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    GlordFunkelhand's Avatar

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    Default [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    Hello,

    my players are currently around 6th level and our Warblade basically outperforms every other class (including cleric, druid and sorcerer).

    Irresistible Mountain Strike gives him 4d6 extra damage and forces a fort save to avoid being unable to perform standard actions. He can regain this maneuver by performing only a normal melee attack instead of a full attack. This is basically sneak attack bonus damage + a stun like effect every other round.

    Given that most fights last only a couple of rounds (say 4) he doesn't even need to do this. He starts with Elder Mountain Hammer (+6d6 bonus damage, ignores DR and hardness), follows up with Irresistible Mountain Strike (+4d6, opponent unable to perform standard action).
    In other words: around 35 points of bonus damage in the first 2 rounds alone. His base damage is 2d6+7 (+1 greatsword) so let's say 14 damage per roll, in two rounds 28 base damage / 63 points of damage in total.

    Is it just me, or is this slightly more powerful than every other class in that level range? It seems that it balances around level 12. Given that level 15 is normally the maximum level for our campaigns that is a tad late.

    My hope is that I am missing something here - wouldn't be the first time ;)

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    Quote Originally Posted by GlordFunkelhand View Post
    Hello,

    my players are currently around 6th level and our Warblade basically outperforms every other class (including cleric, druid and sorcerer).

    Irresistible Mountain Strike gives him 4d6 extra damage and forces a fort save to avoid being unable to perform standard actions. He can regain this maneuver by performing only a normal melee attack instead of a full attack. This is basically sneak attack bonus damage + a stun like effect every other round.

    Given that most fights last only a couple of rounds (say 4) he doesn't even need to do this. He starts with Elder Mountain Hammer (+6d6 bonus damage, ignores DR and hardness), follows up with Irresistible Mountain Strike (+4d6, opponent unable to perform standard action).
    In other words: around 35 points of bonus damage in the first 2 rounds alone. His base damage is 2d6+7 (+1 greatsword) so let's say 14 damage per roll, in two rounds 28 base damage / 63 points of damage in total.

    Is it just me, or is this slightly more powerful than every other class in that level range? It seems that it balances around level 12. Given that level 15 is normally the maximum level for our campaigns that is a tad late.

    My hope is that I am missing something here - wouldn't be the first time ;)
    Yes. Your player has made the mistake of confusing power level with character level.
    That is, there are nine levels of maneuvers that should be becoming available to him slowly, achieving access to ninth level powers at something like 18.

    A 6th level warblade should not be able to use 6th level maneuvers any more than your 6th level sorcerer should be casting Planar Binding and Chain Lightning.
    Last edited by shadow_archmagi; 2008-12-16 at 06:33 AM.
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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    Elder Mountain Hammer is a fifth-level maneuver, not available to a warblade until level 9. Irresistable Mountain Strike is a sixth-level maneuver, not available until level 11. So yeah, they're a bit powerful for a sixth-level character - they'd better be!

    I should also note that he can regain his maneuvers with a full attack - he has to spend a swift action, then follow it with a normal melee attack - the melee attack can be the first of a full attack routine.

    But yeah - looks like you need to check back over his maneuver selection and make sure when he gains a given maneuver that he meets the minimum level requirement as well as the maneuvers known prerequisite.

    Quote Originally Posted by shadow_archmagi View Post
    That is, there are nine levels of maneuvers that should be becoming available to him slowly, achieving access to ninth level powers at something like 18.
    The minimum initiator level to gain a maneuver of a given level is the same as the wizard/cleric/druid level at which you gain access to spells of that level.
    Last edited by kamikasei; 2008-12-16 at 06:37 AM.

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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    Also, an important balancing factor to remember when thinking about maneuvers is that they require attack roll. Not just Touch Attack (something every Rogue worth his Sneak Attack can use) to deliver the hit, but actual, real single attack against AC (and since it's just a single attack, blocking it is a relevant option too). That's always a huge damper on the power of the ToB-strikes; sure, you can do devastating damage if you hit, but you need to hit their AC and then they gotta fail that save.

    That said, what they said - Warblade 6 should have two 3rd level maneuvers max (unless he took Martial Study - that would make it 3).
    Last edited by Eldariel; 2008-12-16 at 06:43 AM.
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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    For perspective, at that level he might have Bonecrusher, a third-level Stone Dragon maneuver. It grants +4d6 damage and a bonus to critical confirmation, so damage in line with Irresistable Mountain Strike but without the powerful save-or-suck extra. For a standard action, that's not out of line with what a TWF-ing rogue could achieve at that level.

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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    My players had the problem of confusing Maneuver Level with Character level too. The Paladin 7/Crusader 2 guy all of a sudden had Giant's Stance, so I called him on it. They should've used another term, but I guess it's a holdover from the magic system. I personally call them "Tiers."

    To be fair though, the properly built Warblade would be quite strong at that level. My Warforged Fighter 2/Warblade 3 combos Emerald Razor with Power Attack, using a +1 executioner's mace. Maxed out Power Attack gives me 2d6+17 damage as a touch attack. If he was able to set up a Charging Minotaur in the previous round, he'd get an additional +4 damage from the Brute Fighting tactical feat. I've only been able to do this once, though. (On the receiving end was the Dire Wolverine in the Temple of Kha'Shazul, first chapter of Eyes of the Lich Queen.)


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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    I won't reiterate what everyone else said. Just approach the player calmly and say you've both been doing it wrong, and show him page 39 of the ToB where it details when you get what level of manuvers, and help him reselect them.
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    Kobold

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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    Actually, it might be interesting to play a game where only ToB and casters are allowed, and proceed through levels 1-12 with ridiculously overpowered spells/maneuvers.
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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    Quote Originally Posted by Hunter Noventa View Post
    I won't reiterate what everyone else said. Just approach the player calmly and say you've both been doing it wrong, and show him page 39 of the ToB where it details when you get what level of manuvers, and help him reselect them.
    Make him sit down and have a glass of water.

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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    And that is why you must carefully read up the rules, and then read them again upside down at by the sides.

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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    Quote Originally Posted by shadow_archmagi View Post
    Actually, it might be interesting to play a game where only ToB and casters are allowed, and proceed through levels 1-12 with ridiculously overpowered spells/maneuvers.
    Meh, why pack ToB when you could just have an extra Druid? :( But yea, Tier 1-3 classes makes for great games (Tier 3 also includes stuff like Factotum, Binder, Dragonfire Adept, Psychic Warrior, Bard, Totemist, Wildshape Ranger, etc. You'd be kinda light on skillmonkey options though with only really Factotum stepping up; then again, Factotum can cover any kind of skillmonkey role so I guess it's ok) as none of the classes are "dull" and restricted in what they can do - they can be good in great many things being just a little bit better in one.
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    GlordFunkelhand's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    Wow, thanks :)

    No harm done so far. He's been using only 3rd level maneuvers (just leveled up to 6 last session), and while I checked the maneuver list I panicked when I saw irresistible mountain strike - and confused maneuver level / initiator level here.

    While I think that 3rd level maneuvers are still very powerful, esp. given that there's basically no upper limit and that they can change the prepared maneuvers between encounters, it's not as worse as I thought.

    Meh, why pack ToB when you could just have an extra Druid?
    My group favors style over power normally. Our druid actually let me kill his char and is now returning as a Dragon Shaman ;)

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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    Now, I'm just forced to ask, what's more stylish than being a friggin' spellcasting bear?
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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    Now, I'm just forced to ask, what's more stylish than being a friggin' spellcasting bear?
    For him, an initiator, because he likes initiators, maybe. Sometimes happens one plays things like more, not the most powerful ones just to compensate or whatelse.

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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    Back to the OP:

    ToB classes like the Warblade are especially front loaded. They do outshine other classes at low levels - they only have one attack, so they're not giving anything up to get the bonus damage/effect from a maneuver, and they have consitently strong damage output compared to pretty much everything else. Casters on the other hand are back loaded, they're weak at first, and grow in power faster with leveling.

    By about 6th level things start being more balanced - the other fighter types are getting 2 attacks in a round, so the bonus 4d6 that the warblade may tack onto a single strike may not keep up with the bonus damage that a fighter can deal while hitting a second time. Of course, the warblade still has the option of full attacks, so it'll never be fair to compare them to a fighter, but it's getting much more reasonable. Full casters are starting to see their power rise, and are getting a big enough compement of spells to be handy in every fight.

    By the time you hit 9th level or so, things are looking fine. The full casters have 5th level spells, and lots of lower level spells. 3/4 BAB progressions have their second attack, which means that the rogue can deliver massive sneak atack damage (+4d6) on easily as much as 4 attacks.

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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaiyanwang View Post
    For him, an initiator, because he likes initiators, maybe. Sometimes happens one plays things like more, not the most powerful ones just to compensate or whatelse.
    Ah, but this wasn't a question of liking, it was a question of style. So I repeat the question, truly, what beats a spellcasting bear in style? ;)
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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    Now, I'm just forced to ask, what's more stylish than being a friggin' spellcasting bear?
    Why a Kung fu Panda of course, Monk1/Druid5+.
    Last edited by Kristoss; 2008-12-16 at 08:34 AM.
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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    Ah, but this wasn't a question of liking, it was a question of style. So I repeat the question, truly, what beats a spellcasting bear in style? ;)
    A spellcasting bear with a sweet hat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristoss View Post
    Why a Kung fu Panda of course, Monk1/Druid5+.
    Don't you mean Unarmed Swordsage 1/Druid 5+? (/points to thread title)
    Last edited by kamikasei; 2008-12-16 at 08:42 AM.

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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    Quote Originally Posted by kamikasei View Post
    A spellcasting bear with a sweet hat.
    I just realized, it needs to be a Spellcasting Ninja Pirate Bear...

    So!
    Ninja 1/Druid X

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    Leadership on 9. Man your ship. Get an eyepatch with Wilding Clasps. Corsair's Eyepatch for extra points. GO TO...THE SEA! Thanks to your awesome Profession (Sailor), you'll be the best captain evar.
    Last edited by Eldariel; 2008-12-16 at 08:50 AM.
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    HalfOrcPirate

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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    I already did this, but with a monk belt and only one rank of profession sailor. I got the ship as a reward for saving the elf children.

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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    Well, he wanted to be good at melee/ kick ass in animal form and use spellcasting mainly to augment that.
    And that gets interesting around level 12, before that it's not so fun. Add a couple of comments from other players ("Turn into a snake, we need a rope") and you have a player that doesn't consider the druid to be that cool anymore ;)

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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    Bleh, you can be kickass melee Druid on level 6. You have Wildshape 12 hours per day. Just cram Venomfire and Greater Magic Fang and shortterm buffs like Barkskin and Bull's Strength in there and go to town (100% less cheesy without Venomfire, of course). Buut mayhap we're done on this branch - it was just a random sidestep for the lulz.
    Last edited by Eldariel; 2008-12-16 at 09:14 AM.
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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    "how much crap do we go through on a daily basis because no one at TSR looked up 'level' in the thesaurus?

    -Belkar Bitterleaf, Halfling Ranger


    My group has an issue like this (but we understand spell lvl rules). I'm DM'n an Eberron campaign with a warforged warblade/2 psychic warrior/1
    The warforged has the adamantine body feat and a darkwood shield, sending his (hers? warforged are genderless) AC into the "stratophere" for a low lvl P.C.. He can always have on punishing stance with minimal side affects. He's become a destuction machine.

    Hmm... I think this post is kind of obsolete because Thats just good character planning that would not be fair to change. Any Ideas?

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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    Warforged do have an AC advantage at low levels since they don't have to pay for armor. Don't worry, in a couple of levels he'll come in to line for the WBL expectations, and after a while AC won't even be that useful.

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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    One more thing to note about this guy, if he focuses mainly on Stone Dragon: All Stone Dragon maneuvers can only be used if the initiator is standing on "firm ground." So flying opponents will wreak havoc, as will unusual terrain like rafts on a river or swinging platforms.
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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    Ah, but this wasn't a question of liking, it was a question of style. So I repeat the question, truly, what beats a spellcasting bear in style? ;)
    A spellcasting bear riding on a T. rex.

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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    A spellcasting bear riding on a T. rex.
    A spellcasting Dire bear riding on a Dire T. rex

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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    With Leadership to get a 5-bear-band playing Welcome to the Jungle on the background?
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    Goblin

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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    With Leadership to get a 5-bear-band playing Welcome to the Jungle on the background?
    Can we get Slash polymorphed into a bear? Is there a Summon Slash Spell?

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    Default Re: [3e] ToB Balancing at low levels

    Quote Originally Posted by Project_Mayhem View Post
    Can we get Slash polymorphed into a bear? Is there a Summon Slash Spell?
    Wow, I just had a horribly inappropriate response to that. I only repressed it with great difficulty.
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