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    Default I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    I'm co-DMing a campaign with a friend (mostly because I know the math for 3.5 better than anyone else in our group and he wants to write a storyline) and we are still structuring the game. We spent our last session doing nothing but character creation and one person wanted to be a warlock and one wanted to be a multi-class fighter soulknife. I looked at both classes and I got this overwhelming feeling from both that they were broken but I wanted to get your opinions.

    Warlock- Infinite ranged touch attacks (which means you'll hit Ogres rolling better than a 8 plus modifiers) with the ability to change the way you want to deal damage at will. It gets to change the shape of the blast and effects of the blast without penalty. I don't feel comfortable about this.

    Soul Knife- I'll be honest because I don't have the paperwork in front of me but I remember reading it and thinking that it messed with game balance.

    I'm fairly new at the full DM'ing but I'm very concerned about having a functional balanced game. I don't want to have to throw creatures at the team that are stronger than everyone else's CR just because I need to negate the effects of broken PC's. I don't mind adjusting how I set up battles because everyone adjusts a little bit based on whether there is a Wizard or Cleric in the group. I just don't want to make it look like all of the enemies are preparing against the nuance of one warlock and one soulknife in the team. All advice would be appreciated.
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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    Neither of these classes is overpowered (the soulknife is a little underpowered). Your game will be fine if you allow them.
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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    you should allow both of those classes, soulknife isn't all that good because it doesn't have a full BAB and relies solely on weapons for damage. unlike the other melee oriented classes it doesnt have all that much that makes it better in combat, fighters get their feats, rangers their spells and animal companion, and barbarians get rage. Warlock is ok but is generally seen as one of the weaker classes but I dont know that much about it.
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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    Quote Originally Posted by MalachorWraith View Post
    I'm co-DMing a campaign with a friend (mostly because I know the math for 3.5 better than anyone else in our group and he wants to write a storyline) and we are still structuring the game. We spent our last session doing nothing but character creation and one person wanted to be a warlock and one wanted to be a multi-class fighter soulknife. I looked at both classes and I got this overwhelming feeling from both that they were broken but I wanted to get your opinions.

    Warlock- Infinite ranged touch attacks (which means you'll hit Ogres rolling better than a 8 plus modifiers) with the ability to change the way you want to deal damage at will. It gets to change the shape of the blast and effects of the blast without penalty. I don't feel comfortable about this.

    Soul Knife- I'll be honest because I don't have the paperwork in front of me but I remember reading it and thinking that it messed with game balance.

    I'm fairly new at the full DM'ing but I'm very concerned about having a functional balanced game. I don't want to have to throw creatures at the team that are stronger than everyone else's CR just because I need to negate the effects of broken PC's. I don't mind adjusting how I set up battles because everyone adjusts a little bit based on whether there is a Wizard or Cleric in the group. I just don't want to make it look like all of the enemies are preparing against the nuance of one warlock and one soulknife in the team. All advice would be appreciated.
    Honestly, those are two of the most underpowered classes in the game under 90% of all conditions. Here are the problems that might come up:

    1. You don't give the players anywhere near the wealth by level guidelines in the DMG, and by the time the fighter gets a +2 sword the soulknife is working on +4 with some enhancements. Of course, the fighter would still most likely whup the soulknife's behind in a fight, because they're gimped in many other ways.

    2. Warlocks + a larger-than-average number of fairly weak enemies. If you aren't running more than 6 encounters per day and mix the enemies up a bit rather than sending big, slow bruisers over and over again, the warlock will start to suck compared to a wizard in terms of doing stuff to the enemies.

    3. You're in the habit of locking your PCs in dungeon cells without equipment.
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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    Warlocks are a low-powered arcane caster class, and soulknives are a rather weak melee class. It's not a problem usually.

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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    On a side note, you can reference Soulknife rules online easily here.
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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    As a new DM, I say don't allow anything outside of core. You'll have enough trouble dealing with all the problems new DMs go through, there is no need to add extra character classes to the list.

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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    At very low levels, the warlock is pretty nice (but by no means broken) and the soulknife is decent(ish). At medium-low levels, the warlock struggles to pull his own weight and the soulknife just starts to suck. When all the warlock can do is pull out weak spell effects, being able to use them an unlimited number of times per day just means he can be mediocre all day long. The warlock means much less bookkeeping and adjudication headaches than a wizard or sorcerer, so I'd say it would probably be a good thing for an inexperienced DM.

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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    Neither of these classes are at all overpowered. The warlock is honestly one of the most fun classes I've played, because it's nice to occasionally just throw caution to the wind and blow stuff up. A warlock played cleverly can do decent battlefield control, and a non-magical barrier will never, ever get in his way if he takes Baleful Utterance so watch out for that if you're planning on putting a labyrinth or somesuch into the plot, but they don't break things.

    If you're worried, look at average damage. Say you get up to level 20, the warlock's doing 9d6 points of damage, for an average of 30 or so points of damage once a round in most circumstances. A 10th level wizard can easily do half that again with a ranged touch attack using one of the orb spells, and while, yes, he's limited to the number of times he can do that in a day, unless you're planning on running a large number of encounters each day, it's not going to come up.

    The soulknife is just a fighter with a rogue's base attack bonus and without the need for an expensive weapon.
    Last edited by nerulean; 2007-12-02 at 04:05 PM.
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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    The only situation I've ever seen a warlock be especially good in was World's Largest Dungeon; a drow warlock was the longest-lasting character. And that's only because the dungeon is gigantic, throws encounters 2 to 3 above the party EL at you all the time and one right after the other, and provides no safe spots to rest in most of the sections. As you can probably imagine, expendable resources ran very low, very fast, which is why the warlock was handy.
    Last edited by Renegade Paladin; 2007-12-02 at 04:07 PM.
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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    Both warlock and soulknife are moderately underpowered but very fun; don't be fooled by the "unlimited" ability, unless you intend to run Helm's Deep every session I can guarantee that they will never be in a situation where not being worried about running out will be a good choice for them. That said, I strongly advise to allow these two, they have very little work associated with them and built in brakes against breaking anything.
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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    The Warlock is "a little" underpowered, yes. The Soulknife, on the other hand, is one of the worst classes in the whole game; I'd say it might even be worse than the Monk.

    Allow the Warlock but not the Soulknife--for your player's own good.

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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    The warlock is considered somewhat underpowered, but can at least still contribute most of the time (there's almost no situation where flying + invisibility + long-ranged attacks can't help at least a bit). It's fine for a new DM, but make sure the player taking it understands that it'll mostly be less powerful than a normal wizard, so they don't start complaining when the party's actual arcane caster (if they have one) constantly outshines them. Still, particularly in a game without optimization (likely with new players), the warlock can be a lot of fun and is easy to use.

    The soulknife is complete rubbish, usually lumped in just a notch above the CWar samurai in terms of pure awfulness. Even players who don't usually care about class power tend to avoid it unless their character concept is a really, really weak fighter. They get terrible BAB and no bonus feats, and in exchange they get... a weapon weaker than what they could buy at that level, which is unable to pierce most forms of DR. It isn't even a matter of optimization; a regular soulknife is going to be noticably weaker at most levels than a regular unoptimized fighter or barbarian. Let the player take it if they really want to, but make sure they know it's a weak class overall.
    Last edited by Aquillion; 2007-12-02 at 08:44 PM.

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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    Note that a warlock can do, at level 20, 9d6 damage per round (plus 2d6 the next round with vitrolic blast if he decides to use it). A level 3 spell, fireball, does 10d6 at level 10, or sooner if you have caster level bonuses. Wizards get third level spells at level 5.

    Hellfire warlock is a prestige class which increases your damage by 2d6 per level, but there's only three levels and you take Constitution damage when you cast, which makes it no longer infinitely usable unless you buy a lot of wands of lesser restoration. A wizard will still do much, much more with disintegrate (40d6 at level 20). A fighter-type will do more as well, and he can deal damage infinitely just like the warlock, except he has less mobility. This can be remedied to a certain extent with items.

    What a warlock really has is mobility and infinitely usability. He's pretty weak as far as killing things go, especially at high levels, but still fun to play. My opinion.

    Edit: Wow seems like a lot of people wanted to give their opinions on this . Ninja'd.

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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    Also, for the Soulknife player... if they just care about the flavor, you could suggest that they play a Psychic Warrior with the Call Weaponry power.

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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    Warlocks aren't about the Eldritch Blast at higher levels--their magic item creation abilities come in full swing by then. It is fairly advanced, time is definitely a limiting factor, but I think a Warlock could use preparation time to get pretty close to, if not further than (in some cases), a Wizard's ability by crafting scrolls, wands, staves, or other consumables for any spell in the game (right?). Some of it wouldn't make sense according to flavor, sure, but everything else is fair game. A Wand of Fireball by level 10 would be easy and cheap, but not really necessary.

    I prefer Warlocks to Wizards because they have that item creation ability. The invocations are much more reliable then spell slots and serve the same function once the laboratory is up and going. Warlocks don't need dispel magic wands or magic missile, plus a few other things can be eliminated, so your focus is on buffing up the party with the items, assuming other spellcasters aren't around. I'm pretty sure metamagic works with items too, if you even really need one of those. You'd miss out on quicken spell, and you'd be less powerful than a Wizard because of it, but that's more balanced anyways.

    You could even circumvent a Cleric that way, with enough finesse. Farm for experience and gold with unlimited use abilities, make useful stuff with it, rinse and repeat. I don't think it's overpowered, you can still put limits on the amount of time they spend going through the cycle as DM, but it's basically identical to the spell memorization mechanic with the exception of costing more resources (which would be used anyways at higher levels).

    But, yes, the soulknife won't be having too much fun I bet. Psion stuff is neat but not that class.
    Last edited by nooblade; 2007-12-02 at 04:44 PM.

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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen Joe View Post
    As a new DM, I say don't allow anything outside of core. You'll have enough trouble dealing with all the problems new DMs go through, there is no need to add extra character classes to the list.
    Quoted for truth.

    Seriously, everyone in this thread might be meaning well, but A, they're much more experienced as players and theoretical character-builders than you as a DM, B, it sounds like you're not particularly familiar with these classes (at least the soulblade), and you should never, ever let into your game something you don't feel familiar enough with, and C, you're DM-ing that game, not them. If you don't feel comfortable with those classes, and/or if you feel your hands will be full even without them, you just say so to your players, and that's where the buck stops.
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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    Quote Originally Posted by Premier View Post
    You are the DM, and thus the first and last authority in your campaign. Not your players, not the guys who write and publish D&D splatbooks, not the members of the GitP forum. You.
    He asked for our advice. If he really doesn't want the Warlock, he doesn't need to bother with the Warlock, but he posted on these forums stating that he was considering adding the Warlock but was concerned about balance.
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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    The warlock is fine, even though it can do damage at will, that doesn't do much until epic where you can double the amount of blasts a round. (Watch those dice skyrocket!)
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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    Quote Originally Posted by Draz74 View Post
    On a side note, you can reference Soulknife rules online easily here.
    That helps a lot.

    I think I'm going to allow it if it really trades off that much.
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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    Quote Originally Posted by MalachorWraith View Post
    That helps a lot.

    I think I'm going to allow it if it really trades off that much.
    The soul knife looks okay at first glance. Two good saves, d10 HD, decentish skills, okay abilities. But a closer examination reveals two things.

    #1. 2/3 BAB progression. This means he will be passed up in martial ability by all the primary melee classes (Fighter, Ranger, Barbarian). Especially since he doesn't get as many bonus feats that the fighter and ranger do.

    #2. Most of his abilities relate to his weapon, which really isn't all that great. Basically he gets a free psionic weapon basically equivalent to what he could buy at that level. He can resummon it at will which is nice, and he can throw it (though not multiple times a round until high level). This is nice, but really not all that great compared to the extra stuff fighters/rangers/barbarians get.

    He does get some decent abilities. Particularly Psychic strike and sword to soul and some okay feats/abilities (weapon focus, greater weapon focus, and the whirlwind like one). But they are hardly that great when compared to what he gives up (particularly the BAB).

    IMO if you slap full BAB progression on the Soul Knife you get a MUCH better class. Probably somewhere around the ranger in terms of power level, and probably better than the fighter (depending upon feats). However despite a good HD and two good saves it still not THAT powerful due to its lack of heavy armor proficiency. A good barbarian will eat it up. I would also consider allowing a feat/item that allowed the Soul Knife to use something other than a short sword as his primary weapon.
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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    I'd say 'sure'. No spells/day limit means less character sheet browsing which is always good.
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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shas'aia Toriia View Post
    The warlock is fine, even though it can do damage at will, that doesn't do much until epic where you can double the amount of blasts a round. (Watch those dice skyrocket!)
    That means nothing when the party Wizard is ending universes for fun.
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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Chocobo View Post
    That means nothing when the party Wizard is ending universes for fun.
    or creating them, or destroying them, or populating them..
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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    Might as well suggest a lil' something. The Warlock should be fine, but if your player wants to play a soulknife, tell him to play a psychic warrior with this variant:

    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=65001


    It'll be more fun for him, and less of a headache for you when you have to prep a monster that is tailormade for him because he'll suck badly if you don't.

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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    Quote Originally Posted by Premier View Post
    Quoted for truth.

    Seriously, everyone in this thread might be meaning well, but A, they're much more experienced as players and theoretical character-builders than you as a DM, B, it sounds like you're not particularly familiar with these classes (at least the soulblade), and you should never, ever let into your game something you don't feel familiar enough with, and C, you're DM-ing that game, not them. If you don't feel comfortable with those classes, and/or if you feel your hands will be full even without them, you just say so to your players, and that's where the buck stops.
    You are the DM, and thus the first and last authority in your campaign. Not your players, not the guys who write and publish D&D splatbooks, not the members of the GitP forum. You.
    This isn't really fair. When you get down to it, Warlocks are not terribly complicated; they have a few (at most) paragraph-length abilities, and you really only need to read the twelve invocations your PC takes. You don't have to worry about durations, or complicated rules for their powers, or them suddenly pulling out a seldom-used invocation you'd forgotten about, or anything like that; they're probably the most straightforward magic class in the game. If I was a new DM, just in terms of simplicity, I would rather my players take a Warlock over an actual caster any day of the week.

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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    Haven't read the entire thread, but the prevailing wisdom on this message board is that those two classes are on the low end of the power scale.

    I think, the more important issues are these:
    1. Do you feel comfortable with what those classes can do?
    2. If you are not particularly familiar with those rules sets, can you trust your players to police themselves? (for both intentional cheating, and honest mistakes).

    I'm not especially familiar with those two classes (read them, but never played either), but my players are generally pretty good at policing themselves. Mistakes are made, but it's never intentional.
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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aquillion View Post
    This isn't really fair. When you get down to it, Warlocks are not terribly complicated; they have a few (at most) paragraph-length abilities, and you really only need to read the twelve invocations your PC takes. You don't have to worry about durations, or complicated rules for their powers, or them suddenly pulling out a seldom-used invocation you'd forgotten about, or anything like that; they're probably the most straightforward magic class in the game. If I was a new DM, just in terms of simplicity, I would rather my players take a Warlock over an actual caster any day of the week.
    Hell, as an experienced DM, I'd still rather deal with a warlock than a full caster. Full casters have so many ways to break the plot that it's not even funny, especially once you get to around level 9-10. There's always that one single spell you forgot the wizard had. When I run a D&D game, I have a list of banned spells as long as your arm.

    While warlocks have a few DM-irking tricks, they're always the same tricks for any given warlock, so it's much easier to plan for them.
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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    Seconded on that, even HALF casters can kill plots horribly. Example: I intend to set up a shipwreck, but a psywar expands to huge size, uses the float power, grabs his party, and sends half a campaign down the drain.

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    Default Re: I'm a new DM, should I allow a warlock or soul-knife?

    Just agreeing with most of the others. Yes, you should allow them.
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