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DragonBaneDM
2011-01-29, 02:04 AM
Joining my first 3.5 game in a looong time.

They've got a Wild Elf Warmage, a Half-Elf Ranger, a Drow Cleric, and a newly added Human Fighter.

Their Cleric is damage oriented, and they lack a second melee guy, so I decided to come in with an Aasimar Cleric, who plans on going the classic CoDzilla build, since it seemed fun. Staying with that character. Not here so you can talk me out of it.

Anyway, the Warmage and the Ranger are both Level 11, the Drow is 7, and the Fighter is 2. I'm coming in at 1, and I'm going to try and convince myself I'm perfectly okay for that.

Although any logical arguments that would persuade my DM to change that would be appreciated, what I'm really looking for tips is catching up. There's roleplay XP, taking advantage of that for sure.

Overall, what tips do you have for the new guy who wants to catch up with the big guns?

MeeposFire
2011-01-29, 02:09 AM
For the DM

"It will make your life easier to get our levels closer".


For you be support and not a melee guy until you catch up a bit. Use ranged weapons and boost your allies that can actually mix it up until you are closer in level. Remember aid another might actually be useful for you since you probably be too vulnerable in combat and your BAB is to low to be really effective.

DragonBaneDM
2011-01-29, 03:24 AM
For the DM

"It will make your life easier to get our levels closer".



Hm... It would?

2xMachina
2011-01-29, 03:29 AM
No, no. NEVER put a lvl 1 with a lvl 11. It's imbalanced like hell.

The encounters would either:
1) Always kill the lvl 1 guy, or
2) Always get squashed by the lvl 11 with no challenge.

MeeposFire
2011-01-29, 03:31 AM
Hm... It would?

Yea the bigger the difference in levels the harder it is to make encounters that can challenge the higher level players but does not destroy the lower level characters or make them feel useless while they wait to level. Think what kind of encounter that challenges level 11 characters that do not destroy a level 1. The OP's cleric will be unable to hit the creatures or the level 11 character will be bored from how easy the encounter becomes because you cater to lower level characters. A DM's job is much easier if the class is within 2-3 levels of each other. The father apart they get the harder it is to balance. Unless the DM is one that does not care about that stuff at all but then nothing will change your mind and you likely do not care as much about the fun of your player's anyway.

kyoryu
2011-01-29, 04:21 AM
It's possible to mix very different levels together. It does take some work on the part of the DM.

Mainly, you need to make sure you have a reasonable mixture of mooks and lieutenants or bosses. The low-level guy's job is to take out the mooks, freeing up the high level folks to deal with the more serious threats.

My question is: why? If it's a long-term campaign with some level of character death/churn expected, okay. That's a very old-school type of thing. Most modern campaigns don't really function that way, and even the old-school games would typically have the 1st level newbie go out with a party closer to his level. In a more modern, narrative style game, it just don't make a lot of sense.

MeeposFire
2011-01-29, 04:27 AM
It's possible to mix very different levels together. It does take some work on the part of the DM.

Mainly, you need to make sure you have a reasonable mixture of mooks and lieutenants or bosses. The low-level guy's job is to take out the mooks, freeing up the high level folks to deal with the more serious threats.

My question is: why? If it's a long-term campaign with some level of character death/churn expected, okay. That's a very old-school type of thing. Most modern campaigns don't really function that way, and even the old-school games would typically have the 1st level newbie go out with a party closer to his level. In a more modern, narrative style game, it just don't make a lot of sense.

A lot of work, hence why I said it would make the DM's life easier to not have them so far apart.

2xMachina
2011-01-29, 04:29 AM
Any mook a lvl 1 can kill, is ignorable for a lvl 11.

They can sit there and laugh while the mook arrows miss them entirely, or deal pitiful damage. The most they'd do is cause movement problems.

IC, I'd just laugh, and push them out of the way (You're 10 years too early), and go straight for the boss, ignoring the idiots who think they can do anything against someone with 10 lvls above them. Even non-optimizers could pick up Great Cleave and cut them all down in 1 round.

MeeposFire
2011-01-29, 04:32 AM
I remember in Farador this situation happened and the rogue sat in the bushes and killed just one guy who was dying already while the rest of the party killed an army. The rogue got all the money though but for most players that would have been very boring.

Fitz10019
2011-01-29, 06:26 AM
Personally, I hate level gaps like this. I play to be a hero, on a team of heroes, not to be a sidekick. The DMG backs up this stance. As your DM to read the "Making a New Character" section, p. 42, and to consider how much the level 11 characters outshine everyone else.

If that fails:
Plan on being very tactical. You can use tanglefoot bags make it difficult for enemies to get out of being flanked. You can cast Summon Monster I just to give a flank. You and that 2nd level character should work to cover each others' backs.

umbrapolaris
2011-01-29, 06:35 AM
if the fighter was a gnome , it would be easy... put the gnome on the back or the shoulder of the warmage ^^

Xiander
2011-01-29, 06:43 AM
I would ask your GM why he punishes the newer players. Because esentially that is what he does. And any longwinded speech about having to earn your levels would just irritate me. The game is made to be played with characters of the same level or at least close. By having huge level gaps, he simply makes it harder for the new players to contribute.

nedz
2011-01-29, 08:04 AM
If you are four levels behind or more: then your job is to carry the bags and hold the coats.
Seriously you are not going to have fun for quite some time, and surely thats the point of the game ?

GoodbyeSoberDay
2011-01-29, 08:22 AM
I'm in a similar but more palatable situation. Every new character joined at 2 levels below APL, but had to 'earn' the XP starting from zero. I am very glad that XP is a river. My dewd came in at level 5, and the first guy was almost level 9. He leveled, but then got level drained back down to 8, and since then (~6 sessions with lots of bonus XP) I got all the way to level 7's worth of XP.

It's worked out for me so far, but the potential problem with this system is that we also can't res people. That means if we suffer character death at a rate greater than half the rate of level advancement, the party de-levels (due to the average party level decreasing) until we're all back down to level 1 characters. Fortunately the lower-level portion party is optimized at least enough to survive, and only NPCs have died. All I'm saying is, it's a good thing that game is great in every other way...

pres_man
2011-01-29, 08:28 AM
Most of the reasons have been mention already, but I'll be repetitive.

Challenges that are appropriate for the higher level characters are going to be impossible for the lower level characters. This is going to lead to boredom for the higher level players, if the challenges are too easy (if appropriate for low level characters) or frustration for the low level players (if appropriate for high level characters).

Also this leads to a vicious loop, where the low level characters can't handle the encounters and then die, thus end up getting even further behind, which means they will most likely die with the next character, getting further behind, ...

Also, how do you decide how much xp a 1st level character gets for a CR 11 challenge as the table doesn't account for that?

As a DM, I don't let the lowest character get more than 2 levels behind the next one, and no more than three levels behind the leader. Anything more than that is just a headache for the DM to deal with and the players to be frustrated.

PersonMan
2011-01-29, 08:31 AM
Personally, I hate level gaps like this. I play to be a hero, on a team of heroes, not to be a sidekick. The DMG backs up this stance. As your DM to read the "Making a New Character" section, p. 42, and to consider how much the level 11 characters outshine everyone else.

If that fails:
Plan on being very tactical. You can use tanglefoot bags make it difficult for enemies to get out of being flanked. You can cast Summon Monster I just to give a flank. You and that 2nd level character should work to cover each others' backs.

+1.

Although, due to the extreme level gap...Well, I was going to say you'd catch up rather quickly due to getting huge piles of XP, but anything that's challenging the 11th level characters...is almost assuredly too high CR for you to even get XP from it.

If you can work out getting XP from these fights, I'd just advise staying in the back and doing general support stuff, buffing a big before combat really starts, etc. until the increased XP gain lets you catch up.

Ernir
2011-01-29, 12:01 PM
Although any logical arguments that would persuade my DM to change that would be appreciated, what I'm really looking for tips is catching up. There's roleplay XP, taking advantage of that for sure.

Arguments? Don't have one, but you can tell him to read the sidebar on page 42 of the Dungeon Master's Guide.


a PC four or more levels behind the rest of the party is a recipe for trouble.

Combat Reflexes
2011-01-29, 01:48 PM
My approach is rather inpulsive: when in doubt, reset group. Everyone loses levels until they reach the level of the lowest-level character.

Greenish
2011-01-29, 01:53 PM
My approach is rather inpulsive: when in doubt, reset group. Everyone loses levels until they reach the level of the lowest-level character.Ouch, that doesn't sound very fun. :smallyuk:

Hammerhead
2011-01-29, 02:12 PM
I think there's a difference in expectations regarding the type of game that's going to be played. This DM sounds like he buys into the old school D&D mentality where character survival is an anomaly, character development is almost unheard of and party balance isn't worth a second thought.

This isn't a mentality very well supported by 3e and its exhaustive character creation, and you might want to point that out to the DM. Putting players in a position to be quickly devoured means putting them in a position where they'll have to burn a lot more RL time building new characters than they would have in older games. That means time digging through books instead of having fun. 3e is a game where the players are more or less supposed to be coddled.

Crow
2011-01-29, 03:23 PM
Our group does this regularly, though the largest gap that I've dealt with as a DM has been a level 1 coming in with level 9's.

If you have a DM that is unwilling to make the effort to integrate the lower-level character in a believable way in which they can realistically contribute to the game, then it will not work for your group. Luckily, our group doesn't have that problem. Plus we split quest xp evenly, so the characters that are behind catch up reasonably fast.

It is pretty well understood in our group that death means starting over at level 1 (level 2 with a page of backstory). This means it gets taken seriously, and heroic death is meaningful.

Warlawk
2011-01-29, 04:25 PM
I'm not generally the type to do something like that, but I wouldn't have been able to help myself from laughing in the DMs face.

That's a joke, I wouldn't play in a game like that. Period. It's just not worth it.

It's a pain for the DM and not even worth building a character for. Stepping into combat with anything that can challenge the party is just suicide.

I really am having a hard time coming up with well thought out stances for this because it is just so ridiculous I never bothered to put any serious thought about it. The most I've ever seen played was a 3 level difference and that was back in 2E.

DragonBaneDM
2011-01-29, 04:31 PM
Ouch, that doesn't sound very fun. :smallyuk:

Seconded.

I love the advice about the tanglefoot bags and watching each other's backs. He and I are both RAs, and I might just show him this thread, and that sidebar, at that next staff meeting.

I'm also gonna be Lawful Neutral in a mostly Chaotic party. It'll be interesting... But I think I can make it work.

GoodbyeSoberDay
2011-01-29, 05:14 PM
Y'know, I think people are overreacting to the level difference just a bit. Weren't there threads upon threads showing that a level 13 wizard was more than likely to beat a level 20 WBL user Fighter? As long as the high level characters aren't optimized and the low level characters shy away from the front line for a few levels (and seriously optimize) it should work. My group at one point had three level 5 characters each outperforming a level 9 character in combat, because the level 5s were warblade/druid/wizard and the level 9 was rogue.

Combat Reflexes
2011-01-29, 05:52 PM
Ouch, that doesn't sound very fun. :smallyuk:

Actually it is, because even a small difference in level (1-2) can seriously disrupt the balance in the party. As far as I know, balanced party equals fun for everyone. Lower levels are more fun to play at, too, but that might just be me :smallbiggrin:

Also, can a DM even manage to have such level differences? the low-level characters are almost like Minions in the party. They won't get any time to shine except at RPing.

nedz
2011-01-29, 06:47 PM
Actually it is, because even a small difference in level (1-2) can seriously disrupt the balance in the party. As far as I know, balanced party equals fun for everyone. Lower levels are more fun to play at, too, but that might just be me :smallbiggrin:

I prefer low level games also (maybe I should run E6 :smallamused:); but I doubt I'd get away with taking levels of PCs just because someone dies or a new player joins.
Actually level is not the bee all and end all of balance: Player skill, especially at character building, is more relevant; as is the choice of Tier etc.


Also, can a DM even manage to have such level differences? the low-level characters are almost like Minions in the party. They won't get any time to shine except at RPing.

I used to do this in 1E and 2E, at least at low to mid level, but the XP tables featured exponential progression so the low level characters would catch up quickly and (usually) only be 1 or 2 levels behind when the higher level PCs leveled.
In 3E,3.5,PF etc: the XP tables are quadratic. This means that they will never catch up.

Ed: sp

GoodbyeSoberDay
2011-01-29, 06:59 PM
Low level characters gain more XP per enemy than high level characters, so it's possible that a character with less XP one session to have more XP the next. I'd argue that it's easier for 3e characters to catch up.

DragonBaneDM
2011-01-29, 07:12 PM
As long as the high level characters aren't optimized and the low level characters shy away from the front line for a few levels (and seriously optimize) it should work. My group at one point had three level 5 characters each outperforming a level 9 character in combat, because the level 5s were warblade/druid/wizard and the level 9 was rogue.

You've kinda hit the nail on the head here. I'm the most experienced member, and I've been cramming like crazy to get back into 3.5.

I'm looking at Persistent Bull's Strength starting at Level 6. Grabbing Craft Rod so that I can rock a Nightstick even if the DM won't give me one.

The other Cleric's never heard of Divine Metamagic before. Booyah.

I rolled pretty well for stats, even though I prefer point buy. Nothing below 11, nailed an 18 for Wis. Put that together with the fact that I'm tied for Highest Tiered class, and I think I'll be alright.

Poor Fighter. Gonna try to convert him so that I can use Faith Healing on someone other than myself. Don't wanna sound controlling, though. It's a good spell and St. Cuthbert is a good religion for a soldier to follow.

Gonna optimize like crazy and roleplay my Lawful Neutral heart out.

Biffoniacus_Furiou
2011-01-29, 07:26 PM
You can't persist bull's strength, touch range =/= fixed range. Consider using ice axe instead. You'll need extra turning to make night sticks. Get a lesser rod of extend for magic vestment on your armor and shield. Consider going lawful good for (greater) luminous armor.

GoodbyeSoberDay
2011-01-29, 07:28 PM
Bull's Strength can be persisted if it's Ocular'd or Reach'd first.

DragonBaneDM
2011-01-29, 07:48 PM
I'll remember that. Sorry, still getting back into it.

I planned on taking Extra Turning, fret not. Looks like Reach is back on the list. Oh well, Touch of Healing looked superflous anyway.

Gonna need a lot of turn attempts for this guy to work. Looks like I'll be buffing Cha at level 4.

Also, I'm not opposed one bit to going Lawful Good. Just figure I need to work up to that point.

Hm... I should multiclass Paladin then, right? :smalltongue:

Biffoniacus_Furiou
2011-01-29, 10:11 PM
IMO reach is unnecessary, bull's strength doesn't stack with divine power anyway. I think the main draw of reach spell is divine agility in SC, which you should definitely use if you take reach especially if you'll be using greater luminous armor.

Multiclassing out of cleric for paladin probably isn't a good idea, you won't get a second pool of turn attempts from it so all you'll end up doing is costing yourself spellcasting and have to spend another feat on practiced spellcaster. If you must have divine grace, pick up three levels of prestige paladin (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/prestigiousCharacterClasses.htm#prestigePaladin), but even that probably wouldn't be worth it. Edit: If your DM will let prestige paladin make all your cleric spells work with the feat battle blessing from Complete Champion then this is definitely something to consider using.

In the early levels you should probably try to persist mass lesser vigor, so your whole party gets fast healing 1 all day. The higher level characters should go out of their way to keep you alive then, and the party should be better off for it.

DragonBaneDM
2011-01-29, 10:46 PM
Haha, don't worry, I was joking about the Paladin multiclass. A few levels of full BAB and another smite isn't worth never being able to take Cleric levels again.

Also, thanks for the advice on Mass Lesser Vigor! I liked that spell, and 1/round sounds insanely useful across the span of 24 hours!

Greenish
2011-01-29, 10:48 PM
Haha, don't worry, I was joking about the Paladin multiclass. A few levels of full BAB and another smite isn't worth never being able to take Cleric levels again.Taking levels in paladin doesn't prevent you from taking levels in cleric. :smallconfused:

DragonBaneDM
2011-01-29, 11:13 PM
Taking levels in paladin doesn't prevent you from taking levels in cleric. :smallconfused:

Gah, you're right! I mixed it around, my bad. Haven't played 3.5 in 5 odd years. Paladins who multiclass can't gain levels in Paladin anymore. I thought the rule was once you MC Paladin you can't gain levels in any class besides it.

Blah, serves me right. Thanks for correcting me.

Greenish
2011-01-29, 11:22 PM
Gah, you're right! I mixed it around, my bad. Haven't played 3.5 in 5 odd years. Paladins who multiclass can't gain levels in Paladin anymore. I thought the rule was once you MC Paladin you can't gain levels in any class besides it.

Blah, serves me right. Thanks for correcting me.The only class (I can think of) that disallows you to take levels in other classes is the Tainted Scholar, and even that allows a save.

TurtleKing
2011-01-29, 11:52 PM
If you plan on healing then I recommend Augment Healing feat from Complete Divine. Turns a Mass Lesser Vigor granting fast healing 1 into fast healing 7. At such a level difference you being a healbot may not sound appealing but is doable. Granted you are mostly relegated to out of combat healing. From the way it sounds like you group does not have means of healing barring information withheld.

DragonBaneDM
2011-01-30, 12:12 AM
If you plan on healing then I recommend Augment Healing feat from Complete Divine. Turns a Mass Lesser Vigor granting fast healing 1 into fast healing 7. At such a level difference you being a healbot may not sound appealing but is doable. Granted you are mostly relegated to out of combat healing. From the way it sounds like you group does not have means of healing barring information withheld.

That was the first feat I took TurtleKing. Glad to see I'm able to do SOMETHING right. Heals seemed to be what they were lacking, that and a second melee character.

TurtleKing
2011-01-30, 02:07 AM
Depending if you want to really optimize your healing you can even use your heal spells to attack. Overhealing is something possible by using the the spells that grant fast healing combined with the Augment Healing feat. An augmented Vigorious Circle could heal upto 600 hp per person. Three ways I know of increasing your caster level that is necessary to extend the duration are the Healing Domain, Touch of Healing feat, and Mitigate Suffering feat. If you can increase your caster level through any other way would also be good.

One spell that can really be put to use this way is Rejuvenating Light at spell level 7 from CChamp. The damaging undead is nice, but the healing is want can be really lethal. A normal Rejuvenating Light grants fast healing 1 to all living creatures within 60ft of the object the spell is cast on for 1 minute/ caster level. An augmented Rejuventaing Light grants fast healing 15 making this spell heal for 15 times the normal version over the duration. The soonest a cleric can learn this spell is level 13 so a normal version would heal for 130 hp per person while the augmented would heal for 1,950 hp per person. This assuming the living creatures stay in the area for entire duration. Best metamagic to apply would be extend and widen. Also another benefit is casting this on a durable projectile and launch into an area.

Edit: Persisting an augmented healing spell like the Vigor spell line is not advisable due to overhealing. However a normal version of the Vigor spell line and Seed of Life persisted would help.......

Edit: Two healing spells I recommend getting are Healing Lorecall from CA and Close Wounds from SC. The first one allows you to also remove some status effects based on amount of ranks in Heal when you cast an conjuration healing spell. The second one is a cast even if not your turn close range healing spell that can prevent a ally from dying. With Augment Healing you can heal upto 13 hp.

Fitz10019
2011-01-30, 03:40 AM
Y'know, I think people are overreacting to the level difference just a bit... As long as the high level characters aren't optimized and the low level characters shy away from the front line for a few levels (and seriously optimize) it should work...
(emphasis added)

I disagree, because that means that even after the party is finally all of one level, the balance will still be way off because the longest-lived characters will be outshined by the optimized ones. At least the current problem is a temporary one (ignoring tiers).

nedz
2011-01-30, 06:12 AM
If you plan on healing then I recommend Augment Healing feat from Complete Divine. Turns a Mass Lesser Vigor granting fast healing 1 into fast healing 7. At such a level difference you being a healbot may not sound appealing but is doable. Granted you are mostly relegated to out of combat healing. From the way it sounds like you group does not have means of healing barring information withheld.

Well thats one interpretation. Another would be that you get a fixed extra 6 HP when you cast it, and then 1 HP per round therafter.

faceroll
2011-01-30, 06:38 AM
If you use destructive turning variant for your cleric turning, found in the back of expedition to castle ravenloft, and pick up a level of sacred exorcist at level 6, you can double your turn attempts. But only if you got Lawful Good or get the DM to let you go Lawful Neutral.

You should go cloistered cleric 2/church inquisitor 3/sacred exorcist 1/prestige class of your choice X. Cloistered cleric gets you a whole mess of skill points, as well as the ability to cast identify for free (no 100 gp pearl). This in itself should make you super useful to the party. Furthermore, you get all knowledges on your skill list, thanks to knowledge domain. When you take your first level in church inquisitor, you get the inquisition domain. Swap this out for knowledge devotion in complete champion (inquisition and knowledge domains are equivalent in CChamp). Use the second level spell lore of the gods or something like that, from complete champion, to get a big bonus to knowledge checks. Coupled with picking up the skill trick Collector of Stories from Complete Scoundrel, you should be able to get high enough knowledge checks to rock +4 to +5 insight bonuses to hit/damage from knowledge devotion. This lets you do steady ranged touch attack damage, even if it's not terrific. You can still ready to interrupt enemy casting, etc.

Cloistered cleric has poor BAB and d6 HD, but because you are so low level, it doesn't matter much. Once you can actually get into the fray, you'll have a persisted divine might or whatever, and a BAB like a fighter.

Xiander
2011-01-30, 06:52 AM
As long as the high level characters aren't optimized and the low level characters shy away from the front line for a few levels (and seriously optimize) it should work.
(Emphasis mine.)

Sure it can probably work, the problem is like attested by the bolded text, that this approach seriously encourages power-optimisation from the low level players. This is a problem for several reasons:

1) Several classes simply cannot pull of the level of optimisation needed, so if people die enough youŽll end up with a party of full casters or a party that works poorly.

2) Some players are not good a optimizing, or prefer not to.

3) One optimized high level player screws it up.

4) When the optimized low level characters start to catch up, the high leveled characters wil be out of a job.

All in all i think this enhances some of the problems already inherent in the system, and forces players to play in a certain way. On top of that it makes things more complicated for the GM, so generally I would advice against this type of play... Except of course if done as a campaign concept, which might work if done right.

Lord Loss
2011-01-30, 07:19 AM
I've been in a similar situation, and let me tell you ti's no fun for "new guy". I was played a level 17 rogue, the other guys, a lvl 17 druid, and the last...

A level 27ish Paladin/ (I only know the name in French) "Croisi Divin".

Despite the DM keeping the Paladin (which was a DMPC) out of the action for most of the game, I find it would have been far more entertaining had we all been lvl 17 or all level 27 instead of having a large level gap.

Toliudar
2011-01-30, 07:29 AM
I've been in a similar situation, and let me tell you ti's no fun for "new guy". I was played a level 17 rogue, the other guys, a lvl 17 druid, and the last...

A level 27ish Paladin/ (I only know the name in French) "Croisi Divin".

Despite the DM keeping the Paladin (which was a DMPC) out of the action for most of the game, I find it would have been far more entertaining had we all been lvl 17 or all level 27 instead of having a large level gap.

This is less a problem of a level gap within a party than of a DM who wanted some kind of very powerful pet character involved (even peripherally) in the action. Seriously, at level 17, who needs a babysitter?

DwarfFighter
2011-01-30, 07:57 AM
My approach is rather inpulsive: when in doubt, reset group. Everyone loses levels until they reach the level of the lowest-level character.


Ouch, that doesn't sound very fun. :smallyuk:

Objectively speaking, it's an interesting approach. If you consider the ultimately limited window of 20 non-epic character levels you have at your disposal, trimming levels down for the party actually increases the time the PCs will spend within that window. For an open-ended campaign this is actually a boon since it allows the campaign to run longer. For a campaign with a fixed goal in mind it doesn't really matter.

Of course, if the campaign doesn't really have a specific goal in mind its actually a bit more likely to lose momentum and fail. I'm sure we've all been involved in campaigns that simply die: Players drop out, the plot grows thick and unmanageable, or worse: the GM loses interest.

Still, if your sole motivation in the campaign is to endure the chore of playing and finally reach the coveted level X, then I can see how getting your characters level cranked down a notch or two is a negative experience. Because then you have to endure enjoying the game even longer.

-DF

Kris Strife
2011-01-30, 08:08 AM
Objectively speaking, it's an interesting approach. If you consider the ultimately limited window of 20 non-epic character levels you have at your disposal, trimming levels down for the party actually increases the time the PCs will spend within that window. For an open-ended campaign this is actually a boon since it allows the campaign to run longer. For a campaign with a fixed goal in mind it doesn't really matter.

Of course, if the campaign doesn't really have a specific goal in mind its actually a bit more likely to lose momentum and fail. I'm sure we've all been involved in campaigns that simply die: Players drop out, the plot grows thick and unmanageable, or worse: the GM loses interest.

Still, if your sole motivation in the campaign is to endure the chore of playing and finally reach the coveted level X, then I can see how getting your characters level cranked down a notch or two is a negative experience. Because then you have to endure enjoying the game even longer.

-DF

Just thought of a way to use that and make it a bit less painful. Let the other players keep a perk or two from leveling up (a feat, a spell known for spontaneous casters, maybe a class feature or a stat boost), that way you don't punish your existing players because a new person joined, or punish the rest of the party for one person's bad idea. It'd probably need a lot of thought to make it work right though.

Gnaeus
2011-01-30, 08:34 AM
I agree with what everyone else says. Talk to the DM first, that sounds painful.

But.

Tactic 2 is to talk to the level 11 players. The biggest single difference between you and an 11th level fighter is 11 levels of WBL. If the players want you there, explain that you can be useful to the party, all you need is some nice wands. For example, the fighter & warmage should each have about 66,000 gp. If they each gave you 6000 gp, you could buy something useful, like a wand of Summon Monster 3. That gives you access to short duration flight (Summon Celestial Hippogriff), battlefield control (Summon a celestial Bison between warmage & enemy melees) and flankers for the fighter (learn an elemental language, so that you can tell your summoned elemental pals to aid another). 3-4 charges per battle off that sucker should allow you to contribute for a while. If the fighter & warmage aren't willing to work with you, there is a bigger problem than just the DMs rules.

Murphy80
2011-01-30, 12:49 PM
Don't try to convince yourself that it is ok, it isn't. I've been there a couple of times (7th/1st and 5th/1st) and it was no fun being the low guy on the level totem pole. There was little I could do that the others couldn't do better. My attacks needed big numbers to hit. Any healing I could do was needed to keep me alive. If it were me, I would say "I have to start at 1st...and he's 11th....no thanks, I don't want to play a sidekick" and not play. But that's just me. In the game where 2 friends and I were 2nd level characters with the rest of the party being 7th levels, the whole party got breathed on by a dragon. All the 2nd level characters managed to save, not that it did us any good since 1/2 damage easily killed us anyway. The funny part is, all the 7th levels (who could have survived if they had saved), didn't save.

I might suggest running the numbers for the dm for a typical encounter. "I need a 20 to hit, they hit me on a 2, I need a 18 to save and even 1/2 damage would kill me outright, etc...." Use facts. I doubt they will change his mind, but it's worth a shot.

If you still want to play, you are going down the proper track, pick a niche that is unoccupied (except frontline or damage dealer) and try your best to fill it, like healer.

PS: In my interpretation, Augment Healing doesn't work on Vigor spells because they don't heal. They grant Fast Healing.

DragonBaneDM
2011-01-30, 01:25 PM
I agree with what everyone else says. Talk to the DM first, that sounds painful.

But.

Tactic 2 is to talk to the level 11 players. The biggest single difference between you and an 11th level fighter is 11 levels of WBL. If the players want you there, explain that you can be useful to the party, all you need is some nice wands. For example, the fighter & warmage should each have about 66,000 gp. If they each gave you 6000 gp, you could buy something useful, like a wand of Summon Monster 3. That gives you access to short duration flight (Summon Celestial Hippogriff), battlefield control (Summon a celestial Bison between warmage & enemy melees) and flankers for the fighter (learn an elemental language, so that you can tell your summoned elemental pals to aid another). 3-4 charges per battle off that sucker should allow you to contribute for a while. If the fighter & warmage aren't willing to work with you, there is a bigger problem than just the DMs rules.

The Fighter's 2, but I get your point. Gonna talk to the DM when I get a chance about the figures Murphy put forth.

Haha, they're all pretty new players. I can imagine them going "Wait, now you want our STUFF?". But I think I can explain it to them logically.

Oh, and I just figured some stuff out. Starting as LN Cleric of St. Cuthbert. Gonna tell the DM that I want to overtime develop into a LG Cleric of Pelor, who is his favorite god and can grab me the Healing domain, take that luminous armor, keep my Strength Domain, and still be home in time for supper.

Planned on this guy going LG eventually, but it's a personal philosophy of mine that the average Level 1 adventurer has to earn that alignment. It's nothing I enforce on my players when I DM, just something I do as a player.

Greenish
2011-01-30, 01:33 PM
1) Several classes simply cannot pull of the level of optimisation needed, so if people die enough youŽll end up with a party of full castersI agree with the other problems you outlined, but this one is only a problem if the players don't like playing casters.

Still, if your sole motivation in the campaign is to endure the chore of playing and finally reach the coveted level X, then I can see how getting your characters level cranked down a notch or two is a negative experience. Because then you have to endure enjoying the game even longer.That seems very unfair characterization of my stance: maybe I'm just immature, but I'll rather not get a shiny new toy at all, than to get it just to have it taken away.

Besides, it's extra paperwork and tinkering with one's character sheet during the time one could use to play the game.

Coidzor
2011-01-30, 01:44 PM
It's just bizarre. He's the DM, he doesn't have to let new players into the game if he doesn't want to. And it's clear from his policy that he doesn't want new players. Why be so passive-aggressive about it? :smallconfused:

grimbold
2011-01-30, 01:47 PM
For the DM

"It will make your life easier to get our levels closer".


For you be support and not a melee guy until you catch up a bit. Use ranged weapons and boost your allies that can actually mix it up until you are closer in level. Remember aid another might actually be useful for you since you probably be too vulnerable in combat and your BAB is to low to be really effective.

this
it makes no sense to have characters 10 levels apart
how do you even prepare a decent enemy?

Hammerhead
2011-01-30, 01:53 PM
Well thats one interpretation. Another would be that you get a fixed extra 6 HP when you cast it, and then 1 HP per round therafter.And even that's a favorable ruling, since the spell doesn't say it heals 1 hp per round; it says it gives a character a specific special ability (which happens to heal 1 hp per round).

DragonBaneDM
2011-01-30, 03:12 PM
So the Vigor path is slowly spiralling it would appear.

Ah well. In combat it's a good deal less useful. Healing living enemies isn't by any means optimal.

I just called him, and presented all the facts. Make no mistake, he wants me in the group, we've been friends and coworkers for awhile and he sees this as "winning me over" from 4th ed.

Heh, fat chance.

All the same, he seemed somewhat receptive. He expressed concern when I told him I felt kind of like a sidekick, but then he told me "the way the world works, I can't have you coming in that powerful". Meh, oh well. I think I at least let him see our side of the argument.

I'm gonna take every oppurtunity, in game, to point out the level gap's downsides. I think I can win him over eventually. Combat will be hilarious, no doubts.

nedz
2011-01-30, 04:34 PM
And even that's a favorable ruling, since the spell doesn't say it heals 1 hp per round; it says it gives a character a specific special ability (which happens to heal 1 hp per round).

Well Vigor is Conjuration[Healing], and then we have this from the FAQ
What effect does the Augment Healing feat (Complete Divine, page 79) have on lesser vigor (Complete Divine, page 186) and similar spells?
Augment Healing adds twice the spell’s level to the total healing it provides. The simplest method is to have the spell apply the extra healing to the first round of fast healing. Thus, lesser vigor (a 1st-level spell) would cure an extra 2 hp of damage in the first round, for a total of 3 hit points. Each round thereafter it would heal the normal 1 hp of damage. Mass lesser vigor (a 3rd-level spell) would cure an extra 6 hp of damage to each target in the first round (for a total of 7 hit points), and would heal 1 hp of damage each round thereafter as normal.
Read into that what you will :smallsmile:

randomhero00
2011-01-30, 04:39 PM
OP

Ask him in a reasonable manner?

Otherwise die in a funny ways over and over until he raises you up to the rest of them.

MeeposFire
2011-01-30, 04:47 PM
You can find ways to survive it is just it might be very boring until you catch up, and you will eventually catch up. Go for full support. Spells designed to heal and buff. Even 11th level characters will like stuff like remove fear or even a simple bless. While you do that build for the future. Leveling should go fast assuming the DM does not use 11 CR creatures or higher (or he makes up XP totals for you). Just try to find ways to keep yourself happy while you wait for true usefulness (and hope that your DM can handle the wide diversity of levels).

Cerlis
2011-01-30, 04:48 PM
indeed the best options you have for actual combat is alchemical items (i'd look in the arms and equipment guide for miscellanious stuff like shriek rocks), tangefoot bags. With alchemist fire you can do the same damage as a 1st level spell (at 1st level) with a ranged touch attack for a few gold.


The main issue, is not balance per say. it doesnt matter how good your character is ( i think) even with Imp toughness, toughness, max hit dice and a 18 constitution score your looking at 16 hp.

2 hits from anything will kill you. just glad your not a wizard, or else the first kobald who looked at you threateningly would cause internal bleeding

(first combat i ever played, a 1st level character died from a crit from a kobald.)

MeeposFire
2011-01-30, 04:59 PM
indeed the best options you have for actual combat is alchemical items (i'd look in the arms and equipment guide for miscellanious stuff like shriek rocks), tangefoot bags. With alchemist fire you can do the same damage as a 1st level spell (at 1st level) with a ranged touch attack for a few gold.


The main issue, is not balance per say. it doesnt matter how good your character is ( i think) even with Imp toughness, toughness, max hit dice and a 18 constitution score your looking at 16 hp.

2 hits from anything will kill you. just glad your not a wizard, or else the first kobald who looked at you threateningly would cause internal bleeding

(first combat i ever played, a 1st level character died from a crit from a kobald.)

Very good advice. Tanglefoot bags are very nice and can make your allies happy and gives you a chance to make a successful attack roll (very satisfying). It could be expensive at first but it will give you a shot at hitting.

Fitz10019
2011-01-30, 05:13 PM
Starting as LN Cleric of St. Cuthbert. Gonna tell the DM that I want to overtime develop into a LG Cleric of Pelor

Changing alignments as character development makes sense to me, but not changing dieties. Changing dieties should be a big deal. Why would a diety trust your belief after you've abandoned another diety?

DragonBaneDM
2011-01-30, 07:19 PM
Changing alignments as character development makes sense to me, but not changing dieties. Changing dieties should be a big deal. Why would a diety trust your belief after you've abandoned another diety?

Good point good point... Well the idea behind St. Cuthbert is retribution. So, I told my DM it would take a BIG moral threshold for my character, but you have a really good point there.

Hammerhead
2011-01-30, 07:40 PM
Changing alignments as character development makes sense to me, but not changing dieties. Changing dieties should be a big deal. Why would a diety trust your belief after you've abandoned another diety?
This might be a tangent, but in D&D, gods are physical dudes who do stuff who can't really be denied. Working for a deity shouldn't really be a matter of belief; every character who's not either stupid or stubborn should believe in all the deities in most settings (Eberron being the exception).

It seems odd that 'free agent' worship isn't the norm. Greek-style I mean, where before a dangerous voyage, a person might sacrifice some goats or something to Poseidon.

I don't know how it jibes with the default material, but it could be neat to set up a setting where divine casters aren't obliged to a specific god; where Clerics are free agents and work something like Binders, doing specific work in the interest of a specific deity in exchange for a share of its powers.

Gnaeus
2011-01-30, 07:47 PM
The Fighter's 2, but I get your point. Gonna talk to the DM when I get a chance about the figures Murphy put forth.

Haha, they're all pretty new players. I can imagine them going "Wait, now you want our STUFF?". But I think I can explain it to them logically.

Sorry, misread. Warmage & Ranger.

And try to explain it as "I don't want your stuff, I want to contribute to the party. With a decent wand, I can help YOU win all the combats. Without it, I can't. So, do you want me to be summoning blockers for you so that enemies can't walk up and hit you, or not? Do you want to give me a wand of cure serious wounds, so I can heal you for 3d8+5? Or would you rather be healed for 1d8+1?"

Edit: I've given more equipment than that to NPC hirelings, Familiars, and Animal Companions. If someone is on MY team, taking a share of the loot, I want them doing something productive.

nightwyrm
2011-01-30, 07:47 PM
It seems odd that 'free agent' worship isn't the norm. Greek-style I mean, where before a dangerous voyage, a person might sacrifice some goats or something to Poseidon.


It's probably due to our cultural monotheistic expectations. As you said, in a polytheistic culture, sacrificing to god of X before you do X is most likely the norm. You might come from Athens where Athena is the city protector, but if you forgot to throw a goat into the fire for Poseidon before a sea voyage, you're screwed. You're not gonna bad lip Hades unless you're a moron even if you're Zeus' kid, unlike D&D heroes who goes around pissing off Tiamat, Lolth, Vecna et al.

Gnaeus
2011-01-30, 07:59 PM
This might be a tangent, but in D&D, gods are physical dudes who do stuff who can't really be denied. Working for a deity shouldn't really be a matter of belief; every character who's not either stupid or stubborn should believe in all the deities in most settings (Eberron being the exception).

It seems odd that 'free agent' worship isn't the norm. Greek-style I mean, where before a dangerous voyage, a person might sacrifice some goats or something to Poseidon.



It's probably due to our cultural monotheistic expectations. As you said, in a polytheistic culture, sacrificing to god of X before you do X is most likely the norm. You might come from Athens where Athena is the city protector, but if you forgot to throw a goat into the fire for Poseidon before a sea voyage, you're screwed. You're not gonna bad lip Hades unless you're a moron even if you're Zeus' kid, unlike D&D heroes who goes around pissing off Tiamat, Lolth, Vecna et al.

That isn't exactly greek style worship, from the cleric perspective. I mean, in something like the Illiad, everyone believes in the gods, everyone sacrifices to the gods. But there are still priests of specific gods, who are protected by their deities. The priest of Poseidon might sacrifice to Apollo on a certain day, but even if he just decided that he wanted to be a priest of Apollo doesn't mean that the relevant deities would just shrug and go along with it and treat him the same as if he had worshiped Apollo all along.

ericgrau
2011-01-30, 08:07 PM
Each fight hide in the corner until your xp catches up. Fortunately lower level characters gain xp faster. Before the fight cast defensive buffs. The trickery domain will give you hide as a class skill. During the fight focus on silent spelling more defensive buffs and - if found and hit - healing/remove Xing yourself to reduce the chance that your stronger allies will spend a round saving you when they could have spent it doing far more than you could do over an entire 4 combats (i.e., missing everything). That's the biggest contribution you can make.

PCs really shouldn't be more than 3 levels apart, though at very high levels I've seen people struggle at 5 apart and still contribute a little. At 10 levels apart a mook will sneeze, you'll roll the nat 20 you need to pass your save, and you'll still die from the alternate effect.

mabriss lethe
2011-01-30, 08:36 PM
There are ways to contribute, but they aren't all fantastic.

Alchemical items: ranged touch attacks and debuffs can help a lot. They can let you hit when a normal attack wouldn't. Something along the same lines, Nets. They're exotic weapons with ranged touch attacks. just eat the -4 penalty and you still have a better chance of hitting than you do with a normal melee/ranged attack.

Feats: there are a handful of feats that will give you something to do in combat to help everyone. (though some won't be that useful later on). Your most reliable resource is going to be Turn attempts. Sacred Purification is a decent one early on (requires sacred healing though) burn a turn attempt as a swift action to deal a little bit of positive energy healing in a 60ft burst. Devotion feats might be good, depending on your deity. With Cuthbert, I'd say protection devotion, since it will net the whole party a +2 AC at first level (that will scale with HD). You could even sacrifice protection domain power in exchange for the feat, which would still leave you with two feats if human. Glorious weapons is very useful when you need it. Some of the other devotion feats you'd qualify for are strictly better, but would often involve you in really bad choices for this early in your career. I'd probably sacrifice protection domain for devotion, then snag extra turning. that will leave you with an extra feat if human.... Wild Cohort would give you the non-union equivalent of an animal companion, and you could teach it all sorts of tricks if you're willing to invest somewhat in handle animal. With tricks like assist attack and assist defense, you could bolster your allies, supply a semi- disposable flanking buddy (that isn't you), and so on.

On that note, you could invest in a pack of hunting dogs, sending them out as flankers for your team mates. There will be a pretty high attrition rate for them, but it's *something* you can do with your actions that keeps you safe from harm.

TurtleKing
2011-01-31, 01:12 AM
If it does seem like you will be dying a lot, and don't want to roll up a new character all the time then I have a suggestion. See if your DM has a "prinny" race in his world. Get the prinny racial traits that are were you can not die. You will generally be weaker than others, but can survive all but a Greater Deity or higher trying to kill you. If that diety is not trying to kill you then you will survive, and in my prinny's case he survived the God of DEATH about 5 times. You will also likely get a Bag of Holding, mountains of daggers, a prinny bomb, and the ability to explode when thrown. If your character does end up like mine did then the sky is the limit. The prinny I played was epic, and I hope if you play a prinny yours will be epic as well.

Edit: spelling

sambo.
2011-01-31, 02:02 AM
wow, a level 2 in with level 7 & 11s?

that's gonna be interesting. mind you, if the lvl 2 can stay alive for an encounter or two, he'll be lvl5+ in no time.

still, it's a bit of a gap and any creature that's capable of giving the lvl 11s some trouble will blast a level 2 away in half a round.

i generally offer new players "average party level -1 or -2" for their start level. so level ~5 or 6 for that party.

for a player whose character has died and they wish to re-enter the campaign it's: lowest level in the party -1 or -2 (or more if they have been a dip****).

faceroll
2011-01-31, 11:03 PM
It seems odd that 'free agent' worship isn't the norm. Greek-style I mean, where before a dangerous voyage, a person might sacrifice some goats or something to Poseidon.

I see monolatry appearing most amongst either dark and twisted gods, or the demigods and lesser deities of remote regions who protect a fledgling nationstate.

Xiander
2011-02-01, 12:08 PM
I agree with the other problems you outlined, but this one is only a problem if the players don't like playing casters.

Nope, it is also a problem if anyone in the group also likes playing a noncaster sometimes.

Murphy80
2011-02-01, 04:27 PM
While ordinary people would/could throw a few coins in/donate to/attend the services of many gods in a polytheistic world. I imagine most would have 1 in particular that matches with their alignment/job/society. They could change and it isn't going to be much more than a local issue for their local priest, "Bob, I missed you at the service last worship day." But clerics have chosen a particular god to follow and have special powers granted by said god. That does make it a bigger issue to switch. Not an insurmountable issue, but one worthy of role-playing out and needing justification for in-character.


So the Vigor path is slowly spiralling it would appear.

Well Vigor is Conjuration[Healing], and then we have this from the FAQ
What effect does the Augment Healing feat (Complete Divine, page 79) have on lesser vigor (Complete Divine, page 186) and similar spells?
Augment Healing adds twice the spell’s level to the total healing it provides. The simplest method is to have the spell apply the extra healing to the first round of fast healing. Thus, lesser vigor (a 1st-level spell) would cure an extra 2 hp of damage in the first round, for a total of 3 hit points. Each round thereafter it would heal the normal 1 hp of damage. Mass lesser vigor (a 3rd-level spell) would cure an extra 6 hp of damage to each target in the first round (for a total of 7 hit points), and would heal 1 hp of damage each round thereafter as normal.
Read into that what you will :smallsmile:
My 1 observation on that would be, how legal/RAW is the FAQ answers. Don't they sometimes give you contradictory answers? Otherwise, I imagine that is a good compromise.



I just called him, and presented all the facts. Make no mistake, he wants me in the group, we've been friends and coworkers for awhile and he sees this as "winning me over" from 4th ed.

Heh, fat chance.

All the same, he seemed somewhat receptive. He expressed concern when I told him I felt kind of like a sidekick, but then he told me "the way the world works, I can't have you coming in that powerful". Meh, oh well. I think I at least let him see our side of the argument.

I'm gonna take every oppurtunity, in game, to point out the level gap's downsides. I think I can win him over eventually. Combat will be hilarious, no doubts.
I thought that would happen. Any DM who thinks this is a good idea (or if not good, then "the way the world works, I can't have you coming in that powerful") isn't one who will change his mind over a few logically presented bothersome facts/numbers. Good luck and keep your head down.

I would be interested to know how the game goes. Please keep us updated.