2011-09-21, 05:55 PM (ISO 8601)
Re: General 3.5 Core balance fix (3.5 Core, PEACH)
Let's look at some monsters, since players mostly fight monsters in a standard game.
Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi
A Wyrm Black Dragon is CR 20, so the party should be able to take 4 of them in a day and be pretty beat up/exhausted of resources. That means a OHKO shouldn't be feasible, but it should be possible. Saving bonuses are +26/+19/+23. Core doesn't particularly have Ref or Die spells, so we will consider a hypothetical Fort Save or die spell, as well as a Will or Die spell. DC for a 9th level spell from our 20th level wizard is 10+9(level)+9 or 12 for a total DC of 28 or 31. Dragon makes that on a 5 versus an 8 assuming a will save, and that is ignoring its SR of 26... which should mostly be ignored as it will be beaten by the wizard on a roll of 6 on d20. There's about a 14.5% chance of the dragon dying to the wizard with an ability cap versus 29% chance of dying to the wizard without the ability cap, assuming the wizard knows to use a will save spell and that there is a will save or die spell at 9th level (there's Imprisonment, which is a touch spell, and Dominate Monster, which is pretty nice to land on a dragon).
A Balor is also CR 20. Saves are 22/19/19 with 28 SR except it has Unholy Aura at will so saves are really 26/23/23. That's better than the dragon wiht better SR, so the wizard has even less of a chance of ending the encounter in one spell.
The Tarrasque is CR 20 and has saves of 38/29/20 with SR 32 and immunity to rays, lines, cones, and magic missiles. Again Dominate Monster would be cute, but again the odds are not great: even the uncapped wizard has DC of 31 so Terry needs to roll less than an 11 and the wizard needs to roll a 12 or more. Possible? Yes, but it is worse than a coin flip and Terry can kill at least one person a round given the chance.
Yitzi isn't planning on including racial bonuses in the cap, and we haven't heard if old age applies or not, so it's at most a +4 difference.
I didn't consider Epic because, honestly, Epic is even worse at being balanced than pre-epic. I also didn't consider Epic Spellcasting because it is terrible without mitigation and with mitigation Spellcraft is irrelevant. I posted in this old thread to explain why.