A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    AssassinGuy

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    Default A Few Anti-PC Feats (experimental concept)

    Ugh… this is probably going to be a rather unpopular idea but I might as well explain what I’m trying to do here. Up on these boards, it is generally assumed that Tier 3 is the sweet spot of D&D. Lots of Tier 3 material is produced and there are numerous efforts to increase lower tier classes up to Tier 3.

    The problem with this, however, is that most of all published material can’t really complete against an even moderately optimized Tier 3 party. With a good DM and lots of planning, this may not make a difference. There may be enough intrigue, ambushes, and carefully calibrated encounters to make players feel as though they are being properly challenged.

    When a group of friends gets together for a one-shot or a game starts up spontaneously, however, there may be a bit of a problem if the expected norm for strength and versatility is still Tier 3. We here on these boards have pretty much built up something of an arms race between the various classes but almost nobody has created new material for monsters, making new material to keep them relevant and dangerous.

    What I’m doing here is creating a few feats that help to prevent anticlimactic turn-1 wins against monsters using the more common of tier-3 tactics. I am well aware that this may be a virtual minefield that I’m entering, seeing as players are commonly quick to cry foul against perceived nerfs unless they are introduced at the start of play. That said, let me make one point perfectly clear: I am not trying to make anyone’s build suddenly stop working or become terrible. The purpose of these feats is to help prevent 1-turn kills and first-turn locks but no strategies are totally negated by these feats (in fact, many of them remain relatively strong). Though most of these feats do act to reduce the impact of a specific build or trick, these tricks are never rendered useless and I have worked to ensure that the feats themselves make a certain amount of sense.

    Without further to do, the feats.

    Surge of Adrenaline
    You can press yourself beyond normal limits when you need to.
    Benefits: Once per week, you may spend a swift action to gain an extra move action or standard action that round.
    Special: This feat may be taken multiple times, its effects stack.

    As most battles likely won’t last too long anyways, here is a feat that helps a creature get the most out of their short time in the spot light.

    Delayed Response
    Through sheer force of will, you can ignore some attacks for a time.
    Prerequisites: Any two base saves +5
    Benefits: Once per day, When you fail a saving throw, you may ignore any effects of the failed save other than damage for 1d4+1 rounds. At the end of this time, you suffer the full penalty of the effect for its normal duration.

    With this feat in hand, a single casting of flesh to stone or finger of death won’t end the entire encounter. This puts the enemies on a clock, which might be okay (if the players choose to wait it out or retreat) or less okay (if the monster teleports away to somewhere that the hold monster spell won’t kill it). Either way, it still allows casters to end combat while making said combats a wee bit longer.

    Incredibly Sturdy
    You are practically immovable when you want to be.
    Prerequisites: Quadruped or more legs, Str 15
    Benefit: Once per day, you may add your Strength bonus or Base Attack Bonus (whichever is higher) to an opposed ability check made to resist all bull rush, overrun, and trip attacks. You similarly add this bonus to all ability check or saving throw made to avoid being moved in other ways, though this bonus doesn’t extend to saving throws against teleportation effects. The benefit of this feat lasts for 1 round.
    Special: You may select this feat up to three times, gaining an additional use each time.

    Mostly made to give a bit of a foil for trippers. It only functions a certain number of times per day, however, so a dedicated tripper will eventually succeed and establish their lock as normal.

    Reactive Resistance
    Though some mages increase their power to bypass your resistance, you have managed to adapt.
    Prerequisites: Racial Spell Resistance
    Benefits: Whenever a spell penetration check is made against you, you gain a bonus to your Spell Resistance equal to half the sum of all magical or supernatural bonuses added to that roll for 1 round. This bonus stacks with itself.

    With this feat, assay spell resistance and true casting can still help a caster but these spells no longer turn an impossible roll into a 50% chance and a 50% chance into a sure-fire thing.

    Utilize Vulnerabilities
    You are good at using the weaknesses in the techniques of your enemy.
    Prerequisites: BAB +6
    Benefits: Any nonmagical penalty to attack rolls that an opponent possesses is doubled when attacking you and any such penalty to AC that they possess is doubled when you attack them. Once per day, you may make an attack of opportunity against a charging foe.

    Another feat to slow down uberchargers a bit. If using shock trooper (and who doesn’t), the AC penalty and attack of opportunity allows the opponent to likely do “something” to the attacker, even if it’s only a single attack. If not using shock trooper, the enhanced penalty to attack rolls may allow the opponent to dodge the attack.

    Withstand Assault
    Killing you with a single blow is more easily said than done.
    Prerequisites: BAB +6, Con 15
    Benefits: While you are at above half of your total hit points, if you would be knocked to 0 or fewer health by a single physical attack, you may make a Fortitude Save (DC 10 + attacker’s Base Attack Bonus). If successful, your current hit points are halved and any further attacks by the same attacker that would reduce you to 0 or fewer hp made within 1 round instead halve your current hit points again. After using this ability, you are fatigued until the end of the encounter.

    With this feat, uberchargers/hulking hurlers can no longer destroy any creature of their choice in the space of a single action. They can still hurt such creatures intensely (reducing a creature to 1/8 of its hit points could be child’s play) and thus contribute in a big way but the odds of a creature surviving to see at least one more round are greatly increased.

    Important note: For the love that all that is decent in the D&D multiverse, DO NOT ALLOW YOUR PLAYERS TO TAKE THESE FEATS. These feats were intended for use against them and may end up causing great trouble if put in their hands.
    Last edited by Realms of Chaos; 2011-03-30 at 09:44 PM.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
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    Veyr's Avatar

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    Default Re: A Few Anti-PC Feats (experimental concept)

    Action Surge is the name of a feat in the Eberron Campaign Setting.

    Neither tripping nor ubercharging is a Tier-3 tactic; the hallmark of Tier-3 characters is competence in a relatively wide array of tactics, while trippers and uberchargers usually have only the one. That's punishing already-one-dimensional characters. Though I do like that it's not completely ignoring their features; that's actually probably more important with Tier-4 than Tier-3.

    Otherwise, I'm not sure I agree with your premise but I like these feats.
    Last edited by Veyr; 2011-03-30 at 02:29 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
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    Lateral's Avatar

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    Default Re: A Few Anti-PC Feats (experimental concept)

    Well, ubercharging, yes. Lots of melee tier 3s trip as a primary tactic, though, since it really takes a minimal feat investment to be effective. Tier 3s can still handle themselves when tripping isn't viable, however, unlike dedicated 4s.

    By individual feats:

    Action Surge is good, but possibly too good in the hands of certain monsters. A hydra that wins initiative and has this feat could probably kill or disable a good chunk of the party with this feat. As long as it's used responsibly, it'd be fine, but I'd just worry about it in the hands of a bad DM.

    I like Delayed Response, but I'd be worried that it might just end up meaning that the beguiler, dread necromancer, or whatever runs out of spells faster. I'd actually suggest allowing monsters to take it multiple times, 'cause that way a caster has to be economical with the rest of spells if he sees one be delayed.

    Incredibly Sturdy, on higher-level monsters, would completely negate a tripper's ability to trip. Tier 3s should be able to handle it, but a 4 wouldn't.

    Reactive Resistance is good, but kind of situational. In tier 3, things like Assay Spell Resistance aren't on most spell lists, and in tiers 1-2 they'll just kill the monster with an SR: No spell.

    Utilize Vulnerabilities is good. I like that 1/day AoO; very powerful, since a lot of battles start with the melee charging even if they're not uberchargers.

    Withstand Assault is nice, except that as worded, a spell like Finger of Death (which, as a death effect, is considered to lower you to -10) could be considered to be affected by this, as would most damage spells. I doubt that you intended the first interpretation. The second one, I'm not sure if you meant for that or not.

    All in all? These are very powerful anti-PC feats. They'd be good in a tier 3-and-up game, and would have applications in a tier 4-and-up game if you make sure not to use them too effectively, but any below that and they're too powerful. Also, one last point:

    As written, these could be taken by PCs.
    FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, MAKE IT SO THAT THE FEATS THEMSELVES SPECIFY THAT PLAYER CHARACTERS CAN'T TAKE THEM. I'd suggest making it so anything with class levels can't take these feats, since that would prevent most problem scenarios.

  4. - Top - End - #4
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    Morph Bark's Avatar

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    Default Re: A Few Anti-PC Feats (experimental concept)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateral View Post
    As written, these could be taken by PCs.
    FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, MAKE IT SO THAT THE FEATS THEMSELVES SPECIFY THAT PLAYER CHARACTERS CAN'T TAKE THEM. I'd suggest making it so anything with class levels can't take these feats, since that would prevent most problem scenarios.
    A Commoner with these feats? CHALLENGER APPROACHING.
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    Default Re: A Few Anti-PC Feats (experimental concept)

    Actually, I recommended that because, in addition to avoiding PCs taking them, I don't think that, say, a mob of Human Warrior 1s with Action Surge and Withstand Assault is a good idea for balance, much less an Illithid Wizard 10 with Action Surge, Delayed Response and Withstand Assault.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: A Few Anti-PC Feats (experimental concept)

    I think I like these, I wouldn't be able to tell without seeing them in play but as long as they aren't used on rocket tag monsters they'd probably be a fairly good way of preventing 1-hit encounters and insta-gibs.

  7. - Top - End - #7
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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: A Few Anti-PC Feats (experimental concept)

    Hmm... I put up a note warning DMs not to allow these for players, altered Incredibly Sturdy so it could be used for at most 3 rounds per day (I believe that dedicated tier 4s can probably survive for 3 rounds against most foes without their lock, though I can't be sure ), and withstand assault now specifically applies against physical attacks.

    I'm not quite sure that I understand the rationale behind having increased uses of Delayed Response. Would you mind explaining it, Lateral?
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  8. - Top - End - #8
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    Lateral's Avatar

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    Default Re: A Few Anti-PC Feats (experimental concept)

    Sure. With only one possible use of Delayed Response, a caster knows he has two choices after seeing one of his spells delayed:

    1. Cast another powerful, fight-ending spell, thereby burning another spell slot and having wasted the first.
    2. Wait out the 1d4+1 rounds for it to die, by which time it's possible that your teammates can take it out themselves.

    The second option's boring, and the first option's wasteful and boring. If you allow the feat to be taken multiple times, when the caster sees a delayed spell, he'll have to try another method or risk delaying yet another spell unnecessarily. That way, he contributes in a meaningful way and multiple casting has an element of risk.

    Basically, it's a mind game.

  9. - Top - End - #9
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    Dvandemon's Avatar

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    Default Re: A Few Anti-PC Feats (experimental concept)

    Could giving these feats to certain monsters, like Action Surge mentioned by Lateral, be used to increase a monster's CR?

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: A Few Anti-PC Feats (experimental concept)

    Another interesting idea for Delayed:
    What would happen if you had a spellcraft check to see if the caster can tell if it's still standing because it somehow putting off the effect or because it resisted.

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