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  1. - Top - End - #961
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    OrcBarbarianGirl

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    What if we did some short books before jumping back into another huge manual? Why not look at the few monsters from the likes of Heroes of Horror or Lords of Madness? We can use it as an exercise to adjust to really weird things like Unholy Scion.
    Quote Originally Posted by Petrocorus View Post
    This thread, Questions that can't be answered... Answered by RAW by No brains, is Epic.
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    That is so stupid it's hilarious.
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    ...I've clearly been playing D&D for too long, because that made a demented kind of sense.
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    And this is why I love D&D

  2. - Top - End - #962
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    WotC really over-valued a lot of things early on; flight and touch attacks seem to feature prominently on that list. A yrthak could be a fearsome boss monster for a level 5 party (21 average damage makes 4+4d4+10 HP wizard anxious) but against CR 12 encounters, it has almost nothing to offer. Everybody flies, everybody can hit really hard, the people that wanted to use ranged attacks have long since figured out how to get over 60ft range and how to fire multiple times per round.
    Most unlimited use abilities were also massively overvalued throughout pretty much all of 3.x. Plus blasting/evocation-esque abilities - those were overvalued too.
    Plus, physical combat ability was significantly overvalued too. Remember, a +2 Str is worth nets of -4 or more to mental stats, according to the guidelines.




    Quote Originally Posted by Dusk Raven View Post
    Ah, I see. For some reason I assumed you were drawing from more books. I guess the MM has a lot more monsters than I thought it did. Shows you what I know.
    Roughly 400 entries, not counting the various different size/age category subentries that didn't get their own entry in the Alphabetical Listing of the MM1.

    Three threads and a year and a half, and we're almost done with the "standard" monsters of the MM1 - just the various Yuan-ti and Zombies left, since there's no dissent on the Ythrak's lack of value as a PC. Then there's the "Animals" and "Vermin" sections.




    As for what next, MM2 is a logical choice. However, it could be a bit of a slog, and a change of pace might be worthwhile.
    If MM2 is not the next book, perhaps we should examine one of the splatbooks. Savage Species, perhaps. Or one of the "themed" books, either environmental or type.
    Perhaps alternating between MMs and splats.
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  3. - Top - End - #963
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by Celestia View Post
    Personally, I'd suggest finishing all the Monster Manuals before moving onto other books, but I'm kinda anal retentive like that. It's ultimately not my decision, though.
    agree with this tbh.

  4. - Top - End - #964
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    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    I would like to see all the MMs before others, as well. However, I would prefer to do MM3 before 2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    are you asking us to do research into a setting you wrote yourself?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    DMG 3.5e page 41:
    "If a player behaves in a way you don't want them to behave, talk to them about it. If they continue, stop playing with them. "
    By RAW, you have to stop playing with the guy.

  5. - Top - End - #965
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by No brains View Post
    What if we did some short books before jumping back into another huge manual? Why not look at the few monsters from the likes of Heroes of Horror or Lords of Madness? We can use it as an exercise to adjust to really weird things like Unholy Scion.
    I like this idea, but if more people prefer to do the other monster manuals first I shall conform to their wishes.
    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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  6. - Top - End - #966
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    I like this idea, but if more people prefer to do the other monster manuals first I shall conform to their wishes.
    Do all the less-horrible things before looking at MM2.

    For the completists in the audience: think of it as completing 3.5e before moving back to 3.0e content.

  7. - Top - End - #967
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    I agree with dipping splats before going back to the MMs.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    I like this idea, but if more people prefer to do the other monster manuals first I shall conform to their wishes.
    Well, depending on how much time reviewing a given entry takes you, what if we had a side thread where people could request specific non-MM creatures they'd like to see? That way, the non-MM monsters get some love, but only on request so you only need to the creatures people most want to see.
    Quote Originally Posted by Potato_Priest View Post
    Honestly, most players would get super excited about Zenob the god of crabs because it's eccentric. I know I would.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    MM2 sucks, let's do the other splats!

    My vote is for Tome of Battle - it would be interesting to swing from the very first monsters published for 3.5 to some of the very last. It'll also be easy to compare them to both well-balanced classes (the three initiators) and to one another.
    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    Greater
    \ˈgrā-tər \
    comparative adjective
    1. Describing basically the exact same monster but with twice the RHD.
    Quote Originally Posted by Artanis View Post
    I'm going to be honest, "the Welsh became a Great Power and conquered Germany" is almost exactly the opposite of the explanation I was expecting

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Yuan-Ti


    "The yuan-ti are descended from humans whose bloodlines have been mingled with those of snakes."

    Yeah, I don't really want to know how that works. Experimental druids?

    Anyways, yuan-ti. They have relatively little in common, not even their body type, but do all share the ability to Detect Poison at-will (a wand is what, 400 GP?), and turn into vipers ranging from Tiny to Large size (hello there, free poison!).

    Also, yuan-ti enjoy a smattering of exclusive game material, including a category of grafts, a subpar arcane casting class, and a divine casting class that would honestly be acceptable if it didn't make you eat so many RHD.

    Yuan-Ti Pureblood

    4 RHD monstrous humanoids with mildly increased stats (+2 dexterity, intelligence, and charisma). They have Alertness and Blind-Fight as bonus feats (meh), get a +1 bonus to natural armor, gain SR equal to class levels + 14, and can cast a number of low-level spells once per day. All in all, I'd call them a bit underwhelming, and just barely undeserving of +0 LA. -0 it is!

    Yuan-Ti Halfblood

    Seven monstrous humanoid HD this time, but a few additional abilities. Ability scores got increased across the board, especially mental ones. Halfbloods also have a poisonous bite attack that delivers constitution-damaging poison (not bad), the ability to add acid damage to future natural attacks (crap, as it's a standard action), a major bonus on Hide checks, and SLAs that are still underwhelming (Entangle is probably the best of the bunch). SR is 16, making it actually worse than what a pureblood of equal ECL would have.

    A few alternative halfbloods exist. Variant one gives up opposable thumbs and its bite attack for two new, weaker bite attacks, which is awful for obvious reasons. The second one is basically a free swim speed and the ability to constrict Small creatures, so there's no reason to not take it (not like it alters LA, but still), and the third one is the second with some land speed exchanged for climb speed and a slight buff to the constrict ability (probably not worth it).

    Honestly, I'm kind of disappointed by this monster. Mental scores are excellent, but it has only one useful SLA with a saving throw. Its other features seem to encourage grappling, except this thing has no Improved Grab, is medium-sized, and is no stronger than your average orc. The only remaining route is dealing dumb melee damage, which I can't recommend in good faith. -0 LA.

    Yuan-Ti Abomination

    9 RHD this time, and large size. Ability scores are better, though still somewhat lacking. At least these have Improved Grab.

    Chief of their magical abilities is Aversion, which makes people afraid of snakes and basically forces them to keep 20 ft. of distance at all times. It's a pretty potent debuff against melee brutes with low will saves, but then again so is a ton of other stuff by now.

    Constrict is okay, Produce Acid is still bad, the SLA repetoire got slightly more uses and has been expanded with 1/day Baleful Polymorph (would've been nice if the party casters weren't getting it by now as well). Their version Baleful Polymorph can only be used to turn people into snakes, which is admittedly kind of amusing when combined with Aversion.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, these guys are underwhelming. For their level and status, I'd expect at least some higher-level SLAs, or perhaps better strength. As they are now, I wouldn't recommend them. -0 LA.


    Do discuss!
    Last edited by Inevitability; 2019-09-11 at 04:42 AM.
    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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  11. - Top - End - #971
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    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Yuan-Ti are one of those races I've always liked, and I want them to be useful. Thankfully, do to their nature, being substandard choices for a PC race doesn't stop them from being effective campaign villains.

    If only the Purebloods had less racial hit dice... on that note, I should probably see if anyone has come up with rules for essentially trading away racial hit dice. Alternatively, if I were to play a Pureblood, I'd see if I could get my DM to remove the RHD. They don't really seem essential, and their abilities aren't really that much better than some 0-RHD races. Drow come to mind, they just get LA instead, which is more bearable for a PC for all but the earliest levels.
    Last edited by Dusk Raven; 2017-12-09 at 05:39 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Potato_Priest View Post
    Honestly, most players would get super excited about Zenob the god of crabs because it's eccentric. I know I would.

  12. - Top - End - #972
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    -0 -0 -0

    I would be better inclined to the pureblood with better stat adjustments, but Monstrous Humanoid tops out at 'just bad' rather than the 'extremely mediocre' of Magical Beast. Scaling SR is nice, but on the low end of average-HD+10. Not sure what else to say-in most circumstances besides saves, the pureblood will compare poorly to an LA 0 level 4 Fighter with decent feat selection, and that is never a good place to be.

    The other 2 are interesting-constrict on a playable character is rare, and extra movement modes as well as useful at-will poison are nice, but no way are they worth the massive chunk of RHD. I stand by my scores: -0 across the board.
    Last edited by ViperMagnum357; 2017-12-09 at 05:43 PM.

  13. - Top - End - #973
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    As a rule of thumb; if it has more HD than CR, it sucks as a PC.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post

    4 RHD monstrous humanoids with mildly increased stats (+2 dexterity, intelligence, and charisma). They have Alertness and Blind-Fight as bonus feats (meh), get a +1 bonus to natural armor, gain SR equal to class levels + 14, and can cast a number of low-level spells once per day. All in all, I'd call them a bit underwhelming, though probably deserving of +0 LA.
    What does a pureblood get that justifies 4 class levels lost? Their spells are rubbish and don't scale, turning into a CR2 snake is no great party trick (wowie zowie, scent and 20ft swim speed!)
    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    Greater
    \ˈgrā-tər \
    comparative adjective
    1. Describing basically the exact same monster but with twice the RHD.
    Quote Originally Posted by Artanis View Post
    I'm going to be honest, "the Welsh became a Great Power and conquered Germany" is almost exactly the opposite of the explanation I was expecting

  15. - Top - End - #975
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Purebloods are worth their 4 RHD.

    At-will Alternate Form into Tiny / Small / Medium / Large is solid. That would be a valid PrC benefit. Not as good as it could be -- it won't get you into Warshaper, for example -- but solid. It's even got skill utility, thanks to snake racials:
    Quote Originally Posted by SRD
    Skills

    Snakes have a +4 racial bonus on Hide, Listen, and Spot checks and a +8 racial bonus on Balance and Climb checks. A snake can always choose to take 10 on a Climb check, even if rushed or threatened. Snakes use either their Strength modifier or Dexterity modifier for Climb checks, whichever is higher. A snake has a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hazard. It can always choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. It can use the run action while swimming, provided it swims in a straight line.
    SR 10+HD is decent. You can improve it, too.

    Having charm person as an SLA is half-decent at low levels, and at higher levels it can help unlock Mindbender.

    +2 Dex, +2 Int, +2 Cha => net +6, not terrible.


    Halfbloods, let's see...

    Scent, Chameleon power (+10 to Hide checks), acid body thing which is only useful if you're disguised as a Tiny viper hiding in someone's hat, BAB +7 from RHD, some SLAs including suggestion, and your ability scores -- oh, my:

    +4 Str, +2 Dex, +2 Con, +8 Int, +8 Wis, +6 Cha => net +30, that's really quite nice. You're set for Divine Crusader, decent for Ur-Priest, or (if you can convince your DM that you're Human enough) brilliant as a Chameleon.

    It's a challenge to make a 7 RHD race work, but this one provides some decently synergistic advantages. For example: Scent is a form of Blindsense, and with free Blind-Fight you've got a better than normal chance of landing a touch spell or ray attack. Another example: Tiny snakes have a +12 bonus to Hide, and chameleon power gets you another +10. Every single Yuan-Ti Halfblood can snake-sneak.


    Abominations, hmm.

    Compared to Halfbloods, the stats are marginally better, and the RHD are marginally worse.




    Verdict:
    - Purebloods are solid LA +0.
    - Halfbloods are worse and more challenging ... borderline LA -0, might be +0 in a low-tier game.
    - Abominations are Halfbloods except moreso... borderline LA -0, might be +0 in a low-tier game.

  16. - Top - End - #976
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    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Snake-people-wise, I prefer anthropomorphic constrictors. Much better stats than yuan-ti. Agreed with LA -0 for all (SR is not good enough for four levels of crap).

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    My vote is for Tome of Battle
    Well, I certainly don't mind this one! It's only a handful of monsters, so it should fit plenty fine between any Monster Manuals.

    I'd suggest the Draconomicon, but those are all going to end up with LA +0 anyway, so... Lords of Madness? Lords of Madness is one of my favourite books, and provides a good excuse to rate the psionic aboleth and mind flayer (we already did the nonpsionic ones). Expanded Psionics Handbook works for the same, too, plus psionic elder brains!
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    Read ExLibrisMortis' post...

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    Libris: look at your allowed sources. I don't think any of your options were from those.
    My incarnate/crusader. A self-healing crowd-control melee build (ECL 8).
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  17. - Top - End - #977
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    I would love to see the Fiend Folio reviewed next, but Iím not terribly invested.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ViperMagnum357 View Post
    I think I would agree with Boggartbae

  18. - Top - End - #978
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    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    What if we swung through the alternative systems, hitting psionics, the tomes, and incarnum before hitting the MM3?

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lans View Post
    What if we swung through the alternative systems, hitting psionics, the tomes, and incarnum before hitting the MM3?
    That could be fun. I do agree that we want to avoid any books that are a foregone conclusion, like Draconomicon. It is also more interesting to do books that include some races (like drow or bugbear) that WotC's designers considered playable races to some extent, as well as some races that don't even have listed LAs. "It doesn't have hands and can't speak so its LA should be lower" is a boring argument to have once, never mind 300 times.
    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    Greater
    \ˈgrā-tər \
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    1. Describing basically the exact same monster but with twice the RHD.
    Quote Originally Posted by Artanis View Post
    I'm going to be honest, "the Welsh became a Great Power and conquered Germany" is almost exactly the opposite of the explanation I was expecting

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    That could be fun. I do agree that we want to avoid any books that are a foregone conclusion, like Draconomicon. It is also more interesting to do books that include some races (like drow or bugbear) that WotC's designers considered playable races to some extent, as well as some races that don't even have listed LAs. "It doesn't have hands and can't speak so its LA should be lower" is a boring argument to have once, never mind 300 times.
    It would be very useful to have a baseline non-humanoid capability pricing guide.

  21. - Top - End - #981
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    We could do the Epic Level Handbook, for the lulz. See how many of the "epic monsters" are really worth touching with the proverbial 10ft pole. I'm guessing most will probably be LA -0.


    As for the Yuan-ti ...

    Alertness and Blindfight are sometimes prereq feat taxes, so not needing to spend a feat on them would be good -o therwise, they're DCFS fodder; although Blindfight is probably going to be useful in its own right every now and then.
    Detect Poison is, at best, a situationally useful spell, and otherwise generally forgotten.
    Alternate form to a Tiny-to-Large size Viper isn't bad, but usually only good for going Tiny to scout or hide - does your gear transform with you? Does it meld into your body and be useless or does it get left behind? If the latter, it's much less useful than the former.
    Yuan-ti do have some exclusive options going for them. On the other hand, as far as I know, most Yuan-to goodies are in one of the most commonly banned books of 3.x - Serpent Kingdoms.

    Purebloods - Decidedly underwhelming racial ability modifiers, but at least no negatives. SR 10+HD isn't bad either, but it's the low side of average, before LA boosts your ECL.
    Pureblood Favored Class: Ranger ... They'd make not-terrible rangers, but I'd probably rather play a PHB-race Ranger, since I'd have 4 levels of ranger class abilities.
    Also, RHD>CR = never a good sign. 4 Monstrous Humanoid RHD aren't terrible, but they're not particularly good either.
    Verdict - Probably +0. In the right campaign, maybe a +1.

    Halfblood - Spell resistance 16 that doesn't scale starts out underwhelming and only gets worse. 7 RHD. CR of 5. Nice racial ability modifiers in the abstract, but too many RHD to really take advantage of the combined +22 to mental ability scores, except maybe through going Ur-Priest.
    A 7RHD melee type with Strength 15, Dex 13, and Con 13, isn't worth it.
    It can pull a quasi-decent melee-ambush alpha strike, but it's probably worse than a Rogue 7 in the same situation. As for getting into melee range for that ambush, it's probably a wash, since while the Halfblood has the Chameleon power to boost its Hide check, the Rogue has Move Silently as a class skill, unlike the Halfblood.
    Verdict - Probably -0.

    Abomination - Spell resistance 18 that doesn't scale starts out underwhelming and only gets worse. 9 RHD, CR of 7. Respectable racial ability mods, but there's not much ability to take advantage of those racial ability modifiers. It's abilities are decidedly underwhelming for level 9. Has some abilities that could contribute to a grapple-build, but that's not exactly something that's going to warp the game around it.
    Verdict - Probably -0.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    What does DCFS stand for?

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by Caelestion View Post
    What does DCFS stand for?
    I think it stands for Dark Chaos Feat Swap. If I remember right, there were 2 spells, (reject the dark chaos and embrace the dark chaos) that let you swap feats for those in a certain set. If a player uses both those spells, they can effectively retrain any feats they have, including racial bonus feats. It can let an elf swap their starting weapon proficiency for any other 4 feats they qualify for.

    I'm not sure if it really works by RAW or if any DMs will allow it, but we can speculate on that in another thread. I just wanted to clarify what DCFS was.
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    That is so stupid it's hilarious.
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    ...I've clearly been playing D&D for too long, because that made a demented kind of sense.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by Caelestion View Post
    What does DCFS stand for?
    Dark Chaos Feat Shuffle.

    From Fiendish Codex I, the spells Embrace the Dark Chaos and Shun the Dark Chaos. In essence, you get to swap any feat you have for any feat you qualify for. Both spells have instantaneous duration, so it's a permanent swap. They're level 8 Cleric/Sorcerer/Wizard spells that each cost 250xp to cast, but they're handy for getting rid of crappy bonus feats and getting better/more useful feats in exchange.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by javcs View Post
    Dark Chaos Feat Shuffle.

    From Fiendish Codex I, the spells Embrace the Dark Chaos and Shun the Dark Chaos. In essence, you get to swap any feat you have for any feat you qualify for. Both spells have instantaneous duration, so it's a permanent swap. They're level 8 Cleric/Sorcerer/Wizard spells that each cost 250xp to cast, but they're handy for getting rid of crappy bonus feats and getting better/more useful feats in exchange.
    though they only get really nuts if you have a way to eat the XP cost, like Dweomerkeeper or a Rod of Excellent Magic.

    If we want a few baselines for what WOTC considered 'playable', then Dragons of Krynn has 10 varieties of Draconian with official LA-some are natural casters, some have solid SLAs and (Su), and a couple have straight up class features of a specific class equal to their RHD-hard to get a better baseline than that.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by ViperMagnum357 View Post
    though they only get really nuts if you have a way to eat the XP cost, like Dweomerkeeper or a Rod of Excellent Magic.

    If we want a few baselines for what WOTC considered 'playable', then Dragons of Krynn has 10 varieties of Draconian with official LA-some are natural casters, some have solid SLAs and (Su), and a couple have straight up class features of a specific class equal to their RHD-hard to get a better baseline than that.
    If you're willing to embrace Evil, there's always ritual sacrifice to get around the XP costs.

    Entertainingly, while Embrace the Dark Chaos requires to to select an Abyssal Heritor feat, it is not an [Evil] spell - it is a [Chaotic] one.


    I don't think that Dragons of Krynn is actually first party from WotC, the way the Dragonlance Campaign Setting book is.

    I think it's fairly clear that WotC's sense of playable balance is ... questionable at best. After all, they think the Yuan-ti Abomination is a character of ECL 16 (9RHD, +7 LA).
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  27. - Top - End - #987
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by javcs View Post
    If you're willing to embrace Evil, there's always ritual sacrifice to get around the XP costs.

    Entertainingly, while Embrace the Dark Chaos requires to to select an Abyssal Heritor feat, it is not an [Evil] spell - it is a [Chaotic] one.


    I don't think that Dragons of Krynn is actually first party from WotC, the way the Dragonlance Campaign Setting book is.

    I think it's fairly clear that WotC's sense of playable balance is ... questionable at best. After all, they think the Yuan-ti Abomination is a character of ECL 16 (9RHD, +7 LA).
    Like the rest of the Krynn line, the book has the WOTC logo with the ''official licensed product'' incorporated; not exactly 1st party, but at least WOTC glanced over it before it went to the printer-same deal as Kingdoms of Kalamar, without the notoriety.
    Last edited by ViperMagnum357; 2017-12-10 at 06:58 PM.

  28. - Top - End - #988
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by javcs View Post
    If you're willing to embrace Evil, there's always ritual sacrifice to get around the XP costs.
    Sadly dark craft experience points can only be used to craft items, not pay for spell components
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    Quote Originally Posted by ViperMagnum357 View Post
    I think I would agree with Boggartbae

  29. - Top - End - #989
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by Boggartbae View Post
    Sadly dark craft experience points can only be used to craft items, not pay for spell components
    You can craft items of Embrace/Shun The Dark Chaos. The XP cost makes them more expensive, sure, but ... it's still doable.
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  30. - Top - End - #990
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread III: Now in HD!

    Quote Originally Posted by javcs View Post
    You can craft items of Embrace/Shun The Dark Chaos. The XP cost makes them more expensive, sure, but ... it's still doable.
    Ya know, for a game that traditionally judges actions from a more LG perspective, I've noticed there's a lot of "anything can be accomplished with enough murder" in 3.X
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