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View Full Version : Rich's Fire King article...casting in full plate



Windquake
2010-12-30, 12:13 AM
Hey all...I was reading this post by Rich:
http://www.giantitp.com/articles/rTKEivnsYuZrh94H1Sn.html

In Step 13, it says:
"He also wore black adamantine full plate armor while doing so, which terrified the more metagaming-prone players. They spent a lot of energy figuring out how he was able to cast arcane spells in armor, which kept him alive in their thoughts even when he was not "on-screen"."

However, I found myself wondering the same thing as the players. The BEG is a Half-Field/Elf Sorcerer, but he would still have to "obey" the rules of casting in armor, right?

I was wondering if this was a "power of the GM" situation, or if there was actually a rule that I am missing somewhere.

Windquake

JackMage666
2010-12-30, 01:26 AM
If I remember correctly, it's strictly Rule 0. He's a Villain. The Big Bad. It's even more intimidating if he doesn't have to play by the same rules as the PCs.

Jolee
2010-12-30, 02:01 AM
Maybe something like Rapid Metamagic + Still Spell + (some sort of metamagic reducer that I don't remember; is there one that'll lower the cost for all [fire] spells or one that only applies to a specific metamagic feat like by any chance?) could work. He also could have just taken Sudden Still Spell at like every level up or something.

But yeah, I agree that rule 0 is way more likely.

Jarrick
2010-12-30, 02:13 AM
That is exactly it. Right there. The villain gets talked about and stays in your mind even when he's not being played. Heck even when the game is long over in this case. That's the point. DM rule 0 or the Rule of Cool, however you care to categorize it, the result is a cool villain that everyone remembers. I like it most for the fact that it does ignore some of the rules in favor of creating a cool character.

Jallorn
2010-12-30, 02:29 AM
Also, this belongs in Roleplaying, not Homebrew.

Vaynor
2010-12-30, 04:56 AM
The Red Towel: Moved to Roleplaying Games.

TaintedLight
2010-12-30, 05:32 AM
It's even more intimidating if he doesn't have to play by the same rules as the PCs.

Hoo boy, is this a point of contention in my playgroup. I personally think it's fine for the DM to customize the powers and effects of an NPC beyond what's given in a splatbook, but there have got to be limits to that kind of power or else they're going to take ten actions a round and kill everyone before they get to do anything.

Thespianus
2010-12-30, 05:41 AM
Hoo boy, is this a point of contention in my playgroup. I personally think it's fine for the DM to customize the powers and effects of an NPC beyond what's given in a splatbook, but there have got to be limits to that kind of power or else they're going to take ten actions a round and kill everyone before they get to do anything.

I think this part fails the "Rule of Cool", though. "Rocks fall, everyone dies" isn't cool in any situation ever, IMHO.

JackMage666
2010-12-30, 05:47 AM
Hoo boy, is this a point of contention in my playgroup. I personally think it's fine for the DM to customize the powers and effects of an NPC beyond what's given in a splatbook, but there have got to be limits to that kind of power or else they're going to take ten actions a round and kill everyone before they get to do anything.

The limits are the fact that a DM shouldn't be out to beat the players. It's not DM vs Players, after all.

2xMachina
2010-12-30, 06:09 AM
Could be a fake Fullplate. Just slap glammered on a Mithril Chain shirt.

Or he could be Battle Sorc with Battle Casting (CA). And... I don't know. Best I could do is ignore Medium with Sorc.

Warmage 8 with Battle Casting can cast in Heavy without ASF though.

Ernir
2010-12-30, 06:53 AM
Battle Sorcerer (Ew! :smallyuk:) with a Halfweight* adamantine full plate +1? That's a simple way to pull it off.

Alternatively, he could have gone through the trouble of finding enough ASF reducers to do it that way. OR he ate up the ASF. OR he refluffed one of a half-dozen more efficient ways to do it. OR he handwaved it.

But yes, the point was indeed that it makes us think about how the BBEG did it. A.K.A. it made him interesting. Good move on his part.

*Armor enhancement from Underdark


Hoo boy, is this a point of contention in my playgroup. I personally think it's fine for the DM to customize the powers and effects of an NPC beyond what's given in a splatbook, but there have got to be limits to that kind of power or else they're going to take ten actions a round and kill everyone before they get to do anything.

I think it's lazy, but OK.

Especially, I think it's OK in cases like this one, when you're dealing with something that is essentially just cool and useless.

(Tangent: Ironically, there are a few ways to take ten actions a round and kill everyone before anyone gets to do anything without resorting to DM fiat. :smallsigh:)

Darrin
2010-12-30, 07:01 AM
The BEG is a Half-Field/Elf Sorcerer, but he would still have to "obey" the rules of casting in armor, right?


Adamantine Full Plate +1, 17650 GP, ASF 35%
Twilight enhancement, +2000 GP, -10%
Githcraft template (DMGII), +600 GP, -5%
Thistledown suit (RotW), +250 GP, -5%
3-level Spellsword dip, -15% (loses one caster level)

Total: 20500 GP, ASF 0%

Knight Phantom or Armored Mage ACF + Halfweight armor property could work. Urban Savant dip, Spellthief dip + Master Spellthief or Bladesinger 6 would also allow casting in light armor.

There may be other methods (still spell metamagic rods) without resorting to Rule 0.

Frog Dragon
2010-12-30, 07:03 AM
(Tangent: Ironically, there are a few ways to take ten actions a round and kill everyone before anyone gets to do anything without resorting to DM fiat. :smallsigh:)
BEEE-HOOOL-DEEER MAAA-GE! :smallyuk:

But yeah, fiating to make things cooler/more fun/interesting is all well and good, even if I rarely resort to it. I prefer to stay in the constraints of the same system that my players are limited by, but I don't think there's anything wrong with the occasional fiat.

Yuki Akuma
2010-12-30, 07:03 AM
"Oh no, how can he cast spells in full plate?!"

"Dude, it's, like, 35% chance failure. That's 65% chance of success. And that's only if they have somatic components."

Greenish
2010-12-30, 07:47 AM
BEEE-HOOOL-DEEER MAAA-GE! :smallyuk:Or Planar Shepherd.

Radar
2010-12-30, 08:24 AM
I think there is always room for a little fiat here and there. The point is, to be consistant - not a situational whim. If I should give a unique ability to my BBEG, then I should know, how it works and how it can be countered and drop some hints for PCs.


Or Planar Shepherd.
Or a psion, or a sorcerer abusing Arcane Fusion and Sanctum Spell...

I've also heard of a barbarian build, that could force Intimidate checks before the initiative was even rolled.

Rationality is just a thin veil separating as from lovecraftians horrors of RAW.

Kylarra
2010-12-30, 10:39 AM
Hoo boy, is this a point of contention in my playgroup. I personally think it's fine for the DM to customize the powers and effects of an NPC beyond what's given in a splatbook, but there have got to be limits to that kind of power or else they're going to take ten actions a round and kill everyone before they get to do anything.Honestly, regardless of whether or not they're fiating something, if they're out to get you through overwhelming firepower, the rules support it as well as random fiat, it just depends on how much dumpster diving and outright cheese hoops you need to go through. So if you trust your DM to provide a "fair" encounter that's not RFED, then fiat is no issue. If you don't trust your DM, well... fiat isn't much of an issue since 3.X's ruleset is easily borked.

Shhalahr Windrider
2010-12-30, 11:34 AM
The trick is to use such fiat sparingly. And, in most cases, only use any particular instance once. When one BBEG can ignore ASF, itís a crazy-awesome mystery. When all BBEGs can do so and the playerís canít, itís just ridiculously unfair.

If you want it to be something that is more common, you should formalize it with a homebrew template/feat/ritual/whatever and make it available to the PCs should they satisfy the prerequisites.

Windquake
2010-12-30, 11:36 AM
Holy cow! I was expecting 2 or 3 responses! Thanks everyone.

Well my overall thoughts are this.

He shouldn't be more than what Rich described in the post. The post was about building a good villain. You don't explain how to build a good villain, but then leave out secrets.

The general consensuses (is that even a word?) are:
-It was via special armor properties (which I would say it wasn't since he specifically said it was Black Adamantine Full Plate...why wouldn't he list all those other splat book properties there).
-It was via a combination of racial and class abilities (which I would say it wasn't since he said the villain was a Half-Fiend Elf Sorcerer...if there were other things at play, they probably would have been mentioned).
-I wasn't sure if I was missing a particular rule for Sorceres or Half-Fiends, because the post wasn't dated, I didn't know if it was 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, Pathfinder, general d20, etc, etc (which it doesn't appear I was).

-So that leaves GM fiat.

I am thinking if you are writing a piece about creating a great villain and you mention something extraordinary that the villain can do, if the reason behind the power isn't clearly...well, clear, it should be spelled out that he could do so, "just because".

Like TaintedLight, my players would wonder about it, and if they suspected it was a "just because", they would mutiny on me. You can fudge a bit (maybe drop his failure by 5 or 10%), but just out-right removing it would be unfair, IMHO.


All of that being said, I suppose it is possible that he just cast spells with the failure, and just the hubris to do so made the villain more scary!


Applause to Rich for it, for a couple of reasons:
1) The article overall was exceptional. Really got me thinking about my villains over the last 30+ years of GMing.
2) I am talking about his villain, and I wasn't even in the game! Memorable indeed!

Thanks everyone!

Fitz10019
2010-12-30, 11:38 AM
If you chose "fiat" as how to do this, would you burn one or more of his feats to compensate?

Starbuck_II
2010-12-30, 11:41 AM
If you chose "fiat" as how to do this, would you burn one or more of his feats to compensate?

Yeah, while you'd stil be "cheating", it would be fairer.


He shouldn't be more than what Rich described in the post. The post was about building a good villain. You don't explain how to build a good villain, but then leave out secrets.

The general consensuses (is that even a word?) are:
-It was via a combination of racial and class abilities (which I would say it wasn't since he said the villain was a Half-Fiend Elf Sorcerer...if there were other things at play, they probably would have been mentioned).

Don't forget feats.
If he was given heritage feat (all Sorcerers qualify) +Practical Metamagic + Still spell makes all spells Stilled (no ASF).
Accelerate Metamagic would make spells not full rd action, but not strictly neccesary.

Shhalahr Windrider
2010-12-30, 11:42 AM
-I wasn't sure if I was missing a particular rule for Sorceres or Half-Fiends, because the post wasn't dated, I didn't know if it was 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, Pathfinder, general d20, etc, etc (which it doesn't appear I was).
Pretty much all the gaming articles are from before OotS hit it big. And all of them are indeed from before 4e and Pathfinder came out. So when it comes to D&D. itís all 3.x.


All of that being said, I suppose it is possible that he just cast spells with the failure, and just the hubris to do so made the villain more scary!
Quite frankly, I think this would make him the best as a villain. Just to have the cojones for that is good enough in my book.

Of course, one would expect it to be noticeable if over 1 in 3 of his spells are failingÖ


If you chose "fiat" as how to do this, would you burn one or more of his feats to compensate?
Nah. Throw on a few other minor abilities, bump his CR +1, and call it a template. Ability to completely ignore ACF is demonstrably better than existing feats.

Runestar
2010-12-30, 07:41 PM
Well, he did mention his sorc was immune to fire, though half-fiend only grants fire resistance 10...:smalltongue:

Greenish
2010-12-30, 07:49 PM
I've also heard of a barbarian build, that could force Intimidate checks before the initiative was even rolled.Intimidating Rage + Instantaneous Rage or Ferocity. That's not too bad.

Adding Never Outnumbered + Imperious Command might be too much, though. :smalltongue:

Grendus
2010-12-30, 08:47 PM
I always assumed that he used a bunch of enchants to reduce the ACF to a manageable level. Admantine full plate isn't all that impressive, at least at higher levels, and the fact that he mentioned it was black suggested it had other qualities to it. But that's just me.

Dragonus45
2010-12-30, 08:54 PM
I believe the effect had something to do with casting it as a melee spell. Im not sure what that even means but it might be involved in some way.

woodenbandman
2010-12-30, 09:04 PM
also: It's pretty easy for a wizard to get ridiculous AC even without armor.

Godskook
2010-12-30, 09:18 PM
Let's see:

1.Spellsword + (-ASF% gear)

2.Greater Lumious Armor, but EVIL

3.Warmage + feat that allows heavy armor casting(saw it somewhere)

4.Cleric + greater anyspell

5.Geomancer

6.Suck it up and accept the ASF to a degree

7.Runesmith(Rule 0 the race restriction, or take stoneblessed)

Shhalahr Windrider
2010-12-30, 09:48 PM
I believe the effect had something to do with casting it as a melee spell. Im not sure what that even means but it might be involved in some way.
He meant the Fire King would cast fireball at ranges so close that the King himself would be included in the area of effect. Being immune to fire, that caused no trouble for the Fire King himself, though it was useful when facing multiple foes attempting to engage him in melee combat.

2xMachina
2010-12-31, 12:19 AM
Dan: I cast Fireball centered on myself!

Greenish
2010-12-31, 12:23 AM
Dan: I cast Fireball centered on myself!Well then, I disbelieve the air!

Radar
2010-12-31, 06:33 AM
Dan: I cast Fireball centered on myself!
It makes me immune to grapple! (http://drmcninja.com/archives/comic/4p15)

hamishspence
2010-12-31, 07:03 AM
Did anyone else think of Sid in Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, when they read the words Fire King?

"10,000 years bad ju-ju for killing Fire King." and so on.

KillianHawkeye
2010-12-31, 07:53 AM
Well, he did mention his sorc was immune to fire, though half-fiend only grants fire resistance 10...:smalltongue:

Rich always calls the Fire King a half-devil, not a half-fiend. It's obviously a customized template of some kind. :smallwink:

Darthteej
2010-12-31, 01:03 PM
Fiating a villian can be really damn fun, and cool. The Rashaka BBEG in my gestalt campaign is a swordsage/master of nine on one side, and sorcerer/ur priest/ mystic theurge on the other. The buid has to take no less than 6 bonus feats along with an impossible cross-class skill rank, but whatever :smalltongue: