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    wink On Whips and Lashers

    As I'm sure many are aware, the obvious reason people keep hold on their copies of Sword and Fist despite the existence of Complete Warrior is because of the Lasher, just being a really cool prestige class that has held up fairly well despite being 3.0.

    Now, I'd potentially like to screw about with Lasher some but, reading over the material, some things I'd like to ponder on and tweak before bringing up for whatever game I bring 'em to. The first is with the whips themselves, in terms of the existence of mighty whips and whip-daggers. Are these still even relevant, considering how whips changed between 3.0 and 3.5 from being treated as projectile weapons (which I suppose is the reason the thought ever came up) to melee weapons (which by default should allow full strength to apply, no silly strengthening the whip material or any of that mess). I'm thinking not but there may be someone more knowledgeable in whipcraft that can tell me one way or another.

    Onto the actual class, the prereqs are reasonable, though perhaps dropping the BAB prereq by 1 would make it more accessible for rogues and bards, as well as factotums, who have the most to gain from the class. Speaking of the skilly people, the class skills is a bit lackluster and could use a bit of buffing up, as I see 'em as an alternate Swashbuckler and, well, I just don't like any class to have less than 4+Int skill points a level (you're adventurers! most of you should be able to do more than swing your phallic object of choice till the bad people fall down! ). Giving them Bluff, Listen and Sense Motive would mix well with a 4+ skill point gain, methinks.

    The whip sneak attack...I like it but I also don't. I think If we upgrade it to the Duelist's Precise Strike, it'd make for a dangerous adversary, rather than just a rogue-lite that can't get off sneak attacks that often, since the whip's range makes flanking not necessarily optimal if you want to actually take advantage of it. Plus, drop the language about 'up to 15' that's included, as not all whips are 15'.

    Close Combat and Wound are fine as is, though I wonder about how bad it'd be to change Whip Lash to threaten within your whip's reach? If we're investing levels to it, we may as well give the spiked chain a run for its money, right?

    Lashing Whip should be replaced with something better than '+2 damage of doom! Stacks with Weapon Spec!' garbage. Not sure what to change it to, though. Any ideas here would be appreciated.

    Stunning Snaps is beautiful as is, though allowing you to choose Str or Dex for the DC would be lovely for those Weapon Finesse Lashers.

    Crack of Doom, unlike Crack of Fate, is kinda...bad would be the word, almost as much as Lightning Fists is. Perhaps changing the Crack line to have an ability in the middle and advance like a mini-Monk's Flurry of Blows, so Crack of Fate (+1 attack/-2 hit for all) at 3rd, Crack of Destiny (+1 attack/-1 hit for all) and Crack of Doom (+2 attacks/+0 hit for all). That would be palatable and not force you into Flurry of Misses the way Crack of Doom is currently written.

    Finally, Death Spiral. Ye gods, Death Spiral. If critters are affected, that's a death sentence if I ever saw one, provided they fail their saves. Stun for 1d4+1 rounds, save DC equal to your attack roll?!? Not to mention the helpless bit if they fail the stun roll, though the DC being fixed makes it hard to get off. I'd do a bit of give and take on this, change the range to within the whip's reach, leave the stun DC at the attack roll and the helpless DC to what Stunning Snap is at so that it actually does something some times (including the stat choice). Perhaps reducing the helpless duration to 1 round, though, as they're already kinda screwed if they failed the stun duration as-is.

    So, thoughts? Is Lasher over-powering this way? Should I leave what's not broken alone? What to do about Lashing Whip? I'm just excited at the prospect of a Lasher, revamped or otherwise, with +1 merciful whip-dagger, possibly keened. Focus on one weapon so that you can use Third Hand without killing people (at least much, 2d6+1 nonlethal, minimum, can be quite the handful, y'know? ).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mulletmanalive View Post
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    Default Re: On Whips and Lashers

    Quote Originally Posted by Cieyrin View Post
    Lashing Whip should be replaced with something better than '+2 damage of doom! Stacks with Weapon Spec!' garbage. Not sure what to change it to, though. Any ideas here would be appreciated.
    Dex to damage? Whips are not usable with Shadow Hand IIRC, but dex to damage on a whip seems very apropriate.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: On Whips and Lashers

    Well, that's an idea that's actually useful and does give more credit to the Weapon Finesse Lasher. I'll certainly ponder it some while I contemplate other ideas for Lashing Whip.
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    Default Re: On Whips and Lashers

    Honestly, I think a new Lasher revision would be fairly Tome of Battle influenced. The maneuver system seems like it would fit nicely with the concept, although you could do it nicely without that influence.

    I'll have to dig out my copy of Sword & Fist (yes, kept around for exactly the reason you suggested...) and break out my homebrew tools...

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    Default Re: On Whips and Lashers

    Btw, here is a 3.5 homebrew update to the Lasher.
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    Default Re: On Whips and Lashers

    Quote Originally Posted by Morph Bark View Post
    Btw, here is a 3.5 homebrew update to the Lasher.
    Not sure how much I care for either version in that thread. Binding seems more Justicar territory than Lasher, especially since you can't use your whip while it's binding something and is pretty easy to break and then you're out of a whip and potentially your favored weapon. Bad tactics, in my mind. Improving the Whip Lash range over time is nice, though, as suggested, it doesn't help with actually using Sneak Attack, since you don't threaten and thus can't really flank. They also each keep Lashing Whip as-is, which is a major turn off for me.

    Either way, I suppose that's a bit of inspiration on how to make the class more viable, though it clearly has some work yet. I thought about Tome of Battle as a possible path, though I wasn't sure I wanted to devote that much to seriously altering the Lasher, as it'll become "just another ToB redux, pass " in some people's minds, I'm sure. I'll think a bit more on reduxing it a bit, perhaps pulling out Tome of Battle to see how well whips currently interact, as well as possibly Iron Heroes to see if I can do something interesting that way.
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    Default Re: On Whips and Lashers

    The main thing, to me, about whips is threatening and attacks of opportunity. I mean, the limitations of whips are obvious: they cannot attack armored foes, they deal nonlethal damage, that damage is pretty low, etc. But the biggest problem with them is that they do not threaten an area, and using it provokes themselves.

    In real life, a bullwhip is not a particularly good weapon. It doesn't deal serious damage (almost no ability to break bones or damage vital organs), only extremely painful lacerations (thus non-lethal damage does make sense), and it's completely useless against anyone with any real protection (so the armored restriction at least makes sense). They're very difficult to use, so Exotic also makes sense.

    But the two real advantages that whips do have is that they've got excellent range, and can make extremely quick, sudden, difficult-to-defend-against attacks that is, they're really good at attacks of opportunity. A whip is kept in constant motion during combat, and the human eye/visual cortex is really, really bad at following the movement/position of a rapidly-spinning object (cf. helicopter blades, fans, wheel spokes), and that makes a whip very difficult to accurately anticipate. Their lashes are also lightning-quick (have to be if they're going to hurt at all), and can be made in rapid succession.

    So really, the first thing I would do is allow whips to threaten the area they can reach. This makes them a good weapon: very good at trips and disarms, but not so great at actually hurting foes, which seems reasonable. Giving them (either by default, or through a feat or class feature) the ability to apply a Will save vs. a Standstill type effect would seem appropriate, since that's actually how you fight with a bullwhip you're kind of depending on your opponent's inability to endure the pain enough to step through your threatened area and attack you. If he's determined (or numb) enough, he can and will just walk through it and hit you.

    Anyway, yay, there's my whip-rant.
    Last edited by Veyr; 2011-05-21 at 07:56 PM.

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    Default Re: On Whips and Lashers

    If you do go ToB you will probably need the Cthonic Serpent discipline.
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    Default Re: On Whips and Lashers

    I checked it out after reading the OP and wow, Third Arm is amazing! It's exactly the kind of theatrical yet useful whip-stuff that you see on TV and in movies.

    As for suggestions for the 3.5 version? Well, I like crack of fate, and wound is obviously necessary, but the problem with the whip (as amazing as it is) is the really low dice damage it actually deals. I agree with the OP that increasing it by 2 is not enough (nor is it really even class feature worthy, at least with respect to a whip).

    Maybe instead of just Stunning, though, you could have a called shot class feature, where whipping them in the face causes temporary blindness, or you can snap one of their ears and they go deaf. Disable an arm or leg like the feat Stone Monkey from Dragon 309, or of course Stun. And yes, the Dex to DC makes more sense, as it's more about reflexively aiming it than putting power into the blow.

    The Improved Trip is nice, as is the Improved Disarm, but maybe since it comes so late (Level 6 in a prestige class that took you at least 5 levels to get into) you could have a bonus, like treating the whip as a two-handed weapon for the purposes of Disarm, so it gets a +6 bonus on disarm checks instead of just a +2? And same for Trip? After all, you're putting effort into a whip-based prestige class, you should be better at tripping and disarming than some guy who spent two feats on it.

    Maybe something that allows you to cause fear in wild animals and control them? You know, a lion tamer-like ability usable once per day? I think I've seen that in a different whip-based prestige class...

    And while Binding wasn't the best application, how about binding with strangulation? I think with the right penalties to hit a whip-user could make a difficult called shot that lets him wrap the whip around his target's neck and he pulls it tight. Not enough for decapitation, but certainly enough for strangulation.

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    Default Re: On Whips and Lashers

    Quote Originally Posted by Veyr View Post
    The main thing, to me, about whips is threatening and attacks of opportunity. I mean, the limitations of whips are obvious: they cannot attack armored foes, they deal nonlethal damage, that damage is pretty low, etc. But the biggest problem with them is that they do not threaten an area, and using it provokes themselves.

    In real life, a bullwhip is not a particularly good weapon. It doesn't deal serious damage (almost no ability to break bones or damage vital organs), only extremely painful lacerations (thus non-lethal damage does make sense), and it's completely useless against anyone with any real protection (so the armored restriction at least makes sense). They're very difficult to use, so Exotic also makes sense.

    But the two real advantages that whips do have is that they've got excellent range, and can make extremely quick, sudden, difficult-to-defend-against attacks that is, they're really good at attacks of opportunity. A whip is kept in constant motion during combat, and the human eye/visual cortex is really, really bad at following the movement/position of a rapidly-spinning object (cf. helicopter blades, fans, wheel spokes), and that makes a whip very difficult to accurately anticipate. Their lashes are also lightning-quick (have to be if they're going to hurt at all), and can be made in rapid succession.

    So really, the first thing I would do is allow whips to threaten the area they can reach. This makes them a good weapon: very good at trips and disarms, but not so great at actually hurting foes, which seems reasonable. Giving them (either by default, or through a feat or class feature) the ability to apply a Will save vs. a Standstill type effect would seem appropriate, since that's actually how you fight with a bullwhip you're kind of depending on your opponent's inability to endure the pain enough to step through your threatened area and attack you. If he's determined (or numb) enough, he can and will just walk through it and hit you.

    Anyway, yay, there's my whip-rant.
    Well, I'm glad I have agreement on upping Whip Lash to full reach of the whip and making it actually threaten. I like my weapons to be actually useful and whatnot. The Standstill bit seems like a change to the bonus feats granted, i.e. giving them a pool to select from and letting them select what they want to pick up. This way, we can have specialized Lashers that are inherently different from one another, which is always nice and dovetails well with allowing selection of ability for the save DCs.

    Quote Originally Posted by DracoDei View Post
    If you do go ToB you will probably need the Cthonic Serpent discipline.
    Ooo, neat! I'll get to reading that when I get the chance! Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    I checked it out after reading the OP and wow, Third Arm is amazing! It's exactly the kind of theatrical yet useful whip-stuff that you see on TV and in movies.
    It is rather nice, indeed.

    As for suggestions for the 3.5 version? Well, I like crack of fate, and wound is obviously necessary, but the problem with the whip (as amazing as it is) is the really low dice damage it actually deals. I agree with the OP that increasing it by 2 is not enough (nor is it really even class feature worthy, at least with respect to a whip).
    I personally was planning on using a merciful whipdagger, which lets me use Third Arm without maiming people too much and also, while the ability is on, makes it deal damage like a greatsword in nonlethal (2d6 19-20/x2), so I don't think I'm hurting too much. Still, Lashing Whip is pretty bad and I think, if I don't just put it together with the bonus feat pool idea I mentioned above, I may go with CM's idea for a meaningful damage boost. I'm still thinking about that, though.

    Maybe instead of just Stunning, though, you could have a called shot class feature, where whipping them in the face causes temporary blindness, or you can snap one of their ears and they go deaf. Disable an arm or leg like the feat Stone Monkey from Dragon 309, or of course Stun. And yes, the Dex to DC makes more sense, as it's more about reflexively aiming it than putting power into the blow.
    That seems a bit complicated and would probably be best covered if I went the ToB angle on it. I don't think Stunning Snap is a bad ability, per se, it'd probably just be its own special manuever if ToB came up, methinks.

    The Improved Trip is nice, as is the Improved Disarm, but maybe since it comes so late (Level 6 in a prestige class that took you at least 5 levels to get into) you could have a bonus, like treating the whip as a two-handed weapon for the purposes of Disarm, so it gets a +6 bonus on disarm checks instead of just a +2? And same for Trip? After all, you're putting effort into a whip-based prestige class, you should be better at tripping and disarming than some guy who spent two feats on it.
    These'll probably get mooshed into the bonus feat pool idea. Also, whips already grant bonuses for disarm and trip, so I'm not sure whether I should really boost them any further, as Lashers are master of whips in their entirety, not just in making fools of people, though that is still a big part.

    Maybe something that allows you to cause fear in wild animals and control them? You know, a lion tamer-like ability usable once per day? I think I've seen that in a different whip-based prestige class...
    That seems a little niche to me and not really the focus of Lasher.

    And while Binding wasn't the best application, how about binding with strangulation? I think with the right penalties to hit a whip-user could make a difficult called shot that lets him wrap the whip around his target's neck and he pulls it tight. Not enough for decapitation, but certainly enough for strangulation.
    Not really what whips are made to do and I still think that's just a good way to lose your weapon when it gets inevitably broke. That's more a trick for lassos and nets than whips in my opinion. Plus, really, if I was to go ToB with the Lasher, I think it'd probably have access to Shadow Hand and the disabling maneuvers from there. Lashers kinda have a darkish connotation to them, so I think it could work nicely, if Cthonic Serpent doesn't cover it.

    Thanks for the comments, keep them coming, especially if somebody gets to putting together a Lasher Redux before I do, ToB or otherwise.
    Last edited by Cieyrin; 2011-05-24 at 04:05 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mulletmanalive View Post
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    Default Re: On Whips and Lashers

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    And while Binding wasn't the best application, how about binding with strangulation? I think with the right penalties to hit a whip-user could make a difficult called shot that lets him wrap the whip around his target's neck and he pulls it tight. Not enough for decapitation, but certainly enough for strangulation.
    I actually see where he's coming from here. I don't remember, but I think it was in "Raiders" that Indiana Jones did this. The Lasher seems pretty oriented towards Indy, so it's not too ridiculous.

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    Default Re: On Whips and Lashers

    Quote Originally Posted by Immonen View Post
    I actually see where he's coming from here. I don't remember, but I think it was in "Raiders" that Indiana Jones did this. The Lasher seems pretty oriented towards Indy, so it's not too ridiculous.
    Having read through Chthonic Serpent now, I can definitely say, were I to include a Binding mechanic, it'd definitely be through that and ToB in general. I have a couple of nitpicks about it (Death's Embrace for permanent blindness? What?!? ), I think it's pretty solid and makes me think a bit better of binding people up in whips and chains.
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