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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Shadow Mastiff


    For 4 outsider RHD, this beastie gives bonuses to all stats (especially strength and constitution), with the exception of intelligence (which is heavily penalized instead). They've got a decent land speed, can trip people they bite, and get Track for free. They are, however, unable to speak.

    Their two special abilities are of varying use. Bay is a decent debuff with a huge range you can immunize your allies against, but it's also sonic, fear, and mind-affecting. Shadow Blend allows mastiffs to get total concealment as a standard action, which presumably lasts until they enter an area of daylight.

    I'll go with +1 LA for now, though I think a +0 would be justifiable as well. Do discuss.
    Last edited by Inevitability; 2017-08-06 at 09:54 AM.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    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.
    Which is never the right way to handle something. A warning marker (experienced GMs only!) is a much more sensible way to do it. When the Ultratech book was redone for GURPS 4th Edition, instead of having super-science techs at Tech Levels 13-16 (arbitrarily varying levels of Clarke-tech), they instead integrated them amongst the other future-tech levels (TLs 9-12) and then used a circumflex to indicate that they were super-science.

    In the same way, a shadow would be LA +3^ or +4^, with the circumflex indicating that such a value does not fully account for a shadow's abilities and needs to be properly evaluated by the GM. As this thread should have shown time and time again, the answer to problematic powers is not to slap a massive LA on them and call that done.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by bekeleven View Post
    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.


    The Shadow.
    I just want to bring Grod's law into consideration here, which is "you should not and cannot balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use"

    that is exactly what you are going, you are making shadows annoying to use.
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  4. - Top - End - #64
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Which is never the right way to handle something. A warning marker (experienced GMs only!) is a much more sensible way to do it. When the Ultratech book was redone for GURPS 4th Edition, instead of having super-science techs at Tech Levels 13-16 (arbitrarily varying levels of Clarke-tech), they instead integrated them amongst the other future-tech levels (TLs 9-12) and then used a circumflex to indicate that they were super-science.

    In the same way, a shadow would be LA +3^ or +4^, with the circumflex indicating that such a value does not fully account for a shadow's abilities and needs to be properly evaluated by the GM. As this thread should have shown time and time again, the answer to problematic powers is not to slap a massive LA on them and call that done.
    I guess i just have much less trust in the experienced GM only warning marker. Because if there is something the RPG forum has taught me, then it is that a lot of GM's consider themselves experienced without being it.

    So actually, i have yet to see a single instance of this thread finding a better solution to a problematic power, than slapping a LA on it of the size where its pushed into that area where everything is broken.
    That also applies to the Shadow. The sort of skill and experience required for handling something like this, is in the area where the GM is going to trust more in his own judgment anyway. And either homebrew something, or assign a LA thats more fitting for the power level of his own game, than the oppinion of some random strangers in the internet.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Create Spawn on a Mohrg or Vampire is 1d4 days.
    Still game-breaking, but at least it doesn't cascade instantly.

    Create Spawn on a Shadow (and Spectre, Wraith, and Wight) is 1d4 ROUNDS. That's an instant cascade. Every ~5 rounds someone dies. 2.5 rounds later they are a shadow and killing someone every 5 rounds themselves.
    Even if you add some inefficiency due to movement, a whole stadium of 65,000 people is shadows in 10 minutes. Hell, you can't even outrun them. Pack 4 billion people in a bigger stadium and they are all Shadows in 20 minutes.

    Give them all the same command. "Charge and Feed, and command your young to do the same"

    They need +3 at least for that ability alone (and it really is one of the few abilities deserves the big -null-), and I don't see a reason to reduce that for the Greater version either.

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

    A broken ability is still broken, no matter what LA you assign to it. If you can't trust GM to handle a monster appropriately, the only proper response is to not allow said creatures as players, not saddle them with ineffective LAs.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Baby Gary View Post
    I just want to bring Grod's law into consideration here, which is "you should not and cannot balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use"

    that is exactly what you are going, you are making shadows annoying to use.
    You know, if I make a class like the sorcerer, except he only gets cantrips until level 19 and gets first level spells at 20, it's not tier 1. In fact, it's kinda tier 6.

    I'm not making it "annoying" to use. I'm making it objectively less powerful.

    The average human dies to a shadow in 3 hits. Given the +3 attack and the fact that it's touch, and throwing in crits, this should probably take about 4 rounds. Then another 2.5 rounds for the shadow to rise.

    This means that a shadow in a population center dense with low and midlevel people should double every 6.5 rounds. Throw in maybe 3 rounds to find the next target.

    A single shadow can take over a city the size of new york in 22 minutes. I'm not even counting the fact that living shadows can keep swinging while the new ones wake up.

    If you really want to assign an LA to that, and this thread does, I'd say that's worth more than +4.

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

    Except cities the size you're describing would likely have enough high level character to just go "And stop." Sure rurally shadows are a threat, but major cities would be able to deal with them.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Using Ranger as a baseline because of the free Track and a whim, I'd say that Shadow Mastiff 4 is closer to Wild Shape Ranger 5 than Ranger 4. Shadow Mastiff 4/Class Levels X probably doesn't compare quite as well to Wild Shape Ranger X+5, but with LA buyoff in play I think it's close enough. I agree with LA+1.

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

    Haven't joined in on these threads before, only read a bit on them. I agree +1 la seems right for the mastiff. A very solid set of stat buffs and a sometimes useful crowd control ability with wide area are nice. As is good access to concealment.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Elkad View Post
    Create Spawn on a Mohrg or Vampire is 1d4 days.
    Still game-breaking, but at least it doesn't cascade instantly.

    Create Spawn on a Shadow (and Spectre, Wraith, and Wight) is 1d4 ROUNDS. That's an instant cascade. Every ~5 rounds someone dies. 2.5 rounds later they are a shadow and killing someone every 5 rounds themselves.
    Even if you add some inefficiency due to movement, a whole stadium of 65,000 people is shadows in 10 minutes. Hell, you can't even outrun them. Pack 4 billion people in a bigger stadium and they are all Shadows in 20 minutes.

    Give them all the same command. "Charge and Feed, and command your young to do the same"

    They need +3 at least for that ability alone (and it really is one of the few abilities deserves the big -null-), and I don't see a reason to reduce that for the Greater version either.
    Quote Originally Posted by bekeleven View Post
    You know, if I make a class like the sorcerer, except he only gets cantrips until level 19 and gets first level spells at 20, it's not tier 1. In fact, it's kinda tier 6.

    I'm not making it "annoying" to use. I'm making it objectively less powerful.

    The average human dies to a shadow in 3 hits. Given the +3 attack and the fact that it's touch, and throwing in crits, this should probably take about 4 rounds. Then another 2.5 rounds for the shadow to rise.

    This means that a shadow in a population center dense with low and midlevel people should double every 6.5 rounds. Throw in maybe 3 rounds to find the next target.

    A single shadow can take over a city the size of new york in 22 minutes. I'm not even counting the fact that living shadows can keep swinging while the new ones wake up.

    If you really want to assign an LA to that, and this thread does, I'd say that's worth more than +4.
    This is hilariously disingenuous. You're describing something that will literally never happen as if it's inevitable. What sort of player goes to a dungeon stomp RPG and decides "nah, I'm just going to GTA this instead?" What sort of DM just sits back and quietly curses the player while their campaign world is torn to shreds? This is absolutely not going to happen.

    What's far more likely is the shadow player goes through the dungeon and maybe gets a few kills in. Worst case scenario, three or four extra shadows leave the cave. And that's assuming they were fighting humanoids. If they're fighting literally anything else, create spawn does nothing. Tell me, just how many creatures in the game are not humanoid? I think it's at least a couple.

    In reality, the incoporealness is going to be far more troublesome as it will be difficult to keep the shadow where you want it. You're both just making a mountain out of a molehill with the most ridiculous and absurd hypothetical situation you can come up with. Billions of people aren't just going to be stuffed into stadiums, and cities the size of New York have high level NPCs. And the DM always has access to the old stand by of "Ethereal rocks fall. Everyone dies."
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Since a few other have chimed in already, I won't do a full breakdown for the mastiff. Plus I'm feeling lazy.
    I'd give it LA+1. While it's got a few ups and downs, it seems ok overall. The ability that I have issue with is Shadow Blend.
    Shadow Blend (Su)
    In any condition of illumination other than full daylight, a shadow mastiff can disappear into the shadows, giving it total concealment. Artificial illumination, even a light or continual flame spell, does not negate this ability. A daylight spell, however, will.
    It would require a standard action to activate, but it doesn't include any statement on how it ends. Shadow Blend is not invisibility, meaning that the mastiff could fade from sight and attack without limit provided it isn't in sunlight. Nor is it Hide In Plain Sight, which would require a Hide check, possibly modified by a penalty for being in combat. See Invisibility has no effect on it. Meaning unless you have Blindsense/Sight or are just really good at guessing where the dog is, you are in for some fun.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by Caelestion View Post
    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.
    Quoted for truth. Creating hordes of self-replicating shadows from enemy humanoids is going to be potentially disruptive at any level, unless the PCs never encounter any enemy humanoids. Heck, it can potentially cause problems even if the shadow doesn't try to abuse the ability but the characters encounter a lot of goblins/orcs/whatever. One could easily end up with dozens of shadows tailing them, which are capable of screwing over all sorts of creatures with simple subterranean ambushes.
    Imagine a Medium-sized creature with a shadow directly underneath it and eight in the surrounding squares. Barring some kind of special magic, those shadows will get surprise, meaning that the target's touch AC would probably be close to 10. Let's say that ive of the nine shadows hit; that's about 17-18 points of Strength damage in the surprise round. Anything not Strength-reliant is going to be incapacitated, anything Strength-reliant is going to be crippled.
    Forget apocalypses; the real issues posed by a shadow's spawn come up when they focus fire. This will be true from levels 3 to 33.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Shambling Mound


    I like the shambling mound. Mind you, not as a monster; as a monster it's pretty terrible. No, I like it because it's a perfect example of the weirdness of WotC's monsters. "Yeah, we made the plant resistant to fire, immune to lightning, allowed it to swim, then slapped a LA on it because our guidelines for what should be a PC are completely arbitrary."

    Mechanically, mounds have 8 plant HD and some reasonable stats (assuming you go melee). They get two slam attacks (which, given that they're giant vines, can probably not be used to wield weapons with), slow land and swim speeds, Large size with reach, natural armor (which is good because just try to find magic armor your size), improved grab and constrict (kinda relevant at these levels), with the aforementioned fire resistance (not how plants work, guys) and electricity immunity.

    Speaking of said immunity, shambling mounds have the ability to gain points of constitution any time they'd be damaged by lightning. If you read this sentence and thought 'can it get to infinite?' then congratulations; you're a typical member of the GitP forums!

    The answer is yes, by the way. One point is lost every hour, so as long as you get shocked a dozen times per day or so you'll slowly gain more and more con. And of course, with as little as three class levels one can get a source of at-will lightning damage. Guess why this is getting an asterisk?

    With no infinite constitution shenanigans, shambling mounds are simply plants with decent strength, two natural attacks, and enough HD to be useless. -0* LA.
    Last edited by Inevitability; 2018-01-03 at 05:05 PM.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    I'd go with -0, on the grounds that they'd still be -0 with +12 extra con and no absorb. +12 should be around the point where the DM starts telling you to cut the crap. For mundane beatstick levels of power, anyway.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    the improved grab on the mound doesn't seem all that useful, it specifies it requires hitting iwth both slam attacks to activate, which means you have to be getting a full attack.
    I'd say a lot depends on just how much extra con you abuse the electricity for (and the dm allows). and whether you can get extra hp from that extra con, or if it won't last long enough. without the extra con it's really quite weak i'd say. without the extra con it's -0, or maybe even -1
    Last edited by zlefin; 2017-08-08 at 11:31 AM.

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

    The thing to note here is that while the extra con presumably gives extra HP (because why would it not?), those extra HP are not temporary. Thus, they are not lost first. When your con starts fading, you're going to lose current HP, not just max HP. It's, effectively, a roundabout way to say that the shambling mound has a conditional delay death effect that only affects HP damage. That's not quite as useful as real HP gain. I'd say -0 LA.
    Last edited by Celestia; 2017-08-08 at 12:06 PM.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    LA changed to -0.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Make sure to add a DM note to restrict infinite con stacking. or, however it is you deal with stuff like that for these threads. too many ways for a level 8 party to enable it from the start.
    Last edited by zlefin; 2017-08-08 at 12:33 PM.

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

    A plant with a lot of water in it could be resistant to fire. Green plants don't burn especially easily. I think if you tried to set some plant and animal matter with equal moisture in them on fire, they might burn at similar rates. Also if a plant could control the amount of water in itself, it could theoretically affect its buoyancy, allowing it to swim competently.

    The lightning stuff still makes no sense to me though.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    I'm assuming the lighting immunity is because plants are grounded. It's the same spurious logic that Pokémon uses to give grass types electric resistance.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Animal Documentary Voiceover: Behold the wonders of the Shambling Mound. Born from the bottom of a barbarian's boot, these majestic creatures seek to acquire lighting rods for themselves that they may take advantage of their natural ability to gain vigour from electric shock, and thus stack their CON scores to ungodly levels before dying instantly to anything that doesn't target Fort saves.


    (Agree with -0 LA)

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    [CENTER]Shambling Mound




    The answer is yes, by the way. One point is lost every hour, so as long as you get shocked a dozen times per day or so you'll slowly gain more and more con. And of course, with as little as three class levels one can get a source of at-will lightning damage.

    .
    You can actually do it with 1 incarnate level
    feat
    Quote Originally Posted by Celestia View Post
    The thing to note here is that while the extra con presumably gives extra HP (because why would it not?), those extra HP are not temporary. Thus, they are not lost first. When your con starts fading, you're going to lose current HP, not just max HP. It's, effectively, a roundabout way to say that the shambling mound has a conditional delay death effect that only affects HP damage. That's not quite as useful as real HP gain. I'd say -0 LA.
    They are lost at a rate of 1 per hour, so if the mound spends an hour a day shocking himself he will add 1500 to his con. Thats at least 6000 hp. From there if he just spends 1 minute a day shocking himself he will be gaining 1 con a day.

    I would say he is effectively immune to hp damage with the cost of 1 feat and an hours prep time.
    Last edited by Lans; 2017-08-08 at 11:49 PM.

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

    Shield Guardian


    Another of those 'probably not playable' monsters. Not that it'll stop it from getting a LA.

    Shield guardians are constructs with 15 HD and bad ability scores, whose abilities are all copyable by low-level spells and all require giving complete control over your character to someone else. If that sentence doesn't prepare you for the -0 LA, I don't know what will.

    Yes, fast healing is cute, and spell storing may even have its rare niche in campaigns without Contingencies, but in the end you're a mindless robot slave that's a half-decent meat shield and not much else.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    I've often wondered, who would actually build a shield guardian? What 15th level character would think that a CR 8 creature is a useful bodyguard?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Lans View Post
    You can actually do it with 1 incarnate level
    feat


    They are lost at a rate of 1 per hour, so if the mound spends an hour a day shocking himself he will add 1500 to his con. Thats at least 6000 hp. From there if he just spends 1 minute a day shocking himself he will be gaining 1 con a day.

    I would say he is effectively immune to hp damage with the cost of 1 feat and an hours prep time.
    And with Warblade/Swordsage levels (Only 1 needed because of the racial Hitdie) they could become immune to effects requiring saving throws by using the massive concentration bonuses they would get, which using the Diamond Mind manuavers thst replace saves with Concentration checks would give huge bonuses to saves. I don't think La -0 really fits.

    Plus, breath weapon Dc's are based off Con right? I'm pretty sure save or lose effects can be added to breath weapons.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    I figure at least -4 seems reasonable for it, compare it to a level 11 crusader and it has a bit higher ac, construct immunities lower everything else
    Quote Originally Posted by Coretron03 View Post
    And with Warblade/Swordsage levels (Only 1 needed because of the racial Hitdie) they could become immune to effects requiring saving throws by using the massive concentration bonuses they would get, which using the Diamond Mind manuavers thst replace saves with Concentration checks would give huge bonuses to saves. I don't think La -0 really fits.

    Plus, breath weapon Dc's are based off Con right? I'm pretty sure save or lose effects can be added to breath weapons.
    Thats only 1 per round, at best

    How do you plan on gettng a breath weapon, and adding save or loose effects to it? I think dragonfire adept gets it at level 10 so your looking at ECL 18. I don't know any other methods off hand
    Last edited by Lans; 2017-08-09 at 12:25 AM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Lans View Post
    I figure at least -4 seems reasonable for it, compare it to a level 11 crusader and it has a bit higher ac, construct immunities lower everything else

    Thats only 1 per round, at best

    How do you plan on gettng a breath weapon, and adding save or loose effects to it? I think dragonfire adept gets it at level 10 so your looking at ECL 18. I don't know any other methods off hand
    We dont do negative level adjustments. -0 means even at +0 its too weak so DM adjudication is suggested.

  29. - Top - End - #89
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lans View Post
    I figure at least -4 seems reasonable for it, compare it to a level 11 crusader and it has a bit higher ac, construct immunities lower everything else

    Thats only 1 per round, at best

    How do you plan on gettng a breath weapon, and adding save or loose effects to it? I think dragonfire adept gets it at level 10 so your looking at ECL 18. I don't know any other methods off hand
    Quote Originally Posted by Remuko View Post
    We dont do negative level adjustments. -0 means even at +0 its too weak so DM adjudication is suggested.
    As Remuko said, an LA of -0 means it is woefully inadequate at ECL=RHD, not merely weak.

    Negative Level Adjustments are not actually a thing that's defined. As such, any endeavor involving assigning Negative LA values (and creating a definition of Negative LA), while not without merit, would be beyond the scope of this thread.



    Concur with -0, probably unplayable for Shield Guardian.

    For that matter ... since it appears to be the case that there is no additional cost involved in creating an advanced-HD version, I see no reason why anyone would ever create the baseline 15HD version, instead of a 24HD (if staying Large size is desired) or 45HD (if staying Large isn't a requirement) Shield Guardian. I mean, sure, they'd be even more woefully inadequate as PCs, but they might actually be somewhat useful to their creator.
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  30. - Top - End - #90
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by Remuko View Post
    We dont do negative level adjustments. -0 means even at +0 its too weak so DM adjudication is suggested.
    Stopping at -0 is silly. There is precedence for negative adjustment, and if a monster is too weak for -0 it shouldn't get -0.

    Quote Originally Posted by javcs View Post
    As Remuko said, an LA of -0 means it is woefully inadequate at ECL=RHD, not merely weak.

    Negative Level Adjustments are not actually a thing that's defined. As such, any endeavor involving assigning Negative LA values (and creating a definition of Negative LA), while not without merit, would be beyond the scope of this thread.
    If you assign a construct an ecl =HD, then you are making - level adjustments a thing due to incarnate construct template.
    Last edited by Lans; 2017-08-09 at 02:55 AM.

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