Creating higher-level characters, and their items

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I've been thinking about the new rules for creating higher-level characters, as allowed by the most recent CCG. It struck me that a newly created character may well have better equipment than a character that levelled normally, and that this is probably not what the LFR team intended.

Consider this: if I create a level-8 character, it gets four level-appropriate items (L9, L8, L7 and enough cash to buy another L7). The point is that I can pick exactly which items I want, which means I can probably get the best weapon and armor for my class (unless they are L10, which is rather uncommon). There are just a handful of items that just everybody seems to want, like Vicious Weapons, Staff of Ruin, or those +2 damage bracers.

If I create a level-1 character and spend some months leveling it, I end up with seven treasure picks. However, these have to be taken from whatever the items are at the end of the adventures. This means that they may have been spent on things like +1 weapons and armor that I've replaced later, or on miscellaneous utility stuff, or simply on the first +2 gear I could find. The gold collected from those adventures lets me buy a L7 item of my choice, but not four of L7-L9.

Now I know it's perfectly viable to play LFR with different gear; however, it seems that many people simply want certain items. So it strikes me that people have this as an incentive to start at a higher level, as it lets them get precisely those items. What do people think?
I'm pretty sure that was brought up during the discussion on it.  Truth be told, no system for allowing higher than 1st characters would ever be in the ballpark of being perfect and certainly wouldn't make everyone happy.  Just look at the lements posted over higher starting PCs losing the item slots from the unplayed levels.

I think they made the best of it (other than scrapping the idea entirely which would have been best).  So the barn doors is open and the horse is out, so we just have to make the best of it.
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
Now I know it's perfectly viable to play LFR with different gear; however, it seems that many people simply want certain items. So it strikes me that people have this as an incentive to start at a higher level, as it lets them get precisely those items. What do people think?


Yeah, I'm not a fan either.  The CCG says that starting at level 1 is recommended, but the new character generation rules don't really back up this recommendation.

My suggestion was to allow starting items only from the PH series of books, same as MYRE mods.

My suggestion was to allow starting items only from the PH series of books, same as MYRE mods.


Yep, but after due consideration this proved to be impractical. There are simply too many builds available that have to use material from other sourses, such as a few more common examples like the wizard illusionists and summoners, and assassins. We would need to add several exception rules, making the document longer and more difficult to follow. Just note that we are looking at the treasure rules as we speak, and things might very well change in the near future.

I've been thinking about the new rules for creating higher-level characters, as allowed by the most recent CCG. It struck me that a newly created character may well have better equipment than a character that levelled normally, and that this is probably not what the LFR team intended.

At this point, I am not at all sure what the LFR team intended.  I can tell you what they say they intend, but I'm not sure how well their actions comport with these statements.

The response to the draft rules were that some players wanted more actual advantages to starting at 1st (or disadvantages to failing to do so), while other players thought that starting with only PH items would somewhat disadvantage newly-created high-level PCs for a level or two.

So, the changes made to the draft were to add more verbiage encouraging people to start at 1st level, while simultaneously completely opening up item selection if they did not.  The latter is obviously more meaingful than the former.

A created 8th level character starts with their free choice of any +2 weapon/implement, armor and neck item (except for 10th level ones), plus one found item slot.

A leveled 8th level character has a random assortment of whatever +2 items they have managed to come across.  (At best; I have had characters that didn't have all +2 items when they hit 8th, not having yet encountered any useful ones.)  Beyond that, an average player (i.e., not a gratification-delayer) has probably spent seven slots already (three +1 items, three +2 items and some miscellaneous item), so also has one found item slot left.

Basically, the only benefits to leveling characters instead of starting them at high level are:
* You get more rewards cards... for the next six months.
* If you hoard found item slots, you have more left... but the assumption is that you don't hoard magic item slots, and it would not surprise me to see that system "fixed" in the future to stop hoarding.

In return, the leveled character has to take whatever randomly shows up, which is a severe detriment for implement users or anyone with an item-dependent build.

As a point of comparison, neither of my paragon PCs had any +3 items when they hit 11th level, as compared to newly-created ones, which start with two.

So, yes, newly-created characters will be at least on par with leveled ones, if not stronger.  They will have fewer items, but quite possibly better ones, and they can easily make up the difference in number after they earn a few modules' worth of gold.

Yep, but after due consideration this proved to be impractical. There are simply too many builds available that have to use material from other sourses, such as a few more common examples like the wizard illusionists and summoners, and assassins. We would need to add several exception rules, making the document longer and more difficult to follow.

"You may only choose your starting items from the Player's Handbook, with the exception of a plain +X magic implement, which may be selected from any source."
* If you hoard found item slots, you have more left... but the assumption is that you don't hoard magic item slots, and it would not surprise me to see that system "fixed" in the future to stop hoarding.



Has hoarding been a problem that you have seen?  So far, in practice, hoarding slots seems to be a non-issue.  It's also been shown to disadvantage a character just for short temporary advantage at one point that disappears as they level up.
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf

Has hoarding been a problem that you have seen?  So far, in practice, hoarding slots seems to be a non-issue.


Precisely. Since hoarding slots is pretty much a non-issue, the drawback that you get less treasure slots if you start at higher level is meaningless.

Some people claim there's a mechanical disadvantage to starting at level 5 or 8 or so, but this turns out not to be the case in practice.
Some people claim there's a mechanical disadvantage to starting at level 5 or 8 or so, but this turns out not to be the case in practice.




The rule has been live for one day - exactly how much "in practice" are you claiming in that time?

The disadvantage is not having spare slots when you come across must-have items over the next few levels after creation, rather than at character creation.
Joe Fitzgerald | joerpga[at]yahoo[dot]com[dot]au LFR Global Administrator
The disadvantage is not having spare slots when you come across must-have items over the next few levels after creation, rather than at character creation.


Yes, and since most people don't hoard slots, characters starting from level one will have the exact same problem, so there is no disadvantage.
I played around a bit.  There is a disadvantage... it's just not severe.  I have some eq-constrained builds, and I'd rather have played them to 11th level than use the create-at-higher-level rules (enough mods offer "the item you want" or a high level item you can sell for cash)... but the difference is minor.  It feels like a  5%-10% penalty or so.

"Nice assumptions. Completely wrong assumptions, but by jove if being incorrect stopped people from making idiotic statements, we wouldn't have modern internet subculture." Kerrus
Practical gameplay runs by neither RAW or RAI, but rather "A Compromise Between The Gist Of The Rule As I Recall Getting The Impression Of It That One Time I Read It And What Jerry Says He Remembers, Whatever, We'll Look It Up Later If Any Of Us Still Give A Damn." Erachima

I agree with kilpatds -- it is a slight disadvantage.  I have a 10th level character who will level to 11 after the mod I play tonight.  I have 3 11th level items rather than the 12,11, 10 I could have had with 11th level creation rules.  I also have almost 12,000 gps in additional items and gold rather than the 5,000 a newly creator character would.  In addition I have used 9 item slots, rather than 10 for a new character. 

So, my guy has 1 more item slot and a few more utility items.  All in all a slight advantage -- which is fine with me.  I have enjoyed playing this guy up from 1 (my 3rd paragon character) but wouldn't mind having the option of just creating someone new at 11.  Certainly I don't think the world will end if I do this.  lol

Daren

Has hoarding been a problem that you have seen?  So far, in practice, hoarding slots seems to be a non-issue.



Precisely. Since hoarding slots is pretty much a non-issue, the drawback that you get less treasure slots if you start at higher level is meaningless.



Well, in the case of starting at a higher level, I agree they shouldn't have the lower level slots.  When you start at 1st, each level you earn gains you a new slot.  If you start at 5, 8, or 11 you haven't earned any levels, so it makes sense that you don't start with 5, 8, or 11 slots for previous levels that weren't earned.  You're already being given three free magic items of your choice withotu any play at all.

The issue of hoarding was more about the early calls for a different system because hoarded slots would supposedly make a character uber. 
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
The disadvantage is not having spare slots when you come across must-have items over the next few levels after creation, rather than at character creation.

Yes, and since most people don't hoard slots, characters starting from level one will have the exact same problem, so there is no disadvantage.

At the same time though, virtually all PCs I know have a couple of slots free at level 10 even though they do not hoard. SO, as others said, it is a disadvantage, although, not a particular big one.


At the same time though, virtually all PCs I know have a couple of slots free at level 10 even though they do not hoard. SO, as others said, it is a disadvantage, although, not a particular big one.



If you played through those levels and were able to save some slots, you earned that advantage. While I would have liked to see a little more downside to starting at higher levels, I like the fact that the handicap is able to "heal" over a couple levels as that character becomes more and more developed.
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