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  1. - Top - End - #181
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    Quote Originally Posted by Zancloufer View Post
    My bad made a typo there and typed 15 instead of 16 HD. Definitly on me.

    Also I don't disagree that I am low balling it; +3 is the bare minimum I would normally give it and I could see +4. I just feel people are underestimating Epic Spell Casting. You need 21 HD and 17 CL to take it so anything that would normally be a Tier 1 Caster that has an ECL of 21+ but less than 21 HD is instantly useless in all but the lowest OP of groups.

    IMHO a straight human wizard 21 would make the 16 HD Black Ethergaunt look bad. With enough spell slots to burn or extra casters the Wizard can essentially transform themselves into said Black Ethergaunt with all it's special abilities. Permanently. As a swift action. And my the Wizard I mean all of the Wizard's party members.
    I see the argument for +4 as well, mostly due to the threads point of making things playable. I just can't take epic spells like that as anything but homebrew. Especially when the printed ones are not in the same league.

  2. - Top - End - #182
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    Let's ignore Epic Spellcasting for now. The other epic feats are fair game I suppose, but not that. The extent of how much Epic Spellcasting's broken is stupid, idiotic, stupidly idiotic, and idiotically stupid.
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  3. - Top - End - #183
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    I think that any argument that includes "they both shapechange" is hardly a compelling one to make, quite frankly.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    Quote Originally Posted by Zancloufer View Post
    My bad made a typo there and typed 15 instead of 16 HD. Definitly on me.

    Also I don't disagree that I am low balling it; +3 is the bare minimum I would normally give it and I could see +4. I just feel people are underestimating Epic Spell Casting. You need 21 HD and 17 CL to take it so anything that would normally be a Tier 1 Caster that has an ECL of 21+ but less than 21 HD is instantly useless in all but the lowest OP of groups.

    IMHO a straight human wizard 21 would make the 16 HD Black Ethergaunt look bad. With enough spell slots to burn or extra casters the Wizard can essentially transform themselves into said Black Ethergaunt with all it's special abilities. Permanently. As a swift action. And my the Wizard I mean all of the Wizard's party members.
    That was pretty much the point of my thread, the blacks are better than wizard 20 but not better enough in the face of epic spell casting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thurbane View Post
    I love how the monsters with innate casting usually stir up the most heated debates.
    If I recall the arrow demon and the MMIII trolls were pretty heated...

    Quote Originally Posted by danielxcutter View Post
    Let's ignore Epic Spellcasting for now. The other epic feats are fair game I suppose, but not that. The extent of how much Epic Spellcasting's broken is stupid, idiotic, stupidly idiotic, and idiotically stupid.
    So I have played in about 10 games that were either fully epic or went into epic and I have yet to ever come across a DM willing to allow epic spell casting...

  5. - Top - End - #185
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    Yeah, let's keep out the major broken crap. Time Stop? Eh, you've earned it. Gate? Okay. Shapechange abuse? Er... NO.
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  6. - Top - End - #186
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    Quote Originally Posted by Caelestion View Post
    I think that any argument that includes "they both shapechange" is hardly a compelling one to make, quite frankly.
    Quote Originally Posted by danielxcutter View Post
    Yeah, let's keep out the major broken crap. Time Stop? Eh, you've earned it. Gate? Okay. Shapechange abuse? Er... NO.
    Well...that's your view, guys, but I honestly think that if a player is, in the first place, considering to play a Black Ethergaunt as a PC, he certainly is the kind of player that will consider using Shapechange as well. And I'm not talking about any super-high-powered Shapechange stuff like turning into a Solar and using its casting, then into a Zodar and using its Wish...Just Shapechanging into that immune-to-everything undead incorporeal swarm, for example. Just about anything, basically, means a ton of the racial features of the Ethergaunt are moot since they're replaced by those of the creature whose form you take.
    Last edited by remetagross; 2020-01-14 at 10:55 AM.
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  7. - Top - End - #187
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    Quote Originally Posted by remetagross View Post
    Well...that's your view, guys, but I honestly think that if a player is, in the first place, considering to play a Black Ethergaunt as a PC, he certainly is the kind of player that will consider using Shapechange as well. And I'm not talking about any super-high-powered Shapechange stuff like turning into a Solar and using its casting, then into a Zodar and using its Wish...Just Shapechanging into that immune-to-everything undead incorporeal swarm, for example. Just about anything, basically, means a ton of the racial features of the Ethergaunt are moot since they're replaced by those of the creature whose form you take.
    I am pretty sure as has been commented in the past any group that is actually allowing a more or less free range on monster classes and using the LAs of this project has a pretty solid understanding of the game and at the very least mid if not high op. In such a group/game you typically have gone over spells and expectations, knowing how much cheese and spell abuse will be allowed. As such it is reasonable that shapechange should be taken into account.

    On the other hand if we are looking at this as 'we are optimizing around tier 3 and our LAs should reflect that' and using say a duskblade which is a solid tier 3 (as we are supposed to use the closest tier 3 reference point) well then we should be tacking on at least another LA maybe two to all three of these Ethergaunts....

  8. - Top - End - #188
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    I agree that these are +5/+4. Massively better chassis than wizard means that they can't really be anything less, but it's not enough to lose 9ths over.

    Also, @Zancloufer, I think inevitability has been using either which LA gets the most votes, or the median to determine which to go with when there's a wider field, so intentionally low-balling your estimates won't actually change anything (if the median is used) or actually hurt the chances of it becoming the LA you want (if inevitability looks at which level of LA gets the most votes).
    Last edited by DeTess; 2020-01-14 at 04:33 PM.
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  9. - Top - End - #189
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    Quote Originally Posted by remetagross View Post
    OK, here's the comparison table between a Black Ethergaunt and a level 20 Wizard. [...]
    Alright, here's my mindset: a player willing to use a Black Ethergaunt as a PC is at least a moderate optimizer.
    Yet your moderately optimized wizard didn't take a single PrC level. I'm a bit confused that you rate "can take fifteen fewer levels in any casting PrC" as not mitigating the LA at all, since you are docking the ethergaunt a feat for not having a familiar.

    Secondly, it's much more straightforward to assume the wizard shapechanged into a black ethergaunt and doesn't ever change that, instead of a nebulous selection of "better forms", especially given that your wizard seems dead-set on emulating the "high save DC" part of being an ethergaunt--and not very efficiently, at that--instead of improving the "using shapechange every day" part. In particular, I find that "cancelling out" Iron Will and Reserves of Strength against CL and hit points, or spell slots for gold pieces, does approximately nothing for making the comparison clearer. A simple "becomes a black ethergaunt for +3 to save DCs and all the ethergaunt's racial abilities", on the other hand, would be more efficient and more intuitively comparable.


    When I look at your comparison, I think: "A wizard can be built so inefficiently, and still give an ethergaunt a run for their money". That doesn't suggest LA +4 at all.
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  10. - Top - End - #190
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    Quote Originally Posted by ExLibrisMortis View Post
    Yet your moderately optimized wizard didn't take a single PrC level. I'm a bit confused that you rate "can take fifteen fewer levels in any casting PrC" as not mitigating the LA at all, since you are docking the ethergaunt a feat for not having a familiar.

    Secondly, it's much more straightforward to assume the wizard shapechanged into a black ethergaunt and doesn't ever change that, instead of a nebulous selection of "better forms", especially given that your wizard seems dead-set on emulating the "high save DC" part of being an ethergaunt--and not very efficiently, at that--instead of improving the "using shapechange every day" part. In particular, I find that "cancelling out" Iron Will and Reserves of Strength against CL and hit points, or spell slots for gold pieces, does approximately nothing for making the comparison clearer. A simple "becomes a black ethergaunt for +3 to save DCs and all the ethergaunt's racial abilities", on the other hand, would be more efficient and more intuitively comparable.


    When I look at your comparison, I think: "A wizard can be built so inefficiently, and still give an ethergaunt a run for their money". That doesn't suggest LA +4 at all.

    I, for one, can't wait till we assign the Sarrukh a -0 LA because of the assume supernatural ability feat.

    On a more serious note, I would like to point out that one can't really enjoy many of the benefits of PrCs like incantatrix, anima mage, master transmogrifist, sacred exorcist, mage of the arcane order, war weaver, ect... while using shapechange.

    Also, shapechanging into an Ethergaunt, to my knowledge would not grant you any boost to your spell save DCs.

    So at +4 LA the Wizard and Ethergaunt have the same number of 9th level spells (because the wizard is using one of them for shapechange), the wizard has +3 CL, and the ethergaunt has a very high bonus to spell save DCs. To me, it seems even with LA +4, and discounting all the Ethergaunts other supernatural abilities, the Ethergaunt has a flatly better spellcasting chassis than the wizard.

    Even if the wizard uses polymorph any object to increase his intelligence, the ethergaunt will almost assuredly end with an intelligence 12 higher (4 from inherent bonuses and 8 from point buy), which is a +6 to save DCs.

    I know that people keep saying that when Wizards hit 21 and pick up epic spellcasting, they'll be way stronger than the Ethergaunt. This is true. However, later into epic levels, I would argue that the Ethergaunt comes out on top, especially after it starts to pick up stuff like Ur-priest and Divine Metamagic.

  11. - Top - End - #191
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    I think it really does depend on the level of play. If we're talking about non-epic ~ low 20s or so, the Ethergaunts will be very good Wizards but be a bit behind in various PrC abilities. Much more than that though, and they're probably going to come ahead... which is honestly true for a lot of monsters, if you ask me.
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  12. - Top - End - #192
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    Quote Originally Posted by ExLibrisMortis View Post
    Yet your moderately optimized wizard didn't take a single PrC level. I'm a bit confused that you rate "can take fifteen fewer levels in any casting PrC" as not mitigating the LA at all, since you are docking the ethergaunt a feat for not having a familiar.

    Secondly, it's much more straightforward to assume the wizard shapechanged into a black ethergaunt and doesn't ever change that, instead of a nebulous selection of "better forms", especially given that your wizard seems dead-set on emulating the "high save DC" part of being an ethergaunt--and not very efficiently, at that--instead of improving the "using shapechange every day" part. In particular, I find that "cancelling out" Iron Will and Reserves of Strength against CL and hit points, or spell slots for gold pieces, does approximately nothing for making the comparison clearer. A simple "becomes a black ethergaunt for +3 to save DCs and all the ethergaunt's racial abilities", on the other hand, would be more efficient and more intuitively comparable.


    When I look at your comparison, I think: "A wizard can be built so inefficiently, and still give an ethergaunt a run for their money". That doesn't suggest LA +4 at all.
    Well, Shapechange does not give you the Int score of the form you change into, so I don't understand where your "becomes a black ethergaunt for +3 to save DCs" comes from. You'd need to first cast Polymorph Any Object (Black Ethergaunt), and then Shapechange (Black Ethergaunt), as has been pointed out earlier. Only then do you get all the Black Ethergaunt goodies including the +20 to Int.

    But okay, I think I get your point, you're saying that converting feats into CL or spell slots into money is not quite as straightforward as I've put it. Then, if the Wizard 20 just casts the two abovementioned spells, he finds himself a fully functional Black Ethergaunt, except he has spent one 8th level and one 9th level spells - the only two spell slots he had in excess of the Black Ethergaunt - and his Black Ethergaunt goodies are susceptible to being dispelled, and only lasts 1 hour (the duration of Polymorph Any Object in this case). And then, the Black Ethergaunt has a total of 45 spell levels per day more than the Wizard - 2 1st level spells, 2 2nd level spells, 2 3rd level spells, 1 4th level spell, 2 5th level spells, 2 6th level spells, 1 7th level spell (and also 78 more HPs and a ton more skill points).

    EDIT: as Zecrin has pointed out, Polymorph Any Object only gives you the Int score of a bog-standard Black Ethergaunt, not a PC one, so you'll end up with base Int 30 and not base Int 42 (+8 from point buy, +4 from inherent), so even during that 1-hour duration, you don't get the save DCs of the Ethergaunt.

    The Wizard has a Familiar, 6 extra feats if he remains single-classed, or 2 extra feats and 15 levels of prestige class if he does not, and 3 extra caster levels.

    So, for one hour per day, the Wizard gets to be a functional Black Ethergaunt with these big save DCs and racial abilities, in addition to his Familiar, extra feats and PrC class features. For the rest of the day, how do the latter three alone hold up against the Black Ethergaunt's +7 to save DC's compared to his and extra 45 spell levels, and immunity to spells of level 6th and lower, and +15 to AC, and almost twice as many HPs? Well, it's a difficult question to answer in a vacuum, but I think some well-chosen PrCs like 5 levels of Master Specialist then 10 levels of Ultimate Magus (qualifying with Spontaneous Divination ACF) can give him enough punch to compare favourably...but I also think some mediocre ones like 5 levels of Fatespinner then 10 levels of Alienist leave him quite weaker than the Black Ethergaunt. Hence I think the Wizard does not come out on top in each and every possible situation. Hence my suggested LA of +4.
    Last edited by remetagross; 2020-01-14 at 07:09 PM.
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  13. - Top - End - #193
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    My bad on shapechange and ability scores; you do need an extra spell, and I apologize.

    On the other hand, don't forget that polymorph any object is permanent when cast twice, or when cast on a 34 INT wizard. It's one slot until dispelled.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zecrin View Post
    I, for one, can't wait till we assign the Sarrukh a -0 LA because of the assume supernatural ability feat.
    Any game that allows a full sarrukh in actual play (that is, under PC control) is probably broken enough that LA is meaningless . But I take your point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zecrin View Post
    On a more serious note, I would like to point out that one can't really enjoy many of the benefits of PrCs like incantatrix, anima mage, master transmogrifist, sacred exorcist, mage of the arcane order, war weaver, ect... while using shapechange.
    You mean the loss of (Su) abilities, I take it? Yes, it's true that if you want to use your PrC features in ethergaunt form, you'd want to select some PrCs that don't rely on supernatural abilities or only need to use their abilities a few times a day (Incantatrix, Halruaan Elder, Archmage, that sort of thing). However, that's still a lot more than the ethergaunt has going for it--the wizard only temporarily loses access to the ability, compared to ethergaunts not even having them in the first place.

    In general, you might say that if taking black ethergaunt form with shapechange is unattractive because your (Su) class features would be lost, then the black ethergaunt can't be bringing all that much to the table, right? Because at that point, it's clearly worse than your PrC features.

    (For War Weavers, the loss of Intelligence probably doesn't matter too much, since you're casting buffs anyway.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zecrin View Post
    Also, shapechanging into an Ethergaunt, to my knowledge would not grant you any boost to your spell save DCs.
    You end up with more Intelligence, that's what boosts the save DCs. But yes, it takes polymorph any object.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zecrin View Post
    To me, it seems even with LA +4, and discounting all the Ethergaunts other supernatural abilities, the Ethergaunt has a flatly better spellcasting chassis than the wizard.
    Compared to a straight wizard, perhaps. Compared to a prestiged wizard, no way.

    You could go wizard 3/master specialist 10/archmage 5 (not a high-OP build by any means) and have CL 25, or CL 27 for your specialist spells. Is +4 to save DCs (41 vs. 49 Intelligence) worth the loss of 8 caster levels?

    You could go wizard 10/swiftblade 10, and have an ethergaunt's casting (but potentially with +3 CL from Practiced Spellcaster) but casting an extra spell each turn.

    You could go wizard 4/sorcerer 1/ultimate magus 10/whatever 5 and get 18th-level wizard casting with CL 22.

    You could go rogue or scout 1/wizard 4/unseen seer 10/whatever 5 and get 19th-level wizard casting with +3 CL on Divinations, a bag of extra skill points, and 5d6 precision damage (before hunter's eye enters the equation).

    (Hell, all of these have room for Circle Magic or Persistomancy.)

    You could go wizard 9/wyrm wizard 1/halruaan elder 10 and get CL 60 and cheap metamagic for miles. And you can use reserve feats based on a 20th-level spell, that's always fun.

    You could go wizard 1/psion 3/cerebremancer 6/mind mage 10 and get 15th-level wizard casting and 19th-level psion manifesting with Persistomancy and +10 CL/ML and double Intelligence to the save DCs of psi-spell feats and delivering touch spells at range.

    Most of these builds work just fine at ECL 18 or 19, of course (whatever level they get 9ths at, basically). I mean, there are a lot of options for spellcasting chassis out there, and while most of them come online very late, that's not a problem in this case. Ethergaunts aren't bad, but they don't weight up to a 20th-level wizard.

    Quote Originally Posted by remetagross View Post
    EDIT: as Zecrin has pointed out, Polymorph Any Object only gives you the Int score of a bog-standard Black Ethergaunt, not a PC one, so you'll end up with base Int 30 and not base Int 42 (+8 from point buy, +4 from inherent), so even during that 1-hour duration, you don't get the save DCs of the Ethergaunt.
    You end up with 30 base + 5 inherent + 6 enhancement = 41, against the ethergaunt's 38 base + 5 inherent + 6 enhancement = 49. Compared to the basic wizard's Intelligence of 34, that's a +6 bonus or +3 to save DCs, but indeed, not as high as the ethergaunt's. You can use some of those bonus feats to pick up Spell Focus, perhaps .

    As for the dispellability: you'll still have better CL and access to CL-boosting PrCs, so your buffs, including your ethergauntness, will be better than the ethergaunt's, who will be well behind in CL, due to lack of class features and LA burden. Coincidentally, buffs are also more powerful than blasting, so that's another reason to be critical of that +20 racial INT.

    Quote Originally Posted by remetagross View Post
    Hence I think the Wizard does not come out on top in each and every possible situation.
    Well, yes, you can build a wizard worse than a black ethergaunt. Wizards have an infamously low floor, and black ethergaunts have so many HD that you're limited in your ability to mess it up (just like you're limited in optimizing it). I generally assume that we're optimizing, though, and if you're picking bad PrCs, then you're also picking, I don't know, bad feats for the ethergaunt, or something--unoptimized to a similar degree. Of the classic wizard PrCs, most are more powerful than the ethergaunt's features.


    Edit: I guess I feel that everyone's being a bit on the tentative when estimating the power of full-blown ECL 18-20 spellcasters. They're properly ******* ridiculously over-the-top powerful. Ethergaunt racial abilities are number-based, not unique-trick-based, so they don't rate that highly, in my opinion. Don't be afraid to give big numbers to a spellcaster! It's probably the least harmful thing they could be doing at ECL 18.
    Last edited by ExLibrisMortis; 2020-01-14 at 08:12 PM.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    Quote Originally Posted by ExLibrisMortis View Post

    You end up with 30 base + 5 inherent + 6 enhancement = 41, against the ethergaunt's 38 base + 5 inherent + 6 enhancement = 49.
    This isn't really a refutation of the rest of your post, but I think it would actually be:

    30 base + 6 enhancement = 36 (+13)

    18 base + 20 racial + 6 enhancement + 5 inherent + 4 level up + 3 age = 56 (+23).

    I'm not convinced that you get to retain inherent bonuses which apply to your own ability scores when you replace those scores with those of another.

    Also, if we give the Ethergaunt one extra level before 20, as you suggest, it can easily pick up the circle magic feat, which then causes wizards to lose the biggest edge they currently have over Ethegaunts: higher CL.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    +5 and +4 LA seems at least reasonable to me. I would probably at least consider playing them at their currrnt LAs if I got 9ths.

    If I didn't, I don't think I would play one at all.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    Quote Originally Posted by ExLibrisMortis View Post
    Compared to a straight wizard, perhaps. Compared to a prestiged wizard, no way.
    Very true, but I don't think that's a meaningful comparison to make. The comparison point for the thread is, ideally, T3 or even T4. Wizards are used for the Ethergaunts because it's very convenient; the two are very directly comparable despite wizards being vastly more powerful than the balance point. But adding prestige classes onto that doesn't really serve a purpose; it both complicates the comparison and moves it further from the ideal comparison point. Sure there's opportunity cost, but full casters don't really need to prestige like martials often do in order to keep acquiring useful features at a reasonable rate, so it's not actually hurting them, just making them not even stronger than T3 than they already were.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    Quote Originally Posted by liquidformat View Post
    On the other hand if we are looking at this as 'we are optimizing around tier 3 and our LAs should reflect that' and using say a duskblade which is a solid tier 3 (as we are supposed to use the closest tier 3 reference point) well then we should be tacking on at least another LA maybe two to all three of these Ethergaunts....
    Thats not how we do this though. The rule of the threads is "closest facsimile to the monster in question, minimum tier 3" (iirc) This thing is clearly a wizard+ so it should only be compared to a tier 1 class like Wizard.

    Quote Originally Posted by PoeticallyPsyco View Post
    The comparison point for the thread is, ideally, T3 or even T4.
    Its not, see my reply to liquidformat above.
    Last edited by Remuko; 2020-01-14 at 10:44 PM.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    Quote Originally Posted by Remuko View Post
    Thats not how we do this though. The rule of the threads is "closest facsimile to the monster in question, minimum tier 3" (iirc) This thing is clearly a wizard+ so it should only be compared to a tier 1 class like Wizard.

    Its not, see my reply to liquidformat above.
    True, although, this doesn't really answer the question of whether the "best point of comparison" is the wizard 20, the wizard 10 / mage of the arcane order 10, or focused specialist (transmutation) divination variant butterfly familiar wizard 5/ master specialist 5/ incantatrix 10.

    Some individuals are arguing for a lower LA because they say the last option is the best point of comparison. While others, who choose the first option, argue the opposite. Either way, it seems ironic that both camps (myself included), try to argue for an LA using a particular standard, by arguing that our standard does not currently make a good point of comparison for the Ethergaunt.

  19. - Top - End - #199
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    Quote Originally Posted by Remuko View Post
    Thats not how we do this though. The rule of the threads is "closest facsimile to the monster in question, minimum tier 3" (iirc) This thing is clearly a wizard+ so it should only be compared to a tier 1 class like Wizard.



    Its not, see my reply to liquidformat above.
    Being Pendantic is one of my flaws, but from the archive minimum tier 4.

    The guideline for assigning LA is as follows: a monster is compared to the most similar class from tier 1 to 4 (so a nymph would be compared to a druid, a naztharune rakshasa to a rogue, and an ogre to a barbarian), and given an LA that makes it comparable to a PC of equal ECL (for example, a +1 LA centaur with a single barbarian level is considered to be about on par with a 6th-level orc barbarian, while a +0 LA centaur would be too strong).
    Most of the debate in this thread are from people like me who see using the lowest power facsimile as best so it fits the most number of games against those who say an optimized caster can do better and thus its not a big deal. I see benefits and flaws to both views.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    But when a creature has actual spellcasting as a class, it's safe to say that same class is a good comparison point.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    I'll vote LA +5 for both black and white. No individual aspect of a black EG measures up to a well-made epic spell, but they have way more than one aspect. The white EG's gaze attack, enslave, stat bumps, senses, immunities and skill list make up for some lost casting, so it could contribute a fair share in an equally optimized Tier 1 level 16 party.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    Quote Originally Posted by Debatra View Post
    But when a creature has actual spellcasting as a class, it's safe to say that same class is a good comparison point.
    Well, yes, but assuming a whole bunch of prestige classes as standard because "any optimised wizard would do so" is very much not the same thing.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    Quote Originally Posted by Caelestion View Post
    Well, yes, but assuming a whole bunch of prestige classes as standard because "any optimised wizard would do so" is very much not the same thing.
    This is quite true - and also, it really does depend on the level of play. If you're going high-to-epic level of play, then Ethergaunts can very well grab a short 5 level PrC like Fatespinner or Archmage. And honestly, nobody in their right mind is going to compare them to stuff like Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    Quote Originally Posted by ExLibrisMortis View Post
    In general, you might say that if taking black ethergaunt form with shapechange is unattractive because your (Su) class features would be lost, then the black ethergaunt can't be bringing all that much to the table, right? Because at that point, it's clearly worse than your PrC features.
    That was basically my point about the Ethergaunt and the Wizard both Shapechanging into something other than a Black Ethergaunt.


    Quote Originally Posted by ExLibrisMortis View Post
    You end up with 30 base + 5 inherent + 6 enhancement = 41, against the ethergaunt's 38 base + 5 inherent + 6 enhancement = 49. Compared to the basic wizard's Intelligence of 34, that's a +6 bonus or +3 to save DCs, but indeed, not as high as the ethergaunt's. You can use some of those bonus feats to pick up Spell Focus, perhaps .
    I'm in the opinion of Zecrin in that I'm not quite convinced inherent bonuses carry over from your original form. Assuming they don't, that'd put the Int score of the PaO'ed Wizard to 36. Not much of a gain over the Wizard's original 34, and the save DC advantage the Black Ethergaunt has is +6.

    Quote Originally Posted by ExLibrisMortis View Post
    Compared to a straight wizard, perhaps. Compared to a prestiged wizard, no way.
    That's actually the crux of the issue. My stance would rather be: "Compared to a straight wizard, perhaps. Compared to a prestiged wizard, perhaps."

    Quote Originally Posted by ExLibrisMortis View Post
    You could go wizard 3/master specialist 10/archmage 5 (not a high-OP build by any means) and have CL 25, or CL 27 for your specialist spells. Is +4 to save DCs (41 vs. 49 Intelligence) worth the loss of 8 caster levels?
    With the above take on PaO Int increase, it's a +6 to save DCs, not a +4: and don't forget the extra 70 spell levels the Black Ethergaunt gets (base 45 + 25 for the five 5th-level spell slots sacrificed). That's a not insignificant trade-off: while not all spells allow a save DC, not all spells allow SR either, or care that much about caster level. I'm not that sure the Wizard comes out ahead.

    Quote Originally Posted by ExLibrisMortis View Post
    You could go wizard 10/swiftblade 10, and have an ethergaunt's casting (but potentially with +3 CL from Practiced Spellcaster) but casting an extra spell each turn.
    Yes, but you'd run dry after two encounters, while the Ethergaunt has enough juice for three more after these. Besides, no 9th level spells. I'd take the Ethergaunt.

    Quote Originally Posted by ExLibrisMortis View Post
    You could go wizard 4/sorcerer 1/ultimate magus 10/whatever 5 and get 18th-level wizard casting with CL 22.
    Same remark as for the Archmage. The Ethergaunt now has 1 extra 9th level spell, the same number of 8th level spells, and yet another 7th level spell more than the Wizard.

    Quote Originally Posted by ExLibrisMortis View Post
    You could go rogue or scout 1/wizard 4/unseen seer 10/whatever 5 and get 19th-level wizard casting with +3 CL on Divinations, a bag of extra skill points, and 5d6 precision damage (before hunter's eye enters the equation).
    This one's neat.

    (Hell, all of these have room for Circle Magic or Persistomancy.)

    Quote Originally Posted by ExLibrisMortis View Post
    You could go wizard 9/wyrm wizard 1/halruaan elder 10 and get CL 60 and cheap metamagic for miles. And you can use reserve feats based on a 20th-level spell, that's always fun.

    You could go wizard 1/psion 3/cerebremancer 6/mind mage 10 and get 15th-level wizard casting and 19th-level psion manifesting with Persistomancy and +10 CL/ML and double Intelligence to the save DCs of psi-spell feats and delivering touch spells at range.
    These clearly blow the Ethergaunt out of the water. But these are a tad more than "moderately optimized", in my opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by ExLibrisMortis View Post
    Most of these builds work just fine at ECL 18 or 19, of course (whatever level they get 9ths at, basically). I mean, there are a lot of options for spellcasting chassis out there, and while most of them come online very late, that's not a problem in this case. Ethergaunts aren't bad, but they don't weight up to a 20th-level wizard.
    All of these builds except for the latter two have much less stamina than the Black Ethergaunt when it comes to number of spell slots/day, and in my humble opinion that offsets quite a lot of the stuff they have to offer.




    Quote Originally Posted by ExLibrisMortis View Post
    As for the dispellability: you'll still have better CL and access to CL-boosting PrCs, so your buffs, including your ethergauntness, will be better than the ethergaunt's, who will be well behind in CL, due to lack of class features and LA burden. Coincidentally, buffs are also more powerful than blasting, so that's another reason to be critical of that +20 racial INT.
    I wouldn't say the Ethergaunt's Ethergauntness is weaker to dispel attempts than the Wizard's, but to each his own I guess I get your overall point, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by ExLibrisMortis View Post
    Well, yes, you can build a wizard worse than a black ethergaunt. Wizards have an infamously low floor, and black ethergaunts have so many HD that you're limited in your ability to mess it up (just like you're limited in optimizing it). I generally assume that we're optimizing, though, and if you're picking bad PrCs, then you're also picking, I don't know, bad feats for the ethergaunt, or something--unoptimized to a similar degree. Of the classic wizard PrCs, most are more powerful than the ethergaunt's features.
    That's where I disagree. The "classic wizard PrCs" are, in my mind, classes like Alienist, Dread Witch, Fatespinner, Master Specialist, Spellwarp Sniper...they either don't offer that powerful class features, or they do but then you lose a caster level. In that regard, I don't see them as more powerful than the ethergaunt's features. If I understand correctly, you have a higher power level in mind when saying "the classic wizard PrCs", in particular not a single PrC but a whole build involving a modicum of moving parts, that I see as a bit more involved and optimized than what I consider "classic". As such, I see these as a tad above the "moderately optimized Wizard" I've had in mind. Hence my assessment.

    To be fair, I think you've sort of convinced me that a bunch of possible builds involving Wizards 20 can either utterly trounce the Ethergaunt or favorably compare to it. But there are still a bunch that do not, and if you shave off one point of LA, my guess is that the lost spell slots, bonus feat, class features etc. of the Wizard 19 would certainly make it weaker than the Ethergaunt. So maybe now I think it's a weak LA +4, but it's an LA +4 still.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    What are "powerful PrCs", though? That's a bit too vague...

    Pretty sure most 5 level PrCs aren't really that powerful, though.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    Quote Originally Posted by ExLibrisMortis View Post
    On the other hand, don't forget that polymorph any object is permanent when cast twice, or when cast on a 34 INT wizard. It's one slot until dispelled.
    So First off I am going with theoretical optimization on the double casting of PAO becomes permanent as I have never come across a dm putting up with that. Also I would question the validity of how you are counting up duration factors if having 34 int gives your wizard permanent duration on your PAO from my count and the way I have seen DM let it be used in game 34 int gives it a 4 which ends up being a 3 hr duration.

    Quote Originally Posted by ExLibrisMortis View Post
    a lot of high end optimization stuff
    Honestly a lot of what you are saying here is actually highlighting that wizard might not be a good comparison point and also reinforcing Black as needing a higher LA. If you try hard and have a very high level grasp of wizards, spells, and prcs you can make a standard race wizard that can compete with a Black in some aspects, however, you need to have the understanding to do that. So as pointed out wizard has a pretty low floor badly designed ones can sit in tier 5 quite comfortably whereas they also have a very high ceiling and with a well designed one can quite possibly even go tier 0. On the other hand Blacks at +4 LA have a very high floor competing quite well with a moderately optimized wizard.

    Remember the goal of this exercise isn't look at this wild build I can have to justify why every monster should get a -0 LA. The goal here is this monster comparable to a (fill in the blank with class that has moderate optimization centered around tier 3 using classes between tier 1-4 that is the 'closest' comparison point). Yeah I believe it is reasonable to look at a build at a moderate optimization level like here is barb x/warblade y/prc z rather than straight barbarian or here is a wiz x/fiendbinder y/ other prc z but on the other hand saying here is how I can get my cl up to 60 in 20 levels doesn't seem like a particularly useful comparison point.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    The forum ate my previous post, but +5 for the white and +4 for the black ethergaunt both received an absolute majority in votes.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    Fensir


    At first glance, Fensirs seem like relatively straightforward beatsticks. They have four giant RHD, large size, a reasonable amount of strength and a smaller boost to constitution, +6 natural armor, and of course the rock throwing and catching we're used to from giants. They get a few odd magic abilities: the power to monitor the status of their identical twin, at-will Transmute Mud To Rock, and at-will Transmute Rock To Mud, but all in all they are fairly typical bulky beatsticks.

    Except they also have 5th-level wizard casting.

    This creates a difficult situation. At +1 LA, a fensir is still bulkier, more versatile, and much stronger than a 5th-level wizard, while having essentially the same intelligence. Reasons to pick the wizard are small, and on the whole the fensir is superior.

    A +2 LA would put fensirs slightly behind in casting and feats (while still having better bulk), which might be enough to balance them out? They still seem like a strong choice for gish builds, though.

    For now, I'll go with +2, though the issues of rating what's essentially an ogre/wizard gestalt aren't easily resolved.

    Rakka

    Rakkas are fensirs who, in what's undoubtedly a smart evolutionary move (or more likely, the whim of a Chaotic god), have turned enormous, ravenous, and nearly insentient. Huge size is neat, and the better strength and constitution (and wisdom, somehow) are notable as well, but 12 HD and the loss of casting hurt a lot.

    Aside from the chassis upgrade and casting downgrade, rakka only really distinguish themselves by having the ability to place a Dying Curse (essentially a Geas) on those responsible for killing it. Because this involves dying, I can't really recommend it to rakka PCs.

    -0 LA: there's better giants out there, and most of them actually get to have skill points.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    I feel as if sunlight vulnerability is a HUGE drawback. Currently, I'd vote to give the Fensir a LA +1. Rakka is a clear -0.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread VIII: Way Too Much For Vampirism

    Yeah, getting one-shotted by nice weather is no fun. I'll let them have the +1, but no more. -0 for the big one.

    (Also, +5 and +4, says WotC. Wow.)

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