Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 97
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    GreatWyrmGold's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    In a castle under the sea
    Gender
    Male

    Default The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    People have been talking about negative level adjustments almost since Inevitability's thread began, and the replies have always been the same: "Those can break the game with epic feats/prestige classes/etc coming online too fast, Inevitability won't consider them, take it to another thread." But nobody's cared enough to make that other thread.
    I decided, "You know what? Might as well do it."

    I'm laying some different ground rules for this thread. Since I'm starting late and don't have a ton of confidence in my ECL-evaluating abilities (and also because this is basically just an overflow from the main thread, and because I'm probably not going to keep a great schedule), I'm going to encourage other people to try evaluating monsters—especially ones that I don't, or using different criteria/methodology (more on that later). If you want to do the whole Inevitability catalogue, just make a reference post, edit it to include links to other posts, and I'll link to it here. If you only want to do one or a few monsters, but do a thorough job and I'll probably link it here, too. Hopefully, this doesn't dissolve into a chaotic mess where nobody understands what's going on...if it does, I'll have to figure something else out.

    Anyways, my criteria and methodology are as follows. First, I assume a low-optimization, low- to medium-shenanigans game. As mentioned repeatedly in the main thread, a character of unusually high HD can cause some serious damage to a game with a higher level of optimization. For now, I'll also assume that the half-completed character sheets in the DMG's NPC section are roughly equivalent in power to the half-completed character sheets in the Monster Manual, but since they're missing different information, I'm perfectly willing to change that if people explain why I'm wrong (and in which direction) politely and thoroughly enough. Specifically, I will compare the standard monster statistics to barbarians, rogues, or maybe rangers, depending on which fits the monster's abilities best; it's a bit below the T3 "balance point," but I can probably live with that. Finally, I won't be handling anything beyond 20 HD or so. Part of that is because the DMG only goes up to level 20, but part is because I don't want to touch epic levels. Feel free to critique me on anything except that last bit.

    That's probably everything I need to cover. Let's get started, shall we?


    Archive
    Spoiler
    Show

    GreatWyrmGold's Guide to...Writing...oh, never mind.


    Others' archive posts
    Spoiler
    Show

    Maybe I was foolish to hope anyone else would want to help tackle this?


    Individual Monsters

    Last edited by GreatWyrmGold; 2017-08-28 at 07:25 AM.
    I'm the GWG from Bay12 and a bunch of other places.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Blade Wolf View Post
    Ah, thank you very much GreatWyrmGold, you obviously live up to that name with your intelligence and wisdom with that post.
    Quotes, more

    Negative LA Assignment Thread
    The Tale of Demman, Second King of Ireland, a CKII AAR, won a WritAAR of the Week award. Winner of Villainous Competition 8
    Fanfic

    Avatar by Recaiden.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    GreatWyrmGold's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    In a castle under the sea
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    Our first monster is a three-in-one...
    Animated Objects


    (Geez, the corner being cut off looks so much worse on the forum. And it's taking up a lot more room. So, lessons for next drawing: Center it better and do it smaller.)

    For simplicity, I'll be comparing the objects to the barbarian class without the special object characteristics. I'll be considering the possibilities in the final analysis, though.

    Large

    A Large animated object has an unusually high strength score and average dexterity, but its other attributes are nonexistent (sometimes literally). A 2rd-level barbarian has less than half the HP than a large animated object, but a slightly higher AC. The barbarian is slightly more capable at offense, assuming they pick up a greatsword or greataxe. The object’s saves are markedly inferior. Unsurprisingly, the barbarian has superior skills.
    The animated object’s main edge is its construct traits, unsurprisingly. These provide it with a number of significant immunities, from poison to charm person. It is also, surprise surprise, large; however, it generally won’t be able to properly use the advantages of size while suffering the drawbacks. (Some objects will do better than others; I’m looking at you, statues!) On the other hand, the barbarian has uncanny dodge and rage—probably not equal to construct traits, but they certainly reduce the gap.
    The default Large animated object is loosely comparable to a 2nd-level barbarian, but it has some abilities which are hard to directly compare. With a few decent ability score rolls, equipment, and a halfway-decent choice of object, an animated object could easily boost its power. Therefore, I’ll put the Large animated object at -1. It could probably reach +0 with a good choice of object.

    Huge

    A Huge animated object has a very high strength score, below-average dexterity, and its other attributes are (like its smaller cousin) nonexistent. A 5th-level barbarian has slightly over half the HP of the object, though its AC is significantly higher. Attacks are similar in attack bonuses and damage. The barbarian’s saves and skills are significantly superior.
    Again, the Huge animated object’s special advantages are its hugeness and its object-ness. Again, the barbarian has rage and uncanny dodge (improved over level 2) and also trap sense.
    I would give the animated object a slight edge over the barbarian, mostly for its durability. Given a halfway-decent choice of object, I’d say it deserves a -1, like its smaller counterpart. A particularly useless object could drag it down to -2, and a particularly minmaxy one (“You want to play an adamantine centaur statue?”) might bring it to +0.

    Gargantuan

    We’ve done this twice, just with slightly different numbers each time. The main difference is that, this time, the object’s slam has a good chance of outdamaging the barbarian’s weapon!
    Let’s compare the object to a 10th-level barbarian. The barbarian has about three-fifths the object’s health and a somewhat worse attack (in reach, attack bonus, and especially damage); that said, the barbarian gets an iterative attack. Everything else about the object is inferior; AC, saves, skills, even speed. The object gets nothing new, while the barbarian gets all sorts of new toys (including a poor man’s hardness). The animated object loses in just about every way to the barbarian. Still, I’m loathe to lower the LA too much; I’ll go with -6 for now, with a hefty asterisk to add a couple of points if something looks fishy with those optional additions.



    Of course, feel free to critique my suggestions. These are my first negative LA comparisons, so if my methods are flawed, those flaws are going to shine brightly here.
    Last edited by GreatWyrmGold; 2017-08-17 at 10:50 AM. Reason: I have pictures!
    I'm the GWG from Bay12 and a bunch of other places.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Blade Wolf View Post
    Ah, thank you very much GreatWyrmGold, you obviously live up to that name with your intelligence and wisdom with that post.
    Quotes, more

    Negative LA Assignment Thread
    The Tale of Demman, Second King of Ireland, a CKII AAR, won a WritAAR of the Week award. Winner of Villainous Competition 8
    Fanfic

    Avatar by Recaiden.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Titan in the Playground
     
    lord_khaine's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    Anyways, my criteria and methodology are as follows. First, I assume a low-optimization, low- to medium-shenanigans game. As mentioned repeatedly in the main thread, a character of unusually high HD can cause some serious damage to a game with a higher level of optimization. For now, I'll also assume that the half-completed character sheets in the DMG's NPC section are roughly equivalent in power to the half-completed character sheets in the Monster Manual, but since they're missing different information, I'm perfectly willing to change that if people explain why I'm wrong (and in which direction) politely and thoroughly enough. Specifically, I will compare the standard monster statistics to barbarians, rogues, or maybe rangers, depending on which fits the monster's abilities best; it's a bit below the T3 "balance point," but I can probably live with that. Finally, I won't be handling anything beyond 20 HD or so. Part of that is because the DMG only goes up to level 20, but part is because I don't want to touch epic levels. Feel free to critique me on anything except that last bit.
    Well.. i do think this is a good starting point. Having a clear initial vision of the starting point is going to leave people with a lot less confusion about what the reference point is.
    I also think Barbarians and/or rogues is making for good reference points when it comes to raw fighting power or skill based utility. I do think you should be playing a monster because you really want to or because it fits your character concept, and not because its going to make you more powerful.
    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    GreatWyrmGold's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    In a castle under the sea
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    I also think Barbarians and/or rogues is making for good reference points when it comes to raw fighting power or skill based utility.
    "Raw fighting power" is the sum total of what you get from nearly all LA -0 critters.

    I do think you should be playing a monster because you really want to or because it fits your character concept, and not because its going to make you more powerful.
    Well, yeah. But in D&D, fighting is a core part of the experience (for better and for worse), and it's certainly relevant to figure out how your numbers should change (ie, how many class levels you get) to keep from throwing combat &c out of whack.
    I'm the GWG from Bay12 and a bunch of other places.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Blade Wolf View Post
    Ah, thank you very much GreatWyrmGold, you obviously live up to that name with your intelligence and wisdom with that post.
    Quotes, more

    Negative LA Assignment Thread
    The Tale of Demman, Second King of Ireland, a CKII AAR, won a WritAAR of the Week award. Winner of Villainous Competition 8
    Fanfic

    Avatar by Recaiden.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Earth and/or not-Earth
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    About animated objects: You repeatedly say that they have worse AC than a comparable barbarian. But the barbarian's AC entirely results from his equipment, and a PC animated object would have just as much equipment as a barbarian. Why aren't you accounting for the animated object's ability to buy equipment?

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Beholder

    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    A Sauna in Hell
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    Shapeshifting templated(+4 LA, +0 CR) Dvatis can go Windrider and HD-boost themselves(nothing says you can't pick yourself, as long as you fit in all the other rules) to epics easily, and there are probably other ways to do it, not to mention ubermount shenanigans, so I don't really see how adding another cheeser would be so broken.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2017

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    I've always been rather fond of the idea of using gestalt mechanics to make high-RHD monsters more playable, so I'm looking forward to what might come of this thread. I'll see if I can put together some speculation of my own once I find some time.

    That said, I'm not sure I agree with the methodology here - both monster and NPC statblocks tend to vary pretty wildly and rarely reflect the conditions under which actual players will be making characters out of these things. Additionally, they fail to take advancement into account. For instance, you note that the animated objects have more hit points than an equal-leveled barbarian - but most of those hit points come from the size-based construct bonuses, which don't advance at all. The barbarian has larger hit dice and a (likely very high) constitution score, so it will rapidly outstrip the animated objects in terms of hit points as you add more levels. I prefer the more detailed method Inevitability tends to use.

    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    Well.. i do think this is a good starting point. Having a clear initial vision of the starting point is going to leave people with a lot less confusion about what the reference point is.
    I also think Barbarians and/or rogues is making for good reference points when it comes to raw fighting power or skill based utility. I do think you should be playing a monster because you really want to or because it fits your character concept, and not because its going to make you more powerful.
    I've refrained from chiming in on this discussion up until now, because (a) I didn't bother making an account until today, and (B) I've seen Inevitability's thread argue it to death about a dozen times over in the last year. However, I have to pretty emphatically disagree with the sentiment here. I'd absolutely agree that it's fine to pick a race based on roleplaying preferences, rather than mechanical concerns - but any player who does that has already accepted the idea that their choice might not be "optimal". A half-orc wizard can make for an interesting character to play - but there's no denying that such a character will be a weaker wizard than a human, grey elf, or strongheart halfling. Is the player being "punished" for making a decision based on flavor rather than power? Arguably, yes. But that's just how 3.5 was designed. Half-orcs aren't balanced around the idea of making them equal to humans in wizarding prowess, they're balanced around being stereotypical, brutish beatsticks (and they aren't very good at that either, but that's irrelevant to this discussion). Similarly, if a player wants to build a fighter or monk, are they being "punished" compared to a player who wants a wizard or cleric? Again, one could argue that they are, but such a topic falls far outside the scope of this thread.

    Perhaps even more importantly, if a player wants to put their character together based on roleplaying considerations rather than mechanical ones, they've already implicitly accepted that they consider the mechanics to be a secondary concern - and since LA is a purely mechanical element of the game, such a situation can't reasonably be considered here. It seems to me that when approaching a balance consideration such as assigning LA, the only reasonable mindset to use is that of the dispassionate optimizer: rationally analyzing the costs and benefits of the monster as a racial choice, without allowing external factors such as inter-class balance to interfere with the outcome. To do otherwise would be a disservice to players across the entire optimization spectrum.

    As such, I feel that the ideal approach for assigning LA to a monster is to build a character of a standard race who fills a similar role, and use that character as a balance yardstick of sorts. Ideally, most monsters should fall squarely in the middle of the spectrum from "races ideal for the role" to "races with no relevant features at all", ignoring races that are blatantly unsuited for the job. For example, a monster that casts as a wizard should end up somewhere weaker than a human wizard, but stronger than a half-elf wizard, and definitely more powerful than a half-orc wizard or a monk.

    Quote Originally Posted by MisterKaws View Post
    Shapeshifting templated(+4 LA, +0 CR) Dvatis can go Windrider and HD-boost themselves(nothing says you can't pick yourself, as long as you fit in all the other rules) to epics easily, and there are probably other ways to do it, not to mention ubermount shenanigans, so I don't really see how adding another cheeser would be so broken.
    It's true that HD > ECL is already possible, but that's something that a player would have to go out of their way to pull off - it involves a reasonable amount of book-diving, including Dragon Magazine, and any DM will have ample warning that the player is up to some serious shenanigans. Any DM confronted with this will have ample opportunity to spot the potential danger and ban it if desired, and any DM who allows it is likely aware of the risks involved and willing to handle the resulting weirdness. Allowing non-gestalt negative LA is something entirely different. First of all, it's not something that players can go out of their way to do, it's something that plays a fundamental role in making the creature not completely unplayable. And second, it doesn't necessarily raise the same red flags that the Shapeshifting Dvati Windrider does, so it's more likely to blindside unsuspecting, inexperienced DMs. Using gestalt mechanics allows these monsters to be brought up to playable power levels, without risking the weirdness associated with HD > ECL. It's just a more elegant situation all around.
    Last edited by BrickTheToasted; 2017-08-10 at 02:46 PM.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2014

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    You forgot grapple.

    I've been using Gargantuan Animated Objects my entire d&d career, in the form of Secure Shelter (spell) + Ravid (3hd outsider at-will animate object).

    They are unkillable, huge, huge reach, and their grapple out-grapples even 18hd outsiders, and this is just when I use a house. If I go for an actual statue, with legs and all, it becomes really fast. 50ft movespeed with wheels. Combine with like adamantium or something, it is indestructible since hardness works on energy damage, with increased hardness against fire, lightning, and especially cold. So when you say they are 6 levels behind barbarians, I have to cast my doubt here.

    I assume you're using awaken construct so it gets feats.

    Since it's not a naked animated object either you can give it magic armor to boost AC on top of other stuff.

    edit: Perma-pinned Barbarian 20ft away from you = a barbarian that can't even scratch you.
    Last edited by RoboEmperor; 2017-08-10 at 02:53 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2017

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    Is this thread specifically looking at the entries from Inevitability's thread with LA assignments of -0?

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2017

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    Quote Originally Posted by someonenoone11 View Post
    I assume you're using awaken construct so it gets feats.
    Assuming this thread works like Inevitability's, templates aren't considered or used unless the template is the thing specifically under review, so no. However, it is assumed that mindless creatures are granted an intelligence score through some means (DM fiat, perhaps), which would allow the animated object to gain feats and skill points.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Miller View Post
    Is this thread specifically looking at the entries from Inevitability's thread with LA assignments of -0?
    Presumably.


    --
    --



    As for the thread concept, I think we should first determine just how we're defining what a "Negative LA" is/does. I would argue that negative LA being an actual reduction of ECL to below RHD complicates balance unduly, and is a bad idea.


    My personal preference for "Negative LA" would be that minimum ECL = RHD, but that the Negative LA gives that many levels of RHD + class gestalt levels. IE, a 8 RHD creature with a -2 LA, would start as an ECL 8 character, and 2 of it's 8 levels would be gestalt ones, RHD 8 // Class levels 2.
    I'm undecided as to whether or not to require the class levels be associated or not, and how the gestalted class levels should be distributed across the RHD
    No DM is ever truly out of tricks to mess with his/her players.
    No player is ever truly out of ways to surprise their DM.
    Spoiler
    Show

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2017

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    Quote Originally Posted by javcs View Post
    My personal preference for "Negative LA" would be that minimum ECL = RHD, but that the Negative LA gives that many levels of RHD + class gestalt levels. IE, a 8 RHD creature with a -2 LA, would start as an ECL 8 character, and 2 of it's 8 levels would be gestalt ones, RHD 8 // Class levels 2.
    I'm undecided as to whether or not to require the class levels be associated or not, and how the gestalted class levels should be distributed across the RHD
    I don't think the class levels need to be associated because at that point you are dictating character choices. People can choose half orc wizard even though it is odd, as the earlier example showed. If someone wants a caster from a beatstick for flavor, that is on them.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Miller View Post
    I don't think the class levels need to be associated because at that point you are dictating character choices. People can choose half orc wizard even though it is odd, as the earlier example showed. If someone wants a caster from a beatstick for flavor, that is on them.
    As I said, I'm undecided about that. The reasoning behind it, though, would be that it's probably easier to evaluate and balance adding gestalted associated class levels.

    Like, take a dragon for example - if it's got a negative LA of X, it probably gets more out of X levels of Sorcerer/PRCs, and probably needs fewer such levels to really be competent at ECL=RHD, than it would require levels of, say, Ranger, Barbarian, or Rogue.
    Or, take one of the rest of the -0 creatures - which are, by and large, mundane beatsticks/brawlers. It's probably going to be easier to balance a Negative LA if we keep it that, instead of turning it into a gishy or skillmonkey/rogue hybrid.


    So ... maybe different negative LAs for associated classes and non-associated classes. Or just one negative LA value.
    Haven't finished working it out. A single value would doubtless be simpler for the DM and players, though, which means that that's probably the right approach.

    Maybe just assume associated class levels for determining the negative LA value.
    No DM is ever truly out of tricks to mess with his/her players.
    No player is ever truly out of ways to surprise their DM.
    Spoiler
    Show

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2017

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    Quote Originally Posted by javcs View Post
    As I said, I'm undecided about that. The reasoning behind it, though, would be that it's probably easier to evaluate and balance adding gestalted associated class levels.

    Like, take a dragon for example - if it's got a negative LA of X, it probably gets more out of X levels of Sorcerer/PRCs, and probably needs fewer such levels to really be competent at ECL=RHD, than it would require levels of, say, Ranger, Barbarian, or Rogue.
    Or, take one of the rest of the -0 creatures - which are, by and large, mundane beatsticks/brawlers. It's probably going to be easier to balance a Negative LA if we keep it that, instead of turning it into a gishy or skillmonkey/rogue hybrid.


    So ... maybe different negative LAs for associated classes and non-associated classes. Or just one negative LA value.
    Haven't finished working it out. A single value would doubtless be simpler for the DM and players, though, which means that that's probably the right approach.

    Maybe just assume associated class levels for determining the negative LA value.
    I agree it would be easier to assume associated class levels for the purpose of this thread. I just feel like if I were choosing a monster for my PC, I would far more easily do something against its nature than if I were taking a "normal" race. Perhaps that is just me.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGirl

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    I think the optimization point should be the same as what is in the other thread, we could do multiple balance points though.

    I like the gestalt idea and that is probably more balanced than it just having ECL being lower than its hd

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Titan in the Playground
     
    lord_khaine's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    Well, yeah. But in D&D, fighting is a core part of the experience (for better and for worse), and it's certainly relevant to figure out how your numbers should change (ie, how many class levels you get) to keep from throwing combat &c out of whack.
    Yes... so thats why im saying you should not get higher numbers from being a monster, just because you would suck with the spellcaster levels you dont take.

    I've refrained from chiming in on this discussion up until now, because (a) I didn't bother making an account until today, and (B) I've seen Inevitability's thread argue it to death about a dozen times over in the last year. However, I have to pretty emphatically disagree with the sentiment here. I'd absolutely agree that it's fine to pick a race based on roleplaying preferences, rather than mechanical concerns - but any player who does that has already accepted the idea that their choice might not be "optimal". A half-orc wizard can make for an interesting character to play - but there's no denying that such a character will be a weaker wizard than a human, grey elf, or strongheart halfling. Is the player being "punished" for making a decision based on flavor rather than power? Arguably, yes. But that's just how 3.5 was designed. Half-orcs aren't balanced around the idea of making them equal to humans in wizarding prowess, they're balanced around being stereotypical, brutish beatsticks (and they aren't very good at that either, but that's irrelevant to this discussion). Similarly, if a player wants to build a fighter or monk, are they being "punished" compared to a player who wants a wizard or cleric? Again, one could argue that they are, but such a topic falls far outside the scope of this thread.

    Perhaps even more importantly, if a player wants to put their character together based on roleplaying considerations rather than mechanical ones, they've already implicitly accepted that they consider the mechanics to be a secondary concern - and since LA is a purely mechanical element of the game, such a situation can't reasonably be considered here. It seems to me that when approaching a balance consideration such as assigning LA, the only reasonable mindset to use is that of the dispassionate optimizer: rationally analyzing the costs and benefits of the monster as a racial choice, without allowing external factors such as inter-class balance to interfere with the outcome. To do otherwise would be a disservice to players across the entire optimization spectrum.

    As such, I feel that the ideal approach for assigning LA to a monster is to build a character of a standard race who fills a similar role, and use that character as a balance yardstick of sorts. Ideally, most monsters should fall squarely in the middle of the spectrum from "races ideal for the role" to "races with no relevant features at all", ignoring races that are blatantly unsuited for the job. For example, a monster that casts as a wizard should end up somewhere weaker than a human wizard, but stronger than a half-elf wizard, and definitely more powerful than a half-orc wizard or a monk.
    Firstly, welcome to the boards then.
    And secondly, i do think its strange that you first start out how how you disagree with me, and then in the end dont manage to actually get a conclusion thats different from mine. Namely that you should not be more powerful for picking a monster.
    Because you should remember this is only dealing with all the rejects from the previous threat, that might have been given a negative LA. There are no potential arcane casters here.

    Anyway, back to the current topic. I must say that i really cant see why we should keep this sacret cow alive, and not just let some things have more racial HD than their ECL. I mean to start with a lot of their HD are going to be straight up inferior, potentially ending with a lower total HP and BAB than someone with dragon HD could have gotten on a lower number of HD.

    So really, are there anyone that can actually make any gamebreaking examples with out current negative LA candidates, for why someone with for example 10 crappy HD should not be allowed to count as a level 8 character?
    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2017

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    And secondly, i do think its strange that you first start out how how you disagree with me, and then in the end dont manage to actually get a conclusion thats different from mine. Namely that you should not be more powerful for picking a monster.
    No, I'm saying that a monster should be comparable in power to a standard character filling the same role or taking a comparable class. Which is quite different from balancing all the monsters against a single T3/T4 balance point. If a player wants to play a wizard, I think that a wizard-casting monster should be comparable in power to a wizard of a standard race, not to a middle-of-the-road rogue or barbarian. Because while I agree that you shouldn't be more powerful for picking a monster, I'd argue that you also shouldn't be weaker for picking a monster.
    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    Because you should remember this is only dealing with all the rejects from the previous threat, that might have been given a negative LA. There are no potential arcane casters here.
    What about all those LA -0 dragons with racial sorcerer casting?
    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    So really, are there anyone that can actually make any gamebreaking examples with out current negative LA candidates, for why someone with for example 10 crappy HD should not be allowed to count as a level 8 character?
    Take 10 levels of Ur-priest, then one level of whatever the hell you want. You now have ECL 19, 21 HD and thus can take Epic Spellcasting before epic levels. That's the main concern - it's not that the hit dice are too strong, it's that a huge number of prerequisites and other abilities are tied directly to your number of hit dice, and things get really weird when you have a bunch of HD earlier than it's supposed to be possible.
    Last edited by BrickTheToasted; 2017-08-11 at 08:29 AM.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2013

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    Because you should remember this is only dealing with all the rejects from the previous threat, that might have been given a negative LA. There are no potential arcane casters here.
    Most of the dragons actually got -0. The HD are just too numerous for the statline.

    So really, are there anyone that can actually make any gamebreaking examples with out current negative LA candidates, for why someone with for example 10 crappy HD should not be allowed to count as a level 8 character?
    One thing I can think of is feats, which are by HD, not ECL. So the Gargantuan gets two extra feats that other characters just flat out don't have and gets access to Epic feats significantly earlier. The other is that some HD can break certain mechanics, namely BAB and saves. Any Outsider or Dragon with negative LA has better-than-full BAB and extra levels worth of full saves. In addition to the extra skill ranks all things with extra HD have.

    The "gestalt levels equal to -LA" thing gets most of the issues dealt with, and also keeps the power-fixing aspect of it. You still have to be ECL=HD, but you get PC abilities as needed. A Dragon won't break the game with extra levels worth of BAB and saves, and gets to keep their near-perfect chassis for all their RHD. They just happen to be able to get extra levels of Sorcerer casting that aren't part of their monster statline.
    My most liked class, thematically, is the Artificer. Make free items! (fail by RAW to)Hold up the setting! Have access to every magic item...
    My most liked class, mechanically, is the Bard. I sing the enemy to death! (at level 21)I talk you into a suicidal fanatic! I need to cheese rules that make me sing as I fight or talk to get things done...

    I prefer t2 over anything else, because t2 lets you become anything. I think Psionics is more versatile than magic.

    Homebrewer's sig

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    simpler to just say you need ECL 21+ to get epic stuff.
    A neat custom class for 3.5 system
    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=94616

    A good set of benchmarks for PF/3.5
    https://rpgwillikers.wordpress.com/2...y-the-numbers/

    An alternate craft point system I made for 3.5
    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...t-Point-system

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2013

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    Quote Originally Posted by zlefin View Post
    simpler to just say you need ECL 21+ to get epic stuff.
    That's actually what the SRD says, but there's rules that override that line. And besides that, extra HD still give more feats, which is still a problem. And the chassis of RHD can be quite good, particularly Dragons and Outsiders, which causes issues from greater-than-full BAB giving iteratives early, in particularly extreme cases outright giving extra iteratives.
    My most liked class, thematically, is the Artificer. Make free items! (fail by RAW to)Hold up the setting! Have access to every magic item...
    My most liked class, mechanically, is the Bard. I sing the enemy to death! (at level 21)I talk you into a suicidal fanatic! I need to cheese rules that make me sing as I fight or talk to get things done...

    I prefer t2 over anything else, because t2 lets you become anything. I think Psionics is more versatile than magic.

    Homebrewer's sig

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2017

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    BAB above 20 explicitly doesn't grant more than the usual four iteratives if memory serves, but early feat acquisition and earlier access to iteratives are indeed notable concerns. Not to mention the issue with max skill ranks, which could be an extremely powerful early entry trick.

    Essentially, it's possible to make ECL < HD work, but it requires so many houserules to so many areas of the game that it's just not worth it. The gestalt solution is just simpler and more elegant, since it minimizes interaction with other mechanics, thus lessening the possibility of unforeseen side effects.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Titan in the Playground
     
    lord_khaine's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    No, I'm saying that a monster should be comparable in power to a standard character filling the same role or taking a comparable class. Which is quite different from balancing all the monsters against a single T3/T4 balance point. If a player wants to play a wizard, I think that a wizard-casting monster should be comparable in power to a wizard of a standard race, not to a middle-of-the-road rogue or barbarian. Because while I agree that you shouldn't be more powerful for picking a monster, I'd argue that you also shouldn't be weaker for picking a monster.
    Its just unfortunately impossible to both not make things less and more powerful than a regular character. And in that case i mean its better to accept things as a little weaker than a little stronger.

    What about all those LA -0 dragons with racial sorcerer casting?
    Looking though them they are just to far behind on their racial sorcerer levels. I will not say they are potential arcane casters. Or at least not ones that should be balanced as such.

    Take 10 levels of Ur-priest, then one level of whatever the hell you want. You now have ECL 19, 21 HD and thus can take Epic Spellcasting before epic levels. That's the main concern - it's not that the hit dice are too strong, it's that a huge number of prerequisites and other abilities are tied directly to your number of hit dice, and things get really weird when you have a bunch of HD earlier than it's supposed to be possible.
    So what? its a ECL 19 character. 9th level spells have already been in play for a couple levels at that point. Its far past the point where players need to coorperate with the GM to avoid breaking things.

    One thing I can think of is feats, which are by HD, not ECL. So the Gargantuan gets two extra feats that other characters just flat out don't have and gets access to Epic feats significantly earlier. The other is that some HD can break certain mechanics, namely BAB and saves. Any Outsider or Dragon with negative LA has better-than-full BAB and extra levels worth of full saves. In addition to the extra skill ranks all things with extra HD have.
    Again.. why is this such an issue? The fighter get a ton of feats that others dont get. Low-level epic feats dont seem that impressive compared to what you can do with a focused character build.
    And why does it break the game if outsiders or dragons have better bab/saves? that just translates to a better attack bonus or a better chance of making your save.
    But a raging barbarian already hits better than someone who is not raging but also have full saves. And a Paladin can easily have better saves than someone who just got a few additional HD's worth of saves.

    Honestly all of that mainly seems like a group of sacret cows. The main reason i could see the gestalt option would be to be able to press in more class levels.
    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Inevitability's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Planes of Law

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    Best of luck with this thread, GreatWyrmGold! I'll make sure to drop by in the future and help out here.

    Want me to link this thread in the archive?
    Have you had enough of unreasonably high LA's and unplayable monsters in 3.5? Then check out the LA-assignment thread! Don't hesitate to give feedback!

    Extended signature!

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Right behind you
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    But nobody's cared enough to make that other thread.
    In fact, i did, but the thread died

    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...6#post21399396

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGirl

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    Why not do both the ECL less than HD, and the free gestalt models and see how they stack up

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    GreatWyrmGold's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    In a castle under the sea
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    Quote Originally Posted by InvisibleBison View Post
    About animated objects: You repeatedly say that they have worse AC than a comparable barbarian. But the barbarian's AC entirely results from his equipment, and a PC animated object would have just as much equipment as a barbarian. Why aren't you accounting for the animated object's ability to buy equipment?
    Because no smith in the world is going to make table armor. (Statues are one of those "this needs a higher LA than typical" objects which makes animated objects a really terrible place to start.)
    And there are a fair number of things that typical Monster Manual stat blocks have and the DMG example characters don't. I'm not sure how much each of the omitted sections matters, or how much a player choosing various aspects would affect their power. So until I get someone giving me more detailed advice, I'm going to assume that DMG NPCs and MM monsters are about equally incomplete and unoptimized.

    Of course, since I forgot about this post for a while, it's entirely possible that someone's done so.


    Quote Originally Posted by BrickTheToasted View Post
    That said, I'm not sure I agree with the methodology here - both monster and NPC statblocks tend to vary pretty wildly and rarely reflect the conditions under which actual players will be making characters out of these things. Additionally, they fail to take advancement into account. For instance, you note that the animated objects have more hit points than an equal-leveled barbarian - but most of those hit points come from the size-based construct bonuses, which don't advance at all. The barbarian has larger hit dice and a (likely very high) constitution score, so it will rapidly outstrip the animated objects in terms of hit points as you add more levels. I prefer the more detailed method Inevitability tends to use.
    And I'd prefer being able to do such analyses. But I don't have enough confidence in my op-intuition (or op-knowledge to rely on anything else) to analyze that in any way other than taking a bunch of random levels and comparing, say, Animated Object+Brb X to Brb X+Y to see how everything ends up.
    I realize it's not ideal. That's kinda part of why I encouraged other people to weigh in.

    I've refrained from chiming in on this discussion up until now, because (a) I didn't bother making an account until today...
    Hooray, I accidentally played a part in someone unlurking themselves!


    Quote Originally Posted by javcs View Post
    As for the thread concept, I think we should first determine just how we're defining what a "Negative LA" is/does. I would argue that negative LA being an actual reduction of ECL to below RHD complicates balance unduly, and is a bad idea.
    Probably. But the way I see it, if I can figure out what level a given monster is roughly equivalent to, that number can be used for straight ECL changes or gestalting or pretty much anything else.


    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    Best of luck with this thread, GreatWyrmGold! I'll make sure to drop by in the future and help out here.

    Want me to link this thread in the archive?
    Sure! Maybe it'll help me remember to actually do this...
    I'm the GWG from Bay12 and a bunch of other places.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Blade Wolf View Post
    Ah, thank you very much GreatWyrmGold, you obviously live up to that name with your intelligence and wisdom with that post.
    Quotes, more

    Negative LA Assignment Thread
    The Tale of Demman, Second King of Ireland, a CKII AAR, won a WritAAR of the Week award. Winner of Villainous Competition 8
    Fanfic

    Avatar by Recaiden.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    GreatWyrmGold's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    In a castle under the sea
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    With animated objects out of the way, we can move onto something which has a solidly-defined set of statistics. How wonderful!

    Arrowhawks

    Arrowhawks all have similar qualities—flight, electricity rays, no thumbs, etc. Inevitability said that the kids make decent PCs, so let's see how they stack up once they've grown up!

    Adult

    An adult arrowhawk has higher AC and saving throws than a 6th-level barbarian, plus outsider traits and a handful of useful resistances and okay immunities (though significantly fewer hit points). It also has above-average mental ability scores, good Strength and Constitution, and incredible Dexterity. But what does it do with those? An arrowhawk can only make one attack per round, unless it gets a mouthpick weapon (which, okay, it probably would if it was going into melee combat), while the barbarian gets two, which have lower attack bonuses (especially the second) but likely deal more damage even before raging. In short, the arrowhawk is tougher (until it starts getting hit), but the barbarian can do more.
    All things considered, the two of them are probably about equal; I certainly can't bring the LA lower, both for the 6th-level barbarian and the 5th-level warlock who can already replicate the arrowhawk's two claims to fame). Not to mention that advancement opportunities are limited; maybe take rogue and try to get in those tasty ranged sneak attacks somehow? -1 seems fair.

    Elder

    A 13th-level barbarian still has a slight hit point lead on the arrowhawk, as well as a higher AC. However, the arrowhawk's attacks are comparable, its saving throws are still superior, its ability scores are even better, and it has that same grab-bag of defensive traits. The arrowhawk probably has a slight lead, but it would be inferior in most ways to a 14th-level barbarian. And...well...I've been trying to stay T4, in part to keep these estimates conservative, but this monster really needs to be compared to the warlock. There's nothing that an arrowhawk can do that a mid-leveled warlock can't do better. It needs all the help it can do in the field, especially once it starts leveling up. A level adjustment of -2 was my first estimate when comparing the elder arrowhawk to barbarians; however, due to salient points by others (including an analysis by BrickTheToasted), I'll reduce it to -4. (I'm not accounting for swordsages and stuff, because...well, I don't have the books or experience with them, nor a set of preset statistics across all levels. So I'm trying to stay a bit consistent.)

    (P.S. Remind me to get some pictures ready.)
    Last edited by GreatWyrmGold; 2017-08-13 at 05:56 PM.
    I'm the GWG from Bay12 and a bunch of other places.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Blade Wolf View Post
    Ah, thank you very much GreatWyrmGold, you obviously live up to that name with your intelligence and wisdom with that post.
    Quotes, more

    Negative LA Assignment Thread
    The Tale of Demman, Second King of Ireland, a CKII AAR, won a WritAAR of the Week award. Winner of Villainous Competition 8
    Fanfic

    Avatar by Recaiden.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Inevitability's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Planes of Law

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    Sure! Maybe it'll help me remember to actually do this...
    It's been added.
    Have you had enough of unreasonably high LA's and unplayable monsters in 3.5? Then check out the LA-assignment thread! Don't hesitate to give feedback!

    Extended signature!

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Dimers's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    Quote Originally Posted by javcs View Post
    My personal preference for "Negative LA" would be that minimum ECL = RHD, but that the Negative LA gives that many levels of RHD + class gestalt levels.
    A graceful idea. I like it.

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    I've been trying to stay T4, in part to keep these estimates conservative, but this monster really needs to be compared to the warlock.
    Many people do consider the warlock T4, so that's fine. So using javcs's gestalt idea, we're comparing, say, warlock 15 against elder arrowhawk 15//warlock 2? Or //rogue 2, or //barbarian 2, something like that? If that's the case, I'd definitely argue for a stronger negative LA.
    Last edited by Dimers; 2017-08-12 at 04:23 PM.
    Avatar by Meltheim: Eveve, dwarven battlemind, 4e Dark Sun

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGirl

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The LA-Assignment Thread -1: Or, Inevitably Rejected

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    Because no smith in the world is going to make table armor. (
    s...
    Give the smith enough gold and they will make armor for a kite

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •