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

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    yuk Useless Features

    I've recently had an experience with a class that has two features that pretty much cancel each other out. Using one negates the other. Therefore one of the features is effectively useless at any given time.

    Has anyone else had any problem like that? A feature or set of features that work in such a way to be completely useless even when used "as intended". And I'm not talking about useless in terms of "the bonus is nice, but it's got to be bigger to have a real impact," but outright "this combination has no reason to be together." If you have, do share. Even if you haven't experienced one directly, point out one you find glaringly obvious.

    And, if it's a really bad or frustrating one, feel free to vent.

    [hr]Here's mine:

    I'm currently playing a Shadowcaster in a PbP game (see the link to Dulos in my sig if you're interested in what he's like). One of the things that's recently come up, however, is the utter near-uselessness of one of his class abilities.

    A Shadowcaster gains a class ability called Sustaining Shadow. As you gain levels, it slowly takes over various metabolic processes. When you first gain it, you can survive on one meal per week. Later on, you gain the ability to become fully rested with only 1 hour of sleep per night.

    Now, the problem is that, like a Sorcerer, a Shadowcaster requires a full 8 hours of complete and total rest to regain mystery slots, regardless of how much sleep he or she needs.

    See what's silly about that? All the time saved by not sleeping is spent doing absolutely nothing.

    That is unless the shadowcaster managed to get through the previous day without using his or her signature class ability (casting mysteries).

    It's a pretty boring life for a shadowcaster, I guess.

    [hr]So what do you have?
    The Future just ain’t what it used to be.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yuki Akuma's Avatar

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    Default Re: Useless Features

    Actually, it's a pretty good ability; he can spend the other seven hours keeping watch.

    My useless abilities? The Frenzied Berserker's Deathless Frenzy. When he frenzies, he takes 2 points of nonlethal damage per round. With deathless frenzy, he can't die if reduced to lower than -10 hit points when he's frenzying.

    The kicker? As soon as his nonlethal damage exceeds his hit point total, he falls unconcious... so if he's ever reduced to below -10 hp he goes unconcious, stops frenzying, and dies anyway.

    Great.
    There's no wrong way to play. - S. John Ross

    Quote Originally Posted by archaeo View Post
    Man, this is just one of those things you see and realize, "I live in a weird and banal future."

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Useless Features

    Here's one: Flurry of Blows. No, really. It sounds useful, but all it really does is make you miss more.

    EDIT: Oh, and for the Shadowcaster, you only need rest to regain your arcane spell mysteries. Your spell-likes and supernaturals don't require you to rest, since they're now "per day" abilities instead of spontaneous magic.

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    Banned
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    Default Re: Useless Features

    Quote Originally Posted by Shhalahr Windrider View Post
    See what's silly about that? All the time saved by not sleeping is spent doing absolutely nothing.
    Unless, you know, you don't use all your magic every day. Sorcerers and wizards, at least, don't need to rest that 8 hours if they have no slots to regain or spells to prepare.

    Looking at Fax Celestis' note, the Shadowcaster doesn't need to rest as badly as sorcerers and wizards do, anyway.

    It's very limited usability, but not quite as bad as you portray it.

    (Incidentally, does anyone else think Shadowcaster isn't a class but an old first-person RPG on the PC where you changed shape into various creatures to get past various obstacles and defeat monsters?)

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Useless Features

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas View Post
    (Incidentally, does anyone else think Shadowcaster isn't a class but an old first-person RPG on the PC where you changed shape into various creatures to get past various obstacles and defeat monsters?)
    Heh. I was trying to not date myself, but yes.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Useless Features

    Yeah, the old Raven game, which rocked.

    Anyway, I know some people see differently but i'd class Toughness as a useless feature. 3hp woop-dee-freaking-doo.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Caelestion's Avatar

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    Default Re: Useless Features

    It's brilliant at 1st- and 2nd-level, then it starts sucking. The feat that grants +1 hp per level every level is a much better feat.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    squishycube's Avatar

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    Default Re: Useless Features

    I disagree with your view on Flurry of Blurry (as my party lovingly refer to the ability ever since a new player couldn't remember the name correctly).
    You should not see the flurry of blows as two separate attacks which both, indeed, have less chance of hitting than the one attack.
    You should see it like this: either you get one attack at BAB x. OR you get two attacks at BAB x-2. This is on average almost always better, unless you need to roll an 18 or higher to hit (Without flurrying). I could do the math, but I am lazy and tired. The conclusion of the math is this: the chance you hit with one attack is much better if you get to make several attacks at a penalty. The only situation this doesn't work is when you need to roll a 20 after you apply the penalty.

    Useless class features/racial abilities:
    Elf. 4 hours meditation, favoured class: Wizard.
    Wizard. Requires 8 hours rest anyway. Great...

    EDIT: Woo, I am young
    Ein gutes Gedicht ist nicht dazu da, die Welt zu verbessern – es ist selbst ein Stück verbesserte Welt.

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

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    Default Re: Useless Features

    Quote Originally Posted by squishycube View Post
    Useless class features/racial abilities:
    Elf. 4 hours meditation, favoured class: Wizard.
    Wizard. Requires 8 hours rest anyway. Great...
    As has already been noted, simply needing to rest means you can be on watch if necessary. Elf mages get to read lots of books at night when the others are asleep!

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    squishycube's Avatar

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    Default Re: Useless Features

    I noticed, but actually I agree with the OP and mentioned another example.
    Ein gutes Gedicht ist nicht dazu da, die Welt zu verbessern – es ist selbst ein Stück verbesserte Welt.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Useless Features

    Now, if you could spend those hours reading books and thereby gain extra Knowledge ranks, it would be nice :)

    But no, can't learn anything without killing some monsters first.

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    RedSorcererGirl

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    Default Re: Useless Features

    Druids: Resist Nature's Lure - WOW. +4 to save against the spell-like abilities of Fey. How many Fey do you fight on a regular basis? Not too many, if your game is anything like the ones I've been in. Not that I'm suggesting that the druid get more stuff, mind, but still. Useless, useless feature.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jade_Tarem View Post
    "Haha!" they said, "Let the wizards have their cheesy combos and smoldering staves, we have sparkly crystal swords! In fact, we have razor-sharp spiny crystal everything! Swords, wands, alternate personalities, mirrors, furniture, clothing, toilet paper..."

    Brutal desert fey - Sylenti

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Caelestion's Avatar

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    Default Re: Useless Features

    Quote Originally Posted by Twisted.Fate View Post
    Druids: Resist Nature's Lure - WOW. +4 to save against the spell-like abilities of Fey. How many Fey do you fight on a regular basis? Not too many, if your game is anything like the ones I've been in. Not that I'm suggesting that the druid get more stuff, mind, but still. Useless, useless feature.
    It might be "useless" but it's extremely thematic. If I'm playing a druid, I like to know I can cut across country, moving rapidly and unhindered and I actively like the fact that I'm more protected against the faerie people than others are.

  14. - Top - End - #14
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    The_Snark's Avatar

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    Default Re: Useless Features

    Quote Originally Posted by Caelestion View Post
    As has already been noted, simply needing to rest means you can be on watch if necessary. Elf mages get to read lots of books at night when the others are asleep!
    Now if only wizards and shadowcasters actually could Spot things.

    Actually, I think the shadowcaster does get Spot, so hey.

    The multiclass Ranger/Scout, with that new feat from Complete Scoundrel, gets Skirmish. And then gets... Rapid Shot. Hmmm...

    Manyshot later on, too, but it can't do the skirmish more than once.
    Avatar by GryffonDurime. Thanks!

  15. - Top - End - #15
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    Caelestion's Avatar

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    Default Re: Useless Features

    Elven Arcane Trickster as the nightwatchman! *g*

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Frojoe21's Avatar

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    Default Re: Useless Features

    The multiclass Ranger/Scout, with that new feat from Complete Scoundrel, gets Skirmish. And then gets... Rapid Shot. Hmmm...
    Because who doesn't want to skirmish undead, constructs and oozes at a near full BAB?

    Personally, I think that the Barbarian's trap sense makes no sense. I mean, in an RL game, the barbarian in the party is our trap checker, so it does definitely help, but thematically, it makes little sense
    Last edited by Frojoe21; 2007-01-26 at 07:25 PM. Reason: Forgot to quote
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    Caelestion's Avatar

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    Default Re: Useless Features

    Someone in the design team is a Conan fan, methinks. Then again, the trap sense is supposed to represent intuition and sixth-sense-style survival skills.

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    Default Re: Useless Features

    This isn't about making sense or even about having an utterly obscure use: This is about being outright useless. Like the Metamind. If you add up the bonus power points you save from the class features (cognizance psicrystal--11 points, one fifth-level power--9 points, one fourth-level power--7 points, one third-level power--5 points, three second-level powers--9 points, three first-level powers--3 points), you save 44 points per day. Those five levels of psion you sacrificed would have given you 148 points per day. Seriously, am I miscalculating something?
    Quote Originally Posted by Winterwind View Post
    Mewtarthio, you have scared my brain into hiding, a trembling, broken shadow of a thing, cowering somewhere in the soothing darkness and singing nursery rhymes in the hope of obscuring the Lovecraftian facts you so boldly brought into daylight.

  19. - Top - End - #19
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    Caelestion's Avatar

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    Default Re: Useless Features

    No you're not. Metamind sounds cool and is thematically fun, but mechanically it blows.

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    Default Re: Useless Features

    Shurikan. Every thing about it. It is utterly useless. Woo! 1d2 damage, and I got to waste a feat on it! I'm so happy!
    My sister has more ranks in Tumble then your level 13 rogue!

    (Seriously. She's a gymnast.)
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    Khantalas's Avatar

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    Default Re: Useless Features

    Quote Originally Posted by Fualkner Asiniti View Post
    Shurikan. Every thing about it. It is utterly useless. Woo! 1d2 damage, and I got to waste a feat on it! I'm so happy!
    Hey, be glad 3.5 came around. 3.0 shurikens sucked my socks.

    OK, that just sounds wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mewtarthio View Post
    This isn't about making sense or even about having an utterly obscure use: This is about being outright useless. Like the Metamind. If you add up the bonus power points you save from the class features (cognizance psicrystal--11 points, one fifth-level power--9 points, one fourth-level power--7 points, one third-level power--5 points, three second-level powers--9 points, three first-level powers--3 points), you save 44 points per day. Those five levels of psion you sacrificed would have given you 148 points per day. Seriously, am I miscalculating something?
    Until 10th level, I gain nothing. And even then, the slight advantage I get once per day isn't enough to make me forget the loss of 9th level powers and the disadvantage I get through the rest of the day.

    If the class is about power to burn, why doesn't it get that power?
    Last edited by Khantalas; 2007-01-26 at 07:48 PM.

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    Caelestion's Avatar

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    Default Re: Useless Features

    It did, Khantalas. It burnt all its power when you entered. :)

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    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Useless Features

    I'm currently trying to figure out what the heck my duskblade is going to do with his brand-new ability to ignore spell failure from heavy shields, given that out of his 12 spells known, exactly 4 do not have somatic components, meaing there are 8 he cannot therefore cast without a hand free...

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Caelestion's Avatar

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    Default Re: Useless Features

    He puts down his weapon! *g

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    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Useless Features

    Quote Originally Posted by Caelestion View Post
    He puts down his weapon! *g

    ....Right. Because that's a good idea.

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    Banned
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    Default Re: Useless Features

    Somatic Weaponry.

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    Yuki Akuma's Avatar

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    Default Re: Useless Features

    Improved/Superior Unarmed Strike.
    There's no wrong way to play. - S. John Ross

    Quote Originally Posted by archaeo View Post
    Man, this is just one of those things you see and realize, "I live in a weird and banal future."

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    Caelestion's Avatar

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    Default Re: Useless Features

    Quote Originally Posted by Shisumo View Post
    ....Right. Because that's a good idea.
    Hence why I mentioned it :)

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    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Alas, poor monks ...

    There is no way this isn't a stupid omission on a WotC writer's part, but it bears mentioning regardless. You know all those nifty unarmed powers a monk gets? Like, say, increased unarmed damage, flurry of blows--which eventually does means something other than "Wow, you just missed twice in one round thanks to your special class power"--and the ability to punch hard enough to overcome damage reduction x/magic or x/adamantine? Well, that doesn't mean SQUAT using the rules as written, because monks aren't proficient with unarmed strikes!

    Cheers,
    --Count Chumleigh

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Eldritch Horror in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Useless Features

    Everyone's automatically proficient with unarmed strikes, they just take a -4 penalty to deal lethal damage instead of nonlethal damage. Monks have Imp. Unarmed Strike for free, which eliminates said penalty.

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