Dragon 393 - Winning Races: Wilden, The Stormchasers

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DnDi_Large.pngDragon 393
Winning Races: Wilden, The Stormchasers

by Scott Fitzgerald Gray

Where the boundary to the Elemental Chaos is weak, wilden relish the elemental energy.

Talk about this Article here.

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Second Wilden article, and I continue to be disappointed with the crunch. What's the obsession with Nature's Aspect? It doesn't even come into play in every encounter, depending on the class, they can be hard to use, they are all pretty conditional, and these feats just add more conditional triggers on top of the already conditional racial power.

Aspect of the Elements: Basically an alternate racial power. Its power compared with other alternate racial powers such as Dragonfear makes it look like a chump, and it's supposed to be paragon. If you look at a racial paragon feat such as Master of Fire and Darkness, it's clearly a loser feat.

Elemental Shield: If I happen to use my racial power just at the right time before I'm hit with the right energy type, I get to save a few hit points. Compare to Genasi's Versatile Resistance.

Path of Ice: So to use this one you have to predict when you will be hit by a forced movement power, and use your racial power just before that. Good luck, especially if you like Wrath of the Destroyer, your window of opportunity is rather small.

Pulse of Lightning: As above, except you have to guess when you'll be hit by an area attack.

Surge of Thunder: As above, except you have to guess when an enemy will be provoking an opportunity attack (really?). Compare to the Minotaur's Opportunity Gore, which isn't even a great feat, but works a ton better than this since you can use it on any opportunity attack.

Touch of Flame: Okay expecting to be hit in melee is a little more feasible especially if you are a defender, but then, the damage you're dealing if the enemy hits you is working more like a deterrent than an attractor.

I can't help but wonder, are authors afraid to write good crunch in fear their proposal will be rejected?
I don't care for the art. It looks almost sexual to me, and I highly doubt that was the intended effect. Specifically, the armor seems to clash horribly with the Wilden herself.

Also, was this supposed to be a bloodline/heritage? It resembles one in everything but [Wilden Bloodline]. 
If you look past the plot and the voice acting, Metroid: Other M was an okay game. Not a great game, but an adequate one. Not using the Metroid item collect jingle though? That, was a mistake.

I can't help but wonder, are authors afraid to write good crunch in fear their proposal will be rejected?



When I read this line a lot of things clicked, and now I'm worried you might be totally right on this point. 
Just for kicks, let's say we want to maintain the flavor of the feats.

Aspect of the Elements - Change this into a racial option rather than feat (ala Dragonfear), replacing one of the aspects, change the trigger to any kind of damage, add "if this damage was cold, fire, lightning, or thunder" to the damage portion, and scale the damage as 1d6/2d6/3d6. So it should read something like:

Trigger: You are hit by an enemy attack that deals damage.
Effect: You take half damage from the triggering attack. If this damage was cold, fire, lightning, or thunder damage, your next attack before the end of your next turn deals 1d6 extra damage of this type, and you ignore resistance to this type of damage until the end of your next turn. The extra damage increases to 2d6 at level 11, and 3d6 at level 21.

Elemental Shield - When you first take fire, cold, lightning or thunder damage in an encounter, reduce this damage by 5/10/15 points. If you were in Aspect of the Elements, reduce an additional 5 damage.

Path of Ice [Racial Style] - When you use Nature's Aspect, one enemy within 5 squares of you takes 5/10/15 cold damage. If you were in Aspect of the Elements, increase damage by 5, and the enemy is also slowed.

Pulse of Lightning [Racial Style] - When you use Nature's Aspect, an adjacent enemy takes 5/10/15 lightning damage. If you were in Aspect of the Elements, all adjacent enemies take this damage.

Surge of Thunder [Racial Style] - When you use Nature's Aspect, one enemy within 5 squares of you takes 5/10/15 thunder damage. If you were in Aspect of the Elements, increase damage by 5, and the enemy is also pushed 2 squares.

Touch of Flame [Racial Style] - When you use Nature's Aspect, an adjacent enemy takes 5/10/15 fire damage. If you were in Aspect of the Elements, increase damage by 5, and the enemy grants combat advantage to you and your allies until the end of your next turn.

*foot note: you may only apply one Racial Style feat to each use of Nature's Aspect.

What would these changes do?
- removes the feat tax for Aspect of the Elements if you want to pick one of the nice rider feats.
- removes the problem with most creatures who deal a specific kind of damage being resistant to that damage type.
- gives Wilden another solid option for an Aspect.
- divorces the scaling damage from Wisdom, opens these feats up for wider use.
- removes complex triggers that are easy to forget.
- makes sure the PC has control over the use of the feat, and that the feat is very likely to be used with every triggering of the racial power.
- gives a respectable feat option in place of the usual suspects. When you compare extra 10/15/20 damage once per encounter to something like weapon focus, for some characters, this feat may win out.

I appreciate that there is clearly some effort to not introduce overpowered feats, and don't mind a close scrutiny on that front, but underpowered feat clutter is just as bad.