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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    Actually, Beast type made things clearer. As mentioned, it's for dinos and Dire creatures. Big, beefy animals that deserve to be big and beefy mechanically, therefore getting different HD to make it so.
    Although I seem to recall Beasts were called out as not having existed (because it was also given to things that were clearly never real animals, but didn't qualify as Magical Beasts) but could have, so it was always weird to me to see dinosaurs thrown into that group.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    Actually, Beast type made things clearer. As mentioned, it's for dinos and Dire creatures. Big, beefy animals that deserve to be big and beefy mechanically, therefore getting different HD to make it so.
    Well, I do feel that different HDs should be used only for creatures that are fundamentally different (in-universe), and I don't see why dinosaurs would be different from ostriches. Big and beefy can be expressed by STR/CON/NA/size/natural weapon damage.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Well, I do feel that different HDs should be used only for creatures that are fundamentally different (in-universe), and I don't see why dinosaurs would be different from ostriches. Big and beefy can be expressed by STR/CON/NA/size/natural weapon damage.
    On one hand a HD difference can just as well be expressed in a racial +2 con bonus. But by the same reasoning all humans should be locked in d4 HD like a commoner.
    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    The type designations are a bit arbitrary. Here's just some Animals that never existed (not even include some of the more questionable Dire animals):

    • Bat, Desmodu Guard
    • Bat, Desmodu War
    • Carcass Eater
    • Chordevoc
    • Fhorge
    • Legendary Animal
    • Nifern
    • Phynxkin
    • Roc
    • Sailsnake
    • Tressym (although that may have been errata'd?)

    With that illustrious list, there's really no reason to classify things like the Sea Cat as Magical Beasts. IMHO, if it isn't intelligent and doesn't have any magical powers, it should probably be an Animal.

    I guess at the end of the day it doesn't make a big difference, but the classification of some monsters does bother me a bit.

  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Shadow


    The shadow (the shadow? the shadow!) is another of those monsters that I doubt was ever actually playtested. CR 3 incorporeal undead that deal ability damage? Sure, just let me cast Disrupt Undead a dozen times at it and hope I miraculously survive its attacks.

    At only 3 RHD, shadows come quite cheap. Their ability scores are okay: strength and constitution they obviously lack and intelligence is low, but the other stats all receive bonuses. Their only movement mode is 40 ft. fly speed, and they have +2 turn resistance. In addition to this, shadows also gain bonuses to listen, spot, and search, and a variable bonus/penalty on hide checks depending on ambient light levels.

    Their incorporeal touch deals 1d6 strength damage, kills people it reduces to 0 strength, and turns them into more shadows (which you control) if they're humanoid. Ah yes, because having limitless self-replicating incorporeal undead are not a problematic ability at all. For the purpose of rating these creatures, I won't be assuming infinite spawn-creation is in play: the reasons should be obvious.

    In the end, I could see a LA of +3* LA being in order here. This way, shadows are at a slightly lower ECL than allips, which remain competitive thanks to Babble and better stats.

    Greater Shadow

    Yes, it's just a regular shadow with more HD, slightly better stats, and an improved damage die, but regular shadow abilities are fairly competitive at ECL 9. I guess I'll just assign +0* to this one and see how it goes.
    Last edited by Inevitability; 2018-01-03 at 04:46 PM.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    I'm not a fan of really high LAs, but I do think it's justified in this case. If the shadow had more RHD, I'd vote for something lower as I don't believe these traits are really worth a +4. However, you just can't have a shadow trying to fit in with a level five party. That won't work.

    Edit: This might be the only time I've thought you went too low, weird as it may be. I think the greater shadow should still be at least +1 for the incoporealness. That's still going to shut down a lot of stuff.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Incorporeal Undead that self replicates, has a non-constitution ability damage attack that kills you at 0 anyway, and turn resistance because why not. That sounds like a non-boss battle for a full group of first level characters. Oh, wait-

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Self-replication, especially limitless, is good cause for a warning sign, which could lower LA, as you remove it from normal considerations.
    I don't think the ability damage scales very well, which is problematic, but you can optimize the number of attacks, I suppose. You can't hurt undead or constructs.
    Incorporeality is good at all ECLs, and hard to replicate at this ECL.
    Summon undead IV can get you an allip. Summon undead V can get you a shadow, or two allips.
    +4 with spawn seems fair enough. +3 without spawn would be fine.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    With that illustrious list, there's really no reason to classify things like the Sea Cat as Magical Beasts. IMHO, if it isn't intelligent and doesn't have any magical powers, it should probably be an Animal.

    I guess at the end of the day it doesn't make a big difference, but the classification of some monsters does bother me a bit.
    Well.. one could argue that since its tougher (d10 HD) and stronger? faster? (full BAB), as well as able to see perfectly in the dark, then it is a creature with a supernatural edge, and therefore a magical beast.
    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    Well.. one could argue that since its tougher (d10 HD) and stronger? faster? (full BAB), as well as able to see perfectly in the dark, then it is a creature with a supernatural edge, and therefore a magical beast.
    The reasons you gave for it being a magical beast are only there because it's a magical beast. The d10, BAB and darkvision are all aspects of the magical beast HD.

    Anyways, I'll do a breakdown of the shadow.
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    The Good
    -Undead immunities and d12 HD
    -40ft flight speed (Good)
    -1d6 Strength drain is mean. On top of killing people when it reaches 0, you create another shadow.
    -Create Spawn. Being able to create a limitless supply of minions is pretty scary.
    -Incorporeal is a huge pain for enemies to deal with. Magic weapons and creatures with DRX/magic only have a 50% chance of hitting you. On top of which, you can largely move around the battlefield with impunity.
    - +4 dex, +2wis/cha
    - +2 turn resistance
    - Charisma bonus to AC as Deflection.
    - Knows the evil that lies in the heart of men.
    The Bad
    -Undead HD aren't that great. 1/2 BAB, 1 good save
    -Incorporeal is useful for defensive reasons, but it limits your options as you level. Using gear or being able to interact with your surroundings is severely limited.
    - No Strength and Constitution.
    - -4 Intelligence.
    - Enemies immune to your strength drain are very difficult to deal with until you get a Ghost Touch weapon or learn spells.
    -Enemy clerics are crazy dangerous for you. Good clerics can turn or destroy you, while evil clerics can basically dominate you. These are threats that you have to always deal with, whereas the rest of the party doesn't have to worry about SoD and really nasty SoS spells for awhile.
    The Meh
    -4 skill points a level with a bland skill list. Not too damaging since you only have 3HD.

    With all that in mind, I'd say LA+3 is good. You are very dangerous in combat and make a great scout, but you lack a great deal of options. You can only use very specialized equipment, can't fight properly against enemies immune to your shtick (Ghost Touch weapons + Low BAB do not a warrior make), you can't talk or do any actions that can physically aid the party (flip switch, fetch potion, etc.) The infinite spawn power is too strong, any DM who lets you keep that is asking for trouble.

    For the Greater Shadow, I'd say LA+0/1. The only improvement that it has over a normal Shadow is a stronger strength drain attack. Otherwise you need to trudge through 6 more HD with terrible BAB and crappy skills. Any normal shadow with class levels is a flat-out improvement over a Greater Shadow.
    Last edited by Waker; 2017-08-04 at 12:58 PM.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    The reasons you gave for it being a magical beast are only there because it's a magical beast. The d10, BAB and darkvision are all aspects of the magical beast HD.
    My point was that you could look at it from another angle. That it did not get those things because its a magical beast. But is a magical beast because it got those things. And therefore HD for HD is superior to a normal beast.
    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by Thurbane View Post
    The type designations are a bit arbitrary. Here's just some Animals that never existed (not even include some of the more questionable Dire animals):

    • Bat, Desmodu Guard
    • Bat, Desmodu War
    • Carcass Eater
    • Chordevoc
    • Fhorge
    • Legendary Animal
    • Nifern
    • Phynxkin
    • Roc
    • Sailsnake
    • Tressym (although that may have been errata'd?)

    With that illustrious list, there's really no reason to classify things like the Sea Cat as Magical Beasts. IMHO, if it isn't intelligent and doesn't have any magical powers, it should probably be an Animal.

    I guess at the end of the day it doesn't make a big difference, but the classification of some monsters does bother me a bit.
    Aside from the roc and the (not listed but mentioned before the list) dire animals other than wolf, are any of those Core? I'd argue this is more a thing where the general guidelines make sense but splatbook writers ignore them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    The shadow (the shadow? the shadow!)
    The Shadow?!

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    the shadow is a hard thing for me to come to a decision about. In essence (see what I did there?) it is a one (1.5) trick pony, which is being able to create spawn via the strength drain. This is a very strong trick but there are some quite effective ways to block it or put it out of use. The main things I am talking about here are creatures immune to ability damage (or drain, I forget which one it is) and enemy clerics (which are almost always evil) being able to control you. I think that +3 is good, 6 levels for this powerful trick. I could be easily convinced for +2 though, that would allow them to get 8th level spells, which are no Shapechange or Wish but are still quite good.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    As for the shadow its kinda hard to settle for any less than a LA of +4. Being incorporal means that there is a unusually long list of encounters that are completely unable to deal with you. Melee NPC classes need to reach level 7 before they start to get magical weapons. And DR Magic is kinda rare.

    Also being incorporal does mean your insanely good at scouting and spying. To a degree where it can actually be really troublesome for the GM to keep you out of places you dont belong, without straining disbelief.
    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

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    Post Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    • Medium Undead; 3 RHD (poor BAB, 1 good save, 4 skill points/HD etc.); fly 40 ft (good); +1 deflection to AC; touch attack; Str --, Dex +4, Con --, Int -4, Wis +2, Cha +2 (net +4, although you have two non abilities, so two auto dump stats)
    • Small (but useful) skill list; +2 to Listen and Spot, +4 to Search, and +4/-4 to Hide; you take a hit to Int, but if you invest enough in Int, you can still be OKish at skill-monkeying.
    • Strength damage is s solid (touch) attack; Create Spawn can be broken good at low-mid levels, and is still worthwhile even at higher levels; Incorporeal is a great defense, although it's painful for interacting with gear unless you spend a feat and/or GP; Undead Traits are among the best immunities in the game; you are vulnerable to Turning/Rebuking, but some with innate +2 Turn Resistance.

    Pros: Str damage touch attack; Undead immunities; Incorporeal; flight; Create Spawn.
    Cons: 3 RHD; hit to Int; Incorporeality can be a pain with interacting with gear until you find ways around it; lack of Con isn't so bad with d12 on your RHD, but most base classes have smaller dice.

    Once you find a way to interact with the corporeal world, you could make a pretty solid Rogue type. I'm voting LA +3, mainly for Create Spawn abuse.

    Greater Shadow gets saddled with 6 more RHD for the same benefits. The extra HD would bring it down to LA +1 IMHO.

    Question: can Improved Natural Attack increase the Str damage? I know on a normal shadow it would hardly be worth it (1d6 > 1d8) but on a Greater Shadow (1d8 > 2d6) would be OK. Mainly thinking for monster encounters rather than from a PC perspective.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    As for the shadow its kinda hard to settle for any less than a LA of +4. Being incorporal means that there is a unusually long list of encounters that are completely unable to deal with you. Melee NPC classes need to reach level 7 before they start to get magical weapons. And DR Magic is kinda rare.

    Also being incorporal does mean your insanely good at scouting and spying. To a degree where it can actually be really troublesome for the GM to keep you out of places you dont belong, without straining disbelief.
    While incorporeal is a really nice for a scout, shadows are lacking in a few ways. Sure, they can move around easy enough, but what do they do? They have an intelligence penalty, no access to knowledge or other useful skills until they take class levels, they can't interact with objects (so no snagging intel or magic items) and when they go to report back to the party they can't even talk.
    While being incorporeal means you are hard to kill, it really limits your options on doing anything not related to draining strength. Thinking on it, what can you do to advance a shadow? Any class that relies on equipment (most of them) are really difficult to play. Most spellcasters are difficult between RHD and the inability to use material components (necessitating Eschew Materials), or material foci. Mundane warrior-types would be difficult since they wouldn't really improve what the shadow can already do. Only a handful of classes like Warlock or a meldshaper can really let you do anything new.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    While incorporeal is a really nice for a scout, shadows are lacking in a few ways. Sure, they can move around easy enough, but what do they do? They have an intelligence penalty, no access to knowledge or other useful skills until they take class levels, they can't interact with objects (so no snagging intel or magic items) and when they go to report back to the party they can't even talk.
    While being incorporeal means you are hard to kill, it really limits your options on doing anything not related to draining strength. Thinking on it, what can you do to advance a shadow? Any class that relies on equipment (most of them) are really difficult to play. Most spellcasters are difficult between RHD and the inability to use material components (necessitating Eschew Materials), or material foci. Mundane warrior-types would be difficult since they wouldn't really improve what the shadow can already do. Only a handful of classes like Warlock or a meldshaper can really let you do anything new.
    Well no they cant steal anything. But they dont need any skills to map a given dungeon, and point out both what sort of opponents it contain and where they are. As well as find a rather large part of the traps in the place. They can also overhear all sorts of meetings, as it takes some solid work to keep a shadow out from a given place.

    And yes a shadow has rather few options for advancing. But the gear problem can be solved with a feat from Libris Mortis. And at lower levels being incorporal is close to being invulnerable.
    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    I think +3 is good for the shadow and +0 for the greater shadow. However, I strongly feel there should be a DM advisory for this (as well as any incorporeal PC, really).

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by Thurbane View Post
    Question: can Improved Natural Attack increase the Str damage? I know on a normal shadow it would hardly be worth it (1d6 > 1d8) but on a Greater Shadow (1d8 > 2d6) would be OK. Mainly thinking for monster encounters rather than from a PC perspective.
    It would appear so. I can't find anything suggesting it wouldn't.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Shadows ...

    The Create Spawn is messy and worthy of a DM Caution marker. No question about it.


    Incorporeality and Strength damage is tricky.

    Incorporeal+Undead Traits renders you functionally immune to anything that requires a Fort save. Anything that can affect an object isn't really going to do anything to something incorporeal - how do you disintegrate something that doesn't consist of matter?

    Being able to do ability damage is pretty good. On the other hand, since you can't do normal damage, you can't do any damage to anything immune to ability damage. Plus, since it's a negative energy effect, there's a lot of ways to get protection against it.


    Undead RHD are pretty terrible, though.
    Vulnerability to turning plus a large LA renders you extremely vulnerable to clerics, paladins, and all sorts of necromancer types.



    Actually, between the low Int, inability to speak, and incorporeal inability to manipulate the corporeal world, that's basically unplayable.
    For that matter - how does a Shadow assert control over/direct/command its spawn? It doesn't have any ability to communicate.


    Greater Shadows are probably -0 with a DM Caution. Regular Shadows warrant a DM caution, and probably some LA.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Remember the emdash? The shadow here is the reason we have the emdash.

    At least +5, if only to prevent people from making one. The only games in which I'd permit a player to use a shadow are ones in which there are so few beings there are no population centers.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by bekeleven View Post
    At least +5, if only to prevent people from making one.
    That is completely contrary to the purpose of the thread.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by No brains View Post
    Another creature that perfectly fits the 'monster' bill; just more cannon fodder with claw/claw/bite. It sucks too much to play as, but it can annoy some hp out of a player for a few seconds.
    Some games are about combat, and make combat inherently engaging. Some games are not about combat, and make sure the game has plenty of other engaging activities. D&D...doesn't really do either.



    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    The shadow (the shadow? the shadow!) is another of those monsters that I doubt was ever actually playtested. CR 3 incorporeal undead that deal ability damage? Sure, just let me cast Disrupt Undead a dozen times at it and hope I miraculously survive its attacks.
    D&D has a lot of monsters that are almost impossible to handle at low levels, but pushovers just a few levels later. Shadows didn't just need more playtesting, they need a total redesign!



    Huh. I didn't intend for the whole post to be complaining about D&D's design.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by Celestia View Post
    That is completely contrary to the purpose of the thread.
    Every single response in the thread is saying that they need either a DM note of "No seriously don't let players use this1" or a total redesign.

    1: I mean, they all say "Think twice about allowing this," but the reason is because shadow's create spawn should never be given to a player.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by bekeleven View Post
    Every single response in the thread is saying that they need either a DM note of "No seriously don't let players use this1" or a total redesign.

    1: I mean, they all say "Think twice about allowing this," but the reason is because shadow's create spawn should never be given to a player.
    Okay? Putting an excessively large LA just to make something unplayable is still contrary to the entire point of the thread.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Okay? Putting an excessively large LA just to make something unplayable is still contrary to the entire point of the thread.
    Clearly its not when just about everyone else seems to be in agreement on that some things are going to create trouble no matter what.
    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    Clearly its not when just about everyone else seems to be in agreement on that some things are going to create trouble no matter what.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    Clearly its not when just about everyone else seems to be in agreement on that some things are going to create trouble no matter what.
    Then if it's going to create trouble, no matter what, sticking a pointless LA on it is entirely counterproductive since such a measure will not solve the issue.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Also, while we're at it, creating trouble is completely acceptable, as long as other (N)PCs also create trouble .

    Joking aside, shadows deserve a warning, but that reduces LA, if anything. Instead of assigning LA for the worst-case scenario, you can assign LA while keeping in mind that the DM has been warned, and taken appropriate action.

    @bekeleven, lord_khaine: I'll thank you not to misrepresent my posts. Yes, I agree that shadows have a problematic ability. Yes, I think shadows should have a warning, and perhaps a separate LA for shadows-without-spawn, for those DMs that don't want the extra work. However, that warning should not be "don't let the players use this", because that is no fun, and not what this thread is about in any case. The shadow should remain as shadow-y as possible, because when you play a shadow, you want to play a shadow.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Then if it's going to create trouble, no matter what, sticking a pointless LA on it is entirely counterproductive since such a measure will not solve the issue.
    Its not pointless if it pushes the trouble in the direction of an underpowered PC, and away from a overpowered PC that wrecks the campaign. The truth is that some abilities are going to be extremely hard to balance, and really dont belongs in the hand of a PC most of the time. What the shadow really needs is a redesign.

    @bekeleven, lord_khaine: I'll thank you not to misrepresent my posts. Yes, I agree that shadows have a problematic ability. Yes, I think shadows should have a warning, and perhaps a separate LA for shadows-without-spawn, for those DMs that don't want the extra work. However, that warning should not be "don't let the players use this", because that is no fun, and not what this thread is about in any case. The shadow should remain as shadow-y as possible, because when you play a shadow, you want to play a shadow.
    Then when i quote you directly you can actually complain about me misrepresenting something. But until that happens i can continue arguing that the Shadow pose a situation where its really hard to fix things with just putting an LA on.
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