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  1. - Top - End - #481
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    I personally think that +4 is a bit too high, but +3 or +2 could work. With +2 your casters will have 4th level spells and with +3 they will have 5th level spells. I know that comparing them to a tier 1 class in not the best thing for a good comparison, but how about comparing them to a warblade? For +2 and +3 LA they will have 4th and 5th imitator level respectively. I personally have never played a tome of battle character so I don't know how they would compare to a Night Hag, however I heard that they are better than almost every other martial class so I think that they would not be completely beaten by a Night Hag. I think this because of @GreatWyrmGold's comparison to a barbarian.
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  2. - Top - End - #482
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    (Insightful commentary)
    You make some good points here, but it seems unfair to not factor in the 5-8 prestige class levels a barbarian can and should have by le, though. It doesn't have to be something optimized like Frenzied Berserker/Champion of Gwyrhyrwolf either: something as simple as Deepwarden can already do a lot for combat ability. Similarly, a martial initiator dip can significantly increase a barb's defensive and offensive potential.

    I'm also not sure about using barbarian as a baseline against a monster that's as varied as the night hag. Barbarian is the archetypical single-focus class: of course it's going to be better at one thing and inferior when it comes to several other things.
    Have you had enough of unreasonably high LA's and unplayable monsters in 3.5? Then check out the LA-assignment thread! Don't hesitate to give feedback!

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  3. - Top - End - #483
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Night hags are high t4-low t3 classes with a single ninth-level spell bolted on. Outsider HD are t4 by themselves (thanks to good class skills, certainly), and the stat boosts just add some raw power, a little ahead of a barbarian, but not as useful as an initiator, let alone a Ruby Knight Vindicator/sorcadin/Ordained Champion/pick-your-gish (yes, t3-t2 gishes are my balance point for outsiders).

    And then you get to etherealness. Drat. That doesn't fit into the tier system so well .

    I'm voting for +2, but +0 for non-heartstone hags, if that's an option.

    Oh, and we are very much going to have the same problem on the next entry.
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  4. - Top - End - #484
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by ExLibrisMortis View Post
    Oh, and we are very much going to have the same problem on the next entry.
    That would be an understatement; Astral Projection is going to be even worse.
    Have you had enough of unreasonably high LA's and unplayable monsters in 3.5? Then check out the LA-assignment thread! Don't hesitate to give feedback!

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  5. - Top - End - #485
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Variable LA is totally a thing (check out pixies and satyrs). I second +0 without stone, +2 with stone.
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  6. - Top - End - #486
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    I'm going to say a minimum of +3, with a more conservative DM/campagin going for +4.

    Mindflayer-grade SR? +11 NA? DR 10? All them immunities? Eight levels of all-good saves? All-round great stat mods?

    A properly leveled party runs the risk of being unable to touch your average night hag if they aren't rocking some very specific loadouts, to say nothing of player shenanigans.
    Last edited by TotallyNotEvil; 2017-06-08 at 06:38 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #487
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    Post Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    I'm a bit torn on this one.

    Outsider HD are among the best. Full BAB, all good saves, good skill points.

    Str +8, Dex +2, Con +8, Wis +4, Cha +2 - stats scream melee type, to go on top of your full BAB (20 ft movement hurts a little, but not a major impediment); net +26 to abilities is not to be sneezed at. A single natural attack is OK to mix in with your weapon attacks - you need to get a better rider effect on it than the disease, for it to be truly impressive..

    As has been said, +11 natural armour, DR 10/cold iron and magic, immunity to fire, cold, charm, sleep, and fear, spell resistance 25: that's a fairly impressive array of defenses. the DR is pretty much always going to be in play; immunity to the to most common energy types without any vulnerability to others; respectable SR; and immunity to some common mental attacks. Yeah, that's nice.

    Change Shape is decent; diease, while a fairly deadly one, won't come into play in combat; the SLAs (outside of Etherealness) are mostly garbage at your ECL (Supernatural Transformation on Magic Missile once you get to 9HD means you won't need to invest in a missile weapon for those pesky ranged combats. 5d4+5, no SR, hits incorporeal is not bad, although you've probably got better uses in mind for your feats). Ray of Enfeeblement is an option when you can't melee for whatever reason, but definitely underwhelming at your level of play.

    If you take the Practiced Magic feat, you can become a Lichfiend, if that's something you want. Might make that bite a lot more nasty (actually, probably not reading the Parlalyzing Touch ability of the Lich again). As a PC, the LA makes this prohibitive though.

    A swift dip into Bard will open up Ur Priest.

    Yeah, Etherealness is the tipper here.

    Without it, I could eat up LA +2. At will access to a 9th level spell is pretty huge. I think I have to go with LA +3. You can still easily get to BAB +16 if you go down the melee route.

    as I said, a little conflicted on this one. I generally like melee to have nice things.

    Side note: I'm now considering a Lichfiend Night Hag/Bard 2/Ur Priest X as a BBEG in my game. (Although losing that juicy +8 Con and the extra CR makes me think I should lose the Lichfiend part).

  8. - Top - End - #488
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    You make some good points here, but it seems unfair to not factor in the 5-8 prestige class levels a barbarian can and should have by le, though. It doesn't have to be something optimized like Frenzied Berserker/Champion of Gwyrhyrwolf either: something as simple as Deepwarden can already do a lot for combat ability. Similarly, a martial initiator dip can significantly increase a barb's defensive and offensive potential.
    I wouldn't know an optimized barbarian from a cleave-path fighter, so...I worked with what I got.

    I'm also not sure about using barbarian as a baseline against a monster that's as varied as the night hag. Barbarian is the archetypical single-focus class: of course it's going to be better at one thing and inferior when it comes to several other things.
    I was trying to use the barbarian as a benchmark for the one thing it's good at. If the night hag is better at fighting than a level X barbarian, the night hag's ECL should be higher than X. I apologize if that wasn't clear.
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  9. - Top - End - #489
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    LA increased to +3.

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    I wouldn't know an optimized barbarian from a cleave-path fighter, so...I worked with what I got.


    I was trying to use the barbarian as a benchmark for the one thing it's good at. If the night hag is better at fighting than a level X barbarian, the night hag's ECL should be higher than X. I apologize if that wasn't clear.
    Ah, that makes sense. I'd argue that night hags aren't better at fighting than barbarians, though. Defensive benefits are already less useful than offensive ones, and against 60% of WotC's monsters the DR is the only one that is going to be relevant. Any barbarian could get it themselves for +1 LA.

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    Variable LA is totally a thing (check out pixies and satyrs). I second +0 without stone, +2 with stone.
    The issue I have with this is that a night hag can just create a new heartstone with thirty days of work. Yes, they are weaker when they don't have one, but should that mean their LA gets turned into a heartstone-dependent yo-yo?

    I say the LA simply assumes a hag has their stone at all times, with its loss not affecting their ECL. A naga doesn't get its LA reduced after suffering a dozen points of charisma drain either.
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  10. - Top - End - #490
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    LA increased to +3.



    Ah, that makes sense. I'd argue that night hags aren't better at fighting than barbarians, though. Defensive benefits are already less useful than offensive ones, and against 60% of WotC's monsters the DR is the only one that is going to be relevant. Any barbarian could get it themselves for +1 LA.



    The issue I have with this is that a night hag can just create a new heartstone with thirty days of work. Yes, they are weaker when they don't have one, but should that mean their LA gets turned into a heartstone-dependent yo-yo?

    I say the LA simply assumes a hag has their stone at all times, with its loss not affecting their ECL. A naga doesn't get its LA reduced after suffering a dozen points of charisma drain either.
    I think the idea is to have its LA be zero for a night hag who never has a heartstone by selective removal of that racial trait. Of course, that would be houseruling and is beyond the scope of this thread. I was just elucidating.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Ah, that makes sense. I'd argue that night hags aren't better at fighting than barbarians, though. Defensive benefits are already less useful than offensive ones, and against 60% of WotC's monsters the DR is the only one that is going to be relevant. Any barbarian could get it themselves for +1 LA.
    I disagree with that bit. To start with the NA bonus is also huge, there is going to be a lot of minions who have trouble hitting that ac. And the energy resistance/SR is going to help against the most dangerous encounters you face.
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  12. - Top - End - #492
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    I disagree with that bit. To start with the NA bonus is also huge, there is going to be a lot of minions who have trouble hitting that ac. And the energy resistance/SR is going to help against the most dangerous encounters you face.
    The most dangerous encounters are the ones that shut down your defenses with well-used BFC and no-save no-SR blasting with orb of acid - notably also something night hags are terrible at.
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  13. - Top - End - #493
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    So... Ethereal Jaunt is a self-only level 7 spell that gives 1 round/level etherealness.

    Etherealness is a level 9 spell that gives 1 minute/level etherealness to you and 1 friend per 3 levels.

    A 12th level Binder (10th level with a feat) has access to Chupoclops, who gives at-will Ethereal Jaunt.


    What's so much better about Etherealness at-will that it costs +3 LA, but at-will Ethereal Jaunt is fine for that same level?

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    What's so much better about Etherealness at-will that it costs +3 LA, but at-will Ethereal Jaunt is fine for that same level?
    You mean apart from the fact that LA +3 would bump the Hag up to one level more than the level 10 Binder with a feat and one level bellow the level 12 binder without the feat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    1 friend per 3 levels
    Is your reason why. Caster level 16 means you can easily take an extra 5 people with you whenever you use it, and it lasts for 16 minutes as well. More than enough to get nearly anywhere, and forcing the DM to have a singificant amount of areas to be warded if they want to present any challenge to navigation, which at turn can make the players annoyed their their awesome feature isn't being allowed that well.
    Last edited by The Blade Wolf; 2017-06-09 at 03:58 PM.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by The Blade Wolf View Post
    You mean apart from the fact that LA +3 would bump the Hag up to one level more than the level 10 Binder with a feat and one level bellow the level 12 binder without the feat?
    Yep, I'm asking how it makes sense to assign a high LA to a creature that has fewer powers, fewer class features, and much lower flexibility than a T3 (or even T4) class of roughly the same HD.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Blade Wolf View Post
    Is your reason why.
    Justify that using actual arguments & reasons, please.

    EDIT: Oh good, you did edit your post to actually try.

    Caster level 16 means you can easily take an extra 5 people with you whenever you use it, and it lasts for 16 minutes as well. More than enough to get nearly anywhere, and forcing the DM to have a singificant amount of areas to be warded if they want to present any challenge to navigation, which at turn can make the players annoyed their their awesome feature isn't being allowed that well.
    Now explain why that train of "logic" doesn't apply to 6th level Warlocks (dimension door at-will), 3rd level Swordsages (shadow jaunt at-will), or a plain old level 9 Wizard who used lesser planar binding to nab a Bar-Lgura or two as the party's teleport taxi.
    Last edited by Nifft; 2017-06-09 at 04:09 PM.

  16. - Top - End - #496
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    Justify that using actual arguments & reasons, please.
    A lot of single-targed powers are slightly less useful because they leave the user stranded, away from the party - single-target flight/teleportation, gaseous form, ethereal jaunt, etc. You can stumble into a fight without any backup if you're not careful with those sorts of abilities - which may or may not be an issue, but it does limit the scope of what you can do with it. If there's a locked door halfway up a cliff face, it does no good to just cast fly on your rogue if the rest of the party can't get up there either - it doesn't bypass the challenge in the same way as giving the whole party flight/etherealness/etc.

    There are also abilities that are much more powerful when they're usable at-will (mostly utility spells that let you bypass certain kinds of challenges) - teleportation, invisibility, polymorph, etc.

    The ability to make your entire party walk through walls falls into both of those categories. How much it should affect the LA is not something I'm particularly invested in (+2 and +3 are both mostly reasonable), but that's the argument you didn't catch.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Thank you Admius, for explaining the argument in such a clear and concise manner. It is a shame that you had to take your time to address the point at all, as it is a simple matter of common sense that everyone posting on this thread should be able to grasp and understand without needing such an explination. But a free forum such as this means that we are going to collect people who aren't able to grasp simple matters such as 'group powers are stronger than single powers'.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Amidus Drexel View Post
    The ability to make your entire party walk through walls falls into both of those categories. How much it should affect the LA is not something I'm particularly invested in (+2 and +3 are both mostly reasonable), but that's the argument you didn't catch.
    So, it's the equivalent of lesser planar binding a Bar-Lgura, which allows the entire party to teleport at-will.

    (You did catch that, right?)

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    So, it's the equivalent of lesser planar binding a Bar-Lgura, which allows the entire party to teleport at-will.

    (You did catch that, right?)
    I just noticed your edit now.

    Yes and no. In some ways, at-will etherealness is worse (notably, the travel time, but the stealth portion is defeated by see invisibility, among other things), in some ways it's better (there are lots of effects that specifically ward against teleportation that don't affect other types of planar travel).

    That said, lesser planar binding isn't a great point of comparison for a couple of reasons. It's easily one of the best 5th-level Sorc/Wiz spells, for sheer value of versatility alone - if you have enough downtime to make it work, you can do almost anything with the planar binding spells. However, it's a fairly involved process that isn't guaranteed to work - and it also presents a non-zero risk to the caster. It has a long cast time, offers a saving throw (and spell resistance, sort of), and requires further bargaining even after it's been cast - several days worth of bargaining, if you keep failing your charisma checks (something I would expect if you're asking a Bar-Lgura to be your personal chauffeur for, at minimum, 9 days). It's not a spell you can use to get your entire party out of an emergency at a moment's notice.

    More importantly, though, saying that a Night Hag is strictly worse than a wizard a level or two lower isn't saying much. Once you reach the levels where polymorph and teleport are on the table, most classes are strictly worse than spellcasters - it's what makes the Wizard tier 1. Warlock or Binder or even Totemist and the like are much better points of comparison, both in the sorts of powers available to them as well as how a Night Hag is likely to actually be played.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Amidus Drexel View Post
    I just noticed your edit now.

    Yes and no. In some ways, at-will etherealness is worse (notably, the travel time, but the stealth portion is defeated by see invisibility, among other things), in some ways it's better (there are lots of effects that specifically ward against teleportation that don't affect other types of planar travel).

    That said, lesser planar binding isn't a great point of comparison for a couple of reasons. It's easily one of the best 5th-level Sorc/Wiz spells, for sheer value of versatility alone - if you have enough downtime to make it work, you can do almost anything with the planar binding spells. However, it's a fairly involved process that isn't guaranteed to work - and it also presents a non-zero risk to the caster. It has a long cast time, offers a saving throw (and spell resistance, sort of), and requires further bargaining even after it's been cast - several days worth of bargaining, if you keep failing your charisma checks (something I would expect if you're asking a Bar-Lgura to be your personal chauffeur for, at minimum, 9 days). It's not a spell you can use to get your entire party out of an emergency at a moment's notice.

    More importantly, though, saying that a Night Hag is strictly worse than a wizard a level or two lower isn't saying much. Once you reach the levels where polymorph and teleport are on the table, most classes are strictly worse than spellcasters - it's what makes the Wizard tier 1. Warlock or Binder or even Totemist and the like are much better points of comparison, both in the sorts of powers available to them as well as how a Night Hag is likely to actually be played.
    Lesser planar binding is certainly higher power than what I'd expect from a non-T1 class, but that does not mean it's invalid as a point of comparison. It simply means that we don't expect a non-caster to actually be able to beat it -- and indeed, they can't. Even with at-will etherealness, the Night Hag's package is worse than at-will greater teleport plus all the other goodies that a Wizard can get.


    If Binder is more to your preference, then let's look at a level 12 Binder with Chupoclops + Savnok. That pair gives at-will ethereal jaunt, plus at-will 30 ft. benign transposition (as a move action). That's certainly enough to bypass a significant number of obstacles, but only one person at a time -- and it requires preparation (you have to bind these two vestiges in advance).

    Alternately, a 6th level Warlock with a portable hole (in which to stash the rest of the party while the Warlock uses her at-will dimension door to enter a location). As with the Binder, this trick requires preparation, and is not quite quick enough to be useful as an escape.

    However, going ethereal isn't a perfect escape, either. You're visible to some creatures, and [Force] effects can still hit you. Teleportation out is often significantly safer.

    Etherealness is not really worth a 9th level spell slot -- it's nowhere near the power of astral projection, nor even as good as greater teleportation (for most purposes).

    Maybe the best comparison is all-day flight for the whole party. That also obviates some lower-level challenges, and makes some monsters into non-threats (e.g. a level 12 party vs. a CR 12 colossal scorpion is probably not going to engage it in melee).

    How much better is etherealness, as compared against overland flight? I think that etherealness is better, but how much?


    - - -

    In terms of fixes, I guess it'd be appropriate to house-rule that a Night Hag only gets at-will ethereal jaunt until she has 16 HD, at which point she gains at-will etherealness. This doesn't affect her use of the power as a monster -- she only needs to turn herself ethereal to "ride" a victim anyway.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    If you're going to houserule the Night Hag's Etherealness, you may as well just make it Self-Only, which is a relatively standard modification.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    The most dangerous encounters are the ones that shut down your defenses with well-used BFC and no-save no-SR blasting with orb of acid - notably also something night hags are terrible at.
    Surprisingly enough then yes, Night Hags are indeed terrible at blasting orbs of acid. I guess it comes from not having any caster levels by default? Go figure.

    Though should not expect that every encounter has a spell set customised to defeat the magic defence of a Night Hag. There is a lot of good spells that has SR. There is also lot of good spells that deals elemental damage other than acid.
    And strangely enough there is very few scrodingers wizard. It is impossible to have every spell prepared. And sometimes you are in the annoying position that some of them have been used.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Nightmare


    Because Inevitability just can't catch a break.

    Nightmares are Large evil outsiders with 6 HD. Their chassis is pretty good: the physical stats one would expect of a fiendish horse combined with above-average mentals. Nightmares have three natural attacks: two hooves and a bite (all sadly without reach). The hooves also deal 1d4 fire damage, the bite is best used on a mouthpick. They have excellent natural armor, and a body shape it's still possible to find physical armor for. Also, they're one of the few creatures that can UMD Horseshoes of Flame and not look ridiculous. Amusingly enough, nightmares are slower on land than any kind of PHB horse: at most they'll be able to keep up with a pony. The 90 ft. fly speed makes up for that, though.

    Furthermore, there's the Smoke ability. A debuffing cone that takes only a free action to use and lasts for minutes may seem good, but it's non-friendly: think carefully before using it. The same ability also gives nightmares (total) concealment against attacks without concealing its opponents from it, which is very good for obvious reasons.

    Finally, nightmares get CL 20 Astral Projection and Etherealness at-will. How balanced.

    Etherealness alone is highly valuable when it comes to avoiding encounters, scouting, and general exploration, and its CL is high enough to let you take the party, the wizard's familiar, the paladin's mount, and the random goblin your rogue wanted to rise as a pet all with you. It's also a standard action. That said, it's not like the ability is completely unrateable: we've had creatures with similar powers before.

    Astral Projection is even worse, though. It's an improved version of the astral projection the tier 1 casters will have at level 17, because it doesn't require expensive components to use and can arguably be used as a standard action. It is this ability that makes me assign an asterisk here, while also discounting this ability while assigning a LA.

    Etherealness for the entire party is still overpowered, but at least manageably so now. I think a LA of +2* fits well enough: please do discuss.

    Nightmare, Cauchemar

    At least this was easy: Astral Projection and Etherealness are less impressive when casters get them in two levels (or earlier, with planar binding and friends), and advancing a monster by 9 RHD has never made it worth nine extra levels. -0* LA.

    Next are nightshades!
    Last edited by Inevitability; 2018-01-03 at 05:21 PM.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Um... aren't those two great SLA's pretty much all the Nightmare's got going for it? Two very good SLAs, true, but still.

    That being said, Outsider HD! Not too shabby.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by danielxcutter View Post
    Um... aren't those two great SLA's pretty much all the Nightmare's got going for it? Two very good SLAs, true, but still.

    That being said, Outsider HD! Not too shabby.
    Supernatural Abilities, not SLAs, but indeed. Without them, they'd be +0s for sure.

    Sadly, as various monsters before have shown, one overpowered ability is all it takes sometimes.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    Supernatural Abilities, not SLAs, but indeed. Without them, they'd be +0s for sure.

    Sadly, as various monsters before have shown, one overpowered ability is all it takes sometimes.
    Um... which monsters? Sorry, don't remember the past ones quite well... I should binge-read them again later.

    At least this wasn't the angels all over again. Remember the Planetar?
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Agreed, those two Supernatural abilities make it worth a significant amount of Level Adjustment because of how ridiculously early it has access to them otherwise.

    Cut them out, and it is simply a solid LA+0. Least it's +0 instead of -0 through... poor, poor dragons...

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by danielxcutter View Post
    Um... which monsters? Sorry, don't remember the past ones quite well... I should binge-read them again later.
    The Glabrezu, Noble Djinni and Efreeti, for their Wish abilities. Also, the beholders got their LA largely because of eye rays.

    Quote Originally Posted by danielxcutter View Post
    At least this wasn't the angels all over again. Remember the Planetar?
    In a way, the angels were easier. At least there, direct and simple comparison with a PC class (cleric) was possible. As far as I know, no PC class gets 9th-level spells at-will at levels 6-10.

    Sure, planetars got a high LA, but deciding on it was pretty easy, and it was barely debated.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    By the way, I just realized this is probably the first time I agree with WotC on any LA higher than +0.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    By the way, I just realized this is probably the first time I agree with WotC on any LA higher than +0.
    Do Nightmares have +4 LA already? Then again, the guys who stat out monsters must have some grip on LA - how else would they manage to utterly fail at assigning it 99% of the time, if they didn't know exactly how not to do it?
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