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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Sacrificing power for flavor

    No really this thread is actually about sacrificing power for flavor, or just sacrificing power. What builds or class combinations have you heard of or witnessed that seemed to make no sense whatsoever?
    I'll get the ball rolling with the Duskblade/Eldrich night. Why? because this combination is the definition of pointless you get absolutely no benefit from the eldrich knight prc as a duskblade.


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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    well, my bard/pally i am currently playing in a 3.5 steampunk game isnt exactly a powerhouse, but hes a lot of fun to play, and sure, i could do what he does better w/ other classes, but its always fun to say that singing dancing fool over there is our paladin :P
    If there is no such thing as trolls, how can you explain all the dead unicorns?

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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    Lack of power=/=flavor or vice versa
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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    Everything that isn't Pun-Pun sacrifices power. Its not some absolute with a sliding scale. In general though, you sacrifice power for balance and the ability to be challenged in encounters, rather than simply pressing the "I WIN" button over and over and over.

    That said, there is no reason to make some choices. Just because your character is an accomplished blacksmith doesn't mean you have to take Skill Focus: Blacksmithing when he could be taking Power Attack instead. PCs are first and foremost adventurers, afterall, and adventuring is DANGEROUS. Your example is similar. Do you gain any new RP prespectives from being an EK over a straight Duskblade? None that I can think of, simply because EK is a relatively bland PrC without any RP attached to it. Now, if you left Duskblade to do...Abjurant Champion, a PrC with a lot more abilities to it, that would be believable, or for something like Sacred Exorcist or other PrC that makes more sense.

    So, personally speaking, I wouldn't sacrifice anything for "flavor" or whatever. I would sacrifice things for balance though. I'd never take Shocktrooper, for example, because I think its a bit too strong for my tastes. Its not because I don't like the idea of a heedless charger, its purely a mechanical preference.
    Last edited by Keld Denar; 2010-10-31 at 10:18 PM.
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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    Quote Originally Posted by blackjack217 View Post
    you get absolutely no benefit from the eldrich knight prc as a duskblade.
    Not even the benefit of flavor!

    So...

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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    Quote Originally Posted by Squally! View Post
    well, my bard/pally i am currently playing in a 3.5 steampunk game isnt exactly a powerhouse, but hes a lot of fun to play, and sure, i could do what he does better w/ other classes, but its always fun to say that singing dancing fool over there is our paladin :P
    pally x / dashing swordsmen 3 you get cha to hit and damage and you make puns constantly. The only good character more likely to get murdered by his own party members than the paladin.
    link: http://oots.wikia.com/wiki/Dashing_Swordsman


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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    A recent half-troll of mine loves to eat and used to make his living as a fisherman. He gave up his scent racial ability to carry around a pack of smelly dried fish (by RAW strong smells negate scent). Livestock is under constant attack and thus is rare in this campaign, except for fish. At one point this dialog arose:

    Commander: Why did you join the military
    Me: To protect the livestock
    Other PC: To protect the innocent
    Me: Ooh, that's a good answer too.
    Other PC: Wait, you joined the military to protect livestock?
    Me: Yes, it gives us food to eat. But protecting the innocent is good too.
    Other PC: Seriously, livestock?!
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2010-10-31 at 10:38 PM.
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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    Quote Originally Posted by blackjack217 View Post
    pally x / dashing swordsmen 3 you get cha to hit and damage and you make puns constantly. The only good character more likely to get murdered by his own party members than the paladin.
    link: http://oots.wikia.com/wiki/Dashing_Swordsman
    oh, i make enough in and out of char puns at the table as it is!

    and yeah, adding cha to my damage would be great, but theres no need for it, he sings and dances and buffs the party, he already does enough damage on his own w/ TWF, power attack, snowflake wardance and crystalsong blades. almost too much for what i want him to do really :P
    If there is no such thing as trolls, how can you explain all the dead unicorns?

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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    Anytime anyone "roleplays to their disadvantage", I am happy. That goes for character design, too, although as I've said elsewhere that I prefer my players aim around tier 3 - but I'll take steps to even them out if they don't manage it.

    I have a low-Int TWF half-orc Rogue/Catlord. I'm working on making her better, but even as good as I can get her she'll still be sub-par power-wise. Flavour-wise, I wuvs her :3

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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    Quote Originally Posted by Godless_Paladin View Post
    Not even the benefit of flavor!

    So...
    Pretty much. An EK mixes martial abilities and magic, but so does a duskblade. It would be like someone dual business and psycology to drop some business courses to do some more psycology courses which they had already done.
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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    Quote Originally Posted by Boci View Post
    Pretty much. An EK mixes martial abilities and magic, but so does a duskblade. It would be like someone dual business and psycology to drop some business courses to do some more psycology courses which they had already done.
    Did I ever say the build makes any mechanical sense? That's the point


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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    He was agreeing with you

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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    How many times have you said you want to play something fairly wild to a DM and he says "Give a good RP reason". you can attach flavor to almost anything with the right way of thinking. Personally, I like to make an even balance of things - Can I justify that my Half-Ogre character took power attack? Yes, he is a warrior, and sometimes power is better than precision. Can I justify him not taking ranks in craft (Weaponsmithing)? No, he needs to maintain his weapon, I think. Can I justify him taking Mage Slayer? probably not, since he doesn't deal with magic all that much, and what he does deal with is his friends...

    and so on. Really, think about why your character would take training in something and how they think, and answers should be self-explanatory.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    This whole thread: 'Tell us about builds that sacrifice power for flavor. Here is my example: a really terrible build with as much flavor as a saltine cracker.'

    The assumption you seem to be making is that any sacrifice in power automagically makes your character correspondingly more flavorful, which is completely laughable.

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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    Quote Originally Posted by blackjack217 View Post
    Did I ever say the build makes any mechanical sense? That's the point
    Yes but what flavour did you get out of that decision? Was your character feeling guilty that they were too powerful? Did he have a really limited grasp of how effective certain fighting techniques would be for him?
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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    I had a dread necro who I gave 8 con because his background justification for necromancy was that he was always sickly and eventually learned that his soul belonged to a Devil as a result of a contract his father made. This Devil would come claim him at any time (and had in fact attempted it once (with the obvious illness), narrowly staved-off by the Mysterious Old Crone™), so Isra had decided to do whatever was necessary to put his soul out of reach.

    I have a character who is Fighter 10/Devoted Defender 5 He always wields his plot-centric sword that only deals nonlethal, even when we're fighting undead and constructs (he has another sword; it's like +2 ghost touch shocking burst or something...). He also wears a breastplate and a heavy steel shield, despite ostensibly being the "tank." Again, this is because those are his special items (that's more the DM's fault for being dumb and making my unique items really sub-par though).

    I also have a halfling Chaos Mage (really cool concept with really poor execution from Mongoose) who, as soon as he stepped onto the Path of Bloody Rage, began multiclassing into Barbarian.
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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    Quote Originally Posted by Toptomcat View Post
    The assumption you seem to be making is that any sacrifice in power automagically makes your character correspondingly more flavorful, which is completely laughable.
    With the apparent added bonus of "and this is a terrible thing", although that could be a wording issue.

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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    Quote Originally Posted by Harnel View Post
    Can I justify him not taking ranks in craft (Weaponsmithing)?
    He buys weapons since he never had the patience to make his own.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harnel View Post
    No, he needs to maintain his weapon, I think. Can I justify him taking Mage Slayer?
    A mage burnt his face with scorching ray so he tried to find a way to prevent that from happening again.
    "It doesn't matter how much you struggle or strive,
    You'll never get out of life alive,
    So please kill yourself and save this land,
    And your last mission is to spread my command,"

    Slightly adapted quote from X-Fusion, Please Kill Yourself

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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    Quote Originally Posted by Boci View Post
    He buys weapons since he never had the patience to make his own.



    A mage burnt his face with scorching ray so he tried to find a way to prevent that from happening again.
    This is exactly what I mean. anything you do, from killing a king to poisoning a well, to rescuing a child can have enormous differences based on your intentions.

    Example 1) the king is a despot. kill him for the good of the kingdom. OR The king is benevolent and fair, and you've been hired by an evil baron to make sure the next king, who isn't so kind and fair, gets his succession a few years quicker OR He attacked you and, despite not wanting to fight him, the king has ordered your exocution and you need to get out.

    Example 2) You wish to harness the liquid pain from the dying villagers to power your spells, regardless of who you kill OR the town is occupied by an invading army. poisoning the well may kill a few villagers, but a warning to them and their oppressors will soon be no more

    Example 3) the child is destined to destroy the world, but only if saved from paladins now OR the orphanage is burning and you won't leave a life behind.

    Everything has alternate interpretations, especially if you take it out of context. That's what I love about RP
    Last edited by Halae; 2010-10-31 at 10:41 PM.

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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    Not a D&D thing, but may favorite character ever is a Obsidiman Weaponsmith with low Dexterity in a long-running Earthdawn game. He's not really great at combat, but is excellent at forging weapons...

    Unfortunately for my party, he is has forged more weapons for NPCs than for PCs. He is somewhat interested in magic, and has designed a cool elemental warship and has discovered a way to create elemental firebombs of perilous power. He is trying to establish trade routes between peaceful nations before a war breaks out, and is using his warship design to unite scholars across national borders.

    He is also a questor of Lochost (read: priest of the god of freedom), and has infiltrated the largest den of slavery in his country to end a plot to magically enforce slavery at the behest of his deity.

    So he's only a moderate help to his party, but his legend (a big part of earthdawn) includes him forging weapons for several heroes, working to establish peace to a war-torn land, creating a demon-slaying sword, working to end slavery, converting a group of slavers to a band of wandering heroes, inventing the magical equivalent of nukes, and going on personal god quests -- all in addition to the regular demon slaying that my party does.

    essentially, he is a character MADE of flavor.

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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    Because no one has done it yet:

    The Lightning Warrior sacrifices power for flavor. It doesn't even have a familiar!

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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    Quote Originally Posted by Gralamin View Post
    Because no one has done it yet:

    The Lightning Warrior sacrifices power for flavor. It doesn't even have a familiar!
    Darn, you beat me to it.
    I had a Dervish in my game that started taking levels of Knight of the Inner Circle for story reasons... does it count?

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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    Quote Originally Posted by Boci View Post
    A mage burnt his face with scorching ray so he tried to find a way to prevent that from happening again.
    I don't see why you need a reason to take Mage Slayer other than "mages are hax and everyone knows it".

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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    One-weapon fighting rogue (pictured in avatar). Didn't want another TWF character, since I played a TWF ranger in another game. Eventually had her PrC into (PF) Duelist. She was fun!

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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    Quote Originally Posted by Rixx View Post
    One-weapon fighting rogue (pictured in avatar). Didn't want another TWF character, since I played a TWF ranger in another game. Eventually had her PrC into (PF) Duelist. She was fun!
    As the stories of her on TV Tropes prove.

    One idea I've been toying with (and I don't know if this would be sub-optimal or not) is a silver half-dragon swashbuckler who only wielded a rapier. Wouldn't even use his claws for a follow-up after the rapier and would only use his breath weapon for more creative uses - like knocking over water barrels and then using his cold breath weapon once the bad guys are all standing in the spilt water. It'd only be a thin layer of ice, but it is rather annoying to keep making balance checks, isn't it?

    EDIT: Well bugger; seems the Crowning Moment of Awesome page for DnD's been nuked.
    Last edited by ShadowFighter15; 2010-11-01 at 04:52 AM.
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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    I once made a charismatic warrior. The charisma did in no way help in combat, but I chose it because he was supposed to be a popular ladiesman. Which he totally was. It became a little ridiculous when another PC fell in love with him.
    Good times.
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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    Quote Originally Posted by blackjack217 View Post
    What builds or class combinations have you heard of or witnessed that seemed to make no sense whatsoever?
    Well... not many, because there's normally a concept behind them. I guess the goblin frenzied berserker with a flail in one of our games seems to make no sense mechanically until you realise the flail is a huge ball and chain and she's a GW-style night goblin fanatic.

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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    Usually I find it more rewarding to find a solid way to make a concept happen, than play a bad class combination for a concept. I'm of the school that believes there's always a way to make whatever you want work within the system.
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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    I try to build characters from concept up. Start with "What kind of character (as opposed to build) do I want to play?" Then build the character with the mechanics. Pretty well all my characters have some weakness. However, working within that, the weakness is often psychological more than physical/mechanical.

    That said, there's nothing wrong with playing against racial type, either. Yes, I want to play a well-spoken, intelligent half-orc wizard. I realize I will take penalties to intelligence (mechanical weakness) and charisma (non-mechanical weakness - you can play well-spoken without high charisma), and have a bonus to strength (mostly useless bonus for class type). I don't think there's anything wrong with that. When creating a character, there are two criteria I expect to meet, in regard to power:
    1. Be effective in your chosen role such that you are a benefit to your party. You need not be optimized, however you can't be a hindrance to the party.
    2. Don't overshadow other party members. With certain classes, it's easy to do this, but it's important to make sure everyone has a role to fill, and everyone has fun.
    Essentially, you want to be on par with the other party members. You want the Goldilocks treatment: not too strong, not too weak, but juuuuuust right.

    This sort of plays into my philosophy on "power" in games in general. The DM is your power ceiling. If your party is too weak, the DM will lower CR and make challenges slightly easier. If your party is too strong, the DM will increase CR to balance. If you build a character that can "do everything," the DM will throw something at you that you can't do. If you have +50 to attacks and do ten thousand damage a hit, the DM will give you a creature with DR 9990/-. That's his job.

    And sometimes I just want to play a monk.
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    Default Re: Sacrificing power for flavor

    Yeah, I can't say I've ever really worked the "let me take a powerful build and gimp it to make it more 'colorful'" angle. I generally work in reverse, creating a character with a particular focus and personality, and then finding a workable race/class/feat/skill combination that makes the concept work.

    This doesn't always (or even often) wind up as being an "optimal" build, so in that respect, I've sacrificed power for flavor, but I'm not doing it int he way it's presented. I'm building a character the best way that makes sense for that character.


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