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    Default [3.5] "Wild Elemental" weapon enhancement ideas - feedback

    Hey, y’all. I know this looks like a lot of reading, but it's really not; much of it builds on itself.

    I've come up with an idea for a weapon enhancement that weaves in chance and the elements. More precisely, I came up with four variations on the idea, and I need help.

    I don't know much about item enhancement pricing, caster levels, or general balancing. So I'd like to get y’all’s feedback on the options. By getting opinions on what each is worth, I can a) decide which one I want to use, and b) get a better idea of what determines values.

    Wild Elemental weapon: On a successful critical hit, a wild elemental weapon deals 1d4 damage of a random elemental type, determined by rolling a d6 and comparing with the table below:


    Rolling a 6 unleashes a chaotic elemental surge.


    ....and that's where your opinions come in. What I'm looking for:
    • What's the viability of each option? Are any of them broken, breakable, unworkable, etc?
    • About what level do you think this option sets this enhancement at? (i.e. +1 bonus, +2 bonus, etc.)
    • What CL-to-create do you think each one represents?
    • About what character level is each one appropriate for - i.e., at what level can I equip a PC with this and not be unbalancing, or a BBEG and not slay the PCs?
    • Which one do you like best?

    ...remember, each one builds on the last, so it's really not as much reading as it looks like.

    Option 1: Single split
    Spoiler
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    Elemental surge: Roll twice more, rerolling any more 6s. 1d3 damage of each type.

    Option 1 is the simplest, and the weakest. Its extra damage caps at 2d3 max. (The split could be made even simpler on-table by just rolling 1d6 and splitting the damage evenly between the two types.)


    Option 2: Finite split chain
    Spoiler
    Show
    Elemental surge: Roll twice more. For each roll:
    1. 1-5: 1d3 damage of that type.
    2. 6: Roll twice more. For each roll:
    1. 1-5: 1d2 damage of that type.
    2. 6: Roll twice more. For each roll:
    1. 1-5: 1 damage of that type.
    2. 6: Roll again. Continue rerolling any more 6s.

    Option 2 has more bookkeeping to think about, but rewards good luck by continuing to split the damage; this not only allows more damage, but introduces more chaos, and is generally more fun (in my opinion), since there’s a lot more outcomes. For instance, you might deal an extra 1d3 fire, 1d2 acid, 1 sonic, and 1 acid damage (Rolls - 4, 6=>1, 6=>5, 1). It’s not that powerful, since its max extra damage is still 16 points of various elemental damage.


    Option 3 is the same as Option 2, but it doesn’t stop - even at 1 damage, a roll of 6 splits, dealing 1 of each type (or another split). It has the potential to deal huge amounts of damage (in tiny, tiny increments) if the roller is incredibly lucky – or has some way of controlling the rolls. But the chances of rolling chains long enough for substantial amounts of damage are so incredibly small, I don’t think it’s really a risk. So is this really a difference from Option 2? Only at high improbabilities. Does this justify higher limits?


    Option 4 is the strongest by far, combining options 1 and 3 – no reduction in damage past the first step, and no limit on how many can be rolled. Still, it only increases in increments of d3, and only very lucky characters have a slim chance of breaking something.


    A couple other quick questions: How much (bonus-wise, CL-wise, balance-wise) does it change things if the ability is not unleashed on a crit, but instead some other trigger - a certain number of times per day, for example? What if there was some sort of check to be able to control the result, one that got more difficult each "tier" you descended? What if you added elements - make it a d8 roll, add in positive and negative energy to the mix, make a roll of 8 trigger a surge?

    Thanks in advance, y’all. I really appreciate your time and feedback.

    -E- You'd think, just once, I could get this off without a typo. Curse my perfectionism...and the early morning hours. =p
    Last edited by Magnor Criol; 2008-10-31 at 02:31 AM.

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] "Wild Elemental" weapon enhancement ideas - feedback

    Frankly, I like Option #1. I enjoy less bookkeeping, and more smashing stuff. It's not amazing, but it is completely solid. I do suggest that Option 1 should deal d4's, not d3's, but that's just me.

    Also, if you went with Option #1 (d4, not d3), I'd price this at a +2 enhancement bonus. Just a thought.

    -argus

    All that I say applies only to myself. You author your own actions and choices. I cannot and will not be responsible for you, nor are you for me, regardless of situation or circumstance.

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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: [3.5] "Wild Elemental" weapon enhancement ideas - feedback

    Right now it's very underpowered, even for a +1, since it only activates on a crit. I'd try this:

    Wild Energy
    A weapon with this enhancement deals an extra 1d6 energy damage on every hit, determined at random by rolling 1d6. A result of 1 is fire damage, 2 is cold, 3 is acid, 4 is electricity, 5 is sonic. On a roll of 6, two energies hit: roll twice and reroll any 6's, the attack deals 1d6 of each energy type.
    Market Price: +2 bonus. Prerequisites: Caster level 5th, Rainbow Beam or Rainbow Blast.

    There's an enhancement that lets you choose which energy you use, in exchange for being a +2 bonus instead of +1 for +1d6. This exchanges choice for a chance at an extra 1d6. The rainbow spells can be found in the spell compendium: the beam is 2nd level and deals a random energy type, the blast is 3rd level and deals all energies in a line.

    Alternatively, I could see it as:

    Wild Energy
    A weapon with this enhancement deals an extra 1d4 energy damage on every hit, determined at random by rolling 1d6. A result of 1 is fire damage, 2 is cold, 3 is acid, 4 is electricity, 5 is sonic. On a roll of 6, two energies hit: roll twice and reroll any 6's, the attack deals 1d4 of each energy type.
    Market Price: +1 bonus. Prerequisites: Caster level 5th, Rainbow Beam or Rainbow Blast.

    I'd actually go with the second version version: +2 abilities need to be at least as good as a constant +2d6 (even if it's a little iffy, being split between two energy types or only against one alignment). There's only a 1/6 chance of dealing 2d4, so you're still dealing less damage on average to pay for the random choice.

    Edit: huh, didn't realize I posted it, got ninja'd during extra bonus edit.
    Last edited by Fizban; 2008-10-31 at 05:07 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] "Wild Elemental" weapon enhancement ideas - feedback

    Oh... it only activates on a crit? Well then, make it cost like 1500 gp and call it done!

    Alternatively, go with what Fizban said.

    -argus

    All that I say applies only to myself. You author your own actions and choices. I cannot and will not be responsible for you, nor are you for me, regardless of situation or circumstance.

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    Default Re: [3.5] "Wild Elemental" weapon enhancement ideas - feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by arguskos View Post
    Also, if you went with Option #1 (d4, not d3), I'd price this at a +2 enhancement bonus. Just a thought.
    -argus
    Perhaps +2 if it always split on every attack (not just crits & rolling a 6) and was d6 (for a total of 2d6 damage). After all, other elemental effects deal d6 damage on an attack and are +1, so that would make it 2 random effects at the same price.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [3.5] "Wild Elemental" weapon enhancement ideas - feedback

    So the consensus is both that it shouldn't be just on crits, and it should be more than 1d4 damage. I chose crit-activation and a low damage because I thought it'd be too strong otherwise...heh. Once again, I over-worry about the power level. =p

    Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
    Wild Energy
    A weapon with this enhancement deals an extra 1d6 energy damage on every hit, determined at random by rolling 1d6. A result of 1 is fire damage, 2 is cold, 3 is acid, 4 is electricity, 5 is sonic. On a roll of 6, two energies hit: roll twice and reroll any 6's, the attack deals 1d6 of each energy type.
    Market Price: +2 bonus. Prerequisites: Caster level 5th, Rainbow Beam or Rainbow Blast.

    There's an enhancement that lets you choose which energy you use, in exchange for being a +2 bonus instead of +1 for +1d6. This exchanges choice for a chance at an extra 1d6. The rainbow spells can be found in the spell compendium: the beam is 2nd level and deals a random energy type, the blast is 3rd level and deals all energies in a line.
    I'd actually forgotten about the Rainbow spells; it's been a while since I've seen the SC. Thanks for reminding me, I'll look them up.

    I must confess I'm a bit confused by what you mean with the ability, though. You're suggesting either
    • +2 bonus; every hit, roll 1d6, deal 1d6 of corresponding type or 1d6 of two types, or
    • +2 bonus; every hit, choose the damage type dealt...?

    I'm sorry, I don't follow the second option's explanation. Could you clarify?

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    Default Re: [3.5] "Wild Elemental" weapon enhancement ideas - feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by Siosilvar View Post
    Perhaps +2 if it always split on every attack (not just crits & rolling a 6) and was d6 (for a total of 2d6 damage). After all, other elemental effects deal d6 damage on an attack and are +1, so that would make it 2 random effects at the same price.
    Like I said... right above your post, I missed that it was critical only. Also, me+weapon mods=/=good judgment.

    -argus

    All that I say applies only to myself. You author your own actions and choices. I cannot and will not be responsible for you, nor are you for me, regardless of situation or circumstance.

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    Default Re: [3.5] "Wild Elemental" weapon enhancement ideas - feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by Magnor Criol View Post
    I must confess I'm a bit confused by what you mean with the ability, though. You're suggesting either
    • +2 bonus; every hit, roll 1d6, deal 1d6 of corresponding type or 1d6 of two types, or
    • +2 bonus; every hit, choose the damage type dealt...?

    I'm sorry, I don't follow the second option's explanation. Could you clarify?
    +2 bonus, roll to see what type of damage, deals 1d6 or 2d6 if you roll a 6 when determining the energy type (2d6 is 1d6 each of two random energies).

    Does that make sense? I'll go edit.
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    Default Re: [3.5] "Wild Elemental" weapon enhancement ideas - feedback

    I like this concept, but I think it's a very weak +2 bonus. To make it a +1 bonus, I'd change it to this:

    +1 bonus, roll d6, roll d6 corresponding damage or if 6 was rolled, roll twice again. The bonus d6 damage is of both energy types. Subsequent rolls of 6 are ignored (meaning the weapon could occasionally deal untyped energy damage (aka force)).

    So, you would end up with +d6 energy/energy damage on a roll of a 6. flaming/shocking, shocking/frost, flaming/frost, etc.

    I don't consider the weapon's ability to deal all forms of energy damage especially beneficial, since the wielder has no ability to choose what type of damage it is. The only situation where it would be really important, is if the character was trapped in some cave or something and needed to escape. He could attack the door/wall (dealing sonic or acid damage occasionally). He has the free time, so eventually he'd be able to escape with that method... or cause a catastrophic collapse.
    Last edited by Chrono22; 2008-11-01 at 03:53 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] "Wild Elemental" weapon enhancement ideas - feedback

    To my mind, "untyped" and "force" are two different things... force is powerful in that there is no Energy resistance to it that I know of and VERY few immune creatures, plus it can harm ethereal/incorporeal creatures consistantly.
    Last edited by DracoDei; 2008-11-01 at 04:03 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] "Wild Elemental" weapon enhancement ideas - feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by DracoDei View Post
    To my mind, "untyped" and "force" are two different things... force is powerful in that there is no Energy resistance to it that I know of and VERY few immune creatures, plus it can harm ethereal/incorporeal creatures consistantly.
    That's a good point. So I guess it would just be untyped.

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    Default Re: [3.5] "Wild Elemental" weapon enhancement ideas - feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
    +2 bonus, roll to see what type of damage, deals 1d6 or 2d6 if you roll a 6 when determining the energy type (2d6 is 1d6 each of two random energies).

    Does that make sense? I'll go edit.
    Okay, I think I getcha now. Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrono22 View Post
    ...roll d6, roll d6 corresponding damage or if 6 was rolled, roll twice again. The bonus d6 damage is of both energy types. Subsequent rolls of 6 are ignored (meaning the weapon could occasionally deal untyped energy damage (aka force)).
    I'm not really sure how this is different from my option 1, save that damage doesn't scale down, and subsequent 6s deal an untyped 1d6. If anything, that makes it stronger; untyped damage almost can't be defended against. How does this make it a +1 rather than a weak +2?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
    I don't consider the weapon's ability to deal all forms of energy damage especially beneficial, since the wielder has no ability to choose what type of damage it is....
    That's actually precisely the effect I wanted. It's supposed to be uncontrolled; that's part of the flavor of the weapon. It's tied to the forces of chaos and luck, and so there's an element of chance involved when wielding it. It's just part of the deal.



    The main reason I still hesitate to make this enchantment take effect on every hit is that that means a hellish amount of die rolling, I think; rolling a 6 won't be that uncommon, and that means there'll be a hell of a lot of extra rolling, I think, and that slows down the game.

    What if it dealt extra damage every hit, but on a crit - and only on a crit - you'd roll twice for multiple energy types, as if a 6 had been rolled under the current idea, and more rolls of 6 split things down the chain (without lessening damage)?

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    Default Re: [3.5] "Wild Elemental" weapon enhancement ideas - feedback

    This enchantment as a whole is most similar to Flaming Burst: +2 bonus which In 3.5 deals 1d6 on normal hits, additional 1d10 for x2 or 2d10 for x3 crit weapons. Thus you could just add that the die type is random for every die of damage and possibly add +1 damage bonus to each die (if you thought you needed to compensate for randomness). Though on crits you could decrease the crit die to d6 or d4 if you wanted to include the chance of getting three elements for a x2 weapon.
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    Default Re: [3.5] "Wild Elemental" weapon enhancement ideas - feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by Magnor Criol View Post
    I'm not really sure how this is different from my option 1, save that damage doesn't scale down, and subsequent 6s deal an untyped 1d6. If anything, that makes it stronger; untyped damage almost can't be defended against. How does this make it a +1 rather than a weak +2?
    The weapon would only ever deal 1d6 damage under my version. You only roll three sixes in succession 2% of the time. So, the minute possibility that the damage could be untyped is probably never going to come up, and it certainly isn't worth an additional +1 bonus.
    Otherwise, the damage would be 1d6 of a single energy type (ex. fire) (about 90% of the time), or 1d6 of a dual energy type (ex. fire/shock) (about 10% of the time).
    It's pretty simple and straightforward, and doesn't require so much rolling that it would bog down combat. It's also comparable in power to the other +1 bonuses- it deals a similar amount of damage, but of a variable and unpredictable type. To save time, I'd probably paint a white d6 to represent the energy types, and make a color coded and numbered graph.

    If the untyped damage really bothers you, just make a caption that:
    If the energy damage of a wild elemental weapon would have no energy type (as a result of rolling all 6's), it instead deals no energy damage.
    Last edited by Chrono22; 2008-11-08 at 06:43 AM.

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