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    Default StarCraft d20 3.5 - Revising

    Here's a quick look at potential starcraft mechanics (and an outline of what I hope to accomplish in this thread):

    - High templar (and other obvious forces within SC that depend on something other then technology or raw physical power (a zergy space monster, ie.)) should be a prestige class (a fairly high one with fluffy prerequisites, probably spurring from psion or psychic warrior (zealot) and having it's own feat selection as well as spells (ie. psi-storm and hallucination which require khala-style psychic power fluff wise))

    - Technological power in the mechanics that actually make sense (hyper accelerated spikes from a gauss rifle should frankly deal A LOT of damage and bypass material damage reduction for certain materials depending bullet material; this can be easily counteracted by having the players face enemies that are really powerful); one ridiculous concept was a psi-generated dagger that dealt around 1d6 damage which is ridiculously low, imho. A psi-blade should easily be able to melt a medieval longsword to nothing with one sunder attempt so at least include mechanics for that; Also don't forget mechanics for shields (mech warriors, powered armor, cybernetics, and starships/vehicles/fighters/drones/bots can be covered later since they should be a little deeper in crunch, imho, despite what d20 future has attempted)

    - All zerg should have damage reduction and fast healing to some extent as well as natural armor bonuses; some should even have a form of accelerated fast healing when resting (not moving, working and not fighting)

    - Reworking of the hive mind affect for zerg (include how overlords and cerebrates fall into it; for reference the ranking system goes from top to bottom: overmind (or other leader, ie. Kerrigan), cerebrates (or other ruling sect, in case the cerebrates are killed off or a 'renegade' group of zerg is decidely controlled by someone detached from the swarm for fluff purposes), overlords (zerg supervisors)

    - A way of allowing zerg to become PCs (but include special conditions that would still make them akin to animals with a semi-sentience; perhaps disallow speaking, while telepaths can still understand them... it could make for some unique RP situations)

    - Special zerg, such as the torrasque, would be very very powerful (like CR 40 or more powerful for a supped up ultralisk). I mean, the torrasque can easily cut through four bunkers chock full of marines pumping hyper-accelerated spikes at the thing; I don't imagine a non-zerg D&D tarrasque with only 900hp able to withstand four bunkers (not to mention ar****e siege tanks) for more than two rounds

    - Include a method of incorporating already existant classes into the SC universe (I don't think ghost needs to be a PRC; more of a complete fluff thing, with prerequisites such as psychic ability and time to endure training in order to gain access to ghost technology). Perhaps we could invent a new template for non-psion psychic humans (not all ghosts can cast psion spells after all, and most are just simple telepaths).

    It'd help any readers here have read previous attempts to make starcraft a d20. Now, revise away!

    EDIT: Oh, well the javascript-style swear finder apparently found a swear that I didn't even know about. And now all the kids can guess at it and have a perfect image of it considering they're used to the otherwise SC-dirived word that apparently partially turned itself into a cuss word! Hurray.
    Last edited by imp_fireball; 2008-10-10 at 09:10 PM.

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    Default Re: StarCraft d20 3.5 - Revising

    Is this revising a specific previous attempt or a new attempt that is being informed by your knowledge of previous attempts? Your title and text somewhat conflict.

    Starcraft seems to me to be one of those things that is so wildly divergent from D&D at its core that you can't really create a coherent add-on for 3.5 so much as an actual different sub-game. If you look at Zeta Kai's Final Fantasy d20, it's a very complex outgrowth that requires one to be playing with most of what he came up with - it doesn't play nice if you rip something out and put it directly into standard 3.5 without any thought, even though many of the mechanics resemble one another.

    See also: Star Wars d20. You can easily emulate small things with 3.5, but converting a universe that has wildly different genre expectations requires adapting some of that universe's rules.
    Last edited by AstralFire; 2008-10-10 at 09:11 PM.

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    Default Re: StarCraft d20 3.5 - Revising

    Quote Originally Posted by AstralFire View Post
    Is this revising a specific previous attempt or a new attempt that is being informed by your knowledge of previous attempts? Your title and text somewhat conflict.

    Starcraft seems to me to be one of those things that is so wildly divergent from D&D at its core that you can't really create a coherent add-on for 3.5 so much as an actual different sub-game. If you look at Zeta Kai's Final Fantasy d20, it's a very complex outgrowth that requires one to be playing with most of what he came up with - it doesn't play nice if you rip something out and put it directly into standard 3.5, even though many of the mechanics resemble one another.

    See also: Star Wars d20.
    Not at all. 3.5 is supposed to be flexible. If you open your mind, you can incorporate anything. Future elements too. D20 future was created on the premises of ignorance, so really it's much easier to just incorporate completely new mechanics on the basis of 3.5.

    Ie. A longsword requires martial proficiency and deals 1d8 damage.

    A S&W revolver (ie.) might require small firearm proficiency (or light/martial/handheld; dirived from D20 modern) and deal 2d8 damage. It could require a minimum Str of 10 to wield without penalty (recoil) and the character's dex modifier to hit is 1 1/2 instead of 1 (high speed bullet = harder to avoid). If you wanted to get really technical (not necessary), you could allow a bullet that misses due to an armor bonus to deflect (though this might conflict with a bullet that has a material hardness greater or the same to the armor's material hardness if it actually contacts, ie.).

    For automatic weaponry (AKA machine guns), instead allow the bullets to hit automatically (or roll a percentage die to determine amount of bullets that do potentially contact, since there's always rounds that impact away from their target) and then force a reflex save on the enemy to half damage (evasion applies). You could also include automatic guns that have an easier time allowing higher perecentages of bullets to impact on the same target (ie. assualt rifles with greater precision and a steady grip). Or you could even have a feat one step above the point blank shot tree that makes automatic weapons dreadfully lethal at melee (or short, say 10'-15' distances; lethal as in all bullets could impact or all could miss). There's also 'spread fire' which effects a number of spaces and multiple targets (do-able with automatic firearm) and feats and maneuvers that reflect such (you could even invent new stances!). Don't forget about the number of bullets that a firearm can dispense within a given round as ammunition remains a liability.

    For sci-fi games (starcraft ie.), some starships/machinery/armor/etc. might be made of materials that are harder then adamantium (AKA diamond). Neo-steel (starcraft) is supposed to be 5 times as hard. If adamantium has hardness 30 per inch, then neo-steel would have hardness 150 per inch. Because of this, anyone wearing neo-steel armor might have natural damage reduction (but not the insane hardness; particularly if the armor is a suit; like powered armor). Also, neo-steel, while rare, is practically impossible to sunder, unless you 'toss a few grenades it's way (it's made to stand up to hyper-accelerated materials after all).

    Also: Enemies that are slow to attack but powerful. A particularly large critter might take 2 or 3 rounds to make an attack action, however their attack may be treated as an awesome blow that knocks targets up to 50', perhaps in a cleave effect or one at a time.

    That's what makes 3.5 flexible. I don't think there's any need to create my own RP system since you can easily just modify a basic system that's already in place.

    And this is a revision of what I've already seen on these boards btw.

    It doesn't have to be an RTS (which would be impossible to incorporate on pen and paper lest it become a warhammer 40k clone; and how would you incorporate the excitement of realtime into such a thing?). Instead, it helps establish realism in an RP situation. And it opens up RPing to more possibilities (what if a bunch of unknown characters from SC end up on another plane, traveling to a different universe altogether for comedy purposes?).
    Last edited by imp_fireball; 2008-10-10 at 09:33 PM.

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    Default Re: StarCraft d20 3.5 - Revising

    I actually ran a D20 game of Starcraft once. It was quite fun.

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    Default Re: StarCraft d20 3.5 - Revising

    Quote Originally Posted by imp_fireball View Post
    Not at all. 3.5 is supposed to be flexible.
    d20 is flexible, yes. Some suppose it to be generic-system flexible, but it's not that good at it; it certainly wasn't originally designed that way, and the default rules make some assumptions about how the game is focused and how combat works that can make other styles of play very difficult. d20 ends up being more of a very rough skeletal frame for its best conflicting genre spin-offs, a toolkit to be used, but not actually a unified generic system. 3.5 is even less flexible, since you start out with more of those assumptions.

    Your example revolver, for example, blows the Longbow, Shortbow, Crossbow, and the weapons and attacks based on them out of the water. A Ranger walking around with two of those at level 5 is going to be far and away superior to any other ranged warrior, bar none. Go far enough with better weapons and you start wreaking havoc with the already tenuous class balance, and stuff like animal companions - even a druid's, provided it's unbuffed - becomes cannon fodder at best, changing the relative worth of a lot of class features.

    If you want to make something very faithful to Starcraft, I wouldn't assume any of the rules specific to D&D rather than d20. This doesn't require being an RTS, it just means not keeping Wizards and Paladins as they are in core.
    Last edited by AstralFire; 2008-10-10 at 09:47 PM.

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    Default Re: StarCraft d20 3.5 - Revising

    Quote Originally Posted by AstralFire View Post
    d20 is flexible, yes. Some suppose it to be generic-system flexible, but it's not that good at it; it certainly wasn't originally designed that way, and the default rules make some assumptions about how the game is focused and how combat works that can make other styles of play very difficult. d20 ends up being more of a very rough skeletal frame for its best conflicting genre spin-offs, a toolkit to be used, but not actually a unified generic system. 3.5 is even less flexible, since you start out with more of those assumptions.

    Your example revolver, for example, blows the Longbow, Shortbow, Crossbow, and the weapons and attacks based on them out of the water. A Ranger walking around with two of those at level 5 is going to be far and away superior to any other ranged warrior, bar none.

    If you want to make something very faithful to Starcraft, I wouldn't assume any of the rules specific to D&D rather than d20. This doesn't require being an RTS, it just means not keeping Wizards and Paladins as they are in core.
    Don't forget realism though. It doesn't matter if you bench 900 pounds in real life (say, 22 STR), a 10 year old girl aiming a gun at you and saying 'freeze you bad person, you!' would definitely make you freeze. You gotta admit, technology is more powerful then 'mundane' weaponry. In a medieval setting, if it's rare, it'll cost GP right up there with magical/masterwork items and possibly qualify as a lavish mechanism of its own.

    It's supposed to blow crude medieval weapons out of the water. It's technology. Technology can kill millions. It's akin to magic. Though it takes longer, and requires significantly greater investment and can break (say, a rogue who puts his skills into disabling technology and invests in knowledge skills such as computer science so that he recognizes certain technology and knows how to act accordingly, ie.; it's pretty easy to get a rogue of the future from this).

    It doesn't matter if an epic level ranger can fire 20 arrows in a round (that's an exageration, I know), it won't work if those arrows can't stand up to an otherwise frail mad scientist in neo-steel powered armor. D&D 3.5 was made for realism and physics as well. And physics can say that a shotgun is mightier then a sword, depending on who wields which (of course, enough strength applied to a sword could sometimes out-damage a shotgun, but most of the time not, while a long bow and a sniper rifle apply similarly in terms of maximum range to a target (don't forget sniper scopes that can applied for greater accuracy, but of course the same could be applied to a crossbow) and that's the realism of it).

    Of course, this is why medieval settings are usually strictly medieval (with extraordinary creatures to add to the fantasy element of course) for balance purposes within a game. But enabling that other option seems swell too, no? Of course, any GM can add anything to a campaign, and that's where setting comes into play.

    BTW, what other styles of play could you suggest that are 'assumed impossible' by the core rules?
    Last edited by imp_fireball; 2008-10-10 at 09:58 PM.

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    Default Re: StarCraft d20 3.5 - Revising

    I've considered making my own Starcraft d20 before, but separating it almost completely from dnd mechanics. Terran would progress up trees of ranks and positions which provide gear and abilities (move up as a marine, go from marine into firebat, or medic, or ghost, or pilot, etc). Zerg would accumulate some form of experience and follow an evolution tree, and Protoss would improve similar to experience in the form of psionics.

    The reasons I would separate it completely include a few mentioned here: normal dnd numbers wouldn't mesh with Starcraft numbers unless you shifted everything. But making all the weapons deal reasonable damage in dnd terms, ie, a psiblade dealing 2d10 damage, would make it really hard to balance. If you redefine everything, you can have a psiblade dealing 1d6 and still have a balanced system, as long as the armor and health numbers work with it relatively.

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    Default Re: StarCraft d20 3.5 - Revising

    Quote Originally Posted by imp_fireball View Post
    It doesn't matter if an epic level ranger can fire 20 arrows in a round (that's an exageration, I know), it won't work if those arrows can't stand up to an otherwise frail mad scientist in neo-steel powered armor. D&D 3.5 was made for realism and physics as well.
    You're talking about a system where, by mid-levels and higher, people can survive a knife to the head while tied up, being thrown off of cliffs, swimming through lava, and take several direct hits from a sword the size of my arm and not be badly hurt. Naked.

    Also, you're pretty badly underestimating the speed of delivery of bow and arrow when you added the extra Dex to Attack on that gun. Guns are easier to use, yes, but trust me when I say that old weaponry can lay a hurt on someone pretty badly as well, since bullets also have a tendency to strike more cleanly than a blade through the gut or an arrow in your heart.

    1) Stuff like this will have ripple effects beyond mere "new guns better than old guns."
    2) If you're going to mess with the existing classes that badly and not alter their mechanics significantly, there is virtually no point in playing them. It would be like playing a Barbarian in a campaign centered around playing Poker where all the guards can shoot you dead before you can intimidate anyone with your rage. There's almost no reason to even make it an option.
    Last edited by AstralFire; 2008-10-10 at 09:59 PM.

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    Default Re: StarCraft d20 3.5 - Revising

    Um, yah but your thinking more of a rogue. A barbarian is still limited. Because the mechanics would still fundamentally remain the same. It's not like I'm redefining skills, because then, like you said, I might as well redefine hit points to mean something other then death at -10 (or whatever a feat allows the 'death point' to be, etc.).

    And why would there be no point in the existing classes? Are you saying that if players notice these features, they'll suddenly want to begin adding additional rules to something I've 'liberated', while completely forgoing how the classes could originally be utilized in all games thereafter, thus completely stealing the market away from wizards of the coast and it's centric view of what D&D should 'look and feel' like (and just as well anyway, I mean 4ed).

    Quote Originally Posted by Icewalker View Post
    I've considered making my own Starcraft d20 before, but separating it almost completely from dnd mechanics. Terran would progress up trees of ranks and positions which provide gear and abilities (move up as a marine, go from marine into firebat, or medic, or ghost, or pilot, etc). Zerg would accumulate some form of experience and follow an evolution tree, and Protoss would improve similar to experience in the form of psionics.

    The reasons I would separate it completely include a few mentioned here: normal dnd numbers wouldn't mesh with Starcraft numbers unless you shifted everything. But making all the weapons deal reasonable damage in dnd terms, ie, a psiblade dealing 2d10 damage, would make it really hard to balance. If you redefine everything, you can have a psiblade dealing 1d6 and still have a balanced system, as long as the armor and health numbers work with it relatively.
    But redefining is pointless work. Also, it makes sense to allow one faction of people completely conqour another faction with crappy medieval technology (albeit spells which might only provide a minor advantage against interstellar travel). It's realistic. A psi-blade can fuggin hack through powered armor like butter. Don't tell me it compares with a longsword. It's easier to just list the same method of numbers for new futuristic weapons, since you'll eventually have to list stats for it anyway.

    And it's balanced considering futuristic technology is either impossible or really hard to acquire fluff wise in a medieval world. A warrior with a psi-blade and plasma shields can tackle a dragon. It makes sense. And it also makes sense that the dragon can fly into the air and use their breath weapon from a height that prevents the psi-blade/shield character from reaching them. It's physics.

    Unless 3 or 4 figure numbers are too 'complex' math wise, which they're not considering nearly everyone who plays D&D likely does not mind math, imo (and math is everything in the game that makes it a challenge aside from puzzles/riddles/some crazy thing the GM throws at you that doesn't involve rolling dice, believe me). Also, technology offers a different play-style. If you up against a gun that can dispense enough ammunition to kill several soldiers in a single round with a single level 1 operator (WW2, ie.), then the tactic obviously relies on taking cover and then using new feats that relate to firearms. You could also invent new actions that are realistically plausible.

    CR and ECL can change if a level 1 character happens to be wearing powered armor (which could give the otherwise LA 0 character LA +6, ie.). That's another thing that changes aside from damage/DR/etc, and it also helps the GM compare challenges for the players (and PC level can still apply too!).
    Last edited by imp_fireball; 2008-10-10 at 10:13 PM.

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    Default Re: StarCraft d20 3.5 - Revising

    Quote Originally Posted by imp_fireball View Post
    Um, yah but your thinking more of a rogue. A barbarian is still limited.
    That would be my point.

    And why would there be no point in the existing classes? Are you saying that if players notice these features, they'll suddenly want to begin adding additional rules to something I've 'liberated', while completely forgoing how the classes could originally be utilized in all games thereafter, thus completely stealing the market away from wizards of the coast and it's centric view of what D&D should 'look and feel' like (and just as well anyway, I mean 4ed).
    I don't even know what you're saying at the end there.

    When your ranged weapons are doing say, enough damage to bring down a Barbarian 10 levels higher than you before he has time to close, either no one's going to play a Barbarian or you're going to have to contrive situations in which the Barbarian is useful (even though almost everyone will be walking around with those awesome ranged weapons). So why even include a Barbarian class?

    And those are the people that can equip themselves to keep up. Any caster who doesn't rely on save or lose won't be able to keep up at all. None of their defensive or damage abilities will scale, they'll just be horribly dwarfed in power.

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    Default Re: StarCraft d20 3.5 - Revising

    Quote Originally Posted by imp_fireball View Post
    And it's balanced considering futuristic technology is either impossible or really hard to acquire fluff wise in a medieval world.
    You're going to have to put numbers to that; I mean, a lot of numbers. A 20th level character has 760,000 gold and often supernatural intelligence and access to the ability to make entire factories if they want.

    A warrior with a psi-blade and plasma shields can tackle a dragon. It makes sense. And it also makes sense that the dragon can fly into the air and use their breath weapon from a height that prevents the psi-blade/shield character from reaching them. It's physics.
    Fly spell?

    Unless 3 or 4 figure numbers are too 'complex' math wise, which they're not considering nearly everyone who plays D&D likely does not mind math, imo (and math is everything in the game that makes it a challenge aside from puzzles/riddles/some crazy thing the GM throws at you that doesn't involve rolling dice, believe me).
    You use small numbers for speed. Lots of 3-4 digit numbers added up take a lot more time for minimal benefit over using 1-2 digit numbers.

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    Default Re: StarCraft d20 3.5 - Revising

    Ah, you misunderstand me. In a dnd context, ie, if you are playing a dnd game and hand the fighter a psiblade, it definitely should do something like 2d10 damage. Makes perfect sense, and it works. But if you aren't making Starcraft stuff in dnd, but are rather making a stand-alone Starcraft system, then you could use simpler numbers by merely rewriting all the health and armor system and the like instead. It is additional work, but it makes a more concrete system if you aren't trying to mesh it with straight fantasy dnd.

    If you are trying to be able to cross between the two settings, then you are definitely going about it the right way.

    By the way, just because it is something awesome I thought of when I was considering a Starcraft d20, one weapon which Terrans should have is the 'Goliath Cannon', a very large chaingun generally carried and deployed by two marines. As per the Goliath. Felt like ground troops would be capable of using one of those, if built to be used as such.

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    Default Re: StarCraft d20 3.5 - Revising

    - I'm responding to this one comment at a time, because I'm too lazy to include quotes, just so y'know. :P

    - But conversion is a time consuming, pointless issue. Lots of numbers are fine. In combat, the numbers are still minimal, compared to all the crap that's gotta be sorted out on the creation of an epic level millionaire in one of those god-stylistic campaigns

    - The barbarian issue could easily be resolved by giving the barbarian magic weapons that match the ECL/CR of other characters or perhaps a technological melee weapon (psi-great-axe, or vibro-blade? Also in case a game doesn't involve magic); what about powered armor that augments strength (include strength granted by rage, or drugs that augment rage), or some sort of method of zooming in on enemies and quickly destroying them in melee (samus's grapple beam, or link's grapple gun, ie.); don't forget ECL; you could always bump up the barbarian's level to match the resulting ECL of every other character and give them primitive medieval weapons to boot; also, a higher ECL means that the barbarian could choose higher LA racial templates. Giving one player ECL 1 (compared to ECL 30 of every other player) is ridiculous; you might as well make the superpowered dude who is bad ass enough to fight tech-supremacy with crappy weapons that they're proficient with (maybe the barb was warrior god-king on their home planet?)

    - For magic: Don't forget that some magic can be made to specifically deal damage to a player inside a suit (or spaceship, ie.), unless of course said suit has runes (ie.) to resist magical affects. Also, there's ECL again, so a wizard could amount to a flamethrower-happy mech warrior in terms of fireballs and breathweapons (and there's always the option of inventing new spells to adjust to affecting or augmenting technology that can be purchased rather then investing a ton of XP and GP to invent yourself)

    - For psychics: Psions and such could purchase technology specific to psions. A mech might require psychic power to control (say protoss vessels, for example, require psychic interfacing with computer systems). Also, new psion spells could be manifested or bought. And again I stress, ECL/CR (if it's impossible to include appropriate technology or the GM's too lazy)

    - For clerics/paladins: Same as above. Though this would likely place clerics and paladins in more supportive rolls. Instead of having a repair spell, invent a spell that augments a mechanism's ability to repair another mechanism. Have a piece of technology that channels positive energy into more 'pure' forms or augments the smite evil of a paladin, ie. (Smiting bullets? Constantine, anyone? Perhaps your crew of marines needs to invade hell ala doom, but the only way to open up a portal is to get the party cleric to commune with the mystical energies that seperate both worlds or ask a warlock to conduct a ritual, etc.)

    - I thought dragons usually have wings. That's natural flight for you. A protoss zealot doesn't have a jetpack, btw. But yah, a flight spell would probably eliminate any disadvantage for the theoretical protoss zealot. Unless the dragon can cast spells such as dispell magic (which would make sense, since dragons are often sentient and have lived for a long enough time to learn such things; of course, if they haven't then they're likely lazy or ignorant and would realistically suffer for it)

    - Adding 3-4 digit numbers is still basic math, unfortunately, so use a calculator, they're quite cheap these days :P (for the price of a few seconds pushing buttons)

    - To IceWalker: Mechanics don't necessarily define setting, imo, since physics are kinda defined by what we've observed in real life to create fiction. Setting in D&D is merely an incorporation of fantasy concepts with many twists and turns (the different worlds such as eberron, forgotten realms, etc., were really for the sake of campaign settings that could be purchased I thought). Also, the goliath cannon is called an 'autocannon' (or twin autocannons, since there's two of them); basically it fires high-caliber rounds. It's a machine gun of such power (seems to deal more damage then gauss rifle and doesn't necessarily indicate EM hyper acceleration) that it works like artillery, thus autocannon. :)
    It also makes more realistic sense to simply have the players remove an autocannon from a goliath and then wield it (if none of the players have the skills necessary to pilot the goliath itself, maybe), rather then to actually commit to crafting an entirely new autocannon for the purpose of wielding like a footsoldier
    Last edited by imp_fireball; 2008-10-10 at 10:47 PM.

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    Default Re: StarCraft d20 3.5 - Revising

    If your a level 20 ranger i've seen my friend fire 12 arrows at once by some miraculous rule bending and optimization. Each one did near 30-45 a hit, only 7 would hit but 1-2 would be critical. Thats 240-345

    Im not sure how much damage that would be to a large wall of neo-steel but i imagine the wall would have a few good sized dents and the scientist inside would be killed instantly from shock. Unless it's really that powerful and has some sort of uber shock suppressors.

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    Default Re: StarCraft d20 3.5 - Revising

    Quote Originally Posted by Rayzin View Post
    If your a level 20 ranger i've seen my friend fire 12 arrows at once by some miraculous rule bending and optimization. Each one did near 30-45 a hit, only 7 would hit but 1-2 would be critical. Thats 240-345

    Im not sure how much damage that would be to a large wall of neo-steel but i imagine the wall would have a few good sized dents and the scientist inside would be killed instantly from shock. Unless it's really that powerful and has some sort of uber shock suppressors.
    Indeed. So epic level can still qualify for bad assness. Even in a world where nuclear warheads are common place and are just another tactic for eliminating a portion of your opponent.

    Also, wow.
    Last edited by imp_fireball; 2008-10-10 at 10:49 PM.

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