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  1. - Top - End - #181
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    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    600' attack range and 50'/100' vertical dimension (by the book; I ran it as 60'/120' but didn't make much difference) + size. She's attackable by PCs pretty much regardless of positioning; only compounded by the Bards having Longstrider and Haste on them (and Wizards being able to cast Fly or DD on any free round). Any round of dashing away is thus two free rounds of (probably advantageous due to Major Image) attacking for the PCs. In fact due to PC mobility this goes almost regardless of terrain:her only chance is taking at least one (and it turns out both) of the damage dealers out before escaping.

    Portent and Lucky also match up exceptionally well against Dodge (though I didn't utilise Lucky RAW since I wouldn't allow it in my table), meaning Dodge wasn't all that valuable. Indeed, Bless + Leadership does too - getting a lot of bonuses (what amounts to +5 on average with decent average tendency due to two dice means they're rolling for 8 to hit which drops the Disadvantage value significantly) makes disadvantage far less relevant. The Couatl never got to use Fog Cloud to negate Disadvantage due to turn order, actually.

    Couatl positioning was one of the biggest problems in Initiative Order: it's a pure buffer/utility creature but its buffs are always one turn late (acting behind the whole party) with the way the Initiative shook out. Which is a pain since it actually moves at 100' so it keeps up with Phantom Steeds just fine and isn't much behind Tiamat either. Acting just behind Tiamat (meaning it has to predict Tiamat's move if it's relevant) is the worst possible place for it and of course, since readied actions screw spellcasters over (taking Concentration meaning you can't ready spells if Concentrating on something without dropping it, and there's no way to drop Initiative instead; that's why there needed to be two Wallers most of the time instead of one), there's no way to fix that by RAW.
    It's almost as if fighting her in a situation where the PCs can freely move where they want but she doesn't have verticle options is benificial to killing her.

    I'll go through the post more thoroughly later, but I'm curious about this part:

    How is the Bard benefiting from being an unseen attacker, but not not also gaining disadvantage from not seeing his target?
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  2. - Top - End - #182
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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Btw. Most players don't know Tiamat's stats. The game designers try to make a game that appeals to the general public. I think that should be kept in mind when dissecting things and finding loopholes, etc.

  3. - Top - End - #183
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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Quote Originally Posted by Dork_Forge View Post
    It's almost as if fighting her in a situation where the PCs can freely move where they want but she doesn't have verticle options is benificial to killing her.
    Not really; it's actually completely irrelevant. Her moving away vertically is a suicide unless there are some convenient alcoves to hide inside (but the Temple doesn't; and she's so big there are few places she could take cover in without having a small part of her visible and since Sharpshooter is a stupid feat, the tip of her tail being visible from a 5 inch/5 inch hole is enough to attack without penalties). PCs are as fast as or faster than her and have longer attack range so any action that sees her take distance is just free damage for the PCs.

    Even at Disadvantage and using Haste action to Dash, the Bards do over 30 DPR without consuming resources. Bigger arena would only favour the PCs: if there were significant elevation available (to the tune of 600'), group-casting Fly and Dimension Dooring that way would be three free rounds of attacking as opposed to one. This was literally almost as favourable a terrain for her as possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dork_Forge View Post
    How is the Bard benefiting from being an unseen attacker, but not not also gaining disadvantage from not seeing his target?
    Bard is inside Major Image so he's able to interact with it and thus automatically sees through it. I didn't bother going through the details but it's pretty easy to craft an image that's apparent that it's an image when inside it, but not from far outside let alone far away (include some blocks of wood or whatever inside the cloud of darkness/fog/whatever: one can put a hand through as a free action to see they aren't real which lets one autosee through the illusion up close).

    Quote Originally Posted by Chaos Jackal View Post
    Do you think that, in a PHB-only environment, the Cleric is replaceable? The long-term buffs are excellent, of course, but like you noted once the fight actually started they didn't get to do much.
    Well, Lore Bard and Valor Bard can both kinda fulfill the same function if built for it but it'll take most of their Magical Secrets. Probably ultimately stronger options here, but for a generalist party, Cleric is still great. Spirit Guardians and Spiritual Weapon are both really good in general, just not against Limited Magic Immunity high speed ranged enemies. In this case, if the party had to slog through another couple of CR14s, having access to both from the Cleric would be a very useful thing indeed. And one can't understate the Life Cleric's restorative abilities even though they didn't come up here; if the party had a couple of non-Simulacrums low, single Channel Divinity + Mass Healing Word would've put them out of breath weapon range most probably.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chaos Jackal View Post
    Also, it was early on in the fight, but I gotta say, I expected the breaths not fully damaging the wall of stone to be a more important point of contention. Turns out it doesn't matter too much though.
    In this case, the fact that they could be damaged at all meant they wouldn't last more than 1 round which basically meant "how much damage" didn't really matter - it's almost impossible for her to destroy them in one round and equally impossible to not get through on the second. Wall of Force is of course much better for this reason (among others).
    Last edited by Eldariel; 2021-05-09 at 12:50 AM.
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  4. - Top - End - #184
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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    - Breaths are so uninteresting. They don't damage objects, Cold-breath uses Dex-save for whatever reason (screw consistency, am I right?), let alone having some interesting riders.
    Dex save for cold?... Huh. Never noticed that before. Seems like an outright mistake.
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  5. - Top - End - #185
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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    Dex save for cold?... Huh. Never noticed that before. Seems like an outright mistake.
    Probably related to her statblock being finished before MM. I think that's something they went back and fro on in design and ultimately decided on the "3x Dex-save, 2x Con-save" split we have now. Frankly, it feels so strange that you can't dodge a poison or a cold cloud but can a fire cloud, but you can facetank a cold cloud or a poison cloud by being tough. But I guess that's just an attempt to avoid having multiple resolution rolls for a single effect.
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  6. - Top - End - #186
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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    Probably related to her statblock being finished before MM. I think that's something they went back and fro on in design and ultimately decided on the "3x Dex-save, 2x Con-save" split we have now. Frankly, it feels so strange that you can't dodge a poison or a cold cloud but can a fire cloud, but you can facetank a cold cloud or a poison cloud by being tough. But I guess that's just an attempt to avoid having multiple resolution rolls for a single effect.
    Frankly I think Tiamat's designers made a better decision than the MM designers did. It feels so strange and arbitrary for Evasion, Mounted Combatant, and Shield Master to work against red dragon flames but not white dragon frost.

    But consistency is still valuable, and Tiamat's cold breath should be aligned with ancient white dragon breath, one way or the other.
    Last edited by MaxWilson; 2021-05-09 at 01:03 AM.

  7. - Top - End - #187
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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    Frankly I think Tiamat's designers made a better decision than the MM designers did. It feels so strange and arbitrary for Evasion, Mounted Combatant, and Shield Master to work against red dragon flames but not white dragon frost.

    But consistency is still valuable, and Tiamat should be aligned with ancient white dragon breath, one way or another.
    I agree but I also feel like that's a problem with those feats: Thunderwave and Cone of Cold are equally stupid and arbitrary in this sense. Not to mention Cover-rules. Overall, I think Con-based AOE damage effects are an addition that was never thought through. I personally extend the "save for none"-effects to cover all AOE damage effects, not just AOE Dex.
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  8. - Top - End - #188
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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    I agree but I also feel like that's a problem with those feats: Thunderwave and Cone of Cold are equally stupid and arbitrary in this sense. Not to mention Cover-rules. Overall, I think Con-based AOE damage effects are an addition that was never thought through. I personally extend the "save for none"-effects to cover all AOE damage effects, not just AOE Dex.
    I think it's fine for poison breath to ignore Evasion, partial cover, etc.

    I have no strong opinion on Cone of Cold and Thunderwave, would need to think about it. At minimum I think WotC failed by, as usual, providing raw game mechanics but no diegesis explaining those mechanics. I could not Cone of Cold as a sort of heat vacuum sucking in heat over the course of a few seconds, and therefore ignoring cover, etc., but it's annoying to have to do WotC's job for them that way, and arguably D&D history makes it more of a sudden blast of cold, implying that cover etc. should matter after all and that it should be a Dex save.

    5E's designers just didn't care about simulationism or verisimilitude, only gamism and game balance, and it shows. And that's why 5E has T-Rexes that can squeeze into a 10' x 10' x 10' cube, and square Giant Constrictor Snakes.
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  9. - Top - End - #189
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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    I think it's fine for poison breath to ignore Evasion, partial cover, etc.

    I have no strong opinion on Cone of Cold and Thunderwave, would need to think about it. At minimum I think WotC failed by, as usual, providing raw game mechanics but no diegesis explaining those mechanics. I could not Cone of Cold as a sort of heat vacuum sucking in heat over the course of a few seconds, and therefore ignoring cover, etc., but it's annoying to have to do WotC's job for them that way, and arguably D&D history makes it more of a sudden blast of cold, implying that cover etc. should matter after all and that it should be a Dex save.

    5E's designers just didn't care about simulationism or verisimilitude, only gamism and game balance, and it shows. And that's why 5E has T-Rexes that can squeeze into a 10' x 10' x 10' cube, and square Giant Constrictor Snakes.
    Yeah, well, if a dragon is breathing a poison cloud, it feels obvious to me that you should be able to dodge it the same as a fire breath or a cold breath. Spells like Cloudkill and Stinking Cloud where the spell probably just appears are different...though even there a case could be made for reacting supernaturally fast to get out (exactly the same as with AOE damage spells). But yeah, I do agree, much of this is victim of oversimplification and gamism. Though I posit that many of those gamist decisions have lead to mechanics that are terrible game balance- and game enjoyment-wise (see e.g. Legendary Actions, Legendary Resistance, space rules, size rules, unseen attacker-rules, etc.) not to mention a huge headache for designers.
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  10. - Top - End - #190
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    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    Not really; it's actually completely irrelevant. Her moving away vertically is a suicide unless there are some convenient alcoves to hide inside (but the Temple doesn't; and she's so big there are few places she could take cover in without having a small part of her visible and since Sharpshooter is a stupid feat, the tip of her tail being visible from a 5 inch/5 inch hole is enough to attack without penalties). PCs are as fast as or faster than her and have longer attack range so any action that sees her take distance is just free damage for the PCs.
    It's not irrelevant, the arena chosen (and it is chosen) significantly caps her verticle options whilst giving PCs ample horizontal options to exploits through dashing steeds.

    PCs are not inherently faster, they are dependent on the steeds, which actually I haven't read, how quickly were steeds lost?

    Even at Disadvantage and using Haste action to Dash, the Bards do over 30 DPR without consuming resources. Bigger arena would only favour the PCs: if there were significant elevation available (to the tune of 600'), group-casting Fly and Dimension Dooring that way would be three free rounds of attacking as opposed to one. This was literally almost as favourable a terrain for her as possible.
    Without consuming resources? Isn't concentrating on on a 7th level (upcasted) spell you cast resources?

    Spending actions, slots and concentration on bridging the mobility gap seems free to you, it isn't it costs all of those things I just listed.

    Bard is inside Major Image so he's able to interact with it and thus automatically sees through it. I didn't bother going through the details but it's pretty easy to craft an image that's apparent that it's an image when inside it, but not from far outside let alone far away (include some blocks of wood or whatever inside the cloud of darkness/fog/whatever: one can put a hand through as a free action to see they aren't real which lets one autosee through the illusion up close).
    This seems incredibly faulty and abusive of rules text: The spell says that physical interaction with the illusion reveals it, it doesn't say that each creature has to interact with it. Even with the wood or what ever: "you create the image of an object, a creature o some other visible phenomenon" Just throwing in some planks etc. is dividing the image into multiple things. This isn't as clear cut obscurement to me as you think it is, and if it was actually causing Tiamat trouble, then she could either interact with it or just investigate it with her action.

    There's a number of things that you ruled on that dramitcally shift favour, here's one that didn't even come up:

    You have the Couatl shapechange into a V.Human with a feat and spell choice that benefited the strategy. That doesn't seem kosher at all, and I'm not even sure how you got there when the only way I read the ability is choose a statblock and use it, not modify it to suit your needs.

    Or readying walls that can go off in front of her breaths, something that she shouldn't fall for repeatedly if it's allowed in the first place.

    All your particular simulation seems to have shown is that under certain DM rulings, a party that has done nothing but prepare for a single fight for the last few days (literally up to the start of the fight) can have a chance of success against Tiamat in an arena that favours their preparation, which... doesn't really seem to say anything at all
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  11. - Top - End - #191
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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    @DF: The PCs have Haste, Longstrider and the ability to cast Fly; they have 130'/260' fly speed if she takes actions that are irrelevant.

    And yeah, Elemental Weapon is a "resource" but it lasts 1 hour so it's not gonna run out while the fight lasts a minute or two at most. It's not a limited resource far as the encounter is concerned, which is the point: Tiamat cannot survive by trying to run and bleed the PCs out of resources as the damage without expendables suffices to outpace her regeneration. This means her only strategic option of note is trying to remove a damage dealer or find total cover/heavy obscurement.


    The Major Image rulings also don't really matter that much (not that it's really unclear - write "This is an illusion" on the inside of opaque, hollow darkness with blocks of mist or whatever); two were cast so they probably didn't matter overtly much in the grand scheme of things. I don't think any but the most unfavourable anti-PC rulings would really make a difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dork_Forge View Post
    You have the Couatl shapechange into a V.Human with a feat and spell choice that benefited the strategy. That doesn't seem kosher at all, and I'm not even sure how you got there when the only way I read the ability is choose a statblock and use it, not modify it to suit your needs.
    Couatl changes into Knight, which can be of any race including Vuman.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dork_Forge View Post
    Or readying walls that can go off in front of her breaths, something that she shouldn't fall for repeatedly if it's allowed in the first place.
    It's not a matter of falling for it, she simply doesn't have any choice. Either she breathes and forces them to use the Wall, or doesn't and spares them resources. She has no option that allows her to go around it, especially since she can't even ready breaths by RAW.

    Intelligence doesn't matter in a solved game: if there's only a certain group of decisions, how good one is at making decisions doesn't matter. This is like an endgame where she's a piece down - the best play just loses slower.
    Last edited by Eldariel; 2021-05-09 at 02:07 AM.
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  12. - Top - End - #192
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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    @DF: The PCs have Haste, Longstrider and the ability to cast Fly; they have 130'/260' fly speed if she takes actions that are irrelevant.
    You talk like Haste is at zero risk of being lost, or like Fly just happens...

    You haven't once considered that when this becomes relevant the slots to upcast it may not be available, or that casting it might require dropping concentration on something else, after all the only ones that can cast it are the Wizard and their Simulacrum.

    So colour me unimpressed that your handwaving includes a spell that renders a PC useless for a round when it ends and a spell that may not even be availble at the level you assume it will be.

    And yeah, Elemental Weapon is a "resource" but it lasts 1 hour so it's not gonna run out while the fight lasts a minute or two at most. It's not a limited resource far as the encounter is concerned, which is the point: Tiamat cannot survive by trying to run and bleed the PCs out of resources as the damage without expendables suffices to outpace her regeneration. This means her only strategic option of note is trying to remove a damage dealer or find total cover/heavy obscurement.
    It's an hour long concentration spell, and maybe it's just me, but at least to me there's a difference between at will DPR kind of resourceless and under the effect of a 7th level slot that you could lose any time you take damage.

    She doesn't need to kill the damage dealers, if the spells ended (say, by being breathed on once) then the damage dealers become... nothing.

    That's the huge sticking factor here that doesn't seem to have hit home, in your self selected cirumstances all damage done to her hinges on 7th level slots, which are vanishing rare and easily wasted. Once those resources are gone... then what? The PCs flail about trying to defend themselves whilst Tiamat heals and watches them squirm and run out of whatever they have left.

    The Major Image rulings also don't really matter that much (not that it's really unclear - write "This is an illusion" on the inside of opaque darkness with blocks of mist or whatever); two were cast so they probably didn't matter overtly much in the grand scheme of things. I don't think any but the most unfavourable anti-PC rulings would really make a difference.
    You not only ignored the Couatl thing you're missing the forest for the trees:

    So many things have to go in the PCs favour to even justify the chance here, DM rulings are a heavy factor in that of which multiple ones you made seemed to just support the PCs, even ones that were mentioned but ultimately not used (the Coatl changing into anything but a stock block, the notion that Leadership works for a minute regardless despite the text very much not indicating such) .

    As I read through the thread it just unravels more...

    So on Turn 3 the Druid casts Whirlwind

    Then on Turn 4 they cast Haste

    ...yet the Whirlwind persists and does damage etc.? Whirlwind is concentration.

    It'll be interesting to hear your opinion of how concentrating on two spells at once didn't really affect the outcome of your simulation.
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  13. - Top - End - #193
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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Ah. Whirlwind is my bad, yeah: I read it as a non-Concentration spell due to the unclear marking on the site I found it on. I should run it again without the Whirlwind but I doubt it'd make a huge difference, though it'd certainly extend the fight by some rounds.

    Ultimately, I think RAW is pretty clear on all the other points though and my rulings are correct. You're free to rule otherwise but those tend to be RAW-supported readings.
    Last edited by Eldariel; 2021-05-09 at 02:26 AM.
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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    Ah. Whirlwind is my bad, yeah: I read it as a non-Concentration spell due to the unclear marking on the site I found it on. I should run it again without the Whirlwind but I doubt it'd make a huge difference, though it'd certainly extend the fight by some rounds.
    Very rough count of 103 damage that shouldn't have happened if Haste was cast, though your proclivity to handwave the factors brought up is impressive.

    Replying to your edit: You're literally just saying that

    Please direct me to the RAW that saws you can sub in the race for a creature statblock when using Shapechange, without it just being a favourable DM ruling.

    Please direct me to the RAW of creating... what seems to be a hollow ball of darkness with mist writing on the inside for Major Image, whilst maintaining it being a single thing an not a perceivable thing for Tiamat. Heck, you could make a very solid RAW argument that arrows passing through it show that it's an illusion.
    Last edited by Dork_Forge; 2021-05-09 at 02:33 AM.
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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Quote Originally Posted by Dork_Forge View Post
    Please direct me to the RAW that saws you can sub in the race for a creature statblock when using Shapechange, without it just being a favourable DM ruling.
    What does "any race" mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dork_Forge View Post
    Please direct me to the RAW of creating... what seems to be a hollow ball of darkness with mist writing on the inside for Major Image, whilst maintaining it being a single thing an not a perceivable thing for Tiamat. Heck, you could make a very solid RAW argument that arrows passing through it show that it's an illusion.
    It's outside her true seeing range and automatically seeing through illusions requires interaction, so it's pretty obvious. There's nothing to this.
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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    What does "any race" mean?
    Perhaps I should be more clear then, what RAW directs you to choose a variant race option and then further detail the feat and subchoices for that feat. Because Shapechanging into a V.Human with a feat seems less RAW and more 'I'm both the player and DM'

    I'm not seeing how adding a feat to a block does not inherently change the block beyond intention.

    It's outside her true seeing range and automatically seeing through illusions requires interaction, so it's pretty obvious. There's nothing to this.
    Again, it just says physical interaction, it does not state that you have to interact with it yourself, in fact it actually says at the end of that sentence "because things can pass through it" and arrows would by physical things... passing through it that she can see.

    You're arguing RAW, when strict RAW supports shooting through it as revealing it's an illusion.

    All of these rulings that you think are so fair and obvious, all fall in favour of the PCs and all aren't so obvious.
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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Well, you're free to play as you want, of course. Have a nice day.
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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    Well, you're free to play as you want, of course. Have a nice day.
    I am, as are you, personally though I'd avoid making claims about creatures that are then supported by said preference of play.
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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Quote Originally Posted by Dork_Forge View Post
    I am, as are you, personally though I'd avoid making claims about creatures that are then supported by said preference of play.
    Well, everybody is going to judge a statblock based on how they see the rules- the claim would be invalid only if Eldariel used houserules.
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  20. - Top - End - #200
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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    But the Whirlwind point is relevant enough that I'm gonna rerun the encounter at some point and optimise the decision paths and tighten up the play to hopefully produce a more accurate depiction of how it would go without an awful amount of mistakes. But it'll have to wait. For what it's worth, I'm pretty sure Tiamat was net beneficiary of mistakes this time.
    Last edited by Eldariel; 2021-05-09 at 06:17 AM.
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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Just to illustrate the direction the simulation likely should have gone, we have two core errors to be highlighted:

    -Whirlwind persisting and dealing damage after Haste is cast

    -Elemental Weapon incorrectly applying +3 damage to attacks

    At the time of the 'victory' the Bard is dead, the Cleric is unconcious but stable, the status of the others not abundantly clear and I didn't want to track their hp, but I doubt everyone is rosy cheeked.

    Total incorrect Whirlwind damage: 103

    Total incorrect Elemental Weapon damage (between Bard and Bardulacrum): 99

    Total damage taken incorrectly by Tiamat: 202 or 32.85% of her total hp

    Ignoring that damage Tiamat would be sitting roughly at 223hp at the point where the simulation was ended, with a Regeneration of 30hp coming her way on that turn.

    Pretty much everything so far has been handwaved for the most part as being inconsequential, not enough to actaully tilt things in her favour or written off as DM differences etc.

    I'm curious how the current state of the party (running on fumes with one real damage dealer left) would be seen in light of Tiamat still being at around a 3rd of her health?
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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    The game isn't designed for optimizers who know the stat block of every encounter and run simulations. It's like there should be a "hard mode" for those who seek system mastery. For example, Force Cage should NOT work on Tiamat, especially for expert players who have her stats memorized and already know the best counters and strategies based on their metagame knowledge.

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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Quote Originally Posted by langal View Post
    The game isn't designed for optimizers who know the stat block of every encounter and run simulations. It's like there should be a "hard mode" for those who seek system mastery. For example, Force Cage should NOT work on Tiamat, especially for expert players who have her stats memorized and already know the best counters and strategies based on their metagame knowledge.
    Wouldnt hard mode just be the DM changing things so player knowledge isnít perfect?

    Edit: for example, tomorrow night iím running my usual game and figured iíd dig out some of my 3rd ed monster manuals to populate the dungeon crawl. Even if the players recognised the creatures and remembered the 3.5 versipn stats exactly they still wouldnt know how iím converting them
    Last edited by Kane0; 2021-05-10 at 10:05 PM.

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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Quote Originally Posted by Kane0 View Post
    Wouldnt hard mode just be the DM changing things so player knowledge isnít perfect?
    Yes. The key thing that makes Tiamat beatable at level 14 is player knowledge of how her Magic Immunity and Legendary Actions work.

    However, that's not true at level 20. A cabal of archmages taking their best guess at how to kill Tiamat, based on prior knowledge of demon lords/etc., can guess her stats well enough to make her dead without using any unusual tactics. That's essentially why she's not a plausible strategic threat, and therefore doesn't fit into the story.
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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Quote Originally Posted by Kane0 View Post
    Wouldnt hard mode just be the DM changing things so player knowledge isnít perfect?

    Edit: for example, tomorrow night iím running my usual game and figured iíd dig out some of my 3rd ed monster manuals to populate the dungeon crawl. Even if the players recognised the creatures and remembered the 3.5 versipn stats exactly they still wouldnt know how iím converting them
    Quote Originally Posted by langal View Post
    The game isn't designed for optimizers who know the stat block of every encounter and run simulations. It's like there should be a "hard mode" for those who seek system mastery. For example, Force Cage should NOT work on Tiamat, especially for expert players who have her stats memorized and already know the best counters and strategies based on their metagame knowledge.
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    Yes. The key thing that makes Tiamat beatable at level 14 is player knowledge of how her Magic Immunity and Legendary Actions work.

    However, that's not true at level 20. A cabal of archmages taking their best guess at how to kill Tiamat, based on prior knowledge of demon lords/etc., can guess her stats well enough to make her dead without using any unusual tactics. That's essentially why she's not a plausible strategic threat, and therefore doesn't fit into the story.
    With DF we just used Contact Other Plane and Commune before the fight so basically all the relevant information was acquired through questioning over a 1 hour interval using no slots (Wizard with Lucky in a party with a Couatl, a Cleric, a Druid, and a Bard doesn't have to worry about failing the save but Portent was used just to be safe). 5e made COP spamming really easy. Basically, the assumption was that the party knows they'll fight some big thing the next day and thus they used their divinations to figure out the key features (damage immunities, magic immunity, best offense, enemy spellcasting ability, etc.). Which you should do every single evening in game on this level anyways because there's literally no reason not to (you get one Commune and as many COPs as you can make the saves for, which Portent and Lucky really extend if you have leftover middling Portent rolls or a downtime day).

    Though in this case, her magic immunity and weapon immunity didn't really matter; the Bardchers did what they would do against any big thing. Cast high level Elemental Weapon and attack until the target stops moving while avoiding getting hit. Similarly, Wizards just did the same they'd do against any big thing with Legendary Resistances: try to contain it and protect the party, buff damage dealers and let them kill it. I did have Forcecage prepared on multiple characters (and indeed ended up using it: non-Concentration 20' box of "no go zone" is surprisingly useful even if you can't fit the enemy in there) - it's just a spell that's great to have around.


    Indeed, usual precaution taken when fighting against high level threats mostly solve this because:
    - No threat is immune to magical weapons so that's a safe way to go.
    - No threat is immune to no save effects so those can always be used.
    - Basically no threat can influence the party without line of effect so the safest protection is just not giving them line of effect.
    - Your own defensive suite is relevant against any threat so maximising HP, damage mitigation, immunities, etc. is a good idea (the party also had e.g. Freedom of Movement active that doesn't matter against Tiamat but is just a good idea in general against high level threats).
    - They usually have Legendary Actions and Legendary Actions work the same for everything (though Legendary Actions as is are pretty metagamey and I hate playing around them - they lead to stuff like Tiamat actually potentially being better off not killing the Ape to get to Legendary Action before the Druid gets to go)

    This was basically a normal boss fight routine. You use the options that nothing is immune to and hit target with those while using defenses and protections nothing is immune to. This is because higher up immunities get more and more frequent. It isn't like the party would abuse a specific weakness of Tiamat: it's just the party uses what works on anything. The only "unusual" prep was Heroes' Feast and it's something I'd use whenever I knew we were headed into a dangerous fight - basically everything has a fear effect and extra HP on top of Aid is always nice especially thinking about Power Words and such.

    Of course, in real game you'd change her up though changing her up easily makes her much more dangerous since the reason she isn't all that is a very specific set of issues (lack of Wing Buffet is a huge one: if she got a Legendary Action move, that'd do a lot for her and if she also got a way to deal with force effects, she'd be a tactical level monster) against the most common high level tactics in the game. Without those issues, she'd be much closer to her suggested CR. So while changing her up, you'd have to figure out where you want to draw the line and what level of threat you want her to be - as it stands, she's mid Tier 3 threat in that a mid Tier 3 party has a reasonable shot at her but by changing her up you could easily make her a Tier 4 or even Epic threat (where she belongs IMHO).
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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    With DF we just used Contact Other Plane and Commune before the fight so basically all the relevant information was acquired through questioning over a 1 hour interval using no slots (Wizard with Lucky in a party with a Couatl, a Cleric, a Druid, and a Bard doesn't have to worry about failing the save but Portent was used just to be safe). 5e made COP spamming really easy. Basically, the assumption was that the party knows they'll fight some big thing the next day and thus they used their divinations to figure out the key features (damage immunities, magic immunity, best offense, enemy spellcasting ability, etc.). Which you should do every single evening in game on this level anyways because there's literally no reason not to (you get one Commune and as many COPs as you can make the saves for, which Portent and Lucky really extend if you have leftover middling Portent rolls or a downtime day).

    Though in this case, her magic immunity and weapon immunity didn't really matter; the Bardchers did what they would do against any big thing. Cast high level Elemental Weapon and attack until the target stops moving while avoiding getting hit. Similarly, Wizards just did the same they'd do against any big thing with Legendary Resistances: try to contain it and protect the party, buff damage dealers and let them kill it. I did have Forcecage prepared on multiple characters (and indeed ended up using it: non-Concentration 20' box of "no go zone" is surprisingly useful even if you can't fit the enemy in there) - it's just a spell that's great to have around.


    Indeed, usual precaution taken when fighting against high level threats mostly solve this because:
    - No threat is immune to magical weapons so that's a safe way to go.
    - No threat is immune to no save effects so those can always be used.
    - Basically no threat can influence the party without line of effect so the safest protection is just not giving them line of effect.
    - Your own defensive suite is relevant against any threat so maximising HP, damage mitigation, immunities, etc. is a good idea (the party also had e.g. Freedom of Movement active that doesn't matter against Tiamat but is just a good idea in general against high level threats).
    - They usually have Legendary Actions and Legendary Actions work the same for everything (though Legendary Actions as is are pretty metagamey and I hate playing around them - they lead to stuff like Tiamat actually potentially being better off not killing the Ape to get to Legendary Action before the Druid gets to go)

    This was basically a normal boss fight routine. You use the options that nothing is immune to and hit target with those while using defenses and protections nothing is immune to. This is because higher up immunities get more and more frequent. It isn't like the party would abuse a specific weakness of Tiamat: it's just the party uses what works on anything. The only "unusual" prep was Heroes' Feast and it's something I'd use whenever I knew we were headed into a dangerous fight - basically everything has a fear effect and extra HP on top of Aid is always nice especially thinking about Power Words and such.

    Of course, in real game you'd change her up though changing her up easily makes her much more dangerous since the reason she isn't all that is a very specific set of issues (lack of Wing Buffet is a huge one: if she got a Legendary Action move, that'd do a lot for her and if she also got a way to deal with force effects, she'd be a tactical level monster) against the most common high level tactics in the game. Without those issues, she'd be much closer to her suggested CR. So while changing her up, you'd have to figure out where you want to draw the line and what level of threat you want her to be - as it stands, she's mid Tier 3 threat in that a mid Tier 3 party has a reasonable shot at her but by changing her up you could easily make her a Tier 4 or even Epic threat (where she belongs IMHO).
    You're referencing my simulation (which you bailed on after the 1st turn of the 1st round) whilst ignoring context important here:

    -Tiamat was the only combat of that day

    -There was no combat for multiple days before hand

    -You took the prep from one simulation but are using your own DM rulings from your own simulation

    You need multiple days to prepare, since you want to bypass the Simulacrums not having their 7th level slots missing (which btw was not the case when I okayed the prep), do you not see anything wrong with needing multiple days of favourable conditions and active preparation to kill a lone enemy in favourable terrain?

    Are you going to keep ignoring the fact that she shouldn't have died in your version of the simulation?
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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Quote Originally Posted by Kane0 View Post
    Wouldnt hard mode just be the DM changing things so player knowledge isnít perfect?

    Edit: for example, tomorrow night iím running my usual game and figured iíd dig out some of my 3rd ed monster manuals to populate the dungeon crawl. Even if the players recognised the creatures and remembered the 3.5 versipn stats exactly they still wouldnt know how iím converting them
    Exactly! Keep them on their toes.

    While Tiamat May very well be weaker than a CR 30, I think "evidence" would be some regular players kicking her butt. I just don't the the true litmus test involves players that know every nook and cranny and stayblock in the book. It almost argues the opposite.

  28. - Top - End - #208
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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Quote Originally Posted by langal View Post
    Exactly! Keep them on their toes.

    While Tiamat May very well be weaker than a CR 30, I think "evidence" would be some regular players kicking her butt. I just don't the the true litmus test involves players that know every nook and cranny and stayblock in the book. It almost argues the opposite.
    Nevertheless, normal high level threat plans work against her. That is to say, she's a big ball of numbers with nothing special about her except her immunities and durability. But the same things that work against everything else work against her too (all the best damage types: Radiant, Force, Necrotic, Thunder, Magical weapons - all the usual tactics in kiting, movement restriction via force effects or summons, vision denial [surprisingly enough] - the usual builds).

    While obviously it's optimal to have a party kill her organically, there's no module written for that to happen (because the only module where you actually are against her so that you might fight her, Tyranny of Dragons, specifically is designed so that you would do everything in the world to not fight her and if you still ended up fighting her, she would be severely weakened anyways) so it's pretty hard to find completely random encounters involving her out of the blind.

    And given her status as a divine threat, she isn't just a random encounter: there's always build-up which inherently comes with PCs being able to glean information on her on this level, from divinations or otherwise. So while no complete knowledge of her statblock should of course be assumed, broad idea of her capabilities ("can she teleport?", "can she [move between turns]?" (however you wanna fluff Legendary Actions in-universe), "what is her maximum range of attack?", "can she defeat force effects?", etc.) is pretty natural if you spend e.g. an hour divining her. This alone does much to negate how unrealistic such an example really is: in-universe, high level PCs should always spend time researching big bads before engaging them.

    Though again, in this case the only surprise is how few surprises there actually are: she does pretty much exactly what you'd expect of a big dragon and a little less actually (compared to real dragons, Fiend type, no Wing Buffet, minimal spellcasting, no blindsight).
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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    Though again, in this case the only surprise is how few surprises there actually are: she does pretty much exactly what you'd expect of a big dragon and a little less actually (compared to real dragons, Fiend type, no Wing Buffet, minimal spellcasting, no blindsight).
    I hadn't looked at her stat block before this thread and I quite agree with this. Tiamat feels a lot like a regular dragon with 4 bazookas of various flavors strapped to her. Lots of damage output, just really huge AoE damage and the speed to deliver it. Looking at the PbP, the party really needs to interrupt her damage because you couldn't possibly tank that much for any extended period. Walls seem like a good way to do that.

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    Default Re: Killing Tiamat inside a Forcecage

    Quote Originally Posted by XmonkTad View Post
    I hadn't looked at her stat block before this thread and I quite agree with this. Tiamat feels a lot like a regular dragon with 4 bazookas of various flavors strapped to her. Lots of damage output, just really huge AoE damage and the speed to deliver it. Looking at the PbP, the party really needs to interrupt her damage because you couldn't possibly tank that much for any extended period. Walls seem like a good way to do that.
    Yeah, the issue is with her legendary actions she gets two breaths (or five bites) in the span of a single turn which is tankable for two rounds at best short of something like Blink (which would be a fine defensive option if the party needed help keeping the Wizards alive but they kinda don't, really, and this would mess up readied spells at times which would be a net negative really). For defeating her durability wise, elemental resistances would be mandatory; more prevalent Warding Bond would help there (with Warding Bond, a character could tank 3-4 breaths before needing healing which is enough for Life Cleric to sustain through for a round or two and since all the relevant healing is AOE, this works against the splitoff damage too) but of course, with Cleric as the only character with the spell it's obviously something you cast on the most vulnerable party member instead (in this case, the Bard Simulacrum).

    Outside Core, Absorb Elements would really help there. Of course, there's the option of Polymorphing the characters but ultimately that didn't just pan out because you'd really need to Polymorph someone who's Warding Bonded to have enough durability to keep her down (and in this case, the Warding Bonded character is someone who wants to avoid taking hits).
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