A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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    Default Greater Ability Focus (3.5 Feat, PEACH)

    Greater Ability Focus
    Prerequisites: Any special attack that allows a saving throw, Ability Focus, HD or Character level 6
    Benefit: The special attack you enhanced with your Ability Focus feat receives an additional +2 bonus to its save DC. This stacks with Ability Focus, for a total of +4.
    Last edited by NeoSeraphi; 2011-11-29 at 05:40 PM.

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    Default Re: Greater Ability Focus (3.5 Feat, PEACH)

    This is the most overpowered thing I've seen in D&D since the Candle of Invocation!
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    Default Re: Greater Ability Focus (3.5 Feat, PEACH)

    Needs a hit die or ability minimum.
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    Default Re: Greater Ability Focus (3.5 Feat, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by jiriku View Post
    Needs a hit die or ability minimum.
    Added minimum HD/CL of 6

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    Default Re: Greater Ability Focus (3.5 Feat, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Bookworm View Post
    This is the most overpowered thing I've seen in D&D since the Candle of Invocation!
    What's a Candle of Invocation?
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    Default Re: Greater Ability Focus (3.5 Feat, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Pyromancer999 View Post
    What's a Candle of Invocation?
    A candle of invocation is a wondrous item that costs 8,400 gp. It allows the wielder to burn it completely in order to cast a gate spell. It is pivotal to Pun-Pun ascending before level 5.

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    Default Re: Greater Ability Focus (3.5 Feat, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    A candle of invocation is a wondrous item that costs 8,400 gp. It allows the wielder to burn it completely in order to cast a gate spell. It is pivotal to Pun-Pun ascending before level 5.
    Although I'm a bit surprised that Mr. Bookworm hasn't seen anything more overpowered since it; after all, it's core (and therefore would presumably be encountered early), while many of the features pivotal to Pun-Pun ascending at all aren't.

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    Default Re: Greater Ability Focus (3.5 Feat, PEACH)

    I could see some Controllery Warlocks picking this up for Eldritch Blast, or a Dragonfire Adept for the breath weapon. And at the worst its a good monster!spam type feat.

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    Default Re: Greater Ability Focus (3.5 Feat, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Yitzi View Post
    Although I'm a bit surprised that Mr. Bookworm hasn't seen anything more overpowered since it; after all, it's core (and therefore would presumably be encountered early), while many of the features pivotal to Pun-Pun ascending at all aren't.
    I think that he was kidding.

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    Default Re: Greater Ability Focus (3.5 Feat, PEACH)

    Not broken. Not really, anyways.

    Can someone use it to break the game? sure, but you can say the same of anything.

    The fact is that the RaW from this feat can apply to a few characters, while it pretty much can apply to almost every single monster encountered. That's balanced, at some level.

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    Default Re: Greater Ability Focus (3.5 Feat, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by motionmatrix View Post
    Not broken. Not really, anyways.

    Can someone use it to break the game? sure, but you can say the same of anything.

    The fact is that the RaW from this feat can apply to a few characters, while it pretty much can apply to almost every single monster encountered. That's balanced, at some level.
    Warlocks, Dragonfire Adepts, Hexblades, Monks (Stunning Fist), Bards, Assassins, Dragon Shamans, Knights, and a lot of prestige classes with supernatural attacks can all benefit, but yes, indeed, there are monsters who get it as well.

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    Default Re: Greater Ability Focus (3.5 Feat, PEACH)

    Myself, I would place it at HD or character level 12th, but perhaps I'm just overly concerned because of the rabid optimizers in my group. It seems reasonable. The only concern is simply, how much stacking can your game balance support?
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    Default Re: Greater Ability Focus (3.5 Feat, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by jiriku View Post
    Myself, I would place it at HD or character level 12th, but perhaps I'm just overly concerned because of the rabid optimizers in my group. It seems reasonable. The only concern is simply, how much stacking can your game balance support?
    Well, making it HD or Character level 12th limits its appearance in a game, as monsters generally don't get HD 12 til around CR 10 or so. It's equally for DMs and players, so the access should be open, I think.

    The thing about giving it to players is that if it's really that big of a deal, the DM can just start optimizing saving throws against the ability the player is trying to optimize.

    I know that saying "It's not broke because the DM can fix it" isn't really an answer, but in my opinion, since the DM picks monsters for the players to fight, there's no reason that picking monsters who will challenge the players more is a Rule 0.

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    Default Re: Greater Ability Focus (3.5 Feat, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by jiriku View Post
    Myself, I would place it at HD or character level 12th, but perhaps I'm just overly concerned because of the rabid optimizers in my group. It seems reasonable. The only concern is simply, how much stacking can your game balance support?
    If your rabid optimizers think +2 to save DCs is gamebreaking then they need better rabies.

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    Default Re: Greater Ability Focus (3.5 Feat, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    I know that saying "It's not broke because the DM can fix it" isn't really an answer, but in my opinion, since the DM picks monsters for the players to fight, there's no reason that picking monsters who will challenge the players more is a Rule 0.
    It does hurt the roleplay some by breaking suspension of disbelief (although if it's really needed the roleplay is probably dead anyway; while of course you can have both roleplay and rollplay, the sort of optimizer that leads to DM counters being needed will usually use things like metagaming which are not compatible with roleplay), unless of course you find an in-game way to justify it (e.g. an enemy has done research on the PCs and set up this encounter because he knows it'll cause trouble for the PCs.)

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    Default Re: Greater Ability Focus (3.5 Feat, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    The thing about giving it to players is that if it's really that big of a deal, the DM can just start optimizing saving throws against the ability the player is trying to optimize.

    I know that saying "It's not broke because the DM can fix it" isn't really an answer, but in my opinion, since the DM picks monsters for the players to fight, there's no reason that picking monsters who will challenge the players more is a Rule 0.
    I see where you're coming from, and in fact, I do this myself. An issue arises IFF player A pulls a DC of 26 and player B pulls a DC of 18ish. At that point, party balance is stretched to the breaking point and the DM will struggle to mend that using only monster saving throw modifiers. The solution I've generally been tending towards is to assign common descriptors on my new "gain more power" options, so that while there are more WAYS to get to powerful, the attainable peak of powerfulness is unchanged. However, I'll freely admit that that solution isn't applicable in every situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by DeAnno View Post
    If your rabid optimizers think +2 to save DCs is gamebreaking then they need better rabies.
    No, my rabid optimizers would stack an 18 stat, a +6 enhancement item, some weird low-LA race with a +4 stat bonus, Ability focus for +2, GAF for +2 more, and some SLA that counts as a 3rd-level spell, producing a DC of 26 or more around ECL 6-8. GAF would merely be the proverbial straw.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2011-12-01 at 11:51 PM.
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    Default Re: Greater Ability Focus (3.5 Feat, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by jiriku View Post
    No, my rabid optimizers would stack an 18 stat, a +6 enhancement item, some weird low-LA race with a +4 stat bonus, Ability focus for +2, GAF for +2 more, and some SLA that counts as a 3rd-level spell, producing a DC of 26 or more around ECL 6-8. GAF would merely be the proverbial straw.
    A) That's, uh, not optimizing to pretty much any extent. Sacrificing character levels for LA is pretty much anti-optimizing.

    B) If you are putting that many resources into a single ability, including two out of seven feats, you deserve to have a higher-than-normal DC. I mean, at the ECL 8 you mention, you can't actually afford that +6 item, and the +4 item will eat up over half your WBL. Taking Ability Focus + GAF eats up two of your three feats. And so on.

    So no, this is not broken in the slightest, and doesn't need an ECL requirement. I wouldn't actually even consider it worth a feat slot, honestly. I'd probably bump up the bonus to +4, stacking. Or you might also consider allowing it to grant another use of the ability it enhances, so a 1/day ability could become a 2/day ability with this.
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    Default Re: Greater Ability Focus (3.5 Feat, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by jiriku View Post
    I see where you're coming from, and in fact, I do this myself. An issue arises IFF player A pulls a DC of 26 and player B pulls a DC of 18ish. At that point, party balance is stretched to the breaking point and the DM will struggle to mend that using only monster saving throw modifiers.
    The possible answers then are:
    1. Help player B optimize to match player A (this only works if both have access to the same resources, and that level of optimization is not extreme enough to interfere with the roleplay and style that player B wants).
    2. Throw monsters that are strong against what player A uses and weak against what player B uses. This is of course easiest if it's different saves, but can also involve immunities granted either by racial features or spells. (Spells is probably better, so long as it can be done and player A can dispel but not easily.)



    No, my rabid optimizers would stack an 18 stat, a +6 enhancement item, some weird low-LA race with a +4 stat bonus, Ability focus for +2, GAF for +2 more, and some SLA that counts as a 3rd-level spell, producing a DC of 26 or more around ECL 6-8. GAF would merely be the proverbial straw.[/QUOTE]

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    Default Re: Greater Ability Focus (3.5 Feat, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Bookworm View Post
    A) That's, uh, not optimizing to pretty much any extent. Sacrificing character levels for LA is pretty much anti-optimizing.
    You assume that we are using WoTC default (unfair) level adjustments. We have in fact recalibrated the level adjustments so that most races are worth their LA. And truly, anyone who stacks four or more DC enhancers on top of an 18 stat in order to create a high save DC is by definition optimizing their save DC. The fact that it is not the maximum possible level of theoretical optimization does not change the reality that it is, in fact, optimization.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Bookworm View Post
    B) If you are putting that many resources into a single ability, including two out of seven feats, you deserve to have a higher-than-normal DC. I mean, at the ECL 8 you mention, you can't actually afford that +6 item, and the +4 item will eat up over half your WBL. Taking Ability Focus + GAF eats up two of your three feats. And so on.
    I can agree with that in many situations. Heck, I've argued that line myself in many other threads on this forum. However, just because it's valid in many or most situations doesn't mean it's valid for all situations. Take AC as an example. If a player posts an AC 4-8 points higher than his compatriots, all is well. But if a player posts an AC 20-30 points higher, a problem exists. And yes, I have actually had someone bring to the table a legally-constructed character whose AC was, depending on power usage, 20- 34 points higher than the rest of the party. And his character was extremely effective on all other fronts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yitzi View Post
    The possible answers then are:
    1. Help player B optimize to match player A (this only works if both have access to the same resources, and that level of optimization is not extreme enough to interfere with the roleplay and style that player B wants).
    2. Throw monsters that are strong against what player A uses and weak against what player B uses. This is of course easiest if it's different saves, but can also involve immunities granted either by racial features or spells. (Spells is probably better, so long as it can be done and player A can dispel but not easily.)
    I suppose the questions to ask yourself are a) do the solutions available to me solve all possible problems, b) do the solutions work without being cumbersome and a pain in the butt, and c) does this problem exist solely because I homebrewed myself into a difficult spot?

    If the answers to these questions expose an issue, sometimes it's necessary to reconsider the homebrew. I'm not suggesting Seraphi's homebrew is bad or should be scrapped. Actually, my thought is rather along the line of Bookworm's, that more or different uses of an ability would be a more valuable than a higher DC. However, that's really beyond the scope of the feat's style and intent, and thus I'm not suggesting it.

    What I AM suggesting is that when we all 'brew, we should be mindful of the potential effect of stacking untyped bonuses (especially bonuses that are available at extremely low level), and be careful that we do not shoot ourselves directly in the foot by enabling the creation of characters who will endanger game balance and make our lives harder as DMs.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2011-12-02 at 11:45 AM.
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    Guides for 5E: Practical fiend-binding

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