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WarKitty
2010-11-01, 02:50 PM
What would it take in D&D to get a tier 1 class that isn't a pure casting class? Or rather, what would you need to do to get our much-maligned sword-swinging hero to where he's an equal partner to the wizard?

Gavinfoxx
2010-11-01, 02:52 PM
Combine three or so of the main fighter fixes, including the tome one, and make melee attacks into save or dies?

Eldan
2010-11-01, 02:53 PM
Versatility, both in and out of combat. A high-level wizard can not only do thirty different things every day, he can also change which thirty things he wants to be able to do every day and use all those thirty things in creative ways.

Brendan
2010-11-01, 02:55 PM
a lot. tier 1 is all about having tons of viable options for every situation. an ubercharger fighter is not tier one because it can only contribute meaningfully in one manner. it is powerful but not tier 1.
the melee character would need to be viable in more than just melee, and by the time you get them to be able to do that, they are no longer a melee class.

valadil
2010-11-01, 02:56 PM
Attacks against any save, or no save at all.
One shot disabling of enemies.
Attacks against groups of enemies.
Less reliance on equipment.
Versatility to duplicate any 3 other classes.


That's a start anyway. The last item is half a joke. It's necessary for bringing fighters up to wizard level, but I don't actually think they should be up to that power level.

Xefas
2010-11-01, 03:00 PM
They need to do things other than kill stuff really well. Even if every one of your sword-swings is an at-will Save or Die, you're still not tier 1. You can't fly, or teleport, or planeshift, or scry, or raise zombie armies, or mind control a bunch of people, or create demiplanes, or raise people from the dead, etc.

So, to make a tier 1 fighter-type, you may have to throw in (Ex) versions of "I'm so good at cutting stuff, I can planeshift", and "My fighter-sense is so good I get effects similar to Foresight/Clairvoyance/Scry, even though it's just instinct and not magical at all", and "I'm so damn inspiring it just works like mind control."

WarKitty
2010-11-01, 03:01 PM
Tier 2-3 might be a better balance point then. I don't find a lot of difference between those two tiers in play; the Tier 2 in practice has to be built to do one thing well.

But maybe a fighter/TOBmelee/rogue might have a better shot then. Give the melee the abilities to be skillmonkeys. And better targetting options - the wizard can do SoD; the fighter can whack you with no save.

Kansaschaser
2010-11-01, 03:03 PM
The Book of Nine Swords presents three "melee" classes that can be very versatile. I think the Swordsage is the most versatile of all of them. It can choose maneuvers and stances from more disciplines than the other classes.

A Warblade / Bloodstorm Blade made right can almost whipe out an army in one or two rounds.

A well made Crusader can be the meat shield and the healer of a group at the same time.

Frosty
2010-11-01, 03:10 PM
The difference between tier 2 and 3 is huge though, because tier 2 can still be game-breaking and world-ending (just in less ways compared to tier 1).

You can optimize and be an extremely effective and terrifying tier 3 character as a melee-type (especially if you go ToB), but how the heck are you going to rival Timestop or Dominate Monster or Etherealness or Solid Fog or Greater Dispel Magic or...you get the idea. I mean yes there are items, but...

And heck, all the spells I listed are from another Tier 3 class (Beguiler). I haven't gotten to the really broken crap like Genesis and setting your own time trait.

Kalaska'Agathas
2010-11-01, 03:16 PM
Our Sword-Swinging Hero would have to be able to do a lot more than just swing a sword. Power and Versatility are what make a Tier 1 class, and are typically things melee characters lack. An Ubercharger can fix the power side, in a limited way (dealing massive amounts of HP damage) but does very little for the versatility side - when encountering a trap his tactic is essentially useless; when in a social situation his tactic is essentially useless; when required to sneak about his tactic is essentially useless. I don't think introducing a Save-or-Die/Suck mechanic to melee attacks would help much either, as they a. work or b. are completely useless. And they would still do nothing for the versatility of the character, which is really what defines a Tier 1 class (as opposed, at least, to a Tier 2 class).

Increased access to skills (and to skill points) would help some, as much of the versatility of magic comes from replicating/replacing skill checks and skill-based abilities. But for things like Flight, Teleportation, Scrying, Planar Travel, Summoning, etc. our SSH is out of luck, and will likely remain so, if he wants to remain an SSH (for finding a mundane way of replicating such abilities would strain verisimilitude).

In combat, it might benefit the SSH to be able to induce status effects (Fear Effects via Intimidate, Blinding, Slowing, Bleeding, etc.) or effects from combat maneuvers (Tripping, Bull Rushing (I prefer to think of it as tactical enemy relocation), Grappling, etc.) or introducing such mechanics as the Knight's creating difficult terrain or Thicket of Blades' making the enemy provoke on a 5' step. This gives him tactics beyond "I swing my sword to cause damage" and lets him interact with his world in more varied ways. Increasing mobility also helps. Roll Spring Attack, Bounding Assault, and Rapid Blitz into one feat, allowing you to move and full-attack (or something close to it) would increase our SSH's abilities as well.

In any case, it would be very hard to create a mundane melee character which plays at a tier 1 level. Wizards and the like have so many different abilities, and the ability to change them from day to day, that it would seem that the SSH is simply unable to match them without becoming them (i.e. a Gish).

Gavinfoxx
2010-11-01, 03:17 PM
So what if we combined all the good base features of the Bo9S classes, and gave them access to all their maneuvers, without having to ready them, and they could just spam the best maneuvers again and again?

jiriku
2010-11-01, 03:17 PM
One suggestion that JaronK himself put forward (IIRC) was the idea that in a game that includes T1-T3 PCs, T4-T6 classes can be gestalted with one another for fun and profit (and game balance). I originally poo-poohed this idea because I'm not wild about gestalt, but as I've considered it, I see the point. T4-T6 classes have holes in them, things they should be able to do but can't. Gestalt is a patch-job method of filling the holes.

In the spirit of this idea (and because I still don't like gestalt rules), I've been writing single-class progressions of ranger//scout, knight//paladin, and rogue//swashbuckler that are designed to fill in the holes and produce classes that function competitively with T3 martial initiators. But gestalt is a quick-and-dirty way to accomplish roughly the same thing.

At the same time, the T1 casters need a hard nerf to restrict the scope and variety of their options. The wizard is a prime example of this build sickness. Over time, the wizard has grown, cancer-like, to encompass the power and versatility of every robe-wearing, staff-carrying, spell-slinging character in fantasy literature. The class is like a flesh-eating amoeba, growing with every splatbook to swallow everything in its path. We need more classes like the beguiler, dread necromancer, warmage, and healer (well, maybe not the healer) that are intended to encompass a narrower archetype. The elemental casters in my sig are a few examples of more appropriately scaled arcane casters, although our homebrew forums have yielded many, many, many others.

Kalaska'Agathas
2010-11-01, 03:19 PM
So what if we combined all the good base features of the Bo9S classes, and gave them access to all their maneuvers, without having to ready them, and they could just spam the best maneuvers again and again?

The Wizard still tops that. Plane Shift, Genesis, Time Stop, Polymorph, etc. aren't replicated by any maneuver I know of.

Pechvarry
2010-11-01, 03:21 PM
Tier 2 is an odd duck. As far as I can reason, it's very possible to be tier 2 while being less versatile than a tier 3 (EDIT: I just re-read JaronK's tier post. he himself makes mention of this). At which point, they could be considered very high-powered tier 4. But then, if you just want a tier 3 melee, it's just ToB.

The other thing about trying to make tier 1 melees is remembering party roles. It's true that wizards can take almost all other party roles, but making a tier 1 melee shouldn't necessarily be "mundane versions of level 9 spells". It occurs to me that you could feasibly just make a class that's automatically an ubercharger, dealing thousands of damage/hit out of the box, while also being a fantastic party buffer with the ability to toss out full heals on every swing of their sword. Direct damage, direct numerical buffing, and healing are all areas wizards really do not excel at.

Though granted, wizards don't need HP damage to drop a foe in one round, and their crowd control/situation enabling abilities serve as buffing and damage negation just fine.

JaronK
2010-11-01, 03:28 PM
Tier 2 is an odd duck. As far as I can reason, it's very possible to be tier 2 while being less versatile than a tier 3. At which point, they could be considered very high-powered tier 4. But then, if you just want a tier 3 melee, it's just ToB.

Yeah, it is. When I originally wrote the system, T2 and T3 were the same, because in real play they're often on average the same. But T2 operates dramatically differently... less flexibility (so they're more likely to just not be able to contribute to a situation, like a Sorcerer that simply doesn't have spells related to what you're doing right now) but far more raw power (Planar Binding? Sure why not). So they're separate, but in a way the T2/3 distinction is that T2 has far more power but less versatility, while T3 has far more versatility but less power. This means sometimes T2 can be weaker than 3.

As for the idea of a T1 melee, it's probably a poor idea. Better to just lower the casters down. A T1 melee means that for every situation, you have a class ability that could completely solve that situation... and not just in combat. Need to get somewhere? Melee teleport. Need to know some information? Melee divination ability. Need someone on your side? ...okay, Diplomacy already exists, but you get the idea. The point is that T1 is so powerful that anything other than magic doesn't really make any sense at all.

JaronK

mootoall
2010-11-01, 03:29 PM
Well, to kinda replicate Time Stop (not really) in the case of swinging your sword, you could double a fighter's BAB at high levels, giving him a ridiculous amount of iterative attacks, and then let him move and full attack with either 1 feat or no feats?

Logalmier
2010-11-01, 03:35 PM
They need to be able to do so much that it doesn't even fit thematically with what a fighter should be able to do. They need to be able to jump so well that they can practically fly. They need to be able to throw a sword in a way that kills everything. They need to somehow reflect the suns rays off of their swords in a way that creates an illusion. Sure, you could use magic items to get these effects, but then it's not so much the melee character that's top-tier, but his items.

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-01, 03:40 PM
The difference between tier 2 and 3 is huge though, because tier 2 can still be game-breaking and world-ending (just in less ways compared to tier 1). Uhm. Tier 4 can be game-breaking. Throw the moon or something. I don't even care. You can trash the game at pretty much any tier if you want to.

Quellian-dyrae
2010-11-01, 03:40 PM
It would take accepting that while a top-tier melee character may not be explicitly magical (i.e. acquires powers from a supernatural source) they can be explicitly superhuman (i.e. capable of doing things that are patently impossible and able to break physics). Then just give them capabilities in line with utility spells and the more diverse combat spells (Valadil covered those admirably), probably building off of skills and ability scores. To make them Tier 2, they choose a selection of these abilities which are more or less set. To make them Tier 1, they can switch them around daily. Really, there are very few mechanical effects that cannot be, if not entirely emulated, at least approximated with a non-supernatural power source. And there are several that don't even require explicitly superhuman ability.

oxybe
2010-11-01, 03:53 PM
answer this question:

the fighter can fight and... what else?

in and of itself it only has one answer: kill it with sword.

giving the fighter a thousand and one combat options still only makes the fighter good at fighting and little else.

i voiced my opinions on how 3.5 is borked in another thread and some of the points i brought up were these in relation to non-casters:

-not enough viable options built-in. with so few non-combat abilities gained through class features, non-casters are forced to rely on feats, items and skills to get viability out of combat.

-most of a non-caster's feats will be used to make it a better combatant. with 10 feats on average (6 from levels, 1 from level 1, and a few from class/crossclassing), very few characters take their first few feats to get extra non-combat options, especially if they're going for a particular style of combat. this leaves us with skills an items

-there are 45 skills listed in 3.5 phb. only 3 out of 11 classes get 6+int or more skill points per level. only one of the 8 classes that get 4 or less actually use Int to power class abilities (wizard). this means the average int (10-11) character knows less then a 10th of the skill list, and of what little he can learn a large part is cross-classed, which makes it far harder to be properly trained in it

-so items. a non-caster eventually becomes VERY reliant on their items to be successful. the main problem is that items may or may not be accessible. while the game assumes they generally are, these items REQUIRE a caster to create them. effectively telling a non-caster: "to gain options you must emulate the caster, which has options". which kinda sucks.

-the last problem is since the non-casters have so little built-in support for anything that isn't "i hit it with my [weapon of choice]" or "i hit it REALLY hard", non-casters rely almost entirely on the GM's adjudication of player skill and metagame information when it comes to options. that might be ok for some people, but it really grinds my gears that Edward the Headsman's ability to bypass a traps is reliant on Oxybe the Player's ability to creatively use a crowbar, a pully, several dozen yards of rope, a handful of pitons and a log.

in essence:
-more built-in class options outside of "I hit it with my [weapon]"
-a wider array of things they can attempt (more built-in class options)
-less reliance on gear/other PCs (more built-in class options)
-less reliance on player skill/metagame information/GM adjudication (more built-in class options)

solve some of these problems and i may start looking at the 3rd ed fighter as a possible choice next time someone asks me if i want to play 3rd ed. otherwise i'll stick to the casters... at least there i can have the option to do more then "hit it with a stick".

we know the fighter can fight. i'd just like to be able to do something else with him without relying entirely on "how nice does my GM feel tonight?".

Psyren
2010-11-01, 03:56 PM
He would need to be able to make epic skill checks, so that he can phase through forcecages, mind control kings with persuasive arguments, tumble across clouds, trick his body into thinking he isn't bleeding to death and train dragons.

Logalmier
2010-11-01, 03:57 PM
Really, there are very few mechanical effects that cannot be, if not entirely emulated, at least approximated with a non-supernatural power source. And there are several that don't even require explicitly superhuman ability.

Phantom Steed
Ghostform
Major Image
Hallucinatory Terrain
Mirror Image

How would a melee character emulate these abilities without being supernatural? I suppose if the melee character in question was Chuck Norris...:smalltongue:

Player: "Chuck Norris rips himself into 1d4+1 pieces, which then regrow into more Chuck Norris, giving Chuck Norris the ability of Mirror Image!"

DM: "Could you please stop referring to yourself in third person?"

Theodoxus
2010-11-01, 03:57 PM
But... it's all make believe anyways. Or should I say, rules?

You want a melee capable guy to be able to handle any situation that comes across his sword, no matter how outrageous it is. Simply rule it so.

We use common parlance for spell effects because it's easier to visualize. But a Fireball could be something as innocuous as a high explosive grenade. Teleportation might be simply super speed. How the melee guy does it doesn't matter...

When my gaming group first encountered 4th Ed, we quickly realized there was only semantics behind calling a wizard a wizard and not a fighter. Any power could be thought to be in possession of any class and it wouldn't fundamentally change the game. There's no reason a fighter can't use a maneuver to simulate any wizard spell, or a wizard can't use a spell to simulate any fighter maneuver.

So there's no rules currently about letting a Fighter fly around or toss lightning bolts. Nothing says you can't make it up. Granted, it ends up playing closer to a psionicist than a fighter, using your mind/sword/gesture to create portals into the Ethereal Plane or heal your companions to full - but ToB allows for those sorts of shenanigans - why can't we just hand wave such rules into existence?

I'm far more curious as to why people want this in the first place? It is very very simple to make your uber wizard play like a fighter, if that's what you're looking for. Why does the opposite hold such fascination?

cfalcon
2010-11-01, 03:59 PM
A bunch of versatile and powerful abilities, and the ability to run out of them and be helpless.

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-01, 04:05 PM
What would it take in D&D to get a tier 1 class that isn't a pure casting class? Artificer.


Or rather, what would you need to do to get our much-maligned sword-swinging hero to where he's an equal partner to the wizard?

I'm playing a Tier 1 sword-swinging hero right now. She's a Cleric.

WarKitty
2010-11-01, 04:05 PM
But... it's all make believe anyways. Or should I say, rules?

You want a melee capable guy to be able to handle any situation that comes across his sword, no matter how outrageous it is. Simply rule it so.

We use common parlance for spell effects because it's easier to visualize. But a Fireball could be something as innocuous as a high explosive grenade. Teleportation might be simply super speed. How the melee guy does it doesn't matter...

When my gaming group first encountered 4th Ed, we quickly realized there was only semantics behind calling a wizard a wizard and not a fighter. Any power could be thought to be in possession of any class and it wouldn't fundamentally change the game. There's no reason a fighter can't use a maneuver to simulate any wizard spell, or a wizard can't use a spell to simulate any fighter maneuver.

So there's no rules currently about letting a Fighter fly around or toss lightning bolts. Nothing says you can't make it up. Granted, it ends up playing closer to a psionicist than a fighter, using your mind/sword/gesture to create portals into the Ethereal Plane or heal your companions to full - but ToB allows for those sorts of shenanigans - why can't we just hand wave such rules into existence?

I'm far more curious as to why people want this in the first place? It is very very simple to make your uber wizard play like a fighter, if that's what you're looking for. Why does the opposite hold such fascination?

Well in this case, I have several players who want to play sword and strength based characters, rather than casting characters. But we're playing a high-powered, you're the heroes so the laws of physics bow before you game. With characters that *don't want to cast spells.*

Ernir
2010-11-01, 04:08 PM
As for the idea of a T1 melee, it's probably a poor idea. Better to just lower the casters down. A T1 melee means that for every situation, you have a class ability that could completely solve that situation... and not just in combat. Need to get somewhere? Melee teleport. Need to know some information? Melee divination ability. Need someone on your side? ...okay, Diplomacy already exists, but you get the idea. The point is that T1 is so powerful that anything other than magic doesn't really make any sense at all.

JaronK

In the 3.5 fix overhaul bastardization I have in my drawer, the "mundane" heroes get lots of stuff that work similar to that. The Mage got Teleport? Well, the Fighter just learned Ocean-crossing Jump Technique too.

Anyway, regardless of what I am doing... the point is that it's just mechanics. "Melee" can be as bloody powerful as anyone wants, as long as people are willing to stretch their idea of what "melee" can do to encompass the absurd strengths of the high level casters.

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-01, 04:09 PM
In the 3.5 fix overhaul bastardization I have in my drawer, the "mundane" heroes get lots of stuff that work similar to that.

The Mage got Teleport? Well, the Fighter just learned Ocean-crossing Jump Technique too.

It's just mechanics. "Melee" can be as bloody powerful as anyone wants, as long as people are willing to stretch their idea of what "melee" can do to encompass the absurd strengths of the high level casters.

Melee is a range, not a role or power source. Clerics can do melee. Wizards can do melee. Stop saying melee if you mean something other than melee.

Quellian-dyrae
2010-11-01, 04:15 PM
Phantom Steed
Ghostform
Major Image
Hallucinatory Terrain
Mirror Image

How would a melee character emulate these abilities without being supernatural? I suppose if the melee character in question was Chuck Norris...:smalltongue:

Player: "Chuck Norris rips himself into 1d4+1 pieces, which then regrow into more Chuck Norris, giving Chuck Norris the ability of Mirror Image!"

DM: "Could you please stop referring to yourself in third person?"

By mechanical abilities I more meant the...I suppose we can say statistical effects. Not so much Phantom Steed as "really fast movement, possibly over obstructions". Not so much Mirror Image as "a miss chance". Not so much Ghostform as "the ability to bypass obstacles and/or a miss chance". Those three, I think, are all very possible to non-magically emulate (superhuman speed, defenses, and strength and/or defenses). And I said most for a reason - indeed, illusions are something that would be very difficult to emulate non-magically (although I could maybe see using superhuman persuasive ability - Bluff, specifically - to tell a lie so well that the target actually perceives it if you wanted to really push the envelope). Planar travel would be another, for instance.

Ernir
2010-11-01, 04:16 PM
Melee is a range, not a role or power source. Clerics can do melee. Wizards can do melee. Stop saying melee if you mean something other than melee.

I had "Fighter" in the original version of the post, but then I noticed that the OP used "melee" in the thread title, so I changed it. Potato potato.

Pechvarry
2010-11-01, 04:21 PM
Planar travel would be another, for instance.

I really liked the part in Kingdom Hearts where Beast apparently started planet-hopping, chasing dark powers in realms he didn't understand, just because he had this inhuman perseverance to will himself after them.

I always liked the idea of magic like this. It's not an exclusive club; there's just practitioners and those strong enough to stand against it like an island in a rushing river.

Logalmier
2010-11-01, 04:48 PM
By mechanical abilities I more meant the...I suppose we can say statistical effects. Not so much Phantom Steed as "really fast movement, possibly over obstructions". Not so much Mirror Image as "a miss chance". Not so much Ghostform as "the ability to bypass obstacles and/or a miss chance". Those three, I think, are all very possible to non-magically emulate (superhuman speed, defenses, and strength and/or defenses). And I said most for a reason - indeed, illusions are something that would be very difficult to emulate non-magically (although I could maybe see using superhuman persuasive ability - Bluff, specifically - to tell a lie so well that the target actually perceives it if you wanted to really push the envelope). Planar travel would be another, for instance.

Yes, there are many many different effects that a melee type would have trouble emulating without causing the DM's head to explode. That's my point. The melee-er isn't tier one if he can't do simple utility things such as teleport, travel through the planes, turn himself into living air, summon a whole host of baddies, and lots of other stuff. Yes, a melee character could do it if they took 20 levels in Class Awesome, but at that point it's not so much a melee character as it is "I play god."

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-01, 04:54 PM
Yes, there are many many different effects that a melee type would have trouble emulating without causing the DM's head to explode. Casters can be melee types! They do it all the time! *Facepalm*

JaronK
2010-11-01, 04:56 PM
Melee is a range, not a role or power source. Clerics can do melee. Wizards can do melee. Stop saying melee if you mean something other than melee.

Except that's kind of the point. "Melees" are classes designed to fight in melee. "Casters" are classes designed to cast magical spells. These are not balanced concepts by any stretch of the imagination. While it's possible to balance "Casters" by restricting the power of casting magic spells so that what it does isn't any more powerful than the ability to fight in a melee, going the other way is sort of an excercise in futility... how do you make fighting in a melee so powerful that it's as good as teleporting to other planes of existance, raising armies of the dead, or generating endless wealth? And is that really a good idea in the first place?

I mean, let's face it, Lord of the Rings would be a really horrible story if everyone was T1 power. Imagine if the whole story was "Hey Frodo, there's this magical artifact ring that needs to be destroyed." "Oh, really? Hang on, I'll memorize and cast Disjunction." "No, it can only be destroyed in the lava of mount doom." "Oh, then I'll just cast Teleport without Error twice." *Poof* *drop* *Poof* "Cool, that was fun, let's have elevensies!"

JaronK

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-01, 04:57 PM
"Melees" are classes designed to fight in melee.

No they aren't. A Fighter can be an archer too.


Except that's kind of the point.

Except it's not. "Melee types" is nothing but a misnomer unless you're talking about everyone who fights in melee. Which includes, say, Duskblades and Clerics.


I mean, let's face it, Lord of the Rings would be a really horrible story if everyone was T1 power. Imagine if the whole story was "Hey Frodo, there's this magical artifact ring that needs to be destroyed." "Oh, really? Hang on, I'll memorize and cast Disjunction."

Because we all know that Lord of the Rings was totally a high-level story. :smallsigh:

WarKitty
2010-11-01, 05:00 PM
I always thought of D&D as more the medieval version of marvel comics than lord of the rings. In the games I run, you're not here to play frodo. You're here to play gandalf and kill the balrog.

JaronK
2010-11-01, 05:01 PM
No they aren't. A Fighter can be an archer too.

I said "designed to" not "exclusively only do." Fighters can be archers... but they're designed to be melee warriors. See "Classes with Class" on Fighters, which is written by one of the primary designers of the class (Skip, who doesn't understand the class he made at all but that's a whole other issue). That's also the guy who wrote the fluff about the Fighter in the PHB... you know, the stuff that says Fighters are great Guards (despite not having spot or listen) and war leaders (despite not having diplomacy or knowledge history or any other leadership ability). The point is, the design concept is that they're melee warriors. Other stuff is just "stuff that goes along with being a melee warrior."

Barbarians and Monks are also clearly designed to be melee warriors, as are the ToB classes, the Samurai, and a bunch of others. Rangers are one of very few classes designed as ranged warriors, and even then you're supposed to pick melee or ranged combat and stick to it.

JaronK

jiriku
2010-11-01, 05:02 PM
Part of this depends on where you place the bar. Give the wizard or especially the cleric or druid access to 300-500 options and the ability to switch them around every day, and that bar is pretty darn high. Nerf the spells known options for T1 classes down to the 50-100 options of your typical T2-T3 caster, and the gap closes somewhat. Nerf the worst spells, re-level some utility spells to be gained a level later, compress and improve the martial and skill-oriented feat chains so that such characters get more utility for less investment, and you're beginning to get somewhere. Gestalt or otherwise improve the non-full-casting classes and replace the T1 omni-casters with more focused T3-style casters, and you'll really begin to pick up steam.

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-01, 05:06 PM
I said "designed to" not "exclusively only do."

Oh goodie, a designer intent speculation argument. See aforementioned comment about Duskblades and Clerics (unless you think that Jozan is dressed up in full plate with a big honkin' mace for nothing). Also the general point that designer intent doesn't mean squat.


Other stuff is just "stuff that goes along with being a melee warrior."

Like Duskblade melee channeling? As opposed to, you know, the stuff you actually listed, like social skills.


Barbarians and Monks are also clearly designed to be melee warriors, as are the ToB classes, the Samurai, and a bunch of others. Like Duskblades?

Stop saying melee types if that's not what you actually mean. Very simple.

cfalcon
2010-11-01, 05:39 PM
No they aren't. A Fighter can be an archer too.

An archer isn't melee.

Fighters aren't actually a melee class. Fighters are heroes that learn different martial techniques, which can include stunning fist and excellent archery. The OP probably let his WoW drop into his D&D a bit much, to be thinking fighters are a melee class.

But we all knew what he was saying: is it possible to design the dudes that are like fighers, barbarians, and rogues- basically, the archetypes that don't rely on magic- to be as powerful as the caster guys?

The answer is yes, but if you are asking the question you just hate casters.

If you add "ocean crossing jump technique" to the fighter when the wizard learned teleport, then a bunch of other questions come up. The wizard spends a standard action, and expends a spell. Does the fighter just have a limited number of times a day he can "jump"? Ok, why? You start introducing a lot of gamist mechanics. Can he be interrupted? Does he have to have an item that lets him do it? Etc. Often this suffers from "designed last" syndrome, where the cool stuff gets brought over, but the lame stuff (the wizard who has teleport is lacking cone of cold in that slot, he has to have memorized it from his spellbook, he needs to be able to cast, etc.) gets left out, or not mirrored.

Ultimately, the knight or fighter archetype wasn't designed into this game to have all the different abilities that a wizard does. He also doesn't deal with the crap a wizard does. It's generally assumed on these forums that every wizard spends his life in a Rope Trick, popping out while under the effects of mind blank to scry, find the best time to attack, and then pop in, nova the problem away, and then go back to an extra-dimensional pocket.



Fighters can be archers... but they're designed to be melee warriors. See "Classes with Class" on Fighters, which is written by one of the primary designers of the class (Skip, who doesn't understand the class he made at all but that's a whole other issue).

I definitely respect Skip Williams. Saying he designed the fighter class makes my brain want to leak out of head and beat itself on the table for a few minutes, however- Skip played for years before 3.X, around and likely sometimes *as* a fighter in game. The 3.X fighter was based on the AD&D fighter, going all the way back to the fighting-man (and the general idea of the hero), with the feats being an answer of how to make the fighter work as a generic template, as he pretty much always had been. He's not the WoW warrior.


Anyway, I stand by what I said earlier: if you want a T1 character, start by paying the prices most legit T1 types have to pay. Meaning, you can't do your coolest thing infinity times a day, you can't get into a "rotation" like a crusader or a WoW Death Knight, you have to plan ahead and guess what's going to happen, etc. The wizard "pays" for his demi-god type status.

Maybe I'm being a bit snappy, but most people who talk about buffing fighters and friends forget this aspect. They want the fighter's endless punching mechanics with the power level of the well chosen cleric or wizard spell list. That's probably not *you*, but that's normally buzzing nearby when this question comes up.

WarKitty
2010-11-01, 05:40 PM
Stop saying melee types if that's not what you actually mean. Very simple.

What would you call them then? If anyone has a better term for "person who relies primarily on something other than spells to fulfill their role"...

Edit: Never played WoW. Just couldn't think of a better term. Also I don't think I'm the one that brought the fighter up specifically.

And part of the imbalance is that you have stuff like rope trick that means Tier 1 casters might as well have infinite resources. At high levels their price is a joke.

Eldariel
2010-11-01, 05:43 PM
What would you call them then? If anyone has a better term for "person who relies primarily on something other than spells to fulfill their role"...

Physicals? Martialists/Martial Combatants? Something of the sort is what I tend to use.

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-01, 05:51 PM
What would you call them then? If anyone has a better term for "person who relies primarily on something other than spells to fulfill their role"...

What you just said (someone who does not cast spells) would be a "non-spellcaster."

But I doubt that's what you actually mean either, because that would include things like Psions and Incarnum users and Binders, and presumably you actually mean either Badass Normals (who don't really scale up to high levels short of things like "actually being able to use magic gadgets better than other people," and some people think that doesn't count) or guys with Charles Atlas Superpowers (who get things like superhuman speed or the ability to bounce cannonballs off their chest just because they trained really hard). Basically, someone who takes extreme martial training as their primary power source, rather than cloistered study of arcane secrets, a lineage of supernatural creatures, or devotion to the gods.

And guys with Charles Atlas Superpowers totally can do things like "Mirror Image." You've probably even seen an example of it. They run around so fast that you see multiple images of them.


An archer isn't melee.

That's what I said.

WarKitty
2010-11-01, 05:56 PM
What you just said (someone who does not cast spells) would be a "non-spellcaster."

But I doubt that's what you actually mean either, because that would include things like Psions and Incarnum users and Binders, and presumably you actually mean either Badass Normals (who don't really scale up to high levels short of things like "actually being able to use magic stuff better than other people") or guys with Charles Atlas Superpowers (who get things like superhuman speed just because they trained really hard). Basically, someone who takes extreme martial training as their primary power source, rather than cloistered study of arcane secrets, a lineage of supernatural creatures, or devotion to the gods.

And guys with Charles Atlas Superpowers totally can do things like "Mirror Image." You've probably even seen an example of it. They run around so fast that you see multiple images of them.

Yeah I'm thinking more the Charles Atlas Superpower variety. Although I would broaden it past just martial training, as I do intent to include rogues and other skillmonkey-ish characters in the list. (No, UMD does not count, "I can pay for the ability to pretend to be a wizard" is just silly.) Along with half-casters like the paladin and ranger.

Besides, you all know what I'm talking about, whether or not the terms are exactly right. :smallwink:

Quellian-dyrae
2010-11-01, 06:02 PM
Yes, there are many many different effects that a melee type would have trouble emulating without causing the DM's head to explode. That's my point. The melee-er isn't tier one if he can't do simple utility things such as teleport, travel through the planes, turn himself into living air, summon a whole host of baddies, and lots of other stuff. Yes, a melee character could do it if they took 20 levels in Class Awesome, but at that point it's not so much a melee character as it is "I play god."

But taking superhuman capabilities to a certain level, a non-magical character can, for all mechanical purposes, approximate the advantages of teleporting (super speed) and summons (commanding and training skilled troops), among others. Although the full host of effects of turning into living air wouldn't fit a single power, there's no reason a superhuman character couldn't gain defensive, travel, and obstacle-bypassing advantages on par with level-appropriate abilities.

A tier 1 nonmagical character wouldn't need hundreds of spells; it would need ways to achieve the mechanical benefits that spells allow. Area effects, battlefield control, status effects, buffs, recovery, travel, mobility, obstacle-bypassing, information-gathering, stealth, detection, defense, social influence, ally acquisition...

Now, whether or not this would be good for the game, or any given campaign, I can't say. Whether or not it would capture the feel that a given player wants to capture for his or her fighter, I can't say. I'm just saying it's what would be needed to bring non-casters to Tier 1 or 2, and that it is possible and justifiable without magic.

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-01, 06:04 PM
Yeah I'm thinking more the Charles Atlas Superpower variety. Although I would broaden it past just martial training, as I do intent to include rogues and other skillmonkey-ish characters in the list.

Hint: Make non-magical martial characters and skillmonkeys the same thing.

JaronK
2010-11-01, 06:17 PM
Hi there, Swordsage. So glad you could come along.

JaronK

jiriku
2010-11-01, 07:05 PM
What would you call them then? If anyone has a better term for "person who relies primarily on something other than spells to fulfill their role"...

I call them "mundanes". They focus on either skill at arms or skill at other mundane tasks, but their power source essentially consists of being extremely skillful (for a given value of skill that includes things like base attack bonus and proficiencies).

JaronK
2010-11-01, 07:24 PM
But "mundane" isn't necessarily the problem. Hexblades and Healers are magical and yet lame. It's really more about the intended role of the class. If your class is intended to just heal (Healer) or put hard objects into soft bits (melee warriors, archers, whatever) then you're very inflexible. If your class is intended to reshape reality at a whim (Wizards) or build anything your mind can invision (Artificers) then you've got a ton of options at your disposal. Trying to make someone who's job is to just hurt stuff be at the level of someone who reshapes reality ends up making no sense at all. Better to just limit the reality reshaping abilities down to a power level that's appropriate to be playing with the pointy stick folks.

Consider Lord of the Rings again... Gandalf had magical abilities, but they mostly amounted to making his staff glow, throwing a bit of telekenetic force bolts around, and somehow keeping a white robe white without access to laundry. That's perfectly acceptable to have in a group with a dwarf that hits things with an axe and an elf who shoots things with a bow. Now think of how lame that story would have been if instead of Gandalf we had a Wizard who could create alternate planes of existence, gain endless wishes, and so on. It would be REALLY hard to figure out a way to have a dwarf with an axe and an elf with a bow still contribute meaningfully to the story... or make a story that even makes sense even if you succeeded.

JaronK

WarKitty
2010-11-01, 07:45 PM
But "mundane" isn't necessarily the problem. Hexblades and Healers are magical and yet lame. It's really more about the intended role of the class. If your class is intended to just heal (Healer) or put hard objects into soft bits (melee warriors, archers, whatever) then you're very inflexible. If your class is intended to reshape reality at a whim (Wizards) or build anything your mind can invision (Artificers) then you've got a ton of options at your disposal. Trying to make someone who's job is to just hurt stuff be at the level of someone who reshapes reality ends up making no sense at all. Better to just limit the reality reshaping abilities down to a power level that's appropriate to be playing with the pointy stick folks.

Consider Lord of the Rings again... Gandalf had magical abilities, but they mostly amounted to making his staff glow, throwing a bit of telekenetic force bolts around, and somehow keeping a white robe white without access to laundry. That's perfectly acceptable to have in a group with a dwarf that hits things with an axe and an elf who shoots things with a bow. Now think of how lame that story would have been if instead of Gandalf we had a Wizard who could create alternate planes of existence, gain endless wishes, and so on. It would be REALLY hard to figure out a way to have a dwarf with an axe and an elf with a bow still contribute meaningfully to the story... or make a story that even makes sense even if you succeeded.

JaronK

Hence why the idea of combining the melee and the skillmonkey roles is attractive. I'm running a game where reality is already broken beyond belief by everyone and everything. Breaking reality on the part of the players is a desired activity - I'm making them defeat an entity of pure mindless chaos, they're going to need it! And I have players that want to play the guy with the sword and still fit in.

WarKitty
2010-11-01, 08:09 PM
Well that's just silly. You can't have a mundane swordfighter kill a mountain of steel plates with a sword. And therefore that's not a concept that keeps at high levels.

You can make charles atlas superpowers work. But mere olympic champions don't cut it.

Hmmm...maybe you can. No one says the laws of the world are a little different there than here. After all, if reality can be bent by this strange energy called magic, why not by other things?

Try this on for size: Reality is mutable. Belief is a primal source, and anyone with sufficient willpower can shape the world through their belief. Now, the standard way is through what we call "magic." People use rituals, hand gestures and things like bird feathers and bat poop, to focus their energy. Or they pray to a deity, which is the collection of the mass belief of many people. But there are others...when someone pushes himself to the limit and keeps pushing, there's a point where the laws of reality themselves start to bend to him. Slowly at first, and then more and more. He can push his craft beyond what even seems possible.

Edit: Hey no ninja-deletion on me!

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-01, 08:13 PM
Hmmm...maybe you can. No you can't. Regular humans can't punch through reinforced steel walls or outrun galloping horses. Mere Olympic champions cannot do those things.


No one says the laws of the world are a little different there than here. Of course they're different in fantasy-land. Because magic is part of the laws of physics. But that right away throws out the "real world Olympic champion" idea of "mundanes."

Endarire
2010-11-01, 08:15 PM
You would need ninth level spells, and preferably eighth and lower level spells as well.

A Cleric with divine power can be a melee man, but he's still tier 1 because he has so many options.

Having played full casters for so long, switching to Tome of Battle classes felt very restrictive. I went from, "All enemies must save versus uselessness" to "I spam Revitalizing Strike, Crusader's Strike, and Divine Surge."

It was a major letdown for me.

WarKitty
2010-11-01, 08:16 PM
No you can't. Regular humans can't punch through reinforced steel walls or outrun galloping horses.

Of course they're different in fantasy-land. Because magic is part of the laws of physics. But that right away throws out the "normal reality human" idea of "mundanes"

You'll note my original idea wasn't "normal reality human." It was "guy who prefers to use his sword and muscles rather than spells." Of course if you stick to "normal reality human" you won't get anywhere, because those are pretty much pointless in any world that has a lot of magic.


You would need ninth level spells, and preferably eighth and lower level spells as well.

A Cleric with divine power can be a melee man, but he's still tier 1 because he has so many options.

Having played full casters for so long, switching to Tome of Battle classes felt very restrictive. I went from, "All enemies must save versus uselessness" to "I spam Revitalizing Strike, Crusader's Strike, and Divine Surge."

It was a major letdown for me.

That sort of defeats the point, doesn't it?

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-01, 08:17 PM
You'll note my original idea wasn't "normal reality human." And you'll note the deleted post you were replying to wasn't responding to you.

WarKitty
2010-11-01, 08:19 PM
And you'll note the deleted post you were replying to wasn't responding to you.

Noted. I wasn't sure. Lemme know if you want any quotes deleted.

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-01, 08:33 PM
Basic stuff mid-high level people do:

-Punch something Colossal with skin stronger than reinforced steel that manipulates reality to its whims and cause it to die as a direct result of that punch.
-Amass a badass army. Then kill it in straight up combat.
-Craft Sauron's ring and sell it for pocket money.
-Create a vast, mind-boggling web of lies and illusions so complete that a complete world of experience can exist within the character's fashioned microcosm.
-Kill people vast distances away from themselves. Think Ares throwing the pillar at Kratos in God of War 1 here.
-Have many more ways to perceive the world than a normal person. You can see whether someone has been naughty or nice. You can tell what they're thinking. You can see and understand the latent flow of magic through an area. You can talk to inanimate objects or corpses and they actually talk back. You can feel the vibrations of the earth like Toph. And so forth.
-Travel really well. That means digging your way out of an adamantine cage with a spoon (or just walking through walls. Walls are so passč), visit Hell when you feel like it's too cold outside, float around all day because walking just seems too pedestrian, or penetrate force fields.
-Find the misplaced TV remote when it was dropped in the ocean, was carried by currents 100 miles, fell through a tear in a manifest zone to the elemental plane of water, somehow found its way into a horrific trap-filled Atlantis. And it's no problem.
-Not die when they are killed. You discorporate into sentient fire or secretly have a spare clone of yourself or something.
http://cdn3.knowyourmeme.com/i/000/070/976/original/PEOPLE_DIE_IF_THEY_ARE_KILLED.jpg?1284052406
In high level D&D, he's wrong.
-Make people who do not die when they are killed die.


You'll note my original idea wasn't "normal reality human." And you'll note the deleted post you were replying to wasn't responding to you, now was it?

WarKitty
2010-11-01, 08:46 PM
I like that.

"I'm so badass that I can punch through force fields and keep myself alive by sheer force. This sword? I wrestled a balor for it."

Urpriest
2010-11-01, 08:53 PM
Artificer.


This. And not as a joke suggestion.

What are Fighters really about? Not optimized Fighters, Fighters in unoptimized groups, or in other games.

Answer: the Fighter is the guy with the cool sword. Melee is notoriously magic item reliant. Rogues UMD, non-ubercharging Fighters feel inadequate without five types of energy on their weapon, etc. Fighters are expected to be able to fly at high levels, and they do it via magic items. All the versatile stuff that characters are supposed to be able to do in the nonexistent games that the designers imagined? Magic items.

So what is the "melee" way of being Tier 1? It involves using magic items so well that for all intents and purposes they become your stats, like in World of Warcraft. How do you do that? Play an artificer.

Artificers aren't spellcasters, they're just melee doing what melee does best: WBLmancy. Artificers are Tier 1 melee.

WarKitty
2010-11-01, 08:56 PM
This. And not as a joke suggestion.

What are Fighters really about? Not optimized Fighters, Fighters in unoptimized groups, or in other games.

Answer: the Fighter is the guy with the cool sword. Melee is notoriously magic item reliant. Rogues UMD, non-ubercharging Fighters feel inadequate without five types of energy on their weapon, etc. Fighters are expected to be able to fly at high levels, and they do it via magic items. All the versatile stuff that characters are supposed to be able to do in the nonexistent games that the designers imagined? Magic items.

So what is the "melee" way of being Tier 1? It involves using magic items so well that for all intents and purposes they become your stats, like in World of Warcraft. How do you do that? Play an artificer.

Artificers aren't spellcasters, they're just melee doing what melee does best: WBLmancy. Artificers are Tier 1 melee.

Somehow, that just doesn't get the feel right.

I'm getting to the point where I should start looking at different systems, aren't I? I like 3.5 mechanics in general, I just think there should be a few (Ex) abilities available to our swordsmen and archers and sneakers. Ok more than a few.

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-01, 08:56 PM
So what is the "melee" way of being Tier 1? It involves using magic items so well that for all intents and purposes they become your stats, like in World of Warcraft. How do you do that? Play an artificer.

Artificers aren't spellcasters, they're just melee doing what melee does best: WBLmancy. Artificers are Tier 1 melee.

Heh, I suggested "using items better than anyone else" as a method for Badass Normals, but was told that that didn't count. *Shrug*

silvadel
2010-11-01, 08:59 PM
Arcana evolved has a few classes that are melee based and better than the normal fighter that reach 3+ on their own (champion of death say, or unfettered)...

If you took an unfettered, made it a champion of something, and gave it the ritual warrior's ritual progression you might be getting close.

But yes -- it did even things as much by demoting casters to class 2 generally as raising warrior types to class 3.

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-01, 09:04 PM
Arcana evolved has a few classes that are melee based and better than the normal fighter that reach 3+ on their own (champion of death say, or unfettered)...

If you took an unfettered, made it a champion of something, and gave it the ritual warrior's ritual progression you might be getting close.

But yes -- it did even things as much by demoting casters to class 2 generally as raising warrior types to class 3.

Tier 2 classes can do the things I listed before too.


Basic stuff mid-high level people do:

-Punch something Colossal with skin stronger than reinforced steel that manipulates reality to its whims and cause it to die as a direct result of that punch.
-Amass a badass army. Then kill it in straight up combat.
-Craft Sauron's ring and sell it for pocket money.
-Create a vast, mind-boggling web of lies and illusions so complete that a complete world of experience can exist within the character's fashioned microcosm.
-Kill people vast distances away from themselves. Think Ares throwing the pillar at Kratos in God of War 1 here.
-Have many more ways to perceive the world than a normal person. You can see whether someone has been naughty or nice. You can tell what they're thinking. You can see and understand the latent flow of magic through an area. You can talk to inanimate objects or corpses and they actually talk back. You can feel the vibrations of the earth like Toph. And so forth.
-Travel really well. That means digging your way out of an adamantine cage with a spoon (or just walking through walls. Walls are so passč), visit Hell when you feel like it's too cold outside, float around all day because walking just seems too pedestrian, or penetrate force fields.
-Find the misplaced TV remote when it was dropped in the ocean, was carried by currents 100 miles, fell through a tear in a manifest zone to the elemental plane of water, somehow found its way into a horrific trap-filled Atlantis. And it's no problem.
-Not die when they are killed. You discorporate into sentient fire or secretly have a spare clone of yourself or something.
http://cdn3.knowyourmeme.com/i/000/070/976/original/PEOPLE_DIE_IF_THEY_ARE_KILLED.jpg?1284052406
In high level D&D, he's wrong.
-Make people who do not die when they are killed die.

kyoryu
2010-11-01, 09:16 PM
(I'm mostly going to talk about 'core-ish' classes here...)

the problem as I see it is that melee fighters are not the heroes of fantasy. They are weak, pale imitations.

Wizards (not even going to get into clerics) *are*. Not only that, but they are the combination of *every* spell-caster in fantasy literature, bundled up into one single class of awesomesauce. Summoning, divination, blasting, mind-control, all in one robe-wrapped class. How awesome is that?

On the other hand, think of Conan. What's he? A Barbarian? A Rogue? A Fighter? You could make arguments for all three, and any of the three would be insufficient.

So why does one class get all the arcane goodies, while all of the mundane goodies are spread over at least three classes?

This, like many issues in D&D, is a holdover from the Days of Yore, where the lessened survivability of mages actually *was* a drawback, since DMs would be willing to kill players, and characters were presumed to be a collection of random dudes, not the Destined Heroes of Destiny.

So, to make melee Tier 1, Here's what I'd do. This is a brief outline, and would be subject to playtesting.

1. Gestalt Rogue, Fighter, and Barbarian. Call the class Hero.
2. Get rid of the weakness in Will saves. Seriously - how many times have you read a fantasy novel where the hero is really weak-willed? The prototypical fantasy hero is noted for his *strong* will and determination, not his weak will.
3. Reduce stat-dependency. Why are melee classes really dependent (to at least some degree) on at least three stats, while casters can generally get away with one?
4. Let equipment loadout determine how a Hero plays, in much the same way that spell load-out gives Wizards flexibility.
a. A lightly-armored Hero should more or less play like a standard melee class
b. A heavily-armored Hero should give up mobility and dexterity, but in turn be a nearly unkillable force.
c. Etc...
5. One of the common aspects of Heroes is their ability to get people to follow them, and their awe-inspiring aura. To model this, give them
6. Reduce the feat-specialization requirements of Fighter stuff. Really? We have to dedicate multiple levels of Feats to get an ability that's really no better than a crappy low-level spell? Really?
7. Keep the skill points from the Rogue. Heroes *know how to do stuff*. They're not lumbering idiots who start drooling if there's not something to smash directly in front of them.

Would this be too powerful? I don't know, but I doubt it, given the abilities that the Hero still *wouldn't* have - fly, fireball, glitterdust, etc.

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-01, 09:41 PM
Level 3: The ghostly remnants of a tortured soul so crazy that its very presence will drive men insane within seconds.
Level 4: A Huge 5-headed hydra. It can kill you by stepping on you, but why do that when it can tear you 5 different ways with its jaws?
Level 6: The Hydra now breathes 5 jets of fire and attacks from an erupting volcano, dripping fresh magma.
Level 8: A Huge, sentient, heavy metal behemoth trained, conditioned, and tested in war, armed to the teeth (literally) with all manner of weapons. We call it a warforged titan. Alternatively, beat up Genie Jaffar without using the lamp.
Level 11: The Frost Giant King you killed a few adventures ago came back as a pissed off vampire ghost necromancer.
Level 13: A Huge red dragon. We're not talking your daddy's little fire-breathing lizard here. A localized cyclone protects it from missile weapons. It's invisible. It's silent. It dispels magic. It has Protection from Energy and thinks people attacking it with cold is cute. There appears to be six of them for some reason. It bends space time to eat you faster. It's also a huge red dragon.
Level 15: Death decided it got tired of the revolving door, and decided to do something about it.

And THEN you need to have out of combat utility.

In general, people need to raise their standards for coolness, if you ask me. Gimli can't do crap.

JaronK
2010-11-01, 09:42 PM
All that? That's Tier 3. You're good at what you do (Fightin' stuff) and never useless (cause you've got skills). Awesome. That's a good solid class. But it's not going to completely alter the campaign at will. That's a good thing of course, but still not Tier 2.

For it to be Tier 2, you'd have to add in abilities like "swing your sword so hard you cut through the fabric of reality and thus can create a portal to another realm."

JaronK

kyoryu
2010-11-01, 09:59 PM
All that? That's Tier 3. You're good at what you do (Fightin' stuff) and never useless (cause you've got skills). Awesome. That's a good solid class. But it's not going to completely alter the campaign at will. That's a good thing of course, but still not Tier 2.

For it to be Tier 2, you'd have to add in abilities like "swing your sword so hard you cut through the fabric of reality and thus can create a portal to another realm."

JaronK

Was this in response to my suggestion?

If so, I kind of agree, and solid Tier 3 was pretty much where I was aiming with the suggestion. (mostly because I don't think you really can make a mundane-focused class Tier 1. Conan, no matter how awesome he is, does not rip apart the laws of nature).

grarrrg
2010-11-01, 10:12 PM
So, to make a tier 1 fighter-type, you may have to throw in (Ex) versions of "I'm so good at cutting stuff, I can planeshift",

It's called an "Atomic Axe (http://www.comicvine.com/persuader/29-5940/)", it's so sharp it can cut dimensional rifts, cut off gravity, cut off someones air supply...well, it cuts.
It cuts well.
(not quite DnD approved though...)

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-01, 11:57 PM
Another thing with spellcasters in D&D is that, not only do they do really amazing things that are less conceptually limited... the way they're implemented is less limited too. I mean, just look at how fast they cast. Really, with the various component juggling and somatic movements that are so precise that the slightest weight of armor screws them up, all while moving full speed and staying fully evasive, these people are just as physically impressive as a Fighter before you even talk about gishes. Like the acrobatic casters in Avatar: The Last Airbender except more.

A lot of people think of Wizards casting big spells as looking something like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Y6YQWalZiE&feature=&p=F7131D90613166BA&index=0&playnext=1

But that didn't take 6 seconds. Here's what ACTUALLY happens.

Wizard's Round (within 6 seconds)
1) Wizard can use their big powerful showstopper spell as a standard action.
2) Wizard can use a big spell AGAIN as a swift action (or special free action if you hate the errata for some reason. Which happens to be even more optimal, so I don't know why the heck you'd argue that way).
3) Wizard can move (often, very, very fast. Like 200 feet while flying. If you have Mobile Spellcaster you get two move actions for some reason)
4) Wizard can use Contingency, Time Stop, or other special action-increasing spells.
5) Wizard can make use of many powerful "deferred actions" through the use of multi-round buffs.
6) Wizard can utilize the actions of powerful minions (such as a dominated person).
7) Wizard can make use of familiar's actions. With the right Familiar and ranks in UMD, this means you can use another top tier standard action spell in the round. They also can cast spells of up to 5th level as if they were you thanks to a spell in Spell Compendium. They also share any of the awesome buffs you cast on yourself for free.
8) You still have room for an immediate action left over.
9) While you're doing this, you don't have to stop and let your guard down. No, you're fully dodging about and everything.

And that's before I start trying. That's just the stuff wizards are normally expected to do. No shenanigans like ocular spells or whatever.

And you know what?

Rita doesn't beat that (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDRP5JxITkI&feature=related)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YVOcV5zkxY&feature=related

Jolly
2010-11-02, 01:55 AM
Well, as for the whole Tier System "zomg casters are gods" thing...

Partly it's a severe over-estimation of how powerful T1 is in actual non-TO games.

Partly it's an insistence on strict RAW with a "if it doesn't explicitly say I can't then I can" attitude that leads to shenanigans that would be not allowed in most games.

Partly it's abuse of divination spells.

Partly it's bad DM'ing, for allowing such silliness, and players for forgetting why the DM is there in the first place.

Partly it's forgetting that DnD is a collaborative not competitive game.

And partly it's becauser casters really are just more powerful. If all you care about is being the "most powerful" then yeah, you are limited. If you don't want to be part of a team despite playing a team based game, then yeah trying to not be a caster will suck. But for most people, it's not a huge problem.

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-02, 02:04 AM
Well, as for the whole Tier System "zomg casters are gods" thing...

Partly it's a severe over-estimation of how powerful T1 is in actual non-TO games.

Partly it's an insistence on strict RAW with a "if it doesn't explicitly say I can't then I can" attitude that leads to shenanigans that would be not allowed in most games.

Partly it's abuse of divination spells.

Partly it's bad DM'ing, for allowing such silliness, and players for forgetting why the DM is there in the first place.

Partly it's forgetting that DnD is a collaborative not competitive game.


Jolly, how are any of the things I listed examples of TO?

That's not even close to TO. That's just stuff that happens as a matter of course in a high level game.

This is basic stuff:


Basic stuff mid-high level people do:

-Punch something Colossal with skin stronger than reinforced steel that manipulates reality to its whims and cause it to die as a direct result of that punch.
-Amass a badass army.
-Craft Sauron's ring and sell it for pocket money.
-Create a vast, mind-boggling web of lies and illusions so complete that a complete world of experience can exist within the character's fashioned microcosm.
-Attack people vast distances away from themselves. Think Ares throwing the pillar at Kratos in God of War 1 here.
-Have many more ways to perceive the world than a normal person. You can see whether someone has been naughty or nice. You can tell what they're thinking. You can see and understand the latent flow of magic through an area. You can talk to inanimate objects or corpses and they actually talk back. You can feel the vibrations of the earth like Toph. And so forth.
-Travel really well. That means digging your way out of an adamantine cage with a spoon (or just walking through walls. Walls are so passč), visit Hell when you feel like it's too cold outside, float around all day because walking just seems too pedestrian, or penetrate force fields.
-Find the misplaced TV remote when it was dropped in the ocean, was carried by currents 100 miles, fell through a tear in a manifest zone to the elemental plane of water, somehow found its way into a horrific trap-filled Atlantis. And it's no problem.
-Not die when they are killed. You discorporate into sentient fire or secretly have a spare clone of yourself or something.
http://cdn3.knowyourmeme.com/i/000/070/976/original/PEOPLE_DIE_IF_THEY_ARE_KILLED.jpg?1284052406
In high level D&D, he's wrong.
-Make people who do not die when they are killed die.


Level 3: The ghostly remnants of a tortured soul so crazy that its very presence will drive men insane within seconds.
Level 4: A Huge 5-headed hydra. It can kill you by stepping on you, but why do that when it can tear you 5 different ways with its jaws?
Level 6: The Hydra now breathes 5 jets of fire and attacks from an erupting volcano, dripping fresh magma.
Level 8: A Huge, sentient, heavy metal behemoth trained, conditioned, and tested in war, armed to the teeth (literally) with all manner of weapons. We call it a warforged titan. Alternatively, beat up Genie Jaffar without using the lamp.
Level 11: The Frost Giant King you killed a few adventures ago came back as a pissed off vampire ghost necromancer.
Level 13: A Huge red dragon. We're not talking your daddy's little fire-breathing lizard here. A localized cyclone protects it from missile weapons. It's invisible. It's silent. It dispels magic. It has Protection from Energy and thinks people attacking it with cold is cute. There appears to be six of them for some reason. It bends space time to eat you faster. It's also a huge red dragon.
Level 15: Death decided it got tired of the revolving door, and decided to do something about it.

And THEN you need to have out of combat utility.

In general, people need to raise their standards for coolness, if you ask me. Gimli can't do crap.


Another thing with spellcasters in D&D is that, not only do they do really amazing things that are less conceptually limited... the way they're implemented is less limited too. I mean, just look at how fast they cast. Really, with the various component juggling and somatic movements that are so precise that the slightest weight of armor screws them up, all while moving full speed and staying fully evasive, these people are just as physically impressive as a Fighter before you even talk about gishes. Like the acrobatic casters in Avatar: The Last Airbender except more.

A lot of people think of Wizards casting big spells as looking something like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Y6YQWalZiE&feature=&p=F7131D90613166BA&index=0&playnext=1

But that didn't take 6 seconds. Here's what ACTUALLY happens.

Wizard's Round (within 6 seconds)
1) Wizard can use their big powerful showstopper spell as a standard action.
2) Wizard can use a big spell AGAIN as a swift action (or special free action if you hate the errata for some reason. Which happens to be even more optimal, so I don't know why the heck you'd argue that way).
3) Wizard can move (often, very, very fast. Like 200 feet while flying. If you have Mobile Spellcaster you get two move actions for some reason)
4) Wizard can use Contingency, Time Stop, or other special action-increasing spells.
5) Wizard can make use of many powerful "deferred actions" through the use of multi-round buffs.
6) Wizard can utilize the actions of powerful minions (such as a dominated person).
7) Wizard can make use of familiar's actions. With the right Familiar and ranks in UMD, this means you can use another good standard action spell in the round. They also can cast spells of up to 5th level as if they were you thanks to a spell in Spell Compendium. They also share any of the awesome buffs you cast on yourself for free.
8) You still have room for an immediate action left over.
9) While you're doing this, you don't have to stop and let your guard down. No, you're fully dodging about and everything.

And that's before I start trying. That's just the stuff wizards are normally expected to do. No shenanigans like ocular spells or whatever.

And you know what?

Rita doesn't beat that (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDRP5JxITkI&feature=related)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YVOcV5zkxY&feature=related

Nothing in any of those posts is particularly optimized.

kyoryu
2010-11-02, 02:07 AM
Partly it's bad DM'ing, for allowing such silliness, and players for forgetting why the DM is there in the first place.


There's some truth to that. There's no rule that says that players *have to* be able to get every spell, or *have to* be able to craft unlimited magic items, or *have to* be able to rest after every encounter.

If you disallow these things, then wizards become significantly less powerful. However, many players seem to get upset if you suggest that they *not* be allowed something in a rulebook for any reason.

olentu
2010-11-02, 02:47 AM
There's some truth to that. There's no rule that says that players *have to* be able to get every spell, or *have to* be able to craft unlimited magic items, or *have to* be able to rest after every encounter.

If you disallow these things, then wizards become significantly less powerful. However, many players seem to get upset if you suggest that they *not* be allowed something in a rulebook for any reason.

Nerfing the top tier classes so that they are knocked down several tiers is one way to make weaker classes their equal but if the question is "What would it take in D&D to get a tier 1 class that isn't a pure casting class?" that is not really answering the question.

Zen Master
2010-11-02, 03:29 AM
What would it take in D&D to get a tier 1 class that isn't a pure casting class? Or rather, what would you need to do to get our much-maligned sword-swinging hero to where he's an equal partner to the wizard?

Some or all of these:


Self healing
The ability to reliably close the distance and get into melee
The ability to shrug off debuffs
Reliable ways to bypass the protection of casters
Preferably a way to redirect damage from others to himself


I think that would mostly do it.

That would, I suppose, match a gish. Which isn't at all what I'm aiming for. But meh =)

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-02, 03:38 AM
Some or all of these:


Self healing
The ability to reliably close the distance and get into melee
The ability to shrug off debuffs
Reliable ways to bypass the protection of casters
Preferably a way to redirect damage from others to himself


I think that would mostly do it. Not really. You haven't even touched out of combat utility.

Counter debuffs? Get into attack range? Deal actual damage against level-appropriate protections? Those are basic competency issues in the combat minigame, not qualifications for top tier.

Foryn Gilnith
2010-11-02, 03:44 AM
Well, as for the whole Tier System "zomg casters are gods" thing...

Partly it's a severe over-estimation of how powerful T1 is in actual non-TO games.

Partly it's an insistence on strict RAW with a "if it doesn't explicitly say I can't then I can" attitude that leads to shenanigans that would be not allowed in most games.

Partly it's abuse of divination spells.

Partly it's bad DM'ing, for allowing such silliness, and players for forgetting why the DM is there in the first place.

Partly it's forgetting that DnD is a collaborative not competitive game.

And partly it's becauser casters really are just more powerful. If all you care about is being the "most powerful" then yeah, you are limited. If you don't want to be part of a team despite playing a team based game, then yeah trying to not be a caster will suck. But for most people, it's not a huge problem.

Some of these parts are not like the others. Really not like the others, i.e. much more significant.

Zen Master
2010-11-02, 03:46 AM
What you just said (someone who does not cast spells) would be a "non-spellcaster."

Because defining someone who fights with a sword, in melee, is best done by pointing out that he isn't a caster. He's not a melee type - oh no, he is a non-caster.

Yea. If you define the world only with a view to full casters .... and everyone and everything else. Then that makes sense.

Zen Master
2010-11-02, 03:48 AM
Not really. You haven't even touched out of combat utility.

It's true - I didn't.

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-02, 03:48 AM
Because defining someone who fights with a sword, in melee, is best done by pointing out that he isn't a caster. He's not a melee type - oh no, he is a non-caster.

Interesting how you completely warped and falsified the context there. :smallannoyed:

I said non-spellcaster would be the appropriate term for, and I quote exactly, "person who relies primarily on something other than spells to fulfill their role." No mention of swords or melee or anything of that sort. By that definition, it could be a psion. Who doesn't use swords or fight in melee range.




What would you call them then? If anyone has a better term for "person who relies primarily on something other than spells to fulfill their role"...

What you just said (someone who does not cast spells) would be a "non-spellcaster."

But I doubt that's what you actually mean either, because that would include things like Psions and Incarnum users and Binders, and presumably you actually mean either Badass Normals (who don't really scale up to high levels short of things like "actually being able to use magic gadgets better than other people," and some people think that doesn't count) or guys with Charles Atlas Superpowers (who get things like superhuman speed or the ability to bounce cannonballs off their chest just because they trained really hard). Basically, someone who takes extreme martial training as their primary power source, rather than cloistered study of arcane secrets, a lineage of supernatural creatures, or devotion to the gods.

And guys with Charles Atlas Superpowers totally can do things like "Mirror Image." You've probably even seen an example of it. They run around so fast that you see multiple images of them.

Zen Master
2010-11-02, 04:59 AM
Interesting how you completely warped the context there.

Hm ... I didn't, tho. You're defining our swordfighter by what he doesn't do (cast spells) rather than by what he does (melee).

At least, that's the context that I see. Is there ... another?

Foryn Gilnith
2010-11-02, 05:08 AM
Hm ... I didn't, tho. You're defining our swordfighter by what he doesn't do (cast spells) rather than by what he does (melee).

You're defining the noncaster by one, very specific thing he does (kill things he's close to). Being melee is an adequate qualification for tier 5. You need to do a lot more than melee to get to top tier, and even if we're shooting for only tier 3, "melee" is an incomplete and inadequate description of the guy with the sword.

Zen Master
2010-11-02, 05:18 AM
You're defining the noncaster by one, very specific thing he does (kill things he's close to). Being melee is an adequate qualification for tier 5. You need to do a lot more than melee to get to top tier, and even if we're shooting for only tier 3, "melee" is an incomplete and inadequate description of the guy with the sword.

And it's better to define him by the one thing he does not do?

Maybe so - but I really fail to see how. Unless you are so caster-centric, you fail to see the world as relative to anything else.

EDIT: Scratch that. This isn't something I feel strongly enough about to pursue. Define swordswingers as non-casters, that's perfectly fine by me =)

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-02, 05:19 AM
And it's better to define him by the one thing he does not do? Straw man arguments are not okay. It is extraordinarily disrespectful.

I'm not going to defend a position I never held to begin with.

JaronK
2010-11-02, 05:32 AM
Anyone defined by being a melee can never be above T4, since right there you're saying they can only do one thing well, no matter how well they can do it (fight in melee combat). The Barbarian, especially with Lion Totem, is the perfect example. "Melees" in T3 do other stuff too, like Diplomacy or phasing through walls or healing party members or casting various spells or buffing party members... or a combination thereof.

JaronK

Jolly
2010-11-02, 10:04 AM
Jolly, how are any of the things I listed examples of TO?

That's not even close to TO. That's just stuff that happens as a matter of course in a high level game.

This is basic stuff:







Nothing in any of those posts is particularly optimized.


Well, you rather conveniently left off the point where I agree that full casters are more powerful than non, and take a single part of a single point and misapply it to be a pre-condition of the entire list.

Wizards are only gods when you allow cheesy, broken TO stuff like infinite wish, Pun-Pun, and other loops and abuses.

Wizards are only orders of magnitude more useful in real games when DM's let the casters get away with shenanigans and don't do a good job keeping them in line.


Nerfing the top tier classes so that they are knocked down several tiers is one way to make weaker classes their equal but if the question is "What would it take in D&D to get a tier 1 class that isn't a pure casting class?" that is not really answering the question.


Limiting access to power is not nerfing. It's just that for casters power is represented by new spells (or abusive uses of spells) rather than items. I think this is the crux of the discussion. If you keep a Dread Necro from finding the corpse of an Ancient (powerful template) dragon to raise no one cries that you're nerfing them. If you don't let wizards abuse the system and get every spell they want (and use every spell in abusive ways) or present them with a balanced threat then they whine.

Not letting wizards learn every spell ever published is not a nerf. Not letting clerics take DMM cheese is not a nerf. Presenting full casters with enemies who negate some of their advantages that is not a nerf. Preventing abuse of spells/PrC's/abilities etc is not a nerf. Not letting the wizards create 15 minutes adventuring days with Rope Trick is not a nerf. Not letting the wizard abuse CoP is not a nerf. Etc etc.

The "casters are GODS!!!" position is based on a DM who allows everything and doesn't reign in silly and abusive things. It's a result of the legitimate reasoning that since house rules are inconsistent RAW is all we can discuss, but it's spiraled out of control into conventional wisdom status, parroted by power tripping 14 y/o's and people who've just never really examined the claims in detail until it's just a truism.

TL:DR
In most real world games, with competent DM's, T1 is very powerful, more powerful than lower tiers, but not as broken as many people seem to think.

true_shinken
2010-11-02, 10:26 AM
What would you call them then? If anyone has a better term for "person who relies primarily on something other than spells to fulfill their role"...

Mundane.
The whole 'don't call them melee' thing is pretty pointless, though. Melee as a 'range' is not even melee's original meaning. Google it.

WarKitty
2010-11-02, 10:33 AM
Mundane.
The whole 'don't call them melee' thing is pretty pointless, though. Melee as a 'range' is not even melee's original meaning. Google it.

Ok we all know what we're talking about. I amended it later, but there's no simple, all inclusive word that will actually fit in the title. We're talking about a category that includes the sword-swinger, the archer, the skillmonkey, the halfcaster like the paladin, but no the wizard, the melee cleric, the full psionicist, or the fake caster like the binder. Mundane leaves out the half-casters as well as implying that we're talking about a badass normal when we're clearly not.

My point was, what happens when you have a game where the PC's and their opponents are gods, and someone wants to play a swordswinger that can keep up?

Lamech
2010-11-02, 10:39 AM
First I think the important thing for balance is not wizard=fighter, its wizard+fighter>wizard*2. So what if the wizard can teleport and the cleric can plane shift if neither of them have the power to kill Mr. Balor? Cleric casts spells to get the party in the abyss, skillmonkey learns the lore and tells them where to go, wizard uses cunning illusions to get up to Mr. Balor and the fighter tears it to shreds.

Remember the thread a while back about the level 11 party trying to kill a balor? A charger could have sliced the thing to tiny bits in the surprise round.

So to make the game more balanced? The fighter needs some stuff, such as mobility, ToB, and what not so he can do his job. The wizard needs to be toned down so he can't blast stuff to bits with orbs, or use a no-save just fail spell, and a bunch of outright broken stuff needs to be banned. Planar binding, fabricate, ect. can become really problematic really quickly... even more stuff beyond core.

Urpriest
2010-11-02, 10:41 AM
Somehow, that just doesn't get the feel right.

I'm getting to the point where I should start looking at different systems, aren't I? I like 3.5 mechanics in general, I just think there should be a few (Ex) abilities available to our swordsmen and archers and sneakers. Ok more than a few.

Think about it this way. Suppose you want to play a high-level hero, and you want to model him after a high level hero in mythology. Suppose that hero is Perseus.

How does Perseus defeat monsters? He fights them in melee, uses canny tactics, etc. He's the definition of melee, as referred to in this thread. What lets him do this effectively? A giant pile of magic items! He's the most extreme example in that mythos, but it's still not utterly uncommon.

Yes, he doesn't personally forge his magic items. While forging magic items is still in my view a "melee" thing to do (think of the world's most badass blacksmith), it doesn't have to be how this works. Try this on for size:

Refluff the Artificer as the Hero. Instead of getting magic items by creating them, he spends days bargaining with gods, outwitting them and besting them at contests. Perhaps he even possesses an enchanted representative, a construct that can bargain for him while he has more important business to attend to (Dedicated Wright). While a wizard might put his soul into a blade, a Hero never needs to because he doesn't create objects using his magical knowledge, he simply borrows them from the gods themselves, occasionally sacrificing found objects in thanks.

tldr: For a high-level game you need a magic-infused hero, but said hero can still be melee flavor. Look to the greek heroes for inspiration.

true_shinken
2010-11-02, 10:45 AM
My point was, what happens when you have a game where the PC's and their opponents are gods, and someone wants to play a swordswinger that can keep up?
You don't play D&D, that's what happens. :smallamused:

WarKitty
2010-11-02, 10:48 AM
Think about it this way. Suppose you want to play a high-level hero, and you want to model him after a high level hero in mythology. Suppose that hero is Perseus.

How does Perseus defeat monsters? He fights them in melee, uses canny tactics, etc. He's the definition of melee, as referred to in this thread. What lets him do this effectively? A giant pile of magic items! He's the most extreme example in that mythos, but it's still not utterly uncommon.

Yes, he doesn't personally forge his magic items. While forging magic items is still in my view a "melee" thing to do (think of the world's most badass blacksmith), it doesn't have to be how this works. Try this on for size:

Refluff the Artificer as the Hero. Instead of getting magic items by creating them, he spends days bargaining with gods, outwitting them and besting them at contests. Perhaps he even possesses an enchanted representative, a construct that can bargain for him while he has more important business to attend to (Dedicated Wright). While a wizard might put his soul into a blade, a Hero never needs to because he doesn't create objects using his magical knowledge, he simply borrows them from the gods themselves, occasionally sacrificing found objects in thanks.

tldr: For a high-level game you need a magic-infused hero, but said hero can still be melee flavor. Look to the greek heroes for inspiration.

Nice point. The main issue in D&D is, whatever magic items the melee can buy, the caster can make for cheaper.


You don't play D&D, that's what happens. :smallamused:

Got a better idea that doesn't involve dumping money on new books? :smallbiggrin:

oxybe
2010-11-02, 11:11 AM
please, can anyone answer the question i asked?


the fighter can fight and... what else?

what options does an average int dwarf fighter have outside of "i hits it with my sword"?

casters are borked without needing cheese. you don't need chain-gating. a wizard can do plenty with 4 known spells per level. simply thinking of the options the polymorph line (starting at alter self, finishing at shapechange) give you when it comes to bypassing terrain, putting distance between you and an enemy or simply hiding is stunning. and this ignoring the the combat applications of turning into a huge sized centipede that can eat people and comes with nuclear reactor built-in next to it's stomach.

shadow conjuration & shadow evocation allow you to emulate so many different spells it's staggering.

i'm not talking cheesy use of spells. i'm talking look in the PHB and try to tell me with a strait face "weapon focus (great axe)" "toughness" "whirlwind attack" or "weapon prof(spiked chain)" are in the same league as "alter self" then keep going down the line as spell levels progress.

anyone can hit things and deal damage in D&D. there's an entire school of wizardry based around killing things with fire. dealing damage and killing things is not a problem you have in D&D unless you specifically try to shy away from those options.

it's the "what else can you do" that is.

so the fighter can fight... and what else?

WarKitty
2010-11-02, 11:18 AM
please, can anyone answer the question i asked?



what options does an average int dwarf fighter have outside of "i hits it with my sword"?

casters are borked without needing cheese. you don't need chain-gating. a wizard can do plenty with 4 known spells per level. simply thinking of the options the polymorph line (starting at alter self, finishing at shapechange) give you when it comes to bypassing terrain, putting distance between you and an enemy or simply hiding is stunning. and this ignoring the the combat applications of turning into a huge sized centipede that can eat people and comes with nuclear reactor built-in next to it's stomach.

shadow conjuration & shadow evocation allow you to emulate so many different spells it's staggering.

i'm not talking cheesy use of spells. i'm talking look in the PHB and try to tell me with a strait face "weapon focus (great axe)" "toughness" "whirlwind attack" or "weapon prof(spiked chain)" are in the same league as "alter self" then keep going down the line as spell levels progress.

anyone can hit things and deal damage in D&D. there's an entire school of wizardry based around killing things with fire. dealing damage and killing things is not a problem you have in D&D unless you specifically try to shy away from those options.

it's the "what else can you do" that is.

so the fighter can fight... and what else?

What else do you want to be able to do? I'm sure a well fluffed out character should have more tricks than just hitting things with a sword.

Loren
2010-11-02, 11:21 AM
Got a better idea that doesn't involve dumping money on new books?

Pathfinder? http://www.d20pfsrd.com/home
or GURPS lite? http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/resources.html

In all seriousness, probably the easiest thing one could do to balance power in D&D if you're starting at high level is give martial characters more wealth so that they can buy their tools and then drop goodies specifically for them. sure it's definitely not fool proof, but neither is mucking about with changing other aspects of the game. Otherwise, I'd try allowing them to play a gestalt with a better point buy so that they aren't hindered as much by MAD.

kyoryu
2010-11-02, 11:23 AM
i'm not talking cheesy use of spells. i'm talking look in the PHB and try to tell me with a strait face "weapon focus (great axe)" "toughness" "whirlwind attack" or "weapon prof(spiked chain)" are in the same league as "alter self" then keep going down the line as spell levels progress.


Not only that, but what does it cost the wizard to get Alter Self? Four pages in a spellbook. That's all. What does it cost for the Fighter to get Whirlwind Attack? How many feats are prereqs? How many *other* things does that lock the Fighter out of?

Why in the world do Fighters have to hyper-specialize to get anything? If anything, doesn't it make *more* sense for Wizards to have to restrict their spell lists (due to specialization and research) than for Fighters to only learn a tiny set of available techniques?

The only advantage that Fighters ever really had - their resilience - is made moot by the fact that in most modern games, DMs are loathe to kill off PCs. When was the last time you saw a DM let the Wizard get killed at 1st level and stay dead? The other advantage they have is their ability to keep on going, round after round, encounter after encounter - and how man times have you seen a DM not let a party rest after the wizard novaed?

Once in a while, maybe, but not in general.

Hat-Trick
2010-11-02, 11:23 AM
Operate a seige engine, command an army, leap buildings in a single bound, swim in lava, fall from orbit and walk away, swing his sword every round for an entire day sun up to sun down and past, climb a wall with thirty arrows in his back and four more in his Achilles tendon.

true_shinken
2010-11-02, 11:33 AM
Got a better idea that doesn't involve dumping money on new books? :smallbiggrin:
There a lot of free systems online, pick one. :smallbiggrin:

Urpriest
2010-11-02, 11:38 AM
Pathfinder? http://www.d20pfsrd.com/home
or GURPS lite? http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/resources.html

In all seriousness, probably the easiest thing one could do to balance power in D&D if you're starting at high level is give martial characters more wealth so that they can buy their tools and then drop goodies specifically for them. sure it's definitely not fool proof, but neither is mucking about with changing other aspects of the game. Otherwise, I'd try allowing them to play a gestalt with a better point buy so that they aren't hindered as much by MAD.

Hence my suggestion. Make your martial characters refluffed Artificers.

WarKitty
2010-11-02, 12:08 PM
Hence my suggestion. Make your martial characters refluffed Artificers.

See I've found my players don't take well to loading themselves with bunches of magic items. They want to play Hercules, not Perseus.

Foryn Gilnith
2010-11-02, 12:22 PM
but it's spiraled out of control into conventional wisdom status, parroted by power tripping 14 y/o's and people who've just never really examined the claims in detail until it's just a truism.

You've neglected to mention the people whose games actually play like this.

Loren
2010-11-02, 12:34 PM
They want to play Hercules, not Perseus
give them a high point buy and warn them that they may be over shadowed by those who can bend reality to make strength irrelevant. 3.5D&D simply doesn't support that character type well at high levels.
However, as DM you have some power to re-balance the situation. As I said earlier, you control treasure, so you can skew it in favour of the martials. You also control the pace of the adventure, so that the endurance of martials can come into play. If you have events progressing while the characters rest they need to balance how much down time they take to their needs, reducing nova play. One way you may consider doing this is by having the baddies active on several planes, so that they are still advancing their cause even if the wizard pulls some shenanigans to "stop time" while they rest ('sure, but that spell only affects this plane of existence'). You also control the scale and nature of the encounters, which means you can create scenarios that will allow the martial to remain active and contribute to the success of the play. Working in skill challenges from 4E would be a good way to do this. (example, there is a powerful spell in effect that makes the minions being fought nigh unbeatable. Several turns need to be spent to deactivate the magic. The magic user could study the device generating it and then 'shut it off' or the fight could just hack at it. At the same time the party needs to fend off attackers.) Measures like these don't fix the imbalance between the characters, but they do allow the game to function.

---
FYI
If you haven't played 4E, skill challenges are a series of skill checks. Tally up successes and failure. When a certain number of successes or failure is reach the challenge is concluded. If they players achieve enough successes to end the challenge they "win" and something good happens. If they fail, somethign bad does. Also some skills can be used to produce bonuses. So, in the example above, knowledge religion or arcane might be used to determine where to hit the device.

Arbane
2010-11-02, 12:56 PM
They need to be able to do so much that it doesn't even fit thematically with what a fighter should be able to do. They need to be able to jump so well that they can practically fly. They need to be able to throw a sword in a way that kills everything. They need to somehow reflect the suns rays off of their swords in a way that creates an illusion. Sure, you could use magic items to get these effects, but then it's not so much the melee character that's top-tier, but his items.

Sounds like a Dawn Caste Solar Exalted to me.

bokodasu
2010-11-02, 01:02 PM
Now I've got a Hercules vs. Gandalf fight playing out in my head. THANKS.

(And Hercules still needed to use the Nemean Lion's +1 weapon against its own defenses, because he didn't have anything that would penetrate its DR. And then he made magic armor out of its hide. So it's not like he was all anti-magic item either.)

Honestly, I don't think you can say "I don't want to alter reality but I still want to play in a world with people who can, and I don't want to be less powerful than them." It's just not reasonable.

You can either take away the power to alter reality from the people who have it or give it to the ones who don't (and tell them to quit whining about having to use "magic", you're being very nice and calling it "Really High Jump" or "Move So Fast It Seems As Though Time Has Stopped for Everyone Else" so it's totally natural and not at all a spell).

You can try doing some extra-high-point-buy all-non-caster-gestalt class, but it would be kind of headachy. (Maybe fun, too.) It's probably just easier to play something else - Fudge is good, free, and easy to learn. My current GM had a whole homebrew system of it that was perfectly balanced and fit on six pages.

kyoryu
2010-11-02, 01:10 PM
See I've found my players don't take well to loading themselves with bunches of magic items. They want to play Hercules, not Perseus.

And that's, I think, where you start.

Forget existing classes. How would you design a class that could embody Hercules, Conan, or Aragorn?

Jolly
2010-11-02, 01:11 PM
You've neglected to mention the people whose games actually play like this.

You left off the parts of my argument wherein I address that. It's a poor debate tactic, but when anyone can just scroll up it's really rather comical.

If your game plays out like that it's a result of poor DM'ing and player choices more than sheer mechanics. Unless you choose to play that way because you enjoy it, but then there wouldn't be a problem would there?

WarKitty
2010-11-02, 01:41 PM
Now I've got a Hercules vs. Gandalf fight playing out in my head. THANKS.

(And Hercules still needed to use the Nemean Lion's +1 weapon against its own defenses, because he didn't have anything that would penetrate its DR. And then he made magic armor out of its hide. So it's not like he was all anti-magic item either.)

Honestly, I don't think you can say "I don't want to alter reality but I still want to play in a world with people who can, and I don't want to be less powerful than them." It's just not reasonable.

You can either take away the power to alter reality from the people who have it or give it to the ones who don't (and tell them to quit whining about having to use "magic", you're being very nice and calling it "Really High Jump" or "Move So Fast It Seems As Though Time Has Stopped for Everyone Else" so it's totally natural and not at all a spell).

You can try doing some extra-high-point-buy all-non-caster-gestalt class, but it would be kind of headachy. (Maybe fun, too.) It's probably just easier to play something else - Fudge is good, free, and easy to learn. My current GM had a whole homebrew system of it that was perfectly balanced and fit on six pages.

And that's my point. They *do* want to alter reality. They just want to alter reality because their muscles are that insanely awesome, not because they've got a spellbook. Hence why I said earlier is you'd want to give them (Ex) type abilities.

Pechvarry
2010-11-02, 01:53 PM
You said you're getting to god-like powers or even becoming gods, right? I might suggest good ol' Deities and Demigods. They give some guidelines in that book for making Salient Divine Abilities. An epic wizard doesn't really need them, but perhaps some SDAs for the swordies wouldn't be so bad. Look at what melee gods in that book have (like Thor), and then think "ok, now what kind of abilities would this god have if these divine abilities were actually designed well?"

I know at this point, it's basically piling on a lot of melee homebrew abilities, but that seems to be what you're wanting to do anyway. Something we experimented with in Epic play was letting the melee characters (melee meaning physical combat, mayhaps?) design a number of epic maneuvers, similar to epic spells. In general, it amounted to "think of something really awesome you think your character should do, we'll come up with the mechanics for making it work". Then we assigned an HP cost for using the abilities. This was before we owned ToB, btw, so we didn't have any existing mechanics to really build on.

Shamefully, we referred to them as limit breaks.

oxybe
2010-11-02, 01:58 PM
Operate a seige engine, command an army, leap buildings in a single bound, swim in lava, fall from orbit and walk away, swing his sword every round for an entire day sun up to sun down and past, climb a wall with thirty arrows in his back and four more in his Achilles tendon.

all that is the same dwarven fighter? really? prof (seige engineer), diplomacy, jump, swim, HP soak, attack roll, climb. 5 of those are skills. we're talking about a 16 int dwarven fighter here (or 14 int human). this is hardly the picture of the average fighter, at least in practice.

operating a seige engine would be profession (seige engine operator) or a use of knowledge (engineering). neither of which are fighter exclusive, and the latter is done better by 2 casters (wizard and bard) since it's a class skill.

commanding an army is either diplomacy or leadership. a cross-class skill that uses a traditional dump stat or a feat anyone can take.

leaping buildings is nice, but long lasting flight or long distance teleportation is generally better and at the levels where you can leap houses, you should have access to those options on a nearly continuous basis

energy resistance or immunity isn't hard to get at the higher levels and neither is a swim speed (alter self, locatah lasts for a half hour when you get it)

virtually all level 1 wizards are trained in orbital re-entry thanks to feather fall.

swing his sword all day long? so can every other class, unless some special rule was added that makes you keep track of exhaustion and fighters happen to get a bonus to it.

climb a wall? see flight/teleportation. and at the levels where you don't have enough fingers and toes to count the arrows lodged in your body, you can get DR/-- items or spells so you don't need to worry about the extra arrow weight since it just bounces off.

a lot of this stuff is considering that you'll make it "end game". i often hear people deride caster power as ridiculous endgame stuff, but they get real nice toys quite early.

alter self is a level 2 spell, charm person is level 1. disguise self is level 1. there's a summon monster every level. there are loads of early spells/effects a low-level fighter cannot replicate
----------------------------------------
saying "well a well-fluffed character could...". no, he couldn't. at least not by the rules. by the rules a fighter gets "bonus feats" and thanks to little to no skill points, access to less then 5% of all skills if he's got average int. and that's it.

to quote me from the first page:

-the last problem is since the non-casters have so little built-in support for anything that isn't "i hit it with my [weapon of choice]" or "i hit it REALLY hard", non-casters rely almost entirely on the GM's adjudication of player skill and metagame information when it comes to options. that might be ok for some people, but it really grinds my gears that Edward the Headsman's ability to bypass a traps is reliant on Oxybe the Player's ability to creatively use a crowbar, a pully, several dozen yards of rope, a handful of pitons and a log.

Quinda the Wuxia/anime-inspired AD&D mystic, who refluffed her "remove trap" skill in one situation as a focused ki-enhanced strike that breaks the bonds of the mystic weave and destroys the magical trap (ie: I punched the magic out of the door) is a well fluffed character (well tastes will vary on what is "good" fluff, but at least Quinda's player is trying).

Edward, who disarms traps because Oxybe thought of a clever way to use rope, pullies, pitons and a log is using player skill rather then PC skill to solve problems.

the first uses what the character is actually capable of and puts a spin on it. the second has no reliance on the character (baring something vague like "well he's got an ok Int/Wis...") and could have been done with virtually any PC.

the first is actual PC skill. the second is DM fiat to the player's benefit.
-------------------------------------
truthfully part of the solution is destroy the old "catch-all casters", create more classes along the lines of the beguiler & dread necro, each with their own specialized casting lists, then start looking for the borked spells.

afterwords, start boosting up the abilities of then non casters by giving them some of the toys the now-dead casters had.

give the rogue a special (EX) knock or charm person spell-like. give the barbarian an (EX) tree stride or expeditious retreat/charge spell like. give the fighter an (EX) Jump or feather fall spell-like. round out these classes by giving them something other then "i hit it with an axe" should something arise that can't be solved with ample use of violence.

kyoryu
2010-11-02, 03:20 PM
truthfully part of the solution is destroy the old "catch-all casters", create more classes along the lines of the beguiler & dread necro, each with their own specialized casting lists, then start looking for the borked spells.


Actually I agree with this. One of the issues is the disparity in 'breadth' of classes... Wizards are a "catch-all" class, while many of the mundane classes are highly specialized subsets of abilities that may appear in a single character in fiction.

You can resolve this either by increasing the breadth of abilities of the mundane classes, or by limiting the breadth available to spell-casters.

JaronK
2010-11-02, 05:12 PM
Heck, the way I balance the game is by removing the T1s and T2s, and it works fine. The catch all caster is the Factotum. No worries. You want to play a melee (and yes, I said melee, because I include Duskblades and Hexblades in the category but not Rogues) who can keep up? Warblade or Crusader. Done. Meanwhile, the serious casters are indeed Beguilers, Dread Necromancers, and Warmages. It works fine, though it would be nice to have other options (I was working out an abjuration based buff/gish class to compliment them).

As a note, Fighters are one of IIRC only two classes that don't have profession as a class skill, so they can't use siege engines. Yes, Fighters are that lame.

Exalted (the RPG, not BoED) has melees that can keep up with everyone else and are ridiculous... but I dunno, I'm not really a fan of that game system. But you could try it if you want to be that strong.

JaronK

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-02, 05:13 PM
As a note, Fighters are one of IIRC only two classes that don't have profession as a class skill, so they can't use siege engines. Yes, Fighters are that lame.

Indeed. Fighters are completely conceptually stunted. Not merely mechanically lacking.

olentu
2010-11-02, 10:44 PM
Well, you rather conveniently left off the point where I agree that full casters are more powerful than non, and take a single part of a single point and misapply it to be a pre-condition of the entire list.

Wizards are only gods when you allow cheesy, broken TO stuff like infinite wish, Pun-Pun, and other loops and abuses.

Wizards are only orders of magnitude more useful in real games when DM's let the casters get away with shenanigans and don't do a good job keeping them in line.




Limiting access to power is not nerfing. It's just that for casters power is represented by new spells (or abusive uses of spells) rather than items. I think this is the crux of the discussion. If you keep a Dread Necro from finding the corpse of an Ancient (powerful template) dragon to raise no one cries that you're nerfing them. If you don't let wizards abuse the system and get every spell they want (and use every spell in abusive ways) or present them with a balanced threat then they whine.

Not letting wizards learn every spell ever published is not a nerf. Not letting clerics take DMM cheese is not a nerf. Presenting full casters with enemies who negate some of their advantages that is not a nerf. Preventing abuse of spells/PrC's/abilities etc is not a nerf. Not letting the wizards create 15 minutes adventuring days with Rope Trick is not a nerf. Not letting the wizard abuse CoP is not a nerf. Etc etc.

The "casters are GODS!!!" position is based on a DM who allows everything and doesn't reign in silly and abusive things. It's a result of the legitimate reasoning that since house rules are inconsistent RAW is all we can discuss, but it's spiraled out of control into conventional wisdom status, parroted by power tripping 14 y/o's and people who've just never really examined the claims in detail until it's just a truism.

TL:DR
In most real world games, with competent DM's, T1 is very powerful, more powerful than lower tiers, but not as broken as many people seem to think.

So you are specifically removing options in a fashion targeted at just that collection of classes to reduce the power of said classes sounds like a nerf to me. If not then the wizard is actually a much less powerful class then the fighter so long as the DM is competent is just as legitimate an argument. Yeah I am not really buying that since saying well any competent DM would just make them less broken means they are that broken in the first place.

Aran Banks
2010-11-02, 10:54 PM
A Tier 1 melee combatant requires this. (http://www.dnd-wiki.org/wiki/Races_of_War_(3.5e_Sourcebook)/Warriors_with_Class)

Barbarian: Incredible immunities all sorts of things, plus huge amounts of damage.

Fighter: Ability to jump in on everybody's actions.

Samurai: Outdamage everything all the time.

So the answer is... playing rocket launcher tag, except as a padded sumo (where your opponent ISN'T a padded sumo). That's what is necessary.

Jolly
2010-11-03, 01:16 AM
/sigh

Olentu: if I don't let a fighter type take War Hulking Hurler and throw planets around, am I nerfing fighters? Does that prove they are broken?

Magic can do lots of stuff, and has more potential for abuse. So a DM has to do the job he is intended to do (maintain a semblance of balance and/or present relevant challenges to everyone in the party) more vigorously when full casters are about.

This doesn't prove that T1 is "zomg borked" it merely demonstrates that they are a challenge to properly play and DM.

And again, if your primary concern is "What is the most powerful?" Then you are playing the wrong game.

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-03, 01:44 AM
/sigh

Olentu: if I don't let a fighter type take War Hulking Hurler and throw planets around, am I nerfing fighters? Does that prove they are broken?

Magic can do lots of stuff, and has more potential for abuse. So a DM has to do the job he is intended to do (maintain a semblance of balance and/or present relevant challenges to everyone in the party) more vigorously when full casters are about.

This doesn't prove that T1 is "zomg borked" it merely demonstrates that they are a challenge to properly play and DM.

And again, if your primary concern is "What is the most powerful?" Then you are playing the wrong game.

Wait, back up. For the sake of clarification, who are you arguing against, regarding the position "T1 is zomg borked"?

Going back through the thread, your initial post doesn't actually quote anyone.

Jolly
2010-11-03, 02:22 AM
G_P: who said I was arguing with anyone? I'm fairly certain expressing my views is acceptable, even when not directly rebutting anyone.

As for the supposed godhood and massive inequity of T1n well the fact that there is a Tier system and that it's nearly universally accepted kinda demonstrate the status of that claim as conventional wisdom.

For the record, I am not saying the Tier system is wrong, merely that it is based on assumptions that are not really applicable (most powerful interpretation of RAW is the one allowed, no house rules, no banned material etc). In so far as it goes, it is accurate. However, many people mis-use it to be "proof" that wizards and CODzilla are "better" and hopelessly "broken" without considering the assumptions that went into the original Tier rankings.

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-03, 03:19 AM
G_P: who said I was arguing with anyone? You keep presenting arguments against "supposed" godhood. That implies someone is doing the supposing. But apparently it's just a phantom debater.


However, many people mis-use it to be "proof" that wizards and CODzilla are "better" and hopelessly "broken" without considering the assumptions that went into the original Tier rankings.

So what exactly does this have to do with the subject of this thread?

true_shinken
2010-11-03, 04:56 AM
A Tier 1 melee combatant requires this. (http://www.dnd-wiki.org/wiki/Races_of_War_(3.5e_Sourcebook)/Warriors_with_Class)

That's not tier one. Where is the versatility? All they can do is fight.

bokodasu
2010-11-03, 06:49 AM
And that's my point. They *do* want to alter reality. They just want to alter reality because their muscles are that insanely awesome, not because they've got a spellbook. Hence why I said earlier is you'd want to give them (Ex) type abilities.

Right, then, you just give them sorcerer spellcasting or psionics and refluff all the spells/powers as physical powers. Or, from what I've heard, you play 4e where all the work is already done for you.

This is kind of making me want to do option 1 but not *quite* enough to actually do it. But I'm in a game with a wizard, a cleric, and two druids who all more or less know the game pretty well, and two fighters (one who just respecced as a PALADIN because she didn't feel powerful enough), a barbarian, a ranger, and a monk who, well, optimize to a different degree. It's kind of the worst of both worlds. Last session, the wizard wasn't there, and everybody else took down four trolls while the cleric and I were removed from the action for most of the fight, then the two of us came back and killed 120 skeletal archers in the last round. Now, granted, there was an antimagic field that was making things difficult, but it made it way more difficult for the noncasters than the two of us who were removed - we just had to figure out how to affect things from a distance. They were getting eaten by trolls and suddenly had no magic weapons or armor.

So yeah, I'd love to just hand out some powers to the muscle-y set - I like the... puzzle of battle? Having options and coming up with new ways to solve problems other than "I poke it with my sword". I'd much rather they got that too than someone said "no useful spellcasting, it hurts the fighter's feelings."

Lans
2010-11-03, 08:47 AM
A tier 1 melee should be able to lasso a hurricane, ride a lightning bolt, and along with your blue ox single be a one man lumber company, and lay down a rail road in one night.

Add in any other folk legend actions you can think of, and exaggerate if necessary.

Jolly
2010-11-03, 10:10 AM
You keep presenting arguments against "supposed" godhood. That implies someone is doing the supposing. But apparently it's just a phantom debater.

There exists a well known tier structure positing that point. There exists numerous guides to how to be a god/batman wizard. Do a search, "Tier 1 is broken" or some equivalent gets repeated dozens of times a day just on this site. It's the conventional wisdom, and attempting to deny it takes a monumental effort at ignoring the obvious.




So what exactly does this have to do with the subject of this thread?


In a discussion of how to make X Tier 1, how powerful Tier 1 really is seems relevant.

olentu
2010-11-03, 02:16 PM
/sigh

Olentu: if I don't let a fighter type take War Hulking Hurler and throw planets around, am I nerfing fighters? Does that prove they are broken?

Magic can do lots of stuff, and has more potential for abuse. So a DM has to do the job he is intended to do (maintain a semblance of balance and/or present relevant challenges to everyone in the party) more vigorously when full casters are about.

This doesn't prove that T1 is "zomg borked" it merely demonstrates that they are a challenge to properly play and DM.

And again, if your primary concern is "What is the most powerful?" Then you are playing the wrong game.

However if my "primary concern is "What is the most powerful?"" then I am in the right thread. What is most powerful is the primary concern of this thread. I could care less how someone chooses to depower casters or mundanes or whatever with their DM fiat but in this thread I could not care much less. This thread is as far as I can tell about "What would it take to get a top-tier melee". Power is the name of the game here and discussing how in "most real world games, with competent DM's" (I could use a citation on this statistic by the way) one makes classes less powerful so to balance with weaker classes is unimportant. This is because if one makes a class as powerful as a class that has been weakened by fiat then as soon as the fiat is gone (say changing tables) the classes are no longer equal in power defeating the whole point of the exercise.

Would it help if I agreed that yes any DM can if they wish depower any class as much as they want or alternatively empower any class as much as they want. That I disagreed that any "competent" DM would absolutely do so because telling others how they have fun is silly.

true_shinken
2010-11-03, 02:22 PM
However if my "primary concern is "What is the most powerful?"" then I am in the right thread. What is most powerful is the primary concern of this thread.
Hm, not really. Tier 1 is not (only) about absolute power. It's about absolute versatility.


Would it help if I agreed that yes any DM can if they wish depower any class as much as they want or alternatively empower any class as much as they want. That I disagreed that any "competent" DM would absolutely do so because telling others how they have fun is silly.
Telling people they are incompetent because they wouldn't let you break their games is hardly polite.

Jolly
2010-11-03, 02:37 PM
In a world where magic exists, it is easy to ignore realism and hand wave it all as magic. Of course you can do impossible stuff, that's just the nature of magic.

When you want explicitly non-magical characters who can do god-like things then it (for me, and I imagine for many people) breaks versimilitude. It's way easier to suspend disbelief that a super intelligent person schooled in ancient lore can break the laws of physics than to believe that if you get strong enough you can leap across the planet in fractions of a second and rip holes in time space.

So my advice to the OP is that what you're hoping to achieve isn't really possible, without resorting to outlandishness that will alienate many people. If your group is down for, great. But I don't think it's possible or advisable as a general rule.

WarKitty
2010-11-03, 02:42 PM
In a world where magic exists, it is easy to ignore realism and hand wave it all as magic. Of course you can do impossible stuff, that's just the nature of magic.

When you want explicitly non-magical characters who can do god-like things then it (for me, and I imagine for many people) breaks versimilitude. It's way easier to suspend disbelief that a super intelligent person schooled in ancient lore can break the laws of physics than to believe that if you get strong enough you can leap across the planet in fractions of a second and rip holes in time space.

So my advice to the OP is that what you're hoping to achieve isn't really possible, without resorting to outlandishness that will alienate many people. If your group is down for, great. But I don't think it's possible or advisable as a general rule.



Try this on for size: Reality is mutable. Belief is a primal source, and anyone with sufficient willpower can shape the world through their belief. Now, the standard way is through what we call "magic." People use rituals, hand gestures and things like bird feathers and bat poop, to focus their energy. Or they pray to a deity, which is the collection of the mass belief of many people. But there are others...when someone pushes himself to the limit and keeps pushing, there's a point where the laws of reality themselves start to bend to him. Slowly at first, and then more and more. He can push his craft beyond what even seems possible.


It only strains belief if you're committed to the propositions that the D&D world functions mostly like ours and non-casters should only have what we can imagine a badass normal having. But I'm not playing with badass normals, I'm playing with hercules and perseus.

Jolly
2010-11-03, 02:45 PM
If that works for you, great. If it works for your group, great. It doesn't work for me, and based on the people I've played with I don't know how well it'd fly with a majority of gamers. But this is for your campaign, not for me or the majority of gamers, so if it works for you knock yourself out.

true_shinken
2010-11-03, 02:47 PM
If that works for you, great. If it works for your group, great. It doesn't work for me, and based on the people I've played with I don't know how well it'd fly with a majority of gamers. But this is for your campaign, not for me or the majority of gamers, so if it works for you knock yourself out.

Well, Jolly, that's basically what WarKitty said in the OP :smallbiggrin:

Mark Hall
2010-11-03, 03:35 PM
But "mundane" isn't necessarily the problem. Hexblades and Healers are magical and yet lame. It's really more about the intended role of the class. If your class is intended to just heal (Healer) or put hard objects into soft bits (melee warriors, archers, whatever) then you're very inflexible. If your class is intended to reshape reality at a whim (Wizards) or build anything your mind can invision (Artificers) then you've got a ton of options at your disposal. Trying to make someone who's job is to just hurt stuff be at the level of someone who reshapes reality ends up making no sense at all. Better to just limit the reality reshaping abilities down to a power level that's appropriate to be playing with the pointy stick folks.

Of course, this way leads the monk, whose class not only covers the "hurting people", but also the "doing things". Sure, they can't fly, but they can jump really far. They can't make themselves invulnerable, but they're certainly tough. They can't shoot lightning, but they can move really fast and hit really hard.

JaronK
2010-11-03, 03:44 PM
Of course, this way leads the monk, whose class not only covers the "hurting people", but also the "doing things". Sure, they can't fly, but they can jump really far. They can't make themselves invulnerable, but they're certainly tough. They can't shoot lightning, but they can move really fast and hit really hard.

Unfortunately the Monk isn't NEARLY powerful enough. Jumping high and running fast don't quite compete with flying and teleportation... and nothing they have competes with world reshaping.

Swordsages get better, but even they stop at T3, because no matter how much you can walk on air or break through walls, nothing comes even close to infinite wishes (nor should it, I'd say).

Then again, I believe Monks are exactly the power level the game was intended to be run at. Unfortunately, most of the rest of the classes are much stronger, and frankly that low of a power level isn't what most folks want to play most of the time.

JaronK

Aedilred
2010-11-03, 05:08 PM
I think it's obvious that a fighter is never going to be able to replicate all the abilities of a wizard, although I think he can manage most of them with a degree of imagination applied on the part of the GM/player.

The trick, then, is probably not just to pile abilities on the fighter to put him on a par with the wizard, but to give him the ability to do things that the wizard can't. I don't think this is necessarily a good idea, mind; it's balance by power creep rather than by balance, but it still helps level the playing field a little. Of course, you're never going to eliminate the "wizard can do it" situation entirely, because of spells like Wish, but if a wizard is having to burn XP to emulate fighter moves, I'd say that's mission accomplished anyway.

I think people are looking at the fighter in the wrong way, too. Sure, the class as written is sucky and limited, which leads to the idea that fighters are dumb melee brutes who only exist to whack people over the head. The true fighter, though, especially if we're trying to make him T1, should be an all-action hero, capable of feats of heroic leadership, endurance and acrobatics. More skill points are a must. Folding in some of the concept for the barbarian and warlord wouldn't hurt.

One idea that occurred to me just now is to make the pure melee class(es) magically antithetical. Give them spell resistance and a decent will save for starters. Then give them some further ability to hurt spellcasters who try to cast at them. Failed spells that include the character in the area of effect do n unavoidable damage to the caster. It's clumsy, would need a fair bit of work and could be rather on the broken side, but it does give the class something useful right off the bat. It also immediately knocks the idea that magic can solve everything on the head, because targetting the fighter with magic suddenly becomes risky.

Lans
2010-11-03, 05:34 PM
Unfortunately the Monk isn't NEARLY powerful enough. Jumping high and running fast don't quite compete with flying and teleportation... and nothing they have competes with world reshaping.
JaronK

Jumping high and running fast can be comparable, but we're talking Hulk jumps and Flash speed. Not jumping ontop of second story building and running 3 times the speed of Bob the human commoner.

Which brings me to reiterate the grabbing martial feats(as in things that were done not that thing you get every 3 levels) from folklore and tossing them in and maybe even exaggerating them. And making it so the hypothetical tier 1 class can do All of them Might not be tier 1 still, but we would be making progress.

Though I think 1 man lumber/railroad company, and people treating hurricanes and thunderstorms like horses, would break most peoples verisimilitude that is what folklore people were capable of, and tier 1 classes are them all rolled together.

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-03, 05:48 PM
Swordsages get better, but even they stop at T3, because no matter how much you can walk on air or break through walls, nothing comes even close to infinite wishes (nor should it, I'd say).

A paladin can become Pun-Pun, JaronK. I mean, you already know that.

So why do you keep making arguments based on campaign smasher thread tactics like More Wishes?


Then again, I believe Monks are exactly the power level the game was intended to be run at.

Well thank goodness that things don't work as intended, then, because I sure as heck wouldn't want to play that game.

JaronK
2010-11-03, 05:58 PM
Jumping high and running fast can be comparable, but we're talking Hulk jumps and Flash speed. Not jumping ontop of second story building and running 3 times the speed of Bob the human commoner.

I know, and high level mundanes should be able to do those things. Notice I mentioned Swordsages who can walk on air. That's why I said jumping isn't quite comparable to flying, nor is fast running quite comparable to teleportation. They could theoretically get close. But neither gets anywhere near world recreation.

JaronK

JaronK
2010-11-03, 06:12 PM
A paladin can become Pun-Pun, JaronK.

Using a wish granted by another powerful being. It's not the paladin class that makes you Pun Pun. A Commoner can become Pun Pun given a Candle of Invocation too. We're talking about classes here, not things other than class. Otherwise the solution to "what would it take to get a top tier melee?" would be "hand him a Candle of Invocation and remind him that one of an Efreeti's three wishes can be used to get a Candle of Invocation."


But then, you already know that. Many people have told you over and over again that being able to break the game doesn't make for practical tiers.

So why do you keep making arguments based on campaign smasher thread tactics?

Because the question was "what would it take to make a melee class capable of changing the campaign and game world to suit his whims?" That's what T1 means... but note it means the class. The Paladin class doesn't give you that, a creature does. There are methods other than class to break the game (and note, breaking the game doesn't have to be intentional).

A lot of people seem to think T1 means "better" or something. But it doesn't. It means you're capable of reshaping the world and having a response to anything. It means for every scenario, you have a class ability that could theoretically completely dominate that scenario. Mystery of who killed the prince? Contact other plane (ask the god of Murder using the powers of two strategy). Annoying Terrasque? Summon an Allip and get out of the way. Enemy about to destroy the world and you don't know where he is? Love's Pain assassination. Need to get to another town across the ocean? Teleport. Need to convert someone to your side? Charm Person. Need to defend a mountain pass from an army? Build a fortress with Wall of Stone and Fabricate. That kind of power, the power to have a mechanical class ability that just solves whatever you're doing, is what T1 means. And frankly, it's too much.

Note that it doesn't mean the player is intentionally messing up the game. They could be just using the resources at their disposal to solve the problem, which is exactly what they're supposed to do. We had a recent campaign where it's really low on magic items... it's set in the underdark and there's no magic items down there, but sometimes a trade caravan from the City of Brass (which in this campaign is the main bazaar of magic items) will teleport into a city and set up shop for a day or so. But their supplies are limited. We had money, but little to spend it on. Then our Sorcerer gained a spell level and asked why she couldn't learn Plane Shift and just teleport to the City of Brass so we could buy everything we want, then come back. This is a perfectly rational and reasonable solution... but it would have broke the DM's campaign, because he wanted a campaign with little magical wealth.

The other classic example is when I was in a campaign where it started with us needing to travel across the ocean to another city to investigate something. I didn't have any idea that the majority of the campaign was intended to take place on the boat ride over, with merfolk and a sunken city. We were supposed to pay for a boat ride, but I wanted to save time and money by just teleporting us over. Whoops, campaign broken. Was that me trying to screw the DM? No. But that's what happened.

T1 and T2 actually does mean "DMs, watch these guys. You may not be able to allow them to use all their class abilities, so be forewarned... they might break your campaign." When a thread asks how to make melees be like that, the question becomes "How do you make melees be able to smash campaigns?"


Well thank goodness that things don't work as intended, then, because that'd be a pretty lame game.

Well, it's a different game. It's not the one I usually want to play, but it can be fun. Ever tried a game with all Commoners? It's actually quite fun, though I wouldn't want to do it all the time.

It's a lot easier for DMs to run though, because players really don't ever surprise you with mechanical stuff you didn't know they could do.

JaronK

olentu
2010-11-03, 11:29 PM
Hm, not really. Tier 1 is not (only) about absolute power. It's about absolute versatility.


Telling people they are incompetent because they wouldn't let you break their games is hardly polite.

Versatility is power in D&D.

Well then it is a good thing I was not. But perhaps you missed the whole point of my arguing against telling people how they can have fun by saying that if they do not DM in a particular way they are incompetent. To recap I was arguing against someone saying that his opinion is the one and only measure of what makes a competent DM.

Aran Banks
2010-11-04, 01:13 AM
That's not tier one. Where is the versatility? All they can do is fight.

Yeah, and where's the versatility with wizards? All they can do is cast spells!

Barbarian, I'll agree, is basically "this is how I hit it with my axe." It's about as Tier 1 as the DMM Persist Cleric... which is Tier 1, by the way. Then there's the fighter, which can really do ANYTHING with all those abilities and bonus feats. Finally, the Samurai has an obnoxious number of tricks up his sleeve. He gets Kiai! and stopping magicks, and things just get better and better as he goes on.

Chances are you just saw the Barbarian and moved on, but trust me. These guys are Tier 1 material.

JaronK
2010-11-04, 01:50 AM
Yeah, and where's the versatility with wizards? All they can do is cast spells!

Which are versatile, unlike hitting something with an axe (which only works in combat situations, only against opponents who you can get that close to, and only on opponents for whom targetting their AC is viable).


Barbarian, I'll agree, is basically "this is how I hit it with my axe." It's about as Tier 1 as the DMM Persist Cleric... which is Tier 1, by the way.

Tier 1 because it can call down miracles, raise the dead, raise armies of undead, be proficient at any skill on command, call down angels, ask questions of gods, etc. This is nothing like the Barbarian's "I can kill stuff if I can get into melee range." If the scenario is "find out who murdered the prince of the land" how will hitting it with an axe help? If the scenario is "locate the kidnapped princess" how will hitting it with an axe help? If the scenario is "make your way through a trapped maze to recover the lost artifact" how will hitting it with an axe help? What if you're trying to earn the trust of the local thieves' guild... how will hitting it with an axe help? That Cleric can persist Detect Secret Doors, cast Divine Insight to get a huge Sense Motive or Diplomacy as needed, or even ask gods for answers to puzzles.


Then there's the fighter, which can really do ANYTHING with all those abilities and bonus feats. Finally, the Samurai has an obnoxious number of tricks up his sleeve. He gets Kiai! and stopping magicks, and things just get better and better as he goes on.

Chances are you just saw the Barbarian and moved on, but trust me. These guys are Tier 1 material.

You don't know what Tier 1 means, do you? I'll give you a hint: if combat is all you can do, T4 is the highest you can be... no matter how good at killing things you are.

JaronK

faceroll
2010-11-04, 02:17 AM
You don't know what Tier 1 means, do you? I'll give you a hint: if combat is all you can do, T4 is the highest you can be... no matter how good at killing things you are.

Well, the fighter gets 6 skill points/level, good skills, the ability to take 10, and eventually 20, on skill checks, the ability to craft magic weapons and armor, can deny enemy actions at 30 (and eventually 60) feet as an immediate action with a touch attack, and can draw from a large number of bonus feats and temporary bonus feats that let him hurl boulders, daze opponents, auto critical with ranged weapons, increase crit damage, and get some cool mobility options.

I'd say he's at Tier 3.

JaronK
2010-11-04, 02:58 AM
A Fighter that gets all that could indeed be T3. Almost certainly not higher, but T3.

JaronK

Lans
2010-11-04, 08:40 AM
Which are versatile, unlike hitting something with an axe (which only works in combat situations, only against opponents who you can get that close to, and only on opponents for whom targetting their AC is viable).


JaronK
Increase the viability!
Attack your bad luck!
Attack the dimensional Barriers!
Attack the ground!
Attack the weather!
Attack your prosecuters words!
Attack that block of metal until its full plate+5 Heavy fort.

Earthwalker
2010-11-04, 09:36 AM
I really have no idea how this can be done. I don't think it should be something that should even be attepmted.

Tier 1 is just too powerful for my liking so getting everyone to that level would be too much.

I would better propose how to get everyone to tier 3 which I think some people have hinted at, nerf some and buff others.

It would take grafting a new power set over most of the none spell casters, one that spell casters couldn't access, this would go towards boosting the figher types.

Urpriest
2010-11-04, 09:36 AM
A Fighter that gets all that could indeed be T3. Almost certainly not higher, but T3.

JaronK

You missed the "crafts magic arms and armor" part. This could mean anything from "craft like a wizard" which isn't amazing and leaves the class at Tier 3, to "craft like an artificer" (including infusions, spell trigger and spell completion, etc.) which would certainly be Tier 1.

WarKitty
2010-11-04, 11:03 AM
I really have no idea how this can be done. I don't think it should be something that should even be attepmted.

Tier 1 is just too powerful for my liking so getting everyone to that level would be too much.

I would better propose how to get everyone to tier 3 which I think some people have hinted at, nerf some and buff others.

It would take grafting a new power set over most of the none spell casters, one that spell casters couldn't access, this would go towards boosting the figher types.

But if you're playing with world-breaking monsters, your Tier 3 classes aren't going to be useful at all. I'm talking about a world where all hell has broken loose and god-like entities are reshaping reality on a whim. If you're *not* Tier 1 in that world you might as well be a commoner.

Jan Mattys
2010-11-04, 11:23 AM
But if you're playing with world-breaking monsters, your Tier 3 classes aren't going to be useful at all. I'm talking about a world where all hell has broken loose and god-like entities are reshaping reality on a whim. If you're *not* Tier 1 in that world you might as well be a commoner.

This is utter nonsense.
If you're not Tier 1 you just can't go around all alone, but you are instead forced to work together with *gasp!!!* a party that complements your skills and makes a formidable commando team.

/sarcasm mode ON
A party??? Now, that's a weird way to play d&d....
/sarcasm mode OFF

WarKitty
2010-11-04, 11:30 AM
This is utter nonsense.
If you're not Tier 1 you just can't go around all alone, but you are instead forced to work together with *gasp!!!* a party that complements your skills and makes a formidable commando team.

/sarcasm mode ON
A party??? Now, that's a weird way to play d&d....
/sarcasm mode OFF

You're putting up a false dilemma. What's wrong with having a party where everyone can break the world (mind I didn't say everyone can do so in the exact same way) and everyone needs to focus their world-breaking powers together to get the job done?

Jan Mattys
2010-11-04, 11:31 AM
You're putting up a false dilemma. What's wrong with having a party where everyone can break the world (mind I didn't say everyone can do so in the exact same way) and everyone needs to focus their world-breaking powers together to get the job done?

Nothing wrong.
But you said that you have to be either a Tier 1 or essentially a commoner. Which is, as I said, utter nonsense.
:smallsmile:

To elaborate: a wrecked world and an Apocalyse scenario like the one you mentioned would be a perfectly viable adventure scenario even for much lower Tiers. Tier 1s are just better suited for the job, but this has little to no impact on the viability of different party compositions.

WarKitty
2010-11-04, 11:35 AM
Nothing wrong.
But you said that you have to be either a Tier 1 or essentially a commoner. Which is, as I said, utter nonsense.
:smallsmile:

I said in that particular world you would have to be. Which is true - if you're in a world designed to require world-breaking powers to get anything done, anyone who doesn't have world-breaking powers is not useful. Your wildshape ranger as written, for example, wouldn't be able to do anything except get swatted aside like a fly.

Earthwalker
2010-11-04, 11:39 AM
But if you're playing with world-breaking monsters, your Tier 3 classes aren't going to be useful at all. I'm talking about a world where all hell has broken loose and god-like entities are reshaping reality on a whim. If you're *not* Tier 1 in that world you might as well be a commoner.

Sorry I misunderstood the purpose.
I would suggest grafting an epic skill system over the top of the current skill system and only let none casters have access to it.
Then allow the basic non caster classes gain one epic skill power per level or per odd level)

So Epic jump allows for hulk like jumps.
Epic diplomacy can even break thru effects that grant imunity to mind altering effects, as an opposed check of character level v spell level or something like that.

And so on for all skills.

Some might still be dull tho, like epic climb.

Jayabalard
2010-11-04, 11:41 AM
But I'm not playing with badass normals, I'm playing with hercules and perseus.Unless the non-caster's that you play with are all explicitly demi-gods (both sons of the top end deity of your game world) those two are really bad examples.

WarKitty
2010-11-04, 11:46 AM
Unless the non-caster's that you play with are all explicitly demi-gods (both sons of the top end deity of your game world) those two are really bad examples.

Why? That's the power level we're playing at. How they got those powers is irrelevant. It's not straining belief to have a fighter with a non-deific bloodline be able to do those things any more than it strains belief that an ordinary human peasant could study enough to be able to summon the angels.


Sorry I misunderstood the purpose.
I would suggest grafting an epic skill system over the top of the current skill system and only let none casters have access to it.
Then allow the basic non caster classes gain one epic skill power per level or per odd level)

So Epic jump allows for hulk like jumps.
Epic diplomacy can even break thru effects that grant imunity to mind altering effects, as an opposed check of character level v spell level or something like that.

And so on for all skills.

Some might still be dull tho, like epic climb.

That's what I'm looking at soon.

Tshern
2010-11-04, 11:52 AM
Well, to kinda replicate Time Stop (not really) in the case of swinging your sword, you could double a fighter's BAB at high levels, giving him a ridiculous amount of iterative attacks, and then let him move and full attack with either 1 feat or no feats?
What would that help when you still can't reach some of the monsters, you're disabled with a single spell and can do next to nothing to outside combat? Tossing in more numbers to something Fighters already have is not a viable solution.

Jayabalard
2010-11-04, 12:05 PM
Why? That's the power level we're playing at. How they got those powers is irrelevant.It's quite relevant; he's talking about believability being based on the source of power, so how how he gets his powers is the primary issue. Wizards get a free pass because they're using magic; clerics get a free pass because they channel the power of the divine; demi-gods get a free pass because they're descended from a god; fighters do not get a free pass.


It's not straining belief to have a fighter with a non-deific bloodline be able to do those things any more than it strains belief that an ordinary human peasant could study enough to be able to summon the angels.No, that's exactly the opposite of what he's saying. He's saying that the latter (the person studying magic) is far more believable than the former to him and that he thinks that is true for many people: "for me, and I imagine for many people " as he says.

WarKitty
2010-11-04, 12:17 PM
It's quite relevant; he's talking about believability being based on the source of power, so how how he gets his powers is the primary issue. Wizards get a free pass because they're using magic; clerics get a free pass because they channel the power of the divine; demi-gods get a free pass because they're descended from a god; fighters do not get a free pass.

No, that's exactly the opposite of what he's saying. He's saying that the latter (the person studying magic) is far more believable than the former to him and that he thinks that is true for many people: "for me, and I imagine for many people " as he says.

Well whatever works for you I guess. I've never met anyone that could accept that wizards can break reality with book-learning but fighters are strictly limited by real physics. I can't even imagine a setting like that that would make sense to me.

Earthwalker
2010-11-04, 12:18 PM
Oh adding on to my previous thought.
Every odd level you get a new epic skill so 1,3,5,7 etc
Every level you get a power tied to that skill. To a maximum of 3 powers per skill.

Then as they level up the players choose the skills and powers and you adjudicate. Just give them ways to deal with the vast list of spells casters get.
Of course you might have to have using power exhust the non casters to balance the number of sell per day issue.

gdiddy
2010-11-04, 12:30 PM
We all know there is only one tier 1 melee...

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_IBYlXoYPWHs/TD90IUfv3ZI/AAAAAAAAE_I/JtlTQXr1bBo/s1600/superman-standing.gif


DR: 999,999,999,999,999/ Kryptonite

DaragosKitsune
2010-11-04, 02:00 PM
We all know there is only one tier 1 melee...

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_IBYlXoYPWHs/TD90IUfv3ZI/AAAAAAAAE_I/JtlTQXr1bBo/s1600/superman-standing.gif


DR: 999,999,999,999,999/ Kryptonite

Fair enough, but doesn't everyone have access to kryptonite by now. I mean, it's not like anyone keeps that particular weakness at all hidden, and kryptonite is available everywhere.

true_shinken
2010-11-04, 07:30 PM
Fair enough, but doesn't everyone have access to kryptonite by now. I mean, it's not like anyone keeps that particular weakness at all hidden, and kryptonite is available everywhere.

Wait 20 years in comic book time. He'll be invulnerable to kryptonite by then (source: Kingdom Come).

Esser-Z
2010-11-05, 09:07 AM
fighters do not get a free pass.
Yes they do. Fighters get a free pass for being absurdly superhumanly badass.

oxybe
2010-11-05, 09:45 AM
Yes they do. Fighters get a free pass for being absurdly superhumanly badass.

agree.

past level 10, with little or no optimization, any PC can be breaking earth-type world records on an average try.

past level 20, you're supposed to be at a point where you can mess with entities second only to the lords of hell itself.

fighter should get a free pass for being badass.

but they don't. and that's a problem.

Jayabalard
2010-11-05, 10:01 AM
Yes they do. Fighters get a free pass for being absurdly superhumanly badass.Not at all. They get a free pass for being a badass normal; they don't get to do magic. They can be superhumanly badass with aid of magic items, or other magic effects (both of which are powered by other people, since they can't do it themselves); if you want to be a non-normal you can pick a class that has some sort of innate magical abilities instead of the guy who is just very good at swinging around sharpened hunks of metal.

jseah
2010-11-05, 10:03 AM
fighter should get a free pass for being badass.

but they don't. and that's a problem.
Got my own version of that.

In a world with magic, and magic is significant in the physics of the world, there is no reason to NOT use magic. (even if magic has a sideeffect)
Therefore, everything SHOULD use magic.

It's a fantasy setting. There is no such thing as mundane.


Oh, I should qualify that statement. This only applies to settings that tries to be consistent in metaphysics, a magic system that has arbitrary "bad side effect" might be able to support mundane characters.

Jayabalard
2010-11-05, 10:08 AM
It's a fantasy setting. There is no such thing as mundane. That's just simply not true. There are MANY fantasy settings where there are both magical and mundane things side by side; in fact, I'd say that those are far more common than the "magic in everything" settings.

Now, there's nothing wrong with wanting to play only one type of setting, but I'd personally find that extremely boring. And really, if you're only capable of playing in one type of setting (to clarify: I'm not saying this is the case for you, but I've met some people like this over the years) , then that's just kind of sad; you should work on expanding your gaming horizons a bit.

WarKitty
2010-11-05, 10:17 AM
In most systems with both high-level magic and "badass normal" mundane, the mundane is at best a sidekick. Which is what happens with high-level D&D. That's fine for a novel setting, but not for an RPG.

In a world where any relatively smart person with access to the right books can learn magic, there's no reason why there shouldn't be sword-swingers with innate magic abilities. It's just that all of WoTC's attempts to do so have been remarkably poor. I'm not against giving the fighter magic abilities. But if he gets magic abilities, they should be abilities related to who he is, not let's-just-turn-him-into-a-wizard.

Earthwalker
2010-11-05, 10:21 AM
I have only played a few systems but DnD seems to have the highest gap between Mundane and Magic, with the players choice expected to be one or the other.

Systems like Earthdawn the warrior is magical, as are the blacksmiths, thiefs and so on, just not casters.

Runequest, everyone has magic, tho being able to bless crops doesn't really help in combat.

Shadowrun magic and mundane mix but cyberware helps the mundanes keep up. That and the fact a gun will kill most people in that system.

WarKitty
2010-11-05, 10:29 AM
Systems like Earthdawn the warrior is magical, as are the blacksmiths, thiefs and so on, just not casters.

This. This is what I'm looking for. Having the fighter be *magical* without being a *caster.* Or like someone suggested, the fighter is anti-magical, SR, caster disruption, etc.

true_shinken
2010-11-05, 11:00 AM
This. This is what I'm looking for. Having the fighter be *magical* without being a *caster.* Or like someone suggested, the fighter is anti-magical, SR, caster disruption, etc.

I hate to say this, but this is basically ToB on steroids.

WarKitty
2010-11-05, 11:05 AM
I hate to say this, but this is basically ToB on steroids.

Which is a perfectly fine concept, and I admit to not having gotten a chance to read ToB long enough to get it to make sense to me.

jseah
2010-11-05, 11:20 AM
Now, there's nothing wrong with wanting to play only one type of setting, but I'd personally find that extremely boring. And really, if you're only capable of playing in one type of setting (to clarify: I'm not saying this is the case for you, but I've met some people like this over the years) , then that's just kind of sad; you should work on expanding your gaming horizons a bit.
But it just seems to be more consistent that way.
If magic can be used, it will be used. If there's nothing special stopping fighters from using magic (eg. only Vow of Peace people can use magic), then they should.
If there is something special stopping people from using magic, and that magic is able to do things mundanes can't, then it follows logically that you have an unbalance across the magic/mundane divide. (not necessarily in favour of magic)


However, it appears I have fallen into the trap of asking for too much versimilitude. Again.

EDIT:
oh, but then what's the point of allowing mundanes to be so badass they can break the rules of reality?
They're not really mundane anymore now, so you might as well admit it and give them magic.

JaronK
2010-11-05, 11:39 AM
The "badass normal" who can keep up with impossible stunts (that still look like they theoretically could come from a mundane person, but are beyond the possible) is the ToB classes. Even that doesn't match the ridiculous "I got bored so I made a new plane of existence" powers the casters have. Really the trick is to bring the casters back down to a level where the badass normals can compete.

Consider Shadowrun again, where mages can use will to manipulate mana and create an area where everyone inside is stunned. Cool ability. But mundanes could toss a concussion grenade, which will likely do more damage but be louder. That's fine. Mage can use levitate to fly. Mundane can use a customized LAV to do fly at similar speeds, or hop in a jet to fly much faster. These are balanced things, where Mages have magical powers, but that's okay, because mundanes can do things of a similar power level. Maybe not exactly the same things, but similar.

JaronK

Stallion
2010-11-05, 11:50 AM
I think it'd be as simple as making a cleric/monk/sacred fist with Intuitive Attack.


Sorry to interrupt the rest of the debate, but I just wanted to answer the original question.

JaronK
2010-11-05, 12:19 PM
Heck, DMM Persistant Cleric could do it too. Righteous Wrath of the Faithful + Divine Power + Lesser Mass Vigor + Righteous Might ought to do it.

JaronK

Esser-Z
2010-11-05, 01:06 PM
Not at all. They get a free pass for being a badass normal; they don't get to do magic. They can be superhumanly badass with aid of magic items, or other magic effects (both of which are powered by other people, since they can't do it themselves); if you want to be a non-normal you can pick a class that has some sort of innate magical abilities instead of the guy who is just very good at swinging around sharpened hunks of metal.
But... I don't want any magic abilities. I want to be superhuman BECAUSE I'M THAT BADASS.

You seem to be missing what I'm saying. I'm saying a D&D character shouldn't have to use magic to be superhuman, but should be able to be superhuman just because they're that good and badass. That's an acknowledged character archetype and one many people, including myself, greatly enjoy.

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-05, 01:14 PM
You don't just hulk jump though.

You do what the secret agents in One Piece do. You kick the air so precisely that you fly and you can balance on a cloud.

You don't jump across the ocean, you pathfinderize your way to the Between Place and do some dimensional hopping. Or slice through the fabric of reality by seeing the windscar or whatever.

Esser-Z
2010-11-05, 01:22 PM
Precisely.

Jayabalard
2010-11-05, 04:18 PM
But... I don't want any magic abilities. I want to be superhuman BECAUSE I'M THAT BADASS. I read this as "I don't want any magic abilities. I want to be superhuman BECAUSE I HAVE MAGICAL ABILITIES." ... I really don't see a difference whether you call it divine magical power, or arcane magical power, or psionics, or "the power of awesome" ... it's all the same thing, and you can refluff one to the other with very little effort. Some classes have it, and some don't, and that's a good thing, since it gives people a greater variety of possible characters.


But it just seems to be more consistent that way.
If magic can be used, it will be used. If there's nothing special stopping fighters from using magic (eg. only Vow of Peace people can use magic), then they should.
If there is something special stopping people from using magic, and that magic is able to do things mundanes can't, then it follows logically that you have an unbalance across the magic/mundane divide. (not necessarily in favour of magic)


However, it appears I have fallen into the trap of asking for too much versimilitude. Again.

EDIT:
oh, but then what's the point of allowing mundanes to be so badass they can break the rules of reality?
They're not really mundane anymore now, so you might as well admit it and give them magic.I'm really not sure what you're driving at here. You made a claim that is simply not true. Even in settings where magic is ubiquitous there are often mundanes; in fact, I haven't been able to think of a single fantasy setting where there was magic but no mundanes, though I'm sure there may be some out there.


In most systems with both high-level magic and "badass normal" mundane, the mundane is at best a sidekick. Which is what happens with high-level D&D. That's fine for a novel setting, but not for an RPG.It happens in some novels, but I can't agree with "most"

Nor do I agree that it's always not appropriate for an RPG to have some players be sidekicks.

Merk
2010-11-05, 05:34 PM
Frankly, I'd think a melee character has to be "magical" to contribute at mid to high levels. I can't think of many classes in tier 4 or above that aren't magical in some way (the only ones that come to mind: rogue, scout, and dungeoncrasher fighter). From a roleplay perspective, sure, have your magical and mundane characters coexist. But from a gamist perspective, everyone needs "magic". It doesn't need to be implemented mechnically in the same ways though.

WarKitty
2010-11-05, 07:09 PM
I don't think anyone's said they can't have magic-type abilities. What people are saying is they need abilities that don't work by casting spells.

Realms of Chaos
2010-11-05, 07:12 PM
Warkitty: Can you define what "melee" means for us? It seems that you refer to completely mundane classes within the OP but I see later posters making frequent references to paladins and rangers also belonging in this category. What about bards, duskblades, and artificers (seeing as infusions are indeed magical)? What about soulborns, which are melee classes that technically don't use magic at all? Also, as tacking full casting onto just about any class will make it tier 1 or at least tier 2 (assuming that a primary ability score is used for this purpose), you may want to specify somewhere if the goal of this thread is specifically "How to achieve tier 1 without spellcasting", which seems to have been your intention.

My Personal Thesis:I'd like to argue that scaling upwards to the level of spellcasters (or at least doing so for all melee classes) would be impractical to the point of near impossibility:

Point 1: We Can’t Help Anyone: The primary approach in this thread so far seems to be giving melee classes more options that mimic spells (even highly magical spells) in mechanical terms and assuring the player that the ability is actually not magical at all. :smallconfused:

While this approach may reassure some or most players, there will always be those who don't want to feel "anime" (and will thus avoid any logic reliant on "ki", "power of awesome", superheros, or even reality shaping) and who can't be convinced that flying, teleportation, sudden creation of items, walking through walls, raising the undead, transforming into a golem, or locating a person miles away sounds merely
"extraordinary". Though it’s easy to say that players could just ignore the more extreme abilities, taking full advantage (and/or abusage) of tier 1 status pretty much requires the use of some of these abilities (a mystery mission, for example, may be reliant on likely unrealistic “divinations”). I would further argue that the supernatural nature of 2 disciplines within ToB has managed to turn players off of the entire system (even the realistic disciplines) despite what logic may dictate.

Beyond these people, there will be others who want a directly correlation between their melee "role" and the powers. A melee player will want to do melee things or closely related tasks as they didn't choose to become a fighter in order to act like a wizard. They want somebody to make them some pure melee abilities that possess the same power/versatility of a wizard's spells.

Let us not forget the third group who builds mundane characters because they enjoy the simplicity and don't want to deal with tactics in the slightest. You know, the people who think that even ToB gives too many choices and prefer to use weaker melee classes instead to save themselves trouble.

These groups of people are beyond help and there is no easy solution for their conundrum. Being tier 1 means at least potentially having a solution (likely a potent solution) for every possible contingency, including those that a melee character has no "realistic" excuse to have any answer for. Casters have a distinct and flavorful excuse to be prepared for everything by virtue of having "magic" but mundane characters lack such a source of power in 3.5 and adding one likely removes some of our ability to identify with the mundane character (one of the big reasons for wanting to be mundane in the first place). In addition, a large number of options are required to permit this versatility, ruining any chance of "simplicity" except in a very relative sense.

Point 2: Lots of Abilities to Make and Read:First, a bit of good news (relatively speaking). Though there are thousands and thousands of spells, we wouldn't need to meet such a grand scale. Though the wizard has a good 10 spells capable of clearing up any potential problem, all that a tier 1 class really needs is a single solution for any task (with a backup for particularly important tasks that can be resisted or countered). Realistically, there are probably less than 200 general scenarios that a character would ever need to be ready for (even though specifics can vary greatly within those scenarios). Adding in redundancy to counter enemy resistances, we might end up as high as 300 abilities (and that is probably overshooting it). Adding in some lesser forms and variations of stronger abilities gained later on, we shouldn't worry about possibly having 400 abilities (likely far less) for any potential fix that is made, far less than the number of spells in existence.

The bad news, however, is that you are going to need far more than this. :smallfrown:

As mentioned above, a tier 1 class needs to be able to respond to ANY situation (more or less). As such, a tier 1 melee class would need to have most, if not all, of those abilities listed above. If you created a party with this form of tier 1 melee classes, it is almost inevitable that at least one of them will end up feeling like a hybridization of others despite their class features (which are likely mere tag-ons compared with their newfound "not-spellcasting"). Unless you only intended for a single tier 1 melee class, you'll likely have to build an "ability list" equally large for each class (each one including it's own "unique" spin on gaining miss chances, dispelling magic, resisting grapples, summoning monsters, teleporting, etc.) or else multiply the number of abilities in general by about an equal amount so that people could avoid getting the exact same abilities. Though we might lose a few more people unwilling to read through such an extensive list, this tactic will likely decrease the degree of direct overlap between party members.

Then again, we might not even want to bother because…

Point 3: There Will be Clones:In an optimized high-level tier 1 party, everyone will have a solution for any problem they run across. If they are properly optimized it won’t matter too much whether your means of paralyzing foes relies on an attack roll or an enemy’s saving throw or even an opposed skill check. While these differences will make different PCs more optimized at different tasks, the fact remains that everyone is capable of pretty much everything. It doesn’t matter who comes next in initiative because whoever it is can handle whatever needs handling.

While this technique might seem nice at first glance, this means that players lose much of what would otherwise make them mechanically unique. Though melee classes would retain their class features, it would (more than) likely be their newfound abilities that allow them to function at the same degree as a tier 1 caster, thus putting far more emphasis on what makes everyone mechanically similar than on what makes them mechanically separate. For example, the thought of a tier 1 rogue launching their dagger so fast that it deals force damage (“orb of force”) sounds awesome as they still have sneak attack but then you realize that orb spells aren’t really used at high levels. In fact, high-level tier 1 tactics often have very little to do with damaging attacks. In order to function properly as tier 1, therefore, the rogue would have to set aside their own potentially helpful ability in most cases and rely almost entirely on their new abilities.

I’m not saying that these clones would be exactly identical (even though that is what the word “clone” suggests). One PC may be more effective at mass-death effects than a wizard as they rely on opposed skill checks rather than enemy saving throws, something easier to optimize (just an example and not a realistic one). Furthermore, it is possible that the mechanics of these martial system would function separately than spells in a meaningful way (there may even be differences between classes through means like maneuver recovery methods in the ToB). That said, the general capability of all PCs to accomplish any task necessary and stressing of this common ability over what makes the PCs mechanically unique risks ruining the fun for a great deal many more players (even players who normally like wizards, for example, may feel that their versatility or mastery of AoE abilities has been encroached by the party fighter and dislike that fact).

Though we can pretend that parties could departmentalize themselves into “party roles” on their own, that doesn’t change the fact that (a) they aren’t acting as tier one unless they are still prepared for other rolls and (b) any gentleman’s agreement is likely to break down the moment that the party is in serious danger (seeing as it’s difficult to derive entertainment from your own dead character).

This, alas, is not the most troubling problem with a tier 1 class, however. That honor belongs to the fact that…

Point 4: Tier 1 Melee Wouldn’t Involve Melee: There has been a lot of talk so far about how any wizard or cleric can be a melee specialist whenever they desire. Thinking of all the stories I’ve heard on this thread and others, however, I am lead to believe that they more often than not choose not to. Though some players love the idea of gish builds, it has been proven pretty comprehensively that any round that a gish wizard spends just fighting a foe in melee (even with persistent effects and/or polymorph effects) is lost efficiency compared to what they could do through less direct methods (AoE, Save-or-Suck, Some buffs if not using persist cheese, etc.).

Similarly, a tier 1 fighter would more often than not be relying on less direct tactics. They will slash open the air to teleport or create a vacuum around foes, they’ll shout heroic speeches to buff allies and dark threats to dominate and paralyze foes, and they’ll unleash their inner ki or slash at the ground to cause mass destruction in the world around them. That would be how a tier 1 melee class would be best served spending their time, especially in a campaign that requires reality-shifting like the one that Warkitty refers to. The problem with this, however, is that the melee class, the people who are famous for bashing in heads, stop bashing in heads (at least directly). Many people select melee classes because they want to bash in heads but they would not be able to function in that way in a campaign requiring reality-shifting (unless somebody can come up with convincing extraordinary reasons linking slashing a person with a sword to every single spell effect needed at high levels). As such, a slice-and-dice melee character simply can’t exist when reality-bending is required.

In this regard, however, a small caveat is definitely required. I will admit that in a game that does not require frequent reality-bending, a tier one melee character can technically be a slice-and-dice combatant and retain their tier (as far as versatility) so long as they possess all of the required abilities to react to any possible situation (even if they never intend to use them). Then again, this is like having a character take a voluntary –4 penalty to attack rolls just so that they can fight “with style”.

When a class requires that it not be used at full strength in order to fill the role that it is expected to play, the class may have transformed into more of a philosophical exercise than a viable solution.

Esser-Z
2010-11-05, 07:15 PM
I read this as "I don't want any magic abilities. I want to be superhuman BECAUSE I HAVE MAGICAL ABILITIES." ... I really don't see a difference whether you call it divine magical power, or arcane magical power, or psionics, or "the power of awesome" ... it's all the same thing, and you can refluff one to the other with very little effort. Some classes have it, and some don't, and that's a good thing, since it gives people a greater variety of possible characters.

So now the mechanics are meaningless, and I'll just play a DMM cleric to be my melee guy, because I can just reflavor it!

Yeah. No. I don't think so. A mage harnesses and controls outside factors--be it the magical energy a wizard studies, the energy in a sorcerer's bloodline, the power from a cleric's god... Etcetera. That's not what I'm talking about.

"Mundane" guys, now, they don't harness an outside force. They train their bodies to the point where they can break the laws of physics through technique and skill. They don't use the power of a god or a magical ancestor, but their own determination and force. Can you see the difference, now?

Psionics are a tricky issue. I could see them placed with magic's outside force OR with the badass normal's harnessing of himself--the mind, rather than the body.

A sorcerer is born on Krypton. A fighter-type trains to be the best at everything.

I don't like the idea of all power types being interchangeable. That defeats the point of HAVING multiple types. Similarly, I don't like some people having some extraordinary abilities and others... not. Not everyone will be supernatural, that's true. But extraordinary? A player character in D&D is going to be that by default.

Nobody will be truly normal. Some people will use arcane magic, others harness gods, others train their bodies to levels impossible to the general population. These are different powers, and they are not all supernatural, but they are all extraordinary. And that's the key.

I think we have different core ideas of how power and such work in the game. I have nothing against, nay, greatly enjoy nonmagical breaking of the laws of physics. I love that kind of archetype. And...actually, I think psionics DOES actually fit quite well into there, at least as I tend to flavor it, but that's setting and DM specific.




Nor do I agree that it's always not appropriate for an RPG to have some players be sidekicks.
There's the whole 'fun' issue.... I note having 'sidekick' party members CAN work in some contexts. Like, I had a great game where my character was the true heir to the kingdom's throne. So for a lot of the plot, I was the 'main' protagonist--this had been worked out ahead of time.

But... that didn't mean the others couldn't be fully effective during encounters, which is what I believe the previous use of 'sidekick' had been referring to. There's a difference between sidekick relevant to plot and sidekick meaning significantly less mechanical influence.

WarKitty
2010-11-05, 09:35 PM
Warkitty: Can you define what "melee" means for us? It seems that you refer to completely mundane classes within the OP but I see later posters making frequent references to paladins and rangers also belonging in this category. What about bards, duskblades, and artificers (seeing as infusions are indeed magical)? What about soulborns, which are melee classes that technically don't use magic at all? Also, as tacking full casting onto just about any class will make it tier 1 or at least tier 2 (assuming that a primary ability score is used for this purpose), you may want to specify somewhere if the goal of this thread is specifically "How to achieve tier 1 without spellcasting", which seems to have been your intention.

Yes it would be. You'll notice some debate because I couldn't come up with a decent term.


My Personal Thesis:I'd like to argue that scaling upwards to the level of spellcasters (or at least doing so for all melee classes) would be impractical to the point of near impossibility:

Point 1: We Can’t Help Anyone: The primary approach in this thread so far seems to be giving melee classes more options that mimic spells (even highly magical spells) in mechanical terms and assuring the player that the ability is actually not magical at all. :smallconfused:

While this approach may reassure some or most players, there will always be those who don't want to feel "anime" (and will thus avoid any logic reliant on "ki", "power of awesome", superheros, or even reality shaping) and who can't be convinced that flying, teleportation, sudden creation of items, walking through walls, raising the undead, transforming into a golem, or locating a person miles away sounds merely
"extraordinary". Though it’s easy to say that players could just ignore the more extreme abilities, taking full advantage (and/or abusage) of tier 1 status pretty much requires the use of some of these abilities (a mystery mission, for example, may be reliant on likely unrealistic “divinations”). I would further argue that the supernatural nature of 2 disciplines within ToB has managed to turn players off of the entire system (even the realistic disciplines) despite what logic may dictate.

Beyond these people, there will be others who want a directly correlation between their melee "role" and the powers. A melee player will want to do melee things or closely related tasks as they didn't choose to become a fighter in order to act like a wizard. They want somebody to make them some pure melee abilities that possess the same power/versatility of a wizard's spells.

Let us not forget the third group who builds mundane characters because they enjoy the simplicity and don't want to deal with tactics in the slightest. You know, the people who think that even ToB gives too many choices and prefer to use weaker melee classes instead to save themselves trouble.

These groups of people are beyond help and there is no easy solution for their conundrum. Being tier 1 means at least potentially having a solution (likely a potent solution) for every possible contingency, including those that a melee character has no "realistic" excuse to have any answer for. Casters have a distinct and flavorful excuse to be prepared for everything by virtue of having "magic" but mundane characters lack such a source of power in 3.5 and adding one likely removes some of our ability to identify with the mundane character (one of the big reasons for wanting to be mundane in the first place). In addition, a large number of options are required to permit this versatility, ruining any chance of "simplicity" except in a very relative sense.

Given the type of game I want to run in the next few months, if this is your viewpoint then you are best advised to find a different game. Your character will not be useful at the power level we're playing.


Point 2: Lots of Abilities to Make and Read:First, a bit of good news (relatively speaking). Though there are thousands and thousands of spells, we wouldn't need to meet such a grand scale. Though the wizard has a good 10 spells capable of clearing up any potential problem, all that a tier 1 class really needs is a single solution for any task (with a backup for particularly important tasks that can be resisted or countered). Realistically, there are probably less than 200 general scenarios that a character would ever need to be ready for (even though specifics can vary greatly within those scenarios). Adding in redundancy to counter enemy resistances, we might end up as high as 300 abilities (and that is probably overshooting it). Adding in some lesser forms and variations of stronger abilities gained later on, we shouldn't worry about possibly having 400 abilities (likely far less) for any potential fix that is made, far less than the number of spells in existence.

The bad news, however, is that you are going to need far more than this. :smallfrown:

As mentioned above, a tier 1 class needs to be able to respond to ANY situation (more or less). As such, a tier 1 melee class would need to have most, if not all, of those abilities listed above. If you created a party with this form of tier 1 melee classes, it is almost inevitable that at least one of them will end up feeling like a hybridization of others despite their class features (which are likely mere tag-ons compared with their newfound "not-spellcasting"). Unless you only intended for a single tier 1 melee class, you'll likely have to build an "ability list" equally large for each class (each one including it's own "unique" spin on gaining miss chances, dispelling magic, resisting grapples, summoning monsters, teleporting, etc.) or else multiply the number of abilities in general by about an equal amount so that people could avoid getting the exact same abilities. Though we might lose a few more people unwilling to read through such an extensive list, this tactic will likely decrease the degree of direct overlap between party members.

Then again, we might not even want to bother because…

A fair point, although on the second part - if you don't like reading options find a less optimized game.


Point 3: There Will be Clones:In an optimized high-level tier 1 party, everyone will have a solution for any problem they run across. If they are properly optimized it won’t matter too much whether your means of paralyzing foes relies on an attack roll or an enemy’s saving throw or even an opposed skill check. While these differences will make different PCs more optimized at different tasks, the fact remains that everyone is capable of pretty much everything. It doesn’t matter who comes next in initiative because whoever it is can handle whatever needs handling.

While this technique might seem nice at first glance, this means that players lose much of what would otherwise make them mechanically unique. Though melee classes would retain their class features, it would (more than) likely be their newfound abilities that allow them to function at the same degree as a tier 1 caster, thus putting far more emphasis on what makes everyone mechanically similar than on what makes them mechanically separate. For example, the thought of a tier 1 rogue launching their dagger so fast that it deals force damage (“orb of force”) sounds awesome as they still have sneak attack but then you realize that orb spells aren’t really used at high levels. In fact, high-level tier 1 tactics often have very little to do with damaging attacks. In order to function properly as tier 1, therefore, the rogue would have to set aside their own potentially helpful ability in most cases and rely almost entirely on their new abilities.

I’m not saying that these clones would be exactly identical (even though that is what the word “clone” suggests). One PC may be more effective at mass-death effects than a wizard as they rely on opposed skill checks rather than enemy saving throws, something easier to optimize (just an example and not a realistic one). Furthermore, it is possible that the mechanics of these martial system would function separately than spells in a meaningful way (there may even be differences between classes through means like maneuver recovery methods in the ToB). That said, the general capability of all PCs to accomplish any task necessary and stressing of this common ability over what makes the PCs mechanically unique risks ruining the fun for a great deal many more players (even players who normally like wizards, for example, may feel that their versatility or mastery of AoE abilities has been encroached by the party fighter and dislike that fact).

Though we can pretend that parties could departmentalize themselves into “party roles” on their own, that doesn’t change the fact that (a) they aren’t acting as tier one unless they are still prepared for other rolls and (b) any gentleman’s agreement is likely to break down the moment that the party is in serious danger (seeing as it’s difficult to derive entertainment from your own dead character).

This, alas, is not the most troubling problem with a tier 1 class, however. That honor belongs to the fact that…

Would this be any more problem than a party of, say, all wizards? Which has been done quite successfully.


Point 4: Tier 1 Melee Wouldn’t Involve Melee: There has been a lot of talk so far about how any wizard or cleric can be a melee specialist whenever they desire. Thinking of all the stories I’ve heard on this thread and others, however, I am lead to believe that they more often than not choose not to. Though some players love the idea of gish builds, it has been proven pretty comprehensively that any round that a gish wizard spends just fighting a foe in melee (even with persistent effects and/or polymorph effects) is lost efficiency compared to what they could do through less direct methods (AoE, Save-or-Suck, Some buffs if not using persist cheese, etc.).

Similarly, a tier 1 fighter would more often than not be relying on less direct tactics. They will slash open the air to teleport or create a vacuum around foes, they’ll shout heroic speeches to buff allies and dark threats to dominate and paralyze foes, and they’ll unleash their inner ki or slash at the ground to cause mass destruction in the world around them. That would be how a tier 1 melee class would be best served spending their time, especially in a campaign that requires reality-shifting like the one that Warkitty refers to. The problem with this, however, is that the melee class, the people who are famous for bashing in heads, stop bashing in heads (at least directly). Many people select melee classes because they want to bash in heads but they would not be able to function in that way in a campaign requiring reality-shifting (unless somebody can come up with convincing extraordinary reasons linking slashing a person with a sword to every single spell effect needed at high levels). As such, a slice-and-dice melee character simply can’t exist when reality-bending is required.

In this regard, however, a small caveat is definitely required. I will admit that in a game that does not require frequent reality-bending, a tier one melee character can technically be a slice-and-dice combatant and retain their tier (as far as versatility) so long as they possess all of the required abilities to react to any possible situation (even if they never intend to use them). Then again, this is like having a character take a voluntary –4 penalty to attack rolls just so that they can fight “with style”.

When a class requires that it not be used at full strength in order to fill the role that it is expected to play, the class may have transformed into more of a philosophical exercise than a viable solution.

Well I think that is the point - how do we make it so that swordswinging is a viable strategy?

Realms of Chaos
2010-11-06, 01:15 AM
Hmmm... it seems that I neglected to write down the point... I knew that I was forgettting something...

At the current moment, it seems that we are aiming for a "fix" of martial classes that is incredibly work-intensive in order to create enough abilities but that only appeals or would be necessary for a pretty small percentage of people out there.

Games (or long-term campaigns, in any case) in which Tier 1 characters actually act their tier and start acting like they live in the tippyverse (rather than maturely restraining their character to a supporting roll so everyone can have fun or going out of control and being smacked with a ban-hammer) are extremely rare, perhaps 10% of campaigns at the very most. Unfortunately, the vast majority of such campaigns involve either the DMs trying to adapt in wierd ways while keeping everything "balanced" in wonky ways or talking with the wizard to bring everything back down to sane levels (seriously, I've seen about five threads this month alone on stuff like that).

As a result, of those games listed above, maybe 10% (1% of all campaigns) are designed so that each player is absolutely required to possess a tier 1 class (rather than an optimized tier 3+ class) in order to survive for any amount of time and even most of those seem to be more due to incompetent DMs overestimating what PCs can deal with ("they can handle those giant crabs") rather than purposeful design.

In games where tier one material isn't strictly required, homebrew is more likely to be banned and I have ennumerated several reasons above why such a fix wouldn't appeal to many players. As your only reply to these reasons thusfar seems to be "they shouldn't be in such a high-tier campaign", this leads me to believe that the proper application of this system as being universally applied in all levels of play either isn't on the table or isn't being viewed as important at the moment.

Therefore, my question is if it is truly worth creating hundred or even thousands of abilities just for the benefit of 1% of all campaigns (likely far less when you factor that there are a great many campaigns being held by people with no associationo to this forum at all)? If you really think so, I'm prepared to lend my assistance to this think-tank however I can.

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-06, 01:49 AM
Therefore, my question is if it is truly worth creating hundred or even thousands of abilities just for the benefit of 1% of all campaigns (likely far less when you factor that there are a great many campaigns being held by people with no associationo to this forum at all)?

What kind of reasoning is that? It's not like you're getting paid based on sales. Who cares if only your group uses it or whether it gets a million views?

Heck, it's easier than programming a good 100+ lines of code each (then doing custom art) for 150 unique abilities for a videogame mod, and you don't hear those guys complaining if they don't end up like DotA by a fluke of viral marketing.

busterswd
2010-11-06, 02:38 AM
Enhanced feats would work; basically make it so once you take a certain number of ranks in a skill, you unlock a "Heroic" feat that gives far greater returns and has far better potential. Would have to have class or stat limitations as well.

Examples:

Heroic Jump
Once per round, allows the character to jump to an unlimited vertical height, though horizontal movement is restricted. Jumping and descending are both counted as free actions. (Basically the melee is so good at jumping he disappears in a flash, appears next to his target, does his business, then lands.)

Heroic Bluff
Character automatically succeeds any Bluff roll that is not a natural 1.

Heroic Handle Animal
Once per day, character gains complete control of an animal of his choice; restricted. Additional ranks grant additional uses.

WarKitty
2010-11-06, 07:27 AM
Hmmm... it seems that I neglected to write down the point... I knew that I was forgettting something...

At the current moment, it seems that we are aiming for a "fix" of martial classes that is incredibly work-intensive in order to create enough abilities but that only appeals or would be necessary for a pretty small percentage of people out there.

Games (or long-term campaigns, in any case) in which Tier 1 characters actually act their tier and start acting like they live in the tippyverse (rather than maturely restraining their character to a supporting roll so everyone can have fun or going out of control and being smacked with a ban-hammer) are extremely rare, perhaps 10% of campaigns at the very most. Unfortunately, the vast majority of such campaigns involve either the DMs trying to adapt in wierd ways while keeping everything "balanced" in wonky ways or talking with the wizard to bring everything back down to sane levels (seriously, I've seen about five threads this month alone on stuff like that).

As a result, of those games listed above, maybe 10% (1% of all campaigns) are designed so that each player is absolutely required to possess a tier 1 class (rather than an optimized tier 3+ class) in order to survive for any amount of time and even most of those seem to be more due to incompetent DMs overestimating what PCs can deal with ("they can handle those giant crabs") rather than purposeful design.

In games where tier one material isn't strictly required, homebrew is more likely to be banned and I have ennumerated several reasons above why such a fix wouldn't appeal to many players. As your only reply to these reasons thusfar seems to be "they shouldn't be in such a high-tier campaign", this leads me to believe that the proper application of this system as being universally applied in all levels of play either isn't on the table or isn't being viewed as important at the moment.

Therefore, my question is if it is truly worth creating hundred or even thousands of abilities just for the benefit of 1% of all campaigns (likely far less when you factor that there are a great many campaigns being held by people with no associationo to this forum at all)? If you really think so, I'm prepared to lend my assistance to this think-tank however I can.

Since I'm not in sales, the relevant factor would be "I want to run this type of game, and my players have indicated their interest." Which also limits the amount of abilities that actually need to be created, helpfully, since I only have two players that want it.

Realms of Chaos
2010-11-06, 11:18 AM
Sorry for my strange moon logic. I've always measured my homebrew as a measure of work involved vs. relevance to the game at large so the concept of making a new "magic system" for a single camapaign is a bit alien to me. That said, I am totally on board. :smallwink:

Perhaps a good place to start would be searching the PHB spells to find all of the general scenarios that a core caster can be ready for to show what tier one classes should be able to handle.


Need to keep enemies in place + hurt them
Need to keep enemies in place
Need to slow down enemies
Need to stop sight
Need to stop ranged attacks
Need to cause damage
Need to empower (self/ally)
Need to gain other modes of movement (self/others)
Need to increase speed (self/others)
Need to be able to ward area (violent/nonviolent)
Need to overcome damage reduction
Need to transform (self/others)
Need to identify magic items
Need to identify magic
Need to be able to send messages
Need to placate enemies
Need to obtain minions on the fly
Need to attract enemies/objects
Need to repell enemies/objects
Need to stop magic
Need to observe from a distance
Need to bar or enable paths
Need to travel the planes
Need to evade death even when "slain"
Need to predict future
Need to debuff enemies
Need to have save-or-sucks
Need to have save-or-dies
Need to be able to cause damage in large amounts
Need to increase AC (self/other)
Need to pump up ability scores (self/other)
Need to grant extra attacks (self/other/neither)
Need to be able to shape the battlefield
Need to stop hearing
Need to grant miss chance (self/others)
Need to pass through objects/creatures
Need to remove harmful effects [disease, curse, poison, enchantments, paralysis, ability damage, ability drain, negative levels, petrification, polymorph, missing limbs, blindness/deafness, fatigue, exhaustion, confusion, insanity, sicken, nauseated, fear, other debuffs] (self/others)
Need to stop combats before they start
Need to create allies/minions of pre-existing creatures
Need to damage ability scores
Need to boost saving throws (self/others)
Need to learn answers to most questions
Must be able to communicate with everything
Must be able to break action economy
Must be capable of creating illumination
Must be capable of controlling/shaping elements of nature
Must be capable of creating/foregoing sustenance
Must be able to create/call stronger minions who are not automatically under control but that are easily controlled through optimization.
Must cure damage (self/others)
Must create darkness
Must be able to grant special senses (self/others)
Must be capable of granting immunities [death effects, ability damage, ability drain, energy drain, mundane damage via incorporeality, mind-affecting effects, divinations, effects that would slow or hinder movements, illusions, energy damage, selected spells/abilities, environmental effects, damage from falls] (self/others)
Must be capable of detecting things [alignments, secret doors, types of creatures, traps, poisons, thoughts, lies, magic] in the environment.
Must be capable of teleportation (self/others)
Must be capable of stopping teleportation/extraplanar travel
Must be capable of finding anything, anyone, and anywhere.
Must be capable of destroying a body/soul completely
Must be capable of ending any magical effect
Must be able to obtain an item absolutely anywhere
Must be able to create any nonmagical item
Must be capable of dealing energy drain
Need to grant temporary hit points
Need to ward areas
Need to trap enemies in place
Need to be capable of creating/altering false visual, audio, thermal, tactile, and olfactory elements in the environment along with magical auras.
Must be capable of hiding/turning invisible (self or others)
Need to improve power of weaponry/armor
Need to grant some of your abilities to others
Need to grant bonuses to skills/overcome need for skills
Need to bypass all barriers
Need to create shelter
Need to create extradimensional space
Need to repair objects
Need to alter memories, thoughts, and beliefs of others
Need to avoid being tracked
Need to create "effective" barriers
Need to reduce physical and energy damage via damage reduction and energy resistance
Need to end/create fires
Need to return the dead back to life
Need to communicate with others without eavesdropping
Must be able to destroy items
Need to create copies of creatures
Need to create silence
Need to create traps
Need to transmute materials into other related materials
Need to stop revival/reanimation of the dead
Need to reflect certain attacks
Need to manipulate and move creatures/objects from a distance
Need to grant self immortality/effective immortality
Need to make some abilities permanent
Need meta-abilities that alters your access to your own abilities
Must have abilities that mix two or more of the aspects listed above.
Must have abilities capable of imitating two or more of the aspects listed above
Must be able to create items with any of the above effects.
Overcome resistances to abilities


Right there are the 95 things that a core wizard is truly capable of doing (and a couple things that core wizards can't do).

Some of these things may need to be split into multiple abilities and others can be combined but it's a general list. Another question, then, is what abilities, if any, could we completely and utterly ignore in preparation for this campaign against the formless chaos?

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-06, 06:21 PM
Sorry for my strange moon logic. I've always measured my homebrew as a measure of work involved vs. relevance to the game at large so the concept of making a new "magic system" for a single camapaign is a bit alien to me. That said, I am totally on board. :smallwink:

Perhaps a good place to start would be searching the PHB spells to find all of the general scenarios that a core caster can be ready for to show what tier one classes should be able to handle.


Need to keep enemies in place + hurt them
Need to keep enemies in place
Need to slow down enemies
Need to stop sight
Need to stop ranged attacks
Need to cause damage
Need to empower (self/ally)
Need to gain other modes of movement (self/others)
Need to increase speed (self/others)
Need to be able to ward area (violent/nonviolent)
Need to overcome damage reduction
Need to transform (self/others)
Need to identify magic items
Need to identify magic
Need to be able to send messages
Need to placate enemies
Need to obtain minions on the fly
Need to attract enemies/objects
Need to repell enemies/objects
Need to stop magic
Need to observe from a distance
Need to bar or enable paths
Need to travel the planes
Need to evade death even when "slain"
Need to predict future
Need to debuff enemies
Need to have save-or-sucks
Need to have save-or-dies
Need to be able to cause damage in large amounts
Need to increase AC (self/other)
Need to pump up ability scores (self/other)
Need to grant extra attacks (self/other/neither)
Need to be able to shape the battlefield
Need to stop hearing
Need to grant miss chance (self/others)
Need to pass through objects/creatures
Need to remove harmful effects [disease, curse, poison, enchantments, paralysis, ability damage, ability drain, negative levels, petrification, polymorph, missing limbs, blindness/deafness, fatigue, exhaustion, confusion, insanity, sicken, nauseated, fear, other debuffs] (self/others)
Need to stop combats before they start
Need to create allies/minions of pre-existing creatures
Need to damage ability scores
Need to boost saving throws (self/others)
Need to learn answers to most questions
Must be able to communicate with everything
Must be able to break action economy
Must be capable of creating illumination
Must be capable of controlling/shaping elements of nature
Must be capable of creating/foregoing sustenance
Must be able to create/call stronger minions who are not automatically under control but that are easily controlled through optimization.
Must cure damage (self/others)
Must create darkness
Must be able to grant special senses (self/others)
Must be capable of granting immunities [death effects, ability damage, ability drain, energy drain, mundane damage via incorporeality, mind-affecting effects, divinations, effects that would slow or hinder movements, illusions, energy damage, selected spells/abilities, environmental effects, damage from falls] (self/others)
Must be capable of detecting things [alignments, secret doors, types of creatures, traps, poisons, thoughts, lies, magic] in the environment.
Must be capable of teleportation (self/others)
Must be capable of stopping teleportation/extraplanar travel
Must be capable of finding anything, anyone, and anywhere.
Must be capable of destroying a body/soul completely
Must be capable of ending any magical effect
Must be able to obtain an item absolutely anywhere
Must be able to create any nonmagical item
Must be capable of dealing energy drain
Need to grant temporary hit points
Need to ward areas
Need to trap enemies in place
Need to be capable of creating/altering false visual, audio, thermal, tactile, and olfactory elements in the environment along with magical auras.
Must be capable of hiding/turning invisible (self or others)
Need to improve power of weaponry/armor
Need to grant some of your abilities to others
Need to grant bonuses to skills/overcome need for skills
Need to bypass all barriers
Need to create shelter
Need to create extradimensional space
Need to repair objects
Need to alter memories, thoughts, and beliefs of others
Need to avoid being tracked
Need to create "effective" barriers
Need to reduce physical and energy damage via damage reduction and energy resistance
Need to end/create fires
Need to return the dead back to life
Need to communicate with others without eavesdropping
Must be able to destroy items
Need to create copies of creatures
Need to create silence
Need to create traps
Need to transmute materials into other related materials
Need to stop revival/reanimation of the dead
Need to reflect certain attacks
Need to manipulate and move creatures/objects from a distance
Need to grant self immortality/effective immortality
Need to make some abilities permanent
Need meta-abilities that alters your access to your own abilities
Must have abilities that mix two or more of the aspects listed above.
Must have abilities capable of imitating two or more of the aspects listed above
Must be able to create items with any of the above effects.
Overcome resistances to abilities


Right there are the 95 things that a core wizard is truly capable of doing (and a couple things that core wizards can't do).

Some of these things may need to be split into multiple abilities and others can be combined but it's a general list. Another question, then, is what abilities, if any, could we completely and utterly ignore in preparation for this campaign against the formless chaos?

Nice list :)

Anyways, even if you don't actually cover all of that, the key bit is to play a meaningful role in the various minigames, such as infiltration, intrigue, travel, information gathering, etc etc.

vrellum
2010-11-07, 12:44 AM
Where do you think a fighter would fall on the tier scale if you gave them all good saves, rogue skill pts and skill list and sneak attack. Don't remove anything.

WarKitty
2010-11-07, 12:47 AM
Where do you think a fighter would fall on the tier scale if you gave them all good saves, rogue skill pts and skill list and sneak attack. Don't remove anything.

Maybe a 3. The key ability of the top tiers is to be useful no matter what the situation.

JaronK
2010-11-07, 01:14 AM
Where do you think a fighter would fall on the tier scale if you gave them all good saves, rogue skill pts and skill list and sneak attack. Don't remove anything.

3. They'd be useful in nearly all situations (assuming they picked their skill points intelligently), be a solid combatant with a nice damage edge, and be quite durable. They wouldn't be at the top of tier three, but they'd be solidly in there.

JaronK

vrellum
2010-11-07, 01:31 AM
That's about where I thought. Not a tier 1, but I thought maybe weak tier 2.

What if bardic inspiration was added (inspire courage, etc.), plus the knights ability to make terrain he threatens difficult terrain and the knights ability to move faster in heavy/medium armor? I would throw in the knights challenge ability, but I don't like it the concept.

How about adding the ability to mark foes, similar to the 4th edition fighter. If they ignore you, you get a free attack.

Seems like that would make a pretty strong character that could be effective in a number of situations. Maybe not tier 1, but playable in even in optimized games and capable of dominating games with nonoptimized tier 1s.

JaronK
2010-11-07, 02:55 AM
That all would make it stronger Tier 3.

Remember, there's nothing wrong with Tier 3. Not breaking game = good.

JaronK

vrellum
2010-11-07, 03:54 AM
OK, so it looks like it might not be possible to advance beyond tier 3 and be mundane (which this guy basically is, UMD and to a lesser extent bardic music excepted).

Though I thought that all of that stuff would surely push him into tier 2. Especially since UMD and diplomacy can be so powerful. Not that I'd really want to play him that way (really don't like the way diplomacy works). And UMD makes him a "mage", not what I envision for a fighter.

Sir Giacomo
2010-11-07, 11:45 AM
Just jumping in at this point since Realms of Chaos compiled such a good list to check what a melee class should be able to do what casters do.

I'll just type into the spoiler of Realms of Chaos for the case of a core level 1-20 monk.


Perhaps a good place to start would be searching the PHB spells to find all of the general scenarios that a core caster can be ready for to show what tier one classes should be able to handle.

Need to keep enemies in place + hurt them
Need to keep enemies in place
Need to slow down enemies
Trip, grapple, stun
Need to stop sight
Eversmoking bottle while using blind-fighting feat
Need to stop ranged attacks
Deflect Arrows, trip, grapple, stun, eversmoking bottle
Need to cause damage
Melee/ranged attacks
Need to empower (self/ally)
Aid another, (tumble and) flank, debuff opponents with grapple and/or stun
Need to gain other modes of movement (self/others)
Carry party members on back. Higher levels: dimension door, etheralness (including taking party members with you).
Need to increase speed (self/others)
Enhancement bonus to speed applies to all movement forms (flying, swimming climbing etc). Carry other party members.
Need to be able to ward area (violent/nonviolent)
Combat Reflexes&Trip&hide in large form: 20ft radius area warded with reach weapon. Can be used violent or nonviolent (lethal/non-lethal damage, or just trip)
Need to overcome damage reduction
Vs magic, lawful and adamantine: class ability. Buffs or spc weapons for all others. Or damage is so high that DR does not matter that much.

Need to transform (self/others)
Etheralness, use UMD to buff with low-level spells. Hide/move silently for stelath and concealment.
Need to identify magic items
Npcs (diplomacy, leadership), knowledge-arcana, UMD identify/legend lore wand
Need to identify magic
Spellcraft cross-class skill. Items doing detect magic.
Need to be able to send messages
UMD sending wand, animal messenger item or wand.
Need to placate enemies
Diplomacy (helped by being able to speak to all creatures).
Need to obtain minions on the fly
Diplomacy, leadership, if evil hold someone in thrall by having used quivering palm on him (constant death threat).
Need to attract enemies/objects
UMD low-level find object spells in wand; go to enemies with superior mobility and lock them down.
Need to repell enemies/objects
Reach weapon, trip. Deflect arrows. Mundane or magic items that provide cover (e.g. tower shield or cube of force).
Need to stop magic
Cover, concealment (e.g. hide), high saves, SR, grapple. UMD scroll of AMF at high levels.
Need to observe from a distance
Spot, magic items (scrying).
Need to bar or enable paths
Block path. Or smash through it with high damage (e.g. through walls). Or transcend obstacles with high move, jump, dimension door etc.
Need to travel the planes

Etheralness ability, magic items, npc service (much like raise dead or so in a party without a cleric).
Need to evade death even when "slain"
Have a clone done for yourself by an npc wizard.
Need to predict future
Nobody can do that. Some spells provide the DM with an avenue to give cryptic answer. Too vague.
Need to debuff enemies
Trip (-4 to AC, -4 to hit), stun (lose DEX bonus etc.), grapple (lose DEX bonus to others)
Need to have save-or-sucks
Stun, poison
Need to have save-or-dies
Quivering Palm, Poison, massive damage
Need to be able to cause damage in large amounts
Melee attack can do eventually 50dmg per hit and more.
Need to increase AC (self/other)
Monk AC bonus, tumble/fight defensively, items, Aid another, provide soft cover for another.
Need to pump up ability scores (self/other)
Magic items.
Need to grant extra attacks (self/other/neither)
Flurry of blows, TWF fighting tree, magic items. For others: grapple opponent and move through threatened areas of other pcs with him - granting one AoO/fellow pc.
Need to be able to shape the battlefield
Trip, magic items.
Need to stop hearing
Magic items, thundersticks.
Need to grant miss chance (self/others)
Magic items, concealment.
Need to pass through objects/creatures
Dimension door, escape artist skill, etheralness, magic items, tumble skill.Need to remove harmful effects [disease, curse, poison, enchantments, paralysis, ability damage, ability drain, negative levels, petrification, polymorph, missing limbs, blindness/deafness, fatigue, exhaustion, confusion, insanity, sicken, nauseated, fear, other debuffs] (self/others)
dimension door (escape even when paralysed), magic items.
Need to stop combats before they start
Diplomacy, superior movement.
Need to create allies/minions of pre-existing creatures
Diplomacy, leadership, magic items.
Need to damage ability scores
Magic Weapons
Need to boost saving throws (self/others)
Magic items
Need to learn answers to most questions
Diplomacy, knowledge skills, magic items, npcs.
Must be able to communicate with everything
Tongue of the sun and moon.
Must be able to break action economy
Full attack, quickdraw (or no need to draw weapons), free action items, intelligent items (no. of own actions go up); stun, trip (no. of opponent actions go down).
Must be capable of creating illumination
Mundane and magic items.
Must be capable of controlling/shaping elements of nature
Mundane (like fire) and magic items.
Must be capable of creating/foregoing sustenance
Magic items.
Must be able to create/call stronger minions who are not automatically under control but that are easily controlled through optimization.
Leadership, Diplomacy, magic items.
Must cure damage (self/others)
Self-healing ability, healing skill, magic items.
Must create darkness
Extinguish mundane lights, magic items.
Must be able to grant special senses (self/others)
Magic items.
Must be capable of granting immunities [death effects, ability damage, ability drain, energy drain, mundane damage via incorporeality, mind-affecting effects, divinations, effects that would slow or hinder movements, illusions, energy damage, selected spells/abilities, environmental effects, damage from falls] (self/others)
Immunities (poison, disease), good saves, SR, high touch AC. others: soft cover when larger, magic items granting protection for others.
Must be capable of detecting things [alignments, secret doors, types of creatures, traps, poisons, thoughts, lies, magic] in the environment.
Spot/listen/sense motive, magic items.
Must be capable of teleportation (self/others)
Dimension door, magic items, npcs.
Must be capable of stopping teleportation/extraplanar travel
grapple (vs teleport spells and failing concentration check), magic items
Must be capable of finding anything, anyone, and anywhere.
npcs, diplomacy, magic items
Must be capable of destroying a body/soul completely
Body: Fire/magic items. Soul: what item/spell can do that?
Must be capable of ending any magical effect
UMD and AMF; UMD and holy sword/greater dispel. Sundering magic items.
Must be able to obtain an item absolutely anywhere
npcs, diplomacy, magic items
Must be able to create any nonmagical item
craft skill, npcs
Must be capable of dealing energy drain
magic weapon, UMD enervation, shapechanged to undead
Need to grant temporary hit points
UMD spells
Need to ward areas
see above and/or alarm spell UMD'ed
Need to trap enemies in place
trip, stun, grapple.
Need to be capable of creating/altering false visual, audio, thermal, tactile, and olfactory elements in the environment along with magical auras.
UMD illusion spells and/or magic items, disguise skill.
Must be capable of hiding/turning invisible (self or others)
hide skill, magic items, concealment.
Need to improve power of weaponry/armor
feats, monk AC bonus.
Need to grant some of your abilities to others
I think only imbue with spell ability does this in core.
Need to grant bonuses to skills/overcome need for skills
aid another, magic items and feats
Need to bypass all barriers
see teleportation above
Need to create shelter, survival skill, craft skill.
magic items.
Need to create extradimensional space
magic items
Need to repair objects
craft skill, npcs, magic items
Need to alter memories, thoughts, and beliefs of others
diplomacy (altering memories can only be done by a bard spell in core, also possible to UMD in a wand)
Need to avoid being tracked
flying with magic items
Need to create "effective" barriers
magic items like lyre of building.
Need to reduce physical and energy damage via damage reduction and energy resistance
magic items
Need to end/create fires
mundane means or magic items
Need to return the dead back to life
magic items and/or npcs (plus reincarnation can be UMDed in a wand)
Need to communicate with others without eavesdropping
lip reading with spot skill
Must be able to destroy items
sunder
Need to create copies of creatures
UMD simulacrum scroll, magic items, npcs
Need to create silence
UMD silence wand
Need to create traps
craft trap-making skill
Need to transmute materials into other related materials
magic items / UMD spells / npcs
Need to stop revival/reanimation of the dead
npcs, magic items/UMD scrolls
Need to reflect certain attacks
spell turning items
Need to manipulate and move creatures/objects from a distance
ring of telekinesis, mage hand item
Need to grant self immortality/effective immortality
become undead; not ageing also counts a bit, does it?:smallsmile:
Need to make some abilities permanent
Permanency scroll UMD
Need meta-abilities that alters your access to your own abilities
??
Must have abilities that mix two or more of the aspects listed above
See above (for example, you can follow-up a trip with a stun.
Must have abilities capable of imitating two or more of the aspects listed above
See above
Must be able to create items with any of the above effects
Leadership, npcs
Overcome resistances to abilities
e.g. AMF UMD'ed
[/LIST]

Right there are the 95 things that a core wizard is truly capable of doing (and a couple things that core wizards can't do).


Hope that provided some ideas of what (high-level) non-caster classes in DD 3.5 in core can do.

Further up the Perseus example came up, and I think it is a very good one.
In my view, a level 20 melee character with the right magic items is the equal of any caster in combat - at least in core. But somehow the notion exists that the classes by virtue of what is listed in their class description section should already be equal - not the final result including all rules, access to npc help (with non-magic things like diplomacy skill and leadership feat) and all items that you are expected to get.
And this I guess makes only sense fluffwise, but not in terms of game mechanics.

- Giacomo

Aran Banks
2010-11-07, 12:27 PM
Which are versatile... if combat is all you can do, T4 is the highest you can be... no matter how good at killing things you are.

JaronK

{Scrubbed}

1) Wizards will cast about 3 different kinds of spells: Reflex-targeting, Fort-targetting, and Will-targeting. That's basically just attacking a lot, just like the barbarian.

Then the wizards have utility, which I will admit is lacking in the [Tome] Barbarian. Instead he uses a bunch of buffs. But my point was hyperbole (I do hope you saw that) so I'm not miffed about being shut down on this.

2) Yeah... the cleric has that shtick where he does about 20 different things necessary to win in combat. The Barb has Damage, Healing Out of Combat, DR, Extra Speed, Super Save Buffs, SoS, A Variety of Immunities, Barbarian Followers, More Save Buffs, Antmagic Field, and Magic Destroying Powers.

{Scrubbed}

Realms of Chaos
2010-11-07, 12:40 PM
Interesting list, Sir Giacomo.

With that said, allow me to bring up the one point that non-magical characters can do but magical characters can.


Must be able to perform above functions even if magic upon your person is prematurely ended (via sundering, dispelling, disjunction, etc.).


Yeah... a wizard can take a disjunction and keep adapting to any situation because their spells that haven't been cast yet are seriously hard to remove (I can only think of spellthieves and negative levels off of the top of my head). A monk hit by a disjunction loses the ability to do over half of those tasks on a reliable basis.
Also, I'd like to point out that several of those, in order to pull off against realistic foes of your level, require various magic items to pull off. Would you be so kind to show us how the WBL of a level 20 monk would be spent because I can almost guarantee you that you wouldn't be able to pull off most of those tricks more than once or twice (which you might need to do in a truly tier one setting like warkitty's where cosmic beings can realize that you've run out of scrolls and keep sicking the same thing on you).

Also, many of those solutions basically break down to "Monk can do anything because he knows/controls tier 1 casters and can steal their stuff through magic items". That argument isn't supporting the power of the monk in the slightest. It's supporting the power of UMD and Diplomacy (and the leadership feat) and, you know, actual tier 1 characters.

A commoner can claim to be tier 1 by recruiting 50 level 20 wizards or having 100 scrolls of every spell and a +60 bonus to UMd from a custom magic item but at that point, the commoner isn't important any more. You are for all purposes playing as the wizards/scrolls at that point and can't claim that your commoner 1 is doing all of that stuff (or anything at all, really).

Just because you create the monk first and it is a higher-level than your minions (though this is not necessarily the case with diplomacy) does not make it your locus of control except in a purely superficial sense. Unless your DM chooses to role-play as every single one of your minions and make them purposefully uncooperative, you are liable to end up treating both your main character and their minions as a single unit of control for you, much as the war-games that DnD evolved from had players controlling entire battallions. The fact is that most of your actions at a high level revolve around the use of your tier 1s and your magic items rather than the use of your own abilities and it is therefore not "your character" who is doing the work anymore.

MAIN ANALOGY: To put this in another sense, pretend that an Optimized Factotum 5 chose to buy a donkey, something that can kill a commoner but poses little risk to themselves. The donkey doesn't magically become tier 3 just because it has a factotum to protect it. That wouldn't make any sense. Saying that a monk becomes tier one because it's surrounded by wizards is saying the same thing.
While you could argue that the monk actually has mechanics (Diplomacy, UMD, and Leadership) that allow it to acquire said wizards, I could make the exact same argument for the donkey. The donkey has a price in gp, a mechanical aspect that allows the donkey to come into contact with the Tier 3 factotum. The donkey is not tier 3.

Edit: Also, for reading the future, I'm obviously not referring to precise readings but to insights gained through omen of peril, augury, and divination.
The meta-abilities include Mord's Lucibration, Rary's Enhancer, and Spell Engine from the Spell Compendium
Soul destruction includes barghest's feat from the spell compendium and the rare necrotic termination spell from the libris mortis. Nothing in the SRD but I did mention some of those things weren't core.

{Scrubbed}

Also, JaronK, who created the tier system (at least as we know it), specifically said that those classes in the tome sources do not qualify as tier 1. You are contradicting the person who made the divisions in the first place.

To quote what he said 2 pages ago

Tier 1 because it can call down miracles, raise the dead, raise armies of undead, be proficient at any skill on command, call down angels, ask questions of gods, etc. This is nothing like the Barbarian's "I can kill stuff if I can get into melee range." If the scenario is "find out who murdered the prince of the land" how will hitting it with an axe help? If the scenario is "locate the kidnapped princess" how will hitting it with an axe help? If the scenario is "make your way through a trapped maze to recover the lost artifact" how will hitting it with an axe help? What if you're trying to earn the trust of the local thieves' guild... how will hitting it with an axe help? That Cleric can persist Detect Secret Doors, cast Divine Insight to get a huge Sense Motive or Diplomacy as needed, or even ask gods for answers to puzzles.

Though only the barbarian is addressed by name, none of those martial classes are doing any of these things. All of them are geared for combat and though they have a few miscellaneous features that help them outside of combat (such as the barbarian's fast healing), none of them possess nearly the amount of versatility that tier 1 classes need.

To put it simply, tier 1 means being able to respond to any sort of problem put before you in any circumstance in a meaningful and productive way. None of those classes you linked to would help particularly in a campaign of mystery and/or intrigue (one example) beyond a few class skills (which are well-outdone by magic and aren't suitable replacements in many situations). I have read extensively through that link and I can say with certainty that the barbarian, knight, fighter, and samurai all lack the versatility needed to be tier 1. They are solid tier 4s and optimization can put them directly into Tier 2 at times (becuase tier 2 is an odd duck like that) but because Tier 1 isn't a measure of power but of versatility (it's already been mentioned in this thread that tier 2 classes can have more power than tier 1 classes at times), these classes aren't tier 1.

Pechvarry
2010-11-07, 12:47 PM
Since I'm not in sales, the relevant factor would be "I want to run this type of game, and my players have indicated their interest." Which also limits the amount of abilities that actually need to be created, helpfully, since I only have two players that want it.

Think you could give us the 2 character archetypes so we can help shoot out ideas?

Some random ideas of mine would be:
-Hide check vs caster level to be found by magic
-You know exactly where a chosen foe is at all times. If on a different plane, you know what plane, though not where on that plane until you arrive yourself. (this is kind of a Nemesis [BoED] concept taken to the levels of some of the tracking classes like the one in the epic handbook)
-Automatically close the distance to an opponent within Long range and ignore all defenses for one attack once/encounter.


Incidentally, reading the epic prestige classes (themselves very lackluster), and handing out unique abilities from them to players for free could be a fun start.

I would consider proliferating abilities on a sort of feat mechanic, where at every few levels, they're granted a choice of additional abilities. Then you can either deny this feature to casters or say "your pool of choices boils down to an extra spell known or additional use of a domain ability."

WarKitty
2010-11-07, 12:57 PM
The one is a werewolf outcast, dual-wielded bastard swords but still quite sneaky. The other is a retired general with a minor magic ability to summon goblin minions.

Sir Giacomo
2010-11-07, 01:18 PM
Interesting list, Sir Giacomo.

Well, thank you!


With that said, allow me to bring up the one point that non-magical characters can do but magical characters can.


Must be able to perform above functions even if magic upon your person is prematurely ended (via sundering, dispelling, disjunction, etc.).


Yeah... a wizard can take a disjunction and keep adapting to any situation because their spells that haven't been cast yet are seriously hard to remove (I can only think of spellthieves and negative levels off of the top of my head). A monk hit by a disjunction loses the ability to do over half of those tasks on a reliable basis.

But what about his high will saves? Will half of his items be rendered useless?
What about the items in the backpack where the disjunction has no line of effect? What about those in pouches?
Many of the items for the list above can be put away and taken out only when needed.


Also, I'd like to point out that several of those, in order to pull off against realistic foes of your level, require various magic items to pull off. Would you be so kind to show us how the WBL of a level 20 monk would be spent because I can almost guarantee you that you wouldn't be able to pull off most of those tricks more than once or twice (which you might need to do in a truly tier one setting like warkitty's where cosmic beings can realize that you've run out of scrolls and keep sicking the same thing on you).

Most of the above things can be done with fairly low-level items; for instance, a level 20 monk could have several rings of sustenance to have food sources even when hit by a disjunction. And for other things like resurrection, even a wizard has to cough up a similar amount of money/is similarly restricted.


Also, many of those solutions basically break down to "Monk can do anything because he knows/controls tier 1 casters and can steal their stuff through magic items". That argument isn't supporting the power of the monk in the slightest. It's supporting the power of UMD and Diplomacy (and the leadership feat) and, you know, actual tier 1 characters.

No, it is not. The characters you refer to as tier 1 likewise were/are dependent on other characters for support in their adventuring life. That they may have more magic available at high levels says nothing about their power throughout their adventuring career.
I agree that it does not show a lot of power of a single class when it needs to have another class member constantly around.
But being able to teleport with boots of teleport out of combat with a fallen comrade to an npc cleric that you know to have him raised for some gold pieces? I do not think that this is really a problem or a "weakness" of a class.


A commoner can claim to be tier 1 by recruiting 50 level 20 wizards or having 100 scrolls of every spell and a +60 bonus to UMd from a custom magic item but at that point, the commoner isn't important any more. You are for all purposes playing as the wizards/scrolls at that point and can't claim that your commoner 1 is doing all of that stuff (or anything at all, really).

The commoner does not have that kind of money. In fact, pcs would never have that kind of money, either, outside of epic play. And custom magic items are a bit controversial.


Just because you create the monk first and it is a higher-level than your minions (though this is not necessarily the case with diplomacy) does not make it your locus of control except in a purely superficial sense. Unless your DM chooses to role-play as every single one of your minions and make them purposefully uncooperative, you are liable to end up treating both your main character and their minions as a single unit of control for you, much as the war-games that DnD evolved from had players controlling entire battallions. The fact is that most of your actions at a high level revolve around the use of your tier 1s and your magic items rather than the use of your own abilities and it is therefore not "your character" who is doing the work anymore.

I do not think that getting, say, a mount via leadership (much as the single companions offered by class abilities to wizard, sorcerer, druid, paladin and ranger) plus the occasional npc permanent/long-term buff constitutes "entire battalions". Or get some dozens followers per leadership that tend to your castle/monastery/thieves guild at home while you are adventuring.


MAIN ANALOGY: To put this in another sense, pretend that an Optimized Factotum 5 chose to buy a donkey, something that can kill a commoner but poses little risk to themselves. The donkey doesn't magically become tier 3 just because it has a factotum to protect it. That wouldn't make any sense. Saying that a monk becomes tier one because it's surrounded by wizards is saying the same thing.
While you could argue that the monk actually has mechanics (Diplomacy, UMD, and Leadership) that allow it to acquire said wizards, I could make the exact same argument for the donkey. The donkey has a price in gp, a mechanical aspect that allows the donkey to come into contact with the Tier 3 factotum. The donkey is not tier 3.

The problem with your analogy is that the donkey out of the box (like the commoner) is so much, much weaker than a monk out of the box. As such, he also has much, much less or even no synergies at all to what npc spells and items a monk can buy. For instance, a donkey lacking the ability to speak cannot use most magic items, and a commoner having no speed enhancement will be slower in all magical movement forms than the monk etc.
It baffles me why there is so much opposition to this simple intuition.

- Giacomo

WarKitty
2010-11-07, 01:32 PM
Just jumping in at this point since Realms of Chaos compiled such a good list to check what a melee class should be able to do what casters do.

I'll just type into the spoiler of Realms of Chaos for the case of a core level 1-20 monk.



Hope that provided some ideas of what (high-level) non-caster classes in DD 3.5 in core can do.

Further up the Perseus example came up, and I think it is a very good one.
In my view, a level 20 melee character with the right magic items is the equal of any caster in combat - at least in core. But somehow the notion exists that the classes by virtue of what is listed in their class description section should already be equal - not the final result including all rules, access to npc help (with non-magic things like diplomacy skill and leadership feat) and all items that you are expected to get.
And this I guess makes only sense fluffwise, but not in terms of game mechanics.

- Giacomo

The main issue I have with magic items is that your wizard has the exact same access to magic items, along with the ability to use them more easily. And spells left over to do more stuff.

Sir Giacomo
2010-11-07, 01:37 PM
The main issue I have with magic items is that your wizard has the exact same access to magic items, along with the ability to use them more easily. And spells left over to do more stuff.

Of course a wizard or caster has better/more access to magic. But conversely, a non-caster has other strengths (like more permanent combat abilities and protection, the rogue with more skills/skill range, all non-casters are not hurt as hart in non-magic zones etc.).
Over the course of an adventuring career, these different strengths and weaknesses should balance each other out.

- Giacomo

WarKitty
2010-11-07, 01:44 PM
Of course a wizard or caster has better/more access to magic. But conversely, a non-caster has other strengths (like more permanent combat abilities and protection, the rogue with more skills/skill range, all non-casters are not hurt as hart in non-magic zones etc.).
Over the course of an adventuring career, these different strengths and weaknesses should balance each other out.

- Giacomo

Key word *should*. In practice, only the non-magic zones really make a difference. High-level wizards ooze enough spells that they can have 24-hour buffs on them each morning. Most skill checks can be either bypassed entirely or buffed up with spells. Unless the entire world is designed to make magic difficult or ineffective, the mage still has the upper hand.

Realms of Chaos
2010-11-07, 01:47 PM
We seem to be talking about the campaigns where a single teleport to a friend to cast a spell is insufficient, games where each PC must individually be capable to acting as tier 1 or perish.

In other words, a game that literally puts DMs fighting against PCs with most or full meta-knowledge of the DM (without just saying "you die" as that would ruin the fun). Monks can't survive in this environment wizards and tier 1 characters can survive a bit better as they can literally react to anything.

Also, don't forget that disjunction is a burst effect. It doesn't care if you're holding things in a backpack or not. All items in the area are effected. Even if you store them in a haversack, the language of dispel magic makes it sound like dispelling an extradimensional space makes it inaccessible, meaning that you lose your objects forever.

oxybe
2010-11-07, 02:03 PM
for a larger list of problems i think need to be dealt with, click here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=9548763&postcount=28).

TL;DR version: give more built-in options to the non-casters other then "i whack it with my stick", clean up that ridiculous skill point system for something a bit more useable and allows for versatile characters, remove current generic casters and replace with themed versions (beguiler, dread necro, warmage, etc...), now go for the problematic auto-win spells, fix up several subsystems (like how tripping & grappling is near useless against huge, fanged claw beasts barring hyper-specialization. if all you fight are average str humans, then they're fine, but i've never been in one of those campaigns).

really, saying "the fighter is fine if he's got magic items that emulate the wizard" is actually saying "the fighter's only option is to emulate the wizard, who has options".

anti-magic zones are, IMO a stupid concept, alongside blanket immunities (see: 3.5 core rogue's SA VS undead, constructs, oozes, elementals...). seriously, telling ANY player "grab your DSiXL 'cause you're not going to do anything for a while" is just bad design in both game rules and adventure design.

simply being able to fight in a game of adventurers who go out and kill things to take their stuff is not enough since it's assumed EVERYONE can do that much.

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-07, 05:09 PM
The main issue I have with magic items is that your wizard has the exact same access to magic items, along with the ability to use them more easily. And spells left over to do more stuff.

This isn't exactly true. You can improve a class by changing the way it interacts with magic items. Just look at the Artificer. I suggested this earlier, but you said you didn't like Perseus or something.

In D&D 3.5e, the Wizard's itemization is better That is to say, he actually gets more benefit per gold piece than a Fighter, because he has abilities that let him use many items better than a Fighter can. For example, a Fighter will not make equal use of wands.

And the items that a Fighter relies on are a poor kind of itemization indeed. Simple proficiencies don't go very far. Level-appropriate magic weapons are *really expensive*, to the point where you couldn't just carry around different ones with you for different effects. And it's a lot of eggs in one basket: If it gets broken, the Fighter tends to run off crying. It's also a pain to upgrade. While a Wizard doesn't care about the craft time on a wand, what does the Fighter do when he sends in his sword to the shop? Same problems with magic armor. And in the end these items aren't that impressive. He certainly can't craft or improve them himself or anything.

And if the Fighter wants to be Perseus or Batman? Well, he's SOL there, because his gadgeteering items are more expensive and limited than the wizard's.

But you could easily change that.

WarKitty
2010-11-07, 05:31 PM
Ok here's a starter fix:

Spellcraft is now a class skill for everyone.

Feat - identification: You may use spellcraft to identify weapons and armor in which you are proficient. Determining whether or not the item is magic is a DC 10. A roll of 15+spell level lets you determine the school involved, as though casting detect magic. 20+spell level lets you determine the exact enchantment.

Give as bonus feat as needed (i.e. most places). By bonus feat I don't mean fighter bonus feat slot, I mean you get this feat for free at level 5 or so. Combine with providing extra skill points.

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-07, 05:44 PM
Ok here's a starter fix:

Spellcraft is now a class skill for everyone. Mind the skill point tax.


Feat - identification: You may use spellcraft to identify weapons and armor in which you are proficient. Determining whether or not the item is magic is a DC 10. A roll of 15+spell level lets you determine the school involved, as though casting detect magic. 20+spell level lets you determine the exact enchantment.

Make identifying new weapons for the weapons experts work like so:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Rz2ivHHCug

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSyAv4gZhPI&feature=related

I still think giving better itemization capabilities would be a good step. Why exactly are you opposed to that?

WarKitty
2010-11-07, 05:50 PM
I still think giving better itemization capabilities would be a good step. Why exactly are you opposed to that?

Itemization???

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-07, 05:52 PM
Itemization???

See post 204. And some others.

Anyways, basically, itemization (in gamer slang) refers to your ability to take advantage of items.

Realms of Chaos
2010-11-07, 06:15 PM
I'm willing to buy that more itemization (such as removing all need for UMD checks or whatever) would most certainly help but I hesitate to accept that it would result in a tier 1 character. :smallconfused:

Could you provide a sample set of equipment showing how the money could be spent to allow for a tier 1 "lifestyle" for, say, a week?

I have a few more doubts in my head but doing this would definitely put most of them to rest.

A couple more questions, Warkitty:
1. How much in-game time spent adventuring to you expect this adventure to take, not counting time skips and temporal stasis-like effects?
2. What sources are you permitting for your game? Depending on the books that you allow, itemization may be more or less helpful.

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-07, 06:22 PM
I'm willing to buy that more itemization (such as removing all need for UMD checks or whatever) would most certainly help but I hesitate to accept that it would result in a tier 1 character. :smallconfused:

Check out the Artificer. Best item user.


Could you provide a sample set of equipment showing how the money could be spent to allow for a tier 1 "lifestyle" for, say, a week?

I'm not sure I quite understand your question.

I'm not saying that just buying stuff is good enough. I'm saying that being able to take special advantage of items is a real class ability and I'm not sure why Warkitty insists (at least in earlier posts) that that entire field of thought be neglected.

WarKitty
2010-11-07, 06:25 PM
See post 204. And some others.

Anyways, basically, itemization (in gamer slang) refers to your ability to take advantage of items.

I'll get some ideas out on that after dinner and work.

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-07, 06:31 PM
There are all kinds of possibilities.

For example, imagine if magic weapons scaled to power, were more readily available and upgradeable, could be restored with the Craft skill, had power unlock requirements (Think stuff ranging from Agni and Rudra to Thor's Hammer), expanded on and refined the ideas of Legacy Weapons, and could act like runestaffs for maneuvers, changing up your fighting style entirely in the hands of a skilled user.

Suddenly, a flaming sword lets you do things like turn into a flaming phoenix and fly around a bit. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p94BbR2frbc&feature=related

I don't want my magic hammer to give me a +1 to damage. I want my Meteor Hammer to turn a foe hit in melee into a flaming missile of line damage and bull rushing that goes through walls.

As is, the full extent of a Fighter's "weapon expertise" fluff extends to, what, a few +1s to hit? What the hell. That's terrible.

A scientist may make a bomb, but a soldier knows how to use it.

It's not just weapons either. You could do a lot to improve fighters by improving the basic mechanical chassis. In a lot of ways, the core system (forget classes) favors spellcasters, right down to the way that if you use the Hide skill to "snipe," it affects guys using bows but not beguilers using enchantments with somatic components.

WarKitty
2010-11-07, 06:35 PM
What's that one psionic class that lets you wield a weapon of pure mental energy? Something like that could be reworked into the ancestral weapon archetype.

Realms of Chaos
2010-11-07, 06:39 PM
Check out the Artificer. Best item user.

Actually, I'd say that the artificer's item usage is pretty much average, on par with that of an optimized warlock (nowhere near tier 3 unless using hellfire glaives).

What the artificer rules at, ImO, is item creation (either short-term via infusions or long-term via feats). A decent chunk of what makes the artificer so darn powerful, after all, is being able to make WBL explode.

Edit: Warkitty, it's called the soulknife.

As far as gaining improved mastery with a weapon over time, the scientist-soldier analogy might lend itself well to a series of styles (static bonuses specific to the weapon that increase with your number of iterative attacks) to make more use of it and overloads (limited use abilities that fully manifest the strength of the power, as the phoenix ability listed above) that basically use the weapon to do more than it was built to accomplish.

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-07, 06:45 PM
What's that one psionic class that lets you wield a weapon of pure mental energy? Something like that could be reworked into the ancestral weapon archetype.

The Soulknife class is terrible. :smallyuk:

Realms of Chaos
2010-11-07, 06:52 PM
I made my own version (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=154049) that's a bit better than that... thing.

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-07, 11:49 PM
I'll get some ideas out on that after dinner and work.

So are you reneging on your position that using items doesn't count? :smallconfused:

WarKitty
2010-11-08, 12:02 AM
So are you reneging on your position that using items doesn't count? :smallconfused:

Using items is ok if it's actually a using items in a way that suits melee. Unfortunately every time I've seen item use (both on the forum and in rl games), it's pretty much just "let's spend money to fake being a wizard." Hence my opposition at first - UMD and a bunch of wands does not a good class make.

Realms of Chaos
2010-11-08, 01:10 AM
It has finally truly dawned on me that we might not want to bother even creating a full system. Warkitty has a single campaign and two character that need some way to be tier 1. We don't need an internally consistent system that scales with level if the entire campaign is going to be at level 20 and we don't need any rules for ranged weaponry if the two players have no intention of doing anything but melee. We could probably save a lot of time and effort by tailoring this specifically to your campaign.

As such, relevant questions:
1. How much IC time do you think will pass in the course of this campaign?
2. About how many encounters do you intend to put players through a day (how many encounters are you planning if it will all occur in one day)?
3. Above and beyond the specific character designs, what can you tell us about the playstyle of the players that might help us cater this specifically to what they find to be fun?
4. What degree of optimization will your other players be using (normal tier one wizard or tippyverse wizard with 21 contingent spells, 13 persistant wards, uncanny forethought/alacritous cognition, and infinite wish loops)? Though it may sound rediculous, there are truly different degrees of omnipotence when referring to tier 1 classes.
5. What level do you expect this campaign to start at an end at? That should give us a decent scope of where you want this to be (creating material for just level 20 is different than creating material for levels 17-25, for example).
6. What sources do your characters have access to (so we know what premade material can be referenced in any fixes created)?

Aran Banks
2010-11-09, 01:13 AM
You don't need a full system! This (http://dnd-wiki.org/wiki/Races_of_War_(3.5e_Sourcebook)/Warriors_with_Class#Base_Classes) is all tier 1!

true_shinken
2010-11-09, 08:52 AM
You don't need a full system! This (http://dnd-wiki.org/wiki/Races_of_War_(3.5e_Sourcebook)/Warriors_with_Class#Base_Classes) is all tier 1!

Yeah, except not!

Realms of Chaos
2010-11-09, 10:18 AM
Aran Banks: Because you either didn't see it or couldn't think of a way to reply to it the first time, I will post this again. JaronK, who created the tier system (at least as we know it), specifically said that those classes in the tome sources do not qualify as tier 1. You are contradicting the person who made the divisions in the first place.

To quote what he said 2 pages ago

Tier 1 because it can call down miracles, raise the dead, raise armies of undead, be proficient at any skill on command, call down angels, ask questions of gods, etc. This is nothing like the Barbarian's "I can kill stuff if I can get into melee range." If the scenario is "find out who murdered the prince of the land" how will hitting it with an axe help? If the scenario is "locate the kidnapped princess" how will hitting it with an axe help? If the scenario is "make your way through a trapped maze to recover the lost artifact" how will hitting it with an axe help? What if you're trying to earn the trust of the local thieves' guild... how will hitting it with an axe help? That Cleric can persist Detect Secret Doors, cast Divine Insight to get a huge Sense Motive or Diplomacy as needed, or even ask gods for answers to puzzles.

Though only the barbarian is addressed by name, none of those martial classes are doing any of these things. All of them are geared for combat and though they have a few miscellaneous features that help them outside of combat (such as the barbarian's fast healing), none of them possess nearly the amount of versatility that tier 1 classes need.

To put it simply, tier 1 means being able to respond to any sort of problem put before you in any circumstance in a meaningful and productive way. None of those classes you linked to would help particularly in a campaign of mystery and/or intrigue (one example) beyond a few class skills (which are well-outdone by magic and aren't suitable replacements in many situations). I have read extensively through that link and I can say with certainty that the barbarian, knight, fighter, and samurai all lack the versatility needed to be tier 1. They are solid tier 4s and optimization can put them directly into Tier 2 at times (becuase tier 2 is an odd duck like that) but because Tier 1 isn't a measure of power but of versatility (it's already been mentioned in this thread that tier 2 classes can have more power than tier 1 classes at times), the "utility" that you've admited that these classes lack, these classes aren't tier 1.

I am not saying that these classes are bad and I am not insulting your appreciation for them. Quite to the contrary, they are some of the more powerful and well-balanced martial material out there and are capable of meaningfully adding to combat involving full casters even at high levels. That said, this is not the definition of tier 1 and will not substitute for tier 1 in this case because we are talking specifically about a system that would let a party survive in a campaign where tier 1 versatility is required in order to not die. These campaigns are very rare, however, so it's understandable that you'd think that that you'd think these classes were suitable.

olentu
2010-11-09, 01:16 PM
Personally it seems the disconnect is that tier 1 is not a measure of combat power or really any tightly defined area of power. Tier 1 is powerful in basically every area while others are powerful in only a few areas or are less powerful in a wider spread.

Zeofar
2010-11-09, 04:38 PM
To start, multiply all melee class' skill points by 6, double the maximum skill ranks for non-caster levels, allow them to purchase 1 skill focus feat a level for a single skill point if they so wish, and give them bonus feats at every level as long as they are not metamagic or can only be used with spells. We're getting a little closer now.

WarKitty
2010-11-09, 04:42 PM
To start, multiply all melee class' skill points by 6, double the maximum skill ranks for non-caster levels, allow them to purchase 1 skill focus feat a level for a single skill point if they so wish, and give them bonus feats at every level as long as they are not metamagic or can only be used with spells. We're getting a little closer now.

Pathfinder has a feat that lets you use craft ranks instead of caster level for crafting. I was thinking make that the normal method of crafting items instead, and give craft (weapons) and craft (armor) out as class skills.

JaronK
2010-11-09, 04:47 PM
Personally it seems the disconnect is that tier 1 is not a measure of combat power or really any tightly defined area of power. Tier 1 is powerful in basically every area while others are powerful in only a few areas or are less powerful in a wider spread.

I think the problem is that no matter how many times I say otherwise, some people are sure that T1 means "best class" or top ranking or something, and they want everything to be in the best ranking. They fail to realize that the tiers are not about who wins at D&D, but are rather showing how much the mechanical abilities of each class will effect the game, especially a player's ability to mechanically solve any problem thrown in front of them.

The very concept of a "top tier melee" makes no sense... if you're a melee, which is to say a warrior who focuses on melee attacks, then you're tier 4 (since no matter how good you are at it, you're only good at one thing... see the Barbarian for example). If you're a melee who has a variety of other abilities that make him useful in all situations but particularly good in melee fighting, that's T3. But if you're a melee who can also have a mechanical ability for everything else that might happen, from dealing with intrigue to winning over the hearts and minds of the populace to starting a new industry when it's needed, then you're T1... but you're not a melee anymore. You're an extremely super powerful character who can melee if he wants to, or do all kinds of other stuff too. You're generally referred to at this point as a Cleric or Druid, though you might be a Wizard or Archivist or Artificer.

The point is, if the description of your class is a job that needs doing in the party (such as melee, or healer, or trap finder) then there's no way you're higher than T3. You might be lower. Getting higher than that means you have no one job or area of specialty.

JaronK

Zeofar
2010-11-09, 04:50 PM
Pathfinder has a feat that lets you use craft ranks instead of caster level for crafting. I was thinking make that the normal method of crafting items instead, and give craft (weapons) and craft (armor) out as class skills.

Other than flavor, sure, that doesn't sound like a horrible idea; a pretty fine one, in fact. I doubt it'd affect players as much as the world itself. There's always the magic forges in Races of Stone, though, so it isn't a huge issue if you just combine a few of the effects and access to one is available.

jseah
2010-11-09, 04:55 PM
To put it simply, tier 1 means being able to respond to any sort of problem put before you in any circumstance in a meaningful and productive way.
Except in the extremely unfortunate circumstance of carrying an idiot ball with a weight measured in plot. =P

JaronK
2010-11-09, 05:10 PM
Other than flavor, sure, that doesn't sound like a horrible idea; a pretty fine one, in fact. I doubt it'd affect players as much as the world itself. There's always the magic forges in Races of Stone, though, so it isn't a huge issue if you just combine a few of the effects and access to one is available.

I'm not sure that's even flavorwise bad. Often non magical dwarves are the classic fantasy magic item makers. It would really help to allow mundanes to make items (at least weapons and worn gear)... though you'd have to make sure the crafting process was fast enough (mundane crafting is far too slow for use in real play most of the time).

@Jseah: extremely well said.

JaronK

Valameer
2010-11-09, 05:54 PM
When this thread was back on page 1 I went off to attempt to homebrew a tier 1 melee class.

Whew... now it's done. The link is in my sig, and I've posted it in the homebrew section. Please go have a look if you're interested in playing a martial(ish) character in a tier 1 or 2 game!

I think it could be very fun to try out - but it needs the wisdom of the boards to tear it apart and put it back together before I'm going to be satisfied with it.

I was also planning on a more knightly-themed "Hero" class if this one is well received.

Barbarian MD
2010-11-09, 07:46 PM
I submit that the goal should not be to try to replicate the abilities of casters, but rather to THWART them. Think about Batman. He can fight against wizards, not because he can cast spells, but because he's Batman. Find ways to create mechanics for those things, and then perhaps toss on the ability to be creative in-game outside of the mechanics.

olentu
2010-11-10, 01:23 AM
I think the problem is that no matter how many times I say otherwise, some people are sure that T1 means "best class" or top ranking or something, and they want everything to be in the best ranking. They fail to realize that the tiers are not about who wins at D&D, but are rather showing how much the mechanical abilities of each class will effect the game, especially a player's ability to mechanically solve any problem thrown in front of them.

The very concept of a "top tier melee" makes no sense... if you're a melee, which is to say a warrior who focuses on melee attacks, then you're tier 4 (since no matter how good you are at it, you're only good at one thing... see the Barbarian for example). If you're a melee who has a variety of other abilities that make him useful in all situations but particularly good in melee fighting, that's T3. But if you're a melee who can also have a mechanical ability for everything else that might happen, from dealing with intrigue to winning over the hearts and minds of the populace to starting a new industry when it's needed, then you're T1... but you're not a melee anymore. You're an extremely super powerful character who can melee if he wants to, or do all kinds of other stuff too. You're generally referred to at this point as a Cleric or Druid, though you might be a Wizard or Archivist or Artificer.

The point is, if the description of your class is a job that needs doing in the party (such as melee, or healer, or trap finder) then there's no way you're higher than T3. You might be lower. Getting higher than that means you have no one job or area of specialty.

JaronK

Eh well perhaps eventually some will realize that being good in all areas rather then just one is the thing but until then I suppose it shall just have to be repeated.

Aran Banks
2010-11-10, 01:34 AM
I think the problem is that no matter how many times I say otherwise, some people are sure that T1 means "best class" or top ranking or something, and they want everything to be in the best ranking. They fail to realize that the tiers are not about who wins at D&D, but are rather showing how much the mechanical abilities of each class will effect the game, especially a player's ability to mechanically solve any problem thrown in front of them.

The very concept of a "top tier melee" makes no sense... if you're a melee, which is to say a warrior who focuses on melee attacks, then you're tier 4 (since no matter how good you are at it, you're only good at one thing... see the Barbarian for example). If you're a melee who has a variety of other abilities that make him useful in all situations but particularly good in melee fighting, that's T3. But if you're a melee who can also have a mechanical ability for everything else that might happen, from dealing with intrigue to winning over the hearts and minds of the populace to starting a new industry when it's needed, then you're T1... but you're not a melee anymore. You're an extremely super powerful character who can melee if he wants to, or do all kinds of other stuff too. You're generally referred to at this point as a Cleric or Druid, though you might be a Wizard or Archivist or Artificer.

The point is, if the description of your class is a job that needs doing in the party (such as melee, or healer, or trap finder) then there's no way you're higher than T3. You might be lower. Getting higher than that means you have no one job or area of specialty.

JaronK

Erm... I do believe my argument STILL shows how these guys are Tier 1. You are using the term "versatility" to say "they can do a lot of things!" when in reality it means "they can deal with a lot of situations!".

Which all three classes can. And even by your definition, the fighter and samurai still qualify. I can't seem to find an argument aside from "nah-uh".

olentu
2010-11-10, 01:41 AM
Erm... I do believe my argument STILL shows how these guys are Tier 1. You are using the term "versatility" to say "they can do a lot of things!" when in reality it means "they can deal with a lot of situations!".

Which all three classes can. And even by your definition, the fighter and samurai still qualify. I can't seem to find an argument aside from "nah-uh".

Eh so far as I can tell you are the one making the claim so why not just show how these classes can deal with the situations handily with some mechanical ability reasonably exclusive the classes.

Aran Banks
2010-11-10, 02:43 AM
Sure!

BARBARIAN
For the Barbarian, rage provides powerful abilities. In his rage, the barbarian deals MASS amounts of extra damage (level/2, I believe), and gains +2 morale bonus to hit things (with a full BAB and prioritizing strength, this is just obnoxiously high). I remember someone talking about how the damage a barbarian deals could be considered a special out-of-combat ability, since he can deal such huge amounts of damage as a full attack action. A barbarian is just as likely to plow through walls, as opposed to going through doors. I mean, it's easier than finding the next door, and it doesn't take that much work.

There's a level/2 + 2 DR/- that the barbarian has as well when raging. Over time, he accumulates more abilities. He increases his bonus speed, changes his will and reflex saves to fortitude saves (so that he's using fortitude for all his saves when raging by level 5), gains a Fort Save-v-Stun with a save based on Con, and then collects a variety of useful immunities (negative levels, death effects, stunning, crits, and a few others).

After that, he gains more save bonuses (+2 to all saves and the ability to re-failed saves, once per failed save) and then a constant antimagic field and at-will mage's disjunction at the REALLY high levels.

All in all, the Barbarian is a juggernaut. His special ability is his rage, and everything is keyed off of it.

FIGHTER
The fighter is epic. He gains a bonus feat every other level (like a PHB fighter), but then stacks up awesome abilities otherwise. His best ones (I'm not gonna list them all) are foil action and problem solver. Problem Solver lets him use any [Combat] (in non-Tome terms, a fighter bonus feat) that he qualifies for and use it for a number of rounds equal to his BAB. He can use it once an hour, but that's really all you need, since it's AWESOME. This is sort of like the factotum ability, except available at level 3 and a little bit more limited. Next, foil action lets the fighter make a TA or RTA to stop any one action... as an immediate action! This is lockdown at its finest, and works up to 30' until late levels when the range doubles.

The fighter also gets an extra 5' step, gains +5' to the reach of all his weapons, and gains an extra swift and immediate action at the very high levels, and can suppress spell effects on himself around level 15.

Those things are all REALLY strong, and allow the fighter to play 'tactically' the way a wizard does... and don't forget those feats at every other level. Woo!

SAMURAI
The Samurai is fantastic. Their best ability is Kiai!, which makes any one hit a critical. At later levels, their criticals force a save-or-die, and later than that, those killed by a samurai's attack cannot be resurrected. As the levels go on, Samurais can basically counterspell with their weapon of choice, and later gain the ability to reflect. Their abilities with AoOs improve, letting them attack many times in an immediate action, force saves with their AoOs, and even crazier stuff later.

Their ability to ignore DR and hardness comes in early, and at later levels they simply destroy nonliving material. Samurai's can also ignore AC bonuses from spells, spell-like abilities, and all forms of armor.

The signature power here is Kiai! and the AoO-related abilities.

olentu
2010-11-10, 02:58 AM
Sure!

BARBARIAN
For the Barbarian, rage provides powerful abilities. In his rage, the barbarian deals MASS amounts of extra damage (level/2, I believe), and gains +2 morale bonus to hit things (with a full BAB and prioritizing strength, this is just obnoxiously high). I remember someone talking about how the damage a barbarian deals could be considered a special out-of-combat ability, since he can deal such huge amounts of damage as a full attack action. A barbarian is just as likely to plow through walls, as opposed to going through doors. I mean, it's easier than finding the next door, and it doesn't take that much work.

There's a level/2 + 2 DR/- that the barbarian has as well when raging. Over time, he accumulates more abilities. He increases his bonus speed, changes his will and reflex saves to fortitude saves (so that he's using fortitude for all his saves when raging by level 5), gains a Fort Save-v-Stun with a save based on Con, and then collects a variety of useful immunities (negative levels, death effects, stunning, crits, and a few others).

After that, he gains more save bonuses (+2 to all saves and the ability to re-failed saves, once per failed save) and then a constant antimagic field and at-will mage's disjunction at the REALLY high levels.

All in all, the Barbarian is a juggernaut. His special ability is his rage, and everything is keyed off of it.

FIGHTER
The fighter is epic. He gains a bonus feat every other level (like a PHB fighter), but then stacks up awesome abilities otherwise. His best ones (I'm not gonna list them all) are foil action and problem solver. Problem Solver lets him use any [Combat] (in non-Tome terms, a fighter bonus feat) that he qualifies for and use it for a number of rounds equal to his BAB. He can use it once an hour, but that's really all you need, since it's AWESOME. This is sort of like the factotum ability, except available at level 3 and a little bit more limited. Next, foil action lets the fighter make a TA or RTA to stop any one action... as an immediate action! This is lockdown at its finest, and works up to 30' until late levels when the range doubles.

The fighter also gets an extra 5' step, gains +5' to the reach of all his weapons, and gains an extra swift and immediate action at the very high levels, and can suppress spell effects on himself around level 15.

Those things are all REALLY strong, and allow the fighter to play 'tactically' the way a wizard does... and don't forget those feats at every other level. Woo!

SAMURAI
The Samurai is fantastic. Their best ability is Kiai!, which makes any one hit a critical. At later levels, their criticals force a save-or-die, and later than that, those killed by a samurai's attack cannot be resurrected. As the levels go on, Samurais can basically counterspell with their weapon of choice, and later gain the ability to reflect. Their abilities with AoOs improve, letting them attack many times in an immediate action, force saves with their AoOs, and even crazier stuff later.

Their ability to ignore DR and hardness comes in early, and at later levels they simply destroy nonliving material. Samurai's can also ignore AC bonuses from spells, spell-like abilities, and all forms of armor.

The signature power here is Kiai! and the AoO-related abilities.


So look at all those combat abilities. Now then how does this refute the argument that they are just good at combat and thus not of tier 1 quality. You are going to need to expand on some of this stuff apparently.

Lans
2010-11-10, 03:49 AM
Does Wizard with spell thematics count? Dimension door is cutting a portal, control wind is helicopter blade, polymorph is very temporary plastic surgery.

The last one might be a stretch.

JaronK
2010-11-10, 05:23 AM
Note that characters who are really good at combat, and also generally useful in other situations, would be considered Tier 3. Much like a Warblade or Crusader (who specialize in combat, but have Diplomacy for social situations, along with other useful tricks like healing the party, providing extra actions for party members, etc).

An example of a Tier 1 sort of power would be realizing the party has gotten a bunch of random items in a relatively low wealth game out in the boonies somewhere, and deciding to fix the lack of good magic gear by teleporting to the biggest metropolis in the land to sell what they've found and buy more appropriate gear, then teleporting back. Or being in a mystery situation and solving it by casting Contact Other Plane and asking the god of secrets (or murder, or whatever) who did it (using a cleverly worded question). The point is, T1 means you have a mechanical ability that could just solve X situation... even if that situation is "I don't like how this campaign is going, and would like to shift it."

Basically, as an earlier poster stated, T1 characters have to hold the Idiot Ball (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/IdiotBall) to keep the plot actually on track, or else they'd quite reasonably and realistically destroy the plot in the opening salvo. It's not exactly good for campaign story telling for the campaign to start with the heroes learning of the great Demon King Falkor's return, and that he's going to destroy all of the mythic kingdom of Shineland, only to have the Wizard respond by using a Love's Pain/Mind Rape assassination to kill the Demon with no save without leaving his house. But let's face it, if you really were a hyper intelligent Wizard and some threat popped up that might threaten your friends and family, would you really go on a two year journey into the Abyss on a quest to defeat this guy in his citadel of pain while using your magic to buff the Fighter, or would you rather just handle things in the morning when you memorize the right spells and vaporize the threat from the comfort of your own home?

So yeah, are you sure you even want a T1 melee? A T1 melee would respond to hearing of an evil threat across the sea by throwing his sword, which would impale itself into the demon, then boomerang back while picking up milk and laundry detergent on the way. He'd solve mystery plots by punching through the fabric of reality, grabbing the god of secrets, and wringing the truth out of him with his steel gauntleted hand. He'd bring friends back from the dead by kicking death in the nuts. He'd use attacks like "rain of infinite arrows" which would do exactly what it says on the tin to every enemy in range, and then he'd teleport a bomb into every bad guy's chest in the world using nothing but his sheer badassery. And he'd do all this while riding a Harley Davidson bare chested through a brick wall wearing an eye patch and smoking a cigar, dual wielding Great Crossbows just for style.

JaronK

true_shinken
2010-11-10, 08:23 AM
So look at all those combat abilities. Now then how does this refute the argument that they are just good at combat and thus not of tier 1 quality. You are going to need to expand on some of this stuff apparently.

Let's remember tier 1 is not even a good thing, for starters. Neither are the Tome classes.

Lans
2010-11-10, 08:37 AM
I like the tome fighter, he seemed like the normal guy who was wringing everything to his advantage. The other ones I didn't really pay attention too.

Esser-Z
2010-11-10, 09:24 AM
Let's remember tier 1 is not even a good thing, for starters. Neither are the Tome classes.

Right. "Tier 1" pretty much means "Can destroy the game at whim", at least after a few levels.

Tier 3 seems like much better design target--good (very) at their primary trick, while still being able to contribute in other ways. I don't know about you, but that sounds exactly right to me.

Realms of Chaos
2010-11-10, 09:40 AM
Aran Banks: versatility does indeed mean dealing with alot of situations. Tier one versatility, however, does not. Being tier one means dealing with all situations.

For our purposes, fighting against a horde of 1,000 kobold and fighting twenty invisible stalkers and fighting a 15th level spellcaster do not count as different situations.

Instead, all three of those examples count as combat, which is only one situation for our purposes.

The classes you list:

Can't break the economy (save for action economy).
Can't be wherever they want at any given time.
Can't heal others of hit points or of conditions.
Can't revive or reanimate the dead.
Can't recruit minions via class features in the middle of nowhere.
Can't contact infallible sources of knowledge to ask a question.
Can't create any item that the party needs at a given time.
Can't gain extra proficiency with any skill at will.
Can't send thier senses into the far distance to scry on others.
Can't grant alternate forms of movement.
Can't gain wishes/miracle/anything nearly as versatile
Etc., etc., etc.


Tier 1 means being able to do all of these and more. Even if you don't like it, that is what tier 1 means. If you can address all of those examples above by using the classes you linked to (with each and every class being able to perform all of the above tasks only using class features), then I'll accept them as tier 1 and others would be more inclined to do so as well. Until then, you will likely have a hard time defending your ideas. :smallfrown:

Edit: I apologize if this text comes across as being yell-ish. That was not the intention but I simply wanted to increase visibility as the last two posts made on this particular issue went completely ignored and this really is an issue that you need to overcome in order for your viewpoint to win out. If I sound smug and condescending, my double apologies as I tend to get way too carried away in these things. I don't want to insult anybody. :smallsmile: