Character Sheet Correction

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Castri having the old Throw & Stab thing is actually a good thing and makes him almost effective.

Shikirr is just poorly made though. Around 60% of my attacks on Shikirr have been basic attacks, because his at-wills and daily are all situational and not useful most of the time. That is a bad sign. And yes, nothing but his 1 class ability is based off of charisma. So they made a character that doesn't use their secondary stat at all... also sounds bad to me.

But again, this goes back to feeling this could be approached in a better way to be more noob-friendly.
Bull's strength, useless?  The basic allows you to push back, always useful tactically to clear a space for friends.  Augmented its a close blast 3 that targets only enemies, which can be huge!  Even augmented 1 you can get effective reach 3 for an attack.  Twisted eye unaugmented on a baddie with all your allies clustering around it... up to -5 on its attack rolls.  Thats not useful?  I bet if a monster put a -5 attack on any PC that PC would be yelling "Unfair!".   Augmented it blindes the enemy, -5 to all its melee and ranged attacks, and gives combat advantage, with 2d10+4 damage.  Why on earth would you ever use a melee basic!?

So far the Thri-kreen has been kicking but in my game, and loving it.  Not sure what the problem is...
Bull's strength, useless?  The basic allows you to push back, always useful tactically to clear a space for friends.  Augmented its a close blast 3 that targets only enemies, which can be huge!  Even augmented 1 you can get effective reach 3 for an attack.  Twisted eye unaugmented on a baddie with all your allies clustering around it... up to -5 on its attack rolls.  Thats not useful?  I bet if a monster put a -5 attack on any PC that PC would be yelling "Unfair!".   Augmented it blindes the enemy, -5 to all its melee and ranged attacks, and gives combat advantage, with 2d10+4 damage.  Why on earth would you ever use a melee basic!?

So far the Thri-kreen has been kicking but in my game, and loving it.  Not sure what the problem is...



I didn't say they weren't useful. I said they were situational, and as all situational abilities are, it is only useful in those situations.

I have never had 2 opponents adjacent to each other, so the daily has yet to be useful. Only 2-3 times has a push been useful, and I've used it. Again, I've almost never seen 2 beasties close enough for the blast to be useful. I can't get -5 on enemy attacks, as there is only 4 of us, and never are we all adjacent to one beastie. Very often I am the only one fighting one or two critters for several rounds, so it has no use to use. Blind is great, an I almost always use it... 1/encounter.

Almost all of Shikirr's abilities are situational, as I said. And I stand by about 60% of the time, the situation has not been up. Making a character that doesn't have one at-will that is useful 90% of the time is "A Bad Thing". Iron Fist (with his 16 Wis) would have made all the difference.
You can really make the same arguement for almost any power in 4E.  Sneak Attack for Rogue?  Situational.  Hunters Quarry?  Since its hard to choose any target you want, its situational?  All Controller AoE's are thus situational.

And yes, most of the game is 'situational'.  No two runs of the game will be the same.  Being smart and know when to do what is part of the fun and challenge of the game!

As for a power being available to use only 1/encounter, I'm just not sure how to respond to that.

I suggest the Pregen Primer forum for a fantastic primer on some great advice on the pregens.
Except that isn't true. In 4E a lot of at-will powers can easily be your "go-to" power that you use when you don't have a situation that warrents somthing else.

In Season 1 I played a battlemind and had Bull's Strength. I used it often when I needed to reposition. However on those rounds I didn't need to reposition I had Iron Fist to use and be useful.

A lot of daily's are situational, which isn't all bad, but when you only have one, picking the one that is only useful when you have a big beastie next to another beastie... well, as I said, there has been no point I could have used it without wasting half the power.

Anyways. Bad characters, the premades suck and they're hurting the fun of this season.
Keep in mind many people have posted they are fine with the pregens, enjoying them, and have been having a blast with this season.  You may feel they are bad, they suck, and detract from the season, but that is an opinion not a fact.

I am curious what you feel the At-Wills for a Defender should do.  As I said but those at will offer some great tactical options unaugmented.  At best Twisted should be the "Go to" when the monster starts getting beaten on.

Hey guys, I'm playing Barcan, and I don't understand the "Focusing Spellfury" feat (text below taken directly from character card.) 

Does this feat mean that for my next attack roll I get the extra damage if I happen to hit?  Or the next attack that successfully hits?  Or the next turn?  Or the remainder of the encounter? 

I've never played a sorcerer in 4E but I'm having a lot of fun so far.  Thank you! 



Focusing Spellfury:



+2 damage after hitting multiple


foes with an at-will power.

*This one threw me off from the wording on the player card too, and I ended up having to look up the specifics.

From the D&DI Compendium Entry:

Focusing Spellfury

Heroic  Tier
Prerequisite: Sorcerer
Benefit: When you  use a sorcerer at-will attack power and hit two or more enemies, you  gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with ranged and melee attack powers  until the end of your next turn.


*This one threw me off from the wording on the player card too, and I  ended up having to look up the specifics.

From the D&DI Compendium Entry:

Focusing Spellfury

Heroic  Tier
Prerequisite: Sorcerer
Benefit: When you  use a sorcerer at-will attack power and hit two or more enemies, you  gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with ranged and melee attack powers  until the end of your next turn.





Thank you!  This is one example where an improvement could be made.  In this case, the feat was too abreviated on the character card to understand how it works.  Relatively small issue, though.  The other feat for Barcan had an adequate enough description on the character card. 



Focusing Spellfury:





+2 damage after hitting multiple



foes with an at-will power.




Yeah, this is one of the cases where the feat on the card is better than the actual feat, since the +2 damage bonus from the card applies to any attack, not melee and ranged ones.

But how I'd read the card is, if you hit more than 1 creature with an at-will, you get +2 to damage on that attack (which in reality is a completely different feat, I think it's wizard only too); or possibly the next attack. They REALLY needed to not cut the duration of the damage bonus (I'm ok with them taking out the limiters of melee or ranged though).

So far the Thri-kreen has been kicking but in my game, and loving it.  Not sure what the problem is...





The problem is twofold, I think:

One is that way too many of the Optimize Or Die crowd build characters that somehow exist in a world where the only possible measure of effectiveness is how they perform in isolation from the 4-5 other PCs they're presumably adventuring with. All the complaints about how lousy the Ranger supposedly is are a prime example. If play him like an Avenger, running out front and getting in the face of enemies, then yeah, it's not a great build. If you play him as a MEMBER OF A GROUP, waiting to hack on Marked targets, working for combat advantage, and effectively using the nice suite of buffs and debuffs available, he's a fine PC, fun to play with a modicum of strategy. The group of PCs hold up pretty well as a PARTY, and if the players talk to each other for 5 minutes and play them that way, they do fine and everyone has fun and feels effective. A character that appears to not be 'optimized' can do just fine if other members of your party can help fill those gaps, but don't tell that to these guys.

The other is that they're just missing the point of the exercise. The idea behind Encounters is to create a program where ANYONE can walk into the store, on ANY Wednesday, and pick up a PC, get 5 minutes of quick basic instruction, and play. Season 1 demonstarted to my satisfaction that the easiest way to do that was to use a fixed suite of characters. At the end of the day, if what they want is to make their own PCs and play a full-length game on a Friday, they're talking about something that's...  NOT ENCOUNTERS! Much of this griping (from people who knew exactly what the program involved going in) is akin to someone who buys a ticket to a baseball game and then spends the entire game complaining it isn't football, and that's why "it sucks".

-JC/MM
Jim Crocker, Managing Partner Modern Myths, LLC Northampton, MA www.modern-myths.com
Except that the characters they picked weren't inherently easy to play for someone sitting down for the first time. Marauder Ranger? Grappling Fighter? Neither are builds good for noobies. One could argue for Psionics to not be very noob friendly as well, but Psionics are important to Dark Sun, so it is a little trickier to avoid.

Also I don't think you understand the reasoning behind some of the complaints.

The main issue I feel is that the season could be designed to be far more noobie-friendly. They chose some overly complicated builds for characters, and by not making them stronger mechanicly they are much less forgiving for new players. Also, the encounters so far have been overly complex for the first few encounters for a noobie game: Save ends effects and especially aftereffect and "on first failed save" effects should not be in the first few encounters for new players (in face I would say that aftereffect and "on first failed save" effects shouldn't be in an Encounters season at all), as new players should have enough to be figuring out without these added levels of complexity that aren't even common effects. Oh, they should also avoid effects that take characters out of the fight too. None of this stuff enhances a newbies first time play experience.

If anything, the complexity of the encounters, some of the characters and the added difficulty of weak builds lends this adventure to much more of a "advanced player challenge" than a good jump off for new players.

Oh, and your idea that making good characters is something only non-team players do is utter crap. I'm the first one to say these premades are weak and poorly designed, but we also haven't lost a character and only had 1 person go unconcious and for not even a full round at that. I, and the people I play with, make strong characters specificly to fill their role in a group and do so well to be able to overcome challeges better. Which, last I checked, was part of the core idea of the game.
Fiendish:

Optimizing characters... that's particularly newbie friendly either.  Characters are supposed to be playable without being optimized, and these characters are definitely playable.

As for them not being optimized.... being mentored in the game has almost always been a part of D&D.  As a DM for the game I have at my table:

One player from last season who came halfway through... she's a teenager (I'd guess on the younger side of that range) and plays the Mul grappling fighter.  It's not as friendly a character for her as I'd like, but she chose and I'm trying as DM to support that with suggestions for actions that I would not give an experienced player.

One player who is clearly an experienced player that came for the dark sun preview aspect.  He's playing the thrikreen battlemind by preference, and his play clearly shows that in the hands of an experienced player the character as built is NOT gimped.

One player who didn't share his experience level playing Castri.  His first week was this past week.  He's got 4e down and plays the character well.  In the first session Castri was also played by an experienced player... again, the players showing that the character COULD be played well.  Doubtless a new player would have needed guidance... isn't that what the table (it's a social team game) and the DM (who carries responsibility for making the experience fun) are for?

One older player who is an experienced player from earlier editions but new to 4th (ie. target audience).  He's playing the tiefling psion and from all appearances having a blast.  His character, despite being a little unclear at times on the rules (he sits next to the player playing the Thrikreen, who has been modeling mentoring by offering suggestions to both the tiefling and the fighter).  While not a 4e player, he's been fairly effectively using his powers to help defeat the monsters, and with an eye to strategy.

Two players (I'm guessing bf-gf) who are experienced in 3e, but not 4th.  They are playing the brother sister team and the caring between them gets mirrored in their role playing, which makes it effective.  The ardent and the sorcerer are probably the easiest characters to provide guidance for for me as DM, and these players sit next to me, where I offer suggestions if the group doesn't have any.  I don't have to speak up much.

I don't think ModernMyths was saying that making good characters was only something non-team players do.  That's not what I heard at all.  I heard him say that the folks criticizing the characters are acting as if all characters should be playable solo and judged as individuals, when they are actually a team that can help each other.  Yes, Castri is squishy, which is why the psion used a power that made the ranger invisible to the enemy he had sidled up to... causing the beast to trigger an AoO rushing at a character it COULD see.  And allowing the striker to do his job, causing additional massive damage to the bug when it did.  The defenders did their job too.  And the ardent, appropritatly, used her powers to give them temp hit points to buffer the damage they took, and to heal them as necessary.  I hear people complaining about useless at-will powers, but I saw bull rush used very effectively last game. 

Do I think the characters are perfect?  No.  I think the characters are built differently than I would build them... AND THAT'S OKAY.  Because people build characters in different ways for different reasons.  And there isn't a right or only way to build a good character.
Koldoon, most of us are just pointing out that the characters are designed to fail.

Castri was designed to be killed in encounter 1

Shakkir was stat'ed to be a Resiliant Battlemind, read the PH3, but they made it a Quick Battlemind. And failed to take any advantage of the high Wis.



My worry is that the players will look at the characters and decide the game sucks. Add to that the overkill in the first few encounters, and you have a high probability to turning off most of the new players that the encounters program is meant to entice.
Koldoon, most of us are just pointing out that the characters are designed to fail.



Really... I thought I just said the character's played fine.  I suppose my thirty plus years of experience playing the game haven't adequately prepared me to make that judgement.

Castri was designed to be killed in encounter 1



I would agree the design of encounter 1 was suboptimal.  But you are assuming choices that you don't actually know.  The author is on the forums... why don't you just ask him if that was his intent?

Shakkir was stat'ed to be a Resiliant Battlemind, read the PH3, but they made it a Quick Battlemind. And failed to take any advantage of the high Wis.



Again, you are assuming that there's only one way to build a battlemind.  I didn't see that he played badly.  Indeed, I watched an experienced player excel in playing him and have fun.  Wasn't that piece... the fun... wasn't that the point?  Yes, I've read PH3, and it doesn't say that there is ONLY one way to build any character.

My worry is that the players will look at the characters and decide the game sucks. Add to that the overkill in the first few encounters, and you have a high probability to turning off most of the new players that the encounters program is meant to entice.



Really.  How will they know?  You are claiming that the characters are unplayable based on the encounters being overly difficult.  The game does not ASSUME optimized characters.  I'll be the first to agree the encounters were poorly thought out for the target audience (sorry Nick, that's my view).  But the problem there is not the characters.  It's the damage output of the encounters and a design that singles out a single character for punishment.  The characters are NOT optimized, but that doesn't make them bad.
Ugh.

The characters don't need to be super optimized. But if the game is going to be newbie focused they should be simpler and more forgiving builds than they are to provide more  leeway for newer players to make mistakes.

Again, my group does well every encounter, we have the experience to make things work. I am saying the characters should be stronger and the encounters simpler to be more newbie-friendly.

You can't say that making Castri a two-weapon ranger instead of a marauder, with maybe a 12 Con and a longsword in his offhand wouldn't be both easier, stronger and more forgiving for a new player.

The mul being a weapon talent fighter would make him, again, easier to play for a new player.

Shikirr being a resiliant battlemind would have made the character a bit more forgiving and a bit more smartly designed (seriously, who makes a character whose racial stat bonuses affect neither of their class's abilities? Yell ). And maybe a shield too! Tongue out

Honestly, the other three seem fine.
I have seen 3 (2 made by PC's and this premade one) Battleminds that were made the same way.  They had the higher wisdom but took the other power not based on wisdom.  To them it was more useful for the party mechanics to build it that way.  So I didnt think anything of it when I saw the premade character.
I am playing Zorak Shikirr this run, and so far the quick build hasn't been much good to him vs. other choices his builder might have made.

However he's done OK by being a damage soak and ensuring that nasty bad bugs ("That is NOT my ant!" - Shikirr) bother him first.  Keeps our friendly Ardent from getting bored.

Castri was designed to be killed in encounter 1



So how do you explain the 2 tables we ran here in Ottawa in which Castri lived? Does that mean the players played Castri wrong?

And I'm one of the other Ottawa DM's.  I'll be sure to gently break that news to my Castri player tonight.  He'll get a kick out of the fact that he's been retroactively playing a revenant for two weeks.  :D
Narshal, I am dealing with Statistical Probability...

There are only two ways for Castri to survive Enchounter 1...

Statistical Anomaly (the dice say not hit/damage), or the DM plays ignoring the Script(Module).



TMcCambley, As I said above I am dealing with Statistical Probability...

If you care for the Math Proof, see below...
Show
Assuming Statistical Probability, what must be assumed when designing/balancing a module/encounter.

Castri's Defenses are AC17, Fort 15, Ref 15, Will 11

Silt Runner Rager attacks +6 vs AC (2d6+4 damage | 4d6+4)
Silt Runner Darter attacks +8 vs AC (1d10+4) | +6 vs Fort (2d10+3)


The Ragers hit Castri on a roll of 11.
The Darters hit on a 9.

The average roll on a d20 is 10.5

The Module instructs that the Silt Runners gang up on Castri.


Givin the Initiative modifiers, Yuka has the potential to act before the Ragers, but Castri goes first, then the Darters and the Inciter, followed by Yuka and the Ragers.



Assumed Initiative;
Castri, Darters, Inciter, Yuka, Ragers


Assumed Turns;
Castri engages the far Rager after Throw and Stabbing the near.

Darters move in and shoot.

Inciter delays.

Yuka engages the near Rager.

The Ragers move to engage and flank Castri, and use Encounter/Recharge power.

Inciter re-enters and moves into range to use Incite Fury, causing the Darters and Ragers to make basic attacks against Castri.



Given Statistical Probability, half of the Rager attacks hit and most of the Darters hit...

THis is ~50 damage.
Statistical probability means nothing unless you can demontrate your results.
You are making 5 monsters go after 2 characters when the encounter was designed for 5 characters.
You are stacking it up to prove your point.
Your example ignore all the of PCs like Shikirr who is another defender and Jarvix that has powers that affects attack rolls. Phye has powers that help defenses.

Why would Castri engage the far rager after throw and stapping the near one? He can Throw and Stab the nearest one and still charge him.

You are making alot of assumptions.
How about you test out the encounter with all the characters involved for 1000 times like they do in Deadliest Warriors. That should give out a decent overview of the abilities.

Well this happened to me, i ended on one side of the cart and was immediatly attacked and brought from 23 HP to -17 in three attacks, last one did 22 damage! The Yuka player was allowed to make a nature check and failed, afterwards i wished i had made another nature check, although me DM might have said no. If i had known those silt chaps were going after me, Castri that is, i would have stayed out of sight during most of the battle. They ignored Shikirr and even Phye who were much closer to them. The main problem was that Yuka stayed in and out of the cart picking up surivival days and playing out his chac, trusting no one, only taking care of himself. Same also applied to Jarvix and Barcan who were more concerned about getting those survival days and forgetting about the reinforcements. But i have said this before already...
Narshal, Do you not understand the math... and did you not read thay I posted?!


The Module instructs the DM to gang up on Castri, therefore, the monsters are assumed to gang up on Castri.

Using statistical probability Jarxiv, Shikirr, Barcan, and Phye do not get to act until after Castri is DEAD, therefore, what they do has no effect on the now corpse-ified Castri...

This is the MATH and INSTRUCTIONS, not opinion.

The only real change happen if Castri goes after a Darter, but he still ends up with ~35 damage that way, so no real difference... Dead is Dead... Negative Max HP or Negative Bloodied, he is dead... Just a matter of overkill...

BTW, it is 5 monsters going after 1 character, not 2.


As for your Deadliest Warrior idea, you do know what thier 'simulation' is doing? Statistical Probability!


As for why Castri wouldn't engage the near after making the ranged attack... quite simple, the updated Throw and Stab does not allow it.

Personally I didn't realy see the problem with single target throw and stab, but that is another issue all together...



Now, even following the assumptions, given the thousands of venues running D&DE Dark Sun there are going to be venues where the attacks and/or damages are going to roll abbysmally and allow for Castri to survive, but that is what is called a Statistical Anomally, and just goes to prove the math...
Narshal, Do you not understand the math... and did you not read thay I posted?!



I did. You make the mistake of forgetting terrain.


The Module instructs the DM to gang up on Castri, therefore, the monsters are assumed to gang up on Castri.

Using statistical probability Jarxiv, Shikirr, Barcan, and Phye do not get to act until after Castri is DEAD, therefore, what they do has no effect on the now corpse-ified Castri...



Shikirr gets to move 3 squares before everyone acts. He can easil set up in a position to act as blocker from one of the darters.

The only real change happen if Castri goes after a Darter, but he still ends up with ~35 damage that way, so no real difference... Dead is Dead... Negative Max HP or Negative Bloodied, he is dead... Just a matter of overkill...



Actually more like around 30 or less since only one rager could reach Castri with his brutal spear. He'd have to take an opportunity attack from Shikirr and Yuka.

As for your Deadliest Warrior idea, you do know what thier 'simulation' is doing? Statistical Probability!



Yes, they are generating models to obtain results. That's actually was my major at university.

As for why Castri wouldn't engage the near after making the ranged attack... quite simple, the updated Throw and Stab does not allow it.



From what we've been told from WotC, only Shikirr's ranged basic attack has been removed/changed as he has no ranged weapon. If you are making that change to Throw and Stab, you should be mentioning it from the start otherwise it totally invalidates your argument. We are using the characters as presented since that's the official stance. If what you use differes from the official stance, you should mention it since it changes the frame work.
The only differences between what my group is using and the Kit Pregens is the application of the correct wording and rules...

Yuka's Brawler Style is corrected, he gains the +2 Fort (as per MP2).

Castri's Throw and Stab is the Update version.

Jarvix's Infernal Rebuke is the Update vesion.



Shikirr's Move 3 won't get him anywhere close to stopping the Ragers, between Yuka and Shikirr, they might be able to stop one but the other would have free range...


Given the variables, and assuming the DM runs the module as instructed, Casti dies from damage about 70-80% of the time, and is just reduced to death saves 10-20% of the time, the remaining 10% would acount for the statistical anomallies...

To recap...

Between 70/20/10 and 80/10/10

Sure looks like Castri was designed to die in encounter 1.


Don't get me started on Encounter 4...
Show
The Dust Devils have a high probability of going first... If they do the party dies...

The highest defense is Yuka's 18 Fort, they need a 10... (55% probability of a hit) aster that the target is Blind and therefore granting combat advantage (Yuka jumps to 65% probability after one hits)...

The worst is Jarvix... they need a 2 (95% probability, jumping to 95% probability)...

Outside of Yuka, the highest is a 16... needing an 8 (65%, jumping to 75%)...

Everyone else is starting with 75% or higher for the initial attack...
I guess our sad part of week 1 was when Castri (having won inite) and seeing he was the initial target (Yeah I missed a couple of hits).  Was healed during round 1 and bolted from the map top of round two.

Yup left the party hanging - As the target, he was the only one to survive - Why didnt he start one square back from where he did

Of course week 3 left the Leader/Healer bolting in a similar fashion and two more party members leaving the last two to fight against the last to monsters.

Is it possible that Dark Sun is just a very tough environment for not only the PC's but the DM's as well?  (Had I not found this link after week one, I definetly still would have prepared better week 2)

And - a tad off topic - How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Dark-Sun Tootsie-Pop?  A-One, A-Two............

(week four - only 2 NPC's attack dwarf - Dwarf Dies - 2 NPC's miss (Need new dice) - Party Switches hack and slash tactics to bluff check as some are slaves, they optimized the role and claimed the dwarf enslaved them - Checking appropriate Monster Manual revealed that Lizardfolk have the ability (dependant on Int) to know other languages including common Bluff check 24 - I roll a 3 - Using someone elses dice tonight)

The party fealt they had escaped with their valuables and lives, and still had an excellent time, the moment of greatness was given to the master-mind.

Sorry it wasn't in the books, but I checked, double checked, rechecked, my players walked away chatting about the awsome adventure - now if i can start rolling hits like i have been rolling Init scores ;)
I have been playing Jarvix for all 5 sessions and was just wondering if anyone could tell me about his two feats? 

OTHER ABILITIES*
Feats:
Discipline Adept (already added),
Ritual Caster (Comrades’ Succor
and Create Campsite)
Discipline Adept is what is giving him 2 uses of some of his encounter powers (Distract, and Send Thoughts) per encounter.

Ritual Caster means he can cast rituals, of which he has those two.
Create Campsite, is pretty much just as it says.
Comrades' Succor allows for the group to shuffle healing surges around between characters, at the cost of a bit of gold, and 1 healing surge.  For Encounters, I've allowed it to be cast at the cost of 1 survival day. 
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Create campsite not only creates and breaks it down but it also hides it.   Anyone who wants to find it has to beat your ritual check with a nature check.