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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
    Because the primary function of a monster is as an antagonist, which the PCs are probably supposed to defeat.

    Using monsters as PCs is a secondary and far less common use for the monsters, because there are far fewer PCs than monsters.
    I was gonna say this. It would be pretty frustrating to make every single monster mechanically stronger than the PCs. Certainly monsters should have a strength, or even a few, but they are designed to be beaten.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by No brains View Post
    I was gonna say this. It would be pretty frustrating to make every single monster mechanically stronger than the PCs. Certainly monsters should have a strength, or even a few, but they are designed to be beaten.
    While this is sort of true ... it only goes so far.

    Any monster (every monster, really) should be mechanically stronger/overwhelming to PCs that are lower-level than the ones it's intended to challenge. Maybe not in all ways, but generally speaking.


    On the other hand, the way the rules and CR system supposedly work, an entity built the same way as a PC of Level X is equivalent to a CR X encounter, or a CR X monster of the same general role. The inverse of that is that a CR X monster should be equivalent to a Level X PC, of the same general role.


    Personally, instead of inflating the number of (bad) RHD as monsters get bigger/stronger, I'd've gone with no RHD inflation, better-quality base RHD, and then applied bonus values to bring the monster up to par. Constructs have bonus HP for size, that could have been applied more generally, reducing RHD inflation.
    And I'd've realized that after a certain point, some types of monsters shouldn't really be a threat anymore. IE, after a point, animals and vermin shouldn't be considered serious threats no matter how much RHD inflation they've gotten, and nobody should try to tell you differently. You should still probably be worrying about some kinds of Magical Beasts at that level, though; and low-Int Aberrations filling similar ecological niches in higher-magic areas.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by No brains View Post
    I was gonna say this. It would be pretty frustrating to make every single monster mechanically stronger than the PCs. Certainly monsters should have a strength, or even a few, but they are designed to be beaten.
    Beaten? Yes. Curbstomped? Only if you want to play tabletop Dynasty Warriors.

    For reference, having a bunch of hit dice and basically nothing else going for a monster puts it decidedly into the latter category unless you're playing a low-op game.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Random Sanity View Post
    Beaten? Yes. Curbstomped? Only if you want to play tabletop Dynasty Warriors.

    For reference, having a bunch of hit dice and basically nothing else going for a monster puts it decidedly into the latter category unless you're playing a low-op game.
    Considering that the Druid playtester reportingly did nothing but throw scimitars, I'd say that "low-op" was the yardstick the designers used for core - which is why 99% of it falls apart whenever somebody optimizes any more than taking EWP: Spiked chain.
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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
    Considering that the Druid playtester reportingly did nothing but throw scimitars, I'd say that "low-op" was the yardstick the designers used for core - which is why 99% of it falls apart whenever somebody optimizes any more than taking EWP: Spiked chain.
    I knew that the druid playtesters used scimitars but I didn't knew that they threw them, where does it say that?
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Baby Gary View Post
    I knew that the druid playtesters used scimitars but I didn't knew that they threw them, where does it say that?
    It's hearsay, admittingly, from these forums. I'm sure that being low-op to that extent indicates that the Druid playtesters were either stupid, didn't care about optimization at all, or intentionally botched their character builds. Plus I also heard stuff about someone on the dev team being biased towards Wizards and intentionally made them better than martials even after the failure of Core, but I forget the details.
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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
    Considering that the Druid playtester reportingly did nothing but throw scimitars, I'd say that "low-op" was the yardstick the designers used for core - which is why 99% of it falls apart whenever somebody optimizes any more than taking EWP: Spiked chain.
    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by danielxcutter View Post
    It's hearsay, admittingly, from these forums.
    ... now it sounds like this was probably just made-up BS.

    Let's not spread rumors around as though they were a fact, okay?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Random Sanity View Post
    Same reason so many broken M:tG cards have been released. Same reason there's no class balance to speak of in D&D.

    WotC wouldn't know balance if it landed on their heads.
    Actually, the reason there's so many broken M:tG cards is due to accretion. Standard is fairly balanced. Exceptions tend to be new keywords or unusual card mechanics. WotC actually is good at balancing the bulk of M:tG. They literally have a guidebook for the central stuff, as in literally every standard keyword and P/T rates relative to mana cost

    Quote Originally Posted by javcs View Post
    Personally, instead of inflating the number of (bad) RHD as monsters get bigger/stronger, I'd've gone with no RHD inflation, better-quality base RHD, and then applied bonus values to bring the monster up to par. Constructs have bonus HP for size, that could have been applied more generally, reducing RHD inflation.
    And I'd've realized that after a certain point, some types of monsters shouldn't really be a threat anymore. IE, after a point, animals and vermin shouldn't be considered serious threats no matter how much RHD inflation they've gotten, and nobody should try to tell you differently. You should still probably be worrying about some kinds of Magical Beasts at that level, though; and low-Int Aberrations filling similar ecological niches in higher-magic areas.
    My personal solution to RHD inflation is to use Con inflation instead. Or other methods of inflating HP that aren't stacking HD. For example, I tend to consider having Zombies get bonus health per hit die instead of having two hit dice for each hit die of the base creature, making them much more in line with their power as Undead. Because otherwise they are basically the worst thing ever for controlled Undead. Because of hit dice inflation.

    Having Con inflation has the added advantage of making Fort saves, which are a common target of save-or-lose/suck/die, balloon insanely to make those things largely useless at higher levels against the beatsticks. It also makes playing a high-CR Monster a much better deal for Totemist who gets good bonuses for inflated Con, which isn't a problem if you correctly ECL the monster.
    Last edited by Morphic tide; 2017-06-28 at 09:08 PM.

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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
    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.



    ... now it sounds like this was probably just made-up BS.

    Let's not spread rumors around as though they were a fact, okay?
    This is from Enemies and Allies, admittedly a 3.0 book but ultimately part of the D&D playtest process. Vadania the druid, who was used in the playtests, wields a +2 keen throwing returning scimitar.

    You might want to not be massively antagonistic and call people's claims BS so often.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Jormengand View Post
    This is from Enemies and Allies, admittedly a 3.0 book but ultimately part of the D&D playtest process. Vadania the druid, who was used in the playtests, wields a +2 keen throwing returning scimitar.

    You might want to not be massively antagonistic and call people's claims BS so often.
    Wait, so she has a sub-optimal magic item (which was probably randomly generated), and that's your evidence for the claim that "the Druid playtester reportingly did nothing but throw scimitars"?

    Honestly, even taking a step back, the idea that there was only one playtester per class sounds like BS.

    People making absurd claims are gonna need to back them up.

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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
    Wait, so she has a sub-optimal magic item (which was probably randomly generated), and that's your evidence for the claim that "the Druid playtester reportingly did nothing but throw scimitars"?
    What she did is also mentioned: it says that she didn't use wildshape in combat (using it to scout instead), and also her spells prepared give her little ability to do much BUT throw scimitars, so it's relatively reasonable to make that kind of statement, if we take it as read that there's a kind of hyperbole inherent to statements like that.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Jormengand View Post
    What she did is also mentioned: it says that she didn't use wildshape in combat (using it to scout instead), and also her spells prepared give her little ability to do much BUT throw scimitars, so it's relatively reasonable to make that kind of statement, if we take it as read that there's a kind of hyperbole inherent to statements like that.
    Scouting is a strong use for wild shape, so I have no problem with that.

    ... but are you really saying that the 3.0e D&D playtest had exactly one person play each class, with exactly one character per player, and that's all the playtesting which was ever done?

    That's two extraordinary claims, and the evidence is ... inference via sample character stat blocks?!

    Do you have any idea how many mistakes appear in sample character stat blocks?

    They're probably the single least reliable source printed in 3.x

    You can't trust them to get simple arithmetic correct.

    Inferences from on sample characters stat blocks is a terrible foundation for any argument.

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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
    but are you really saying that the 3.0e D&D playtest had exactly one person play each class, with exactly one character per player, and that's all the playtesting which was ever done?
    Show me where I argued that, because the closest I'm seeing is when danielxcutter said "The druid playtester" instead of "A druid playtester" and I sorta agreed with him on a different point therefore I must be intrinsically bound to everything he says to the letter.

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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
    Scouting is a strong use for wild shape, so I have no problem with that.

    ... but are you really saying that the 3.0e D&D playtest had exactly one person play each class, with exactly one character per player, and that's all the playtesting which was ever done?

    That's two extraordinary claims, and the evidence is ... inference via sample character stat blocks?!

    Do you have any idea how many mistakes appear in sample character stat blocks?

    They're probably the single least reliable source printed in 3.x

    You can't trust them to get simple arithmetic correct.

    Inferences from on sample characters stat blocks is a terrible foundation for any argument.
    To be fair, statblocks for the "Iconics" are probably a reasonably fair estimation of WotC's expected optimization levels.
    For that matter, it's fairly well established that WotC, or rather the writers, are fairly crap at optimization. As the writers would presumably have been somewhat heavily involved in playtesting, it's a reasonable extension that playtest optimization was fairly low.


    We do also know that WotC's center of balance for a 4-member party was nominally "sword and board fighter", "blasting wizard", "mostly healbot cleric", and a rogue (not sure how the stereotypical rogue is supposedly played).


    I admit, primarily using throwing scimitars is a new one, but I have heard that the Druid playtester(s) didn't use Wild Shape for combat much, and didn't really use the animal companion as well as they could have.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Jormengand View Post
    Show me where I argued that, because the closest I'm seeing is when danielxcutter said "The druid playtester" instead of "A druid playtester" and I sorta agreed with him on a different point therefore I must be intrinsically bound to everything he says to the letter.
    It wasn't you, and I suspect you're far too smart to say anything of the sort, since I've seen you both do math.

    So I'm not sure why you jumped in and defended someone who was saying something indefensible. If you're not defending the specific statement that I'm calling absurd, then what are you trying to accomplish in this conversation?

    Here's what was said:
    Quote Originally Posted by danielxcutter View Post
    Considering that the Druid playtester reportingly did nothing but throw scimitars, I'd say that "low-op" was the yardstick the designers used for core - which is why 99% of it falls apart whenever somebody optimizes any more than taking EWP: Spiked chain.
    The trouble is that sometimes even smart people like Jormengand say hyperbolic things in the heat of an argument, and then people like danielxcutter take that hyperbole as unvarnished truth -- and spread it in earnest, thinking that it's a fact.

    How can we raise the level of discussion to where people don't treat rumors like facts, other than by demanding that extraordinary claims are in fact backed up by at least some kind of evidence? (Preferably extraordinary evidence, of course.)

    3e had multiple playtest groups, many playing for a year and a half each. It's outright absurd to assert that only one Druid was ever played, and any conclusion based on that assertion is unfounded.

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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
    3e had multiple playtest groups, many playing for a year and a half each. It's outright absurd to assert that only one Druid was ever played, and any conclusion based on that assertion is unfounded.
    I don't think that he's actually trying to argue that. I think you're just projecting that on him, mainly.

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

    To be honest, I was just repeating what I remembered. I suppose I should have been more clear about that, though getting it called BS from the very start was unamusing to say the least. The general point was that WotC either had no idea how to optimize, or they didn't care as long as the martials sucked.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Owlbear


    Owlbears!

    5 magical beast RHD, Large size, 21 strength and constitution, a trio of natural attacks, and improved grab with two of them? Nice. Animal-level intelligence, no reach, and a terrible equipment situation? Not so nice.

    +0 or +1? I suppose the owlbear's rating could go either way, but I'd like to point out that it's possible for an ECL 6 character to already have an owlbear as companion (Beast Heart Adept), and don't recall people considering such a PC incredibly strong. With that in mind, I'm going to put down a +0 here.

    Pegasi are next.
    Last edited by Inevitability; 2017-06-29 at 02:08 AM.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Funny, I was just reading the Amalgam template for PF, which specifically mentions that it can be used to make creatures in the vein of owlbears. Talk about coincidences.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Well at the very least it doesn't get -0 compared to so many other iconic monsters.

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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
    Well at the very least it doesn't get -0 compared to so many other iconic monsters.
    Actually, I could see an argument for -0.

    If an Owlbear is possible as a not-OP companion for a Level 6 character ... that's sort of equivalent to spending your level 6 feat on Leadership and getting a Level 4 Cohort (who could well be a full-caster).
    Plus, the Owlbear is way more screwed for equipment and interactions with everything and everyone else.


    Pretty sure Swordsage is the only viable way to go with an Owlbear.


    But +0 is acceptable.
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    Post Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Owlbears are another sentimental favorite of mine as a monster.

    • Large magical beast; 5 RHD (full BAB and two good saves, so not the worst kind); Str +10, Dex +2, Con +10, Int -8, Wis +2; the hit to Int hurts, but those are some decent ability score for a melee type; +5 natural AC, 3 natural attacks, and Improved Grab. OK, aside from the 5 lost levels, this is a good chassis for a melee type. You can also (arguably) use weapons with those claws and get iteratives, but if you want a two-hander, you lose Improved Grab.
    • Scent is nice, but can be grabbed as a first level martial stance, so nothing Earth shattering.
    • Racial skills are useful but extremely limited - but with that massive hit to Int, skills aren't likely to be your thing anyway.
    • As they are (vaguely) humanoid in shape, you might get a lenient DM to let you use "normal" large armor, instead of specially modified.
    • Assuming you allow RHD to count towards Initiator levels (1/2 ratio), at LA +0 you could still (just) grab a 9th level maneuver.

    I like melee to have nice things. But large size, Improved Grab, and impressive physical stats (balanced against RHD and a massive hit to Int), I'm kind of leaning towards LA +1; however, I could be persuaded to LA +0 fairly easily.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Thurbane View Post
    Owlbears are another sentimental favorite of mine as a monster.[*]As they are (vaguely) humanoid in shape, you might get a lenient DM to let you use "normal" large armor, instead of specially modified.
    I really love Owlbears too, but there is no way I would allow them to wear normal, large-sized armor as a DM. Even monstrous humanoids require modified armor. An owlbear has wings, beast-like proportions, no neck... I just wouldn't fit.

    I suppose this has been answered earlier, but what are we supposed to do with the LA for non-intelligent monsters (such as Owlbears)? Can they even gain class levels? Even assuming they can by RAW, this doesn't seem right at all... And how would a player even roleplay them? You would need to react like an animal, which would be very simplistic and repetitive.
    Any way to bypass this limitation besides Awaken (since owlbears are magical beasts)? A +6 headband of intelligence maybe?

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

    Owlbears are not non-intelligent, they have an Int score of 2.

    AFAIK, only creatures of the Animal type are specifically restricted from rising above a 2 Int (without changing type). As Magical Beasts, Owlbears would simply have a -8 Int penalty. If you stuck an 18 base score in there, they could be about as intelligent as your average Human.

    Also, this thread (and it's predecessor) have also assigned LA to non-intelligent creature (Int --), so even if it were limited to 2 Int (which, as above, it technically isn't), it would still be playable (in the context of the purpose of this thread).

    As to the humanoid shape of an Owlbear, it largely depends on the artists drawing it. Some draw it ambling about on all fours, others as bipedal; some depict it's forelimbs as being wing-like, others as much more similar to bears. I admit it's a stretch, but in a game where a DM let you play an Owlbear to begin with, he might be willing to throw you a bone with your armor...

    [edit] Also, I'm not aware of any default rule for Monstrous Humanoids requiring special armor? Some creatures of this type are identical to Humanoids in shape. I mean, something like a Centaur or Gargoyle would be an obvious exception to this rule, but things like Grimlocks and Medusas don't vary much from Humanoid norms - at least no more than, say, the differences between the build of a Dwarf and an Elf. [/edit]

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

    Dragon magazine #274 mentions that there were - eventually - over 100 groups composed of close to 600 individuals involved in playtesting.

    The same magazine also has this bit:
    Quote Originally Posted by Power Play, by Sean K. Reynolds
    Bless weapon + Improved Critical
    Using this feat with a weapon under the influence of this spell doubles the frequency of its critical hits against evil foes (since every threat is automatically a critical hit).
    It's not that potent of a combo to begin with, since, apparently, it's available at level 14 only (3.0 paladin spell), but he's also flat-out wrong on the math.

    I think it's safe to say that WotC and most of the playtesters had an optimization level close to zero. At release, that isn't so obvious to anyone involved, but of course the power of 3.0 haste become obvious pretty soon after, and it's worth asking yourself why it was never caught in the playtest.



    OT: Agreed on +0 for the owlbear, -0 would also be acceptable.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Jury's out on whether an owlbear can wear human armor, but could I persuade a DM to let one use not uncommon bear armor?
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    That is so stupid it's hilarious.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by No brains View Post
    Jury's out on whether an owlbear can wear human armor, but could I persuade a DM to let one use not uncommon bear armor?
    Bear armor?
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  28. - Top - End - #928
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Baby Gary View Post
    why does WotC give monsters so many bad hit die?
    I'd assume because they design monsters differently than PCs. Monsters need a few neat, ideally unique or memorable tricks, and they need to be able to survive for long enough to use them; that's about it. PCs, on the other hand, need a wide variety of tricks for a wide variety of situations, and a wider variety as they go up in level. (Um...sorry, fighters.) To put it somewhat differently—monsters need a roughly constant (and low) number of fun tricks and rapidly-escalating durability, while PCs need a constantly-escalating number of fun tricks (unless you're a fighter or someone else WotC screwed over) and generally-more-slowly-escalating durability. As to why so many big, dumb monsters get huge LAs...
    Quote Originally Posted by Random Sanity View Post
    WotC wouldn't know balance if it landed on their heads.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Blade Wolf View Post
    Because Wotc doesn't want PCs to play monsters is my guess.
    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    You're a fighter or someone else WotC screwed over.

    Quote Originally Posted by danielxcutter View Post
    Plus I also heard stuff about someone on the dev team being biased towards Wizards and intentionally made them better than martials even after the failure of Core, but I forget the details.
    Wizards of the Coast being biased towards wizards? Not surprising.


    Quote Originally Posted by javcs View Post
    We do also know that WotC's center of balance for a 4-member party was nominally "sword and board fighter", "blasting wizard", "mostly healbot cleric", and a rogue (not sure how the stereotypical rogue is supposedly played).
    Point him in the direction of obstacles made for the rogue to handle and wait until he's done?
    But the design foibles of the rogue are for another thread.


    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    3e had multiple playtest groups, many playing for a year and a half each. It's outright absurd to assert that only one Druid was ever played, and any conclusion based on that assertion is unfounded.
    I don't see how any of the conclusions made from the statement "The druid playtester focused on throwing scimitars" are made less accurate by the presence of other playtesters. Especially since the scimitar-thrower was apparently the one they thought was worth sticking in the book of playtest characters, suggesting that it was not especially terrible among playtest characters.


    Quote Originally Posted by No brains View Post
    Jury's out on whether an owlbear can wear human armor, but could I persuade a DM to let one use not uncommon bear armor?
    I question both the idea that bear armor is common and the idea that the wing-ey parts of owlbear forelimbs wouldn't require at least a little adjustment.
    Last edited by GreatWyrmGold; 2017-06-29 at 10:18 AM. Reason: Quoting yourself too much will make you go blind.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Blade Wolf View Post
    Ah, thank you very much GreatWyrmGold, you obviously live up to that name with your intelligence and wisdom with that post.
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    Negative LA Assignment Thread
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  29. - Top - End - #929
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Seriously considering replacing the previous entry's picture with this.

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    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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  30. - Top - End - #930
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    yes yes yes. you totally should, it looks about 1000000% better
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Cats View Post
    Oh wadda you know Gary, you're just a baby.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jormengand View Post
    Yes, but immunity to wizard and resistance to fighter kinda makes up for it.
    Quote Originally Posted by daremetoidareyo View Post
    It's all fun and games until you encounter the roc weremegalodon

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