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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Xhosant's Avatar

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    Default Pyro feats: Are they balanced? (PEACH)

    So, I've been looking into powergaming data on the pyrokineticist (as much as that phrase is accurate) and I've deduced the two main points of weakness are a) he can only use fire damage, which is often resisted, and b) his crowning skill is pretty sad, since its death effect needs 2 saves, its damage can be halved, AND it's just 1/day.

    I've come up with 2 feats to cover these two weaknesses. The only requirement for either is 1 level in pyrokineticist.

    Energy Shift
    Benefit: As a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity, you can change the energy type of your Pyrokineticist class features between fire, cold, sonic, electricity and acid. The change lasts for 1 minute, when it reverts back to fire (unless full-round action is used to revert, in which case the change doesn't revert at all).

    Your fire changes in appearance depending on your option, as dictated by the GM. None of the energy types can "set fire" to an object, nor do special treatments of hardness or such apply: treat it as a non-spreading fire in all instances of object interaction (excluding unmodified fire).

    Special: A modified Conflagration behaves differently as far as the death effect is concerned.

    In a Cold Conflagration, a creature that would normally die instantly is instead encased in ice. It is considered stunned, cannot be moved, and is suffocating (if it needs to breathe). The ice has 6 hp per character level of the pyro, with DR equal to half his level. However, attacks against the ice also hit the trapped creature, who gets DR equal to the pyro's character level. Once 20 points of damage has been inflicted to the ice, the creature no longer suffocates.
    An Acidic conflagration nauseates creatures that would die instantly for 1 minute rounds instead.
    A Sonic conflagration pushes all creatures that fail the reflex save to the blast's perimeter (or as close as possible) and dazes those that would die instantly for 1 minute.
    A Volt Conflagration leaves creatures that fail their saves paralyzed for 1 minute.
    The balancing factors here, besides the Feat cost, is the lack of flexibility in changing (the full-round, AoO-provoking action, even for reverting) and the "handicapping" of Conflagration and the modified fire's behavior. The Pyro still prefers to use fire, but has alternatives.

    Ignition
    Benefit: Any creature harmed by one of your other Pyro class features within the last minute is not entitled to a reflex save against your conflagration.
    Special: This feat cannot be used along with an Energy Shift-modified conflagration, nor does modified damage count towards this feat.
    What keeps this balanced (i hope) is the buildup time (every target must be attacked beforehand, so it's not an open-and-close encounter-solver), and of course it's "traditional" weakness to fire-immune enemies, so the Pyros still prefer to use fire when they can.

    Does each of those seem balanced? I'd like to hope that they'd suffice to make the Pyro an interesting choice that won't feel disappointing to play.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by Xhosant; 2013-11-09 at 07:23 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by AvatarVecna View Post
    "What's this? A railroad? Well, we better cross it now, or the train will come along and sweep us down the tracks!"

    *kills important NPC, avoids entire planned out plot*

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Pyro feats: Are they balanced? (PEACH)

    Well, they're not overly powerful, but I'm not sure that they fix the Pyro.

    A straight-up redesign would do better, for one. Feats should never be introduced to fix classes in the most optimal homebrew situation; the class itself should be altered. Else, you've basically created a forced feat tax to fix the class.

    And I think it's fundamentally missing the point of the Pyro if their solution to the weaknesses of fire is not to use fire. And increase of the Pyro's damage as well as the ability for half of the damage to ignore resistances/immunities or the ability to negate resistance or immunities, etc - those would be more interesting solutions.

    The ability to change elements as an option is a good one, but not as the sole fix to their problem.
    Last edited by AstralFire; 2013-11-08 at 10:27 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: Pyro feats: Are they balanced? (PEACH)

    I'll agree with Astral on the point of the feats not being the only option to the problems.

    However, I would like to address the matter of the first feat's internal balance. It seems all well and good until you notice 2 key points: A: The sonic modification is doing equivalent damage as the other damage types when it is among the least resisted element and B: Possesses possibly the most potent removal ability of the listed types. These points together make sonic damage the default option that the players are going to go towards.

    To touch my second point first: among the modifies conflagration only the cold and sonic damage types remove the target from combat cold's, however, by the wording leaves me to believe it can just be dispelled and barring that taken care of by more mundane means. Sonic's daze by comparison has no mundane cure leaving the target to stand their clutching its head.

    Now I feel that my first point was fairly direct but I'll compound on it. Other abilities that implement sonic damage typically have lower damage outputs of their equivalent level abilities(the Energy _____ line of powers comes tom mind) to help balance the fact that almost nothing resists it naturally.

    As an internal fix to these,i would primarily recommend lowering the damage die of all the sonic abilities and optionally reduce its removal effect to staggered.

    Also, where's elec damage?
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Pyro feats: Are they balanced? (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by AstralFire View Post
    Well, they're not overly powerful, but I'm not sure that they fix the Pyro. A straight-up redesign would do better, for one. Feats should never be introduced to fix classes in the most optimal homebrew situation; the class itself should be altered. Else, you've basically created a forced feat tax to fix the class.
    My first concern was to make them something easily acceptable, so as to persuade a DM into using it. If they deem it not to be game-breaking, they could give them out for free. Besides, most Pyro builds I found are not too feat-heavy, so it's shouldn't be too steep a price.

    Basically, I'm brewing from a player's standpoint.

    Quote Originally Posted by AstralFire View Post
    And I think it's fundamentally missing the point of the Pyro if their solution to the weaknesses of fire is not to use fire. And increase of the Pyro's damage as well as the ability for half of the damage to ignore resistances/immunities or the ability to negate resistance or immunities, etc - those would be more interesting solutions.
    Quote Originally Posted by GranAures View Post
    Also, where's elec damage?
    Well, the original idea was that "acid flame" is based on toxic fumes, sonic is basically an explosion's shockwave, and "frostflame" is based on manipulating heat, or a reverse fire. So, even if tenuous, it's based on "reflavoring" their beloved fire.
    Also, no Electricity fire for the reason above. I can't for the love of me find the dumbest of reasons fire could produce a zap.

    Quote Originally Posted by AstralFire View Post
    The ability to change elements as an option is a good one, but not as the sole fix to their problem.
    I picked feats as an "easy to homebrew" solution. And it's just the choice I'd pick (my solution of choice). Unless you mean they still have issues even after these, which is another matter entirely.

    Quote Originally Posted by GranAures View Post
    To touch my second point first: among the modifies conflagration only the cold and sonic damage types remove the target from combat cold's, however, by the wording leaves me to believe it can just be dispelled and barring that taken care of by more mundane means. Sonic's daze by comparison has no mundane cure leaving the target to stand their clutching its head.
    Cold can be removed, but only if another character takes the time to break you out. Should I harden the ice? Should i make breaking it perilous to the enclosed creature? Also, should I make sure the nauseated is also irremovable by mundane means?

    Quote Originally Posted by GranAures View Post
    A: The sonic modification is doing equivalent damage as the other damage types when it is among the least resisted element.
    I figured, this only mattered against an enemy resistant to all of ice, fire and acid, or to a group of enemies where each is resisted by someone, but none resist sonic. That is, rather rarely. I may work on internal consistency later and decrease it.

    So, to get this out of the way, "how likely is it the above should be banned from a game due to OPness?" On a scale of 1-10. Then feel free to rank it 1-10, with "balanced" being 5. After that's done I'll tune it internally.
    Quote Originally Posted by AvatarVecna View Post
    "What's this? A railroad? Well, we better cross it now, or the train will come along and sweep us down the tracks!"

    *kills important NPC, avoids entire planned out plot*

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Pyro feats: Are they balanced? (PEACH)

    Heat can produce electricity: thermocouples.

    When you get down to it, heat is simply the most basic form with which energy is expressed. To boot, electricity is often thematically linked with fire in myth. I don't think it makes much sense to not have it.

    Thematically, I'd break it down into a feat which expands the alternative damage aspects of fire (including sonic and poison damage to the normal damage - acid doesn't make sense) called Pyroclasm, and one which allows for two radically different types of fire based on principles of energy transference - Thermovolt and Frostfire Blast.

    It's not going to break the game and it gives the Pyro some much needed options, so 4, I guess; I just feel the implementation could be improved.
    Last edited by AstralFire; 2013-11-08 at 06:28 PM.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Pyro feats: Are they balanced? (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by AstralFire View Post
    Heat can produce electricity: thermocouples.
    Ingenious. Thanks, so adding electricity makes sense. Now, to come up with a removal effect.

    Quote Originally Posted by AstralFire View Post
    Thematically, I'd break it down into a feat which expands the alternative damage aspects of fire (including sonic and poison damage to the normal damage - acid doesn't make sense) called Pyroclasm, and one which allows for two radically different types of fire based on principles of energy transference - Thermovolt and Frostfire Blast.
    Splitting it wouldn't help with the feat toll, so I'd avoid it. I'll consider on it later, may make an "advancing feat" with a low-level effect and a high-level effect (unlocking ice and zap at 6, for example).

    More importantly, I believed "acid" and "poison" were interchangeable as far as energy types went. Though indeed "poison" is more accurate (unless toxic enough to cause corrosion, pass), I'm unsure on what to do.

    Thematic or mechanical simplicity? Call it what it is, or how it works?

    EDIT: This article sold me, I'd say poison harming the skin or other substances chemically and by touch constitutes what the guy calls "acid", so I'll keep it that way for now. No way to make a "whip of forced poison inhalation" as a class feature and keep it sane after all

    Quote Originally Posted by AstralFire View Post
    It's not going to break the game and it gives the Pyro some much needed options, so 4, I guess; I just feel the implementation could be improved.
    If I present 2 "suits", 1 for the wary DM ("They're feats", as above) and one for the less wary ("they're class features/bonus feats"), would that make it a 5 or would it need something more? (And if yes, what?)
    Last edited by Xhosant; 2013-11-08 at 06:53 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by AvatarVecna View Post
    "What's this? A railroad? Well, we better cross it now, or the train will come along and sweep us down the tracks!"

    *kills important NPC, avoids entire planned out plot*

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: Pyro feats: Are they balanced? (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Xhosant View Post
    Cold can be removed, but only if another character takes the time to break you out. Should I harden the ice? Should i make breaking it perilous to the enclosed creature? Also, should I make sure the nauseated is also irremovable by mundane means?
    That's what I mean, being frozen can be mitigated, and even the nausea effect still gives them a move action(don't know of any mundane means of curing nausea off my head) so the affected can at least be rescued or attempt to retreat. Now the conditions where the minor point, just the easiest to explain, but it was the combination of daze+full damage that tripped my P.G flag.


    Quote Originally Posted by Xhosant View Post
    I figured, this only mattered against an enemy resistant to all of ice, fire and acid, or to a group of enemies where each is resisted by someone, but none resist sonic.
    I'll admit to my weird issues being influenced by the people I used to game with who would jump on the feat immediately just because it gave permanent unrestricted access to Sonic damage. And then would proceed to pound everything with pyroclastic whips made of mental energy until they came up against something with a vulnerability to fire or cold. Now I'm aware that not all players are like that but they are there.

    I only really give advice based on that mindset.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xhosant View Post
    So, to get this out of the way, "how likely is it the above should be banned from a game due to OPness?" On a scale of 1-10. Then feel free to rank it 1-10, with "balanced" being 5. After that's done I'll tune it internally.
    If you know the players well and they can agree not to go stupid: 5
    Otherwise: 6(assuming 10 is the hecks no tier) and a dose of the players own medicine.
    Character's in Progress: None
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    Characters in Use: Kentaro(Souledge), Dalenbar Uranskor(Death of the Weave), Adalon(Outcast), Gri(Nentir Vale)
    Characters Retired: Davis Grand, Tuk
    Homebrew: Gunmage(v 1.0/Advice welcome)

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Pyro feats: Are they balanced? (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by GranAures View Post
    That's what I mean, being frozen can be mitigated, and even the nausea effect still gives them a move action(don't know of any mundane means of curing nausea off my head) so the affected can at least be rescued or attempt to retreat.
    I meant for the modified conflagrations to be weaker; they're not sure-removal, they're anywhere from rescue-able to 1-min-out.

    Quote Originally Posted by GranAures View Post
    And then would proceed to pound everything with pyroclastic whips made of mental energy until they came up against something with a vulnerability to fire or cold. Now I'm aware that not all players are like that but they are there.
    Considering they'd have to waste about 1/10 rounds, with provoking, to keep their Conflagration weakened, i don't see why they'd bother. It's only really worth the trouble of substituting when you're up against something immune to fire, or vulnerable otherwise.

    So, the question is: how often is an enemy vulnerable to sonic, compared to fire, acid, electricity or cold? Because i collect it's just as rare as resistance, though i could be wrong.
    Quote Originally Posted by AvatarVecna View Post
    "What's this? A railroad? Well, we better cross it now, or the train will come along and sweep us down the tracks!"

    *kills important NPC, avoids entire planned out plot*

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: Pyro feats: Are they balanced? (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Xhosant View Post
    So, the question is: how often is an enemy vulnerable to sonic, compared to fire, acid, electricity or cold? Because i collect it's just as rare as resistance, though i could be wrong.
    In terms of vulnerability, maybe only a handful of crystalline based creatures. In terms of resistance only like 4-5 dragons(2-3 Gem, Pyroclastic, and Battle) boast immunity with no sonic resistant creatures that I can immediately call to mind.


    Quote Originally Posted by Xhosant View Post
    Considering they'd have to waste about 1/10 rounds, with provoking, to keep their Conflagration weakened, i don't see why they'd bother.
    Now I'll admit to feeling like an idiot here, because the first time I read the feat(while on my break at work) I didn't notice the duration limit.
    Knowing that, I'd probably allow them myself if I ever run something here.
    Character's in Progress: None
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    Characters in Use: Kentaro(Souledge), Dalenbar Uranskor(Death of the Weave), Adalon(Outcast), Gri(Nentir Vale)
    Characters Retired: Davis Grand, Tuk
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    Default Re: Pyro feats: Are they balanced? (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by GranAures View Post
    In terms of vulnerability, maybe only a handful of crystalline based creatures. In terms of resistance only like 4-5 dragons(2-3 Gem, Pyroclastic, and Battle) boast immunity with no sonic resistant creatures that I can immediately call to mind.
    Slaad are also all immune but who runs slaad?
    Peanut Half-Dragon Necromancer by Kurien.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Pyro feats: Are they balanced? (PEACH)

    Changelog: Adding zap damage, with it's "conflagration" resulting in paralysis for a minute (tazer bomb!).

    Will boost ice's HP to 6 per character level of the pyro, with hardness equal to half his level. However, attacks against the ice are also attacks against the frozen character, who gets DR equal to the pyro's character level, stacking with any he already possessed. If 20 points of damage are dealt, the character no longer suffocates.

    Is the DR ok? Is it too high, or too low?
    Last edited by Xhosant; 2013-11-09 at 07:23 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by AvatarVecna View Post
    "What's this? A railroad? Well, we better cross it now, or the train will come along and sweep us down the tracks!"

    *kills important NPC, avoids entire planned out plot*

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