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    Default Regarding Wraithstrike

    Greetings! I was wondering if there is any way to negate that amazing transmutation spell, {Scrubbed url} Wraithstrike[/URL]. Other than having an abnormally high touch AC (unlikely in most cases), are there spells or armor properties such as ghost ward or ghost touch that would negate such attack? Probably no, but it would be nice to know if there is a RAW defense against such spell.

    Thank you in advance.
    Last edited by Roland St. Jude; 2012-10-31 at 12:50 AM.

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    Default Re: Regarding Wraithstrike

    (Greater) Dispel Magic is great for those pesky Incantrix (Incantrixi?) and their Persist shenanigans.

    Counterspelling if used in the way it was intended (IE: right before the attack its used on).

    Stealing spellbooks/Mindraping Sorcerer's will make sure they can never cast it again (until they get a new spellbook and a Scroll of Wraithestrike).
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    Default Re: Regarding Wraithstrike

    To be fair, the point of Wraithstrike is to make folks with otherwise meh-at-best-and-often-awful attack rolls have a lower target to hit for success, so even if raising touch-ac was difficult, you wouldn't have to raise it much to make it much less of a threat.

    Raising Dexterity four to six points via magic items or slight adjustments to a standard monster's stats should make that a much more effective option.

    Deflection Modifiers aren't too difficult to come by (rings of protection, for example).

    Anything with Natural Armor bonuses can make good use of the Scintillating Scales spell, which converts that Natural bonus temporarily into a Deflection Bonus (dragons Love this one.)

    The X-stat-to-y-bonus thread has plenty of ways to make an evasion tank; I'm helping one of my players to build a character with everything but Strength to AC (Dex naturally, Con via Fist of the Forest, Int via Kung-Fu Genius, Wisdom via UA Druid, and Charisma via Battle Dancer.) There are also magic items like a Monk's Belt or Battledancer's Slippers to provide these bonuses without class levels.

    The Wall of Blades maneuver (Tome of Battle) allows you to use an Attack roll to replace your AC, which then applies to both Touch and Standard attacks, though this is for only 1 attack per round; you can recover it the next turn, however, and it can be used After you know the result of the attack.

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    Default Re: Regarding Wraithstrike

    Thank you for the quick response. The PC is a gish (fighter/wizard combo). And he loves mixing a bunch of feats like power attack and leap attack with the spell. Very effective, yes, but also makes encounters too short. The spellbook could be stolen, yes, but that would be excessively cruel.

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    Default Re: Regarding Wraithstrike

    Quote Originally Posted by Feralventas View Post
    To be fair, the point of Wraithstrike is to make folks with otherwise meh-at-best-and-often-awful attack rolls have a lower target to hit for success, so even if raising touch-ac was difficult, you wouldn't have to raise it much to make it much less of a threat.

    Raising Dexterity four to six points via magic items or slight adjustments to a standard monster's stats should make that a much more effective option.

    Deflection Modifiers aren't too difficult to come by (rings of protection, for example).

    Anything with Natural Armor bonuses can make good use of the Scintillating Scales spell, which converts that Natural bonus temporarily into a Deflection Bonus (dragons Love this one.)




    The X-stat-to-y-bonus thread has plenty of ways to make an evasion tank; I'm helping one of my players to build a character with everything but Strength to AC (Dex naturally, Con via Fist of the Forest, Int via Kung-Fu Genius, Wisdom via UA Druid, and Charisma via Battle Dancer.) There are also magic items like a Monk's Belt or Battledancer's Slippers to provide these bonuses without class levels.

    The Wall of Blades maneuver (Tome of Battle) allows you to use an Attack roll to replace your AC, which then applies to both Touch and Standard attacks, though this is for only 1 attack per round; you can recover it the next turn, however, and it can be used After you know the result of the attack.
    Thank you. Yes, I have considered scintillating scales as a resource. The PC is a mix of fighter/wiz/spellsword/eldritch knight, so his BAB is decent. Add Polymorph into Bladerager Troll + leap attack + power attack + wraithstrike = pop goes the bad guy.

    I would love to see your builds for AC increases using various stats. Not to use them on every encounter (the player build this PC to deal damage effectively, so he might as well enjoy it), but for certain boss encounters, that would be nice.

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    Default Re: Regarding Wraithstrike

    It sounds like your player is just a really good optimizer, in a low- or mid- op game. I've played a gish like that before in games, and I restrained myself by never using polymorph or wraithstrike, even though I kept them memorized.

    If I were you, I'd just ban the worst offenders. Polymorph and wraithstrike are very bannable. Your player will still be effective. Explain that he's just too powerful for your game. Talk it out with him.

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    Default Re: Regarding Wraithstrike

    If the other players are getting outshone, or if you're having trouble challenging him without curbstomping them, I'd advise talking to him and maybe getting him to tone it down a bit.

    Also, unlike with most chargers, he's unlikely to be useless if you slap difficult terrain in his way; combine that with various debuffs to make him less effective (solid fog, bestow curse if you can land it on his good Will save, etc).
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    Default Re: Regarding Wraithstrike

    You can have enemies focus their defense on Miss Chance instead of AC liberally. Mirror Image, Greater Invisibility, Displacement, Child of Shadow stance, etc.

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    Default Re: Regarding Wraithstrike

    Indeed, the other players are getting smacked around. And when you consider there's an 11th level druid in the mix and he isn't doing much, then yes. The gish is taking the fame.

    I could ban wraithstrike and restrict his polymorphs , but that's just asking for cover when books fly at me. I will have a talk with him about toning down his gish. Hopefully, he will listen.

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    Default Re: Regarding Wraithstrike

    It's the DM's right and prerogative to ban unbalanced spells and abilities; indeed, I feel it is a necessary duty. Even speaking as a player, I would prefer that the DM controls his game by setting boundaries. Don't worry about making your player useless; a gish is one of the most adaptable PCs possible. If you are reasonable and firm about setting boundaries, you shouldn't have a problem.

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    Default Re: Regarding Wraithstrike

    Thank you for all the responses. When the player added wraithstrike to his list, I didn't consider it much of a problem. Then I saw it escalating with the addition of feats. It wasn't until his chosen polymorph creature that it has gotten out of hand, overshadowing the party completely. I wish there were a RAW mechanic to determine what can a wizard polymorph to. If not, I will attempt to create a balanced list of creatures he may turn to, plus banning wraithstrike. Should be an interesting weekend session indeed.

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    Default Re: Regarding Wraithstrike

    Have you considered Incorporeal opponents? Wraithstrike and polymorphing into some kind of a troll won't net him an enhancement bonus to his natural attacks, thus he is completely incapable of hitting them.
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    Default Re: Regarding Wraithstrike

    You could try implementing Pathfinders polymorph fixes. That may handle *some* of the abuse, at least by requiring high level spell slots for all the ability score boosts.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    Have you considered Incorporeal opponents? Wraithstrike and polymorphing into some kind of a troll won't net him an enhancement bonus to his natural attacks, thus he is completely incapable of hitting them.
    1) ghost touch is a spell away
    2) suddenly turning everything into ghosts is kind of weird
    3) you're presenting a pokemon solution, which is a bad way to DM. Not that it's a true pokemon solution because hey, magic user, but it's not really a good habit to get into.

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    Default Re: Regarding Wraithstrike

    Quote Originally Posted by Spuddles View Post
    1) ghost touch is a spell away
    2) suddenly turning everything into ghosts is kind of weird
    3) you're presenting a pokemon solution, which is a bad way to DM. Not that it's a true pokemon solution because hey, magic user, but it's not really a good habit to get into.
    I think you rather missed the point.

    The point is not to swing a nerf bat and shut down the OP character. The point is to drive home to the player that hey... sometimes your combo doesn't work.
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    Default Re: Regarding Wraithstrike

    Protip; Polymorph is considered the most broken spell in the game, and gets regularly banned in many, many games. Tell your players the internet said so, (i.e. blame us, not you).

    Wraithstrike is fine until it gets used for a combo, but it sounds like the main problem is this guy going from str 14 elf to str 30 Large bladerager troll, which allows him to PA for full and ubercharge stuff.

    I'd say remove polymorph, or restrict it's effects to something more like (up to a +6 enh to your physical stats, up to one size increase or decrease, up to +4 natural armour, up to +20 movement speed, up to one extra movement mode). That way, he can still get some bonuses from the spell, but not infinite bonuses.

    Then if he's still a problem, ban wraithstrike, or, ban wraithstrike + power attack.

    He'll still likely be more powerful than an unoptimized party, but he'll be more handleable.




    Also consider more encounters with more than one monster. Putting one big monster in a room is far, far too easy to kill with even low level optimization at level 11. And, encounters with multiple enemies, especially multiple different enemies (a 9th level wizard, his 5 2nd level apprentices with wands of magic missile, and 2 stone golems, say), are far more fun for most dnd players than a single large bag of hitpoints for them to fight.

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    Default Re: Regarding Wraithstrike

    Actualy, polymorph is kinda balanced as long as you stick to MM1 shapes.
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    Default Re: Regarding Wraithstrike

    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    Actualy, polymorph is kinda balanced as long as you stick to MM1 shapes.
    ...really? Remorhaz, Hydras, basically any magical beast has obscene numbers for its HD. Besides, turning somebody into Hydra effectively grants them Pounce too. And that's without going into Base Outsiders who can turn into Horned Devils and what-have-you.

    The very reason Polymorph is as ridiculously strong as it is because it completely breaks open any near-Core on level 7 numbers-wise.
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    Default Re: Regarding Wraithstrike

    how one of my Dms played it you had to be familiar with the creature to turn into it, so for example if he has never seen it he can not turn into it. If he is not familiar with the race well enough, has seen it and studied it, he could not get all the bonuses. Just a suggestion that may help.

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    Default Re: Regarding Wraithstrike

    I've always hated polymorph, both because of this and because it is just messy to deal with.

    One spell turns you into hundreds of totally different creatures.

    I second (third, fourth?) just banning polymorph first and seeing if things are much more reasonable.

    Don't ban it flat out though... be creative.

    Next time he uses polymorph into his battle troll form, let him know the rage of the troll is taking over. Give a rage bonus on top of his normal huge boost, but disallow spellcasting. "You are in a rage, you are too excited to focus properly."

    The enemy should be defeated quickly.

    But the rage isn't over.

    He has to make a will save to halt the rage, or turn on his party mates next.

    "Hmmm, looks like polymorph is a much more dangerous spell than you realized... powerful forms might take you over completely."

    Don't think of the foe as the only part of the encounter, TROLLFORM is the other half of the encounter.

    After this encounter, let the player know the internet advised you that polymorph seems to be the reason he is drastically outshining the rest of the party. You are nerfing the spell by giving it drawbacks in game, and he should try to use it more carefully, with less exploitative forms, or it will might get so difficult to return from that he might lose himself entirely.
    Last edited by sdream; 2012-10-30 at 08:24 AM.

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    Default Re: Regarding Wraithstrike

    Quote Originally Posted by dantiesilva View Post
    how one of my Dms played it you had to be familiar with the creature to turn into it, so for example if he has never seen it he can not turn into it. If he is not familiar with the race well enough, has seen it and studied it, he could not get all the bonuses. Just a suggestion that may help.
    This is actually written into the ability. Though Knowledge-check measures what you're familiar with within D&D and Wizards tend to be fairly good with those so it doesn't actually solve anything (not to mention, a limitation which can be overcome without investing any character resources or levels into it is fairly minor).

    Likewise, needing to get acquainted with a form or taking penalties makes sense and does restrict the spell but it's again something that does not require anything but in-character time to overcome.
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    Default Re: Regarding Wraithstrike

    The upside of the "form taking over" solution is that it is:

    - totally an in game consequence of overuse of powerful magic, not a mysterious force rewriting history or deleting his spell

    - totally under GM control, if a form is abusive you can make it have interesting drawbacks, however works best for your plot

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    Default Re: Regarding Wraithstrike

    What level is the party that he could polymorph into a hydra? They have a lot of hit dice.

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    Default Re: Regarding Wraithstrike

    Quote Originally Posted by sdream View Post
    The upside of the "form taking over" solution is that it is:

    - totally an in game consequence of overuse of powerful magic, not a mysterious force rewriting history or deleting his spell

    - totally under GM control, if a form is abusive you can make it have interesting drawbacks, however works best for your plot
    It is doing something contrary to what the spell claims it does tho so it would be cool to inform the player that "the spell works this way now" before just breaking it out randomly and going "oh, and now you go insane".

    It's also a lot of work for the DM to work out the mind of every creature he Polymorphs into. That said, it's a pretty interesting drawback to the spell.

    Quote Originally Posted by elonin View Post
    What level is the party that he could polymorph into a hydra? They have a lot of hit dice.
    7-Headed Hydra has 7 Hit Dice. 8-Headed Hydra has 8 Hit Dice. 12-Headed Hydra is at level 12. So when you get Polymorph you can turn into a 7-Headed Hydra (provided you can make the Knowledge: Arcane check...which as a Wizard you probably can).
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    Default Re: Regarding Wraithstrike

    Quote Originally Posted by sdream View Post
    The upside of the "form taking over" solution is that it is:

    - totally an in game consequence of overuse of powerful magic, not a mysterious force rewriting history or deleting his spell

    - totally under GM control, if a form is abusive you can make it have interesting drawbacks, however works best for your plot
    I actually really like this solution, and it's very different than the one I've used in the past. I am worried that it is too much of a drawback than useful in most situations, and may just deter players from using the spell in general.

    (I usually enforce the idea that the "cocoon" spell component must be at least the size of the player, making it difficult to travel with... or find for that matter.)
    Last edited by roguemetal; 2012-10-30 at 09:18 AM.

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    Default Re: Regarding Wraithstrike

    Everywhere I read on the internet about 3.5, I see people complaining (or boasting) about how powerful this or that is and how it unbalances the game absolutely in the player's favor.

    I scoff at these posts now.

    If my players manage to trivialize an encounter, I'll just balance the next one around the trick that they pulled last time. If your players want to "optimize", let them. There isn't anything I can't do as a DM to ensure that my game is challenging.
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    Default Re: Regarding Wraithstrike

    Quote Originally Posted by sdream View Post
    I've always hated polymorph, both because of this and because it is just messy to deal with.

    One spell turns you into hundreds of totally different creatures.

    I second (third, fourth?) just banning polymorph first and seeing if things are much more reasonable.

    Don't ban it flat out though... be creative.

    Next time he uses polymorph into his battle troll form, let him know the rage of the troll is taking over. Give a rage bonus on top of his normal huge boost, but disallow spellcasting. "You are in a rage, you are too excited to focus properly."

    The enemy should be defeated quickly.

    But the rage isn't over.

    He has to make a will save to halt the rage, or turn on his party mates next.

    "Hmmm, looks like polymorph is a much more dangerous spell than you realized... powerful forms might take you over completely."

    Don't think of the foe as the only part of the encounter, TROLLFORM is the other half of the encounter.

    After this encounter, let the player know the internet advised you that polymorph seems to be the reason he is drastically outshining the rest of the party. You are nerfing the spell by giving it drawbacks in game, and he should try to use it more carefully, with less exploitative forms, or it will might get so difficult to return from that he might lose himself entirely.

    Problem: the example you listed is contrived to put it mildly. Trolls are not known for their rage issues (barring a sub race in Drow of the Underdark), and certainly not attacking their allies, they can often be found in packs (or "gangs"). War trolls even less so, as they frequently work as mercenenary captains. So, yeah. War troll is a pretty popular form to polymorhp into. Can you come up with a legitimate disadvantage for it?


    Nevermind, its blade rager troll, not war troll.

    Quote Originally Posted by S_Grey View Post
    Everywhere I read on the internet about 3.5, I see people complaining (or boasting) about how powerful this or that is and how it unbalances the game absolutely in the player's favor.

    I scoff at these posts now.

    If my players manage to trivialize an encounter, I'll just balance the next one around the trick that they pulled last time. If your players want to "optimize", let them. There isn't anything I can't do as a DM to ensure that my game is challenging.
    That works when the PCs are at the same level of power, but they often aren't.
    Last edited by Boci; 2012-10-30 at 10:04 AM.
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    Default Re: Regarding Wraithstrike

    Quote Originally Posted by S_Grey View Post
    Everywhere I read on the internet about 3.5, I see people complaining (or boasting) about how powerful this or that is and how it unbalances the game absolutely in the player's favor.
    Nobody I've ever seen argues in a Player vs. DM perspective. It's players compared with other players that's the problem. You make the encounter stronger so that the PC on a powertrip is challenged, how much fun is it for the rest of the players to be completely dwarfed with every encounter leaving only the powertripping PC to play?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    Nobody I've ever seen argues in a Player vs. DM perspective. It's players compared with other players that's the problem. You make the encounter stronger so that the PC on a powertrip is challenged, how much fun is it for the rest of the players to be completely dwarfed with every encounter leaving only the powertripping PC to play?
    Actually, I've played ridiculously optimized Tier 1 builds in games with Tier 6 characters. So long as you don't take the spotlight, and mostly give your buffs to the other players instead of yourself, there's very little issue. It's a matter of the player and whether they see the tools before them as things to be used at every opportunity or something to assist only when absolutely necessary.

    Powertripping players meanwhile, who consistently use things to their advantage, and would ordinarily require scaled up encounters, can be easily balanced. Add encounters that target them alone, using up most of whatever mechanic they are abusing for the day, and then have the rest of the encounters be on par with the party.

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    Quote Originally Posted by roguemetal View Post
    Powertripping players meanwhile, who consistently use things to their advantage, and would ordinarily require scaled up encounters, can be easily balanced. Add encounters that target them alone, using up most of whatever mechanic they are abusing for the day, and then have the rest of the encounters be on par with the party.
    Tends to be an awful break in the verisimilitude of the game though not to mention toxic for the play experience. It can work in some groups but I don't see that being an universal solution.
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    Quote Originally Posted by roguemetal View Post
    Actually, I've played ridiculously optimized Tier 1 builds in games with Tier 6 characters. So long as you don't take the spotlight, and mostly give your buffs to the other players instead of yourself, there's very little issue. It's a matter of the player and whether they see the tools before them as things to be used at every opportunity or something to assist only when absolutely necessary.

    Powertripping players meanwhile, who consistently use things to their advantage, and would ordinarily require scaled up encounters, can be easily balanced. Add encounters that target them alone, using up most of whatever mechanic they are abusing for the day, and then have the rest of the encounters be on par with the party.
    If you are playing a real character in a real world, and he doesn't use every tool at his disposal to save the world/save his friends/get paid/whatever his motivations are, then that's unrealistic. And versimilitude breaking. And boring. {scrubbed}

    As for the second one, that gets pretty old pretty fast too. {Scrubbed}
    Last edited by Roland St. Jude; 2012-11-04 at 04:18 PM.

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