses, and don't overshadow people in other roles.

random11
2008-09-09, 12:30 AM
First of all, there is experience.
If you notice that players tend to pick a specific class for any reason that isn't "cool factor", there might be a problem there, and it's worth checking.

To check if something is broken, try to imagine how your fantasy world is supposed to look like if not only the players are smart enough to exploit a powerful skill or class.
If there is an inconsistency between what you describe here and the world you play in, something is probably wrong.

The second way is to see what you as a GM need to do in order to let all the characters in the group have their moments to shine.
If you need to strain and find unique situations for a specific character to either have his moment, or a situation like this to prevent a specific character from solving everything you throw on him, then something is wrong.

Gorbash
2008-09-09, 12:59 AM
I think someone said Warforged Warlock is OP because if you take Hellfire Warlock you don't suffer the drawbacks (con dmg). Or I'm wrong, since it's ability damage and Warforged are immune to ability drain and perhaps it doesn't apply to ability damage.

As a DM, I have no problem with overpowered combinations. If I have a wizard who's a polymorphing monstrosity, ok, I'll use polymorphing monstrosities. If I have a rogue/dervish with ring of invisilibility, telling blow and some other crit/sneak attack nonsense, fine, my bosses will undoubtably have blur on themselves. If a Malconvoker summons too much, have someone cast Magic Circle Against X. Just give them the same treatment, they'll give you and you'll do just fine. Remember - If everyone's overpowered, no one is.

Of course, I'm not saying that tactics above should be used all the time, since players will get irritated by that, but once they start overshadowing the rest of the party, give them a slap on the wrists with one of those.

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-09-09, 01:07 AM
If you are immune to ability damage, you can't use HFW. It's in the class. The common exploits, besides boosting Hellfire damage beyond the normal 3-level limit, is in mitigating the Con damage, not preventing it. Bind Naberius, Faerie Mysteries Initiate, Use-activated Widget of Lesser Restoration, and the like. Also, yes, a Warforged Warlock is powerful in a campaign where lack of supplies and rest is supposed to be a problem. However, most campaigns have 4 encounters per day or fewer, and just assume food because after 3rd level, 250gp is pocket change, so Iron Rations aren't rare. In those circumstances, Warforged and Warlocks, or both at once, have no unusual advantage, and are in fact below the power level of a Blaster Sorcerer, let alone a well-built Martial Adept.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-09-09, 01:08 AM
I think someone said Warforged Warlock is OP because if you take Hellfire Warlock you don't suffer the drawbacks (con dmg). Or I'm wrong, since it's ability damage and Warforged are immune to ability drain and perhaps it doesn't apply to ability damage.

As a DM, I have no problem with overpowered combinations. If I have a wizard who's a polymorphing monstrosity, ok, I'll use polymorphing monstrosities. If I have a rogue/dervish with ring of invisilibility, telling blow and some other crit/sneak attack nonsense, fine, my bosses will undoubtably have blur on themselves. If a Malconvoker summons too much, have someone cast Magic Circle Against X. Just give them the same treatment, they'll give you and you'll do just fine. Remember - If everyone's overpowered, no one is.

Of course, I'm not saying that tactics above should be used all the time, since players will get irritated by that, but once they start overshadowing the rest of the party, give them a slap on the wrists with one of those.

Of course, this turns into an arms race with your players which can get kind of silly for certain values of broken. Does every BBEG take the thousands of golds worth of precautions needed to protect themselves from Scry-'n-Die attacks? Are there permanent mindblank salons around to service the many minions of these BBEGs?

For me, the countermeasures strategy always seemed to run into absurd situations - but then, there are people who are perfectly comfortable with BBEGs being warded up the wazzo even if the sheer cost should leave them too poor to actually pursue world domination. And like you noted, if you block your PCs all the time, they'll get a mite irritated.

Dode
2008-09-09, 01:11 AM
The 3.5 version has another free feat, pushes back improved metamagic a level, and loses immunity to death effects. It also gains some sick abilities that I'd argue break the game. It can apply metamagic to spells that are already in effect with a spellcraft check. Why not make every buff persistent? I think it also has an ability to make a spellcraft check to steal a duration spell from another caster. I don't think the other caster could even take his spell back unless he also had incantatrix levels.
I know a player who did this.
Thought he was the bee's knees until he got hit with a dispel magic.

Talic
2008-09-09, 01:27 AM
For me, there is a difference between overpowered and broken.

If an ability/feat/skill/race greatly improves the effectiveness of a class, to the point of distorting the balance of the party/campaign, it's overpowered. Examples would include shocktrooper for low ac uberchargers. These abilities aren't game breaking, but it requires a bit of care on the DM's part when planning encounters, lest they be over in a round.

If an ability destroys the balance of many games and styles, it's broken. These are examples where only one to two solutions present themselves for balancing. Examples include DMM Persist (low level access to your highest level powers all day), Celerity/foresight (always go first, no matter what), Shivering Touch (seriously, this spell chain can 1 shot 90% of the monsters in the Monster manual), and the like. These generally mean the only solution is removal of the offending ability or character.

The Warforged Warlock? I'd consider that a party asset. First, party limitations means that while it's capable of travelling all day, it can't stray too far from the party in practice. With decent spot/listen, invisibility, and flight, that makes this character a perfect night watch, while the party is resting. That's not broken, or overpowered, as it doesn't severely distort the encounter options, or nullify large types of encounters beyond the normal level for campaigns (for example, Fell Flight/Invisibility are gained at nearly the level you'd gain access to them through other means).

Talic
2008-09-09, 01:33 AM
I know a player who did this.
Thought he was the bee's knees until he got hit with a dispel magic.

Yes, yes, unless the cleric is optimized to be difficult to dispel, this can happen to mitigate persist.

However, let's look at this objectively.

1) Dispelling is performed by a narrow subset of creatures (casters, creatures with it as a SLA).

2) The buffs the player has require no combat actions to bring up.

3) The dispel, which will likely only remove 1-2 of a series of buffs, does require a combat action.

As the real currency of combat is combat actions, you've just developed a way for a enemy to lose 1 combat action for the dispel, and possibly additional actions to realize that there is something that needs dispelling. For no effective action cost. So, even the solution leaves the party at an advantage, and is only available by a few monsters, and by casters, with a less than 100% chance of success.

Vael Nir
2008-09-09, 01:37 AM
I know a player who did this.
Thought he was the bee's knees until he got hit with a dispel magic.

The first time I read through IotSV, I was thinking about how *nasty* it would be to use Kaleidoscopic Doom on a Clericzilla or someone else with plenty of persistant buffs... :smallbiggrin:

Of course, that's fighting cheese with more cheese.

Weren't there also other spells that steal buffs like the Spellthief?

Gorbash
2008-09-09, 01:58 AM
Of course, this turns into an arms race with your players which can get kind of silly for certain values of broken. Does every BBEG take the thousands of golds worth of precautions needed to protect themselves from Scry-'n-Die attacks? Are there permanent mindblank salons around to service the many minions of these BBEGs?

Well yeah, I know, but in my games, it doesn't go that far. If the said rogue/dervish gets to cocky and gloats over his sneak attacks and overshadows the party, I'll show him the insides of a T-Rex. It's just a leason of humility, actually, and maintaining the well mood of a party.

I use the same approach as a player in another campaign. I have a 10th lvl wizard, by rights the world be should at my knees, yet I don't go around casting celerities, shivering touches and other absurdly broken combinations for two reasons - so I don't get to see the insides of a T-Rex and not to overshadow the rest of the party.

But if the things get ugly and party starts dropping, it's time to pull out the big guns and save the day.

Akimbo
2008-09-09, 02:07 AM
Well yeah, I know, but in my games, it doesn't go that far. If the said rogue/dervish gets to cocky and gloats over his sneak attacks and overshadows the party, I'll show him the insides of a T-Rex. It's just a leason of humility, actually, and maintaining the well mood of a party.

I use the same approach as a player in another campaign. I have a 10th lvl wizard, by rights the world be should at my knees, yet I don't go around casting celerities, shivering touches and other absurdly broken combinations for two reasons - so I don't get to see the insides of a T-Rex and not to overshadow the rest of the party.

But if the things get ugly and party starts dropping, it's time to pull out the big guns and save the day.

The insides of a T-Rex are the best part. Flat-footed against all your attacks.

Frosty
2008-09-09, 02:13 AM
To those people who insist on having tons of buffs all day, I ontroduce them to the spell Reciprocal Gyre (Complete Mage version) 1d6 damage per level of spells active. The enemy was regularly doing 19d6 a round on the DMM cleric in my party. Let him have all these buffs. At some point, enemies will figure out to counter.

Also, have multiple encounters per day with spellcasters. By the time they get to the last encounter (and the boss), a lot of the sbuffs are likely gone.

Gorbash
2008-09-09, 02:25 AM
The insides of a T-Rex are the best part. Flat-footed against all your attacks.

One would think so, but unfortunately T-Rex's insides lack illumination that is required to be subject to sneak attacks. Sure, he may have a sunrod somewhere in backpack which means another round of 2d8+16 dmg while he finds it and lights it and by then he already suffered 3d6+13, d6+9 (when he initiated grapple) and 2d8+16 gizzard damage. That's 86 dmg on average.
And if he already has a sunrod or some other source of light, he'll manage one full attack and that's it. But this particular rogue in my campaign doesn't. By sheer luck and my bad damage rolls, he survived.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-09-09, 02:29 AM
One would think so, but unfortunately T-Rex's insides lack illumination that is required to be subject to sneak attacks. Sure, he may have a sunrod somewhere in backpack which means another round of 2d8+16 dmg while he finds it and lights it and by then he already suffered 3d6+13, d6+9 (when he initiated grapple) and 2d8+16 gizzard damage. That's 86 dmg on average.
And if he already has a sunrod or some other source of light, he'll manage one full attack and that's it. But this particular rogue in my campaign doesn't. By sheer luck and my bad damage rolls, he survived.

See, this is why you should've just had him be eaten by a Grue. It's well known that, in addition to darkness, Grue enjoy the taste of cheese :smallbiggrin:

bosssmiley
2008-09-09, 04:54 AM
As I said, because of the way we play. Everyone else runs out of spells, or hitpoints, or even just gets tired.

He just goes on forever like the energizer bunny, and never has to stop. This can cause big balance problems for the DM and the rest of the party gets frustrated at the fact that he just ignores half of the things that they have to deal with. He can fly at will, he can go invisible at will, he doesn't need to eat or sleep or breathe, he can run forever...

Houserule in the (limited immunities and exceptions to status effects) 4E version of Warforged if you want to really bring the character down to normal. Otherwise, just leave the character be. The Warforged are supposed to be the weirdly relentless Terminators of the D&D world.

Taking a leaf from the old "Cyberpunk 2020" suggestions for full borg characters: you could have the rest of the party (and, with DM connivance, NPCs) play up how weird, creepy and alien they think the Forgelock is. Have them refer to him as "it", or as "a combat asset". Have your character talk about "the devil machine" as if it's a ticking time bomb just waiting to go off at the worst possible moment.

It ain't bigotry if the subject of your distaste really is an unholy congeries of gears, cogs and infernal magic; it's just prudent self-preservation. :smallwink:

edit: (On topic) I find a good rule of thumb is that anything which makes another character obsolete and leaves the player feeling marginalised is likely to be overpowered. <insert reference to usual suspects here>

Starbuck_II
2008-09-09, 06:01 AM
ironically enough, i normally use these boards as a way to deiced if things are broken or over powered.
from
Ee

I use this and WotC boards, yes.

That was where I learned about the Planar Shepard: How can they release that monstrosity and not know it was broken?

Tormsskull
2008-09-09, 06:03 AM
@OP

To determine if something is overpowered I compared it to the Core books. If a special ability/feat/spell/class can do something completely beyond the scope of anything in Core, then it is immediately under suspicion. I then try to figure out the implications of whatever this new thing I am analyzing is, figure out the most likely ways PCs are going to use it, then the effect it would have on the game world.

Eldariel
2008-09-09, 06:31 AM
How I define if something is broken (using the "too good"-meaning - for the "dysfunctional"-broken, one word: Truenamer):
1. I set a standard for every given game. Stuff above that standard is broken and therefore needs either bannings, modifications or probably both.
2. Infinite loops tend to be, by default, broken simply because they obviously work in a way not intended.
3. I usually ban dumb large numbers (even if impractical) simply because something is wrong if dealing around 10^10 damage to anything not immune per action.

Examples:
1. Sometimes I may decide to play a game for high level casters. Since I don't want stupidity to ensue, I'll probably get rid of Candles of Invocation and some of the more abusable parts of Gate (and Wish as a consequence), and consider doing something about Celerities and Polymorphs, but beyond that, I expect everyone to be able to hang around with the power level possessed by Wizard, Cleric, Artificer and company in the teens (levels, not age). That probably means that if someone actually wants to play melee, it's going to be a full caster gish or some epic homebrew (Deny Actions at long range, breaking ground into earthquakes, cutting the air into whirlwinds and so on - Warblade++++++++ with twice faster maneuver progression and another 4 levels worth of stuff that gets even better).

If I want to play midlevel game and someone wants to play a full caster, I'll probably throw a Psion at them with the worst loops tossed out (and potentially something done about all the extra actions, although since Psionics aren't that impressive, Schism and Temporal may be nigh' necessary for them to match up). If they really don't want to play anything Psionic, we may work to homebrew a playable version of whichever caster they play. Note that I'm still smacking anyone wanting to play a CW Samurai in the face as they'd just get bored and cry and so on and I'm not gonna listen to that - I'll toss a modified OA Samurai at them if they absolutely want to play a Samurai (and Untapped Horizons Soulknife if they want that, and one of the billion Monk-variants, or Unarmed Swordsage, if they want that).

If we want to play a lowpowered game, I'll probably just ban almost everything and leave people playing their broken (as in dysfunctional) characters against CGI monkeys.


In effect, whatever isn't appropriate for the gamelevel is "broken". Not "broken" because it's unfair, but "broken" because it's too good for the game. Stuff like Candles of Invocation and company are almost always too good in my opinion, although sometimes it may be fun to run a game with solar armies clashing and seeing who can rebuild the universe to their liking the fastest. Sometimes it may be fun to make every player a Pun-Pun with all of them ascending at exactly the same time and see how far their imagination goes. Not usually though, and not for a long time.

2. This would be stuff like infinitely raising your Str with the size changes and assuming the new Str, all of the infinite damage combos and so on. Generally, they're just loopholes in the rules and I always try to fix the rules to work as intended.

There's no gameworld reasoning for any infinite combinations to exist (especially since all Gods and such seem wholly finite, especially with the "everything can die if you try hard enough"-mentality most D&D settings have), and most of them are simply a consequence of poor editing, not testing X from book X with Y from book Y (or testing Player's Handbook at all) and similar dumbness from Wizards. Infinite combos are generally degenerate, if again beatable.

3. This would cover stuff like Hulking Hurlers, Chucks, most of the theorethical optimization "big number" exercises - they may not be gamebreaking simply because it's quite easy to just not be affected by what they're doing, but already the fact that they're either unbeatable or useless makes me do the thumbs down. Not to mention, there's usually some sort of game mechanical error behind every such combo and I'd rather play without game mechanical errors:
*Hulking Hurler allows the conversion of carrying capacity to damage, for which carrying capacity simply was never intended and thus the damage's growth is simply exponentially larger than should be possible since it's derived off a thing that hasn't been balanced as it's sort of secondary for larger characters.
*Chuck is basically built around Divine Metamagic: Persistent Spell (something they obviously didn't test together - DMM is just fine with Quicken and so on, but Persistent gives immense returns for the costs and is balanced by the immense costs, but since DMM costs don't increase exponentially, the bulk of the cost is sidestepped in this) and thus discharging much bigger numbers than Footsteps of the Divine was ever intended to be capable of without caster level in the hundreds.

Most TO work is just combination of stuff that wasn't designed to work together, and while the result may not produce the most powerful characters ever, the results kinda stupidify everything and thus don't belong in games (besides, it's called "Theorethical Optimization" for a reason).


So in nutshell:
-Stuff I consider broken is simply stuff that leads to silly outcomes.
-Broken stuff doesn't need to be unbeatable, or even as strong as the strongest stuff allowed in the game - broken stuff is stuff that doesn't belong.
-What's "too powerful" is entirely determined by the game I'm playing, the wishes of the players, the game's power level and such. I'll try to work the guideline with the players, and decide what's legal accordingly.
-Broken as in dysfunctional is simply stuff that can't do what it's supposed to. That's mostly just Truenamer - the class simply doesn't function as the DCs it needs to beat to do anything are too high.
-Skill system is almost universally broken as long as "+X to skill"-items are around. Anything that's derived off skills is just way too easy to boost (even worse, how most of the skill boosting class features are balanced for a world where "+X to skill"-items are around and thus without those items, they still keep throwing skill check results off the whack) and the set DCs many of the skills have simply make life way too easy and usually also mean that skills don't involve die rolls midway through anymore.

This is so apparent in Incantatrix (Spellcraft-derived), Artificer (UMD-derived), Epic Spellcasting (Spellcraft-derived), Diplomancery (Diplomacy-derived (DUH!)) and on the flipside, Truenamer (which acknowledges how easy skill checks are to boost and thus forces you to multiclass and spend most of your feats for extra skills to be able to use your mediocre powers at all).


EDIT: As far as Planar Shepherd goes, it's quite simple.

-First of all, Shapechange was broken but Wizards didn't get it, so basically turning Wildshape into Shapechange seemed like a fine idea at the time.

-Second, Druid was broken but Wizards never got that either, so advancing all Druid-abilities and improving them and giving extra class features never struck them as broken because they thought Druid was fair too.

-Third, Planar Bubble is a perfectly fair spell. Now though, the only reason it's fair is because players are practically never extraplanar, so it can just be used to bring Material Plane-traits to another plane.

They just didn't get how many potent planes there are that could be brought to Material Plane and be broken - Material Plane has normal time passage and such, so copying those values doesn't create many problems in most places. Since most adventures are on the Material Plane though, copying the traits of plane X to Material Plane is suddenly an entirely different ballpark, something Wizards failed to account for.

Thrawn183
2008-09-09, 07:02 AM
Some things like infinite loops take your power to absurd levels. I put this category with Pun-Pun. (The "why are you playing?" level.)

I'm starting to think that anything that mitigates the cost of metamagic should be removed. Maybe easy metamagic alone is alright, but things like arcane thesis are just too much.

Things that are supposed to be balanced due to specificity but aren't: Split Ray. Its a twin spell that only works on rays, but if you have a focus on casting rays does that really matter?

I don't think shocktrooper by itself is broken. I think its only broken when you start adding pounce into the mix. Granted this can depend on whether things like spirited charge are also being used. Don't forget that if something survives that one hit, they get a full round of power attacks in return. Against your tasty tasty low AC. Also, charging isn't always easy.

Things that are too flexible. I'm looking at alter self all the way up to shapechange on this one.

One's that I'm still iffy about are deathward, freedom of movement and the like which simply provide straight out immunities. Immunity to negative energy and death attacks. Immunity to grapple. Not really a fan, but I haven't put in much effort to look for a solution.

On the opposite side of the issue Truenaming gets harder as you ge to higher level.

arguskos
2008-09-09, 07:10 AM
How do I decide? One of two ways (and usually, I employ both methods):

1. If something truly insane comes up in play, I typically ban it when possible (ie. when that character dies/retires). To date, this has only been employed once: Incantrix. The rest of the time, I houserule around the issue, so the player can keep playing his character, and yet not overshadow everyone in 25 miles.

2. Reading optimization threads/boards. It's how I noticed how truly screwed up Wish, Gate, Shapechange, Time Stop, etc really are. These threads have led to many a houserule/ban in my games (among other things that I have banned include the entire Polymorph tree [not Alter Self though]; Consumptive Field; Pun-Pun; etc).

-argus

Curmudgeon
2008-09-09, 07:11 AM
If my PCs spam something every encounter (like Improved Overrun at low levels) or if there is one specific option which is just better at every situation (such as Summoning Celestial Bisons - they're really, really good!) it gets a tag against it. While it may be fun for the players for awhile, whatever they're spamming is going to get boring eventually (because it makes all the encounters indistinguishable) if I can't figure out a way to neuter it. However, if I neuter this specific power, then I'm penalizing the player for using something they have "by right" which I know I hate as a player (see above). It's a Catch-22 situation that I usually try to avoid by outlawing such options before we start.
I much prefer in-game solutions to these sorts of problems. As I see it, outlawing is generally a last resort.

First, what's the big deal about Improved Overrun? It could get the PCs killed, especially against targets with reach and Combat Reflexes: they'd get an AoO for the PC leaving their first threatened square, and another for the overrun attempt itself. Unlike other feats like Improved Trip, Improved Unarmed Strike, and Improved Disarm, Improved Overrrun does not remove the AoO that's automatic on every overrun:
If youíre attempting to overrun an opponent, follow these steps.

Step 1: Attack of Opportunity. Since you begin the overrun by moving into the defenderís space, you provoke an attack of opportunity from the defender.
As for Celestial Bisons, I recommend the Cause Fear spell. Bisons, Celestial or otherwise, have sucky Will saves. It's a simple level 1 spell, and having these critters turn back toward the PCs is good clean fun!

jcsw
2008-09-09, 07:12 AM
I'm going to be honest here and say I decide if something is overpowered by gut feeling. The only way to change my mind is the immense peer pressure of a forum.

Hence me thinking Monks were good.

But anyway, I know a lot of people make decisions based on feelings rather than logic. It's the way it works. Oh well.

DigoDragon
2008-09-09, 07:22 AM
I don't decide if something is overpowered/broken stuff until I've actually seen it in action. When warlocks first came out they seemed a bit overpowered, but the reality was that they were only slightly above the average curve of the party. Heck, the party's Warlock Halfling died first in two different encounters and none of my BBEG warlocks have ever broken any records in damage output or rounds lasted versus a party so... not overpowered to me.

Warforged Warlock? Bring it on. :smallamused:

As another example that doesn't start with "War", my homebrew alien cat race has a positive WIS modifier. I don't remember where it started, but I once heard in the early days of 3.X edition that a positive bonus to a mental stat for a race meant that the race should have an LA of at least +1. In actual play I've found it's not really the case. Sure it means the spellcasters get a boost to their bonus spells and DCs, but the boost seems so marginal in actual play and my players rarely get an 18 in their starting stats so again... not overpowered to me.

In conclusion, I find it better to just try something in play to see if it's overpowered or not. :smallsmile:
Though now I have a craving to play oldschool MegaMan games.

Allene
2008-09-09, 09:33 AM
One would think so, but unfortunately T-Rex's insides lack illumination that is required to be subject to sneak attacks. Sure, he may have a sunrod somewhere in backpack which means another round of 2d8+16 dmg while he finds it and lights it and by then he already suffered 3d6+13, d6+9 (when he initiated grapple) and 2d8+16 gizzard damage. That's 86 dmg on average.
And if he already has a sunrod or some other source of light, he'll manage one full attack and that's it. But this particular rogue in my campaign doesn't. By sheer luck and my bad damage rolls, he survived.

That's kind of what Darkvision is for. If your rogue can't SA someone in the dark, then he has bigger problems.

Belial_the_Leveler
2008-09-09, 10:07 AM
Some things to consider:

1) Being "overpowered" depends on the situation.
2) Many of the broken stuff depend on campaign-specific material. This means that the DM is free to say that they're not part of the world without having to houserule.
3) Almost all of the infinite loops depend on rules open to interpretation. The DM is usually responsible for resolving such openings.
4) One encounter can be vastly different from another. This means that someone strong in one encounter may be weak in another.
5) Cheese can be stopped by cheese, usually in a way that doesn't limit the effectiveness of non-cheese characters.


That said, except for challenges, I've never needed to outright ban something as overpowered or broken. I simply resolved rules open to intrpretation in a way the brokenness would not work, found rules that said such broken actions could not be done and so on. Oh, and I made encounters in a way that being overpowered never came up.



At higher levels, Wizards *don't* run out of spells...ever. What're you going to do, throw 10 encounters at the party to make the wizard run out of spell slots?
Nope. Just design encounters in a way that require more spells to be finished than just a single save-or-lose spell, preferably 20 or more spells.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-09-09, 10:15 AM
First, what's the big deal about Improved Overrun? It could get the PCs killed, especially against targets with reach and Combat Reflexes: they'd get an AoO for the PC leaving their first threatened square, and another for the overrun attempt itself. Unlike other feats like Improved Trip, Improved Unarmed Strike, and Improved Disarm, Improved Overrrun does not remove the AoO that's automatic on every overrun:
As for Celestial Bisons, I recommend the Cause Fear spell. Bisons, Celestial or otherwise, have sucky Will saves. It's a simple level 1 spell, and having these critters turn back toward the PCs is good clean fun!

Yeah, but I don't want to make every Encounter against Large Reach creatures with Combat Reflexes. I also don't want to have all my bad guys have Wands of Cause Fear. The fact that NPCs would start taking highly specific countermeasures against PCs for no good reason hurts my sense of fair play more than just outlawing certain things from the start.

Honestly, though, Celestial Bison aren't "broken" in the sense that they overpower the game, but it's just annoying that whenever you cast Monster Summoning III (or whatever) you really should just summon the Bison. Improved Overrun + AoOs from standing up just made the Dwarven Fighter a little too good for his level, which was annoying in designing encounters.

Gorbash
2008-09-09, 10:29 AM
That's kind of what Darkvision is for. If your rogue can't SA someone in the dark, then he has bigger problems.

Well, humans don't get darkvision, they're only lvl 7 so it's a bit early for Goggles of the Night.

Qanael
2008-09-09, 11:15 AM
When I see an option for my character that is within my possibilities, but completely against the general idea of the character, and I can't see any reason not to take it (besides fluff), that option is overpowered.

Akimbo
2008-09-09, 11:37 AM
When I see an option for my character that is within my possibilities, but completely against the general idea of the character, and I can't see any reason not to take it (besides fluff), that option is overpowered.

Wouldn't that make every single PrC in the universe overpowered, since given that two Wizard characters exist of opposite ideas, all Wizard PrCs are against the idea of one or both of them, and therefore overpowered. Heck you can probably do the same thing for most non-core feats and 70% of spells.

Stupendous_Man
2008-09-09, 12:03 PM
Well, humans don't get darkvision, they're only lvl 7 so it's a bit early for Goggles of the Night.
Rogue 6 / Warlock 1

Zen Master
2008-09-09, 12:21 PM
Serious question, as per the thread title...

How do YOU decide if something is overpowered/broken for your style of play?

I'm curious as to how other people decide. For me, I look at something whether it be a class, feat, race, spell, item, whatever, and if I go "Why WOULDN'T I take it" then it's overpowered. Sometimes it's something in isolation (example: Belt of Healing), sometimes it's a combination (Whispergnome Ninja or a Warforged Warlock).

How do you make those decisions?

There's a bit of difference between categories. For instance:

Any feat that you ultimately MUST have (natural spell) is overpowered.
Any feat that no one ever takes (toughness) is underpowered.

For classes it's a bit different - mostly because sometimes people play a weak class and try to make the most of it, just for fun. But basically:

Any class that needs direct GM intervention to participate in a meaningful way is underpowered.

Any class that needs direct GM intervention to now A) overshadow other players, B) ruins games, or C) force certain strategies to be present in all fights to counter a favourite trick is overpowered.

The chosen examples may be somewhat campaign specific.

You could also say:

Any player who truly cares enough about powergaming to force the hand of the GM (as in having to make encounters harder in order to challenge an overpowered character) is going the ruin any game that isn't a powergame, no matter what.

TheThan
2008-09-09, 12:24 PM
To me there are two types of broken.

The first one is the sense that this mechanic does not work the way itís supposed to do and therefore does not function the way it was intended to function. In other words itís broken.

The second is the brokenness most people notice. The tendency for some things to be so drastically more effective and powerful than everything else that is near it is rendered useless.


Now that we know what broken is, we need a way of determining what is broken or not.

I look at the base level of the party, look at what each character is capable of doing and then comparing and contrasting each class, race, ability etc against each other and come up with a list of whatís on top. Then I decide just how far ahead of the curve those things are. Those things tend to be broken. For example a properly* run CoDzilla tends to broken when compared to the other classes (minus a properly played wizard).


Properly as in the players knows how to optimize for a CODzilla.

Qanael
2008-09-09, 12:27 PM
Wouldn't that make every single PrC in the universe overpowered, since given that two Wizard characters exist of opposite ideas, all Wizard PrCs are against the idea of one or both of them, and therefore overpowered. Heck you can probably do the same thing for most non-core feats and 70% of spells.

Well, that's a good point. I should probably add to that, "given the choice between it and something that would better fit my character", but your point stands anyhow. Maybe I should rethink that.

Starbuck_II
2008-09-09, 12:28 PM
Stuff on the DM side is much easier to identify.


If my PCs spam something every encounter (like Improved Overrun at low levels) or if there is one specific option which is just better at every situation (such as Summoning Celestial Bisons - they're really, really good!) it gets a tag against it. While it may be fun for the players for awhile, whatever they're spamming is going to get boring eventually (because it makes all the encounters indistinguishable) if I can't figure out a way to neuter it.


Aren't 1d3 Meduim spiders, a Dretch, better than a single celestial Bison?
Entangle Condition (referred to by Web) is pretty good debuff usable 8 times by each Meduim Spider up to Large creatures.

Dretch has Stinking Cloud and Scare

Bison just knock enemy prone, but only in groups with Stampede.

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-09-09, 12:35 PM
Aren't 1d3 Meduim spiders, a Dretch, better than a single celestial Bison?
Entangle Condition (referred to by Web) is pretty good debuff usable 8 times by each Meduim Spider up to Large creatures.

Dretch has Stinking Cloud and Scare

Bison just knock enemy prone, but only in groups with Stampede.Really, they aren't, but they're all on the same level. The Dretch has it's special qualities and SLAs, spiders are good against mobs, and Dire Apes are just as good as the Bison in melee. Most of the other summons are poor at that level, but Summoning's a weak tactic unless you invest a lot in it anyways, so it's not overpowered.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-09-09, 04:26 PM
Aren't 1d3 Meduim spiders, a Dretch, better than a single celestial Bison?
Entangle Condition (referred to by Web) is pretty good debuff usable 8 times by each Meduim Spider up to Large creatures.

Dretch has Stinking Cloud and Scare

Bison just knock enemy prone, but only in groups with Stampede.

The main advantages for the Celestial Bison are
1) Being Celestial (DR, Smite, SR)
2) Having a ludicriously good attack modifier (+9!)
3) Doing decent damage (1d8+9)
4) Being Large (limits enemy mobility, makes an excellent living wall for the cleric)

Trample is actually a relatively weak ability, but I never have enough Bison around to use it anyhow. I'll take a look at the Spiders again, but their attack bonus seems too low to actually hit with anything before getting squished. Bison also have a good amount of HP.

Dretch special abilities have really low save DCs for their level, and aren't going to affect many monsters. Bisons are strong enough to always do damage, even on DR 10.

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-09-09, 04:33 PM
Trust me, I'm running a Malconvoker that just hit 5th level. The Bison are good, the best tank of the level, but there are reasons to go with other stuff. The Ape gets 3 attacks per round, the Dretch has a bunch of odd situations it's good in(magical darkness was last session's), and the Spider gets a Touch Attack to make an opponent lose their action, or worse. The Bison has good defenses, but it's dead in 5 rounds anyways, so the other stuff is sometimes better.

Jack_Simth
2008-09-09, 05:20 PM
At higher levels, Wizards *don't* run out of spells...ever. What're you going to do, throw 10 encounters at the party to make the wizard run out of spell slots? Warlocks only seem cool in the early levels.
A 3.X Wizard doesn't run out of spells - he runs out of spells that are applicable to the situation and do something decidedly useful. He runs out of his best spells - the "top tier" of his power.

Sure, he can use wands, scrolls, and staves... but that gets expensive, fast, and requires either Ye Olde Shoppe ofe Magjickque, Inc. (by whatever name), a lot of down-time between adventures to Craft, and/or favorable treasure drops - all of which is highly campaign and DM dependent. Additionally, wands and scrolls have poor save DC's by default (although there are ways around that, and ways around it mattering, if you have enough sources available).

In the first encounter of the day, the Wizard may very well be king of the world. Possibly on the second or third, as well. At the fifth or sixth, he's looking for useful things to do that don't involve buffing his allies with low-level slots and hanging around in the background. His top-tier of tricks is tapped out.

Sure, the Wizard has spells that let him stop pretty much wherever and rest up and re-prepare spells (namely Rope Trick, Teleport, and Magnificent Mansion), but a little time-pressure stops that (the Dog from Beyond the Skies will be here in three days, and if you don't get the Supreme Box of Puppy Snacks by then, the Kitten Kingdom will be the chew toy; the princess must be rescued from inside the dimension-locked fortress before the Full Moon Sacrifice Ceremony in three days, and so on).

If a player's experience is in an otherwise Core-Only campaign that does such things, and drops a near-limitless supply of Cure X wound scrolls, wands, and potions, the Fighter, Paladin, Barbarian, Rogue, Ranger, Druid, and other classes that have reasonable at-will or very long-duration abilities will overshadow the Wizard. In such a campaign, a Warlock isn't a bad choice - and could seem downright overpowered.

Or, to put it another way, a Warforged Warlock is overpowered - in a campaign that plays to his strengths.

Frosty
2008-09-09, 05:25 PM
Some things to consider:

1) Being "overpowered" depends on the situation.
2) Many of the broken stuff depend on campaign-specific material. This means that the DM is free to say that they're not part of the world without having to houserule.
3) Almost all of the infinite loops depend on rules open to interpretation. The DM is usually responsible for resolving such openings.
4) One encounter can be vastly different from another. This means that someone strong in one encounter may be weak in another.
5) Cheese can be stopped by cheese, usually in a way that doesn't limit the effectiveness of non-cheese characters.


That said, except for challenges, I've never needed to outright ban something as overpowered or broken. I simply resolved rules open to intrpretation in a way the brokenness would not work, found rules that said such broken actions could not be done and so on. Oh, and I made encounters in a way that being overpowered never came up.



Nope. Just design encounters in a way that require more spells to be finished than just a single save-or-lose spell, preferably 20 or more spells.

Maybe *you* can design encounters that long, but I cant. My wizard PC does't even have Quicken spell. By the time 20 rounds of combat is over, the non-caster PC would be dead...way dead. No way can the cleric keep up with the damage that can done over 20 rounds.

Can you please describe a situation where a wizard or sorcerer (remember, not all casters have the versaility and spell selection of a wizard) *needs* to cast 20 spells in order to get past the encounter? And what should the other party members be doing at the time?

Oslecamo
2008-09-09, 05:53 PM
Can you please describe a situation where a wizard or sorcerer (remember, not all casters have the versaility and spell selection of a wizard) *needs* to cast 20 spells in order to get past the encounter? And what should the other party members be doing at the time?

A crazy boss batle I once had with an enemy party hunting our party at around lv11. We had a wizard, a sorcerer, a druid, two clerics and a fighter. They ambushed us at we exited our rope trick, with the druid geting grappled by the NPC monk before managing to do anything. Yeah, a NPC monk taking down our druid.

The NPC ranger did some heavy damage with his readied attacks, while the NPC cleric proivded general suport with summons and debuffs and the NPC enlarged barbarian with a spiked chain made things even harder.

A NPC wizard poping out of thin air disabling one our clerics with a lucky fear and proceeding to harass our own sorcerer with counterspells backed up by quickened spells.

A NPC rogue springing out from cover to make some nasty flancking didn't help either.

The druid's animal companion bravely sacrificed himself to buy us some turns, our fighter ended up managing to drive back the monk, half the battlefield was filled with stuff such as a death cloud and evard's black tentacles, our sorceror and wizard raining all kind of nasty spells just to discover the NPC party had done their homework and prepared all kind of anti debuffs.

The druid ended wildshaping and goign after the ranger, while our second cleric, after casting some buffs we really needed, ended going after the first cleric to remove the fear and puting him back in the fight.

The battle ended lasting several hours of real time and around 23 rounds of game time if I remember correctly. Fun times.

And we did started runing low on spells, so we ended up retreating, but still gained some exp for escaping all alive and claiming the NPC rogue's head on the way.

Piedmon_Sama
2008-09-09, 05:55 PM
Dude, if you care that much just make your own thread and stop spamming this one.

Anyway, it's hard for me to give a straight answer to this question because I almost exclusively run ultra-low-magic campaigns, not to mention my players are pretty uninterested in putting in the work to make an extra-powerful character (we had a few players who were like that, but they ended up leaving due to clash of playstyles). The few times I've had something overpowered break into my game, it was because the player outright lied to me. One guy told me a Template he wanted to give his 1st level PC was +0 ECL; I should have realized right away nothing that gives claw and bite attacks and natural armor would be +0, but it was my first game. Another guy was even more egregious and gave himself a ton of feats so he could use a Large Spiked Chain at 2nd level; I was too nervous to call him on his bull**** because it was my first time playing with that group, but after that game I didn't go back.

Aside from outside cheating, my games can be unbalanced if I allow a class I'm not familiar with in, and don't calibrate the encounters for that class's strengths. Like a Druid. Never in my first year of DMing had any player showed interest in the Druid, until one time when two players simultaneously wanted to make one. I know how to keep (low to mid-level) Wizards and Clerics on the ropes pretty well, but I was guilty of just not doing the research on this class. One Druid would wildshape into a Dire Lion, and had another Dire Lion for his companion. I had no idea just how badly these two would dominate the opposition, but I had what were meant to be tough challenges get steamrolled in under five rounds. Ironically, the party's overconfidence got them killed after they ran into the main encounter with an evil wizard right after taking down his Zombie Grey Render guard, not bothering to rest up.

Prometheus
2008-09-09, 06:37 PM
I use the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" criteria. Whether something is overpowered or broken all depends on how it is used. I tell the players to have fun and if things don't become fun anymore they are always subject to rule 0. Ironically, the monk and the barbarian ended up being the most "overpowered" character in my last major game because he emphasized optimizing his character any everyone else didn't. But he roleplayed an achilles heel for himself as well: "Never surrender", so while being the most powerful character he also died twice facing an insurmountable foe alone.

Jack_Simth
2008-09-09, 07:20 PM
I use the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" criteria. Whether something is overpowered or broken all depends on how it is used.
Ah, yes - my favorite example of this is the Divine Metamagic (Persistent Spell) Cleric using Persistent Spell on Mass Lesser Vigor, Bless, Prayer, and other mass party buff spells.

Thurbane
2008-09-09, 09:17 PM
Maybe we should just change the thread title to

"I disagree with your example of what is broken in your own game, so let's endlessly debate why I'm right and you're wrong..." :smallfrown:

Rei_Jin
2008-09-09, 09:27 PM
Or maybe we shouldn't?

I am genuinely curious about how others come to the decisions that no-one on the message boards seems to agree with (with a few notable exceptions) and I was hoping to do so without flaming, degrading, or otherwise browbeating others.

Everyone plays differently, and for different styles of games different things are overpowered, broken, and so on. Nothing wrong with that in the least.

Thurbane
2008-09-09, 09:28 PM
Or maybe we shouldn't?

I am genuinely curious about how others come to the decisions that no-one on the message boards seems to agree with (with a few notable exceptions) and I was hoping to do so without flaming, degrading, or otherwise browbeating others.

Everyone plays differently, and for different styles of games different things are overpowered, broken, and so on. Nothing wrong with that in the least.
I totally agree we shouldn't, I was being (unnecessarily) sarcastic. It would be nice if people stuck to the issue at hand rather than bickering about why people's examples of broken/overpowered are wrong.

Dode
2008-09-09, 09:31 PM
Yes, yes, unless the cleric is optimized to be difficult to dispel, this can happen to mitigate persist.

However, let's look at this objectively.

1) Dispelling is performed by a narrow subset of creatures (casters, creatures with it as a SLA).

2) The buffs the player has require no combat actions to bring up.

3) The dispel, which will likely only remove 1-2 of a series of buffs, does require a combat action.

As the real currency of combat is combat actions, you've just developed a way for a enemy to lose 1 combat action for the dispel, and possibly additional actions to realize that there is something that needs dispelling. For no effective action cost. So, even the solution leaves the party at an advantage, and is only available by a few monsters, and by casters, with a less than 100% chance of success. If we're looking at this objectively, I should point out we fight lots of NPC spellcasters (who have melee backup) so it's not that rare, it was a dispelling wall, so it cost the enemy no in-combat actions oh and quite a few of the NPCs have higher caster levels then the party, so it certainly effected a lot more then "1-2 buffs".

Frosty
2008-09-09, 10:07 PM
Ah, yes - my favorite example of this is the Divine Metamagic (Persistent Spell) Cleric using Persistent Spell on Mass Lesser Vigor, Bless, Prayer, and other mass party buff spells.

I think it's GREAT for a cleric to use that with team buffs. That means the cleric is a team player and the party will be less unbalanced.

Gorbash
2008-09-09, 10:11 PM
I don't allow taking up classes that don't have anything to do with the character just for the sake of a few abilities. Besides, he has charisma 9.

Frosty
2008-09-10, 01:54 AM
Yep. Although fluff can be divorced from the class. If the player can come up with a good rp reason why he or she shoukd have the power, I'd allow dips.

Talic
2008-09-10, 02:12 AM
If we're looking at this objectively, I should point out we fight lots of NPC spellcasters (who have melee backup) so it's not that rare, it was a dispelling wall, so it cost the enemy no in-combat actions oh and quite a few of the NPCs have higher caster levels then the party, so it certainly effected a lot more then "1-2 buffs".

So in other words, you have a enemy caster with a higher caster level than the party. (higher CR than the party)

You supplement this with additional melee backup (add more to CR).

So, assuming the NPC caster was level +2, and thus, in a 5 buff suite, can be expected to reliably get 3 in one go...

Add in the melee, say at CR +1.

So now, we're sitting at party CR +3. So the level 7 party is going against a CR 10 encounter. Such encounters are expected to carry lower than a 50% chance of victory.

Yeah, I'd say that the "when all else fails, use brute overpowering" would work.

So would putting ancient red dragons against the level 7 party.

That doesn't mean it's an effective solution.

Frosty
2008-09-10, 02:26 AM
Sure it is. Just cut the exp they get, and they won't level too quickly. Either use more enemies, or higher level enemies, or, if you've got the time, better optimized enemies. Have every cleric they fight have DMM: Quicken. Yes, now they *can* cast Blasphemy *and* Greater Dispel magic on the same turn. Have the cleric take the Domain that gives +4 to Dispel attempts. Have some NPC wizard take Master Specialist (Abjuration) becuase they also get bonuses to Dispel. Elven Spell Lore also gives another +2 to Dispel.

I regularly put the party against average party level + 3 encounters...but that's mostly becuase I only usually do 2 encounters per day, so they use up at least 40% of their resources each fight.

potatocubed
2008-09-10, 06:03 AM
I have two general rules of thumb:

1. Is it dominating the game, hedging out everything else? Is it a 'win button'? Does it force everybody else in the group to adapt to its presence? If yes, then it needs to go (or be tweaked).

1a. Put another way, no single thing should be able to solve all - or even most - problems.*

2. And this is one I stole from Magic playtesting. "If a card appears in every deck that could plausibly play it, it's probably overpowered." Adapting this to D&D (or any other game) is usually pretty straightforward.

*Of course, D&D has a raft of issues here because the default solution to all problems is 'kill stuff until things are right again', but that's an entire other problem.

Jack_Simth
2008-09-10, 06:17 AM
I think it's GREAT for a cleric to use that with team buffs. That means the cleric is a team player and the party will be less unbalanced.
Yeah - especially with Mass Lesser Vigor (or one of the later versions) in there. The Cleric doesn't "run out" of healing - everyone in the party heals at 1+ per round, up to max. If the party fighter takes 300 points of damage in one battle, you just hold up for half an hour between fights (and you can shorten this with actual healing, but that's not reccomended unless you're cutting it in half with a Touch of Healing Reserve Feat or some such). The Fighter, Ranger, Rogue, Monk and (to a lesser extent) the Bard, Barbarian, and Paladin (and any other classes that are not particularly dependent on limited use abilities - a Wildshape Melee Druid can fit here, as Wildshape is a very long-duration effect) get a nice boost, while the Cleric, Wizard, Sorcerer, and (to a lesser extent) the Druid, Bard, Barbarian, and Paladin (and any other classes who's power comes primarily from per-day abilities, such as spell slots) don't get boosted nearly so much. You can go all day - unless the party casters run out of spells and call a halt because they're exhausted....

Plus, it gives you a nice character hook - every morning, after your personal prayers, you give a fifteen minute sermon ... (and mix the spellcasting into that). Just make sure the sermon is always on abstract stuff (and, ideally, not fully roleplayed), and not what your party is up to - otherwise, the other players may think you're preaching at them when you're just trying to flavor your character a bit.

leperkhaun
2008-09-10, 07:35 AM
For me its entirely dependent on the campaign.

Iv had games where CoDzilla and chain trippers and batman and shook troop chargers were the "norm". So in those games unless it was something like the fanatical jumper/punpun/ ubercharger....just about anything went.

In other games we had unoptimized monks and bards...so the previous things were out.

Its dependent on what you want to allow in the game, how powerfull you want them compared to the NPCs of the world, and how powerfull they will be compared to the other players.

As long as the other people are at a similar power and the game is designed for that level of challenge... then allow it. If they would overshadow things or make things way way way to easy, then dont.

Dode
2008-09-10, 07:45 AM
Yeah, I'd say that the "when all else fails, use brute overpowering" would work. So much for "cheese" that buckles in the face of a CR +3 encounter :smallbiggrin:

Sure it is. Just cut the exp they get, and they won't level too quickly. Either use more enemies, or higher level enemies, or, if you've got the time, better optimized enemies. Have every cleric they fight have DMM: Quicken. Yes, now they *can* cast Blasphemy *and* Greater Dispel magic on the same turn. Have the cleric take the Domain that gives +4 to Dispel attempts. Have some NPC wizard take Master Specialist (Abjuration) becuase they also get bonuses to Dispel. Elven Spell Lore also gives another +2 to Dispel.

I regularly put the party against average party level + 3 encounters...but that's mostly becuase I only usually do 2 encounters per day, so they use up at least 40% of their resources each fight.

Damn that's nasty. I'm glad my DM doesn't think ahead like that, the scenario I was talking about was merely a smoke-filled maze surrounded by tunnels for rogues to shoot poison tipped arrows and buffered by a dispel wall and magic traps.

Keep your superdispellers away from my summoner.

Gorbash
2008-09-10, 08:32 AM
Yep. Although fluff can be divorced from the class. If the player can come up with a good rp reason why he or she shoukd have the power, I'd allow dips.

It can, but in most cases it isn't. I mean, if he said from the start that at some point he'll start manifesting warlock powers because _______ (insert a good reason here), then I'd allow it. But: "damn I need darkvision. Oh well, warlock here I come" approach is absurd. That's why most optimizations that people around here talk about are only talks. Who on earth would play a character with at least 4 different prestige classes? Maybe in some no RP campaigns, but in sensible games, you just don't take classes for their abilities since fluff of 4 different classes can't really be combined into a normal character. Also, why wouldn't you finish a pretige class once you take a first lvl in it?

Tormsskull
2008-09-10, 08:39 AM
That's why most optimizations that people around here talk about are only talks. Who on earth would play a character with at least 4 different prestige classes? Maybe in some no RP campaigns, but in sensible games, you just don't take classes for their abilities since fluff of 4 different classes can't really be combined into a normal character.

Woooo! *hands over large cookie, and flame-retardant clothes*

I agree 100%.

Curmudgeon
2008-09-10, 09:29 AM
Who on earth would play a character with at least 4 different prestige classes? Someone with Chaotic alignment, I think. They do whatever looks good at the time. I suppose if you want to throw in a house rule, you could make Chaotic alignment a requirement to take more than 2 PrCs.

Allene
2008-09-10, 10:07 AM
Who on earth would play a character with at least 4 different prestige classes? ... Also, why wouldn't you finish a pretige class once you take a first lvl in it?

1) Anyone who has a complex character with a diverse set of interests. Or anyone who takes levels in 4 different PrCs that are thematically similar.

2) Because PrCs are sometimes retarded and limiting. Sure I'd finish IotSFV, but give me one good reason that someone would take all ten levels of Wild Mage? Half the late level stuff has nothing to do with the early level stuff. Also, because you can't finish the PrC without going past level 20.


So much for "cheese" that buckles in the face of a CR +3 encounter :smallbiggrin:

Well it's not cheese unless you do it right. And since if you do it right your CL for buffs is going to be +8 over their dispel CL, it pretty much trounces CR +3 encounters.

I mean, level 11 Cleric casts buffs at CL 19, Dispel Magic is 1d20+10 against DC 30. You only succeed on a 20. You can get that up to a 17-20 if you use Greater Dispel by a level 13 caster. But that level 13 caster could also just kill you.

Nohwl
2008-09-10, 12:08 PM
the entire reason i joined these forums was to be able to ask questions about things i didnt know to see if they were broken or overpowered.

how i decide what overpowered stuff to use is based on how optimized everyone else is.

Lochar
2008-09-10, 12:18 PM
My thoughts on if it's overpowered/broken.

If the DM has to consider the ramifications of it for more than two minutes, it's denied.

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-09-10, 12:45 PM
It can, but in most cases it isn't. I mean, if he said from the start that at some point he'll start manifesting warlock powers because _______ (insert a good reason here), then I'd allow it. But: "damn I need darkvision. Oh well, warlock here I come" approach is absurd. That's why most optimizations that people around here talk about are only talks. Who on earth would play a character with at least 4 different prestige classes? Maybe in some no RP campaigns, but in sensible games, you just don't take classes for their abilities since fluff of 4 different classes can't really be combined into a normal character. Also, why wouldn't you finish a pretige class once you take a first lvl in it?I'm playing a Malconvoker in an unoptimized campaign that I may give 3 PrCs. Wizard-Master Specialist-Malconvoker-Archmage. I defy you to tell me that there's any sort of a problem with that fluff.

Gorbash
2008-09-10, 12:51 PM
1) Anyone who has a complex character with a diverse set of interests. Or anyone who takes levels in 4 different PrCs that are thematically similar.

2) Because PrCs are sometimes retarded and limiting. Sure I'd finish IotSFV, but give me one good reason that someone would take all ten levels of Wild Mage? Half the late level stuff has nothing to do with the early level stuff. Also, because you can't finish the PrC without going past level 20.

1) On this one, I agree, but most PCs don't go that much into their background. And I really doubt there are 4 prestige classes that are thematically similar, since the whole point of a prestige class is specialize in one branch, which can be similar to some other prestige class, but those cases are rare.
The case I'm refering are mostly wizard builds like Wizard 5/Incantatrix 3/IotSFV 6/MotAO 2/Archmage 2/Mindbender 1 and its likes. Yeah, sure Initiate is an abjurer, Incatatrix is somewhat of an abjurer, archmage is basically just a name for the wizard class at higher lvls, so I guess if you throw in a couple of lvls of Master Specialist you'd get the said combination of 4 classes, but like I said the cases are rare, and even then, you'd have just a couple of lvls in each.

2) Precisely my point. If you're playing a normal, RP game, then you shouldn't think in terms: Hmm I don't get anything useful this lvl, I'll just pick up some class that has better abilities. In the case of the said Wild Mage, you should take all ten lvls because your character is a wild mage.. Not just take first lvl and practised spellcaster feat, effectively giving you +d6 to your effective spellcaster lvl. If you're playing in a non-rp campaign, then sure, I guess it's ok, but this is a role-playing game.


I'm playing a Malconvoker in an unoptimized campaign that I may give 3 PrCs. Wizard-Master Specialist-Malconvoker-Archmage. I defy you to tell me that there's any sort of a problem with that fluff.

I said 4 prestige classes. And I said that fluffy combinations of many prestige classes are possible, but they are rare. And you know just as well that most combinations talked about here have even more that 4 prestige classes, which I took as a random number.

Frosty
2008-09-10, 12:54 PM
Classes are only guidelines. A Loremaster and a Mage of the Arcane Order may differ mechanically, but as a character, they'll probably think of each other as fairly similar, both wanting to delve into long lost lore and exploration. And both will be thinking, "Hey, we're both kickass wizards. Only that guy over there focuses more on cooperating with others and I'm more focused on discovering secrets myself."

Level Dipping is a to circumvent the rigid class system. Many players don't want the rigidity that a certain class shoehorns you into, but they don't want a classless system either, so dipping it is. Why shouldn't my Warblade be able to spend his attention a bit more on Feats of battle instead of Maneuvers for the next few months? Yeah he's dipping 2 levels in Fighter but so what? The *character* wanted to focus on something that'll add to his deadliness in battle. DnD is about killing things, and anything that the character knows will increase his chance of survival will most likely be a top priority for him.

Frosty
2008-09-10, 12:56 PM
2) Precisely my point. If you're playing a normal, RP game, then you shouldn't think in terms: Hmm I don't get anything useful this lvl, I'll just pick up some class that has better abilities. In the case of the said Wild Mage, you should take all ten lvls because your character is a wild mage.. Not just take first lvl and practised spellcaster feat, effectively giving you +d6 to your effective spellcaster lvl. If you're playing in a non-rp campaign, then sure, I guess it's ok, but this is a role-playing game.

Or because that particular wizard had just a *tad* of a wild side to him. The other students always saw him as a bit unpredictable (and a party animal to boot!) and that unpredictability manifests itself as some of the earlier abilities of the Wild Mage class. Some people only develop naturally so far into a certain branch of talents.

Gorbash
2008-09-10, 12:59 PM
Why shouldn't my Warblade be able to spend his attention a bit more on Feats of battle instead of Maneuvers for the next few months? Yeah he's dipping 2 levels in Fighter but so what? The *character* wanted to focus on something that'll add to his deadliness in battle. DnD is about killing things, and anything that the character knows will increase his chance of survival will most likely be a top priority for him.

Yeah, 2 lvl dip into a fighter for a warblade is a reasonable option. Since they're both melee combatants. What I'm saying is, it's not reasonable to take a 1 lvl dip into mindbender to pick up telepathy, few lvls in MotAO to pick up spellpools (nobody will take 10th lvl, I'm positive), etc etc.


Or because that particular wizard had just a *tad* of a wild side to him. The other students always saw him as a bit unpredictable (and a party animal to boot!) and that unpredictability manifests itself as some of the earlier abilities of the Wild Mage class. Some people only develop naturally so far into a certain branch of talents.

If only that is your motivation not to take any more levels in Wild Mage, it's ok, but if you don't want to take further lvls just because you don't get anything useful, that's not a good approach.

Frosty
2008-09-10, 01:06 PM
He may have to rp harder for the MotAO, since it may not exist in your campaign world, but for the Mindbender.

If the Wizard has heard about abilities of certain domination-focused mages to communicate without speech, then the Wizard *may* be interested (obviously not all wizards would be). He may then try to find out more about that class. Perhaps make it a side quest for him as he investigates more about existing Mindbenders, and he must steal the notes from one in order to develop the techniques for Telepathy. Then, perhaps after learning more, he decides that some of the abilities of Mindbenders are distasteful, so he'll limit himself to the telepathy.

The concept of the dip is not hard to justify ICly. Bards and Factotums, if you roleplay them out, are the consummate dippers. ICly. They learn a bit of everything...but their mechanics just make it to the player doesn't have to take 10 different classes to do it. Obviously, Nale hadn't thought about that when he took Rogue/Fighter/Sorcerer.

Yes, I agree ther ecomes a point when it becomes excessive, especially if there are multiple "Order of" PrCs, but for the most part, the IC flavor is just "another direction the wizard explores to add to his reportoire."



If only that is your motivation not to take any more levels in Wild Mage, it's ok, but if you don't want to take further lvls just because you don't get anything useful, that's not a good approach.

If my character had a *really* wild streak, then sure, I'll either take more levels of Wild Mage or some other combination that also shows off his wildness. I'm not going to let optimization stand in the way of my RP, but *within* my RP, I'll optimize as much as I want as long as the flavor is still intact for my character.

Allene
2008-09-10, 01:13 PM
1) On this one, I agree, but most PCs don't go that much into their background. And I really doubt there are 4 prestige classes that are thematically similar, since the whole point of a prestige class is specialize in one branch, which can be similar to some other prestige class, but those cases are rare.
The case I'm refering are mostly wizard builds like Wizard 5/Incantatrix 3/IotSFV 6/MotAO 2/Archmage 2/Mindbender 1 and its likes. Yeah, sure Initiate is an abjurer, Incatatrix is somewhat of an abjurer, archmage is basically just a name for the wizard class at higher lvls, so I guess if you throw in a couple of lvls of Master Specialist you'd get the said combination of 4 classes, but like I said the cases are rare, and even then, you'd have just a couple of lvls in each.

And my point is that there are lots of reason to justify that if your character is any kind of wizard. Mindbender doesn't really fit, but other then that, you just described the perfect Generalist mage who has learned the great secrets of Abjuration, and then joined the Arcane Order (for some IC reason, likely running into it in game) and then became it's Archmage. (Even better if they were a specialist Abjurer with Master Specialist levels, so there's a perfectly justified 5 PrCs build.)

Of course, funny that you should decry the evil Powergamers who would use that build, even though they would have to be a fool to take Levels of Mage of The Arcane Order in that build, seeing as the alternatives are more levels of Incantatrix, IotSVF, and Archmage, all better classes.


2) Precisely my point. If you're playing a normal, RP game, then you shouldn't think in terms: Hmm I don't get anything useful this lvl, I'll just pick up some class that has better abilities. In the case of the said Wild Mage, you should take all ten lvls because your character is a wild mage.. Not just take first lvl and practised spellcaster feat, effectively giving you +d6 to your effective spellcaster lvl. If you're playing in a non-rp campaign, then sure, I guess it's ok, but this is a role-playing game.

No, if I was talking about not taking future levels of a class because future levels sucked I'd say Fatespinner or Mindbender or Wayfarer's Guide. But all of those have thematic reasons to continue. I said Wild Mage because Wild mage later abilities have nothing to thematically with earlier ones. Wildmage 3-5 followed by Fatespinner is more thematically the same path then Wildmage 10.

Secondly, this is my point. So you take one level of a PrC, you are not now that PrC forever, it defines your existence. PrCs are tracks of specialization, and ignoring completely those characters that might specialize to a different degree in many different fields: (Like, oh, and Elven Generalist), there is no PrC anywhere that doesn't have 5 other PrCs in the same general track.

I'm not going to blow up at the MS Abjurer/Incant/IotSFV, or the MS enchanter with a Mindbender dip, or anyone that takes Archmage. Because there is no reason to narrowly confine conceptions like that. It reminds me of what nagora said earlier about 1e only allowing level ups if you RP properly (as designated by your class stereotype) it limits the game and kills innovation, how is that a good thing?

Tormsskull
2008-09-10, 01:16 PM
Classes are only guidelines. A Loremaster and a Mage of the Arcane Order may differ mechanically, but as a character, they'll probably think of each other as fairly similar, both wanting to delve into long lost lore and exploration.


This is one way of looking at it, but far from a universal truth (i.e., you should probably say "I believe classes are only guidelines" instead of "Classes are only guidelines).

Allene
2008-09-10, 01:17 PM
This is one way of looking at it, but far from a universal truth (i.e., you should probably say "I believe classes are only guidelines" instead of "Classes are only guidelines).

Funny, I never see you say, "I believe X." You pretty much just declare X to be true and to hell with everyone else's opinion.

Tormsskull
2008-09-10, 01:29 PM
Funny, I never see you say, "I believe X." You pretty much just declare X to be true and to hell with everyone else's opinion.

Join Date: 09-09-2008

Have you been spying on me in lurk mode? :smallconfused:

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-09-10, 01:45 PM
Wizard 3/Master Specialist 2/Malconvoker 5/Mage of the Arcane Order 1/Master Specialist 8/Archmage 1.

He's a summoner, who specializes in using evil to fight evil, has joined the Arcane Order but rarely contributes more than what he has to, and is really good at summoning, to the point of being able to summon as a SLA. And that's off the top of my head.
I could also justify Wizard 3/MS 2/Fatespinner 4/Wildmage 4/IotSV 7. He's an Abjurer who is barely in control of the walls he utilizes, and who's power is constantly changing.
In fact, I'm going to list a 4-or-more PrC build for almost every specialization, just because I can. I would do all of them, but i have homework.
Wizard 3/MS 2/Fatespinner 4/Wildmage 4/IotSV 7
Wizard 3/Master Specialist 2/Malconvoker 5/Mage of the Arcane Order 1/Master Specialist 8/Archmage 1
Wizard 3/Master Specialist 3/Mindbender 1/Loremaster 10/Archmage 3
Wizard 3/Master Specialist 2/Elemental Savant 4/Incantrix 10/Wild Mage 1
Wizard 3/Master Specialist 2/Incantrix 10/Shadowcraft Mage 5All of those are easily fluffed. Seriously, one of the best builds in the game is Druid 20. Don't hate on dips.

Epinephrine
2008-09-10, 02:38 PM
Serious question, as per the thread title...

How do YOU decide if something is overpowered/broken for your style of play?

If I get really scared when I think about the enemy using it.

Gorbash
2008-09-10, 02:40 PM
Yes, they can be justified, but in most cases they aren't. For example:


I could also justify Wizard 3/MS 2/Fatespinner 4/Wildmage 4/IotSV 7

The only reason why you didn't take Fatespinner 5 is because you don't get +1 spellcaster lvl. And I hardly see the point of MS 2, except that's the prestige class you can take the earliest.

You should think about your character first and then decide which prestige classes suit him, not think which prestige classes will you take and then try to build your character around them.

Aneantir
2008-09-10, 03:43 PM
The only reason why you didn't take Fatespinner 5 is because you don't get +1 spellcaster lvl. And I hardly see the point of MS 2, except that's the prestige class you can take the earliest.

Well, Master Specialist is for characters to develop a more in-depth understanding or a greater usage of the spells of the school they specialized in. So why, exactly, would a character not put more effort into training that school that others given the chance? Every small improvement in that school enforces the roleplaying aspect of specializing in it in the first place.

And they might have not taken the fifth level in Fatespinner because they were rotating Wildmage/Fatespinner due to their chaotic tendencies and affinity for... whatever it is that the fatespinner does (don't have my books right now), until they could access Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil and capitalize on their potential as abjurers, not just because the fifth level of the class is sub-par.


You should think about your character first and then decide which prestige classes suit him, not think which prestige classes will you take and then try to build your character around them.

That is your perspective on the situation, and, I assume, what you generally abide by when creating characters. However, it is not for everyone, and what we "should" do is entirely up to us. If we want to make sure to utilize certain mechanics, then we're going to plan our build first and worry about fluff later.

Gorbash
2008-09-10, 04:13 PM
And they might have not taken the fifth level in Fatespinner

They might doesn't mean that they did. And they didn't. Because Fatespinner is a decent class at all levels except at 5th and nobody takes that level precisely for that reason.


That is your perspective on the situation, and, I assume, what you generally abide by when creating characters. However, it is not for everyone, and what we "should" do is entirely up to us. If we want to make sure to utilize certain mechanics, then we're going to plan our build first and worry about fluff later.

Of course it's up to you, but that approach - mechanics now, fluff later emphasizes optimization over rp, and if that's your thing, I'm fine with it. I play with a few people like that myself, it's not really a problem, but then you're contradicting yourself. In the first part of your post you tried to justify skipping some levels of prestige classes with fluff reasons, yet now you say that build is more important than fluff.

Allene
2008-09-10, 04:54 PM
Join Date: 09-09-2008

Have you been spying on me in lurk mode? :smallconfused:

Believe it or not, you can actually read every thread that was ever posted here. They just keep going backward.

That said, I only need this thread to see that you hypocritically expect others to state things as beliefs while you do not:

"If a special ability/feat/spell/class can do something completely beyond the scope of anything in Core, then it is immediately under suspicion. I then try to figure out the implications of whatever this new thing I am analyzing is, figure out the most likely ways PCs are going to use it, then the effect it would have on the game world."

Didn't you mean, I believe that if a special...?

The fact of the matter is that no one clarifies every statement that anyone could possibly disbelieve with "I believe" because that would be a huge waste of time, and make everything very wishy washy. Barack Obama doesn't say "I believe I will bring change." That's not how it works.

And for you to demand that anyone who disagrees with you state that it is their belief, despite the fact that plenty of people in this thread have stated the opposite belief without you demanding the same of them, is hypocritical.

Frosty
2008-09-10, 05:32 PM
They might doesn't mean that they did. And they didn't. Because Fatespinner is a decent class at all levels except at 5th and nobody takes that level precisely for that reason.



Of course it's up to you, but that approach - mechanics now, fluff later emphasizes optimization over rp, and if that's your thing, I'm fine with it. I play with a few people like that myself, it's not really a problem, but then you're contradicting yourself. In the first part of your post you tried to justify skipping some levels of prestige classes with fluff reasons, yet now you say that build is more important than fluff.

I'm of the school of thought that the fluff really doesn't make the class. So what if we don't take that late level of Fatespinner? Does it mean my character is any less of a tinkerer in fate? Perhaps. And that is perfectly fine with many wizards who wished to dabble in luckamancy but not devote their entire lives to it.

Let's say I really, really wanted to create a luck-caster, then I still might not take that 5th level. Why? Because there are other prestige classes that do fate/luck better out there! Start taking levels in Luckstealer. There's spinning fate right there. And then go ahead and take lots of Luck feats from Complete Scoundrel. Re-roll until even your head spins!

Within the limits of my concept, I am willing to optimize. If I can find a better way to be a jolly-go-lucky halfling tricker caster than taking Fatespinner 5, then I will do so.

Gavin Sage
2008-09-10, 08:23 PM
Wizard 3/Master Specialist 2/Malconvoker 5/Mage of the Arcane Order 1/Master Specialist 8/Archmage 1.

He's a summoner, who specializes in using evil to fight evil, has joined the Arcane Order but rarely contributes more than what he has to, and is really good at summoning, to the point of being able to summon as a SLA. And that's off the top of my head.
I could also justify Wizard 3/MS 2/Fatespinner 4/Wildmage 4/IotSV 7. He's an Abjurer who is barely in control of the walls he utilizes, and who's power is constantly changing.
In fact, I'm going to list a 4-or-more PrC build for almost every specialization, just because I can. I would do all of them, but i have homework.
Wizard 3/MS 2/Fatespinner 4/Wildmage 4/IotSV 7
Wizard 3/Master Specialist 2/Malconvoker 5/Mage of the Arcane Order 1/Master Specialist 8/Archmage 1
Wizard 3/Master Specialist 3/Mindbender 1/Loremaster 10/Archmage 3
Wizard 3/Master Specialist 2/Elemental Savant 4/Incantrix 10/Wild Mage 1
Wizard 3/Master Specialist 2/Incantrix 10/Shadowcraft Mage 5All of those are easily fluffed. Seriously, one of the best builds in the game is Druid 20. Don't hate on dips.

Now I reconize this as a purely a subjective thing, but to me even attempting to fluff more then say three classes is taking a very different approach to classes then me. I consider choosing a class to be perhaps the primary method of defining a D&D character. And choosing a PrC is even more a defininition of a character.

Those builds up there to me are not accurately described by the simple "I'm a Wizard" but rather "I'm an arcane spellcaster with specialities in X, A, K, and Y while dabbling a bit a Q and P" which is destroys really defining a character. No I do not suggest character should not have depth or variety. However in my opinion the best characters (which I consider more in terms of literary value then play value) contain depth but can still be described in a few words. Its a matter of elegance really.

The only way to get around that sort of problem with that many different class levels is to make the actual classes themselve unimportant and merely a means to an end under a general umbrella. Which would let you say "I'm a wizard" but not really "I'm a Wizard" if that makes any sense.

(Note I understand plenty of people have no problem with this, and WOTC certainly doesn't help with things like Elminster's 3e build or Drizzt having a level in Barbarian. :smallsigh:)

Oracle_Hunter
2008-09-10, 09:24 PM
Just an interjection:

The whole "class is profession" and "class is metagame" distinction got really hashed up in 3e's multiclassing regime. In 2e, it was impossible to not think of your class as your life - heck, each of them had different XP progressions, and the multiclass arrangements played like their own weird special classes. So it is not immediately apparent to a 3e player that class should be an intrinsic feature of the character (RP wise) as opposed to just mechanical junk.

I think everyone will admit, however, that PrC's often had annoyingly fluffy bits stuffed into them too - like the Dread Pirate - which made it much harder to pretend they are just metagame constructs.

That said, these two viewpoints are, well, viewpoints. There's actually nothing solid to declare that class is an essential RP aspect of your character or the other way around. At least not in 3e.

Tormsskull
2008-09-10, 09:29 PM
That said, I only need this thread to see that you hypocritically expect others to state things as beliefs while you do not:


i.e. You read two of my recent posts and grossly exaggerated my position, ok, got it.



Didn't you mean, I believe that if a special...?


No. See, the OP is asking how we as individuals determine what is or is not overpowered. I gave my criteria for determining what is overpowered.

This is in comparison to Frosty who said "Classes are only guidelines." This is not critera, this is a statement of fact. To Frosty classes are only guidelines, and that's completely fine. But stating it as a fact is misleading.

I'm not stating anything as a fact by saying that if a spell/feat/class/whatever can do something above and beyond what is available in core that im immediately under suspicion of it.



And for you to demand that anyone who disagrees with you state that it is their belief, despite the fact that plenty of people in this thread have stated the opposite belief without you demanding the same of them, is hypocritical.

"You should probably say " = demand? Yeah, that exageration mantle is seeming to fit very well on you.

Jayabalard
2008-09-10, 09:37 PM
And for you to demand that anyone who disagrees with you state that it is their belief, despite the fact that plenty of people in this thread have stated the opposite belief without you demanding the same of them, is hypocritical.That's called a "Straw man" ... you presenting his argument as something that it's not. He made a specific remark phrased as a suggestion to a specific person who was stating a rather sweeping generalization without any qualifier.

Besides, if you look at his most recent posts you can see examples of him stating his opinion and qualifying it as such pretty regularly, especially when it's something that's the least bit controversial.

So "demand" "anyone" and "hypocritical" aren't really accurate words to use when describing his statement.

Not that any of this has anything to do with the topic.

Frosty
2008-09-10, 09:45 PM
Allene: Please just drop it. I myself have no complaints about Tormsskull's post since there is no insult behind the post. Tormsskull is not wrong in saying that I had presented my opinion earlier. nothing more, nothing less. I presented that position just to make sure that it was represented in this thread and to to give people something to think about if they haven't already made up their mind about these things.

I believe my way of thinking is a good way for people to play with, but the other way of thinking is no less valid. Just because I happen to think that Core is a horrible way to judge balance doesn't invalidate Tormsskull's point of view (Core balance is nonexistant between the magic classes and the non-magic classes)

Allene
2008-09-10, 10:22 PM
i.e. You read two of my recent posts and grossly exaggerated my position, ok, got it.

{Scrubbed}

LotharBot
2008-09-11, 01:53 AM
How do YOU decide if something is overpowered/broken for your style of play?

It's overpowered/broken if (any of the following):

1) it regularly makes another player (or several) feel useless. I mean, OK, thoog the quarter-wit barbarian should expect to sit out diplomacy encounters, but when he also sits out most combats because Lord Uberwizard the Elder nuked all the bad guys from orbit, something is wrong.

2) it makes it prohibitively difficult for the DM to make challenging encounters for the whole party. If I can't find or homebrew monsters/groups that challenge you while not insta-killing the whole rest of the party, something needs to change.

3) if the DM used it against the players they'd complain.

4) it causes tension in the group specifically because other players can't match one player's power.

The thing to notice about all of these is that they're VERY game-dependent. What's "overpowered" for my game might be fine for yours. In fact, what's "overpowered" for my current game might have been fine for my last game. Even further, what's "overpowered" this session might be "underpowered" 3 sessions from now. (I found this true just before/after the transition to epic in 3.5.)

Zen Master
2008-09-11, 02:32 AM
Any time you actively think to yourself that 'I can justify being [insert whatever build here] by [insert whatever thin coat of background you desire' - you should also admit to yourself that your only concern is to powergame, and you really don't need to invent any halfhearted story as to why.

You know - if you want to roleplay an arcane caster with an interest in exploration and ancient secrets, a plain old wizard will do that just fine. No PrC needed, at all.

Also, I'm far more impressed with someone who can make a plain, core with no PrC, wizard overpowered, than I am with someone you needs to dip into a dozen books and half a dozen classes to pull it off. Creativity > knowledge.

Weiser_Cain
2008-09-11, 02:35 AM
It's fun even after you go through whatever it takes to get it.

Frosty
2008-09-11, 02:50 AM
Any time you actively think to yourself that 'I can justify being [insert whatever build here] by [insert whatever thin coat of background you desire' - you should also admit to yourself that your only concern is to powergame, and you really don't need to invent any halfhearted story as to why.

You know - if you want to roleplay an arcane caster with an interest in exploration and ancient secrets, a plain old wizard will do that just fine. No PrC needed, at all.

Also, I'm far more impressed with someone who can make a plain, core with no PrC, wizard overpowered, than I am with someone you needs to dip into a dozen books and half a dozen classes to pull it off. Creativity > knowledge.

RP and power are not mutually exclusive. My wizard really like to explore. It doesn't mean he can't also have super abilities. In fact, you can be more creative with more books. The more options there are, the more creative yo can be.

Gorbash
2008-09-11, 04:41 AM
Any time you actively think to yourself that 'I can justify being [insert whatever build here] by [insert whatever thin coat of background you desire' - you should also admit to yourself that your only concern is to powergame, and you really don't need to invent any halfhearted story as to why.

QFT.


RP and power are not mutually exclusive.

Nobody said they are. But if you first think in terms of power and then decide how you'll fit your choices with fluff, you're excluding RP and making power the centerpiece of your character.

Tormsskull
2008-09-11, 05:39 AM
Any time you actively think to yourself that 'I can justify being [insert whatever build here] by [insert whatever thin coat of background you desire' - you should also admit to yourself that your only concern is to powergame, and you really don't need to invent any halfhearted story as to why.


Exactly. It shows that the focus or end goal is character power, and then a backstory is tacked on to try to give it some RP legitamacy.



In fact, you can be more creative with more books. The more options there are, the more creative yo can be.

Hmmm. I tend to have the opposite opinion. Being creative to me entails putting some effort into the character to make them less like everyone else. I would think that a group with limited options would have to be more creative to come up with well-fleshed out characters, rather than just picking from a ton of options.



Nobody said they are. But if you first think in terms of power and then decide how you'll fit your choices with fluff, you're excluding RP and making power the centerpiece of your character.

During gameplay, this above quote is 100% true.

During character creation, I could see someone creating their character mechanically first, and then developing a storyline/history/personality to fit them. There are still issues that crop up from time to time, but it can be done.

Jayabalard
2008-09-11, 06:45 AM
RP and power are not mutually exclusive. My wizard really like to explore.They aren't totally divorced either; anyone who always chooses the optimal or near-optimal path is severely limiting their roleplaying options.

DigoDragon
2008-09-11, 07:46 AM
3) if the DM used it against the players they'd complain.

This right here is an excellent way to get Players to police themselves in my games. :smallbiggrin:

Frosty
2008-09-11, 02:42 PM
They aren't totally divorced either; anyone who always chooses the optimal or near-optimal path is severely limiting their roleplaying options.

That's why I choose the most optimal path within the rp-constraints I set out beforehand. I have a character concept. I want him or her to be cool like this and be knowledgeable in that other area, have those personality quirks, and be able to kill enemies in these ways.

Ok, now let's work on building a character that can represent my concept well, and still kicks ass. What is the most kick-ass I can make this concept without compromising the concept?

The mroe books you have, the easier this is.

Allene
2008-09-11, 02:49 PM
See, this is excellent. I adhere to this theory as well. Just because I want to play a flavorful, deep, interesting character doesn't mean I have to gimp myself out four ways from Sunday to do so!

However, I think that I need to make a note here about terminology that may come in handy in debates like this one. To me "optimization" is about taking something to it's logical extreme. "Optimization" means building uberchargers, Batman wizards, CoDzillas, and the like. "Smart Play" is what Frosty is doing. He's not being Batman, but he's not being a stupid player either. Just because your fluff says you are tough, doesn't mean you have to take Toughness. That's retarded, and no one should cleave to idiocy like that.

The problem is that optimization is explicitly defined as what Frosty is doing, not as building nothing but Uberchargers and Batmans.

Eldariel
2008-09-11, 02:53 PM
Here's what optimization means at least as far as I'm concerned:
-Take a concept.
-Find the build (class/prestige class/feat/skill/race) combination that best matches the concept.
-Make the concept work as well as possible.

This is also why it enrages me that the game has such a huge disparity between certain concepts, and that's why I'm all for creative reflavouring to make the characters equal while still representing the concept they want to.

Frosty
2008-09-11, 02:56 PM
That's retarded, and no one should cleave to idiocy like that.

Just my 2cp.

-argus

Heh. Pun intended on the Cleave, since that's also an idiotic feat? :smallwink:

Anyhow, even Batman is smart play to be honest. It makes sense to prepare a variety of spells that target different defenses. You'll want to be able to target Will, Fort, and Reflex, and Touch AC, spells that Buff your allies, and even area spells that allows no saves just so you can be somewhat useful in every single situation.

That said, there are some things that go beyond smart play and into "I can kill anything presented in the Monster Manual in one round." If you cna deal over 20 negative levels in a standard action, you've gone too far. If you can knock the Terrasque unconscious in one round, you've gone too far. There are just certain things that take you beyond "playing smart and preparing variety of ammunition" and into "I don't need my party anymore" and that's when Batman stops becoming Batman and starts becoming God, and the game gets boring.

A lot of the caster abuse comes from abusing metamagic and metamagic reducers. Get rid of metamagic and some problem spells like Celerity and Superior Invisibility and Shapechange, and some of the abuse will end.

mostlyharmful
2008-09-11, 03:10 PM
At least someone got that joke. :smallbiggrin:

Batman is smart play... to a point. Like you said, when you "optimize", you aren't just being a smart player, you are taking things to their logical extreme, and raping the game, balance, other players, and slaughtering all catgirls w/in 20 miles.

Also, yeah... remove Metamagic reducers and the Celerity/Polymorph line, and wizards stop being psycho-powerful, and just become powerful.

Thank goodness someone got what I was saying. :smallwink:

-argus

At least two people, I get both you and Frosty.

To a certain extent opimization is actually the only thing that makes sense, IC. Note please "to a certain extent" which means powerful builds not recursive, game-raping loops. Given these are people that are placing their lives on the line on a regular basis they are likely, once they start adventuring, to take the most efficient, effective path available to them. If you have someone like a wizard or a cleric with lots of information and high mental scores it's only natuaral they will know what works and try to do that.

I ban Candles of Invocation in my games because they're broken. I don't ban Wizards just because they are apt to be played as smart.:smallwink:

Eldariel
2008-09-11, 03:12 PM
At least two people, I get both you and Frosty.

To a certain extent opimization is actually the only thing that makes sense, IC. Note please "to a certain extent" which means powerful builds not recursive, game-raping loops. Given these are people that are placing their lives on the line on a regular basis they are likely, once they start adventuring, to take the most efficient, effective path available to them. If you have someone like a wizard or a cleric with lots of information and high mental scores it's only natuaral they will know what works and try to do that.

I ban Candles of Invocation in my games because they're broken. I don't ban Wizards just because they are apt to be played as smart.:smallwink:

In other words, you draw the line between practical optimization and theorethical optimization. Just as it's supposed to be :o

arguskos
2008-09-11, 03:13 PM
I ban Candles of Invocation in my games because they're broken. I don't ban Wizards just because they are apt to be played as smart.
This is truth incarnate, and I've been saying it for years. :smallbiggrin:

-argus

mostlyharmful
2008-09-11, 03:13 PM
In other words, you draw the line between practical optimization and theorethical optimization. Just as it's supposed to be :o

Oh if only more people would get it. And that's a complaint about real game play not just online theorizing

Frosty
2008-09-11, 03:36 PM
Lots of people just have this kneejerk reaction to people making their characters touhg and survivable and able to take challenges on. My character fights for his life eveyr single day. You bet that he's going to do eveyr single thing he can to give himself an advantage. Those that don't...will die off.

Allene
2008-09-11, 03:49 PM
{Scrubbed}

Nohwl
2008-09-11, 04:18 PM
During character creation, I could see someone creating their character mechanically first, and then developing a storyline/history/personality to fit them. There are still issues that crop up from time to time, but it can be done.

thats how i build characters.

Mushroom Ninja
2008-09-11, 04:31 PM
As optimization goes, I set the limit of what I will make with the rest of the party. I make sure that, even if I am the most powerful Character in the party (combat wise) I don't overshadow everyone else and become a 1-man party

Allene
2008-09-11, 05:47 PM
{Scrubbed}

WrstDmEvr
2008-09-11, 06:12 PM
To me, when I ban something it's usually because the players are twisting the words past a logical extreme, infinite loops, etc., or in some cases, because they just ignore certain rules. For example, one of my players would play, say, a copper dragon(this has never happened, thank god) and say it was an ECL 5 character, even though it had 11+ Hit Dice. Also, a troll selling off his extremities to make infinite amount of cash(this has happened). Things like that usually get banned, at least in my games.

Kaihaku
2008-09-11, 07:16 PM
There are a few ways...

1. During character generation I watch for warning signs like if someone says, "I can't have fun unless I play this exact build." Lots of Tome of Battle peeps say that, otherwise I'd probably allow the book in my campaigns.

2. I like clever use of spells and abilities, anything that gives a character one answer to every situation is a problem in my book. Creativity is encouraged by limitation, I like creative players who use their limited resources rather than pre-engineering everything so they have every advantage.

3. Something that far throws the effective balance of the group far out of whack. Some characters are stronger, some are weaker, but if one character is so useful that the others are useless all the time something's wrong.

4. I just kind of eyeball it, I've been playing a long time and I'm getting a sense of what's broken and what's not. A little brokenness is alright in my book though, as long as it doesn't cross one of the three points above.

Frosty
2008-09-11, 07:43 PM
Optimizing is not bad, as long as you're not above the power level the DM wants you to be at for the campaign.

Gorbash
2008-09-11, 07:54 PM
Batman wizards, CoDzillas, and the like. "Smart Play" is what Frosty is doing. He's not being Batman, but he's not being a stupid player either.

Batman is not a build, it's a choice of spells. Any class that has full wizard spellcasting can be Batman, as long as you take the right spells.

MeklorIlavator
2008-09-11, 08:00 PM
Batman is not a build, it's a choice of spells. Any class that has full wizard spellcasting can be Batman, as long as you take the right spells.

Technically, only classes that both access the Wizards spell list and can also change the spells that they've prepared for other ones that better address the situation. Which pretty much only leaves Wizards.

Deepblue706
2008-09-11, 08:07 PM
I determine how powerful something is by comparing its abilities to appropriate challenges. If it leads to soloing encounters meant for a group, I'll assume it's probably overpowered. If it renders other party members completely useless in an adventuring party, I'll assume it's probably overpowered. I need the details of a specific scenario to make a real judgment call.

Gorbash
2008-09-11, 08:21 PM
Which pretty much only leaves Wizards.

I meant wizard as the base class and then any prestige class with full spellcasting.

arguskos
2008-09-11, 10:48 PM
You defined optimization as those actions which are gamebreaking in nature.

There are many people who are self identified (correctly) as optimizers. By extension, you called them all dirty munchkins and lied about them.

If I say, "All black people are stupid fat animals who stand around all day being lazy, and by black people I mean cows." Then people are going to (rightly) be offended.

Redefining optimization to be something bad isn't going to make conversations between optimizers and RP nuts any easier. ("But I don't mean for RP nuts to be offensive!!! It only applies to people who RP TOO MUCH!!") You are just insulting all the optimizers for no reason.
I would ask you in you understood the intent behind my post, though I doubt that you did, or care. So, I'll be happy to withdraw my comments, in order to promote the common good. I did not intend to come off that way, I honestly did not. Since you clearly believe I did, and since I have no intention of saying something I didn't mean, I apologize, to any who were offended. And with that, I withdraw my posts and leave this thread. Apologies again. :smallfrown:

Offending posts removed. Apologies issued. Poster gone.

-argus

Eldariel
2008-09-12, 12:13 AM
Technically, you can make an Archivist to also pretty much fit the Batman-bill. There will be some holes, but all the major ones are there. That said, I get your point.

On an unrelated note, I can't help but notice the rate of losing one user per a thread like this. Kind of a pity, really.

NeoVid
2008-09-12, 04:34 AM
(Note I understand plenty of people have no problem with this, and WOTC certainly doesn't help with things like Elminster's 3e build or Drizzt having a level in Barbarian. :smallsigh:)

In Drizzt's case, his levels are determined entirely from his backstory: Fighter to start, due to his early training. Then Barbarian, while living on his own in the Underdark. Then Ranger for the rest, when he found his calling. Not a great build, die to being entirely determined by IC situations.

lord_khaine
2008-09-12, 05:37 AM
1. During character generation I watch for warning signs like if someone says, "I can't have fun unless I play this exact build." Lots of Tome of Battle peeps say that, otherwise I'd probably allow the book in my campaigns.


in regards to ToB, then its proberly more because its one of the few things that makes melee chars as interesting as spellcasting ones.

Tormsskull
2008-09-12, 09:03 AM
Offending posts removed. Apologies issued. Poster gone.


Don't worry about it man. If I am not mistaken, its the same douche bag that keeps getting banned and coming back. Apparently he really likes these forums and these people, but he can't control himself when it comes to holding conversations.

And oh yeah, I didn't forget your PM but haven't had enough time to read, digest, and respond yet.

Frosty
2008-09-12, 12:15 PM
Looks like he got banned again.

Jayabalard
2008-09-12, 01:50 PM
I determine how powerful something is by comparing its abilities to appropriate challenges. If it leads to soloing encounters meant for a group, I'll assume it's probably overpowered. If it renders other party members completely useless in an adventuring party, I'll assume it's probably overpowered. I need the details of a specific scenario to make a real judgment call.Agreed; it's not really important if something is theoretically overpowered/broken. If you start banning things that are theoretically broken, you run a high risk of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It's much more important to focus on stuff that is actually affecting your games.


Kind of a pity, really.Nah.

Frosty
2008-09-12, 02:00 PM
But you have to think about it beforehand. you want to be able to talk to your players before the campaign begins to he or she knows what is allowed.

Telonius
2008-09-12, 02:44 PM
How I decide if something is broken:
I ask myself, "Does the use of this sort of thing have the potential to completely undo the logic of how life in this gameworld works?" Things like Candle of Invocation abuse, infinite wealth creation through Wall of Iron, and Pun-Pun fail the test, and are banned for brokenness. (Though Pun-Pun is occasionally retained as an overgod of Metagaming, Cheese, and Exploits).

How I decide if something is overpowered:

Does this (class/feature/feat/item/etc) have any drawbacks?

Is there any mechanical reason why someone wouldn't take this?
- If not, is the benefit really that big? (Yes, it's okay for the Greatsword to exist, given the existence of the Greatclub).

If a person were to use this, would they be able to render another similar-level class/feature/feat/item/etc redundant?
- If so, was the other class/feature/feat/item/etc significantly below the average power level? (Yes, it's okay for the Fighter to exist, given the existence of the Samurai; and it's okay for the Unarmed Swordsage to exist, given the existence of the Monk).

Does the combination of this with other classes etc. lead to a situation described above? (A Cleric buying one nightstick is fine. But if he buys several others, and gets Divine Metamagic, and gets Persistent Spell ... you know the drill).

That's for the mechanical end of it. If it fails any of the above, I ask the following questions:

Does it make sense in context?
Are the other players okay with it?
Is it cool?

If the answers to all three of these things are "yes," then it is allowed, regardless of how poorly it did in the previous section.