PDA

View Full Version : Rising to a Bear’s challenge and adding to the eternal fighter/caster balance debate…



Pages : 1 [2]

Bears With Lasers
2007-03-12, 05:20 AM
Quit it with the "zomg, the cleric will get teh dispelx0red" stuff already. Any enemy capable of dispelling the cleric is capable of doing much, much worse to a fighter, because dispelling takes spellcasting capabilities. Anything capable of spewing Greater Dispel Magics at the cleric can hit the Fighter with something worse.

As to golems, do you seriously think they hinder casters much? How does the magic immunity help vs. the caster's buffs? Or versus non-SR spells? (Solid Fog + Ventriloquism can keep a golem completely occupied as long as the party needs.)

An Arcane Trickster or Beguiler would be a better fourth party member than a Rogue/Ranger, because he can do more.

Jack Mann
2007-03-12, 05:27 AM
Boccob's immediate underling is the mad demigod Zagyg, god of humor, eccentricity, occult lore, and unpredictability. Yeah, Boccob's really choosy about whom he gives power to.

Golems are not that much of a threat to spellcasters. They're a bit of a threat to a wizard, but even a wizard can just cough up a solid fog and lead it around with a bit of illusion. A cleric isn't hampered at all, since spell resistance doesn't matter to his buffs, and he can just resort to spells that don't allow SR if he has to.

And a caster who can dispel the cleric's buffs is able to do a hell of a lot worse to the poor fighter. Yeah, have fun with that dominate, or whatever seems like the most fun for the BBEG.

And a creature with an alignment subtype doesn't necessarily have that alignment. They usually do, but not always. For example, the famous succubus paladin, who radiates evil, chaos, law, and good all at the same time.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-12, 05:58 AM
OK, Rigeld2 raises similar points as Greenknight, so will reply in reduced form here.



Very minor, since all he has to do is recast PaO and turn back into a Human.

Which is a standard action (may be quickened). The farmers will realise a spell is being cast. Plus, the damage is done. But see my bluff idea above.



Theres nothing that says your alignment changes. Anywhere. In fact, you keep your WIS and CHA. Not a RAW drawback.


Neither does it say anywhere it does not. Only in the first sentence that you become that creature. Greenknight also seems to think that the alignment changes...or not...and only the creature type (which is an incarnation of Lawful Evil). It is dodgy at best, I'd say.



You make absolutely no sense here. What Good or Neutral diety wouldnt want the commander of a demonic army exterminated?


Er...a neutral deity actually trying to be neutral?



From the Alignment section of the SRD:


Sigh. This is what you get when you cut the stuff out as it pleases you. Read on in that same passage:
SRD 3.5: "Some neutral characters, on the other hand, commit themselves philosophically to neutrality. They see good, evil, law, and chaos as prejudices and dangerous extremes. They advocate the middle way of neutrality as the best, most balanced road in the long run."

Now of course we should agree that clerics are guys who "commit themselves philosophically to neutrality".:smallsmile:



Why is any alignment opposed?.


Got that wrong, sorry. I thought "true neutrality" is opposed to the extreme alignments without neutral elements, like lawful evil. (maybe a remnant in my brain from old 2nd edition or something).



Hi houserule. Although, this situation isnt even entirely a drawback - it allows your allies to get you out of trouble.


Hmm, here you refer to the creature type drawback and that people could summon the cleric away. Now that IS a big drawback if it would really work that way (depends on DM to judge the probabiltiy), since it could happen in the middle of combat and the cleric would be gone. Specifically targeting an outsider out of millions to summon does not work, so no additional escape pod here...



The Fighter has the same problem - theyre Large sized, which means he cant use them without the -4 innappropriate size penalty, which just happens to be the same as the -4 nonproficiency penalty.


Hey, you are right! Now this makes them extra useless to 99.9% of the magic-wiedling fighting population of the average campaign.



Not even to defeat the commander of a demonic army?


Nope. See above on what a neutral cleric is about.



Youre still set on the idea that combat is all about damage. Little hint - its not.


Little hint- it is! In this particular combat vs the balor it is. The fighter may try to stun other opponents not able to shrug off non-good/coldiron damage, or try to trip/disarm/grapplepin a creature. All powerful non-damage tactics. But in this case...
Likewise, the balor's formidable defenses make it immune to a great many spells. The only thing that people so far came up with were either shapechange/zilla the thing (also a damage route) or time stop/holy word it (also killing it eventually with damage).



Fighter has to spend money to do things like Mircale/Wish, Cleric just mems the spell.


Yep, just memorising is cool when a DM is absolute passive about what the deity (an NPC! :smallbiggrin: ) should or should not allow.



See... a cleric can boost his combat ability and not really sacrifice and of his spellcasting power. Yay buffs.


He sacrifices part of his daily spellpower to do that, which carries opportunity cost (i.e. a quickened prayer means one holy word less etc, or you spend a big chunk of your resources a quicken rod). And buffs are vulnerable. So which combatant is better: the one buffed or the one unbuffed with the same result? (and I'm referring here to the buffs the cleric has to cast to get on par with the fighter, not the extra morale potions etc. which are only there to marginally get the fighter above to the 300 damage per round threshold in BOTH melee AND ranged combat).



Untrue. Gimme a few days and I'll put one up.


Looking forward to it! You see, it is all a mastermind ploy of mine to get you to give me your great strategy ideas on how to play high-level casters :smallamused: Seriously now, I am looking forward to such a build, but remember, that cleric has the same drawbacks. It would be interesinting, though, to see a cleric not using the trickery domain to get a relatively save 1-round balor kill together.



... Yay? Doing something that "grossly violates the code of conduct required by his god" is so broad, its not really worth mentioning.


WHAT?!!! OK, tell that to the Miko bashers out there...and do not tell me a paladin is all that different. It only is that the paladin is a class hinging on one alignment (Lawful Good), plus its religious vows. The cleric is the same in that aspect.



DM adjudication has no bearing on a RAW discussion.


Really? OK, in that case the drawbacks hit you with their full RAW power...:smallsmile:



Oh noes! People know that I might be vulnerable 1/24 of the time! Whatever shall I do?!.


Yep, whatever shall you do...If the cleric were even as vulnerable during only 1 ROUND per day, it would be a big drawback. One FULL HOUR remaining undisturbed is a formidable challenge in high-level play.



Cause, you know, the Fighter is never vulnerable. Ever.


Oh, he is. But you see, the cleric retains the typical mortal vulnerability of the fighter as well (the vulnerability during sleep). And the fighter never risks losing the functioning of his class ability: feats.



Most != all.


See above my comment to Greenknight. The cleric is always considered a part of a religious organisation, although an adventuring sabbatical temporarily relaxes him or her from that organisation. But being a sabbatical, you are still part of that organisation and have to obey its hierarchy (if its lawful) or part of its hierarchy (if it's neutral) or somehow interact with its more powerful members (if it's chaotic).



If you say so. I disagree, and I've played in a 4 Wizard party at 16th level.


Cool. However, the DM (if he or she wanted to DM a game that was fun for everyone) likely gave you challenges to match 4 wizards and not golems, spellbook-destroying baddies, fortitude-save-casting opponents and grappling monks all the time...:smallsmile:
With a truly "neutral" DM, the party should be balanced.



Actually, it gets rid of more buffs on the Fighter build - the Cleric has a caster level of 25, requiring the caster of the Greater Dispel Magic to roll a 15 or higher. Caster level on the Fighters buffs will not be that high.


You are correct, the fighter is more vulnerable if his buffs are not from the same source (the cleric). The more important vulnerability of non-casters is that their items have a low caster level by level 20. However, a greater dispel targeted at a magic item to make that one item go out for 1d4 rounds is a highly situation-specific tactics.



Youre right - but the thing is, Full casters have thier spell list, wands, staves, scrolls, AND Misc. other magic items. Non casters have... Misc other magic items.


Er...you are fogetting the immensely powerful weapons which many spellcasters cannot use without expending a feat. And there are some weapons (like the oathbow, luckblade or the sun blade) whose power goes through the roof at their price listed. They are also availabe in mid-levels and put most of the spellcasters direct damage spells to shame (which is also part of why so many like BWL say that damage casters are the least powerful).



Absolutely false. The reason is that in previous editions, Clerics were nothing but healbots. If you memmed anything other than a heal spell, you were doing bad things to your party. The 2 ways to fix this were 1) spontaneous heal casting (which they did) and 2) a better spell list (which they did). Doing both was a mistake.


No, I don't think so. Clerics also in previous editions had the power of 9th level spells, although their spell list has improved. And a truly neutral cleric (an alignment with so many fans here) may have simply refused to learn more healing spells than the bare minimum.
And while the designers upgraded the cleric's abilities, they also more clearly specified the drawbacks.

What I really find amazing is that you and greenknight have such a difficult time accepting these drawbacks. It's like playing a dragon and than wondering why that dragon than (sans polymorph ability) cannot enter the inn with the rest of the group.
A cleric is powerful, but this power comes at a cost, read: BALANCE.

- Giacomo

Bears With Lasers
2007-03-12, 06:07 AM
Are you seriously suggesting that a cleric's player should (or is meant to) have his deity regularly deny him spells for no good reason (i.e. he's been acting in accord to his god's ideals)? Do you really think the god grants each spell personally to each cleric?

There is absolutely nothing to support that.

Boccob is neutral. He does not champion neutrality, nor promote it. He's fine with whatever his clerics do, more or less, as long as they promote knowledge and the like.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-12, 06:07 AM
Quit it with the "zomg, the cleric will get teh dispelx0red" stuff already. Any enemy capable of dispelling the cleric is capable of doing much, much worse to a fighter, because dispelling takes spellcasting capabilities. Anything capable of spewing Greater Dispel Magics at the cleric can hit the Fighter with something worse.

OK, I get more and more confused. First the cleric-supporters are letting the cleric buff to the fighters level and both then use more buffs to take out a balor in combat, and then, when it comes to dispelling, you really believe that that would hurt the fighter MORE? Remember, it is the cleric who has the zilla machinery due to spells on, not the fighter.



As to golems, do you seriously think they hinder casters much? How does the magic immunity help vs. the caster's buffs? Or versus non-SR spells? (Solid Fog + Ventriloquism can keep a golem completely occupied as long as the party needs.)


Hmm, here you are right. Golems can be overcome. However, the big vulnerability of spellcasters to having the powers taken away by other magic remains.



An Arcane Trickster or Beguiler would be a better fourth party member than a Rogue/Ranger, because he can do more.

Beguiler is non-core, arcane trickster is not a base class, but still: four full spellcasters in a party are more vulnerable than a party containing at least one member (can also be a rogue as greenknight advocates), because they all depend on magic. This is sheer madness in high-level play because many opponents worth their salt will have means to overcome/neutralise magic in one way or another. And such opponents are not only those from the monster manual (where CR 20 creatures like balors have only meagre magic items but can be equipped to become a nightmare for casters), but also from npc with core class levels.

- Giacomo

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-12, 06:10 AM
Are you seriously suggesting that a cleric's player should (or is meant to) have his deity regularly deny him spells for no good reason? Do you really think the god grants each spell personally to each cleric?

There is absolutely nothing to support that.

I do not suggest a cleric should be denied spells for "no good reason". Same as simply stripping a paladin of his class abilities because I as a DM feel like it. But if the cleric player deviates from a faith set at the creation of the character, he or she loses the spellpowers and has to atone. It's all in the rules.

Bears With Lasers
2007-03-12, 06:13 AM
OK, I get more and more confused. First the cleric-supporters are letting the cleric buff to the fighters level and both then use more buffs to take out a balor in combat, and then, when it comes to dispelling, you really believe that that would hurt the fighter MORE? Remember, it is the cleric who has the zilla machinery due to spells on, not the fighter.
I don't think you get it.
The point is, anyone who can cast Greater Dispel Magic can also cast a large number of other spells. Some of these spells will do much worse things to the Fighter than the Dispel will to the cleric.


Hmm, here you are right. Golems can be overcome. However, the big vulnerability of spellcasters to having the powers taken away by other magic remains.Except, of course, that spellcasters can take steps to protect themselves against this (for example, the Ring of Counterspells)... and that other magic can do different but worse things to non-spellcasters.


Beguiler is non-core, arcane trickster is not a base class, but still: four full spellcasters in a party are more vulnerable than a party containing at least one member (can also be a rogue as greenknight advocates), because they all depend on magic. This is sheer madness in high-level play because many opponents worth their salt will have means to overcome/neutralise magic in one way or another. And such opponents are not only those from the monster manual (where CR 20 creatures like balors have only meagre magic items but can be equipped to become a nightmare for casters), but also from npc with core class levels.
- GiacomoAny opponent who can work against magic also has the magic to do much worse things to fighters. It's not "sheer madness", because the only time the fighter's better is when you're in a Dead Magic Zone or having like ten encounters a day and have a near-unlimited source of healing. Neither of those situations exactly features prominently in games.
Sure, the Balor can Dispel the cleric... but with that same action, he could Blasphemy or Dominate the Fighter.

The cleric has different vulnerabilities from the fighter... and he's got far, FAR fewer. That's part of why he's stronger.


Edit: sure, if he deviates from his faith. But have you ever seen it happen? Clerics of Pelor don't suddenly start animating the undead. Clerics of Boccob don't burn books. Staying loyal to your deity/cause isn't a big deal.

its_all_ogre
2007-03-12, 06:17 AM
um why would that bbeg target the fighter?
after all he surely knows the buffed cleric is much harder?
so first action; dispel the buffs, 2nd action attack fighter(he is now more of a threat after all!)
don't forget all tactics available to players are available to enemies, scrying etc. they know the PC's weaknesses by now....

Bears With Lasers
2007-03-12, 06:25 AM
...if you have a fighter instead of a cleric, he'll target the fighter.

And, y'know, saying "the BBEG will target the cleric because he's stronger" isn't a very good way to show that clerics aren't stronger.

its_all_ogre
2007-03-12, 06:33 AM
i agree that clerics, with all of their buffs going already, are harder than a fighter.
but then so would a balor(int and wis 24?) so who would it dispel? cleric or fighter. int 24....who would it dispel....
not a hard decision.
the balor is not even a really hard enemy for this discussion.
dragon with antimagic item/spells. who is more screwed now? and before anyone says about this being ideal for the fighter, blah blah, i disagree. a dragon is hugely powerful still when no magic works, this ability would screw his most powerful enemies(wizards/clerics..casters in general) and most dragons would kill a CR equivalent fighter in one round.
dragon mops up.

Bears With Lasers
2007-03-12, 06:43 AM
The point is it's not a question of "dispel the cleric or dispel the fighter." In the Balor's case, it's a question of, say, "dispel the cleric or Dominate the fighter and sic him on the cleric".

The point is that anything that can dispel the cleric can do different but worse things to the fighter.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-12, 06:46 AM
I don't think you get it.
The point is, anyone who can cast Greater Dispel Magic can also cast a large number of other spells. Some of these spells will do much worse things to the Fighter than the Dispel will to the cleric.

OK, I realised my misunderstanding after I posted, sorry.
However, let us consider two balors facing a fighter (buffed a little) and a cleric (big buffs, recognizable also because he's large size now).
What would they do?
One could greater dispel the cleric, getting rid of around 25% of of the buffs, but those may be the big ones (BAB +5 etc...). That would mean he trades one once/round ability for several spells the cleric has wasted. Balor teleports away, returns before cleric can relearn (repeats if cleric is buffed again). Or, it could target the fighter with a dominate (which the fighter also likely saves), trying to make use of his or her low save. Or target both with a fire storm (to make use of their likely low REF saves).
The point is: both have weaknesses which a balor can exploit. A balor dominating a fighter is a fearsome opponent. A balor dispelling the clerics buffs and then getting it into melee is a fearsome opponent. As I hope I have shown with my fighter, that fighter can put up quite considerable defenses to many magic attacks (including touch attacks of rays) as well.



Except, of course, that spellcasters can take steps to protect themselves against this (for example, the Ring of Counterspells)... and that other magic can do different but worse things to non-spellcasters. .

Ring of counterspells can also be worn by fighters, as can a buckler of reflection. These items are not yet in the above example fighter and cleric builds. The game mechanics make it impossible, though, to prepare for all continencies.



Any opponent who can work against magic also has the magic to do much worse things to fighters. It's not "sheer madness", because the only time the fighter's better is when you're in a Dead Magic Zone or having like ten encounters a day and have a near-unlimited source of healing. Neither of those situations exactly features prominently in games.


But they DO feature:
- Anti-Magic Field is only a 6th level spell.
- you only need several encounters per day to get very limited in your spell selection of your DM does not forget that relearning the spells is NOT automatic, but needs in-game action which can easily be disturbed
- likewise, healing greatly helps all, but does not bring back spells.
- heck, the truly powerful spells are not that many so they could get countered if an opponent knows to cast the same spell (while letting his lower minions rush the party with a shutdown cleric).



Sure, the Balor can Dispel the cleric... but with that same action, he could Blasphemy or Dominate the Fighter.


Or fire storm or teleport/entangle the full caster. Your point being?



The cleric has different vulnerabilities from the fighter... and he's got far, FAR fewer. That's part of why he's stronger.


Nope. The cleric can overcome many combat vulnerabilities of the fighter with spells, but exactly those spells are again vulnerable to 1) dispels and 2) refreshing ability. Additionally, the cleric has the drawbacks (I already mentioned them elsewhere, but here they are again) of
- being part of a religious organisation which has advantages (resources) as well as disadvantages (duties)
- his class abilities are threatened by misconduct. The fighter's feats are not.
- if the cleric worships a deity, that is an npc-like being run by the DM and has the same drawbacks (i.e. not an automaton at the PC's disposal) as a chohort or whatever. The class abilities of the cleric are entirely dependent on that deity.
Overall, both classes strengths and vulnerabilities over lvl 1-20 make them balanced in my eyes.



Edit: sure, if he deviates from his faith. But have you ever seen it happen? Clerics of Pelor don't suddenly start animating the undead. Clerics of Boccob don't burn books. Staying loyal to your deity/cause isn't a big deal.

Once again, I recommend looking at the OOTS Miko story, tragedy, falldown and discussion threads. During an adventuring career of lvl 1-20, if religious challenges NEVER come up for a cleric or paladin, the DM is doing something wrong. It may be that way in a PC game, but not in paper&pen.

Look, you seem to admit that the cleric has drawbacks, but you hardly see it realistic that they ever apply. I tried to outline that in average play, they should apply. I remember in another thread (back when I was still lurking the forum) you actually deplored the way the rules appear to put down the fighter, since you like that class a lot. And that you feel railroaded by the rules into playing a zilla type caster because that is what the rules seem to favour.
However, I guess it is all because your DM experience is that they do not care about the cleric drawbacks. And this is as wrong as, say, not thinking anything about a monk with a vow of povery feat having a great time making money in some merchant house because the adventure offers great reward for such a tactics.

- Giacomo

its_all_ogre
2007-03-12, 07:00 AM
but, by your opinion, the dominated fighter is not a threat to the cleric so why would the balor do this?
plus the dominated fighter is now safer than the cleric, for a while, the balor will not be attacking him after all!(you may laugh but a pc of mine survived because he was dominated!)
i am in agreement that full casters are more powerful than non casters overall....however ignoring their weaknesses makes this situation appear worse than it is, which seems to be a hobby of most dms(or players?)

Wehrkind
2007-03-12, 07:06 AM
Or fire storm or teleport/entangle the full caster. Your point being?
His point was "Dominate/Blasphemy = instant win. Firestorm doesn't, then the cleric casts Holy Word and instantly wins. (Or some other combination of winning effects along the lines of "You are not like me. Eat my God's foot."

Btw, the Balor can never counter Holy Word, considering they can't cast it. Most likely most of the best spells againt them are almost completely uncastable by them as they are the wrong alignment.

Also, you are way over emphasizing how much cleric's religious responsibilities really affect them in game. They are not paladins with an extremely strict code (or even paladins with a not so strict code.) They don't even have to be a particular alignment. They just have to avoid doing anything to really irk their god to keep their spells. While I agree this can and probably should come up at some point, it is not an occurance on par with paladins falling. There is a whole thread or 3 about paladins and their code and falling, and essentially it came down to "Without DM help, they may well do so once a week." There is no reason however why a cleric would maintain his alignment and yet irk his god to the point of losing abilities. The rules don't even have examples of what sorts of acts would be necesary to do so, though one would presume desecration of his holy sites or relics, or perhaps another similarly aligned/allied god. Really you are over playing that facet, and it is wholly irrelevant to the subject of "X vs Balor" anyway. Unless your cleric worships the God of Balors and Similar Things Vulnerable to Cold Iron.

Personally, my cleric worships Stabiclese, God of Buffing Up and Whacking Things. Guess what he favors.

Edit: The reason Dominate is the win is that the Balor either tells the fighter to stab his buddies, or just as easy "Get naked and dance around in the corner over there, far from your gear" followed by "Come give me a big, burny hug" when the Balor is done fighting whatever else there is.

its_all_ogre
2007-03-12, 07:15 AM
The reason Dominate is the win is that the Balor either tells the fighter to stab his buddies, or just as easy "Get naked and dance around in the corner over there, far from your gear" followed by "Come give me a big, burny hug" when the Balor is done fighting whatever else there is.

but as you are all arguing that the fighter is useless anyway why is him defecting such a worry?

Rigeld2
2007-03-12, 07:31 AM
but as you are all arguing that the fighter is useless anyway why is him defecting such a worry?
Because the party cleric cant Holy Word the fighter into submission.

its_all_ogre
2007-03-12, 07:38 AM
ah. so what you are saying is 'the fighter is useless, who would ever want to play one...unless he is dominated by an enemy, whereupon he is dangerous'

is that it?

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-12, 07:46 AM
Hi, welcome to the discussion!

@its_all_ogre: if the comparison is between which class would fare better/worse in combat vs balor, a fighter losing a save vs dominate and a cleric being able to overcome other attacks mean the cleric would be better fit for such an encounter. Of course, I would argue that both are broadly balanced, something many others oppose...:smallbiggrin:


His point was "Dominate/Blasphemy = instant win. Firestorm doesn't, then the cleric casts Holy Word and instantly wins. (Or some other combination of winning effects along the lines of "You are not like me. Eat my God's foot.".

It has been written already up there that the holy word does not stop the balor from using its spell-like abilities even when paralysed. So it's not a "instantly wins". For that, the cleric has to put massively more effort into it as greenknight has shown further up, and better hope the balor has no allies around but is alone. One part of the massive effort is to get within 40ft of the balor without it noticing it and countering the approach already at wider range (quickened telekinesis etc.). This can be used with the time stop and the trickery domain. Rigeld2 has announced to post a cleric build able to do that without trickery domain. I'm looking forward to see that.



Btw, the Balor can never counter Holy Word, considering they can't cast it. Most likely most of the best spells againt them are almost completely uncastable by them as they are the wrong alignment.


Yep, holy word cannot be countered except by a greater dispel magic (with a readied action to boost, and vs a beads of karma cleric at only 25% chance). So the best tactics of a balor is not to let such a cleric get within 40 ft of it. In which case I have to admit my previous idea of a teleport/melee/whip attack is not good in that case.



Also, you are way over emphasizing how much cleric's religious responsibilities really affect them in game. They are not paladins with an extremely strict code (or even paladins with a not so strict code.) They don't even have to be a particular alignment.


True, but once an alignment is chosen they have to stick to it like a paladin to his lawful goodness. That may be even harder to play in some instances.



They just have to avoid doing anything to really irk their god to keep their spells. While I agree this can and probably should come up at some point, it is not an occurance on par with paladins falling.


Now let us have a look at the polythestic Pantheons that the DD deities are based on. Do Greek gods look like the epitome of fairness to you? (especially non-lawful good-deities!). Such gods are not considered even omniscient or omnipotent, so they COULD be even tricked by a bad turn of events/other powerful gods that their loyal follower has done something wrong.



There is a whole thread or 3 about paladins and their code and falling, and essentially it came down to "Without DM help, they may well do so once a week." There is no reason however why a cleric would maintain his alignment and yet irk his god to the point of losing abilities.


The cleric has to follow the alignment AND the faith (principles if there is no deity). If he or she deviates from either, good-bye to spellcasting and turn undead powers. "Irking" is of course not "grossly violating". Most deities (and DMs) will consider a warning for some "irking" appropriate. This could take the form of partial spell reduction, special additional prayers, tithing own treasure (say goodbye to equipment guidelines for the clerics!) to the building of temples etc.
In a Dragonlance campaign once a cleric of Mishakal (a lawful good goddess of healing) in my group used the HOLY staff of Mishakal to CAUSE critical wounds on my fighter character to "teach him a lesson" because that fighter appeared to have behaved in a blasphemous way. Now the DM, as seems to be the case for many DMs here, let that happen without any consequences for the cleric character, although 1) it was not a lawful good act and 2) it was completely contrary to the faith of the cleric.



The rules don't even have examples of what sorts of acts would be necesary to do so,


The atonement spell is explicity stated in the "ex-clerics"-section of the SRD.



though one would presume desecration of his holy sites or relics, or perhaps another similarly aligned/allied god. Really you are over playing that facet, and it is wholly irrelevant to the subject of "X vs Balor" anyway. Unless your cleric worships the God of Balors and Similar Things Vulnerable to Cold Iron.


If the cleric is of a non-good deity, it is not entirely clear whether such a cleric would be allowed by his or her church and/or faith to fight the balor (and risk the church's resources and his own life doing that). ONLY if it promotes the faith of the deity/principles. That is not "overplaying", it is in the rules.



Personally, my cleric worships Stabiclese, God of Buffing Up and Whacking Things. Guess what he favors.


Nice one :smallwink: . This sounds like the war domain, but not the trickery domain needed so far for the cleric to get a 1.5-round kill vs a balor like the fighter.



Edit: The reason Dominate is the win is that the Balor either tells the fighter to stab his buddies, or just as easy "Get naked and dance around in the corner over there, far from your gear" followed by "Come give me a big, burny hug" when the Balor is done fighting whatever else there is.


Yes, IF the dominate works. Now the above revised fighter build on the 5th thread page saves with a +19 non-buffed (which is likely, he may even have the re-roll left from the luck blade), +21 if an elf or with morale buff potion beforehand, +23/25 if human/elf with a bard lvl 20 fellow around, +26/28 if a Protection from spells has been cast as well, this balor tactis seems not a good idea. In particular if the balor sees a powerful cleric accompanying the fighter it will have to assume direct spell attacks are not a good idea vs the fighter, shutting down almost all of its attack options against the fighter.

- Giacomo

Charity
2007-03-12, 07:47 AM
Mr Ogre/devils advocate

I thought the choice was either fighter or cleric verses the demon, not which one of the two would survive a combat where they were both involved.
The fighter surviving by dint of being benith the contempt of the enemy is hardly a major selling point, if you go down that road you might as well play a monk/bard. (would add cheeky smillie here but can't be bothered)

Greendevilman
2007-03-12, 08:44 AM
OK, I realised my misunderstanding after I posted, sorry.
However, let us consider two balors facing a fighter (buffed a little) and a cleric (big buffs, recognizable also because he's large size now).
What would they do?
One could greater dispel the cleric, getting rid of around 25% of of the buffs, but those may be the big ones (BAB +5 etc...). That would mean he trades one once/round ability for several spells the cleric has wasted. Balor teleports away, returns before cleric can relearn (repeats if cleric is buffed again). Or, it could target the fighter with a dominate (which the fighter also likely saves), trying to make use of his or her low save. Or target both with a fire storm (to make use of their likely low REF saves).
The point is: both have weaknesses which a balor can exploit. A balor dominating a fighter is a fearsome opponent. A balor dispelling the clerics buffs and then getting it into melee is a fearsome opponent. As I hope I have shown with my fighter, that fighter can put up quite considerable defenses to many magic attacks (including touch attacks of rays) as well.

I just had to interject here. You're arguing nonsense here. Any fighter facing down two Balors is going to be hollowed out and used as a demonic condom. Why does the fighter save vs. dominate frequently? He has a poor will save and if the Balor can run away from the Cleric and use harassing tactics he can sure as **** do it to a Fighter. The Fighter has no recourse, as the Balor can just use his flight and spam his spells at the fighter. Oh the Fighter has magical items granting flight? Cute, but the much vaunted at will greater dispel magic will shut off those items with ease, whereas dispeling the Cleric's spells is by no means assured.

Meanwhile the Cleric can, oh I don't know, cast Dimensional Anchor to prevent the thing from getting away any faster than its flight speed? And actually has ways of resisting the targeted dispels. And can give himself SR or spell immunity if he knows whats coming. And has other options beyond hoping to charge and hit an opponent in melee. Like using caster level boosts + Holy Word to instantly win. Or summoning/gating in monsters to help out. A Solar's help costs you 1000xp, but if we're talking about a ludicrious "fight a Balor alone in an open field" scenario its a small price to pay to avoid being eaten. Since the Cleric can you know, actually win that fight, even if it costs him.

Basically there is no way the fighter comes out ahead here unless you assume that fighters project fields around themselves that makes all opponents behave in a completely idiotic fashion.




But they DO feature:
- Anti-Magic Field is only a 6th level spell.
- you only need several encounters per day to get very limited in your spell selection of your DM does not forget that relearning the spells is NOT automatic, but needs in-game action which can easily be disturbed
- likewise, healing greatly helps all, but does not bring back spells.
- heck, the truly powerful spells are not that many so they could get countered if an opponent knows to cast the same spell (while letting his lower minions rush the party with a shutdown cleric).


-Anti-magic field affects an incredibly tiny area (seriously, read the spell) and anything that benefits from fighting under one is going to seriously ****kick a PC fighter. This is because it will likely be large, have massive stats and nasty natural attacks that the fighter can't compete with without his equipment. Anything that the fighter would be a reasonable match for isn't going to be overwhelmingly superior to a Cleric. It is a legitimate problem for Clerics however, but not exactly a common one and one that can certainly be surmounted with a bit of forethought/creativity. Worst case the Cleric can just wait till the spell ends- its 10/mins a level, anything capable of casting it on itself (let alone persisting it) isn't likely to be that scary in melee, and Antimagic Torc for example only works for 110 minutes.

-Relearning spells cannot be reasonably interrupted, anything that would prevent you from preparing them just means you can delay prayer until the crisis is over. Plus this is akin to saying that Fighters sucks because you can have a thief steal most of their gear while they're asleep, while divine spellcasters still retain a large degree of functionality. You're the DM, you can arrange things such that almost any class feature is either non- or only partially functional. Doesn't mean its likely to come up, and in my experience sundering monsters are a lot more common than enemies who try to interrupt your daily spell preparation (which doesn't work anyway!).

-I don't know what you're trying to say here. Due to the way damage works in D&D the fighter can only go multiple encounters if he's getting heals cast on him. In *VERY FEW* scenarios that hose spellcasters is the Fighter going to get enough healing to be able to engage in more than one or two fights.

-To have a decent chance of counterspelling the Cleric the person opposing him must be of approximately equal power. This means that at worst the Cleric is forcing your opposition to waste their actions to make 1 for 1 trades of extremely potent spells rather than casting those spells. What would the alternative be here? The fighter charging the minions while the enemy caster goes to town with high level spells?



Or fire storm or teleport/entangle the full caster. Your point being?


Entangle is not nearly as bad as being dominated. The caster can actually stop the teleporting. The caster can prevent the energy damage, and the fighter has no benefits over a caster with good HP when he's getting slammed by direct damage like firestorm. Basically fighters are vulnerable to pretty much everything divine casters are and more. Arcane casters still have to deal with fort saves, but they have ways around that if they're clever and they get sweet bonuses like being able to kill people inside AMF fields.




Nope. The cleric can overcome many combat vulnerabilities of the fighter with spells, but exactly those spells are again vulnerable to 1) dispels and 2) refreshing ability. Additionally, the cleric has the drawbacks (I already mentioned them elsewhere, but here they are again) of
- being part of a religious organisation which has advantages (resources) as well as disadvantages (duties)
- his class abilities are threatened by misconduct. The fighter's feats are not.
- if the cleric worships a deity, that is an npc-like being run by the DM and has the same drawbacks (i.e. not an automaton at the PC's disposal) as a chohort or whatever. The class abilities of the cleric are entirely dependent on that deity.
Overall, both classes strengths and vulnerabilities over lvl 1-20 make them balanced in my eyes.

-Dispels take actions to perform and are really no more of a vulnerability than sunders. And they're probably easier to resist than sunders as well. They can do bad things to you for sure, but its usually not the end of the world. And since the fighter is so magic gear dependant, he's actually about as vulnerable because his gear usually has low caster level.
-Clerics by no means have to be part of a religious organization.
-Clerics generally get to pick which god they serve. Its pretty hard to violate the guiding philosophy of a chaos god for example. Really, unless a player is chaotic stupid or just chose a diety/abstract principle that doesn't mesh with the philosophy and playstyle they're using they shouldn't be in much danger.
-Clerics don't really have direct contact with their diety. This gets dangerously close to house rule territory because while I doubt Pelor is granting Animate Dead on a regular basis, as long as its not opposed to the alignment of the god there is really no reason for them not to grant the spell.
-You see a class that needs to be reigned in by highly subjective and easily skirted roleplaying restrictions to not completely dominate another class that it can emulate perfectly in all but a few limited and rare scenarios while retaining its own fabulous abilities as being perfectly balanced?




Once again, I recommend looking at the OOTS Miko story, tragedy, falldown and discussion threads. During an adventuring career of lvl 1-20, if religious challenges NEVER come up for a cleric or paladin, the DM is doing something wrong. It may be that way in a PC game, but not in paper&pen.


Paladins have a much stricter and more explicit code then Clerics do, especially given that you can pick your own god or guiding moral philosophy. Some gods actively encourage you to steal and kill for personal gain. Miko lost her powers because she acted grossly out of alignment/code of conduct by killing HER INNOCENT LIEGE LORD IN A FIT OF PIQUE. If you examine how she acts before she loses her powers she gets away with plenty, and thats as a Paladin, not for example a chaotic neutral cleric of a god of trickery, deception and magic. So go ahead and test their commitment to their god, but since they can pick a god whose general approach to the world suits them it will only catch up to them if either they didn't really know what they wanted or you're purposefully trying to screw them. And DM instigated alignment dickery is looked upon poorly by most D&D players for good reason.



Look, you seem to admit that the cleric has drawbacks, but you hardly see it realistic that they ever apply. I tried to outline that in average play, they should apply. I remember in another thread (back when I was still lurking the forum) you actually deplored the way the rules appear to put down the fighter, since you like that class a lot. And that you feel railroaded by the rules into playing a zilla type caster because that is what the rules seem to favour.
However, I guess it is all because your DM experience is that they do not care about the cleric drawbacks. And this is as wrong as, say, not thinking anything about a monk with a vow of povery feat having a great time making money in some merchant house because the adventure offers great reward for such a tactics.

- Giacomo


This is because the restrictions, though real are very easy to circumvent and are highly dependent on personal DM interpretation and bias. By RAW I can play a Cleric of the abstract principle of deception and personal gain, which I worship by enriching myself through killing people and taking their stuff. Exactly how likely is it that I'll have a severe test of my faith in the adventure unless the DM is explicitly gunning for me? And how is that assumption different from the DM putting a spike chain specialized fighter up against tons of sundering opponents and then making spiked chains totally impossible to find/make. So roleplaying restrictions may matter a ton in individual campaigns, but the classes (Clerics and Drudis) are set up in such a way as to make it entirely possible to avoid real challenges to your faith unless the DM sets up a typical "screw the paladin with my clever catch-22 involving orc babies" type scenario, and more restrictive codes of conduct are campaign/gameworld/DM specific. This makes them extremely hard to talk about, especially when there is nothing in the rules telling you to run divine casters in any particular way. In any case, because of the inherent differences in RP restrictions from game to game with so little guidance they don't act as any sort of power barrier in the abstract. And in my experience they don't act as much of a power barrier in the concrete either unless the DM is restricting possible dieties/abstract ideals to a narrow range with very specific codes of conduct in mind. Which is, you know, house rules.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-12, 08:54 AM
Or he could just dedicate himself to his own set of principals and never have to change them at all, or change them at his own whim and still remain in the right.

Just noticed this one. ZekeArgo makes a good point here, which seems also a quite widespread opinion. There DOES seem to be a notion that a deity could be a nuisance for a power cleric :smallsmile: , which would translate into accepting a cleric has drawbacks.

Now this principles thing...I read again in the SRD and come across a funny thing. Let's quote the SRD 3.5 on cleric religion and deities first (bold is my emphasis):

"Deity, Domains, and Domain Spells: A cleric’s deity influences his alignment, what magic he can perform, his values, and how others see him. A cleric chooses two domains from among those belonging to his deity. A cleric can select an alignment domain (Chaos, Evil, Good, or Law) only if his alignment matches that domain.
If a cleric is not devoted to a particular deity, he still selects two domains to represent his spiritual inclinations and abilities. The restriction on alignment domains still applies.

So this is what the rules mean: a cleric needs not a have a particular deity, but in some cases may worship an entire pantheon (like Miko does in OOTS). This is what confused me all along: why would any cleric worship a deity at all if he could simply found his or her own religion and get instant power? Well, the answer is simple: he or she cannot do that. Divine magic is exactly that: divine, and needs a divine source. There are no abstract divine concepts out there in the DD universe that grant spells without caring.
It even becomes clearer when reading the ex-clerics and atonement spell sections, since they only refer to a deity's anger and wrath. It is obviously not meant that there exists a cleric without one/or several he or she worships.

Interestingly, the atonement spell has in some cases heavier requirements for restoring clerics (AND druids, btw!) to their powers than for paladins: 1) 500 XP to be spent by the caster and 2) the caster has to have the same faith as the offending cleric.

Just as a thought in between the discussions...

- Giacomo

Greendevilman
2007-03-12, 09:36 AM
True, but once an alignment is chosen they have to stick to it like a paladin to his lawful goodness. That may be even harder to play in some instances.

Blatantly untrue. Paladins have a much more restrictive code of conduct and must remain lawful good at all times and never commit acts that deviate from that. Clerics need to remain within one step of their deity's alignment at all times, but can occasionally act against alignment (so long as it doesn't "grossly violate the code of conduct" required by his god/principle) without serious consequence.



The cleric has to follow the alignment AND the faith (principles if there is no deity). If he or she deviates from either, good-bye to spellcasting and turn undead powers. "Irking" is of course not "grossly violating". Most deities (and DMs) will consider a warning for some "irking" appropriate. This could take the form of partial spell reduction, special additional prayers, tithing own treasure (say goodbye to equipment guidelines for the clerics!) to the building of temples etc.
In a Dragonlance campaign once a cleric of Mishakal (a lawful good goddess of healing) in my group used the HOLY staff of Mishakal to CAUSE critical wounds on my fighter character to "teach him a lesson" because that fighter appeared to have behaved in a blasphemous way. Now the DM, as seems to be the case for many DMs here, let that happen without any consequences for the cleric character, although 1) it was not a lawful good act and 2) it was completely contrary to the faith of the cleric.


I had a bitingly sarcastic response to this that got lost. But you're talking about DM calls/houserules that are mentioned nowhere in the rulebook. Nobody gives a damn about how you play at your table, but understand that other DMs see and rule things differently than your group might. And those DMs are equally (or MORE) supported by the actual rules of the game. And if we're going to start talking campaign specific world examples then you need look no further than Eberron to see a setting where you can be whatever alignment you damn well please and still get granted powers. Obviously core D&D is more restrictive than that, but theres a very good case to be made that the gods are much less interested in what you're up to on a day to day basis than you assume, and that so long as you remain generally aligned with your gods principles and don't do anything to blatantly piss off your god (for example set your church on fire- unless maybe its a Chaos of Fire god) you're good to go. Not saying that your way of playing isn't valid and might not even be better, but it has nothing to do with the actual rules and you need to understand that not all (or even most) campaigns will share your assumptions.



The atonement spell is explicity stated in the "ex-clerics"-section of the SRD.


I rather think he meant there was no guidance on what sort of acts will sufficiently piss off your god that he'll take away your magic powers. The Atonement spell gives no help whatsoever in making that determination.




If the cleric is of a non-good deity, it is not entirely clear whether such a cleric would be allowed by his or her church and/or faith to fight the balor (and risk the church's resources and his own life doing that). ONLY if it promotes the faith of the deity/principles. That is not "overplaying", it is in the rules.


No. This isn't mentioned anywhere in the goddamn rules and you should know better. I'll argue this out if I have to, but I suggest you drop this line of argument because it won't go anywhere productive.



Nice one :smallwink: . This sounds like the war domain, but not the trickery domain needed so far for the cleric to get a 1.5-round kill vs a balor like the fighter.


:sigh:



Yes, IF the dominate works. Now the above revised fighter build on the 5th thread page saves with a +19 non-buffed (which is likely, he may even have the re-roll left from the luck blade), +21 if an elf or with morale buff potion beforehand, +23/25 if human/elf with a bard lvl 20 fellow around, +26/28 if a Protection from spells has been cast as well, this balor tactis seems not a good idea. In particular if the balor sees a powerful cleric accompanying the fighter it will have to assume direct spell attacks are not a good idea vs the fighter, shutting down almost all of its attack options against the fighter.

- Giacomo

Unbuffed the fighter fails the save 40% of the time. He always fails on a one. Since if the Balor gets even one action before dying the fighter is not getting anywhere near it without spellcaster support this isn't really such a bad tactic. All the buffed save figures are saying is that with extensive party support from other casters and great gear the fighter can achieve decent saves. This isn't a bad thing, but its nothing the Cleric couldn't both do and top through his own efforts/spells that give SR/Turning/Immunity.

Marius
2007-03-12, 09:44 AM
Just noticed this one. ZekeArgo makes a good point here, which seems also a quite widespread opinion. There DOES seem to be a notion that a deity could be a nuisance for a power cleric :smallsmile: , which would translate into accepting a cleric has drawbacks.

Now this principles thing...I read again in the SRD and come across a funny thing. Let's quote the SRD 3.5 on cleric religion and deities first (bold is my emphasis):

"Deity, Domains, and Domain Spells: A cleric’s deity influences his alignment, what magic he can perform, his values, and how others see him. A cleric chooses two domains from among those belonging to his deity. A cleric can select an alignment domain (Chaos, Evil, Good, or Law) only if his alignment matches that domain.
If a cleric is not devoted to a particular deity, he still selects two domains to represent his spiritual inclinations and abilities. The restriction on alignment domains still applies.

So this is what the rules mean: a cleric needs not a have a particular deity, but in some cases may worship an entire pantheon (like Miko does in OOTS). This is what confused me all along: why would any cleric worship a deity at all if he could simply found his or her own religion and get instant power? Well, the answer is simple: he or she cannot do that. Divine magic is exactly that: divine, and needs a divine source. There are no abstract divine concepts out there in the DD universe that grant spells without caring.

It even becomes clearer when reading the ex-clerics and atonement spell sections, since they only refer to a deity's anger and wrath. It is obviously not meant that there exists a cleric without one/or several he or she worships.

Interestingly, the atonement spell has in some cases heavier requirements for restoring clerics (AND druids, btw!) to their powers than for paladins: 1) 500 XP to be spent by the caster and 2) the caster has to have the same faith as the offending cleric.

Just as a thought in between the discussions...

- Giacomo

They tap into the most basic energies of the universe, the same energies that power the gods themselves, the energies of the planes, of people faiths, it doesn't matter, it's just fluff, but the mechanic is there and they can choose to worship whatever they want, even ideas or philosophys.

Greendevilman
2007-03-12, 09:47 AM
Just noticed this one. ZekeArgo makes a good point here, which seems also a quite widespread opinion. There DOES seem to be a notion that a deity could be a nuisance for a power cleric :smallsmile: , which would translate into accepting a cleric has drawbacks.

Now this principles thing...I read again in the SRD and come across a funny thing. Let's quote the SRD 3.5 on cleric religion and deities first (bold is my emphasis):

"Deity, Domains, and Domain Spells: A cleric’s deity influences his alignment, what magic he can perform, his values, and how others see him. A cleric chooses two domains from among those belonging to his deity. A cleric can select an alignment domain (Chaos, Evil, Good, or Law) only if his alignment matches that domain.
If a cleric is not devoted to a particular deity, he still selects two domains to represent his spiritual inclinations and abilities. The restriction on alignment domains still applies.

So this is what the rules mean: a cleric needs not a have a particular deity, but in some cases may worship an entire pantheon (like Miko does in OOTS). This is what confused me all along: why would any cleric worship a deity at all if he could simply found his or her own religion and get instant power? Well, the answer is simple: he or she cannot do that. Divine magic is exactly that: divine, and needs a divine source. There are no abstract divine concepts out there in the DD universe that grant spells without caring.
It even becomes clearer when reading the ex-clerics and atonement spell sections, since they only refer to a deity's anger and wrath. It is obviously not meant that there exists a cleric without one/or several he or she worships.

Interestingly, the atonement spell has in some cases heavier requirements for restoring clerics (AND druids, btw!) to their powers than for paladins: 1) 500 XP to be spent by the caster and 2) the caster has to have the same faith as the offending cleric.

Just as a thought in between the discussions...

- Giacomo

Thats cool and all but you might do better to go read the actual Cleric class description, especially the neat little part on top where it talks about this "religion" thing:



Some clerics devote themselves not to a god but to a cause or source of divine power. These individuals wield magic the way clerics devoted to individual gods do, but they are not associated with any religious institution or particular practice of worship. A cleric devoted to good and law, for example, may be on friendly terms with the clerics of lawful and good deities and may extol the virtues of a good and lawful life, but he is not a functionary of a church hierarchy.


So uh, you're pretty blatantly wrong. Better luck next time, champ. Though there indeed isn't anything stopping a cleric from worshipping a pantheon instead of an individual god.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-12, 09:52 AM
I just had to interject here.


OK, here we go, another one who does not believe fighters and clerics (among other full casters) are broadly balanced. Welcome to the thread! Hope to provide some new points for you here.



You're arguing nonsense here. Any fighter facing down two Balors is going to be hollowed out and used as a demonic condom. Why does the fighter save vs. dominate frequently? He has a poor will save and if the Balor can run away from the Cleric and use harassing tactics he can sure as **** do it to a Fighter. The Fighter has no recourse, as the Balor can just use his flight and spam his spells at the fighter. Oh the Fighter has magical items granting flight? Cute, but the much vaunted at will greater dispel magic will shut off those items with ease, whereas dispeling the Cleric's spells is by no means assured.


Pls check the above revised fighter and the greenknight's cleric build. They are both able to kill a balor in 1.5 rounds. If a balor goes first, they are probably both toast as well (still working on the details here).
A sane fighter at such a high level will devote part of his massive feats to excel at ranged combat, so fly is not needed. Dispelling magic items in high-level play is likely not a good idea, since it will target only one at a time, while 9th level spells and 300 damage fly around your ears at that point in a round.



Meanwhile the Cleric can, oh I don't know, cast Dimensional Anchor to prevent the thing from getting away any faster than its flight speed? And actually has ways of resisting the targeted dispels. And can give himself SR or spell immunity if he knows whats coming. And has other options beyond hoping to charge and hit an opponent in melee. Like using caster level boosts + Holy Word to instantly win. Or summoning/gating in monsters to help out. A Solar's help costs you 1000xp, but if we're talking about a ludicrious "fight a Balor alone in an open field" scenario its a small price to pay to avoid being eaten. Since the Cleric can you know, actually win that fight, even if it costs him.


The cleric can win it, the fighter can as well. I admitted before that out of combat, the cleric is more powerful. But this is balanced by the fighter being way more powerful in combat at low levels, AND the cleric drawbacks that I mentioned.



Basically there is no way the fighter comes out ahead here unless you assume that fighters project fields around themselves that makes all opponents behave in a completely idiotic fashion.


Nope. The scenario I outlined was not idiotic, nor was it far-fetched. Check the posts above.



-Anti-magic field affects an incredibly tiny area (seriously, read the spell) and anything that benefits from fighting under one is going to seriously ****kick a PC fighter. This is because it will likely be large, have massive stats and nasty natural attacks that the fighter can't compete with without his equipment. Anything that the fighter would be a reasonable match for isn't going to be overwhelmingly superior to a Cleric. It is a legitimate problem for Clerics however, but not exactly a common one and one that can certainly be surmounted with a bit of forethought/creativity. Worst case the Cleric can just wait till the spell ends- its 10/mins a level, anything capable of casting it on itself (let alone persisting it) isn't likely to be that scary in melee, and Antimagic Torc for example only works for 110 minutes.


I admit that anti-magic field is likely only a tactics for monsters like dragons able to have non-magic power at their disposal, or gish opponents. The other drawbacks/magic vulnerabilities are way more important.



-Relearning spells cannot be reasonably interrupted, anything that would prevent you from preparing them just means you can delay prayer until the crisis is over. Plus this is akin to saying that Fighters sucks because you can have a thief steal most of their gear while they're asleep, while divine spellcasters still retain a large degree of functionality. You're the DM, you can arrange things such that almost any class feature is either non- or only partially functional. Doesn't mean its likely to come up, and in my experience sundering monsters are a lot more common than enemies who try to interrupt your daily spell preparation (which doesn't work anyway!).


Sigh. Again. The cleric needs to pray for an hour uninterrupted. If he gets interrupted, he needs to resume at the earliest opportunitiy again. If that gets interrupted again, he has to wait until the next day. In high-level play this should happen quite often. It may even not be due to direct enemy intervention, but enemies threatening something constantly that the cleric holds dear. Vulnerability in sleep applies to both caster AND fighter. So the fighter remains less vulnerable in total. Meaning the DM will on average have less situations in his campaign that the fighter will be vulnerable in regenerating hps than the cleric vulnerable in regenerating hps AND spells.



-I don't know what you're trying to say here. Due to the way damage works in D&D the fighter can only go multiple encounters if he's getting heals cast on him. In *VERY FEW* scenarios that hose spellcasters is the Fighter going to get enough healing to be able to engage in more than one or two fights.


Er...why should the fighter take more damage than the cleric during a day? Only if he fills some sort of tank role. If they both try to fight ranged (which is a superior tactics for all classes), then they should both have the same risk of suffering damage from surprises etc. Now Greenknight's above cleric has better defenses WHEN BUFFED. This may not always be the case, is vulnerable to anti-magic tactics in general, AND comes at the price of drawbacks.



-To have a decent chance of counterspelling the Cleric the person opposing him must be of approximately equal power. This means that at worst the Cleric is forcing your opposition to waste their actions to make 1 for 1 trades of extremely potent spells rather than casting those spells. What would the alternative be here? The fighter charging the minions while the enemy caster goes to town with high level spells?


A fighter needs to charge nothing with a good bow plus feats. But I even outlined for the archer-heavy build up there that he COULD charge the balor and still kill it in 1.5 rounds. Clerics casting a lot of spells to buff instead of saving them for "going to town" for other things (research etc.) will be vulnerable to antimagic counterattacks. A simple greater dispel can deteriorte the ratio of 1:1 to 1 dispel per 2 buffs of the cleric or worse. Who is ahead then?



Entangle is not nearly as bad as being dominated. The caster can actually stop the teleporting. The caster can prevent the energy damage, and the fighter has no benefits over a caster with good HP when he's getting slammed by direct damage like firestorm. Basically fighters are vulnerable to pretty much everything divine casters are and more. Arcane casters still have to deal with fort saves, but they have ways around that if they're clever and they get sweet bonuses like being able to kill people inside AMF fields.


Again, check the above posts and also what I said time and again: full casters have more defenses, are more poweful outside of combat, but this comes at a price and vulnerability the fighter does not have.



-Dispels take actions to perform and are really no more of a vulnerability than sunders. And they're probably easier to resist than sunders as well. They can do bad things to you for sure, but its usually not the end of the world. And since the fighter is so magic gear dependant, he's actually about as vulnerable because his gear usually has low caster level.


Again, targeting gear with antimatic is not a great strategy. Sunder is quite good, but the above fighter can quickdraw his other weapon for another massive counterattack, or use stunning fist or whatever. Fighters make more use out of equipment than casters already able to do most of the stuff that equipment does. So their marginal utility out of equipment is much lower than for the fighter.
Spells of the caster or cleric dispelled means a depletion of resources until that caster can refresh the spells again. Not an automatic thing for clerics.



-Clerics by no means have to be part of a religious organization.

Ah, you are right, just checked the PHB descriptive texts. The PHB also states that it is possible for clerics to follow abstract concepts, so my in-between post needs reconsidering in that aspect, too. Hmmm. It's not in the SRD, though, so a cleric should at least follow a deity, otherwise the restriction passages do not make sense.


-Clerics generally get to pick which god they serve. Its pretty hard to violate the guiding philosophy of a chaos god for example. Really, unless a player is chaotic stupid or just chose a diety/abstract principle that doesn't mesh with the philosophy and playstyle they're using they shouldn't be in much danger.


Oh, it is very easy to violate the guiding philosophy of a chaos god. If the cleric shows regular patterns in any things, it becomes already blurry. It is also extremely difficult for such a cleric to be a member of a group (which is a lawful effort).



-Clerics don't really have direct contact with their diety. This gets dangerously close to house rule territory because while I doubt Pelor is granting Animate Dead on a regular basis, as long as its not opposed to the alignment of the god there is really no reason for them not to grant the spell.


WHAT? You are joking, of course. Animate Dead is a negative energy spell, directly opposed to the Pelor faith. Not possible. The cleric would not violate the belief, he would not even receive that spell.



-You see a class that needs to be reigned in by highly subjective and easily skirted roleplaying restrictions to not completely dominate another class that it can emulate perfectly in all but a few limited and rare scenarios while retaining its own fabulous abilities as being perfectly balanced?


This is where we seem to differ. The restrictions in the SRD I see as very strong, similar to a paladin (even stronger, if one reads the atonment spell). The problem is that the class builds its whole power on already a highly subjective aspect: a deity and belief. And it gets quite tricky for the DM and the player to agree on what that means. But this by no means should result in the DM lazily abandoning the idea of the deity/ethics of the character not binding him very strictly, more strictly than for the fighter at any rate, since that class has no entry "ex-fighters" in the rules.



Paladins have a much stricter and more explicit code then Clerics do, especially given that you can pick your own god or guiding moral philosophy. Some gods actively encourage you to steal and kill for personal gain. Miko lost her powers because she acted grossly out of alignment/code of conduct by killing HER INNOCENT LIEGE LORD IN A FIT OF PIQUE. If you examine how she acts before she loses her powers she gets away with plenty, and thats as a Paladin, not for example a chaotic neutral cleric of a god of trickery, deception and magic. So go ahead and test their commitment to their god, but since they can pick a god whose general approach to the world suits them it will only catch up to them if either they didn't really know what they wanted or you're purposefully trying to screw them. And DM instigated alignment dickery is looked upon poorly by most D&D players for good reason.


Now I do not wish to pull a Miko discussion into here (just made reference to it, let it be open for now whether I think whether that situation was fair or unfair). Now choosing a religion which suits the playing style best, is OK and should minimise transgressions, but likewise is not without drawbacks as I shall try to explain after your next remark.



This is because the restrictions, though real are very easy to circumvent and are highly dependent on personal DM interpretation and bias. By RAW I can play a Cleric of the abstract principle of deception and personal gain, which I worship by enriching myself through killing people and taking their stuff. Exactly how likely is it that I'll have a severe test of my faith in the adventure unless the DM is explicitly gunning for me?


You see, with such a cleric, who needs DMs?:smallcool: Seriously, in such a campaign a DM may wholeheartedly tell you that your deity/belief is strictly followed and congratulations! However, your fellow PCs, as well as many npcs will not react favourably. Read: such a cleric has many more enemies than the fighter of the same alignment, since the cleric needs to stick to it all the time, while the fighter can really simply switch on and off his behaviour without consequences. For non-divine casters, alignment is a playing GUIDEline. For divine casters, it is their daily milk.



And how is that assumption different from the DM putting a spike chain specialized fighter up against tons of sundering opponents and then making spiked chains totally impossible to find/make.


You see, it is vastly different. Why would the fighter take a spiked chain route? Because this exists in the campaign, though it may be rare. Now if the fighter loses that weapon/gets it sundered, he can easily with his great many feats use a different tactics. My example fighter excelled at three combat styles: ranged, melee with weapons, melee unarmed. Over time, the fighter can be expected to get back to the average treasure level, or he would be treated grossly unfair by the DM.
Now, the major difference which you and others do not seem to get is that the equipment is vulnerable to theft/dispel/sunder/destruction etc. for ALL classes. However, the class abilities of the fighter are untouchable, those of the cleric are not. It is similar to the vulnerability while sleeping, which pertains to ALL classes. However the spell recovery vulnerability only pertains to the caster classes.



So roleplaying restrictions may matter a ton in individual campaigns, but the classes (Clerics and Drudis) are set up in such a way as to make it entirely possible to avoid real challenges to your faith unless the DM sets up a typical "screw the paladin with my clever catch-22 involving orc babies" type scenario, and more restrictive codes of conduct are campaign/gameworld/DM specific.


OK, here's my challenge: tell me what kind of cleric faith you would pick to avoid getting in conflict/drawbacks in an average campaign, say the Living Greyhawk campaign. There simply is none. By choosing a particular religion, that religion now exists in that campaign (even if the DM has not thought of it before), and it comes with its restrictions. There is no free lunch, not even in DD3.5 :smallsmile:



This makes them extremely hard to talk about, especially when there is nothing in the rules telling you to run divine casters in any particular way. In any case, because of the inherent differences in RP restrictions from game to game with so little guidance they don't act as any sort of power barrier in the abstract. And in my experience they don't act as much of a power barrier in the concrete either unless the DM is restricting possible dieties/abstract ideals to a narrow range with very specific codes of conduct in mind. Which is, you know, house rules.


No, time and again, it is no house rule, it is in the SRD. If you choose to ignore restrictions and the atonement spell, then you do the houserule.

- Giacomo

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-12, 10:04 AM
Thats cool and all but you might do better to go read the actual Cleric class description, especially the neat little part on top where it talks about this "religion" thing:

INSERT PHB TEXT HERE (Giacomo commenting)

So uh, you're pretty blatantly wrong. Better luck next time, champ. Though there indeed isn't anything stopping a cleric from worshipping a pantheon instead of an individual god.


Yep, sorry, I got that wrong- realised it after my post.

So we have (with the SRD and PHB texts on atonement and "ex-clerics" section) a situation where we have a world of clerics with deity restriction ("do not deviate from my faith or else...") and church duties on the one hand and clerics which have no duties at all and can simply tap into the divine energies (like an Ur-Priest!) at will without divine intervention.

Now, this appears to me like a highly unstable situation (who now needs gods). If these clerics coexist in a campaign, there is likely some faith wars going on, with the non-bound clerics likely to perish because the gods would not want anyone getting along in divine magic without worshipping them. At best, such a character would be a heretic loner, hunted by almost all other clerics.

Still, the remaining vulnerabilities remain valid.

Although I have to say that the opposition appears quite adamant here :smallsmile:

- Giacomo

greenknight
2007-03-12, 10:17 AM
It's not the dead magic areas which are most often the problems of spellusers in high-level play. It is some monsters which can't be overcome with these tactics (golems come to mind)

As BWL stated, Golems aren't such a big deal since the Cleric and Druid can buff up. There are also spells which even a Golem can't avoid.


and, more importantly, other spellcasters (demons, dragons, full spellcasters) able to impair the major class ability of the cleric. If they are the BBEG, chances are that they have a higher caster level AND also some beads.

A 20th level character would normally be considered to be CR20 (see 3.5e DMG, p37), so if the DM has made the BBEG an appropriate challenge for the party, it shouldn't have a higher caster level except through magical items. But NPCs shouldn't get anywhere near the amount of stuff PCs get either (see 3.5e DMG, p127). That's all rough and ready, and it assumes appropriate CRs, but it should be a pretty good guide when it comes to the effective casting level of the creatures the DM throws at a party.


They would then stop the Czilla tactics dead in their tracks because of a simple greater dispel magic

In the example I provided, the Cleric's buffs had a Caster Level of 25. This means it would take a Dispel Magic check of 36+ to dispel them. Dispel Magic only gives a +10 to the check, so that won't work at all. Greater Dispel Magic could work, but only 25% of the time. And even if the Dispel Magic gets rid of something important, the Cleric can just Word of Recall out of there.


The balor does not need to concentrate if it decides to fire the telekinesis power all into a one-round effect. Such an effect can be firing up to 20 weapons onto any creature in range.

That would be the Violent Thrust form of Telekinesis? First up, that limits things to a maximum of 15 objects, with an attack bonus of +28 (assuming Charisma is the appropriate modifier), doing 4d8 damage each (I assume they are Large sized). The Cleric I outlined has a Flat Footed AC of 45, or regular AC of 54. If flat footed, the Balor would need to roll 17 or better to hit, which translates to about 3 hits doing about 14hp damage (approximately). With so few hits and such a high to hit number, I disregarded the chance of a critical. It's worse if the Cleric isn't flat footed, since then the Balor would need to roll a 20 to hit, so out of 15 attacks there's only a 75% chance (on average) of even getting one hit.

Better than nothing, I suppose, but still...


Well, for instance as an extreme case, if the spell turns you into a stone, you have 0 INT. This I would consider quite a vast personality change.

Ok. Now since it's the Cleric who is casting the spell, exactly why would the Cleric choose to become a stone?


From the SRD:
"This spell functions like polymorph, except that it changes one object or creature into another. " Big question is, what does the "except" imply?

Regular Polymorph is restricted to turning the caster into a new form which is of the same type as the subject or any of the following types: aberration, animal, dragon, fey, giant, humanoid, magical beast, monstrous humanoid, ooze, plant, or vermin. But this is Polymorph any Object, so the range of choices is greater.


The name of the barbed devil comes from a certain property of the skin...:smallsmile: So anyone touching the creature will notice something odd is going on.

Certainly, anyone actually interacting with the illusion would notice something's going on. However, the Cleric could probably avoid most physical contact fairly easily.


And all physical traits definitely change with the POA, so dogs should smell the devillish flesh.

All right, let's assume they do. How many dogs would have smelt devilish flesh before so that they could recognise it?


Now this has me a bit confused. First you say, it has no personality change, now that the cleric should radiate Lawful and Evil due to its creature type?

From the Polymorph spell:

The subject’s creature type and subtype (if any) change to match the new form.

From the Barbed Devil entry:

Medium Outsider (Evil, Extraplanar, Lawful)

That's the creature's type. Notice the Evil and Lawful subtypes?

From the Evil subtype entry:

Evil Subtype: A subtype usually applied only to outsiders native to the evil-aligned Outer Planes. Evil outsiders are also called fiends. Most creatures that have this subtype also have evil alignments; however, if their alignments change, they still retain the subtype. Any effect that depends on alignment affects a creature with this subtype as if the creature has an evil alignment, no matter what its alignment actually is. The creature also suffers effects according to its actual alignment. A creature with the evil subtype overcomes damage reduction as if its natural weapons and any weapons it wields were evil-aligned (see Damage Reduction, above).

This means that even though the creature has an Evil subtype, it doesn't have to have an Evil alignment. Also, it's weapons become Evil aligned (which becomes ironic when the weapon is Holy or Good aligned, because then the weapon is both Good and Evil aligned at the same time). The Lawful entry is similar.


Even if the rules SEEM to make a distinction of creature type and alignment, it appears a bit too cheesy to avoid uncomfortable disadvantages.

It does have a disadvantage in that spells which specifically target Evil alignments will affect this character, even though the character's alignment is Neutral. However, Nondetection plus the normally Neutral alignment means that the risk of this should be reduced.


Yep, here it is (SRD seems to be the same as PHB):
"Ex-Clerics
A cleric who grossly violates the code of conduct required by his god loses all spells and class features, except for armor and shield proficiencies and proficiency with simple weapons. He cannot thereafter gain levels as a cleric of that god until he atones (see the atonement spell description)."
It's funny how this gets overlooked so often, while a paladin always draws the flak...

Fair enough. But even then, there's no RAW reason why this Cleric would be considered in violation of Boccob's wishes.


Yep, should be true. However, if good is prevailing, the cleric will have to HELP the balor, possibly opposing his friends in an adventuring group.

Sure. But we're proposing a scenario where the Cleric's trying to fight the Balor, not help it out.


The Holy word has a radius, the cone of cold does not. So it can be argued that in the holy word case, the caster is in the middle of it (and definitely can hear his own word). So it's more like a fireball centered on the caster which also affects him or herself.

Since there aren't too many Burst type spells centred on the caster in the PHB, I'll need to go a little further afield. In Complete Divine and the Spell Compendium there's a Druid spell called Quill Blast. It's area is: "A 20' radius spread centred on you". The effect is for a number of damaging quills to emerge from the caster's body, harming those nearby. Would that also include the caster?


Hmmm. Actually I do not think this build is cheesy or a non-roleplayable power build. That is because I think it has drawbacks, like any cleric has.

Use of any of the beneficial Polymorph spells is generally considered to be cheesy. And Rebuking undead is very cheesy, since in the long term it gives the Cleric a number of free Undead servants.


The weapons would radiate evil for a long, long time.

Where does it say that? They are Evil because they are held by a creature with the Evil subtype. Once they leave that creature's possession, that's it.


A balor has...er had.

A Balor is practically CE incarnate. It's probably got underlings it intimidates (who would be glad to be rid of it), and maybe some more powerful creatures make demands of it, but I doubt it has any friends.


You are correct. But Miracle is not exactly like wish which can be used by a mortal as he or she likes. It is the highest prayer granted in non-epic play, and, as such, very dependent on the deity's/DM's approval. (OK, many DMs like to twist wishes anyhow...)

There are some specific examples of Miracles which shouldn't really cause much of a problem. Now, in the case of this Cleric using a Miracle to permanently kill off a Tarrasque, that might cause an issue depending on the circumstances.


But...what do these clerics do before level 13, when they get holy word, and level 17, which gives them time stop to get close enough to a horrible foe to use it without risk?

Clerics really power up at higher levels, but here's just a few buffs from the lower levels: Divine Favor, Magic Weapon, Bull's Strength, Invisibility (not an actual buff, but a good spell), Spiritual Weapon, Magic Vestment. And of course, there's the Divine Power + Righteous Might combo.


And btw- is it really so 100% sure that a cleric/wizard stepping out of time stop 40 ft from the balor will automatically surprise it? It's probably like a teleport/dimension door within 40 ft of a balor. It gets a spot to detect you, and then initiative is rolled (likely once again goes to the cleric, since the initative and luck re-roll make it better).

Ok, the Balor has no idea the Cleric is out there, and suddenly the Cleric appears 40 feet away (the Balor cannot detect the Cleric while Time Stopped - check the spell description). How would that not qualify for surprise?


For Boccob, they might have also chosen the knowledge and protection domains, but they have chosen trickery (as I said, likely because of the extra wizard spells).

Trickery gives practically nothing for a Sage type character, in fact if anything it could be considered a domain designed to mislead those seeking knowledge. It seems strange for a God of Sages to have that Domain, but that's how it is.


Oh but you can. It's all written there in the last sentence. If he or she has to pray for a full hour, now that is easily disrupted (say, in the middle of the attack on a city, or in a dungeon or whereever). And if the first opportunity is not used (or is used but proves to be interrupted again), the cleric has to wait until the next day.

From the SRD:

If some event prevents a character from praying at the proper time, he must do so as soon as possible

If an interruption makes it not possible to pray for spells at the first opportunity, then it's not really the first opportunity, is it?


Now "most" in the context of the background text refers only to the age when clerics enter the church. THAT ALL enter a church is not denied here (and is made absolutely clear by introducing the non-chuch cleric, the favoured soul, at a later point non-core).

It is never stated that ALL Clerics must belong to a church. In fact, it's clearly stated that Clerics who devote themselves to a cause or source of divine power are not associated with a religious institution.



This thread, though, is mainly about BWL's notion that a fighter cannot contribute much in a four-member-party at lvl 20 and that the fourth member even should in all cases be a 2nd cleric, not a fighter. Which I think makes the party too vulnerable, and which obviously you think as well since you include a non-spellcaster.

I see later in this thread BWL suggests replacing the Rogue/Ranger with someone working to Arcane Trickster. That would work and give the character greater spellcasting ability, but personally I wouldn't do it because of the lower BAB, hit dice and fewer skill points. Still, that would come down to personal preference.


The cleric may have been hit by a dimensional anchor...but this would also bind the fighter with his helm of teleportation.

Which the Cleric could try to Dispel, if necessary, but the Fighter's still stuck.


The cleric can quicken the word of recall with a rod, but risks an AoO, while the fighter will not be stopped by an AaO with his standard action.

From the SRD (under the Quicken Spell feat):

Casting a quickened spell doesn’t provoke an attack of opportunity.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-12, 11:33 AM
Hi again greenknight,


As BWL stated, Golems aren't such a big deal since the Cleric and Druid can buff up. There are also spells which even a Golem can't avoid.


Yep, I guess so. I stand corrected. Plus, golems are quite rare.



A 20th level character would normally be considered to be CR20 (see 3.5e DMG, p37), so if the DM has made the BBEG an appropriate challenge for the party, it shouldn't have a higher caster level except through magical items. But NPCs shouldn't get anywhere near the amount of stuff PCs get either (see 3.5e DMG, p127). That's all rough and ready, and it assumes appropriate CRs, but it should be a pretty good guide when it comes to the effective casting level of the creatures the DM throws at a party.


The beads that grant said npc 20th level caster (and likely a must-have it seems, as well as a quicken rod) costs only around 50,000 gp. So that guy likely has it, putting the greater dispelling again at 50% chance. If that npc caster even does not consider the costy zilla route, but specialises only on casting, he can be quite a nuisance for caster pcs. BWL would argue here that that caster is also more than a nuisance for fighters, but if the caster has to choose which threat to eliminate first he likely will go for the vulnerability of the pc casters.



In the example I provided, the Cleric's buffs had a Caster Level of 25. This means it would take a Dispel Magic check of 36+ to dispel them. Dispel Magic only gives a +10 to the check, so that won't work at all. Greater Dispel Magic could work, but only 25% of the time. And even if the Dispel Magic gets rid of something important, the Cleric can just Word of Recall out of there.


Yes, but at that point he is already depleted of some spells and has basically lost the encounter (it may have been critical not to flee). The escape button is available to all classes through equipment.



That would be the Violent Thrust form of Telekinesis? First up, that limits things to a maximum of 15 objects, with an attack bonus of +28 (assuming Charisma is the appropriate modifier), doing 4d8 damage each (I assume they are Large sized). The Cleric I outlined has a Flat Footed AC of 45, or regular AC of 54. If flat footed, the Balor would need to roll 17 or better to hit, which translates to about 3 hits doing about 14hp damage (approximately). With so few hits and such a high to hit number, I disregarded the chance of a critical. It's worse if the Cleric isn't flat footed, since then the Balor would need to roll a 20 to hit, so out of 15 attacks there's only a 75% chance (on average) of even getting one hit.

Better than nothing, I suppose, but still...


The high AC assumes that the cleric runs around turned into a barbed devil all the time. This I consider has some drawbacks, but it is a powerful tactics nonetheless. For the fighter it is way more difficult to put up similar defenses, so he would get dealt way more damage, you are correct.



Ok. Now since it's the Cleric who is casting the spell, exactly why would the Cleric choose to become a stone?


Oh, he should definitely not do that. It was just an example I used to show what effect a change in intelligence has on the personality of a person. But in your cleric's case, it's very limited, I admit that.



Regular Polymorph is restricted to turning the caster into a new form which is of the same type as the subject or any of the following types: aberration, animal, dragon, fey, giant, humanoid, magical beast, monstrous humanoid, ooze, plant, or vermin. But this is Polymorph any Object, so the range of choices is greater.


OK, here I got a question. Turning into a barbed devil with a polymorph ability turns into a creature with 12 Hit Dice, lower BAB and lower base saves, doesnt it? Then your hit points, non-buffed BAB, and saves would be much lower than in your build. But probably I got some polymorph ruling wrong.



Certainly, anyone actually interacting with the illusion would notice something's going on. However, the Cleric could probably avoid most physical contact fairly easily.


Yep, I guess so. At 20th level, he could well create some sort of "untouchable" rule in his church/followers/others.



All right, let's assume they do. How many dogs would have smelt devilish flesh before so that they could recognise it?

They smell that it is not human, therefore barking and what have you. This thing can be nicely atmospheric, but it depends on animals getting near the cleric (not necessarily the case).




From the Polymorph spell:

The subject’s creature type and subtype (if any) change to match the new form.

From the Barbed Devil entry:

Medium Outsider (Evil, Extraplanar, Lawful)

That's the creature's type. Notice the Evil and Lawful subtypes?

From the Evil subtype entry:

Evil Subtype: A subtype usually applied only to outsiders native to the evil-aligned Outer Planes. Evil outsiders are also called fiends. Most creatures that have this subtype also have evil alignments; however, if their alignments change, they still retain the subtype. Any effect that depends on alignment affects a creature with this subtype as if the creature has an evil alignment, no matter what its alignment actually is. The creature also suffers effects according to its actual alignment. A creature with the evil subtype overcomes damage reduction as if its natural weapons and any weapons it wields were evil-aligned (see Damage Reduction, above).

This means that even though the creature has an Evil subtype, it doesn't have to have an Evil alignment. Also, it's weapons become Evil aligned (which becomes ironic when the weapon is Holy or Good aligned, because then the weapon is both Good and Evil aligned at the same time). The Lawful entry is similar.

It does have a disadvantage in that spells which specifically target Evil alignments will affect this character, even though the character's alignment is Neutral. However, Nondetection plus the normally Neutral alignment means that the risk of this should be reduced.


Thanks a lot! Now the rules get a bit clearer for me on that. But is such a cleric then able to cast good spells, like getting his weapons to be good? And can a neutral cleric at all cast good descriptor spells?



Fair enough. But even then, there's no RAW reason why this Cleric would be considered in violation of Boccob's wishes.


Boccob's wishes are defined by the DM. If everything goes fair, both DM and player at the beginning of the cleric creation will agree on the core principles of what that means. However, even then a god may change in its behaviour (if it's chaotic) or demand seemingly senseless things (divine foresight), or behave in whatever way the DM deems appropriate for the course of his campaign. Some DMs even have campaigns where the gods run amok, but this again is campaign-specific.
However, in EVERY campaign, the restrictions will be set out by DM and player at the beginning and then the player has to abide by them (meaning more restrictions than for the fighter, which is what my whole point is about).



Sure. But we're proposing a scenario where the Cleric's trying to fight the Balor, not help it out.


You are right. But its deity may require of him a certain way of how to fight it. In general, the cleric should be more limited, but not in this scenario when fighting is a foregone conclusion.



Since there aren't too many Burst type spells centred on the caster in the PHB, I'll need to go a little further afield. In Complete Divine and the Spell Compendium there's a Druid spell called Quill Blast. It's area is: "A 20' radius spread centred on you". The effect is for a number of damaging quills to emerge from the caster's body, harming those nearby. Would that also include the caster?


OK, a bit of common sense helps. The quills emanate FROM the body, not go INTO the Druid's body. A holy word will affect all in a 40ft radius, including the caster. Now that is normally not a problem, only for those players trying to get more leeway for their behaviour and spell selection. The SRD obviously tries to encourage players wishing to accept more restrictions with the drawback-less availability of such a spell.



Use of any of the beneficial Polymorph spells is generally considered to be cheesy. And Rebuking undead is very cheesy, since in the long term it gives the Cleric a number of free Undead servants.


I must admit, after getting a lot of clarification on Polymorph, it IS quite cheesy. But that is also because I have the feeling that, once again, the advantages are readily snatched, while the disadvantages are ignored (which is true cheese).
How does rebuking get undead servants? It only gets the undead into awe (attacks agains them are at +2), nothing else.



Where does it say that? They are Evil because they are held by a creature with the Evil subtype. Once they leave that creature's possession, that's it.


I stand corrected again. Detect Evil will detect a lingering overwhelming aura only for 1d6 days. The appearance and size of the weapons will betray their origion, though, for people smart enough to consult professionals in skills appraisal, knowledge arcane, bardic knowledge or knowledge planes.



A Balor is practically CE incarnate. It's probably got underlings it intimidates (who would be glad to be rid of it), and maybe some more powerful creatures make demands of it, but I doubt it has any friends.


Yep, you are right:smallsmile: It certainly got no friends out to revenge it. Still, it could return itself (it's only banished to the abyss) and the other lords of the abyss will want to set an example so as not all mortals dare to attack them on a regular basis. But of course, that same problem will haunt a victorious fighter as well.



There are some specific examples of Miracles which shouldn't really cause much of a problem. Now, in the case of this Cleric using a Miracle to permanently kill off a Tarrasque, that might cause an issue depending on the circumstances.


Now the first SRD sentence of the miracle makes that quite clear: "You don’t so much cast a miracle as request one." A miracle REQUESTED to get rid of a Tarrasque out to destroy that cleric's church is one thing, a miracle to emulate a personal, low-level melee buff spell unnecessary for a fight since there is already a strong fighter to do the job another altogether.



Clerics really power up at higher levels, but here's just a few buffs from the lower levels: Divine Favor, Magic Weapon, Bull's Strength, Invisibility (not an actual buff, but a good spell), Spiritual Weapon, Magic Vestment. And of course, there's the Divine Power + Righteous Might combo.


At low levels, those good buffs cannot yet be quickened, greatly slowing down the cleric in combat, while the fighter may with haste already chomp at an opponent with 2,3 or 4 attacks (more if twf, or at range with rapid shot). Additionally, some of the greatest items like monk's belt or the luck blade are already available at low levels. The cleric might take those, but greatly loses possibility to enhance his general spellcasting through this route.



Ok, the Balor has no idea the Cleric is out there, and suddenly the Cleric appears 40 feet away (the Balor cannot detect the Cleric while Time Stopped - check the spell description). How would that not qualify for surprise?


OK. It IS a surprise, I would also say. You're right.



Trickery gives practically nothing for a Sage type character, in fact if anything it could be considered a domain designed to mislead those seeking knowledge. It seems strange for a God of Sages to have that Domain, but that's how it is.


Yes, it is really strange.



From the SRD:

If some event prevents a character from praying at the proper time, he must do so as soon as possible

If an interruption makes it not possible to pray for spells at the first opportunity, then it's not really the first opportunity, is it?


OK, that seems to boil down to interpreting and weighing every single word. The point is, that in the cleric description it is quite specific about that particular hour, and in the spells section it qualifies the previous ruling, but far from being clear. Can be read in both directions, but still, at one point or another, the cleric must get that uninterrupted hour, or he cannot relearn spells.



It is never stated that ALL Clerics must belong to a church. In fact, it's clearly stated that Clerics who devote themselves to a cause or source of divine power are not associated with a religious institution.


You are right, errate'd that already further up, as others pointed out that mistake.



I see later in this thread BWL suggests replacing the Rogue/Ranger with someone working to Arcane Trickster. That would work and give the character greater spellcasting ability, but personally I wouldn't do it because of the lower BAB, hit dice and fewer skill points. Still, that would come down to personal preference.


And, as I would argue, the heightened concentration on magic as a means to overcome problems, which is increasing the group vulnerability.



Which the Cleric could try to Dispel, if necessary, but the Fighter's still stuck.


Only for 1d4 rounds. The cleric will also have to dispel that first with a standard action, and with no guarantee of success (could be quickened though, although only at most 3 greater dispels will be quickened with a corresponding rod. If one or more is spent for quickening time stop etc, quickened greater dispels run out quickly).



From the SRD (under the Quicken Spell feat):

Casting a quickened spell doesn’t provoke an attack of opportunity.


Yep, you're right. It does not matter much, anyhow, since the cleric can cast defensively (still for non-quickened spells, he has to pour some of his few skill points into that as well if a 5 ft step does not get him out of a threatened square).

Thanks for the many insightful comments!

- Giacomo

its_all_ogre
2007-03-12, 12:19 PM
Giacomo you have the patience of a saint!

to be fair i have never thought about the drawbacks of a cleric myself, this thread has given me food for thought.
hate clerics personally anyway!(apart from evil npcs obviously!)

Cyborg Pirate
2007-03-12, 01:31 PM
Giacomo you have the patience of a saint!

to be fair i have never thought about the drawbacks of a cleric myself, this thread has given me food for thought.
hate clerics personally anyway!(apart from evil npcs obviously!)

hurray for unbiased argumentation...



Anyways, @ Giacomo, I think you overstating the Cleric's "drawbacks" way too much. Rather then repeat what all the others have said, let me ask you:

How would you, as a GM, restrict the Cleric through his religeon, fairly and without houseruling (i.e. I want to see how you would apply these percieved drawbacks to Clerics). Assume the Cleric follows one of the gods. I'd also like to know what you would do with a cleric that follows his own ideals, as per the RAW.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-12, 01:53 PM
hurray for unbiased argumentation...



Anyways, @ Giacomo, I think you overstating the Cleric's "drawbacks" way too much. Rather then repeat what all the others have said, let me ask you:

How would you, as a GM, restrict the Cleric through his religeon, fairly and without houseruling (i.e. I want to see how you would apply these percieved drawbacks to Clerics). Assume the Cleric follows one of the gods. I'd also like to know what you would do with a cleric that follows his own ideals, as per the RAW.

OK, first @its_all_ogres: thanks for the praise - will I also get the saint template ? (of course, without the drawbacks)....[/sarcasm]

Now on to Cyborg Pirate's request.

The cleric's drawbacks are quite a few, and the threat of loss of spellcasting in case of angering the god/pantheon is only one of them, but let us focus now on what you asked.

1) A cleric following a god/gods
Here, it is clear that the DM will have to agree with the player at the creation of the character what exactly the belief means. Are there taboos? What does that religion wish to achieve? This is not roleplaying, it is purely mechanical and a prerequisite for making the "ex-clerics" section, as well as the atonement spell work at all.
From then on, it all depends on how the campaign develops and how the player chooses to play. IN ANY CASE, though, that player faces a bigger restriction due to the potential loss of his class abilities than the one having chosen a fighter (again, there is no "ex-fighter" reference in the SRD). Cursed items forcing alignment change come to mind, an offensive use of the atonement spell by "the other side" to lure a character away from being an agent of good/neutrality/law/what have you. Actually it would be unfair to not have such a thing happen once in a while compared to those players who have chosen classes without restrictions (as the rogue or sorcerer, for instance). It is all part of what the designers put in there to balance the game.

2) Clerics following no gods
Now this is a really tricky one. In the RAW of the SRD, such an option does not exist because it is mentioned nowhere. In the PHB, however, it is mentioned in the roleplaying description of the class. It's a bit unsteady to on the one hand argue in pure game mechanics and then resort to the PHB flavour text, but OK, let us just assume a cleric is possible who never has to fear to lose his spell abilities from misconduct (because there is no reference to a case like this in the "ex-cleric" section, nor in the atonement spell).
I have outlined already in a post above what this would entail:
So we have (with the SRD and PHB texts on atonement and "ex-clerics" section) a situation where we have a world of clerics with deity restriction ("do not deviate from my faith or else...") and church duties on the one hand and clerics which have no duties at all and can simply tap into the divine energies (like an Ur-Priest!) at will without divine intervention.

Now, this appears to me like a highly unstable situation (who now needs gods). If these clerics coexist in a campaign, there is likely some faith wars going on, with the non-bound clerics likely to perish because the gods would not want anyone getting along in divine magic without worshipping them. At best, such a character would be a heretic loner, hunted by almost all other clerics.

In fact, now I have come to realise that interpreting a non-deity cleric in this way means that the ur-priest class makes much less sense/has less of a niche, apart from granting non-spellusers access to 9th level spells in 9 levels.

In short, if a player in an average campaign (not even mine!) would choose such a non-deity cleric, he is bound to run into trouble from a certain point onwards, definitelly he is perceived a threat by all deities as a 20th level caster.
Now in a customised campaign, it could make sense if no deities per se exist, and clerics fill the role of some sort of jedi knights revering the abstract concept of "the force". But that is campaign-specific. In the average campaign with both kind of clerics existing, it is the one without deities bound to get a hard time.

Hope that clarified my opinion for you.

- Giacomo

Edit: just noticed in the SRD that the atonement spell cannot be used offensively to change an opponent's alignment. So that is left to devious strategies of opponents. Succubi etc. come to mind...

Marius
2007-03-12, 02:32 PM
The beads that grant said npc 20th level caster (and likely a must-have it seems, as well as a quicken rod) costs only around 50,000 gp. So that guy likely has it, putting the greater dispelling again at 50% chance. If that npc caster even does not consider the costy zilla route, but specialises only on casting, he can be quite a nuisance for caster pcs. BWL would argue here that that caster is also more than a nuisance for fighters, but if the caster has to choose which threat to eliminate first he likely will go for the vulnerability of the pc casters.

No, he wouldn't go for the "vulnerability" of the casters since wasting his round dispelling one or two buffs would pretty much kill him the next round when is the now not-so-buffed cleric or wizard turn to cast their own world shattering spells. He would choose to attack the casters first (with another spell, no just a dispel) since they are obviously a greater threat.
But something is still clear, fighters are WAY more vunarable to casters than casters, since you know, they have spells to protect them and the fighter doesn't.



Yes, but at that point he is already depleted of some spells and has basically lost the encounter (it may have been critical not to flee). The escape button is available to all classes through equipment.

Why? Ok the BBEG just dispel your divine power, big deal, I can cast time stop, re-buff (or not) and still kick his ass. And what would happend to the fighter if the same BBEG uses a quickened dimensional anchor with forcecage? I guess he's one dead fighter...



OK, here I got a question. Turning into a barbed devil with a polymorph ability turns into a creature with 12 Hit Dice, lower BAB and lower base saves, doesnt it? Then your hit points, non-buffed BAB, and saves would be much lower than in your build. But probably I got some polymorph ruling wrong.

You got them wrong. Polymorph any object functions like polymorph expect that you get the creature intelligence score and that you can change into anything. Polymorph functions like alter self (with excepcions) and if you read the description of alter self it says:
You retain your own ability scores. Your class and level, hit points, alignment (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/description.htm#alignment), base attack bonus, and base save bonuses all remain the same. You retain all supernatural and spell-like (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#spellLikeAbilities) special attacks and qualities of your normal form, except for those requiring a body part that the new form does not have (such as a mouth for a breath weapon (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#breathWeapon) or eyes for a gaze attack (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#gazeAttacks)).
So you keep all the important stuff and you get pretty much everything you need.



Thanks a lot! Now the rules get a bit clearer for me on that. But is such a cleric then able to cast good spells, like getting his weapons to be good? And can a neutral cleric at all cast good descriptor spells?

Yes he can, his type is now evil, not his alignment.



Boccob's wishes are defined by the DM. If everything goes fair, both DM and player at the beginning of the cleric creation will agree on the core principles of what that means. However, even then a god may change in its behaviour (if it's chaotic) or demand seemingly senseless things (divine foresight), or behave in whatever way the DM deems appropriate for the course of his campaign. Some DMs even have campaigns where the gods run amok, but this again is campaign-specific.
However, in EVERY campaign, the restrictions will be set out by DM and player at the beginning and then the player has to abide by them (meaning more restrictions than for the fighter, which is what my whole point is about).

That depends on many things, the player, the campaign, the DM and even the other players. But even if there're restrictions they don't matter. Let's say my cleric of St. Cuthbert let's a well-known criminal go because he doesn't believe that the law is always right anymore. He would lose his powers and turn into an ex-cleric but the cleric now has a new purpose in life, he would seek the true justice even if he has to stand against the law. At that point he could gain his powers again. The DM can house rule that he can do that but by the books, he can. He can also change to another god without problem.
He are talking about CORE and by CORE he can do that and everything you said is outside core.



You are right. But its deity may require of him a certain way of how to fight it. In general, the cleric should be more limited, but not in this scenario when fighting is a foregone conclusion.

He should be, he could be but he isn't and even if he is that's part of playing a class with convictions (any class) and it's fun to play that way and I have never seen a cleric (or a paladin) being less powerful than other classes because of their belief. (if anything they where more powerful since you know they can actually ask their god to help them, even if only in a true emergency, the fighter can't do that.



OK, a bit of common sense helps. The quills emanate FROM the body, not go INTO the Druid's body. A holy word will affect all in a 40ft radius, including the caster. Now that is normally not a problem, only for those players trying to get more leeway for their behaviour and spell selection. The SRD obviously tries to encourage players wishing to accept more restrictions with the drawback-less availability of such a spell.

Even if you are right, the cleric would just be deafened for 1d4 rounds a little price to win a fight.



I must admit, after getting a lot of clarification on Polymorph, it IS quite cheesy. But that is also because I have the feeling that, once again, the advantages are readily snatched, while the disadvantages are ignored (which is true cheese).
How does rebuking get undead servants? It only gets the undead into awe (attacks agains them are at +2), nothing else.

Is so hard to read the book before asking?
Evil clerics (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/classes/cleric.htm) channel negative energy to rebuke (awe) or command (control) undead rather than channeling positive energy to turn or destroy them. An evil cleric makes the equivalent of a turning check. Undead that would be turned are rebuked instead, and those that would be destroyed are commanded.

A commanded undead (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/typesSubtypes.htm#undeadType) creature is under the mental control of the evil cleric. The cleric must take a standard action (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/actionsInCombat.htm#standardActions) to give mental orders to a commanded undead. At any one time, the cleric may command any number of undead whose total Hit Dice do not exceed his level. He may voluntarily relinquish command on any commanded undead creature or creatures in order to command new ones.



I stand corrected again. Detect Evil will detect a lingering overwhelming aura only for 1d6 days. The appearance and size of the weapons will betray their origion, though, for people smart enough to consult professionals in skills appraisal, knowledge arcane, bardic knowledge or knowledge planes.

Who cares if they belonged to a Balor, he's dead. And even if it's hard to find a buyer the cleric can sell them and the fighter doesn't even have them.



Now the first SRD sentence of the miracle makes that quite clear: "You don’t so much cast a miracle as request one." A miracle REQUESTED to get rid of a Tarrasque out to destroy that cleric's church is one thing, a miracle to emulate a personal, low-level melee buff spell unnecessary for a fight since there is already a strong fighter to do the job another altogether.

Sure, you're asking divine intervention, but you CAN ask divine intervention that may or may not work but the fighter can't ask for anything.



At low levels, those good buffs cannot yet be quickened, greatly slowing down the cleric in combat, while the fighter may with haste already chomp at an opponent with 2,3 or 4 attacks (more if twf, or at range with rapid shot). Additionally, some of the greatest items like monk's belt or the luck blade are already available at low levels. The cleric might take those, but greatly loses possibility to enhance his general spellcasting through this route.

After 7 level you can quickened divine favor and cast divine power and your're only one round behind (witch the fighter has to use to close anyway, if he can close since he can't fly or anything and even if the cleric is also stucked to the ground he can still cast spells. And at low levels you will be kissing the clerics feet for healing anyway (well you will be kissing his feets at all levels.



OK, that seems to boil down to interpreting and weighing every single word. The point is, that in the cleric description it is quite specific about that particular hour, and in the spells section it qualifies the previous ruling, but far from being clear. Can be read in both directions, but still, at one point or another, the cleric must get that uninterrupted hour, or he cannot relearn spells.

No, it's pretty clear that if if can't pray at that hour you can try again as soon as you are able. You don't have to wait until the next day (and if he can't regain spells no one will leave, the party will always wait for him.



And, as I would argue, the heightened concentration on magic as a means to overcome problems, which is increasing the group vulnerability.

How would a character that can cast 9th level spells at level 20 (rogue 3/wizard 5/arcane trickter 10/archmage 2) is going to increase the group vulnerability?!



Only for 1d4 rounds. The cleric will also have to dispel that first with a standard action, and with no guarantee of success (could be quickened though, although only at most 3 greater dispels will be quickened with a corresponding rod. If one or more is spent for quickening time stop etc, quickened greater dispels run out quickly).

No, Dimensional Anchor will make the fighter stay right there for 1 min/level and he can't dispel it. The cleric has 3 tries and a minimum 50% chance of success so he will probably make it or he can just try to kill the caster with other spells or in melee.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-12, 03:34 PM
No, he wouldn't go for the "vulnerability" of the casters since wasting his round dispelling one or two buffs would pretty much kill him the next round when is the now not-so-buffed cleric or wizard turn to cast their own world shattering spells. He would choose to attack the casters first (with another spell, no just a dispel) since they are obviously a greater threat.
But something is still clear, fighters are WAY more vunarable to casters than casters, since you know, they have spells to protect them and the fighter doesn't.


Since, you know, magics can be countered, while feats can't. Spells are dead in dead magic zones while feats are not. Spell refreshment is keyed to the caste being able to learn/sleep/pray whatever, which feats don't need. And so on and so on.
Now, I find it acceptable if, for instance, BWL says something along the lines that these things may not happen that often. But these vulnerabilities are in the the rules, and you can't keep ignoring them.
Of course, the fighter has vulnerabilities of his or her own, but my example build has shown that equipment can take him quite far. More about equipment below, I found something new in the SRD :smallsmile:




Why? Ok the BBEG just dispel your divine power, big deal, I can cast time stop, re-buff (or not) and still kick his ass. And what would happend to the fighter if the same BBEG uses a quickened dimensional anchor with forcecage? I guess he's one dead fighter....


A BBEG fighting a fighter would try to make use of that one's vulnerability (will save, for instance). A BBEG fighting a full caster like a cleric makes use of that one's vulnerability (dependence on spells, for instance). The game has all the mechanics in the rules to balance it out.
Now even in your example (please do check the spells and their drawbacks before bragging with their power, will ya? sorry, just sarcasm:smallyuk: ), the fighter is still able to fight back with the bow, causing around 200 damage in a round. So the caster better has a quickened windwall up as well. oops, no two quickened spells per round. Sorry.
Additionally, a dimensional anchor spell needs a ranged touch attack. Not so unchallenging vs. the fighter build in my above example, especially if that fighte adds 8 to touch AC through fighting defensively.
This boils down to a highly combat-specific situation.



You got them wrong. Polymorph any object functions like polymorph expect that you get the creature intelligence score and that you can change into anything. Polymorph functions like alter self (with excepcions) and if you read the description of alter self it says:
You retain your own ability scores. Your class and level, hit points, alignment (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/description.htm#alignment), base attack bonus, and base save bonuses all remain the same. You retain all supernatural and spell-like (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#spellLikeAbilities) special attacks and qualities of your normal form, except for those requiring a body part that the new form does not have (such as a mouth for a breath weapon (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#breathWeapon) or eyes for a gaze attack (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#gazeAttacks)).
So you keep all the important stuff and you get pretty much everything you need.


Ah, thanks for the alter self hint. But so far I assumed that the opinion was correct that the stuff is preserved or I would not have cheered greenknight's build. I did not check the spell text myself yet, for if I had, I would have been apalled. There is this nice little passage which makes life quite hard for morhed zilla casters:
"When the change occurs, your equipment, if any, either remains worn or held by the new form (if it is capable of wearing or holding the item), or melds into the new form and becomes nonfunctional. "
Now I guess greenknight may have to revise his cleric build, because I guess he would still want to have the stat boosters for his build. It may be argued that a wizard could remove the items first and then puts them on again. But that takes time...



That depends on many things, the player, the campaign, the DM and even the other players. But even if there're restrictions they don't matter. Let's say my cleric of St. Cuthbert let's a well-known criminal go because he doesn't believe that the law is always right anymore. He would lose his powers and turn into an ex-cleric but the cleric now has a new purpose in life, he would seek the true justice even if he has to stand against the law. At that point he could gain his powers again. The DM can house rule that he can do that but by the books, he can. He can also change to another god without problem.
He are talking about CORE and by CORE he can do that and everything you said is outside core.


No, it's not. Non-cleric section and atonement are core rules, and they only work, if DM and player agree on a set of rules for the cleric beforehand. No houserule involved. Your Cuthbert example is good to illustrate how easy a cleric can lose his powers, not to prove the opposite.



He should be, he could be but he isn't and even if he is that's part of playing a class with convictions (any class) and it's fun to play that way and I have never seen a cleric (or a paladin) being less powerful than other classes because of their belief. (if anything they where more powerful since you know they can actually ask their god to help them, even if only in a true emergency, the fighter can't do that.


You have not seen it, and many others have not, because I start to realise that your DMs have always ignored this important cleric drawback.



Even if you are right, the cleric would just be deafened for 1d4 rounds a little price to win a fight.


Yes, but it depends on the situation. If there is still the scenario army around, it may be a bit awkward. But another time stop from the scroll greenknight's build provides should solve this.



Is so hard to read the book before asking?
Evil clerics (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/classes/cleric.htm) channel negative energy to rebuke (awe) or command (control) undead rather than channeling positive energy to turn or destroy them. An evil cleric makes the equivalent of a turning check. Undead that would be turned are rebuked instead, and those that would be destroyed are commanded.

A commanded undead (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/typesSubtypes.htm#undeadType) creature is under the mental control of the evil cleric. The cleric must take a standard action (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/actionsInCombat.htm#standardActions) to give mental orders to a commanded undead. At any one time, the cleric may command any number of undead whose total Hit Dice do not exceed his level. He may voluntarily relinquish command on any commanded undead creature or creatures in order to command new ones.


Well, now you get a bit aggressive, and it's even unnecessary, since I believe that we all here are discussing at a quite high level of rules understanding, so pls no more of that.
I may have gotten the exact definition wrong, but still my question remains, how a cleric gets "free" minions. If his commanded undead run around with him all the time, what does this cause in terms of social interaction etc? It is not a good tactics to run "over the long run".




Who cares if they belonged to a Balor, he's dead. And even if it's hard to find a buyer the cleric can sell them and the fighter doesn't even have them.


The fighter does not have them, so he gets neither the potential benefits (may be small, since the weapons are so hard to use by anyone), nor the potential problems (selling the weapons of evil incarnate may have such disadvantages). And we noticed that a deafened cleric may be bit impaired after uttering his holy word, so getting the weapons is probably no longer a thing that greenknight would do instead of just killing the balor and get the hell out of there.



Sure, you're asking divine intervention, but you CAN ask divine intervention that may or may not work but the fighter can't ask for anything.


Neither does the fighter need to bow to a higher power, greatly attractive in real play, in particular for neutral and non-lawful characters.



After 7 level you can quickened divine favor and cast divine power and your're only one round behind (witch the fighter has to use to close anyway, if he can close since he can't fly or anything and even if the cleric is also stucked to the ground he can still cast spells. And at low levels you will be kissing the clerics feet for healing anyway (well you will be kissing his feets at all levels.


Everyone kisses everyone's feet at the low levels, simply for helping each other survive. It should also be like that at high levels. It's called group play.
Flying (yawn) again is no safeguard vs ranged tactics, of which the fighter has one of the most devastating at all levels.



No, it's pretty clear that if if can't pray at that hour you can try again as soon as you are able. You don't have to wait until the next day (and if he can't regain spells no one will leave, the party will always wait for him.


Oh, the party will wait. The BBEG not.



How would a character that can cast 9th level spells at level 20 (rogue 3/wizard 5/arcane trickter 10/archmage 2) is going to increase the group vulnerability?!


Because the 9th level spells may not work in some situations that are happening more often (antimagic zones etc) in high level play than in low level play.



No, Dimensional Anchor will make the fighter stay right there for 1 min/level and he can't dispel it. The cleric has 3 tries and a minimum 50% chance of success so he will probably make it or he can just try to kill the caster with other spells or in melee.


Admittedly a caster with similarly high touch AC as the fighter can do more against a dimensional anchor. Meanwhile, the fighter just shrugs and fights on with his awesome damage output, so, yes, the caster is ahead of the fighter in that aspect, but it is also situation-specific.

OK, off for the night now. Post again tomorrow.

- Giacomo

Cyborg Pirate
2007-03-12, 04:16 PM
Ahh, Maruis has hit my major points already, thanks :smallbiggrin: You said what I wanted to say.



@Giacomo: Those percieved weaknesses of the Cleric you keep coming back to just isn't it. All the things you list as weakness, still makes the cleric far more resillient then a fighter. The only thing that could be considered as a real weakness is the whole cleric vs gods thing, and even then, although I thank you for your broad example, I still don't see how you're going to truely restrict a cleric in every case.

This: "if DM and player agree on a set of rules for the cleric beforehand." :is practically houseruling, but acceptable. But even then, I do not see what kind of real restrictions you can place on a cleric that will truly hamper him as to bring him down to the level of a fighter.

greenknight
2007-03-12, 06:56 PM
The beads that grant said npc 20th level caster (and likely a must-have it seems, as well as a quicken rod) costs only around 50,000 gp. So that guy likely has it, putting the greater dispelling again at 50% chance. If that npc caster even does not consider the costy zilla route, but specialises only on casting, he can be quite a nuisance for caster pcs. BWL would argue here that that caster is also more than a nuisance for fighters, but if the caster has to choose which threat to eliminate first he likely will go for the vulnerability of the pc casters.

Two things to point out here. First, a Bead of Karma only helps a Divine caster - Arcane casters get nothing from it (unless they can convice the Bead they are also a Divine caster through something like UMD). Not all BBEG are Divine spellcasters. Second, Greater Dispel Magic tops out at a +20 modifier, so having a higher caster level makes no difference to it. That still leaves something like a Balor with only a 25% chance of dispelling a magical effect from a 25th level caster, even if that Balor could somehow get a Bead of Karma to work.


Yes, but at that point he is already depleted of some spells and has basically lost the encounter (it may have been critical not to flee). The escape button is available to all classes through equipment.

In the case of this caster, there are still other options even if the buffs are dispelled. For example, Holy Word.


They smell that it is not human, therefore barking and what have you. This thing can be nicely atmospheric, but it depends on animals getting near the cleric (not necessarily the case).

IME, dogs even bark at scents they recognize, such as a Human scent. How would you tell the difference between a bark at a scent they recognize and one they don't? Furthermore, even if you did that, how would you be able to deduce that the character is a Devil just from a dog not being able to recognize a creature's scent?


A holy word will affect all in a 40ft radius, including the caster. Now that is normally not a problem, only for those players trying to get more leeway for their behaviour and spell selection. The SRD obviously tries to encourage players wishing to accept more restrictions with the drawback-less availability of such a spell.

There are other spells in the Spell Compendium with a burst centred on the caster. For example, Anger of the Noonday Sun, which affects all sighted creatures in the burst radius. Again, would that affect the caster?

In any event, if this really were a problem, then all the Cleric would need to do is put up spell resistance to get SR 37, which should help to block it's effect out.


How does rebuking get undead servants? It only gets the undead into awe (attacks agains them are at +2), nothing else.

Marius hit the main point, but I just want to address this bit you added later:

If his commanded undead run around with him all the time, what does this cause in terms of social interaction etc? It is not a good tactics to run "over the long run".

If the Cleric knows he/she/it is going into a social situation, then the undead can be left behind, or in some cases made to hide (an incorporeal undead could be told to travel hidden underground, for example).

Still, it could return itself (it's only banished to the abyss) and the other lords of the abyss will want to set an example so as not all mortals dare to attack them on a regular basis. But of course, that same problem will haunt a victorious fighter as well.

Unless it can scry on the Clerics actions (unlikely because of the nondetection spell), the Balor will never know when the Holy Word spells are used up, therefore it would be extremely dangerous for the Balor to seek revenge. On the other hand, the Balor could intimidate one of its minions to scry on the Fighter and attack at a time when the character is weakened. I'd say the Fighter's got a lot more to worry about in that case.


Now I guess greenknight may have to revise his cleric build, because I guess he would still want to have the stat boosters for his build. It may be argued that a wizard could remove the items first and then puts them on again. But that takes time...

No need to revise it. The Barbed Devil is a Medium sized creature, so the items should fit. Even if there is some trouble during the polymorph, all that would be needed is for the Cleric to remove the items and then put them on again afterwards. This is a very long term buff - it's permanent until the caster chooses to dispel it (auto success) or override it with another Polymorph any Object spell.


Since, you know, magics can be countered, while feats can't. Spells are dead in dead magic zones while feats are not. Spell refreshment is keyed to the caste being able to learn/sleep/pray whatever, which feats don't need. And so on and so on.
Now, I find it acceptable if, for instance, BWL says something along the lines that these things may not happen that often. But these vulnerabilities are in the the rules, and you can't keep ignoring them.

It's a very minor vulnerability though. Magic Dead zones are extremely rare, and a caster character would normally avoid them like the plague. And a Fighter in a Magic Dead zone has real problems too (although not as many as the caster) since all the magical buffs are gone and monsters don't tend to rely on magic as much as PCs do.


OK. It IS a surprise, I would also say. You're right.

One thing I should mention here is that both your tactics and mine require the character to know about the threat. This can become a problem if the threat is able to become invisible (like a Pit Fiend instead of a Balor). However, the Cleric I outlined could overcome that by casting See Invisible and then making it permanent (with the Permanency spell). This would have to be done through scrolls and would cost over 10,000gp, but considering the benefit, it's well worth it IMO. While a Fighter could obtain items which grant True Seeing, as far as I'm aware there are no items in the Core Rules which grant See Invisibility, which is only limited by sight range and allows a character under its influence to see both invisible and ethereal creatures.

This brings up another point. Since your Fighter can't get a really good Hide skill, if some monster has See Invisibility, your opportunity to get surprise is very limited. And I'm not sure if it's been mentioned, but unless you've got something else significantly boosting speed (and which stacks with Haste), your revised Fighter can't charge 120' in the surprise round because charging as a standard action only allows movement up to the character's speed, not double speed as usual. That puts your Fighter 60' away from the Balor at the end of the surprise round, which means he'll only be able to get one attack in during the 1st regular round if he charges into melee.

Marius
2007-03-12, 08:20 PM
Since, you know, magics can be countered, while feats can't. Spells are dead in dead magic zones while feats are not. Spell refreshment is keyed to the caste being able to learn/sleep/pray whatever, which feats don't need. And so on and so on.
Now, I find it acceptable if, for instance, BWL says something along the lines that these things may not happen that often. But these vulnerabilities are in the the rules, and you can't keep ignoring them.
Of course, the fighter has vulnerabilities of his or her own, but my example build has shown that equipment can take him quite far. More about equipment below, I found something new in the SRD :smallsmile:

Magics can be countered, only by other casters, doesn't that tell you something? And even if feats can't be countered they are WAY more weak that spells. So dodge can't be countered and holy word is somehow countered? Big deal.



A BBEG fighting a fighter would try to make use of that one's vulnerability (will save, for instance). A BBEG fighting a full caster like a cleric makes use of that one's vulnerability (dependence on spells, for instance). The game has all the mechanics in the rules to balance it out.
Now even in your example (please do check the spells and their drawbacks before bragging with their power, will ya? sorry, just sarcasm:smallyuk: ), the fighter is still able to fight back with the bow, causing around 200 damage in a round. So the caster better has a quickened windwall up as well. oops, no two quickened spells per round. Sorry.
Additionally, a dimensional anchor spell needs a ranged touch attack. Not so unchallenging vs. the fighter build in my above example, especially if that fighte adds 8 to touch AC through fighting defensively.
This boils down to a highly combat-specific situation.

Your fighter and he wouldn't be able to hit back since now he's stuck in a windowless cell for 40 hours (and I hope he's breathless or he'll be dead very soon). And if it's hard to hit the dimensional anchor he can cast a dimensional lock. The caster could go rest and come back to piss your fighter off. Expensive? Sure, but how much is the fighters gear worth?



Ah, thanks for the alter self hint. But so far I assumed that the opinion was correct that the stuff is preserved or I would not have cheered greenknight's build. I did not check the spell text myself yet, for if I had, I would have been apalled. There is this nice little passage which makes life quite hard for morhed zilla casters:
"When the change occurs, your equipment, if any, either remains worn or held by the new form (if it is capable of wearing or holding the item), or melds into the new form and becomes nonfunctional. "
Now I guess greenknight may have to revise his cleric build, because I guess he would still want to have the stat boosters for his build. It may be argued that a wizard could remove the items first and then puts them on again. But that takes time...

Most magic items (like rings) resize to fit the creature and in any case you don't have to polymorph in a creature bigger than yourself.



No, it's not. Non-cleric section and atonement are core rules, and they only work, if DM and player agree on a set of rules for the cleric beforehand. No houserule involved. Your Cuthbert example is good to illustrate how easy a cleric can lose his powers, not to prove the opposite.

Let's quote the SRD
Ex-Clerics

A cleric who grossly violates the code of conduct required by his god loses all spells and class features, except for armor and shield proficiencies (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/combatModifiers.htm#weaponArmorAndShieldProficienc y) and proficiency with simple weapons (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/equipment/weapons.htm#simpleMartialandExoticWeapons). He cannot thereafter gain levels as a cleric of that god until he atones (see the atonement (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/atonement.htm) spell description).

If the cleric changes gods or goes for the ideal route he's go to go. And atonement always works unless the DM houserules.



You have not seen it, and many others have not, because I start to realise that your DMs have always ignored this important cleric drawback.

I haven't and many other people haven't seen those drawback ethier, doesn't that tell you something? Those are roleplaying restrictions and any other class can have them, even if nothing in the mechanics supports that. My halfling rogue had many problems when he left the guild.



Well, now you get a bit aggressive, and it's even unnecessary, since I believe that we all here are discussing at a quite high level of rules understanding, so pls no more of that.
I may have gotten the exact definition wrong, but still my question remains, how a cleric gets "free" minions. If his commanded undead run around with him all the time, what does this cause in terms of social interaction etc? It is not a good tactics to run "over the long run".

That is fluff, not mechanics. And in any case it's not a big deal.



The fighter does not have them, so he gets neither the potential benefits (may be small, since the weapons are so hard to use by anyone), nor the potential problems (selling the weapons of evil incarnate may have such disadvantages). And we noticed that a deafened cleric may be bit impaired after uttering his holy word, so getting the weapons is probably no longer a thing that greenknight would do instead of just killing the balor and get the hell out of there.

What problems? Again your talking about fluff, not mechanics. And he can do that even if he's deafened, he can problably wait until he's fine again (only 1d4 rounds vs 1d10 minutes).




Neither does the fighter need to bow to a higher power, greatly attractive in real play, in particular for neutral and non-lawful characters.

But the cleric likes to bow to a higher power, you like it and that's why you play a cleric. And the cleric could still bow to no one, and have his powers from somewhere else. You don't like that, but he can do that.



Everyone kisses everyone's feet at the low levels, simply for helping each other survive. It should also be like that at high levels. It's called group play.
Flying (yawn) again is no safeguard vs ranged tactics, of which the fighter has one of the most devastating at all levels.

Wind Wall and goodbye ranged fighter (and btw a cleric could be just as good as the ranged fighter at low levels and way better at high levels.



Oh, the party will wait. The BBEG not.

Hello TPK!



Because the 9th level spells may not work in some situations that are happening more often (antimagic zones etc) in high level play than in low level play.

Those situations don't happen very often, even in high level games. How many people have encounter them more than one time in a whole campaign?



Admittedly a caster with similarly high touch AC as the fighter can do more against a dimensional anchor. Meanwhile, the fighter just shrugs and fights on with his awesome damage output, so, yes, the caster is ahead of the fighter in that aspect, but it is also situation-specific.


The cleric will be ahead of the fighter in any situation, that's the point of this argument. And I already showed you why your awesome damage output is useless in that case.

Wehrkind
2007-03-13, 03:21 AM
Actually Sir, Stabiclese, God of Buffing Up and Whacking Things, also offers the trickery and deception domain for such times when buffing up and whacking someone from behind is the thing to do. (See Gork and Mork from Warhammer/40k. One stabs you from the front, one stabs you from behind, but no one knows which is which.)

Bringing up Greek gods does not help your point either. The gods were very human like, and as such sometimes easy to anger, but they were very consistent in their domains, and very consistent in their support of their heroes. Poseidon never decied "Man, the Aegean would look so cool if there wasn't water there instead" for instance. The Illiad shows gods fighting each other on the behalf of their mortal champions, with no particular reason other than "They worship me and make me look good. I look after them." In Greek myth unless one seriously offends the sensibilities of the gods (sacrificing your daughter for a good wind) your patron diety is pretty solidly behind you, and even if you do irk some, by no means do all find your actions appalling.

You also are not limited much by alignment in so far as you only need to be within one step of your diety's alignment. If you are a LG cleric of Pelor, you can slip to N and be cool. Sure, you can't go to CE, but that sort of jump would be huge for anyone. If you worship a N diety, say some nature or war god (or whatever is appropriate) you can be any alignment. Any. Alignment. You can leave items of Opposite Alignment lying around your house, no ill effects. "Oh, don't use that bathroom; the Toilet of Opposite Alignment will get you, but only if you don't wash your hands in the Basin of Opposite Alignment."

On a related note, I am now offering conversion to my Church of Stabiclese, Neutral God of Buffing Up and Whacking Things, Regardless of Facing. All those who love either "Buffing Up" or "Whacking Things" and don't particularly care about which direction the target is facing at the time are welcome!

Jack Mann
2007-03-13, 03:36 AM
One step. Diagonal is not one step on the alignment board. You can be a step away on the law-chaos axis, or the good-evil axis, but not on both. So, a cleric of a neutral deity can be neutral good, neutral evil, chaotic neutral, lawful neutral, or true neutral, but he couldn't be chaotic good, say. That's two steps away. A cleric of Pelor could go from LG to N, but only because Pelor's alignment is NG.

Wehrkind
2007-03-13, 04:03 AM
Ahh I see, my mistake. So at least one of your alignment axis needs to match your diety's, and the other can be one step away. So with Pelor you could be CG, but not CN, or N but not LN.
So a N god could have NE, NG, LN,CN followers, correct?

Turcano
2007-03-13, 04:19 AM
Ahh I see, my mistake. So at least one of your alignment axis needs to match your diety's, and the other can be one step away. So with Pelor you could be CG, but not CN, or N but not LN.

That's another thing. Only neutral deities can have neutral followers.

Jack Mann
2007-03-13, 05:12 AM
Hmm. That's true. No true neutral clerics for Pelor!

Marius
2007-03-13, 05:12 AM
One step. Diagonal is not one step on the alignment board. You can be a step away on the law-chaos axis, or the good-evil axis, but not on both. So, a cleric of a neutral deity can be neutral good, neutral evil, chaotic neutral, lawful neutral, or true neutral, but he couldn't be chaotic good, say. That's two steps away. A cleric of Pelor could go from LG to N, but only because Pelor's alignment is NG.

It depends on the god, Oghma from FR allows clerics of any alignment, he is neutral but allows people of any alignment, as long as they like knowledge he don't cares. So both of you are right.

its_all_ogre
2007-03-13, 08:38 AM
obviously when i said i hated clerics i meant i hate playing clerics.....
i thought it was obvious(after all why would i use evil npc clerics otherwise....?)

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-13, 09:01 AM
Hi again,

sorry about some more aggressive/sarcastic remarks of mine yesterday. Currently the discussion gets quite interesting, and I guess we all are learning a bit more about the rules. Having said that, Greenknight and Marius raised some valid points, but of course I got some points of my own to make in response.
First, I'll try to discuss as short as possible the individual issues raised, and then come back to the current major issue at hand: are the clerics drawbacks enough to balance their obvious higher power at level 20 (similar combat strength, more strength out of combat) with the fighter?

On to the individual issues first...



Two things to point out here. First, a Bead of Karma only helps a Divine caster - Arcane casters get nothing from it (unless they can convice the Bead they are also a Divine caster through something like UMD). Not all BBEG are Divine spellcasters. Second, Greater Dispel Magic tops out at a +20 modifier, so having a higher caster level makes no difference to it. That still leaves something like a Balor with only a 25% chance of dispelling a magical effect from a 25th level caster, even if that Balor could somehow get a Bead of Karma to work.


Yep, you are right. The balor won't be able to use beads. My point was primarily to show that a level 20 npc caster (has to be narrowed down to divine, you are correct, although a level 20 arcane caster can be fearsome), with the same spellboosting equipment, will have the same advantage over the pc cleric when he casts spells (which are more difficult to dispel then).




In the case of this caster, there are still other options even if the buffs are dispelled. For example, Holy Word.


While the fighter has the bow. Or other weapons. All classes are not all of a sudden helpless when the buffs wear off. The point is, the fighter's buff constitute only, say, 10% of his combat power, while the cleric's (and other casters') constitute much more. If they go, they have no longer the option to directly combat (but have the ranged spells like Holy Word). The fighter does not necessarily need to change his tactics.



IME, dogs even bark at scents they recognize, such as a Human scent. How would you tell the difference between a bark at a scent they recognize and one they don't? Furthermore, even if you did that, how would you be able to deduce that the character is a Devil just from a dog not being able to recognize a creature's scent?


Hmmm. It doesn't say anything in the barbed devil description. Neither does the scent ability give a clue. Dogs ARE in real life quite well-trained to recognize/scent/sense if something is awkward, but the SRD does not provide for that particular situation. So you are correct, the dogs won't scent/see through the disguise.
Still, as a DM, I would think it quite probable that over time, it becomes known that the High Priest of Boccob loves to run around in devil disguise. It may be just considered eccentric, though. In game mechanics, you may get a bit impaired by recasting the disguise self effect every hours or so, but that can be taken care of with a cheap hat of disguise. But otherwise, all consequences seem to have no game mechanic repercussion.




There are other spells in the Spell Compendium with a burst centred on the caster. For example, Anger of the Noonday Sun, which affects all sighted creatures in the burst radius. Again, would that affect the caster?


Well, I must admit, I cannot answer that. It's probably something for the FAQ(CustService. It is only that I FELT that it must have some drawback if you have a different alignment from your deity/use the utmost spells of a particular different alignemnt and suffer no ill effects from it.



In any event, if this really were a problem, then all the Cleric would need to do is put up spell resistance to get SR 37, which should help to block it's effect out.


Isn't the caster level of the holy word 25 (the same)? So a SR helps to block it, but will not block it all the time.



Marius hit the main point, but I just want to address this bit you added later:

If his commanded undead run around with him all the time, what does this cause in terms of social interaction etc? It is not a good tactics to run "over the long run".

If the Cleric knows he/she/it is going into a social situation, then the undead can be left behind, or in some cases made to hide (an incorporeal undead could be told to travel hidden underground, for example).


Now if Rebuking/commanding undead works the same as the positive energy version (which seems to be suggested by the SRD), then the range of the command is only 60ft. This means, the incorporal undead have to hover in the ground with the cleric all the time (corporal undead are likely not possible on an estended duration for a neutral sage deity's high priest). Some do radiate some unholyness and I guess dogs would in that case also feel a bit...awkward. Additionally, if a cleric enters higher levels of a building, the undead may be difficult to hide.
Finally, if good characters are in the party, they may object to undead joining their cause.



Unless it can scry on the Clerics actions (unlikely because of the nondetection spell), the Balor will never know when the Holy Word spells are used up, therefore it would be extremely dangerous for the Balor to seek revenge. On the other hand, the Balor could intimidate one of its minions to scry on the Fighter and attack at a time when the character is weakened. I'd say the Fighter's got a lot more to worry about in that case.


Funnily, the nondetection spell does not mention anything about it being able to block the scrying spell. I find that odd, too. In any case, nondetection may not work so well vs contact other plane tactics (balor having intimidated a minion to do that repeatedly to learn more about potential foes). Plus, all the diviniations are often fairly vague, cryptic allow only yes/no answers, you may have a look at a scryed creature for 1 min/lvl per spell use, so it is nothing like modern surveillance and electronic/satellite espionnage. Essence: BOTH full caster and fighter are vulnerable to such tactics, but such tactics also only go so far, plus scrying allows a will save (even vs the greater scrying version giving something akin to 24/7 surveillance). Bardic Knowledge at very high levels can yield quite a few information, but currently I know of no high-level diviniation spell in core that can provide a full tactical roundup of an opponent.



No need to revise it. The Barbed Devil is a Medium sized creature, so the items should fit. Even if there is some trouble during the polymorph, all that would be needed is for the Cleric to remove the items and then put them on again afterwards. This is a very long term buff - it's permanent until the caster chooses to dispel it (auto success) or override it with another Polymorph any Object spell.


Yes, you are right. For a moment I thought that creature was large-sized, but it only gets to be so through the rightous might spell. Re-read the alter self again and found also that the spell seems to leave it up to the caster to choose if it wants the equipment to meld or not. If the caster were a fish, wearing a ring would be difficult, of course, but the barbed devil is definitely humanoid.



It's a very minor vulnerability though. Magic Dead zones are extremely rare, and a caster character would normally avoid them like the plague. And a Fighter in a Magic Dead zone has real problems too (although not as many as the caster) since all the magical buffs are gone and monsters don't tend to rely on magic as much as PCs do.


Yep, everyone would have a problem in a Dead Magic zone, but disproportionately more the casters. Of course, they are rare, though (like golems). However, the major source of the spellcasters vulnerability are the countermeasures by other casters and the need to refresh the spells once cast. But more about this below.



One thing I should mention here is that both your tactics and mine require the character to know about the threat. This can become a problem if the threat is able to become invisible (like a Pit Fiend instead of a Balor). However, the Cleric I outlined could overcome that by casting See Invisible and then making it permanent (with the Permanency spell). This would have to be done through scrolls and would cost over 10,000gp, but considering the benefit, it's well worth it IMO. While a Fighter could obtain items which grant True Seeing, as far as I'm aware there are no items in the Core Rules which grant See Invisibility, which is only limited by sight range and allows a character under its influence to see both invisible and ethereal creatures.


The robe of eyes item provides seeing invisibility, although only up to a range of 120 ft. I thought about taking it for the fighter (redoing the equipment), but it needs to be with a spell turning ring or buckler of reflection to avoid a light spell to impair it. The robe of eyes is quite powerful, since it also allows to retain the DEX bonus when flat-footed, making both fighter and cleric more powerful on the defense.



This brings up another point. Since your Fighter can't get a really good Hide skill, if some monster has See Invisibility, your opportunity to get surprise is very limited.


The fighter may take care of that by shooting from further away (reducing the spot bonus of the opponent). If the balor were able to use a see invisiblity effect, that would of course greatly impair the fighter's ability to surprise the balor. 1 round of arrow damage (the initiative likely still goes to the fighter) likely will not be enough.



And I'm not sure if it's been mentioned, but unless you've got something else significantly boosting speed (and which stacks with Haste), your revised Fighter can't charge 120' in the surprise round because charging as a standard action only allows movement up to the character's speed, not double speed as usual. That puts your Fighter 60' away from the Balor at the end of the surprise round, which means he'll only be able to get one attack in during the 1st regular round if he charges into melee.


You are correct! The partial charge will only allow 60ft move in the surprise round. Thanks for the many valid points, I'll have to do a 2nd revision for the fighter!

Now on to Marius' comments....



Magics can be countered, only by other casters, doesn't that tell you something? And even if feats can't be countered they are WAY more weak that spells. So dodge can't be countered and holy word is somehow countered? Big deal.


If magic can be countered by casters, or plants, or stones, it does not matter. If they can be countered/dispelled/thwarted, that makes them more vulnerable than feats. Dodge is not the best feat, not even any single feat is a good example, it is mainly the combination of feats which make them quite deadly (see my example fighter). The holy word/time stop combo IS more powerful than the archery attack, but my whole point is that clerics have drawbacks that equalise this high-level advantage.



Your fighter and he wouldn't be able to hit back since now he's stuck in a windowless cell for 40 hours (and I hope he's breathless or he'll be dead very soon). And if it's hard to hit the dimensional anchor he can cast a dimensional lock. The caster could go rest and come back to piss your fighter off. Expensive? Sure, but how much is the fighters gear worth?


The fighter could use a rod of cancellation in such an emergency (will likely include it in a revised fighter build). First, the BAB +10 arcane caster needs to hit the touch AC 38 with the dimensional anchor, though. This is what I mean with "combat situation specific".
If the fighter goes first vs the arcane caster (and that one has not a protection from missile always on, or a contingency windfall which would leave him highly vulnerable to most other attacks), that arcane caster is toast. If it is the other way round (timestop/shapechange/gate/summoningIX/forcecage with dimAnchor), then it's likely over for the fighter. Result: both are roughly equal powerful in raw combat, although - like the cleric- the arcane caster is more powerful out of combat, again counterbalanced by drawbacks of his power, and weakness in low levels.



Most magic items (like rings) resize to fit the creature and in any case you don't have to polymorph in a creature bigger than yourself.


Yep, concede that point (see also above in more detail on greenknight's remark).



Let's quote the SRD
Ex-Clerics

A cleric who grossly violates the code of conduct required by his god loses all spells and class features, except for armor and shield proficiencies (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/combatModifiers.htm#weaponArmorAndShieldProficienc y) and proficiency with simple weapons (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/equipment/weapons.htm#simpleMartialandExoticWeapons). He cannot thereafter gain levels as a cleric of that god until he atones (see the atonement (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/atonement.htm) spell description).

If the cleric changes gods or goes for the ideal route he's go to go. And atonement always works unless the DM houserules.


OK, here I keep my breath. Where does it say ANYTHING in the rules about a cleric being able to change his god, and on a whim, at that? Not in the passage you quoted. I agree there is some definite loophole for no-deity clerics in the ex-cleric/atonement section (which I also commented on with some likely consequences for the average campaign). But there is nothing in there to allow a cleric to change gods without losing spellpowers of the previous gods permanently. First, he gets his own god angry, loses the spellpowers. Then, if he wants to have a different god, he has to do it all the hard way like everyone else (like the halfing rogue turned religious, for instance): muliticlass. He essentially becomes a, for instance, 7th level ex-cleric/1st level new cleric. The only passage I know of in core that somehow ex-divine levels stack/are traded are paladin levels for the blackguard. Otherwise, it's a possible houserule in some circumstances which can also be atmospheric, but in no way a "anything goes" cheese.
Ah, and btw, atonement is not "automatic". There are quite tough prerequisites (could necessitate fulfilling a quest or something, see also in the OOTS Belkar's plotting the doom of Miko...)



I haven't and many other people haven't seen those drawback ethier, doesn't that tell you something? Those are roleplaying restrictions and any other class can have them, even if nothing in the mechanics supports that. My halfling rogue had many problems when he left the guild.


There is no entry on "ex-rogues" or "consequences of leaving a guild" in core. The whole class is designed to be individualistic, opposing any authority, so it would be stupid to include default loss of class abilities for some behaviour.
Now it is a good hunch to sense that oneself is wrong if EVERYone else says otherwise. (Although it's not a good way to start making new discoveries, but that's a different thing). In this thread, though, I saw some (Desaril, its_all_ogres and Hallavast) who seemed to agree with me. I have come to realise during this thread that clerics are more powerful at high levels than I thought, primarily because I
1) overlooked the trickery domain power with time stop and
2) the holy word power when combined with the karma beads (which may be a serious glitch of the designers, because the beads are so cheap).
Similarly, I find the ruling of the versatility of neutral clerics (being able to toss evil, law, chaos and good descriptor spells at leisure simply because "neutral" is not considered "opposed" to evil, law, chaos or good), as well as clerics without gods (which do not get considered explicitly anymore in the SRD, but are there as an option in the class description in the PHB) quite straining against the balance of the game. Still, I guess the balance is preserved due to using the drawbacks available.




That is fluff, not mechanics. And in any case it's not a big deal.
(...)
What problems? Again your talking about fluff, not mechanics. And he can do that even if he's deafened, he can problably wait until he's fine again (only 1d4 rounds vs 1d10 minutes).


As outlined above on greenknight's comment, I believe that the 60ft range of the undead command ability makes it awkward. Likewise, deafness is not "fluff", but has real game effects.



But the cleric likes to bow to a higher power, you like it and that's why you play a cleric. And the cleric could still bow to no one, and have his powers from somewhere else. You don't like that, but he can do that.


If you like to bow to a higher power, this means you accept it with all the consequences and do not ignore at leisure. Power comes at a price, that's the balance part of it. Now the non-deity cleric faces the problem of deities and deity-clerics out to get his head, and he still faces the problem of spell refreshing.
Is it so hard to see that once the main power of your class comes from a source not controlled by you as a player, that that is a severe drawback?



Wind Wall and goodbye ranged fighter (and btw a cleric could be just as good as the ranged fighter at low levels and way better at high levels.


OK, this wind wall thing starts to drive me up the wall (no pun intended :smallsmile: ). First, a fighter can simply walk through it and continue shooting on the other side (even move and then manyshot if in range, goodbye caster). Second, the caster needs to be able to win initiative to use it (if contingencie'd, needs to have set the contingency to such a spell non-optimal for most other surprise attacks). Third, it is only a wall, so protects only against one side. Fourth, why the heck not use a wall of iron or stone to really protect yourself? Fifth, why not just teleport away and then try to get back at the fighter differently? Sixth, the fighter with the celestial armour thought up by BWL could just fly up and evade the wall (actually, any wall). Arrrg.




Hello TPK!


? So you are saying, that by having a BBEG behaving intelligently (i.e. attacking the party when it is weak) means no challenging fight (where the fighter could jump in for the caster weakness), but directly a TPK? Well, that is really overdoing the full caster support.



Those situations don't happen very often, even in high level games. How many people have encounter them more than one time in a whole campaign?


I guess that at levels where the characters are able to take out a CR 20 creature on their own in 1.5 rounds like the example cleric and fighter builds above, the DM has to come up with some challenges- like that CR 20 creatures going first, or having allies grinding a deaf attacking cleric or revealed fighter on his tower to dust, etc. And such challenges should also include dead magic/chaotic magic etc. areas.



The cleric will be ahead of the fighter in any situation, that's the point of this argument. And I already showed you why your awesome damage output is useless in that case.


And this is where you are wrong. The cleric is NOT ahead of the fighter in ANY situation, and definitely not in all levels 1-20. I'd say the cleric is ahead in MANY situations at HIGH levels, and this is counterbalanced by previous weakness AND the drawbacks.


And now on to said drawbacks.

There are some new discussants in here (will I ever recover from the headbanging StarTrek crew? Thanks a zillion. Turcano!). And some short individual remarks before trying to sum up (once again) my points on cleric vulnerability.
@Marius: A FR deity is not core, so it should not be considered here. The PHB Greyhawk deities should suffice, plus the Alignment-based non-deity concepts indicated by the PHB.
@Wehrkind: On Greek Mythology: do the stories of Kassandra and Laokoon ring any bells? They were both priests abandoned to their fate by their respective deities joining sides with the Greek in the Trojan war. Additionally, there is a story around of the Medusa having once been a priestess of Athene (the goddess of wisdom to boost!), who punished her simply with turning her into such a monster because she was jealous of that priestesses' beauty. Now Greyhawk gods are not portrayed that way (maybe the evil gods are like that), but they are based on real world polytheistic/mostly indogermanic beliefs, and, as such, are full of betrayal, misunderstanding, ill fate and cruelty, non-priest-friendly behaviour/demands even against the own priests. The only exception should likely be good deities (they have few counterparts in historic mythology, since most Greek gods, for instance, are non-good!). But then this narrows down the alignment range for a cleric player not wanting to risk conflict (btw, also as a player of a cleric I would want to avoid even taking a single step away from my deity's belief since it raises the potential for conflict. Say, a Lawful good deity is followed by a lawful neutral cleric. For that cleric, doing an evil deed to uphold the general law and balance would be frowned upon by the deity, to say the least, although it would be in line with that cleric's personal inclination).

Now on once more, my friends, into the er...cleric weaknesses and drawbacks.
1) they need to refresh their spells. If they are thwarted in this (quite easy to do, both with direct intervention or indirect events that need the cleric's attention), they quickly fall behind the fighters and definitely will no longer follow zilla tacitcs since the necessary buffs need so many spell slots (quickened to boost). Do not come again with "yay, but if the clerics are out of spells, they can no longer heal the fighter". They can do so spontaneously as long as they have spells left and as long as that spell is used better to heal than to do something else (if they channel positive energy, which is more useful than doing an undead command show, I dare say)
2) they rely almost solely on magic. So, like all full casters, they are vulnerable to magic countermeasures. Dodge may be only giving +1 to AC, but it cannot be countered (only if flat-footed, but a flat-footed spell user has his own problems as well). A Holy Word vs a balor previously buffed by the evil high priest with karma beads and spell resistance reduces its effectiveness by 50%. So overall yes, the magic countermeasures can likewise be countered and so on, so in many situations the full casters have contingency tactics. But still, the point remains: spells are more vulnerable in their success to do what they should than feats.
3) they rely on an outside source for their power if they choose deities. That's what the core entries on ex-clerics and atonment is about. The rules are there, it's not "role-playing-dependent" only, since game mechanics (like using an evil item if you are a good cleric, dominations etc.) or cursed items can quickly turn you into a warrior-without-martialweaponproficiency (the atonement spell specifically distinguishes between lost clerics if they were responsible for their actions or not).
4) clerics that rely on too vague an outside source of power have no rules against their misconduct per se, but any DM trying to preserve the consistency (not the balance, but consistency!) of his campaign will have to bear down hard on such clerics through the campaign's deities. Otherwise: who would need gods at all if everyone wise enough for 1-9 lvl divine spells can just found one's own religion with no risk of divine conflict? Since deities need followers, they would quickly vanish out of mortal's minds if they took no countermeasures vs deity-less clerics. It's not a houserule, it's campaign logic for all campaigns except those specific campaigns where there are no gods to start with, simply "The force" or some such thing. "The Force" will never kick your powers out regardless what you do, but your alignment determines what kind of powers you have and may have some other restrictions ("Once you take that dark road, for ever it will determine your fate..." probably got the English original wrong here:smallsmile: ).
5) MANY clerics are part of religious organisations/churches. Now if a player once again takes the route to go it alone, he refrains from the potential support such a church can give, alongside the duties that could impose on him.
6) Now one rather roleplaying-specific/houseruling thing: a lot of the zilla and mightiest spells and powers like turning into a devil or having ghosts follow you around in 60ft range as a neutral cleric all the time can have severe social consequences, probably not to the liking of the player, although it could provide funny roleplaying situations. This is simply a consequence of dealing with supernatural forces, which could either inspire awe, or fear, reverence or enmity. A fighter with his weapons looking largely the same at 1st as at 20th level (OK, the latter tougher, but still human) does not have to think much about this (only when using quite odd magic equipment like an instant fortress, but none of the example fighter build equipment above qualify as such, I dare say).

All of these drawbacks provide excellent opportunities for a DM to balance a game and are also readily interpretable as such.
What confuses me most about this discussion (I already mentioned that further up in a post in response to BWL) is that so many of you say the cleric is broken and overpowered (plus the other full casters as well) and deplore it because no one then would play a fighter.

And I point out to you: hey, but in the rules there are drawbacks! So everything should be fine! And still you refuse to accept this, which would only be understable if you were in an existing campaign, playing a full caster with a sleepy DM, and I as a DM all of a sudden would take over and then use the above standards which I see are crystal clear set out in the rules. You would probably feel "nerfed", making such obstinate resistance to the obvious in that case understandable, but here in an abstract discussion thread?

However, already greenknight admitted that the cleric build above is "cheesy", and should not enter real play. Why, I ask? Probably because greenknight believes the game system cannot stomach such a character and still provide fun for other players, say, of fighters.
But if such a cleric actually enters real play, it would also get hit full force by the drawbacks that the SRD and DD rules build in for full casters.

At this point in the thread (coming back to the original theme) my proof remains that
1) the fighter CAN contribute at lvl 20 combat
2) even if the fighter is behind in power (total, not in combat only) for full spell casters it is balanced because he was ahead at the low levels and
3) there exist enough drawbacks/problems for full casters, the cleric in particular which make the game balanced as written in the rules.

I admit that some of the cleric's powers likely need revision, like the ability to simply choose no deity and not be affected by that WHOLE CLASSE's entry on "ex-clerics" (note that the section is not called "ex-clerics with deities" for a likely reason) in particular since druids who have no specific gods either but the abstract concept of nature to revere, have an "ex-druids" section of their own as well. Similarly, I consider the holy word as overtly powerful, because the designers may have overlooked the combination potential with the cheap karma beads. Note though, that it is foremost overly powerful vs other spellcasters, not fighters or non-casters. Holy words are still vulnerable to other magics and protections (although less so than most other spells), plus the drawbacks outlined above and are limited in their range (which makes it necessary to combine with a time stop to avoid risks, something only a trickery domain cleric can do).

Looking forward to your replies.

- Giacomo

Truwar
2007-03-13, 10:15 AM
Hate to stick my head into this and I am sure this may have already been brought up, but what does the super archer/fighter do when his fancy bow is yanked out of his hands by Balor using his quickened Telekinesis ability(via the disarm option)? The Balor is going to have a much better Charisma than the Archer has strength and that is not even counting the Charisma enhancing magic item that the Balor would almost certainly have as part of his treasure trove (I know “I” would have on if “I” were a Balor, anyhow). Once the bow is out of his hands, I do not see the archer lasting all that long…

Oh, and the idea that "it is ok that you contribute much less than I because I had to sit around bored while you contibuted at lower levels is a pretty wrongheaded one.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-13, 11:05 AM
OK, two quick comments before I'll be able to get back to the thread in the evening.


Hate to stick my head into this and I am sure this may have already been brought up, but what does the super archer/fighter do when his fancy bow is yanked out of his hands by Balor using his quickened Telekinesis ability(via the disarm option)? The Balor is going to have a much better Charisma than the Archer has strength and that is not even counting the Charisma enhancing magic item that the Balor would almost certainly have as part of his treasure trove (I know “I” would have on if “I” were a Balor, anyhow). Once the bow is out of his hands, I do not see the archer lasting all that long…
.


CHR boosters in the treasure of the balor would be a good idea, but would hurt all opponents, not only the fighter. Now the telekinesis bow disarm idea was already mentioned by myself further up (no reproach here, the thread is already quite long). I thought about countering it with an improved disarm feat, making it even more likely that the fighter can resist the disarm attempt (who gets to use his DEX bonus and gets a +4 bonus since the bow is a two-handed weapon). If all fails, the bow can be bound to the arm of the fighter, basically allowing him to retrieve the bow at leisure with quickdraw (tearing the bow away from the fighter would then necessitate a will save, +19 in the example build, more in the attacking version).
Ah, and anyhow, the above archery tactics do not allow the balor to hit back, so it's more something for a "balor goes first" tactics, which is probably widely agreed to end in the defeat of all heroes, fighter or casters (excepting the contingencie'd teleporting wizard/sorcerer).



[COLOR=black]Oh, and the idea that "it is ok that you contribute much less than I because I had to sit around bored while you contibuted at lower levels is a pretty wrongheaded one.


Now I guess I have shown with the (revised) fighter build that the lvl 20 fighter will not "sit around bored". If anything, a wizard at 1st level can get "bored" easily after his few spells are cast, but there is still the whole range of INT-based play, his knowledge skills etc. Likewise, the fighter gets a lot do to at high levels. Even if the full casters are more powerful by level 20, this is then balanced against the players of those characters having lagged in combat strength at low levels. And we all probably would agree that low-level groups are way more common than the lvl 17& up kind, making fighters once again attractive.

- Giacomo

Marius
2007-03-13, 11:54 AM
Yep, you are right. The balor won't be able to use beads. My point was primarily to show that a level 20 npc caster (has to be narrowed down to divine, you are correct, although a level 20 arcane caster can be fearsome), with the same spellboosting equipment, will have the same advantage over the pc cleric when he casts spells (which are more difficult to dispel then).

Sure you can find some scary casters out there, and all of them will be much bigger threat to any fighter than to any cleric.



While the fighter has the bow. Or other weapons. All classes are not all of a sudden helpless when the buffs wear off. The point is, the fighter's buff constitute only, say, 10% of his combat power, while the cleric's (and other casters') constitute much more. If they go, they have no longer the option to directly combat (but have the ranged spells like Holy Word). The fighter does not necessarily need to change his tactics.

The fighter won't get his buffs dispeled, they will hit him with one of the many other spells that can hurt him a lot more than a "greater dispel"



Isn't the caster level of the holy word 25 (the same)? So a SR helps to block it, but will not block it all the time.

But the concequences are meaningless, you won and pay the price by being 1d4 rounds deafened.



Now if Rebuking/commanding undead works the same as the positive energy version (which seems to be suggested by the SRD), then the range of the command is only 60ft. This means, the incorporal undead have to hover in the ground with the cleric all the time (corporal undead are likely not possible on an estended duration for a neutral sage deity's high priest). Some do radiate some unholyness and I guess dogs would in that case also feel a bit...awkward. Additionally, if a cleric enters higher levels of a building, the undead may be difficult to hide.
Finally, if good characters are in the party, they may object to undead joining their cause.

I think that once you command them you don't have to keep them at 60ft. The rest is just fluff, nothing in the rules says that dogs can detect them.
And finally if you are an evil cleric you're probably won't be playing with good pcs, they are not going to like you (and what you do) even if you don't keep undeads around you.



Funnily, the nondetection spell does not mention anything about it being able to block the scrying spell. I find that odd, too. In any case, nondetection may not work so well vs contact other plane tactics (balor having intimidated a minion to do that repeatedly to learn more about potential foes). Plus, all the diviniations are often fairly vague, cryptic allow only yes/no answers, you may have a look at a scryed creature for 1 min/lvl per spell use, so it is nothing like modern surveillance and electronic/satellite espionnage. Essence: BOTH full caster and fighter are vulnerable to such tactics, but such tactics also only go so far, plus scrying allows a will save (even vs the greater scrying version giving something akin to 24/7 surveillance). Bardic Knowledge at very high levels can yield quite a few information, but currently I know of no high-level diviniation spell in core that can provide a full tactical roundup of an opponent.

Both are vunerable but the clerics will save will be probably a lot higher. Also casters have a little spell called "mind blank" that has a duration of 24 hours and solves the problem.



The robe of eyes item provides seeing invisibility, although only up to a range of 120 ft. I thought about taking it for the fighter (redoing the equipment), but it needs to be with a spell turning ring or buckler of reflection to avoid a light spell to impair it. The robe of eyes is quite powerful, since it also allows to retain the DEX bonus when flat-footed, making both fighter and cleric more powerful on the defense.

The buckler will make your monk's belt useless so I'll go with the ring. Of course those 2 items are worth 200.000gp



If magic can be countered by casters, or plants, or stones, it does not matter. If they can be countered/dispelled/thwarted, that makes them more vulnerable than feats. Dodge is not the best feat, not even any single feat is a good example, it is mainly the combination of feats which make them quite deadly (see my example fighter). The holy word/time stop combo IS more powerful than the archery attack, but my whole point is that clerics have drawbacks that equalise this high-level advantage.

It really does matter since that same magic that only counters other magic can do worse things to noncasters. BWL already said it a long time ago. The caster that can cast "greater dispel" can also cast many other spells that are way more dangerous to non-casters. And the feats won't matter, they just don't.



The fighter could use a rod of cancellation in such an emergency (will likely include it in a revised fighter build). First, the BAB +10 arcane caster needs to hit the touch AC 38 with the dimensional anchor, though. This is what I mean with "combat situation specific".
If the fighter goes first vs the arcane caster (and that one has not a protection from missile always on, or a contingency windfall which would leave him highly vulnerable to most other attacks), that arcane caster is toast. If it is the other way round (timestop/shapechange/gate/summoningIX/forcecage with dimAnchor), then it's likely over for the fighter. Result: both are roughly equal powerful in raw combat, although - like the cleric- the arcane caster is more powerful out of combat, again counterbalanced by drawbacks of his power, and weakness in low levels.

Not really, the caster could have a contingency set on any attempt to hurt him or he could easily cast "foresight" with a rod of greater extend. Now you can't surprise him.
And they are now weak at low levels, I really don't know how do you think that. They may be not as powerful but they are still a force to be feared.



OK, here I keep my breath. Where does it say ANYTHING in the rules about a cleric being able to change his god, and on a whim, at that? Not in the passage you quoted. I agree there is some definite loophole for no-deity clerics in the ex-cleric/atonement section (which I also commented on with some likely consequences for the average campaign). But there is nothing in there to allow a cleric to change gods without losing spellpowers of the previous gods permanently. First, he gets his own god angry, loses the spellpowers. Then, if he wants to have a different god, he has to do it all the hard way like everyone else (like the halfing rogue turned religious, for instance): muliticlass. He essentially becomes a, for instance, 7th level ex-cleric/1st level new cleric. The only passage I know of in core that somehow ex-divine levels stack/are traded are paladin levels for the blackguard. Otherwise, it's a possible houserule in some circumstances which can also be atmospheric, but in no way a "anything goes" cheese.
Ah, and btw, atonement is not "automatic". There are quite tough prerequisites (could necessitate fulfilling a quest or something, see also in the OOTS Belkar's plotting the doom of Miko...)

Where does it says that he can't?
The atonement spell description suggest than some casters do that, but not everyone of them.



There is no entry on "ex-rogues" or "consequences of leaving a guild" in core. The whole class is designed to be individualistic, opposing any authority, so it would be stupid to include default loss of class abilities for some behaviour.
Now it is a good hunch to sense that oneself is wrong if EVERYone else says otherwise. (Although it's not a good way to start making new discoveries, but that's a different thing). In this thread, though, I saw some (Desaril, its_all_ogres and Hallavast) who seemed to agree with me. I have come to realise during this thread that clerics are more powerful at high levels than I thought, primarily because I
1) overlooked the trickery domain power with time stop and
2) the holy word power when combined with the karma beads (which may be a serious glitch of the designers, because the beads are so cheap).
Similarly, I find the ruling of the versatility of neutral clerics (being able to toss evil, law, chaos and good descriptor spells at leisure simply because "neutral" is not considered "opposed" to evil, law, chaos or good), as well as clerics without gods (which do not get considered explicitly anymore in the SRD, but are there as an option in the class description in the PHB) quite straining against the balance of the game. Still, I guess the balance is preserved due to using the drawbacks available.

My point is that those things that you cansider "drawbacks" are only fluff and they can happen to any character. And there're people that still considers that monks are the more powerful class in d&d.



As outlined above on greenknight's comment, I believe that the 60ft range of the undead command ability makes it awkward. Likewise, deafness is not "fluff", but has real game effects.

Deafness for 1d4 rounds it's not a big problem (if at all).



If you like to bow to a higher power, this means you accept it with all the consequences and do not ignore at leisure. Power comes at a price, that's the balance part of it. Now the non-deity cleric faces the problem of deities and deity-clerics out to get his head, and he still faces the problem of spell refreshing.
Is it so hard to see that once the main power of your class comes from a source not controlled by you as a player, that that is a severe drawback?

Where does it says that power comes with a price? Where that it says that there're concequences? That may be true in your campaign but it has nothing to do with the mechanics. The non-deity cleric works just fine with other clerics (of similar beliefs but with gods) so he doesn't have any more trouble than any other cleric.



OK, this wind wall thing starts to drive me up the wall (no pun intended :smallsmile: ). First, a fighter can simply walk through it and continue shooting on the other side (even move and then manyshot if in range, goodbye caster). Second, the caster needs to be able to win initiative to use it (if contingencie'd, needs to have set the contingency to such a spell non-optimal for most other surprise attacks). Third, it is only a wall, so protects only against one side. Fourth, why the heck not use a wall of iron or stone to really protect yourself? Fifth, why not just teleport away and then try to get back at the fighter differently? Sixth, the fighter with the celestial armour thought up by BWL could just fly up and evade the wall (actually, any wall). Arrrg.

It's just an example of a low level spell that can neutralize a ranged fighter, at 5th level a wizard can cast wind wall with fly and you just have to sit and wait. Of course at high levels he has 10.000 ways to kill you, witch it's not very good for your argument.



? So you are saying, that by having a BBEG behaving intelligently (i.e. attacking the party when it is weak) means no challenging fight (where the fighter could jump in for the caster weakness), but directly a TPK? Well, that is really overdoing the full caster support.

I don't think so. In any case the fighter has more weaknesses than the cleric, to start he can't heal by himself (and even if he tries to heal a little by sleeping he can also be interrupted. Actually he can't do anything but damage by himself and if a DM want to explote that weakness the fighter is dead. No one talks about how to explote the fighters weaknesses because fighters are very weak and it's easy to hurt them.
For any weakness that you can find in a cleric I can find you two on the fighter.



I guess that at levels where the characters are able to take out a CR 20 creature on their own in 1.5 rounds like the example cleric and fighter builds above, the DM has to come up with some challenges- like that CR 20 creatures going first, or having allies grinding a deaf attacking cleric or revealed fighter on his tower to dust, etc. And such challenges should also include dead magic/chaotic magic etc. areas.

So that means that you never faced those things before but you think that they should appear... but they usually never do.



And this is where you are wrong. The cleric is NOT ahead of the fighter in ANY situation, and definitely not in all levels 1-20. I'd say the cleric is ahead in MANY situations at HIGH levels, and this is counterbalanced by previous weakness AND the drawbacks.

Prove it.



@Marius: A FR deity is not core, so it should not be considered here. The PHB Greyhawk deities should suffice, plus the Alignment-based non-deity concepts indicated by the PHB.

I know it's not core it's an example and you can easily add it to Greyhawk. And in any case you can still be a cleric of a cause.



1) they need to refresh their spells. If they are thwarted in this (quite easy to do, both with direct intervention or indirect events that need the cleric's attention), they quickly fall behind the fighters and definitely will no longer follow zilla tacitcs since the necessary buffs need so many spell slots (quickened to boost). Do not come again with "yay, but if the clerics are out of spells, they can no longer heal the fighter". They can do so spontaneously as long as they have spells left and as long as that spell is used better to heal than to do something else (if they channel positive energy, which is more useful than doing an undead command show, I dare say)

Fluff, not real mechanics, as I said before you can thwart the fighter in many other ways (and even the cleric or any other class).
You are intentionally trying to punish the cleric player because the class is too good. So a player that is left without his main power only to heal (if even) the rest of the party will probably stop playing clerics (and that's what every did back in 2nd edition). Also the wizard will be out of spells too. The point stands, casters are more powerful than fighters.
Also the cleric can enter with the wizard in his MM or use rope trick if he has the magic domain.



2) they rely almost solely on magic. So, like all full casters, they are vulnerable to magic countermeasures. Dodge may be only giving +1 to AC, but it cannot be countered (only if flat-footed, but a flat-footed spell user has his own problems as well). A Holy Word vs a balor previously buffed by the evil high priest with karma beads and spell resistance reduces its effectiveness by 50%. So overall yes, the magic countermeasures can likewise be countered and so on, so in many situations the full casters have contingency tactics. But still, the point remains: spells are more vulnerable in their success to do what they should than feats.

See my point above. An evil priest with karma beads and spell resistance could kill a fighter much more easily than kill a cleric.



3) they rely on an outside source for their power if they choose deities. That's what the core entries on ex-clerics and atonment is about. The rules are there, it's not "role-playing-dependent" only, since game mechanics (like using an evil item if you are a good cleric, dominations etc.) or cursed items can quickly turn you into a warrior-without-martialweaponproficiency (the atonement spell specifically distinguishes between lost clerics if they were responsible for their actions or not).

Fluff, depends on your campaign.



4) clerics that rely on too vague an outside source of power have no rules against their misconduct per se, but any DM trying to preserve the consistency (not the balance, but consistency!) of his campaign will have to bear down hard on such clerics through the campaign's deities. Otherwise: who would need gods at all if everyone wise enough for 1-9 lvl divine spells can just found one's own religion with no risk of divine conflict? Since deities need followers, they would quickly vanish out of mortal's minds if they took no countermeasures vs deity-less clerics. It's not a houserule, it's campaign logic for all campaigns except those specific campaigns where there are no gods to start with, simply "The force" or some such thing. "The Force" will never kick your powers out regardless what you do, but your alignment determines what kind of powers you have and may have some other restrictions ("Once you take that dark road, for ever it will determine your fate..." probably got the English original wrong here:smallsmile: ).

Again fluff and your opinion. The PHB contradicts you.



5) MANY clerics are part of religious organisations/churches. Now if a player once again takes the route to go it alone, he refrains from the potential support such a church can give, alongside the duties that could impose on him.

Not a weakness but a potential strength (and still fluff).



6) Now one rather roleplaying-specific/houseruling thing: a lot of the zilla and mightiest spells and powers like turning into a devil or having ghosts follow you around in 60ft range as a neutral cleric all the time can have severe social consequences, probably not to the liking of the player, although it could provide funny roleplaying situations. This is simply a consequence of dealing with supernatural forces, which could either inspire awe, or fear, reverence or enmity. A fighter with his weapons looking largely the same at 1st as at 20th level (OK, the latter tougher, but still human) does not have to think much about this (only when using quite odd magic equipment like an instant fortress, but none of the example fighter build equipment above qualify as such, I dare say).

Again fluff.



At this point in the thread (coming back to the original theme) my proof remains that
1) the fighter CAN contribute at lvl 20 combat

Sure, not nearly as much as a caster but they can (if they are ranged fighter, not melee fighters).



2) even if the fighter is behind in power (total, not in combat only) for full spell casters it is balanced because he was ahead at the low levels and

Not true, casters are never behind in terms of power.



3) there exist enough drawbacks/problems for full casters, the cleric in particular which make the game balanced as written in the rules.

All of them fluff and weakness that can be applied to any other class.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-13, 02:07 PM
OK, I must admit that I am starting to give up on Marius :smalleek:

Fluff, you say? All 6 drawbacks only fluff, even if they are in the core rules and class description? Whoa, next time I'll just play a rogue with plate mail then...

I do not need to prove anything any more on the fighter, since I posted already a fighter build able to do what I maintain it should do and have shown with the drawback discussion that even the extremely powerful cleric posted by greenknight will have to face disadvantages inherent in the class, which are as apparant as, say, the disadvantage of the fighter of having two low save progressions.

On the contrary I think you should start to prove something. Show me the cleric is ALWAYS better than the fighter in ALL situations in ALL levels. Good luck with that, since even BWL argues that the casters, including the clerics below the magic level of 7 when they get divine power, are inferior to the fighter in combat. And all the combat-desperately-needed quickened spells are only available to casters from level 9 onwards (before if they choose to focus all their money on quicken rods, something they most likely will not do).

Say, let us start at 1st level and build a cleric superior to a fighter in EVERYTHING. That would be a nice start.



The fighter won't get his buffs dispeled, they will hit him with one of the many other spells that can hurt him a lot more than a "greater dispel".


The cleric will be marginally better at defense than the fighter. All attack spells able to hit a human fighter should hit a human cleric equally well, for a start. Now the fighter has more feats to boost his defenses, the cleric has spells (dispellable, counterspellable), plus a better will save. It is impossible to fully analyse who would be ahead in what circumstances against what opponents going first and whatever. But I concede and have already conceded that likely the spellcasters have better defenses overall. However, I see this balanced by the "fluff".

Now on, to some more game mechanics (this time though, I'll not rehearse the stuff on dogs, undead companions etc., since we obviously have non-reconcilable opinions on those)



Both are vunerable but the clerics will save will be probably a lot higher. Also casters have a little spell called "mind blank" that has a duration of 24 hours and solves the problem.


Not "casters", but only wizards, sorcerers and clerics with the protection domain (so, not greenknight's build). Even so, this "little spell" again has a "little drawback" since mind-affecting boosts like morale bonuses no longer work on the recipient, lowering zilla strength. Plus, it doesn't help vs bardic knowledge and contact other plane. Plus, you may not be able to relearn it (once again "fluff", but the hurting kind), in which case you are back on the fighter's level again.



Not really, the caster could have a contingency set on any attempt to hurt him....


Now this is easily foiled. I play a caster with contingency set to "attempt to hurt" and it regularly gets set off, when a rat tries to bite the caster, a tavern brawl ensues, a city guard fires at him with a crossbow. The true BBEG only has to wait for the moment and may even use such a thing to get rid of your contingency.



or he could easily cast "foresight" with a rod of greater extend. Now you can't surprise him.


Yep. But...you guessed....IT's DRAWBACK TIME! :smallbiggrin:
- extending the "foresight" means it is up 400 Minutes, 500 Minutes for the karma bead cleric. If the caster wants to be really protected all the time, there go 3 9th level slots per day minimum, 5 9th level slots for the regular caster without karma beads since the rod can do the trick only three times/day.
- it prevents surprise, but not an opponent winning the initative and having a full round to mop the floor with your caster.
- So it's helpful but spending all your 9th spell level slots on it per day as, say, a druid, does not sound like a good idea to me. Likewise, a non-specialist wizard will no longer be able to cast other 9th level spells (there goes time stop), and also the karma bead cleric as well as the sorcerer will think twice about this tactics.



Where does it says that he can't?
The atonement spell description suggest than some casters do that, but not everyone of them.


OK, finally I have to post the atonement spell description and please then tell me were it "suggests" that. It's not even there "fluff"wise:smallsmile:

- Giacomo

Atonement
Abjuration
Level: Clr 5, Drd 5
Components: V, S, M, F, DF, XP
Casting Time: 1 hour
Range: Touch
Target: Living creature touched
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: Yes
This spell removes the burden of evil acts or misdeeds from the subject. The creature seeking atonement must be truly repentant and desirous of setting right its misdeeds. If the atoning creature committed the evil act unwittingly or under some form of compulsion, atonement operates normally at no cost to you. However, in the case of a creature atoning for deliberate misdeeds and acts of a knowing and willful nature, you must intercede with your deity (requiring you to expend 500 XP) in order to expunge the subject’s burden. Many casters first assign a subject of this sort a quest (see geas/quest) or similar penance to determine whether the creature is truly contrite before casting the atonement spell on its behalf.
Atonement may be cast for one of several purposes, depending on the version selected.
Reverse Magical Alignment Change: If a creature has had its alignment magically changed, atonement returns its alignment to its original status at no cost in experience points.
Restore Class: A paladin who has lost her class features due to committing an evil act may have her paladinhood restored to her by this spell.
Restore Cleric or Druid Spell Powers: A cleric or druid who has lost the ability to cast spells by incurring the anger of his or her deity may regain that ability by seeking atonement from another cleric of the same deity or another druid. If the transgression was intentional, the casting cleric loses 500 XP for his intercession. If the transgression was unintentional, he does not lose XP.
Redemption or Temptation: You may cast this spell upon a creature of an opposing alignment in order to offer it a chance to change its alignment to match yours. The prospective subject must be present for the entire casting process. Upon completion of the spell, the subject freely chooses whether it retains its original alignment or acquiesces to your offer and changes to your alignment. No duress, compulsion, or magical influence can force the subject to take advantage of the opportunity offered if it is unwilling to abandon its old alignment. This use of the spell does not work on outsiders or any creature incapable of changing its alignment naturally.
Though the spell description refers to evil acts, atonement can also be used on any creature that has performed acts against its alignment, whether those acts are evil, good, chaotic, or lawful.
Note: Normally, changing alignment is up to the player. This use of atonement simply offers a believable way for a character to change his or her alignment drastically, suddenly, and definitively.
Material Component: Burning incense.
Focus: In addition to your holy symbol or normal divine focus, you need a set of prayer beads (or other prayer device, such as a prayer wheel or prayer book) worth at least 500 gp.
XP Cost: When cast for the benefit of a creature whose guilt was the result of deliberate acts, the cost to you is 500 XP per casting (see above).

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-13, 02:33 PM
Just noticed something while being in the drawback mode...the tactics for a Holy Word from a neutral karma bead/ioun stone-boosted cleric can be even more dangerous...the caster's caster level is 25, the caster's own hit dice, however, only 20. So he will get deafened, blinded, and paralysed as well, not only deafened. It can be reduced by 50% with spell resistance up cast beforehand, but still it is quite shaky tactics.
Will need a CustServ ruling on this, as greenknight brought up some valid points.
Plus, a good follower of Boccob would still be able to do the timestop/holy word combo (albeit with increased "fluff" danger of conflict vs his deity).

- Giacomo

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-13, 02:38 PM
Aieeeh and what do I have to see when I read for the first time the prayer bead entry and not take the "common sense" around here for granted?:

"...Bead of karma Wearer casts his spells at +4 caster level. Effect lasts 10 minutes...(...)...Each special bead can be used once per day, except for the bead of summons, which works only once and then becomes nonmagical."

So the caster boosting super effect reducing dispels and what have you can only be used ONCE per day? OK, the time stop/holy word combo still holds (with good cleric of Boccob, gets more and more specialised here), but once that is over, the cleric buffs will be dispelled at a 45% ratio, not a 25% ratio. Good bye, clericzilla.

- Giacomo

Bears With Lasers
2007-03-13, 02:55 PM
Buying a Strand of Prayer Beads with the Bead of Smitingmissing costs 9,000 gp. You can have several beads.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-13, 02:56 PM
Hmmm, one final note here...got carried away a bit. The cleric can use the beads and cast all the buffs beforehand in the 10 minutes. But once that attack is over (and possibly failed), the next encounter is without the beads power.

- Giacomo

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-13, 02:59 PM
Buying a Strand of Prayer Beads with the Bead of Smitingmissing costs 9,000 gp. You can have several beads.

True, good point. However, I guess, my main shock was that the effect only lasts 10 minutes and needs to be activated with a command word (standard action). So in case the cleric is attacked, he is at caster level 21, not 25 which I had assumed before. Makes the cleric more vulnerable.

- Giacomo

Kantolin
2007-03-13, 03:03 PM
It seems the general arguments are:

- If the enemy has nothing but greater dispel magic memorized, it hurts the cleric more than the fighter. (Not quite an antimagic field, as most higher-CR things can eat a fighter/cleric/anyone in an antimagic field anyway).
- A fighter is 'balanced' as nothing can take away his feats. A Cleric is 'balanced' since dispel magic can remove his buffs, and if he significantly revamps his personality he could lose his powers.
- A very well-optimized fighter can kill a Balor in one round. A somewhat less optimized cleric can also kill a Balor in one round.

The counter to #1 seems to be that it's... rather stupid for any spellcaster to do.

The counter to #2 seems to be multi-part To begin, feats are far less powerful than spells, it's not likely to get all of them at once, and some can be recasted. If a cleric can keep an enemy spellcaster spending every round's action de-buffing the cleric, meanwhile his party will win the match (As it takes one round for Clerics to set up). A cleric who revamps his personality can happen, but a fighter can suddenly see the error in his ways and take up fishing instead, refusing to ever again hold a weapon and taking a vow of peace.

In addition, instead of dispel magic a caster could use any of a dozen spells which hurt fighters more than clerics. Infinitely fewer spells hurt clerics more than fighters, making the fighter quite a bit easier to incapacitate. A fighter has numerous weaknesses which are far more difficult to make up for.

For #3, it seems to be that people are guesstimating "Hmm... do I kill the fighter, or weaken the cleric". That's a bad comparison in and of itself, but ignoring that... it seems to be if the balor kills one of the two, the other will kill him in one round (nevermind the remaining two party members).

Given that, I'd get the heck out of dodge and try again later, if I were the Balor. Maybe later on, pop in and start the battle on my terms.

Of that, however... it's a spellcaster that's most likely to be able to stop this action, or then do something a bit later. The worst a spellcaster has to worry about is the Balor bampfing in and dispelling him, in which the spellcaster can put the buffs back up, keep the balor from teleporting again, etc. Possibly, they'll take some hit point damage - CoDzilla have plenty of hit points. An antimagic field would work, but that'd rather TPK the party with nothing anyone can really do about it.

So... so I dunno. Sure, a cleric being dispelled is more threatening than the fighter being dispelled... but a fighter's a lot easier to generally stop. That doesn't really help the fighter's case. Was there an additional step in there I'm missing? It sounds like the only time the fighter has the edge up, it's when the enemy has focused on the more threatening cleric for a few rounds.

its_all_ogre
2007-03-13, 03:30 PM
actually i think if the balor teleports in and attacks party(surprise round and all) the fighter has the edge.
of course in that situation the balor could quite possibly kill all of the party, especially if he does it during cleric prayer time at the same time as the wizard is memorising spells......and int 24.....yeah he would.
we all know the average fighter has a crap will save, but that is why classes with good will saves have spells to boost their allies weaknesses in this 'team-work' oriented game.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-13, 03:52 PM
Hi Kantolin,

welcome back to the thread. However, pls do read at least the most recent longer posts, since narrowing down the discussion to some small points where I already conceded caster superiority at high levels makes little sense. Still, something can be added here and there.


It seems the general arguments are:

- If the enemy has nothing but greater dispel magic memorized, it hurts the cleric more than the fighter. (Not quite an antimagic field, as most higher-CR things can eat a fighter/cleric/anyone in an antimagic field anyway).
- A fighter is 'balanced' as nothing can take away his feats. A Cleric is 'balanced' since dispel magic can remove his buffs, and if he significantly revamps his personality he could lose his powers.
- A very well-optimized fighter can kill a Balor in one round. A somewhat less optimized cleric can also kill a Balor in one round.


All of this only touches one of five major drawbacks I outlined for the cleric. That point touched is that magic has its own vulnerability and for all spells, there are invariably counterspells. Feats as extraordinary abilities are weaker than the more powerful spells, but are permanent and non-dispellable.



The counter to #1 seems to be that it's... rather stupid for any spellcaster to do.


#1 has nothing to do with an opponent caster memorising "only dispels". And please show me a creature than can "eat away" a non-buffed, nonenhancement boni fighter when it likewise has NO spell-like and supernatural abilities to fight with, either. A balor reduced to grappling, or a tarrasque or saurus maybe, but still here the fighter has a MUCH bigger chance of survival than a caster.



The counter to #2 seems to be multi-part To begin, feats are far less powerful than spells, it's not likely to get all of them at once, and some can be recasted. If a cleric can keep an enemy spellcaster spending every round's action de-buffing the cleric, meanwhile his party will win the match (As it takes one round for Clerics to set up). A cleric who revamps his personality can happen, but a fighter can suddenly see the error in his ways and take up fishing instead, refusing to ever again hold a weapon and taking a vow of peace.


If it's a whole party vs ONE lvl 20 npc caster, yes, then for the npc caster the best tactics is not to dispel, nor to use any other spell but RETREAT (in whatever way appropriate). The usual encounter, however, includes the lvl 20 npc caster minions, who are delighted that their boss cuts down the many powerful buffs of their opponent to size.

Now this issue on the fighter going fishing is ridiculous. Again, there is no section "ex-fighters" in the rules, so anything they do will never make them lose their class abilities. The cleric's class abilities ARE ALWAYS at risk. A "revamped" personality for a cleric is the end of his adventuring career, or he repents and atones.



In addition, instead of dispel magic a caster could use any of a dozen spells which hurt fighters more than clerics. Infinitely fewer spells hurt clerics more than fighters, making the fighter quite a bit easier to incapacitate. A fighter has numerous weaknesses which are far more difficult to make up for.


And here goes the old broken record again with the vague "OK, true, the zilla caster loses dispropotionately more power than the buffed fighter to dispel magics but the caster of those dispels can more easily hurt the fighter with many other spells." I admitted that already. A zillion times. But I maintain that 1) the casters are not THAT stronger in defense with their (previously dispelled) buffs, and 2) the drawbacks (Marius would say "fluffs") of the casters and a cleric make up for this higher defensive power of spellcastesr.



For #3, it seems to be that people are guesstimating "Hmm... do I kill the fighter, or weaken the cleric". That's a bad comparison in and of itself, but ignoring that... it seems to be if the balor kills one of the two, the other will kill him in one round (nevermind the remaining two party members).


Nope. It`s going to be "do I kill the fighter or the cleric" if the balor has 1.5 rounds to act first. But you're right. If the 20th level heroes go first, a CR 20 creature is toast. Now, this is not all too surprising since CR of the same level as the group simply mean that it is likely that a fully rested group will survive the encounter and lose some of their resources for the day (hps, spells etc) to do it (I guess the guideline was something like 25% per same level encounter for a 4-member-party).



Given that, I'd get the heck out of dodge and try again later, if I were the Balor. Maybe later on, pop in and start the battle on my terms.


Now THAT is a very logic tactics for the balor. If it somehow survives the 1.5 rounds, it WILL try to get away, and not be hesitant about it. Then it will come back to haunt the heroes...



Of that, however... it's a spellcaster that's most likely to be able to stop this action, or then do something a bit later.


You likely refer to dimensional anchor, which necessitates a succesful ranged touch attack (not a problem for greenknight's build, but more of a challenge for an arcane caster), plus sacrificing a quickened casting slot. And the balor may still have the ability to fly away 4 times its speed, out of the range of many spells.



The worst a spellcaster has to worry about is the Balor bampfing in and dispelling him, in which the spellcaster can put the buffs back up,


Takes too long if the balor attacks at an unknown time. Foresight helps, but comes at a price (see above).



keep the balor from teleporting again, etc. Possibly, they'll take some hit point damage - CoDzilla have plenty of hit points. An antimagic field would work, but that'd rather TPK the party with nothing anyone can really do about it.


The hit points are highly buff dependent. The antimagic field is a challenge for the party where the fighter (and other non-casters) can shine and does not mean a TPK.



So... so I dunno. Sure, a cleric being dispelled is more threatening than the fighter being dispelled... but a fighter's a lot easier to generally stop. That doesn't really help the fighter's case. Was there an additional step in there I'm missing? It sounds like the only time the fighter has the edge up, it's when the enemy has focused on the more threatening cleric for a few rounds.


No. Let's say for the sake of the argument there are TWO balors attacking an unsuspecting cleric and fighter. If both each take one with their respective 1.5 rounds (say, full melee attack vs flat-footed), the (unbuffed) cleric and fighter would both be toast. The fighter may have a slim chance of survival since unbuffed he's stronger than the cleric*, but I guess that's only marginal. If the balors gang up on the fighter first, the cleric can respond with quickened time stop, buff, move away, and holy word the poor critters. If the balors gang up on the cleric first, the fighter quickdraws his bow and shoots the first balor, greatly wounding him. Then he has to suffer attacks (but not full attacks, a dominate is likely saved against, plus the luck-reroll of the luck blade) or spell attacks which no longer take him flat-footed (he has also activated the boots of speed, may have downed a potion as a move-equivalent action and manyshot one balor) If he survives that, it could be quite a balanced fight, with equal chances of outcome. So overall the cleric is a bit ahead in these circumstances, but again: I already conceded that!

- Giacomo

*still working on a 2nd revision for the fighter build, making him stronger on the defense even without buffs. Greenknight's build assumes the high priest running around as a disguised self devil all the time, so that buff may be up.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-13, 04:11 PM
Just noticed: in the 2 balor case hit by a holy word, one of them would likely get away with a teleport or one of them needs to get hit with a dimensional anchor before, since the cleric will be able to CDG only one balor per round. But if the fighter happens to gain the upper hand in his fight, the balor (s) could similarly escape.

- Giacomo

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-13, 04:25 PM
OK, the holy word power still baffles me, in my eyes it gets under more and more pressure if one goes beyond the "uttering the holy word and get hit yourself" sideeffect. I got one question on that- likely you know better were the idea comes from that neutral clerics can cast evil and good and law and chaotic spells, but here is what the SRD says on spells with that descriptor:

"Chaotic, Evil, Good, and Lawful Spells: A cleric can’t cast spells of an alignment opposed to his own or his deity’s (if he has one). Spells associated with particular alignments are indicated by the chaos, evil, good, and law descriptors in their spell descriptions."

Now what the heck does "opposed" mean. It does not mean "opposite" (which would fit in neatly with some of the alignment descriptions saying that they are structured like an axis cross with OPPOSITE evil and good). And in the sections on alignment it is made quite clear that those who follow an alignment with philsopohical (that should include religions and thus their representatives, clerics) zeal, that they are quite ardent against the other alignments, not just tolerant onlookers with an "anything goes" mentality.

Now IF I happen to be correct, Greenknight's build will have to be a gnome caster to remain core, since Carl Glittergold is the only deity out there who is good AND grants the trickery domain which is necessary to hang on to a time stop. Ah, of course the non-deity clerics may still go, but are subject to my outlined campaign consistency drawback.
What do you think?

- Giacomo

Marius
2007-03-13, 05:11 PM
I do not need to prove anything any more on the fighter, since I posted already a fighter build able to do what I maintain it should do and have shown with the drawback discussion that even the extremely powerful cleric posted by greenknight will have to face disadvantages inherent in the class, which are as apparant as, say, the disadvantage of the fighter of having two low save progressions.

Fighters aren't more powerful than casters in combat, at low levels he can do more damage in direct combat but that's not what combat is all about. At level one a wizard could easily win a fight casting "sleep" just to give one example. Sure they can't buff themselves as much but they can still be just as usefull in combat as the fighter (or even more)



On the contrary I think you should start to prove something. Show me the cleric is ALWAYS better than the fighter in ALL situations in ALL levels. Good luck with that, since even BWL argues that the casters, including the clerics below the magic level of 7 when they get divine power, are inferior to the fighter in combat. And all the combat-desperately-needed quickened spells are only available to casters from level 9 onwards (before if they choose to focus all their money on quicken rods, something they most likely will not do).

I wish I had the time to do that, but making that build from level 1 to 20 could take a lot of time. All I can tell you is that there're many things that a cleric can do in combat without having to buff himself so much.
The fighter's got dominated? Dispel. The rogue was poisoned? Neutralize poison. Retreat? Obscuring Mist. Low level buffs? Divine Favor, Bless, Bull's Strength. Hostile Humanoid? Hold person. Big bad monster with a crappy will save? Bestow Curse. Archers? Wind wall. Casters? Silence. (And all those useful "remove" spells, spontaneus cure spells, turn undead and the lists goes on, many very useful in combat but also very useful out of combat (zone of truth, comprehend languages, etc.) all 3rd level spells or lower, and I'm not even talking about domain powers and spells.



Say, let us start at 1st level and build a cleric superior to a fighter in EVERYTHING. That would be a nice start.

See above.



The cleric will be marginally better at defense than the fighter. All attack spells able to hit a human fighter should hit a human cleric equally well, for a start. Now the fighter has more feats to boost his defenses, the cleric has spells (dispellable, counterspellable), plus a better will save. It is impossible to fully analyse who would be ahead in what circumstances against what opponents going first and whatever. But I concede and have already conceded that likely the spellcasters have better defenses overall. However, I see this balanced by the "fluff".

Not really, the cleric that greenknight posted (not the most optimized cleric) had an AC of 54 touch 41 flatfooted 45 (without temporary buffs), the AC of your build is 33 touch 33 and 23 flatfooted fully buffed. So I would say that any attack or spell able to hit the human fighter won't hit the human cleric.
The fighter has more feats true but the cleric has more hp, both have similar initiatives. The cleric can give himself a SR of 37 and 2 saves of his saves are better than your fighter (18 fort vs 25 fort (+7) and 19 will vs 30 (+11!!!). Those are BIG differences in defense. Both have the same number of skill points but the cleric has more class skills (and depending on his domains could have more).



Not "casters", but only wizards, sorcerers and clerics with the protection domain (so, not greenknight's build). Even so, this "little spell" again has a "little drawback" since mind-affecting boosts like morale bonuses no longer work on the recipient, lowering zilla strength. Plus, it doesn't help vs bardic knowledge and contact other plane. Plus, you may not be able to relearn it (once again "fluff", but the hurting kind), in which case you are back on the fighter's level again.

CoDzilla doesn't depend on morale bonuses and even if you can't cast mind blank your +30 will save it's going to defend him more than your fighters +19 against scrying. Also bardic knowledge won't tell you exactly where anyone is (the cleric could be also identified by a Knowledge: Religion check).
I don't get what he won't be able to relearn.
But to further support the clerics case, he can cast scrying and greater scrying while the fighter can't. And he doesn't even have Knowledge: The planes or even Knowledge: Religion as class skills.



Now this is easily foiled. I play a caster with contingency set to "attempt to hurt" and it regularly gets set off, when a rat tries to bite the caster, a tavern brawl ensues, a city guard fires at him with a crossbow. The true BBEG only has to wait for the moment and may even use such a thing to get rid of your contingency.

That was just an example, there're better ways to use contingency, but the caster could walk around with a ring of invisivility to avoid such things if you want to use that particular phrase.



Yep. But...you guessed....IT's DRAWBACK TIME! :smallbiggrin:
- extending the "foresight" means it is up 400 Minutes, 500 Minutes for the karma bead cleric. If the caster wants to be really protected all the time, there go 3 9th level slots per day minimum, 5 9th level slots for the regular caster without karma beads since the rod can do the trick only three times/day.
- it prevents surprise, but not an opponent winning the initative and having a full round to mop the floor with your caster.
- So it's helpful but spending all your 9th spell level slots on it per day as, say, a druid, does not sound like a good idea to me. Likewise, a non-specialist wizard will no longer be able to cast other 9th level spells (there goes time stop), and also the karma bead cleric as well as the sorcerer will think twice about this tactics.

True, but enough to protect you while adventuring. Remember that 500 minutes are more than 8 hours.
That's not a drawback, he's impossible to surprise for 1/3 of the time every day and it gives you an insight bonus of +2 on AC and reflex saves. While the fighter can be surprised at any time. Winning initiative is not that easy, Greenknights cleric has almost the same initiative as your build.



OK, finally I have to post the atonement spell description and please then tell me were it "suggests" that. It's not even there "fluff"wise:smallsmile:

- Giacomo

Atonement
Abjuration
Level: Clr 5, Drd 5
Components: V, S, M, F, DF, XP
Casting Time: 1 hour
Range: Touch
Target: Living creature touched
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: Yes
This spell removes the burden of evil acts or misdeeds from the subject. The creature seeking atonement must be truly repentant and desirous of setting right its misdeeds. If the atoning creature committed the evil act unwittingly or under some form of compulsion, atonement operates normally at no cost to you. However, in the case of a creature atoning for deliberate misdeeds and acts of a knowing and willful nature, you must intercede with your deity (requiring you to expend 500 XP) in order to expunge the subject’s burden. Many casters first assign a subject of this sort a quest (see geas/quest) or similar penance to determine whether the creature is truly contrite before casting the atonement spell on its behalf.


It says "many casters" that clearly means "not all of them".

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-13, 06:40 PM
OK, getting a bit tired now (literally), so I'll try to reply to the latest "cleric-has-no-drawbacks" comments.



Fighters aren't more powerful than casters in combat, at low levels he can do more damage in direct combat but that's not what combat is all about. At level one a wizard could easily win a fight casting "sleep" just to give one example. Sure they can't buff themselves as much but they can still be just as usefull in combat as the fighter (or even more)

So what exactly is combat about at low levels? Hitting and damaging or not may be less important in higher level play, but at low levels it's a question of life and death. The cleric can't even compete here until level 7 with the fighter, taking another dent when the fighter gets weapon specialisation at level 4.
And if its non-damage stuff you are after, then the fighter can use feats to do those as well and, ah yes, better than a cleric at low levels with some all-time greats as the +1 Bless and create water and primarily defensive and healing spells. Sleep is a wizard spell and no "auto-win", especially at low levels. Fighter with power attack and cleave is way more efficient. Casters are useful, but highly vulnerable and thus a far cry from what you asserted above with "casters never fall behind fighters". Now one caster quite robust at low levels is the druid, thanks to his animal companion. But of course that is not without drawbacks, either...(but won't go into that now, too tired).



I wish I had the time to do that, but making that build from level 1 to 20 could take a lot of time. All I can tell you is that there're many things that a cleric can do in combat without having to buff himself so much.
The fighter's got dominated? Dispel. The rogue was poisoned? Neutralize poison. Retreat? Obscuring Mist. Low level buffs? Divine Favor, Bless, Bull's Strength. Hostile Humanoid? Hold person. Big bad monster with a crappy will save? Bestow Curse. Archers? Wind wall. Casters? Silence. (And all those useful "remove" spells, spontaneus cure spells, turn undead and the lists goes on, many very useful in combat but also very useful out of combat (zone of truth, comprehend languages, etc.) all 3rd level spells or lower, and I'm not even talking about domain powers and spells.


OK, let's have a short course "underestimated versatility of the fighter 101"
Fighter's got dominated? Oops, 17th level&up event, not going to have alook at that here because the broken record is too worn by now
The rogue was poisoned? Healing cross-class if needed, boost with skill focus feats (aahh, the versatiliy of feats...), and maybe a friendly bard to give you morale and competence bonusses to the check. Ah, and the aid another option may come in handy to defeat that poison's DC.
Retreat? Cheap eversmoking bottle. Can be combined for devastating offense with blind-fighting feat.
Low level buffs? Not really needed to get ahead of low level combat caster, but if needed, get some cheap potions.
Hostile Humanoid? Intimidate or Stunning fist and non-lethal damage attacks.
Big bad monster with crappy will save? Likely not that wise, so just shoot away with the arrows and kill.
Enemy archers? Get cover and/or charge into melee (see OOTS Roy tactics)
Casters? Now that's easy. Smash 'em!:smallbiggrin: Arrows also work nicely here, in particular since at lower levels the range of the composite longbow with far shot by far surpasses anything casters can toss the fighter's way.
Turn Undead? Get a that nice sun blade in mid-levels, power attack and cleave and you are nice to go. At lower levels, no magic item, or maybe a +1Two-Handed sword suffices. Alternatively, use a bow+1 with holy enchantment at lower levels and have fun.

OK, of course I would not want you to pour in immense effort into building 20 clerics from level 1-20 only to realise that it was all for naught and that at many, many levels the fighter keeps up and surpasses the cleric who, guess what, has to face through every single level all the many drawbacks he has, to boot.



Not really, the cleric that greenknight posted (not the most optimized cleric) had an AC of 54 touch 41 flatfooted 45 (without temporary buffs), the AC of your build is 33 touch 33 and 23 flatfooted fully buffed. So I would say that any attack or spell able to hit the human fighter won't hit the human cleric.
The fighter has more feats true but the cleric has more hp, both have similar initiatives. The cleric can give himself a SR of 37 and 2 saves of his saves are better than your fighter (18 fort vs 25 fort (+7) and 19 will vs 30 (+11!!!). Those are BIG differences in defense. Both have the same number of skill points but the cleric has more class skills (and depending on his domains could have more).


You are correct in the much better lvl 20 defenses of the cleric, although a polymorphed cleric is not "unbuffed" and can get dispelled 25% of the time by a greater dispel (plus runs around as a devil all the time). Spell Resistance is up only 25 minutes, so it's not on when the cleric is attacked. Plus, I'll likely revise the fighter build since it no longer has to prove to be able to whack the balor at melee in 1.5 rounds (simply to beat it in melee like the zilla casters in several rounds), and shore up his defenses.



Also bardic knowledge won't tell you exactly where anyone is (the cleric could be also identified by a Knowledge: Religion check).
I don't get what he won't be able to relearn.


You don't get it because you keep ignoring the drawbacks, because they are "fluff" to you. A bardic knowledge check of 30 tells a wizard's nickname and the history of a +1 dagger (it can be maxed much higher for a level 20 bard). Do not tell me a bard in town (say, the evil ally of the balor army) does not know that
- the cleric runs around as a devil in disguise
- the cleric has to pray for an hour at lunchtime
- the cleric's different command words for his items
- the spells the cleric has usually readied
- his weak spot/secret vow for keeping Boccob's library out of fire at all costs ("fluff" example)
etc.



But to further support the clerics case, he can cast scrying and greater scrying while the fighter can't. And he doesn't even have Knowledge: The planes or even Knowledge: Religion as class skills.


All this stuff constributes to what I have admitted zillion times: the full casters are more powerful than the fighter at high levels. Still they have drawbacks to balance that out.



That was just an example, there're better ways to use contingency, but the caster could walk around with a ring of invisivility to avoid such things if you want to use that particular phrase.


Oh yeah. The invisble devil in disguise. Have fun roleplaying that.



True, but enough to protect you while adventuring. Remember that 500 minutes are more than 8 hours.
That's not a drawback, he's impossible to surprise for 1/3 of the time every day and it gives you an insight bonus of +2 on AC and reflex saves. While the fighter can be surprised at any time. Winning initiative is not that easy, Greenknights cleric has almost the same initiative as your build.


It IS a drawback. A contact other planes will tell you when the cleric does not have the foresight up. If the cleric wants to make SURE he is not scryed, he has to sacrifice massive 9th level spellpower.
Greenknight's cleric actually goes after the fighter in 10% of all cases, since in case of a tie the higher DEX wins, but this just as an aside comment.




It says "many casters" that clearly means "not all of them".


Huh? Now you lost me completely. That passage refers to the EXTRA stuff that casters OFTEN require a repentent (not god-changing-intending) cleric to do in addition to the other requirements (true repenting, atonement must be cast by same deity cleric/druid). Not a loophole for getting to switch gods for free, quite the contrary. But do not worry. Since you assume gods being completely indifferent to losing masses of worshippers to the "anything goes" clerics without gods, you will not need the atonement stuff, anyhow.

- Giacomo

ZekeArgo
2007-03-13, 07:35 PM
OK, getting a bit tired now (literally), so I'll try to reply to the latest "cleric-has-no-drawbacks" comments.

And personally I'm getting tired of this idea you've got that clerics are underpowered compared to *fighters*


So what exactly is combat about at low levels? Hitting and damaging or not may be less important in higher level play, but at low levels it's a question of life and death. The cleric can't even compete here until level 7 with the fighter, taking another dent when the fighter gets weapon specialisation at level 4.

WHAT?! Nevermind that the cleric has medium BaB, Morningstar Proficiency, Heavy Armor Proficiency and SPELLS?! Your *one* point of BaB is trumped by Divine Favor + Bless or Aid, nevermind that the cleric has a +1 Weapon from *level one* even further bringing himself to the fore.

Then on top of that add in Doom, Entropic Shield, Shield of Faith and domain spells and you've got combat covered


And if its non-damage stuff you are after, then the fighter can use feats to do those as well and, ah yes, better than a cleric at low levels with some all-time greats as the +1 Bless and create water and primarily defensive and healing spells

Read what I said above, oh and don't forget a larger health pool since he can, yknow, heal himself.


Sleep is a wizard spell and no "auto-win", especially at low levels.

While being a wizard spell, Sleep is the *classic* example of a low-level Save or Lose spell. Even if it only effects 2-3 opponents they are out of combat and availible for Coup de Gras as the earliest oppertunity


Fighter with power attack and cleave is way more efficient. Casters are useful, but highly vulnerable and thus a far cry from what you asserted above with "casters never fall behind fighters".

Cleric picks up Power Attack, due to his higher attack bonus and damage threshold due to self-buffs he can deal more damage while hitting more often.


Now one caster quite robust at low levels is the druid, thanks to his animal companion. But of course that is not without drawbacks, either...(but won't go into that now, too tired).

DRAWBACKS?! To a DRUID?! You mean the class that can dump all of his physical stats because they are no longer nessicary at level 5?!


OK, let's have a short course "underestimated versatility of the fighter 101"
Fighter's got dominated? Oops, 17th level&up event, not going to have alook at that here because the broken record is too worn by now

WHAT? Charm Person is a level 1 spell, Hold Person a level 3, and Dominate Person a level 4. At *all* levels there are spells to smack the fighter's weakest save and put them either in control of someone else or at least out of the fight.


The rogue was poisoned? Healing cross-class if needed, boost with skill focus feats (aahh, the versatiliy of feats...), and maybe a friendly bard to give you morale and competence bonusses to the check. Ah, and the aid another option may come in handy to defeat that poison's DC.

This is just asanine. Your saying its more viable to crossclass a skill and use up a bunch of feats and other resources just to prove that a single cleric spell that can be scribed onto a few scrolls isnt useful?!


Retreat? Cheap eversmoking bottle. Can be combined for devastating offense with blind-fighting feat.

By cheap you mean the 5400 GP eversmoking bottle? I'm sure that is on *everyones* to-buy list before the 4000 +Stat items and other skill/ability boosters.


Low level buffs? Not really needed to get ahead of low level combat caster, but if needed, get some cheap potions.

Cheap potions usable once ever each. Instead of, yknow, castable as many times as you've prepared them per day. For free.


Hostile Humanoid? Intimidate or Stunning fist and non-lethal damage attacks.

The fact that you even mention Intimidate is laughable. Stunning fist works fine, doubly so on a CLERIC with a high WIS bonus


Big bad monster with crappy will save? Likely not that wise, so just shoot away with the arrows and kill.

Unless he's level 5-7 with access to Fly and/or Windwall


Enemy archers? Get cover and/or charge into melee (see OOTS Roy tactics)

Ah yes, charge into the archers who arent in a tactical position high above a ravine (quite possibly dug via spells) or high up on a wall


Casters? Now that's easy. Smash 'em!:smallbiggrin: Arrows also work nicely here, in particular since at lower levels the range of the composite longbow with far shot by far surpasses anything casters can toss the fighter's way.

See above but add Entropic Shield, Wind Wall, Protection from Arrows, and at that point Magic Missle/Orb of X spells


Turn Undead? Get a that nice sun blade in mid-levels, power attack and cleave and you are nice to go. At lower levels, no magic item, or maybe a +1Two-Handed sword suffices. Alternatively, use a bow+1 with holy enchantment at lower levels and have fun.

A SUN BLADE? Even at mid-levels 50335 for a limited-use weapon is rediculious. And what "lower levels" are there where +3 weapons are the norm?


OK, of course I would not want you to pour in immense effort into building 20 clerics from level 1-20 only to realise that it was all for naught and that at many, many levels the fighter keeps up and surpasses the cleric who, guess what, has to face through every single level all the many drawbacks he has, to boot.

Except as I've just explained they are *never* behind and can actually do *more* than the melee fighter, or even the ranged fighter via the use of Zen Archery


You are correct in the much better lvl 20 defenses of the cleric, although a polymorphed cleric is not "unbuffed" and can get dispelled 25% of the time by a greater dispel (plus runs around as a devil all the time). Spell Resistance is up only 25 minutes, so it's not on when the cleric is attacked. Plus, I'll likely revise the fighter build since it no longer has to prove to be able to whack the balor at melee in 1.5 rounds (simply to beat it in melee like the zilla casters in several rounds), and shore up his defenses.

Except when the cleric Time Stops to apply everything he needs at that level. Or just utilizes persistant divine metamagic to become even more of a powerhouse


You don't get it because you keep ignoring the drawbacks, because they are "fluff" to you. A bardic knowledge check of 30 tells a wizard's nickname and the history of a +1 dagger (it can be maxed much higher for a level 20 bard). Do not tell me a bard in town (say, the evil ally of the balor army) does not know that
- the cleric runs around as a devil in disguise
- the cleric has to pray for an hour at lunchtime
- the cleric's different command words for his items
- the spells the cleric has usually readied
- his weak spot/secret vow for keeping Boccob's library out of fire at all costs ("fluff" example)
etc.

Oh, so now they know that the Cleric spends his time inside his Rope-Trick hidey-hole, or inside his personal magnificent mansion. Not too many command word items to be had either so that isnt a big one, and who said the cleric has a weak spot? or even if he has one that he hasn't put into motion ways to, yknow, protect it.


All this stuff constributes to what I have admitted zillion times: the full casters are more powerful than the fighter at high levels. Still they have drawbacks to balance that out.

The drawbacks are so negligible and easily worked around that they do *nothing* to hamper the power of a well-optimized character. *that* is why full casters are so strong.


Oh yeah. The invisble devil in disguise. Have fun roleplaying that.

Putting yourself up as the ultimate qualifier as to what "fun" is eh? If thats what he or whomever likes, more power to em.


It IS a drawback. A contact other planes will tell you when the cleric does not have the foresight up. If the cleric wants to make SURE he is not scryed, he has to sacrifice massive 9th level spellpower.
Greenknight's cleric actually goes after the fighter in 10% of all cases, since in case of a tie the higher DEX wins, but this just as an aside comment.

Ok... so you have to use a full-caster spell in order to know when your able to attack a full-caster? Can you not see the problem in this?


Huh? Now you lost me completely. That passage refers to the EXTRA stuff that casters OFTEN require a repentent (not god-changing-intending) cleric to do in addition to the other requirements (true repenting, atonement must be cast by same deity cleric/druid). Not a loophole for getting to switch gods for free, quite the contrary. But do not worry. Since you assume gods being completely indifferent to losing masses of worshippers to the "anything goes" clerics without gods, you will not need the atonement stuff, anyhow.

- Giacomo

"Many" does not in any way mean "all" casters. Just because a hardass Cleric of St. Cuthbert would put a whole lot of restrictions on you does *not* mean that a Cleric of Fharlagan or whatever rogue deity you want will do the same.

As for the other stuff you are once more arguing Fluff. Game mechanics say you can be a cleric of whatever cause or deity you want, and have the ability to even switch deities with little to no recourse. If you have problems with that then homebrew a different system, but thats how it stands.

How you can continue to to rant on about how a fighter is not outclassed in what he is suppost to be best at is mind-boggling. At *every* turn the cleric has something better, stronger and faster that he is able to pull out to do the fighter's job as well as his own.

This isn't even going into druids with their ability to buff themselves then transform into creatures of OMFG-Pouncing-my-FACE the PAIN!

Marius
2007-03-13, 08:03 PM
Thanks ZekeArgo, you just saved me a lot of time.

And Giacomo, don't forget that clerics can also be useful in the (what probably is) other half of the game, while the fighter does nothing. And that is important, the cleric is as good as the fighter in his job and still useful at everything else.

Roland St. Jude
2007-03-13, 08:18 PM
Sheriff of Moddingham: Please remember to keep it civil. We prohibit a broadly defined range of flaming here. Thanks.

greenknight
2007-03-13, 08:43 PM
Just noticed something while being in the drawback mode...the tactics for a Holy Word from a neutral karma bead/ioun stone-boosted cleric can be even more dangerous...the caster's caster level is 25, the caster's own hit dice, however, only 20. So he will get deafened, blinded, and paralysed as well, not only deafened. It can be reduced by 50% with spell resistance up cast beforehand, but still it is quite shaky tactics.
Will need a CustServ ruling on this, as greenknight brought up some valid points.

I contacted Wizards about this, and here's their response:

Q: If a Neutral aligned Cleric casts Holy Word (Area: Nongood creatures in a 40-ft.-radius spread centered on you), would that Cleric also be affected by the spell?

A: Generally speaking... yes they would.

I stand corrected.

I'm not sure whether this would work, but the Freedom of Movement spell might be the solution here:

This spell enables you or a creature you touch to move and attack normally for the duration of the spell, even under the influence of magic that usually impedes movement, such as paralysis, solid fog, slow, and web.

Holy Word is a spell which causes paralysis, so it should qualify.

If it doesn't, this means there is some risk in the Holy Word for a Neutral Cleric, or even a Good aligned Cleric if polymorphed into a Barbed Devil (since it has an intrinsic Evil descriptor). A Lawful Cleric casting Dictum while polymorphed into Barbed Devil form wouldn't run this risk, but otherwise it would be impossible to avoid entirely.

In that case, the Cleric would need to cast Spell Resistance, which would give the character SR 37 (since the character's effective Caster Level would be 25th). The character should also remove the Orange Ioun Stone prior to casting Holy Word to reduce the chance of overcoming the SR (the +4 from the Bead of Karma will still be enough to paralyze the Balor). This means there's only a 40% chance of being affected by the spell. If that happens, the Cleric could call upon the power of the Luckblade for a reroll, reducing the chance to 16%. This tactic raises the chance of the Balor's SR preventing the spell's effect to 15%, or just over 2% if the reroll from the Luckblade is used. It also makes it more likely that the Luckblade reroll won't be available.


"...Bead of karma Wearer casts his spells at +4 caster level. Effect lasts 10 minutes...(...)...Each special bead can be used once per day, except for the bead of summons, which works only once and then becomes nonmagical."

BWL already pointed out how it's easy to have several Beads of Karma (technically, someone would have to pay you gold to accept one if it was the only item left on a Strand of Prayer Beads, although that just shows the rules for removing items from a Strand are broken, IMO). I should also point out that the duration of a spell is worked out at the time of casting, so the 10 minute duration of the Bead of Karma is easily long enough for my purposes.


The balor won't be able to use beads.

I was just reading through the Spell-like powers area of the SRD, and found this:

Some spell-like abilities duplicate spells that work differently when cast by characters of different classes. A monster’s spell-like abilities are presumed to be the sorcerer/wizard versions. If the spell in question is not a sorcerer/wizard spell, then default to cleric, druid, bard, paladin, and ranger, in that order.

So most of the Balor's spell-like abilities would be affected by a Bead of Karma. However, the point still stands: most foes with spells (or spell-like abilities) won't be Divine spellcasters.


Now if Rebuking/commanding undead works the same as the positive energy version (which seems to be suggested by the SRD), then the range of the command is only 60ft.

The initial Turning effect must be within 60', but there doesn't seem to be any limit on how far the mental control of a Commanded undead can reach.


Funnily, the nondetection spell does not mention anything about it being able to block the scrying spell

From the SRD:

The warded creature or object becomes difficult to detect by divination spells such as clairaudience/clairvoyance, locate object, and detect spells. Nondetection also prevents location by such magic items as crystal balls.

Scrying is a Divination spell, and from the wording, that's not meant to be a complete list of all spells or items blocked by Nondetection. If you look up the crafting requirement for a Crystal Ball, scrying is there. A Crystal Ball is even called a scrying device. Thus it is reasonable to assume Scrying is blocked by Nondetection, unless the Scrying caster can overcome the protection granted by it (DC 15 + your caster level, which would be DC 40 for this character).


The robe of eyes item provides seeing invisibility, although only up to a range of 120 ft.

There are a few magical items which can overcome invisibility, but only to a limited range (120' is the most I can find). See Invisibility + Permanancy extends that ability to range of sight, which is much better (and it doesn't take up an item slot, although it does cost gold).


if they channel positive energy, which is more useful than doing an undead command show, I dare say

It depends on the Undead commanded. A Ghost Sorcerer or two might be quite useful, if the Cleric wants to track some down.


they rely almost solely on magic.

Even without magic, a Cleric has a decent BAB (not quite as good as Fighter's, but still respectable), good hitpoints (again, the Fighter's is slightly better), and can wear armor. The choice of weapons are adequate, although martial weapon proficiency would be desirable. In other words, a Cleric with no buffs at all and no spells would be weaker than a Fighter, but not by all that much. And when you take those buffs and spells into account, the Cleric is more powerful than a Fighter.


MANY clerics are part of religious organisations/churches. Now if a player once again takes the route to go it alone, he refrains from the potential support such a church can give, alongside the duties that could impose on him.

In other words, there is a BENEFIT and a DISADVANTAGE to joining a Church, which balance each other out. If you just focus on the disadvantage, then yes, being a member of a Church is worse for the Cleric.


It doesn't say anything in the barbed devil description. Neither does the scent ability give a clue. Dogs ARE in real life quite well-trained to recognize/scent/sense if something is awkward, but the SRD does not provide for that particular situation. So you are correct, the dogs won't scent/see through the disguise.
Still, as a DM, I would think it quite probable that over time, it becomes known that the High Priest of Boccob loves to run around in devil disguise

Missed this bit earlier. As I stated, the dog might notice a different scent, but it probably won't be able to tell that's the scent of a Devil, since it's probably never encountered one before. There are some creatures with the Scent ability which may have encountered a Devil's scent before and recognize it, but they would be few and far between (and most would be allies of a Devil anyway).

And remember, this particular Cleric is going about disguised as a Human, not a Barbed Devil. Someone could cast True Seeing, but that would only show the character up to be a Human, not a Barbed Devil. Tricky, right? :smallwink:


Similarly, I consider the holy word as overtly powerful, because the designers may have overlooked the combination potential with the cheap karma beads. Note though, that it is foremost overly powerful vs other spellcasters, not fighters or non-casters.

The Holy Word type spells (of which Blasphemy is the most powerful, not Holy Word) would be serious problem for any creature without spell-like abilities, and even if the affected creature has those, it's still very bad. The creatures with least to fear from it would be those with significantly more hitdice than their CR (a Tarrasque wouldn't have much to fear from this spell, unless it was cast by an extremely high level caster). But for mob control, or taking out creatures with significant extra powers (CR <= hit dice) it's an effective tactic.


which makes it necessary to combine with a time stop to avoid risks, something only a trickery domain cleric can do

The Trickery Domain is the most foolproof method, but there are other ways it can be done. The Magic Domain allows Time Stop too, through a scroll (there is a chance of failure in that case). And a Shapechange spell should allow the caster to change into a creature with sufficient movement to travel more than 120' in a single round (an Air Elemental with Haste, for example). Or turn into a Ghost and rise up from the ground.

Greendevilman
2007-03-14, 02:56 AM
The Trickery Domain is the most foolproof method, but there are other ways it can be done. The Magic Domain allows Time Stop too, through a scroll (there is a chance of failure in that case). And a Shapechange spell should allow the caster to change into a creature with sufficient movement to travel more than 120' in a single round (an Air Elemental with Haste, for example). Or turn into a Ghost and rise up from the ground.

Don't forget the Planning, Time and Celerity domains from Spell Compendium which also grant Time Stop and are all pretty decent choices. Time domain especially is pretty hilarious since Improved Initiative is a good feat and with the exception of gentle repose at level 2 doesn't have a bad spell on its list- check out the juicy level 8 Foresight and "level appropriate" access to Contingency and Permenancy. Legend Lore is also pretty sweet, even at level 7. Probably up with the Alteration* and Spell domains as among the strongest non-core domains you can gain access to. Planning is also a good domain to take, since its granted feat is something you'd want anyway and you get some pretty decent divination-type spells that don't normally appear on your list. Detect Scrying and Clairaudience/Clairvoyance definitely have their uses. Celerity has a mediocre ability and... blur and greater blink? Yeah, not quite as hot, but still another way to get time stop.

And yeah Shapechange works, but Shapechange is the most broken spell in the game. Anyone who has it really just wins so long as they don't lose initiative to someone who can one-shot them. Whee, I'm a Zodar! I'm immune to just about everything that isn't a bludgeoning weapon! Watch me spam Wish every round as a 20th level caster! Of course you don't even need to go all out, the incorporeal type combined with some method of scrying is usually enough.

*Ok its pretty hard to actually beat Alteration since its basically a straight list of the most broken transmutation spells in the game, which makes up for the fact that the domain ability only really applies to Baleful Polymorph, Flesh to Stone and maybe PAO.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-14, 03:51 AM
Hi again everyone,

now sorry once again about some of my more aggressive remarks, in particular towards Marius. @Marius and @ZekeArgo: I do not maintain that the fighter is most of the time superior, only that it is not all of the time behind casters like the cleric.
Of course a cross-class healing boosted by a Skill focus is inferior to a healing spell or remove poison spell. I just wanted to point out the versatilities of a fighter in case no cleric is around. However, in other instances, and in many combat situations, especially at the lower levels, the buffs and spells of casters do not last long. They get the powerful ranged weapon composite longbow only when taking the war domain or if they are an elf (having to give up one feat and skill points in the bargain). They get their really strong stuff (wildchanging into bears, divinemight/powerattackcombos, quicken spells, holy word) at mid to higher levels. And yes, a fighter is vulnerable to spells targeting him at low levels with a will save (my example fighter would have +5 will save with iron will at 3rd level, though, which has to face the DC 15 of most 2nd level spells and reasonably strong casters, a bit higher if they are focused on spell DCs. That is far from auto-win, plus the caster needs to get first, plus he needs to make certain not to be interrupted/in melee range already. In particular at 1st/2nd level spells, the cleric have few save-or-lose spells).

There seem to be three layers of attitude towards estimating if the drawbacks of clerics (or casters) justify their much bigger powers at high levels:
- they are valid enough in the average camaign (which would be my point, among some others like Hallavast, Desaril and Its_all_Ogres
- they are there, but not enough (may be BWL's and greenknight's position- although pls correct me if I'm wrong)
- they are not there at all, or if they are, do not matter at all/are too rare (Marius, ZekeArgo)

Now if we would wish to balance the full casters at any point in a campaign because they appear to impair the non-casters/fighters game of the same group, I guess that at least there may be a consensus that the drawbacks I outlined may provide a better starting point than simply houseruling that some spells don't work at all. If someone wants to play a melee-tactics cleric of a sage deity, it should be OK. If a druid prefers running around as a bear most of the time, it is actually quite an intereting roleplaying experience. Etc.

Now on to greenknight's posts, who I guess has once again provided a bunch of useful stuff.



I contacted Wizards about this, and here's their response:

Q: If a Neutral aligned Cleric casts Holy Word (Area: Nongood creatures in a 40-ft.-radius spread centered on you), would that Cleric also be affected by the spell?

A: Generally speaking... yes they would.

I stand corrected.


Hey thanks for finding that out. Still, a good cleric with the trickery domain can use it. As I outlined above, that may narrow the core options down to a gnome cleric or a non-deity cleric, but should not really be a problem.



I'm not sure whether this would work, but the Freedom of Movement spell might be the solution here:

This spell enables you or a creature you touch to move and attack normally for the duration of the spell, even under the influence of magic that usually impedes movement, such as paralysis, solid fog, slow, and web.

Holy Word is a spell which causes paralysis, so it should qualify.


It should! Good idea, but there is still the blindness and deafness effect. Blindness may be removed with a quickened spell, though, so the CGD may still work.



If it doesn't, this means there is some risk in the Holy Word for a Neutral Cleric, or even a Good aligned Cleric if polymorphed into a Barbed Devil (since it has an intrinsic Evil descriptor). A Lawful Cleric casting Dictum while polymorphed into Barbed Devil form wouldn't run this risk, but otherwise it would be impossible to avoid entirely.

In that case, the Cleric would need to cast Spell Resistance, which would give the character SR 37 (since the character's effective Caster Level would be 25th). The character should also remove the Orange Ioun Stone prior to casting Holy Word to reduce the chance of overcoming the SR (the +4 from the Bead of Karma will still be enough to paralyze the Balor). This means there's only a 40% chance of being affected by the spell. If that happens, the Cleric could call upon the power of the Luckblade for a reroll, reducing the chance to 16%. This tactic raises the chance of the Balor's SR preventing the spell's effect to 15%, or just over 2% if the reroll from the Luckblade is used. It also makes it more likely that the Luckblade reroll won't be available.


Hmmm, quite complicated, but certainly doable.



BWL already pointed out how it's easy to have several Beads of Karma (technically, someone would have to pay you gold to accept one if it was the only item left on a Strand of Prayer Beads, although that just shows the rules for removing items from a Strand are broken, IMO). I should also point out that the duration of a spell is worked out at the time of casting, so the 10 minute duration of the Bead of Karma is easily long enough for my purposes.


Yes, that's right. However, in defense situations the boosted spell power is likely not up.



So most of the Balor's spell-like abilities would be affected by a Bead of Karma. However, the point still stands: most foes with spells (or spell-like abilities) won't be Divine spellcasters.


Depends, but looking at the monster manual alone, you're correct. They could have an ioun stone in their treasure.



The initial Turning effect must be within 60', but there doesn't seem to be any limit on how far the mental control of a Commanded undead can reach.


Hmmm. The SRD says on this (bold is my emphasis):
"Evil clerics channel negative energy to rebuke (awe) or command (control) undead rather than channeling positive energy to turn or destroy them. An evil cleric makes the equivalent of a turning check. Undead that would be turned are rebuked instead, and those that would be destroyed are commanded."

If the rebuking/commanding is the equivalent of the positive thing check, then the 60ft range should hold.



Scrying is a Divination spell, and from the wording, that's not meant to be a complete list of all spells or items blocked by Nondetection. If you look up the crafting requirement for a Crystal Ball, scrying is there. A Crystal Ball is even called a scrying device. Thus it is reasonable to assume Scrying is blocked by Nondetection, unless the Scrying caster can overcome the protection granted by it (DC 15 + your caster level, which would be DC 40 for this character).


In this case I'd say: I stand corrected! (had that feeling anyhow that it looked odd from the start). Contact other plane and bardic knowledge are still there, though.



There are a few magical items which can overcome invisibility, but only to a limited range (120' is the most I can find). See Invisibility + Permanancy extends that ability to range of sight, which is much better (and it doesn't take up an item slot, although it does cost gold).


It's better than all items, but dispellable.



It depends on the Undead commanded. A Ghost Sorcerer or two might be quite useful, if the Cleric wants to track some down.


That would really come in handy. However, the undead need orders all the time, each taking a standard action, which may slow down the cleric considerably at some instances. For instance, if the cleric is attacked, the undead would merely look at the fight, and only help the cleric if he tells them so (a standard action).



Even without magic, a Cleric has a decent BAB (not quite as good as Fighter's, but still respectable), good hitpoints (again, the Fighter's is slightly better), and can wear armor. The choice of weapons are adequate, although martial weapon proficiency would be desirable. In other words, a Cleric with no buffs at all and no spells would be weaker than a Fighter, but not by all that much. And when you take those buffs and spells into account, the Cleric is more powerful than a Fighter.


Yep, I would agree to this, with the emphasis that at lower levels, the cleric's buff are much more limited and probably not able to emulate the fighter's combat strength most of the time.



In other words, there is a BENEFIT and a DISADVANTAGE to joining a Church, which balance each other out. If you just focus on the disadvantage, then yes, being a member of a Church is worse for the Cleric.


Yes, both is there. The disadvantages are more binding for clerics who want to remain very independent, though. Say, a non-deity cleric may be part of a church, which would greatly restrict him since being a non-deity cleric is a way to get rid of divine control in the first place.

I guess I revise my cleric drawbacks from the 6 points above to merely 4:
1) spells need relearning
2) magic is more vulnerable to countermeasures than feats
3) deity clerics risk losing class abilities for misconduct
4) non-deity clerics (if it is really the RAW that they can ignore the "ex-clerics" section and atonment spell, there is nothing in the SRD to suggest they can exist at all, only in the PHB) would face the logical enmity of all deities and their churches/clerics in a campaign that has to preserve consistency



Missed this bit earlier. As I stated, the dog might notice a different scent, but it probably won't be able to tell that's the scent of a Devil, since it's probably never encountered one before. There are some creatures with the Scent ability which may have encountered a Devil's scent before and recognize it, but they would be few and far between (and most would be allies of a Devil anyway).


Highly unlikely that the cleric turned devil in disguise would meet those often, you're right.



And remember, this particular Cleric is going about disguised as a Human, not a Barbed Devil. Someone could cast True Seeing, but that would only show the character up to be a Human, not a Barbed Devil. Tricky, right? :smallwink:.


Ah yes, that is my favourite part of your whole build. I laughed quite a lot about it.



The Holy Word type spells (of which Blasphemy is the most powerful, not Holy Word) would be serious problem for any creature without spell-like abilities, and even if the affected creature has those, it's still very bad. The creatures with least to fear from it would be those with significantly more hitdice than their CR (a Tarrasque wouldn't have much to fear from this spell, unless it was cast by an extremely high level caster). But for mob control, or taking out creatures with significant extra powers (CR <= hit dice) it's an effective tactic.


Yes, highly effective. Against most similar level creatures, it is quite devastating and easily the most powerful attacking spell in the game, even beating shapechange, I'd say.



The Trickery Domain is the most foolproof method, but there are other ways it can be done. The Magic Domain allows Time Stop too, through a scroll (there is a chance of failure in that case). And a Shapechange spell should allow the caster to change into a creature with sufficient movement to travel more than 120' in a single round (an Air Elemental with Haste, for example). Or turn into a Ghost and rise up from the ground.


Yes, in core, those are ways to get the time stop. Shapechange is not available to a cleric in core (or is there a domain I overlooked?), but the polymorph any object already gets you quite far.

OK, with the next post I'll try to move the discussion a bit forward and try to post a newly revised fighter build for discussion.

- Giacomo

excrtd
2007-03-14, 03:59 AM
The Animal Domain can get you shapechange.

Marius
2007-03-14, 05:49 AM
4) non-deity clerics (if it is really the RAW that they can ignore the "ex-clerics" section and atonment spell, there is nothing in the SRD to suggest they can exist at all, only in the PHB) would face the logical enmity of all deities and their churches/clerics in a campaign that has to preserve consistency

I don't have the time to answer as I would like to but I'll quote the PHB, and let's be clear, when we talk about CORE we talk about the PHB+DMG+MM, the SRD is not CORE, in fact there're no deities at all in the SRD.
Page 30: Clerics Religion
Some clerics devote themselves not to a god but to a cause or a source of divine power. These characters wield magic the way clerics devoted to individual gods do, but they are not associated with any religious institution or any particular practice of worship. A cleric devoted to Good and Law, for example, may be on friendly terms with the clerics of lawful and good deities and may extol the virtues of good and lawful life, but he's not a functionary in a church hierarchy.
You may not like it but in core you can't do it without problems. And you're not "stealing the gods powers" you serve a higher purpose (or anything that you can think of, maybe you think that you do steal deities powers, who knows).

greenknight
2007-03-14, 07:11 AM
Don't forget the Planning, Time and Celerity domains from Spell Compendium which also grant Time Stop and are all pretty decent choices.

Just trying to stay with Core Rules references in this discussion, but you're right, if you go outside Core there's a lot of things which can really power up a spellcaster. Physical combatants (like Fighters and Barbarians) are also powered up a bit, but overall I think the spellcasters get better toys in the splatbooks.


And yeah Shapechange works, but Shapechange is the most broken spell in the game. Anyone who has it really just wins so long as they don't lose initiative to someone who can one-shot them.

Shapechange is Core though, and the purpose of my build was to at least begin to show how much cheese a Cleric can bring to the game even with only Core Rules, so a spell like Shapechange would certainly get a special mention. As is, I used PaO cheese in the build I provided, which at least hints at the possibilities with shapechange.


As I outlined above, that may narrow the core options down to a gnome cleric or a non-deity cleric, but should not really be a problem.

I didn't have time to address that point before. The question I posed to Wizard's customer service pretty much clears this up, since I asked about a Neutral aligned Cleric casting Holy Word. The answer seems to indicate that while a Neutral aligned Cleric could cast the spell, he/she/it would also be subject to its effects. If the Cleric couldn't cast Holy Word (due to an opposed alignment), then Customer Service would have said so.


Hmmm. The SRD says on this (bold is my emphasis):
"Evil clerics channel negative energy to rebuke (awe) or command (control) undead rather than channeling positive energy to turn or destroy them. An evil cleric makes the equivalent of a turning check. Undead that would be turned are rebuked instead, and those that would be destroyed are commanded."

If the rebuking/commanding is the equivalent of the positive thing check, then the 60ft range should hold

I think you've missed my point. Yes, the initial turning check (to rebuke/command the undead) would have to be within 60'. But once the undead are under the Cleric's command, there does not seem to be any limitation on the distance a Cleric can give the mental command from, and additional Rebuke/Command checks for that undead would be unnecessary (although it could bolster undead, or regain the undead as a servant if someone else successfully Commands it). At least in theory, the Cleric could be on an entirely different plane and still give the commanded undead mental commands using just a standard action. Nor does there seem to be any limitation on the number of mental commands a commanded undead may be following (or the complexity of those commands).


. However, the undead need orders all the time, each taking a standard action, which may slow down the cleric considerably at some instances. For instance, if the cleric is attacked, the undead would merely look at the fight, and only help the cleric if he tells them so (a standard action).

Undead are capable of acting on their own, particularly intelligent undead. So if the Cleric's mental commands are something along the lines of...

"Aid me and my allies to the best of your ability if we are attacked, taking care not to cause harm to me or my allies in the process."

...then an intelligent undead would do just that. In fact, the more intelligent the undead, the more likely it is it will follow those orders to the greatest benefit of the Cleric and his allies. Of course, as the need develops, the Cleric might give different orders which might add to or override previous orders.


It's better than all items, but dispellable

Which could be a problem in terms of ongoing costs and finding the right magical items. However, this points out the other benefit of a full spellcaster over a full Fighter or Barbarian. The Cleric I mentioned could cast Mage’s Disjunction (Domain spell), and with the generally poor Will saves of a Fighter or Barbarian, most of their magical items will revert to normal and would reduce the character's effectiveness considerably. Even your Revised Fighter would have a tough time, since the spell's DC of 30 means the Fighter's going to lose about half his magical items, which would be extremely difficult to replace. And Fighters depend very heavily on their magical items to be effective, especially at higher levels.

If that happened to the Cleric, the Will save means only 5% of all magical items will be lost (and that's only because a 1 auto-fails). And the Cleric can just cast spells to at least temporarily regain the benefit of magical weapons, defences and some other items. It would be painful, but the Cleric wouldn't suffer anywhere near as much as the Fighter would.


Yep, I would agree to this, with the emphasis that at lower levels, the cleric's buff are much more limited and probably not able to emulate the fighter's combat strength most of the time.

You won't get any argument from me on that point. But the Cleric still has other uses which make the class useful even in the low levels. Here's how I see the breakdown:

1st - 4th level: Fighter and Barbarian rule in the Tank department, but Druids (with their buffs and Animal Companion) and Clerics (with their buffs) can fill in, with the Druid (through the Animal Companion) being the closest match for the Fighters and Barbarians at this point.
4th - 8th level: Druids (with buffs, Animal Companion and the ability to Wild Shape when needed) are pretty much a match for Fighters and Barbarians, and the Cleric buffs are starting to be very useful for Tanking, although it's not quite at the Fighter/Barbarian/Druid level yet.
9+: Clerics have caught up to Fighters, Barbarians and Druids as Tanks because Divine Favor now gives it's maximum bonus (+3), and the character can also cast Divine Power and Righteous Might as needed. But unlike Fighters and Barbarians, Clerics and Druids have other abilities besides just being the party Tank.

I won't say level 9+ Clerics and level 5+ Druids are superior to Fighters as Tanks, but the point remains: once they get to those levels, they can fill the Tank role and do a lot more as well. And even from level 1, both of those classes have other abilities which allow them to usefully contribute to the party dynamic.


non-deity clerics (if it is really the RAW that they can ignore the "ex-clerics" section and atonment spell, there is nothing in the SRD to suggest they can exist at all, only in the PHB)

The SRD does touch on this:

If a cleric is not devoted to a particular deity, he still selects two domains to represent his spiritual inclinations and abilities. The restriction on alignment domains still applies.


Shapechange is not available to a cleric in core

Animal Domain, and it can be cast with the Magic Domain (from a scroll, with a chance of failure).


However, in defense situations the boosted spell power is likely not up.

EDIT: I meant to reply to this too. While the effect of the Bead of Karma only works for 10 minutes, the spells cast while under it's influence can last much longer since they use the character's effective caster level at the time of casting. From the description, the Bead appears to be a Use Activated item, but it's not clear from the text whether it requires a Standard action or if it's not an action. Here's the relevant bit from the SRD:

Unless stated otherwise, activating a use-activated magic item is either a standard action or not an action at all and does not provoke attacks of opportunity, unless the use involves performing an action that provokes an attack of opportunity in itself. If the use of the item takes time before a magical effect occurs, then use activation is a standard action. If the item’s activation is subsumed in its use and takes no extra time use activation is not an action at all.

The question is, is the item's activation subsumed by the act of casting a spell? If so, then activating it would not be considered to be an action and it could be done any time the character wants to cast a spell (including in defence situations).

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-14, 08:02 AM
Hi again,

@Marius: Hmmm. This is a valid point. Even before, I was thinking about how Good Deities and Lawful good deities in particular would react to clerics without deities and still devoted to promote the overall good and law. Likely there will not be a war/persecution in that case, since in most campagins, the players are on the good side and by lvl 20, probably in the midst of epic struggles between good and evil, with the good side trying to get as much support as it can to even have a chance (else, if evil would not appear to be winning, it's not so much suspense). Conversely, worshippers of good gods likely will not switch over to the good beliefs without gods to escape atonement risks (since they're good and have higher ethics and loyalty).
The other gods and churches, though, including the Lawful Neutral ones, will likely pursue the non-deity clerics with envy and with accusations of heresy, or their gods are no longer needed in the eyes of their worshippers and clerics.



Just trying to stay with Core Rules references in this discussion, but you're right, if you go outside Core there's a lot of things which can really power up a spellcaster. Physical combatants (like Fighters and Barbarians) are also powered up a bit, but overall I think the spellcasters get better toys in the splatbooks.


Yep, you are right (I kept the thread core in part for that reason, but also because there are so many new rules out there, including the tome of battle, that it is hard to be absolute sure who would be ahead in all circumstances).



Shapechange is Core though, and the purpose of my build was to at least begin to show how much cheese a Cleric can bring to the game even with only Core Rules, so a spell like Shapechange would certainly get a special mention. As is, I used PaO cheese in the build I provided, which at least hints at the possibilities with shapechange.


Yep, the cheese is there, I have come to learn the powers of the polymorph/shapechanging route. Which is why I point out the drawbacks of the casters, actually not with the intention to ruin the fun for those who love playing casters, but to restore it for those who would love to play fighters and non-casters at high levels and feel left behind.



I didn't have time to address that point before. The question I posed to Wizard's customer service pretty much clears this up, since I asked about a Neutral aligned Cleric casting Holy Word. The answer seems to indicate that while a Neutral aligned Cleric could cast the spell, he/she/it would also be subject to its effects. If the Cleric couldn't cast Holy Word (due to an opposed alignment), then Customer Service would have said so.


Ah yes, certainly that is possible. It is, however, more awkward and riskier, so why not just play a good cleric of a good deity (or good ideals) in the first place? Plus, you would not have the increased potential of conflict with your deity.



I think you've missed my point. Yes, the initial turning check (to rebuke/command the undead) would have to be within 60'. But once the undead are under the Cleric's command, there does not seem to be any limitation on the distance a Cleric can give the mental command from, and additional Rebuke/Command checks for that undead would be unnecessary (although it could bolster undead, or regain the undead as a servant if someone else successfully Commands it). At least in theory, the Cleric could be on an entirely different plane and still give the commanded undead mental commands using just a standard action. Nor does there seem to be any limitation on the number of mental commands a commanded undead may be following (or the complexity of those commands).
Undead are capable of acting on their own, particularly intelligent undead. So if the Cleric's mental commands are something along the lines of...

"Aid me and my allies to the best of your ability if we are attacked, taking care not to cause harm to me or my allies in the process."

...then an intelligent undead would do just that. In fact, the more intelligent the undead, the more likely it is it will follow those orders to the greatest benefit of the Cleric and his allies. Of course, as the need develops, the Cleric might give different orders which might add to or override previous orders.


Hmmm. If that were truly the case, I wonder why
1) the turn undead ability of the evil guys is so much stronger than that of the good guys? Do the designers wish the cleric characters to be evil more often? Or is it rather that (since they highly recommend playing non-evil characters in the alignment section) they would wish to increase the power of evil cleric npcs?
2) why this ability would trump even the 9th level dominate monster spell in that it has permanent duration, cannot be dispelled, has no save and no range limitation? And it's available to the cleric at first level!
3) if the undead, barring the command wording, are intelligent and evil and out to make life miserable, would they not try to preserve the best of their own will (say, needlessly draining innocent bystanders etc.)?



Which could be a problem in terms of ongoing costs and finding the right magical items. However, this points out the other benefit of a full spellcaster over a full Fighter or Barbarian. The Cleric I mentioned could cast Mage’s Disjunction (Domain spell), and with the generally poor Will saves of a Fighter or Barbarian, most of their magical items will revert to normal and would reduce the character's effectiveness considerably. Even your Revised Fighter would have a tough time, since the spell's DC of 30 means the Fighter's going to lose about half his magical items, which would be extremely difficult to replace. And Fighters depend very heavily on their magical items to be effective, especially at higher levels.
If that happened to the Cleric, the Will save means only 5% of all magical items will be lost (and that's only because a 1 auto-fails). And the Cleric can just cast spells to at least temporarily regain the benefit of magical weapons, defences and some other items. It would be painful, but the Cleric wouldn't suffer anywhere near as much as the Fighter would.


Now this is another good point, so far the disjunction power got overlooked in our discussion. However, its range is only 40ft (so a time stop combo would be nice)and it needs another one of those scarce 9th level slots. Which brings me to another overlooked issue for all casters except the sorcerer: the casters (if they get to learn the spells, which is not automatic) need to learn ahead of knowing what awaits them exactly during the day/coming days. A fighter, however, has all of his feats always available.
Still, the disjunction effect is mightly scary for a fighter (even if only used for attirition tactics) and necessitates a much higher will save than the revised fighter build so far has (need to do another revision, I know, after so much discussion).
Ah, but the zilla/buffed tactics of spellusers get completely neutralised, since the dispelling effect of spells is ended automatically. So 100% of the devil in disguise cleric buffs (including the polymorph) are gone. I would say the disjunction hurts both fighter and casters, but if the fighter somehow manages to get up his will save to the high 20s area, the caster suffers more.



You won't get any argument from me on that point. But the Cleric still has other uses which make the class useful even in the low levels. Here's how I see the breakdown:

1st - 4th level: Fighter and Barbarian rule in the Tank department, but Druids (with their buffs and Animal Companion) and Clerics (with their buffs) can fill in, with the Druid (through the Animal Companion) being the closest match for the Fighters and Barbarians at this point.
4th - 8th level: Druids (with buffs, Animal Companion and the ability to Wild Shape when needed) are pretty much a match for Fighters and Barbarians, and the Cleric buffs are starting to be very useful for Tanking, although it's not quite at the Fighter/Barbarian/Druid level yet.
9+: Clerics have caught up to Fighters, Barbarians and Druids as Tanks because Divine Favor now gives it's maximum bonus (+3), and the character can also cast Divine Power and Righteous Might as needed. But unlike Fighters and Barbarians, Clerics and Druids have other abilities besides just being the party Tank.

I won't say level 9+ Clerics and level 5+ Druids are superior to Fighters as Tanks, but the point remains: once they get to those levels, they can fill the Tank role and do a lot more as well. And even from level 1, both of those classes have other abilities which allow them to usefully contribute to the party dynamic.


To this I would almost completely agree. The bow tactics likely keep the fighter ahead in combat until the casters learn their own powerful ranged spells from lvl 11 or so (save-or-dies like disintegrate, or no-save-anddies like the powerwords and holy word). In terms of outside of combat, probably both caster and fighter lose in those first levels to the skill-heavy classes (remember that the research spells, in particular at lower levels, are quite limited).
Again, though, I would suggest using the drawbacks I outlined to the fullest, counter CoDzilla tactics from lvl 15& higher with disjunctions, etc.



The SRD does touch on this:

If a cleric is not devoted to a particular deity, he still selects two domains to represent his spiritual inclinations and abilities. The restriction on alignment domains still applies.


Hmm yes, it touches it (and I should say @Marius that SRD is like a constant core update). However, in the wording "not devoted to a particular deity" it is more implied that the cleric can also worship a pantheon than not worship any deity at all.
But I have already conceded that the non-deity clerics without atonement/ex-cleric drawbacks are possible by the RAW.



Animal Domain, and it can be cast with the Magic Domain (from a scroll, with a chance of failure).


Yep, thanks for the hint - excrtd (hope I spelled that correctly):smallsmile: also mentioned it. But the PaO way is good enough to get a great buff.

Ah, and refering to one of my recent posts: could someone explain to me again why a neutral cleric is not considered "opposed" to the Law, Chaos, Evil, Good spells? Why can he cast everything, even if he is restricted otherwise to a permanent negative/positive energy decision? Thanks!

- Giacomo

Cyborg Pirate
2007-03-14, 08:49 AM
You're missing one more important point Sir Giacomo. I do not think the Cleric's diety is going to be any drawback for the Cleric if the Cleric's player is smart (anything can be properly approached and actions can be justified unless the GM is seriously railroading the player's actions).

The thing is, if you Do make it such a drawback (like clerics from other religeons constantly hounding the PC's free cleric), you are focussing campaign attention on the cleric.


Meaning to Bob fighter in the party that not only is that pesky cleric just as good in combat, but he's also hogging all the spotlight because the GM keeps throwing things after him in an attemp to cut down his power. This will only make it worse for the fighting classes.

Hyfigh
2007-03-14, 09:49 AM
I've noticed that quite a few of the arguements for fighters are based on certain circumstantial events. This is really an unfair way to claim that one character is more powerful than the next. A level 1 Kobold Commoner could be more powerful that a 20 Human Fighter given the right circumstances (and I'm not referring to Pun-pun).

The way most gauge power in D&D (most RPG's for that matter) isn't based on whether or not a character can perform in a certain situation, but how many different situations that character remains effective.

Fighters are less effective in more situations than a cleric. Rating the character classes based on their effectiveness in a wide variaty of situations, the Fighter just comes up short.

They aren't good at anything except... Fighting... The problem is, they are out classed in that aspect over 50% of the time. They don't have skills or spells or many worthwhile special abilities to make up for their mediocre combat prowess.

Great, they can function against a counterspeller (if the counterspeller has nothing that can kill the fighter outright immediately) and in an anti-magic field. Compaired to the cleric in an AMF, you still aren't outperforming the cleric all that well. 5 extra BAB offers you one additional hit that, depending on the AC of the opponent, generally has a low chance of landing anyway. You may have some tactical combat feats that will let you finally outshine the cleric, but this is a one-in-one hundred situation.

Now, with the continuing addition of suppliments, the Fighter has begun to lag even further. ToB has created a whole new world where-in warrior classes finally get some worthwhile special abilities. Sacrificing the extra fighter bonus feats (that come from a incredibly limited list) these new warriors have generally better skills and a better battle prowess. Again, the Fighters coming up short.

If you are playing beyond a core game, and don't wish to be outshined by everyone at everything (including your own job) then my advice would be avoid the Fighter.

Marius
2007-03-14, 10:09 AM
Ah yes, certainly that is possible. It is, however, more awkward and riskier, so why not just play a good cleric of a good deity (or good ideals) in the first place? Plus, you would not have the increased potential of conflict with your deity.

You could easily play a neutral good cleric of Boccob and cast Holy Word without any problem. And in any case I don't think that Boccob will care about that, it's not that he wants to keep balance in the world or something like that, he just doesn't care.



Hmmm. If that were truly the case, I wonder why
1) the turn undead ability of the evil guys is so much stronger than that of the good guys? Do the designers wish the cleric characters to be evil more often? Or is it rather that (since they highly recommend playing non-evil characters in the alignment section) they would wish to increase the power of evil cleric npcs?

I have no idea, why Blasphemy is better than holy word? Why is power attack better than TWF? Designers maybe forget about balance, maybe they wanted evil clerics to command undeads since it seems natural for them to do so.



2) why this ability would trump even the 9th level dominate monster spell in that it has permanent duration, cannot be dispelled, has no save and no range limitation? And it's available to the cleric at first level!

It can be dispelled by another turn/rebuke undead check. It has a range limitation (40ft) when you make the check, just like the "dominate" spell. And it affects only undead.



3) if the undead, barring the command wording, are intelligent and evil and out to make life miserable, would they not try to preserve the best of their own will (say, needlessly draining innocent bystanders etc.)?

They are smart but your will commands them, if you order something they obey.



Now this is another good point, so far the disjunction power got overlooked in our discussion. However, its range is only 40ft (so a time stop combo would be nice)and it needs another one of those scarce 9th level slots. Which brings me to another overlooked issue for all casters except the sorcerer: the casters (if they get to learn the spells, which is not automatic) need to learn ahead of knowing what awaits them exactly during the day/coming days. A fighter, however, has all of his feats always available.
Still, the disjunction effect is mightly scary for a fighter (even if only used for attirition tactics) and necessitates a much higher will save than the revised fighter build so far has (need to do another revision, I know, after so much discussion).
Ah, but the zilla/buffed tactics of spellusers get completely neutralised, since the dispelling effect of spells is ended automatically. So 100% of the devil in disguise cleric buffs (including the polymorph) are gone. I would say the disjunction hurts both fighter and casters, but if the fighter somehow manages to get up his will save to the high 20s area, the caster suffers more.

Not at all. Even if you get ALL your buffs dispelled you still have all of your items (since you only fail on a 1, meaning that only 1 of 20 magic items will be destroyed. While the average fighter will probably have more than half their items destroyed and all of their buffs dispelled too.
That will ruined CoDzilla tactics but hey the cleric still has almost all of his items and now is his turn to cast a 9th level spell to win the fight or at least retreat using word of recall.
The fighter is now praying that his helm of teleportation is still working (if it's not he's dead) and even if he manages to escape he probably lost like 500.000gp right there, and now is much more vunerable than ever before.
Disjunction is broken, and I don't recommend anyone to use it (already ban it in my games).



To this I would almost completely agree. The bow tactics likely keep the fighter ahead in combat until the casters learn their own powerful ranged spells from lvl 11 or so (save-or-dies like disintegrate, or no-save-anddies like the powerwords and holy word). In terms of outside of combat, probably both caster and fighter lose in those first levels to the skill-heavy classes (remember that the research spells, in particular at lower levels, are quite limited).
Again, though, I would suggest using the drawbacks I outlined to the fullest, counter CoDzilla tactics from lvl 15& higher with disjunctions, etc.

Casters can do a lot more outside combat (specially wizards but clerics too). But let's look at clerics:
They have few skill points but a human with 14 int could have several useful skills. Also they have some class skills craft, diplomacy, heal, almost all knowlege skills, profession and spellcraft.
That's not much but they also have spells to help them (besides that a high wisdom also helps).
Now let's look at low level spells (I'm not even going name the utility of cure spells, remove spells, etc):
0 level: Detect Magic, Light, Mending and read magic are useful and depending on the type of campaign create water or purify food and drink can be useful too.
1 level: Command and Comprehend languages are great but endure elements can be useful too (and remember that he can have them in scrolls if he wants to use his slots for buff spells). Trickery has Disguise self, Animal has Calm animals and both can be useful too outside combat (or to prevent it), Travel has longstrider.
2 level: Augury, Calm emotions, Darkness, Eagle's splendor, Enthrall, Find traps, Hold person, Make Whole, Owl's wisdom, Shatter, Silence, Undetectable alignment, Zone of truth. Domain: Knowledge can give you Detect Thoughts, Magic: Identify, Travel: Locate Object, Trickery: Invisibility
3 level: Create food and water, Daylight, Deeper Darkness, Dispel, Helping Hand, Locate Object, Meld into Stone, Speak with dead, Water Breathing, Water walk. Domains: Air: Gaseous Form, Knowledge: Clauriaudience/Claurivoyance, Travel: Fly, Trickery: Nondetection

As I already said you can keep most of them in scrolls. Also a cleric with the Magic domain can use any arcane scroll or magic device (easily with low level scrolls)



Hmm yes, it touches it (and I should say @Marius that SRD is like a constant core update). However, in the wording "not devoted to a particular deity" it is more implied that the cleric can also worship a pantheon than not worship any deity at all.
But I have already conceded that the non-deity clerics without atonement/ex-cleric drawbacks are possible by the RAW.

Nop, SRD can't have anything that is copyrighted, so for example there're no Mindflyers on the SRD (or gods) but the do exist. And the ultimate reference is not the SRD but the PHB, you said it yourself.



Ah, and refering to one of my recent posts: could someone explain to me again why a neutral cleric is not considered "opposed" to the Law, Chaos, Evil, Good spells? Why can he cast everything, even if he is restricted otherwise to a permanent negative/positive energy decision? Thanks!

Being neutral has disadvantages, you can be affected by both Blasphemy and Holy word, even if they can cast both.

Truwar
2007-03-14, 11:00 AM
CHR boosters in the treasure of the balor would be a good idea, but would hurt all opponents, not only the fighter. Now the telekinesis bow disarm idea was already mentioned by myself further up (no reproach here, the thread is already quite long). I thought about countering it with an improved disarm feat, making it even more likely that the fighter can resist the disarm attempt (who gets to use his DEX bonus and gets a +4 bonus since the bow is a two-handed weapon). If all fails, the bow can be bound to the arm of the fighter, basically allowing him to retrieve the bow at leisure with quickdraw (tearing the bow away from the fighter would then necessitate a will save, +19 in the example build, more in the attacking version).
Ah, and anyhow, the above archery tactics do not allow the balor to hit back, so it's more something for a "balor goes first" tactics, which is probably widely agreed to end in the defeat of all heroes, fighter or casters (excepting the contingencie'd teleporting wizard/sorcerer).

Actually the bow is not a melee weapon and as such would get a -4 on the opposed disarm check not +4 for being a two-handed weapon. The bonus for wielding a two-handed weapon only applies when someone is attempting to disarm a melee weapon.




As a melee attack, you may attempt to disarm your opponent. If you do so with a weapon, you knock the opponent’s weapon out of his hands and to the ground. If you attempt the disarm while unarmed, you end up with the weapon in your hand.

If you’re attempting to disarm a melee weapon, follow the steps outlined here. If the item you are attempting to disarm isn’t a melee weapon the defender may still oppose you with an attack roll (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/combatStatistics.htm#attackRoll), but takes a penalty and can’t attempt to disarm you in return if your attempt fails.
Step 1

Attack of Opportunity (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/attacksOfOpportunity.htm). You provoke an attack of opportunity from the target you are trying to disarm. (If you have the Improved Disarm (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/feats.htm#improvedDisarm) feat, you don’t incur an attack of opportunity for making a disarm attempt.) If the defender’s attack of opportunity deals any damage, your disarm attempt fails.
Step 2

Opposed Rolls. You and the defender make opposed attack rolls (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/combatStatistics.htm#attackRoll) with your respective weapons. The wielder of a two-handed weapon on a disarm attempt gets a +4 bonus on this roll, and the wielder of a light weapon takes a -4 penalty. (An unarmed strike (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/equipment/weapons.htm#unarmedStrike) is considered a light weapon, so you always take a penalty when trying to disarm an opponent by using an unarmed strike.) If the combatants are of different sizes, the larger combatant gets a bonus on the attack roll of +4 per difference in size category. If the targeted item isn’t a melee weapon, the defender takes a -4 penalty on the roll.
Step 3

Consequences. If you beat the defender, the defender is disarmed. If you attempted the disarm action unarmed, you now have the weapon. If you were armed, the defender’s weapon is on the ground in the defender’s square.
If you fail on the disarm attempt, the defender may immediately react and attempt to disarm you with the same sort of opposed melee attack roll (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/combatStatistics.htm#attackRoll). His attempt does not provoke an attack of opportunity (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/attacksOfOpportunity.htm) from you. If he fails his disarm attempt, you do not subsequently get a free disarm attempt against him.
Note: A defender wearing spiked gauntlets (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/equipment/weapons.htm#gauntletSpiked) can’t be disarmed. A defender using a weapon attached to a locked gauntlet gets a +10 bonus to resist being disarmed.
</H2>
Tying a dummy cord to a bow simply would not work. The cord would lie against the bowstring making it impossible to fire the weapon accurately (or safely). You could rig a locking gauntlet for the bow but this would simply give you a +10 bonus to avoid being disarmed (which would not be quite enough to prevent the Balor from usually being successful.) Once the bow was out of your hands the Balor could then use telekinesis as second time (the second time as the quickened action) to bring the bow back to him.

Improved disarm does not allow you to use your dexterity when resisting a disarm attempt (nor would weapon finesse, as the bow is not alight weapon) and the +4 bonus it gives only applies when disarming opponents, not resisting a disarm attempt.

Piccamo
2007-03-14, 11:24 AM
I'll be honest, I stopped reading after page 4 or so and then read again while the argument was against Hallavast. I just can't believe you all are still arguing about something when everyone already knows Giacomo is wrong. The game is imbalanced. Others have stated their reasons and he's provided counterpoints, but these fall short of reasonable arguments to prove he is correct. No one cares about RP requirements; saying its only balanced if you take away the cleric's spells once in a while is like saying its only balanced if you take away the fighter's pointy stick. The fact that he keeps going on means he's either very patient or just a forum troll and in either case its irrelevant because he's lost the debate. No one is convinced of anything.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-14, 11:29 AM
@Marius: The cleric and other casters have more versatility than the fighter even at low levels (never doubted that, I only objected previously to you maintaining that the fighter cannot do ANYTHING outside of combat), but in combat they lag the fighter until the mid-levels. Two major hindrances (in addition to the other drawbacks I see) impair them:
1) in combat, casters have to use standard actions to read scrolls, get their buffs up, even cast save-or-dies (which are actually most of the time enchantment spells, so less effective vs Elf fighters). This means they lose 1-2 rounds of full fighting where the fighter deals out damage, incapacitates foes etc.
2) the buffs last painfully short for the casters at low levels, are more vulnerable to normal dispels (since the level boosting items are not around yet) plus they have limited spell slots to fit that all in. Scrolls are a good idea around that, but they are limited in number, cost XP and gold, and need the scribe scroll feat, which not all casters get for free through domains or being a wizard.

@Truwar
If it is an attack roll for the bow disarm, the opposing roll of the balor (+28) vs the archer fighter (+39 or higher, working on the 2nd revision now) goes to the fighter most of the time. The locked gauntlet is a fairly cheap option to put the disarm beyond the telekinesis ability of the balor, and the penalty mentioned for non-melee weapon objects refer to the "grabbing items" option for the Disarmer and only pertain to stuff like sheathed weapons, money bags on the belt of the owner etc. A Bow firmly in a hand of the Archer should not fall into this category in my opinion.

- Giacomo

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-14, 11:34 AM
I'll be honest, I stopped reading after page 4 or so and then read again while the argument was against Hallavast. I just can't believe you all are still arguing about something when everyone already knows Giacomo is wrong. The game is imbalanced. Others have stated their reasons and he's provided counterpoints, but these fall short of reasonable arguments to prove he is correct. No one cares about RP requirements; saying its only balanced if you take away the cleric's spells once in a while is like saying its only balanced if you take away the fighter's pointy stick. The fact that he keeps going on means he's either very patient or just a forum troll and in either case its irrelevant because he's lost the debate. No one is convinced of anything.

Hmm, if everyone by now thinks I am wrong, maybe I should put a poll elsewhere and see if there is any support at all.
But that may not even be necessary. Truth to tell, the majority is against what I'm saying. In fact, everytime I discover some new possible interpretation, I almost never receive anything like "oh yes, you're right here" (Greenknight being a shining exception, and at the beginning I received some support for the fighter build). If you have the feeling that the discussion is leading nowhere pls ask the moderators to step hin/ask me to refrain from posting here, since I never inteded to be a "forum troll" or some such.

During the course of the thread, I have come to realise exactly what the major powers of spellcasters are at high levels, and rightfully you see them as massively powerful, making them way more powerful than fighters. My original intention, though, was to show
- that the fighter can still contribute at high levels, up to lvl 20
- the ways the game can be balanced, and I still see the drawbacks of the cleric (and casters) having potential for that balance, much better than prohibiting the use of single spells and/or powers.

But I will definitely stop the discussion from my side if even the clear majority of you sees no more sense in it.

- Giacomo

Truwar
2007-03-14, 12:06 PM
If it is an attack roll for the bow disarm, the opposing roll of the balor (+28) vs the archer fighter (+39 or higher, working on the 2nd revision now) goes to the fighter most of the time. The locked gauntlet is a fairly cheap option to put the disarm beyond the telekinesis ability of the balor, and the penalty mentioned for non-melee weapon objects refer to the "grabbing items" option for the Disarmer and only pertain to stuff like sheathed weapons, money bags on the belt of the owner etc. A Bow firmly in a hand of the Archer should not fall into this category in my opinion.

- Giacomo

His melee attack bonus is not 39 is it? Once again, he wouldnot be able to use h is dexterity when resisting an attempted disarm of his bow. He would get a bonus to his disarm check with the locked gauntlet but much of that bonus is negated by the -4 penalty he receives for the bow not being a melee weapon.

With a +6 cloak of charisma (easily within the treasure range of a Balor) the balor would have a +31 to his disarm check. Your fighter lv 20 fighter with a 20 strength and a locked gauntlet would have a total disarm check of +31. That means there is a fifty/fifty chance that your archer will have his bow yanked out of his hand on the Balor’s first action. Once the bow is not in your hand the Balor can then use telekinesis a second time (this time quickened) to bring the bow to him. That is, if he cannot reach your archer (with a fly speed of 90) and simply sunder the flimsy bow that your fighter has strapped to his hand with chains and a special gauntlet.

its_all_ogre
2007-03-14, 12:15 PM
i like the earlier mention of a level 1 cleric being better than a fighter due to use of level one spells: magic weapon, bless and divine favour.
and i thought; 'so who is healing the party after the fight?'
bless is good mind, magic weapon is better on the fighter. at level one divine favour is a waste of a spell slot, by level 6 and later 9 it is good though.
so the basis of the argument at level 1 is 'if my cleric uses all his spells he is better then the group fighter'
ok and i should hope so, is that 25% of that character's resources in one encounter? no its more like 75-100%. and someones pc(likely not yours) will probably die due to you having no healing spells left 'why have you got no cures left?' 'cause i was proving to bob the fighter here that he was not needed' seems a bit lame!
plus the feats used to achieve melee mastery(not the feat!) are too many for a non-bonus-feat class. power attack, leap attack, improved bull rush, shocktrooper. generally cleave too.
so that means level 9. or 6 with no cleave and human.
now i am not disagreeing that the cleric/druid can do the fighters job, but i disagree that they do it as well as a fighter. who after all can use other feats to boost his ability in this regard(weapon foci, specs, mastery, supremacy, all the nice feats in phb2, imp sunder etc etc)
clerics could be doing other things instead after all.
also the druid in particular loses AC(until elemental becomes available) so requires more healing herself compared to the fighter.
mobility is the fighters biggest issue i find personally(especially compared to a druid in wildshape) but then a cleric has this too(but can circumvent using spells)
after all many people play rogues/bards with maxed out UMD and can therefore use any spell in the books using scrolls and wands/rods/staves, but nobody says that a rogue can in every way replace a caster do they?
so why this clerics/druids pwn fighters feeling everywhere?
note: i agree that casters are mechanically stronger, just tossing fuel on the fire!!

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-14, 01:14 PM
note: i agree that casters are mechanically stronger, just tossing fuel on the fire!!

Hi, its_all_ogre, pls don't do that, although I agree with most of what you say (and am quite glad that I am not the only one who sees the opportunities to balance fighter/casters and the drawbacks of casters).

The point is that further up, already a moderator jumped in to moderate, so we should keep the discussion as calm and fact-oriented as possible.

Thanks!

- Giacomo

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-14, 01:20 PM
@Truwar on the Disarm:

I get confused from the disarm rules. It says that if it's not a melee weapon, one should simply do an opposed attack roll and not follow the steps outlined. So it's either that or all the four steps apply, with the +4 from a two-handed weapon and the -4 of a non-melee weapon and also simply opposed attack rolls (and the attack roll for a bow is based on DEX, plus all the other bonuses).

- Giacomo

its_all_ogre
2007-03-14, 01:38 PM
Hi, its_all_ogre, pls don't do that, although I agree with most of what you say (and am quite glad that I am not the only one who sees the opportunities to balance fighter/casters and the drawbacks of casters).

The point is that further up, already a moderator jumped in to moderate, so we should keep the discussion as calm and fact-oriented as possible.

Thanks!

- Giacomo

i did not mean that i am only stirring trouble, just that there are aspects that people are not thinking of.
ie: clerics spending lots of feats and spells to do a fighters job, when they could just let the fighter do it!

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-14, 01:50 PM
Hmm,

that means you would tend to agree that casters are better than fighters at their job, plus could then cast a couple more spells or have more useful skills, but that that would not be the best they could do.

Meaning, at lvl 20 and already much earlier, in a four-member party, definitely the fourth member alongside three casters should not be a fighter, but another caster (who could fill the role of the fighter, using most of his resources, but still has some to spare).

Hmmm...

...I would still disagree here (you all know the reasons why). But I guess I'll take a step back and wait what people think if I should continue this discussion or not.

- Giacomo

its_all_ogre
2007-03-14, 02:00 PM
i am saying that it could work, but that they are not as good as a fighter would be. in core purely(phb mm dmg) then they come damn cloase to be honest, fighter does not get much use of his bonus feats from phb only, most players use the core books and phb2 as well though, with those books a plethora of new feats come into play that only a fighter can get hold of due to numbers of feats required.
a cleric cannot get those feats and neither can a druid.
my argument is that the classes do have drawbacks but no mechanics exist to back those up. the violating of your gods beliefs for example, where is the mechanic? my opinion is that the games designers decided not to put one in and to leave it to capable dms to use their judgement, your ideas on how to do this are good ones.
i mostly do not think that using a caster to replace a fighter is a good idea.
same as using a wizard to replace a rogue(invisible for example) or a rogue with tons of scrolls to replace full casters.
i think that it detracts from the idea of the game and means that team work is less important. if i wanted that i would play diablo 2 or wow.

Marius
2007-03-14, 02:57 PM
@Marius: The cleric and other casters have more versatility than the fighter even at low levels (never doubted that, I only objected previously to you maintaining that the fighter cannot do ANYTHING outside of combat), but in combat they lag the fighter until the mid-levels. Two major hindrances (in addition to the other drawbacks I see) impair them:
1) in combat, casters have to use standard actions to read scrolls, get their buffs up, even cast save-or-dies (which are actually most of the time enchantment spells, so less effective vs Elf fighters). This means they lose 1-2 rounds of full fighting where the fighter deals out damage, incapacitates foes etc.

How many times have you fought against elf fighters? And it's not like a +2 is going to make much difference. A cleric should only use one round to buff, a round that the fighter uses to close anyway so you don't lose a lot there (plus bless help everyone). Using a scroll does need a standard action but they are usually used outside combat. And in any case a save-or-lose spell is always worth a standard action!



2) the buffs last painfully short for the casters at low levels, are more vulnerable to normal dispels (since the level boosting items are not around yet) plus they have limited spell slots to fit that all in. Scrolls are a good idea around that, but they are limited in number, cost XP and gold, and need the scribe scroll feat, which not all casters get for free through domains or being a wizard.


Sure they last only a short time, most of them 1 min/level but that's enough for a whole fight. Dispels are not available until you hit 5th level and by then you can also do the same to other people.
And you don't need a feat to BUY scrolls, Low level scrolls are cheap (for PCs anyway, they can spare 25gp) and since they are low level you can probably find them anywhere.


i like the earlier mention of a level 1 cleric being better than a fighter due to use of level one spells: magic weapon, bless and divine favour.
and i thought; 'so who is healing the party after the fight?'
bless is good mind, magic weapon is better on the fighter. at level one divine favour is a waste of a spell slot, by level 6 and later 9 it is good though.
so the basis of the argument at level 1 is 'if my cleric uses all his spells he is better then the group fighter'
ok and i should hope so, is that 25% of that character's resources in one encounter? no its more like 75-100%. and someones pc(likely not yours) will probably die due to you having no healing spells left 'why have you got no cures left?' 'cause i was proving to bob the fighter here that he was not needed' seems a bit lame!

That's not exacly a point for the fighter, I mean they die without the cleric. And 2 clerics could do the same things as a cleric and a fighter and they have much more versatility.
You won't be able to use more than 1 spell per fight but remember that not all encounters are "fights", half of them probrably won't be.
You need the cleric, the cleric doesn't need you. What's the difference between a 4th level fighter and a 4th level cleric? Fighter: 1 point of bab, 3 more feats and 4 more hit points. Cleric: +3 points of will save 4 2nd level spells, 5 1st level spells and 5 cantrips, 2 domain powers (as good as feats or better), turn/rebuke undead, spontaneous cure/inflict spells and better class skills.



plus the feats used to achieve melee mastery(not the feat!) are too many for a non-bonus-feat class. power attack, leap attack, improved bull rush, shocktrooper. generally cleave too.
so that means level 9. or 6 with no cleave and human.
now i am not disagreeing that the cleric/druid can do the fighters job, but i disagree that they do it as well as a fighter. who after all can use other feats to boost his ability in this regard(weapon foci, specs, mastery, supremacy, all the nice feats in phb2, imp sunder etc etc)

If you are going outside core then the cleric can use: Divine metamagic+Persist
Most broken ability EVER, now they have 24 hours buffs for free.



clerics could be doing other things instead after all.
also the druid in particular loses AC(until elemental becomes available) so requires more healing herself compared to the fighter.
mobility is the fighters biggest issue i find personally(especially compared to a druid in wildshape) but then a cleric has this too(but can circumvent using spells)

So, they can be better but since they can do other stuff they shouldn't? We are not talking about what you think they should do, we are talking about what they can do.



after all many people play rogues/bards with maxed out UMD and can therefore use any spell in the books using scrolls and wands/rods/staves, but nobody says that a rogue can in every way replace a caster do they?
so why this clerics/druids pwn fighters feeling everywhere?


Because the rogue can't replace the caster just using wands, they just can't. But CoDzilla can replace the fighter, even at low levels.

MeklorIlavator
2007-03-14, 03:24 PM
If you are going outside core then the cleric can use: Divine metamagic+Persist
Most broken ability EVER, now they have 24 hours buffs for free.

Actually, I think that the ability to wear be efective in meele and cast level 9 spells is more broken. And they get that for free.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-14, 03:31 PM
Hi again,

Marius always manages to get me back into action!:smallsmile: But I am starting to see more and more valid reasons for his positions. Still, I hope, that he could come to see at least SOME stuff were the fighter might be ahead, and also see the use of making use of the drawbacks I mentioned.



How many times have you fought against elf fighters? And it's not like a +2 is going to make much difference. A cleric should only use one round to buff, a round that the fighter uses to close anyway so you don't lose a lot there (plus bless help everyone). Using a scroll does need a standard action but they are usually used outside combat. And in any case a save-or-lose spell is always worth a standard action!


A fighter does not need to close, since he has the best ranged weapon in the game from level 1, and he can use it outside the range of all low-level save-or-dies. +2 is going to make a huge difference, at all levels, and it is not only elf opponents who have special mental defences or high will saves even at the low levels. And since many full casters later polymorph, a fighter would gain relatively more from choosing a non-human race for certain stat-relied specialisations. Scrolls with the short duration buffs need to be used fairly close to combat, and may misfire (worse than a simple miscalculation of a wrongly learned spell/miscast spell, since it cost money). But healing scrolls are definitely a good plus, for all. So I admit that the cleric, also at lower levels, has much higher versatility (more about this below).
Btw, in the standard action round that the cleric buffs himself or all it is the fighter who quickdraws his bow (but normally not needed, since the weapon could easliy be readied for some time) and shoots 2 rapid shot attacks (possibly causing 2d8+6 damage with STR +2 and point blank).



That's not exacly a point for the fighter, I mean they die without the cleric. And 2 clerics could do the same things as a cleric and a fighter and they have much more versatility.
You won't be able to use more than 1 spell per fight but remember that not all encounters are "fights", half of them probrably won't be.
You need the cleric, the cleric doesn't need you. What's the difference between a 4th level fighter and a 4th level cleric? Fighter: 1 point of bab, 3 more feats and 4 more hit points. Cleric: +3 points of will save 4 2nd level spells, 5 1st level spells and 5 cantrips, 2 domain powers (as good as feats or better), turn/rebuke undead, spontaneous cure/inflict spells and better class skills.


Now THIS comparison really impressed me, no sarcasm here. OK, at fourth level one of the feats may go to weapon specialisation, but still quite impressive. The fighter is still not useless, though. Contrary to other full casters except the druid, the fighter has physical class skills (swim, jump, climb, ride) that the casters do not have. This may come in handy for adventures, especially at low levels.
And the cleric has no martial weapon proficiency with both the mighty bow and the mighty greatsword, so he would need to invest a feat there (even the war domain does not grant ability in both weapons). So I would say: in combat, the fighter is ahead until 7th level at the least, outside of combat the cleric is ahead, but the fighter is far from being useless (especially if there is no rogue, since even the druid can't climb until he gains wild shape at 5th level). Plus, it is likely that the cleric focuses his stat distribution on wisdom, while the archer fighter does on dexterity (melee fighter on STR). Meaning the cleric has better spot and much better will, the fighter has higher Reflex, higher initiative, and higher modifiers to skills like climb and tumble (important in combat).



Because the rogue can't replace the caster just using wands, they just can't. But CoDzilla can replace the fighter, even at low levels.

Ah, I guess its_all_ogre was not referring to wands, but scrolls. And these rogues and bards can use up to time stop etc with UMD. Which does not mean they should do it, but theoretically, it could make full casters less useful...:smallbiggrin:

- Giacomo

its_all_ogre
2007-03-14, 03:53 PM
same as using a wizard to replace a rogue(invisible for example) or a rogue with tons of scrolls to replace full casters.

hmm this is what i said above, so yes i meant scrolls. thats why i said scrolls!

MeklorIlavator
2007-03-14, 04:05 PM
same as using a wizard to replace a rogue(invisible for example) or a rogue with tons of scrolls to replace full casters.

hmm this is what i said above, so yes i meant scrolls. thats why i said scrolls!
Umm, the problemis that scrolls are expensive, and are at lowest caster level, so the better spells like dispelmagic would be worthless.

its_all_ogre
2007-03-14, 05:24 PM
but feats are expensive, more so than any item cause you only get 7 for a non-human, whereas gold is floating around the place(especially for a rogue, i mean come on!!)

MeklorIlavator
2007-03-14, 05:35 PM
What feat?

And at level 10, a rouge has 49,000 gp, and scrolls cost (spell level)*(caster level)*25

so a lv 10 dispel magic=750 gp. Not that much until you consider that our going to want around 13.333 of those, which brings the cost to over 9999.75 gp, a bit over 1 fith of your total gp. And then we have the oyher spells that you'll want.

greenknight
2007-03-14, 07:50 PM
Hmmm. If that were truly the case, I wonder why
1) the turn undead ability of the evil guys is so much stronger than that of the good guys? Do the designers wish the cleric characters to be evil more often? Or is it rather that (since they highly recommend playing non-evil characters in the alignment section) they would wish to increase the power of evil cleric npcs?

Marius already answered with most of the points I was going to make, so I won't reply to everything you've written, but this is one area where I have a different opinion. I think D&D was always designed from the hero's point of view, where the PCs were Good (or at least Neutral) aligned on the Good/Evil scale. The bad guys (usually represented by Evil) were designed to be tough and scary, but the toughest and scariest abilities weren't really meant to be available to the good guys so issues of game balance weren't fully explored. In fact, this was why playing one of the "monster" races like Drow in AD&D was often so unbalancing - they make powerful enemies, but they can become too powerful as PCs.

3.0e addressed a lot of the balance issues, but the Good/Evil balance, especially for Clerics, wasn't really thought about too much. The one thing they did do was disallow True Neutral Clerics for the most part, and I think that's because they worked out just how powerful a Cleric of that alignment could become. But as I've shown, it's still possible to have a TN Cleric, and that brings the balance issues back into focus.


Now this is another good point, so far the disjunction power got overlooked in our discussion. However, its range is only 40ft

Disjunction's range is Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels), and then it's a 40' radius burst. For a 25th level (effective) caster, that's 85' with an effect that extends to 135'. You can also Enlarge or Widen that (using a metamagic rod).


and it needs another one of those scarce 9th level slots.

Probably a more serious drawback is that it reduces the treasure available if the caster wins the battle. Still, if the caster doesn't care about that and knows the foe is boosted by a lot of magical items, it's a great tactic.


Which brings me to another overlooked issue for all casters except the sorcerer: the casters (if they get to learn the spells, which is not automatic) need to learn ahead of knowing what awaits them exactly during the day/coming days. A fighter, however, has all of his feats always available.

There are a lot of very general purpose spells though. Divine Favor, Divine Power, Righteous Might, Greater Magic Weapon, Magic Vestment work against practically any kind of foe, for example, as does a PaO buff. There are also a few with such wide application it's worth having them because when that (fairly commonly encountered) situation comes up, they can practically end the fight (the Holy Word type spells come to mind here). There are a few spells which the character should prepare "just in case", but in the case of a Cleric, those can be spontaneously converted to cure/inflict spells if it proves they aren't really needed. And for spells which might be useful, but only rarely, there's always scrolls.


Ah, but the zilla/buffed tactics of spellusers get completely neutralised, since the dispelling effect of spells is ended automatically.

The wording's a little unclear on this, and it's probably something worth checking with Customer Service about. For the record, here's the line from the SRD:

All magical effects and magic items within the radius of the spell, except for those that you carry or touch, are disjoined. That is, spells and spell-like effects are separated into their individual components (ending the effect as a dispel magic spell does)

Does this mean that the spell effects are automatically dispelled, or that the effects are treated as if they were hit by a Dispel Magic? In the second case, most of the buffs are cast by a 25th level (effective) caster, so the dispel DC is 36. Dispel Magic only gives a +10 maximum to the check, so the most that can be achieved is +30, meaning nearly all the buffs should remain intact.

Furthermore, Dispel Magic has three applications: Targeted Dispel, Area Dispel and Counterspell. In this case, we can ignore the Counterspell application, but that still leaves us having to decide between Targeted and Area Dispel. Disjunction's an area effect spell, which would be most closely duplicated by the Area Dispel application of Dispel Magic. In that case, even if the caster could overcome the Dispel DC, only one such effect could be removed per casting.

Personally, I think Disjunction's a bit better than a Greater Dispel Magic, so I would house rule it as follows:

1) It acts as a Targeted Dispel against all characters in its area of effect.
2) It affects all spells a Greater Dispel Magic would affect.
3) It adds the Caster Level to the dispel check, no matter how high that caster level may be (in other words, it can give more than a +20 modifier to the dispel check).
4) The other effects of Disjunction (making magical items non-magical etc) work as described.

However, this is something I'm going to check with Wizard's Customer Service about, since I'd like their official opinion.


Again, though, I would suggest using the drawbacks I outlined to the fullest, counter CoDzilla tactics from lvl 15& higher with disjunctions, etc.

Offhand, I can't think of any way a Core non-caster could cast Mage's Disjunction (except through the UMD skill, and even then a 20th level character would have a very hard time doing it if it were cross-class). This suggests that if you're fighting full casters, you'd need a full caster (a Bard or Rogue might also work), rather than a Fighter or Barbarian.

The Disjunction spell is just one reason why Sorcerers and Wizards are so powerful, because they are the most natural choice to cast this spell (although I've shown how some Bards, Clerics and Rogues could also cast it).


Ah, and refering to one of my recent posts: could someone explain to me again why a neutral cleric is not considered "opposed" to the Law, Chaos, Evil, Good spells? Why can he cast everything, even if he is restricted otherwise to a permanent negative/positive energy decision?

Probably the best way to show opposed alignments is in the subtitles of the alignment section: "Good vs. Evil", "Law vs. Chaos". Neutrality doesn't really oppose anything. I suppose one could hypothetically propose a character who is fervently againt doing anything lawful, chaotic, good or evil, but in practice such a character could not exist without doing acts which fall into those categories. At most, you could have a character who believes in Balance, trying to achieve an equalibrium between lawful, chaotic, good and evil. It's probably because of that balance issue that a Neutral character can select from any of those spells, although they are not without their disadvantages (the Holy Word line of spells can potentially affect a Neutral caster, for example).


now i am not disagreeing that the cleric/druid can do the fighters job, but i disagree that they do it as well as a fighter. who after all can use other feats to boost his ability in this regard(weapon foci, specs, mastery, supremacy, all the nice feats in phb2, imp sunder etc etc)
clerics could be doing other things instead after all.

The fact that the Cleric can do other things is the entire basis of my "fighter replacement" argument. With buffs, a Cleric can do everything significant that a Fighter can. But even after applying all the necessary buffs, a 9th level+ Cleric is going to have many spell slots left over for other things. At 5th level+, a Druid can match a Fighter (thanks mostly to the Animal Companion and Wild Shape), and also have spell slots left over for other stuff. Sure, the Fighter does very well in combat, and in some situations might even do better than a Cleric or Druid at or above the levels I mentioned, but a Fighter can't do much else outside of combat. And there will be specific encounters where a Cleric or Druid will outshine even a Fighter in combat.

When you only have a certain number of party members and you want the most powerful party, you want each member to do as much as possible. Even if they do it well, Fighters really only do one job (physical combat). On the other hand, Clerics and Druids can do that job (once they reach the right level) and several more. Why would you use a one trick pony (even if that pony does the trick very well) if you can get another pony for the same price which can do that trick equally well and several others besides?


also the druid in particular loses AC(until elemental becomes available) so requires more healing herself compared to the fighter.

We're only discussing single classed Core Rules characters here, but Druids don't lose much by taking a single level in Monk, but they gain a lot. In particular, a stunning attack (which works brilliantly with their high Wisdom) and the monk's unarmored AC bonus (which is ideal for when the Druid Wild Shapes). It may even be worth going with Monk for two levels (gaining Deflect Arrows and Evasion). This restricts the Druid to a Lawful Neutral alignment, but that can be changed once the Monk levels are taken.

Even single classed, the Druid gets healed each time he/she/it Wild Shapes. And the Druid can cast healing spells when necessary (even while Wild Shaped, usually). If the damage is spread between the Druid and the Animal Companion, the Druid can even cast one spell to heal the damage on both (through Share Spells). That's something a Fighter just can't do, unless the healing comes from a magical item (which the Druid could also have, but probably wouldn't because it wouldn't be as necessary).


after all many people play rogues/bards with maxed out UMD and can therefore use any spell in the books using scrolls and wands/rods/staves, but nobody says that a rogue can in every way replace a caster do they?

Because scrolls, wands and staves eventually wear out, and rods generally don't provide a really large range of spell-like effects. Full casters renew their spells every day, and most of those spells either don't have material components, or the components are so cheap they are thought of as a trivial requirement.

Certainly, a Bard or Rogue could help a party's spellcasting ability, but even Bards don't have the spell power to replace a full caster.


so why this clerics/druids pwn fighters feeling everywhere?

1) Druids have an Animal Companion which is constant and easy to replace if killed (from a mechanical perspective). The Animal Companion is a significant combat boost, and combined with a Wild Shaped Druid could potentially do as much or more damage per round than a Fighter at the mid levels.
2) Clerics and Druids have daily renewable spells and special abilities which can bring them up to a Fighter's level of ability in combat (once they reach the appropriate levels).
3) Even after using their buffs, Clerics and Druids have enough spell slots (once they reach the appropriate level) and other class given abilities to make them useful for other things as well.

It's not that Clerics and Druids are necessarily better than Fighters in combat, it's the fact they can match them and do other things that makes Clerics and Druids more useful than Fighters - once they reach the appropriate level.


in core purely(phb mm dmg) then they come damn cloase to be honest, fighter does not get much use of his bonus feats from phb only, most players use the core books and phb2 as well though, with those books a plethora of new feats come into play that only a fighter can get hold of due to numbers of feats required.

I play mostly Core Only (for the sake of my sanity and simplicity), so I'm not as aware of what exists outside Core as some others. I do have most of the books though, so I know that there's a lot of things in the splatbooks which can really power up the casters. Someone could probably provide you with a full Caster built using all the rules from the splatbooks (maybe even including some multiclassing options), and you could then compare that to what a Fighter could do. If you really want, I could maybe give that a go myself and try to show at least some of the possible cheese, but I'm certainly no expert and I'm sure someone else could do much better.

Marius
2007-03-14, 08:31 PM
Hi again,

Marius always manages to get me back into action!:smallsmile: But I am starting to see more and more valid reasons for his positions. Still, I hope, that he could come to see at least SOME stuff were the fighter might be ahead, and also see the use of making use of the drawbacks I mentioned.

It's not that I don't see them, it's just that I don't think that they really matter that much. Not only they depend heavily on the campaign and on how the DM manages the relationship between clerics and their gods. But they are also an awful way to balance the game, you are punishing a player that didn't do anything wrong to balance his class with another. Any DM could do the same with any other class. But those things are up to the DM and not really in the rules.
And even if the DM somehow likes to challenge the cleric beliefs he could still act within the rules of his religion (he wanted to play that character after all). Another thing to remember is that clerics don't have an explicit code, as long as they stay within one step of their gods alignment and they don't grossly violates that inexplicit code of conduct, they are safe. And that is an easy thing to do.



A fighter does not need to close, since he has the best ranged weapon in the game from level 1, and he can use it outside the range of all low-level save-or-dies. +2 is going to make a huge difference, at all levels, and it is not only elf opponents who have special mental defences or high will saves even at the low levels. And since many full casters later polymorph, a fighter would gain relatively more from choosing a non-human race for certain stat-relied specialisations. Scrolls with the short duration buffs need to be used fairly close to combat, and may misfire (worse than a simple miscalculation of a wrongly learned spell/miscast spell, since it cost money). But healing scrolls are definitely a good plus, for all. So I admit that the cleric, also at lower levels, has much higher versatility (more about this below).
Btw, in the standard action round that the cleric buffs himself or all it is the fighter who quickdraws his bow (but normally not needed, since the weapon could easliy be readied for some time) and shoots 2 rapid shot attacks (possibly causing 2d8+6 damage with STR +2 and point blank).

They cleric not only buffes him in the whole round, he can also move close to his target (or away) and that's important. While the ranged fighter is useful they can't protect wizards or take as much damage as melee fighters (at low levels a meatshield is useful). That meatshield could be the cleric (or the druid).
Scrolls aren't usually used to buff or in combat (and for clerics divine scrolls don't have a failure chance unless they are of higher level than the cleric). Clerics will have the more useful spells in his slots and other spells in scrolls, usually for situations outside combat.
Also a wand of CLW paid for the whole party for the cleric is a good way to avoid being a healbot.



Now THIS comparison really impressed me, no sarcasm here. OK, at fourth level one of the feats may go to weapon specialisation, but still quite impressive. The fighter is still not useless, though. Contrary to other full casters except the druid, the fighter has physical class skills (swim, jump, climb, ride) that the casters do not have. This may come in handy for adventures, especially at low levels.
And the cleric has no martial weapon proficiency with both the mighty bow and the mighty greatsword, so he would need to invest a feat there (even the war domain does not grant ability in both weapons). So I would say: in combat, the fighter is ahead until 7th level at the least, outside of combat the cleric is ahead, but the fighter is far from being useless (especially if there is no rogue, since even the druid can't climb until he gains wild shape at 5th level). Plus, it is likely that the cleric focuses his stat distribution on wisdom, while the archer fighter does on dexterity (melee fighter on STR). Meaning the cleric has better spot and much better will, the fighter has higher Reflex, higher initiative, and higher modifiers to skills like climb and tumble (important in combat).

Since you like elves they can have the war domain to have the longbow and the greatsword (and weapon focus with the greatsword so it counts like 2 feats). Defense is also an important part of combat and the cleric defense is stronger than the fighters, they can heal themselves (and others) and they can solve situations that a fighter could never do. Let's say that the cleric is paralized (and he doesn't have the travel domain ;) ) or dominated, or poisoned, or blinded, etc. The fighter can't solve any of those situations while the cleric can solve them easily.
You said that you want teamwork, that is teamwork, but the fighter doesn't even have that chance to be extra useful. That is also versatility in combat. And I'm not saying that he's better than the fighter I'm saying that he can be just as useful as the fighter in combat even if he can't deal as much damage as the fighter.



Ah, I guess its_all_ogre was not referring to wands, but scrolls. And these rogues and bards can use up to time stop etc with UMD. Which does not mean they should do it, but theoretically, it could make full casters less useful...:smallbiggrin:

- Giacomo


They can but those not only cost money, but they are also worse that the same spell casted by a caster, you don't have the same caster level and the DC sucks. Also they can't cast "quickened" scrolls and that is a huge advantage for the casters.
I agree that UMD is a really powerful skill, probably the best in the game, but it's not enough to make them as good as full casters.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-15, 05:47 AM
Hi again,

first I'll continue the discussion with comments on greenknight's post, then on Marius' post before trying to make some sort of short interim summary.



Marius already answered with most of the points I was going to make, so I won't reply to everything you've written, but this is one area where I have a different opinion. I think D&D was always designed from the hero's point of view, where the PCs were Good (or at least Neutral) aligned on the Good/Evil scale. The bad guys (usually represented by Evil) were designed to be tough and scary, but the toughest and scariest abilities weren't really meant to be available to the good guys so issues of game balance weren't fully explored. In fact, this was why playing one of the "monster" races like Drow in AD&D was often so unbalancing - they make powerful enemies, but they can become too powerful as PCs.

3.0e addressed a lot of the balance issues, but the Good/Evil balance, especially for Clerics, wasn't really thought about too much. The one thing they did do was disallow True Neutral Clerics for the most part, and I think that's because they worked out just how powerful a Cleric of that alignment could become. But as I've shown, it's still possible to have a TN Cleric, and that brings the balance issues back into focus.

(....)

Probably the best way to show opposed alignments is in the subtitles of the alignment section: "Good vs. Evil", "Law vs. Chaos". Neutrality doesn't really oppose anything. I suppose one could hypothetically propose a character who is fervently againt doing anything lawful, chaotic, good or evil, but in practice such a character could not exist without doing acts which fall into those categories. At most, you could have a character who believes in Balance, trying to achieve an equalibrium between lawful, chaotic, good and evil. It's probably because of that balance issue that a Neutral character can select from any of those spells, although they are not without their disadvantages (the Holy Word line of spells can potentially affect a Neutral caster, for example).


I guess in 3.5 they corrected a lot of that. The alignment sections suggest that yes, for the ordinary character the neutral part of either the law/chaos or good/evil axis is something like "undecided", or fairy indifferent. However, they also include a section where they explain that there are some out there with strong philosophical inclinations (and clerics are among those!) who have a very strong belief of neutrality. This in my eyes constitutes "opposition" and should be reflected in a neutral cleric not being able to cast good, evil, law, chaos spells. If the designers had thought to give the neutral cleric so much more power, they would have written it expressedly in the cleric description or elsewhere. But they have not. So in my eyes it would be a houserule to say that they are able to do everything.
Similarly about the command undead thing: if the text explicitly refers to check the rules for the turn undead procedure, including range, it makes no sense for me to assume that the undead can, once commanded, be controlled even from different planes. Since the designers cannot explicitly cover every possible avenue and eventuality, one sometimes has to use common sense. Now do not get me wrong: a campaign where DMs use this ability for the necromantic BBEGs, that could be extremely cool and offers plenty of roleplaying opportunities. But through the loophole of neutral clerics as possible character alignment giving such an uber ability to a class already perceived by many as overtly powerful through its spells seems to be overdoing it. Interpreting the rules, in my opinion, should only go so far.




Disjunction's range is Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels), and then it's a 40' radius burst. For a 25th level (effective) caster, that's 85' with an effect that extends to 135'. You can also Enlarge or Widen that (using a metamagic rod).


Yep, the metamagic rod would need getting rid of other equipment, but it can be done. Still out of 20 lvl archer range, though.:smallsmile: If anything (if the balor's many horrible melee abilities including vorpal blade and death throes did not already signal it): ranged tactics beat melee tactics most of the time. Melee tactics (including the meatshield approach) should only be a last resort, if all else fails (say, in a dungeon where encounter distance is always "close" range).



Probably a more serious drawback is that it reduces the treasure available if the caster wins the battle. Still, if the caster doesn't care about that and knows the foe is boosted by a lot of magical items, it's a great tactic.


Yes, it is (certainly if Marius wants even to houserule to ban the spell, see above):smallsmile: . See below though, that I guess spellcasters are more vulnerable to it.



There are a lot of very general purpose spells though. Divine Favor, Divine Power, Righteous Might, Greater Magic Weapon, Magic Vestment work against practically any kind of foe, for example, as does a PaO buff. There are also a few with such wide application it's worth having them because when that (fairly commonly encountered) situation comes up, they can practically end the fight (the Holy Word type spells come to mind here). There are a few spells which the character should prepare "just in case", but in the case of a Cleric, those can be spontaneously converted to cure/inflict spells if it proves they aren't really needed. And for spells which might be useful, but only rarely, there's always scrolls.

(...)

The fact that the Cleric can do other things is the entire basis of my "fighter replacement" argument. With buffs, a Cleric can do everything significant that a Fighter can. But even after applying all the necessary buffs, a 9th level+ Cleric is going to have many spell slots left over for other things. At 5th level+, a Druid can match a Fighter (thanks mostly to the Animal Companion and Wild Shape), and also have spell slots left over for other stuff. Sure, the Fighter does very well in combat, and in some situations might even do better than a Cleric or Druid at or above the levels I mentioned, but a Fighter can't do much else outside of combat. And there will be specific encounters where a Cleric or Druid will outshine even a Fighter in combat.

When you only have a certain number of party members and you want the most powerful party, you want each member to do as much as possible. Even if they do it well, Fighters really only do one job (physical combat). On the other hand, Clerics and Druids can do that job (once they reach the right level) and several more. Why would you use a one trick pony (even if that pony does the trick very well) if you can get another pony for the same price which can do that trick equally well and several others besides?


The reason why I point out the "limited ability to plan ahead" issue with the non-sorcerer/bard spellcasting classes is that especially at lower levels, that can be quite devastating:
-Loading up on self-buffs and casting them ahead of BBEG combat (depleting a third of your spells in the process at lower levels)? If BBEG is an intelligent one, already knows a caster is against him and tricked the pcs into believing the combat started, while the throne room is empty/occupied by a decoy only (use programmed illusions at higher levels). The fighter, meanwhile, remains as strong as before for the next, real BBEG combat.
-Morning hour, the party takes breakfast while the cleric prays for his spells he almost fully cast the day before. But oh no! Bandits attack, party has to fight. Fighter is fully available, while the cleric may only be able to cast create water and spontanously CLW afterwards (which is good, but the fighter's contribution here may count more in the party's eyes since the recipient actually needs to be ALIVE to make use of cure spells).

The list could go on and on (as could a list, I admit, of situations where the fighter cannot contribute and the cleric can jump in! But this is how it should be for a group game). I realise that at high levels, the cleric and other full casters have so many spells, long spell duration and countermeasures of their own that such circumstances should get less and less frequent (others like antimagic situations may crop up then, but not enough to equalise that). At low levels, though, this is what is meant with "vulnerability" of full casters. Even the cleric with his armour, decent hps and saves, can in such cases only fulfill a secondary role to fighters in combat and in some cases no longer have his spells for versatility outside of combat. It's no evil DM out to nerf the caster, it is the way adventures work: unpredictably.
Fighters CAN do more than combat.
In particular at low levels, most stuff to solve an adventure comes from the personal ideas of a group (class-independent), physical abilities to survive the typical constant (not just once, to be cleared by a jump spell or such) dungeon challenges: walls, underground lakes, chasms. Plus ways to get there (ride, good skill when mounted combat/shying horses are called for), plus interaction (diplomacy for cleric, but the fighter may go some way with intimidate, in particular since it switches an unfriendly guy completely over to being helpful, for instance a lone goblin guard asked where the way out is- where a command won't help), and roleplaying/buying stuff in town. In these typical areas, the fighter is far from being useless, in particular if the group agrees beforehand to focus each on several aspects (not everyone trying to be able to do everything). Truth to tell, the true heroes of out-of-combat play at low levels are the bard and rogue. The druid may fill the part of outdoors specialist if the ranger is not around (since the latter has more skill points).




The wording's a little unclear on this, and it's probably something worth checking with Customer Service about. For the record, here's the line from the SRD:

All magical effects and magic items within the radius of the spell, except for those that you carry or touch, are disjoined. That is, spells and spell-like effects are separated into their individual components (ending the effect as a dispel magic spell does)

Does this mean that the spell effects are automatically dispelled, or that the effects are treated as if they were hit by a Dispel Magic? In the second case, most of the buffs are cast by a 25th level (effective) caster, so the dispel DC is 36. Dispel Magic only gives a +10 maximum to the check, so the most that can be achieved is +30, meaning nearly all the buffs should remain intact.

Furthermore, Dispel Magic has three applications: Targeted Dispel, Area Dispel and Counterspell. In this case, we can ignore the Counterspell application, but that still leaves us having to decide between Targeted and Area Dispel. Disjunction's an area effect spell, which would be most closely duplicated by the Area Dispel application of Dispel Magic. In that case, even if the caster could overcome the Dispel DC, only one such effect could be removed per casting.

Personally, I think Disjunction's a bit better than a Greater Dispel Magic, so I would house rule it as follows:

1) It acts as a Targeted Dispel against all characters in its area of effect.
2) It affects all spells a Greater Dispel Magic would affect.
3) It adds the Caster Level to the dispel check, no matter how high that caster level may be (in other words, it can give more than a +20 modifier to the dispel check).
4) The other effects of Disjunction (making magical items non-magical etc) work as described.

However, this is something I'm going to check with Wizard's Customer Service about, since I'd like their official opinion.


Thanks a lot. Now I would believe that the spells get done automatically, which would hurt buffed casters more. But of course, if such were the case, casters know that and simply use zilla tactics no longer, focussing instead on the devastating might of their ranged spell (including timestop/holy word combo. Greenknight, did it ever occur to you that your example cleric actually does not NEED to be in devil form/buffed all the time to win vs the balor? It's just crusting on the cake and leaves him vulnerable/with less opportunities for other stuff. Probably this is part of what its_all_ogre talks about: even IF -an d I consider that still a grand if- the cleric/caster is equal in combat plus better at everything else in all circumstances at all levels than the fighter, it is not the best he can be for the party if he chooses that).



We're only discussing single classed Core Rules characters here, but Druids don't lose much by taking a single level in Monk, but they gain a lot. In particular, a stunning attack (which works brilliantly with their high Wisdom) and the monk's unarmored AC bonus (which is ideal for when the Druid Wild Shapes). It may even be worth going with Monk for two levels (gaining Deflect Arrows and Evasion). This restricts the Druid to a Lawful Neutral alignment, but that can be changed once the Monk levels are taken.

Even single classed, the Druid gets healed each time he/she/it Wild Shapes. And the Druid can cast healing spells when necessary (even while Wild Shaped, usually). If the damage is spread between the Druid and the Animal Companion, the Druid can even cast one spell to heal the damage on both (through Share Spells). That's something a Fighter just can't do, unless the healing comes from a magical item (which the Druid could also have, but probably wouldn't because it wouldn't be as necessary).


Healing is the great strength of the divine classes, never argued about that. But it does not make the fighter useless. Preventing damage to the group by being able to take out enemies already at a 100 feet is also a kind of "healing":smallsmile:
Multiclassing, even in core, is widely considered as being the start of great fighter (or rather: fighting character) builds. Plus, there is the excellent prestige class of the duelist which would fit nicely for my example fighter build for the price of only 4 feats: +4 to initiative (making this combination become the fastest class possible), +10 to AC (touch as well), +2d6 puncture damage with the luck blade (if needed), +2 reflex saves, plus 16 more skill points and many, many more great class skills.



1) Druids have an Animal Companion which is constant and easy to replace if killed (from a mechanical perspective). The Animal Companion is a significant combat boost, and combined with a Wild Shaped Druid could potentially do as much or more damage per round than a Fighter at the mid levels.


Well, even from a mechanical perspective, 24 hours of UNINTERRUPTED prayer is quite a tough requirement to get a new animal companion. So actually the animal companion (since it is so much weaker than same level opponents of characters) is a highly vulnerable "class ability", when taken into combat all the time. In many roleplaying situations, it actually makes even the druid more vulnerable since he can be blackmailed by opponents threatening his or her pet (remember the classic 1st edition cartoon in the player's handbook: "Don't move wizard! Or your familiar gets it!" Hilarious!)



2) Clerics and Druids have daily renewable spells and special abilities which can bring them up to a Fighter's level of ability in combat (once they reach the appropriate levels).


You are correct with the level-specific hint. They can, at lower levels, be fighter-like combatants, but for a limited time, not 100% reliable (if the combat turns out to alst longer, not take place as planned, or does not take place at all), using up spells maybe better prepared to have an extra cause fear, command or silence (vs enemy spellcasters) ready.



3) Even after using their buffs, Clerics and Druids have enough spell slots (once they reach the appropriate level) and other class given abilities to make them useful for other things as well.

It's not that Clerics and Druids are necessarily better than Fighters in combat, it's the fact they can match them and do other things that makes Clerics and Druids more useful than Fighters - once they reach the appropriate level.


I guess I have outlined above that the fighters are also able to do something important at lower levels outside of their fighting ability, and you seem to agree (contrary to Marius). In very high levels, depending on the campaign and specialisations of the group, the fighter may even fill a non-fighting niche with a feat/feats (leadership; with skill focus/other 2+2 feats: maxed intimidate skill, maxed craft/profession skill; rider of dragon mounts, be imaginative!)



I play mostly Core Only (for the sake of my sanity and simplicity), so I'm not as aware of what exists outside Core as some others. I do have most of the books though, so I know that there's a lot of things in the splatbooks which can really power up the casters. Someone could probably provide you with a full Caster built using all the rules from the splatbooks (maybe even including some multiclassing options), and you could then compare that to what a Fighter could do. If you really want, I could maybe give that a go myself and try to show at least some of the possible cheese, but I'm certainly no expert and I'm sure someone else could do much better.


I mostly play core only for the same reasons. Outside core, no doubt (maybe excepting the tome of battle), fighters get more and more left behind, since seemingly for marketing purposes, hundreds of spells are more interesting than new truly cool fighting options.

- Giacomo

Cyborg Pirate
2007-03-15, 06:06 AM
Giacomo, any comment on the problem that when one goes after the cleric as the DM, it only worsens the problem by having the campaign spotlight drawn away from the other characters?




I guess I have outlined above that the fighters are also able to do something important at lower levels outside of their fighting ability, and you seem to agree (contrary to Marius). In very high levels, depending on the campaign and specialisations of the group, the fighter may even fill a non-fighting niche with a feat/feats (leadership; with skill focus/other 2+2 feats: maxed intimidate skill, maxed craft/profession skill; rider of dragon mounts, be imaginative!)

Those can all be done by other classes. The fighter keeps playing second fiddle to the other classes in the game.

One of the most effective parties would be Bard, Rogue, Wizard, Cleric, Druid.

Hell, 4 clerics and 1 rogue is already damn effective.

And I believe BWL had a combo for an insanely effective four wizard party.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-15, 06:09 AM
It's not that I don't see them, it's just that I don't think that they really matter that much. Not only they depend heavily on the campaign and on how the DM manages the relationship between clerics and their gods. But they are also an awful way to balance the game, you are punishing a player that didn't do anything wrong to balance his class with another. Any DM could do the same with any other class. But those things are up to the DM and not really in the rules.


Now this strikes me as odd. The rules as you interpret them (i.e. casters have drawbacks that do not count) seem to hurt in your eyes the fun of the fighter player. And you would not wish to use the balancing potential of the rules?
Once again, if the designers saw fit to include sections on "ex-INSERTRANDOMCLASSHERE", but not for, say, rogue and fighter, they did so for a reason. If they included a "spell mastery" feat as a backup for a wizard they did not do that because they believed the wizard would never, ever lose his spellbook. If they included an "atonement" spell, they did not think that such a situation would ever come up...etc. It's not an "awful" way to balance the game, otherwise all the will-save dependent spells would be an "awful" way to make sure the fighter does not mop the floor with enemy spellcasters even at low levels.



They cleric not only buffes him in the whole round, he can also move close to his target (or away) and that's important. While the ranged fighter is useful they can't protect wizards or take as much damage as melee fighters (at low levels a meatshield is useful). That meatshield could be the cleric (or the druid).


Once again (repeating what I stated at the start of the thread), I do not consider melee or even meatshield tactics as a good idea for any class. Now the fighter, due to low to mid-level easy access to good AC (through cheap magic armour) and higher hitpoints may fill that role more than a cleric since the cleric would be impaired in his spellcasting if he did so, while the fighter could continue to use feats/fight unimpaired (does this, btw, tell anything about his higher vulnerability or not?). But still, it's not an optimal tactics vs ranged fighting, even at close quarters (with manyshot at higher levels to also move), getting also a valuable +1 bonus from point blank range.



Since you like elves they can have the war domain to have the longbow and the greatsword (and weapon focus with the greatsword so it counts like 2 feats).


If you take elf, than you lose one feat vs a human (and skill points). So the fighter keeps ahead 3 feats (2, if you devote a domain to that). But yes, in that case the cleric could have both these great weapons (the combo trickery/magic is no longer available then, though).



Defense is also an important part of combat and the cleric defense is stronger than the fighters, they can heal themselves (and others) and they can solve situations that a fighter could never do. Let's say that the cleric is paralized (and he doesn't have the travel domain ;) ) or dominated, or poisoned, or blinded, etc. The fighter can't solve any of those situations while the cleric can solve them easily.


Easily if he has the spells left. But yes, magic effects/curses cannot be dispelled/cured by a fighter. That should be the cleric's main focus. Now, if the cleric goes zilla from the beginning, how many remove curses, fear, paralysis, dispels, poisons does he have left?



You said that you want teamwork, that is teamwork, but the fighter doesn't even have that chance to be extra useful. That is also versatility in combat. And I'm not saying that he's better than the fighter I'm saying that he can be just as useful as the fighter in combat even if he can't deal as much damage as the fighter.


Pls check my answers to greenknight's posts. I guess at low levels, there are plenty of non-combat situations where the fighter can contribute, where the cleric cannot (or not as well). At very high levels it is very difficult, but still doable.

- Giacomo

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-15, 06:19 AM
Giacomo, any comment on the problem that when one goes after the cleric as the DM, it only worsens the problem by having the campaign spotlight drawn away from the other characters?

Hi Cyborg Pirate,

now that's a tricky thing. Hmmm. OK, such attention is not beneficial to that cleric's player, I dare say. Probably similar to fighter's player at lvl 20, if all the pc casters around him do stuff without drawbacks, while he always gets knocked out by will-heavy spells, disjunctions, cannot fly with his fellows up to the mountain but has to climb etc.
Now such a fighter would also be in the "spotlight", as in "awww, bob is taking so long up here; oh no, they killed bob again!; oh no, bob is once again dominated, could you take care of that?" etc.
Translate to the hunted cleric "spotlight":
Oh no, charlie the heretic is once again in jail of the inquisition. How do we get him out? Oh no, c. cannot come into this city with us, because they would immediatly detect the heretic, etc...
In other words: a cleric hunted by all other clerics (including maybe lawful neutral ones the party needs for healing, get info etc.) creates disadvantages for himself (if it's a solo compaign or in-between adventures) or everyone in the group.

The DM should not be out there "to get him", though. It is merely a balancing factor, meaning, that cleric character may not be that useful with his social interaction skills (diplomacy check penalties), have to cast more spells to avoid being detected (drawing spell slots away from zilla and other stuff), get imprisoned more often (and thus losing equipment) etc.

Note: this is just a guideline on how I would handle it. If you do not think a non-deity cleric deserves any drawback, you should handle it differently.


Now, using this short reply to Cyborg Pirate for a quick interim summary:

- there seems to be the balance of discussants going more in favour of low-level usefulness of fighters, (better combat ability, plus ability to do stuff outside of combat clerics cannot do/do worse)
- I come more and more to seeing the cleric's many strengths, so the level threshold where the cleric gets definitely better than the fighter may be lower than I initially thought
- still, I see so many opportunities - even in the rules - to give casters drawbacks (even on individual power/spell scale like the vulnerability of having a familiar and animal companion or a holy word hurting yourself if not a good cleric), that I may even open a wholly new thread on this issue. Mind you, not to have a balance discussion, but simply show ways to oppose spellcasters either as pcs, or as a DM wanting to give challenges to pc spellcasters.

- Giacomo

Cyborg Pirate
2007-03-15, 06:31 AM
Hi Cyborg Pirate,

now that's a tricky thing. Hmmm. OK, such attention is not beneficial to that cleric's player, I dare say. Probably similar to fighter's player at lvl 20, if all the pc casters around him do stuff without drawbacks, while he always gets knocked out by will-heavy spells, disjunctions, cannot fly with his fellows up to the mountain but has to climb etc.
Now such a fighter would also be in the "spotlight", as in "awww, bob is taking so long up here; oh no, they killed bob again!; oh no, bob is once again dominated, could you take care of that?" etc.
Translate to the hunted cleric "spotlight":
Oh no, charlie the heretic is once again in jail of the inquisition. How do we get him out? Oh no, c. cannot come into this city with us, because they would immediatly detect the heretic, etc...
In other words: a cleric hunted by all other clerics (including maybe lawful neutral ones the party needs for healing, get info etc.) creates disadvantages for himself (if it's a solo compaign or in-between adventures) or everyone in the group.

The DM should not be out there "to get him", though. It is merely a balancing factor, meaning, that cleric character may not be that useful with his social interaction skills (diplomacy check penalties), have to cast more spells to avoid being detected (drawing spell slots away from zilla and other stuff), get imprisoned more often (and thus losing equipment) etc.

Note: this is just a guideline on how I would handle it. If you do not think a non-deity cleric deserves any drawback, you should handle it differently.


I think you misunderstand me slightly. I mean more in the sense of the other players looking at what's going on and seeing: "The gods are after the cleric; Other religeons are after the cleric; The town has problems with the cleric; The cleric's god wants him to do this; The cleric's god wants him to do that; It's all about the cleric!!"


Essentially, it's the same thing that happens when a player chooses an outragous race for his character when playing with an otherwise 'normal' party. This player will then hog the spotlight because his character will be at constant conflict in the game.


Simply having to dispell the poor fighter being dominated every fight isn't hogging the spotlight half as much as the two above examples.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-15, 06:37 AM
Ah, just noticed that.




Those can all be done by other classes. The fighter keeps playing second fiddle to the other classes in the game.


Well, not all other classes (especially in a 4-5 member group) can max out ALL skills. There is bound to be a skill area where the fighter can devote feats, maxing to and contribute to the party in that out-of-combat area.



One of the most effective parties would be Bard, Rogue, Wizard, Cleric, Druid.


Hey, how did you realise my favourite classes (which I also think a most powerful in the game, but not tested, just a hunch) are the bard and the rogue?:smallsmile:



Hell, 4 clerics and 1 rogue is already damn effective.


Yep, they are.



And I believe BWL had a combo for an insanely effective four wizard party.


Now, at this point, just two remarks:
- a full caster party is a "one-trick-pony". The fighter is also a one-trick pony (primary ability: combat). But if you have a whole party only of non-spellusern, or only of full casters at very high levels, you are bound to run into trouble. The risk of a non-magic-solvable situation turning up and wiping the party out in the process is simply too high.
- at low levels, I would like to see the four-wizard party survive in typical dungeon/adventure settings. However, I could see a four-cleric party survive. Still, a mixed party likely is best considering all levels 1-20 (not necessarily the rogue/fighter/cleric/wizard stereotype), and that is what designers obviously wanted to encourage.

- Giacomo

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-15, 06:40 AM
I think you misunderstand me slightly. I mean more in the sense of the other players looking at what's going on and seeing: "The gods are after the cleric; Other religeons are after the cleric; The town has problems with the cleric; The cleric's god wants him to do this; The cleric's god wants him to do that; It's all about the cleric!!"
Essentially, it's the same thing that happens when a player chooses an outragous race for his character when playing with an otherwise 'normal' party. This player will then hog the spotlight because his character will be at constant conflict in the game.
Simply having to dispell the poor fighter being dominated every fight isn't hogging the spotlight half as much as the two above examples.

No, I don't think so. You see: the WHOLE world after the non-deity cleric is going to be the case at lvl 20. At lvl 1 and low levels, it is simply a nuisance and drawback. The High Priest of Boccob will not go after the non-deity 1st level acolythe. He will not even get reported that incident by the temple guards, who just imprison him in a jail with all the other offenders and troublemakers. So it's not all about the cleric, but a drawback. If that cleric's player wants to prevent making trouble for the party, he has to devote resources to it which a deity cleric in the party does not have to.

- Giacomo

Cyborg Pirate
2007-03-15, 07:32 AM
No, I don't think so. You see: the WHOLE world after the non-deity cleric is going to be the case at lvl 20. At lvl 1 and low levels, it is simply a nuisance and drawback. The High Priest of Boccob will not go after the non-deity 1st level acolythe. He will not even get reported that incident by the temple guards, who just imprison him in a jail with all the other offenders and troublemakers. So it's not all about the cleric, but a drawback. If that cleric's player wants to prevent making trouble for the party, he has to devote resources to it which a deity cleric in the party does not have to.

- Giacomo

Thing is, if you do play it that way, busting joe cleric out of jail just because some cult or some church Again wanted to imprison him Does shift focus to the cleric and away from bob fighter. To make it a real drawback, it has to be a real drawback.

And that's even without going into what the players will be feeling. Imagine what joe cleric will be feeling if everytime he shows his nose anywhere he gets hunted or capture for no other reason then "you're not one of them".

Then imagine what bob fighter is feeling when the whole party got sidetracked Again because joe cleric got captured by some church Again for no better reason then DM fiat, since your fluff drawbacks are not fully supported by the book.


Basically, you'd be screwing over all players just because the fighter is too weak. Which is also what happens if you try to curb a clerics power in other ways (anything that takes away the powers and effectiveness of clerics and wizards in a group is going to smash that fighter up bad).


It's important to look at this from the players point of views

Cyborg Pirate
2007-03-15, 07:38 AM
Well, not all other classes (especially in a 4-5 member group) can max out ALL skills. There is bound to be a skill area where the fighter can devote feats, maxing to and contribute to the party in that out-of-combat area.

Are you sure? Cause the rogue is basically the party expert. Anything the rogue can't cover, the bard can. Both get a lot more skillpoints then the fighter, and both get more bonusses to their skills. And a mounted paladin wil still outdo a mounted fighter.


Hey, how did you realise my favourite classes (which I also think a most powerful in the game, but not tested, just a hunch) are the bard and the rogue?:smallsmile:

Well, they Are two of the most fun classes to play in my opinion :smallbiggrin:



Now, at this point, just two remarks:
- a full caster party is a "one-trick-pony". The fighter is also a one-trick pony (primary ability: combat). But if you have a whole party only of non-spellusern, or only of full casters at very high levels, you are bound to run into trouble. The risk of a non-magic-solvable situation turning up and wiping the party out in the process is simply too high.
- at low levels, I would like to see the four-wizard party survive in typical dungeon/adventure settings. However, I could see a four-cleric party survive. Still, a mixed party likely is best considering all levels 1-20 (not necessarily the rogue/fighter/cleric/wizard stereotype), and that is what designers obviously wanted to encourage.

- Giacomo

You'll have to check with BWL on this one, since I don't remember it exactly, but basically the idea was for a full caster party that can out-do just about any other party in All areas, not just combat.

I remember a beguiler being involved in that.

Marius
2007-03-15, 09:05 AM
I guess in 3.5 they corrected a lot of that. The alignment sections suggest that yes, for the ordinary character the neutral part of either the law/chaos or good/evil axis is something like "undecided", or fairy indifferent. However, they also include a section where they explain that there are some out there with strong philosophical inclinations (and clerics are among those!) who have a very strong belief of neutrality. This in my eyes constitutes "opposition" and should be reflected in a neutral cleric not being able to cast good, evil, law, chaos spells. If the designers had thought to give the neutral cleric so much more power, they would have written it expressedly in the cleric description or elsewhere. But they have not. So in my eyes it would be a houserule to say that they are able to do everything.

Your eyes are not RAW, by RAW neutral clerics can do all that. They can actually have a cause like "Do whatever you want, whenever you like" and get divine powers! You may not like that but if you change that it's a house rule.



Similarly about the command undead thing: if the text explicitly refers to check the rules for the turn undead procedure, including range, it makes no sense for me to assume that the undead can, once commanded, be controlled even from different planes. Since the designers cannot explicitly cover every possible avenue and eventuality, one sometimes has to use common sense. Now do not get me wrong: a campaign where DMs use this ability for the necromantic BBEGs, that could be extremely cool and offers plenty of roleplaying opportunities. But through the loophole of neutral clerics as possible character alignment giving such an uber ability to a class already perceived by many as overtly powerful through its spells seems to be overdoing it. Interpreting the rules, in my opinion, should only go so far.

It does make sense, but we'll have to wait for Customer support on that.



Yep, the metamagic rod would need getting rid of other equipment, but it can be done. Still out of 20 lvl archer range, though.:smallsmile: If anything (if the balor's many horrible melee abilities including vorpal blade and death throes did not already signal it): ranged tactics beat melee tactics most of the time. Melee tactics (including the meatshield approach) should only be a last resort, if all else fails (say, in a dungeon where encounter distance is always "close" range).

Wizards can use a 3rd level spells named "Phantom Steed" that can fly and move at 240 feet at 14 level.
I agree that ranged tactics beat melee but magic beats both.



Yes, it is (certainly if Marius wants even to houserule to ban the spell, see above):smallsmile: . See below though, that I guess spellcasters are more vulnerable to it.

I didn't exactly banned the spell because I think it hurts spellcasters, fighters are way more vunerable to it since they have crappy will saves and rely 100% on equipment.
I also banned Polymorph, Polymorph any object, Shapechange and Gate and it's not like they hurt spellcasters...
I guess that you know how you can use gate to get free wishes and everything you want right? So even if you cast disjunction 3 times in a row on the cleric he can still use gate and get everything back.



-Loading up on self-buffs and casting them ahead of BBEG combat (depleting a third of your spells in the process at lower levels)? If BBEG is an intelligent one, already knows a caster is against him and tricked the pcs into believing the combat started, while the throne room is empty/occupied by a decoy only (use programmed illusions at higher levels). The fighter, meanwhile, remains as strong as before for the next, real BBEG combat.

Well if the BBEG is smart he will probably cast dominate on the fighter too or some kind of illusion, or fear, or confusion. The cleric meanwhile will probably resist that.
What I want to say with this is that you can use tactics to beat any class, but that doesn't make them weaker. The fact that you actually need casters to beat casters it's a pretty clear prove that they are "better".
(and BTW the fighter will probably drink a few potions to buff himself in your example but unlike cleric spells those cost money.)



-Morning hour, the party takes breakfast while the cleric prays for his spells he almost fully cast the day before. But oh no! Bandits attack, party has to fight. Fighter is fully available, while the cleric may only be able to cast create water and spontanously CLW afterwards (which is good, but the fighter's contribution here may count more in the party's eyes since the recipient actually needs to be ALIVE to make use of cure spells).

According to the DMG you should throw 4 encounters at the party and then allow them to recover. If you change that you are admitting that spellcasters are better than non-casters.
Plus he can buy a scroll of rope trick (last 3 hours) and pray there. Or the party wizard could cast it, or he could cast MM.



The list could go on and on (as could a list, I admit, of situations where the fighter cannot contribute and the cleric can jump in! But this is how it should be for a group game). I realise that at high levels, the cleric and other full casters have so many spells, long spell duration and countermeasures of their own that such circumstances should get less and less frequent (others like antimagic situations may crop up then, but not enough to equalise that). At low levels, though, this is what is meant with "vulnerability" of full casters. Even the cleric with his armour, decent hps and saves, can in such cases only fulfill a secondary role to fighters in combat and in some cases no longer have his spells for versatility outside of combat. It's no evil DM out to nerf the caster, it is the way adventures work: unpredictably.

Read above, it's actually nerfing spellcasters witch means that they are better and that you have to nerf them. I can come up with a million situations when the fighter won't be able to contribute at all but that's the way adventures work right?



Fighters CAN do more than combat.
In particular at low levels, most stuff to solve an adventure comes from the personal ideas of a group (class-independent), physical abilities to survive the typical constant (not just once, to be cleared by a jump spell or such) dungeon challenges: walls, underground lakes, chasms. Plus ways to get there (ride, good skill when mounted combat/shying horses are called for), plus interaction (diplomacy for cleric, but the fighter may go some way with intimidate, in particular since it switches an unfriendly guy completely over to being helpful, for instance a lone goblin guard asked where the way out is- where a command won't help), and roleplaying/buying stuff in town. In these typical areas, the fighter is far from being useless, in particular if the group agrees beforehand to focus each on several aspects (not everyone trying to be able to do everything). Truth to tell, the true heroes of out-of-combat play at low levels are the bard and rogue. The druid may fill the part of outdoors specialist if the ranger is not around (since the latter has more skill points).

You seem to play only in dungeons and that's only half the game (check the poll somewhere on the boards).



Well, even from a mechanical perspective, 24 hours of UNINTERRUPTED prayer is quite a tough requirement to get a new animal companion. So actually the animal companion (since it is so much weaker than same level opponents of characters) is a highly vulnerable "class ability", when taken into combat all the time. In many roleplaying situations, it actually makes even the druid more vulnerable since he can be blackmailed by opponents threatening his or her pet (remember the classic 1st edition cartoon in the player's handbook: "Don't move wizard! Or your familiar gets it!" Hilarious!)

How are 24 hours of staying in the same place so tough? You never have down time? When do the casters make new items for the party? Scribe scrolls? Have fun doing lone stuff?


Now this strikes me as odd. The rules as you interpret them (i.e. casters have drawbacks that do not count) seem to hurt in your eyes the fun of the fighter player. And you would not wish to use the balancing potential of the rules?
Once again, if the designers saw fit to include sections on "ex-INSERTRANDOMCLASSHERE", but not for, say, rogue and fighter, they did so for a reason. If they included a "spell mastery" feat as a backup for a wizard they did not do that because they believed the wizard would never, ever lose his spellbook. If they included an "atonement" spell, they did not think that such a situation would ever come up...etc. It's not an "awful" way to balance the game, otherwise all the will-save dependent spells would be an "awful" way to make sure the fighter does not mop the floor with enemy spellcasters even at low levels.

We'll have to agree to disagree, I won't do it in my games and I don't think its a good way to balance casters or any other class. I'm pretty sure that players won't like that ethier.



Once again (repeating what I stated at the start of the thread), I do not consider melee or even meatshield tactics as a good idea for any class. Now the fighter, due to low to mid-level easy access to good AC (through cheap magic armour) and higher hitpoints may fill that role more than a cleric since the cleric would be impaired in his spellcasting if he did so, while the fighter could continue to use feats/fight unimpaired (does this, btw, tell anything about his higher vulnerability or not?). But still, it's not an optimal tactics vs ranged fighting, even at close quarters (with manyshot at higher levels to also move), getting also a valuable +1 bonus from point blank range.

What if you don't care about tactics? What if you want to play a melee fighter? You'll suck after the mid levels to be finally almost useless.
The cleric has the same Armor and almost the same hit points (even more AC and HP if you are an archer fighter and he is a melee cleric) and his spellcasting is not a hindrance it's an advantage.



If you take elf, than you lose one feat vs a human (and skill points). So the fighter keeps ahead 3 feats (2, if you devote a domain to that). But yes, in that case the cleric could have both these great weapons (the combo trickery/magic is no longer available then, though).

Sure, but you have skill bonuses, auto detect secrect door and that awesome +2 vs enchantment.



Easily if he has the spells left. But yes, magic effects/curses cannot be dispelled/cured by a fighter. That should be the cleric's main focus. Now, if the cleric goes zilla from the beginning, how many remove curses, fear, paralysis, dispels, poisons does he have left?

Probably enough, he could have a few scrolls too just in case. But since you like to use the best tactic, the best tactic is to use codzilla. Killing the enemies more quickly is more effective than hogging spells just in case or healing the party.

greenknight
2007-03-15, 10:06 AM
However, they also include a section where they explain that there are some out there with strong philosophical inclinations (and clerics are among those!) who have a very strong belief of neutrality. This in my eyes constitutes "opposition" and should be reflected in a neutral cleric not being able to cast good, evil, law, chaos spells.

Your mention of Duelist later in this post had me checking PrC's for Clerics, and I noticed the Hierophant has a detailed list of opposed alignments. Here it is below:



Hierophant Alignment Opposed Alignment
Lawful good Chaotic evil
Neutral good Neutral evil
Chaotic good Lawful evil
Lawful neutral Chaotic neutral
Neutral Lawful good, chaotic good, lawful evil, chaotic evil*
Chaotic neutral Lawful neutral
Lawful evil Chaotic good
Neutral evil Neutral good
Chaotic evil Lawful good


Notice that when you've got a Neutral alignment with something else (Good, Evil, Lawful, Chaotic), to get the opposed alignment you have the same Neutral alignment in the same place, but it turns out Good opposes Evil and Law opposes Chaos. Does Neutral oppose itself, or does this simply mean Neutral doesn't really oppose anything?

Looking at the True Neutral alignment, we get the answer. Neutral does not oppose itself, and instead the character is given the choice to oppose one of the extreme alignments (LG, CG, LE or CE). Since this is a choice and two Neutral Hierophants could choose two very different alignments (eg LG and CE), it would be reasonable to conclude that Neutral doesn't really oppose anything under the Core Rules.


if the text explicitly refers to check the rules for the turn undead procedure, including range, it makes no sense for me to assume that the undead can, once commanded, be controlled even from different planes.

Consider the case of a Good aligned Cleric Turning Undead and getting a Turn (rather than Destroy) result. This means the turned Undead flee from the character for 10 rounds. Do they stop once they get 60' from the Cleric, or do they keep fleeing? If they stop that means the Turn effect only works to a range of 60', but if they keep running, it means once the Turn is accomplished, the range of the effect is unlimited. I take the second view.


But through the loophole of neutral clerics as possible character alignment giving such an uber ability to a class already perceived by many as overtly powerful through its spells seems to be overdoing it.

It's cheese, no doubt about it. Maybe that's why some people wine about Clerics? :smallwink:


(say, in a dungeon where encounter distance is always "close" range).

The fact that many monsters are either in melee range or can get to melee very quickly is why parties do need someone to fill the meatshield/melee role. In the Balor example we've been discussing, the characters have achieved surprise and were (mostly) able to set their own range for the start of the encounter. That's not typical IME, although with a good scout it can happen more often than not. Still, there will always be some encounters where having a melee guy will be very helpful.


The reason why I point out the "limited ability to plan ahead" issue with the non-sorcerer/bard spellcasting classes is that especially at lower levels, that can be quite devastating:
-Loading up on self-buffs and casting them ahead of BBEG combat (depleting a third of your spells in the process at lower levels)? If BBEG is an intelligent one, already knows a caster is against him and tricked the pcs into believing the combat started, while the throne room is empty/occupied by a decoy only (use programmed illusions at higher levels). The fighter, meanwhile, remains as strong as before for the next, real BBEG combat.
-Morning hour, the party takes breakfast while the cleric prays for his spells he almost fully cast the day before. But oh no! Bandits attack, party has to fight. Fighter is fully available, while the cleric may only be able to cast create water and spontanously CLW afterwards (which is good, but the fighter's contribution here may count more in the party's eyes since the recipient actually needs to be ALIVE to make use of cure spells).

You know my view on this - the full casters can only replace a Fighter or Barbarian after a certain level. For Druids, that's 5+. At this level, Druids can have a Cheetah, Leopard or Wolverine as an Animal Companion, can Wild Shape once per day (for up to 5 hours, although that's not a good idea until the Druid has the Natural Spell feat), and cast up to 3rd level spells (assuming the character's Wisdom is high enough, and it should be). 6th level is much better, since then the Druid would probably have Natural Spell and can Wild Shape twice per day (up to 12 hours total duration) as well as cast 1 more 3rd level spell. Buffing up the Druid generally just means being in Wild Shape and making good use of the Animal Companion, no spells are really required except to repair injuries afterwards.

The Cleric really should wait until level 9+ if the goal is Fighter replacement. Until then, the Cleric should probably just concentrate on other things. But at 9th level and beyond, it wouldn't take 1/3 of the available spell slots to buff up and match the Fighter.


Fighters CAN do more than combat.
In particular at low levels, most stuff to solve an adventure comes from the personal ideas of a group (class-independent), physical abilities to survive the typical constant (not just once, to be cleared by a jump spell or such) dungeon challenges: walls, underground lakes, chasms. Plus ways to get there (ride, good skill when mounted combat/shying horses are called for), plus interaction (diplomacy for cleric, but the fighter may go some way with intimidate, in particular since it switches an unfriendly guy completely over to being helpful, for instance a lone goblin guard asked where the way out is- where a command won't help), and roleplaying/buying stuff in town.

As you said, ideas are class independent, so you don't really need a Fighter for that. If the DM allows an ability check for that, most often it's based on Intelligence (Wizard) or Wisdom (Cleric/Druid), neither of which are typically all that good for a Fighter. For dungeon challenges, the Druid is the one which is best suited to the challenges, once they are able to Wild Shape. Not much can be done about walls until much later (when they can become an Earth Elemental and glide through some of them), but lakes are no challenge since they can become an aquatic creature, and chasms are a joke since they can become a flying creature (no need for climbing or swimming skills, although swim is a class skill for a Druid). Clerics don't fare quite so well with the dungeon challenges, but some of their spells can help (a sometimes overlooked dungeon crawling spell is Create Food and Water, if the party is going to be in the dungeon for several days).

Riding does help, but there are many places a horse (and most other mounts) just won't or can't go. And if some members of the party are walking anyway (which is often the case), having a rider isn't such a big advantage unless that rider has some mounted combat feats (which a Fighter admittedly could have). For interaction, Diplomacy (as written) is clearly superior to Intimidate because it has fixed DCs and can be useful even against high hit dice and/or high Wisdom foes. Diplomacy is a class skill for both Clerics and Druids, but not for Fighters or Barbarians.


In these typical areas, the fighter is far from being useless, in particular if the group agrees beforehand to focus each on several aspects (not everyone trying to be able to do everything).

Let's consider a 6th level party. There are 3 members (I'll say a Rogue/Ranger, a Wizard and a Cleric, but you can change that dynamic if you want), and they want to add a 4th member. They can choose between a Druid and a Fighter. The Fighter's primary value add to the party is combat, which the Fighter is very good at. But the Druid is just as good at combat as the Fighter (thanks to Wild Shape and the Animal Companion), can cast spells, and can help deal with a wider variety of problems typically encountered during an adventure (thanks to Summon Nature's Ally, Wild Shape and some great class skills like Diplomacy, Spot and Survival, as well as the skill points to max them out).

Assuming that the party can get along with either character as a team member, which should they choose if they want to maximize their chances of survival on an adventure?

You are right about group synergy. It's far better to have just one character for a particular role (eg Diplomacy) than to try to have several members of the party spend their skill points on it. But in some cases, duplication is good. For example, in a situation where having a physical combatant is good, then the more physical combatants you have the better it is.

My suggested party (Rogue/Ranger, Druid or Monk/Druid, Cleric, Wizard) has 3 characters who can do well at physical combat once they hit the right level, 3 full spellcasters (and the Rogue/Ranger should be able to help out with UMD), up to 4 scouts (the Rogue/Ranger being best, then the Druid, then the Cleric and Wizard through spells), and 2 healers (the Cleric and Druid). If you change the Druid to Fighter, you still have 3 physical combat experts, but you're down to 2 full casters, 3 scouts (probably losing your best spotter and tracker), and 1 healer. That Fighter had better be really good to make up the difference.


The true heroes of out-of-combat play at low levels are the bard and rogue.

Druid has Spot as a class skill, so they are very good for spotting ambushes in any environment. And they often have Track, which usually means their Survival skill is maxed out too allowing them to be a secondary scout. One of the more commonly used out-of-combat skills is Diplomacy, which is a class skill for both the Cleric and Druid.


Now I would believe that the spells get done automatically, which would hurt buffed casters more.

I should get the official answer within a day or two, so I won't comment further until I do.


Greenknight, did it ever occur to you that your example cleric actually does not NEED to be in devil form/buffed all the time to win vs the balor? It's just crusting on the cake and leaves him vulnerable/with less opportunities for other stuff.

The Devil buff isn't critical vs the Balor. But let's look at the cost/benefit:

Costs:

* Can be dispelled. Not a major issue, since all that means is the Cleric's back to normal, which would be the case if PaO wasn't used anyway. The spell has a Permanent duration when used this way, so it could be cast at just about any time - even weeks or months in advance.
* The character has aquired the Lawful, Evil and Extraplaner traits. Nondetection means spells which detect alignment aren't going to work, so it's unlikely foes are going to target that. It might happen, but since this character would be mostly going against Evil foes (to balance the Evil of channelling negative energy), I doubt the Evil subtype would be a problem in most situations. Note that since this character has a True Neutral alignment, he or she couldn't avoid the effects of Holy Word/Dictum/Etc anyway.
* The character might be recognized as a Devil. In this case, the character could just dispel the polymorph, or could pay for some trusted person to cast True Seeing.

Benefits:

* Significant long term buffs to Strength, Dexterity and Constitution. Strength equals a much better chance to hit in melee, and more damage in both melee and ranged combat. Dexterity is good for AC, ranged attacks, Initiative (as you said, going second can mean you die), Reflex saves and some skills (like Hide). Constitution means many more HP (my sample Cleric gains 140 hp this way), a much better Fort save, and much better Concentration checks.
* Significant long term buffs to AC. In addition to the Dexterity boost, the Barbed Devil has a +13 Natural Armor bonus. Higher AC = better chance of survival.
* Gains a natural attack (2d8 + 6 damage as a base), improved grab and an impale attack. The character becomes always armed, and have you noticed how some characters don't even have a Light weapon to attack with if they're grappled? Even if they do, this character should be able to do much more damage in that situation most of the time.
* Gains an intrinsic Lawful and Evil trait for overcoming DR. No other spell is needed.

That said, when I chose a Barbed Devil to polymorph to, I didn't really study the MM extensively, so there could be better choices. In fact, depending on what is needed, there are better choices, like a creature with the natural ability to fly, or creatures with higher Intelligence. That's ok though, because another casting of Polymorph any Object (maybe even from a scroll) will make that new form available.


even IF -an d I consider that still a grand if- the cleric/caster is equal in combat plus better at everything else in all circumstances at all levels than the fighter, it is not the best he can be for the party if he chooses that).

I'd disagree with anyone who says a Cleric can match a Fighter in combat at any level, especially after a couple of combat encounters during the day (provided they weren't just one right after the other, which would allow the Cleric to continue benefiting from short term buffs).

But let's say the Cleric can work more to the party's benefit by not preparing those combat buffing spells. Since Cleric spells are prepared on a daily basis, the Cleric can completely change his or her focus within a day just by changing the list of prepared spells. On the other hand, a Fighter can't change that much. The entire class' abilities are focused on physical combat, and while it is possible for a Fighter to do other things (mainly through cross-class skills and magical items), they can't do them as well as other classes can.



Healing is the great strength of the divine classes, never argued about that. But it does not make the fighter useless. Preventing damage to the group by being able to take out enemies already at a 100 feet is also a kind of "healing":smallsmile:

Won't argue that. But Clerics even have a few spells to do that. Calm Emotions is a good one - that can neutralize several foes for some time, and they can be up up to 350' away for a 25th level equivalent caster. Once the party gets into position, it's effectively a free round of attacks. Enthrall is fairly similar, although against some foes you can attack without a problem. Hold Person's good too, although the range of targets it can affect is limited. Animate Objects is a fine spell which scales well, and can prevent a lot of damage to the party. And if you really want to do damage, Fire Storm and Flame Strike work well for a high level caster.


Multiclassing, even in core, is widely considered as being the start of great fighter (or rather: fighting character) builds. Plus, there is the excellent prestige class of the duelist which would fit nicely for my example fighter build for the price of only 4 feats: +4 to initiative (making this combination become the fastest class possible), +10 to AC (touch as well), +2d6 puncture damage with the luck blade (if needed), +2 reflex saves, plus 16 more skill points and many, many more great class skills.

It would be ok, but there would also be problems. The class skills don't mesh too well with Fighters, Canny Defence is lost while Flat Footed, Precise Strike won't work with a Bow, and Acrobatic Charge, Elaborate Parry and Deflect Arrows are nearly useless for a Bow user.

Clerics probably don't need to multiclass, but for particular Clerics, Thaumaturgist seems interesting. Personally, I wouldn't use it, but it does have possibilities.


Well, even from a mechanical perspective, 24 hours of UNINTERRUPTED prayer is quite a tough requirement to get a new animal companion.

Not really. Consider this:

A typical party of 4 characters is expected to be able to survive 4 challenging encounters per day. The XP table is geared so that this party will gain a level once every 13 challenging encounters (roughly speaking). If the party survived 4 challenging encounters per day, after a week they'd have gained roughly 2 levels. Were that to continue, the party would go from level 1 to level 20 in less than 10 weeks.

Do characters normally go from 1st level to 20th level in that time? No - usually it takes several years. This means that most of the time, a character will go an entire day (and even entire weeks or months) without an encounter. In the middle of a particular adventure, a Druid might not have the time (or the safety) to call up a new animal companion. But between adventures (and sometimes even during them), it should be possible to do it.


remember the classic 1st edition cartoon in the player's handbook: "Don't move wizard! Or your familiar gets it!" Hilarious!

Yes, but remember, the Wizard/Familiar bond is different to that of a Druid/Animal Companion.


I guess I have outlined above that the fighters are also able to do something important at lower levels outside of their fighting ability, and you seem to agree (contrary to Marius).

At lower levels (1 - 4) Fighters (and Barbarians, to some extent) are the best Tanks. No argument. Outside of combat I'm not sure how much they can really contribute, especially considering the capabilities of the other classes, but that doesn't really matter much because they are the best at what they are supposed to do. But from level 5+, their ability is matched by a Druid who can do other things as well, and from 9+, the Cleric can do something similar. So if most of your games are in the 1st - 4th level range, then the Fighter/Barbarian can be a really good choice. If the game starts at 1st level and continues up to about 8th, the benefit in the low levels and the (still good) combat ability of the Fighter and Barbarian makes them worth having (although if the character needs to be replaced after 4th level, going with Druid is a better choice). But if you know it's going to be a long campaign where the characters are going to 9th level and beyond, it's probably worth enduring a little weakness at the lower levels (1 - 4) to get a Druid and Cleric combo in the party.


In very high levels, depending on the campaign and specialisations of the group, the fighter may even fill a non-fighting niche with a feat/feats (leadership; with skill focus/other 2+2 feats: maxed intimidate skill, maxed craft/profession skill; rider of dragon mounts, be imaginative!)

In a high level game, Leadership helps, but Clerics and Druids normally benefit more from Charisma than a Fighter (Turn Undead, Animal Empathy, Diplomacy checks), so Clerics especially tend to do better with it. Skill focus is nice, but if you're using it on a cross class skill, it doesn't help when compared to someone who has a class skill, particularly at higher levels. Intimidate tends not to be much use at higher levels (vs higher hit dice/Wisdom creatures), and in any event the set DCs of Diplomacy make that a much better skill for high level characters. Craft/Profession? Yes, sometimes that's useful, but most of the time it's background, and a Fighter doesn't get a lot of skill points per level anyway. Dragon Mounts? It's a bit of a stretch, since you haven't explained how the Fighter got that Dragon. But a Druid (along with some Clerics, as well as Wizards and Sorcerers), could be a Dragon, for 10 minutes/level, thanks to Shapechange. The Polymorph/Shapechange spells give the full casters the ability to adapt to a wide variety of situations. Fighters can benefit from some of these spells (eg Polymorph any Object), but only through a magical item or if a full caster decides to cast that spell on the character.


Well, not all other classes (especially in a 4-5 member group) can max out ALL skills. There is bound to be a skill area where the fighter can devote feats, maxing to and contribute to the party in that out-of-combat area.

Look at the Fighter's Class Skill list:

Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Ride (Dex), and Swim (Str).

Past a certain level, the full casters don't even need Climb, because they all have some spell which grants them flight in some way. Craft is useful sometimes, but unless you want a career outside of adventuring, it's not all that useful. Handle Animal is best done by a Druid (they can train their Animal Companion with it). Intimidate is quickly overshadowed by Diplomacy. Jump is again negated by the casters who can fly. Ride is ok, but the casters have Teleport/Word of Recall/Overland Flight/Wind Walk for travel at higher levels, and they're usually faster and safer. It's good for mounted combat, but that's not possible in many locations where the party might need to fight, and a regular mount probably won't survive many high level encounters anyway. Swim can be useful, but again the casters can polymorph/Wild Shape into something which can easily survive underwater, or just cast spells which allow them to survive underwater without drowning.

In other words, the class skills of a Fighter just aren't that useful in higher level play. And with 2+Int skill points per level, Fighters aren't getting all that much from their skills anyway. Their Feats can be good, but mostly they're better used enhancing the character's combat ability than trying to improve skills.

A Magic Dead zone might change things a bit, but then the skill characters (notably the Rogue) often come to the fore.


Now the fighter, due to low to mid-level easy access to good AC (through cheap magic armour) and higher hitpoints may fill that role more than a cleric since the cleric would be impaired in his spellcasting if he did so

Assuming equal WBL (which should be the case, since if anything the Cleric needs to spend less than the Fighter), a Cleric can buy nearly all the same equipment (aside from a Tower shield, and most martial weapons, though a slightly less effective shield and weapon could work, or the Cleric could get the appropriate Feat if necessary). There's no chance of spell failure for a Divine spellcaster from armor or shields, so it won't hurt that.

Of course, the Cleric's power might be boosted even further by spending that gold on other things, but if the Cleric's going to practically equal the Fighter's power by having the same items and be even more powerful with different items, that just makes the Fighter class seem weaker by comparison.


- a full caster party is a "one-trick-pony". The fighter is also a one-trick pony (primary ability: combat). But if you have a whole party only of non-spellusern, or only of full casters at very high levels, you are bound to run into trouble. The risk of a non-magic-solvable situation turning up and wiping the party out in the process is simply too high.
- at low levels, I would like to see the four-wizard party survive in typical dungeon/adventure settings. However, I could see a four-cleric party survive. Still, a mixed party likely is best considering all levels 1-20 (not necessarily the rogue/fighter/cleric/wizard stereotype), and that is what designers obviously wanted to encourage.

A full caster party is a multi-trick party, depending on what spells they've prepared and what classes the full casters are. Druid, Cleric, 2 x Wizard can work, although personally I'd replace one of those Wizards with a scout (Rogue/Ranger) - especially at the low levels. Druids and Clerics can fight reasonably well even in Magic Dead areas, although Fighters, Barbarians and even Rogues are clearly superior classes in that situation.

I agree with you about a mixed party. I don't think 4 members of any one class are going to be as effective as a party where several classes are included. Multiclassing can solve some of that, allowing a party built on a majority class theme. For example BWL suggests an Arcane Trickster to replace my Rogue/Ranger, which should work reasonably well and allow a Wizard type party to have an effective scout.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-15, 06:14 PM
Hi again,

cyborg pirate has joined the recently-turned-to-just-three-discussion (Marius, greenknight and myself). First some remarks to Cyborg Pirate:

-You are asking for real drawbacks, not "fluff" drawbacks for a non-deity cleric? OK, just a short & possible list that would not draw spotlight, but balance it out vs the deity clerics: Random chance of penalty (a minor curse, or money fine) in moderate cities for being found guilty of worshipping no deity and still cast divine; outcast marks on forehead reducing CHR (and yielding higher mali on his diplomacy checks- making the deity cleric the party face if there is no bard/rogue/paladin around); at higher levels a possible major curse here and there. Now these things should be all rather rare and not permanent ! It all has to be adjusted to the risk of deity conflict for the regular deity cleric player whose potential loss of spellpowers likewise is only temporary, has the atonement spell and quests to get back etc.
- now in a later sentence you seemed to backpedal on the drawback issue, saying the cleric player should not suffer for the fighter being "too weak". Now either you also believe a non-deity cleric has advantages over everyone else that need balancing through the (in my view consistent) mechanism I proposed. Or you do not think so. The fighter is not always weak, and since you also mentioned the paladin...the paladin has slightly more powers than the fighter, but also has that drawback of alignment/code restriction which continuously threatens his class abilities (it's actually similar to the deity cleric's but most posters here seem to deny that).

Now on to Marius again...


Your eyes are not RAW, by RAW neutral clerics can do all that. They can actually have a cause like "Do whatever you want, whenever you like" and get divine powers! You may not like that but if you change that it's a house rule.


OK, maybe I'm utterly wrong here. Pls quote the passage in the SRD/other core where you would say it clearly states that neutral clerics can cast all evil, good, law and chaos spells. If it's even unclear, both of our views may be deemed houserule until a custserv/FAQ clarifies it.



Wizards can use a 3rd level spells named "Phantom Steed" that can fly and move at 240 feet at 14 level.
I agree that ranged tactics beat melee but magic beats both.


Phantom steed has meagre hit points, quickly dispatched by enemy arrows, magic missiles etc. (I know since my bard once got his nice phantom steed shot from under his...making him take quite some damage from the fall as he failed a tumbling check). Magic, like non-magic combat has two dimensions: ranged and melee. Magic trumps not all, not always. But we seem to continuously agree to disagree on that.



I didn't exactly banned the spell because I think it hurts spellcasters, fighters are way more vunerable to it since they have crappy will saves and rely 100% on equipment.


That is exaggerated, I'd say. The will saves are weaker, but not crappy. With proper buffs/items, they are high enough to reduce the disjunction risk almost to the level of casters. They would lose around a third of their equipment this way, but they still have their feats. In the short term, the zilla caster loses more effectiveness, I'd say, but in the longer term the fighter would hurt more from the lost equipment. However, the equipment guidelines should over the course of the adventuring career slowly balance out again (similar to lost/captured/stolen equipment), if it is not equipment used up for a particular purpose (wands, scrolls, potions).



I also banned Polymorph, Polymorph any object, Shapechange and Gate and it's not like they hurt spellcasters...
I guess that you know how you can use gate to get free wishes and everything you want right? So even if you cast disjunction 3 times in a row on the cleric he can still use gate and get everything back.


Well, you outright banned all those atmospheric spells and say that doing simply what is in the rules on balancing out casters is nerfing them? Hmmm...that is probably a matter of taste. Still, I'd say that your method to balance is complete houserule while even you would admit that my method is at least echoing something written somewhere in the core rules:smallsmile:
Now the gate thing...yes I vaguely remember having read that somewhere.
Now, gate per se is nicely balanced. You cast, and for the really though stuff like summoning double your hit dice of monsters (and thus surpassing easily the same level spell monster summoning IX), you pay X.P. costs. Nicely balanced, no need to nerf here.
However: there is the infinite loophole by gating in an outsider who then gates in outsiders to get wishes for them and so on. Now what do you normally as a DM if you discover such an infinite loop? You should disallow THAT use of the spell (like the guys who use fabricate spell to create infinite wealth). The game is not 100% foolproof, so in case someone discovers loopholes (and the maxing boards are full of them), one normally should ban that use of the spell, but not the whole spell altogether.



Well if the BBEG is smart he will probably cast dominate on the fighter too or some kind of illusion, or fear, or confusion. The cleric meanwhile will probably resist that.


Er...yes. In the real fight. I was talking about the decoy.



What I want to say with this is that you can use tactics to beat any class, but that doesn't make them weaker.


Exactly my point! Holds for the fighter as well.



The fact that you actually need casters to beat casters it's a pretty clear prove that they are "better".


No, in my opinion not (see also above). Feats are vulnerable to neither feats nor spells. Spells/Magic is not vulnerable to feats, but to other spells (and many combat situations besides like being attacked while relearning). So what is more vulnerable?



(and BTW the fighter will probably drink a few potions to buff himself in your example but unlike cleric spells those cost money.)


That IS a good point. However, at low levels in particular, the cleric will likely buff the fighter alongside himself (automatic with something like bless spells, or he may even have a bull's strength to spare). So no real need to have your own potions. In my fighter example the potions were there primarily to illustrate if a fighter could even take on a balor without outside help.



According to the DMG you should throw 4 encounters at the party and then allow them to recover. If you change that you are admitting that spellcasters are better than non-casters.


These 4 encounters should happen ON AVERAGE and the number is intended as a guideline. Otherwise, you would have so linear adventures, they would be boring (ah, we are 7th level now. This means we only get 4 CR7 encounters per day/adventure. Nothing less, nothing more). Would not be practicable or suspense-creating in my eyes. Now if occasionally there is a sequence of events with less CR monsters, then the caster shines. If the challenges are more exhausting, the no-tiring-feats-fighter jumps in.



Plus he can buy a scroll of rope trick (last 3 hours) and pray there. Or the party wizard could cast it, or he could cast MM.


Mage's Magnificent Mansion (if that is what you mean by MM) is 7th level, so high-level play, which I already admitted is giving increased abilities to casters. Rope trick is a great idea. But what if the party is still attacked? What does the cleric do? Leave them to their fate "to learn"?



Read above, it's actually nerfing spellcasters witch means that they are better and that you have to nerf them. I can come up with a million situations when the fighter won't be able to contribute at all but that's the way adventures work right?


No, they are not better. They already got the drawbacks in the rules. No need to nerf them. What you call nerf, I call applying the rules for balance. If I would never have the fighter run into opponents making use of his weak will save, or lack of skills (in particular at low levels, where most would agree that the fighter can fight best) I would not be running a balanced game. Ah, and yes, that is the way adventures work in my opinion.



You seem to play only in dungeons and that's only half the game (check the poll somewhere on the boards).


Now that is a quite far-reaching assumption. I explicitly listed an outdoor skill like riding and a social/interactive skill like intimidation. Plus, all the physical skills can be greatly useful in outdoor situations, and even city settings (climb...).
If you meant by "you seem to play ONLY in dungeons" that I play diablo-like style, I guess that would be absolutely out of place, since I am the one trying to emphasise the "fluff" drawbacks as well.:smallsmile:



How are 24 hours of staying in the same place so tough? You never have down time? When do the casters make new items for the party? Scribe scrolls? Have fun doing lone stuff?


24 hours of staying in the same place are quite tough. They get tougher, if you have to spend them COMPLETELY in prayer which must not be interrupted. Now, in-between adventures, especially within a druid community, it should be no problem. Some campaigns, though (for instance the dragonlance campaign) do not allow such off time often. And even if they did, in the adventure itself likely the druid remains without an animal companion and thus weakened.



We'll have to agree to disagree, I won't do it in my games and I don't think its a good way to balance casters or any other class. I'm pretty sure that players won't like that ethier.


I wonder what they like more: if they stick to certain restrictions and can make use of the full scale of their class abilities. Or if they can do as they please, and all of a sudden (or announced previously, does not matter) get denied the best spells/abilities of their class. But I guess that is really up to taste.



What if you don't care about tactics? What if you want to play a melee fighter? You'll suck after the mid levels to be finally almost useless.


What if you would like to play a wizard sage? You would suck greatly at combat and be pwnd in combat by the morhping guys. What if you would wish to play an evoker? The other wizards may outshine you...What if you would wish to play an elemental-worshipping cleric? The timestop/holyword cleric would outshine you, and the non-deity cleric all the rest (if not balanced the way I suggested).
What I wish to say is: yes, if you choose to play a character with non-optimal combat efficiency (for other reasons, or you want to try something else), then, yes, you will be less efficient in combat. That is no reason to nerf anyone.
The only reason to talk (not yet nerf!) to the players in that respect would be if the player of the sage thought that he could contribute much more than it turned out (maybe it's a combat-heavy game), and the settings should be adjusted somewhat so that everyone shines.



The cleric has the same Armor and almost the same hit points (even more AC and HP if you are an archer fighter and he is a melee cleric) and his spellcasting is not a hindrance it's an advantage.


If the cleric is a melee cleric he has chosen a broadly inferior tactics to the ranged fighter and the ranged cleric.



Sure, but you have skill bonuses, auto detect secrect door and that awesome +2 vs enchantment.


Yes, you do. Choosing a race is a different thing than choosing a class, though.



Probably enough, he could have a few scrolls too just in case. But since you like to use the best tactic, the best tactic is to use codzilla. Killing the enemies more quickly is more effective than hogging spells just in case or healing the party.


Not only hogging spells to heal (you can always spontaneously do that if you do not go the negative energy neutral cleric). Holy Word, the devastating sling shown by greenknight, Wall spells for battlefield control, summoning spells as really useful meatshields plus to help the rogue flanking, gate, greater dispel and dispel magic, hold person, the symbols, storm of vengeance, plus all the research and detection spells are all much better. Ah, and spell resistances for everyone are always welcome.
Going codzilla is not a good tactics, regardless of whether agreeing to me that they surpass the fighter at all levels, or not.

Next post goes to greenknight again...:smallwink:

- Giacomo

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-15, 07:15 PM
Now Greenknight gave me once again some food for thought...

The most interesting aspect right now I feel is that we got a narrowing down of where the fighter is definitely better at combat (lvls 1-5, druid not yet "wildcasting"able), but lagging other classes in their respective abilities (as it should be). Then a yet undefined mid-level period where they are maybe a bit ahead in combat vs some casters, and on par with druids, then clerics (maybe the 6-10 level area). And, after that, they have difficulty keeping up in combat AND out-of-combat situations. Although it does not mean (as I believe I have shown with my fighter build) that they are useless and cannot be fun to play, while likely the full casters are finally completely more in the spotlight.
Now, is this balanced, considering
- the drawbacks that I have listed repeatedly and
- the fact that most groups play in the lvl area 1-10?
- the fighters are ahead in combat at the start, which is the focus of the game and creates most spotlight throughout?

I would still say...YES! It is balanced. Now after having read greenknight's comments, I think I would now make one further concession: If the group is not playing completely 1-20th level (say, they start at level 15 or make a lvl 20 group for one night), THEN I would now tend to agree to BWL and others saying the balance is in favour of the casters.
So yes, then a group of four clerics would be better than three clerics and af fighter...but watch out for becoming too specialised and anti-magic tactics (DM style, really).

But the discussion goes on...



Your mention of Duelist later in this post had me checking PrC's for Clerics, and I noticed the Hierophant has a detailed list of opposed alignments. Here it is below:



Hierophant Alignment Opposed Alignment
Lawful good Chaotic evil
Neutral good Neutral evil
Chaotic good Lawful evil
Lawful neutral Chaotic neutral
Neutral Lawful good, chaotic good, lawful evil, chaotic evil*
Chaotic neutral Lawful neutral
Lawful evil Chaotic good
Neutral evil Neutral good
Chaotic evil Lawful good


Notice that when you've got a Neutral alignment with something else (Good, Evil, Lawful, Chaotic), to get the opposed alignment you have the same Neutral alignment in the same place, but it turns out Good opposes Evil and Law opposes Chaos. Does Neutral oppose itself, or does this simply mean Neutral doesn't really oppose anything?

Looking at the True Neutral alignment, we get the answer. Neutral does not oppose itself, and instead the character is given the choice to oppose one of the extreme alignments (LG, CG, LE or CE). Since this is a choice and two Neutral Hierophants could choose two very different alignments (eg LG and CE), it would be reasonable to conclude that Neutral doesn't really oppose anything under the Core Rules.


Hmmm- a very good find. But the neutral hierophant is supposed to choose an "opposed" alignment. Now 1) this is the same wording as in the cleric description, suggesting there that the neutral cleric cannot cast any law, chaos, evil, good spell since they all are "opposed" and 2) in this case, though, the hierophant as a prestige class gets a special ability and it ackowledges with this ruling that the neutral character should not get an advantage over the others. Maybe, in turn, it could be ruled that also for the alignment spells, the neutral cleric is able to choose ONE area to cast....hmmm...tricky, since it would not be neutral anymore. Arrrg...must...use...custserv...



Consider the case of a Good aligned Cleric Turning Undead and getting a Turn (rather than Destroy) result. This means the turned Undead flee from the character for 10 rounds. Do they stop once they get 60' from the Cleric, or do they keep fleeing? If they stop that means the Turn effect only works to a range of 60', but if they keep running, it means once the Turn is accomplished, the range of the effect is unlimited. I take the second view.


They keep fleeing, but not forever (as your command interpretation would suggest). Hmmm- still, it's a good point. Turn-flee beyond 60ft. Rebuke: cower near you (disadvantage for evil caster?). Destroy- destroyed forever. Command- command forever? hmmm...
Probably the way I would handle it as a DM is to concentrate exactly on what the cleric orders the undead to do, keeping in mind the evil nature of the undead out to kill the living. This can be awkward for anyone but a very, clever neutral cleric player.



The fact that many monsters are either in melee range or can get to melee very quickly is why parties do need someone to fill the meatshield/melee role.


No, tank is not needed since everyone should move. Caster in melee? Steps 5 feet back and casts without problem. Archer in melee? Takes move back and manyshots the foe (or uses spring attack to avoid more attacks from opponent). Staying there and taking all the hits and mobility of the enemy on you is not very advisable, not even for the dwarven defender class designed to survive such a thing.



In the Balor example we've been discussing, the characters have achieved surprise and were (mostly) able to set their own range for the start of the encounter. That's not typical IME, although with a good scout it can happen more often than not. Still, there will always be some encounters where having a melee guy will be very helpful.


Yes, there can be situations, where you need to intercept an enemy. Say, because you realise (with the status spell, for instance), that your wizard will not survive one more hit and see two ogres running hat him. Then you as a fighter or cleric or whoever will step in between, take the hits, and save the vulnerable group member. But normally you can also solve it with arrows or spells. The fighter may need to resort to close range (because of the better damage output with power attack and cleave, for instance). But only if that is more useful than ranged tactics.



You know my view on this - the full casters can only replace a Fighter or Barbarian after a certain level. For Druids, that's 5+. At this level, Druids can have a Cheetah, Leopard or Wolverine as an Animal Companion, can Wild Shape once per day (for up to 5 hours, although that's not a good idea until the Druid has the Natural Spell feat), and cast up to 3rd level spells (assuming the character's Wisdom is high enough, and it should be). 6th level is much better, since then the Druid would probably have Natural Spell and can Wild Shape twice per day (up to 12 hours total duration) as well as cast 1 more 3rd level spell. Buffing up the Druid generally just means being in Wild Shape and making good use of the Animal Companion, no spells are really required except to repair injuries afterwards.
The Cleric really should wait until level 9+ if the goal is Fighter replacement. Until then, the Cleric should probably just concentrate on other things. But at 9th level and beyond, it wouldn't take 1/3 of the available spell slots to buff up and match the Fighter.


Great analysis!



As you said, ideas are class independent, so you don't really need a Fighter for that. If the DM allows an ability check for that, most often it's based on Intelligence (Wizard) or Wisdom (Cleric/Druid), neither of which are typically all that good for a Fighter.


Hmmmwell, I am not a great friend for such checks to solve problems, but it's certainly offered as an option in the rules. But the chances are not thaat higher. At lvls 1-5, our example builds would be maybe +1-+2 bonus apart in WIS, and not apart at all in INT.



For dungeon challenges, the Druid is the one which is best suited to the challenges, once they are able to Wild Shape. Not much can be done about walls until much later (when they can become an Earth Elemental and glide through some of them), but lakes are no challenge since they can become an aquatic creature, and chasms are a joke since they can become a flying creature (no need for climbing or swimming skills, although swim is a class skill for a Druid). Clerics don't fare quite so well with the dungeon challenges, but some of their spells can help (a sometimes overlooked dungeon crawling spell is Create Food and Water, if the party is going to be in the dungeon for several days).


Yes, there is a great versatiliy of druids due to that. However, they gain the animal type, which may in some times have disadvantages (an evil bard may cast animal trance...:smallsmile: ). Plus, they cannot communicate with the rest of the group until much higher levels when there is magic communication available. And if the challenges change (first a lake, then a wall to climb, then again a river plus some chasm after that) they are limited by the ability to change per day. But they are at least equal to the fighter in that respect, anyhow, since they also have related class skills. On the other hand, their spells are not as strong as a cleric's to emulate fighter abilities at lvl 7 (no divine power), so the fighter should be ahead in combat for a while...



Riding does help, but there are many places a horse (and most other mounts) just won't or can't go. And if some members of the party are walking anyway (which is often the case), having a rider isn't such a big advantage unless that rider has some mounted combat feats (which a Fighter admittedly could have). For interaction, Diplomacy (as written) is clearly superior to Intimidate because it has fixed DCs and can be useful even against high hit dice and/or high Wisdom foes. Diplomacy is a class skill for both Clerics and Druids, but not for Fighters or Barbarians.


You're right.



Let's consider a 6th level party. There are 3 members (I'll say a Rogue/Ranger, a Wizard and a Cleric, but you can change that dynamic if you want), and they want to add a 4th member. They can choose between a Druid and a Fighter. The Fighter's primary value add to the party is combat, which the Fighter is very good at. But the Druid is just as good at combat as the Fighter (thanks to Wild Shape and the Animal Companion), can cast spells, and can help deal with a wider variety of problems typically encountered during an adventure (thanks to Summon Nature's Ally, Wild Shape and some great class skills like Diplomacy, Spot and Survival, as well as the skill points to max them out).
Assuming that the party can get along with either character as a team member, which should they choose if they want to maximize their chances of survival on an adventure?


Hmm. In this case, the ranger/rogue fills many of that tasks already, the cleric has the useful divine spells and is the party face, and the fighter I'd still consider ahead of the druid in combat ability. So it's a close call and campaign-dependent (imagine a city campaign!).



You are right about group synergy. It's far better to have just one character for a particular role (eg Diplomacy) than to try to have several members of the party spend their skill points on it. But in some cases, duplication is good. For example, in a situation where having a physical combatant is good, then the more physical combatants you have the better it is.

My suggested party (Rogue/Ranger, Druid or Monk/Druid, Cleric, Wizard) has 3 characters who can do well at physical combat once they hit the right level, 3 full spellcasters (and the Rogue/Ranger should be able to help out with UMD), up to 4 scouts (the Rogue/Ranger being best, then the Druid, then the Cleric and Wizard through spells), and 2 healers (the Cleric and Druid). If you change the Druid to Fighter, you still have 3 physical combat experts, but you're down to 2 full casters, 3 scouts (probably losing your best spotter and tracker), and 1 healer. That Fighter had better be really good to make up the difference.


Yes, when considering the lvl 10&up future, a fighter may become a liability. However, in actual core play, there are also prestige class opportunities. The fighter can go a darker route with blackguard, assassin. Or the aforementioned duelist. Or underground with a dwarven defender (if..er...dwarf...:smallcool: ). Likewise, the casters have specialisation possiblities. So, the fighter player (depending on campaign and group) may choose to develop a bit differently while still having contributed greatly in lvls 1-10 as a fighter.



Druid has Spot as a class skill, so they are very good for spotting ambushes in any environment. And they often have Track, which usually means their Survival skill is maxed out too allowing them to be a secondary scout. One of the more commonly used out-of-combat skills is Diplomacy, which is a class skill for both the Cleric and Druid.


Well, in your party already the rogue/ranger and the cleric cover these functions. Backup? Always useful, but a strong combatant may be extra useful (in particular to help the rogue flanking).



The Devil buff isn't critical vs the Balor. But let's look at the cost/benefit:

(omitted your list of costs&benefits, I agree to them)

That said, when I chose a Barbed Devil to polymorph to, I didn't really study the MM extensively, so there could be better choices. In fact, depending on what is needed, there are better choices, like a creature with the natural ability to fly, or creatures with higher Intelligence. That's ok though, because another casting of Polymorph any Object (maybe even from a scroll) will make that new form available.


In total, I meant your cleric could have used his equipment and stuff to be also a czilla also for something else (raising his spell DCs with the scarce feats, taking metamagic/item creation feats, other equipment to improve spellcasting etc.).



I'd disagree with anyone who says a Cleric can match a Fighter in combat at any level, especially after a couple of combat encounters during the day (provided they weren't just one right after the other, which would allow the Cleric to continue benefiting from short term buffs).


Thanks! Would agree to that.



But let's say the Cleric can work more to the party's benefit by not preparing those combat buffing spells. Since Cleric spells are prepared on a daily basis, the Cleric can completely change his or her focus within a day just by changing the list of prepared spells. On the other hand, a Fighter can't change that much. The entire class' abilities are focused on physical combat, and while it is possible for a Fighter to do other things (mainly through cross-class skills and magical items), they can't do them as well as other classes can.


Hmmmyes, good point. Learning ahead of knowing what you really need impairs the utility of your spells, but you also have a higher flexibility of all the spells on your list for things you believe can come up, while the fighter does not choose his feats new every day. Valid point!



Won't argue that. But Clerics even have a few spells to do that. Calm Emotions is a good one - that can neutralize several foes for some time, and they can be up up to 350' away for a 25th level equivalent caster.


But at low levels...?



Once the party gets into position, it's effectively a free round of attacks. Enthrall is fairly similar, although against some foes you can attack without a problem. Hold Person's good too, although the range of targets it can affect is limited. Animate Objects is a fine spell which scales well, and can prevent a lot of damage to the party. And if you really want to do damage, Fire Storm and Flame Strike work well for a high level caster.


Animate objects is also in the higher level areas.



It would be ok, but there would also be problems. The class skills don't mesh too well with Fighters, Canny Defence is lost while Flat Footed, Precise Strike won't work with a Bow, and Acrobatic Charge, Elaborate Parry and Deflect Arrows are nearly useless for a Bow user.


Oh, I guess they do mesh well, in particular since it would turn the fighter into the fastest combatant of all (INI+4), which is a big asset at every level of play. A 2-level dip in assassin may help about the flat-footed thing, but losing the defence flat-footed is a problem for all classes but rogue and barbarian, anyhow. Elaborate parry works fine with a bow, since it can add to fighting defensively, which works for both melee and ranged attacks (contrary to combat expertise feat, unfortunately, so I have to include that in the fighter build revision).



Clerics probably don't need to multiclass, but for particular Clerics, Thaumaturgist seems interesting. Personally, I wouldn't use it, but it does have possibilities.


"Aren't prestige classes only for munchkins...and maybe clerics?" - Elan the bard asked to join a prestige class.:smallbiggrin:
I guess a cleric can make great use of full spell progression prestige classes, if the campaign is not undead-heavy.



A typical party of 4 characters is expected to be able to survive 4 challenging encounters per day. The XP table is geared so that this party will gain a level once every 13 challenging encounters (roughly speaking). If the party survived 4 challenging encounters per day, after a week they'd have gained roughly 2 levels. Were that to continue, the party would go from level 1 to level 20 in less than 10 weeks.
Do characters normally go from 1st level to 20th level in that time? No - usually it takes several years. This means that most of the time, a character will go an entire day (and even entire weeks or months) without an encounter. In the middle of a particular adventure, a Druid might not have the time (or the safety) to call up a new animal companion. But between adventures (and sometimes even during them), it should be possible to do it.


Hmmm. See my reply to Marius in the post above on this. Between adventures, it should definitely be possible. But in the middle of it? (with the BBEG still around?) Highly unlikely.



Yes, but remember, the Wizard/Familiar bond is different to that of a Druid/Animal Companion.


The bond is different, the threat should be the same.



At lower levels (1 - 4) Fighters (and Barbarians, to some extent) are the best Tanks. No argument. Outside of combat I'm not sure how much they can really contribute, especially considering the capabilities of the other classes, but that doesn't really matter much because they are the best at what they are supposed to do. But from level 5+, their ability is matched by a Druid who can do other things as well, and from 9+, the Cleric can do something similar. So if most of your games are in the 1st - 4th level range, then the Fighter/Barbarian can be a really good choice. If the game starts at 1st level and continues up to about 8th, the benefit in the low levels and the (still good) combat ability of the Fighter and Barbarian makes them worth having (although if the character needs to be replaced after 4th level, going with Druid is a better choice). But if you know it's going to be a long campaign where the characters are going to 9th level and beyond, it's probably worth enduring a little weakness at the lower levels (1 - 4) to get a Druid and Cleric combo in the party.


Again, great analysis. I would probaby put the threshold more at levels 10-11 than at 9th, but this is only details.



In a high level game, Leadership helps, but Clerics and Druids normally benefit more from Charisma than a Fighter (Turn Undead, Animal Empathy, Diplomacy checks), so Clerics especially tend to do better with it.


Yes, but do they have the feat to spare? It depends.



Skill focus is nice, but if you're using it on a cross class skill, it doesn't help when compared to someone who has a class skill, particularly at higher levels. Intimidate tends not to be much use at higher levels (vs higher hit dice/Wisdom creatures), and in any event the set DCs of Diplomacy make that a much better skill for high level characters. Craft/Profession? Yes, sometimes that's useful, but most of the time it's background, and a Fighter doesn't get a lot of skill points per level anyway. Dragon Mounts? It's a bit of a stretch, since you haven't explained how the Fighter got that Dragon. But a Druid (along with some Clerics, as well as Wizards and Sorcerers), could be a Dragon, for 10 minutes/level, thanks to Shapechange. The Polymorph/Shapechange spells give the full casters the ability to adapt to a wide variety of situations. Fighters can benefit from some of these spells (eg Polymorph any Object), but only through a magical item or if a full caster decides to cast that spell on the character.

Look at the Fighter's Class Skill list:

Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Ride (Dex), and Swim (Str).

Past a certain level, the full casters don't even need Climb, because they all have some spell which grants them flight in some way. Craft is useful sometimes, but unless you want a career outside of adventuring, it's not all that useful. Handle Animal is best done by a Druid (they can train their Animal Companion with it). Intimidate is quickly overshadowed by Diplomacy. Jump is again negated by the casters who can fly. Ride is ok, but the casters have Teleport/Word of Recall/Overland Flight/Wind Walk for travel at higher levels, and they're usually faster and safer. It's good for mounted combat, but that's not possible in many locations where the party might need to fight, and a regular mount probably won't survive many high level encounters anyway. Swim can be useful, but again the casters can polymorph/Wild Shape into something which can easily survive underwater, or just cast spells which allow them to survive underwater without drowning.

In other words, the class skills of a Fighter just aren't that useful in higher level play. And with 2+Int skill points per level, Fighters aren't getting all that much from their skills anyway. Their Feats can be good, but mostly they're better used enhancing the character's combat ability than trying to improve skills.

A Magic Dead zone might change things a bit, but then the skill characters (notably the Rogue) often come to the fore.


Another analysis spot on.
Yes, the dragon mount was the limit of my imagination, I admit that. Skillwise, it is hard to imagine a useful role for the fighter at lvl 20. My archer was able to intimidate, rightfully not that great at that level. He could have become a warrior king by then, but the CHR is really lower normally than that of the others. Still, the fighter of the four generic classes is the most likely to fill that role since a rogue...well is not the rule type, a cleric may mean a theocracy that many people would object and a wizard wants to do spell research and unravel the forces of the universe, as V would say, not tax subjects and plan wars.
So rolewise, the fighter at lvl 20 has opportunity to do something (for instance, profession-law or trader maxed :smallsmile: ), which the other classes may not do or wish to do (because it does not fit their class abilities and purposes that well).



Assuming equal WBL (which should be the case, since if anything the Cleric needs to spend less than the Fighter), a Cleric can buy nearly all the same equipment (aside from a Tower shield, and most martial weapons, though a slightly less effective shield and weapon could work, or the Cleric could get the appropriate Feat if necessary). There's no chance of spell failure for a Divine spellcaster from armor or shields, so it won't hurt that.

Of course, the Cleric's power might be boosted even further by spending that gold on other things, but if the Cleric's going to practically equal the Fighter's power by having the same items and be even more powerful with different items, that just makes the Fighter class seem weaker by comparison.


Well, a must-have for the cleric seems to be the rod of greater quicken, and maybe other rods, plus caster level raising items, meaning already around up to 250,000 gold more for the fighter to spend on his specialisation on combat. So the fighter should be ahead there, while the cleric specialises differently.



A full caster party is a multi-trick party, depending on what spells they've prepared and what classes the full casters are. Druid, Cleric, 2 x Wizard can work, although personally I'd replace one of those Wizards with a scout (Rogue/Ranger) - especially at the low levels. Druids and Clerics can fight reasonably well even in Magic Dead areas, although Fighters, Barbarians and even Rogues are clearly superior classes in that situation.

I agree with you about a mixed party. I don't think 4 members of any one class are going to be as effective as a party where several classes are included. Multiclassing can solve some of that, allowing a party built on a majority class theme. For example BWL suggests an Arcane Trickster to replace my Rogue/Ranger, which should work reasonably well and allow a Wizard type party to have an effective scout.


Well, a caster can do many tricks, but they all stem from the same source. As I said many times, there are drawbacks for them threatening them also at higher levels, plus magic is vulnerable, in particular at higher levels (the anti-magic-zone classic, plus disjunction etc.). As I said at the beginning of this post, though, I admit casters are more powerful than fighters at high levels, so it can justify a pure caster party for a group ONLY playing high levels. A good DM will, however, post challenges, which sometimes will make the party wish for a non-magic reliant class, though :smallcool:

- Giacomo

greenknight
2007-03-15, 08:42 PM
First up, I should say the ruling on Mage's Disjunction came back:

Q: Does the Dispel effect of Mordenkainen's Disjunction automatically dispel all spell and spell-like effects cast upon a character in its area of effect (as well as any other spell and spell-like effects which exist in that area)? Or is it more like a Dispel Magic, requiring a Dispel Check?

If it's the latter, what would the check bonus be? And is the effect treated as an area dispel or a targeted dispel?

A: Any spell or spell effect in the area of Mordenkainen's Disjunction simply comes to an end, there is no dispel check required.

This makes the spell an extemely effective tactic vs spellbuffed characters (particularly Sorcerers and Wizards). However, I should point out that the classes most likely to use this are Sorcerers and Wizards, although some Clerics could also do it, and Bards and Rogues might be able to cast it from a scroll (DC 37). Few monsters would be able to cast it, although some of the oldest Dragons could manage it.


Hmmm- a very good find. But the neutral hierophant is supposed to choose an "opposed" alignment. Now 1) this is the same wording as in the cleric description, suggesting there that the neutral cleric cannot cast any law, chaos, evil, good spell since they all are "opposed" and 2) in this case, though, the hierophant as a prestige class gets a special ability and it ackowledges with this ruling that the neutral character should not get an advantage over the others. Maybe, in turn, it could be ruled that also for the alignment spells, the neutral cleric is able to choose ONE area to cast....hmmm...tricky, since it would not be neutral anymore. Arrrg...must...use...custserv...

Not really. Remember, NG opposes NE, LN opposes CN (and vice versa). In each case, the N stayed in the same place, which means Neutral either opposes itself, or opposes nothing. It could be said TN opposes the extreme alignments (LG, LE, CG, CE), but not Law, Chaos, Good or Evil per se.


They keep fleeing, but not forever (as your command interpretation would suggest).

They do keep fleeing, but only for 10 rounds. It's the more powerful result (Destroy and Command) that is permanent.


No, tank is not needed since everyone should move. Caster in melee? Steps 5 feet back and casts without problem. Archer in melee? Takes move back and manyshots the foe (or uses spring attack to avoid more attacks from opponent).

And what happens when the foe has Reach, which many do? A meatshield is necessary sometimes.


I am not a great friend for such checks to solve problems, but it's certainly offered as an option in the rules. But the chances are not thaat higher. At lvls 1-5, our example builds would be maybe +1-+2 bonus apart in WIS, and not apart at all in INT.

Clerics don't need great amounts of Int, usually. That's one of the things the Wizard is for. And if a Wis boost is needed, the Cleric could benefit considerably from Owl's Wisdom.


Yes, there is a great versatiliy of druids due to that. However, they gain the animal type, which may in some times have disadvantages (an evil bard may cast animal trance...:smallsmile: ).

Sure. But it prevents the much more common Charm and Hold Person.


And if the challenges change (first a lake, then a wall to climb, then again a river plus some chasm after that) they are limited by the ability to change per day.

Usually all of those would be solved by changing into a flyer, unless there's something the party really needs at the bottom of the lake or something like that.


But they are at least equal to the fighter in that respect, anyhow, since they also have related class skills. On the other hand, their spells are not as strong as a cleric's to emulate fighter abilities at lvl 7 (no divine power), so the fighter should be ahead in combat for a while...

Remember, a Druid gets all non-supernatural Special Attacks from the animal form. Take a look at what a Druid would get by changing into the 3 animals I mentioned as Animal Companions. At higher levels, the Druid can change into larger animals which get more Strength and other good abilities. And there's always the Animal Companion, which adds to the Druid's damage output.


In this case, the ranger/rogue fills many of that tasks already, the cleric has the useful divine spells and is the party face, and the fighter I'd still consider ahead of the druid in combat ability. So it's a close call and campaign-dependent (imagine a city campaign!).

Ranger/Rogue is the scout, who should be out ahead of the party (by at least a little) exploring. Druid stays with the party (usually) and foils someone sneaking up on them. The Druid class isn't really intended for a city campaign (like the Barbarian and Ranger), but assuming there's a reason for one to be there, the advantages remain the same.


Yes, when considering the lvl 10&up future, a fighter may become a liability. However, in actual core play, there are also prestige class opportunities. The fighter can go a darker route with blackguard, assassin. Or the aforementioned duelist. Or underground with a dwarven defender (if..er...dwarf...:smallcool: ). Likewise, the casters have specialisation possiblities. So, the fighter player (depending on campaign and group) may choose to develop a bit differently while still having contributed greatly in lvls 1-10 as a fighter.

A Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer or Wizard doesn't really need to multiclass to stop themselves from being a liability (although often multiclassing can improve their main capabilities without significant loss). By saying that a Fighter should multiclass, you admit that the class isn't really a good idea past a certain level. But yes, if you change the Fighter by multiclassing, it can make the character more effective.


In total, I meant your cleric could have used his equipment and stuff to be also a czilla also for something else (raising his spell DCs with the scarce feats, taking metamagic/item creation feats, other equipment to improve spellcasting etc.).

Take another look at that Cleric build. Here are the items which are there primarily to boost the character's physical combat ability:

12,000 Boots of Speed
18,300 Sling (+3 effect) +1, Distance, Merciful
21,315 Adamantine Scimitar (+3 effect) +1, Keen, Defending
8,405 Silver Scimitar (+2 effect) +1, Spell Storing
18,405 Morningstar (+3 effect) +1, Ghost Touch, Bane (Undead)
50 Scroll of True Strike (2)
600 Adamantine Sling Bullets (10)
1 Cold Iron Sling Bullets (50)
20 Silver Sling Bullets (10)

That's roughly 61,000gp out of 760,000 gp spent on physical attack (and the Scimitar is there more to add to AC). Over 400,000gp is spent on improving the character's power as a spellcaster, and much of the rest is spent on improving the character's defences.

I have used most of the character's Feats to improve the character's combat capability (particularly with ranged combat, but Power Attack helps a lot in melee), but it still doesn't hurt the character's spellcasting ability much.


But at low levels...?

This is a 2nd level, Medium range spell, so even at 5th level, that's 150' and lasts for up to 5 rounds.


Elaborate parry works fine with a bow, since it can add to fighting defensively, which works for both melee and ranged attacks (contrary to combat expertise feat, unfortunately, so I have to include that in the fighter build revision).

From the SRD:

At 7th level and higher, if a duelist chooses to fight defensively or use total defense in melee combat, she gains an additional +1 dodge bonus to AC for each level of duelist she has.

Emphasis mine.


"Aren't prestige classes only for munchkins...and maybe clerics?" - Elan the bard asked to join a prestige class.:smallbiggrin:
I guess a cleric can make great use of full spell progression prestige classes, if the campaign is not undead-heavy.

Even if it is, the Cleric class has a lot of good spells for dealing with Undead. At higher levels, Turn Undead usually just makes the undead flee anyway, and then the party has to chase them down. Channelling Negative energy is much better, since then the undead are cowering (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/conditionSummary.htm#cowering) helplessly.


Between adventures, it should definitely be possible. But in the middle of it? (with the BBEG still around?) Highly unlikely.

A particular adventure might last for days, even weeks or months. So depending on the adventure, it would be possible.


The bond is different, the threat should be the same.

Not as long as the Druid doesn't lose XP when the Animal Companion is killed.


Yes, but do they have the feat to spare? It depends.

Sure does. Evil Clerics (and some Neutral ones) can gain something like Leadership from their Turn Undead ability by controlling an Undead which in turn controls others (eg a Vampire). Others could get a Planer Cohort from Thaumaturge if they really want it. No doubt Leadership is good, and a Fighter has the Feats to spare for it, but there's other ways to produce a similar effect.


So rolewise, the fighter at lvl 20 has opportunity to do something (for instance, profession-law or trader maxed :smallsmile: ), which the other classes may not do or wish to do (because it does not fit their class abilities and purposes that well).

Not Profession - Fighters don't have it as a Class Skill.


Well, a must-have for the cleric seems to be the rod of greater quicken, and maybe other rods, plus caster level raising items, meaning already around up to 250,000 gold more for the fighter to spend on his specialisation on combat. So the fighter should be ahead there, while the cleric specialises differently.

My CZilla spent over 400,000gp on that stuff, and it didn't really harm the combat abilities much. But the character then cheated a bit by casting spells like Greater Magic Weapon to get a +5 weapon without paying for it.


Well, a caster can do many tricks, but they all stem from the same source.

Yes, many different tricks but with a shared vulnerability. The Fighter has only one significant trick (physical combat), but can do it in a lot of different ways making it harder to shut down. Fighters still have vulnerabilities though, which can be exploited just as easily as a spellcaster's (maybe even more easily).

Jack Mann
2007-03-15, 09:00 PM
Just as a note, druids no longer change type when they wildshape. Errata changed it. If they still did, they would be even more powerful (for example, gaining the immunities of the plant type).

Rigeld2
2007-03-16, 12:27 AM
And Animal Growth effecting them (since they keep thier Humanoid type, it doesnt atm).

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-16, 08:27 AM
@Jack Mann and Rigeld2: OK, if the druid no longer actually gains the animal type, animal growth will no longer work. On the other hand, the communication problem remans an issue (although the status spell also helps a bit at low levels in that respect, but only for things like checking if the druid has been cursed or some such).

Now on to greenknight...and first of all, one word of praise: thanks for checking the tricky stuff with custserv. We may take turns for this if you could post the email here, so that you do not have to take all the work on yourself.

Now, you made once again many valid points, but maybe for the time being, I shall stop responding to the many individual issues, because it seems to go on forever:
- Me maintaining stuff in favour of the fighter/or vs spellcasters; you or Marius then finding different angles/opposing views - me once again pointing out exceptions, etc. (for instance, the duelist wording can be interpreted with the melee only referring to full defense, as is the case for the general division of fighting defensively vs full defense) and so on.
It is highly interesting, but I'll try to keep my posts now much shorter and try to remain focussed.

The major issue I'd like to remark on is:


First up, I should say the ruling on Mage's Disjunction came back:

Q: Does the Dispel effect of Mordenkainen's Disjunction automatically dispel all spell and spell-like effects cast upon a character in its area of effect (as well as any other spell and spell-like effects which exist in that area)? Or is it more like a Dispel Magic, requiring a Dispel Check?

If it's the latter, what would the check bonus be? And is the effect treated as an area dispel or a targeted dispel?

A: Any spell or spell effect in the area of Mordenkainen's Disjunction simply comes to an end, there is no dispel check required.

This makes the spell an extemely effective tactic vs spellbuffed characters (particularly Sorcerers and Wizards). However, I should point out that the classes most likely to use this are Sorcerers and Wizards, although some Clerics could also do it, and Bards and Rogues might be able to cast it from a scroll (DC 37). Few monsters would be able to cast it, although some of the oldest Dragons could manage it.


Now that is awesome, and would mean (with the Disjuncion having a range a bit beyond the close range) that it puts spellcasters and in particular zillatactics spellcasters (in particular those aiming for melee) at a very high risk.
Let us take, for instance, your example cleric that your posted above. What would then happen to him if he is hit by a disjunction (for instance, as he moved to within 40ft of the balor, got him with the holy word effect, shrugged of the averse effects himself, got close to CDG and an enemy 17th level arcane spell caster turned up.)

DISJUNCTED lvl 20 zilla Cleric
Human Cleric 20.
32 Point Buy.
STR 14, DEX 16, CON 10, INT 14, WIS 32, INT 14 (an advantage here:smallsmile: ), CHR 14.
AC: 26 (+ 3 DEX, +11 WIS, +2 Unnamed), 26 (touch, ah, btw, the orignal touch ac of 41 is too high since natural armour and enhancement do not count, so the original buffed touch ac is 36, the region of the fighter)/ 23 (flat-footed)
Hits: 94 (ouch, in range of power word spells!)
Initiative: +7 (+3 Dex, Improved Initative feat which can't be dispelled :smallsmile: )
Saves: Fort: +14 (+12 Cleric, +1 Competence, +1 Luck), Reflex + 11 (+6 Cleric, +3 Dex, +1 Competence, +1 Luck), Will + 25 (+12 Cleric, +11 Wis, +1 Competence, +1 Luck)
BAB: +15. Melee (using Adamantine Scimitar): +19/+14/+9 (BAB + 2 Strength, +1 Competence, +1 enhance). Ranged (using Sling): +18/+18/+13/+8 (BAB + 3 Dex, +1 Competence, -2 Rapid Shot, +1 enhance).
Melee Damage per attack (add 2 for each point of attack bonus sacrificed if Power Attack): 1d8+ 2 (Str)+ 1 (Enhancement). Crit 15 – 20. Avg damage if all hit in a full attack: 24 damage.
Ranged Damage per attack after all buffs: 1d6 + 2 (Str) + 1 (Enhancement)
Feats and skills remain unchanged...(although the stat modifiers went down massively for some). Avg. damage if all sling bullets hit: 28.

Now compare that to the fighter hit with the disjunction and a third of his magic items gone, with simply erasing every third item as I listed it (btw, I simply assumed all items escaped for the cleric, a 2nd disjunction hitting him now has quite a chance to get through since the will save declined). The items in this case were: potion of good hope, luck blade, STR +6 belt, monk's belt (which was worn in this defensive everyday situation), WIS +6 periapt, Handy Haversack, potion of rage (note: inherent bonus of DEX manual is not disjunctionable since the original item is gone). Note that in this situation, the fighter was not buffed at all so loses much less, anyhow, than a cleric turned devil (a druid's wild shape btw is not lost to the disjunction, so that classe's zilla ability is good to go, but way more limited than the PaO or Shapechange cheese, since it is limited to 15 HD animal, or an elemental).

DISJUNCTED Human Fighter 20
32-point-buy.
STR 14, DEX 30, CON 14, INT 14, WIS 14, CHR 10. (Note: the +6 items for STR, WIS are toast, inherent DEX bonus is not subject to disjunction)
AC: 23 (+10 DEX, +3 Deflection/Ring of Protection), touch: 23, flat-footed: 13. Can be boosted on his turn in combat with fighting defensively, expertise by +8. Note that a revised version of this fighter will likely abandon the monk's belt in favour of a celestial armour, but that would be lost in the place of the monk's belt then). Good tactics is to get out of melee and quickdraw remaining powerful bow. With expertise: 38
Hits: 164 (now 50% more than the cleric)
Initiative: +14 (remains this high, may not be that useful if the combat has already started, but definitely is useful if the disjunction was cast in a surprise round)
Saves: Fort +19 (class +12, CON +2 resistance +5, got it wrong before, should be +20 in the orignal version), Refl +21 (class +6, DEX +10, resistance +5, Will +15 (class +6, WIS+2, resistance +5, iron will feat +2)
RANGED Attacks with Longbow (assuming not a balor as opponent, but that evil disjuncting spellcaster):
6 as full attack (Rapid shot, Haste from boots of speed). The attack bonus total is: +35 (+20 base, +10 DEX, +2 competence/Bracers of Archery, +5 bow enhancement, +1 Haste from boots of speed, +1 Weapon Focus, -4 STR below weapon STR)
The attack boni with full attack: +37/+37/+37/+32/+27/+22.
The damage per attack: 1d8 (arrow) +2d6 (holy) + 10 (STR +2, +5 enhance, +2 weapon specialisation, +1 competence/bracers of archery). Or 22 per hit, and 52 on a critical (which would necessitate DC 15 Fort massive shock save). If vs a protection from missiles barrier, that is 72 damage+ (assuming no critical), 132 otherwise.
MELEE Attacks with Two-Handed Sword
Attack: +20 (base) + 2 (STR) +4 (enhance) + 1 (weapon focus) + 1 (haste) = 28/28/23/18/13.
Damage: 2d6 + 2d6 (holy) + 3 (STR) + 2 (weapon specialisation) +4 (enhance) = 4d6 + 9 = on avg 23 damage. (power attack may be used here). Or, 115 damage. If the attacks are reduced with power attack by 9 to get to the level of the cleric scimitar attack, that means 41 damage per hit, or 205 damage.
Feats and Skills remain largely unchanged here, too (again, the stat booster weaken them somewhat).


Well, in my view this once again pushes the fighter's usefulness up vs casters at high levels. My broad view remains unchanged, but beware of those magic vulnerabilities! Ah, and my view remains that even if casters are more powerful at high levels, they should DEFINITELY not go zilla...at least not melee zilla.

The cleric may rebuff (a quickened PaO could help, but it is a domain spell and can only be cast once per day. Would it be possible to get it on a quickened scroll to quickdraw in response and then use it as free action?), but that blocks him for those precious rounds, plus all the enhancement boni, luck boni, mightous right, divine power take time....

- Giacomo

EDIT: there is also increased reason for buffing the fighter now as well to boost his will save in the party, since that will make him more resilient to that the devastating disjunction effect, preserving one group member's power while the casters may got debuffed.

Marius
2007-03-16, 09:44 AM
-You are asking for real drawbacks, not "fluff" drawbacks for a non-deity cleric? OK, just a short & possible list that would not draw spotlight, but balance it out vs the deity clerics: Random chance of penalty (a minor curse, or money fine) in moderate cities for being found guilty of worshipping no deity and still cast divine; outcast marks on forehead reducing CHR (and yielding higher mali on his diplomacy checks- making the deity cleric the party face if there is no bard/rogue/paladin around); at higher levels a possible major curse here and there. Now these things should be all rather rare and not permanent ! It all has to be adjusted to the risk of deity conflict for the regular deity cleric player whose potential loss of spellpowers likewise is only temporary, has the atonement spell and quests to get back etc.

Those are all fluff changes and house rules. Not real drawbacks of the non-deity cleric but things that you made up.
You could applied those to them and they could try to avoid them (I mean how are you going to prove that they are clerics that worship no deity and why the hell would that be a crime. But in the end those are campaing specific. Not drawbacks of the CLASS, the doesn't meantions anything about that.



- now in a later sentence you seemed to backpedal on the drawback issue, saying the cleric player should not suffer for the fighter being "too weak". Now either you also believe a non-deity cleric has advantages over everyone else that need balancing through the (in my view consistent) mechanism I proposed. Or you do not think so. The fighter is not always weak, and since you also mentioned the paladin...the paladin has slightly more powers than the fighter, but also has that drawback of alignment/code restriction which continuously threatens his class abilities (it's actually similar to the deity cleric's but most posters here seem to deny that).

We deny that because it's not similar at all, clerics codes are not mentioned anywhere, we know that they exist but they are unwritten and they we only know that they have to grossly violate that unwritten code to lose their powers and they can change their alignment and keep their powers as long as they are within one step of their deity.
Paladins, on the other hand, have to be lawful good, the have a very clear, very restrictive, written code and one, only one violation to that code and they lose their powers.
Even if a cleric has selects a restrictive code for himself, but unless the player wants to grossly violate that code he doesn't have to. No matter in what situation do you put him on.
Non-deities clerics could have advantages over other clerics but that's not reason to punish them just because you don't think it's fair.



OK, maybe I'm utterly wrong here. Pls quote the passage in the SRD/other core where you would say it clearly states that neutral clerics can cast all evil, good, law and chaos spells. If it's even unclear, both of our views may be deemed houserule until a custserv/FAQ clarifies it.

I don't have the book right now but Custserv already statted that a neutral cleric casting Holy Word would be affect by it. So they already accept that they can cast it. Neutrality doesn't oppose anything, that's why they are neutral.



Phantom steed has meagre hit points, quickly dispatched by enemy arrows, magic missiles etc. (I know since my bard once got his nice phantom steed shot from under his...making him take quite some damage from the fall as he failed a tumbling check). Magic, like non-magic combat has two dimensions: ranged and melee. Magic trumps not all, not always. But we seem to continuously agree to disagree on that.

Wizards using phantom seed you have feather fall (every wizard you have it) and maybe Overland flight too. And if he moves 240ft and acts you probably won't be able to shoot his phantom steed because you are probably dead.



That is exaggerated, I'd say. The will saves are weaker, but not crappy. With proper buffs/items, they are high enough to reduce the disjunction risk almost to the level of casters. They would lose around a third of their equipment this way, but they still have their feats. In the short term, the zilla caster loses more effectiveness, I'd say, but in the longer term the fighter would hurt more from the lost equipment. However, the equipment guidelines should over the course of the adventuring career slowly balance out again (similar to lost/captured/stolen equipment), if it is not equipment used up for a particular purpose (wands, scrolls, potions).

They lose their buffs but they still got spells and spells are more powerful than feats and the equipment lost won't affect them nearly as much. Druids don't even lose wildshape since it's a supernatural ability and clerics can still cast Implosion on the unfortunate wizard or if he doesn't feel so confident he can cast word of recall and leave the place or time stop to rebuff, the list goes on. The fighter still has his feats CoDzilla still has his spells and spells are more powerful than feats.
In the long time the fighter could recover his stuff, but he would have to play a probably poor fighter (for his level) for a while.



Well, you outright banned all those atmospheric spells and say that doing simply what is in the rules on balancing out casters is nerfing them? Hmmm...that is probably a matter of taste. Still, I'd say that your method to balance is complete houserule while even you would admit that my method is at least echoing something written somewhere in the core rules:smallsmile:

Of course is a house rule! Yours is one too. The fact that we both use them means that casters need to be balanced.
In the rules it says that fighters have weak will saves, that they can't use spells and that they probably can't do anything outside of combat mmm ok then let's make a highly diplomatic campaign, with lots of casters running around casting enchantments on him and then make his fall of a roof, that'll show them how weak they are right?



Now the gate thing...yes I vaguely remember having read that somewhere.
Now, gate per se is nicely balanced. You cast, and for the really though stuff like summoning double your hit dice of monsters (and thus surpassing easily the same level spell monster summoning IX), you pay X.P. costs. Nicely balanced, no need to nerf here.
However: there is the infinite loophole by gating in an outsider who then gates in outsiders to get wishes for them and so on. Now what do you normally as a DM if you discover such an infinite loop? You should disallow THAT use of the spell (like the guys who use fabricate spell to create infinite wealth). The game is not 100% foolproof, so in case someone discovers loopholes (and the maxing boards are full of them), one normally should ban that use of the spell, but not the whole spell altogether.

I disagree but I don't want to argue about how to balance the game. The important thing is that the game needs to be balanced and that spellcasters are better than non-casters.



Er...yes. In the real fight. I was talking about the decoy.

Exactly my point! Holds for the fighter as well.

You don't get what I meant. Casters are stronger, you have to take steps to change that. In a regular campaign casters will outperform the fighter since they can be useful in and out of combat, as the party levels up the difference grows more and more forcing the fighter to optimize or be useless and forcing DMs to balance the game. I choose to ban spells, you choose to make casters life harder by other means. Personally I think that my way is not only easier but also better for the players. My players agree (they can't cast those spells anyway since they are level 6) since I decided that with them.
But the things that you, I or anyone else does to balance the game doesn't have anything to do with witch class is "better" and that's eaxctly what we are talking about here.



No, in my opinion not (see also above). Feats are vulnerable to neither feats nor spells. Spells/Magic is not vulnerable to feats, but to other spells (and many combat situations besides like being attacked while relearning). So what is more vulnerable?

Feats: Everybody has them, not useable all the time, if you lose your greatsword you can use "weapon focus: Greatsword" or "weapon specialization: Greatsword" the same goes for "Spell focus" so if your fighter loses his weapons he loses the feats. Feats also don't scale well.
On the other hand spells do scale well, they are also much more powerful and casters usually have more spells than the fighters has feats. Plus the casters also have feats. The spells can be countered with other spells (antimagic fields are made with spells too).
But feats are also vunarable to spells, in the case of the balor vs the fighter he's able to take away the fighters bow, that could make all of his bow related feats useless. But that's not important because the guy with the feats is vunerable to spells himself (just like everyone else but even more since he doesn't have spells to protect him and only one good save).



That IS a good point. However, at low levels in particular, the cleric will likely buff the fighter alongside himself (automatic with something like bless spells, or he may even have a bull's strength to spare). So no real need to have your own potions. In my fighter example the potions were there primarily to illustrate if a fighter could even take on a balor without outside help.

At low levels no cleric will waste a bull's strenght in the fighter and soon he'll have a magic items that does it for him. Potions are always important and in any case if you depend on other people buffs that means that you can't do it by yourself.



These 4 encounters should happen ON AVERAGE and the number is intended as a guideline. Otherwise, you would have so linear adventures, they would be boring (ah, we are 7th level now. This means we only get 4 CR7 encounters per day/adventure. Nothing less, nothing more). Would not be practicable or suspense-creating in my eyes. Now if occasionally there is a sequence of events with less CR monsters, then the caster shines. If the challenges are more exhausting, the no-tiring-feats-fighter jumps in.

Sure but that's not what I meant, you'll have to make the average go to 6 encounters (or more) on average to balance the casters, doing it one time won't be enough. Casters will shine more when you use less, but stronger, encounters. And the fighter has another big problem, he depends on other people to heal, so when the cleric is out of spells he has a pretty good chance to die (even more than the rest since he's the frontline with the cleric or the druid).



Mage's Magnificent Mansion (if that is what you mean by MM) is 7th level, so high-level play, which I already admitted is giving increased abilities to casters. Rope trick is a great idea. But what if the party is still attacked? What does the cleric do? Leave them to their fate "to learn"?

Rope trick holds 8 creatures so the whole party can wait inside. MM is just to make them wait more confortably and with better defenses.



No, they are not better. They already got the drawbacks in the rules. No need to nerf them. What you call nerf, I call applying the rules for balance. If I would never have the fighter run into opponents making use of his weak will save, or lack of skills (in particular at low levels, where most would agree that the fighter can fight best) I would not be running a balanced game. Ah, and yes, that is the way adventures work in my opinion.

We just disagree. You are doing exactly the same that can be done to other class but you do it to casters to nerf them.



Now that is a quite far-reaching assumption. I explicitly listed an outdoor skill like riding and a social/interactive skill like intimidation. Plus, all the physical skills can be greatly useful in outdoor situations, and even city settings (climb...).
If you meant by "you seem to play ONLY in dungeons" that I play diablo-like style, I guess that would be absolutely out of place, since I am the one trying to emphasise the "fluff" drawbacks as well.:smallsmile:

I'm not talking about anything physical I'm talking about social, that other half of the game where he's useless.



24 hours of staying in the same place are quite tough. They get tougher, if you have to spend them COMPLETELY in prayer which must not be interrupted. Now, in-between adventures, especially within a druid community, it should be no problem. Some campaigns, though (for instance the dragonlance campaign) do not allow such off time often. And even if they did, in the adventure itself likely the druid remains without an animal companion and thus weakened.

I don't know about dragonlance, we are talking about core here. And in every adventure (or between them) you can have downtime. Plus killing an animal companion is hard for the druid for other reasons, it's not just a summon you know? If he dies, he dies but killing it to make the druid balanced is not right.



I wonder what they like more: if they stick to certain restrictions and can make use of the full scale of their class abilities. Or if they can do as they please, and all of a sudden (or announced previously, does not matter) get denied the best spells/abilities of their class. But I guess that is really up to taste.

It is, I would rather limit their rollplaying that their rolplaying. Casters still rock.



What if you would like to play a wizard sage? You would suck greatly at combat and be pwnd in combat by the morhping guys. What if you would wish to play an evoker? The other wizards may outshine you...What if you would wish to play an elemental-worshipping cleric? The timestop/holyword cleric would outshine you, and the non-deity cleric all the rest (if not balanced the way I suggested).

Sure but not your own party, the wizard has no competition even if he's an evoker or a sage (actually diviners are the best) the fighter has a lot of competition.



What I wish to say is: yes, if you choose to play a character with non-optimal combat efficiency (for other reasons, or you want to try something else), then, yes, you will be less efficient in combat. That is no reason to nerf anyone.
The only reason to talk (not yet nerf!) to the players in that respect would be if the player of the sage thought that he could contribute much more than it turned out (maybe it's a combat-heavy game), and the settings should be adjusted somewhat so that everyone shines.

It's important, the melee fighter is a classic figure and you can't play it or you'll suck. It's not that I want to play a wizard with 8 int, it's not even that I don't want to optimize a little.



If the cleric is a melee cleric he has chosen a broadly inferior tactics to the ranged fighter and the ranged cleric.

Sure but it's viable and way better than a melee fighter even in combat.



Not only hogging spells to heal (you can always spontaneously do that if you do not go the negative energy neutral cleric). Holy Word, the devastating sling shown by greenknight, Wall spells for battlefield control, summoning spells as really useful meatshields plus to help the rogue flanking, gate, greater dispel and dispel magic, hold person, the symbols, storm of vengeance, plus all the research and detection spells are all much better. Ah, and spell resistances for everyone are always welcome.
Going codzilla is not a good tactics, regardless of whether agreeing to me that they surpass the fighter at all levels, or not.

You can do all that and still be able to go CoDzilla.

Lapak
2007-03-16, 09:56 AM
Not to jump in here too much, but just a couple of point regarding your comments, Sir Giacomo:

Disjunction is most definitely more of a problem for the fighter. You're absolutely right that he is more combat-ready in the round immediately following the disjunction, but both characters are pretty well crippled.

The caster's options for escape, however, are almost undiminished - and he'll be much closer to his original power level once he rebuffs. The fighter's options for exiting the now-unequal combat quickly have just gone up in smoke, and all the drain on him is permanent.

Secondly, as to the question of the roleplaying purpose at 20th level: in my campaign world, I do have fighter-rulers, yes. I also have two quite contented theocracies and at least one city-state ruled by a mage. Spellcasters have many perfectly good motivations to run a nation, large or small.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-16, 10:19 AM
OK, answering to Marius would be once again too long, so I limit myself for the moment to Lapak's (welcome to the thread!) comments. In Marius' comments I - in my opinion - find again a mixture of valid counterarguments to mine (to which I would suggest new exceptions, drawbacks etc. but the custserv hint on neutral clerics able to cast good spells etc was a good one, thanks!), misunderstandings, and points where I think he is wrong.
Our division remains mainly that
- Marius sees massive power in spellcasters, as I do. However, he does not see the drawbacks existing in the rules as I do. Thus, he nerfs spellcasters when the problems turn up by banning some of the most powerful spells altogether.
I simply offer an alternative route.
- Marius sees the fighter always as behind casters, thinking even that in low levels in 1) combat 2) non-combat adventure stuff and 3) in-between adventure times, the spellcasting classes somehow are always ahead. Which I think is not the case, simply because the fighter has more feats, better low-level combat feats (wp specialisation), better weapons, DIFFERENT skills (but the same number of skill points), while in-between adventures, outside of magic item creation (not a likely option for low-level characters, and even if yes, it's not like it is great roleplaying fun), all low-level characters have similar stuff to do. Rogues and bards may be ahead here, but that I already admitted.



Not to jump in here too much, but just a couple of point regarding your comments, Sir Giacomo:

Disjunction is most definitely more of a problem for the fighter. You're absolutely right that he is more combat-ready in the round immediately following the disjunction, but both characters are pretty well crippled.


And here is the first mistake IMO, shown in my post above: they are not BOTH pretty well crippled. The cleric is (reduced to being unable to do meaningul high-level combat), the fighter (tossing possibly out 200dmg per round still) is not.



The caster's options for escape, however, are almost undiminished - and he'll be much closer to his original power level once he rebuffs. The fighter's options for exiting the now-unequal combat quickly have just gone up in smoke, and all the drain on him is permanent.


The fighter still got his helm of teleportation with a 2/3 chance, in case exit option is needed. A cleric using word of recall (if he gets a turn at all, since he has really low saves now in fort and reflex, if the disjunction was used with a greater quicken rod), would not be able to come back for a while (has no teleport of his own), leaving his group to the mercy of the opponents, or having lost the encounter if alone (which may be quite significant). If the fighter has been buffed by the cleric beforehand, then he likely has similar chances to survive the disjunction blast, as powerful in combat with his magic items as before.



Secondly, as to the question of the roleplaying purpose at 20th level: in my campaign world, I do have fighter-rulers, yes. I also have two quite contented theocracies and at least one city-state ruled by a mage. Spellcasters have many perfectly good motivations to run a nation, large or small.


Yes of course the others may also rule. I simply showed that it is more common for fighters to be the ruling type and it COULD be an out-of-combat role for them at high level play that others more likely than not do not take.

- Giacomo

greenknight
2007-03-16, 10:28 AM
What would then happen to him if he is hit by a disjunction (for instance, as he moved to within 40ft of the balor, got him with the holy word effect, shrugged of the averse effects himself, got close to CDG and an enemy 17th level arcane spell caster turned up.)

That's a pretty heavy encounter you're proposing. Make that caster 18th level and it's gone from CR 20 to CR 21. And it depends on the enemy going first, which is not guaranteed. At 17th level, the only Arcane class who can cast Disjunction without using a magical item is a Wizard. A Wizard could use the PaO cheese to turn into a Barbed Devil, just like the Cleric, but in this case the Wizard's Intelligence would drop to a base of 12. A Wizard isn't likely to do something like that, which means there's a very real chance that the character will lose Initiative and go second.

That said, if the Wizard goes first and casts Disjunction, then the Cleric's best response is to cast Word of Recall. That could be blocked if the Wizard quickens the Disjunction (through a metamagic rod) and follows up with Dimensional Anchor (this has to be second, or the Disjunction will remove it). But even then, a Dispel Magic from the Cleric (quickened through the rod) followed by Word of Recall would probably work (and with 23 ranks in Spellcraft, it's likely the Cleric would recognise the spells being cast).

The Fighter's in worse shape, since he now has to deal with (I would expect) a fully spellbuffed Wizard, has no means of removing those buffs and has just been crippled by the loss of a lot of magical equipment. Unless your Fighter used a Luck reroll (which necessitates that the Luckblade survived), there's a 35% chance (assuming the Wizard has Intelligence 26 or 27) that the Helm of Teleportation is gone. Even if it's still there, a Dimensional Anchor will stop it from working, and the Fighter has no way to remove that effect. And at that point, the Wizard has the Fighter at his mercy, since his spellbuffs could easily include Overland Flight and Greater Invisibility.

This once again shows the advantage of the Cleric. They can Dispel spell effects and then get out of town if they need to. The Fighter's got a pretty good chance of being stuck in a very nasty situation, and could easily be turned into that Wizard's minion.


AC: 26 (+ 3 DEX, +11 WIS, +2 Unnamed), 26 (touch, ah, btw, the orignal touch ac of 41 is too high since natural armour and enhancement do not count, so the original buffed touch ac is 36, the region of the fighter)/ 23 (flat-footed)

Good call on that one. It's hard sometimes to figure out the various values accurately.


Saves: Fort: +14 (+12 Cleric, +1 Competence, +1 Luck), Reflex + 11 (+6 Cleric, +3 Dex, +1 Competence, +1 Luck), Will + 25 (+12 Cleric, +11 Wis, +1 Competence, +1 Luck)

Since you're assuming no items were lost, there's also a +5 Resistance bonus in there from the Cloak of Resistance +5. Which means the Will save is still +30.


The items in this case were: potion of good hope,

The potion would have been gone at the start of the encounter, but the basic idea is about right. I calculated a Save DC of 27, working off an Intelligence of 26, so about 35% of the items would be lost.


Well, in my view this once again pushes the fighter's usefulness up vs casters at high levels.

The Fighter's hasn't lost as many buffs, but he's in a really bad spot while the Cleric's safely at home.

Rigeld2
2007-03-16, 11:29 AM
And here is the first mistake IMO, shown in my post above: they are not BOTH pretty well crippled. The cleric is (reduced to being unable to do meaningul high-level combat), the fighter (tossing possibly out 200dmg per round still) is not.
Why are you obsessed with the idea that damage is what defines high level combat?

Hint: It isnt.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-16, 11:47 AM
Why are you obsessed with the idea that damage is what defines high level combat?

Hint: It isnt.

Hint: it is.
At such high levels, in particular casters are able to protect themselves with spell resistance and everyone can boost their saves to the stratosphere. So if you use magic, you will likely need indirect spell approaches (summons- in turn dealing damage - , rock to muds, illusions that are difficult to save against, for instance if they are out of range).
However, damage still works, if enough of it is dealt to overcome, say, damage reduction, stoneskin, protection from arrows etc (note that spell buffs/protections now are highly vulnerable to disjunctions! So also at high levels a combined caster/fighter party can shine as intended by the designers).

Battlefield control likewise can help, like walls of force, changing the combat territory in general, time stop to buff (for combat attacks) or likewise manipulate the fight to the outcome or feat approaches with trip builds of the fighter (countered by fly, but magical flight can be dispelled, and there is alway the archer possibility).

However, of these many strategically viable tactics, damage is the most straightforward and continues to be the most useful.
If you do save or die spells, the opponent saves with a certain probability, meaning you achieve NOTHING in a high level combat round. That is quite risky.
If you do non-save spells, spell resistance may still apply, and they are highly restricted (say, the power word spells are dependent on someone dealing DAMAGE before to bring the opponents down into range).

- Giacomo

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-16, 01:45 PM
OK, a short reply to myself - got carried away once again a bit by a provocative question.

The point is, I think, that a completely mixed strategy is good for all kind of levels, but that the role of damage probably diminishes since so many new combat abilities and spells crop up during the adventuring career.
The damage thing is my "obsession" because it was a good strategy vs the balor, or rather, it was THE strategy for the fighter to take it out in 1.5 rounds. Greenknight's cleric did it also in 1.5, eventually also with damage, but the key there was the holyword/time stop combo.
Still, damage is useful also at high levels, pointing out the usefulness of a fighter (or a zilla caster, but that caster could maybe cause more damage summoning creatures rather than buffing himself with several spells- greenknight's build used 5 or 6, if I recall correctly, which are all highly vulnerable to the disjunctions).

Say, a damage dealer cannot do his 200 dmg/round (he also has a miss chance, may have to move, be unable to full atack even with a bow etc.), while a save-or-die spell of 50% chance will work every other round. OR could even work in the same round if a regular standard spell is followed by one more of its kind in a quickened version.

- Giacomo

Marius
2007-03-16, 02:54 PM
OK, a short reply to myself - got carried away once again a bit by a provocative question.

The point is, I think, that a completely mixed strategy is good for all kind of levels, but that the role of damage probably diminishes since so many new combat abilities and spells crop up during the adventuring career.
The damage thing is my "obsession" because it was a good strategy vs the balor, or rather, it was THE strategy for the fighter to take it out in 1.5 rounds. Greenknight's cleric did it also in 1.5, eventually also with damage, but the key there was the holyword/time stop combo.
Still, damage is useful also at high levels, pointing out the usefulness of a fighter (or a zilla caster, but that caster could maybe cause more damage summoning creatures rather than buffing himself with several spells- greenknight's build used 5 or 6, if I recall correctly, which are all highly vulnerable to the disjunctions).

Say, a damage dealer cannot do his 200 dmg/round (he also has a miss chance, may have to move, be unable to full atack even with a bow etc.), while a save-or-die spell of 50% chance will work every other round. OR could even work in the same round if a regular standard spell is followed by one more of its kind in a quickened version.

- Giacomo

Damage is useful but it has a huge limit. Even your fighter that could kill a Balor in 1.5 faces lot's of problems. He can make a LOT of damage pretty quickly and has good defenses. But he has to surprise his target and then win initiative. He also has to be able to see and shoot his target from far away and his target has to be probably alone.
All those conditions are very hard to achieve. While a caster could find the location of his target with magic the fighter can't do that, he has to hire someone to do it for him. And even when you know where is your target, the terrain might make shooting from far away impossible even if your fighter even if he uses items to copy spellcasters mobility.
And finally you face a the bigger problem of all, the target could be already aware of you. Casters can avoid this problems using spells like nondetection, Mind blank, greater invisibility, etc.
Also casters defenses are even better than the non-caster.
So it's important to be able to do more than damage, caster can also do damage if they want to but they have better uses for spells. They can kill a foe with a save or die spell but as Giacomo noted the target can save. But casters usually try to incapacitate the foe before killing it (witch is also another point for them, they can incapacitate if they have to without killing). And they can do that using spells that even come without save.
So damage is good, but not great. Even at 200 damage a round there're creatures that can survive that 1.5 rounds taking all that damage and then you are in trouble.

Variable Arcana
2007-03-17, 03:42 PM
Big picture point:

Remember that the main advantage of a fighter over a wizard, at any level, is that his combat effects are not an expendable resource. Twelve battles into his day, if he's still alive he's still dishing out 200 damage a round. The wizard is reduced to effects he can produce from wands and staves and scrolls by this point, if he hasn't gone home to hide in his Magnificent Mansion.

The wizard *ought* to be stronger in fight #1, if the goal is for them to be balanced over the course of four daily battles -- which is the game-designers' stated goal, is it not?

Getting healing for the fighter is much easier than getting spell-replenishment for the wizard (barring time-altered-genesis cheese).

Small detail point:

But casters usually try to incapacitate the foe before killing it (witch is also another point for them, they can incapacitate if they have to without killing).
Actually... fighters are permitted to deal non-lethal damage if they wish -- with, what, a -4 penalty to hit?

Greendevilman
2007-03-17, 04:37 PM
Big picture point:

Remember that the main advantage of a fighter over a wizard, at any level, is that his combat effects are not an expendable resource. Twelve battles into his day, if he's still alive he's still dishing out 200 damage a round. The wizard is reduced to effects he can produce from wands and staves and scrolls by this point, if he hasn't gone home to hide in his Magnificent Mansion.

The wizard *ought* to be stronger in fight #1, if the goal is for them to be balanced over the course of four daily battles -- which is the game-designers' stated goal, is it not?

Getting healing for the fighter is much easier than getting spell-replenishment for the wizard (barring time-altered-genesis cheese).

Small detail point:

Actually... fighters are permitted to deal non-lethal damage if they wish -- with, what, a -4 penalty to hit?

Not really. Exceptional fighter endurance is largely a myth. Barring the later introduced classes that have nearly unlimited downtime healing (Binders & maybe Crusaders depending on how you feel martial spirit actually works plus some other class I'm likely forgetting) the fighter is actually exactly as limited as the number of spell slots per day the healer is willing/able to use on him. Healing in D&D actually isn't all that efficient until you get up to Heal and thats a 6-7th level spells that gets 150hp max. Assuming you have a Cleric, he can spontaneously convert slots to cure spells but they only heal ~30hp or so (much less than what a fighter can/will take during a single round of combat) and the fighter isn't the only person the Cleric has to worry about healing, nor is the fighter's healing necessarily more important than what could otherwise be done with those slots.* So where is the fighter's healing coming from? He can't easily heal himself since he doesn't have UMD and most magical healing items are expendible charge based items like wands of CLW. If there are magic items shops then the fighter can buy those wands and convince someone to use them on him, but in any case is now actually just as dependent on scrolls/wands as the afforementioned cleric/wizard and the fighter has the disadvantage of not being able to manufacture his own. So no, the fighter isn't still going after 12 battles in a day because either those fights were easy enough that the casters could solve them with their lower level slots or single high level ones or the fighter died 6 fights back when he tried to keep going after the available healing ran out. Hell, trying to push on after the casters are out of spells at higher levels is almost guaranteed death because there are so many problems that a fighter cannot solve (at least without using expensive daily /use items that are far more limited than caster slots) and will kill the party if left unchecked.

With unlimited healing he will keep going forever, but for practical game purposes thats not really any more useful than saying that a Wizard will always win if he's given unlimited time. The one legitimate point is that as long as his HP does remain above zero the fighter never suffers any major decline in efficiency like a caster running out of his higher level slots does, but the counterpoint is that usually a caster with his high level slots is much more powerful than a fighter and its questionable how much of a decline in top end power his consistency is actually worth. Especially given that past a certain point a caster's relevant spells generally go beyond four encounters a day with ease. This is part of the reason I like the Crusader from ToB so darned much as beyond being a much better implementation of a more generic "holy warrior" than the Paladin he's like a crazy energizer battery of consistant damage and self healing (in combat no less) and he really can almost keep up the fighting the whole day.

*This is not to say the fighter or anyone else in the party doesn't deserve to or won't be healed but in all fairness a Cleric really can't be using all of his slots to heal rather than use his awesome utility spells.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-18, 08:23 AM
Hi again,

well, almost 2 days since my last post and only 3 replies- the discussion is cooling off...need to post my 2nd revision fighter soon...
Anyhow, both Variable Arcane (welcome to the thread!) and Greendevilman make good points here.
I guess that at lvl 20 (or any other level excepting, say, 1-5) the casters have enough spells to last them through the average no. of encounters (4/day. So they should be powerful throughout, as the fighter (barring an untimely demise) should be as well, since damage does not prevent the fighter (or the caster) from using his class abilities.
However, if a caster tries also to do zilla tactics, this may change. The problem with zilla tactics is
- the caster risks more damage in meleezilla, upping the need of total healing for the group
- if the caster casts a proportion of his spells for zilla tactics for all four encounters (in particular the quickened/quickened metarod kind), he will have very fews slots left. A situation that may be solved with an Implosion possibly does not need 4-5 buffs beforehand. Plus, the buffs are greatly vulnerable to the mage disjunction spell as outlined above.
- feats like quickdraw may have to go into zilla tactics as well, which may be missing for things like spell focus, greater spell focus, spell penetration and greater spell penetration.

So, it appears as if the caster and fighter should concentrate on different roles, with divine healing going to the fighter (if he needs that) or put into a strategically powerful spell, with the general caster tactics optimal if they use as little spells as possible. From that perspective, greenknight's PolymorphAnyObject into a Barbed devil all the time is a highly efficient buff. Pouring quickened divine favour, quickened divine might, quickened rightuous might, magic weapon, statbooster into a zilla cleric to emulate fighter four times per day is, on the contrast, not a good idea.
Ah, and a fighter may have a means to heal through a ring of regeneration (if he has the money to spare and builds his strategy around it).

- Giacomo

Marius
2007-03-18, 08:51 AM
I guess that at lvl 20 (or any other level excepting, say, 1-5) the casters have enough spells to last them through the average no. of encounters (4/day. So they should be powerful throughout, as the fighter (barring an untimely demise) should be as well, since damage does not prevent the fighter (or the caster) from using his class abilities.

It does not prevent you but fighters can recover own their own (unless they want to spend a little fortune in potions).



However, if a caster tries also to do zilla tactics, this may change. The problem with zilla tactics is
- the caster risks more damage in meleezilla, upping the need of total healing for the group

Like I said before it's a better tactic to kill your enemy faster, the whole group won't take much damage that way. And in any case the group could have bought the cleric a wand to heal them.



- if the caster casts a proportion of his spells for zilla tactics for all four encounters (in particular the quickened/quickened metarod kind), he will have very fews slots left. A situation that may be solved with an Implosion possibly does not need 4-5 buffs beforehand. Plus, the buffs are greatly vulnerable to the mage disjunction spell as outlined above.

The classic mid level buff: Quickened Divine Favor, Divine Power, Rightgerous might. 2 5th level spells and 1 4th level, that's not a lot. Plus remember that not all encounters are fights or can be solved by fighting.
How many times are you going to face a wizard? And how many times will he be able to cast "Mage's Dinjuction"? Plus clerics can use divination spells to find out who are they fighting in case they don't already know. "Oh I'm fighting a black dragon? Buffing up!" He can do whatever he thinks is right, and it doesn't matter if somehow you don't like the tactic of CoDzilla, the point is that they can do it and still be useful.



- feats like quickdraw may have to go into zilla tactics as well, which may be missing for things like spell focus, greater spell focus, spell penetration and greater spell penetration.

As I said before they can do both things and still be better than the fighter. Who cares if they don't have "spell focus" it's not a big deal.



So, it appears as if the caster and fighter should concentrate on different roles, with divine healing going to the fighter (if he needs that) or put into a strategically powerful spell, with the general caster tactics optimal if they use as little spells as possible. From that perspective, greenknight's PolymorphAnyObject into a Barbed devil all the time is a highly efficient buff. Pouring quickened divine favour, quickened divine might, quickened rightuous might, magic weapon, statbooster into a zilla cleric to emulate fighter four times per day is, on the contrast, not a good idea.
Ah, and a fighter may have a means to heal through a ring of regeneration (if he has the money to spare and builds his strategy around it).


I don't agree, clerics are not Cloistered in d&d they have heavy armor and the power to be a CoDzilla so they can use it. You made this topic to prove that they couldn't be as good as a fighter and now you try to change the point by saying that they could to better with their spells.
Magic weapon and magic vestestment last all day so you only need to cast them once and at high levels you won't mind using a quickened divine favor (you can also quicken them using a rod for free!).
But it doesn't matter if you think it's not a good tactic, they can do it and if the player likes to do it what are you going to do? After all playing a fighter is not the right tactic you could much better with a druid or a cleric, so why polay one when you could do better?

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-18, 09:11 AM
I don't agree, clerics are not Cloistered in d&d they have heavy armor and the power to be a CoDzilla so they can use it. You made this topic to prove that they couldn't be as good as a fighter and now you try to change the point by saying that they could to better with their spells.
Magic weapon and magic vestestment last all day so you only need to cast them once and at high levels you won't mind using a quickened divine favor (you can also quicken them using a rod for free!).
But it doesn't matter if you think it's not a good tactic, they can do it and if the player likes to do it what are you going to do? After all playing a fighter is not the right tactic you could much better with a druid or a cleric, so why polay one when you could do better?

Actually I started this whole thread to show that fighters are not useless at high levels, that in fact they fill their niche (combat) at high levels efficiently. What I cautioned against was using many resources for divine caster to make them equivalent to a fighter in pure combat, since that has core rules drawbacks that you keep either ignoring or deeming it too rare to matter (inconsistently, I may add, since you see time stop/shapechange as a valid spell turning up at high levels, but disjunction not). Now do not get me wrong: it is entirely possible to do so, and then in groups/campaigns of those many posters who agreed with you in this thread, there simply won't be any fighters. Actually, that whole class would not exist in your campaigns (neither as opponents), since the logic for players should apply to all npcs as well. Actually, in your campaigns, the average city guard will be a low level cleric instead. Which I think is highly interesting, but also fairly specific...
In my opinion, though, that enters once again the territory of campaign-specific playing styles. I would admit that zilla tactics are not in all campagins a bad idea, but similiarly you should admit that not in ALL cases players who wish to make a character strong at combat should rather take the CoDzilla route.

Probably, we all cannot escape the fact the game has so many possibilities and ways to interpret that it all eventually becomes houseruling.

- Giacomo

Greendevilman
2007-03-18, 09:54 AM
Originally Posted by Sir Giacomo
So, it appears as if the caster and fighter should concentrate on different roles, with divine healing going to the fighter (if he needs that) or put into a strategically powerful spell, with the general caster tactics optimal if they use as little spells as possible. From that perspective, greenknight's PolymorphAnyObject into a Barbed devil all the time is a highly efficient buff. Pouring quickened divine favour, quickened divine might, quickened rightuous might, magic weapon, statbooster into a zilla cleric to emulate fighter four times per day is, on the contrast, not a good idea.
Ah, and a fighter may have a means to heal through a ring of regeneration (if he has the money to spare and builds his strategy around it).


I don't agree, clerics are not Cloistered in d&d they have heavy armor and the power to be a CoDzilla so they can use it. You made this topic to prove that they couldn't be as good as a fighter and now you try to change the point by saying that they could to better with their spells.
Magic weapon and magic vestestment last all day so you only need to cast them once and at high levels you won't mind using a quickened divine favor (you can also quicken them using a rod for free!).
But it doesn't matter if you think it's not a good tactic, they can do it and if the player likes to do it what are you going to do? After all playing a fighter is not the right tactic you could much better with a druid or a cleric, so why polay one when you could do better?

And yeah this is the fundamental problem with the core melee classes, fighter in particular. The Cleric/Druid really *can* do their job just as well if not better past a certain point in the game (levels 5-7 specifically and they arn't too hideously worse before then) and the counter argument always comes down to "well you'd be doing better if you were just focusing on being a caster!" Which quite frankly is often somewhat true (though by no means always) but just underscores the point: Fighters are just not very good when compared to full casters, especially considering that the spellcasters retain at least some of their spellcasting capability even when going full-on CoDzilla. You're essentially arguing that the Cleric is gimping himself to bring himself down to the fighter's level and fufill his role, which the Cleric does essentially just as well except with some extra utility added on top and that that somehow makes them balanced. Sorry, thats pretty much a textbook example of one class being stronger than the other. And if we're looking at a normal party its not like we're choosing between a Cleric who totally forgoes party support to melee and leaves the party bereft of buffs/healing and a party with a Cleric playing support and to a totally sweet fighter; instead we're choosing between a party with all the spellcasting resources of two divine casters and one with a fighter and a cleric. Which generally means that in the first case *both* divine casters can go CoDzilla if they feel like it and still have enough expendable spell resources on a per day basis to fufill the party's other needs. Indeed, the party will be much stronger, because they can have extra copies of vital utility spells like dimensional anchor and useful low level buffs like magic vestment. Metamagic rods (which are reasonably affordable since you'll be getting the medium ones) mean that all those quickened spells are 5th level or lower (unless you memorize extended/whatever versions to spread out the spell slot concentration, which is often wise) which past a certain point (since we've mostly been talking high level here) doesn't even figure into what we think of as a caster's "relevant" spells for high level encounters. And that is the Cleric. Druids basically hang around in persisted CoDzilla form all day and have to use maybe one moderately spell slot for a big fight (Bite of the Wearbear if they can, or one of its lesser cousins), all the moreso now that Wildling Clasps are officially updated to 3.5.

As a sidenote a ring of regeneration isn't a good solution for a fighter. It eats up 1/8 of his wealth by level at level 20 and at level 20 heals a whopping 20hp an hour. Taking five hours to recover 100 of his hp (a reasonable ammount given the damage output of most high level encounters) doesn't exactly seem like a huge time saver as unless the party is on a *very specific* time schedule anything that can wait five hours and actually be handled by a fighter totally without spellcasting backup can probably wait until the following day or at least an extra three hours for the arcanists to get their daily spells back. I don't know what kind of strategy you were going to base around that but unless it involved increasing his wealth by selling off his organs for cash and then regenerating them it probably isn't a good one.

greenknight
2007-03-18, 10:31 AM
I guess that at lvl 20 (or any other level excepting, say, 1-5) the casters have enough spells to last them through the average no. of encounters (4/day.

That's not an average, it's more like a maximum, if you're talking challenging encounters. Assuming characters can go from level 1 to level 20 in just 5 years (which is really not much time at all), that's roughly 270 encounters over a bit more than 1800 days, or about 1 encounter per week. During an adventure, characters might face several challenging encounters in a very short time, but then they will typically go weeks or even months without one.


- the caster risks more damage in meleezilla, upping the need of total healing for the group

If the caster is a Cleric or Druid, that character can provide that healing.


if the caster casts a proportion of his spells for zilla tactics for all four encounters (in particular the quickened/quickened metarod kind), he will have very fews slots left. A situation that may be solved with an Implosion possibly does not need 4-5 buffs beforehand. Plus, the buffs are greatly vulnerable to the mage disjunction spell as outlined above.

They are, but a 20th level Cleric probably has a total of around 65 spell slots (from level 1 - 9) to use up, with 6 of those being 9th level. That's a lot of available slots, and even if a Disjunction removes the buffs, the Cleric can just retreat and try again later. That's sometimes not going to be an option for the Fighter.


feats like quickdraw may have to go into zilla tactics as well, which may be missing for things like spell focus, greater spell focus, spell penetration and greater spell penetration.

None of which are really necessary for the Cleric, as you've seen from my sample Cleric build.


Pouring quickened divine favour, quickened divine might, quickened rightuous might, magic weapon, statbooster into a zilla cleric to emulate fighter four times per day is, on the contrast, not a good idea.

Greater Magic Weapon would last all day, and it's only a 4th level spell. The Cleric should have 8 slots of that level, so it's no big deal to cast it. And not all of those spells would need to be quickened.


Ah, and a fighter may have a means to heal through a ring of regeneration (if he has the money to spare and builds his strategy around it).

A Ring of Regeneration is nice, but it's very expensive at 90,000 gp, and even then it's no substitute for a Cleric. When worn by a 20th level character, it can restore a maximum of 480hp, with no more than 20hp restored per hour. A 15th level Cleric could do better than that in less than 30 seconds (casting 3 Heals and a Cure Critical Wounds). A 20th level caster could even use Mass Heal to heal 250 hp for each member of a group with a single casting (using a Bead of Karma and an Orange Ioun stone).

What it comes down to is who can offer more. If you have a group of three looking for a fourth member who they want to fill the Tank role, who do they choose? A Fighter, who might be a good Tank but can't offer much else, or a Cleric (or Druid) who can fill the Tank role just as well as the Fighter but also cast a lot of party useful spells?

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-18, 10:48 AM
Hi,

yes I admit, the ring of regeneration would be nonsense to have in a group with magical healing (ah greendevilman, how I laughed about the organ trade idea in this case...). If the fighter is on his own, he could devote 1/8 of his wealth for this purpose and than develop his whole tactics around a war of attirition vs his opponents (shoot two full rounds of arrows after winning initiative, being hit himself, retreat, regenerate 5 hrs, come back before enemy can relearn spells etc....but for such a strategy you'll probably have zillions of counterstrategies by casters, the obvious one being divine healing...but it COULD wear down a caster over time, if he does not teleport away altogether...)

Turning back to the original thread, and what I already admitted from the very start: at high levels, casters are way more powerful than fighters, roughly the same for combat effectiveness but out-of-combat healing, research, range spells, teleport, morph and what have you make them much more powerful. I believe I was able to illustrate that there are quite a few drawbacks for the casters to make it still useful to play a fighter at high levels, and much more useful as well to play him at low levels (when the casters do not outshine him).
Now I already highlighted in my response to Marius that IF you believe that casters are way more powerful in the game, that clerics are much better than fighters in almost everything (which I think comes from ignoring the many drawbacks), then it is a logical conclusion that in your campaigns, all fighters will be replaced by clerics. And all npc warriors by adepts.
Now, one could say that the ONLY requirement for a cleric which would prevent a mass entry into churches/own deity/non-deity worshippers in your campaigns is that average guys have average scores, so a WIS of 10 or 11, barring the use of lvl2& above spells. So for them it MAY BE more alluring to become fighters.
However, once aging modifiers are taken into account, the average guy will have WIS 13-14 in his high age, which is more than enough to make being a cleric worthwhile, since most npcs are likely below the 9th level area, anyhow (in particular since the phsysical stats get lower with old age, making the fighter even less attractive).

It is consistency like this one (much the same as the advantage of non-deity clerics over deity clerics) which, in my eyes, point to the designers having really meant what they intended by putting in those drawbacks into the rules...

- Giacomo

Marius
2007-03-18, 04:39 PM
Hi,
Now I already highlighted in my response to Marius that IF you believe that casters are way more powerful in the game, that clerics are much better than fighters in almost everything (which I think comes from ignoring the many drawbacks), then it is a logical conclusion that in your campaigns, all fighters will be replaced by clerics. And all npc warriors by adepts.
Now, one could say that the ONLY requirement for a cleric which would prevent a mass entry into churches/own deity/non-deity worshippers in your campaigns is that average guys have average scores, so a WIS of 10 or 11, barring the use of lvl2& above spells. So for them it MAY BE more alluring to become fighters.
However, once aging modifiers are taken into account, the average guy will have WIS 13-14 in his high age, which is more than enough to make being a cleric worthwhile, since most npcs are likely below the 9th level area, anyhow (in particular since the phsysical stats get lower with old age, making the fighter even less attractive).

It is consistency like this one (much the same as the advantage of non-deity clerics over deity clerics) which, in my eyes, point to the designers having really meant what they intended by putting in those drawbacks into the rules...

- Giacomo

Or you can nerf the clerics taking away the heavy armor proficiency, giving them more skill points and changing some spells, banning some others, while you give the fighters more skill points a few more class skills and a special ability every few levels.

And non-deities clerics have no drawback in the rules.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-18, 05:14 PM
Or you can nerf the clerics taking away the heavy armor proficiency, giving them more skill points and changing some spells, banning some others, while you give the fighters more skill points a few more class skills and a special ability every few levels.


Hmmm, this is definitely houseruling and I believe it's not necessary. But you know that already, I guess...:smallsmile: Still, it's a possibility, but it may overly depress clerics at low levels...(difficult to calibrate)



And non-deities clerics have no drawback in the rules.


And I still believe they do...since magic is vulnerable, and needs to be refreshed. Feats as extraordinary abilities cannot be countered or dispelled and do not need re-learning. In fact, their duration is: permanent. If a Fighter is disarmed/loses his weapon, he has backup (other weapons), while a stolen holy symbol/material components (needs only a DC 20 sleight-of-hand) at every level can be quite devastating as well.
At the very high levels, this can be taken care of by the great many and mighty spells, but there are also new threats (like the mage's disjunction, but the a simple silence also works wonders still, and feeblemind vs arcane casters...I guess I should really start a new thread on caster weaknesses. Not to make a point for balance of the game, but to use as tools for DM if pcs get out of hand, or for pcs to counter enemy spell caster tactics).

- Giacomo

Marius
2007-03-18, 06:16 PM
Hmmm, this is definitely houseruling and I believe it's not necessary. But you know that already, I guess...:smallsmile: Still, it's a possibility, but it may overly depress clerics at low levels...(difficult to calibrate)

Of course I do know that doing those changes is houseruling, unlike you I don't mind to say when I houserule. The cleric in the party (now 6th level) is almost outshining everyone but because his just damn lucky (great stats, great rolls in combat). I don't have any fighters in the group but I have a melee paladin (I gave him special abilities too) and he does alright, like all paladins his saves are huge.



And I still believe they do...since magic is vulnerable, and needs to be refreshed. Feats as extraordinary abilities cannot be countered or dispelled and do not need re-learning. In fact, their duration is: permanent. If a Fighter is disarmed/loses his weapon, he has backup (other weapons), while a stolen holy symbol/material components (needs only a DC 20 sleight-of-hand) at every level can be quite devastating as well.
At the very high levels, this can be taken care of by the great many and mighty spells, but there are also new threats (like the mage's disjunction, but the a simple silence also works wonders still, and feeblemind vs arcane casters...I guess I should really start a new thread on caster weaknesses. Not to make a point for balance of the game, but to use as tools for DM if pcs get out of hand, or for pcs to counter enemy spell caster tactics).

- Giacomo

All magic users have those drawbacks and all classes have similar drawbacks. Sleight of hand forces a spot check so it's no so easy, in any case a cleric could have many holy symbols since they are very cheap, same goes for component pouches, any good caster will have at least 5 (and you won't know where).
I really don't have to tell you again that fighters are more vunerable to spells than casters. The same guy that can cast "Feeblemind" can also cast Solid Fog+Cloudkill and the list goes on and on.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-18, 06:31 PM
All magic users have those drawbacks and all classes have similar drawbacks. Sleight of hand forces a spot check so it's no so easy, in any case a cleric could have many holy symbols since they are very cheap, same goes for component pouches, any good caster will have at least 5 (and you won't know where).


Oh, at high levels, in the hands of a masterthief rogue, the skill is quite devastating. The spot check is unnecessary, a rogue coming up to the spellcaster does not care about whether the caster notices him robbing blind or not (the DC remains the same, at 20, for getting an item). And he can. If he wants to rob a single item as a free action, he just takes -20 to it, which for a powerful rogue should be doable (maxed skill ranks, skill focus, bluff synergy, and high DEX bonus). This way, he can actually full attack for sneaks while robbing the caster blind.



I really don't have to tell you again that fighters are more vunerable to spells than casters. The same guy that can cast "Feeblemind" can also cast Solid Fog+Cloudkill and the list goes on and on.


Hmm, that combo is strong, but the above example fighter would either simply move through it (since he has a ring of freedom of movement) or teleport away. Or force the caster to teleport away in counterattack with a simple opening of his eversmoking bottle, since he can no longer target the fighter (who has blind-fighting to boost). But you are right, this thing can go on and on. My point is that the casters should have an edge over the fighters when it comes to the number of tactics/countertactics, but it is likely balanced due to the various factors I outlined. And the fighters are far from helpless, as the many non-spell countertactics I outlined probably illustrated. Ah, and the mighty wall of forces/force cages will no longer work vs a fighter intelligent enough to get a rod of cancellation for 11,000 gp (the next fighter revision will have one).

- Giacomo

Thoughtbot360
2007-03-18, 06:32 PM
OMG! The thread is reaching critical mass! SHE'S GONNA BLOW!

Marius
2007-03-18, 06:57 PM
Oh, at high levels, in the hands of a masterthief rogue, the skill is quite devastating. The spot check is unnecessary, a rogue coming up to the spellcaster does not care about whether the caster notices him robbing blind or not (the DC remains the same, at 20, for getting an item). And he can. If he wants to rob a single item as a free action, he just takes -20 to it, which for a powerful rogue should be doable (maxed skill ranks, skill focus, bluff synergy, and high DEX bonus). This way, he can actually full attack for sneaks while robbing the caster blind.

It seems that you didn't read the whole "they have many hidden component pouches" part of my post. And I don't have to tell you how wizards are not easy to surprise.



Hmm, that combo is strong, but the above example fighter would either simply move through it (since he has a ring of freedom of movement) or teleport away. Or force the caster to teleport away in counterattack with a simple opening of his eversmoking bottle, since he can no longer target the fighter (who has blind-fighting to boost).

The wizard can pull that combo at level 9th when the fighter can't even buy a ring of freedom even if he sells everything he has to buy one. The eversmoking bottle is not cheap but in any case the wizard could just DD up (if he can't fly he still has feather fall) and hit you with an area spell (again like cloudkill), your archer probably won't have a big constitution so he'll die pretty fast. Also he can't get away since a Helm of teleportation is also pretty expensive.



But you are right, this thing can go on and on. My point is that the casters should have an edge over the fighters when it comes to the number of tactics/countertactics, but it is likely balanced due to the various factors I outlined. And the fighters are far from helpless, as the many non-spell countertactics I outlined probably illustrated. Ah, and the mighty wall of forces/force cages will no longer work vs a fighter intelligent enough to get a rod of cancellation for 11,000 gp (the next fighter revision will have one).


Hope that the rod survives the several disnjuctions. Remember that non-casters depend a lot on items.

greenknight
2007-03-18, 07:29 PM
Hmmm, this is definitely houseruling and I believe it's not necessary. But you know that already, I guess...:smallsmile: Still, it's a possibility, but it may overly depress clerics at low levels...(difficult to calibrate)

The Cloistered Cleric (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantCharacterClasses.htm#clericVariantCloistere dCleric) has been suggested a few times as a lower powered alternative to the regular Cleric. The problem is, at higher levels, this makes CZilla even more powerful with the right Domains unless you remove Divine Power from the Cleric's spell list.


while a stolen holy symbol/material components (needs only a DC 20 sleight-of-hand) at every level can be quite devastating as well.

Yes, but a caster can have backups too, and a holy symbol and Spell component pouch are usually a lot cheaper than a weapon - particularly a magical weapon. And if a magical weapon is stolen, confiscated or destroyed, it's harder to replace than a mundane holy symbol or pouch.


there are also new threats (like the mage's disjunction, but the a simple silence also works wonders still, and feeblemind vs arcane casters...

Disjunction allows a Will save to prevent the loss of magical items. A Divine caster nearly always has one of the best Will saves in the game, so they are usually going to do much better than a Fighter there. Yes, they will lose their spellbuffs, but those can be re-applied with little or no cost. An Arcane caster tends not to have such a good Will save, but usually it's still better than a Fighter's since that is their Good save. And everything I said about Disjunction also applies to Silence, since it allows a Will save to negate. At best, you might stop the caster from casting spells for 1 round as the character moves out of the area of effect of the spell.

Feeblemind is the anti-caster spell, although it does work best against Arcane casters. But the thing about that is that unless it's cast from a magical item (usually a scroll through the UMD skill or a Cleric with the Magic Domain), it requires a Sorcerer or Wizard to cast it (or some monster with Feeblemind as a spell-like ability). If you need a spellcaster to beat a spellcaster, then you might be able to beat a character but you are still demonstrating the power of the class, not a weakness of it. On the other hand, I could demonstrate the Sorcerer or Wizard's superiority by saying they can cast the Dominate Person or Dominate Monster spell to turn a typical Barbarian or Fighter into a loyal ally because these classes tend to have poor Will saves.

In terms of Saving Throws, I believe Fortitude and Will are the most important, since that's where you'll find all of the Save or Die type spells. Clerics and Druids tend to do ok with their Good Fortitude and Will save progression, and they also have good reason to boost their Constitution and Wisdom scores, making it even better for them. Fighters do very well with Fortitude, but most have poor Will saves, making them quite vulnerable in that area. Sorcerers and Wizards tend to do worst in the Save category. While they do have a good Will save progression, there's little real incentive to boost Wisdom. And while they do have good reason to boost Constitution, their Fort save progression is poor. But if they can survive to the higher levels, their spell selections allow them to overcome some of those problems (Mind Blank is one of the best spells in the game, IMO).


Hmm, that combo is strong, but the above example fighter would either simply move through it (since he has a ring of freedom of movement) or teleport away.

A quickened Dimensional Anchor (or Dimensional Lock) followed by a Forcecage (barred version) traps the Fighter. Follow up with Cloudkill, casting a second time if necessary. It's expensive and a little time consuming, but it gets the job done, and the caster can stay in total cover for nearly the entire time. If a character doesn't have access to a high caster level version of Dispel Magic (to get rid of the Dimensional Anchor/Lock), or some way to remove the Forcecage, he or she is doomed.

greenknight
2007-03-18, 07:55 PM
Hope that the rod survives the several disnjuctions. Remember that non-casters depend a lot on items.

A Rod of Cancellation is a single use item, so unless the character has obtained a lot of them, you could try another casting of the spell. For best results, use a heightened Hideous Laughter first to stop the character from using any items for a while. If you don't know what capabilities your foe has, maximizing Irresistable Dance (through a metamagic rod) and delivering it with Spectral Hand is usually a lower risk option.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-18, 08:17 PM
It seems that you didn't read the whole "they have many hidden component pouches" part of my post. And I don't have to tell you how wizards are not easy to surprise.


They do not need to be surprised. If they're there within 60ft of a speeded rogue (and it's quite easy for a rogue to remain undetected), or in the middle of a fight, the rogue walks up and robs. It does not matter if the stuff his hidden, although I'd houserule that the rogue would have to do spot checks opposed by the sleight-of-hand checks of the cleric who hid the stuff on his body.



The wizard can pull that combo at level 9th when the fighter can't even buy a ring of freedom even if he sells everything he has to buy one. The eversmoking bottle is not cheap but in any case the wizard could just DD up (if he can't fly he still has feather fall) and hit you with an area spell (again like cloudkill), your archer probably won't have a big constitution so he'll die pretty fast. Also he can't get away since a Helm of teleportation is also pretty expensive.


Hmmm, at 9th level, a wizard cannot cast a 4th level and a 5th level spell in one round (a normal rod of quicken costs more even than the ring of freedom of movement). And even if he were somehow able to, in those interim levels a cape of the mountebank can jump in to get a fighter out of tight situations.
And I'd like to see a spell with more than 20ft radius to catch a fighter moving within the smoke of the bottle (which I did not maintain was cheap, that was in a post long ago referring to a 20th level build). But flying out of the smoke is a good idea, I admit (but the caster will remain in the cloud for a round since flying up has only half speed, unless he already at the fly in effect. Plus, in a typical dungeon the caster would be in big trouble).




Hope that the rod survives the several disnjuctions. Remember that non-casters depend a lot on items.


All of a sudden there are several disjunciton flying around per encounter? And before it was reduced to quite a rare event? Seems a bit inconsistent. But anyhow, the key to an equipment-heavy character to get through that is having a high will save. Even the current revised fighter will be able to save in 2/3 of the times, remaining a formidable opponent, while the cleric is out of direct combat options after being disjuncted (although still able to cast strong attack spells).

@greenknight: the force spells will not work against a fighter with a 11,000 gp rod of cancellation (which is not used up touching a wall/force cage, read the item description- the draining effect using it up only refers to items it touched). Otherwise, I notice from your comments that a fighter really has to have a high will save to block many spell attacks. Will think on that.

- Giacomo

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-18, 08:26 PM
For best results, use a heightened Hideous Laughter first to stop the character from using any items for a while. If you don't know what capabilities your foe has, maximizing Irresistable Dance (through a metamagic rod) and delivering it with Spectral Hand is usually a lower risk option.

Now hideous laughter is quite powerful, if heightened similiar to domination (so why not use that, it has a more foolproof effect?*). Will have a similiar will save.
Irresistable dance has only touch range (which an archer will want to avoid, anyhow, also due to many holy words and power words flying around). Spectral hand only works up to 4th level.

- Giacomo

*Edit: plus, heightening spells burns a feat

greenknight
2007-03-18, 08:51 PM
Now hideous laughter is quite powerful, if heightened similiar to domination (so why not use that, it has a more foolproof effect?).

It's an alternative to Dominate Monster which works on any type of creature (provided they can be affected by mind affecting spells at all), although there is a better save in many cases. By heightening it, you can make it a good general purpose disabling spell and fit it into just about any spell slot you want. I don't like Dominate Person as much because even though it would work in this case, it's range of targets is very limited.


Irresistable dance has only touch range (which an archer will want to avoid, anyhow, also due to many holy words and power words flying around). Spectral hand only works up to 4th level.

You're right, I noticed the level limit for Spectral Hand too late. I guess the best way for this would be a maximized Time Stop (through a Rod of Metamagic), followed by True Strike (on the 5th round) then a touch attack.


the force spells will not work against a fighter with a 11,000 gp rod of cancellation (which is not used up touching a wall/force cage, read the item description- the draining effect using it up only refers to items it touched)

I'm not certain of that, but I don't see anything specific which states that ending a spell effect will drain it, so I'll accept your interpretation.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-22, 10:43 PM
At long last,....

FIGHTER BUILD, 2nd revision

Human Fighter 20, 32-point buy
STR 14, DEX 28, CON 14, INT 12, WIS 28, CHR 8
(DEX and WIS raised with stat gains, +6 enhancements, and the respective tome and manual- see below).
FEATS (19; 1 human, 11 fighter, 7 levels).
General block (5): Improved Initiative, Quickdraw, Blind-Fight, Leadership, Iron Will
Archery Block (9): Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Far Shot, Improved Critical-Comp.Longbow, Weapon Focus-Comp.Longbow, Greater Weapon Focus-Comp.Longbow, Weapon Specialisation-Comp.Longbow, Greater Weapon Specialisation-Comp.Longbow, Manyshot.
Melee block (5): Power Attack, Improved Unarmed Strike, Stunning Fist, Weapon Finesse, Two-Weapon Fighting.
EQUIPMENT (760,000 gp,758,345 spent)
General: Boots of Speed (12,000), Handy Haversack (2,000), with 2 Potions each of Good Hope, Invisibility, Cure Serious Wounds (4,200), 1 Potion of Greater Magic Fang +3 (1,800), Rod of Cancellation (11,000), Eversmoking Bottle (5,400), Gloves of Dexterity +6 (36,000), Periapt of Wisdom +6 (36,000), Manual of Quickness of Action +4 (110,000), Tome of Understanding +5 (137,500), Monk’s Belt (13,000), Ring of Protection +3 (18,000), Ring of Freedom of Movement (40,000), Cloak of Resistance +5 (25,000), Helm of Teleportation (73,500), Robe of Blending (30,000).
Archery: 2 Oathbows (51,200), Greater Bracers of Archery (25,000), 50 Cold Iron Arrows, Holy, Bane-EvilOutsiders (38,350), also enough money left for plenty of other silver/adamantine arrows as needed.
Melee: Sun Blade (50,335), Scabbard of Keen Edges (16,000)-
HITPOINTS: 164
Initiative: +13 (DEX +9, Improved Initiative). This means 84% chance of winning initiative vs a balor due to the luck blade re-roll.
SAVES: Fort +20, Reflex +21, Will +23 (all saves are modified by a +1 luck bonus and a +5 resistance bonus)
AC: 33 (DEX +9, Monk’s Belt +10 –WIS+9, AC+1-, Ring of Protection +3, Haste from Boots of Speed +1), Touch AC 33, Flat-Footed 23, if fighting defensively AC 36 (also touch)
SKILLS (92 skill points): Spot maxed to +19 (20ranks x-class), Hide maxed to +29 (with robe, 20ranks x-class), Spellcraft maxed to +11 (20ranks x-class), Intimidate maxed to +19 (20 ranks), Tumble +16 (5 ranks x-class, jump synergy, DEX), Jump +9 (5 ranks, tumble synergy, STR), climb +3 (1 rank, STR).
ATTACKS/RANGED:
+36 (BAB +20, +9 DEX, +2 Enhance, +2 feats, +2 competence, +1 Haste), Rapid Shot +34/+34/+34/+29/+24/+19 (up to 165ft). Manyshot (PointBlankRange) +29/+29/+29/+29. Damage: 1d8+9 (STR+2, Enhance +2, Competence +1, +4 WeaponSpecialisations). At point blank range 1d8+10.
Attacks vs a balor with cold iron bane, holy arrows (and oathbow function adding +5 enhance with bane, +2 potion of good hope, -2 for distance/320 ft): +39/+39/+39/+34/+29/+24. Damage: 1d8+6d6+16 (add bane 2d6, +5 more enhance with bane, sworn enemy +2d6, +2 potion of good hope). AVERAGE DAMAGE per Surprise round and Initiative Round (assuming won Initiative and surprise): 7 arrows, for a total of 298 damage (including criticals expected value at 19, with oathbow at x4!). An Unholy Aura up beforehand should mean only 6 arrows hitting, resulting only in 253 damage.
Manyshot at +36/+36/+36/+36. At point blank range damage 1d8+6d6+17. AVERAGE DAMAGE per Manyshot including criticals expected value at 19: 182. Teleport within 30ft of balor, do a standard action manyshot in surprise round, win initiative round doing another manyshot= 384 damage. Here, even an unholy aura does not help.
ATTACKS/MELEE
+32 (BAB+20, +9 DEX, +2 Enhance, +1 Haste). With two-weapon fighting with unarmed strike and potion of good hope vs an evil opponent: +34/+34/+29/+24/+19 (sun blade becomes +4 enhance), +33 the off-hand unarmed strike with potion of greater magic fang +3 (stunning fist at fort. DC 29)..
Vs a balor, this means teleporting near, hitting once in surprise round with stunning fist attack at +27, after deducting 8 for power attack (1d8+15 damage to safely overcome damage reduction), hitting for stun (Fortitude DC 29). Then, in won initiative round, power attack +9 attack again first with stun (+24, 1d8+15 damage, fort DC 29), then, if likely having stunned balor after this second attempt, attack vs AC 28 with +28/+28/+23/+18/+13 for each 1d10+27 damage (STR +3, enhance +4, good hope +2, +18 power attack). Totaling around (assuming four hits with sun blade and on average 4 damage going through with unarmed strike) 134 damage. Full attack next round, with once again stunning fist. Another 134 damage. Repeat (if successful, this fighter can do 6 stunning attacks per day).
Using both the sun blade and the luck blade in two-weapon-fighting combat is also an option, barring the use of stunning fist, but possibly allowing more damage due to the higher critical range and enhancement bonus of the short sword.

Some points of note:
- this build is even more resilient to magic attacks, due to the better will save. If boosted by a +4 morale effect from heroism or bardic music, as well as spell protection and a endurance potion/spell, this could go up to saves of Fort +27, Reflex +28, Will +30, practically rendering useless magical attacks of a balor save on a natural “1”, and also resisting most of the time high-level disjunctions. Force Walls and Cages are rendered useless by a quickdrawed rod of cancellation. On its own, the build manages a potion-led Fort +22, Reflex +23 and Will +25.
- The melee capability is no longer strong enough to guarantee a balor takeout in 1.5 rounds, but it is still highly efficient, also vs other opponents, in particular the stunning fist feat at DC 29 should pose problems to most monsters and npcs. Plus, it has excellent synergy with rogues in the party, even vs uncanny dodge opponents!
- Manyshot should be the melee/closed range tactics for this build in many cases. Note that the two oathbows make two different sworn enemies possible at any time (watch out cumulative penalities, though!) and help provide a backup vs successful sundering/disarms.
- The leadership cohort could well be a 15th level bard (giving +3 morale bonuses instead of +2 in the potion), or cleric, or wizard (providing access to spells up to 8th level, including spell protection and heroism/greater heroism, as well as other buffs).
- Vs Undead, the sun blade should have devastating effects, saving most of the holy bane arrows for hitting at balors/demons/devils, depending on the campaign. In fact, the sun blade is quite expensive compared to a +3 holy greatsword, but allows to add DEX to hit (and thus deduct from DEX bonus for double power attack as the only weapon in the game)
- The archery OR melee abilities may be emulated by cleric and bard builds who are more limited in feats, but have greater spell/buffing ability (so they may save some of the stat boosting equipment).
- Different races like halfling (gives +1 save, gets +4 touch AC, +1 to ranged attacks, +2 DEX, for -2 penalities in STR, smaller weapon and ranges, one less feat, less skills (but bonus to hide!), or the already discussed elves can offer interesting variants.

- Giacomo

greenknight
2007-03-23, 03:15 AM
At long last,....

FIGHTER BUILD, 2nd revision

Once again, an interesting and unusual approach to the Fighter class. It looks like an effective combat build, although I'm not sure if those magical buffs would be dispelled by Disjunction prior to making the Will saves. That said, the point of the argument here is that full spellcasting classes can be equally effective in combat and do other things as well.

With that in mind, I'll link to my Cleric build (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2155416&postcount=182) for a side-by-side comparison. When I get time, I'll post a revised Cleric here which features a few other ideas I've been toying with.

EDIT: The original Cleric build I created still holds up fairly well, but further discussion has shown a few areas where it can be improved. So here's a revised version which includes a few of those improvements. I haven't built this character specifically to fight a Balor because I want to emphasise the versatility of a full caster over a Fighter. In fact, the only Balor specific items I've included are the cold iron sling bullets and the cold iron scythe, which cost 37gp between them. This character also has weapons of adamantine and silver, as well as at least one slashing, bludgeoning or piercing weapon, to help overcome different types of DR.

I'm making the same basic assumptions for this Cleric build as I did with the previous one.

Human Cleric 20. 760,000gp,
32 Point Buy. Stats: Initial / Magical Items + Level / Buffed (adding long term buffs only)
STR 14 / 14 / 23 ; DEX 10 / 16 (+6 enhancement) / 29 (23 long term, +6 Enhancement); CON 10 / 10 / 23 (23 long term) ; INT 14 / 14 / 12 (long term); WIS 16 / 32 (+5 inherent, +5 level, +6 enhancement) / 32; CHA 14 / 14 / 14;
Initiative: +13 (+9 Dex, Improved Init)
Movement:: 30' per round normal, 60' per round (hasted)
TN Alignment, worships Boccob (Domains Magic and Trickery). Channels Negative energy.
AC: 44 (+9 Dex, +11 Wis, +13 Natural, +1 unnamed) / 31 (Touch) / 35 (Flat Footed).
Potential Additional Modifiers:
* +5 unnamed if holding Defending Scimitar and all bonus goes to defence
* +5 Enhancement if Magic Vestment spell cast (maximum duration 50 hours)
* +5 Deflection if Shield of Faith spell cast (maximum duration 50 minutes)
* +2 Enhancment to Natural Armor if Righteous Might spell cast (maximum duration 50 rounds)
* -1 Size modifier to AC if Righteous Might spell cast (maximum duration 50 rounds)
* +2 Dodge if fighting defensively.
* +1 Dodge if Haste cast (maximum duration 5 rounds, or 10 if I can Extend it)

The maximum AC values are: 63 / 44 (Touch - 43 with Righteous Might active) / 52 (Flat Footed). The bonus from the Scimitar and Magic Vestment would be active nearly all the time.
HP: 210
SR: 0 (up to 36 with buffs)
Saves: Fort: 25 (+12 Cleric, +5 Resistance, +6 Con, +1 Competence, +1 Luck), Reflex + 22 (+6 Cleric, +5 Resistance, +9 Dex, +1 Competence, +1 Luck; additional +1 Dodge from Haste not counted), Will + 30 (+12 Cleric, +5 Resistance, +11 Wis, +1 Competence, +1 Luck; additional +1 Morale from Heroes' Feast not counted)
Attack Bonus: BAB +15.
Potential Modifiers (others are also possible):
* +3 Luck (Divine Favor, max duration 2 minutes)
* +5 Enhancement (Greater Magic Weapon, max duration 50 hours)
* +5 BAB (+1 attack per full attack), +6 Enhancement Strength, +24 HP (Divine Power, max duration 50 rounds)
* +4 Size Strength, +2 Size Constitution (+20 HP, +1 Fort save), +2 Enhancement (Natural Armor), DR 9/Good, 10' Reach (Righteous Might, max duration 50 rounds)
* -1 Size to Attack and AC (Righteous Might)
* +1 unnamed to Attack, +1 attack per full attack, +1 Dodge to AC and Reflex, +30 feet/round Enhancement bonus (Haste, max duration 5 rounds, or 10 with metamagic)
* +1 Morale (Heroes' Feast, max duration 24 hours)
* -2 unnamed if Rapid Shot used.
* Up to -20 to attack in melee if Power Attack used in conjunction with Righteous Might.

In melee, we have a maximum attack bonus of +40 (+15 BAB, +6 base Str, +19 buffs), with 2 extra attacks on a full attack and +19 damage per hit (+24 when using a two handed weapon).
For Ranged attacks, the maximum attack bonus is +39 (+15 BAB, +9 base Dex, +14 buffs, +1 Point Blank Shot), with an extra 2 attacks per round and +20 damage per hit. We probably won't use Point Blank Shot and will use Rapid Shot, so add 1 attack per round, subtract 3 from the attack bonus and subtract 1 from the damage.

After these modifiers are applied, on a full attack we have:
Melee: +40/+40/+35/+30/+25 (minimum +19 damage per hit, +24 using a two handed weapon).
Note: We can reduce the attack bonus and increase damage if Power Attack is used. If the defending scimitar is used, we have a threat range of 15 - 20, but might decrease the attack bonus by 5 if we use it's defending ability to the fullest.
Ranged (with Rapid Shot): +36/+36/+36/+31/+26/+21 (+19 damage per hit)
Feats 8 (7 level, +1 Human): Power Attack, Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Weapon Proficiency (Longbow), Quickdraw, Improved Initiative, Weapon Prof (Scimitar), Quicken Spell. (Due to the Sling only being able to be used once per round, changed to Longbow).
Skills (115 points). Note: All skills add at least 1 Competence (Ioun stone) and 1 Luck (Luckstone). Skills based on Str, Dex, Con, Int and Cha can usually be boosted through spells if necessary. Hide 23 ranks (+9 Dex, +10 Competence, +1 Luck = 43 – class skill thanks to Trickery. Add up to 20 when invisible), Knowledge: Religion 10 ranks (+ 1 Int, + 1 Competence, +1 Luck), Knowledge: The Planes 13 ranks (+ 1 Int, + 1 Competence, +1 Luck), Diplomacy 23 ranks (+2 Cha, + 1 Competence, + 1 Luck), Concentration 23 ranks (+6 Con, + 1 Competence, + 1 Luck), Spellcraft 23 ranks (+1 Int, + 1 Competence, +1 Luck)

Magical/Significant Items (760,000 gp available, 755,000 used – approx)
45,000 Strand of Prayer Beads (regular minus Bead of Smiting, x5)
36,000 Periapt of Wisdom +6
36,000 Gloves of Dexterity +6
137,500 Tome of Understanding +5
13,000 Monk's Belt
12,700 Ring of Chameleon Power
20,000 Ring of Invisibility
25,000 Cloak of Resistance +5
3,000 Rod of Metamagic: Extend (Lesser)
11,000 Rod of Metamagic: Extend (Normal)
151,000 Rod of Metamagic: Quicken Spell (Normal, x2)
11,000 Rod of Cancellation
30,000 Ioun Stone (Orange - +1 Caster Level)
30,000 Ioun Stone (Pale Green - +1 Competence to attack, save, skill and ability checks)
20,000 Stone of Good Luck (+1 Luck to saves, ability and skill checks)
44,120 Luckblade (reroll 2/day)
11,250 Wand of Haste (50 cha, 5 rnds/use)
11,250 Wand of Fly (50 cha, 5 mins/use)
15,300 Scroll of Time Stop (x2)
150 Scroll of See Invisibility
150 Darkvision
2,000 Handy Haversack
1,800 Efficient Quiver
36 Cold Iron Scythe
21,315 Adamantine Scimitar (+3 effect) +1, Keen, Defending
18,405 Morningstar (+3 effect) +1, Ghost Touch, Bane (Undead)
8,405 Silver Scimitar (+2 effect) +1, Spell Storing
19,500 Composite Longbow (+3 effect) +1, Distance, Merciful, +11 Strength
600 Adamantine Arrows (10)
41 Silver Sling Bullets (20)
6 Cold Iron Sling Bullets (60)
50 Scroll of True Strike (2)
50 Continual Flame
20,250 Scroll of Permanency

Save DC: 10 + Spell Level + 11 (unless otherwise stated). DC 30 vs 9th level.
Effective Caster Level: 24
Spells (6 / 8+1 / 8 +1 / 8 + 1 / 7 + 1 / 7 + 1 / 6 + 1 / 6 + 1 / 5 + 1 / 5 + 1)
Refer to my previous Cleric build for a few of the more interesting spells this character can use.

Long Term Buffs:

A Long Term Buff is defined as something which could have been cast at least 6 hours prior to battle. However, the first long term buffs discussed here could have been cast several days or even weeks prior to combat, and therefore are not counted as part of the spells used per day.

Start by casting Polymorph Any Object on Self to become an Angel (Planetar). This is a Same Kingdom polymorph, but everything else is different so it will only last 12 hours. Intelligence jumps to 22, making it easy to cast Darkvision, See Invisibility and 2x Permanency with no chance of spell failure (the Magic Domain allows the character to be treated as a 10th level Wizard for the purpose of using scrolls and wands). The character can now permanently see in the dark, and invisibility won't hide any foe in sight range. These buffs aren't necessary to fight the Balor, but they increase the character's general capability. Now wait a day and re-cast Polymorph Any Object, this time turning into a Barbed Devil. Use the Ring of Chameleon Power to disguise yourself as a Human (now people who see your illusion think you're a Human, and people who cast True Seeing will also see you as a Human). Activate the Ring of Invisibility to prevent most people from seeing you at all.

The following buffs last 50 hours if you cast them using a Bead of Karma and use a Rod of Metamagic: Extend (two Rods, so that means you can extend 6 spells). You could cast all of these spells the day before the battle:

* Nondetection
* Magic Vestment
* Greater Magic Weapon (on the Composite Longbow, Adamantine Scimitar and Scythe)
* Delay Poison (delays the effects of poison for the duration of the spell, allowing the character to cast Neutralize Poison at a convenient time)

Doing that would mean the Cleric still has the benefit of those buffs, but the spell slots and Rod uses have been refreshed overnight. A Disjunction would remove these effects, but since your effective Caster Level is 25 when you cast these spells, even a Greater Dispel Magic (with a maximum +20 to the modifier) will leave most of them intact.

Cast Heroes' Feast to gain a +1 Morale bonus to attack and Will saves (along with immunity to poison and fear effects, and a +1 Morale modifier to Will) for 24 hours by casting an Extended Heroes' Feast.

Pre-Battle Buffs and Combat:

A Pre-Battle Buff is defined as one which has a relatively short duration (less than 6 hours). Invisibility used to be a Pre-Battle Buff, but now it's long term thanks to the Ring of Invisibility.

1)When you see the Balor start Hiding, cast Fly from the Wand and then move until you're about 600' away from it (it needs to be that far or it will probably overhear your spellcasting). Flying should eliminate the need for Listen checks, and you're invisible, so that Balor shouldn't be able to see you if you're outside it's True Seeing range. Activate a Bead of Karma and cast Magic Circle against Evil and Greater Spell Immunity (these are 10 min/lvl spells, take Holy Word, Blasphemy, Fire Storm and two other spells of choice as your immunities). Next, cast Align Weapon (Good alignment, on your Composite Longbow) a 1 minute / level duration spell. The Bead's effects last for 10 minutes, so it should also work for all the following spells.

2)Move in to about 160' from the Balor. Cast Time Stop, then move until you are directly behind the Balor (this should be 3 move actions, which should be 1 full round action and a move action). You should still have a standard action left, so cast quickened Divine Power and regular Righteous Might. BTW, this Righteous Might gives DR 9/Good, and it's highly unlikely the Balor has anything other than spells to bypass it. Now wait until the Time Stop is over so you can Surprise that Balor.

3)Cast Holy Word. Your CL 25 means you should beat the Balor's Spell Resistance on anything except a 1 or 2 (10% chance). If that does happen, use your Luckblade to get a reroll. This means the eventual chance of failure of this tactic is 1%. You're immune to your own Holy Word (Greater Spell Immunity), so cast a quickened Dimensional Anchor to hold the Balor in place. It's not as crucial that this spell pass SR, but the odds are still heavily stacked in your favor. Even if it fails, you should still easily beat the now Paralyzed Balor's initiative bonus of -1, so you can try again with another quickened Dimensional Anchor.

4) Now disarm the Balor. It's Strength 0 means you should be able to take both its Vorpal Sword and Flaming Whip in two rounds. Then fly to 120 feet away from the Balor, making sure you are still behind it. Since it's paralyzed, it shouldn't be able to turn around and see you.

5) Haste on yourself from the Wand, then cast a quickened Divine Power and attack with your Composite Longbow vs the Balor's AC 27. Thanks to Haste, you'll have 6 attacks per round, and even the last attack has a 70% chance of hitting. Your Large size means each arrow does 2d6 damage, for an average of around 25 damage per hit, with at least 5 hits likely per round doing 125 damage, so the Balor should go down in 3 rounds.

There is faster way to do this with fewer spells, if you're willing to take some risks. Don't cast Align Weapon (you still need Greater Spell Immunity, and Magic Circle against Evil is useful if it manages to summon help). Fly in to 160' as before, cast Time Stop with Divine Power and Righteous Might, and move in so that you're behind the Balor. Cast Holy Word and Dimensional Anchor as before, and on the next round do a Coup de Grace attack using the Scythe. The character isn't proficient with the weapon, but you get an automatic hit and critical, so that won't matter. What does matter is that you can get a full Power Attack (+40 damage), and 1 1/2 times your Strength modifier (+16 damage) and the weapon's enhancement bonus (+5 damage), all of which is multiplied by 4 for Critical Hit (total damage over 240, minus the Balor's DR of 15). This means that the Balor has to save vs Massive Damage (DC 15, so it should make it) and make a second (much harder) Fort save to avoid death (DC 10+ damage dealt, for a save DC of about 240 or so). Even if it rolls a 20 on the second save, you can do it again a round later and it will die from pure damage. The problem here is that the Cleric will take 50 - 100 damage from Death Throes (Fort save DC 15, so it fails only on a 1), but that damage can be quickly cured by a Heal spell.

Observations:

This character isn't specifically designed to kill a Balor, but the spells and magical items make it fairly safe and easy to do so with a bit of thought. It can take up to 11 spells to achieve that goal (not counting the long term buffs), but that's less than 1/4 of the Cleric's 69 available spells (and doesn't count the fact that 2 of the 11 spells cast came from a wand). The spell slots used are 0x1st (of 9), 1x2nd (of 9), 1x3rd (of 9), 2x4th (of 8), 2x5th (of 8), 0x6th (of 7), 1x7th (of 7), 1x8th (of 6), 1x9th (of 6). Only 1 Domain spell has been used, and there are 2 scrolls with that spell available to the character. I used one of the two Rods of Metamagic: Quicken Spell to cast the quickened Dimensional Anchor and Divine Power.

Of the long term buffs which last 48 hours (ie, cast once per 2 days), 1 Domain spell is used (Nondetection, 3rd level), 3 4th level spells are used (Greater Magic Weapon), 1 3rd level spell is used (Magic Vestment) and 1 2nd level spell is used (Delay Poison). I've also got 1 24 hour buff (Heroes' Feast), which is 6th level.

Compared to Sir Giacomo's Fighter build, this character has considerably greater Strength, roughly equal Dexterity, much greater Constitution, equal Intelligence, slightly greater Wisdom and slightly better Charisma. The Fighter's Touch AC is slightly better than the Cleric's, but everything else is worse. And if the Cleric buffs up, the AC values are considerably better than the Fighter's (they get so high that both the Cleric and the Fighter would need to roll a 20 to hit). Likewise, the buffed Cleric has about 33% more HP than the Fighter. Saving throws are a similar story, the Cleric has better Fort, Reflex and Will saves than the Fighter, unless that Fighter is temporarily buffed by a potion. Sir Giacomo has given his character a better Spot score (bought cross-class), and Tumble's a useful skill (also bought cross-class). For the Cleric, I've gone with all Class skills, maxing Hide and Diplomacy (two very useful skills for any character type), Spellcraft (more useful to a spellcaster, although it's nice to know what kind of spell has been cast) and Concentration (near useless to a non-spellcaster).

The preferred solution does involve a bit of juggling of equipment. The quickened spells means the character will need a Rod of Magamagic out, and disarming the Balor means you'll need to put the weapons somewhere (it's not clear whether just dropping them on the ground will mean they get destroyed when the Balor explodes). The Rod will need to be put away before using the Composite Longbow, so you'll need to quicken Divine Power through the feat (that's already done in my example). This will take time, but the Balor is paralyzed for at least 1 minute (10 rounds), which should be enough to get everything done. 5 rounds are used for disarming the Balor, movement and spellcasting, leaving at least 5 rounds to kill it. The arrows should do at least 125 damage per round (5 out of 6 should hit), so in 3 rounds it should all be over. In the unlikely event it takes more than 5 rounds, there's still a 90% chance the Balor will be paralyzed for at least 10 more rounds.

In terms of attack, I picked up on a mistake I made with my earlier Cleric build and included the base bonuses for Strength and Dexterity, so this Cleric has a better chance to hit with both melee and ranged attacks than the Fighter (although when you take the bonus to hit from the bow and the potions, the Fighter's ranged attack is better). I should also mention that the character can See Invisible, see in total darkness, fly and cast Haste multiple times per day, and can still cast many other useful spells should it become necessary. Should this Cleric decide to attack the Fighter, the Ring of Invisibility would probably mean the Cleric can dictate the time of the confrontation, and maybe even the location. And if this Cleric were given enough time to fully buff against the Fighter, that Fighter has practically no chance to survive the attack. Leadership might help prevent that, if the Fighter had a full spellcaster cohort, since that character would probably have some means to spellbattle the Cleric. But unless Mage's Disjunction is available, things still look grim.

I should also mention that this example makes it pretty clear that the pricing structure for not getting all of a Strand of Prayer Beads is broken, and should be houseruled to something more reasonable. Several spells (Holy Word type spells, Time Stop, Mage's Disjunction, and all the Polymorph/Shapechange spells) should also be examined very carefully, and either removed or reduced in power (in the case of the Holy Word type spells, maybe make it so that neutral aligned characters can't cast them). Finally, Rebuking Undead is much more powerful than Turning Undead, and also needs some houseruling.

Avicenex
2007-03-23, 04:29 AM
I was under the impression that the average loot of a level 20 character was 240,000 gp (DMG 54). Your build shouldn't rely on magic items worth over 3x that amount.

Jack Mann
2007-03-23, 04:35 AM
See table 5-1 on page 136, character wealth by level. The correct wealth for level 20 is 760,000 gold. Read the text by the table on page 54. It does not show how much treasure they are actually meant to have.

Avicenex
2007-03-23, 04:41 AM
Hah--I stand corrected. Actually, I'm sitting at the moment, so I sit corrected. I guess I just violated one of the quotes on my signature. I think they put that other wealth chart in the DMG just to screw with your mind...

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-23, 08:30 AM
Once again, an interesting and unusual approach to the Fighter class. It looks like an effective combat build, although I'm not sure if those magical buffs would be dispelled by Disjunction prior to making the Will saves. That said, the point of the argument here is that full spellcasting classes can be equally effective in combat and do other things as well.

Thanks for the praise! In fact, just edited some stuff and put example skills into it.
The automatic dispel of disjunction hitting before/at the same time/after going against the items is tricky. Will think on that.*

The problem with the fighter build remains that it cannot avoid all magical attacks and lacks research capability (what is a balor, anyway), if the leadership skill is handled differently by a DM. Plus, outside combat, at high level play the fighter is rather limited (leadership and intimidate being rather meagre orientation for a niche, since the CHR-heavy/ier classes are better there and have a feat to spare).
The problem with the cleric build remains the vulnerability to dispels and disjunctions. It can then still excel at research and direct spell attacks (plus escabes/defenses), but no longer in (weapon/non-magic) combat. Plus, this cleric (unlike an arcane spelluser with access to PaO, but then not to the divinemight etc. buffs) can only use the PaO once per day, if debuffed has to resort to scrolls (can an 8th level spell be put on the scroll quickened with a rod of greater quickening? Otherwise casting from the scroll takes a standard action). Hmmmm...I trust greenknight to come with many new ideas for his revised cleric build.

- Giacomo

*Note, though, that this build has rather cheap individual items, with the sun blade/helm of teleportation at 50-70,000-ish the most expensive single items, since the tome and manual boni can no longer be disjuncted. And with two oathbows, it is highly unlikely that both will be disjuncted, keeping the fighter in that combat still effective

Rigeld2
2007-03-23, 08:46 AM
*Note, though, that this build has rather cheap individual items, with the sun blade/helm of teleportation at 50-70,000-ish the most expensive single items, since the tome and manual boni can no longer be disjuncted. And with two oathbows, it is highly unlikely that both will be disjuncted, keeping the fighter in that combat still effective
He means, its unclear wether your temporary buffs will be dispelled, lowering your will save that gets used to determine if your Oathbows stay or not, or if the bonus stays until the spell is completely resolved.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-23, 08:55 AM
He means, its unclear wether your temporary buffs will be dispelled, lowering your will save that gets used to determine if your Oathbows stay or not, or if the bonus stays until the spell is completely resolved.

Hmmm- yes, that is what I thought he meant as well.
If the buffs go first, the fighter retains his will of +23, meaning about a third of his items won't make it. If the buffs work one last time before expiring, the will may be as high as +30. meaning only 10-20% of the items go. Of course, a quickened disjunction followed by another one could hit the fighter more badly.* Still, the items are not that expensive and may - depending on the campaign - be easier to replace over time.

- Giacomo

*Edit: however, after the first disjunction, an opponent will realise that this strategy is not getting him to a decisive edge vs the fighter in that combat round, so he may do a different standard action spell (or retreat, realising the saves may be too high/too risky).
** 2nd Edit: enemy npc casters may not have such a high DC of their disjunction spells, since their equipment is only half that of pcs.

greenknight
2007-03-23, 09:30 PM
Of course, a quickened disjunction followed by another one could hit the fighter more badly.

That would be the most foolproof method, but a Quickened Greater Dispel Magic followed by Disjunction should be enough in this case, since the caster level of the items is very low.


The problem with the fighter build remains that it cannot avoid all magical attacks and lacks research capability (what is a balor, anyway), if the leadership skill is handled differently by a DM. Plus, outside combat, at high level play the fighter is rather limited (leadership and intimidate being rather meagre orientation for a niche, since the CHR-heavy/ier classes are better there and have a feat to spare).

The biggest problem with any non-caster build is the inability to dispel most magical effects. With the focus on archery, the Rod of Cancellation and the Ring of Freedom of Movement you've managed to negate most of the problems associated with that. I've been thinking about it, and despite what I posted earlier, that Ring might allow your character to ignore the effects of Irresistible Dance, so disabling your Fighter will be difficult. Still, there are still a few things a full caster can use to defeat your Fighter.

Leadership is a good option to improve the character's capabilities, but as I've mentioned, a full spellcaster has other ways to get friends. The most useful is Dominate Monster, which works on an unlimited number of targets and usually lasts for a very long time. If anyone wants to know why Wizards (and Sorcerers) are the ultimate class, point them to this spell, Time Stop and Disjunction. Through the use of this spell, a Wizard could (theoretically) have 50 or more loyal servants to enchance his/her/it's abilities - and many of them might be have a higher ECL (or CR) than the Wizard!

Clerics don't have anywhere near as many options, but if they Rebuke Undead, they can gain undead servants, which can be useful since some undead can create their own servants (Vampires, for example). Druids have an Animal Companion, and once they can cast the Shambler spell, can get a number of long term servants who have been buffed up by lightning.


The problem with the cleric build remains the vulnerability to dispels and disjunctions. It can then still excel at research and direct spell attacks (plus escabes/defenses), but no longer in (weapon/non-magic) combat. Plus, this cleric (unlike an arcane spelluser with access to PaO, but then not to the divinemight etc. buffs) can only use the PaO once per day, if debuffed has to resort to scrolls (can an 8th level spell be put on the scroll quickened with a rod of greater quickening? Otherwise casting from the scroll takes a standard action). Hmmmm...I trust greenknight to come with many new ideas for his revised cleric build.

There's not a whole lot that can be done about dispels and disjunctions for a spelluser except to re-apply the buffs. PaO can be quickened if it's prepared as a Domain spell, and considering the other Domain spell is the expensive to cast Protection from Spells, that's what I'd do. But that's still not the whole solution, since that's only one buff. On the other hand, this character does have access to the Time Stop spell, so it's not hard to guess how this character could re-apply several buffs in a single real time round. The real question here is whether a scroll can be Maximized from a Rod, although since a character gets at least 2 rounds from casting the spell, you could just re-apply the most important buffs and work from there....

The Balor isn't really a challenge for this character thanks mostly to Holy Word. Assuming the Balor is on the ground, I've worked out a way to execute it in just 1.5 rounds with little risk to the Cleric, although that's not the preferred solution since I want the Balor's weapons as well (and I'd like to reduce that little risk to no significant risk). My current challenge is defeating the Balor (taking it's weapons as a trophy), a Tarrasque and your Fighter all in a single day, while keeping a few spell slots left over for other things. I'd love to throw a 20th level Wizard in there as well, but I'm not sure I can create one that really makes good use of the class strengths. BTW, defeating four CR20 encounters singlehandedly would give a 20th level character 24,000 XP - enough to gain a level. I could do that right now if it were 4 Balors, but the mixed types are causing me a headache.

greenknight
2007-03-23, 11:00 PM
AVERAGE DAMAGE per Manyshot including criticals expected value at 19: 182. Teleport within 30ft of balor, do a standard action manyshot in surprise round, win initiative round doing another manyshot= 384 damage. Here, even an unholy aura does not help.

Just want to point out that in this scenario, the Fighter is going to be hit with between 50 - 100 damage from Death Throes, and would need to save vs Massive Damage to survive. Assuming you haven't used up your reroll for the day, the chance of failing the save is only 1/400, so it's not too significant, but now it's a problem for both your melee and ranged build. My Cleric has the same failure chance in melee, but doesn't need to worry about it in ranged combat.


this means teleporting near, hitting once in surprise round with stunning fist attack at +27, after deducting 8 for power attack (1d8+15 damage to safely overcome damage reduction), hitting for stun (Fortitude DC 29).

Assuming two consecutive Stun attacks hit, the Balor's Fort save of +22 means it only has a 30% chance of missing the save each time, which means there's still a 49% chance it won't be stunned after two attacks. If it has Unholy Aura up (which it should), the fail chance drops to 10% per save, or an 81% chance it's still unstunned after two attacks. This is too low a probability of success to count on.


resisting most of the time high-level disjunctions.

In addition to the problem I've already mentioned with the buffed saves being dispelled first, saves granted by a potion don't last long and are one-offs, so it's likely you aren't going to have those boosts available if a caster makes a surprise attack.


The melee capability is no longer strong enough to guarantee a balor takeout in 1.5 rounds, but it is still highly efficient, also vs other opponents, in particular the stunning fist feat at DC 29 should pose problems to most monsters and npcs. Plus, it has excellent synergy with rogues in the party, even vs uncanny dodge opponents!

Stunning Fist is nice, but you'd be surprised just how many creatures have good Fort saves. And you've still got to get into melee to use it, which might be a problem. Animals, Dragons, some Elementals, Giants, some Humanoids, Magical Beasts, Outsiders, Plants and Vermin have good Fort saves, and tend to have more Hit Dice than their CR (which seems like cheating when it comes to Dragons :smallfurious: ), so most of these creatures are going to save against the stunning effect most of the time.

EDIT: I have revised my Cleric build and posted it here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2244519&postcount=389).

namo
2007-03-24, 07:29 PM
Note : the price for the karma+healing should be 29000 : if you consider that there was a typo and the normal strand is supposed to cost 45800, everything is consistent. It was confirmed by CustServ - what's most surprising is that it hasn't appeared in an errata yet. [Or is it ? :]
(Of course, by RAW, it is what you assumed it to be.......)
It's still fairly powerful at that price.

Nice builds, giacomo and greenknight.

its_all_ogre
2007-03-25, 05:24 AM
as a quick pointer here on the cleric build, the ranged cleric will not work with a sling.
loading a sling is a move action(and requires two hands which is not relevant here but could be, no casting in same round for example) therefore full attacks are never possible with a sling.
i meant to post this a few days ago but never had the rule book to hand and did not want to post incorrect info!

Hallavast
2007-03-25, 06:27 AM
as a quick pointer here on the cleric build, the ranged cleric will not work with a sling.
loading a sling is a move action(and requires two hands which is not relevant here but could be, no casting in same round for example) therefore full attacks are never possible with a sling.
i meant to post this a few days ago but never had the rule book to hand and did not want to post incorrect info!
why do you need two hands free to operate a sling? Maybe to load a sling, yes, but couldn't you technically cast your spell as a free action, then load and fire 3-4 times or whatever? Why should this be a problem. you whirl a bit of leather around until it flings a rock at stuff... two hands? come on!

ZekeArgo
2007-03-25, 06:36 AM
why do you need two hands free to operate a sling? Maybe to load a sling, yes, but couldn't you technically cast your spell as a free action, then load and fire 3-4 times or whatever? Why should this be a problem. you whirl a bit of leather around until it flings a rock at stuff... two hands? come on!

From the D20 SRD:

You can fire, but not load, a sling with one hand. Loading a sling is a move action that requires two hands and provokes attacks of oppertunity.

Sure you could cast a quickened spell in the same round, but you can only load a sling once without recieving additional move/standard actions.

greenknight
2007-03-25, 09:01 AM
loading a sling is a move action(and requires two hands which is not relevant here but could be, no casting in same round for example) therefore full attacks are never possible with a sling.

Never noticed that before, but you're right. I guess someone could houserule Rapid Reload to overcome that problem, but it wouldn't work under the RAW.

Looks like I'm going to have to use a Composite Longbow after all. Replace Far Shot (no longer needed, since the weapon I'll use will have a range increment of 220 feet) with Martial WP: Longbow. Change the Sling to a Composite Longbow +1, Distance, Merciful, +11 Strength (cost 19,500gp). This will give the full Strength modifier to damage while buffed (unless the character somehow gets a Strength score of 34 or more), but will have a -2 penalty to attack when at less than 32 Strength. The ammunition changes to arrows: 60 Cold Iron arrows (6gp, in the efficient quiver), 20 Alchemical Silver arrows (41gp, in backpack), 10 Adamantine arrows (600gp + 5sp, in backpack). The total price of all equipment increases to about 756,000gp. I'll edit the original post to take these changes into account.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-26, 06:54 AM
Hi again everyone,

now greenknight's revised cleric is just great. Full of new ideas (like getting a higher INT creature to cast some wizard spells without chance of failure), and sheer power (and it only mentions just ONE great spell combo -timestop/holyword- for attack; there are likely more from the high-level cleric spell list). Shame about the sling thing, though . The problem with the composite longbow is that without customised items (which so far we did not include), it is not possible to add your STR bonus beyond +4 for damage. The main problem about archery is that it is quite difficult to get damage boni. This is also part what makes a fighter archer more powerful than other classes, since for four feats it gets +2 to hit and +4 damage with the WF and WSpc feats.

In his revised build, greenknight also argued that the 2nd revised fighter build I posted would likely go down vs his revised cleric (possibly an npc cleric can also get quite close in power). While I am sure that some attacking tactics of that cleric may be quite powerful and likely result in a win with the cleric going first, it is far from being equal in success chance as the safe attack on the balor.
- the fighter has a ring of freedom of movement. This may help vs quickened dimensional anchors (there is another current thread somewhere which discusses this, I am not sure yet which side I see as more valid), but certainly it helps vs the paralysis effect of a holy word.
- even if blinded (say, from the holy word), the fighter still has the blind-fight feat, which practically erases all disadvantages of being blind or being attacked by an invisible attacker etc (the feat does not say anything about this ability being dependent on hearing capability, so the deafening effect of a holy word should be not relevant for the fighter, a non-spellcaster). Remember, the neutral cleric of greenknight will BE deafened and blinded by his own holy word! (Actually, he should be also paralysed himself since his caster level of 25 exceed his own level of 20, but greenknight somewhere further up had a valid point why it is only deafened and blinded effect, so I am not sure)
So he needs to remove at least his blindness first before further attacking the fighter. Ranged attacks still catch the fighter flat-footed, though, but see above that greenknight's particular cleric build will likely only score around 20 damage per hit, not more, and not enough to kill the fighter with a full round attack.
If the fighter were to get his turn, he'd pull out the stopper of the eversmoking bottle (move-equivalent action or free action, the item specification is not clear on this. With quickdraw it may be a free action as a house rule), move in random direction, thus leveling the playing field. Incidently, the fighter should have the listen skill maxed out, not the spot (or both). The only thing blocked by blindness is the fighter's archery power. But not his escape possibilities (via helm of teleportation).
- if (again, a grand IF), the cohort of the fighter is near, that cohort may cast a mage's disjunction at the cleric...

...which leads to the areas where I believe greenknight's excellent build is still vulnerable (hinting once again at the surprising balance of the core game):
- the cleric remains highly vulnerable to disjunctions (or even a single greater dispel, which should take out some buffs with its 25% probability). Even the permanencie'd spells would go in an instant (resulting in a loss of that equipment portion for the scrolls). Additionally, given that the cleric has invested 6 of his 8 scarce feats in combat, this could greatly cripple that character's capability compared to what he would be able to do if he invested more heavily in specialising on his prime power: spellcasting (item creation feats, metamagic feats like spell foci and spell penetration come to mind). And with the PaO gone, the combat ability for that day is gone completely, since this build no longer has a scroll with PaO (which needs a prescious standard action to be cast, anyhow).
- compared to the fighter, the cleric has better stats, saves etc. But in sheer power to overcome a foe quickly, the cleric seems to be behind (reason: the cleric does not have manyshot, less bow bonus to hit, and less damage added to each arrow). The problem is: the fighter takes out the balor in 1.5 rounds (note that the fighter either may take the 100 death throes damage with the manyshot tactics, or shoot from 320ft, the balor goes down in both scenarios, may get tight in the latter scenario if the balor has unholy aura up). It takes the cleric longer, and in those additional precious CR 20 rounds, things may go horribly wrong: telephathy at 100ft of the balor still works, so he could SOS :smallsmile: for help, or the balor simply summons as spell-like ability demons from masses of small ones up to another balor (!), or after the 1d4 rounds of the initial deafness could pinpoint the cleric with his stellar listen bonus and firestorm him etc. In the initial scenario with the army, the cleric would likely be toast with the strategy outlined by greenknight, since in the rounds it would take to take out the balor, the balor's army (not yet decimated by the death throes) would attack the cleric.
- the cleric himself is vulnerable to effects that impede his movement (like a grappling monk or fighter or barbarian with high STR), if he has no freedom of movement spell up (which may be gone, once again, with a simple disjunction).

As for turning one day into a supreme angel, then most of the time into the essence of evil, I guess that should be OK. Boccob is described in the PHB as "uncaring", and even if he did, he would appreciate such an epitomisation of neutrality by a mixture of extreme good and evil.

Do not get me wrong: the cleric build of greenknight is overall superior to my example fighter, though not in the ranged damage potential, which is a key ability (like, for instance, the ability to dispel) in high-level combat. The fighter may overcome some of his weaknesses of out-of-combat-high-level play with the leadership feat, or simply by being part of the generic wizard/cleric/rogue/fighter group.
The cleric, meanwhile, was combatwise clearly behind at the 1-6 levels, equalising in the 7-9 levels, which is seemingly the range most often played, for instance by the posters of this board (see a separate poll thread on this).
So overall, I stick to my opinion

- fighters can contribute to certain aspects of high-level play enough to make them sometimes worthwhile in a four-member-party group EVEN if that group starts play at high levels, and definitely when considering the whole 1-20 level adventuring career and
- overall the core game, as such, appears rougly balanced, since, with rising spellcaster power, there also is a strong role of defence vs such spells, either via feats, or others spells, or items.

- Giacomo

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-26, 07:17 AM
Ah, some short replies on greenknight's comments...


Just want to point out that in this scenario, the Fighter is going to be hit with between 50 - 100 damage from Death Throes, and would need to save vs Massive Damage to survive. Assuming you haven't used up your reroll for the day, the chance of failing the save is only 1/400, so it's not too significant, but now it's a problem for both your melee and ranged build. My Cleric has the same failure chance in melee, but doesn't need to worry about it in ranged combat.


Well, if the fighter uses the surprise shot/full attack routine with the bow from 320ft, the death throes will not affect him. Incidently, he could even move out to around 500ft. take a total of -4, but be outside the range of all close AND medium spells (incidently, it is RANGE which makes evocation spells a much better spell selection than many posters here give it credit. A meteor swarm may be a "weaker" 9th level spell than implosion or shapechange, but a 20th level caster can cast it from 1200ft!!)
And: your cleric is not "in melee" with the monster, he moves close (not melee), holywords the poor critter, and then, moving away after getting the items, hits it from outside the 100ft range (which is taking quite long and may be hazardrous, see my comments in the last post. So best not disarm, quickly cdg and take the blast, or get it from afar).



Assuming two consecutive Stun attacks hit, the Balor's Fort save of +22 means it only has a 30% chance of missing the save each time, which means there's still a 49% chance it won't be stunned after two attacks. If it has Unholy Aura up (which it should), the fail chance drops to 10% per save, or an 81% chance it's still unstunned after two attacks. This is too low a probability of success to count on.


You are correct- my revised fighter is no longer really able to engage the balor in full melee and have a certain chance to defeat it in 1 round (which is a quite stupid idea to start with, anyhow, also due to the death throes damage). Given its many defences, it will still likely win a one-on-one encounter, though, if he goes first. The better "melee", or rather: close ranged tactics now is manyshot, rendering the comp. longbow (barring sundering tactcis of an opponent able to strike back) quite a potent "melee" weapon (manyshot, move, manyshot, move...etc. Tumble of +16 taking care of AoO).



In addition to the problem I've already mentioned with the buffed saves being dispelled first, saves granted by a potion don't last long and are one-offs, so it's likely you aren't going to have those boosts available if a caster makes a surprise attack.


Yes, that's true. But that also holds for buff spells on a caster, and with disjunction regardless of that caster's spells' durations. And: the potion buffs are a crusting on the cake for the fighter (if he had a bard buddy/cohort, the inspire courage morale bonus would be higher and, as a supernatural ability, not-dispellable!); but the buffs are the core of the build for the cleric, constituting a much higher vulnerability.



Stunning Fist is nice, but you'd be surprised just how many creatures have good Fort saves. And you've still got to get into melee to use it, which might be a problem. Animals, Dragons, some Elementals, Giants, some Humanoids, Magical Beasts, Outsiders, Plants and Vermin have good Fort saves, and tend to have more Hit Dice than their CR (which seems like cheating when it comes to Dragons :smallfurious: ), so most of these creatures are going to save against the stunning effect most of the time.


Whoa, stunning attacks on a big dragon would never cross that fighter's mind. Such foes are prime targets for the bow. Against something like fire giants (with only +14 to fort save) who may get surprisingly into melee and have more hitpoints than a manyshot can get (plus to keep safe the bows out of sundering attacks), it is certainly a good option, stunning 3 times out of 4 rounds. Ah, just read in the SRD on monsters: adult dragons also have similar fort save modifiers, but often around 200 hit points, so here a stunning fist may also be of help (in particular if a rogue is in the party!).

As for undead (immune to stuns): the sun blade and high touch AC should help the fighter out of trouble. As for Plants: run (or call the druid)!:smallsmile: As for constructs: cleric is more affected (spell immunity), but 1 round full bow attack should take care of an iron golem or two.

- Giacomo

Rigeld2
2007-03-26, 07:31 AM
The problem with the composite longbow is that without customised items (which so far we did not include), it is not possible to add your STR bonus beyond +4 for damage.
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/equipment/weapons.htm#longbowComposite
Here is the section on Composite Longbows. Can you show me where there is a limit on the strength bonus?


The main problem about archery is that it is quite difficult to get damage boni. This is also part what makes a fighter archer more powerful than other classes, since for four feats it gets +2 to hit and +4 damage with the WF and WSpc feats.
Youre convinced that 4 feats for +2 to hit and +4 to damage is a good thing?


If the fighter were to get his turn, he'd pull out the stopper of the eversmoking bottle (move-equivalent action or free action, the item specification is not clear on this. With quickdraw it may be a free action as a house rule),
The rules are quite clear.
"Activation Usually use-activated (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/magicItemBasics.htm#useActivated) or command word (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/magicItemBasics.htm#commandWord), but details vary from item to item."
Nothing in the description, http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/wondrousItems.htm#eversmokingBottle , gives a direct statement, but since the stopper must be pulled, that is use activated. Which means a standard action, nowhere near a free action. You couldnt use Quickdraw to pull it from somewhere because, from the Quickdraw feat, " You can draw a weapon as a free action (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/actionsInCombat.htm#freeActions) instead of as a move action (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/actionsInCombat.htm#moveActions)." Is the Eversmoking Bottle a weapon? That would be a no. So a move action to draw, a standard action to pull the stopper, and then you can 5' step.


(note that the fighter either may take the 100 death throes damage with the manyshot tactics, or shoot from 320ft, the balor goes down in both scenarios, may get tight in the latter scenario if the balor has unholy aura up).
And you dont finish him off in your vaunted 1.5 rounds.

It takes the cleric longer, and in those additional precious CR 20 rounds, things may go horribly wrong: telephathy at 100ft of the balor still works, so he could SOS :smallsmile: for help, or the balor simply summons as spell-like ability demons from masses of small ones up to another balor (!), or after the 1d4 rounds of the initial deafness could pinpoint the cleric with his stellar listen bonus and firestorm him etc. In the initial scenario with the army, the cleric would likely be toast with the strategy outlined by greenknight, since in the rounds it would take to take out the balor, the balor's army (not yet decimated by the death throes) would attack the cleric.
...
I'm stopping. First, your scenario has a Fighter vs a Balor, nothing around it. Then you say it could be leading an army, thats why its in the middle of a field on the Prime Material Plane, waiting for you to sneak up on it. But none of that matters when your fighter is trying to kill the Balor... only when his cleric does.


- the cleric himself is vulnerable to effects that impede his movement (like a grappling monk or fighter or barbarian with high STR), if he has no freedom of movement spell up (which may be gone, once again, with a simple disjunction).
Which he can have memorized and cast whenever..


Do not get me wrong: the cleric build of greenknight is overall superior to my example fighter, though not in the ranged damage potential, which is a key ability (like, for instance, the ability to dispel) in high-level combat. The fighter may overcome some of his weaknesses of out-of-combat-high-level play with the leadership feat, or simply by being part of the generic wizard/cleric/rogue/fighter group.
Ranged damage is not a key ability. Being effective at range is a key ability. Youre still assuming that damage > * even at high level play, which is simply 100% untrue. And whats stopping greenknights cleric from dropping the Scimitar, going with a Morningstar, and picking up Leadership? Also... tradition ("the generic wizard/cleric/rogue/fighter group") is not a reason to keep a sub-par character. The role can be served equally as well with a wizard/cleric/cleric/rogue party.


The cleric, meanwhile, was combatwise clearly behind at the 1-6 levels, equalising in the 7-9 levels, which is seemingly the range most often played, for instance by the posters of this board (see a separate poll thread on this).
But was he behind enough at 1-6? In my experience, no. Clerics I've played arent really that far behind the Fighters I've played.


- overall the core game, as such, appears rougly balanced, since, with rising spellcaster power, there also is a strong role of defence vs such spells, either via feats, or others spells, or items.
I strongly disagree with you.

KoDT69
2007-03-26, 07:31 AM
I got an easy solution. Give the fighter a massive weapon for melee and good armor and forget all the other magic stuff. He can focus on STR, INT, and DEX and max his cross-classed skills like a rogue taking disguise, bluff, and intimidate type stuff. He dresses up like a succubus and lures Mr. Balor into melee range. He then talks the Balor into closing his eyes and puckering up... *POW* Coup de grace, right in the kisser! Or even more convincing, an actual female fighter just seducing the beast in the same fashion. Of course there's a lot of sick and twisted things she may or may not be willing to do that would cause a defeat on Mr. Balor, but we won't go there. Depending on the players, it could be done! :smallyuk:

greenknight
2007-03-26, 08:40 AM
Shame about the sling thing, though . The problem with the composite longbow is that without customised items (which so far we did not include), it is not possible to add your STR bonus beyond +4 for damage.

It's certainly a shame about the sling, but thinking about it, the Composite Longbow's a better solution most of the time. I just don't like the -2 penalty for when the Strength gets below 32 (which it would be, without the buffs). However, I think the Strength limitation was removed in 3.5e. Here's the entire text from the Composite Longbow entry in the SRD:

Longbow, Composite: You need at least two hands to use a bow, regardless of its size. You can use a composite longbow while mounted. All composite bows are made with a particular strength rating (that is, each requires a minimum Strength modifier to use with proficiency). If your Strength bonus is less than the strength rating of the composite bow, you can’t effectively use it, so you take a –2 penalty on attacks with it. The default composite longbow requires a Strength modifier of +0 or higher to use with proficiency. A composite longbow can be made with a high strength rating to take advantage of an above-average Strength score; this feature allows you to add your Strength bonus to damage, up to the maximum bonus indicated for the bow. Each point of Strength bonus granted by the bow adds 100 gp to its cost.

For purposes of weapon proficiency and similar feats, a composite longbow is treated as if it were a longbow.


There's nothing there about an upper limit (except as it applies to a particular bow), which was the case in 3.0e. I might be missing something written somewhere else though.


In his revised build, greenknight also argued that the 2nd revised fighter build I posted would likely go down vs his revised cleric (possibly an npc cleric can also get quite close in power). While I am sure that some attacking tactics of that cleric may be quite powerful and likely result in a win with the cleric going first, it is far from being equal in success chance as the safe attack on the balor.

The main reason for that assertion is because of the Cleric's high AC, hitpoints and combat bonuses while buffed. However, I've found a new trick which should also work (it's deadly against many types of foe), and I'll discuss it at the end of this post.


Remember, the neutral cleric of greenknight will BE deafened and blinded by his own holy word! (Actually, he should be also paralysed himself since his caster level of 25 exceed his own level of 20, but greenknight somewhere further up had a valid point why it is only deafened and blinded effect, so I am not sure)

Don't need to worry about that anymore, since the revised Cleric cast Greater Spell Immunity to prevent that from happening.


but see above that greenknight's particular cleric build will likely only score around 20 damage per hit, not more, and not enough to kill the fighter with a full round attack.

Buffed up, it's around 25 damage per hit with the revised Cleric.


The cleric remains highly vulnerable to disjunctions (or even a single greater dispel, which should take out some buffs with its 25% probability). Even the permanencie'd spells would go in an instant (resulting in a loss of that equipment portion for the scrolls).

The Cleric would lose the permanent spells (too low a caster level), but most of the rest would remain, and a Time Stop would allow most of them to be regained.


And with the PaO gone, the combat ability for that day is gone completely, since this build no longer has a scroll with PaO (which needs a prescious standard action to be cast, anyhow).

PaO wouldn't be gone, because it could have been cast weeks in advance. For this usage, the effect is considered to be Permanent (ie, it lasts until dispelled or replaced).


or the balor simply summons as spell-like ability demons from masses of small ones up to another balor (!)

I did think about that, which is why the revised Cleric still uses Magic Circle against Evil. The Cleric might have to endure one round of attacks, but after that another Holy Word should freeze any summoned help.


after the 1d4 rounds of the initial deafness could pinpoint the cleric with his stellar listen bonus and firestorm him etc.

I hope the Balor will waste actions on that, since Greater Spell Immunity means the Cleric won't be affected by it.


the cleric himself is vulnerable to effects that impede his movement (like a grappling monk or fighter or barbarian with high STR), if he has no freedom of movement spell up (which may be gone, once again, with a simple disjunction).

Buffed up, the Cleric is Large sized and has 33 Strength. It's going to take a very good Grappler to beat that, and if it does happen, the Cleric has an Impale attack (3d8+9) and natural Claw attack (2d8+6) to fall back on. Since Monks, Fighters and Barbarians have no class based method to dispel magical effects, the Cleric's buffs should still be there.


overall the core game, as such, appears rougly balanced, since, with rising spellcaster power, there also is a strong role of defence vs such spells, either via feats, or others spells, or items.

Shortly before I posted my Revised Cleric, I stated a new challenge, which was to defeat the Balor, Sir Giacomo's Fighter, and the Tarrasque all in one day. The Balor has proven to be no real challenge, the Fighter (without Cohort) shouldn't be too difficult to defeat, but I've been scratching my head over how to beat the Tarrasque. Finally, I've come up with a method. Before I begin, let me explain a few things first:

1) This method involves casting a spell with a (relatively small) XP requirement. If the Cleric were to use this method without having that XP in reserve, he or she would lose a level. After defeating the Tarrasque, the Cleric would gain 6,000 XP, which would more than cover the loss.

2) I use one monster which is not in the Monster Manual, but which is in the SRD.

3) Permanently killing a Tarrasque requires that a Miracle spell be granted to keep it dead. It is assumed that this spell will be granted. It isn't clear whether this use of Miracle would use no XP or 5,000 XP, but in the latter case a Cleric would have a net 0 XP from this encounter.

4) As usual, I assume the Cleric knows about the Tarrasque, although in this case it doesn't matter if the Tarrasque knows about the Cleric.

Start off around 300' from the Tarrasque and cast Fly. Go up until you're about 100' above the Tarrasque. Activate a Bead of Karma and cast Gate (note, this costs 1,000 XP) 10' in front of the Tarrasque. Call for a single a kind of creature. Your effective caster level allows you to call for an extraplaner creature with 50HD or less, so you can call on a Dream Larva (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/monsters/abomination.htm#dreamLarva), getting it to fight on your behalf as an immediate task. The moment the Tarrasque sees the Dream Larva, it is subject to it's Worst Nightmare effect, and must make a DC 43 Will save (the Tarrasque's Will bonus is +20, so it needs to roll a 20 to save) or die. On the next round, delay your attack and have the Dream Larva continue the attack (the Tarrasque should have regenerated to 30 HP). One Full Attack should reduce the Tarrasque to -10 again, since it will only miss on a "1" and has 10 attacks, doing around 20+ damage each. After that, cast Miracle to ensure the Tarrasque stays dead.

This involves the casting of 2 9th level spells (of 6), and the loss of between 1,000 and 6,000 XP (the encounter also gives 6,000 XP at the end). Were this same tactic to be used against Sir Giacomo's Fighter, there's a 90% chance (approximately) the character would die from Worst Nightmare, and (probably) a 95% chance the cohort would die as well. Should either survive, that character would be facing both the Cleric and the Dream Larva in combat. The Balor is also in big trouble if this tactic is used (95% chance of death). My Cleric is immune to fear (thanks to Heroes' Feast), and would not need to make a saving throw vs this effect.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-26, 09:31 AM
First, @KoDT69: funny idea, but not doable in game mechanics, since the balor's sense motive and spot checks are way too high. Plus, it's too uncertain...now, a 20th level bard may do that buffed up with glibness in one round (in fact, a diplomacy check is fairly similar to seduction in that respect)



http://www.d20srd.org/srd/equipment/weapons.htm#longbowComposite
Here is the section on Composite Longbows. Can you show me where there is a limit on the strength bonus?


Yes. Although you (and also greenknight) are correct in saying that the wording is not clear. In the text you quote nothing is there that caps the STR bonus, that is true. However, in the magic weapon lists, the table "common ranged weapons" only goes as far as a +4STR bow as enchantable. So it is farily open for interpretation.
But even if your interpretations were true, a differently built fighter could then also make use of higher STR boni. Once again, the cleric's STR boni would be more vulnerable to a disjunction.



Youre convinced that 4 feats for +2 to hit and +4 to damage is a good thing?


Yes, since they assure the 1.5 round balor kill, and damage boni to arrows are scarce. As shown above, higher than +4 STR bonus to composite bow is open for debate (as a DM I would rule it out only for the rarest of items, which a 20th level character MAY have access to, but for instance they may be titan bows too large to wield), plus they are in danger of getting disjuncted if buffed, receiving a -2 penalty.




The rules are quite clear.
(...)
Nothing in the description, (...) , gives a direct statement, but since the stopper must be pulled, that is use activated. Which means a standard action, nowhere near a free action.


This is jumping to conclusions. The full general text on use-activation is that most of the time they just work and need no activation (as for permanent rings), and in some instances they either need a command word or nothing.
SRD (bold emphasis mine): The description of an item states whether a command word is needed in such a case.
Unless stated otherwise, activating a use-activated magic item is either a standard action or not an action at all and does not provoke attacks of opportunity, unless the use involves performing an action that provokes an attack of opportunity in itself. If the use of the item takes time before a magical effect occurs, then use activation is a standard action. If the item’s activation is subsumed in its use and takes no extra time use activation is not an action at all.

The two last sentences are highly debatable in what is applicable in this case.
Now the eversmoking bottle description explicity mentions a command word for resealing, but only the simple action of removing the stopper for activating it. Plus, opening AND drinking a potion is a standard action, so why should simply opening a bottle be a standard action as well? Open call, though as a DM I would rule it to be a free action/swift action in this case.
As for retrieving, it is a move-equivalent action if taken from the handy haversack, but since in the game, everything can be used as an improvised weapon (read the entry on such weapons in the equipment section), the quickdraw applies if the bottle is worn on the belt and/or a pocket (it would, of course, be nonsense to assume you are able to quickdraw a dire flail and not a bottle on your girdle).



And you dont finish him off in your vaunted 1.5 rounds.


No need to comment this, since I showed it can. Except: You may argue about the circumstances, about whether the fighter wins the initiative (he should most of the time, though) etc., but in the scenario it can.



...
I'm stopping. First, your scenario has a Fighter vs a Balor, nothing around it. Then you say it could be leading an army, thats why its in the middle of a field on the Prime Material Plane, waiting for you to sneak up on it. But none of that matters when your fighter is trying to kill the Balor... only when his cleric does.


Pls read the above posts (but it's a long thread by now, I know:smallbiggrin: ). The scenario has ALWAYS been a balor in the middle of an evil army laying siege on a city, with the fighter shooting at him from a tower. The manyshot strategy is to teleport close to the balor and take it from there. For simplicity, in some discussions we then made the variante assumption that the balor is on a field on its own.



Which he can have memorized and cast whenever.


Yes, but cast=more vulnerable to disjunction and dispels than the fighter's ring.



Ranged damage is not a key ability. Being effective at range is a key ability. Youre still assuming that damage > * even at high level play, which is simply 100% untrue.


Oh, it's certainly not 100% untrue, since greenknight is having to use quite a few 9th level spells to achieve a similar effect. You can overcome an opponent by 1) save-or-dies (massive damage being a source besides spells here, as well as stuns!), 2) no-saves and 3) damage 4) roleplaying/strategy. That's it (and let's keep out no. 4) for now since it cannot be quantified as easily). Now, at high levels, defense in many instances is stronger than attacks (for instance, it is more difficult to add to a spell's DC than to the saves against it). Damage is often a route you can take (although creatures like a lich or a tarrasque are a bit tricky here).
And, btw, a close "save-or-no-save-or-die" spell I certainly do not include as "effective" if the enemy is further away.



And whats stopping greenknights cleric from dropping the Scimitar, going with a Morningstar, and picking up Leadership? Also... tradition ("the generic wizard/cleric/rogue/fighter group") is not a reason to keep a sub-par character. The role can be served equally as well with a wizard/cleric/cleric/rogue party.


No, you are wrong here, I'd say. That role may be served better (considering a wide array of powers), but never equally well, because of all the anti-magic-tactics flying around, which have been posted and discussed here repeatedly and which you seem to discard as repeatedly. My point of view here is that a fighter is in some instances highly useful in high-level play, while greenknight would argue that a cleric has so many more uses, that a 2nd cleric should be the second choice- correct me if I'm wrong - but he would not go as far as saying the fighter can NEVER be more useful.
Plus: Yes, greenknight's cleric could also take leadership (and use the morning star). That may even be better for that build. Still, a fighter makes disproportionately more use out of a cohort (with spell abilities or emulating spell abilities) than a cleric who already has the spells (say, by getting also PaOmorphed into a barbed devil, replicating most of the cleric's buff strength. The robe of blending on the fighter provides the necessary disguise self spell effect).



But was he behind enough at 1-6? In my experience, no. Clerics I've played arent really that far behind the Fighters I've played.


I guess the discussion has already progressed beyond doubting that a fighter is not way more powerful at levels 1-6 in sheer combat, equal in skills, and inferior in other things; which combined with the weight of combat for the best adventuring spots means it is balanced overall in the levels 1-10. I would argue, it is balanced even considering lvl 1-20, but that is open for debate, not the low-level discussion, I believe.



I strongly disagree with you.


Feel free to do so! Now, trying to calm the discussion at this point: the game has so many facets that either one of us may have the correct view here. What I hope to achieve eventually is provide more insights into the game and see what can be done, in particular at high levels which seem to be quite rarely played in part because of this: it gets very complicated.

- Giacomo

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-26, 10:36 AM
It's certainly a shame about the sling, but thinking about it, the Composite Longbow's a better solution most of the time. I just don't like the -2 penalty for when the Strength gets below 32 (which it would be, without the buffs). However, I think the Strength limitation was removed in 3.5e. Here's the entire text from the Composite Longbow entry in the SRD:
(...)
There's nothing there about an upper limit (except as it applies to a particular bow), which was the case in 3.0e. I might be missing something written somewhere else though.


See above my comments to Rigeld2. I guess it's open for debate/houserule.



Don't need to worry about that anymore, since the revised Cleric cast Greater Spell Immunity to prevent that from happening.


Great idea!



Buffed up, it's around 25 damage per hit with the revised Cleric.


OK. This almost gets the fighter with 6 shots, and should finish him with the shot in the surprise round! I'll have another look at the numbers, though (in particular with the STR 18 cap/non cap versions).



The Cleric would lose the permanent spells (too low a caster level), but most of the rest would remain, and a Time Stop would allow most of them to be regained.


Yep, but remember time stop is a domain spell and can only be cast once/day. You should have it as a backup on a scroll as in your original build.



PaO wouldn't be gone, because it could have been cast weeks in advance. For this usage, the effect is considered to be Permanent (ie, it lasts until dispelled or replaced).


But a disjunction would automaticaly dispel it, or do I miss some special rule on permanencies (note: the PaP effect is permanent in duration, not enhanced by a permanency spell)?
Btw, did you calculate the X.P. costs of casting permanency into the cleric build?



I did think about that, which is why the revised Cleric still uses Magic Circle against Evil. The Cleric might have to endure one round of attacks, but after that another Holy Word should freeze any summoned help.


Yes, may do the trick- but once again, costing time, allowing more uncertainty into this. And you wish to take on three CR 20 opponents in one day with this cleric? Hmmm...let's see your new idea below.



I hope the Balor will waste actions on that, since Greater Spell Immunity means the Cleric won't be affected by it.


OK, valid point. But there goes one more 8th level slot. And for every ability of the balor, you'll need one more. Still, it is a good defense for opponents you are going against (and other opponents may use it vs your holy words tactics!).



Buffed up, the Cleric is Large sized and has 33 Strength. It's going to take a very good Grappler to beat that, and if it does happen, the Cleric has an Impale attack (3d8+9) and natural Claw attack (2d8+6) to fall back on. Since Monks, Fighters and Barbarians have no class based method to dispel magical effects, the Cleric's buffs should still be there.


Yep, admitted, that's a good protection. Only vulnerable to a disjunction effect.



Shortly before I posted my Revised Cleric, I stated a new challenge, which was to defeat the Balor, Sir Giacomo's Fighter, and the Tarrasque all in one day. The Balor has proven to be no real challenge, the Fighter (without Cohort) shouldn't be too difficult to defeat,


..er...you are a bit ahead of yourself here. First, those encounters will have to be quite close to each other, or you'll have to rebuff, using up quite a few spells. Plus, the quickened versions will be less and less available.
Second, you may get the fighter with the arrows just barely...plus, the initiative is a 50:50 thing.
Third, the paralysed balor that the cleric needs several rounds to finish will be able to do a great many detrimental things like summoning another balor for help. Try greater dispel magics on himself, likely ending either dimensional anchor and/or the holy word effect over those rounds.

Now, could the fighter do this feat? He might, since he has plenty of arrows available...:smallwink: But certainly not with a high chance of success, plus it is difficult - though not impossible - to squeeze it into his equipment. The tarrasque is particularly tricky, so his equipment may need to get geared towards getting 30 slaying arrows for around 70,000 gold, plus a wish in his luck blade for another 50,000 or so.

Now on to your great idea of the dream larva, which illustrats the power of the gate (note, though, that the cleric will not be able to direct it since he cannot speak the language of such an epic monster, though he may have researched it beforehand and learnt it).

Let's assume it is core (your're right, it's not in the core books, but in SRD since that includes epic level monsters, so it's truly a bit cheesy).
- the fighter may have received a heroes' feast on that day as well :smallcool: In fact, if he has a cohort of 15th level, the easiest strategy is to always have this for him at that level in extended form by his cohort, so full use of leadership here! (the poison immunity and constant +1 morale bonus is nice as well). The fighter may get attacked during the feast hour, but that applies to the cleric as well.
- there may be an item out there that gives immunity to fear or the low-level protection from evil, although I am not sure (will check). Or another escape route in core to cover/close his eyes in such a circumstance and make use of blind-fighting (will check on that as well).
- The fighter has the luck re-roll and may thus still save, although that is not very likely (still needs a 20).
- if the fighter survives the attack, he can teleport away (as can the balor), yielding no x.P. Over time, this could cost the cleric X.P. with this strategy, even if his opponents only had around 10% chance of escaping each.

But overall that is a cool idea to make use of gate. Kudos!

- Giacomo

greenknight
2007-03-26, 12:08 PM
I guess it's open for debate/houserule.

By the RAW, there's no limit, provided you're willing to pay the increased cost. You could houserule one, if you wanted to.


Yep, but remember time stop is a domain spell and can only be cast once/day. You should have it as a backup on a scroll as in your original build.

Take another look at my revised Cleric build (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2244519&postcount=389). It includes 2 scrolls of Time Stop.


But a disjunction would automaticaly dispel it, or do I miss some special rule on permanencies (note: the PaP effect is permanent in duration, not enhanced by a permanency spell)?

Where is a Balor, a Tarrasque or your Fighter getting a Disjunction from? I'll agree that spellcaster vs spellcaster can be a hard fight, but none of the three creatures I mentioned has that capability (aside from the Fighter using magical items), and only the Balor remotely qualifies as a spellcaster.


Btw, did you calculate the X.P. costs of casting permanency into the cleric build?

No, because the XP provision is built into the scrolls I used (and paid for).


OK, valid point. But there goes one more 8th level slot.

Re-read Spell Immunity (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/spellImmunity.htm). Greater Spell Immunity works the same way, except it protects against 8th level spells or lower. A 20th level Cleric is protected against 5 spells with one casting. If you read "level" as "Caster Level", that's 6 spells.

In the first paragraph after "Observations" of my revised Cleric build, I've listed all the spell slots used. I've also listed a few spell effects Greater Spell Immunity should protect against.


Still, it is a good defense for opponents you are going against (and other opponents may use it vs your holy words tactics!).

Only if they're Clerics, or able to cast 8th level Clerical spells. Not all opponents are going to qualify. Even then, they'd need to protect themselves from Blasphemy, Dictum, Holy Word and Word of Chaos, in addition to all the other spells a Cleric could cast.


..er...you are a bit ahead of yourself here. First, those encounters will have to be quite close to each other, or you'll have to rebuff, using up quite a few spells.

With this new technique, I'd be using up 4 9th level spell slots, of 6 available per day. That's not too bad really, since I've still got all the spells from 0 - 8th level to play with.


Plus, the quickened versions will be less and less available.

Again, check the revised Cleric build. I have the Quicken Spell feat, and two Rods of Metamagic: Quicken Spell, which can quicken up to 6th level (that's 6 quickened spells per day).


Second, you may get the fighter with the arrows just barely...plus, the initiative is a 50:50 thing.

But that won't matter. Your Fighter can only hit the Cleric on a 20, and the Cleric has enough HP to survive several rounds of combat. Your Fighter can't do that.


Third, the paralysed balor that the cleric needs several rounds to finish will be able to do a great many detrimental things like summoning another balor for help. Try greater dispel magics on himself, likely ending either dimensional anchor and/or the holy word effect over those rounds.

Summoning another Balor won't be a problem. Dispelling the magic will be, so rather than go with ranged archer combat, use the scythe (and coupe de grace) or Gate. The Dream Larva isn't subject to death from massive damage, and even 100 HP damage won't worry it since it has regeneration and fast healing.


Now, could the fighter do this feat? He might, since he has plenty of arrows available...:smallwink: But certainly not with a high chance of success, plus it is difficult - though not impossible - to squeeze it into his equipment. The tarrasque is particularly tricky, so his equipment may need to get geared towards getting 30 slaying arrows for around 70,000 gold, plus a wish in his luck blade for another 50,000 or so.

Go ahead. I've shown you how a Cleric could beat all three characters, often in the surprise round, nearly always in 1.5 rounds.


Now on to your great idea of the dream larva, which illustrats the power of the gate (note, though, that the cleric will not be able to direct it since he cannot speak the language of such an epic monster, though he may have researched it beforehand and learnt it).

Ok. Add in a casting of Tongues, problem solved. It can even be made permanent. Although once the Dream Larva does it's job (which will usually happen just by being there) it goes away, so there's little need to communicate with it.


Let's assume it is core (your're right, it's not in the core books, but in SRD since that includes epic level monsters, so it's truly a bit cheesy).
- the fighter may have received a heroes' feast on that day as well :smallcool: In fact, if he has a cohort of 15th level, the easiest strategy is to always have this for him at that level in extended form by his cohort, so full use of leadership here! (the poison immunity and constant +1 morale bonus is nice as well). The fighter may get attacked during the feast hour, but that applies to the cleric as well.

Core only covers up to around CR20. Aside from some Dragons (which aren't considered extraplaner), there really isn't a whole lot to choose from for the Gate spell in Core if you're a high level caster. Since the HD limit for Gate is Epic, I think it's fair to allow a bit of leeway here, otherwise there isn't a whole lot of point to the spell.

But the Fighter can't cast Heroes' Feast himself. What you're saying here is that a Fighter cannot be effective alone at high levels. Yes, if the character has leadership and if the character has a spellcasting cohort, that spellcasting cohort might pose a challenge. Because the Fighter is too easily beaten by himself.

What it comes down to is that Leadership isn't a class skill. It can be taken by a Fighter, and Fighters do have more Feats than anyone else so they can more easily afford it. But if you really want to look at it that way, it's far better to be a Wizard. A Wizard could have Leadership, with a Cleric cohort. A 20th level Wizard gets 4 bonus feats, so it's probably affordable. But the Wizard could also Dominate Monster to have a Rogue and Fighter slave (and these will often be 20th level or higher, not level restricted the way a Cohort is). The Wizard could keep on Dominating creatures, gaining a large number of allies, since the effect is long term. And if the Cleric Rebukes Undead, there's another way to gain extra servants.


there may be an item out there that gives immunity to fear or the low-level protection from evil, although I am not sure (will check). Or another escape route in core to cover/close his eyes in such a circumstance and make use of blind-fighting (will check on that as well).

A Scarab of Protection might work, although it would be a house rule (it does have Death Ward as a pre-req to making it). Offhand, I can't think of any other Core item that would work, although there may be something. Closing one's eyes wouldn't work, unless that's the normal way the character fights (the creature is Gated in at 30' or less, so it's effect is immediate).


The fighter has the luck re-roll and may thus still save, although that is not very likely (still needs a 20).

That's why the Fighter's chance of failure is around 90%, not 95%. It helps a little, but not much.


if the fighter survives the attack, he can teleport away (as can the balor), yielding no x.P.

Re-read the XP rules. Running away counts as a victory, so the Cleric would get the XP anyway.


Over time, this could cost the cleric X.P. with this strategy, even if his opponents only had around 10% chance of escaping each.

Usually, it's only a 5% chance of escape (1 in 20), provided the creature isn't immune to fear, mind affecting attacks, or warded by Protection from Evil or Death Ward. Since each CR 20 encounter yields 6,000 XP for a 20th level character (which is not modified or shared by the Gated creature), even if XP wasn't awared for foes who run away, that's still 5,000 XP earned over 19 of 20 encounters. The character only needs 20,000 XP to gain a level, so 4 such encounters would be enough.

Even if the foe is immune, a Cleric could Gate in some other Epic creature with 50 HD or less. And since CR doesn't apply, that could be a very powerful creature indeed. For example, an Infernal could be gated, which can then summon 4 Balors (or Pit Fiends).

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-26, 02:50 PM
Hi again,

I'll keep this post much shorter, by first of all saying that in most your rules/equipment clarifications posts, your're correct. I should have checked your build more closely. Sorry!

Now there are three areas of the issues in your post where we apparently differ.
1) The role of leadership in a character's capability. If a fighter has this feat and makes use of his cohort's spellpowers (for something in a group, a spellcaster would do), it is hardly a proof that he can never get along without spellcasters. Because you could easily show that spellcasters are toast in a non-magic zone, or that clerics are not really powerful themselves, because they receive ALL their power from a npc (their god). And even if they try to get around the dependence on a person as a non-deity cleric, they need to stick to principles that they themselves laid out and which were accepted by the DM and controlled by the DM throughout according to his standards, not the player's.
So, in total, I guess it would be fair to assume that this cohort may be the one to cast heroes' feast or disjunction, although the cohort should not be part of the battle, so the disjunction effect would not be there (simply the cohort's long-term buffs/resources may be used by the fighter or any other class capable of doing that).

2) Now this dream larva thing. I have further thought about it, because this kind of horror from outer space made me a bit doubtful, even though I thought your overall strategy is great.
Summoning epic monsters in non-epic play somehow does not seem right to me. It's tantamount to saying "I cannot prove the absolute superiority of a cleric over a fighter in non-epic play so I go epic". The gate spell is, of course, highly useful even without epic monsters. Some monster manual monsters have more than 20 HD, some may be larger versions to get to that total number (if ruled so by the DM), and most of the time you can simply summon up to the total of 40/50 HD, out of several creatures. But in non-epic play, I guess it is not meant to provide auto-win buttons by throwing 50HD epic creatures at your opponent...

3) About the experience points: I haven't found it yet in the SRD, will check the DMG, but I would as DM judge that if your opponent teleports to safety and comes back for revenge, that you have not solved that encounter. But that would be houserule, in case the RAW were interpreted correctly.

- Giacomo

Marius
2007-03-26, 02:53 PM
Leadership is not like any other feat, the DM has to allow it. So I don't think that you (or anyone) should include it in any build.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-26, 03:05 PM
Leadership is not like any other feat, the DM has to allow it. So I don't think that you (or anyone) should include it in any build.

Hmmm. The SRD does not say anything about a DM at all (since it includes the DMG rules directly) and in the PHB, the passage "Check with the DM before selecting this feat,.." to me does not imply that it is a houserule if that feat even exists, but that, since an npc is created who provides stuff to your character, that npc of course is completely in the hands of the DM with guidelines provided by the rules (as is, incidently, the deity of a cleric player).

- Giacomo

Edit: Like you, probably, I am not calling for a cleric 15th level or whoever to accompany the fighter on his challenges. That would not likely, since it would be tantamount of asking of the cohort to continuously risk his life for the fighter, something not that likely. Long-term buffs, though, like an extended heroes' feast to provide immunity to fear and poison should be OK.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-26, 03:21 PM
But that won't matter. Your Fighter can only hit the Cleric on a 20, and the Cleric has enough HP to survive several rounds of combat. Your Fighter can't do that.

Just discovered that, so not all your rules clarifications where correct :smallsmile: . The cleric has a flat-footed AC of 35, which the fighter will hit most of the time with the majority of his attacks.
In mutually buffed´/non-surprise combat, the fighter has an attack bonus of +44 vs your buffed cleric's AC of 58, which is not "hitting only on a 20". The cleric may hit always except on on a 1, but a quickdrawn eversmoking bottle once again guarantees a draw. Fighter teleports away, waits for buffs to be over, attacks again.

Now again trying to reign in the discussion a bit: it is not about direct combat between player characters (as I illustrated, most often it results in a draw). It is about what they can contribute at high levels (up to lvl 20). And here the buffed cleric IS highly vulnerable to disjunctions cast by enemy spellcasters, but not so much the fighter in the 4-head-group, who fights on.

- Giacomo

Rigeld2
2007-03-26, 03:25 PM
but a quickdrawn eversmoking bottle once again guarantees a draw.
You cant quickdraw an eversmoking bottle. Ever. Its not a weapon. I showed you that before.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-26, 03:58 PM
And I showed to you before that, by the RAW, it is. Read the section on improvised weapon. A bottle definitely is an improvised weapon.

- Giacomo

Norsesmithy
2007-03-26, 04:17 PM
At long last,....

FIGHTER BUILD, 2nd revision

- Giacomo
If I were you I would add the Binding property from Magic Item Compendium to your arrow. It smacks your target with a Dimensional Anchor on a successful hit.

It is only a +1 enhancement, so adding it to your arrows isn't a big deal and still keeps you in your prescibed wealth.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-26, 04:29 PM
Great idea! So far, though, we are confined to core rules.

- Giacomo

Rigeld2
2007-03-26, 04:33 PM
And I showed to you before that, by the RAW, it is. Read the section on improvised weapon. A bottle definitely is an improvised weapon.

- Giacomo
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/equipment/weapons.htm#improvisedWeapons
Where in there does it say it counts as a weapon for feats, etc?

Its not a weapon, its an improvised weapon. There is a difference - you get a -4 nonproficiency penalty with an improvised weapon.

Norsesmithy
2007-03-26, 04:50 PM
Great idea! So far, though, we are confined to core rules.

- Giacomo
Whoops, was so excited by my new book, I forgot that.

ZekeArgo
2007-03-26, 04:51 PM
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/equipment/weapons.htm#improvisedWeapons
Where in there does it say it counts as a weapon for feats, etc?

Its not a weapon, its an improvised weapon. There is a difference - you get a -4 nonproficiency penalty with an improvised weapon.

Unless the quick draw feat has a clause where it can only be used with weapons in which you are proficient (which it doesn't), this argument makes no sense.

Dispite being a weapon you aren't proficient in, it is still counted as a weapon, and thus can be drawn quickly.

Rigeld2
2007-03-26, 05:16 PM
Dispite being a weapon you aren't proficient in, it is still counted as a weapon, and thus can be drawn quickly.
Where does it say it counts as a weapon? Its always called an improvised weapon, never just a weapon. Indeed, in some places it says object instead of weapon.

ZekeArgo
2007-03-26, 05:46 PM
Where does it say it counts as a weapon? Its always called an improvised weapon, never just a weapon. Indeed, in some places it says object instead of weapon.

You just said it yourself. Improvised *WEAPON* it isn't an improvised body of water, or an improvised spell, its a weapon that is improvised. Improvised describes what type of weapon it is, still making it a weapon.

Marius
2007-03-26, 05:53 PM
You just said it yourself. Improvised *WEAPON* it isn't an improvised body of water, or an improvised spell, its a weapon that is improvised. Improvised describes what type of weapon it is, still making it a weapon.

It's not the same, you can't EVER be profiecient with an improvised weapon. A bottle is not a weapon, it can be use as one and so it's called an "improvised weapon. Not just weapon, if so almost everything could apply since there're few things that cannot be used as improvised weapons.
You may want to argue what is an improvised weapon and what isn't one but that would be a DM call and not RAW.

Zincorium
2007-03-26, 07:09 PM
It's not the same, you can't EVER be profiecient with an improvised weapon. A bottle is not a weapon, it can be use as one and so it's called an "improvised weapon. Not just weapon, if so almost everything could apply since there're few things that cannot be used as improvised weapons.
You may want to argue what is an improvised weapon and what isn't one but that would be a DM call and not RAW.

Types of weapons:
simple
martial
exotic
improvised

Makes sense to me.

greenknight
2007-03-26, 07:54 PM
Because you could easily show that spellcasters are toast in a non-magic zone, or that clerics are not really powerful themselves, because they receive ALL their power from a npc (their god).

Spellcasters aren't entirely toast in a dead magic zone, but it is their biggest weakness (especially if it's a Sorcerer or Wizard). A Fighter certainly does better there. Why? Because spellcasters rely on spells and magic, Fighters don't need that as much. But Clerics get their spells as a class ability, so saying that they rely on an NPC isn't exactly the same thing as having a Fighter rely on a Cohort.


So, in total, I guess it would be fair to assume that this cohort may be the one to cast heroes' feast or disjunction, although the cohort should not be part of the battle, so the disjunction effect would not be there (simply the cohort's long-term buffs/resources may be used by the fighter or any other class capable of doing that).

Even if you do take your Cohort into account, Disjunction is a 9th level spell which a 15th level Cleric can't cast except from a scroll (and then only if the character has the Magic domain).


Now this dream larva thing. I have further thought about it, because this kind of horror from outer space made me a bit doubtful, even though I thought your overall strategy is great.
Summoning epic monsters in non-epic play somehow does not seem right to me.

The monster is Epic, but the spell is 9th level, well within the capabilities of the Cleric. The fact that a even a 17th level Cleric can call on this monster does indicate the spell is broken, but that's the RAW. Denying an effect which is perfectly within the spell's capabilities does not seem right to me.


It's tantamount to saying "I cannot prove the absolute superiority of a cleric over a fighter in non-epic play so I go epic". The gate spell is, of course, highly useful even without epic monsters. Some monster manual monsters have more than 20 HD, some may be larger versions to get to that total number (if ruled so by the DM), and most of the time you can simply summon up to the total of 40/50 HD, out of several creatures.

No. If you use the spell to summon multiple creatures, you're limited to your Caster Level in hit die. When you summon a single creature, you can get 2xHD. And that's the point: how many extraplaner creatures are there in the MM with 34 HD (equal to a 17th level caster, with no caster level improvement items)? That said, I could probably use Gate to call in a Titan, who could then Gate in another Titan, who could Gate in another Titan who could (you get the idea).


About the experience points: I haven't found it yet in the SRD, will check the DMG, but I would as DM judge that if your opponent teleports to safety and comes back for revenge, that you have not solved that encounter.

Read through p36 in the 3.5e DMG. If the foe teleports to safety, that counts as being defeated in battle.


Just discovered that, so not all your rules clarifications where correct . The cleric has a flat-footed AC of 35, which the fighter will hit most of the time with the majority of his attacks.

Flat footed AC would be 45, with the Magic Vestment and Defending Scimitar (which would normally be active in defence while moving). And that assumes you can catch the Cleric flat footed. The question is, how do you get the Cleric flat-footed? The Cleric is Invisible prior to combat, and your character has no means of seeing an Invisible foe. The Cleric can See Invisible, so even if you gave your Fighter a similar ring, it won't stop the Cleric from seeing the Fighter at sight distance. The Cleric can even see in darkness out to 60', so doesn't need that Continual Light I equipped the character with. In darkness, your Fighter requires some kind of light source.

Maybe you could Stun the Cleric. That's DC 29 vs the Cleric's +25 Fort save, and you have to hit (only on a 20, usually). There's a chance that will work, but it isn't very likely.

What if your Fighter hides in ambush? The Cleric +13 to Spot (just from Wisdom and magical items), usually isn't good enough against your Fighter's Hide skill, so it should work. But the Cleric is invisible, so it's going to be hard to pinpoint just where the character is, or even if the character is nearby. Worse still, for travel over significant distances the Cleric would use a Wind Walk spell, making it almost impossible to ambush the character.

The most likely scenario for a battle between these two characters is that the Cleric sees the Fighter without the Fighter being aware of it (thanks to Invisibility and being able to see in the dark). The Cleric then buffs, and goes into battle, gaining Surprise. The Fighter is then facing an AC of around 60, and has a 1 in 20 prospect of hitting (and a 1 in 400 chance of getting a critical).


You cant quickdraw an eversmoking bottle

From the Official FAQ:

As described on page 142 of the Player’s Handbook, the
“draw a weapon” action also applies to weaponlike objects
carried in easy reach, such as wands. (The Sage would suggest
that magic rods and staffs also fall into this category.) Thus,
drawing a wand doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity, and a
character with Quick Draw could draw one as a free action.
Wands and rods (but not staffs) also fall into the category
of “light or one-handed weapons” for the purpose of drawing
them in conjunction with the Two-Weapon Fighting feat (see
page 142 of the Player’s Handbook).

I think that would support quick drawing the bottle. However, that does not mean that activating it would not still be a standard action. From the SRD:

In most cases, using an item requires a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity. By contrast, spell completion items are treated like spells in combat and do provoke attacks of opportunity.

Activating a magic item is a standard action unless the item description indicates otherwise.

There's nothing in the bottle's description which states that activating it is a free action, so we go by the RAW.

ZekeArgo
2007-03-26, 09:03 PM
It's not the same, you can't EVER be profiecient with an improvised weapon. A bottle is not a weapon, it can be use as one and so it's called an "improvised weapon. Not just weapon, if so almost everything could apply since there're few things that cannot be used as improvised weapons.
You may want to argue what is an improvised weapon and what isn't one but that would be a DM call and not RAW.

And your point is? If you don't take a feat to become proficient in say, a kama, and still use one, are you unable to utilize quick draw with it? Proficiency is *not* required to use Quick Draw, and as long as you are using the item as a weapon, then what is the problem?

Edit: Oh, and characters are automatically considered proficient in grenadelike weapons (check simple items in the PHB). So they *are* proficient.

Rigeld2
2007-03-26, 10:03 PM
Types of weapons:
simple
martial
exotic
improvised

Makes sense to me.
First, an eversmoking bottle isnt a grenadelike weapon. Its a bottle.

Second, if Quick Draw was meant to be used with any item in existance (which is exactly what youre arguing) it wouldnt use the term weapon.

Its meant to be used only for weapons. Bottles arent weapons.

Viscount Einstrauss
2007-03-26, 10:06 PM
It is if you ready and wield it like a weapon, though. That's why they give Improvised Weapon stats.

C'mon, you haven't seen any movies where a guy at a bar fight breaks a glass bottle over the counter and uses that to fight the awesome kung-fu hero?

Rigeld2
2007-03-26, 10:12 PM
It is if you ready and wield it like a weapon, though. That's why they give Improvised Weapon stats.
sigh...

Yes, if its already wielded and ready to swing, I'll give you that its a weapon.

Bottles that are just chillin on your belt, or in your backpack? No.

ZekeArgo
2007-03-26, 10:14 PM
First, an eversmoking bottle isnt a grenadelike weapon. Its a bottle.

Second, if Quick Draw was meant to be used with any item in existance (which is exactly what youre arguing) it wouldnt use the term weapon.

Its meant to be used only for weapons. Bottles arent weapons.

So what is the difference between a Bottle of Acid or Alchemists Fire and an Eversmoking Bottle? I mean really, this is just getting out of hand. The two have no functional difference and treating it as if it did makes no sense.

Rigeld2
2007-03-26, 10:18 PM
So what is the difference between a Bottle of Acid or Alchemists Fire and an Eversmoking Bottle? I mean really, this is just getting out of hand. The two have no functional difference and treating it as if it did makes no sense.
No functional difference?

You uncork one and let it be. Throwing it destroys it and it never works again.

The others, you throw and they are designed to shatter and explode.

I'd say thats a pretty big functional difference.

ZekeArgo
2007-03-26, 10:20 PM
No functional difference?

You uncork one and let it be. Throwing it destroys it and it never works again.

The others, you throw and they are designed to shatter and explode.

I'd say thats a pretty big functional difference.

You are describing what they do on impact, not on the ability to draw and throw the items in question. Sure, they have different effects, but they are all *bottles* and *weapons* and thus can be drawn *quickly*

Rigeld2
2007-03-26, 10:31 PM
You are describing what they do on impact, not on the ability to draw and throw the items in question. Sure, they have different effects, but they are all *bottles* and *weapons* and thus can be drawn *quickly*
No.

A Long Sword is a sword.
A Dagger is not a sword.
Not all bladed weapons are swords.

Following?

Alchemists Fire is a (grenadelike) weapon.
Eversmoking Bottles are not weapons.
Not everything in a bottle is a weapon.

Of course... in your argument, its trivial to strip naked as a free action. Since every item of clothing could also be considered an improvised weapon, Quick Draw it, then drop it as a free action. All fall down.

Ooh! A loaded backpack is an improvised weapon! No more move actions to drop it if youre overweight and in combat! Just Quick Draw and drop it!

ZekeArgo
2007-03-26, 10:37 PM
No.

A Long Sword is a sword.
A Dagger is not a sword.
Not all bladed weapons are swords.

Following?

Alchemists Fire is a (grenadelike) weapon.
Eversmoking Bottles are not weapons.
Not everything in a bottle is a weapon.

Of course... in your argument, its trivial to strip naked as a free action. Since every item of clothing could also be considered an improvised weapon, Quick Draw it, then drop it as a free action. All fall down.

Ooh! A loaded backpack is an improvised weapon! No more move actions to drop it if youre overweight and in combat! Just Quick Draw and drop it!


Technically sure on the loaded backpack, since you could throw the damn thing at an opponent as an improvised weapon. The clothing is possible, but really, really difficult to actually wield, though there are plenty examples of utilizing cloth and other lightweight items to warrant their use as, once more, improvised weapons.

You continue to split hairs to make things difficult for a simple escape tactic. So a player can throw 2-3 bottles to cover an area to get away? Really, is it that important or game breaking to allow a player to do something creative they came up with?

In a world with Wizards and Clerics, I think not.

Marius
2007-03-27, 05:36 AM
Technically sure on the loaded backpack, since you could throw the damn thing at an opponent as an improvised weapon. The clothing is possible, but really, really difficult to actually wield, though there are plenty examples of utilizing cloth and other lightweight items to warrant their use as, once more, improvised weapons.

You continue to split hairs to make things difficult for a simple escape tactic. So a player can throw 2-3 bottles to cover an area to get away? Really, is it that important or game breaking to allow a player to do something creative they came up with?

In a world with Wizards and Clerics, I think not.

It has nothing to do with the fact that you can use it as an escape tactic. It's just not logical at all to be able to quickdraw almost every item since almost everything can be use as an improvised weapon.
It's a pretty bad escape tactic anyway, each bottle costs 5400gp and casters can still target you with area spells.
Also Eversmoking bottles are not even the kind of bottles that you mean, they are like gennie bottles.

Rigeld2
2007-03-27, 05:39 AM
Technically sure on the loaded backpack, since you could throw the damn thing at an opponent as an improvised weapon. The clothing is possible, but really, really difficult to actually wield, though there are plenty examples of utilizing cloth and other lightweight items to warrant their use as, once more, improvised weapons.
Like I said, your argument is for Quick Drawing everything in existance.


You continue to split hairs to make things difficult for a simple escape tactic. So a player can throw 2-3 bottles to cover an area to get away? Really, is it that important or game breaking to allow a player to do something creative they came up with?
Did you even read the Eversmoking Bottle?

ZekeArgo
2007-03-27, 12:09 PM
Like I said, your argument is for Quick Drawing everything in existance.

*shrug* Thats how the rules work. Have you never seen a wuxia movie? Don't see the problem as long as (as with everything) the player doesn't get crazy with it.


Did you even read the Eversmoking Bottle?

It's a bottle, that smokes when its unstoppered. Since theres no mention of a command word to pull out the stopper (only to put it back in) I have *no* problem allowing a player to do this in combat as part of a full attack routine. Doubly so since it would probally be one employed by a throwing-based character anyway.

Why this is such a big deal for you I really don't understand. Its a damn bottle. There are no rules stating how long it takes to unstopper a bottle, and it isn't unreasonable *or* against the RAW to allow it to happen.

So, what exactly is the big, game-breaking problem with this that makes you need to stomp your foot down? You still haven't explained that one.

Marius
2007-03-27, 01:15 PM
It's a bottle, that smokes when its unstoppered. Since theres no mention of a command word to pull out the stopper (only to put it back in) I have *no* problem allowing a player to do this in combat as part of a full attack routine. Doubly so since it would probally be one employed by a throwing-based character anyway.

Why this is such a big deal for you I really don't understand. Its a damn bottle. There are no rules stating how long it takes to unstopper a bottle, and it isn't unreasonable *or* against the RAW to allow it to happen.

So, what exactly is the big, game-breaking problem with this that makes you need to stomp your foot down? You still haven't explained that one.

It's not game-breaking it's just wrong. By RAW you have to spend a standard action to activate an eversmoking bottle.


Eversmoking Bottle This metal urn is identical in appearance to an efreeti bottle (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/wondrousItems.htm#efreetiBottle), except that it does nothing but smoke. The amount of smoke is great if the stopper is pulled out, pouring from the bottle and totally obscuring vision across a 50-foot spread in 1 round. If the bottle is left unstoppered, the smoke billows out another 10 feet per round until it has covered a 100-foot radius. This area remains smoke-filled until the eversmoking bottle is stoppered.
The bottle must be resealed by a command word (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/magicItemBasics.htm#commandWord), after which the smoke dissipates normally. A moderate wind (11+ mph) disperses the smoke in 4 rounds; a strong wind (21+ mph) disperses the smoke in 1 round.


Using Items To use a magic item, it must be activated, although sometimes activation simply means putting a ring on your finger. Some items, once donned, function constantly. In most cases, using an item requires a standard action (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/actionsInCombat.htm#standardActions) that does not provoke attacks of opportunity (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/attacksOfOpportunity.htm). By contrast, spell completion (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/magicItemBasics.htm#spellCompletion) items are treated like spells in combat and do provoke attacks of opportunity.
Activating a magic item is a standard action (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/actionsInCombat.htm#standardActions) unless the item description indicates otherwise. However, the casting time of a spell is the time required to activate the same power in an item, regardless of the type of magic item, unless the item description specifically states otherwise.

An eversmoking bottle is a magic item and nothing in the item description says that is a free action or even a move action to activate one. Then by RAW activating an eversmoking bottle is a standard action.

Rigeld2
2007-03-27, 01:31 PM
So, what exactly is the big, game-breaking problem with this that makes you need to stomp your foot down? You still haven't explained that one.
Because the feat says "weapon". Bottles are not weapons. Debates are supposed to be by the RAW, not by what people would rule in thier own games.

And no, I dont let people quick draw stuff like that in my games.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-28, 12:44 PM
Hi again,

as an introductory note (and building on what ZekeArgo has said), I guess it is a bit funny to accept a cleric at lvl 17-20 to call an epic creature in non-epic play which kills everything on sight, while at the same time relentlessy refusing the idea that someone can quickdraw a complex object like a dire flail, but not a bottle. And then still deplore the lack of balance in the rules :smallsmile:
Ah, and of course my opinion remains that by the RAW, plus also by logic, a bottle is a weapon that can be drawn (if you say improvised weapons are not weapons because of the more specific wording, then melee weapons likewise are not equal to weapons, since the specific wording is different).

Anyhow, back to the main discussion. First replying in more detail what greenknight has said, and then trying a new angle of the fighter/caster discussion.



Spellcasters aren't entirely toast in a dead magic zone, but it is their biggest weakness (especially if it's a Sorcerer or Wizard). A Fighter certainly does better there. Why? Because spellcasters rely on spells and magic, Fighters don't need that as much. But Clerics get their spells as a class ability, so saying that they rely on an NPC isn't exactly the same thing as having a Fighter rely on a Cohort.


Well, I admit it's a bit complicated. The process for handling a cleric's deity and belief is similarly (I daresay even more!) DM-dependent than creating a cohort for the leadership feat, but it works in a very similar way. It does not matter if one thing is gained as part of a class ability, and the other as an indirect effect of a class ability (i.e. fighter having enough fighter bonus feats so he can focus his level feats on something like leadership).
Eventually, both the cleric player and the player of any character who gets leadership get additional resources, albeit controlled directly by the DM. For balance reasons, of course, a DM may be more reluctant to block access to cleric spells than to a cohort. Both, however, likely will not ever directly interfere/fight alongside a character.



Even if you do take your Cohort into account, Disjunction is a 9th level spell which a 15th level Cleric can't cast except from a scroll (and then only if the character has the Magic domain).


Yep, it's rare so I'll not consider that a bard or rogue with UMD or a wizard/sorcerer or cleric with access to the magic domain casts it from a scroll. It would also mean that the cohort fights alongside the character, which I would consider as unrealistic. Lvl 20 encounters likely are too tough for lvl 15 npcs.



The monster is Epic, but the spell is 9th level, well within the capabilities of the Cleric. The fact that a even a 17th level Cleric can call on this monster does indicate the spell is broken, but that's the RAW. Denying an effect which is perfectly within the spell's capabilities does not seem right to me.
(...) If you use the spell to summon multiple creatures, you're limited to your Caster Level in hit die. When you summon a single creature, you can get 2xHD. And that's the point: how many extraplaner creatures are there in the MM with 34 HD (equal to a 17th level caster, with no caster level improvement items)? That said, I could probably use Gate to call in a Titan, who could then Gate in another Titan, who could Gate in another Titan who could (you get the idea).


Well, summoning epic creatures in core is not the RAW. In core, you are confined to the monster manual. In that point, I have to backpedal on my initial delight about the monster/gate combo that you came up with.
Actually, only by either making the game epic, OR expanding the rules with other books (which is optional) it is made RAW, and can contain the incredible powerflows described. Obviously the game designers put in outsiders capping at the CR 22 of a solar for a reason. Note also that shapechange is similarly confined in core (or you could turn into a dream larva, attacking everyone with epic spell DC).
But actually I guess that for you to prove that the cleric can kill a flat-footed fighter with a spell your epic monster is simply overkill (not necessary). Nor is it necessary to resort to some sort of infinite loop (the titan gating, resulting like the infinite wishes or fabricate inflation spell in a shutdown of the campaing, not in individual lasting power of the cleric/caster)
With a series of potential 4 attack spells if having a surprise round and a greater quicken rod, he can do the same easily in a different way:
Move invisibly within 300ft of fighter.
Surprise round: Quickened Dimensional Anchor, Gate in a balor next to fighter. Balor casts spell like domination/whatever/attacks.
1st round: Quickened Gate in another balor next to fighter (flanking), plus another regular gate with a third balor next to fighter. Balor full attack. Fighter dies.
If by any chance the cleric detects before that the fighter has some protection from evil on, he would simply gate in some solars...

The only chance at survival for the fighter I'd see here is that his initiative beats the initiative check of the balors (at least 1 should go before him, though). Then either the fighter teleports away (yielding the X.P. for the cleric, haven't got the DMG right here, but you're probably right with teleporting and X.P.), or he tries to somehow win vs 4 lvl 20 opponents. Not a likely route.

Another avenue is to get a constant effect of protection from BOTH evil AND good. Will think on that.
Definitely forgettable (with non-epic means) is guaranteeing a 1.5 round win vs a balor, my example fighter, and a tarrasque on the same day. In particular I got problems with your remaining tactics of dealing for 10 rounds (if I'm not mistaken) with the paralysed balor, having to endure 10 rounds of its spell-like abilities without failing or in the least reducing your chances of winning from 95% to only something like "likely" (60-70%).



Flat footed AC would be 45, with the Magic Vestment and Defending Scimitar (which would normally be active in defence while moving).


Does your cleric run around with a scimitar drawn all the time? Because it only bestows that defense to a "wielder", not the carryer of that weapon. So with Magic Vestment that is a flat footed AC of 40. Still low enough for a teleport/supriseround manyshot/1st round manyshot to work for the fighter. It is as difficult to survive such an attack, as in the example above when a cleric catches the fighter off-guard. The cleric's gate attacks are more potent, but also cost 3000 XP (in my scenario), while the fighter loses 8 normal arrows.



And that assumes you can catch the Cleric flat footed. The question is, how do you get the Cleric flat-footed? The Cleric is Invisible prior to combat, and your character has no means of seeing an Invisible foe. The Cleric can See Invisible, so even if you gave your Fighter a similar ring, it won't stop the Cleric from seeing the Fighter at sight distance. The Cleric can even see in darkness out to 60', so doesn't need that Continual Light I equipped the character with. In darkness, your Fighter requires some kind of light source.
(...)
What if your Fighter hides in ambush? The Cleric +13 to Spot (just from Wisdom and magical items), usually isn't good enough against your Fighter's Hide skill, so it should work. But the Cleric is invisible, so it's going to be hard to pinpoint just where the character is, or even if the character is nearby. Worse still, for travel over significant distances the Cleric would use a Wind Walk spell, making it almost impossible to ambush the character.
(...)
The most likely scenario for a battle between these two characters is that the Cleric sees the Fighter without the Fighter being aware of it (thanks to Invisibility and being able to see in the dark). The Cleric then buffs, and goes into battle, gaining Surprise. The Fighter is then facing an AC of around 60, and has a 1 in 20 prospect of hitting (and a 1 in 400 chance of getting a critical).


Well, catching the cleric off-guard this way is truly a challenge, but likely so is catching the lvl 20 fighter flat-footed. Does the cleric run around invisibly all the time? What about social interaction? If yes, conversely you'll probably not think it too weird if the fighter runs around with a 50-100 ft radius cloud from the eversmoking bottle (aah I slowly come to love that great item! @Marius: it protects from area spells well enough, only not if you get area spells beyound 20-30ft radius, which are quite rare...), while he is able to maneuver without problems due to the blind-fight feat. This way, he cannot be surprised. If someone casts wind spells/changes weather, he'll simply teleport away or hides (drinks potion of invisibility to boost) and get ready. His Hide check would then have to be beaten (plus range modifiers) by the cleric's spot check).
While in a city, the fighter (as the cleric!) can also be difficult to detect since both can use disguise self at will with their respective items. One thing that may be interpreted by the RAW is even that the robe of blending may be used to find out if someone is hostile (because only acquainted AND friendly creatures will see the fighter as he really is, but it may be also a true seeing effect...so not too reliable).
The cleric could scry for the fighter to locate him, but since the fighter can change appearance at will, and will so at random intervals into random personae (see, for instance, the agents in the Matrix), he'll need constant surveillance (plus overcome the fighter's will save), and some means to quickly teleport without error to that location, lest the fighter is gone again.

What it boils down is this: at high levels, almost all characters should have immense potential on the defensive side, proven by both our example builds. Which is also why character vs characters at high levels often result in a draw. It is probably better to compare their capabilities against different challenges.



Maybe you could Stun the Cleric. That's DC 29 vs the Cleric's +25 Fort save, and you have to hit (only on a 20, usually). There's a chance that will work, but it isn't very likely.


Hmmm, yes. The archery attack is way more potent, however. Plus, the melee attack chance of the example fighter is not that high.



I think that would support quick drawing the bottle. However, that does not mean that activating it would not still be a standard action. From the SRD:

In most cases, using an item requires a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity. By contrast, spell completion items are treated like spells in combat and do provoke attacks of opportunity.

Activating a magic item is a standard action unless the item description indicates otherwise.

There's nothing in the bottle's description which states that activating it is a free action, so we go by the RAW.


Thanks for supporting the bottle quickdraw! Now about the activation of the bottle...I already outlined it somewhere further up. In the item description it makes explicit mention of a command word to SEAL it, and it is quite obvious to me that if they do not mention a similar procedure for opening it (in the same description/paragraph of the item), that it must be something with less time than a standard action (in particular since opening a potion bottle AND drinking it is considered a standard action). Since there is no swift action in core, I would concede the opening of the bottle as a move-equivalent action, but not more.


Now onto something - not entirely - different.
What about trying to compare the fighter and cleric build in four typical areas of challenges (and not only direct combat)?
1) Social
2) Combat
3) Tricks/Sneaking/PhysicalSurvival
4) Research capability.

In particular, at high levels the cleric excels at all of those (more versatile, if he has a cohort, say a bard or wizard). However, the fighter is roughly equal in combat, may make use of a cohort for 1), 2) and 4), and has also physical skills (the cleric spells) for 3).
Combined with the low levels I still see the fighter as balanced over lvls 1-20 and he certainly can contribute.

In fact, the leadership feat gets a fighter quite far. In a four-member party he can emulate quite a lot with offering the spellcasting resources of his cohort. This is also something a 2nd cleric in the party could do (although the leadership freat is more costly to him, relatively speaking), but while a fighter's cohort can provide buff spells, a cleric's cohort would either only do more of the same (he already can do), or he also gets a fighter, but that fighter cohort's combat capability will offer nothing for the lvl 20 group if they cannot take him with them into an encounter (they MAY if the cohort has a fanatic loyalty, for high CHR characters, but here many DMs may be reluctant of such a use of leadership, in particular the cohort may get a motivation reduction since he's capped in X.P. gain).

Examples of what a 15th cleric (trickery domain) cohort of the example fighter could do to provide for 40 hrs without risking his own neck (with a normal rod of extending, plus karma beads and ioun stone):
- heroes feast providing immunity to poison and fear, plus some temporary hit points, +1 morale bonus to attack and will save
- magicvestment for a +3 to AC
- nondetection
- status (to check about condition of the fighter and provide help if need be and it's not too risky...)
- Imbue with spell ability: protection from evil, protection from good, augury.

Incidently, these great buffs also show what use a cleric player character can have when buffing a fighter...

...now at first glance this may seem odd: why am I using a cleric's spells to illustrate a fighter's power at high levels? Because, like everything else, spells and buffs are resources which you may gain through class abilities (spellcasting), magic items, or through feats (like leadership).

Greenknight's cleric would make another power jump by getting a cohort of 15h level (say, a wizard) who provides him with longer-term buffs, plus research capabilities beyond his already considerable power. However, the fighter makes disproportionate use of the leadership feat, illustrating that he can still contribute at high level play.

- Giacomo

Marius
2007-03-28, 01:28 PM
Well, catching the cleric off-guard this way is truly a challenge, but likely so is catching the lvl 20 fighter flat-footed. Does the cleric run around invisibly all the time? What about social interaction? If yes, conversely you'll probably not think it too weird if the fighter runs around with a 50-100 ft radius cloud from the eversmoking bottle (aah I slowly come to love that great item!

There's a big difference, the fighter can't see inside the cloud of smoke. And the cleric could draw his scimitar when he drops the invisibility.



@Marius: it protects from area spells well enough, only not if you get area spells beyound 20-30ft radius, which are quite rare...)

Even if you don't use spells beyond 20 or 30ft there's a big chance that they'll affect you.



, while he is able to maneuver without problems due to the blind-fight feat. This way, he cannot be surprised. If someone casts wind spells/changes weather, he'll simply teleport away or hides (drinks potion of invisibility to boost) and get ready. His Hide check would then have to be beaten (plus range modifiers) by the cleric's spot check).

And even if you teleport somewhere you not only lose the fight but you can also be scryied. Runing away from high level casters is almost impossible. The caster can also quiken a wind spell and then use time stop.
And hide won't be of any use if the cleric has Discern location among his spells (or like I said before he can leave and hunt you later).



While in a city, the fighter (as the cleric!) can also be difficult to detect since both can use disguise self at will with their respective items. One thing that may be interpreted by the RAW is even that the robe of blending may be used to find out if someone is hostile (because only acquainted AND friendly creatures will see the fighter as he really is, but it may be also a true seeing effect...so not too reliable).
The cleric could scry for the fighter to locate him, but since the fighter can change appearance at will, and will so at random intervals into random personae (see, for instance, the agents in the Matrix), he'll need constant surveillance (plus overcome the fighter's will save), and some means to quickly teleport without error to that location, lest the fighter is gone again.

See above: Discern location, no save, no sr. You can then cast true seeing, teleport in (while invisible) and kill the fighter.



Thanks for supporting the bottle quickdraw! Now about the activation of the bottle...I already outlined it somewhere further up. In the item description it makes explicit mention of a command word to SEAL it, and it is quite obvious to me that if they do not mention a similar procedure for opening it (in the same description/paragraph of the item), that it must be something with less time than a standard action (in particular since opening a potion bottle AND drinking it is considered a standard action). Since there is no swift action in core, I would concede the opening of the bottle as a move-equivalent action, but not more.

I'll explain it again. By RAW if an item description doesn't indicates otherwise using it is a standard action. The description of the eversmoking bottle doesn't mention ANYWHERE that it's a move action. It doesn't matter what you think, it has nothing to do with logic!
Just look how to SPEAK a command word takes you a standard action even when speaking is a free action, it's not logical at all but that's how the rules are written. I already quoted this above.

And please stop talking about Leadership, it requires explicit DM approval (so it's optional even by RAW) and in any case the fact that the fighter needs another class help doesn't help fighter at all. Plus the fighter's charisma is probably lower than the clerics so a cleric cohort will be more powerful.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-29, 04:15 AM
Ahhh, Lord Marius, my old nemesis, we meet again...:smallbiggrin:


There's a big difference, the fighter can't see inside the cloud of smoke. And the cleric could draw his scimitar when he drops the invisibility.


The fighter has blind-fight. The cleric may be better off with his invisibility at a range, that is true, but it changes nothing for the defensive quality (= invisible cleric even with true seeing cannot see in smoke), which was what was discussed.
The scimitar drawn referred to a situation when the cleric is surprised. As soon as it's the cleric's turn, he can always quickdraw the scimitar, no problem. But that was not the issue. The issue was flat-footed AC.



Even if you don't use spells beyond 20 or 30ft there's a big chance that they'll affect you.


Nope. Fighter is in 50-100ft cloud and moves in there randomly with 45'move (or double move, you do not know for sure. He may even have a flying possibility, so he could also hide in the 3rd dimension). That would be one lucky fireball that hits him...



And even if you teleport somewhere you not only lose the fight but you can also be scryied. Runing away from high level casters is almost impossible. The caster can also quiken a wind spell and then use time stop.
And hide won't be of any use if the cleric has Discern location among his spells (or like I said before he can leave and hunt you later).
(...)
See above: Discern location, no save, no sr. You can then cast true seeing, teleport in (while invisible) and kill the fighter.


The cleric would need to have prepared a summoning air elemental spell beforehand (likely not standard), but let us assume he knows about the smoke tactics. The strongest wind will take still a full round to disperse the smoke, giving the fighter time to react. If you use time stop before, the smoke is not yet gone.
Now the discern location/teleport tactics has several stumbling blocks. First, for discern location to work, the cleric needs to have seen the fighter (or have a personal object in his possession). So he would need to have scryed him before, something which HAS a saving throw and SR. And, to scry him, he would need to have some knowledge of said fighter to start with. Plus, the cleric cohort of the fighter could have protection as his second domain, yielding a 24 hrs mind blank.
But even without this, the tactics would be uncertain to work, since the cleric cannot teleport (only with the travel domain or item or scroll, which greenknight's cleric does not have. If gets some means for this tactics, he'll have to cut down power at another point). And even if he could, it would mean that he incurs a risk of mis-teleporting (for travel domain or scroll, may avoid this with a greater teleport). Plus, if he teleports too close to the fighter, the fighter has a chance to notice him with his blind-fight feat. If he teleports too far, he may miss the fighter for his attack. Note the spell takes 10 minutes to cast, so it will not work if the fighter moves around all the time, only if, say, he reads or is asleep. The spell description says "exact location" but then specifies it as "place, the building's name" etc. And even if the fighter is asleep, he may have to take into account guards nearby, plus smoke from the famed bottle around him, making it possible to melee attack him or to attack him with touch spells, but nothing else sans area spells (since he cannot be targeted).



I'll explain it again. By RAW if an item description doesn't indicates otherwise using it is a standard action. The description of the eversmoking bottle doesn't mention ANYWHERE that it's a move action. It doesn't matter what you think, it has nothing to do with logic!
Just look how to SPEAK a command word takes you a standard action even when speaking is a free action, it's not logical at all but that's how the rules are written. I already quoted this above.


Once again, this is what the rules say, in case you have not found this entry on use-activated items:
SRD (bold emphasises mine): The description of an item states whether a command word is needed in such a case.
Unless stated otherwise, activating a use-activated magic item is either a standard action or not an action at all and does not provoke attacks of opportunity, unless the use involves performing an action that provokes an attack of opportunity in itself. If the use of the item takes time before a magical effect occurs, then use activation is a standard action. If the item’s activation is subsumed in its use and takes no extra time use activation is not an action at all.

I guess that opening a bottle is subsuming the activation in its use and thus takes no extra time. Plus, how do you explain that potions take a standard action to and simply opening in your ruling as well? And why does it specifiy in the description of the bottle that it will seal on a command word, but not open on a command word? Logic is a good thing for judging it here since this specific thing is not 100% explicitly covered in the rules.

Anyhow, I'll try to contact custserv on this, although I'd doubt it would make you happy in either case.:smallwink: You see, even if the bottle activation would need a standard action, the defensive tactics to quickdraw, activate and move would still work.



And please stop talking about Leadership, it requires explicit DM approval (so it's optional even by RAW) and in any case the fact that the fighter needs another class help doesn't help fighter at all. Plus the fighter's charisma is probably lower than the clerics so a cleric cohort will be more powerful.


Why should I stop talking about the leadership feat? It's in the rules. I could as easily forbid a caster to make use of the resources offered by a feat like martial weapon proficiency, but why should I do that?
Hey, as a DM likely I'd houserule that this feat does not exist for technical reasons (since the feat explicitly allows taking a cohort with you on adventures and I'd like to limit my work by not having an npc running around with the party all the time), but I might also houserule that some spells have different effects and that non-deity clerics have no problems at all with deity beliefs, so that they eventually take over the world's religions.

- Giacomo

its_all_ogre
2007-03-29, 04:53 AM
smoking bottle: earthquake spell and firestorm have huge areas of effect if i recall correctly.
deity giving spells: deity is a being controlled by dm, hence an npc.
hence can refuse a spell at any time for whatever reason.
i agree with sir G that this is overlooked by many and repeating 'it is not RAW' does not make your argument any stronger, the raw states that a cleric has to pray for spells, he is requesting the help of his god. how can this possibly mean 'your god has no choice and has to give you whatever spells you like' ?
hey lets make it an opposed diplomacy check cleric vs god.....hmm might not work to well for cleric! (this was a jest, i know this is not raw etc)

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-29, 05:04 AM
smoking bottle: earthquake spell and firestorm have huge areas of effect if i recall correctly.



Hi, its_all_ogre

yep, earthquake and firestorm are among the few larger area of effect spells and, this way, also much more limited in their effect. The damage/unbalancing is quite low, plus the fighter gets a reflex saves which he will likely pass. Meteor Swarm is quite powerful, but not a cleric spell.

- Giacomo

namo
2007-03-29, 05:22 AM
Please do contact CustServ if you have a doubt about the activation of the bottle.


Why should I stop talking about the leadership feat? It's in the rules. I could as easily forbid a caster to make use of the resources offered by a feat like martial weapon proficiency, but why should I do that?
Hey, as a DM likely I'd houserule that this feat does not exist for technical reasons (since the feat explicitly allows taking a cohort with you on adventures and I'd like to limit my work by not having an npc running around with the party all the time), but I might also houserule that some spells have different effects and that non-deity clerics have no problems at all with deity beliefs, so that they eventually take over the world's religions.

Because comparisons become meaningless when Leadership comes into play. First, notice that the cohort you're choosing is a cleric or a wizard :smallwink: but even that is beyond the point. If you start down that line, choose a cleric who himself has the Leadership feat, and a wizard for cohort. Then everybody will agree that your fighter is very powerful... will it still be because of his own qualities ?
In the meantime, the cleric recruited a wizard with a druid cohort...

greenknight
2007-03-29, 05:51 AM
Ah, and of course my opinion remains that by the RAW, plus also by logic, a bottle is a weapon that can be drawn (if you say improvised weapons are not weapons because of the more specific wording, then melee weapons likewise are not equal to weapons, since the specific wording is different).

I wouldn't call it a weapon as such, but the FAQ makes it clear that Quick Draw does have other uses, so IMO quick drawing it should be fine.


It does not matter if one thing is gained as part of a class ability, and the other as an indirect effect of a class ability (i.e. fighter having enough fighter bonus feats so he can focus his level feats on something like leadership).
Eventually, both the cleric player and the player of any character who gets leadership get additional resources, albeit controlled directly by the DM.

A Cleric's spells aren't additional resources, they are a core part of the class. And Class abilities are different to general Feats. For example, as a class ability a Fighter gets lots of bonus Feats. However, Leadership is not one of the Feats a Fighter can choose from as a Bonus Feat. It's true that a Fighter can use a regular Feat to gain Leadership (just like everyone else), and because of all the bonus Feats, it's easier to squeeze Leadership in, but it's not a Class ability.


Well, summoning epic creatures in core is not the RAW. In core, you are confined to the monster manual.

All right, here's some MM alternatives:

1) Titan Chain. Use the Monster Advancement rules to Gate a Gargantuan 50HD Titan. It Gates a 40HD Gargantuan Titan, who then Gates another 40HD Gargantuan Titan. After you get about 4 or 5 Titans, end the chain by Gating in a Huge 30HD Efreeti. This is a better solution to the Tarrasque problem, come to think of it, since the Efreeti comes with 3 wishes.

2) Dragons. Use the Monster Advancement rules in combination with the Celestial or Fiendish templates to Gate in a 50 HD Celestial Great Wyrm Gold Dragon or 50 HD Fiendish Great Wyrm Red Dragon. Both of these have the spellpower of a 19th level Sorcerer, except they can choose between the Sorcerer and Cleric list for their spells. More on this later.

3) Angels and Devils/Demons. Again using Monster Advancement, the character can Gate in a 50HD Solar (Angel), Balor (Demon) or Pit Fiend (Devil). A regular 20HD Balor wouldn't stand much chance against any of those. The Solar is another good way to deal with the Tarrasque, since it flys, has a Wish, a Dancing Sword, and 4 Slaying Arrow attacks per round. The Slaying arrows have an attack bonus of +56/+51/+46/+41, so it should only miss on a 1, and requiring a Fort save or die each hit. Odds are, the Tarrasque will fail it's save at some point.

It might take a little longer than with my Dream Larva solution, but options 1 or 3 should do the trick vs a Tarrasque. Option 2 might also work, but it depends on what spells the Dragon comes with.


Note also that shapechange is similarly confined in core (or you could turn into a dream larva, attacking everyone with epic spell DC).

There's quite a large difference between Gate and Shapechange. Shapechange is limited by Caster Level only, and capped at 25HD. Gate allows any HD at all for any caster level, although it's restricted to 2xCaster Level for a single creature if you want to control the creature you Gate. But 2xCaster Level goes way past 25HD for any character who can actually cast the spell.


Nor is it necessary to resort to some sort of infinite loop (the titan gating, resulting like the infinite wishes or fabricate inflation spell in a shutdown of the campaing, not in individual lasting power of the cleric/caster)

The Titan Gating loop is Core though, and it's accomplished with a single 9th level spell and only 1,000XP. But things like that do show that the Gate spell is broken and in need of review.


Surprise round: Quickened Dimensional Anchor, Gate in a balor next to fighter. Balor casts spell like domination/whatever/attacks.
1st round: Quickened Gate in another balor next to fighter (flanking), plus another regular gate with a third balor next to fighter. Balor full attack. Fighter dies.
If by any chance the cleric detects before that the fighter has some protection from evil on, he would simply gate in some solars...

No need for multiple Gates. 1 50HD Balor should be enough, especially if it's ordered to use it's Summon Demon ability to get another Balor as a flanker.


The only chance at survival for the fighter I'd see here is that his initiative beats the initiative check of the balors (at least 1 should go before him, though). Then either the fighter teleports away (yielding the X.P. for the cleric, haven't got the DMG right here, but you're probably right with teleporting and X.P.), or he tries to somehow win vs 4 lvl 20 opponents.

The Fighter can't teleport because of that Dimensional Anchor you mentioned. And the Balor can Greater Teleport at will, so if the Cleric has some means of tracking the Fighter (eg, Greater Scrying), the Balor can easily follow. If the Fighter is using the Eversmoking Bottle, it might make it more difficult to track the character, but the Balor's Listen skill should allow it to home in to the general area quickly.


Definitely forgettable (with non-epic means) is guaranteeing a 1.5 round win vs a balor, my example fighter, and a tarrasque on the same day.

Holy Word + Coup de Grace should do in the Balor in 1.5 rounds. Gating in a 50HD Solar should deal with the Tarrasque, although it will probably take more than 1.5 rounds. The Eversmoking Bottle makes dealing with the Fighter harder, but the Gated Balor should do the trick. A Celestial Gold Dragon would be even better (since the Dragon has Blindsight), if the Cleric can somehow land a Dimensional Anchor on the Fighter, or if the Dragon knows either Teleport or Greater Teleport.

Oh, and don't forget that in the Eversmoking Bottle scenario, a character might not be able to target the Fighter specifically, but that smoke is a dead giveaway that something strange is happening. And since the Fighter is effectively blind as well, the archery feats and items aren't going to be all that useful (Blind Fighting does nothing for ranged combat), and moving about can be a big problem if the character isn't very familiar with the area. But if the Fighter is stationary, a smart spellcaster could probably make a pretty decent guess where the centre of the smoke is, and fire off an area effect spell to that point. Even if your Fighter is familar with the area, a spellcaster might set up long term damage spells (Blade Barrier is one example) and try to herd the character into them.


Does your cleric run around with a scimitar drawn all the time?

In dangerous areas, yes. It's like other characters running around wearing armor and using a shield. In areas the Cleric believes to be safe, probably not.


The cleric's gate attacks are more potent, but also cost 3000 XP (in my scenario), while the fighter loses 8 normal arrows.

A single Gate should be all that's ever needed. If necessary, make that first Gate a Titan and start a Titan Chain.


Does the cleric run around invisibly all the time? What about social interaction?

Again yes, in dangerous areas, except when actually in combat. Should the Cleric need to interact with someone, then after checking whether the area is safe, the invisibility could be turned off.


Thanks for supporting the bottle quickdraw! Now about the activation of the bottle...I already outlined it somewhere further up. In the item description it makes explicit mention of a command word to SEAL it, and it is quite obvious to me that if they do not mention a similar procedure for opening it (in the same description/paragraph of the item), that it must be something with less time than a standard action (in particular since opening a potion bottle AND drinking it is considered a standard action). Since there is no swift action in core, I would concede the opening of the bottle as a move-equivalent action, but not more.

I imagine a command word wouldn't be necessary to activate the bottle. However, the rules clearly state that a standard action is needed to activate an item unless otherwise stated.


Now onto something - not entirely - different.
What about trying to compare the fighter and cleric build in four typical areas of challenges (and not only direct combat)?
1) Social
2) Combat
3) Tricks/Sneaking/PhysicalSurvival
4) Research capability.

Social: The Cleric has maxed Diplomacy, and a better Charisma score. The Cleric can also cast social spells like Tongues and Eagle's Splendor, and can resort to Calm Emotions if things get heated. The Fighter has the less useful Intimidate.

Combat: Through buffing spells, the Cleric has very good fighting ability, and can Gate in some very powerful allies, making the Cleric far more powerful than the Fighter. In magic dead areas, or in situations where the buffs have been dispelled, the Fighter easily outperforms the Cleric (although dispelled buffs can be quickly and easily re-applied through Time Stop).

Tricks: The Cleric has many tricky spells, has permanent Darkvision and See Invisibility, is invisible at will, has a maxed Hide skill, and has many survival and movement spells (Create Food and Water, Wind Walk, etc). The Fighter has Hide (cross-class), Spot (cross class), two Potions of Invisibility, an Eversmoking Bottle, a Ring of Freedom of Movement (the Cleric can just cast the spell, although that's less useful), and a Robe of Blending (the Cleric uses a Ring of Chameleon Power for much the same thing).

Research: The Cleric has Knowledge: Religion and The Planes and Maxed Spellcraft. The Cleric has many research spells, ranging from Augury through to Commune. At need, the Cleric can even Gate in a powerful being for it's knowledge. The Cleric can even Speak With Dead, if there's a need for it.

Overall, the Cleric doesn't need anyone else, except in areas where magic doesn't work (and even then, a Gated creature might do the job). The Fighter does ok at combat (but nowhere near as well as some of the creatures a Cleric can Gate), but is beaten by the Cleric at everything else.


In fact, the leadership feat gets a fighter quite far.

Leadership essentially allows the Fighter to pick up levels in some other more useful class through an NPC. However, if the Fighter had a Fighter cohort the character would be much weaker than a Cleric with a Cleric cohort.


In a four-member party he can emulate quite a lot with offering the spellcasting resources of his cohort.

And a 20th level Cleric wouldn't even need the Cohort, although if the Cleric took one it might increase the power difference even more. Your example Fighter has a Leadership score of 22 (Level + Cha modifier+Reputation), which gives a 15th level Cohort. My example Cleric has a Leadership score of up to 26 (Level + Cha + Reputation, including special power - spellcasting), which gives a 17th level Cohort. Your Fighter with a 15th level Cleric is going to be considerably less powerful than my Cleric with a 17th level Wizard (especially since that's just high enough a level to cast the 9th level Arcane spells). In theory, that Wizard could then Dominate Monster to get other followers, and the Cleric can Rebuke Undead to get more (for some reason, commanding undead doesn't reduce the Leadership score).

Marius
2007-03-29, 07:13 AM
The fighter has blind-fight. The cleric may be better off with his invisibility at a range, that is true, but it changes nothing for the defensive quality (= invisible cleric even with true seeing cannot see in smoke), which was what was discussed.
The scimitar drawn referred to a situation when the cleric is surprised. As soon as it's the cleric's turn, he can always quickdraw the scimitar, no problem. But that was not the issue. The issue was flat-footed AC.

Blind-fight doesn't help you if no one enters the smoke. And even if they do you won't see them ethier.




Nope. Fighter is in 50-100ft cloud and moves in there randomly with 45'move (or double move, you do not know for sure. He may even have a flying possibility, so he could also hide in the 3rd dimension). That would be one lucky fireball that hits him...

If it moves you have to be in the center of the smoke.



The cleric would need to have prepared a summoning air elemental spell beforehand (likely not standard), but let us assume he knows about the smoke tactics. The strongest wind will take still a full round to disperse the smoke, giving the fighter time to react. If you use time stop before, the smoke is not yet gone.

With a Gust of Wind scroll (the cleric should have the magic domain) he can blow the smoke in an instant. Or he can use Control Wind (a cleric 5th level spell) to create a tornado.



Now the discern location/teleport tactics has several stumbling blocks. First, for discern location to work, the cleric needs to have seen the fighter (or have a personal object in his possession). So he would need to have scryed him before, something which HAS a saving throw and SR. And, to scry him, he would need to have some knowledge of said fighter to start with. Plus, the cleric cohort of the fighter could have protection as his second domain, yielding a 24 hrs mind blank.

He saw you, he can dissipate the cmoke easily. And even if scry has SR and a save you don't have SR and you'll fail the save sooner or later.
And in any case the cleric can still cast contact another plane and many other useful spells to find you.



But even without this, the tactics would be uncertain to work, since the cleric cannot teleport (only with the travel domain or item or scroll, which greenknight's cleric does not have. If gets some means for this tactics, he'll have to cut down power at another point).

Word of Recall to teleport away, magic domain+scroll or travel domain. Or Gate in a balor (or other creature able to teleport) and use his greater teleport at will.



And even if he could, it would mean that he incurs a risk of mis-teleporting (for travel domain or scroll, may avoid this with a greater teleport). Plus, if he teleports too close to the fighter, the fighter has a chance to notice him with his blind-fight feat. If he teleports too far, he may miss the fighter for his attack. Note the spell takes 10 minutes to cast, so it will not work if the fighter moves around all the time, only if, say, he reads or is asleep. The spell description says "exact location" but then specifies it as "place, the building's name" etc. And even if the fighter is asleep, he may have to take into account guards nearby, plus smoke from the famed bottle around him, making it possible to melee attack him or to attack him with touch spells, but nothing else sans area spells (since he cannot be targeted).

The mis-teleporting can be easily avoided (look above) and he doesn't have to teleport right beside you. The smoke can be dissipated and the guards won't last a second. And even if you ran away again he'll have to keep doing that for the rest of his, short, life. It seems that your fighters runs away everytime he faces someone.



Once again, this is what the rules say, in case you have not found this entry on use-activated items:
SRD (bold emphasises mine): The description of an item states whether a command word is needed in such a case.
Unless stated otherwise, activating a use-activated magic item is either a standard action or not an action at all and does not provoke attacks of opportunity, unless the use involves performing an action that provokes an attack of opportunity in itself. If the use of the item takes time before a magical effect occurs, then use activation is a standard action. If the item’s activation is subsumed in its use and takes no extra time use activation is not an action at all.

I guess that opening a bottle is subsuming the activation in its use and thus takes no extra time. Plus, how do you explain that potions take a standard action to and simply opening in your ruling as well? And why does it specifiy in the description of the bottle that it will seal on a command word, but not open on a command word? Logic is a good thing for judging it here since this specific thing is not 100% explicitly covered in the rules.

The key is this "If the item’s activation is subsumed in its use and takes no extra time use activation is not an action at all." Using a bottle takes time and there's no middle ground, if it's an action it's a stardard action.
How do I explain potions? I don't have to. How do you explain a command word taking a stardard action? It's not logical, but it's RAW. It clearly says that you need a standard action to use an eversmoking bottle.



Anyhow, I'll try to contact custserv on this, although I'd doubt it would make you happy in either case.:smallwink: You see, even if the bottle activation would need a standard action, the defensive tactics to quickdraw, activate and move would still work.

The smoke takes 1 round to fill the 50ft so until your next round you're vunerable.



Why should I stop talking about the leadership feat? It's in the rules. I could as easily forbid a caster to make use of the resources offered by a feat like martial weapon proficiency, but why should I do that?
Hey, as a DM likely I'd houserule that this feat does not exist for technical reasons (since the feat explicitly allows taking a cohort with you on adventures and I'd like to limit my work by not having an npc running around with the party all the time), but I might also houserule that some spells have different effects and that non-deity clerics have no problems at all with deity beliefs, so that they eventually take over the world's religions.


Disallowing the use of Leadership it's not a houserule. And in any case using it won't do you any good, it doesn't make the fighter stronger.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-29, 09:36 AM
Hi again,

I guess we start running into dead ends with comments like these:


And even if you ran away again he'll have to keep doing that for the rest of his, short, life. It seems that your fighters runs away everytime he faces someone.

You see, the scenario here has been: cleric attacks fighter who is not aware of the threat. If it is the other way round, the cleric has similar problems (or uses word of recall to save his life). Apart from that, probably the recent post of Marius in my opinion offered nothing new except a different opinion stated already several times. I'll try to clarify everything the bottle can and cannot do with custserv.

Now on to greenknight's comments: your comparison of the four categories is fully valid. Avid readers will remember that from the start, I admitted that full casters are way more powerful at high levels. In direct combat (not the general ability to contribute), I also see the cleric ahead now, I have to admit. The cleric beats the fighter when going first, the fighter beats the cleric when going first, but it is quite likely that, through research capability and access to versatile spells (especially with the trickery domain), the cleric will be the one attacking/having the broad initiative.
Spells like the gate spell, though, do not constitute in my eyes a banning of the spell: there is simply the logic that if a spell leads to an infinite loop in some way, it makes no sense for a campaign. But say a caster starts a gate loop, that would possibly create a situation where the fighter (or anyone else assaulted) may still escape, since the gated creature uses its action to gate in someone, and not attack. But anyhow, a 50HD balor should do the trick (provided the DM will have something like that in his campaign and it can be researched by the cleric/caster), or the several summons of balors with quickened techniques. So it's only details we discuss. Again, CDG a balor as fast as possible will make the cleric suffer from the death throes, plus destroy the weapons (or he disarms the balor before, but risks losing prescious time doing so).

Concerning leadership: although it's RAW, I would now also agree that it makes little sense to use it as a yardstick for power comparison. It is a way to get more resources, and easier to get for a fighter (who has bonus feats), but it is mostly spell buffs, which can be done better if he himself had the spells (like a cleric).

Probably the area where I would disagree most with many of you is the frequency of buff/magic vulnerability, or situations where magic (which is which gets the cleric ahead of the fighter in all four areas at high level play) will not work or work with awkward results (say, a resentful extraplanar creature seeking revenge for being gated. A fighter's weapon - if nonintelligent - will never seek revenge for being used). Plus, the danger of losing - albeit temporarily most of the time - the class abilities remains in my eyes for the cleric, not for the fighter (where we also differ widely in how relevant this can be).

So overall the cleric at high level has more abilities, but those are more vulnerable. My opinion remains that this balances out over the 1-20 level progression with the initial combat strength of the fighter.

Depending on the core campaign and DM style, powerwise I would choose as a fourth party member (with the others a druid, a wizard and a cleric) a cleric as well from lvl 17&up (with the trickery domain, I would likely use a variant of greenknight's sage deity build with trickery, and without zilla tactics).


- Giacomo

greenknight
2007-03-29, 07:52 PM
Depending on the core campaign and DM style, powerwise I would choose as a fourth party member (with the others a druid, a wizard and a cleric) a cleric as well from lvl 17&up (with the trickery domain, I would likely use a variant of greenknight's sage deity build with trickery, and without zilla tactics).

As we discuss this more, I am coming to the conclusion that at the highest levels, a Cleric can do a lot more damage with spells than with physical combat, and the Gate spell has a lot to do with that conclusion. CZilla still has a role to play at lower levels (before Gate can be cast), but in that case it's probably best to start with a Gray Elf (which is Core, but not the racial default), or a Sun Elf in the Forgotten Realms. And even that won't work too well until the character is able to pull off the PAO cheese. But at 12th level, the Cleric could just pay a 15th level NPC 1,200gp to cast the spell and get the buff a few levels early.

I still think the Cleric is too powerful, especially a True Neutral Cleric who channels negative energy and chooses powerful Domains like Magic and Trickery (Travel is another powerful one, although less so than the other two). Yes, this does mean the character can't spontaneously cast Cure spells, but these can be cast from a wand, and at higher levels they are largely unnecessary anyway thanks to Heal and Mass Heal (which have to be prepared in advance regardless of alignment). If played as written in the Core books, there are far too many spells which can sideline the classes who should be the main physical combatants, once you get to the mid levels of the game (from 9th level onwards, for a Cleric). And the splatbooks only make things worse, unless the DM only allows those splatbooks which don't add much in the way of spells or PRCs which appeal to spellcasters. To me, the best option would be to nerf the most easily abused of the spellcaster's spells, and boost the non-spellcaster's powers a little.

Sir Giacomo
2007-03-30, 09:10 AM
You'll all laugh, but I'm trying currently to come up with a different lvl 20 fighter idea to better deal with the power of lvl 20 casters....:smallsmile:

But truth to tell, a cleric with the trickery domain is quite awesome at high levels, in part also because he can foil an opponent's research efforts. Interestingly, the powercurve of a cleric may surpass that of a fighter at a later time than thought by us as shown in the most recent fight in the core class battle thread (at lvl 10, fighter won vs cleric...but with a fireball?! Both sides said it was highly unsual, anyway). But the lvl 17-20 should be without doubt going to the cleric.

About the question of how to nerf it best: broadly I still feel that making use of a full caster's general vulnerabilities (magic vulnerability to magic, as well as dependence on refreshing, and needing to plan ahead, plus the religious ties in the case of a cleric) is better than banning single spells. The only thing a fighter contribues to high-level play is both powerful ranged and melee combat (due to the number of his feats), which may be highly appreciated at times when magic is weak, has difficulty to be recovered, or is countered/disjuncted etc...

- Giacomo

PS: the eversmoking bottle issues are still pending at cust serv...

Cyborg Pirate
2007-03-30, 09:13 AM
About the question of how to nerf it best: broadly I still feel that making use of a full caster's general vulnerabilities (magic vulnerability to magic, as well as dependence on refreshing, and needing to plan ahead, plus the religious ties in the case of a cleric) is better than banning single spells. The only thing a fighter contribues to high-level play is both powerful ranged and melee combat (due to the number of his feats), which may be highly appreciated at times when magic is weak, has difficulty to be recovered, or is countered/disjuncted etc...

I think you're going about it the wrong way. Trying to nerf the casters brings up headaches.

The alternative seems more fun to me: Make the fighters stronger.

Rigeld2
2007-03-30, 11:13 AM
Interestingly, the powercurve of a cleric may surpass that of a fighter at a later time than thought by us as shown in the most recent fight in the core class battle thread (at lvl 10, fighter won vs cleric...but with a fireball?! Both sides said it was highly unsual, anyway). But the lvl 17-20 should be without doubt going to the cleric.
As the Cleric in said battle, taking ANY assumption away from it before the battle report is relased would be utterly stupid. My build was not optimal, and his was not anywhere near a typical fighter (as you can tell from the fact that it was ended by fireballs). I also made 1-2 mistakes that really cost me the fight. But like I said, dont assume anything from those arena fights until the battle reports and builds are released.

Matthew
2007-03-30, 04:45 PM
I think you're going about it the wrong way. Trying to nerf the casters brings up headaches.

The alternative seems more fun to me: Make the fighters stronger.

Nah, nerfing Casters is by far less headachey than empowering Non Casters, unless you happen to have a copy of ToB:TBoNS...

greenknight
2007-03-30, 06:42 PM
I've said it elsewhere, but it bears repeating here: there are some spells which pretty much beg to be nerfed. Time Stop's a good example, and so is Gate, the Polymorph spells, and Shapechange. I think I've also shown why the Metamagic Rods and items which improve effective Caster Level are too powerful. At the same time, there's a fair arguement that non-spellcasters need some better ways of dealing with magic. Something like a Dispel Magic ability which is able to be used a few times a day seems almost like a necessity for them, just to level the playing field (and get rid of some buffs which can make spellcasters too powerful).


[QUOTE=Sir Giacomo;2289158]You'll all laugh, but I'm trying currently to come up with a different lvl 20 fighter idea to better deal with the power of lvl 20 casters....:smallsmile:

Good luck with that, but I don't like your chances if you use the RAW and the spellcasters use power tactics. You might manage it if you use Leadership to get a spellcaster Cohort, but then you're using a Spellcaster to fight a Spellcaster, not a Fighter vs Spellcaster. If you want, I'll try to come up with a Wizard and Druid for you to test against, but I'm more familiar with the Cleric so someone else will probably do a better job.

namo
2007-03-30, 09:24 PM
A thread that may be of interest, over on the Wizards board : Fighter vs Druid (http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=808935). The OP wanted to prove that fighters could tank as well as druids (at level 20), and well, admitted he was wrong.

Sir Giacomo
2007-04-08, 03:00 PM
OK, I'm back...:smallbiggrin:

...as promised, I tried a new fighter build with some new ideas and approaches to a fighter's high-level capability. Eventually, it is a 3rd revision of the fighter which I put below, since it did not really change that much. Originally, I wanted to make a more STR-heavy build, but that can likely also be done.
On the eversmoking bottle thing: Custserv has not replied yet, I'll let you know as soon as I got the info.

Now in general, I have come to believe that the key to power in the core high-level game (and beyond), magic, is available quite cheaply to everyone. All have access to spells and magic via magic equipment and, via cross-class (or even class) skill Use Magic Device (UMD). The only thing special for spellcasting classes is that they can cast spells regularly (although they have to refresh them and are vulnerable when doing so/or if impeded to do so).
ALL this magic and magic spells are vulnerable to countertactics.

One such countertactics is the 6th level arcane spell (and 8th level cleric magic domain spell) anti-magic field (AMF). It is, at the same time, a key ability for the fighter (as well as all non-caster classes) to excel where caster classes cannot: having AMF up and then meleeing caster monsters and npcs.

At the same time, in many instances it also shuts down many magic attacks if used defensively. However, normally non-casters should avoid this when going vs npc clerics. The reason is that, unlike most arcane caster npcs and most monsters, clerics can have (when zillad) strong buffs and a ranged weapon up which would still hurt a non-caster in AMF without his equipment to protect him. So incidently, being a long-standing opponent of zilla tactics, have at long last found a niche where this can be quite useful for clerics, but only for ranged zilla tactics like greenknight's build (not druids, since they have no viable ranged tactics sans divine power and the cleric buffs for bows).

Adding AMF and UMD skill changes a bit the equipment list of the previous fighter build, as well as a bit the skill distribution. Of course, it is still far from being absolute safe, but it becomes more and more resilient. Suggestions always welcome!:smallsmile:

FIGHTER BUILD, 3rd revision

Human Fighter 20, 32-point buy
STR 14, DEX 28, CON 14, INT 12, WIS 24, CHR 8
(DEX and WIS raised with stat gains, +6 enhancements, and the respective tome and manual- see below).
FEATS (19; 1 human, 11 fighter, 7 levels).
General block (5): Improved Initiative, Quickdraw, Blind-Fight, Leadership, Iron Will
Archery Block (9): Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Far Shot, Improved Critical-Comp.Longbow, Weapon Focus-Comp.Longbow, Greater Weapon Focus-Comp.Longbow, Weapon Specialisation-Comp.Longbow, Greater Weapon Specialisation-Comp.Longbow, Manyshot.
Melee block (5): Power Attack, Improved Unarmed Strike, Stunning Fist, Weapon Finesse, Two-Weapon Fighting.
EQUIPMENT (760,000 gp,745,845 spent)
General: Boots of Speed (12,000), Handy Haversack (2,000), with 2 Potions each of Good Hope, Invisibility, Cure Serious Wounds (4,200), 1 Potion of Greater Magic Fang +3 (1,800), Rod of Cancellation (11,000), Eversmoking Bottle (5,400), Gloves of Dexterity +6 (36,000), Periapt of Wisdom +6 (36,000), Manual of Quickness of Action +4 (110,000), Tome of Understanding +1 (27,500), Circlet of Persuasion (4,500) Monk’s Belt (13,000), Ring of Major Spell Storing with usually AMF, Divine Favor and Obsuring Mist (200,000), Ring of Freedom of Movement (40,000), Cloak of Resistance +5 (25,000), Robe of Blending (30,000).
Archery: 2 Oathbows (51,200), Greater Bracers of Archery (25,000), 50 Cold Iron Arrows, Holy, Bane-EvilOutsiders (38,350), also enough money left for plenty of other silver/adamantine arrows as needed.
Melee: Sun Blade (50,335)
HITPOINTS: 164
Initiative: +13 (DEX +9, Improved Initiative). This means 84% chance of winning initiative vs a balor due to the luck blade re-roll.
SAVES: Fort +20, Reflex +21, Will +21 (all saves are modified by a +1 luck bonus and a +5 resistance bonus)
AC: 28 (DEX +9, Monk’s Belt +8 –WIS+7, AC+1-, Haste from Boots of Speed +1), Touch AC 28, Flat-Footed 18, if fighting defensively AC 31 (also touch)
SKILLS (92 skill points): Spot maxed to +19 (20ranks x-class), Hide to +20 (with robe, no ranks), UMD maxed to +14 (circlet of persuasion +3, 10 ranks cross-class, spellcraft synergy bonus), Spellcraft maxed to +11 (20ranks x-class), Intimidate maxed to +22 (20 ranks), Tumble +16 (5 ranks x-class, jump synergy, DEX), Jump +9 (5 ranks, tumble synergy, STR), climb +3 (1 rank, STR).
ATTACKS/RANGED:
+39 (BAB +20, +9 DEX, +2 Enhance, +2 feats, +2 competence, +1 Haste, +3 luck from divine favor in ring of spell storing cast by a level 9+ cleric), Rapid Shot +37/+37/+37/+32/+27/+22 (up to 165ft). Manyshot (PointBlankRange) +32/+32/+32/+32. Damage: 1d8+12 (STR+2, Enhance +2, Competence +1, +4 WeaponSpecialisations, +3 luck). At point blank range 1d8+13.
Attacks vs a balor with cold iron bane, holy arrows (and oathbow function adding +5 enhance with bane, +2 potion of good hope, -2 for distance/320 ft): +42/+42/+42/+37/+32/+27. Damage: 1d8+6d6+19 (add bane 2d6, +5 more enhance with bane, sworn enemy +2d6, +2 potion of good hope). AVERAGE DAMAGE per Surprise round and Initiative Round (assuming won Initiative and surprise): 7 arrows, for a total of 319 damage (including criticals expected value at 19, with oathbow at x4!). An Unholy Aura up beforehand should mean only 6 arrows hitting, resulting only in 271 damage.
Manyshot at +39/+39/+39/+39. At point blank range damage 1d8+6d6+20. AVERAGE DAMAGE per Manyshot including criticals expected value at 19: 194. Teleport within 30ft of balor, do a standard action manyshot in surprise round, win initiative round doing another manyshot= 388 damage. Here, even an unholy aura does not help. Even in combat with unholy aura up (no more flat-footed) the balor takes 194 damage per round, so he'd better finish the fighter before the 2nd round starts.
ATTACKS/MELEE
+35 (BAB+20, +9 DEX, +2 Enhance, +1 Haste,+3 luck from divine favor). With two-weapon fighting with unarmed strike and potion of good hope vs an evil opponent: +40/+37/+32/+27/+22 (sun blade becomes +4 enhance), +36 the off-hand unarmed strike with potion of greater magic fang +3 (stunning fist at fort. DC 27)..
Vs a balor, this means teleporting near (no longer with a helm, but a scroll helps), hitting once in surprise round with stunning fist attack at +27, after deducting 11 for power attack (1d8+18 damage to safely overcome damage reduction), hitting for stun (Fortitude DC 27). Then, in won initiative round, power attack +12 attack again first with stun (+24, 1d8+18 damage, fort DC 27), then, if having stunned balor after this second attempt, attack vs AC 28 with +28/+28/+23/+18/+13 for each 1d10+27 damage (STR +3, enhance +4, good hope +2, +24 power attack). Totaling around (assuming four hits with sun blade and on average 4 damage going through with unarmed strike) 158 damage. Full attack next round, with once again stunning fist. Another 158 damage. Repeat (if necessary, this fighter can do 6 stunning attacks per day).
Using both the sun blade and the luck blade in two-weapon-fighting combat is also an option, barring the use of stunning fist, but possibly allowing more damage due to the higher critical range and enhancement bonus of the short sword.
Using AMF vs a balor is not a good idea, since the balor retains his better physique. But vs casters dependent on spells and buffs, AMF is very strong.

Some remarks
- WIS took a dent of +2 bonus to afford the ring of spell storing. I did not list extra the many scrolls this fighter could take and safely cast up to 2nd level divine and arcane spells, and most buff spells further up. A scroll of teleport (failing only with 20% chance) is cheaper than the helm, so I also got rid of that. Similarly, the AC is hit quite badly now, but the many divine scrolls could buff the fighter up again if needed in certain situations. For spell attack defensive situations, he now can use AMF, for noncaster attack situations move/manyshot, as well as obscuring mist/the bottle for both to level the playing field.
- for buff spells from scrolls, actually the UMD bonus of only +14 lets the fighter cast scroll spells of up to 14th level casters (or 7th level spells), if he only repeats the procedure often enough (he can as long as he does not roll a "1", even then he can try again 24hrs later). Incidently, he may get to cast 9th level divine spells this way if he could get his UMD a bit higher (say, by getting a cloak of CHR +6 for the trick). Similarly, with a bit of changes he may get a contingency up with a metamagic extend rod for 22 days, with similar options available as for a wizard.
- the leadership feat comes back with a vengeance. I checked again both DMG and PHB and nowhere do I see that the feat is intended as optional only (it would be odd, anyhow, for an optional feat to cause the longest description and rules of all core feats!). So the 15th level cleric cohort with magic and travel domains could easily provide the fighter with all research, AMF, teleport, buff, etc. spells for the spell storing ring necessary. Even in a houseruled campaign without leadership feat, the fighter above would be able to either buy the spells from an npc to cast into his ring (quite cheap actually) or buy scrolls to do the tricks. He has quite a lot of spare money for plenty of scrolls, especially of the lower-level kind, able to to the same easily than the more espensive potions (which I left in, though). Even healing capability goes up with a wand of cure moderate wounds for 4,500gp.
- since the fighter has INT 12, he can easily use arcane spells on scrolls up to 2nd level (including see invisibility. He might even get a see invisibilty/permanency combo up for similar costs as greenknight's cleric). If he uses some fox' cunning effect to boost INT, he could get even higher level arcane spells. Ah, and of course he can use all scrolls from ALL divine casters, say, all paladin, druid and ranger spells (the latter nice for non-core play since there are some great ranger-specific archery spells like hunter's mercy)
- the build above may be considered only a starting point. A cleric cohort may have the protection domain, providing mind blank for the ring all the time. A wizard could be the cohort to provide a lower-level AMF for more room in the ring (but lacking a bit on the buffing side).
Other parts of the equipment may be abandoned to focus more on scrolls and the AMF tactics and/or defense (since the AC of this build is rather poor, but vs other non-caster classes or melee combatants, the fighter would still use ranged tactics to keep them at bay. A simple manyshot-move tactics can even stop a barbarian in his tracks. Grappling tactics fail vs the ring of freedom of movement and sunder vs the bow may be countered by a quickdrawn second bow and another volley of deadly arrows.
- in a situation of confined space (say, the sleeping room of the fighter), if a cleric teleports near and attacks the fighter, he has a big problem in that as soon AMF is up, the fighter closes in and uses stunning fist/full attack with a weapon vs the cleric's meagre non-magic defenses and no room to get outside the 10ft radius. If stunning fist gets replaced by improved grapple in the above fighter, the situation likely gets worse for a debuffed non-magic cleric: fighter casts AMF, moves close to cleric. Cleric in his turn needs to move out of AMF, causing an AoO. Fighter grapples. Game likely over. The cleric needs to max tumble cross-class and jump cross-class to have a good chance to avoid the AoO.
- In everyday situations with more room, the cleric may move out of AMF and cast, but the fighter may get an obscuring mist up out of his ring of spell storing (if the eversmoking tactics does not work; a protection from evil may be even a better divine 1st level spell for the ring if the bottle trick does work). In fact, to foil attacks on his life with large summoned creatures, the fighter may sleep in a very small room where no large creature can be summoned/gated (also good tactics for casters vs other such caster attacks!).
- note that summoned mega creatures even like the dream larva or a 50 HD solar will not be able to touch the fighter or attack him with spells once AMF is up. The AMF only allows a SR if the spell is cast when such a creature is nearby (within the 10ft radius at the time the spell is cast). After that, they wink out without a save or SR. Even Disjunction will likely only be out in 25% of the times (if cast by a boosted lvl 20 divine caster). Similarly, a fighter's equipment is thus protected from disjunctions. So gate costing many XP can become quite an expansive tactics for a cleric trying to kill that fighter. (btw I noticed that for gate you need to concentrate - for the gate to remain open for the gate use, for the calling effect to control the called creature. This means the cleric can only use quickened spells while controlling a gated creature.)
- using CHR-heavy non-casters like a paladin makes great synergy of the UMD skill. A monk with an AMF in the ring is awesome and is incredibly hard to beat by a caster, since a monk's stunning fist attack DC can go as high as the highest non-magic WIS possible, making it even difficult for strong Fort save full casters to save. Plus, they will lose in grappling should the monk use that tactics. Similar for babarian grappling/raging whatever and the rogue sneak attacking (and he has got the UMD high enough to cast disjunctions from the ring instead of having the AMF up!).
- finally, it is quite ironic now that the fighter can get back at a "cleric emulating fighter and doing everything else better" by also emulating many cleric abilities and still having the AMF fighting tactics that he will always do better than a cleric. This shoud cement a top fighter niche in a high-level group at long last, I dare say.

Looking forward to comments, improvements, criticism etc.

- Giacomo

PS: @namo. Thanks for the link! I had a look at the discussion, but it is similar to this thread only in a limited way. The OP there maintained that a druid cannot be a better "tank" than a maxed dwarven fighter. The druid won the contest focused on mere defensive qualities (HP, AC, Saves, buffs). However, as I mentioned way further up in the thread, a "tank" is viable tactics at best at low levels, at high levels it is suicide. Even the Dwarven Defender Prestige class (which would be able to beat the druid with some of its exceptional abilities like uncanny dodge) is eventually a dead end in high-level D&D combat evolution...ranged tactics, mobility and spell/skill research power is key at high levels.

Rigeld2
2007-04-08, 03:24 PM
UMD maxed to +14 (circlet of persuasion +3, 10 ranks cross-class, spellcraft synergy bonus)
-1 for your 8 CHA, gives you a 13. Whats the DC to cast a spell from a scroll?
Use a scroll 20 + caster level
Meaning 34 for your AMF. Good luck.


- WIS took a dent of +2 bonus to afford the ring of spell storing. I did not list extra the many scrolls this fighter could take and safely cast up to 2nd level divine and arcane spells, and most buff spells further up. A scroll of teleport (failing only with 20% chance) is cheaper than the helm, so I also got rid of that. Similarly, the AC is hit quite badly now, but the many divine scrolls could buff the fighter up again if needed in certain situations. For spell attack defensive situations, he now can use AMF, for noncaster attack situations move/manyshot, as well as obscuring mist/the bottle for both to level the playing field.See above about your UMD. And... isnt emulating casters essentially agreeing that a Fighter, as in the class, isnt as useful as a caster?


- for buff spells from scrolls, actually the UMD bonus of only +14 lets the fighter cast scroll spells of up to 14th level casters (or 7th level spells), if he only repeats the procedure often enough (he can as long as he does not roll a "1", even then he can try again 24hrs later). Incidently, he may get to cast 9th level divine spells this way if he could get his UMD a bit higher (say, by getting a cloak of CHR +6 for the trick). Similarly, with a bit of changes he may get a contingency up with a metamagic extend rod for 22 days, with similar options available as for a wizard.So youre emulating a Wizard, only ~ 6 levels late, and with no guarantee it will work. Great!


- note that summoned mega creatures even like the dream larva or a 50 HD solar will not be able to touch the fighter or attack him with spells once AMF is up. The AMF only allows a SR if the spell is cast when such a creature is nearby (within the 10ft radius at the time the spell is cast). After that, they wink out without a save or SR. Who cares? And youre wrong. Using the Gate spell to summon something means that it stays during an AMF. (AMF doesnt effect instantaneous conjurations, Gate-summon is one of those).


Similarly, a fighter's equipment is thus protected from disjunctions.But its inside an AMF, so nonfunctional.

So gate costing many XP can become quite an expansive tactics for a cleric trying to kill that fighter. (btw I noticed that for gate you need to concentrate - for the gate to remain open for the gate use, for the calling effect to control the called creature. This means the cleric can only use quickened spells while controlling a gated creature.)False. You dont have to control the gated in creature, you give it a mission, and it does it.


- finally, it is quite ironic now that the fighter can get back at a "cleric emulating fighter and doing everything else better" by also emulating many cleric abilities and still having the AMF fighting tactics that he will always do better than a cleric. This shoud cement a top fighter niche in a high-level group at long last, I dare say.Except.. really it cements a casters niche in the high level group, since youre effectively emulating a caster. And poorly at that.

edited to add:

- in a situation of confined space (say, the sleeping room of the fighter), if a cleric teleports near and attacks the fighter, he has a big problem in that as soon AMF is up, the fighter closes in and uses stunning fist/full attack with a weapon vs the cleric's meagre non-magic defenses and no room to get outside the 10ft radius. If stunning fist gets replaced by improved grapple in the above fighter, the situation likely gets worse for a debuffed non-magic cleric: fighter casts AMF, moves close to cleric. Cleric in his turn needs to move out of AMF, causing an AoO. Fighter grapples. Game likely over. The cleric needs to max tumble cross-class and jump cross-class to have a good chance to avoid the AoO.
Youre right. The cleric might have a big problem as soon as that AMF is up. You only have a 5% chance to activate it though, and you provoke an AoO when you try. So go ahead and try to read that scroll over and over until you get a 20. The cleric will be beating your face in the entire time.

its_all_ogre
2007-04-08, 04:00 PM
um which part of
Ring of Major Spell Storing with usually AMF, Divine Favor and Obsuring Mist (200,000)
did you not notice?
the AMF is in a ring of spell storing, not on a scroll.
but yes scroll DC's are really high, so this fighter is not 'home-dry' in any shape or form.

Marius
2007-04-08, 07:29 PM
Leadership
Special: Check with your DM before selecting this feat.

The feat is intended for campaigns with few players and you can't just select it, you have to check with your DM before. While if you select "power attack" you don't have to ask anyone.

But in any case you are trying to survive by having a 15th level cleric by your side... yeah you really prove that the fighter rocks!

And don't forget that the Cleric could have a 17th level Wizard if he want to select Leadership. And by doing that he'll be much more powerful than the fighter and the cleric.

And if the cleric teleports into the fighters room is because he knows that the fighter is sleeping.

Variable Arcana
2007-04-09, 01:22 AM
Sir Giacomo-

A 200,000 gp item to let the fighter counter magic?!?

From the WBL, the fighter can't afford that ring until level 15 -- and then, only if he's completely naked otherwise. It's 18th level before he can actually afford such a ring.

A scroll of AMF only costs 1,650. There's got to be an easier way to get it for the Fighter. A 1/day command-word activated AMF item should cost around 25k, making it affordable at 11th or 12th level.

I still believe there needs to be a Prestige Class for fighters that caps with a personal anti-magic effect. Call it Iron Golem Disciple.

Variable Arcana
2007-04-09, 01:24 AM
See above about your UMD. And... isnt emulating casters essentially agreeing that a Fighter, as in the class, isnt as useful as a caster?
Depends what you do with it.

Would anyone argue that a wizard casting Mage Armor is essentially agreeing that a Wizard, as in the class, isn't as useful as a tank???

Zincorium
2007-04-09, 01:37 AM
Depends what you do with it.

Would anyone argue that a wizard casting Mage Armor is essentially agreeing that a Wizard, as in the class, isn't as useful as a tank???

No, if Tenser's transformation was a suggested spell, that would indeed be a mage attempting to emulate a tank, and thus would be tacit to agreeing that a wizard isn't as useful as a tank.

I have never seen Tenser's transformation used either in a theoretical construct or in an actual game. Ever. For good reasons.

Mage armor is an agreement that a wizard really sucks at wearing armor and thus should probably compensate for that if they get into melee combat.


Use magic device is the same vein as Tenser's transformation in this particular instance: the fighter is attempting to do something that requires a caster, and is trying to fake being a caster to get the scroll off. Not all that well, since his charisma is low and the fact that UMD isn't a class skill means it's that much harder to pull off, but attempting it nonetheless.

Sir Giacomo
2007-04-09, 06:24 AM
Hi again,

thought that would not be so easily accepted...:smallsmile: I must admit that I am myself not yet so sure about this tactics, but with scroll use, the fighter can add mightily to his high-level versatility if alone, and rather cheaply as well.
@Variable Arcana: Yes, the major ring of spell storing (which is the item needed to use high-level spells reliable in a combat situation without AoO) is quite expensive. The real threat from spellcasters should start around lvl 17 when most get the 9th level spells -although at that point they do not have that many yet that they can toss those around at leisure. Maybe at lower level, already a much cheaper normal ring of spell storing helps out with a wall of force in emergencies, or a teleport. Still, by level 17, fighters would have 140,000 to spare if getting a major ring of spell storing for the anti-magic field tactics. It's tricky, but as you said a rather cheap scroll with AMF may also do the trick (Skill of +14 would need to beat a DC of 31 for it, though, quite tricky with this build, so maybe I should think about a more CHR-heavy fighter who would then also able to do all the Sorcerer spells if needed).
@Marius: I admit the leadership thing is awkward (as is some of the 9th level spells as written). And sorry for being a bit inconsistent from my side by jumping between using it or not.
The point is that the cohort for the fighter almost needs to do nothing but occasionally refill the ring of spell storing for free. That cohort will never accompany the fighter on quests etc (which would put that cohort at too high risk). A cleric with a wizard cohort is of course more powerful (other full casters take a dent since they have an animal companion or a familiar), but the marginal increase of power and versatiliy is much higher for the fighter. As such, cohorts could help level the playing field for high-level play.
The feat in my view is NOT optional and seems to be intended for game balance of non-casting classes.
The passage in PHB does not stop at the quote you used, it say in full:
PHB, p. 97: "Check with your DM before selecting this feat, and work with your DM to termine an appropriate cohort and followers for your character (the Dungeon Master's Guide has more information on cohorts and followers)."
Of course you need to check with the DM, the same when you create a belief for your cleric: it his a campaign/npc impact, that the power attack feat has not.
The rules for cohorts are in the DMG (since they are npc-relevant!), so of course I need to check with the DM! (The designers obviously did not assume that all players would buy the DMG). In the DMG itself on p. 106 the DM is cautioned that he should not allow it IF it disrupts the game (like an infinite wish loop, self-explanatory) or IF the group is already big enough. In our scenario the fighter is alone apparently, so leadership is defenitely RAW.
Now, I would as a HOUSERULE also likely not allow it and try to balance the game differently. But in our example "campaign" testing the balance of the rules and most others it should be OK ("too big" is basically a group which has the maximum of players you would as a DM allow, anyhow, so it is more campagin-specific and not the average campaign with the 4-member party).

But basically, the leadership feat is not that relevant for the above tactics, and the feat may be spent for skill focus: UMD to make the use of scrolls easier for the fighter. If the fighter has a party with spell casters, they will gladly provide the buff spells and AMF since he can greatly contribute, of course, with his AMF tactics that no spellcaster can use in such a way. Ah, and the ring can store more spells, since AMF is possible at 6th level for divine scrolls/casting, so besides AMF from a neutral cleric with travel and protection domains, there can be divine favour, protection from good, protection from evil, obscuring mist, or if defensive a dimension door or spell immunity (say, to dimensional anchor, some rays etc.).

Now on to Rigeld2, since he posted the most remarks.


-1 for your 8 CHA, gives you a 13. Whats the DC to cast a spell from a scroll?
Use a scroll 20 + caster level
Meaning 34 for your AMF. Good luck.

Thanks! But luck is not necessary...:smallsmile:
-1 for CHR, 10 ranks for cross class skill, +3 circlet of persuasion, +2 synergy bonus of Spellcraft gives +14 total, not +13.
I noticed that the cleric cohort or whatever divine caster provides the AMF can also be only 11th level, making the DC 31, so the circlet of persuasion would not even be necessary. Eventually the fighter will be either able to cast the spell from a scroll into the ring himself (he can use the UMD until he rolls a "1" once per round, and even then he only needs to wait 24 hrs. Note also he has a luck re-roll if necessary).
Or, simpler and cheaper even, he could buy a spellcasting service (PHB, p. 129) for a cheap 660gp. to get the AMF from an npc cleric with either magic or protection domain into the ring. If the fighter is really desperate and has no cash, he can intimidate an 11th level cleric into doing it for free, likely beating the cleric's opposed roll with his +25 modifier.
Or, in a party he can get the AMF from the fellow cleric and use the tactics to the party's benefit. High-level unique combat niche for fighter preserved, anyhow (apart from the non-dispellable ranged bow tactics as well as having weapon combat and unarmed combat available as well).



-See above about your UMD. And... isnt emulating casters essentially agreeing that a Fighter, as in the class, isnt as useful as a caster?


Er...no, it isnt. Otherwise a CoDzilla would also somehow admit that fighting melee and thus emulating fighters is really what spellcasting classes should be about (since they devote most of their feats and a certain proportion of their daily spells to do that and reduce their overall spell capacity). The idea is rather that, like a CoDzilla and other casters, the fighter can also copy some traits from other classes to his benefit, and even gets to do something with this that the spellcasting classes cannot do: use AMF with much less drawbacks.



-So youre emulating a Wizard, only ~ 6 levels late, and with no guarantee it will work. Great!


Actually the above fighter can emulate only a low-level wizard, but more often he can use ALL the DIVINE spells up to 7th level (Holy Sword anyone?), with Skill focus (hey, it IS better than the leadership feat in this case!) up to 9th levels if they are long-term buffs/effects (so he does not need to cast them IN combat but cab do so way before). Say, like mind blank or forbiddance.
OF COURSE he is way below in spellcasting power, since he does not get the spells for free (only with leadership or spellcasting party members), plus can cast much less/day, plus can hardly use metamagic feats like the powerful quicken/quicken rods (he may get a rod of extending for some buffs, though).
I would even go so far as saying that it is far easier for the spellcasting classes to emulate fighting ability than the other way round. But that is not the point. The point is that, yes, the fighter has (and quite cheaply, at that!) access to all kinds of magic and can use this to
- considerably boost his attacks and defense options
- use AMF as a tactics in ways not open for spellcasters.



-Who cares? And youre wrong. Using the Gate spell to summon something means that it stays during an AMF. (AMF doesnt effect instantaneous conjurations, Gate-summon is one of those).


Yep, you're right. But its powers go away. However, if they are big enough (as in 40-50 HD big), then they are still a formidable threat for a fighter, you are correct in that.
Only if you cast it with a summoned creature with SR next to you (i.e. the AMF area of effect when you cast it centered on you), that creature may resist it. Nowhere else does the text refer to any situation with Spell resistance, so even a cleric with Spell Resistance spell up will have no chance against this effect. Plus, any summoned creatures (barring deities, but those can't be controlled by gate, anyway) just wink out as soon as the fighter moves close to them with an AMF up.



But its inside an AMF, so nonfunctional.

Yes, the equipment is non-functional (actually only the magic properties of it, so the weapons are still masterwork), but the fighter with his many (non-magic) feats then is superior to a full caster and will easily win with grapple/full attacks what have you vs an opponent with at best 5 BAB less, less physical stats, less feats, less Hps and less combat-relevant skills. As will all the other non-caster classes with their array of extraordinary abilities (like sneak and rage).
Ony creatures physically strong like a balor or dragons or what have you should not be targeted with an AMF melee tactics. For those, the arrows should do the trick...:smallbiggrin:



False. You dont have to control the gated in creature, you give it a mission, and it does it.


Yep, you're right. I got confused by the spell casting time "Instantenous or concentration: see text" and thought the controlling aspect refers to concentration. In PHB p. 172 Calling is described as Instantenous. Ah, and the gated creatures then cannot be dispelled! BUT they also really die (unlike summoned creatures) if they die, so it is quite likely that they seek vengeance if they survive. Good luck for the cleric if he summoned something double his HD against their will...:smallbiggrin: .



Except.. really it cements a casters niche in the high level group, since youre effectively emulating a caster. And poorly at that.


Nope. The fighter remains the powerful fighter of before, plus has added versatility (in fact having access to all long-lasting buffs and spells that divine spellcasters have), AND has the AMF tactics which the spellcasting class does not have.


edited to add:
Youre right. The cleric might have a big problem as soon as that AMF is up. You only have a 5% chance to activate it though, and you provoke an AoO when you try. So go ahead and try to read that scroll over and over until you get a 20. The cleric will be beating your face in the entire time.

Actually, without leadership feat and the skill boosted to +17 the fighter needs to roll a 14, not that unlikely with a luck-reroll.
But, as its_all_ogre has already mentioned, the spell storing ring does the trick without resorting to any UMD skill check. Casting the AMF into the ring from a scroll in his room by himself way before, the fighter can try as often as he likes until the AMF is in the ring.

But keep those comments coming! This way, the fighter gets more and more interesting...

- Giacomo

greenknight
2007-04-09, 07:56 AM
Now in general, I have come to believe that the key to power in the core high-level game (and beyond), magic, is available quite cheaply to everyone.

Magic certainly dominates high level games, but full spellcasters have a huge advantage since they can renew those spell slots on a daily basis.


All have access to spells and magic via magic equipment and, via cross-class (or even class) skill Use Magic Device (UMD).

While true, this is very expensive for non-spellcasters. And cross-classing UMD is a big investment for a Fighter for relatively little return.


The only thing special for spellcasting classes is that they can cast spells regularly (although they have to refresh them and are vulnerable when doing so/or if impeded to do so).

It's a huge advantage for a relatively small disadvantage.


One such countertactics is the 6th level arcane spell (and 8th level cleric magic domain spell) anti-magic field (AMF). It is, at the same time, a key ability for the fighter (as well as all non-caster classes) to excel where caster classes cannot: having AMF up and then meleeing caster monsters and npcs.

AMF is an 8th level Cleric spell, but is 6th level for Sorcerers, Wizards and Clerics with the Magic and/or Protection Domains. For a non-spellcaster to cast it would require a very high UMD skill or a very expensive Ring of Major Spell Storing (and gold to have an NPC cast the spell). By going with the Ring, you've spent more than 25% of the character's WBL on a single item (which is the recommended limit).


not druids, since they have no viable ranged tactics sans divine power and the cleric buffs for bows

Druids concentrate on melee, but there are big differences between Druids and Fighters. For a start, Druids can gain a very fast Fly speed through Wild Shape (or Shapechange, at higher levels). And they could always use their ranged Summon Nature's Ally spells to summon just the right monsters in the right position for the situation.


Ring of Major Spell Storing with usually AMF, Divine Favor and Obsuring Mist (200,000),

You're relying on a NPC spellcaster to put those spells in there for you. This adds 660 gp for AMF, and variable cost for the others (say 100gp as a rough figure).


WIS took a dent of +2 bonus to afford the ring of spell storing. I did not list extra the many scrolls this fighter could take and safely cast up to 2nd level divine and arcane spells, and most buff spells further up. A scroll of teleport (failing only with 20% chance) is cheaper than the helm, so I also got rid of that. Similarly, the AC is hit quite badly now, but the many divine scrolls could buff the fighter up again if needed in certain situations. For spell attack defensive situations, he now can use AMF, for noncaster attack situations move/manyshot, as well as obscuring mist/the bottle for both to level the playing field.

Don't forget, a 20th level Cleric with the Magic Domain can safely cast any spell on the Wizard list of up to 5th level from a Scroll or Wand (provided the character's Intelligence is high enough). That's without any need for UMD.


for buff spells from scrolls, actually the UMD bonus of only +14 lets the fighter cast scroll spells of up to 14th level casters (or 7th level spells), if he only repeats the procedure often enough (he can as long as he does not roll a "1", even then he can try again 24hrs later).

The rules aren't entirely clear about this. Consider the following:

A spell on a scroll can be used only once. The writing vanishes from the scroll when the spell is activated.

Note that there's nothing there which says the activation attempt must be successful. This may mean that merely trying to activate the spell will cause it to vanish. The bit about rolling a "1" might only apply if the item has multiple uses or charges.


the leadership feat comes back with a vengeance.

Okay:

1) Leadership is not a Fighter Bonus Feat. While the sheer number of Feats a Fighter has available makes it easier for the character to take this Feat, it must be taken as a regular feat, and not as a class ability. Yes, it's a powerful Feat, but unless you have a Fighter cohort, it in no way shows how powerful the Fighter class is, or can be.

2) In the PHB, all that is said is essentially, "Check the DMG". On p106 of the DMG (under Attracting Cohorts), DM's are told they are free to disallow this feat if it will disrupt the campaign. This is the only Feat listed in the PHB which is treated that way.


in a situation of confined space (say, the sleeping room of the fighter), if a cleric teleports near and attacks the fighter, he has a big problem in that as soon AMF is up, the fighter closes in and uses stunning fist/full attack with a weapon vs the cleric's meagre non-magic defenses and no room to get outside the 10ft radius.

If a spellcaster teleports into the sleeping room of a character, chances are the spellcaster will do so while the character is actually sleeping. That's a pretty good time for a Coup de Grace. If the character isn't physically strong, then ordering a summoned or gated creature (complete with Spell Resistance) to make the attack would be good tactics, and wouldn't place the caster in any significant danger.

If the Fighter has somehow fooled the spellcaster, it's still likely the spellcaster would get Surprise. During that time, the spellcaster could just retreat out of there (teleport, DD, Word of Recall etc), or take some other defensive measure (summon or gate an ally, for example).


In everyday situations with more room, the cleric may move out of AMF and cast, but the fighter may get an obscuring mist up out of his ring of spell storing (if the eversmoking tactics does not work; a protection from evil may be even a better divine 1st level spell for the ring if the bottle trick does work).

The Obscuring Mist might be useful since it doesn't completely blind the caster like the Eversmoking Bottle does. Still, a summoned or gated creature which doesn't rely on sight to locate it's target can overcome either tactic.


In fact, to foil attacks on his life with large summoned creatures, the fighter may sleep in a very small room where no large creature can be summoned/gated (also good tactics for casters vs other such caster attacks!).

Finding a room like that might be difficult, especially if the Summoned / Gated creature is incorporeal.


note that summoned mega creatures even like the dream larva or a 50 HD solar will not be able to touch the fighter or attack him with spells once AMF is up.

No, but that Solar could certainly hit you with arrows. And Gated creatures aren't Summoned, they're Called.


btw I noticed that for gate you need to concentrate - for the gate to remain open for the gate use, for the calling effect to control the called creature. This means the cleric can only use quickened spells while controlling a gated creature.)

The Gate has two durations, and only the Planer Travel version requires concentration. The Calling version is Instantaneous (which means Gated creatures have no chance of winking out in an AMF).


using CHR-heavy non-casters like a paladin makes great synergy of the UMD skill.

Probably the best user of UMD is a Rogue, although Bards aren't a bad choice either.


finally, it is quite ironic now that the fighter can get back at a "cleric emulating fighter and doing everything else better" by also emulating many cleric abilities and still having the AMF fighting tactics that he will always do better than a cleric. This shoud cement a top fighter niche in a high-level group at long last, I dare say.

But it's costing the Fighter a lot of gold, and the Cleric can go CZilla with just a couple of spells which are free to cast. And at the highest levels, you still have no way to overcome a Gated creature.