Errants of Waterdeep [OOC Thread]

Discussion concerning the upcoming Toril 2.0 update as well as general 3.5 edition D&D discussion
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Errants of Waterdeep [OOC Thread]

Postby moritheil » Wed Oct 25, 2006 6:31 pm

I will be running a 3.5 campaign here on the boards, Play by Post, so that all Torilites who want to learn 3.5 but haven't yet can learn. You're all welcome to watch the RP thread, which Shev has kindly stickied, comment on actions and mechanics that come up in the course of the campaign here, and ask for help unrelated to the campaign (but related to 3.5) in other threads.

Basically, this campaign will be run for the express purpose of learning the 3.5 system, so we might go a little light on certain RP details at times (such as handwaving the issue of goodies and evils grouping just as we do in Toril.) I have deliberately chosen Waterdeep for the setting, as most players are familiar with it. The only unfamiliar thing in this campaign should be the 3.5 mechanics themselves.

Now, because this is Play by Post, I can't possibly take a group of 15 the way we actually do on Toril. I'll cap the number of players at six or eight; any more gets absurd quickly. However, everyone is encouraged to watch as the campaign unfolds and bring up questions about the 3.5 mechanics involved. I'll also keep a running "Alt list" for whoever wants in should we run out of slots. Alts will be swapped in as players bow out.

This thread is for OOC comments and questions about the Errants of Waterdeep campaign. If you have general questions about 3.5, please look in one of the newbie help threads or start your own thread elsewhere. Only post here if it is relevant this campaign somehow, or if you are interested in becoming involved. Thank you.
Last edited by moritheil on Thu Oct 26, 2006 2:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby moritheil » Wed Oct 25, 2006 6:37 pm

Malacar wrote:Mori, will you allow an ECL +1 race (aasimar) into the game? I wanted to demonstrate the pros and cons of a 'powerful' race.


I hesitate, not knowing whether or not it will have relevance to Toril 2.0 - though it would be neat if Aasimar and Tieflings were playable races in 2.0. What the heck, I'll say sure, but you'll have to do one of those funky racial class progressions that allows you to start at ECL 1. :D
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Postby Malacar » Wed Oct 25, 2006 7:42 pm

Ah. I will pass then. Those rules make an ECL race even less useful, IMO. I'll stick to human, I guess.

Just to clarify what Mori is referring to...

First and foremost, an ECL race means it's a 'stronger than your average' race. This means that their ECL (effective character level) is bumped up by a number (the race determines this number).

In this example, the ECL for an aasimar (a race that has the blood of a celestial) is +1. So a first level fighter Aasimar is considered ECL 2. They start play with 1,000 exp to reflect their race.

This almost sounds like an unfair advantage at first. But then you look at their experience level-ups... They are skewed a bit.

A first level dwarf requires 1,000 exp to hit level 2.
A first level aasimar (ecl 2) requires 2,000 exp to hit level 2 (ECL 3).

A second level dwarf requires 2,000 exp more to reach 3rd level, or 3,000 exp total.
A second level aasimar (ECL3) requires 3,000 exp more to reach 3rd level (ECL 4), or 6,000 exp.

A third level dwarf requires 3,000 exp more to reach 4th level, or 6,000 exp total.
A third level aasimar (ECL 4) requires 4,000 exp more to reach 4th level (ECL 5), or 10,000 exp total.

Now you can see where this starts hurting a bit... The ECL race will always be a little behind in exp (or a lot, depending.. some races have enormous ECL values).

What does this ECL+1 Aasimar race get you?
+2 to Wisdom
+2 to Charisma
Darkvision 60'
Resistance: Acid 5
Resistance: Cold 5
Resistance: electricity 5
Cast the 'Daylight' spell once per day.
+2 racial bonus on listen and spot checks.

(Resistances subtract the first X amount of damage from that specific type of damage, every time you take it)

The bumps are nice, but not overpowering.

Now, the rule Mori said to use, is the variant rule for ECL races, to force them to start 'weaker', so it supposedly evens out the power balance.

The rules for that are that you gain a 'negative level' equal to the ECL of the race, in this case 1.

A negative level imposes the following penalties:
A penalty on all skill, ability checks, attack rolls, saving throws equal to the ECL of the race. A penalty to the DC (difficulty class) of any ability or spell you use equal to the ECL of the race. A penalty to the 'constant' AC bonus granted (if there is one), equal to the ECL of the race.

In this case, the aasimar would have the following:
-1 to hit
-1 to all saving throws
-1 on all skill checks
-1 on all ability checks

Not only do those penalties suck to almighty hell, but once you actually 'gain' a level, you still have the penalty of the ECL +1. I call it a penalty, but that's my personal term. I have found, through extensive playing with these races in my table-top group, that an ECL race is, on average, a serious detriment to a group. Their power eventually really lags behind in general. Not always, but most of the +ECL races benefits just aren't equal to a single level in a class. Spellcasters with an ECL are especially hard-hit.

Why I don't like this variant rule: It puts you even further behind on experience points. You start play with 0 experience points, and some REALLY hefty penalties. When you gain 1,000exp, you are '2nd' level. But you don't actually level. You're now STILL first level, with your full racial bonuses, and no penalties. What's more, is now the entire group is a full level ahead of you. You now ALL need 2,000exp to level... But you'll always be a full level behind (the exp system is designed to mitigate this as you level, but in this case it wouldn't even out until level 8 or so I think).

Anyways, your mileage may vary.. I just wanted to explain the (very convoluted) rules of ECL races a bit. :)
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Postby moritheil » Wed Oct 25, 2006 8:52 pm

Actually, though I think everything you have said is 100% correct, I don't think of ECL that way. Here's how I think of it:

LA (level adjustment) is the modifier that determines ECL (equivalent character level.) Aasimar are LA+1, so a level 1 Aasimar paladin is in most respects a level 2 character (ECL = 2.) ECL is a fictional bookkeeping term used for gameplay balance; for the purposes of spells, that Aasimar is still a level 1 character.

So basically, if allowed to play without any modification you would be starting at level 2 rather than level 1. Slower levelup times, etc. are all details that result from the fact that aasimar with 1 class level are treated as level 2 characters in terms of XP and wealth.

The alternate system I suggested is not starting with a negative level, but rather, starting with very few of the racial bonuses, and gaining them later instead of gaining a class level (you would basically be tossing a level into race.) Sorry I wasn't clearer - here's the link.

As I mentioned before, being an Outsider, having resistances, etc. are all things of hotly debated worth. Personally I find that LA +0 races are best when fighting superior enemies, but higher LA races are best when fighting hordes of inferior enemies (things like energy resistance and SR allow you to shrug off numerous weak attacks better.)

Just throwing off some numbers as I remember them: Drow are LA+2. Liches are LA+4. Dragons are LA+5 (not fully grown ones! That's for juvenile, IIRC.) Vampires are something ridiculous like LA+8, and are the most often cited example of LA not being worth it. Trolls are LA+5.
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Postby Malacar » Wed Oct 25, 2006 9:06 pm

Ahh, different rules. Interesting. Must... read... *skim skim skim*

I disagree with your standpoint on ECL though (Note that this is more disagreeing for disagreement/rules sake, rather than arguing. I fully accept you do things a certain way as a GM). :)
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Postby moritheil » Wed Oct 25, 2006 9:21 pm

Malacar wrote:Ahh, different rules. Interesting. Must... read... *skim skim skim*

I disagree with your standpoint on ECL though (Note that this is more disagreeing for disagreement/rules sake, rather than arguing. I fully accept you do things a certain way as a GM). :)


Yeah, it's pretty clear we just place different value on the worth of LA race perks. FWIW, I can build a 1st-level (ECL 2) character with something like AC 35 using a 40-pt build and an LA+1 race, so I don't tend to think of them as underpowered :P
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Postby Malacar » Wed Oct 25, 2006 9:42 pm

I'm trying NOT to powergame and/or min-max tho. ;)
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Postby Malacar » Wed Oct 25, 2006 9:43 pm

Er.. You're allowing evils? That's going to get ugly quick.
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Postby moritheil » Wed Oct 25, 2006 10:49 pm

Malacar wrote:Er.. You're allowing evils? That's going to get ugly quick.


You bring up a point that I ought to address.

I am asking for a certain amount of understanding and suspension of disbelief. Obviously we can't have a campaign if one guy runs off or drives other characters off. So, with that in mind, it is possible for an evil character to be in the party as long as he/she always considers the party's interests to be in his/her own best interests. I don't anticipate too much tension due to this because the emphasis here is on learning DnD, not on soul-crushing drama.

Think of this campaign as in many respects a simulation of Toril as we have known it.
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Postby Ashiwi » Thu Oct 26, 2006 1:19 am

Did I miss the thread where you actually explained what was going on with this? From what little I can glean about it, it looks interesting, but how are you going to be playing? How's it going to work? Can we get a basic rundown on the basics?

Sorry if I missed it somewhere else.
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Postby Latreg » Thu Oct 26, 2006 12:51 pm

Ashiwi wrote:Did I miss the thread where you actually explained what was going on with this? From what little I can glean about it, it looks interesting, but how are you going to be playing? How's it going to work? Can we get a basic rundown on the basics?

Sorry if I missed it somewhere else.


ROFL I was wondering the same thing.
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Postby moritheil » Thu Oct 26, 2006 2:18 pm

Ashiwi wrote:Did I miss the thread where you actually explained what was going on with this? From what little I can glean about it, it looks interesting, but how are you going to be playing? How's it going to work? Can we get a basic rundown on the basics?

Sorry if I missed it somewhere else.


Good call. This actually grew out of a thread on Gen Disc where several players (Gormal, Arilin, Birile, et al.) called for a game to learn 3.5.

Edited first post to dispel confusion.
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Postby Gormal » Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:16 am

I updated my charsheet in the gallery page http://www.torilmud.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=171743#171743 feel free to check over it again as I'm sure I screwed up somewhere.

Doug and I were discussing that we need at least one person to bring a bow now, he was thinking maybe Birile since we'll be up front a lot, and he's planning to only take a couple levels of fighter.

Hopefully we'll still get a 4th, I'd like to see a mage come along to look at their dynamic.
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Postby Ashiwi » Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:17 am

Play by post? As interesting as it sounds, the lack of available involvement for those of us who have fairly full days leaves me out, I guess. The ones driving the storyline will be the ones who have ample time to sit around and post during the day. Those who can't watch for each post as it comes out will spend half their time catching up on what happened during the day, and by the time they can post the action will most likely have already passed them by.
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Postby Gormal » Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:37 am

Give over, Kelly! I'm in the middle of the ocean and I'll find time (usually late at night). Get your ass in gear and roll up an elven mage/rogue!
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Postby Birile » Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:39 am

Gormal wrote:I updated my charsheet in the gallery page http://www.torilmud.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=171743#171743 feel free to check over it again as I'm sure I screwed up somewhere.

Doug and I were discussing that we need at least one person to bring a bow now, he was thinking maybe Birile since we'll be up front a lot, and he's planning to only take a couple levels of fighter.

Hopefully we'll still get a 4th, I'd like to see a mage come along to look at their dynamic.


I had thought I saw someone who had a bow for a weapon. I had originally had a shortbow but tossed it 'cause it was expensive. I can just as easily get it back.
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Postby Branthur » Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:45 am

Gormal wrote:I updated my charsheet in the gallery page http://www.torilmud.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=171743#171743 feel free to check over it again as I'm sure I screwed up somewhere.

Doug and I were discussing that we need at least one person to bring a bow now, he was thinking maybe Birile since we'll be up front a lot, and he's planning to only take a couple levels of fighter.

Hopefully we'll still get a 4th, I'd like to see a mage come along to look at their dynamic.


Just a quick question for ya, since I don't have my books in front of me. Who's your patron diety? I can't think of one in FR that has War and Healing as Domains, and bad bad things happen if you don't have a patron in FR...
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Postby Gormal » Fri Oct 27, 2006 1:00 am

Hrm, I was aiming for Hammer of Moradin so that would make Moradin my patron. I wasn't aware of the domain/patron reprecussions.


Mori - How will this work? Can I have multiple patrons, can I RP around it?
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Postby Birile » Fri Oct 27, 2006 1:30 am

Birile's character sheet now posted in the Gallery as well. Feedback requested. :wink:

Added the shortbow, my initiative and the range of the weapon will let me get off a little damage before a fight starts (maybe) :P
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Postby moritheil » Fri Oct 27, 2006 1:00 pm

Ashiwi - Email theoretically carries the same bias as PbP . . . in fact, all other things I can think of do. The alternative would be if we all got on at the same time and talked, but I don't have hours on end to spend these days.

Gormal wrote:Hrm, I was aiming for Hammer of Moradin so that would make Moradin my patron. I wasn't aware of the domain/patron reprecussions.

Mori - How will this work? Can I have multiple patrons, can I RP around it?


There is the option of being devoted to a pantheon rather than focused on a single patron, in which case presumably Berronar or someone would be granting that Healing domain, though that might clash with the HoM later (it presumably requires overwhelming devotion to Moradin specifically.)

FWIW, if you're taking Dwarven racial substitution levels, Earth is actually a pretty neat domain to have. I forget what Moradin offers specifically, but I'm pretty sure Earth ought to be in there.


Birile - Personally I value Improved Init on casters and bards for the ability to put a song or spell (such as haste) up before most others act, but early on, a bow might be a good idea.


Feel free to start posing your character introductions, folks!
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Postby Branthur » Fri Oct 27, 2006 1:20 pm

Hrm...I honestly can't recall if FR allows for devotion to a pantheon. If I remember right, you have to select a patron, otherwise if you die, you can't be resurrected, and you go in the wall.

Even if you allow for pantheon devotion, yeah, that's still probably gonna mess with trying to go into HoM. Off the top of my head, domain selections for Moradin are Earth, Good, Law, Protection from the PhB, and Craft and Dwarf domains from the FRCS, though there might be one more from there, like Metal or something.

I'd recommend Protection definitely as a domain, with Dwarf and Earth being somewhat tied. Good might be an option as well...provides some decent spells.

Again, this is all off the top of my head, and Mori obviously has trump over anything I say, as he's running things for ya. :)
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Postby moritheil » Fri Oct 27, 2006 1:33 pm

Branthur wrote:Hrm...I honestly can't recall if FR allows for devotion to a pantheon. If I remember right, you have to select a patron, otherwise if you die, you can't be resurrected, and you go in the wall.

Even if you allow for pantheon devotion, yeah, that's still probably gonna mess with trying to go into HoM. Off the top of my head, domain selections for Moradin are Earth, Good, Law, Protection from the PhB, and Craft and Dwarf domains from the FRCS, though there might be one more from there, like Metal or something.

I'd recommend Protection definitely as a domain, with Dwarf and Earth being somewhat tied. Good might be an option as well...provides some decent spells.

Again, this is all off the top of my head, and Mori obviously has trump over anything I say, as he's running things for ya. :)


IIRC Pantheon devotion is allowed in the case of that pantheon that includes the old Egyptian powers, so by extension I reason that it ought to be allowed for the Dwarven pantheon. This might be fast and loose, but I doubt that it will factor significantly into balance or rules appreciation. You're absolutely right to bring it up, though. It's still a problem for a HoM even if it isn't for a dwarven cleric.

Also, good catch in pointing out that Moradin doesn't offer War as a domain.

EDIT: I thought you forgot to mention Craft, but I just didn't see it. :)
Last edited by moritheil on Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Birile » Fri Oct 27, 2006 1:51 pm

moritheil wrote:Birile - Personally I value Improved Init on casters and bards for the ability to put a song or spell (such as haste) up before most others act, but early on, a bow might be a good idea.


That was my thinking as well. :)

In later levels is the bard's role to basically stand around and sing/recite poetry during a fight? Or are they meleers as well? Trying to get a feel for it. As the other three characters in the campaign so far are all going to be melee I'm probably going to focus on handling much of the utility aspect of the group (songs for buffs, non-combat skills, open lock/disable device for nonmagical traps--it's my understanding only a rogue can open magically locked items or disable magical traps, though a level in rogue later on may be called for just for this ability).

Thanks!
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Postby Gormal » Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:11 pm

Earth and Protection sounds like a good way to go! I'll quake all of you punks!
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Postby Arilin Nydelahar » Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:12 pm

moritheil wrote:Feel free to start posing your character introductions, folks!


Trying to figure out how I want to write it! This'll pretty much be the hardest post I think. Not much to play off :P
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Postby moritheil » Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:17 pm

Birile wrote:In later levels is the bard's role to basically stand around and sing/recite poetry during a fight? Or are they meleers as well? Trying to get a feel for it. As the other three characters in the campaign so far are all going to be melee I'm probably going to focus on handling much of the utility aspect of the group (songs for buffs, non-combat skills, open lock/disable device for nonmagical traps--it's my understanding only a rogue can open magically locked items or disable magical traps, though a level in rogue later on may be called for just for this ability).

Thanks!


I'm not the best bard min/maxer, but my understanding is that for bards, the ability to sing and fight simultaneously is highly prized. It can be achived through certain feats and taking ranks in a Perform skill that leaves your hands free. At high levels, the bard generally only mixes it up toe-to-toe as a last resort, unless built as a battlebard. This gets into the realm of min/maxing, but if you want to do that, there is a feat called Snowflake Wardancer that lets you add your charisma to attacks with a 1h slashing weapon by expending one daily music use. Each activation lasts for a time equal to your ranks in Perform, which by the time you qualify for the feat (9 ranks, IIRC) is an entire fight.

If you multiclass anything with rogue, I should point out that generally it's best to start off rogue, as that 8+Intmod skill points will be multiplied by four at first level (and only at first character level.)
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Postby Birile » Fri Oct 27, 2006 4:18 pm

moritheil wrote:
Birile wrote:In later levels is the bard's role to basically stand around and sing/recite poetry during a fight? Or are they meleers as well? Trying to get a feel for it. As the other three characters in the campaign so far are all going to be melee I'm probably going to focus on handling much of the utility aspect of the group (songs for buffs, non-combat skills, open lock/disable device for nonmagical traps--it's my understanding only a rogue can open magically locked items or disable magical traps, though a level in rogue later on may be called for just for this ability).

Thanks!


I'm not the best bard min/maxer, but my understanding is that for bards, the ability to sing and fight simultaneously is highly prized. It can be achived through certain feats and taking ranks in a Perform skill that leaves your hands free. At high levels, the bard generally only mixes it up toe-to-toe as a last resort, unless built as a battlebard. This gets into the realm of min/maxing, but if you want to do that, there is a feat called Snowflake Wardancer that lets you add your charisma to attacks with a 1h slashing weapon by expending one daily music use. Each activation lasts for a time equal to your ranks in Perform, which by the time you qualify for the feat (9 ranks, IIRC) is an entire fight.

If you multiclass anything with rogue, I should point out that generally it's best to start off rogue, as that 8+Intmod skill points will be multiplied by four at first level (and only at first character level.)


Thanks for the input! Snowflake Wardancer sounds very interesting...

As for taking Rogue at 1st level... I considered it, but as a Bard I got a lot of skill points to distribute as it is, and if I were to put points into Concentration half of the extra points I got as a Rogue would've been wasted on cross-class and I wouldn't be able to sing at Character Level 1. All told I'm going to be out 1 or 2 skill points at the most by taking Bard at 1st level and I'll be able to, well, be a Bard from the get-go!
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Postby moritheil » Fri Oct 27, 2006 4:53 pm

Birile wrote:Thanks for the input! Snowflake Wardancer sounds very interesting...

As for taking Rogue at 1st level... I considered it, but as a Bard I got a lot of skill points to distribute as it is, and if I were to put points into Concentration half of the extra points I got as a Rogue would've been wasted on cross-class and I wouldn't be able to sing at Character Level 1. All told I'm going to be out 1 or 2 skill points at the most by taking Bard at 1st level and I'll be able to, well, be a Bard from the get-go!


8 skill points, to be exact. It's a difference of two, multipled by four. And since Bard gets quite a few skill points, what people normally do is just fill up the in-class ranks for the rogue level (Perform is still in class, and you can dump four ranks into Tumble. Fun fact: 5 ranks in Tumble increases your AC when you fight defensively.)

Also, I should clarify that Gather Information allows you to specify some information you attempt to gather, whereas bardic knowledge "is essentially random." For example, with Gather Information, you could find out if Lord P was ever rumored to have an affair, whereas with Bardic Knowledge you would just get some sort of information about Lord P if successful - maybe the name of his favorite wine.

But getting back to rogue multiclassing, yes, you wouldn't be able to be a bard. If you want to be a bard from the get-go, it's probably more efficient to qualify for a rogue-like PrC (Shadow Thief of Amn comes to mind, though I forget if it offers trapfinding), and get your rogue-like abilities from that.

And here I am saying that I didn't want to force you to tweak! :P
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Postby Birile » Fri Oct 27, 2006 4:57 pm

I think I saw in some Complete Adventurer's Handbook that there are plenty of PrC's related to Bards, I'm going to have to check them all out. :)
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Postby moritheil » Fri Oct 27, 2006 5:19 pm

Birile wrote:I think I saw in some Complete Adventurer's Handbook that there are plenty of PrC's related to Bards, I'm going to have to check them all out. :)


Some think that good-aligned bards get the best PrCs, though there are really a ton of them either way. Sublime Chord, Virtuoso, Icesinger, Green Whisperer, Heartfire Fanner, and Mourner are pretty good. You can even take a bard into weird PrCs such as IotSV.

Btw, I'm having a bit of trouble framing a reply, as it isn't immediately clear if you're headed for the same table. :D
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Postby Gormal » Fri Oct 27, 2006 5:34 pm

I'm about to head out for a couple hours by the way, I'll catch up if I miss stuff!
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Postby Gurns » Fri Oct 27, 2006 6:38 pm

moritheil wrote:there is a feat called Snowflake Wardancer that lets you add your charisma to attacks

Even if didn't, it'd be worth it for the improvement to nancing.
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Postby Birile » Fri Oct 27, 2006 7:18 pm

Gurns wrote:
moritheil wrote:there is a feat called Snowflake Wardancer that lets you add your charisma to attacks

Even if didn't, it'd be worth it for the improvement to nancing.


((Gurns))
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Postby Tasan » Fri Oct 27, 2006 8:35 pm

Birile wrote: As the other three characters in the campaign so far are all going to be melee


I guess I can just point out that I'm aiming for a specific progression which only starts w/ melee :) Mori helped me decide on:

F2/W4/SpSw10/ElKn4

Not that I'm imagining being level 20 anytime during this campaign :p
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Postby moritheil » Fri Oct 27, 2006 8:56 pm

Tasan wrote:
Birile wrote: As the other three characters in the campaign so far are all going to be melee


I guess I can just point out that I'm aiming for a specific progression which only starts w/ melee :) Mori helped me decide on:

F2/W4/SpSw10/ElKn4

Not that I'm imagining being level 20 anytime during this campaign :p


I was going to have you contact me when done with your study of classic builds because I personally prefer a "shortcut build" that looks a little different. (It gives more casting, but eats up all your feats. It is also, admittedly, highly controversial.) Still, that is a pretty solid fighter mage build.

Nothing wrong with being a fighter early on, of course - in fact, it probably does wonders for your chances of survival.
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Postby Birile » Fri Oct 27, 2006 10:22 pm

Mori, do you know of any online resources that have info on PrC's that follow the Bard/Adventurer path?

I like a lot of the ones on d20srd but I know there are a LOT more out there that I've happened upon from time to time that have seemed much more interesting to me.
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Postby Arilin Nydelahar » Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:11 pm

Still waiting for the !!x appearance in the thread there Doug!
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Postby moritheil » Sat Oct 28, 2006 8:50 pm

Birile wrote:Mori, do you know of any online resources that have info on PrC's that follow the Bard/Adventurer path?

I like a lot of the ones on d20srd but I know there are a LOT more out there that I've happened upon from time to time that have seemed much more interesting to me.


Crystalkeep only has the first two levels of most PrCs, sadly. Still, it gives you a good idea of what to look for, and some PrCs (such as Heartfire Fanner) have a progression that is easy to extrapolate. (I would not, however, necessarily recommend Heartfire Fanner for a bard filling the primary arcanist role in a party.)


Twyl -

I probably should have explained my fighter/mage build path in my last post. I tend to build with Wiz 1/Rgr 2/Ftr 2/Spellsword 3/finishing X. Precocious Apprentice allows you to cast a single 2nd-level spell at first level (and it can only be taken at first level) if you start off as a mage, as long as you make a Spellcraft check. It's also the subject of many a flame war about author intent and whether or not being able to cast contingent on making a Spellcraft check counts as being able to cast "2nd-level spells." This build, naturally, has very gimped casting and benefits from a bit more toughness, as only the first level is a pure mage level.

Another build path is Ftr 1/Wiz 2/Human Paragon 3/Spellsword X/finishing Y. It comes out a bit more in between fighter and mage. The downside is that your int boost comes pretty late, so you miss out on some skill points for the first few levels. It might be best to actually take the levels in this order: HP 1/Ftr 1/Wiz1/HP 3/Wiz 2/SS. You can find Human Paragon under the Unearthed Arcana content; the Paragon classes are all PrCs that you can take at low levels (or even at first level, IIRC.)

At any rate, none of these build paths are likely to become terribly germane anytime soon. :wink: It's also worth noting that balance-wise, all that these shenanigans enable one to do is make something approximating a cleric. Going straight cleric into a PrC like War Priest would give similar or better BAB and superior casting.

Btw, if anyone feels like doing a bit of tweaking, please do it in the next couple of days. It'll be too late once you actually make skill checks and/or combat rolls.
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Postby moritheil » Sat Oct 28, 2006 10:20 pm

I've had a few messages from people expressing interest. At this point, to keep things managable, I think I'll seal the group off at five players - though of course we hope that all Torilites interested in 3.5 will continue to watch, learn, analyze*, and comment.

If you want to be kept on an alt list, let me know.

*Analysis should probably be kept to the PC sheets and to tactics, as I do not intend to build anything too flashy on the NPC side of things.
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Postby moritheil » Sun Oct 29, 2006 8:15 pm

Addendum: I just went back and looked at my notes (it's been a while since I actually did the crunch for Fighter/Mage builds) and if your DM allows Swashbuckler, three levels of that will allow you to add your Int modifier to your melee damage. So assuming Precocious Apprentice, your build would look something like Wiz 1/Ftr 1/Swb 3/Sps X.

You lose the Ranger skill points, ability to use CLW wands, Wild Empathy, Combat Style 1, and ability to track, and gain Intmod to melee damage and Weapon Finesse (use Dex in place of Str.) Combat Style 1 is not a huge loss, as you typically need one hand free to cast and won't benefit much from either TWF or Rapid Shot, but some of that other stuff - particularly the nice Ranger saves and skill points - is worth mulling over.

Obviously if you don't use Wizard for the mage part of the build, an optimal build will look very different. Sorcerer has the advantage of the Battle Sorcerer variant (from UA), which gains cleric hit dice and BAB, one weapon proficiency, and the ability to cast in light armor just like bards can, in return for losing about one spell and one spell known per spell level. It's in the Unearthed Arcana section of the d20srd. Add the Battlecaster feat to that, and you can cast in medium armor. (Look at Crystalkeep for feats.)

I should mention that if all this minutia makes you dizzy, it's par for the course in 3.5 - just be glad that Shev is dealing with things so we won't have to painstakingly plan out our builds in Toril 2.0!
Yotus group-says 'special quest if you type hi dragon'

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Postby Ragorn » Tue Oct 31, 2006 6:23 am

I find that you can't think of Bards as "balanced" with the other classes if you simply consider their combat abilities. Bards are simply not a combat class, perhaps the only base class in core whose primary function has nothing to do with smiting evildoers.

The Bard is the backbone of the group. He's the one who keeps you out of jail when the constable catches you in front of a burning building with a face full of soot. The Bard is the one who gets everyone free drinks, secures a safe place to rest, and keeps the natives from getting too savage. The Bard knows where you're going, and he knows a guy who knows a guy who knows how to get there. It's the Bard who goes deep undercover, and it's the Bard who leaves the scene of the crime with a full police escort.

Aside from all this, the Bard can buff the party in combat, do the final point of damage to the dragon, or keep the Fighter alive for one more round after the Cleric runs out of heals. Don't expect miracles from your Bard in a fight. The Bard truly shines in the ballroom, not on the battlefield.

Bards should always max out their Diplomacy and Bluff skills. Disguise, Intimidate, and the stealth skills like Hide and Move Silently are also useful. You need Perform for your Bardic music, and mobility skills like Climb and Balance are never a bad idea. Tumble is golden.
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Postby moritheil » Tue Oct 31, 2006 2:17 pm

Very, very true, and something to keep in mind. Sadly, DnD is combat-focused, and even though 3.5 includes a deliberate shift away from that, many people still find that the combat spotlight determines what they find important in a character.

It also remains to be seen whether or not we will have much noncombat interaction in Toril 2.0 outside of regular questing.

Anyhow, back to the campaign, registered dice rollers can be annoying, so I think I will let everyone just roll themselves and report their rolls and modifiers when the time comes. I wouldn't necessarily do this with people I didn't know, but it seems pretty ludicrous to not trust everyone involved here :P
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Postby Birile » Tue Oct 31, 2006 4:45 pm

Ragorn wrote:I find that you can't think of Bards as "balanced" with the other classes if you simply consider their combat abilities. Bards are simply not a combat class, perhaps the only base class in core whose primary function has nothing to do with smiting evildoers.

The Bard is the backbone of the group. He's the one who keeps you out of jail when the constable catches you in front of a burning building with a face full of soot. The Bard is the one who gets everyone free drinks, secures a safe place to rest, and keeps the natives from getting too savage. The Bard knows where you're going, and he knows a guy who knows a guy who knows how to get there. It's the Bard who goes deep undercover, and it's the Bard who leaves the scene of the crime with a full police escort.

Aside from all this, the Bard can buff the party in combat, do the final point of damage to the dragon, or keep the Fighter alive for one more round after the Cleric runs out of heals. Don't expect miracles from your Bard in a fight. The Bard truly shines in the ballroom, not on the battlefield.

Bards should always max out their Diplomacy and Bluff skills. Disguise, Intimidate, and the stealth skills like Hide and Move Silently are also useful. You need Perform for your Bardic music, and mobility skills like Climb and Balance are never a bad idea. Tumble is golden.


This is exactly the type of character I would prefer to play--I realized this as I was going through the class skills for my Bard in this campaign and realized I was more interested in the not-so-combative skills (ie. Diplomacy, Bluff, etc.).

On a side note: what are everyone's thoughts on the Seeker of the Song PrC?

I checked out the CrystalKeep (found it on Saturday before I saw Mori's post) and Seeker of the Song was the one that I found most interesting.
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Postby moritheil » Wed Nov 01, 2006 2:01 pm

Seeker of the Song . . . aha, now I remember why I haven't used it in any builds. It requires 13 ranks in two skills, and thus you can't qualify for it before 10th. Still, it's pretty good. It seems that you give up your later casting in return for full song progression and new songs, but if you're not going to be casting-dependent, that hardly matters.

Btw, it seems that people are not 100% done with the in-group discussion, so I'm holding off on advancing the time frame.
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Postby Ragorn » Wed Nov 01, 2006 4:19 pm

Seeker of the Song makes bardsong genuinely useful in combat situations. It's a shame the requirements are so high, and that you have to give up casting progression for it.
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Postby moritheil » Thu Nov 02, 2006 2:37 pm

Indeed.

Moving the time up to the following morning - sorry if some of you still had things to say. There will be plenty of time for banter on the road.
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Postby Birile » Fri Nov 03, 2006 6:31 pm

Okay, the Mourner...

What's the disadvantage of taking this PrC rather than playing a straight Bard?
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Postby Tasan » Sat Nov 04, 2006 4:48 pm

Birile wrote:Okay, the Mourner...

What's the disadvantage of taking this PrC rather than playing a straight Bard?


We're going to be going to a lot of funerals! You can put the fun in funeral!
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Postby Birile » Sat Nov 04, 2006 5:54 pm

Tasan wrote:
Birile wrote:Okay, the Mourner...

What's the disadvantage of taking this PrC rather than playing a straight Bard?


We're going to be going to a lot of funerals! You can put the fun in funeral!


Touche!
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Postby moritheil » Mon Nov 06, 2006 2:26 pm

Some PrCs really are a lot more powerful compared to nonPrC classes. They can only be compared with other PrCs.
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