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    Default [3.5] DFA: Sleep Breath?

    So, I'm looking at a 10th level breath effect for a very control-oriented, very breath-oriented (crazy CON, no CHA) DFA. I've already got Thunder Breath, so I'm wondering what else to take. Sleep Breath looks decent, except for that whole "creatures with more HD than you are immune." I'm more interested in the Exhaustion effect than in the Sleep effect to begin with, but I'm wondering if that HD cap would make this just plain unusable. Does anyone have any ideas? My other options are Cloud Breath (meh), Enduring Breath (ok I guess, but damage isn't really what I care about), or a 5th/2nd level effect (I already have Slow, and the reason I have this choice is because I'm swapping out Weakening which didn't help me, which leaves the decent Acid and the really bad Shaped for 5th level, or the suspect Sickening and Lightning for 2nd.)

    So, anyway, Sleep Breath? Think the short duration and HD cap kill it, or could it be useful for neutralizing minions?
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    Default Re: [3.5] DFA: Sleep Breath?

    I'm actually a huge fan of Weakening. Its a pretty decent debuff. If you hit a foe with Entangling Exhalation and then follow up with a Weakening Breath, you give anything that isn't using finesse a -5 to hit. Thats pretty potent. Think of it as giving your whole party +5 stackable AC, something not a lot of other classes can provide at level 5. Also, if the enemy had an 18 Str or less, this would reduce it to less than 13, turning off Power Attack and any Power Attack related feats that foe might have. If you colaborate with your friendly party wizard, he could drop a Ray of Enfeeblement or Escalating Enfeeblement on top of your Weakening Breath with a decent chance to get your foe's Str down to 1. I don't care who you are, its REALLY hard to fight with a Str of 1, given encumberance rules and whatnot.

    Slow Breath is pretty decent as well, but has half the duration Weakening, which is rough if your opponent is good at making fort saves. Even with a successful save on Weakening, it lasts 2 rounds, allowing you to alternate normal breath + Entangling Exhalation and Weakening Breath to keep the duration up the whole time.

    I wouldn't take Sleep Breath. With the HD cap, it only helps you really in cleaning up mooks, something that normal breath does fairly decently. It just isn't that good, IMO.
    Last edited by Keld Denar; 2010-05-08 at 01:05 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] DFA: Sleep Breath?

    IMHO, Sleep Breath is only worth it if you combo it with Weakening Breath (and similar effects, e.g. UMD Ray of Enfeeblement) to achieve paralysis via Strength 0. Even then, it's only worth it if you're in a campaign where most of the foes are Humanoids or Outsiders. (Pretty much all other creature types are either immune to exhaustion, or have LOTS of Hit Dice.)

    Enduring Breath is indeed probably the best option objectively, but if you don't care about damage ... I'd actually say Acid Breath. In the rare case that you meet something (e.g. Slaad) with Resist Sonic, chances are pretty decent it will have Resist Fire too. But all three? Pretty unusual.

    Also, unless you're L12+, you should technically retrain Weakening to be something lower-level anyway, so that your build is still legally possible for another DFA who didn't use retraining. (But then, your DM and group may not care. Meh.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Keld Denar View Post
    I'm actually a huge fan of Weakening. Its a pretty decent debuff. If you hit a foe with Entangling Exhalation and then follow up with a Weakening Breath, you give anything that isn't using finesse a -5 to hit.
    And if they DO use Finesse, then just Entangling gives them a -4 to hit anyway.

    Slow Breath is pretty decent as well, but has half the duration Weakening, which is rough if your opponent is good at making fort saves. Even with a successful save on Weakening, it lasts 2 rounds, allowing you to alternate normal breath + Entangling Exhalation and Weakening Breath to keep the duration up the whole time.
    Hmmm, interesting points. I wonder if my DFA build should switch to Weakening instead of Slow. So annoying that Undead and Constructs are automatically immune to both of them.
    Last edited by Draz74; 2010-05-08 at 01:10 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] DFA: Sleep Breath?

    I actually took Weakening as my SECOND 10th level effect, since I didn't really like the other 10th level effects after Thunder. I'm thinking of getting rid of it because when I've used it, it simply hasn't done as much as I'd have expected. On paper, it looks like a great debuff for all the reasons you've mentioned, but in practice, anything that's going to be using STR to thwack us around has had enough that it doesn't even notice a -6 to it.

    I'll think about it. We'll see. Any other comments?
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    Default Re: [3.5] DFA: Sleep Breath?

    Quote Originally Posted by Draz74 View Post
    So annoying that Undead and Constructs are automatically immune to both of them.
    I was playing through Exp to Castle Ravenloft, and wanted to use Weakening Breath, and an AMAZINGLY gracious DM allowed it to work on undead (since nearly EVERYTHING was undead) as long as they were corporial. He ruled that the undead auto-saved vs it (so, 2 rounds max duration), but that it would work since its based on Ray of Enfeeblement, which DOES work on undead. We just RPed it as a massive amount of soot and ash that coated the body and limbs and inhibited the ability to strike.

    If the game your in is like this, you might consider asking. Basically, its halving the duration and removing the save, and without the save, it works on undead and constructs just like RoE.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaq View Post
    I'll think about it. We'll see. Any other comments?
    Like I said, I used it at levels 6-8, when it was my only other Breath Effect, so I could easily just alternate between it and normal breath. At a higher level, the fact that Slow Breath denies a foe their full attack might be much more worth it. One attack from a giant hurts, but 2-3 in a round might be lethal.

    Its pretty decent if your party can focus a bit around it. If you have a rogue, having him take the Crippling Strike trick stacks on more Str damage, and a friendly wizard with a Ray of Enfeeblement or Escalating Enfeeblement stacks pleasently with Weakening Breath. There are a few other ways to get Str damage, I think Person_Man has a thread based on it. Its not even completely specializing, just another facet of group synergy that is very effective when it comes together.
    Last edited by Keld Denar; 2010-05-08 at 01:26 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] DFA: Sleep Breath?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keld Denar View Post
    I was playing through Exp to Castle Ravenloft, and wanted to use Weakening Breath, and an AMAZINGLY gracious DM allowed it to work on undead (since nearly EVERYTHING was undead) as long as they were corporial. He ruled that the undead auto-saved vs it (so, 2 rounds max duration), but that it would work since its based on Ray of Enfeeblement, which DOES work on undead. We just RPed it as a massive amount of soot and ash that coated the body and limbs and inhibited the ability to strike.

    If the game your in is like this, you might consider asking. Basically, its halving the duration and removing the save, and without the save, it works on undead and constructs just like RoE.
    Hmmm, seems pretty reasonable. Or, to go just one step more harsh, I could see making it work on Undead/Constructs, but giving them, effectively, Improved Mettle against it. So no effect if they make their save, or half-duration if they fail their save.

    Actually, I wonder if in general that would be a more balanced and more elegant way to handle the "immune to effects with a Fort save" rule. Hmmm ...
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    Default Re: [3.5] DFA: Sleep Breath?

    I think undead are actually vulnerable to Weakening Breath even without the gracious DM, since it's an ability penalty rather than ability damage.

    Personally I'd go with enduring breath for more damage, but I could see a case for acid as well. It looks like none of the breaths this level will really matter that much, so just grab whatever looks good and look forward to level 15
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    Default Re: [3.5] DFA: Sleep Breath?

    Quote Originally Posted by Akal Saris View Post
    I think undead are actually vulnerable to Weakening Breath even without the gracious DM, since it's an ability penalty rather than ability damage.
    Sadly, ability damage isn't the issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by SRD
    An undead creature possesses the following traits (unless otherwise noted in a creature’s entry).
    • Immunity to any effect that requires a Fortitude save (unless the effect also works on objects or is harmless).
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    Default Re: [3.5] DFA: Sleep Breath?

    Yea, exactly as Draz says. Its not the fact that its a penalty vs ability damage (which undead are explicitly immune to), its the save.

    The Improved Mettle thing seems like a pretty good idea. Fortunately, undead have a poor racial fort save progression, so even though they have high HD relative to their CR, they still have fort saves lower than most other foes of their CR. Thus most undead would fail their save (unless the DM rolled pretty well) and you'd have a half duration Weaken effect most of the time, with no effect only a small percent of the time.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fax Celestis View Post
    AILHAY THULUCAY! AILHAY THULUCAY! AILHAY THULUCAY!
    _________________________________
    A beholder’s favorite foods include small live mammals, exotic mushrooms and other fungi, gnomes, beef, pork, colorful leafy vegetables, leaves, flower petals, insects, and birds.

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    Default Re: [3.5] DFA: Sleep Breath?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keld Denar View Post
    Like I said, I used it at levels 6-8, when it was my only other Breath Effect, so I could easily just alternate between it and normal breath. At a higher level, the fact that Slow Breath denies a foe their full attack might be much more worth it. One attack from a giant hurts, but 2-3 in a round might be lethal.
    This is pretty much it. The party's currently level 14. I made the character at level 12, so Weakening Breath has never actually been worth it. I took Frost (mostly for flavor, but it's been used a couple times), Slow (god but I love this), Thunder (sometimes nothing else will do), and Weakening, in that order. The problem, like I hinted at earlier, is that everything worth spending actions on falls into one of two categories: 1) doesn't use STR (but has more than 6, so they won't collapse) or 2) Has way too much STR to even notice a –6. I could see that it would be really nice at the level you first get it (though sadly not nicer than Slow Breath, which is godly), but I've never actually seen it work properly. I'm just really not sure what would be better.
    In the Beginning Was the Word, and the Word Was Suck: A Guide to Truenamers

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Roc View Post
    Gentlefolk, learn from Zaq's example, and his suffering. Remember, seven out of eleven players who use truenamer lose their ability to taste ice cream.
    Come join the Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground E6 Appetizer Edition! We're currently judging for Round 20, so come join in and be taken as an authority figure whose opinions matter!

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