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OOC General D20 and Tabletop RPG Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Role Playing Resource' started by LightWarden, Mar 5, 2005.

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  1. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    Well, Paladins have to be Lawful Good ...
  2. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    They do (unless you go blackguard, which is basically the anti-paladin), but I think the paladin issue comes from two fundamental ideas:

    (1) Multiple-Ability Dependency, otherwise termed as "I have to have 18 in Str, Con, Wis AND Cha to not suck!"

    This idea comes about from the fact paladins need a decent wisdom score to cast the higher cleric spells they have access to, and a high Charisma to turn undead with any sort of effectiveness at all. But because they're "meant" to be combat-based as well, they also need Strength to mete out damage and Constitution to take it. By contrast, dumb fighters don't need high scores in Intelligence or Wisdom -- they focus on Strength; and clerics usually focus on a high Wisdom score, with Strength the secondary consideration because they're even more likely than the weedy mage to be protected by said dumb fighter in a party because they can patch said fighter up afterwards. Also, unless you're cheating, the odds of getting four "18" rolls are heavily stacked against you. More likely you'll get an 18 at something, maybe a 17 in something else, with the rest of your rolls strung out in the low teens.

    Having said that: with computer games and the ability to point-buy scores up to 18, I suspect many folks have lost the concept that you can have a workable player without 18s in his starting stats: Kensukiro, above, is an example of that. He does use magic items to boost some of his stats, but he illustrates the point: you don't necessarily have to have maximised ability scores when you start the game -- because magic items will come along that will assist with that, not to mention that a DM with any brains is going to properly gauge the abilities of his players so they don't have to go with "boost primary stat!" tactics from the get-go. (Arguably this is why the mathematical stats exist: so the DM can properly challenge the players.)

    (2) Lawful Good = Lawful Stupid, otherwise termed as "The party is challenging an ancient red dragon which is on higher ground. I am determined to be the point man and will vacate the battlefield last."

    We're getting into character alignments here, which have caused problems in the past, but here's the answer to that: lawful good does not mean you are either foolhardy or suicidal (in fact Chaotic Evil probably follows that definition better). Lawful Good merely means two things:

    (a) You respect legitimate authority and don't break the law heedlessly (Lawful); and
    (b) You value life, freedom, and liberty (Good.)

    That's all. What people get strung up about is the paladin Code of Conduct, which reads:

    A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class abilities if she ever willingly commits an evil act.

    Additionally, a paladin?s code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth), help those in need (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those who harm or threaten innocents.


    That does not mean you can't use tactics. It doesn't mean you can't get a hit in while a dragon is sleeping. It doesn't mean you have to confront evil at every turn -- consider a paladin leading a "Good" resistance in a city occupied by an evil force. The paladin's code of conduct would keep you from openly challenging the threat in question -- because it puts innocents in danger. It just requires some creative and deep thought about what the paladin does. I think the old "I must be last off the battlefield" shtick is from an older version of D&D.

    Bards I'll come to later on. :)
  3. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    (Double posting...)

    So let's talk about bards.

    The persistent attitude regarding vanilla D&D bards seems pretty much to be summed up in the following:
    "You have my sword!"
    "And you have my bow!"
    "And my axe!"
    "And my biting social commentary!"

    The persistent view seems to be that bards are a sort of jack-of-all-trades who does nothing particularly well to justify playing him as opposed to someone who does. Doesn't hit as hard as the fighter; doesn't pick locks or sneak attack as effectively as the thief; doesn't cast blasty magic and the spells he does know are concurrent with, or inferior to, those of the mage and cleric. And what unique abilities does he get that make up for these inferiorities? What? He can inspire courage by singing? Playing a lute? Reciting poetry, for Conan's sake? Bah. Gimme a dwarf fighter.

    On the other hand, if your party lacks one or more of the four "foundations" of mage, cleric, fighter, and thief, the bard is good at filling in. And that's before we get to the mathematics of what he does. Because the bard's biggest combat-related thing is buffing. He's about the only class who can just raise people's attack and damage rolls by just talking or singing ... and still continue to fight while he does. He's also about the only class that gets a shot at suggestion without having to cast a spell for it.

    Also, the bard's spells do actually rate another look. Particularly at 3rd level, which a bard would ordinarily get around level 7: Good Hope, raising all attacks, damage, saves by +2; Summon Monster III; Invisibility Sphere; Mass Haste; Dispel Magic; Displacement; Cure Serious Wounds. At the very least these are the sorts of utility spells that take up room in a wizard's spell bank, and which a sorcerer is unlikely to have the space for in the magazine of known spells. Used right, they're a huge advantage. And then you have really useful doodads like Bardic Knowledge which can potentially shortcut you around a lot of searching around for details about where the Eye of the Serpent is meant to have been lost.

    The key with bards, I think, is to simply recognise you're not a combat god, and never will be, and that it's not your job to put knives into people's backs. Where you put your good rolls is then a matter of deciding the bard's focus.

    Myself, were I running a bard, I'd start with the best stat in Charisma, since like the sorcerer that's where the spells come from, and the Perform skill is also powered by Charisma and is the foundation for the bard's abilities. After that I'd follow up with Dexterity, mainly because as a ranged attacker that's where my attack rolls come from and where a lot of my AC will come from because I can't wear medium or heavy armour. After that, Intelligence for the Bardic Knowledge aspects of it or Constitution to raise his chances of not dying if he's going to be a combat-oriented bard. A race or species that had bonuses to these stats would be welcome: elven bard is interesting, with its automatic proficiency with a bow in particular, and the raised Dexterity resulting is less stats that have to be put into Dex and more for Con or Cha instead.
  4. Imperial_Hammer Manager Emeritus: RPFs

    Member Since:
    Sep 25, 2004
    star 5
    *Hammer Challenge*

    So how would such knowledge specifically aid in RPing here, eh Sainty? :)

    -I_H
  5. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
    That's got to be one of the best summaries on the Bard I've read in a long while, Saint. =D=
  6. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Well, in roleplaying terms, the bard has one useful evolved stereotype which can make him a joy to play: he's about the only type of character whom it is assumed ab initio will be a witty smart@$$ in most of his conversations. The bard, being a well-travelled sort of fellow, is usually a more worldly-wise type than the stodgy cleric, the nerdy mage, or the blockheaded fighter. A lot of players play bards as <strike>annoying</strike> witty fellows who like to tweak the noses of their combat brute partymates. Silk, the little Drasnian from David Eddings' Belgariad, would have been a bard if he could play any sort of instrument. :) The thief does have a lot more in common with the bard, but I'd say the thief also lacks a certain joy de vivre: his existence is pretty much: target + purse + knife = purse in thief's hands, followed by looking for other purses. Oh, and disabling a trap here and there.

    Knowing these things about the bard helps you justify your own existence, and take advantage of your character. If you know what your role in the party is, you can have more fun with that role. I posit that it's often a player not knowing what his role in the party is that causes disorientation or a sense that he's playing the wrong character: a bard trying to be a frontline combat fighter simply is going to be a tragedy or a comedy for the DM, depending on how sadistic said DM is. If you know your abilities, you know your role. If you know your role, you can find ways within that role to make it more interesting for yourself.

    EDIT: And Bardic Knowledge itself can be fun to roleplay out as well: "The Eye of the Serpent? Oh my, of course! I was in Shadowdale a few years ago when a young lady walked up to me and whispered something in my ear. Now, I thought it was quite another serpent entirely she wanted to eye off, but when she eventually got her meaning through, I realised she wanted to show me a map she wanted valued. After all, I seemed to be the most knowledgeable soul around at the time in that dingy little pub, so what could I do but comply? Anyway, it talked about the Eye of the Serpent and revealed its location as underneath a Snake Tower in King Osric the Usurper's home city. Now, I could go into what happened during the remainder of the evening's events, but, well, a gentleman does not kiss and tell, if you take my meaning."
  7. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    Actually, you want a 16 or higher in your primary attack stat (Strength, Dexterity, or your Spellcasting mental stat) in order to be viable, and a positive modifier in your secondary stats (usually Dexterity, Constitution and some mental stats). Anything less is asking for trouble. Racial bonuses help, especially if it's +2 to two stats like they use in 4e.

    And one way to fix Paladin MAD is just to make them charisma based casters, since it makes more sense. They already use Charisma for Smite, Divine Grace, Turn Undead and Lay on Hands anyways.

    It's also possible to build a Bardadin. The Initiate of Milil and Devoted Performer feats allow you to stack bard and paladin levels to determine what bardic music you can use and how many uses per day you get. The Harmonious Knight substitution levels allow you to use Inspire Courage, Inspire Competence and Inspire Greatness at 1st, 6th, and 9th level instead of getting Detect Evil and Remove Disease. The Snowflake Wardance feat allows you to expend a use of Bardic Music to grant yourself a bonus equal to your charisma on all attacks made with a one-handed slashing weapon provided you're wearing light armor and not carrying a shield, the bonus lasting for a number of rounds equal to your ranks in Perform (dance). Charging Smite is an alternate paladin class feature from the Player's Handbook II that allows you to forgo your special mount in favor of being able to do a smite attack on a charge that does extra damage equal to thrice your paladin level. Put them together with a high-charisma character and you have a paladin with bardic music, a huge attack bonus, excellent damage, and horrendous saving throws. He's somewhat squishy since he's only in light armor, but you have enough Turn Undead uses that you can get feats like Divine Vigor (+2 temporary HP/level, +10 ft to move speed, lasts a number of minutes equal to your Cha modifier) and Sacred Healing (grants every living thing in a 60 foot burst Fast Healing 3 for a number of rounds equal to 1+Cha modifier). Plus you have Lay on Hands. Then you get something like the Battle Blessing feat, which allows a paladin to cast most paladin spells as a swift action (thus, free once per round) and you can start tossing on some other buffs.

    My other favorite tactic is to build a mounted paladin, using the special mount that they gain at 5th level. With Spirited Charge, you can do triple damage on a mounted charge attack with a lance, which means toss on Smite Evil and things get painful. More fun than that is the fact that you don't actually have to use a horse. According to page 204 of the DMG, there are substitute mounts for those so inclined.

    "A paladin of 6th level or higher can use a celestial heavy warhorse, dire wolf, hippogriff, large monstrous spider, large shark, unicorn, celestial warpony, dire bat, dire badger, dire weasel or giant lizard as a mount.
    At 7th level, the dire boar, dire wolverine, giant eagle, giant owl, pegasus, rhinoceros and sea cat become available.
    At 8th level, a paladin can use a dire lion or griffon as a mount."

    The Sandstorm environmental book also offers an option for desert paladins of an Ashworm, on the off chance you feel like having a mount that's capable of digging and replicating scenes from Dune.
  8. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
    My problem here is alignment issues. How do you build a character using a class that requires Lawful Good and a class that forbids being Lawful? It seems like a quick and easy way to lose a lot of benefits.

    What? Really? Clearly I need to purchase a copy of Sandstorm...
  9. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    Pretty easily, since Devoted Performer allows you to be a bard while being LG.
  10. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    My other favorite tactic is to build a mounted paladin, using the special mount that they gain at 5th level. With Spirited Charge, you can do triple damage on a mounted charge attack with a lance, which means toss on Smite Evil and things get painful. More fun than that is the fact that you don't actually have to use a horse. According to page 204 of the DMG, there are substitute mounts for those so inclined.

    And is you really want to create min/maxed red mists anywhere you charge, look into Power Attack + Leap Attack + Heedless Charge (these probably are more for the fighter since he gets an extra feat anytime he reaches a second level, but anyway...)

    As a mounted fellow, you've probably got decent ranks in Ride skill. Go two-handed with the lance; only takes about a DC 10 Ride check IIRC (in fact you have to anyway; a lance is a two-handed weapon, so you need your hands free). Order your mount to perform a ten-foot jump during the charge. That qualifies as a Leap Attack, which then increases your Power Attack by +100%. Heedless Charge allows you to shift your Power Attack attack roll penalties (no less than -5) to AC instead, so your attack roll is not affected. A lance is a two-handed weapon, so you get two points of damage bonus for every point you spend in Power Attack.

    Admittedly your AC means a small child with a thrown rock could actually hit you, but whatever counterattack probably isn't going to come from the subject of your charge, as follows:

    Lance damage is normally 1d8. Add, say +8 for Smite Evil (conservatively) with a lower-end paladin. (I'm uncertain whether Smite Evil is meant to triple with a lance hit, but the rules as written don't say it can't, so let's assume you can triple it.)
    Thus, for a charge with a lance using Spirited Charge feat, your damage is now 3d8+24. Bad enough on its own.
    But let's say you decided to take -5 on your AC and used it for the Power Attack.
    Power Attack doubles the damage bonus because a lance is a two-handed weapon. So you're adding a +10 to your damage.
    Leap Attack increases the Power Attack damage by +100%. Thus you're now adding +20 to your damage.
    Again, I'm uncertain whether I'm stacking it right, but I think your total damage now becomes:

    [1d8 +20 (Power Attack + Leap Attack) +8 (Smite Evil)] x 3 (tripled damage from Spirited Charge).

    In other words: 3d8+60+24 = a maximum hit of, oh, 108 hitpoints and an absolute minimum of 87 hitpoints. There is very little that can withstand that kind of charge. And this is just going conservatively. And although this is really stacking bonuses, I'd assert there's a certain level of truth to it: the charging medieval knight on horseback dominated the battlefields of Europe for a good three hundred years or more for exactly these reasons -- a man on horseback has dreadful momentum behind him that's pretty much impossible for a footman to stop. (Of course, English longbows and the gun began to change that, but that's another story.)
  11. CmdrMitthrawnuruodo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 1, 2000
    star 6
    Hey LW you're pretty resourceful in finding odd DnD stuff online and whatnot...

    I don't suppose you know where I could get my hands on a DnD3.5 Character Sheet in Excel do you? One that does the calculations for you and all?

    I know there is a 4th Edition one out there so I figured there might be a 3.5.
  12. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Sorry to break in, Mitth, but I finally finished this guy today: another character! (He smacks a bit of the Drizzts with the scimitars and the Paul Muad'dibs with the desert theme, I know, but I wanted to build a decent Arabic desert warrior -- albeit I had to pull a bit of a "Lawrence of Arabia" to do so:

    17, 14, 14, 12, 16, 16
    Name: Salim Ak?kad
    Race: Human (born Waterdeep, resides Anauroch)
    Class: Fighter 4/Dervish 1/Swordsage 5
    Hit Dice: 4d10+1d8+5d8+30 = 39+22+6+30+30 = 127

    Initiative: +5 [Dex] +4 [Improved Initiative] +2 [Quick to Act] = +11
    Speed: 30 feet + 10 feet [Boots] = 40 feet

    AC: 10 + 4 [Mithral Chain Shirt] +1 [Enhancement] + 5 [Dex bonus] + 1 [Dervish] + 3 [WIS bonus] + 2 [Defending Scimitar] + 1 [Dodge]+ 2 [Twin Sword Style] = 29
    Touch AC = 19
    Flatfooted AC = 18

    Base Attack: +8/+3

    Attacks:
    (Primary Hand: Heavenly Burst scimitar +1. Off hand: Defending scimitar +2.)
    Full attack: (PH/PH/OH/OH) -- +13/+10/+14/+11
    Full attack (Dancing Mongoose maneuver): (PH/PH/OH/PH/OH) -- +13/+10/+14/+13/+14
    Full attack (Flashing Sun maneuver): (PH/PH/OH/PH) -- +11/+8/+12/+11
    NB Dervish dance raises all attack rolls by +1 when in that mode.

    Damage:
    Heavenly Burst scimitar +1: 1d6+8, 18-20/x2 (+3d6 damage and blinding effect on evil opponents on critical hit).
    Defending scimitar +2: 1d6+9, 18-20/x2.
    (NB additional +3 to damage when using Desert Wind maneuvers.)
    (NBB additional +1 to damage when in Dervish Dance.)

    Face/Reach: 5x5, 5 ft

    Special Attacks:
    Improved Two-Weapon Fighting

    Special Qualities:
    Dervish dance/1 per day ? While in dervish dance, may take full attack action while still moving up to his speed. Each attack must be preceded by a 5-foot step, with no movement back into a square just departed. Dance lasts for 1 round/2 ranks of Perform (Dance) of the Dervish. Afterward, Dervish is fatigued.
    Movement mastery ? Dervish is never distracted for the purpose of acrobatic skill checks: may take 10 on Acrobatics or Perform (dance).
    Dervish AC bonus ? Dervish receives +1 to AC if only wearing light armor.
    Slashing blades ? Dervish treats scimitars as light rather than one-handed weapons.
    Quick to Act +2 ? Swordsage receives Initiative bonus with rising levels.
    Discipline Focus (Desert Wind) ? Swordsage receives Weapon Focus with weapons of Desert Wind discipline (the scimitar)
    Insightful strike ? Swordsage adds Wis bonus to damage when using Desert Wind maneuver
    Swordsage AC bonus ? Swordsage adds Wisdom modifier to AC.

    Saves:
    Fort: +4 + 3 [Con] +1 [Cloak] = +8
    Ref: +7 + 5 [Dex] + 1 [Cloak] = +13
    Will: +7 + 3 [Wis] 1 [Cloak] = +11

    Abilities:
    Str: 16 + 4 [Belt] = 20 (+5)
    Dex: 19 +2 [Gloves] = 21 (+5)
    Con: 15 +2 [Amulet] = 17 (+3)
    Int: 14 (+2)
    Wis: 17 (+3)
    Cha: 12 (+1)

    Skills: 4 (Fighter) + 2 [Int] = 6
    Perform (Dance) = 8 + 1 [Cha] = +9
    Acrobatics = 13 + 5 [Dex] +5 [Boots] = +23
    Athletics = 13 + 5 [Str] = +18
    Survival = 8 + 3 [Wis] = +11
    Ride = 13 + 5 [Dex] = +18
    Knowledge (Anauroch) = 8 + 2 [Int] = +10

    Feats:
    Twin Sword Style (FRCS): +2 stacking Armor AC bonus in combat against an opponent
    Two-Weapon Fighting: Penalties for using two weapons drop to -2 for each hand.
    Improved Two-Weapon Fighting: gain additional attack with off hand at -5.
    Dodge: +1 Dodge bonus to AC.
    Improved Initiative: +4 to Initiative
    Spring Attack: Move before or after attack
    Expertise: Drop up to -5 from attack rolls, add number to AC.
    Superior Expertise (PGtoF): Drop up to BAB from attack rolls, add number to AC
    Weapon Specialisation (scimitar): +2 to scimitar damage rolls

    Languages: Common, Chondathan, Netherese, Zhent
    Alignment: Lawful Neutral
    Deity: Kossuth
    Gender: Male
    Age: 35
    Height: 5'8"
    Weight: 130 lbs

    Manuevers (10)
    - Wind Stride (Desert Wind) -- +10 foot boost to speed.
    - Flashing Sun (Desert Wind) ? One extra attack with full attack action, but all attacks suffer a -2.
    - Claw at the Mo
  13. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    If you're not going to use finessable weapons and you don't like the penalties for using two one-handed weapons, why not just get the Oversized Two-Weapon Fighting feat from Complete Adventurer? It allows you to treat one-handed weapons as light weapons, no need for any extra PrCs.

    Your hit points are too high, you somehow managed to get a 39 instead of 30, probably from adding your Constitution bonus an extra three times or something.

    Also, your attacks are calculated incorrectly. Iterative attacks (that is, attacks from having a higher BAB) are always 5 lower.

    Primary hand: +8 BAB +5 Str +1 enhancement +1 weapon focus -2 TWF = +12/+7
    Off-hand: +8 BAB +5 Str +2 enhancement +1 weapon focus -2 TWF= +13/+8

    First off, you can't use Dancing Mongoose anyways. When it says "Swordsage 5", it means that it's a 5th level maneuver, not that you need 5 levels of Swordsage. They're like spell levels, thus you'd need to have at least 9 levels of Swordsage to qualify (just as you'd need 9 levels of Wizard to cast a 5th level spell). With only 5 levels of Swordsage, the highest level maneuver you get to use is 3rd level. Dragon's Flame is also out. This is why it's usually a decent idea to go the distance in a martial adept class

    You can however still use Flashing Sun, thus with it you'd be at +10/+5 for your main hand and +11/+6 for your off-hand. Also, you seem to have missed the part where your strength bonus is halved for your off-hand attack. Thus it should be 1d6+6

    Boots of Striding and Springing give you a 10 ft enhancement bonus boost to your speed. The Wind Stride maneuver also gives you a 10 ft enhancement bonus to your speed. Identical bonuses do not stack.

    Your stats seem odd. You went from 17, 14, 14, 12, 16, 16 to 16, 19, 15, 14, 17, 12 with your stats bumps from level 4 and level 8? Looks like your Dexterity went from 17 to 19 with a point at level 4 and a point at level 8, but that means you put a point in Constitution at one point and a point in Wisdom at another, which won't really help you unless you get to level 12 since odd numbers are worth exactly nothing. Also, according to our rules, humans get a +2 bonus to a stat of their choice at 1st level. Also, you forgot your bonus feat and bonus skill for being human.

    Personally, I think you're pretty spread thin on stats, especially on stat-boosting items. You have 49k gp as a 10th level character... and you've spent 60k on stat boosting items and weapons (weapons are bonus^2 x 2,000 gp. +1 Heavenly burst is a +1 weapon (and thus 8k) and a +2 defending weapon is a +3 weapon (and thus 18k).) You're going to need to recalculate your items.

    In all honesty, I probably wouldn't aim for the two-weapon fighting thing, as it's a bit of a hassle, and you're not likely to hit that much or do too much damage. I'd recommend switching your primary stat to Wisdom, getting the Insightful Strike feat (thus allowing you to use your Wisdom modifier instead of Strength on any melee weapon: light, one-handed or two-handed), and focus more on skirmishing with Desert Wind stuff, going full swordsage instead of spending a bunch of levels on other things. There's even a Desert Wind Dodge feat that can be used in the place of Dodge. Spring Attack doesn't work with TWF anyways, since you only get one attack when you're using it, and your overall attack bonus would probably improve, while the money you save could be used to buy items to keep your defense at the same level (higher, if you switch focus to Wisdom). You'd get access to high level maneuvers and stances with full levels of Swordsage, thus you could do more damage.

    But, it's your call, I just think you're pulling yourself into too many directions and ultimately rendering yourself as kind of a poor warrior in response.
  14. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Hmmm. I don't mind the criticisms, anything to make him a better (albeit not too stupid) build. All right, I'll go back and redo some stuff, then repost. :)

    EDIT: Actually, this could be of some benefit, since I'm toying with the idea of the "Lawrence of Arabia" shtick and shoehorning the Leadership feat in there somewhere. It would mean Charisma's got to go up, of course, but I just realised a two-handed falchion (curved blade's a must with this build.) might be a lot more fun than the two scimitars routine. I originally did the "from Waterdeep, resides Anauroch" in order to get the Twin Sword Style, but I rather like the history which arose from it. So I might go with that instead. Viable?
  15. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    17, 14, 14, 12, 16, 16
    Name: Salim Ak?kad
    Race: Human (born Waterdeep, resides Anauroch)
    Class: Swordsage 10
    Hit Dice: 10d8+30 = 24+48+30 = 102

    Initiative: +2 [Dex] +3 [Quick to Act] = +5
    Speed: 30 feet + 10 feet [Boots] = 40 feet

    AC: 10 + 4 [Mithril Chain Shirt] + 2 [Enhancement] + 2 [Dex bonus] + 7 [WIS bonus] + 1 [Desert Wind Dodge] = 26
    Touch AC = 24
    Flatfooted AC = 16

    Base Attack: +7/+2

    Attacks:
    Full attack: +16/+11 = +7 + 1 [enhancement to weapon] + 1 [Weapon Focus] + 7 [Wis bonus ? Insightful Strike feat]
    Full attack (Dancing Mongoose maneuver): +16/+11/+16
    Full attack (Flashing Sun maneuver): +14/+9/+14

    Damage:
    Keen Heavenly Burst +1 Falchion: 2d4+7 (crit 15-20/x2+3d6+blinding vs. evil)
    (NB additional +8 to damage when using Desert Wind maneuvers from Insightful Strike quality and Blade Meditation; +1 to damage when not a Desert Wind maneuver being used.)

    Face/Reach: 5x5, 5 ft
    Special Attacks: Charge, Bull Rush

    Special Qualities:
    Quick to Act +3 ? Swordsage receives Initiative bonus with rising levels.
    Discipline Focus (Desert Wind) ? Swordsage receives Weapon Focus with weapons of Desert Wind discipline (falchion)
    Discipline Focus: Defensive Stance (+2 to saving throws when in a martial stance)
    Insightful strike ? Swordsage adds Wis bonus to damage when using Desert Wind maneuver
    Swordsage AC bonus ? Swordsage adds Wisdom modifier to AC.
    Evasion: Swordsage takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw rather than half damage.
    Sense Magic: Swordsage can, with concentration, detect magic.

    Saves:
    (NB All raised by a further +2 when in a martial stance)
    Fort: 3 + 3 [Con] + 1 [Cloak] = +7
    Ref: 7 + 2 [Dex] + 1 [Cloak] = +8
    Will: 7 + 7 [Wis] + 1 [Cloak] = +15

    Abilities:
    Str: 18 (+4)
    Dex: 14 (+2)
    Con: 16 (+3)
    Int: 13 (+1)
    Wis: 20 + 4 [Periapt] = 24 (+7)
    Cha: 14 (+2)

    Skills: 6 (Fighter) + 1 [Int] +1 [Human] = 8 skills
    Acrobatics = 13 + 2 [Dex] +2 [Blade Meditation] = +17
    Athletics = 13 + 5 [Str] = +18
    Survival = 8 + 7 [Wis] = +15
    Ride = 13 + 2 [Dex] = +15
    Knowledge (Anauroch) = 8 + 2 [Int] = +10
    Concentration = 13 + 3 [Con] = +16
    Diplomacy = 8 + 2 [Cha] =+10

    Feats:
    Desert Wind Dodge: Move 10 feet, get +1 Dodge bonus to AC and +1 fire damage to attacks.
    Insightful Strike: Substitute Wisdom bonus for Strength bonus when using a meleé weapon.
    Blade Meditation: +1 damage on combat maneuvers.
    Power Attack - may subtract a number from all attack rolls and apply that number to all damage rolls (and double that number if using a two-handed weapon.)
    Leap Attack - You can combine a jump with a charge against an opponent. If your jump covers at least 10? of horizontal distance and end in a square which threatens your opponent, you deal +100% Power Attack damage.
    Shock Trooper - You may use the following 3 tactical maneuvers...
    • Directed Bull Rush: To use this maneuver, you must make a successful bull rush attempt as part of a charge. For every square you push your foe back, you may also push that foe one square to the left of right.

    • Domino Rush: To use this maneuver, you must make a successful bull rush attempt that forces a foe into the same square as another foe. You make a free trip attempt against both foes at the same time, and neither foe gets a chance to trip you if your attempt fails.

    • Heedless Charge: To use this maneuver, you must charge and make the attack at the end of the charge using your Power Attack feat. The penalty you take on your attack roll must be ?5 or worse. In addition to normal charge modifiers (which give you a ?2 penalty to AC and a +2 bonus on the attack roll), you can assign any portion of the attack roll penalty from Power Attack to your Armor Class instead, up to a maximum equal to your base attack bonus.


    Languages: Common, Chondathan, Netherese, Zhent
    Alignme
  16. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Triple posting. More random thoughts, some looking to the future, some looking to the past...

    (1) I miss Pool of Radiance. In truth, that computer game was my real introduction to the AD&D system in particular and RPGing in a general sense. (I'll talk about resumés further down.) Eight disks on the Commodore 64, took me months of playing to complete in my free time at the age of 13-15, but I couldn't help but enjoy it so much. Its basic design was in the form of "Wizardry" or "Bard's Tale" in that you walk around a very primitive 3D environment with your party.

    The story was that you go to the city of Phlan on the Moonsea, and the basic mechanic of the game is taking on one mission after another for the council to reclaim the city's ruined areas from groups of monsters. I don't know if it was my age or the excellent playtesting they'd done, but there were big sections of the game where I'd be creeping around ruins terrified of every step I took (the wandering monster mechanic being the chief architect of that), but when you completed a mission, you knew it. You were pushed to the limit a lot. The greatest terrors for me in game terms weren't necessarily the battles where your people died (Resurrections were available here and there) but battles against the undead, where you got levels ripped off you mercilessly.

    The game did suffer from one unfortunate mechanic: wandering monster encounters were geared mainly due to your stats, so if (as you do) you rolled up characters with 18s in their scores, the wandering monster encounters often had more opponents than the setpiece encounters did. Even so, I did enjoy (in a frustrated way) that mechanic, because your incursions through enemy ground were never sure things: you "ran" from location to location, and you were always aware of the fact you were in occupied territory.

    The scaling of the game was good, too: the maximum player level you could reach was level 6, starting from level 1 -- and at all times I think you were challenged appropriately. Some of the most satisfying "encounters" were when your party had reached level 6 and the AI threw a horde of fifty or so kobolds or goblins at you. This is mostly because your fighters had the power to "sweep" more or less automatically -- if you dropped one opponent (as was likely) you carried your strike through to the next one. Mass carnage -- combined with fireballs -- followed.

    I think I miss it for the good story, too, though: everything ultimately led back to your final opponent, even though the missions were disparate and the locations wide and varied. It may be nostalgia, but I don't think I've ever really played a game which recaptured that same feeling of total immersion and sweat-trickling fear. Unless you count the Baldur's Gate games.

    (2) So I had my first glance over fourth edition D&D after acquiring the core rulebooks, and I have to say I'm still optimistic about D&D's future. Having played a modded-to-hades version of 3.5 which gets us halfway to 4th ed for the last year helps, of course. :) However, my impression is that, if anything, 4E seems to simplify and streamline what was a very complex, rules-lawyer's paradise. That, I think, is actually closer to the spirit of 2nd ed than 3rd ed once was.

    Some folks do say it's a tabletop game slanted at the WoW crowd, and I do have to say there do seem to be those elements -- most notably in talking about the "slots" which can be taken up by magic items, which is as explicit a shout out to computer games as you're likely to ever see. But at the same time I think I can understand why they did that: because to some extent the computer gaming crowd is their target audience. Let's face it: D&D is two hundred miles from the wargaming seed it emerged from, and its core market (I think) is much younger, plays slam-bang computer games, often on the Internet, and has a shorter attention span than the old Gygax thirtysomething single wargaming weirdo who bought it to begin with. IMHHO D&D didn't really have much choice but[/i
  17. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
    1) Never had the chance to play PoR, but I've heard it was one of the greats... Unlike the craptacular remake that actually inspired the computer gaming magazine I read at the time to publish a photo of a guy blowing his brains out from some obscure Japanese film. It was apparently that bad.

    2) As a rules lawyer, I kind of like looking through lots of obscure minutiae and arguing about rulings, but I'm in the extreme minority, so I'm willing to take a backseat to players who want a more streamlined experience. However, there's a lot less guidance on experience and wealth distribution for DMs, which I absolutely despised (It got to the point that I quit DMing altogether for a period of time), not to mention fewer monsters and environmental hazards, which, I think, makes the transition the most difficult for the one person who it needs to be easiest for.

    My other big beef with 4E is how obviously profit-driven it is. WotC employees have gone on the record as saying they specifically excluded content to basically guarantee that people need to buy the various additional rulebooks. This is evident in the fact there are fewer monsters in the DMG (Metallic Dragons? Frost Giants? Anyone?) and fewer classes in the PHB (Bard? Monk? Barbarian? Druid?). I'm more ambivalent towards powers: They work great for melee classes, but they're godawful for Wizards in particular. Just let me cast some spells, dammit!

    3) I played a couple of video game "RPGs" at first, especially that great defining fad of my generation, Pokemon, as well as some Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger. My DnD gaming began with the Dungeons and Dragons Adventure Game (Not sure which box number it is, but it's the one that coincided with 3.0), and then I almost immediately bought a PHB once my players (I was, from the beginning, the DM) hit level three. Eventually I drifted away from it, not by choice mind you, until about the ninth grade when my other DnD playing friend and I finally got our friends hooked. Then we settled into a fairly regular gaming schedule that lasted until I moved to Arizona. This is about the time it starts getting complicated.

    Aside from DnD, my only other table top RPG up to this point had been Marvel Superheroes (The bad one), so needless to say, I was a bit hesitant to pick up a different system... Until I saw Mutants and Masterminds 2.0. I played several games of this before my players got tired of supers and decided to take a crack at a homebrew game another friend had made, which was so broken it wasn't even funny. That was where I got a taste of playing some very, very off-ball characters, but I won't go into more detail because I don't have many fond memories of that "system". After that we moved on to Werewolf, which didn't last terribly long as the guy who GMed it just wasn't very good. I took a crack at running Vampire: The Masquerade, which lasted a bit longer, but then I bought a copy of Big Eyes Small Mouth d20, which was more up our anime-fanboy alley. That lasted awhile, until eventually I got a couple of 3.5E and 4E games going, before finally starting college where my RPing has been confined to video games and, of course, the JC forums. PHEW!
  18. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    18, 13, 9, 18, 14, 13
    Name: Tamas Celdumar
    Race: Human
    Class: Monk 10
    Hit Dice: 10d8+2
    HP: 3x8+2 + 7x8 = 82

    Initiative: +1 [Dex] + 4 [Improved Initiative] = +5
    Speed: 30 [standard] + 30 feet [Monk speed bonus] = 60 feet

    AC: 10 + 1 [Dex] + 7 [Exalted] + 1 [Exalted Deflection] + 1 [Exalted Natural Armor] + 7 WIS [Monk] +2 [Monk AC] = 28
    Touch AC = 26
    Flatfooted AC = 25

    Base Attack: +7/+2

    Attacks:
    Unarmed: +17/+12 (7 [Base] +7 [Intuitive Attack] +1 [Weapon Focus] + 2 [Exalted Strike])
    Flurry of Blows: +17/+17/+12
    Stunning Fist: 10/day, DC 24

    Damage:
    Unarmed: 3d6 [Large] +4 [Str] +2 [Exalted Strike] (20/x2)
    Vs evil: 3d6+7 (20/x2)
    Vs evil outsiders or undead: 3d5+6+1d4 (20/x2)

    Face/Reach: 5x5, 5 ft

    Special Qualities:
    Monk Flurry of Blows
    Monk Unarmed Strike
    WIS bonus to AC
    Monk's AC bonus
    Improved Evasion
    Still Mind (+2 vs saves on enchantments)
    Exalted Endure Elements
    Ki strike (magic, lawful)
    Slow fall 50 feet
    Exalted Damage reduction 5/magic
    Purity of Body (Immune all diseases except supernatural, magic diseases)
    Exalted Sustenance (Character no longer needs to eat or drink)
    Exalted Mind Shielding ? immune to detect thoughts, discern lies, alignment discernment
    Exalted Strike +2 to all attack and damage rolls (good)
    Exalted Resistance +1 to all saving throws
    Purity of Body (Immune all diseases except supernatural, magic diseases)
    Wholeness of Body (heal 20 in hitpoints per day)

    Saves:
    Fort: +7 [Base] +1 [Exalted] = +8
    Ref: +7 [Base] +1 [Exalted] = +8
    Will: +7 [Base] +1 [Exalted] = +8
    NB another +4 to saves vs. death, disease effects
    NBB also, +2 vs. enchantments

    Abilities:
    STR 18 (+4)
    DEX 13 (+1)
    CON 14 (+2)
    INT 9 (-1)
    WIS 24( +7)
    CHA 15 (+2)

    Skills: (Monk) + -1 [INT] +1 [Human] = 4
    Diplomacy: 8 + 2 [Cha] +2 [Sacred Vow] = +12 (+14 vs. good).
    Sense Motive: 8 + 7 [Wis] = +15 (+17 vs. Good)
    Acrobatics: 8 + 1 [Dex] = +9
    Athletics: 8 + 4 [Str] = +12

    Feats:
    Sacred Vow: +2 to Diplomacy checks
    Vow of Poverty: raises AC etc, but cannot own any property, wear or use magical items of any kind etc.
    Vow of Purity (+4 to saves vs. death, disease effects)
    Stunning Fist: 10/day, Save Fort DC 10+5+7+2 (Exalted) = 24
    Improved Initiative: +4 to Initiative checks
    Deflect Arrows: Deflect ranged attacks 1/round.
    Exalted Feat: Intuitive Attack -- Wisdom modifier instead of Strength modifier to attack rolls
    Weapon Focus (Unarmed attack) -- +1 to unarmed attack rolls
    Bonus Exalted Feat: Nimbus of Light -- +2 to Diplomacy, Sense Motive checks vs. Good
    Improved Natural Attack: damage is treated as if the character is one size level larger (Large instead of Medium)
    Improved Trip: +4 to Trip check. Immediate followup melee attack if successful.
    Bonus Exalted Feat: Holy Radiance ? do 1d4 damage to undead within 10 feet of you
    Superior Unarmed Strike: Monk damage is treated as if the character is 4 levels higher ? i.e 3d6 at 10th level
    Bonus Exalted Feat: Vow of Purity (+4 to saves vs. death, disease effects)
    Fist of the Heavens: +2 to Stunning Fist DC
    Bonus Exalted Feat: Sanctify Ki Strike (+1 to damage vs. evil, +1d4 unarmed damage to evil outsiders or undead).

    Languages: Common, Chondathan
    Alignment: Lawful Good
    Deity: Kelemvor
    Gender: Male
    Age: 35
    Height: 6'7"
    Weight: 130 lbs

    Equipment:
    Simple monk's clothes.
    A walking stick (Quarterstaff).

    Light load

    Appearance: Walks the roads of Faerun, but particularly around the Battle of Bones, confronting the undead. Tamas has a gentle face, a gentle smile, thin, gaunt, but always at sunrise and sunset allows his Nimbus of Light to shine. Is tall by human standards, with his blonde hair and aura of light suggesting he is an aasimar ? but he is not, rather fully human and devoted to the restful death which is the reward of all beings.

    Personality:
    ?This life, like all beauty, is tragic ? for it fades, and must end. Therefore why acquire gold, gems, pieces of steel? That is the way of decay, of despair. Why not instead attune your heart and mind to the beyond? W
  19. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    Lots of videogames - Final Fantasy 7-9, Pokemon, Diablo I and II, KotOR ... Chrono Trigger too, come to think of it, but I didn't make it very far ... World of Warcraft :p ... possibly many others I've forgotten. More recently, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles and The World Ends With You on the DS, and I'm playing FF Tactics A2 now.

    As for non-videogame RPGs, that's pretty much summed up by my post history here. The only time I tried tabletop was this tiny game at a convention where I played a pre-rolled Angel of Truth (Seraph, I think it was called) and promptly tried to lie five minutes into the game. That went well.

    I'd say actually that World of Warcraft was what sparked my interest in rules (and exploitation thereof), the idea of game balance and synergy ... say what you will about it and its 14-year-old fanboys, but it's a fascinatingly crafted game system.
  20. guitar_hero Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2008
    star 1
    Hey there! Merry Christmas, all.

    I know I'm sort of horribly late with this, but I just wanted to say thanks to everyone in Tide of Flames for making me welcome and generally being pretty awesome for the short time I was in the game. RL hit a lot harder than I expected this past semester and I really wasn't able to keep up. Thanks especially to Saint and Lightwarden for being understanding about it and giving Alessandro a nice send-off. I'll be keeping an eye on you when I've got the time, so good luck, have fun, and all the best for the new year.

    Cheers!
  21. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    Well, no one has done anything in this thread for a while, so I guess the conversation on the nonsensical brokenness of the Book of Exalted Deeds is over. Let's talk 4e.

    For starters, if you haven't listened to the Wizards of the Coast podcast sessions involving people playing the game, you probably should. Why should you care about what a couple of nerds are doing? Well, what if they're these nerds?

    Session 1, wherein Scott, Gabe and Tycho establish "Acquisitions Incorporated" and explore "The Keep on the Shadowfell"
    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3
    Part 4
    Part 5
    Part 6
    Part 7
    Part 8

    Session 2, wherein Acquisitions Inc gets a new hire who you just might have heard of and explores the ruins of an old tower.
    Part 1
    Part 2
    With more to come each Wednesday at the WotC website.
  22. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Cool, I'll check those out.

    Meanwhile, Mitth inspired me to build a motivational poster... :D

    <img src="http://i217.photobucket.com/albums/cc4/Borf_the_Dwarf/CoDzilla.jpg">
  23. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
    Could have sworn CoDZilla applied when you were using polymorph prior to the big polymorph errata update...?
  24. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    Well, it stems from the fact that a properly kitted cleric or druid can hit as hard as a fighter while remaining heavily armored, is capable of buffing up and exceeding the power of other front-liners while still having access to a spell capacity that exceeds the Wizard in both volume and variety (though the Wizard has more esoteric spells, the Cleric has access to any spell he or she can possibly cast every time spells are prepared).

    Admittedly, there are Gish builds of arcanists who end up with a BAB of 16+ and a caster level of 17+ at 20th level, but Clerics and Druids are pretty tough right out of the box and only get better if you know what you're doing.

    It gets ridiculously broken thanks to the "Divine Metamagic" feat from Complete Divine, which allows you to substitute Turn Undead uses to lower metamagic costs. The biggest gimmick is using it to power Persist Spell, thus putting your 1 round/level buffs in the nice and cozy 24 hour region. Cast it on Divine Favor and you are now a fighter. Needless to say, this gimmick will not be used in ToF (well, Zanaek is the only one who could even attempt to pull it off since Skadi doesn't have Turn Undead to begin with, but whatever).
  25. Katana_Geldar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    Thought I'd brush past this board as I'm just getting into the new Saga edition and I'm a complete n00b to RP, never seen a game being played but I'm going to GM. And all of my friends are new to the game, and as I own the book GMing and learning the game has fallen to me.

    Our first session will not likely be fore a few weeks, but I'm still learning and planning. Any tips for a table of complete noobs that I will have to teach the game do from day dot? And I plan on keeping the first campaign short, and afterwards see where the players want to go from there.
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