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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    Dragon #313 has a number of 'afflictions' dragons can have. A popular one is "Riddled" which grants +6 intelligence and changes charisma-based casting to intelligence-based casting for dragons.

    For a recurring dragon in a campaign I've been running, I'm considering 'Ravening' from the same magazine. The dragon in question is a Xorvintaal dragon (Draconomicon), and has the Maximize Breath and Clinging breath. From the Xorvintaal template he has gained 'deep breath', further enhancing his breath weapon.

    The characters and players have learned to fear the fiery death that spews from his sinister maw.

    The Ravening affliction/template further boosts a dragon's breath weapon. Among other things, it allows a dragon to use his breath for 3 consecutive rounds. Upon the third round, he must wait the usual 1d4 rounds before he can breathe again, at which point he may use it for another 3 rounds. (This comes with costs, of course.)

    I'm trying to figure out how this works with metabreath feats which add a number of rounds to the amount of time a dragon must wait to use his breath weapon again. Could he:

    A) Simply add the metabreath duration without the 1d4? That is, if he uses clinging breath (+2 rounds), can he use clinging breath every 2 rounds?

    B) Either not use metabreaths and benefit from the '3 consecutive rounds' ability or use metabreaths but incur the normal 1d4+X wait between breaths as once a delay is incurred the rounds are no longer 'consecutive'?

    C) Use unmodified breath for 2 rounds and then use metabreaths on the 3rd use?

    I'm leaning toward C), which is to say I don't think I'd have the dragon use metabreath at all while he's using consecutive breaths, which means breath attacks will usually go: normal, normal, metabreath, wait 1d4+X rounds.

    What do you think?

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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    Metabreath is the most unbalanced thing a dragon can pick up. It's that bad. No, really. With a couple metabreath and a fly speed, you can destroy entire countries with a single breath.

    If you are thinking of using it, do your players a favor.

    Don't.
    Last edited by PhoenixRivers; 2010-03-03 at 11:49 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    Well, it depends on your interpretation here.

    I've seen people interpret that a dragonfire adept that gets a recharging breath weapon from another source can apply his metabreath feats to his class feature breath (which does not recharge and is usable every turn). If you believe that's a legitimate interpretation, then he could apply metabreath to every breath weapon used.

    If you don't agree with that interpretation, I'd suggest the metabreath be usable only on breaths which incur the recharge time (hence, the last breath) or that you apply the metabreath penalty MULTIPLE TIMES to the tripel breath recharge (EG, Clinging breath on each breath attack = 1d4+2+2+2). To be fair, the second option is horrifically weak.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    I'm going with option C. That makes the most sense, since you shouldn't be able to use breath weapons on turns where you have no cool down, that seems silly honestly.

    All that I say applies only to myself. You author your own actions and choices. I cannot and will not be responsible for you, nor are you for me, regardless of situation or circumstance.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    Legal or not, C will lead to more interesting fights, since I presume the metabreath feat you want is Entangling Exhalation(ie, what everyone uses). Entangling them pre-recharge leads to challenge without instantly frying them all.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Legal or not, C will lead to more interesting fights, since I presume the metabreath feat you want is Entangling Exhalation(ie, what everyone uses). Entangling them pre-recharge leads to challenge without instantly frying them all.
    Considering he said it has Maximize and Clinging, not Entangling, I'd bet no.

    Also, Entangling Exhalation makes me sad inside. It's way too easy to scrub an entire party with that one feat.

    All that I say applies only to myself. You author your own actions and choices. I cannot and will not be responsible for you, nor are you for me, regardless of situation or circumstance.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    Quote Originally Posted by arguskos View Post
    Considering he said it has Maximize and Clinging, not Entangling, I'd bet no.

    Also, Entangling Exhalation makes me sad inside. It's way too easy to scrub an entire party with that one feat.
    Completely missed that. Still, using it at the end, then recharging will likely lead to a better challenge than spamming it repeatedly. That's....ugly.

    Yeah, entangling can be a nice challenge...but it needs to be used carefully. It can be an insane lockdown build, so use it very carefully, or make sure the players have a means of getting freedom of movement or something.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Completely missed that. Still, using it at the end, then recharging will likely lead to a better challenge than spamming it repeatedly. That's....ugly.

    Yeah, entangling can be a nice challenge...but it needs to be used carefully. It can be an insane lockdown build, so use it very carefully, or make sure the players have a means of getting freedom of movement or something.
    Entangling + Extend (cone) = Kill a country, entangle what survives.

    Extend (Cone) + Clinging = Kill everything not immune to your breath in an arbitrarily large area. As an added bonus, demolish structiures, and the like.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixRivers View Post
    Metabreath is the most unbalanced thing a dragon can pick up. It's that bad. No, really. With a couple metabreath and a fly speed, you can destroy entire countries with a single breath.

    If you are thinking of using it, do your players a favor.

    Don't.
    And paladin is the most broken class you can play. With a couple arcane chantings, you can become overdeity of the universe.

    If you are thinking about playing a paladin, do your group a favor.

    Don't.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    Quote Originally Posted by faceroll View Post
    And paladin is the most broken class you can play. With a couple arcane chantings, you can become overdeity of the universe.

    If you are thinking about playing a paladin, do your group a favor.

    Don't.
    The difference? All you need for metabreath to be broken is...
    Metabreath.

    Why? Because the broken ones stack with themselves indefinately. So yeah, dragon with 50 foot cone, can, with a 5 minute delay?


    1300 feet breath weapon. Aim it down, now you have a 1300 foot wide circle of death.

    6 minutes? That circle of death can last for 11 rounds.

    And all you need? Metabreath.

    This is why your argument shows precious little understanding what metabreath can really do.

    EDIT: And if you think it's only limited to those older dragons with a 50 foot cone? Double the delay, and you can do it with a 25 foot cone.

    Who cares if you can't breathe for 20 minutes if everything within a mile is burning?

    Giving up future ability for current soul-crushing power is not a tradeoff. It's killing something, and taking a nap.
    Last edited by PhoenixRivers; 2010-03-03 at 01:53 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixRivers View Post
    The difference? All you need for metabreath to be broken is...
    Metabreath.

    Why? Because the broken ones stack with themselves indefinately. So yeah, dragon with 50 foot cone, can, with a 5 minute delay?


    1300 feet breath weapon. Aim it down, now you have a 1300 foot wide circle of death.

    6 minutes? That circle of death can last for 11 rounds.

    And all you need? Metabreath.

    This is why your argument shows precious little understanding what metabreath can really do.
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    if it exists, you should exploit to the most extreme possible, that's how D&D should be played

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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    Quote Originally Posted by faceroll View Post
    sigh
    yeah, you're totally right
    if it exists, you should exploit to the most extreme possible, that's how D&D should be played
    No. I'm saying that if it's so poorly balanced that a simple reading of the ability itself allows for the destruction of countries? Then you should seriously consider before using it.

    DM's exist to balance the game. That's how D&D should be played. Part of that is removing that which is unbalanced.

    But to give a highly intelligent creature with a millennia long lifespan an ability that's essentially:

    Su: Blow up whatever you want

    and expect it not to USE that ability? Strains a bit of belief. It's like putting a suitcase full of money in front of a kleptomaniac and trusting him not to steal it.
    Last edited by PhoenixRivers; 2010-03-03 at 01:57 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    All you need to do to avoid this is to not stack extend.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixRivers View Post
    No. I'm saying that if it's so poorly balanced that a simple reading of the ability itself allows for the destruction of countries? Then you should seriously consider before using it.
    You should probably seriously consider before using it to destroy countries with it, I agree.

    DM's exist to balance the game. That's how D&D should be played. Part of that is removing that which is unbalanced.
    Or extend a breath weapon once or twice instead of the length of a continent. You can play powerful option moderately, contrary to popular opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    All you need to do to avoid this is to not stack extend.
    That's a pretty obvious solution.
    Last edited by faceroll; 2010-03-03 at 01:58 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    Quote Originally Posted by faceroll View Post
    You should probably seriously consider before using it to destroy countries with it, I agree.



    Or extend a breath weapon once or twice instead of the length of a continent. You can play powerful option moderately, contrary to popular opinion.
    Name me one supra intelligent creature, with a chaotic love for destruction, that has an option to indulge a superiority complex and greatness, and instead, uses its abilities in a moderate and reasonable fashion...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    All you need to do to avoid this is to not stack extend.
    In other words, you should use something other than the feats given, that allow it, or the intelligent creatures that make the best use of the options they have?

    Quote Originally Posted by faceroll View Post
    That's a pretty obvious solution.
    For those who enjoy watching the broken form of verisimilitude cry in a corner as it slowly dies? Maybe.
    Last edited by PhoenixRivers; 2010-03-03 at 02:02 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    Not everyone who wants to kill the players wants to destroy the entire world. No verisimulitude need be harmed.

    Have him extend it as necessary to do what he desires does...ie, hit the players.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    I'm considering running a Dragon-Only Campaign, where every PC is a Dragon of Age Category X and has class levels in class Y.

    How do i avoid PCs abusing Metabreath?

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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixRivers View Post
    Name me one supra intelligent creature, with a chaotic love for destruction, that has an option to indulge greatness, and instead, uses its abilities in a moderate and reasonable fashion...

    In other words, you should use something other than the feats given, that allow it, or the intelligent creatures that make the best use of the options they have?

    For those who enjoy watching the broken form of verisimilitude cry in a corner as it slowly dies? Maybe.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    The giant country-destroying problem doesn't even work by RAW anyway. The Extend metabreath feat does not stack with itself. Yes, I know the example given uses it. This is just yet one more in a long track record of blatantly wrong examples by WotC.

    The rules explicitly lay out that any metabreath feats that stack with themselves have a "Special" section stating that fact. Extend Breath does not have that section or any substitute for it and therefore does not stack with itself.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    Quote Originally Posted by faceroll View Post
    lol. adding that to my sig...
    Last edited by LichPrinceAlim; 2010-03-03 at 02:07 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    Quote Originally Posted by LichPrinceAlim View Post
    I'm considering running a Dragon-Only Campaign, where every PC is a Dragon of Age Category X and has class levels in class Y.

    How do i avoid PCs abusing Metabreath?
    Houserule that you cannot make the same metabreath stack with itself.

    Problem solved. It's still quite useful, but no longer world ending.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixRivers View Post
    In other words, you should use something other than the feats given, that allow it, or the intelligent creatures that make the best use of the options they have?
    Actually, all you have to do is make and enforce the reasonable conceit that metabreath feats do not stack with themselves. It's not a challenging one to make and in fact many players assume that is the case. It's only when you decide to take RAW at pure face value that such incredible exploits become possible.

    It's like monks not being proficient with unarmed attacks. Sometimes you just have to sit back and go "waaaait a second..."
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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    Quote Originally Posted by douglas View Post
    The giant country-destroying problem doesn't even work by RAW anyway. The Extend metabreath feat does not stack with itself. Yes, I know the example given uses it. This is just yet one more in a long track record of blatantly wrong examples by WotC.

    The rules explicitly lay out that any metabreath feats that stack with themselves have a "Special" section stating that fact. Extend Breath does not have that section or any substitute for it and therefore does not stack with itself.
    Actually, yeah, this confused the heck out of me when I read it. IIRC, you can still do sorta broken stuff with the stacking, but that bit just didn't make sense.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Not everyone who wants to kill the players wants to destroy the entire world. No verisimulitude need be harmed.

    Have him extend it as necessary to do what he desires does...ie, hit the players.
    Not everyone... Not all.

    You only need 1. So, to maintain verisimilitude, there must be not one chaotic intelligent creature with a love for destruction that doesn't like to maximize the potential for destruction.

    Not one.

    And who said destroy the world? I used a 1300 foot circle for my original example. Which is enough to destroy a small town, 1 pass, from outside the range of mundane weaponry. It could be doubled or tripled to a city, but there's no real cost, no real drawback, and no limit at all.

    That's the definition of broken.

    Planar Shepard? Incantatrix? At least they have limits on the ability. The game designers were blissfully unaware of what "unlimited X" means.


    As for making them non breakable by PC's? Houserule them. 1 per breath, recharge breath only, and no stacking. They're not horrible, provided you severely, severely restrict them. But as written? They should never, ever, see a campaign.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    There are some metabreath feats that explicitly stack with themselves. Extend Breath is not one of them, and the rules at the start of the section state that all metabreath feats with self-stacking mention it individually.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixRivers View Post
    And who said destroy the world? I used a 1300 foot circle for my original example. Which is enough to destroy a small town, 1 pass, from outside the range of mundane weaponry. It could be doubled or tripled to a city, but there's no real cost, no real drawback, and no limit at all.
    Yes, there is: the fact that it just doesn't work. You can only apply Extend Breath once.
    Last edited by Douglas; 2010-03-03 at 02:11 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    Quote Originally Posted by AtwasAwamps View Post
    Actually, all you have to do is make and enforce the reasonable conceit that metabreath feats do not stack with themselves. It's not a challenging one to make and in fact many players assume that is the case. It's only when you decide to take RAW at pure face value that such incredible exploits become possible.
    "It's only possible if you don't actively take steps to make it impossible" is not evidence that it's balanced. It's evidence that it's not. Metabreath, as printed, is disgusting.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    Quote Originally Posted by douglas View Post
    Yes, there is: the fact that it just doesn't work. You can only apply Extend Breath once.
    That depends on which portion you consider primary source.

    The rules do say "a Small dragon with a line-shaped breath weapon
    could use Enlarge Breath twice on the same breath." In the section that outlines metabreath stacking, which is primary source for...metabreath stacking.

    Primary source then contradicts itself a paragraph later. (but only when taken in conjunction with a later entry that is not primary source for metabreath stacking. The Enlarge Breath feat description)

    This is supposed to be evidence that they're not poorly written and designed... how?
    Last edited by PhoenixRivers; 2010-03-03 at 02:16 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    The part that says it works is an example. I never consider examples to be primary source. Examples can clarify ambiguities in the primary source, but they are not primary source themselves. In this case the example is outright contradicting other sources, so the example is incorrect.
    Last edited by Douglas; 2010-03-03 at 02:19 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    Quote Originally Posted by douglas View Post
    I never consider examples to be primary source.
    There's where you have an error. Personal opinion doesn't have bearing.

    My personal opinion on wizards could be that they can only fill spell slots above level 5 with metamagic enhanced spells. That doesn't make it true.

    Opinions are funny like that.

    Disregarding rules sections you don't agree with isn't looking at the ability. It's looking at the ability after you modify it to suit you.

    EDIT: I ask again, Douglas. Do you really think that numerous contradictions in the outlines and function of the abilities, along with unlimited self stacking, are traits indicative of a well-thought out, well-designed, and balanced ability?

    Does this help your argument in any way, to know that it's so poorly designed, worded, and implemented?
    Last edited by PhoenixRivers; 2010-03-03 at 02:23 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Ravening Dragons and Metabreath

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixRivers View Post
    "It's only possible if you don't actively take steps to make it impossible" is not evidence that it's balanced. It's evidence that it's not. Metabreath, as printed, is disgusting.
    No one's talking about balance. This isn't a monk thread. Thanks for pointing out the "if you actively use this feat to do horrible things, you can do horrible things!" He's the DM. He gets to be tautological like that. But it'd probably be more helpful to say "hey, I recommend not having the feat stack, if it does really stack with itself; the metabreath rules are a little whacky," as opposed to "banhammer banhammer banhammer!"

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixRivers View Post
    There's where you have an error. Personal opinion doesn't have bearing.

    My personal opinion on wizards could be that they can only fill spell slots above level 5 with metamagic enhanced spells. That doesn't make it true.

    Opinions are funny like that.

    Disregarding rules sections you don't agree with isn't looking at the ability. It's looking at the ability after you modify it to suit you.
    What about all the example prestige class builds that are in error?
    What's your opinion on those?
    Last edited by faceroll; 2010-03-03 at 02:23 PM.

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