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Thread: New character

  1. - Top - End - #61
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: New character

    Quote Originally Posted by Arkhios View Post
    I mean that that sameness limits everyone's options. Each class are shoehorned into very specific roles while in other editions they aren't, at least not as obviously as in 4th.

    A paladin, for example, is designed as primarily a defender but could dabble into striker or leader roles. well, what if I wanted to play a paladin that is primarily a leader and secondarily controller? "Nope, play another class because reasons!"
    That sameness is all in your head. Plus these two paragraphs contradict each other. They can either all feel the same or they can be too specialized. I dont see how they can be both.

  2. - Top - End - #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkhios View Post
    But, those names have a lot of meaningful carriage dating back to the origins of the game and even beyond. If you shouldn't "care" about a character class' name, why even have those names built into the class choices in the first place?

    Anyway, let's stop derailing the thread with off-topic discussion before this gets out of our hands and spirals into some edition war.

    I know I may have started it, but I'll be the first to stop it as well (if I can).
    You know you couldnt make a controllerish Paladin in previous editions either. Id say its actually easier in 4e then previous editions. Unless you could prestige classes and class templates. And anyone who does should burn their dice now.
    Last edited by Verbannon; 2018-01-02 at 01:20 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: New character

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    That's a good question. 4E should probably have had fewer classes and more subclasses. You know, combine two existing classes into one with one big power list, to make it more customizable within a broad archetype.
    That would actually sacrifice the uniqueness of the classes, just to satisfy some meta emotional desires.

    Like wanting a wizard that doesnt cast any spells.
    Last edited by Verbannon; 2018-01-02 at 01:18 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #64
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    Default Re: New character

    Quote Originally Posted by Verbannon View Post
    You are wrong. Well wrong in spirit. Here is how the math works, in heroic players hit 60% of the time, enemies 40%. In paragon its 50/50 and in epic its 40/60.
    Are you talking pre-PHB3 expertise feats and similar?

    Even that this wasn't true, because an optimized (if narrowly chosen) build could eek out full accuracy and defences even at epic.

    The problem with that accuracy swing wasn't the power ratio, but rather how the importance of accuracy was *increased* by baseline accuracy *decreasing*.

    If your "baseline" hit chance is 65%, then +1 to hit increases your damage per attack by 7.7%. If your "baseline" hit chance is 35%, then +1 to hit increases your damage per attack by 14.3%.

    In effect, accuracy optimization was *rewarded more* by the falling baseline accuracy of high level 4e characters.

    A character that started with a 16 attack stat and bumped it every time but didn't take an epic destiny that bumped it, vs one that started with a 20 and took an epic destiny that bumped it, end up having a +3 difference in accuracy in epic. If the 20 stat character also made 2 other choices that granted them a +1 to hit, they could end up with a 5 point accuracy edge.

    When the 16 stat character ends up with 35% accuracy, the high-accuracy one connects 1.7x as often.

    When the 16 stat characer ends up with 60% accuracy, the high-accuracy one connects 1.42x as often.

    The reward for accuracy optimization is 21% larger in the low-accuracy PHB1 D&D than it is in the high-accuracy PHB3 D&D.
    Player options however expand much faster than enemy options. Its not a mistake in the math as is so commonly and erronously believed. Its on purpose. Ive run campaigns up to level 22, and even with way under optimized characters by your standards, they were able to bear handle it just fine.
    In order to challenge low-optimization 4e PHB1 characters at epic, the ratio of HP soak to HP threat in enemies gets ridiculous.

    The common complaint from that era was that combats ended with zero feeling of threat and lots of low-damage at-will spam. And it was true: you'd run out of encounter resources, and the fight was basically won, but you'd (under the rules) have to grind the foes down with at-wills, and be at-will attacked in return.

    Enemy damage output simply wasn't high enough to cause significant threat to the healing and HP resources of an unoptimized 4e party without havign a *lot* of foes. And once you did, the unoptimized 4e party didn't have the encounter damage juice to kill all of them; so combat meandered on after 50%+ of the foes where dead, the other half out of encounter powers, and the party unthreatened would swing away until the last few foes dropped.
    Its just you get your ass kicked if all you know how to do is hit things instead of using your options. Its why I tell my players, if they are playing a pure damage striker they better have strong controller and leader support or they will die so easily .
    So, a high damage striker in 4e can drop an enemy elite before any foe gets an action, and repeat that the 2nd round, using encounter resources. The next round they may be reduced to dropping a standard monster per round.

    I have built them for the fun of it for one-shots. Playing such over-optimized characters isn't all that fun; maybe if you where in a party of people who all did it.

    The issue I have in practice in high level 4e is the *difference* in optimization between characters. If you aren't jumping over heroic and paragon and starting at epic, the DM will know "this party is able to handle a level+4 encounter easily" or "level-1 is easy", that is easy to twiddle.

    But it isn't easy to twiddle some characters being basically useless.

    So my core advice is to determine *how optimized the characters in your group are*. And aim your optimization level based on that.

    My next bit of advice is to find out how well the DM adapts to varying character optimization levels, because "random-optimized" 4e characters result in a decreasingly fun combat length in my experience.

    (Random-opitmization is where you pick feats, classes, stats, paragon paths, powers and epic destinies based on what you feel is "neat" and maybe naive gut-feel; not anti-optimized. In effect, it is the baseline power level of 4e characters.)

    Random-optimized 4e characters work fine in low heroic, and the game starts to limp a bit as you get further along. However, if you take your optimization opportunities, and spend *half* of them going for high-optimization choices, the other half can be random-optimization and the 4e combat engine doesn't break down.

  5. - Top - End - #65
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    Default Re: New character

    You know, you could just clump all those replies to one post, like this:
    Quote Originally Posted by Verbannon View Post
    That sameness is all in your head. Plus these two paragraphs contradict each other. They can either all feel the same or they can be too specialized. I dont see how they can be both.
    It's not all in my head. When all classes are built following an exactly same pattern -- a # of powers per whatever time period -- They are essentially same. Plus, the fact that EVERYONE make attack rolls with their offensive powers strips away differences between classes. Spells vs. weapon attacks lose their meaning. Everything is essentially same. YES, yes, some powers indicate weapon damage via #[W] while others list a fixed amount and type of dice. It's still the same in the end.
    Sameness between classes isn't just my imagination, it's a written standard.

    Quote Originally Posted by Verbannon View Post
    You know you couldnt make a controllerish Paladin in previous editions either. Id say its actually easier in 4e then previous editions. Unless you could prestige classes and class templates. And anyone who does should burn their dice now.
    Maybe not. That was an exaggerated example.
    4e is still WAY more restrictive than any other edition before or after.
    If I wanted to make an agile paladin in 4e, both the rules and the other players would laugh at me for wanting to attack while using Dexterity, because powers dictate which ability I should use. Absolutely nothing in the RAW lets me change that for all my powers; only for basic attacks. "YAY!?"

    Maybe you should try and be a bit more open-minded. 4e isn't flawless system. Prestige Classes and templates were good for the editions where they were used. Why should I burn my dice if I like them better than 4e? I'm not telling you to burn your dice for liking 4e. Neither should you tell us do the opposite.

    Quote Originally Posted by Verbannon View Post
    That would actually sacrifice the uniqueness of the classes, just to satisfy some meta emotional desires.

    Like wanting a wizard that doesnt cast any spells.
    Since 4e classes are already made to follow a standardized pattern, having less base classes and more uniquely flavored subclasses wouldn't sacrifice anything.
    Last edited by Arkhios; 2018-01-02 at 06:24 PM.

  6. - Top - End - #66
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    Default Re: New character

    I've built things you people wouldn't believe.

    I've built a dex-based Paladin: rapier wielding pixie who rides a displacer beast mount.

    I watched Strength-based avenger dropping elites in one round.

    All these moments will be lost in time like tears in the rain.

  7. - Top - End - #67
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    Default Re: New character

    Strength based Avengers are great at higher levels- they're crit machines.

  8. - Top - End - #68
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    Default Re: New character

    Quote Originally Posted by Arkhios View Post
    It's not all in my head. When all classes are built following an exactly same pattern -- a # of powers per whatever time period -- They are essentially same. Plus, the fact that EVERYONE make attack rolls with their offensive powers strips away differences between classes. Spells vs. weapon attacks lose their meaning. Everything is essentially same. YES, yes, some powers indicate weapon damage via #[W] while others list a fixed amount and type of dice. It's still the same in the end.
    Sameness between classes isn't just my imagination, it's a written standard.
    This really isn't true. It often appears to be true, but it isn't. Class features interact with class-specific powers in ways often hard to predict. And implements have slightly different rules than weapons that also come into play.

    I just sat at a table with 3 members of the same class, all played by experts at 4e - and if you didn't know they were the same class, you would never have guessed they were all some variation on Paladin. Except that how the monsters had to react to them was strongly based on them being Paladins, not say Swordmages or Battleminds.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arkhios View Post
    If I wanted to make an agile paladin in 4e, both the rules and the other players would laugh at me for wanting to attack while using Dexterity, because powers dictate which ability I should use. Absolutely nothing in the RAW lets me change that for all my powers; only for basic attacks. "YAY!?"
    Spoiler: Dex-based Paladin
    Show

    ====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
    level 7
    Drow, Paladin
    Fugitive from a Vengeful Rival (Fugitive from a Vengeful Rival Benefit)
    Theme: Veiled Alliance

    FINAL ABILITY SCORES
    STR 8, CON 11, DEX 21, INT 10, WIS 10, CHA 17

    STARTING ABILITY SCORES
    STR 8, CON 11, DEX 18, INT 10, WIS 10, CHA 14


    AC: 25 Fort: 17 Ref: 24 Will: 20
    HP: 62 Surges: 10 Surge Value: 15

    TRAINED SKILLS
    Bluff +12, Diplomacy +11, Religion +8, Stealth +13, Thievery +10

    UNTRAINED SKILLS
    Acrobatics +5, Arcana +3, Athletics Ė1, Dungeoneering +3, Endurance +0, Heal +3, History +3, Insight +3, Intimidate +8, Nature +3, Perception +3, Streetwise +6

    POWERS
    Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
    Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
    Veiled Alliance Feature: Excise from Sight
    Drow Racial Power: Cloud of Darkness
    Paladin Feature: Divine Mettle
    Paladin Feature: Divine Strength
    Paladin Feature: Divine Challenge
    Paladin Feature: Lay on Hands
    Paladin Attack 1: Virtuous Strike
    Paladin Attack 1: Ardent Strike
    Paladin Attack 1: Valorous Smite
    Paladin Attack 1: Frost of Letherna
    Paladin Utility 2: Call of Challenge
    Veiled Alliance Attack 3: Dazzling Flash
    Veiled Alliance Attack 5: Psychic Veil
    Paladin Utility 6: Wrath of the Gods
    Veiled Alliance Attack 7: Sandman's Veil

    FEATS
    Sneak of Shadows
    Level 2: Cunning Stalker
    Level 4: Devout Protector Expertise
    Level 6: Improved Defenses

    ITEMS
    Iron Armbands of Power (heroic tier)
    Heavy Shield x1
    Magic Hide Armor +2 x1
    Magic Holy Symbol +2 x1
    Amulet of Protection +2 x1
    Magic Rapier +2 x1
    ====== End ======


    A Paladin that can fully get away with being a Dex-primary PC - in particular, the baked-in movement of the Veiled Alliance powers and Cloud of Darkness tend to allow Steatlh checks to go Hidden. On round 2, when targets are near to the Drow Paladin, it does say Call of Challenge, Cloud of Darkness, and then Dazzling Flash - moving after the attack to make a hide check in the area of darkness, but if possible, adjacent to an enemy or two. Fun and unexpected. Fugitive from a Vengeful Rival opens up both Bluff & Stealth to the Paladin and Sneak of Shadows gets Thievery - this PC could very easily be the primary 'Rogue' of the party.

  9. - Top - End - #69
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    Default Re: New character

    Quote Originally Posted by Yakk View Post
    Are you talking pre-PHB3 expertise feats and similar?

    Even that this wasn't true, because an optimized (if narrowly chosen) build could eek out full accuracy and defences even at epic.

    The problem with that accuracy swing wasn't the power ratio, but rather how the importance of accuracy was *increased* by baseline accuracy *decreasing*.

    If your "baseline" hit chance is 65%, then +1 to hit increases your damage per attack by 7.7%. If your "baseline" hit chance is 35%, then +1 to hit increases your damage per attack by 14.3%.

    In effect, accuracy optimization was *rewarded more* by the falling baseline accuracy of high level 4e characters.

    A character that started with a 16 attack stat and bumped it every time but didn't take an epic destiny that bumped it, vs one that started with a 20 and took an epic destiny that bumped it, end up having a +3 difference in accuracy in epic. If the 20 stat character also made 2 other choices that granted them a +1 to hit, they could end up with a 5 point accuracy edge.

    When the 16 stat character ends up with 35% accuracy, the high-accuracy one connects 1.7x as often.

    When the 16 stat characer ends up with 60% accuracy, the high-accuracy one connects 1.42x as often.

    The reward for accuracy optimization is 21% larger in the low-accuracy PHB1 D&D than it is in the high-accuracy PHB3 D&D.

    In order to challenge low-optimization 4e PHB1 characters at epic, the ratio of HP soak to HP threat in enemies gets ridiculous.

    The common complaint from that era was that combats ended with zero feeling of threat and lots of low-damage at-will spam. And it was true: you'd run out of encounter resources, and the fight was basically won, but you'd (under the rules) have to grind the foes down with at-wills, and be at-will attacked in return.

    Enemy damage output simply wasn't high enough to cause significant threat to the healing and HP resources of an unoptimized 4e party without havign a *lot* of foes. And once you did, the unoptimized 4e party didn't have the encounter damage juice to kill all of them; so combat meandered on after 50%+ of the foes where dead, the other half out of encounter powers, and the party unthreatened would swing away until the last few foes dropped.

    So, a high damage striker in 4e can drop an enemy elite before any foe gets an action, and repeat that the 2nd round, using encounter resources. The next round they may be reduced to dropping a standard monster per round.

    I have built them for the fun of it for one-shots. Playing such over-optimized characters isn't all that fun; maybe if you where in a party of people who all did it.

    The issue I have in practice in high level 4e is the *difference* in optimization between characters. If you aren't jumping over heroic and paragon and starting at epic, the DM will know "this party is able to handle a level+4 encounter easily" or "level-1 is easy", that is easy to twiddle.

    But it isn't easy to twiddle some characters being basically useless.

    So my core advice is to determine *how optimized the characters in your group are*. And aim your optimization level based on that.

    My next bit of advice is to find out how well the DM adapts to varying character optimization levels, because "random-optimized" 4e characters result in a decreasingly fun combat length in my experience.

    (Random-opitmization is where you pick feats, classes, stats, paragon paths, powers and epic destinies based on what you feel is "neat" and maybe naive gut-feel; not anti-optimized. In effect, it is the baseline power level of 4e characters.)

    Random-optimized 4e characters work fine in low heroic, and the game starts to limp a bit as you get further along. However, if you take your optimization opportunities, and spend *half* of them going for high-optimization choices, the other half can be random-optimization and the 4e combat engine doesn't break down.
    To the first bit. Looks like you are just pointing out that some builds are way better than other builds. Thats pretty irrelevant even if true. What matters is how the classes compare with the enemies being fought, not with each other. As long as the build balance difference isnt so great that the less optimized characters are no longer needed, then no one except a power gamer will care or notice the differences.

    Heck, I played an avenger mid paragon once, like a controller instead of a striker, everyone told me that I needed go crit fish, not crit fishing would make me suck. I ended up outdoing everybody else. Teleport the enemies over to the fighters, charge fly at the backline, and most of my utilities granted resistance or another defense. Altogether I rocked, and yet I was not optimized. Because tactics are what is important.

    As for the hit points, thats more a DM failure than anything else. My first RPG was 4e, just a few months after it came out and I started out as a DM. Ive never reached far in epic, but Ive reached high paragon enough times though. And Ive never had that problem. The only thing I noticed was that a lot of the MM1 and eventually MM2 monster design was inconsistent with a mix of well made monsters with a bunch of almost blank slate monsters that look like filler. So I rewrote about half the monsters. The core strategy I found to most monsters is that they are top heavy. Initial rounds are the most important. The enemy encounter powers are usually able to really put a hurting on the party if done right. I can actually maintain a decent tpk risk with a low level encounter if I use the terrain and encounter powers right. So the combat pattern goes.

    Stage 1: Party encounters monsters, gets assaulted by the monster encounter powers.

    stage 2. Party finds itself hurting and in a bad position. They use their powers to survive and turn things around.

    stage 3 a. If the party is having trouble then it comes down to at wills and prayers to the dice gods for luck while both sides focus on exploiting terrain and position for advantage. This is the funnest part.

    stage 3 b. If the party isnt having trouble, and I see no way of turning things around for me. I skip ahead and end the encounter.
    Last edited by Verbannon; 2018-01-03 at 08:00 PM.

  10. - Top - End - #70
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    Default Re: New character

    Quote Originally Posted by Arkhios View Post
    You know, you could just clump all those replies to one post, like this:

    It's not all in my head. When all classes are built following an exactly same pattern -- a # of powers per whatever time period -- They are essentially same. Plus, the fact that EVERYONE make attack rolls with their offensive powers strips away differences between classes. Spells vs. weapon attacks lose their meaning. Everything is essentially same. YES, yes, some powers indicate weapon damage via #[W] while others list a fixed amount and type of dice. It's still the same in the end.
    Sameness between classes isn't just my imagination, it's a written standard.


    Maybe not. That was an exaggerated example.
    4e is still WAY more restrictive than any other edition before or after.
    If I wanted to make an agile paladin in 4e, both the rules and the other players would laugh at me for wanting to attack while using Dexterity, because powers dictate which ability I should use. Absolutely nothing in the RAW lets me change that for all my powers; only for basic attacks. "YAY!?"

    Maybe you should try and be a bit more open-minded. 4e isn't flawless system. Prestige Classes and templates were good for the editions where they were used. Why should I burn my dice if I like them better than 4e? I'm not telling you to burn your dice for liking 4e. Neither should you tell us do the opposite.



    Since 4e classes are already made to follow a standardized pattern, having less base classes and more uniquely flavored subclasses wouldn't sacrifice anything.
    I use a phone so I cant divide things like that. Anyway, thats a very narrow way of defining differences. The mechanical framework may be the same. But once in play the strategic and tactics are very different and thats whats important.

    brb

  11. - Top - End - #71
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    Default Re: New character

    You guys are aware that character diversity is a sliding scale, not a yes-or-no issue, yes? It is entirely possible for 4E to be more diverse than game X but less than game Y, or diverse enough for person A but not enough for person B.
    Guide to the Magus, the Pathfinder Gish class.

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  12. - Top - End - #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkhios View Post
    You know, you could just clump all those replies to one post, like this:

    It's not all in my head. When all classes are built following an exactly same pattern -- a # of powers per whatever time period -- They are essentially same. Plus, the fact that EVERYONE make attack rolls with their offensive powers strips away differences between classes. Spells vs. weapon attacks lose their meaning. Everything is essentially same. YES, yes, some powers indicate weapon damage via #[W] while others list a fixed amount and type of dice. It's still the same in the end.
    Sameness between classes isn't just my imagination, it's a written standard.


    Maybe not. That was an exaggerated example.
    4e is still WAY more restrictive than any other edition before or after.
    If I wanted to make an agile paladin in 4e, both the rules and the other players would laugh at me for wanting to attack while using Dexterity, because powers dictate which ability I should use. Absolutely nothing in the RAW lets me change that for all my powers; only for basic attacks. "YAY!?"

    Maybe you should try and be a bit more open-minded. 4e isn't flawless system. Prestige Classes and templates were good for the editions where they were used. Why should I burn my dice if I like them better than 4e? I'm not telling you to burn your dice for liking 4e. Neither should you tell us do the opposite.



    Since 4e classes are already made to follow a standardized pattern, having less base classes and more uniquely flavored subclasses wouldn't sacrifice anything.

    Okay, back, and I'll give you that 4e cares more about ability scores than other editions, you could technically build a dex based paladin in previous editions. With no strength. You get almost no advantage from focusing on dexterity instead of strength but you could do it. And not see a whole lot of difference.

    Of course that really talks more about the sameness of the other editions than anything else. Ability score choices have concrete effects on characters in 4e, effecting how they play. In other editions, they were just window dressing ignored by a feat.

    Lets see the two compared are,

    In 4e a Paladin has to either have strength or charisma as its Primary, with wisdom as a useful third skill to build upon.

    In 3.5 a Paladin has to have both decent charisma and wisdom But is free to spend a feat to use something other than strength to hit with.

    Yep the increased flexibility is clear and evident.

    And more subclasses are fine, but I don't think thats what you are suggesting. It sounded to me like you wanted to collapse all the classes into just their 5 power sources and let players just take whatever power and class features they want with whatever ability scores they want.

    Because more subclasses wouldn't help. The essential subclasses for example are just narrower versions of the pre-essential standard builds. Count each standardized build as equivalent to a subclass and paladin for example and paladin already has seven sub classes.

    I can't even visualize a Paladin subclass/standardized build thats dex focused. Though the Cavalier I'll point out can ignore strength entirely since it relies on basic attacks for its at-wills. Just like in other editions.

    Dex secondary yeah I can picture that easily. A new cavalier type sub class that actually makes use of mounts might want dexterity for balance. But for now the current cavalier sub class can handle dex focused. Though its actually nature skill thus wisdom that 4e has put all its mounted stuff into.

    The only armorless sword fighter archetype I can think of is the anime wandering Swordsman type that declares armor to be weakness, and speed everything. And thats more a fighter than a paladin. And there is already a fighter build that prioritizes dexterity as a secondary. Though you can't dump str. But I don't think any roleplay is lost because of it.
    Last edited by Verbannon; 2018-01-04 at 03:07 AM.

  13. - Top - End - #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    You guys are aware that character diversity is a sliding scale, not a yes-or-no issue, yes? It is entirely possible for 4E to be more diverse than game X but less than game Y, or diverse enough for person A but not enough for person B.
    In this case its more I focus on the tactical part of the game, declaring it to be more diverse than other editions and whatshisname is focusing on the underlying mechanical framework. Since the entire game including the monsters use the same framework, the game lacks diversity from that perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Verbannon View Post
    In this case its more I focus on the tactical part of the game, declaring it to be more diverse than other editions and whatshisname is focusing on the underlying mechanical framework. Since the entire game including the monsters use the same framework, the game lacks diversity from that perspective.
    You should really try to be less rude towards people who disagree with you.
    Guide to the Magus, the Pathfinder Gish class.

    "I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums. I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that." -- ChubbyRain
    Crystal Shard Studios - Freeware games designed by Kurald and others!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    You should really try to be less rude towards people who disagree with you.
    I don't plan to stay rude, I just needed to be blunt at first to set the right first impression. I figured this forum has been an echo chamber for so long, nothing short insolent bluntness would cause an impression at all.

    Ideally you all now think of me as an arrogant ******* who is so confident in his own superiority that he is fine with dismissing the opinions and experiences of every single other 4e player here as simply the failures of amateurs, powerplayers and munchkins.

    Not the ideal first impression but it seemed the best one. I do think that the vast majority of 4e players have their opinions skewed incorrectly due to poor DMs, false expectations set up from the other editions causing the players to completely overlook what 4e actually does or simply a tendency to focus on power builds which also makes everything look off. So the first impression up there is close enough.

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    Default Re: New character

    I have come to a conclusion and I'll be taking a slightly "anarchistic" approach to being a defender.

    Spoiler: Berserker
    Show

    Arrakis the Whirlwind, level 4
    Human, Berserker
    Heartland: Frozen Land (Cold Resistance 5, +1 Will)
    Human Power Selection: Bonus At-Will Power
    Background: Narfell, Wandering Mercenary (Narfell Benefit)
    Character Theme (if allowed): Iron Wolf Warrior

    FINAL ABILITY SCORES
    Str 20, Con 18, Dex 16, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 14.

    STARTING ABILITY SCORES
    Str 17, Con 17, Dex 16, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 14.


    AC: 20 Fort: 21 Reflex: 17 Will: 16
    HP: 51 Surges: 12 Surge Value: 12

    TRAINED SKILLS
    Perception +8, Intimidate +9, Athletics +11, Endurance +13, Heal +8

    UNTRAINED SKILLS
    Acrobatics +4, Arcana +2, Bluff +4, Diplomacy +4, Dungeoneering +3, History +2, Insight +3, Nature +3, Religion +2, Stealth +4, Streetwise +4, Thievery +4

    FEATS
    Human: Weapon Proficiency (Katar)
    Level 1: Two-Weapon Fighting
    Level 2: Two-Weapon Defense
    Level 4: Cyclone Warrior (Fighter Multiclass feat)

    POWERS
    Berserker at-will 1: Stalk and Strike
    Berserker at-will 1: Whirling Rend
    Bonus At-Will Power: Run Down
    Berserker encounter 1: Whirling Frenzy
    Berserker daily 1: Sweeping Cut
    Berserker utility 2: Ominous Threat
    Berserker encounter 3: Whirling Step

    ITEMS
    Katar (2), Hide Armor of Thunder Resistance (5) +1, Adventurer's Kit


    Last edited by Arkhios; 2018-01-18 at 03:38 AM.

  17. - Top - End - #77
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    Default Re: New character

    I know that Cyclone Warrior is thematic, but is there any reason (especially given your starting stats) not to take Battle Awareness, the fighter MC feat from Martial Power, instead?

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    Quote Originally Posted by masteraleph View Post
    I know that Cyclone Warrior is thematic, but is there any reason (especially given your starting stats) not to take Battle Awareness, the fighter MC feat from Martial Power, instead?
    No reason, I just picked Cyclone Warrior because it was thematic, but I can see the reasoning why Battle Awareness would be better. I think that even Wrathful Warrior would be better, considering I'm supposed to be the defender. Every small bits of mitigating damage is welcome, I think.
    Last edited by Arkhios; 2018-01-15 at 01:57 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    So,

    "<game that I dislike> will break down when people try to optimize it, whereas this will never happen in <game that I like>."

    I think I've heard this argument now for every conceivable D&D-related pair of <game>s.

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    The character is nearly randomly optimized; the only bit of optimization seems to be 20 strength.

    It isn't anti-optimized. You'll be serviceable in heroic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yakk View Post
    The character is nearly randomly optimized; the only bit of optimization seems to be 20 strength.

    It isn't anti-optimized. You'll be serviceable in heroic.
    A question, if you don't mind.

    Why does everything have to be optimized? Just curious.
    My 5th Edition D&D Homebrew:
    Writing blue text written in cursive/italics is me being sarcastic or lighthearted, thus not intentionally offensive.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    So,

    "<game that I dislike> will break down when people try to optimize it, whereas this will never happen in <game that I like>."

    I think I've heard this argument now for every conceivable D&D-related pair of <game>s.

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    4eís designers made the game with a certain power curve. Monsters gain 1 to defense per level, so PCs need to gain roughly 1 to attack per level to keep up. Monsters typically gain 8 hp per level, so PCs need to gain about 2 to damage per level to keep up. Monsters gain new tricks like teleporting, shifting multiple squares, and applying conditions and zones, so PCs need to find ways to compensate. Some of that stuff is built in- the enhancement bonuses on armor/weapon/neck items or inherent bonuses, for example. And PCs certainly donít need to devote all of their resources to keeping up. But if they donít devote any, and the DM doesnít adjust monsters downward, combats will get grindier and less fun as you level up.

    Edit: put another way: if the striker in your party averages 8 damage per round at level 1 (1/4 of monster hp), they need to average 67 at level 30 to do the same relative damage. If they donít devote some resources to that, theyíll fall behind, even with encounter and daily powers added in.
    Last edited by masteraleph; 2018-01-15 at 09:28 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkhios View Post
    A question, if you don't mind.

    Why does everything have to be optimized? Just curious.
    Because at high heroic tier, and definitely in paragon and epic tier, if some players do not optimize and others do basic optimization (or some players do basic optimization and others go full-out cheese) then the former group will have trouble contributing and will be strongly overshadowed by the latter group. If all players in the group do not optimize, then combat at these levels will last longer and longer, and many players don't seem to like that. So yeah, basic optimization is required to make the game run, except at low levels where the difference is still small
    Guide to the Magus, the Pathfinder Gish class.

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    Default Re: New character

    Quote Originally Posted by Arkhios View Post
    Why does everything have to be optimized? Just curious.
    The same reason that everyone doing end game *anything* in an MMO is expected to be optimized: the game balances around a certain level of expected performance. If you're not optimizing, you're deviating from the expected performance in a negative way, which will dramatically impact your experience (and the experience of the rest of your group since they're relying on you to carry your weight).

    This gets into an interesting discussion of how much optimization a game should be designed for: if you use a low level of performance as your baseline (which is what City of Heroes/Villains did), you'll end up with random people being *vastly* outclassed by power gamers and you have a *lot* of problems figuring out legitimate ways to challenge the power gamers at anything; if you use a high level of performance (which WoW and most other MMOs do), you basically *force* everyone to optimize in order to be effective (which is one of the reasons why "skill/talent tree" systems were a complete joke; there was *always* an optimal build that you needed to use in order to perform well so the idea that you had choice in what to take was farcical).

    Basically, you can either have variance in level of optimization or encounters that have a predictable difficulty. They're mutually exclusive.

    Since 4e went with a very specific and predictable scaling for NPCs, if you don't optimize at least *that* much, you're rapidly going to find things go downhill.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkhios View Post
    A question, if you don't mind.

    Why does everything have to be optimized? Just curious.
    Why do you eat snow? Just curious.

    --

    I simply stated your character would be servicable in heroic. You won't be more than 2x less or more effective than most other players in your group. Your DM will be able to use MM3 encounter-building mechanics and generate interesting combats.

    At that level of optimization, in my experience those statements may not remain true towards the high end of heroic and the start of paragon tier. I've seen players get frustrated that their "hard hitting barbarian" started, well, generating no significant damage output, and not really hurting monsters. Or their "beefy tank" would get hit on every attack and not be able to stand up long against foes. Or get shut down constantly and not contribute to combat.

    But, as noted, you'll be servicable at level 4. A high-op fighter will out damage you and out tank you, but not by so much that you'll be useless.

    Spoiler
    Show

    You have a number optimization choices you made. Stat distribution, what stats you bump as you gain levels, race, class, theme, subclass, feats, magic items, power selection.

    Race seems neutral. Class neutral to low (Berserker is decent, but lacks support). Picked worst subclass. Feats add (high crit), (+1 damage), (+1 AC), (+1 damage 1/encounter for 1 round). None of these are great feats: 2 are middling (+1 damage +1 AC), 2 are bad (high crit with zero other crit support, and +1 damage 1/encounter).

    Stats and stat bump indicate your AC is going to fall further and further behind as you gain levels. If you continue to bump str/con you'll end up with worse-than wizard-level AC in defender mode at epic with little to show for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yakk View Post
    Feats add (high crit), (+1 damage), (+1 AC), (+1 damage 1/encounter for 1 round). None of these are great feats: 2 are middling (+1 damage +1 AC), 2 are bad (high crit with zero other crit support, and +1 damage 1/encounter).
    The feat choice is actually extremely suboptimal. Berserker Barbarian doesn't have any two-weapon powers so dual-wielding doesn't really net any benefits. Barbarians are already proficient in the light shield and rapier, which gets you +3 proficiency light blade, +1 shield bonus, and a d8 weapon die instead of a d6 (high crit), which is *better* than dual wielding katar because high crit is explicitly inferior to a higher weapon die. The only real "benefit" that you're getting out of those 4 feats you're spending is the ability to trigger Cyclone Warrior, which, as has been pointed out, is dramatically inferior to Battle Awareness, which you qualify for, and the ability to use striker powers that aren't even really that good for your build (remember: using *any* barbarian primal attack power activates your Berserker Fury for the rest of the encounter and those bonuses only apply to MBAs and the berserker at-wills; Whirling Rend gets no benefits at all, since Berserker Fury doesn't even count as the Rage state).

    In effect, you spent 3 feats just to break even with gear that doesn't work for your class and allow you to use an inferior option with your fourth feat.

    If you want to go as a dual wielding barbarian, you should just go with a Barbarian (Whirling Slayer) rather than a Berserker (which will allow you to dual wield one-handed weapons rather than offhand weapons). If you want to go as a Berserker, you either need to go sword and board (Temperate Land even gives you +2 damage with a one hander) or with a big weapon. Trying to combine the two just doesn't work because there just aren't options to support it.
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    Sure, but +1 damage and +1 AC from a feat, by itself, aren't horrible choices.

    I did forget about "gear pick" in my list of optimization choices.

    If you want to go Two-weapon barbarian, a hybrid Fighter|Barbarian would also work. Tempest Technique isn't nearly as good as Superiority, but isn't anti-optimized.

    Fighter|Barbarian
    1: Hybrid Talent: Tempest Technique (low benefit flavour feat), free TWDefence
    1: Katar proficiency (negative benefit flavour feat)
    2: Light Blade Expertise (+1 to hit, +1 damage with CA)
    4: Weapon Focus (light blade) (+1 damage)

    Swap Con and Dex.

    Str 20, Con 16, Dex 18, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 14.

    W1:
    Dual Weapon (fighter at-will)
    Whirling Rend (barbarian at-will)
    Howling Strike (barbarian at-will)
    E1: Whirling Frenzy (flavor)
    D1: Swift Pather Rage
    U2: Battle Fury Stance
    E3: Rain of Blows
    D5: Rain of Steel

    It isn't much different, because optimization really doesn't kick in and I'm staying constraind by your visible flavour.

    It is 2 points more accurate. In battle fury stance against a foe with CA it has a +6 static bonus to damage, plus any from the power, as opposed to the +1 static bonus of the build it was based on. A [W] power goes from 4.5 average damage to 9.5 average damage (more than 2x). A [W]+Str power goes from 9.5 to 14.5, almost +50%.

    That +4 or 5 to damage matches the +1d8 damage that the Berzerker gets on OAs/BA depending on Fury state, but is always on and stacks with Howling Strike and Whirling rend and other powers.

    Because this build is tap-heavy, adding a magic weapon (+1 or 2 per tap), two-weapon fighting (+1 per tap) give two fast and reasonably strong upgrades over the next little bit.

    So at level 6 with a +2 katar and twf feat, Rain of Blows deals 3d6+27 = 37.5 damage on hits. Average even level foe has 72 damage, so it is a "drop a foe if they are bloodied" power, which is nice for a striker to have.

    ---

    Or, in short, there isn't a TWF version of the Berzerker. Building one can work, but you can get basically identical flavour.

    Now, if I had you as a player, I'd instead write a TWF version of the Berzerker rather than hack a Hybrid.

    An easy thing to start with would be to poach Temptest Technique. But that is lazy.

    We have temperate, arid and frozen. We could add Coastal.

    Coastal: Gain the Rippled riposte and Bloody rend powers. L 4: resist 5 necrotic and lighting (10 at 14, 15 at 24).

    Rippled riposte + At-will, Barbarian, Martial
    Opportunity Action

    Special: This attack must use a weapon with the off-hand property
    Trigger: A creature under your defender aura hits you
    Target: The attacking creature
    Attack: Str vs Attack Roll of triggering attack
    Hit: [W]+Dex damage, and the attack misses
    Special: Once this power hits, you may not use it until the end of your next turn.

    Bloody rend + At-will, Barbarian, Primal
    Free action
    Special
    : You must be in a Fury
    Trigger: You deal damage to an enemy with an off-hand weapon in one hand while wielding an off-hand weapon in the other hand
    Effect: For each [W] in the power, roll both weapon damage dice and add them up.

    And maybe a Berserker two-weapon at-will.

    Double Cut + At-Will, Melee Weapon, Barbarian, Martial
    Target: Two creatures
    Special: Before or after each attack, shift 1.
    Attack: Str vs AC, at most one attack per creature, at most one attack per weapon.
    Hit: [W] (increasing to 2[W] at level 21)
    Fury: Deal an additional Dex damage on each attack.

    or two

    Bloodletting + At-Will, Melee Weapon, Barbarian, Martial
    Target: One creature
    Attack: Str vs AC
    Hit: [W]+Str, increasing to 2[W]+Str at level 21.
    Special: You may choose to deal 1d6 damage to yourself (increasing to 2d6 at level 21). If you do so, gain the damage taken in temporary HP and increase the damage you deal by the same amount. If you have a weapon in your other hand, you may instead deal 1d6+[W] damage to yourself (increasing to 2d6+2[W] at level 21).
    Fury: Deal an additional Dex damage.

    These abilities are probably over-tuned (a bit too strong), but I think they look fun.

    Bloodletting works for anyone, but is stronger for 2 weapon users.

    Bloody Rend lets you "combine" your two weapon sides into one. Riposte is an "active" defence to somewhat make up for your poor AC.

    Double Cut and Boody Rend stack in nasty ways. For your character it would be two 2d6+Dex attacks (one per creature) while in Fury.
    Last edited by Yakk; 2018-01-15 at 04:17 PM.

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    Hmm. I hadn't considered that 4th actually was designed with that meticulous level of enforced optimization in mind, but I can see that now. Probably part of the reason why I got tired of 4e so quickly back then.

    I mean, I could optimise if I wanted to, but more often than not, I prefer not to. Instead, I like to play something that seems cool or fun, even if it isn't perfectly optimised. Frankly said, I do hate it when people patronise about it, but it's nothing personal.

    I appreciate the sentiment of homebrewing stuff just for me, but my DM was quite clear that if it's from a book or an official magazine then it's allowed. Needless to say, homebrew is not. Personally, I'm all game with homebrewing though.

    I want to play something that isn't inherently obvious for a given party role or class.

    Since Berserker has the Defender Aura and a class feature which increases his AC by 2 when the aura is active, I thought that a total AC 22 (@L4) would be more than enough when the need for a defender is most dire.
    That's one thing I like about Berserker. It can switch between defender and striker roles relatively well. Katar is a high crit weapon and has superior accuracy so I thought it would be good for the character. Plus the picture I found strongly influenced the weapon of choice. I might actually change the heartland to Arid Desert because I think it's hilarious to actually have an impressive AC and wear nothing but a loin cloth xD. Besides, it complements dual wielding perfectly.

    I admit I was a bit on the fence about swapping Con and Dex, and I just might do that. That would increase the AC even further.

    Regarding berserker's lack of two-weapon powers, you can still choose other barbarian powers. I don't think it's all that bad if you don't get those Whirling Slayer specific riders. Most of them are just a marginal increase for riders that are already present in those powers anyway. I intend to take all Berserker Dailies which increase the range of Defender Aura, though.

    I also intend to pick Novice/Acolyte/Adept multiclass feats later and choose attack powers that are normally intended for Tempest Fighter. Most of which don't even have any build specific riders, which works perfectly for my purposes.

    Although I would love to paragon multiclass with Fighter and choose the feat that gives me Combat Superiority, I'm aware I'd have to wait for the 12th level feat before I could use DEX instead of WIS with it. Thus, I haven't decided on Paragon Path just yet. I might change my mind later if I found something better for the concept.
    Last edited by Arkhios; 2018-01-16 at 12:52 AM.

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    It isn't that it requires that level of meticulous balance. Rather, if you are reasonably optimized (not over and not under), the DM encounter building tools amazingly consistently generate tactically interesting battles.

    This is unlike other editions, where the difficulty/interestingness of battles is a crapshoot using the official encounter balancing system.

    DMs can compensate for a party that is over/under powered by homebrewing monsters and difficulty. This, however, makes monster choice in encounter building as hard for the DM as it was in other editions of D&D. A reasonably balanced party with acceptable levels of optimization will free the DM of that problem, and they can focus on other interesting parts of encounter building (terrain, tactics, etc).

    ---

    http://dnd4.wikia.com/wiki/Whirling_rend -- With 20 str/18 dex and d6 weapons, this power goes from d6+5/d6 to d6+9/d6+4, a 47% increase on primary target and 114% increase on secondary target damage.

    That isn't a "marginal increase"; it does get reduced as you gain more static bonuses. But especially early on that is the difference between a striker and a non-striker's damage output.

    Whirling frenzy -- goes from vs AC to optionally vs Reflex. That is about a 20% boost in effectiveness.

    Whirling Step -- marginal change

    ---

    While 20% can be ignored, 20% 2-3 times is huge and 20% 5 times is night and day.

    Like I said, this level of optimization is fine at (early) heroic. It is just that if you continue to "random optimize" (pick stuff based on flavor), you'll end up falling behind 10% here, 10% there, until you are ineffective.

    If you go high-op on *half* of your picks, you can stay afloat reasonably well against similar-level foes. Or you can do half-op on all of your picks.

    ---

    "I might actually change the heartland to Arid Desert because I think it's hilarious to actually have an impressive AC and wear nothing but a loin cloth xD"

    Drop TWF and TWD (maybe later) Grab "unarmored agility" for 1 feat granting +2 AC (!).

    With 18 dex, arid climate and unarmored agility and +1 cloth armor, your AC at level 4 is (10+2(level)+4(dex)+3(arid)+2(feat)+1(enhance)) =22 AC. +2 when in defender mode.

    ---

    How can you tell if your AC/ATK is any good? Well, subtract your level from it. Each level monsters gain +1 ATK and +1 DEF; by subtracting your level you can see how you do compared to monsters. Players can usually pull off a steady or increasing "normalized AC" or "ATK" or even non-AC defence, if you don't neglect them.

    Your character has a normalized AC (nAC) of 16, 18 in defender mode. The arid version of yourself has 18 nAC, 20 in defender mode.

    ---

    Light Blade Expertise grants +1 to hit, and if you don't hit you don't do anything. It also grants +1 damage if you have combat advantage; you'll want to get that at least half the time, so it is almost 2 bonuses in one feat.

    Unarmored Agility
    Light Blade Expertise

    Now, I'm guessing you want Katars to look awesome. Sure. They are a bad superior weapon, but we can afford to not always be optimal.

    This leaves 1 feat. Multiclass Fighter is great, but the best one by far is the one that grants an extra (basic) attack when an adjacent enemy shifts or makes an attack that doesn't include you. Note that it is an immediate interrupt, and it works while you are raging.

    As an immediate action, it doesn't use the same action as your vengeful guardian feature, so you get to double punish 1/encounter. Or you can punish once even after you are in fury (and get the +1d8 damage).

    ---

    Human: Weapon Proficiency (Katar)
    Level 1: Unarmored Agility
    Level 2: Light Blade Expertise
    Level 4: Battle Awareness (MC fighter)

    Swap con and dex. Lose 2 HP and 1 surge, gain 1 AC and 1 Ref and 1 Initiative.

    FINAL ABILITY SCORES
    Str 20, Con 16, Dex 18, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 14.

    AC: 22(+2) Fort: 21 Reflex: 18 Will: 16
    HP: 49 Surges: 11 Surge Value: 12 Initiative: +6

    Basic Attack (Katar): +11 vs AC, 1d6+5 damage (+1 with CA)

    You won't be a high damage dealer (as the Katar build still hurts), but you'll be a bit better.

    ---

    Oh, and ask if you can use "are raging" riders on barbarian at-wills when you are in a fury?
    Last edited by Yakk; 2018-01-16 at 09:56 AM.

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    Default Re: New character

    I would add simply that 4E encourages refluffing. A katar is a punching dagger. Yes, there is a weapon designated as a katar, but why not use another weapon, one with a +3 proficiency bonus, like a dagger or short sword, and simply refluff it as a katar? You can keep the image and tell yourself my short sword looks like the image....
    Through a series of unfortunate events, my handle on the WotC boards was darkwarlock.

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    Or the double sword, which is defensive (+1 AC) instead of high crit.

    High crit (A) scales with [W] size (small here), and (B) scales with crit-fishing (none here).

    If you where an avenger (x2 crit chance) 18-20 crit range (3x crit chance) who makes 4 attacks/around (4x crit chance) using a d12 weapon (2x benefit), high crit is 48x (!) better.

    In effect, high crit *scales too well* in optimal situations to make it any good in typical use. Because fully scaling high crit is strong, but doesn't break the game, and fully scaled high crit is almost 50x better than typical high crit use.

    At 1 attack per round, at +3.5 damage per crit, that works out to +0.175 damage/round. At 10 damage/attack, +1 to hit works out to 0.5 damage/round. At 50% accuracy, +1 average damage works out to 0.5 damage/round.

    A rapier deals 8 damage on a crit; a high crit d6 weapon deals 9.5. So the rapier deals 1.5 less damage on a crit (-0.075 damage/attack) and deals +1 damage elsewise (+0.5 damage/attack). And the rapier is now a martial weapon, not a superior one.

    ---

    I'd add another adjective that grants you a 19-20 crit range; threatening?

    Katar: +3 prof, d6 damage, off-hand, high crit, threatening, brutal 1.

    That is a nasty superior weapon. +0.5 damage/hit, +0.4 damage/attack from high crit, over a short sword.

    Of course, part of the problem is the rapier, which used to be a superior weapon and was retroactively made martial. Another part is that light blades where originally basically suboptimal for anyone who didn't have special light blade (or off-hand) boosting riders (like the Rogue, and some Fighter powers, and Tempest off-hand).

    There is no benefit to having an off-hand size weapon in your primary hand, but it looks cool with matching weapons. Replacing it with a longsword or rapier gives you an extra 0.5 damage/round or more.
    Last edited by Yakk; 2018-01-16 at 01:24 PM.

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