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Cuddly
2008-03-30, 07:35 PM
Polymorph errata from Complete Scoundrel:

The Polym orph Subschool
The polymorph subschool was introduced in Playerís
Handbook II.
A spell of the polymorph subschool changes the targetís
form from one shape to another. Unless stated otherwise
in the spellís description, the target of such a spell takes on
all the statistics (mental and physical) and special abilities
of an average member of the new form in place of its own,
except as follows.
ē The target retains its own alignment (and personality,
within the limits of the new formís ability scores).
ē The target retains its own hit points.
ē The target is treated as having its normal Hit Dice
for the purpose of adjudicating effects based on HD,
such as the sleep spell, though it uses the new formís
base attack bonus, base save bonuses, and all other
statistics derived from Hit Dice.
ē The target retains the ability to understand the
languages it understands in its normal form. If
the new form is normally capable of speech, the
target retains the ability to speak these languages as
well. It can write in the languages it understands,
but only if the new form is capable of writing in
some manner (even a primitive manner, such as
drawing in the dirt with a paw).
In all other ways, the targetís normal game statistics
are effectively replaced by those of the new form.
The target loses all the special abilities it has in its
normal form, including its class features (even if
the new form would normally be able to use those
class features).
If the new formís size is different from the
targetís normal size, its new space must share as
much of the original formís space as possible,
squeezing into the available space (PH 148) if necessary.
If insufficient space exists for the new form, the
spell fails.
Any gear worn or carried by the target melds into the
new form and becomes nonfunctional. When the target
reverts to its true form, any objects previously melded into
the new form reappear in the same location on its body
they previously occupied and are once again functional.
Any new items worn in the assumed form fall off and land
at the targetís feet.
The spellcaster can freely designate the new formís
minor physical qualities (such as hair color and skin color)
within the normal ranges for a creature of that kind. The
new formís significant physical qualities (such as height,
weight, and gender) are also under the spellcasterís
control, but they must fall within the norms for the new
formís kind. The target of a polymorph spell is effectively
camouflaged as a creature of its new form, and gains a +10
bonus on Disguise checks if it uses this ability to create
a disguise.
If the target of a polymorph spell is slain or rendered
unconscious, the spell ends. Any part of the body that is
separated from the whole remains polymorphed until the
effect ends.
Incorporeal or gaseous creatures are immune to polymorph
spells, as are creatures of the plant type. A creature
with the shapechanger subtype (such as a lycanthrope
or doppelganger) can revert to its natural form as a
standard action.
Spells that Have Come Before
For the purpose of adjudicating effects that apply to
polymorph spells, any spell whose effect is based on
either alter self or polymorph should be considered to have
the polymorph subschool. However, the spellsí existing
rules text takes priority over that of the subschool. Alter
self, for instance, does not change the targetís ability
scores (unlike normal for spells of the polymorph
subschool).

Relevant text bolded.

Looks like turning into a monster or dwarf ancestor + scintillating scales isn't so terrific, seeing as how you lose all class abilities.

Zincorium
2008-03-30, 07:39 PM
Even if Alter Self is of the polymorph subschool, here's the text from the spell.



You retain your own ability scores. Your class and level, hit points, alignment, base attack bonus, and base save bonuses all remain the same. You retain all supernatural and spell-like 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 or eyes for a gaze attack).

You keep all extraordinary special attacks and qualities derived from class levels, but you lose any from your normal form that are not derived from class levels.

If the new form is capable of speech, you can communicate normally. You retain any spellcasting ability you had in your original form, but the new form must be able to speak intelligibly (that is, speak a language) to use verbal components and must have limbs capable of fine manipulation to use somatic or material components.


Specific always trumps general.

Nebo_
2008-03-30, 07:42 PM
The Polymorph Subschool

See how it says subschool, and not spell?
That's for things like trollshape and dragonshape, not the spell polymorph. Polymorph is still broken.

Cuddly
2008-03-30, 07:56 PM
See how it says subschool, and not spell?
That's for things like trollshape and dragonshape, not the spell polymorph. Polymorph is still broken.

Goddammit.

And here I was hoping they fixed that thing.

Jack_Simth
2008-03-30, 08:33 PM
Yes, Alter Self, Polymorph, Polymorph Any Object, and Shapechange are still broken.

I'm aware of three basic approaches to house-ruling them that have a reasonable chance of success:

1) Variant Summoning.
It's not all your abilities plus those you pick up from the monster - it's the monster minus certain types of abilities (but you don't keep your version of those abilities), active spells, and equipment. You use Alter Self to turn into a Troglodyte for some natural armor? Okay, but you can't cast spells for the duration. That Mage Armor spell you had up before you changed? It's suppressed - you effectively traded places with a Troglodyte somewhere, and the Mage Armor spell went along for the ride. You use a stock version of the critter you become, and use the Monster Manual entry for all statistics while playing (minus stuff that the standard version of the spell you're using wouldn't give you). Spells applied by others after the change work normally, but go away when the polymorph effect does. This approach assumes that CR is a correct measure of a creature's power - if all the monsters have the correct CR, then replacing yourself with a monster of a CR of your CR or lower shouldn't break the game.

2) Limited Forms.
One spell doesn't give you access to half the monster manual - one spell gives you access to a specific set of forms (similar to the Summon Monster line). You leave the changing effects of the current Polymorph in place, but limit the available forms. Balance is achieved by limiting the available forms to ones that will have reasonable effects for a spell of that level. You need different forms, you research a new (probably higher level) spell.

3) Buffs + Illusion.
When you use Polymorph, you're not actually becoming that creature - you're picking some number of "buffs" (based on your caster level) off of a fixed list (based on the spell used), and cloaking yourself in illusion to look like that creature. The list might include changes to size category, enhancement bonuses to stats, natural armor, natural weapons, or a movement mode. You make a disguise check to look like the thing you're imitating. Balance is achieved by way of selecting what, how many, and how effective the abilities are with a given spell level at a given caster level.

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-03-30, 09:40 PM
Wouldn't it be easier to just ban the darn spell? :smallconfused: It's already complicated and confusing, I don't see why me devoting hours to writing houserules would change that.

Emperor Tippy
2008-03-30, 10:00 PM
Wouldn't it be easier to just ban the darn spell? :smallconfused: It's already complicated and confusing, I don't see why me devoting hours to writing houserules would change that.

Houserule: When you take any of the polymorph line choose 5 forms. You can change into them exactly as the spell is written. You can change your appearance to match any other form (so you can look like a Pit Fiend while having all your regular stats and abilities).

There. I just pretty much balanced the whole polymorph line. If a monster is to powerful for your game the DM can easily say "choose another instead".

sikyon
2008-03-30, 10:07 PM
Houserule: When you take any of the polymorph line choose 5 forms. You can change into them exactly as the spell is written. You can change your appearance to match any other form (so you can look like a Pit Fiend while having all your regular stats and abilities).

There. I just pretty much balanced the whole polymorph line. If a monster is to powerful for your game the DM can easily say "choose another instead".

Eaisier solution:

Knowledge check to know the form.

Zincorium
2008-03-30, 10:13 PM
Eaisier solution:

Knowledge check to know the form.

While a good idea on the surface, that's not really as easy as it sounds. 10 + monster HD isn't really that hard to make for many of the more broken things, and if you give things more specific DCs, that can end up being a lot of work.

Emperor Tippy's solution has the advantage of establishing a small pool of creatures which the player can be expected to write down and know the stats of, rather than looking up a monster everytime the player decides to go for something new.

Emperor Tippy
2008-03-30, 10:14 PM
Eaisier solution:

Knowledge check to know the form.

Not really. The knowledge checks are easy as crap to make and you still keep the real big problem with the polymorph line, versatility.

If polymorph is limited to a certain number of forms the DM can prepare and it doesn't become a matter of just flipping through books to find a monster with the exact ability you need at this point in time.

TheOOB
2008-03-30, 10:19 PM
Wizards has long since stopped trying to fix the polymorph spell tree, they just make other spells and assume you are going to ban them.

Aquillion
2008-03-30, 10:22 PM
Wouldn't it be easier to just ban the darn spell? :smallconfused: It's already complicated and confusing, I don't see why me devoting hours to writing houserules would change that.
It's iconic. That's what it comes down to: The entire purpose of the game is to let people play fantasy archtypes. One major fantasy archtype is the shapeshifter; one of the most classic arcane duels is the Shapechange duel, where wizards constantly try to one-up each other. It's as basic as flying and throwing fireballs.

I don't like the idea of having only a small number of forms for all shapechanging spells, either; like I said, the idea of choosing your form in a duel is very iconic to magic. (My views might be colored by my addiction to The Journey West, of course, which is at some points basically a textbook for abusing your abilities as a shapeshifter.)

I would balance it, instead, by making it so that you (1) give up all your old abilities while changed, as above, and (2) you cannot turn into a creature whose LA + HD would equal more than your original form's HD. Also, I would say that forms and features taken from shapechanging can never be used to fulfill prerequisites, unless the prerequisite in question specifically states otherwise.

If a form has no LA (which covers many of the most abusive -- anything with an ability the PCs were never supposed to have, like Chokers or Sarruhk, say) then specific DM permission is required to polymorph etc in to it. (If I was designing the system from the ground up, I would add another thing to this -- whenever a form is given an LA of "--", I wouldn't just leave it with a blank LA, but would give a note saying why it is no good for a PC race -- either 'unsuitable', meaning it lacks limbs or is restricted in environment, like a fish; or 'unbalanced', meaning it has an ability that can be difficult to balance. Obviously, 'unsuitable' forms would still be legal for polymorph, and would still get an LA after 'unsuitable' for this purpose. Unbalanced creatures have no LA, and no PC is ever allowed to be one in any way without specific DM permission.)

Taking away feats and abilities when shapeshifted is common-sense and frequently appears in fantasy (the wizard fooled into assuming a weak form is easily beaten, say; he can't just keep using spells without turning back.) The second is basic balance -- you can't use Polymorph etc to become anything stronger than you could have been if that was your character, and if something has no LA because it possess an ability that would be broken for a PC (eg Choker), it is probably still unsuitable for Shapechanging.

Note that with these changes, though, players can probably be allowed to get the SU and EX abilities of their forms... although you might want to bar them from using per-day abilities unless they've been in the form for an entire day first.

Although this sounds complicated, it's really quite simple; you just check the creature's ECL against yours (and make sure it has an LA that is not "--") to see if you can successfully be turned into it, and then use its stats as they appear in the book.

This makes Polymorph into something like Tenser's Transformation. Rather than increasing your power by turning into something far stronger than the rest of your party, you're merely shifting it into something else of equal or lesser strength (though possibly more suitable to your current situation.)

Chronos
2008-03-30, 10:36 PM
Wouldn't it be easier to just ban the darn spell?The problem with that is that wizards turning into other things is such a prevalent trope in fantasy that you really want there to be some mechanism to do it in game.

*Ninjaed by Aquillon*

The problem with allowing all forms of ECL less than or equal to your own, and giving all of their abilities, is that there's then no reason to ever play anything but a wizard. Yes, yes, the wizard gives up all of his other spells when in other forms, but it's still unbalanced, because he can change what he is whenever he wants. There's no reason to play a fighter, if you can instead play a fighter whenever you want and a sneak whenever you want and whatever else whenever you want.

Now, if you restricted it to ECL -3 or so, I could get behind that. That way, you can still be any type of creature, but you're paying for your versatility.

Aquillion
2008-03-30, 11:48 PM
The problem with that is that wizards turning into other things is such a prevalent trope in fantasy that you really want there to be some mechanism to do it in game.

*Ninjaed by Aquillon*

The problem with allowing all forms of ECL less than or equal to your own, and giving all of their abilities, is that there's then no reason to ever play anything but a wizard. Yes, yes, the wizard gives up all of his other spells when in other forms, but it's still unbalanced, because he can change what he is whenever he wants. There's no reason to play a fighter, if you can instead play a fighter whenever you want and a sneak whenever you want and whatever else whenever you want.

Now, if you restricted it to ECL -3 or so, I could get behind that. That way, you can still be any type of creature, but you're paying for your versatility.I didn't mean to imply that the wizard could take class levels with polymorph. I mean that you take the monster, add its LA and HD, and use that for its ECL. Taking class levels would clearly be unbalanced, since you can optimize them much better and could mix and match them in all sorts of crazy ways... but most of the time, a monster with LA + HD equal to the rest of the party's ECL (and no class levels) is not going to be particularly overwhelming. (You take the HD from the monster's entry using the rules for the monster's subtype (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/typesSubtypes.htm), just like a PC making a character using that monster as the base would be required to. These are almost always vastly inferior to character levels. Of course, you don't need to do this math, since it's been done to generate the monster's entry in the first place... all you need to know is that you add the monster's LA and listed HD, and if the total is above your level or the mosnter doesn't have a listed LA then you can't turn into it.)

Right now, all it cares about is HD, using somewhat arbitrary caps. I think this makes more sense... certainly LA should be taken into account, too.

sikyon
2008-03-30, 11:50 PM
Not really. The knowledge checks are easy as crap to make and you still keep the real big problem with the polymorph line, versatility.

If polymorph is limited to a certain number of forms the DM can prepare and it doesn't become a matter of just flipping through books to find a monster with the exact ability you need at this point in time.

Make more specific DC's for polymorph. It's not enough to just know what the creature looks like, you need to be very familiar with it. Knowledge that up to 10+HD+20 (5 peices of useful information total), or whatever you want. If you fight it and it shows off most of its traits, you can poly it too.

Funkyodor
2008-03-31, 03:29 AM
I've been toying around with the idea that active enhancement spells (Mage Armor, Arcane Sight, Freedom of Movement, Mind Blank, etcetera) become inactive upon polymorphing into a new form, much like how magic items that don't fit become inactive. Since most of the polymorph spells have a limited duration (Except specific cases of PaO) this means that each and every time a Wizard wants to take an alternate form, he/she loses active spells like Contingency and such.

Titanium Dragon
2008-03-31, 01:23 PM
Why not just ban it?

Wizards turning into other stuff is a common fantasy trope? Maybe, but it is broken, and this is, ultimately, a game; it is more important to make the game fun than it is to fufill every fantasy trope. Also, more notably, most wizards turn into small animals, ALA ravens or bats, rather than dragons.

I think the far easier solution is just to ban the broken classes (the twelve strongest in the game); this gets rid of polymorph just as well if you get rid of all their items too :P

Emperor Tippy
2008-03-31, 01:35 PM
Why not just ban the weakest classes in the game instead?

Cuddly
2008-03-31, 02:05 PM
Why not just ban the weakest classes in the game instead?

Because not everyone wants to play retardedly high powered games?

Chronos
2008-03-31, 02:18 PM
Wizards turning into other stuff is a common fantasy trope? Maybe, but it is broken, and this is, ultimately, a game; it is more important to make the game fun than it is to fufill every fantasy trope.For some of us, the game is fun by virtue of enabling classic fantasy tropes.

And while not all classic wizards turn into big nasty monsters like dragons, some do. I want to have the option to play Proteus. I won't necessarily choose that option, but I like being allowed to.

Emperor Tippy
2008-03-31, 02:23 PM
Because not everyone wants to play retardedly high powered games?

And not everyone wants to play a retardedly weak fighter either.

In all honesty I really don't care at all about balance or the players power level. If you want to make an Incantatrix batman or a Planar Shepard and someone else wants to make a sword and board fighter, go right ahead. If you have good players it really doesn't matter.

Emperor Tippy
2008-03-31, 02:24 PM
Because not everyone wants to play retardedly high powered games?

And not everyone wants to play a retardedly weak fighter either.

In all honesty I really don't care at all about balance or the players power level. If you want to make an Incantatrix batman or a Planar Shepard and someone else wants to make a sword and board fighter, go right ahead. If you have good players it really doesn't matter.

Aquillion
2008-03-31, 02:35 PM
Because not everyone wants to play retardedly high powered games?What's retarded about being able to fly and teleport? Those are very basic fantasy elements.

I think what it's coming down to now is not a matter of power; you simply don't want to play with wizards. Balance has nothing to do with it, you just don't like high magic.

Cuddly
2008-03-31, 02:43 PM
What's retarded about being able to fly and teleport? Those are very basic fantasy elements.

I think what it's coming down to now is not a matter of power[i]; you simply don't want to play with [i]wizards. Balance has nothing to do with it, you just don't like high magic.

Group of players and DM: "Alright, let's play a nice level 4 game, sort of gritty, lots of orc slaying."
Retard: "I make a level 20 wizzzzzzzerd!!!!! Pew pew pew!"

Titanium Dragon
2008-03-31, 03:09 PM
What's retarded about being able to fly and teleport? Those are very basic fantasy elements.

I think what it's coming down to now is not a matter of power[i]; you simply don't want to play with [i]wizards. Balance has nothing to do with it, you just don't like high magic.

Being able to fly and teleport are actually not all that common. And, more to the point, are more seldom the domain of heroes; they're typically villanious powers.

They're absurdly powerful, and if they disrupt what people WANT out of a fantasy game (and let's make no bones about it, they do for a lot of people) then they should be weak or gone.

I don't mind magic at all in a fantasy game, but when it is highly disruptive, then I DO mind it. Wizards are highly disruptive, as are all of the twelve most powerful full-casters in the game; they cause enormous problems and make people unhappy and feel useless. This is a bad thing.

Aquillion
2008-03-31, 03:23 PM
Being able to fly and teleport are actually not all that common. And, more to the point, are more seldom the domain of heroes; they're typically villanious powers.

They're absurdly powerful, and if they disrupt what people WANT out of a fantasy game (and let's make no bones about it, they do for a lot of people) then they should be weak or gone.

I don't mind magic at all in a fantasy game, but when it is highly disruptive, then I DO mind it. Wizards are highly disruptive, as are all of the twelve most powerful full-casters in the game; they cause enormous problems and make people unhappy and feel useless. This is a bad thing.Like I said, you don't want wizards. You want to play Conan, where swords and stealth are the focus for the heroes and all the really competent wizards are bad guys; and you don't care if the things you strip out of the game to get this disrupt what other people want out of a fantasy game, no.

What about what other people want out of a fantasy game? You know, the ones who want to play wizards and spellcasters, or play in a world of high magic where they operate as part of a team? Well-designed fighters and rogues don't have to be overshadowed by full casters; they can operate together as part of a team. Sure, wizards can be overpowering, but depending on how they're played they don't have to be.

There are ways to balance magic, but there isn't any smooth way to turn D&D into what you want; ripping the pages on full casters out isn't going to change the fact that they were one of the core columns the game's system is designed around.

I suggest you find a different game. Play a system designed with low-magic built into it from the start. It will result in less frustration for everyone involved.

Cuddly
2008-03-31, 04:37 PM
Like I said, you don't want wizards. You want to play Conan, where swords and stealth are the focus for the heroes and all the really competent wizards are bad guys; and you don't care if the things you strip out of the game to get this disrupt what other people want out of a fantasy game, no.

What about what other people want out of a fantasy game? You know, the ones who want to play wizards and spellcasters, or play in a world of high magic where they operate as part of a team? Well-designed fighters and rogues don't have to be overshadowed by full casters; they can operate together as part of a team. Sure, wizards can be overpowering, but depending on how they're played they don't have to be.

There are ways to balance magic, but there isn't any smooth way to turn D&D into what you want; ripping the pages on full casters out isn't going to change the fact that they were one of the core columns the game's system is designed around.

I suggest you find a different game. Play a system designed with low-magic built into it from the start. It will result in less frustration for everyone involved.

Even a moderately optimized wizard is really, really good. We're talking about taking on multiple CL equivalent CR encounters by himself in the same day. So if I want to play a fighter, it's tough beans? Despite D&D being very much a game of swords AND sorcery?

Broken spells don't have to be banned, the power scale needs to change. When one of the characters is performing at Gandalf level, and everyone else is a wretched hobbit... well, it sort of gets boring shuffling your feet and waiting for the White Wizard's turn.

If Wizards had the adept's spell progression with a cleric's number of spells/day, getting ninth level spells at level 27, the game would be waaay more balanced. Epic magic, would of course, not exist.

I mean, your strawman argument is very nice, but since this is a group game, why can't the spellcasters perform at the same level as the rest of the group, as opposed to 3 or 4 levels higher?

Emperor Tippy
2008-03-31, 04:44 PM
Even a moderately optimized wizard is really, really good. We're talking about taking on multiple CL equivalent CR encounters by himself in the same day. So if I want to play a fighter, it's tough beans? Despite D&D being very much a game of swords AND sorcery?

Broken spells don't have to be banned, the power scale needs to change. When one of the characters is performing at Gandalf level, and everyone else is a wretched hobbit... well, it sort of gets boring shuffling your feet and waiting for the White Wizard's turn.

If Wizards had the adept's spell progression with a cleric's number of spells/day, getting ninth level spells at level 27, the game would be waaay more balanced. Epic magic, would of course, not exist.

I mean, your strawman argument is very nice, but since this is a group game, why can't the spellcasters perform at the same level as the rest of the group, as opposed to 3 or 4 levels higher?

How about instead of weakening wizards you strengthen fighters and the other weak classes.

Cuddly
2008-03-31, 04:56 PM
How about instead of weakening wizards you strengthen fighters and the other weak classes.

Because casters are clearly not supposed to be as powerful as they are. Planar Shepard? Divine Metamagic? Incantatrix? Hell, caster10 + two levels of Archmage would be about as good as any 20//20 gestalt of pure melee prestige classes.

Then you just get inflation to absurd power levels. At level five, the sorcerer is turning into a dwarf ancestor and stomping around with a ridiculous touch AC. That is dumb. Strengthening fighters would mean you're still playing on the same stupid power scale.

If you want a high powered game, start at a high level! And if you want a lower powered game, start at a lower level! It should really be that simple. Which it would be, if it weren't for the ridiculousness of spells.

Emperor Tippy
2008-03-31, 05:05 PM
Because casters are clearly not supposed to be as powerful as they are. Planar Shepard? Divine Metamagic? Incantatrix? Hell, caster10 + two levels of Archmage would be about as good as any 20//20 gestalt of pure melee prestige classes.
Actually casters are quite clearly supposed to be as powerful as they are. Shapechange, Astral Projection, Celerity, Greater Teleport, Mind Blank, Metal Guard, Superior Invisibility, Time Stop, Forcecage. They are all quite clear, no ambiguity at all. If just 1 or 2 spells were overpowered you would have a point, but the fact is that those spells are representative of the average or slightly above average spells for their level.

Again. Incantatrix, Divine Metamagic, Planar Shepard, Dwemorkeeper. If just 1 or 2 existed you could argue that they were unintended or a mistake but the fact is that at least a very large minority of the caster PrC's are on the same power scale.


Then you just get inflation to absurd power levels. At level five, the sorcerer is turning into a dwarf ancestor and stomping around with a ridiculous touch AC. That is dumb. Strengthening fighters would mean you're still playing on the same stupid power scale.
No. Whats dumb is that either a) the dwarf ancestor exists at all or b) that the fighter can't hit the touch AC of a dwarf ancestor.


If you want a high powered game, start at a high level! And if you want a lower powered game, start at a lower level! It should really be that simple. Which it would be, if it weren't for the ridiculousness of spells.
If you want a low powered game don't play D&D. Try Iron Kingdom.

The fact is that the power level of casters was intended, all the way from level 1 to level 20.

Cuddly
2008-03-31, 05:11 PM
The fact is that the power level of casters was intended, all the way from level 1 to level 20.

WotC pretty much came out and said that they expected wizards to be played as blasters, not batmans. Time Stop was meant to cast 1d4+1 delayed fireballs in.

Emperor Tippy
2008-03-31, 05:13 PM
WotC pretty much came out and said that they expected wizards to be played as blasters, not batmans. Time Stop was meant to cast 1d4+1 delayed fireballs in.

Good for them. Yet even after they saw that wizards weren't being played like that they continued to publish equally powerful spells and PrC's. WotC can say whatever they want but actions speak louder than words and WotC has taken no action to weaken casters. In fact their actions have been to strengthen fighter types.

Frosty
2008-03-31, 05:15 PM
The fact is that the power level of casters was intended, all the way from level 1 to level 20.

That is 100% correct. Whether or not that intention = absolutely scrappy game design is up for debate.

But yeah, ban some of the more abusive spells, and *optimize* your fighters, and the game is tolerable. I also give more treasure to fighter types.

Chosen_of_Vecna
2008-03-31, 05:19 PM
If you want a high powered game, start at a high level! And if you want a lower powered game, start at a lower level! It should really be that simple. Which it would be, if it weren't for the ridiculousness of spells.

And that's how D&D is now. You want a low powered game play at level 6. Yea casters are good at level 6, so is everyone else.

But if you switched to a Adept progression three things would happen:

1) Every party would TPK against their CR after about level 10.

2) You would never be able to play a high powered game, because it wouldn't exist.

3) You would need to completely redesign most of the Monster Manual to deal with the fact that monsters would have SLAs at will of a higher level then the highest below 20 spells a caster can cast at about level 14.

Seriously, face an Ice Devil at ECL 12 with your gimped caster progressions. Let me know how that goes.

Cuddly
2008-03-31, 05:52 PM
Seriously, face an Ice Devil at ECL 12 with your gimped caster progressions. Let me know how that goes.

It's not as big a deal as you make it out to be. The worst thing is being unable to teleport after him- you still have haste, slow, fly, enervate, shivering touch, assay spell resistance. You have the spells that penalize stats, too. The worst that happens? Your spells have lower saves. Oh no, now your spells don't work 80% of the time!

You also have CoDzilla and uberchargers.

Besides that, you can always tune the encounters down a little, can't you? Instead of 10 ice devils a day, you fight 4. Whoop-dee-doo. That's actually how it is in the rules... odd.

[edit]
Ice Devil is CR 13.

Frosty
2008-03-31, 05:55 PM
Oh no, now your spells don't work 80% of the time!

If my spells don't work 80% of the time, I wouldn't play a spellcaster.

Aquillion
2008-03-31, 06:02 PM
Because casters are clearly not supposed to be as powerful as they are. Planar Shepard? Divine Metamagic? Incantatrix?Wait, wait, wait. We were talking about "even moderately optimized wizards" before. You're objecting to things like Fly, Teleport, and Wall of Stone. Those aren't mistakes. WotC didn't say "Whoops, we accidently slipped while typing and gave wizards the ability to teleport!"

I do think there are things that could stand to be changed, but wizards are supposed to be able to do things nobody else can. That's the entire point. Most of the other classes can, too. Rogues are fine. Bards have plenty of useful abilities.

You know why fighter-style pure melee classes generally suck? It is because pure melee is dull. Hatefully, blackboard-scratchingly dull and weak. You're a damage-bot, a mindless tool that the rest of the party idly incorporates into the end of their plans like a portable item. It wouldn't matter if fighters got +2 BAB and a bonus feat every single level; they would still be an awful, awful class, because 90% of the time, the best way to resolve an encounter isn't simply through running at the enemy and trading hits, and that is all the fighter is good for.

They have only one area of competency: Dishing out damage. A well-built fighter actually can be one of the best people for dealing damage; but damage, itself, is weak and unimportant, a frustrating and dull thing to focus on. Magic or not, balanced or not, I think I would never want to play a game of D&D where simply dealing as much damage as possible was considered the way to win combat.

If your class is simply focused on dishing out damage, you are always going to be frustrated in combat. No matter how much damage you do, it's the characters who set up the situation -- not just wizards, but rogues, bards, and so forth, too -- who really get to shine. You walk in after the battle is already won and kill the things they've disabled, or lured into an unfavorable fight, or the enemies they've scouted, or whatever. No amount of willful self-delusion can put the 'damage-bot' in center stage; a game that did put it in center stage would be horrible, since there would be no strategy, no planning, no story or interesting setting to combat, nothing but mindlessly rolling dice at each other until one person dies.

The fun part of combat is planning and strategizing and playing Macgyver with your party's abilities... and fighters have nothing to contribute to that at all. They're just garbage boys, there to take out the trash after the professionals in the group have won the battle.

Fighters can learn a few tricks aside from damage-dealing, sure... but they have to spend so many feats on those that they generally end up with one trick, period, singular, one that usually doesn't even work on all opponents. That isn't much better.

The problem is not magic. It isn't balance. It isn't even melee classes in particular. It's fighters. Their design sucks. Their mechanics belong to an NPC class, not something a player would actually want to play. Most of the other core melee classes suffer from this same problem to an extent, since they're based on the fighter; but it's most obvious for the fighter itself. The underlying problem is not melee vs magic or anything complicated like that; the problem is that WotC mistakenly thought that 20 BAB and dealing damage were viable for a primary class feature. This is not the case.

If you look at fighters in myth, literature or fantasy, they have lots of abilities. They outwit their opponents, they're often stealthy or charming, they have various knacks or skills... they're everything D&D fighters specifically are not. There's lots of ways to try and fix this, but the basic fact is that no class or build focused exclusively on doing and absorbing damage is ever going to be able to escape being overshadowed, not as long as there are more intelligent (and fun) ways to approach combat.

Now, there have been efforts to fix this, of course...

Hell, caster10 + two levels of Archmage would be about as good as any 20//20 gestalt of pure melee prestige classes.Tome of Battle. Argument over. The solution is not to fix casters or change balance (although those are issues of their own); the solution is to give fighter-types a role beyond "tank and do damage".

Chosen_of_Vecna
2008-03-31, 06:07 PM
It's not as big a deal as you make it out to be. The worst thing is being unable to teleport after him- you still have haste, slow, fly, enervate, shivering touch, assay spell resistance. You have the spells that penalize stats, too. The worst that happens? Your spells have lower saves. Oh no, now your spells don't work 80% of the time!

Yeah, I think having 80% of your spells fail is a big deal, it means half the party is dead before you actually get to slow it. You spend your only 4th level slot that day on Assay resistance, then you spam Haste in round 1, and slows afterward for 3-5 rounds just to get him with it.

Meanwhile, he starts off by flying and Cone of Colding the entire party a few times, while setting up to full attack the whole party and Slow everyone at once.

You finally beat him? Great what happens when you face the next one and you have no Assay Resistance and you are out of slows too?


You also have CoDzilla and uberchargers.

Well you don't have Codzillas because they don't have access to their spells. You have 1 Divine Power, and nothing else.

If you are using Char-Op levels of optimization as the basic only way to survive, you are hurting the game more then helping. Any fighter is dead after a full attack from an Ice Devil, and you have to DMM Persist just to have Divine Power for more then one fight, and you still lose out on Freedom of Movement and Deathward.


Besides that, you can always tune the encounters down a little, can't you? Instead of 10 ice devils a day, you fight 4. Whoop-dee-doo. That's actually how it is in the rules... odd.

4 Ice devils a day is a challenge for real casters. It's a TPK for Adept progression.


Ice Devil is CR 13.

I am aware of that, but +1 CR is perfectly allowable for one encounter a day under the current system.

Jack_Simth
2008-03-31, 06:09 PM
Tome of Battle. Argument over.
I'm sorry, I can't consider the Tome of Battle classes to be pure melee. In many respects, they're as much spellcasters as, say, the Warlock. It's just that their abilities aren't called spells.

Aquillion
2008-03-31, 06:13 PM
I'm sorry, I can't consider the Tome of Battle classes to be pure melee. In many respects, they're as much spellcasters as, say, the Warlock. It's just that their abilities aren't called spells.
Sure, sure. I'm saying that the problem isn't magic, though. That sort of pure melee is not a role I would wish on any player.

The fun part of combat is strategy and planning, not mindlessly rolling dice until you've beaten the enemy's HP total. The people who dominate combat are always going to be the ones whose abilities add the most useful strategic options -- the characters with limited strategic options are just going to become mindless bots who get worked into the plans of the more versatile classes.

As long as a melee fighter's options are "swing sword" and "swing sword some more", they're going to get overshadowed.

Cuddly
2008-03-31, 06:18 PM
stuff

I meant fighter as in melee class that lacks full casting. Not necessarily a Fighter. But I agree, a Fighter contributes absolutely nothing, beyond damage and a wall of meat, to any given situation. his other options for combat- trip, disarm, grapple, are clunky, and often don't work well against most monsters.


Tome of Battle.

Quasi-mystical sword waving still counts as magic. I mean, the mechanic is practically identical to warlock.


stuff

I meant the spell levels you got access to be would adept- you would get a new spell level every 3 levels. The number of spells/day you got would be as a cleric is now. So at level 12, that'd be 5/4/4/3 +stat bonus (which is typically min-maxed).

An uber charger isn't that hard to build- I'm not sure if it would qualify as any more optimization as say, preparing solid fog over fireball.

Frosty
2008-03-31, 06:19 PM
And that's why we never have fighters in my party. they always go ToB if they wanna melee. Everybody has *fun* that way, even if the Warforged Warblade's strategy is still to hit things a lot (the player is lazy and doesn't like to think). At least he can use Concentration for damage and Will saves.

As for the Figher, He has enough feats for more than one trick. I've built Charge-fighters that can *also* do battle-field control, and also add Robilar Gambit goodness on that of that and still have a feat or two left over before using Flaws.

Frosty
2008-03-31, 06:20 PM
Quasi-mystical sword waving still counts as magic. I mean, the mechanic is practically identical to warlock.

Only like 2 schools...and then only Swordsage.

Chosen_of_Vecna
2008-03-31, 06:27 PM
I meant the spell levels you got access to be would adept- you would get a new spell level every 3 levels. The number of spells/day you got would be as a cleric is now. So at level 12, that'd be 5/4/4/3 +stat bonus (which is typically min-maxed).

An uber charger isn't that hard to build- I'm not sure if it would qualify as any more optimization as say, preparing solid fog over fireball.

Depends on the level of Ubercharger, you basically need to kill the Ice Devil in one shot or it kills you next turn.

That said I was mostly referring to DMM persist with Nightsticks being the only possible way to even pretend to be a Clericzilla with adept progression. But yes with actual realistic numbers of spells per day it may be appropriate.

I have my own low power version of spellcasting classes I use when I want to DM low power, and it uses a custom progression that is exactly the same up till level 6, it then deviates slightly and stretches to 6th level spells at 15. Then the Archmage and Heirophant classes take over, with no new spells gained after no matter what class you are, and the usual spell slots loss and pre-reqs removed they become useful and fun classes that add abilities and CL.

Sachiel
2008-03-31, 06:30 PM
man, this conversation makes me glad were neared the end of 3.5...or so i think. I hope mabe 4.0 can return ballence to the world of DnD. Sigh....probably will never happen.

Cuddly
2008-03-31, 06:32 PM
Depends on the level of Ubercharger, you basically need to kill the Ice Devil in one shot or it kills you next turn.

Wow, that Ice Devil is really brutal. That's the sort of thing even a caster has trouble killing. Sheesh.

Chosen_of_Vecna
2008-03-31, 06:42 PM
Wow, that Ice Devil is really brutal. That's the sort of thing even a caster has trouble killing. Sheesh.

No that's the sort of thing a Ranged based attacker is better against, since setting yourself up for a full attack that hits for lots of damage and 6 saves against slow is not a good idea. And only worth it if you can kill him on the charge (or if you Robilar's Gambit/Karmic Strike in addition to ubercharging.)

Cuddly
2008-03-31, 06:50 PM
No that's the sort of thing a Ranged based attacker is better against, since setting yourself up for a full attack that hits for lots of damage and 6 saves against slow is not a good idea. And only worth it if you can kill him on the charge (or if you Robilar's Gambit/Karmic Strike in addition to ubercharging.)

If you ride-by charge him, you can avoid the attacks. That teleport at will is rather nasty, though. He will catch you, and he will slow you. And then seal you both up in a block of ice and finish you off, away from the party.

So you get what, one turn to shoot arrows at it before it teleports in?

Chosen_of_Vecna
2008-03-31, 07:20 PM
If you ride-by charge him, you can avoid the attacks. That teleport at will is rather nasty, though. He will catch you, and he will slow you. And then seal you both up in a block of ice and finish you off, away from the party.

Only if you have a Dragon Mount, since it's as likely flying as not.


So you get what, one turn to shoot arrows at it before it teleports in?

You get one round of shots, then a Tumble followed by another shot, then it wastes another standard action on charing for a single attack. That's a lot better then what it could be doing with it's full attacks or cones of cold. Besides, hopefully by then your casters have managed to impair it somehow, and you probably have at least one other damage dealer working on it too.

A competent party shouldn't have much trouble with it at that level if all of them are capable of taking care of their own defense and contributing offense when not targeted. The only problems are when you have many useless party members or people who set themselves up to be killed off.

Chronos
2008-03-31, 07:28 PM
You know why fighter-style pure melee classes generally suck? It is because pure melee is dull.I personally agree with this, and I'd never play a pure fighter in any system. But there are a fair number of folks out there who do actually enjoy "I charge and hit it with my sword. Then I hit it with my sword a bunch more times". That's fine by me; they get to play the kind of class they like, and I get to play the kind of class I like.

The real problem with fighters isn't that they're boring; that's a matter of taste. The problem is that the one thing that they do, they're not actually all that good at compared to other classes.

Thane of Fife
2008-03-31, 07:53 PM
I personally agree with this, and I'd never play a pure fighter in any system. But there are a fair number of folks out there who do actually enjoy "I charge and hit it with my sword. Then I hit it with my sword a bunch more times".

I must say that I've not noticed this. Indeed, the fighter in the party I DM for routinely does far more interesting things than anyone else. Generally, if something stands out about a fight, it's either because he did something awesome, or someone else did something stupid.

("Do you remember when Thorin climbed up the back of that dragon with his katana clenched in his teeth while it was flying and trying to shake him off?"
"Do you remember when we were in that sewer and Thorin dove face-first through the liquid waste so he could get to the alligator?"
"Do you remember that time when our bard accidentally shot the wizard in the back with a lightning bolt?")

EDIT: Let's get rid of the edition mention in this post.

Chronos
2008-03-31, 08:00 PM
Let me amend that: Fighters can do some awesome things, but the awesome things that a fighter can do, anyone else can do, too. A non-fighter could also try to climb the neck of a dragon, or dive for gators in the sewers, but they can also do other cool things the fighter can't. Nor does this really depend on the system; I've a lot more experience with 2nd edition than with 3rd, and I thought fighters were boring then, too.