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BootStrapTommy
2012-12-01, 02:29 PM
Have you ever had that one party with phenomenal synergy? Where each cog in the machine works in perfect order? You know, the kind of party that just happened by accident, with no planning, but in which proves to work brilliantly well or proves to be capable of awesome things? Or even just work well enough together to just FEEL right?

I had one such party recently. So, my friends, your parties that just worked well together? Be it the result of good class choices or just fun players, what are your stories?

BootStrapTommy
2012-12-01, 03:48 PM
The following example occurred recently for me:

A few days back while planning a campaign, one of my pals decided to give DMing a go. He has equal, if not greater, experience with D&D as myself, but unlike me he has always been adamant that he wished to play, not DM. It being the first time he had ever taken up the mantle of the DM, he informed us that his plan was to run a module. He then informed us to make 9th level characters (which is a daunting task is it not?).

My immediate response was to ask "Tomb of Horrors?" The smirk he returned answered my question. Honestly, what I knew of the famous module at the time was only its reputation, that of a player-killer, and that the 3.5 version was built for a party of 9th level characters, something which had made me perpetually suspicious of anything 9th level. I kinda laughed to myself knowing we deserved it, since he was perpetually the butt of all of our play groups inside jokes and this was his act of revenge. Unfortunately, it was revenge he never got.

Myself and Party members A, B, and C began a quick discussion about the party. These are the normal discussions we have before a campaign starts, usually consisting of each of us expressing what we desired to play, than adjusting the result a little in order to make sure the party fulfill a few key roles, like tank, healer, etc. As it turned out very little change was required, our desired classes filled any traditional party roles.

The party that emerged was roughly the following:

Player A played a human ex-monk/druid with a few prestige classes (Fist of the Forest and Master of Many Forms, I believe). Player's combat tactic was to wildshape into a tiger, use a pounce, and grapple. Capable of high DPS. Build included a number of Sacred Vows, including Poverty and Peace, much to the party's chagrin.

Player B played a human cleric necromancer. Not only did he function as the party healer (in a very strange way that involved exploding undead) but he also functioned as the tank, or at least his army of undead did.

Player C played an Elven Sorc. Effectively an evocation specialist, with the singular purpose of blowing stuff up. Lots of metamagic, lots of damage. An all around, traditional glass-cannon.

I played a warforged artificer. Abused the rules with regards to being a living construct to make myself an effective unarmed fighter (Can you say DR 15/adamantine?). Also crafted all the magical weapons and armor in the party (they paid me the normal cost and I kept the profits), making myself fabulously wealthy and allowing me to equip myself far beyond the average 9th level character.

The synergy was brilliant and completely accidental. We quickly discovered that with my natural 24 on disable deceive checks and almost 40 on search checks, there wasn't a trap in the dungeon I couldn't find and disable. Any of the Tombs traps which were designed to work otherwise, personal caution or a sacrificed skeleton solved. Our combine player intellects proved more than enough for puzzles. Combat proved just almost as easy. The shear size of the undead army at our command minimized the damage taken by players, while the fact that most of the party healed from negative energy meant that landmined skeletons proved an effective medic. Furthermore, our druid would grapple an opponent leaving them helpless, while myself and the Sorc rained hell on them.

The final fight would have been awesome if it weren't so pathetic. By the grace of a nat 20, our druid grappled and the party finished the BBEG in a meager 2 rounds.

Razanir
2012-12-01, 05:45 PM
Player B played a human cleric necromancer. Not only did he function as the party healer (in a very strange way that involved exploding undead) but he also functioned as the tank, or at least his army of undead did.

Do tell. How does a necromancer heal people?

Morph Bark
2012-12-01, 06:17 PM
Do tell. How does a necromancer heal people?

We had a necromancer that healed people! By getting punched in the face by the swordsage/Shadow Sun ninja. :smalltongue:

Hiro Protagonest
2012-12-01, 06:28 PM
Do tell. How does a necromancer heal people?

Wand of Cure X Wounds.

SiuiS
2012-12-01, 06:44 PM
Do tell. How does a necromancer heal people?

There's a spell which bestows a mantle of negativity on a person, AI that they are healed by negative energy. A friendly dread necromancer has a ring of such magic, instead of tomb-tainted soul. That way you can pass around the goodness, instead Of hogging it all to themself.

-

Our best party was an odd one. A paladin, a "paladin" (fighter/warlock/elsritch night; was respecced when we realized we had the prerequisites wrong) and a cleric who was gypped by the DM arbitrarily changing his stuff ("you want to bean optimist? You're chaotic good now, not lawful.")

Somehow we meshed perfectly. The cleric, played by a casual bloke with no real experience, somehow managed to make healbot functional by picking random spells he thought would be cool. The paladin had some of those feats that can use turning devotion feats? And a ring of blinking he out to insane use. The warlock-fighter who believed he was a paladin (and "smithing" with that invocation that adds melee damage to weapon strikes, using his continued powers as proof he hasn't fallen) had the least optimal set-up possible, using quicken spell like ability for multiple "sites", monkey grip et al to use a great sword and tower shield as a callback to the DMs iconic PC family from 1e/2e. We specialized in stupid stunts with dramatically successful rolls, with such things as oiling the ground, tripping a stone golem collosus and leaping over it to lop off its limbs (with power attack-cleave-sunder) so it could slide along the oil into a pit. Stupid tricks with several told around that should have gotten us killed.

The DM was unable to really put a stop to us as we thought around everything he threw at us. He eventually gave up in disgust.

Anxe
2012-12-01, 10:50 PM
Do tell. How does a necromancer heal people?

More importantly, how does an Exalted character travel with a necromancer?

Jay R
2012-12-01, 11:09 PM
Have you ever had that one party with phenomenal synergy? Where each cog in the machine works in perfect order? You know, the kind of party that just happened by accident, with no planning, but in which proves to work brilliantly well or proves to be capable of awesome things? Or even just work well enough together to just FEEL right?

I had one such party recently. So, my friends, your parties that just worked well together? Be it the result of good class choices or just fun players, what are your stories?

The best party I ever had was the one that entered (and won) the Tacticon II D&D tourney in Houston in 1976.

We knew each other well, we didn't have to waste time coordinating. What the characters were didn't really matter all that much; in fact, the organizers of the tournament gave us the party. The six of us could run them more efficiently than any other group at the con could.

It ain't the characters that make a perfect party. It's the players.

BootStrapTommy
2012-12-02, 05:48 PM
Do tell. How does a necromancer heal people?

:smallamused: Being neutral. Instant conversion. Duh.

Also party members who could heal with negative energy and the a fore mentioned exploding skeletons.


More importantly, how does an Exalted character travel with a necromancer?

:smallmad: Being neutral. And family. Is there an echo in here?

Kelb_Panthera
2012-12-03, 01:53 AM
More importantly, how does an Exalted character travel with a necromancer?

Heck, if he was a worshiper of a morally neutral deity whose clerics always rebuke he could've even been good, though it'd be a real pain in the butt to maintain a good alignment when making heaping piles of undead.

Necromancy doesn't necessarily mean evil. It only implies it mildly.

4th number
2012-12-03, 05:35 AM
I've had a couple good parties that had melee duos that worked great together. A Paladin and a Barbarian work well, and there's a lot a frontline spellcaster can do for his buddies that a more fragile one can't.

BootStrapTommy
2012-12-03, 01:16 PM
Heck, if he was a worshiper of a morally neutral deity whose clerics always rebuke he could've even been good, though it'd be a real pain in the butt to maintain a good alignment when making heaping piles of undead.

Necromancy doesn't necessarily mean evil. It only implies it mildly.

The existence of baelnorn blows any claims of alignment associated with necromancy out of the water.

Morph Bark
2012-12-03, 06:29 PM
:smallamused: Being neutral. Instant conversion. Duh.

He'd still need a way for them to actually get healed by it. Tomb-Tainted Soul and that one spell mentioned earlier work for this, but being Neutral doesn't by itself mean your negative energy spells heal party members like positive energy.

Kelb_Panthera
2012-12-03, 06:42 PM
The existence of baelnorn blows any claims of alignment associated with necromancy out of the water.

Necromancy implies evil because necromancy implies the creation of undead.

The creation of undead is evil. We had a whole discussion on the matter not-so-long ago. I'll link if anyone's interested.

The rest of necromancy, primarily debuffing and a little bit of BFC, is as morally neutral as a fireball or a black tentacles.

Morph Bark
2012-12-04, 07:03 AM
Isn't Negative Energy principally linked with Evil? I think that's mentioned several times in Libris Mortis.

At any rate, casting [Evil] spells is an Evil act, even though you don't have to be Evil to cast them. Heck, it might be one of the easy ways a Good caster can change alignment.

Name_Here
2012-12-04, 09:50 AM
My first truly great campaign I had a group like that.

It was a game of Hunter: The Vigil.

We had the Playboy swordsman who was always able to use his cash wisely to get the group whatever they needed, charm when he needed to and was good enough with a sword that he could go toe to toe with badguys.

The Hardened Ex Cop: Contacts out the Wazoo, and had the drive skill that allowed them to tail and evade the enemies pretty much at will.

Ex Soldier: Stealth and fighting.

Boxer Surgeon: Provided the healing, a bit of the combat and just enough computer skills to be one of the best PCs of the group.

None of us had played the game before and only a few of us had even played together before but the group just worked together like nothing I have ever seen. Whatever challenge I put up against them they had the skills to beat it easily and then go above and beyond what I had planned out.

For example the first Vampire they went after they not only killed him but also stole his bank accounts and convinced one of the vampire's rivals to protect them while they turned the guy's den into their club house.

SleepyShadow
2012-12-04, 11:29 AM
A Scorpion Clan Human Rokugan Ninja/Crusader who favored the spiked chain and shuriken as her weapons. She was the skill user and lock-down tank. Sadly, due to DM restrictions, she could not speak Common, only Rokuganese and Shadowlands.

A Human Battle Dancer/Human Paragon, who was the party's primary beat stick. He used a greatsword, for whatever reason.

An Elf Battle Sorcerer specialized in archery. She was the party buffer.

A Dragonborn Anthropomorphic Bat Druid. He/She/It (?) was our utility caster.

Lastly, we had a Swordsage/Psychic Warrior who focused almost exclusively in the Desert Wind school. He was the special effects crew :smallbiggrin:

BootStrapTommy
2012-12-12, 02:04 AM
Necromancy implies evil because necromancy implies the creation of undead.

The creation of undead is evil. We had a whole discussion on the matter not-so-long ago. I'll link if anyone's interested.

The rest of necromancy, primarily debuffing and a little bit of BFC, is as morally neutral as a fireball or a black tentacles.

Baelnorn. Once again a baelnorn. The baelnorn is why this is not true. If it were, they would not be able to exist. But they do exist. Baelnorns are by necessity good. They are also by necessity liches. You know, since that's what a baelnorn is, a good lich. Yet they exist, being both undead and good. This violates the presumption that the creation of undead is inherently evil. If a baelnorn can do it, why can others not?

The moral of the story is BoVD and BoED are horrible sources for alignment because they contradict themselves and other more reliable sources. Stop using them.

Kiero
2012-12-12, 06:30 AM
There's nothing random or accidental about how my group generates a PC party (since we do it together and all in the open), so no. We get good synergy by design.

Morph Bark
2012-12-12, 06:45 AM
Baelnorn. Once again a baelnorn. The baelnorn is why this is not true. If it were, they would not be able to exist. But they do exist. Baelnorns are by necessity good. They are also by necessity liches. You know, since that's what a baelnorn is, a good lich. Yet they exist, being both undead and good. This violates the presumption that the creation of undead is inherently evil. If a baelnorn can do it, why can others not?

Because Baelnorns are setting-specific. BAM!

Susano-wo
2012-12-12, 04:09 PM
And baelnorns are a specific exception to the general rule that creation of and use of undead is evil:smallamused:

BootStrapTommy
2012-12-12, 04:18 PM
Because Baelnorns are setting-specific. BAM!

Irrelevant. Completely irrelevant. There is nothing different about alignment in Forgotten Realms than in Eberron or Greyhawk. If alignment doesn't differ between campaign settings, than its exclusiveness to Forgeotten Realms is irrelevant.


And baelnorns are a specific exception to the general rule that creation of and use of undead is evil:smallamused:

All it takes is one counter example to an absolute statement to falsify it.

Logically speaking, if some one says "All A are B" and a certain A happens to be C, than the statement "All A are B" is false. Even if only a single A is a C.

You do nothing by going "Oh, but its the one exception to the rule." To which I respond "You mean two exceptions. The other is this character."

Kelb_Panthera
2012-12-12, 05:41 PM
Wrong on two counts, Bootstrap.

1) alignment is specifically different in Eberron. It's actually pretty close to meaningless there.

2) D&D is an exception based rules type of game. The baelnorn being a specific exception is just that; an exception in an exception based rules game. It's a case of all A are B unless a specific A says otherwise. A specific A being C doesn't invalidate the rule that all A are B, it's simply an exception.

If you or your particular DM rules differently that's fine, but that doesn't change the way the rules on the books are printed or how they work when you don't use the houserule.

Water_Bear
2012-12-12, 05:56 PM
Baelnorn. Once again a baelnorn. The baelnorn is why this is not true. If it were, they would not be able to exist. But they do exist. Baelnorns are by necessity good. They are also by necessity liches. You know, since that's what a baelnorn is, a good lich. Yet they exist, being both undead and good. This violates the presumption that the creation of undead is inherently evil. If a baelnorn can do it, why can others not?

Just because a Baelnorn is good doesn't mean that becoming a Baelnorn is a Good act. For example, Hellbred are Good, but to become a Hellbred you have to be enough of a jerk to be damned to Baator. There's nothing inconsistent about the idea that a Good being can be created through Evil means.


The moral of the story is BoVD and BoED are horrible sources for alignment because they contradict themselves and other more reliable sources. Stop using them.

Those books really aren't as bad as people say. There's a lot of stupidity in the specifics, but the core philosophies of those books reveal a nuanced and useful view of alignment. Personally I prefer Exemplars of Evil and the Champions of Valor/Ruin books, being of consistent quality, but BoED/BoVD are handy when alignment issues come up.

Malimar
2012-12-12, 06:37 PM
Logically speaking, if some one says "All A are B" and a certain A happens to be not B, then the statement "All A are B" is false. Even if only a single A is not B.

FTFY. (∀x)(Ax→Bx) is not inconsistent with (∃x)(Ax&Cx), without some other premise, e.g. (∀x)(Cx→~Bx).

Susano-wo
2012-12-14, 04:13 AM
Irrelevant. Completely irrelevant. There is nothing different about alignment in Forgotten Realms than in Eberron or Greyhawk. If alignment doesn't differ between campaign settings, than its exclusiveness to Forgeotten Realms is irrelevant.



All it takes is one counter example to an absolute statement to falsify it.

Logically speaking, if some one says "All A are B" and a certain A happens to be C, than the statement "All A are B" is false. Even if only a single A is a C.

You do nothing by going "Oh, but its the one exception to the rule." To which I respond "You mean two exceptions. The other is this character."

What Kelb said. Also, I'm not saying you can't make it so that, say, all Vampires aren't evil (I would prefer it that way, actually :P), but by default undead are creatures made of Evil, and its considered evil to create them (basically desecrating the dead) and control them

Malimar
2012-12-14, 05:31 AM
Oh yeah, and, in 3.5e: Blood Amniotes (LM), Bloodrots (HoH), Crypt Things (FF), and Gravecrawlers (MM2) are Always Neutral. Corpse Gatherers (MM2) are Usually Neutral. Taunting Haunts (MM5) are Usually Chaotic Neutral.

(There are also a fair number that are only Usually (various sorts of) Evil. And, for that matter, even "Always <Alignment>" allows for "It is possible for individuals to change alignment, but such individuals are either unique or rare exceptions". I also wouldn't discount the existence of templates that make a creature Undead without making their alignment Evil, though I don't have any specific references handy for those.)

So whatever things you guys are trying to say about exceptions to the "Undead are Evil" rule, there are a fair number more exceptions than just Baelnorns. (Which is to say: point us to a rule in D&D that has no exceptions, and we will point you to a bunch of exceptions that you missed.)

That said, you could still argue that the creation and use of these non-Evil creatures is itself Evil. I know at least one of them, for example, specifies something along the lines of "a necromancer of a certain caster level can create this creature using create undead", an [Evil] spell -- a Crypt Thing is Neutral, but creating it is an Evil act.

Chilingsworth
2012-12-18, 12:59 AM
The most synergistic party I've ever been in was probably when I played the Savage Tides adventure path.

We were:

A big brute of a half-dragon mineral warrior fighter/barbarian
An archer (we called him our forcebow with legs)
A Sorcerer/Incantrix
A Bard/Dragonsong Lyrist
An (almost) invincible build (that is outrageously high AC and saves, but little attack power to speak of) skillmonkey
and
An Asimar Healer (me)

the brute, incantrix, and archer killed stuff, the bard buffed everyone, the skillmonkey found traps, caused enemies to waste attacks, and did abit more damage, and I kept everyone in peak condition no matter what was thrown at us. I also made sure undead had a particularly bad day by tossing out mass cure/heals like candy. Also, my couatl offered a few more buffs for the party, and I protected us against mind control.

That game is why I actually have a fondness for the healer class.

LordBlades
2012-12-18, 01:13 AM
What Kelb said. Also, I'm not saying you can't make it so that, say, all Vampires aren't evil (I would prefer it that way, actually :P), but by default undead are creatures made of Evil, and its considered evil to create them (basically desecrating the dead) and control them

This pretty much. All undead are Evil is a bit dumb IMO and leads to a ton of contradictions (which have been discussed at length in many other threads) and a lot of DMs I know houserule it away, but by RAW creating undead is Evil.

Still, that doesn't mean you need to be Evil to create undead. Even if you create a ton of them, you could still be Neutral or even Good provided you use them for Good and do enough Good deeds meanwhile.

Kelb_Panthera
2012-12-18, 02:29 AM
Important point: I never said all undead are evil. They rather pointedly aren't all evil. This is evident even in the MM with the ghost entry.

What I said, and the actual rule, is that the act of deliberately creating undead is evil. Further, it is implied by the very fact that the rule is in an exception based rules system that the previous statement comes with the same caveat as any other "absolute" rule in the game, "unless excepted by a specific entry."

The baelnorns' creation is a specific exception to the rule that creating undead is evil.

icantsavemyself
2012-12-18, 09:10 PM
The perfect party had to be in the D20 Modern game where we played ourselves in our hometown fighting off the zombie apocalypse. It had to be the most fun I've had gaming and it was my group's best example of roleplaying.