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Saph
2008-10-16, 10:01 AM
My druid in our World's Largest Dungeon campaign finally hit 17th-level, and at last I've gotten to use the spell that I've been looking forward to all along. You know, everyone always talks about how broken Shapechange is.

No-one ever mentions just how much fun it can be.

I spent most of the session in Juvenile Gold Dragon form, and between ripping things to bits in melee with bite of the werebear and flying around to torch things with my fire breath, I had a blast. We were going up against barbarian frost giants and armies of bugbears, and wiping them out almost without trying. So much of D&D is 'group of humanoid PCs against a big dragon-like monster'. It's a really cool feeling to be the big dragon-like monster, especially when you have all your spells to back you up. :)

So yes, it's an insanely powerful spell. However, it was also the most fun I've had in ages. I wouldn't like to play at high-levels in a one-off, but as the climax to a long campaign, it's awesome.

- Saph

JeminiZero
2008-10-16, 10:20 AM
Is your Druid now overshadowing the whole party? If so, how are they taking it?

Kaiyanwang
2008-10-16, 11:15 AM
Anyway, 200 minutes is not the day (okokok, is enough to wreak havoc and then cast a second one, metamagic etc).

Anyway, Saph is right: there are a lot of things harshly criticized for balance issues (spells overall) , but most of these are real fun.

I wonder if there was a way to fix tem other than screw them like 4th edition and its "comfortably dumb" policy does. I mean: duration, cost of components, or others fixes... Is a good thing let player see their actual rise in power through their rise in levels.

Of course, this should be done for every class, but a certain level of "brokeness fun", at high level, si almost... mandatory, IMO. :smallwink:

Kurald Galain
2008-10-16, 11:42 AM
Anyway, Saph is right: there are a lot of things harshly criticized for balance issues (spells overall) , but most of these are real fun.
+1

It's not a problem as long as the players enjoy it.

Saph
2008-10-16, 11:57 AM
Is your Druid now overshadowing the whole party? If so, how are they taking it?

Mostly they're happy being able to fight creatures that aren't immune to criticals (making the rogue useless) and don't have DR 15/materials we don't have (making the TWF fighter and TWF ranger useless).

As long as the players can make a contribution, they're happy. Fighting bugbears and giants is pretty easy compared to fighting armies of Dread Wraiths that Spring Attack through the walls and floors.

- Saph

Talya
2008-10-16, 01:14 PM
You may have just sealed my first 9th level spell selection. I was so torn...of course, I probably still have a year or so to think about it.

Artanis
2008-10-16, 01:30 PM
Anyway, 200 minutes is not the day (okokok, is enough to wreak havoc and then cast a second one, metamagic etc).

Anyway, Saph is right: there are a lot of things harshly criticized for balance issues (spells overall) , but most of these are real fun.

I wonder if there was a way to fix tem other than screw them like 4th edition and its "comfortably dumb" policy does. I mean: duration, cost of components, or others fixes... Is a good thing let player see their actual rise in power through their rise in levels.

Of course, this should be done for every class, but a certain level of "brokeness fun", at high level, si almost... mandatory, IMO. :smallwink:
Yes, "brokeness fun" is fine, but as JeminiZero implied, it's only fine when it's fun for everybody. In this particular case, it does indeed seem to be fine, since Saph says everybody is still having fun. But with a lot of these spells, it's VERY easy to overshadow the party to the point of ruining their fun, even by accident.

As for seeing their rise in power through the levels, you're basically saying that only spellcasters deserve that, because only spellcasters get that degree of power increase. Getting an extra iterative attack and a few more feats doesn't even remotely compare to turning into a dragon in terms of increasing power. If players should see their power rise, why can't all players do so, instead of just the ones who chose not to play a Fighter or Rogue?

In theory, there may be a way to limit such spells enough to balance them without utterly crippling them, but I really doubt it's remotely worth the effort to do so for every single spell.


tl;dr: Imbalance is just fine when everybody's having fun anyways, as is the case with Saph. But when something is liable to ruin all but one player's fun, that becomes A Problem, and Problems must be dealt with for the sake of those who aren't in a situation like Saph is in.


.....and somebody misunderstands what I'm trying to say in 3...2...1... :smallfrown:

Kurald Galain
2008-10-16, 01:35 PM
.....and somebody misunderstands what I'm trying to say in 3...2...1... :smallfrown:

Your opinion on chocolate chip cookies is needlessly harsh towards the oompa-loompas.

...what? :smallbiggrin:

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-10-16, 01:49 PM
In theory, there may be a way to limit such spells enough to balance them without utterly crippling them, but I really doubt it's remotely worth the effort to do so for every single spell.That's why I like ToB. It doesn't limit Casters, it makes Melee awesome, too. One of the weakest attacks involves grabbing somebody and punching him in the heart. Just as much concentrated awesome as Shapechange, IMHO.

Epinephrine
2008-10-16, 01:53 PM
So, what's your animal companion doing while you rampage? Surely you are sharing these wonderful spells, and your gold dragon rides into battle on a shaggy, werebear-ish triceratops or something?

monty
2008-10-16, 01:54 PM
That's why I like ToB. It doesn't limit Casters, it makes Melee awesome, too. One of the weakest attacks involves grabbing somebody and punching him in the heart. Just as much concentrated awesome as Shapechange, IMHO.

Plus, there's the awesome factor of shouting something like "Five-Shadow Creeping Ice Enervation Strike!" as you attack.

The Rose Dragon
2008-10-16, 01:59 PM
Plus, there's the awesome factor of shouting something like "Five-Shadow Creeping Ice Enervation Strike!" as you attack.

As a student of the Shadow Hand, why in the name of all Nine Hells would you do that? Isn't Shadow Hand about stealth and misdirection?

monty
2008-10-16, 02:02 PM
As a student of the Shadow Hand, why in the name of all Nine Hells would you do that? Isn't Shadow Hand about stealth and misdirection?

But...that's how the ninjas on TV do it...it must be right.

Starbuck_II
2008-10-16, 02:04 PM
But...that's how the ninjas on TV do it...it must be right.

Which ninjas?
Naruto ninjas are Wizards.

chiasaur11
2008-10-16, 02:11 PM
But...that's how the ninjas on TV do it...it must be right.

But Dr. McNinja doesn't. And he's a doctor.

Maybe it's a part of ninja tradition that's hazardous to your health?

monty
2008-10-16, 02:13 PM
But Dr. McNinja doesn't. And he's a doctor.

Maybe it's a part of ninja tradition that's hazardous to your health?

Ninjas can't catch you when you're on fire. So make good use of those Desert Wind maneuvers when fighting ninjas.

Mark Hall
2008-10-16, 02:16 PM
Wow... I just looked up Shapechange, and boy did they make that spell cheap; in 1st edition, it was 5000gp, and it was a Material component, not a Focus.

5000gp per casting REALLY slows it down.

DigoDragon
2008-10-16, 02:21 PM
Yeah, broken stuff isn't so broken if all the players can get in on having fun with it. Ideally as a party you should be working together anyway... :smallsmile:

Saph
2008-10-16, 02:53 PM
Yes, "brokeness fun" is fine, but as JeminiZero implied, it's only fine when it's fun for everybody. In this particular case, it does indeed seem to be fine, since Saph says everybody is still having fun. But with a lot of these spells, it's VERY easy to overshadow the party to the point of ruining their fun, even by accident.

It's not about overshadowing; it's about whether everyone can contribute. In my experience it doesn't really matter if one party member is stronger than another, since they're co-operating, not competing. What matters is that everyone gets to contribute and that what they do makes a difference. Of course, this doesn't apply to highly competitive players who will complain if they feel that they're not as powerful as everyone else, but then these kinds of players also tend to be unhappy if they're not more powerful than everyone else.

It's not really a problem if Druidy McDruid can do 40 damage/round, while Fightery McFighter can do 20 damage/round. The problems start when Fightery McFighter can do 0 damage/round (which was the case in our last boss fight - AC 40 monster with 30 ft. reach and everyone in the party had a bunch of negative levels).


So, what's your animal companion doing while you rampage? Surely you are sharing these wonderful spells, and your gold dragon rides into battle on a shaggy, werebear-ish triceratops or something?

Well, I entered the World's Largest Dungeon at level 3, and my animal companion was a dog. I've kept it alive all the way since then.

My dog is now more powerful than the combined defence militias of most small towns.

- Saph

mostlyharmful
2008-10-16, 05:14 PM
I entered the World's Largest Dungeon at level 3, and my animal companion was a dog. I've kept it alive all the way since then.

My dog is now more powerful than the combined defence militias of most small towns.

- Saph

This is why I love high level Druids with concientious players.:smallsmile: 500 men in armour v a well trained pooch? Who're you putting your cash on? Oh, and the mut's got a friend that hugs trees.....:smallamused:

JeminiZero
2008-10-16, 07:49 PM
This is why I love high level Druids with concientious players.:smallsmile: 500 men in armour v a well trained pooch? Who're you putting your cash on? Oh, and the mut's got a friend that hugs trees.....:smallamused:


If it were just 300 men however...

RPGuru1331
2008-10-16, 07:53 PM
As a student of the Shadow Hand, why in the name of all Nine Hells would you do that? Isn't Shadow Hand about stealth and misdirection?

*Shines a flashlight in your eyes*
You're under suspicion of deviancy, Citizen.




It's not about overshadowing; it's about whether everyone can contribute. In my experience it doesn't really matter if one party member is stronger than another, since they're co-operating, not competing. What matters is that everyone gets to contribute and that what they do makes a difference. Of course, this doesn't apply to highly competitive players who will complain if they feel that they're not as powerful as everyone else, but then these kinds of players also tend to be unhappy if they're not more powerful than everyone else.
Well, perfect equality is of course a myth, but I think Artanis is saying that there's a very nebulous line (in theory) between being better and being so much better that everyone else quits trying, or feels irritated at the gap in disparity. You don't have to be out to win the game to be irritated by someone else, to take the logical extreme, winning the fight single handedly in a turn, then solving every other problem that comes their way with similar expediency. I think it's really the breadth of caster abilities that creates the massive imbalances, and potential problems, since, well, Magic Can Do Everything, and everyone else is mostly restricted to real life. 'cept that ToB thing, but then your other players bitch about it feeling like anime.

Kaiyanwang
2008-10-17, 02:45 AM
Of course the disparity exist. I only say if is better to think an upgrade to non-casters or a general dumbing down.

In my experience, rogue and fighters can be nasty, but maybe because I had players adapted to my Dungeon Master style (or simply I'm a very noob DM :smallbiggrin:). Even a 20 level fighter can do more than 20 damage/round, come on.

Anyway, I preferred a way to make magic less broken making it more extraordinary, not more mundane.. this is my point.

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-10-17, 03:29 AM
Of course the disparity exist. I only say if is better to think an upgrade to non-casters or a general dumbing down.

In my experience, rogue and fighters can be nasty, but maybe because I had players adapted to my Dungeon Master style (or simply I'm a very noob DM :smallbiggrin:). Even a 20 level fighter can do more than 20 damage/round, come on.

Anyway, I preferred a way to make magic less broken making it more extraordinary, not more mundane.. this is my point.20? Try several hundred. I can do 160 a round, every round, all day as a Warlock with no Optimization.

Nothing is broken in a vacuum. Casters are insanely powerful because no one else can do what they can. ToB fixed that by bringing melee up to their level. If you want a game with less magic, ask your players to play fewer casters. Because you can call it a low magic setting if you want, but if a Wizard, a Bard, a Beguiler, and a Cleric can run into each other in a bar, it's probably not.

Saph
2008-10-17, 06:38 AM
Well, perfect equality is of course a myth, but I think Artanis is saying that there's a very nebulous line (in theory) between being better and being so much better that everyone else quits trying, or feels irritated at the gap in disparity. You don't have to be out to win the game to be irritated by someone else, to take the logical extreme, winning the fight single handedly in a turn, then solving every other problem that comes their way with similar expediency.

I don't know; I think it's mostly an internet meme, to be honest. I've seen lots of people on boards talk about gaps in disparity as though they're the most terrible thing ever, but now that I actually think about it, I've never seen a game fold because of them. Everyone always has about five more things they're much more concerned about than 'is the other party member stronger than me'. I don't think it matters if one PC's stronger than another, as long as everyone can contribute and feel like they can do their thing.

Players are mostly concerned about what their characters are doing, not what everyone else's characters are doing. As long as they get to use their class abilities and feel cool, they're usually happy.

- Saph

Kaiyanwang
2008-10-17, 07:04 AM
I don't know; I think it's mostly an internet meme, to be honest. I've seen lots of people on boards talk about gaps in disparity as though they're the most terrible thing ever, but now that I actually think about it, I've never seen a game fold because of them. Everyone always has about five more things they're much more concerned about than 'is the other party member stronger than me'. I don't think it matters if one PC's stronger than another, as long as everyone can contribute and feel like they can do their thing.

Players are mostly concerned about what their characters are doing, not what everyone else's characters are doing. As long as they get to use their class abilities and feel cool, they're usually happy.

- Saph

+1

Sstoopidtakid, I caught your point, I was only wondering if the proposed fixes are the best.

Mark Hall
2008-10-17, 10:52 AM
If it were just 300 men however...

Dog has no problem, because those 300 don't believe in armor, and are wearing skirts.

Jayabalard
2008-10-17, 12:29 PM
It's not about overshadowing; it's about whether everyone can contribute. In my experience it doesn't really matter if one party member is stronger than another, since they're co-operating, not competing. What matters is that everyone gets to contribute and that what they do makes a difference.I have the same experience; I suspect that the maturity level and competitiveness level of the people involved each have a significant impact; it takes someone who's both very competitive and fairly immature to get upset about someone being more powerful than them as long as everyone is contributing.

DM Raven
2008-10-17, 12:42 PM
My druid in our World's Largest Dungeon campaign finally hit 17th-level, and at last I've gotten to use the spell that I've been looking forward to all along. You know, everyone always talks about how broken Shapechange is.

No-one ever mentions just how much fun it can be.

I spent most of the session in Juvenile Gold Dragon form, and between ripping things to bits in melee with bite of the werebear and flying around to torch things with my fire breath, I had a blast. We were going up against barbarian frost giants and armies of bugbears, and wiping them out almost without trying. So much of D&D is 'group of humanoid PCs against a big dragon-like monster'. It's a really cool feeling to be the big dragon-like monster, especially when you have all your spells to back you up. :)

So yes, it's an insanely powerful spell. However, it was also the most fun I've had in ages. I wouldn't like to play at high-levels in a one-off, but as the climax to a long campaign, it's awesome.

- Saph

Ever notice how the most broken abilities are the most fun? Just have the rest of your party grab some popcorn and pull up a chair while they watch you mow through everything minus angry DM Cheese bosses.

DM: "My monster is Immune to shapechange!"

Player: "How is that even possible!?"

EvilElitest
2008-10-17, 03:05 PM
What i wish from 3E is a set of "rules" for shape shifting taht are set in stone.....aw well
from
EE

Temp.
2008-10-17, 03:10 PM
Ever notice how the most broken abilities are the most fun? Just have the rest of your party grab some popcorn and pull up a chair while they watch you mow through everything minus angry DM Cheese bosses.I love this assumption. Especially without any knowledge of context. You have no idea.