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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Assorted 3.5 DM questions with explanation

    Before I get to my various questions, if any of my players are reading this please stop now.

    I want to thank everyone who has answered my previous questions on here and hopefully you guys can come through again with answers or inspiration.

    I will spoiler the lengthy explanation of the campaign up until this point.
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    The Campaign
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    The campaign is set in the Forgotten Realms. The year is 1374 DR, though I am still working out which events have and have not occurred in our campaign. I know for sure that the Time of Troubles occurred, Cyric has ascended, Shade has returned, and The Manshoon Wars have occurred. Thus far it has been primarily around Waterdeep on the Sword Coast. The characters are working for the Knights of the Shield trying to spread their influence into Waterdeep and further north and possibly East. There are two other ongoing quests that they are involved in. They are also trying to find an item that is important to Shar in return for an as yet unspecified divine favor and they are interested in finding out the identity of someone who wronged them in their mutual past (and presumably get revenge). So far the latter two haven't figured prominently into the plot and the first has consisted primarily of doing jobs for the City Watch (mainly outside the city). I have no idea how long these plots will run and am still finalizing the possible end games of each one.

    To better enable them to pursue their quest for Shar they were given rings by the Cleric that approached them. These rings allow them to pass as "normal" characters (immune to True Sight) and avoid alignment detection, but they can't be removed, have as of yet unknown properties, and force them to avoid killing one another.

    So far they have fought a Dragon, some Drow, a group of Vampires, some Golems, and an allied group consisting of the Cult of the Dragon and the Zhentarim. I am toying with the idea of pointing them North towards Neverwinter and Luskan.

    As some of you may realize by the mention of the Knights of the Shield and Shar, they are evil characters. Due to their need to gain legitimate influence in Waterdeep their more evil impulses have to be somewhat held in check or hidden. They have worked for the Knights of the Shield for a few years swiftly rising through their ranks due to their power and abilities. The group has some history of working together. This is why they were chosen for this mission.

    The Setup/Style of the sessions
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    We have been playing for about a year and a half. We are only able to meet once a month if we are lucky, though we usually play for the better part of 6-8 hours when we do. We have a group of 8 possible players though we have never had more than 5 at once (which presents a few problems). Things have mainly been the "kick in the door" style thus far though I have made attempts to add more roleplaying (and in fairness, part of the problem is on my end for not fleshing out characters). Some people in the group want to engage in roleplaying more while others seem indifferent to the concept. Given the infrequency of the meetups and everyone's newness to the game (and since I'm still not sure how long this will last and it is something of a test for possible later games) I have mainly been handling it like a video game and telling them to level up every so often instead of strictly tracking XP. They started on Level 5 and have just got to Level 10.

    The Characters
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    This is where some things have gone off the rails. For the record, I realize some of the mistakes I have made here.

    This whole game spun out of talking to some people about some of the possibilities in player creation. They liked some of the ideas and had never played D&D. Neither had I for that matter. I used to play the D&D minis skirmish game and have played Neverwinter Nights 2 quite a bit, along with buying a number of 3.5 source books to better understand the game that the skirmish game was built on. So, the players were interested in playing evil characters and I went along with it (I don't see the problem in it if they don't play Evil Stupid). Then one player wanted to play a Vampire. I noticed it had an LA of +8 before I realized that was probably too high for what the Vampire gets and before I knew about things like LA buyoff and Monster Classes like in Savage Species. So to me this meant the other players would need to be LA +8 (they were already going to have level adjustments due to wanting to play monsters and template creatures so it was primarily a matter of determining how high they could go). On top of that he wanted to be a Drow Vampire. So that was another +2. I decided the limit would be +10. Although to somewhat level things I still had to give him some Hit Dice since everyone else took monsters that started with Racial Hit Dice. I also said that I wasn't too concerned about how exactly templates were supposed to stack. It's a magic world and anything is possible was my reasoning, although most of them came up with some kind of reasoning for their backstories. To add to this, I also have a character that I run.

    Character specifics
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    We have the following characters:
    An Ulitharid with the Lolth-Touched template, Mind Mage.

    Building off of an idea I came across in one of the books mentioning the Illithid, the character was a Netherese Wizard who replicated the means of surviving the Illithid implantation and becoming an Illithid (his memories/soul/etc. in the new Illithid body). Then shortly after transforming himself into the more powerful Ulitharid he was attacked by the groups common enemy that they are seeking out. The attack left him with his memories scrambled along with the Illithid knowledge/racial memories/personality trying to assert itself leaving him with a voice that is poisoning his mind and feeding his negative impulses (though he was evil to start with) as the two sets of personalities slowly merge. He is trying to find his wife who's fate is unknown. He has found his daughter who he has used to mentally steady himself by reading her mind for memories of himself. Beyond finding his wife and seeking revenge he is still continuing his quest for power.

    A Rakshasa with the Half-Dragon Template, primarily Sorcerer (going Frost Mage) with some levels of Monk.

    Using the 4th Edition Deva/Rakshasa lore, this character was a Deva who was slipping to the dark side. He chose to work with the character who wronged most of us in the past (we haven't clarified in what capacity yet and the other don't know this) in return for greater power. This came in the form of the Half-Dragon Template which also merged the essence of the (Black) Dragon with the Deva sealing his fate to be reincarnated as a Rakshasa for having fallen into Evil. He seeks revenge because he's pretty sure he got screwed.

    A Midgard Dwarf with the Two-Headed Template (and something else I think), Cleric of Bane.

    She was a Zhentarim member before the Cyricists rose to power. She fled West towards the Sword Coast after they took over the Zhentarim and she took up with the Knights of the Shield. She too seeks revenge on the one who gave her a second head.

    A Redspawn Arcannis with the Two-Headed Template (and possibly something else), Sorcerer with some levels of Rogue.

    She is trying to figure out where she fits in with everything. The Dragonspawn are only now appearing in any real numbers. She feels betrayed as she believes she was left behind to be experimented upon by our common foe. She is also driven by a lust for treasure.

    A Drow Vampire Warmage

    He was liberated when the rest of our group destroyed his master on a mission for the Knights of the Shield. He took a ring that was in his master's possession that allows him to circumvent some of the limitations of being a Vampire and joined our group as thanks for freeing him.

    A Greater Doppleganger (had to come up with an LA since it didn't have one) with I believe Half-Fey and Unseelie Fey (though I am probably going to have him drop this one as it seems to be somewhat overpowered for a LA+0) Rogue with Monk levels.

    He, like the Ulitharid, has serious memory issues. His are brought on from a combination of the experiments and the nature of his identity assumption abilities. He too wants revenge. He is also trying to build a secretive power base in Waterdeep and possibly make a move on the Underworld.

    And two others who are rarely there.

    The characters are primarily bound by their common desire to get revenge on their mutual enemy and their quest for Shar (one of the parameters of that quest is that they are unable to try to kill one another). Their allegiance to the Knights of the Shield is born out of convenience and possibly repaying the debt of being liberated from a laboratory/torture chamber by them. Eventually double crossing them is quite likely. I have been trying to encourage everyone to think like evil characters and try to develop their own schemes and plots. My character (the Ulitharid) and the Doppleganger are trying to do so.

    One of the limits I put in place was that characters with innate spellcasting/manifesting that stacks with character levels could not exceed the current character level. I allowed everyone to rebuild their character on level 9 after they had used them for a while and had a better idea of what was and wasn't working. This allowed for a little bit of wiggle room with that stipulation. That is why the Redspawn and Rakshasa have non caster levels. The Ulitharid was capped at manifesting as a Psion Level 8 so that after the one Psion Level (at character level 8) he was effectively a 9th Level Psion (the first Mind Mage Level is a dead level for the Psionic half).


    Encounters
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    Due to their levels and LAs it has been difficult to design encounters that are something other than "cake walk", "slug fest", or "possible TPK" (that hasn't happened as I have been somewhat holding back). I have been using the generic Fighters, Wizards (without going too overboard on the spells as I am trying to pin down what they can and can't handle), etc. in the DMG with some minor tweaks along with monsters from the MMs and the stats on the back of some of the Skirmish game cards for opposition. The first few battles were cake walks as I had no idea what they could handle. Now they are mostly slug fests where our characters can't kill the enemies real quickly and they have trouble even hurting us. Again, I am still trying to narrow down the limits of these characters, but the other issue is that just about everyone seems to want to fight in melee no matter what class they are. The spellcasters use the occasional spell but they seem to think they can do more damage with weapons (and in terms of HD damage they are probably right, though at least one is starting to come around to the other possibilities of magic). The only two characters that seem to really be able to put the hurt on enemies is the party rogue and my character (a Mind Mage), and I try to hold back so as not to overshadow the others.

    Right now I am trying to build more fleshed out generic bad guys who are similarly built and geared as our characters so I am hoping that helps make things more interesting. The issue of everyone charging into melee I am trying to solve by talking to them and explaining what they can do aside from swing swords.

    The potentially big issue though is the wealth issue. I started off by using the tables in the DMG and the possessions on the enemies. Given the level of people our characters can fight this has generated quite a bit of wealth for them. I also didn't fully understand a few things at the start as far as selling items and enchanting items so they got more money than they should have and were able to spend it more efficiently than they should have. That is in the past now and I don't want to penalize them for my mistakes, but I have told them that I am going to cut down on the wealth they get from encounters and that I am going to enforce the rules I was getting wrong. The damage is probably already done but I can hopefully keep it from getting worse. Although, they are probably under WBL for their ECL but with me not being able to challenge them more effectively it is still an issue.

    So, I have characters with massive LAs, they are evil, we meet infrequently, the number and composition of the possible players playing is unknown right up until we actually start, we aren't really tracking XP, they may have too much treasure, and I am playing a character while DMing. I think I could have tried to hit a few more bad ideas along the way but this is my first time.


    Other threads where I have posed questions that I am always looking for more info/advice/inspiration about:
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    Assorted 3.5 Psionic, Mind Flayer, and Epic questions
    Psionic item pricing/function
    3.5 Teleportation Questions
    Plane Shift questions
    Buying Feats
    Savage Species Questions
    3.5 Monster Advancement Questions
    Forgotten Realms novels to game
    Epic Levels Question

    On the topic of buying feats I am probably going to allow it but given their respective wealth at this point I am going to limit the number (every other level maybe?) and the price will definitely be higher than the one in the thread (probably 50,000gp or 100,000gp).


    So, I think that sums up the relevant backstory to how I find myself in my present situation. As I said, I know of a lot of the mistakes I have made up to this point so no need to point out the ones I already mentioned. I would like to try to keep things moving with this campaign with this much time invested in it and so far everyone is enjoying themselves. Any general advice is always appreciated though.

    The characters have a keep and paying upkeep on it is going to start taking a chunk out of their loot. I am not allowing wish chaining shenanigans (though honestly I am probably the only one playing a spellcaster that even knows it's possible) and trying to avoid infinite wealth generation schemes.

    Now for some assorted questions about areas I know are problems and to make sure I am doing things right.

    1) If a character has the Ascetic Rogue feat (and a combination of Monk and Rogue levels) and a Monk's Belt do the belt and the feat stack in terms of improving unarmed strike damage?

    2) Is essentially every unarmed attack a Monk makes an unarmed strike? As in is it the main attack and the iterative attacks or is it a specific attack like a Claw or Tail attack?

    3) When a character has multiple templates and they all mention increasing their natural armor, do those all stack?

    4) Are there any Bane-centric Prestige Classes or PrCs that are thematically compatible with Bane that I might advise the Cleric of Bane to look at?

    5) Are there any good Sorcerer PrCs that would go good with the Redspawn Arcannis?

    6) If I were to go down the road of allowing the PCs to get ahold of Artifacts, what level is that an even remotely good idea? I assume that varies per artifact.

    7) Any ideas on an Epic Progression for the Mind Mage? It's abilities don't really present any obvious ways to advance them beyond the initial 10 levels that I see.

    8) The Ulitharid has a few possible goals. In keeping with his emerging Illithid nature that couples nicely with his Netherese contempt for others he is pursuing means of acquiring slaves and subordinates, but he is paranoid and wants absolute loyalty. One avenue I have looked into is Voidminds. Another is Mind Seeding people. Another is Simulacrums. And finally there is straight up Dominating people. One way to merge all of this I have considered is creating some kind of Hive Mind with him as some kind of overmind controlling it and issuing psychic commands through it. Is there any way to achieve this? Barring that, is there an effective way to create a pyramid of control where he can communicate with his direct subordinates over any distance?

    9) I'm probably going to try to merge the rules for organizations, guilds, businesses, Leadership, and possibly bits of the stronghold rules into something more cohesive to cover the kind of organization they are trying to establish. Any suggestions on this front would be appreciated.

    10) With the current set up, is there anything I should absolutely avoid/disallow to stop things from sliding further?

    I'm sure I will have more questions as time goes on and I recall more of why I started this thread. Thanks in advance for any help or constructive criticism.

    Edit to add questions 11-14 and clarify question 8:
    11) Is there any reason to not use the 3.0 Psionic power Thrall in 3.5? Either allowing it to be chosen or having it be researched to create.

    12) This is a holdover from another thread. Can an Illithid create two simulacrums of itself and then the 3 of them combine their abilities to create Voidminds (which require 3 Illithids to create)?

    13) On the player front, the rogue is generally dishing out the most damage in melee and is quite hard to hit (and subsequently damage). The few times I have had enemies that can reliable harm him he has been nearly killed. That has been by having a magic user target his weak save with spells that do tremendous damage. The issue is that in melee if someone can hit him they can easily hit just about everyone else and I would prefer to not just keep blasting him with spells that might end up killing him without meaning to. Is there a way to reliably overcome high AC (aside from a high to-hit bonus) or to bring down his reflex save to mortal levels? I don't want to have to design enemies specifically to counter him if I can help it.

    14) If an item grants a feat can the character who possesses it take other feats that have the item-granted feat as a prerequisite? For instance a Ring of Evasion grants the Evasion feat. Can someone using one use that feat to meet the prerequisite for another feat requiring Evasion?

    Question 8 clarification: Unless the Ulitharid becomes the villain down the road question 8 is largely for role playing purposes. He very likely won't be rolling into the dungeon with an army of slaves, thralls, and subordinates leading the charge.

    Edit to add question 15:
    15) Given the high LA of the characters, would it (in general) be better for me to try to create monsters/characters to fight them by building similar things (high LA, similar class level) or by going with higher class levels or higher CR monsters? I have been trying the latter 2 and I am still not sure where the sweet spot is on that idea and I don't want to go way overboard. I'm thinking the former idea is best (make their challenges similar to how they were made) but any and all advice is appreciated.

    Edit to add questions 16-20:
    16) If the player of the Redspawn Arcannis (mainly) Sorcerer prefers to remain viable in melee, would the Eldritch Knight PRC be something worth considering or is there another PRC that does the same thing (or something fairly similar) only better (or with more flavor/better benefits)?

    17) How does the Skillful weapon property interact with Racial HD? For instance, the Ulitharid has this enchantment on his weapon. He has 12 RHD and 10 Character Levels (5 Wizard, 2 Guild Wizard of Waterdeep, 1 Psion, and 2 Mind Mage) and if my math is right he has a +13 BAB (+9 from RHD, +2 from Wizard 5, +1 from GWoW 2, +0 from Psion 1, and +1 from 2 levels in Epic Progression due to having over 20 HD). Skillful would give me the BAB of a Cleric of the same level. So do I use my character level (in which case it would be level 10), and if so do I add that onto my BAB from my 12 RHD? Or do I calculate it as if I had 22 HD of Cleric? Or do I go with a strict reading which says that my BAB is already above what a 10th level Cleric would have so it does nothing on that front? Or some other option?

    18) Since the Vampiric Mind Flayer isn't created by adding the Vampire template to a Mind Flayer (which I didn't notice until rereading the entry in Lords of Madness recently), will adding the Vampire template to a Mind Flayer just create a Mind Flayer Vampire or is there some other bizarre thing that results?

    19) In the Forgotten Realms, what is west of Waterdeep? Out in the ocean I mean. I mainly know about the primary continent. I know the Moonshaes are out there somewhere, but is there anything else? Islands, other continents?

    20) Can Metamagic Feats also work with Divine spells? I don't have much experience using Divine Casters so I had never really considered the possibility.

    21) Is there any information about how someone could become one of the Masked Lords in Waterdeep? This doesn't have to be limited to 3.5.

    21) I am at a loss as to what to advise the Cleric player to buy in terms of equipment/items. Beyond the usual "boost your stats" items, any recommendations? She's a Cleric of Bane for those who didn't go through the first post.

    22) Does a Ring of Magic Fang stack with the effects of a Necklace of Natural Attack (I think that's the name, the one that allows a Monk to enhance his attacks as if they were weapons)? I'm assuming no due to both being enhancement bonuses, but figured it was best to ask.

    23) Given the party's relatively high power level, are there any forms worth using Polymorph to become? Also, does the limit of what you can become with Polymorph cap at 15HD?

    24) This is just a general question. I see people mention that there are a number of save or die or save or suck spells. Is there a list of these somewhere? Likewise any kind of don't save just die or just suck type spells?
    Last edited by Tyrant; 2017-10-09 at 10:08 AM. Reason: Additional questions and a clarification

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Re: Assorted 3.5 DM questions with explanation

    Ok, I am at work now but I can answer a couple of questions so:

    1) Yes, they do stack for the purposes of Unarmed damage.
    2) No, unarmed strikes and natural attacks are two separate things, natural attacks do not get augmented by a monk's unarmed strike damage progression nor can they be used to deliver a stunning fist.

    Hope this helped, when I get back I'll try answer more questions.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Assorted 3.5 DM questions with explanation

    3) Depends on the template. Some say nothing, some say it will not stack, only use the better value.

    5) Plenty. Are you looking for more mechanical power, fluff, or a mix of the two and have many caster levels further are you willing to lose? Fun random example: take the guy into fiend blooded and claim he is a distant descendant of Ashardalon. The only reason the fiendish power emerged is because it got concentrated in him.

    6) It varies is correct. Many of DnDs artifacts are spiffy but not hugely game breaking. There are definite exceptions. I would advise giving them custom weapons of legacy instead if you have the book. Those have the decency to scale with you.

    7) IIRC Mind Mage is a nice, complete, PrC as is. If you want something though grant it bonus psi-spell/metamagic/metapsionic feats in epic. You may need to make more/epic ones.
    Last edited by ZamielVanWeber; 2017-09-17 at 07:40 AM.

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    Default Re: Assorted 3.5 DM questions with explanation

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrant View Post
    4) Are there any Bane-centric Prestige Classes or PrCs that are thematically compatible with Bane that I might advise the Cleric of Bane to look at?
    A couple ideas:

    Dreadmaster (Faith's and Pantheon's p188). The "official" Bane cleric PrC. Requires leadership feat. Be forewarned.


    zhentarim skymage (Lord's of Darkness p102). Hard to qualify for via Divine spellcasting but will advance it. Need to be a Zhent.

    Nar Demonbinder (Unapproachable East p 26). Unique casting progression, kinda fun.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    So now you're claiming that spellcasting "lacks a clear, supernatural element?" Being supernatural is literally the only point of magic.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Assorted 3.5 DM questions with explanation

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTheGap97 View Post
    2) No, unarmed strikes and natural attacks are two separate things, natural attacks do not get augmented by a monk's unarmed strike damage progression nor can they be used to deliver a stunning fist.
    I meant it as a comparison, not wondering if they overlap. In other words, is the Monk's Unarmed Strike the same as basically any unarmed attack he makes or is it a single attack like a claw or bite attack?
    Hope this helped, when I get back I'll try answer more questions.
    Thanks. Any help is appreciated.
    Quote Originally Posted by ZamielVanWeber View Post
    3) Depends on the template. Some say nothing, some say it will not stack, only use the better value.
    I will have to look through them a little closer then.
    5) Plenty. Are you looking for more mechanical power, fluff, or a mix of the two and have many caster levels further are you willing to lose? Fun random example: take the guy into fiend blooded and claim he is a distant descendant of Ashardalon. The only reason the fiendish power emerged is because it got concentrated in him.
    I'm looking for just about any idea. The Rakshasa is going into Frostmage so there's no point in there being two of them (and the Redspawn is Fire based). I've never delved too deeply into using a Sorcerer.
    6) It varies is correct. Many of DnDs artifacts are spiffy but not hugely game breaking. There are definite exceptions. I would advise giving them custom weapons of legacy instead if you have the book. Those have the decency to scale with you.
    I will have to look those over.
    7) IIRC Mind Mage is a nice, complete, PrC as is. If you want something though grant it bonus psi-spell/metamagic/metapsionic feats in epic. You may need to make more/epic ones.
    That was a thought I had. Something along the lines of the Cerebremancer with bonus feats. My other idea was along the lines of combining the Archmage and the Archpsion into a 10 level prestige class (Arch Mind Mage?) The base version doesn't have features that would obviously scale like some other PrCs.
    Quote Originally Posted by mattie_p View Post
    A couple ideas:

    Dreadmaster (Faith's and Pantheon's p188). The "official" Bane cleric PrC. Requires leadership feat. Be forewarned.
    Just to be clear, is the forewarning about the Leadership feat or some other aspect of the PrC?

    I will have to look at the three. Thanks.

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    Default Re: Assorted 3.5 DM questions with explanation

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrant View Post
    I meant it as a comparison, not wondering if they overlap. In other words, is the Monk's Unarmed Strike the same as basically any unarmed attack he makes or is it a single attack like a claw or bite attack?
    A monk can attack with any part of their body as an unarmed strike. They get iteratives just like if they were wielding a weapon. Natural weapons like a claw attack or a bite are not "unarmed strikes" for this purpose but a monk could choose to attack as an unarmed strike with the same body part as that natural weapon. Like say your monk had a Tail attack that deals 1d4 dmg. Your monks unarmed strike deals 1d6 dmg. Your monk could made an unarmed strike and say theyre using their tail but it would do 1d6 and function like an unarmed strike, so if their tail had poison or w/e it would not apply no matter how logically it should.

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    Default Re: Assorted 3.5 DM questions with explanation

    Leadership feat is the one single feat that is recommended by every handbook I can think of, regardless of class. Any player that can take it, should, and DMs are wise to think carefully before allowing it.

    That prestige class enhances the leadership feat, making it even better than usual.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    So now you're claiming that spellcasting "lacks a clear, supernatural element?" Being supernatural is literally the only point of magic.

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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Assorted 3.5 DM questions with explanation

    Quote Originally Posted by mattie_p View Post
    Leadership feat is the one single feat that is recommended by every handbook I can think of, regardless of class. Any player that can take it, should, and DMs are wise to think carefully before allowing it.

    That prestige class enhances the leadership feat, making it even better than usual.
    I see what you mean now that I look at it. I put conditions on the Leadership feat that have kept things in line so far. The player who would take this is probably my lowest concern as far as trying to game the system. Thanks for the suggestion and advice.

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    Default Re: Assorted 3.5 DM questions with explanation

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrant View Post
    Now for some assorted questions about areas I know are problems and to make sure I am doing things right.

    1) If a character has the Ascetic Rogue feat (and a combination of Monk and Rogue levels) and a Monk's Belt do the belt and the feat stack in terms of improving unarmed strike damage?

    2) Is essentially every unarmed attack a Monk makes an unarmed strike? As in is it the main attack and the iterative attacks or is it a specific attack like a Claw or Tail attack?

    3) When a character has multiple templates and they all mention increasing their natural armor, do those all stack?

    4) Are there any Bane-centric Prestige Classes or PrCs that are thematically compatible with Bane that I might advise the Cleric of Bane to look at?

    5) Are there any good Sorcerer PrCs that would go good with the Redspawn Arcannis?

    6) If I were to go down the road of allowing the PCs to get ahold of Artifacts, what level is that an even remotely good idea? I assume that varies per artifact.

    7) Any ideas on an Epic Progression for the Mind Mage? It's abilities don't really present any obvious ways to advance them beyond the initial 10 levels that I see.

    8) The Ulitharid has a few possible goals. In keeping with his emerging Illithid nature that couples nicely with his Netherese contempt for others he is pursuing means of acquiring slaves and subordinates, but he is paranoid and wants absolute loyalty. One avenue I have looked into is Voidminds. Another is Mind Seeding people. Another is Simulacrums. And finally there is straight up Dominating people. One way to merge all of this I have considered is creating some kind of Hive Mind with him as some kind of overmind controlling it and issuing psychic commands through it. Is there any way to achieve this? Barring that, is there an effective way to create a pyramid of control where he can communicate with his direct subordinates over any distance?

    9) I'm probably going to try to merge the rules for organizations, guilds, businesses, Leadership, and possibly bits of the stronghold rules into something more cohesive to cover the kind of organization they are trying to establish. Any suggestions on this front would be appreciated.

    10) With the current set up, is there anything I should absolutely avoid/disallow to stop things from sliding further?

    I'm sure I will have more questions as time goes on and I recall more of why I started this thread. Thanks in advance for any help or constructive criticism.

    Edit to add questions 11-14 and clarify question 8:
    11) Is there any reason to not use the 3.0 Psionic power Thrall in 3.5? Either allowing it to be chosen or having it be researched to create.

    12) This is a holdover from another thread. Can an Illithid create two simulacrums of itself and then the 3 of them combine their abilities to create Voidminds (which require 3 Illithids to create)?

    13) On the player front, the rogue is generally dishing out the most damage in melee and is quite hard to hit (and subsequently damage). The few times I have had enemies that can reliable harm him he has been nearly killed. That has been by having a magic user target his weak save with spells that do tremendous damage. The issue is that in melee if someone can hit him they can easily hit just about everyone else and I would prefer to not just keep blasting him with spells that might end up killing him without meaning to. Is there a way to reliably overcome high AC (aside from a high to-hit bonus) or to bring down his reflex save to mortal levels? I don't want to have to design enemies specifically to counter him if I can help it.

    14) If an item grants a feat can the character who possesses it take other feats that have the item-granted feat as a prerequisite? For instance a Ring of Evasion grants the Evasion feat. Can someone using one use that feat to meet the prerequisite for another feat requiring Evasion?

    Question 8 clarification: Unless the Ulitharid becomes the villain down the road question 8 is largely for role playing purposes. He very likely won't be rolling into the dungeon with an army of slaves, thralls, and subordinates leading the charge.

    1: Yes, they stack.

    2: Yes, they are unarmed strikes that make iterative attacks on a full attack and also act as natural attacks. Monks can make their full iterative attacks with UAS, then follow that up with their natural attacks, treating them as secondary attacks (although technically all attacks are supposed to go in an order that goes from highest attack bonus to lowest). Also, UAS can be affected by feats like 'Improved Natural Attack'.

    3: Yes, the natural attack bonuses stack, because they come from different sources.

    4: Bane has a number of prestige classes dedicated to him, thematically including most Zhentarim classes, since that was a city that venerated bane. There's also a powerful 'Chosen of Bane' template.

    5: ? (I'm away from my books right now)

    6: I agree... A lot of artifacts aren't really that powerful, and in a lot of cases are lackluster next to epic items. They might offer a non epic bonus, or spells without metamagic. They're more for you as a DM to add for story purposes. A lot of them are good aligned too, so in your case they'd be macguffins for your players to seek out to destroy, subvert, or prevent the good guys from having. Others might be to disrupt the group, like the Deck of Many Things. Or, if 'disjunction' gets out of hand, you could plant weak artifacts on opponents to threaten their spellcasting ability (and if they lose it, to start a new quest to get it back).

    7: I'd suggest switching to a new prestige class.

    8: This describes the Thrallherd class perfectly.

    9: I'd suggest keeping this to strictly roleplaying. because it's basically your new plaything in the game. It can be staffed with leadership or thrallherd NPCs, or even hired NPCs... and the hired or leadershipped ones are affected by morale. I'd suggest they keep them well paid, and equipping them and leveling them up can be a fun minigame for the players. Then, the different groups can do whatever it is they do, or come under attack, and how well they do will be dependent on how well the players managed the group! You mentioned you played NWN2... this is a lot like buying all your guards upgraded weapons and armor in that game.

    10: Stop it from sliding further... Well, if everyone's having fun, that's all good. I'd suggest not further restricting the players or their characters, but to have a number of ongoing threats. Not just individual monsters, but big organizations with a few powerful members (a mirror to the one you and your players are setting up in question nine, but more). These can be 'good', or rival evil organizations.

    11: I'd still suggest Thrallherd.

    12: Yes, they have all the abilities of the original, after all.

    13: There are a number of ways to do this, but the easiest is with touch attacks. Touch or range touch spells, weapons with the impaling property, incorporeal attacks, or a few martial maneuvers do this. Or brilliant energy weapons...

    14: Yes (although the example of evasion is more of a class feature). They have to make sure they always have the item if they want the later feat though.
    Last edited by Bronk; 2017-09-19 at 07:06 AM.

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    I appreciate the responses Bronk.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bronk View Post
    4: Bane has a number of prestige classes dedicated to him, thematically including most Zhentarim classes, since that was a city that venerated bane. There's also a powerful 'Chosen of Bane' template.
    Where would I find the Chosen of Bane?
    7: I'd suggest switching to a new prestige class.
    To keep advancing both spellcasting and manifesting the other option is Cerebremancer but it's pretty bland. I can live with the 2 dead casting/manifesting levels in Mind Mage due to the other perks so I would like to continue on with it or create something along the lines of it. One thought was merging Arch Mage and Arch Psion (or just alternate between levels of them I suppose) into a PrC that advances both sides at the same time (with a possible dead level or two to balance it out) while providing some of the options of the normal Arch Mage and Arch Psion class.
    9: I'd suggest keeping this to strictly roleplaying. because it's basically your new plaything in the game. It can be staffed with leadership or thrallherd NPCs, or even hired NPCs... and the hired or leadershipped ones are affected by morale. I'd suggest they keep them well paid, and equipping them and leveling them up can be a fun minigame for the players. Then, the different groups can do whatever it is they do, or come under attack, and how well they do will be dependent on how well the players managed the group! You mentioned you played NWN2... this is a lot like buying all your guards upgraded weapons and armor in that game.
    It will ultimately be 90%+ roleplaying. I just want to create some kind of unified framework to work from so the characters have direction in terms of advancing their goals and possibly see some (likely mild) tangible benefit to creating/running the various guilds, organizations, and businesses they are pursuing.
    10: Stop it from sliding further... Well, if everyone's having fun, that's all good. I'd suggest not further restricting the players or their characters, but to have a number of ongoing threats. Not just individual monsters, but big organizations with a few powerful members (a mirror to the one you and your players are setting up in question nine, but more). These can be 'good', or rival evil organizations.
    I have already started the set up for a few recurring threats. There were two different liches (with wildly different goals and outlooks) in their fight with the Cult of the Dragon (and the Cult themselves will almost definitely return for revenge) who will be reappearing.
    14: Yes (although the example of evasion is more of a class feature). They have to make sure they always have the item if they want the later feat though.
    I had assumed if it was the way things worked that it would require the item to be in use for them to get the benefit of the feat for which the item was providing the prerequisite, but thanks for pointing that out.

    I have a new general question (which I will edit into the first post):

    15) Given the high LA of the characters, would it (in general) be better for me to try to create monsters/characters to fight them by building similar things (high LA, similar class level) or by going with higher class levels or higher CR monsters? I have been trying the latter 2 and I am still not sure where the sweet spot is on that idea and I don't want to go way overboard. I'm thinking the former idea is best (make their challenges similar to how they were made) but any and all advice is appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrant View Post
    I appreciate the responses Bronk.
    You're welcome, I just hope I helped.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrant View Post
    Where would I find the Chosen of Bane?
    I believe it's in 'Faiths and Pantheons'. There's also a 'Chosen of Mystra', and somewhere online there's a giant list of homebrewed chosens.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrant View Post

    15) Given the high LA of the characters, would it (in general) be better for me to try to create monsters/characters to fight them by building similar things (high LA, similar class level) or by going with higher class levels or higher CR monsters? I have been trying the latter 2 and I am still not sure where the sweet spot is on that idea and I don't want to go way overboard. I'm thinking the former idea is best (make their challenges similar to how they were made) but any and all advice is appreciated.
    I can see doing that for the bosses, but if you did it for everything it would take up a lot of time. A lot of monsters don't go up in CR very quickly if you just add a lot of monster HD to toughen them up... if they don't go up a size category, they just last a bit longer in a fight without being that much more dangerous to your players.

    Oh, but you said in the spoilers that the fights had become slugfests... It looks like most of the players have magic at their disposal... maybe throw in some jacked up monsters with easy off buttons, like low dex monsters (dragons?) that can be taken out with shivering touch, or dumb monsters (titanic animals?) that can be taken out with ray of stupidity. Or maybe something that has a low save, that they can target if they know what it is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bronk View Post
    You're welcome, I just hope I helped.
    Yes you did. Thanks again to you and everyone else who has helped out.
    I can see doing that for the bosses, but if you did it for everything it would take up a lot of time. A lot of monsters don't go up in CR very quickly if you just add a lot of monster HD to toughen them up... if they don't go up a size category, they just last a bit longer in a fight without being that much more dangerous to your players.

    Oh, but you said in the spoilers that the fights had become slugfests... It looks like most of the players have magic at their disposal... maybe throw in some jacked up monsters with easy off buttons, like low dex monsters (dragons?) that can be taken out with shivering touch, or dumb monsters (titanic animals?) that can be taken out with ray of stupidity. Or maybe something that has a low save, that they can target if they know what it is.
    I guess what I am looking for is for the mooks to actually be able to hurt the PCs. Not kill or extremely cripple, but at least damage beyond the occasional really lucky shot. I know it will ultimately take a solution tailored for this group but any pointers or general advice is appreciated.

    The boss type battles I am probably just going to start making them like the PCs have been made so they are on the same level (well, probably a couple levels above due to there being one of them vs. a team)

    I have a few new questions to throw out here (and the updated first post).

    16) If the player of the Redspawn Arcannis (mainly) Sorcerer prefers to remain viable in melee, would the Eldritch Knight PRC be something worth considering or is there another PRC that does the same thing (or something fairly similar) only better (or with more flavor/better benefits)?

    17) How does the Skillful weapon property interact with Racial HD? For instance, the Ulitharid has this enchantment on his weapon. He has 12 RHD and 10 Character Levels (5 Wizard, 2 Guild Wizard of Waterdeep, 1 Psion, and 2 Mind Mage) and if my math is right he has a +13 BAB (+9 from RHD, +2 from Wizard 5, +1 from GWoW 2, +0 from Psion 1, and +1 from 2 levels in Epic Progression due to having over 20 HD). Skillful would give me the BAB of a Cleric of the same level. So do I use my character level (in which case it would be level 10), and if so do I add that onto my BAB from my 12 RHD? Or do I calculate it as if I had 22 HD of Cleric? Or do I go with a strict reading which says that my BAB is already above what a 10th level Cleric would have so it does nothing on that front? Or some other option?

    18) Since the Vampiric Mind Flayer isn't created by adding the Vampire template to a Mind Flayer (which I didn't notice until rereading the entry in Lords of Madness recently), will adding the Vampire template to a Mind Flayer just create a Mind Flayer Vampire or is there some other bizarre thing that results?

    19) In the Forgotten Realms, what is west of Waterdeep? Out in the ocean I mean. I mainly know about the primary continent. I know the Moonshaes are out there somewhere, but is there anything else? Islands, other continents?

    20) Can Metamagic Feats also work with Divine spells? I don't have much experience using Divine Casters so I had never really considered the possibility.

    21) Is there any information about how someone could become one of the Masked Lords in Waterdeep? This doesn't have to be limited to 3.5.

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    17). BAB would be +15. Epic progression does not increase BAB.

    18). Vampire template cannot be added to aberrations, only to humanoids or monstrous humanoids, so that's illegal by the RAW.

    20). Yes, metamagic feats can apply to divine magic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    So now you're claiming that spellcasting "lacks a clear, supernatural element?" Being supernatural is literally the only point of magic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattie_p View Post
    17). BAB would be +15. Epic progression does not increase BAB.
    Right. So his BAB (without the weapon enchantment) is +12 and then the Epic Attack Bonus is +1 then, right? I was just going off the character sheet and forgot that it doesn't actually increase his BAB.

    To be clear, are you saying the enchantment would make it +15? If so, would I then add the +1 Epic Attack Bonus (and any other modifiers obviously)? And is the reasoning that it takes RHD into account?
    18). Vampire template cannot be added to aberrations, only to humanoids or monstrous humanoids, so that's illegal by the RAW.
    Makes sense.

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    Yes, his BAB would be +15, +1 more for epic attack bonus (which affects nearly everything except extra iterative attacks), then other bonuses including the attack bonus from the weapon itself.

    The rationale behind this is that hit dice function as effective levels in the "monster class" that character is in. Gaining monster hit dice affects BAB, base saves, feats, skill points, etc. Note that level adjustment works in a similar fashion, and affects the ECL (Effective character level) but without affecting BAB, saves, etc.
    Last edited by mattie_p; 2017-09-27 at 05:22 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    So now you're claiming that spellcasting "lacks a clear, supernatural element?" Being supernatural is literally the only point of magic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattie_p View Post
    18). Vampire template cannot be added to aberrations, only to humanoids or monstrous humanoids, so that's illegal by the RAW.
    The Monstrous Vampire template in Ghostwalk can be applied to a variety of creatures, solving tis problem.

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    A few new questions have come up with my group.

    21) I am at a loss as to what to advise the Cleric player to buy in terms of equipment/items. Beyond the usual "boost your stats" items, any recommendations? She's a Cleric of Bane for those who didn't go through the first post.

    22) Does a Ring of Magic Fang stack with the effects of a Necklace of Natural Attack (I think that's the name, the one that allows a Monk to enhance his attacks as if they were weapons)? I'm assuming no due to both being enhancement bonuses, but figured it was best to ask.

    23) Given the party's relatively high power level, are there any forms worth using Polymorph to become? Also, does the limit of what you can become with Polymorph cap at 15HD?

    Thanks again.

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    short in time atm, but wanted to say something quick to (3)


    3) Depends on the wording of the template. Some set your Natural Armor to X, others increase your Natural Armor by X.
    You take the highest "set value" (if you have several template that set your NA to a certain value) and increase it "by the bonuses" (note that the stacking rules still apply, so only unnamed bonuses or different bonus types stack with each other).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrant View Post
    A few new questions have come up with my group.

    21) I am at a loss as to what to advise the Cleric player to buy in terms of equipment/items. Beyond the usual "boost your stats" items, any recommendations? She's a Cleric of Bane for those who didn't go through the first post.

    22) Does a Ring of Magic Fang stack with the effects of a Necklace of Natural Attack (I think that's the name, the one that allows a Monk to enhance his attacks as if they were weapons)? I'm assuming no due to both being enhancement bonuses, but figured it was best to ask.

    23) Given the party's relatively high power level, are there any forms worth using Polymorph to become? Also, does the limit of what you can become with Polymorph cap at 15HD?

    Thanks again.
    21: Maybe 'nightsticks' from LM, for use with divine metamagic or divine feats. You could have a quest to find and corrupt a 'Shield of the Sun', and instead of granting the spells of a 20th level Paladin, you could then switch it to Blackguard spells.

    22: No, it wouldn't stack, but it would overlap, so if you had the necklace at +1 with a bunch of other effects, then greater magic fang at +5, you could have the effects and the +5 at the same time.

    23: I don't look into this very often, but there's a handbook here:

    http://minmaxforum.com/index.php?topic=519.0

    There's also a very recent thread concerning polymorph here:

    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...polymorph+form

    The hit die cap of an assumed form is indeed 15 though.

    Usually what I hear about is starting as an outsider so you can use 'alter self' to take the form of a 'Dwarf Ancestor', which grants large size and +18 natural armor.
    Last edited by Bronk; 2017-10-06 at 12:23 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bronk View Post
    21: Maybe 'nightsticks' from LM, for use with divine metamagic or divine feats. You could have a quest to find and corrupt a 'Shield of the Sun', and instead of granting the spells of a 20th level Paladin, you could then switch it to Blackguard spells.

    22: No, it wouldn't stack, but it would overlap, so if you had the necklace at +1 with a bunch of other effects, then greater magic fang at +5, you could have the effects and the +5 at the same time.

    23: I don't look into this very often, but there's a handbook here:

    http://minmaxforum.com/index.php?topic=519.0

    There's also a very recent thread concerning polymorph here:

    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...polymorph+form

    The hit die cap of an assumed form is indeed 15 though.

    Usually what I hear about is starting as an outsider so you can use 'alter self' to take the form of a 'Dwarf Ancestor', which grants large size and +18 natural armor.
    Thanks I will look into the answers for 21 and 22. I have read through part of the handbook in your link for 23 though and I have a follow up on the Polymorph question. The handbook mentions Draconic Polymorph which allows you to transform into something up to up to your own HD to a max of 20HD. It also grants an untyped +8 to the typical version of the creature's Strength and +2 to Constitution. The character using this will likely be the Rakshasa. Since he is an Outsider, if I understand it correctly he can use the spell to transform into other Outsiders. In that case, would a Balor (once he has enough HD) or Marilith be close enough to "humanoid" in shape for his equipment to remain in effect? My inclination is to say yes since they have arms, hands, etc. like a humanoid so the equipment would normally be usable by them.

    Likewise, what would still be usable equipment-wise while morphed into a Dragon?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrant View Post
    The character using this will likely be the Rakshasa. Since he is an Outsider, if I understand it correctly he can use the spell to transform into other Outsiders. In that case, would a Balor (once he has enough HD) or Marilith be close enough to "humanoid" in shape for his equipment to remain in effect? My inclination is to say yes since they have arms, hands, etc. like a humanoid so the equipment would normally be usable by them.

    Likewise, what would still be usable equipment-wise while morphed into a Dragon?
    Glad I can help a bit!

    So, for the rakshasa sorcerer, unfortunately no. I confused things by mentioning 'alter self' before, so I'm sorry about that. While 'alter self' lets you change into other creatures of your same type (with a 5HD limit), 'draconic polymorph' works as 'polymorph' when it comes to the types it allows you to turn into, and outsider isn't on the list.

    Also, the raskhasa's half-dragon template actually changes his outsider type to dragon type. You're the DM, so I guess you can ignore that if you want to though, especially since he got the template in such a weird way. (I don't know, they're all evil, so maybe he's okay with suddenly having a soul to barter with some devils?)

    I'm not sure of his exact level, but if he's got at least 20HD, he's a rakshasa with 7HD and casts as a 7th level sorcerer, and his only other class is sorcerer, he must be at least a 20th level sorcerer, so maybe he can just skip to 'shapechange'. If there's something else going on, he could try the level 5 'Fiendform', although he won't get to be a high level demon like a balor.

    For the forms he turns into, weapons and armor don't change size, so if there's a size change, those won't carry over. However, everything else does change size, and so as long as the new form has the same body part that the magic item was on before, the new form will be able to use it. Balors and dragons have all the same magic item slots as a human or rakshasa (although dragons have a different body type for armor), but Mariliths wouldn't have the boot slot. The rules for those are in the back of the Magic Item Compendium and the Draconomicon p24.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bronk View Post
    Glad I can help a bit!

    So, for the rakshasa sorcerer, unfortunately no. I confused things by mentioning 'alter self' before, so I'm sorry about that. While 'alter self' lets you change into other creatures of your same type (with a 5HD limit), 'draconic polymorph' works as 'polymorph' when it comes to the types it allows you to turn into, and outsider isn't on the list.

    Also, the raskhasa's half-dragon template actually changes his outsider type to dragon type. You're the DM, so I guess you can ignore that if you want to though, especially since he got the template in such a weird way. (I don't know, they're all evil, so maybe he's okay with suddenly having a soul to barter with some devils?)
    The version of Polymorph I am looking at says that they can transform into something of their own type or the ones on the list. I've been playing a little loose with the templates thus far so I would probably allow him to qualify (though it would also mean anything that can negatively affect outsiders would do so).
    I'm not sure of his exact level, but if he's got at least 20HD, he's a rakshasa with 7HD and casts as a 7th level sorcerer, and his only other class is sorcerer, he must be at least a 20th level sorcerer, so maybe he can just skip to 'shapechange'. If there's something else going on, he could try the level 5 'Fiendform', although he won't get to be a high level demon like a balor.
    He has 17 HD right now. 7 RHD and the other 10 are from class levels. He is casting as a 10th level Sorcerer. The Balor is only a possibility for down the road.
    For the forms he turns into, weapons and armor don't change size, so if there's a size change, those won't carry over. However, everything else does change size, and so as long as the new form has the same body part that the magic item was on before, the new form will be able to use it. Balors and dragons have all the same magic item slots as a human or rakshasa (although dragons have a different body type for armor), but Mariliths wouldn't have the boot slot. The rules for those are in the back of the Magic Item Compendium and the Draconomicon p24.
    I will definitely have to look that over. Thanks again.

    24) This is just a general question. I see people mention that there are a number of save or die or save or suck spells. Is there a list of these somewhere? Likewise any kind of don't save just die or just suck type spells?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrant View Post
    The version of Polymorph I am looking at says that they can transform into something of their own type or the ones on the list.
    Sorry, I always miss that when it comes up!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrant View Post
    24) This is just a general question. I see people mention that there are a number of save or die or save or suck spells. Is there a list of these somewhere? Likewise any kind of don't save just die or just suck type spells?
    It's not perfect, but you can do a search on this thread for save or 'suck', 'lose', or 'die' spells.

    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...s-Being-Batman

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